The Czech dark lager, aka the Thunderstruck Lager, aka Lauren’s Thunderstruck Lager, aka Lauren’s 77 Thunderstruck Lager. Why all the aka’s you ask? I shall tell you!
It all started way back when a friend of mine’s wife lived in Prague for a little bit. She is not really a huge beer fan, but she did fall in love with a Czech dark lager called Kozel Cerny. When my friend got into homebrewing, this was one of the early beers he made (not a clone per se, but inspired by). Then shortly after I got into homebrewing, through this friend might I add, he invited me over to help him do an all-grain decoction mash version of his dark lager.
That fateful day as luck would have it was one of the few days Los Angeles weather took a weird turn, and it started to thunderstorm on us. As luck would further have it, we usually brewed outside at his place. Thankfully, he had a carport we could brew under, but it was leaky, and the day turned into a wet mess with us slipping around and getting rain soaked. All this was happening while we were trying to do our first ever decoction mash. Thankfully everything somehow still went pretty well, but out of it a beer name was born: The Thunderstruck Lager. Fast forward some months past that and my friend goes to his beer collection and is confused by a beer that says 77 on the cap. He opened one and realized right away that the 77 was in fact LL, for Lauren’s Lager, named after his wife. The name grew, and was immediately re-named: Lauren’s 77 Thunderstruck Lager!
So here we are today, years later, once again brewing this lager…now with folklore attached to it. The recipe isn’t mine, but according to my friend, he didn’t change much. We were supposed to add mash hops, but we drank too much and forgot, so we added it as a FWH and pushed the other additions later in the boil instead. Other than that, and not hitting our decoction mash temps, everything went off without a hitch! The folklore continues!
Video of us sucking:
Batch Size: 2 Gallons
Est ABV: 5.5%-ish
Boil Time: 50 Min
2 lbs (50.6%) – Pilsner
1.4 lbs (35.4%) – Munich Malt
4.8 oz (7.6%) – Carafa III
4.0 oz (6.3%) – Caramunich Malt
Mashed in at 122F
5 pints decocted, raised to 140F
3 pints decocted, raised to 140F
1 gallon liquid portion of mash, boiled and put back in to 152F
.40 oz (10 IBU) Saaz (2.6% AA) @ FWH
.40 oz (14.5 IBU) Northern Brewer (6.8% AA) @ 10 Min
.40 oz (3.5 IBU) Saaz (2.6% AA) @ FWH
Wyeast Bavarian 2206
I cut the mash by 2/3’s with distilled water, which got my calcium and chlorides to about 25 ppm each. I added 1 gram of calcium chloride back to the mash to enhance the mouthfeel as the chloride got a little low for what I was going for (it brought it to 70 ppm for calcium and 100 ppm for chloride, on paper).
Decocted three times, but the first time was was boiled for 40 minutes, then the next two decoctions were only boiled for a few minutes each time.
I put the wort into the cold chest freezer after chilling for 5-6 hours to get it to my target pitch temp which was 55F-ish.
4/11/17: No activity. I will make a starter next time even though it was only 2 gallons at 1.053. Lager yeast need double the cells than brewers yeast averagely.
4/12/17: Activity has finally started.
4/23/17: Fermentation looks about complete. Raised the temp in the chest freezer to 65F for a diacetyl rest.
5/2/17: Transferred to a secondary and put into the chest freezer set to 36F. I’ve heard it’s better to slowly cold crash lagers, but I’ve also heard that it really doesn’t matter. I idea of doing it slowly is to prevent off flavors, but those “off flavors” (diacetyl, etc.) should be cleaned up by now.
6/21/17 Tasting notes: