Holsten Maibock | Hanseatische Getränke-Industrie (HGI) Holsten-Brauerei AG

Holsten MaibockHolsten Maibock
111 Ratings
Holsten MaibockHolsten Maibock

Brewed by:
Hanseatische Getränke-Industrie (HGI) Holsten-Brauerei AG

Style: Maibock / Helles Bock

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by canadianbarman on 11-30-2002

Bros Score:
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Ratings: 111 |  Reviews: 72
Photo of biegaman
3.18/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Bocks are great beers for evolutionary geneticists: variation under domestication, natural selection, laws of variation, hybridism - examples abound in this historical German family of brews. This particular example, for instance, is much clearer and lighter than doppelbocks of similar strength, yet its deep orange body is darker than most helles (light) bocks.

The Reinheitsgebot (German Purity Law) - which this beer claims to adhere to - is an assurance that adjuncts weren't added to the beer, but it's no indication of whether the ingredients that were added are any good or added amply. This beer has a fairly flaccid maltiness that is accented by a dry alcohol and slight corny sweetness.

The alcohol and the malts work hand in glove; traces of bready Munich malt absorb some of the booze while it, in turn, beefs up the malt's otherwise pale plainness. There's a good balance struck. It's not what I'd call "rich" - which this style absolutely should be - but it's fairly clean. Still, I'm not satisfied unless I can feel the Munich malt in my gums.

The alcohol, while you can be sure it’s in there, is certainly not flagrant. The beer is, however, quite thin and notes of raw white sugar (probably added to boost the alcohol content) come and go, lingering more as the beer looses its chill. It would have certainly benefited from a few more kettle hops - they've really gotta axe that residual sweetness.

Holsten Maibock started off as a Seinfeld episode – a beer about nothing – but became more like a David Lynch film: pretty strange, hard to assess and even harder to tell if I liked it. I'm not sure what to think – I love the style but it is inherently a pale, strong lager which means that, if done poorly, it constitutionally becomes a “malt liquor”. That confusion doesn't happen with the style's best examples. With this one, however, it’s up to interpretation.

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Photo of thehyperduck
2.88/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 2.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

I don't think I've sat down and reviewed any German beer before, or had a maibock before for that matter, so I'll get a few things out of the way with this one. Given the price of this 500 mL can and the higher ABV I am a little wary but every beer deserves a fair shake.

This beer is a pale golden orange colour, and the head was thick and foamy at first but it doesn't last much longer than a minute before fading to a cap of almost nothing. Looks kind of like a slightly darker adjunct beer. The smell is pleasant but not particularly notable - grains and grassiness, with some sweetness, and thankfully no whiff of alcohol.

The smell isn't hiding anything because most of the same notes are in the flavour - the highlights include honeyed malt sweetness, a little bit of hoppy bitterness in the finish. Sweetness lingers on the tongue even after this, and the alcohol doesn't really become noticeable until the beer has been sitting a bit. Medium-bodied, a little light for a bock; mouthfeel is a bit syrupy. Carbonation is fairly light and just tickles the tongue without being overpowering.

Holsten Maibock is alright and considerably better than many of its high-ABV-half-litre competitors, but it's nothing inspiring. If you are looking to get wasted (on beer) and don't want to get malt liquor or Black Ice-type garbage, this is a feasible option, though I have a feeling I'd regret drinking more than one or two of these anyway. You could definitely do worse, but I doubt I'll pick it up again - my only recommendation is that you drink this cold, and do it quickly before the alcohol starts to warm.

[Updated April 8 2014]

Another can, the first one I've had since my original review - but this one isn't doing anything positive for me tonight. The corn syrup sweetness is raunchy, the booziness is off-putting, and I am probably going to have trouble finishing the rest of the glass. Pretty gross stuff... still a step or two above malt liquor, or the really gross Euro strong lagers (think Crest, Faxe Strong, etc.), but not something you'd want more than one of at a time.

Final Grade: 2.88, a C grade.

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Photo of kwjd
3.08/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

500mL can from the LCBO. Pours a golden yellow colour with a finger of thick white head. The head dissipates leaving some patches on top of the beer. Smells quite grainy with a very faint grassy aroma. Almost no bitterness, very sweet though. Flavour is fairly clean and for a cheap high alcohol beer, I can see the appeal in this. I think it tastes better than macro lagers and it certainly punches higher at 7% alcohol.

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Photo of liamt07
3.05/5  rDev +7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Can from the LCBO, poured into a pint glass.

Poured a golden yellow, less than a finger of white head. A collar retains throughout; filtered body. Nose of light sweet malts, light cereals, some sweet pale candy and some grain. Taste follows with a general sweetness, some honey-like sweetness, cracker and some graininess in the finish. Medium-high carbonation, with a decent mouthfeel. Decent drinkability, but overall does the trick if your looking to warm up just a bit (like I was).

