A Czech Republic landrace variety, Saaz is the most classic “noble” aroma hop with longstanding and strong traditions. It is associated with and defines Czech-style pilsners. It has very mild, pleasant noble hoppy notes perfectly suited for and defines the Czech-style pilsner beers.
Officially registered in 1952, the original Saaz, or Czech Saaz as it is sometimes known, has established itself as a staple variety for brewers and dates back more than 700 years. Originating in Zatec, Bohemia (now part of the Czech Republic) it is an esteemed red-bine variety that is now grown around the world. New Zealand in particular has embraced Saaz, breeding several descendants including the popular Motueka and Riwaka varieties (B & D Saaz, respectively).
Saaz is one of the four original Noble hops and has a distinctive and classic aroma. Known for its prominent use in Stella Artois and countless Bohemian Lagers and Pilsners. Its warm, herbal character stems from a high level of farnesene while its other oils are in fair balance.
With such a low alpha acid percentage, Saaz is inarguably an aroma hop, however, when used as an early addition it is thought to add a delicate bitterness. Additionally, its elevated content of polyphenols aids in abating oxidation, giving beer brewed with Saaz a notably longer shelf life.