Saaz (Czech)

Alpha-Acid (%)

3.0 – 5.0


Noble Hop and aroma cultivar from the Czech Rebublic. Like other Noble Hops they are often described as having a delicate spicy, earthy, and herbal character. Saaz have a distinct flavor due to the presence farnesene, an essential oil that is rarely found in other hop varieties. Saaz are the essential hop for classic Czech Pilsner.

Possible Substitutes

Sterling hops are an American cultivar specifically bred to emulate Saaz character – with a similar spicy aroma and high farnesene content. Lublin is a Polish variety that is similar to both Saaz and Sterling. US grown Saaz can also be substituted. The other noble hops will have a similar delicate and appealing aroma but all have very low farnesene (i.e. Hallertauer Mittelfrueh, Tettnanger, and Spalter).

Beer Styles

Czech Pilsner, German Pilsner and other lagers. Could also be used in Belgian or American styles were an interesting spicy hop aroma is desirable.

Chemical Composition

Alpha Acids: 3.0 - 5.0 %
Beta Acids: 5.0 - 7.0 %
Alpha:Beta Ratio: 0.7
Cohumulone: 23 - 26 (% alpha-acids)
Essential Oils: 0.4 - 0.8 (mL/100g)
Myrcene: 25 - 40 (% essential oils)
Caryophyllene: 8 - 10 (% essential oils)
Humulene: 15 - 25 (% essential oils)
Farnesene: 14 - 20 (% essential oils)

All chemical composition values aggregated from [1] and [2] where available.

Origin and Genetics

Saaz hops were likely domesticated directly from wild hops. There is no evidence that they were bred from earlier cultivars the way new varieties are typically produced today. They are thought to have developed as a landrace cultivar grown in Czechoslovakia since the Middle Ages. Although the exact origin of Saaz is unknown, they appear to be related to Hersbrucker and Spalter. [3]

Saaz hops take their name form the German name for the town of Žatec in what is now the Czech Republic. Žatec has a long tradition of hop production and have been distributing hops to notable pilsner breweries for hundreds of years. Saaz hops specifically from Žatec might be labeled as Saaz Saazer or just Saazer. The –er suffix in German, similar to its use in English, denotes a place of residency or origin.

Geographic Origin of Czech Saaz
A map of the Czech Republic showing Zatec and Plzen
Figure 1: Czech Republic is shown in light green. Saaz hops are named for the town of Žatec. The city of Plzen is the birthplace of the pilsner beer style which makes heavy use of Saaz.


  1. ^ Hop Growers Union of the Czech Republic. Retrieved 2013-07-14.
  2. ^ Simply Hops. Retrieved 2013-03-22.
  3. ^ Oregon State University: Crop and Soil Science. Retrieved 2013-07-13.