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Photo of Tackledorange
3.58/5  rDev +25.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

it poured a clear golden colour with a 2 finger head that left some pretty decent lacing. It smells fairly sweet with a little floral hop smell and some grassy tones. It tastes very similar to what the smell is like more malt forward with a little tangy taste of hops at the end fairly light in flavour and body but for 7% abv it is pretty easy drinking but as it warmed up to room temperature the alcohol became very pronounced but not to overbearing.

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Photo of biboergosum
3.08/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

500ml can - same mounted knight emblem imagery as the other Holsten offerings.

This beer pours a perfectly clear, medium golden amber colour, with three fingers of puffy, tightly foamy, and even a bit creamy off-white head, which leaves some thin, filmy ropes of lace around the glass in its steady wake.

It smells of bready, kind of crackery pale grainy malt, warm cereal, over-inoculated sourdough, further earthy yeast, mildly phenolic booze, and weak weedy, earthy hops. The taste is strong, bready cereal malt, rather sweet in its bearing, pithy yeast, a soft, slightly metallic alcohol edge, and more anemic grassy and floral noble hops.

Bubbles are at a premium, as the carbonation is quite soft and lilting in its basic frothiness, the body a stocky medium weight, kind of slick, but ultimately smooth. It finishes clean, I suppose, if a bit sticky, and weirdly drying, after all that, as the still understated warming alcohol and grassy/weedy hops keep on keepin' on.

An adequately drinkable, and certainly affordable Maibock, in the guise of a Euro strong lager, and less boozy than many Continental bocks that I've sampled. Just the thing to hit the spot as the weather unsurprisingly turns, heh, south - and it seems to work as a suitable pairing to the spicy-ass Rogan Josh that is imminently arriving to my dinner table.

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Photo of scott451
3.1/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured a clear amberish gold into a glass mug. Two finger bubbly white head which didn't stick around. Good lacing.

Sweet malt smells. Some grassy floral notes. Sweet malts again in the taste. Caramel toffee with a slight bite. Very smooth hop finish. Quite nice. Big flavour.

Medeum body and carbonation. A little sweet for a big session. A 500ml can of 7% is not to be taken lightly. One of my fave winter brews though.

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Photo of BBP
2.51/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

A- Clear golden wheat color with little head. Disappeared all together rather quickly.

S- Sweet malt smell. Slight hop aroma.

T- Syrupy. Sweet malts, but lacking a bit in the hop department. Some metallic hints.

M- Hard on the tongue, but goes down easy. A bit more carbonation than average.

D- Pretty good for a getting drunk cheap beer. Not impressive tastewise though. The alcohol isn't too noticable, but it's noticable enough to take away from what could have been good.

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Photo of joemcgrath27
3.12/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - clear golden yellow, good white head that dissipated quickly to a thin film, decent lacing
S - resiny hops, metallic, light grainy malts, slightly perfumy
T - leafy and resiny hop flavours are fairly crisp and clean, mild grainy malts, but the tinny metallic flavours is a bit much
M - full carbonation but relatively thin, dryness is nice but again the feel is even metallic on the finish
D - relatively easy drinking like most of the German offerings you will find in a Canadian liquor store, but the higher ABV and the metallic flavours start to build up to make the experience less enjoyable

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Photo of ChrisCage
2.6/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

A- This pours with a creamy thick white head, but it doesn't retain very well, settling fairly quick into a thin film over the beer. The color is golden and is very clear. There is a lot of carbonation, and they are big bubbles. The columns rise slower than many other beers so we'll see what we get....

S- Sweet malt dominates the aroma, but there is some hints of metallic astringency. The alcohol is more noticeable, but could be expected, being 7% and all. The finish is slightly herbal and there is some mild hop bitterness too.

T- Much like the aromas, with lots of malt sweetness that is slightly honeyed. The initial sweetness is quickly subdued though by a bitter metallic flavor and alcohol, which doesn't taste all that good. The lingering sweetness returns in a more mild manner on the palate afterwards.

M- Medium-light bodied and the carbonation is not overwhelming, which helps a bit in getting through the alcohol. However, it's just too alcoholic to really get a feel for the character overall.

D- Once I'm done this can I think I'll keep it at that. This isn't like the Festbock, which is good IMO. There isn't enough of a balance for me to want to drink this more. Might be good for a beer can chicken though, once the booze burns off, as the sweetness could liven up the meat...

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Photo of chickenm
2.13/5  rDev -25.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

Pours a clear light copper color, with a thin fizzy head that quickly disappears. Aroma of malt, apples, light hops, and alcohol. The taste is overly sweet and dominated by the alcohol, and very little hops in this. Gets worse as the beer warms up. Not very good.. I wasn't able to finish this, and I won't be buying this again anytime soon.

