Sterling hops was developed in 1990 is a diploid variety bred. In the end Sterling ends up as 1/2 Saaz (Saazer), 1/4 Cascade, 1/8 64035M (German Aroma X Open Pollination), 1/16 Brewers Gold, 1/32 Early Green, and 1/32 unknown. It’s a very interesting mix that is American Pale Ale meets Bohemian Lager, and was released in 1998.
Sterling Hops is a dual use variety, and the range of the alpha acid content is 4.5%-9.0% with it likely ending up on the higher side of that scale. It has a low to moderate co-humulone content as well and is sometimes dubbed as a noble variety. Sterling is compared to Saaz in many ways and brings a choice delicate bitterness. The oils lay in a unique pattern with very high content for farnesene, elevated myrcene and humulene and lower than most varieties for caryophyllene oil. What results is a slightly spicy fragrance with a herbal floral punch with notes of citrus. Sounds delicious. Sterling Hops is a relatively good yielding plant on the global scale and yields 1800-2000 lbs/acre. This is moderate for the Northwest U.S. varieties. The medium size compact cones are harvested mid season after a moderately vigorous growing cycle. It was bred as a replacement for Saaz which has both a low yield and susceptibility to disease and fungus. Sterling, however, overcame both and is tolerant to both Downy Mildew as well as Powdery Mildew. Sterling hops are a popular variety, largely in the U.S. craft brewing market. It is a versatile one and stays true to its diverse heritage, and is well suited for American Ales, Czech Lagers and Pilsners, and Belgian Style Ales.
Double Mountain Brewery – Brown Ale
Deschutes Brewery – Green Lakes Organic Ale
Marin Brewing Company – Holidaze Christmas Ale
Full Sail Brewing Company – LTD Bottling 03