Check out the video above for creative insights about Lunar Crush from the brewers at Surly, NoDa, and Elder Pine Brewing.

Lunar Crush Lager (OYL-403) is the newest addition to our Thiolized series. A distinctively tropical lager strain, Lunar Crush biotransforms thiol precursors from malt, hops, and grape-derived products to generate an aromatic supernova of passion fruit and guava to create a brand new lager drinking experience.

Lunar Crush Lager

Crisp and refreshing lagers made with Lunar Crush.

Why Thiolize a lager strain?

Lunar Crush was designed with innovation in mind. We wanted to bring the unique qualities of thiol expression to lager brewing, something we believe could create a big impact in the future of new styles, recipe design, and sensory experience.

Utilizing multiple approaches, brewers can dive into recipe development with the familiar elements of a lager – crisp, snappy, and refreshing – but now with the ability to embrace thiols.

From a sensory standpoint, thiols are expressed more prominently in a pale lager recipe than they are in a standard IPA. This is because specialty malts and hops found in most IPA recipes generate additional, competing aromas and ultimately mellow out thiol intensity resulting in a more unique combination of tropical fruit.

Strain snapshot & technical points

This latest Thiolized strain retains the familiar lager fermentation qualities of its parental strain, Mexican Lager (OYL-113), but with a new identity and perspective. Mexican Lager is reliable and easy to work with, and trial after trial we found this lager strain to work best with thiols.

  • Expect lager clarity and enhanced crisp finish of thiols
  • Experience bold thiol character
  • Venture into new styles
  • Access hidden thiol precursor in regional malt and hops
  • Access to thiol precursor from grape-derived products

Utilizing Thiolized yeast allows you to tailor your recipe for thiols to be the primary focus or dial them back to be a complementary element that enhances other raw ingredients. If your goal is finding a sweet spot between both thiol and hop/malt character, then consider these tips on managing thiol precursors from some of our most recent collaborations and pilot trials:

  • For a restrained thiol character, we’ve found that post-boil hop additions and the makeup of your mash bill tend to be the most controllable variables.
  • Heavy dry hop and whirlpool additions lead to less thiols in the finished beer. These hop additions also subdue sensory perception of thiols, lending to a more blended tropical aroma in the final beer.
  • Substituting a portion of the barley malt with rice, wheat, and/or oats will decrease the amount of thiols produced in fermentation. We have found that these non-barley adjuncts/malts contain very little to no thiol precursor.

The strongest thiol character stems from a simple, straightforward approach:

  • Mash hopping and grape-derived products add loads of thiol precursor to increase thiol output in the finished beer.
  • Simplify your recipe with a 100% barley grist. Try different barley varieties and barley from different growing regions to see the impact of barley terroir on precursor levels.
  • Reduce whirlpool and dry hop additions and make use of advanced hop products in the whirlpool and cold side to minimize thiol loss.

Creating a new approach

We believe thiols are an integral part of the future of brewing. As we continue to glean more knowledge about the science of thiols, we’ll continue to share our findings to help drive creativity and inspiration in the brewing world. We envision Thiolized yeast becoming another go-to tool for brewers to create new styles and inspire something new, and we’ll continue to share our findings as we take this journey alongside you. For Lunar Crush, we encourage you to think non-linearly when bringing this into your brewery. It has the potential to reshape lager brewing, drive the development of new beer styles, and discover the potential of your raw ingredients. The opportunities are endless.

Learn more about the origin of Lunar Crush and our Thiolized series.

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