The Czech Republic has been working on expanding the number of hop varieties that they grow since the mid- 1990s, which is a bit late to the game as compared to other countries.
The hop growers and the government were reluctant to cross-breed and develop new hops since they thought that their first order of business was to put all their focus into maintaining Saaz’s signature spicy aroma and flavor. Times change, profits are sought, and one of the varieties they developed was Agnus hops.
The name of the hops is a tribute to one of the hop breeders at the Hop Research Institute Co. in Zatec that developed the variety; a guy named Frantisek Beranek. If you translate his last name to Latin, it would be Agnus, which happens to be the word for “lamb”. I haven’t tried this out using Google Translate but I will take what I have read as the truth.
Agnus hops were bred from a number of varieties including:
- Northern Brewer
The hop was released in 2001 and it was the first one that was bred to be a high alpha acid variety. Here are more details of the hop variety that you should know before you brew.
Origin: The Czech Republic
Aroma/Flavor: Lots of good descriptors for this one: thyme, lychee, orange zest, green, grassy
Alpha Acid: The range that I saw was from 9 to 15%
Typical Usage: Lagers and German ales. Many sources said that it was a dual purpose hop, but it seemed to have more comparisons to other clean bittering hops like Magnum or Target. I could see this hop being a bittering hop for a Czech (Bohemian) pilsner. You will not have to uses as much as you would using Saaz because of its high AA%.
With all those great descriptors, maybe it would be worth brewing up a single hop brew.
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