What are Saaz Hops?
Saaz hops are a traditional Czech hop that has been used in brewing for centuries.
Written by CraftJack | Updated | 2 min read
They are the most popular variety of Czechoslovakian hops and have been grown in Bohemia since 1843 when they were introduced to the region by Antonin Horak, a monk from Bavaria.
Fun fact - Weihenstephaner, a brewery in Bavaria, is the oldest brewery in the world, opening in 1040.
Saaz hops grow abundantly on both sides of the Elbe river near its confluence with the Vltava River. The Saaz hop is unique because it is not as bitter as other varieties, which means that brewers can use less than other types of hops to achieve desired bitterness levels.
Noble varieties like Saaz have been prized for centuries because they do not impart off flavors into beer such as strong bitterness which can be undesirable in certain styles - light lagers for example require less than noble hops to achieve the desired bitterness.
Saaz noble hop aroma is a citrusy, spicy earthy type of flavor with hints of pepper or nutmeg that give off a pungent smell when boiled in beer. It's not as bitter as other varieties such as Cascade and Chinook which makes Saaz ideal for light lagers because less are needed than if using another noble variety such as Cascade.
- Belgian Ales
- German Lagers
- Pilsners (Bohemian & German)
- Wheat Beers
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Saaz hops can be found in the Czech Republic, Germany, France, Australia. They can also be grown outside of these countries but less successfully due to climate conditions.
The Saaz hop thrives on rich soil that has been well-manured with dung or composted organic matter for several years before planting (this improves drainage). The vines should climb up a trellis and not sprawl on the ground; they require full sun exposure and lots of moisture during the growing season. You might need to water your plants three times per week when it's hot out!