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Making Heads & Tails

If you’re hitting up Great Taste of the Midwest this weekend, you’ll be able to sample Heads & Tails, Surly’s thiolized lager collab with Omega Yeast and 3 Sheeps.

And unless you are a person with a working knowledge of yeast strains (we know you exist, we see you, and we celebrate your passion), you are wondering what in the hell a thiolized lager is.

Pull up a chair! Let’s discuss.

Thiols are flavor and aroma-active compounds found in hops and malt, reminiscent of grapefruit, guava, and passion fruit. But to activate them, you need something to release them. Enter Omega Yeast.

Omega produces yeast for both professional and homebrewers and they’ve been experimenting with strains that free these thiols and amplify the beer’s tropical elements. This spring, we used their Nuclear Punch yeast in Thiol & Error, a DDH Hazy IPA collab with Other Half. The intense tropical aromatics on that one made us eager for another project.

Omega recently developed a strain called Lunar Crush for use with lager brewing. Yes, lagers. Crispy, clean, refreshing. Adding thiol intensity to a classic lager drew the interest of Surly Head Brewer Ben Smith and our brew team. Here’s Ben:

Heads & Tails supercharges the tropical and passion fruit flavors from thiols, resulting in an intense, refined, and innovative lager. In addition to Great Taste, look for it at the Tipsy Cow and other Madison Surly purveyors this weekend.

For more information about Lunar Crush and Omega’s series of thiolized yeast strains, find it here.

Heads & Tails particulars:

  • Hops: Hallertau Mittelfruh
  • Malt: Pils, Carahell, Acidulated Malt
  • Yeast: Lunar Crush
  • ABV: 6.0%
  • Pour: Golden
  • Bitterness: Medium

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