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Photo of mintjellie
1.8/5  rDev -36.8%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Deep gold in colour with a poorly retained fizzy white head. Faint pale malt and alcohol aroma. It tastes like a severely under-attenuated and under-hopped pilsner. A little bit of white bread with very little hop flavour or bitterness to offset it's honeyed sweetness. Alcohol isn't hot, but still feels harsh. Everything else is so mute that booze really is the dominant flavour in this beer. Booze and sugar. Light bodied with low carbonation, it feels both thin and syrupy. Terrible beer. This must be Germanys answer to malt liqour.

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Photo of mooseisloose
3.3/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Looks like another tall boy can in the icebox, so let's give it a whirl. Popping the top yields a pungent head shop clove smell. Pours to a golden colour with a creamy white head. Taste is a weighty funky almost skunky mix. The first thing that hits you is a dubbel-like maltiness and sweetness followed by a large and in charge hoppiness made up of noble hops. This seems like something to be imbibed in the biergarten out a 2 liter mug no less. Das ist gut, excepting for the funky twang on the aftertaste, otherwise the early workings of a belgian. Not too chabby.

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Photo of wordemupg
3.11/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

500ml can poured into pint glass jan31 2010

A clear golden yellow with a fast falling finger of head that left a few rings of lace while the foam lasted

S some floral and grassy hops with some honey

T as it smells but with with some booze that hurts its cause and its a little sweet

M just a little syrupy with a fair amount of carbonation

D would serve a purpose if you feel like catching a cheap buzz, but nothing special going on here

not a bad beer but not worth looking for, I doubt I'll be drinking this again soon unless I'm broke and want to wash some worries away

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Photo of PEIBeerGuy
2.06/5  rDev -27.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

Looks average... very clear, golden yellow. Lots of head that disappears in a couple of minutes, leaving some lacing down the glass.

Smell is nearly non-existent. Smells like a lot of similar beers. Nothing stands out as good or really bad.

The alcohol surely stands out. It's got an OK aftertaste, and you can taste some OK sweet notes in there, and some mildness, but over top all of that is that overpowering shadow of sharp alcohol. Drinking this is almost like trying to grimace down some straight hard liquors.

Trying to separate this from flavour, it "feels" OK. A little creamy, fairly smooth, OK carbonation.

I can drink it, but I don't like it.

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Photo of Seanstoppable
2.93/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I stayed with some friends this Christmas, and they knew I "liked beer", so I ended up with an assortment of imported tall cans.

Pours a gold color with a finger or two of fizzy, rapidly dissolving head. No lacing whatsoever.

No real perceptible scent.

Alcohol content is apparent from the taste. Not overly hard, but definitely detectable as greater than 5-6%. Some sweetness is also apparent, but is mostly second fiddle to the alcohol. Might be true to style, but I found it somewhat unappetizing.

Alcohol character made it feel somewhat heavy for me. One or two of these might be drinkable, but I don't think it is very favorable for a longer session.

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Photo of MeisterBurger
2.66/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a light straw color with a fizzy white head. Very clear. A ring of head shrinks a little more with every sip until it finally vanishes into the ether.

The aroma is...lightly toasty. Malt sweetness. Really it's barely perceptible.

The taste is a sweet pale malt and noticeable alcohol. Slight spice. Low bitterness. Alcohol dominates in the end. Meh.

Mouthfeel is creamy, full with good carbonation keeping the sweetness light.

Overall this is just bland and inoffensive, and yet I'm having a hard time choking it down.

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Photo of JohnnyBarman
3.04/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Picked this one up at the LCBO - liked the festbock, thought I'd try a bock-off!

Pours a pale yellow, lots of carbonation. White head that disappears very quickly, leaving only a thin ring around the edge. Not fantastic.

Smell is hoppy with a bit of peach, maybe some malt there.

Taste is uninspired. The alcohol kick at the finish ends up dominating the palate after a smooth, sweet entry. Nothing really too exciting here, but hard to nail down.

Mouthfeel is thin, decent carbonation.

Drinkable, but nothing to write home about. Probably won't pick this one up again, although for the price, it's not bad.

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Photo of decimator
2.53/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

500ml can poured into a pint glass.

A - Typical Lager appearance. Golden color with a 1/2" head that was quickly gone.

S - Mild mix of malts and hops, and some alcohol.

T - A little sweet up front but then it's mostly hop & alcohol bitterness.

M - Average feel. The alcohol is not well masked.

D - Looks & smells ok but once it's in my mouth it loses some of its appeal. One is enough. Not as good as some of Holsten's other beers.

