Difference between Maibock and Marzen

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by stumac, Sep 9, 2017.

  1. stumac

    stumac Initiate (0) Oct 16, 2007 Texas

    So reading the BA descriptions, the difference between Maibock and Marzen is Maibock is brewed in the spring with high booze and light amber color and Marzen is brewed in the spring with high booze and dark copper color aged for a few months?
     
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  2. utopiajane

    utopiajane Poo-Bah (2,377) Jun 11, 2013 New York

    This is a good question. One very important difference is that the maibock can be significantly stronger up to 7.4 percent and that will carry through to flavor and mouthfeel. No adjuncts in either and the other difference is that munich malt is used in the oktoberfest and not in the maibock. Hence the color to which you refer. That bit of toasty malt defines the flavor profile and noble hops are used in both. Marzen is the word used for the export version of the traditional festbier. That is why you will see regional beers looking lighter like sierra nevada's with milterberger and darker versions like genesee and ellicottville. If you will take a moment to note that between SN/milternberger and lets say elicottville there is weihenstephaner. That beer is a mere shade darker than some others and the rich flavor it imparts is easy to see.

    Please correct me if I have soemething wrong =)
     
    #2 utopiajane, Sep 9, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2017
  3. BKBassist

    BKBassist Initiate (0) Jan 24, 2013 New York

    Much more caramel malt and sweetness in Marzen. Maibocks can be as strong or stronger but will be crisper with a more biscuity malt and can have a decent Noble hop presence. Think spring vs. fall flavors and it all kind of makes sense.
     
  4. patto1ro

    patto1ro Defender (618) Apr 26, 2004 Netherlands
    Subscriber

    A Maibock has to be at least 16º Plato, Märzen is 13.5-14º Plato.
     
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  5. Roadkizzle

    Roadkizzle Initiate (196) Nov 6, 2007 Texas
    Beer Trader

    Maibock is stronger than the Märzen, 6-7.5% abv while the Märzen is 5.5-6.

    Maibocks are lighter color which corresponds with the malt flavor. The Maibocks ideally have a bready flavor with the version I had in Dortmund had a honey like sweetness.
    Märzen is darker, more copper colored. Uses Munich malt for a rich toasty almost caramel sweetness.

    Maibocks often have a solid hop presence while Märzens hop flavors should be low to none.

    Maibocks are brewed to be drank in May which is where that name came from. Märzens were brewed and lagered to be drank in September.
     
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  6. patto1ro

    patto1ro Defender (618) Apr 26, 2004 Netherlands
    Subscriber

    That's not necessarily true. There are plenty of pale yellow Märzens - Oktoberfest beers, for example.
     
  7. herrburgess

    herrburgess Meyvn (1,012) Nov 4, 2009 South Carolina
    Industry Beer Trader

    Also, Hofbrau Maibock is still a darker amber.
     
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  8. patto1ro

    patto1ro Defender (618) Apr 26, 2004 Netherlands
    Subscriber

    The one served at the Oktoberfest? not had it so I don't know.
     
  9. herrburgess

    herrburgess Meyvn (1,012) Nov 4, 2009 South Carolina
    Industry Beer Trader

    One served at their Bockbieranstich
     
  10. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Defender (629) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    This isn't anything official, simply how I see things breaking down in my head...

    Munich Helles > "Festbier" (pale Oktoberfest) > Helles Bock (pale Maibock in this thread) > pale Doppelbocks

    Vienna Lager/Munich Dunkel > Märzen (amber Oktoberfest) > Dunkles Bock (amber Maibock) > amber/dark Doppelbocks

    Again, not claiming any of this is technically stylistically correct. And I also know some terms likely aren't correct, but I've left them where they are to make it easier to understand according to the thread. For example, "Märzen" as a style.
     
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  11. EvenMoreJesus

    EvenMoreJesus Disciple (365) Jun 8, 2017 Pennsylvania
    Supporter

    I can honestly say that I've never mistaken one for the other.
     
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  12. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Defender (629) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    Hofbrau imports their to the US, it's one of the only dark/amber Maibocks that I see over here. Some US examples and Ayinger's (I've only see it on draft) are pale.
     
