New Zealand Hop Strains

Notes on New Zealand hop strains and New Zealand-made beer representing each.

Nelson Sauvin12-13% AA, 6-8% beta

High acid strain. The big one you’re heard of. Volatile thiol compounds are thought to be responsible for the distinct grape / gooseberry note. Described as similar in character to Sauvignon Blanc wine. Juicy and oily in the mouth when used late in the boil. Can be garlic-y and pungent if old. Restrained use as bittering and more often as late addition / flameout and the experience is “juicier”.

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Motueka6-8% AA, 5-6% beta

Medium acid strain derived from Saaz and shows similar lemon character, but more “tropical”. Formerly called Belgian Saaz. Shows a foul diesel fume and onion / garlic odor at times, but can also be cleaner, brighter, fruitier, depending on freshness and preservation.

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Riwaka4-7% AA, 4-5% beta

Another Saaz-derived strain. Lemon-herb-pepper impression. Relatively low acid. Formerly called by the un-sexy, un-Aotearoa name D Saaz.

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Pacifica aka. Pacific Hallertau 5-6% AA, 5-6% beta

Medium acid strain derived from German Hallertauer Mittlefrüh and shows the lemon and peppery and “cheese rind” quality that you find in German noble hops like Hallertau and Tettnanger. For me it lacks the apricot fruitiness of German Hallertau and seems more lemon-y like German Spalter.

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Pacific Gem13-16% AA, 7-9% beta

High acid strain derived from Fuggles, showing woody-nutty-oily-berry character. Best when used judiciously, and not overused, as a bittering hop.

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Pacific Jade12-14% AA, 7-8% beta

High acid strain derived from Saaz – citric, “spicy”, herbal, a little goes a long way for bitterness.

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NZ Cascade6-8% AA, 5-6% beta

An aromatic medium acid NZ derivative of Cascade. Lineage goes back to English Fuggles. Intoxicating floral orange marmalade and rich apricot aroma, juicy and oily with measured acidity. Mouth-watering when done right.

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Southern Cross11-14% AA, 5-6% beta

Another high acid English Fuggle derivative. For me the impression is floral / lavender, peppercorn, wood, mint, etc. One of the more “English Noble” in character of all the NZ hops.

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Wakatu (formerly Hallertau Aroma)6-9% AA, 8-9% beta

Medium acid 2/3 Hallertau Miitlefrüh strain. Lemon-line-floral-spicy-herbal impression.

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Rakau10-11% AA, 4-5% beta

Medium-high acid fruity-tropical strain similar in aroma to Nelson Sauvin.

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Green Bullet11-14% AA, 6-7% beta

High acid open pollinated New Zealand “Smoothecone” strain. Oily, juicy, floral, fruity, wine-like.

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Wai-iti 3-4% AA, 5% beta

A unique low acid orange-citrus-fruity strain, similar in character to Riwaka and shares large percentages of oils with Saaz.

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Kohatu6-7% AA, 5-6% beta

Medium acid strain bred from aroma Hallertauer Mittelfrüeh. Spice-pine-tropical.

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Dr Rudi / Super Alpha 10-12% AA, 7-9% beta

Another high acid open pollinated cross variety “Smoothcone” strain. Grass, pine, citrus.

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Waimea 16-19% AA, 7-9% beta

Super alpha acid strain that is described as less bitter than it expected, with an aroma of tangelo and pine needle. Derived from Pacific Jade (which is derived from Saaz).

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BJCP-certified beer judge, photographer, and software developer from Boulder, Colorado. I use this site to chronicle my worldwide beer adventures shared through photography and stories, with a focus on traditional old world brewing practices.

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