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Photo of RyanBelle
1.45/5  rDev -49.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

This is not a bad beer. It has a personality at 7% ABV that really acts as the redeemer for this bock. I personally don't mind bock's at all and absolutely love dopplebock's usually.

A - Looks good, nice and golden but average.

S - Average Lager smell, exciting but not really a "bock" smell. It's not as strong as it tastes.

T - Not bad. It's a very passable bock that gives Holsten a good name so far from what I have tried. It has lots of warming alcohol characteristics and it tastes a lot like a fine wine, almost moreso than a beer because of the high alcohol content.

M - Not great, because warming alcohol dominates.

D - Not great, because although this will get me drink quick, I like more flavor in my bocks/dopplebocks. This one is a slightly bland example of a bock and drinks somewhat poorly.

Try it if you have experience with bock beers, as this may turn you off or turn you on to that type of beer. It's literally a love it or hate it kind of beer.

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Photo of ZorPrime
3.14/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Tasted this on July 8th, 2009.

A: Copper like color with a head of big bubbles.
S: Average intensity smell. Mainly malts and caramel.
T: The taste is similar. However, way more caramel than in the nose. Not bad, but not great too. Get some nuts.
M: Medium body.
D: One is enough.

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Photo of TheHammer
2.84/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Appearance - Came in a green and gold can with the Holsten knight on it. Poured with half a finger of head that retains decently and laces quite well. The beer itself is a nice bronze color with solid signs of carbonation. However I do notice quite a few particles floating in the beer.

Smell - Not much going on in this department. Catching dry grassy hops and that's about it. I think I might be catching a slight bread scent, but the hops seem dominant. It's fairly mild, but it's not really anything to write home about.

Taste - Hmm..interesting starts with a mild barley taste and then turns to some form of sweet vegetable flavor, kinda like sweet potatoes but not that strong and ends with a solid hop presence. All in all interesting but not exactly good.

Mouthfeel - Slight sweet vegetable aftertaste which isn't bad. The carbonation feels a bit excessive though and finishes a bit dry. I've certainly experienced worse, and it all in all it's not bad.

Drinkability - This is really where this beer suffers. The taste is oddball for a single tasting, but I wouldn't want to drink this on a regular basis. It's not very refreshing due to it's dryness and sits a little heavy on the stomach. It does go down smoothly though.

Final Thoughts - The main reason I bought this beer, was because I had a good experience with the festbock. This one however, is nowhere near as good an offering. One beer was enough of this stuff. Anymore then one, I think it would outstay it's welcome.

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Photo of Shadman
2.88/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Decent looking beer. Nice rich color, sort of a first-pee-in the morning kind of amber. Nice head and lacing.

Sort of smelled like musty grain, sweet malt, not much in the was of hop.

Big wave of sweet malt followed by some serious alcohol warming. Slight hop edge there, but it gets clobbered by the sweet, somewhat stickiness of the malt. Finish is quite sticky, with maybe a hint of licorice or ainse.

Fuller in body than what I expected due to the high ABV and the sweet/stickiness.

1 and done for me. Someone mentioned it needs more hop to balance it out. Very 1 dimensional.

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Photo of prosper
2.45/5  rDev -14%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1.5

Looks good, smells good, feels good... too bad about the taste.

Pours a very clear, dark yellow with a dense, frothy white cap. Lots of lace.

Smells grainy, with a hint of sulfur. Soft malts, and characteristic vegetalness.

Taste - pretty bad, all things considered. Sticky sweet, slight grainy pils malt character. Something vegetal in there. It does have a sort of 'cheap-malt-liquor' flavour to it, that's hard to explain. Finishes softly malty - the finish is actually quite nice. Does have some 'lowenbrau-like' highlights. Leaves some alcohol warming. Not sure I'll be able to finish this can, or end up pouring it out. Boil it down a bit, and pour it on pancakes might be ok...

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Photo of woodychandler
3.58/5  rDev +25.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Woody's doing the CAN-CAN yet again. CAN you believe it?

Cue Fred Sanford on vacation in HI (sort of): "I'll have a Maibock. That's my bock. Dummy over there CAN have his own bock. I want what's mine. He CAN have his own if he CAN handle it. Big dummy."

CAN you get excited over a beer? I love watching the head approach the top of the glass as I hang out on somebody's C/S couch. This got a finger's worth of weak, bone-white heas with low retention. Color was a deep golden-yellow with NE-quality clarity. Nose had a definite lager-sweetness. Mouthfeel was medium-to-full with a really sugary taste on the tongue. Finish was syrupy-sweet. Man, it just needed to be toned down a wee tad. A steady diet of this would make me a diabetic.

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Holsten Maibock from Hanseatische Getränke-Industrie (HGI) Holsten-Brauerei AG
Beer rating: 2.85 out of 5 with 111 ratings
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