Named after Mt. Kazbek, a dormant stratovolcano in Georgia’s Caucasus Mountains, Kazbek hops have seen increased acreage every season in the Czech Republic since their release in 2008.
Bred from Saaz and a wild landrace hop from the Caucasus, Kazbek exhibits late maturity in the field but good hardiness and better yields than its Saaz parent at 2100-3000 kg/ha.
Its aroma and flavor are similar to Saaz, but turned up to 11. Kazbek can show a dominant bright citrus note of lemon or grapefruit, but never obscures the quintessential mixture of floral and earthy spice of its Saaz parent.
Kazbek’s alpha acid and oil content is higher than Saaz as well, with a range of 5-8% aa and 0.9-1.8 mL/100g being typical. Myrcene (40-50%) and humulene (20-35%) make up the major fractions of the oil, contributing to the prominent citrus and fruity aspects of Kazbek’s profile.
In the brewhouse Kazbek is favored for aroma and flavor additions; Czech brewers use it for late additions in a variety of lagers. Craft brewers in the US and elsewhere have been putting it to use as a finishing or dry hop for lagers, pale ales, wheat beers, and Belgian-style ales.