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  13. tlema1

    tlema1 Meyvn (1,262) Nov 19, 2008 South Carolina
    Beer Trader

    One brewed in March, the other in May....simple!!!
     
  14. Roadkizzle

    Roadkizzle Initiate (196) Nov 6, 2007 Texas
    Beer Trader

    Is the current style of beer served at Oktoberfest still considered Märzen? Because I've normally seen Festbier on the ones here.

    Märzen WAS the style served at Oktoberfest before it started being fazed out sometime around 1970 for the paler beer that you are referencing here which seems to have more in common with Exportbier instead of Märzen.
     
  15. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (1,904) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    Maibock at the Oktoberfest? C'mon Ron. :grin:
     
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  16. BJC

    BJC Initiate (170) Nov 9, 2002 New Jersey

    The 2017 Sierra Nevada Octoberfest (which is delicious) tastes like a Maibock to me.
     
  17. Jacobob10

    Jacobob10 Poo-Bah (1,545) Feb 23, 2004 New Jersey
    Subscriber

    I'm working on my first non-skunked 6-pack of Hofbräu Oktoberfestbier, so I'm finally getting a true taste of it. If I were tasting it blind, I think I would guess I was drinking a Maibock. In my opinion, it's strong, with a heavy malt flavor and medium to full body. I'm taking an educated guess that they brew it to Märzen specs for gravity and don't get it up to the 16º Plato required for a Maibock. Which means they must get the final gravity pretty low (for the style) to reach 6.3% ABV.

    The funny thing is Hofbräu Oktoberfestbier tastes and looks nothing like their Maibock, which is decidedly an amber version of the style, as mentioned earlier.
     
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  18. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Defender (629) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    The only imported pale Maibock I've had was Ayinger's on draft. I would say Hofbrau Oktoberfestbier is much sweeter than a pale Maibock, lighter in body, and the bready notes are less robust. All this contributing to a beer that is much easier to consume in large quantities (ABV aside). But I see what you're saying, and it's a good observation.

    I also really like the term "Oktoberfestbier". If "Festbier" does in fact simply mean a beer brewed for a festival, and not necessarily Oktoberfest, this kind of simplifies things.
     
  19. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (1,904) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    It's because only Munich breweries can label their beer "Oktoberfest(bier)." All other breweries (in Germany, anyway -- Ami breweries don't give a...) have to stick with Festbier.

    Because HB refers to their Maibock as "Original" (Urbock), I think they're implying that their rendition is closer to what was brewed when Maibock was first introduced. @patto1ro Ron may have more input on the far back history of the style.
     
  20. drmeto

    drmeto Meyvn (1,351) Jan 29, 2015 Germany

    Nowadays there's a pretty clear distinction between Märzen & Festbier.
    Most Oktoberfest versions available in the US are Amber Märzens, while the actual Oktoberfestbier served are pale Versions as well as with other Beers brewed for all those local Festivals in southern Germany during Summer/late Summer.

    Maibock is brewed at a higher OG.It usually ends up around 6.5-7% Abv.
    It also is amber in colour.
     
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  21. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (1,904) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    Who else in Germany is making an Amber Maibock other than Munich Hofbrau and Einbecker?
     
  22. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Defender (629) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    Oh, yeah I forgot about that. Although Ayinger sort of cheats by saying "Oktober Fest-Marzen".

    I like both terms though to distinguish between the two styles.

    Just as I like "Helles Bock" and "Dunkles Bock" to distinguish between two types of Maibock.
     
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  23. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (1,904) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    Marketing creativity. :wink:
    Well... that's not exactly accurate either because there's Bock (I guess we call it traditional), Maibock, and Doppelbock. Within those categories "shades" vary a lot. Toss in Eisbock, but I don't know that I've seen a light version of that, but it's probably out there.

    Look at Einbecker's lineup, I think they cover all of the Bock bases.
     
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  24. MNAle

    MNAle Crusader (793) Sep 6, 2011 Minnesota

    Me, either... but all that means is I read the label! :sunglasses:

    All bets are off, though, for a blind taste! :flushed:
     
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  25. MNAle

    MNAle Crusader (793) Sep 6, 2011 Minnesota

    ... in Germany, maybe.

    In the USA (even with some German brewer's exports)? Not so much.
     
  26. drmeto

    drmeto Meyvn (1,351) Jan 29, 2015 Germany

    Not many, but thats what the style is defined.
    Most Breweries put out a "Frühlingsbock", which is a Heller Bock
     
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  27. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (1,904) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    How many German export Maibocks do you see these days? Seems like HB is about the only one I see released as a seasonal and it's already been established as a different type of Maibock. Used to see Spaten all the time 20 years ago, but I don't know if they even brew it anymore.
     
  28. MNAle

    MNAle Crusader (793) Sep 6, 2011 Minnesota

    Only Hofbräuhaus for Maibock in stores here, but I was referring to the distinction between Märzen & Festbier.
     
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  29. patto1ro

    patto1ro Defender (618) Apr 26, 2004 Netherlands
    Subscriber

    Im goping to repeat this for the ten drillionth time: Märzen just refers to strength. They come in every imaginable colour. The Munich breweries still call their Oktoberfest beers Märzen. Export can also come in a variety of colours. Most Munich Dunkles are called Dunkles Export by the brewery.
     
  30. patto1ro

    patto1ro Defender (618) Apr 26, 2004 Netherlands
    Subscriber

    Yes. By the brewers who make and the German brewers association.
     
  31. MNAle

    MNAle Crusader (793) Sep 6, 2011 Minnesota

    Even in Germany, it is a bit more complex than that, historically.

    Today? ... It mainly refers to a fall seasonal lager that does not contain pumpkin spices! :grin: (based on observing what is on the shelf, anyway... :wink:)... (from a USA craft beer perspective...)
     
  32. patto1ro

    patto1ro Defender (618) Apr 26, 2004 Netherlands
    Subscriber

    Lager, Export, Märzen and Bock just refer to strength and have done for more than 100 years.
     
  33. patto1ro

    patto1ro Defender (618) Apr 26, 2004 Netherlands
    Subscriber

    Sorry, late in the evening, reading impaired.
     
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  34. patto1ro

    patto1ro Defender (618) Apr 26, 2004 Netherlands
    Subscriber

    The first Oktoberfest Märzens definitely were amber in colour.
     
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  35. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (1,904) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    Sorry -- misunderstood that.
     
  36. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (1,904) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    Mine was more a question of early Maibock -- it doesn't sound as though you've seen the Hofbrau (Munich) Maibock we get here in the U.S., but it's an amber-bronze color -- in contrast to the deep yellow gold of most Maibocks.
     
  37. Jacobob10

    Jacobob10 Poo-Bah (1,545) Feb 23, 2004 New Jersey
    Subscriber

    I guess what I was trying to say is that, for my palate, Hofbräu Oktoberfestbier pushes the upper limits of a Festbier/Märzen as far as strength, malt flavor, and body, which limits how much I'm able to drink of it. The sweetness you mentioned adds to that a bit as well.

    I'd love to do a side by side of the Hofbräu Oktoberfestbier with a pale Maibock or Helles Bock sometime to compare.
     
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  38. EvenMoreJesus

    EvenMoreJesus Disciple (365) Jun 8, 2017 Pennsylvania
    Supporter

    I think that without even looking at them, I'd be able to tell with a decent amount of reproducibility.

    Maibocks are stronger and hoppier, while Marzens are less strong and more malt forward. While that certainly doesn't cover all cases, I feel that even beyond that, their fermentation characters are different and the "bock-iness" of the maibock would stand out for me. Certainly wouldn't pretend to know for sure unless I did the blind test, though.
     
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  39. MNAle

    MNAle Crusader (793) Sep 6, 2011 Minnesota

    100 years goes back to 1917. Märzenbier originated in the 1870s and got its name from when it was brewed. That's all I meant.

    Also, the term (like just about all style-related terms) has been thoroughly abused by American craft brewers.
     
  40. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Defender (629) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    Unless you homebrew a Maibock/Helles Bock, that might be difficult considering they're six months apart in seasons.
     
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