Nick Carr on May 15, 2020 0 Comments A couple of things stand out about this Sabro hop, formally known as HBC 438. First, its mother was a neomexicanus variety, which means, much like the variety Medusa (and several other upcoming and already released varieties), it has native “blood” in it. Second, it may have had the widest trial brewing release of any hop ever. Third, it’s got a unique aroma/flavor that is incredibly well-rounded and translates beautifully to the finished beer. During an interview, Michael D. Ferguson (Director of Hops Breeding for John I. Haas, Inc.), said of Sabro: “HBC 438 provides the most complex flavors that I’ve tasted in a beer, when flavor is solely derived from hops. I believe it is a worthy candidate of being the spotlight ingredient in a single-hop beer—not many varieties are balanced enough to make that work. There are bold aromas and flavors, but also a plethora of subtleties and depth. A good friend of mine was visiting during harvest and tasted the Haas HBC 438 beer we had on tap; he described it as “mind bending.” The cross that resulted in Sabro took place way back in 2004. Jason Perrault, the head breeder at HBC, took a neomexicanus variety (known as “Chuck’s Mexican”) given to him by renowned hop breeder Chuck Zimmermann and allowed it to open pollinate. After showing some promise one of the resulting plants was selected in 2007 and nicknamed “Ron Mexico,” before being later designated HBC 438. In 2008 it was expanded to a 30 plant plot and after several years it was expanded again to a 1-acre test plot. Karl Vaneverhoven, Chief Operations Officer at YCHHops, was given a couple of chances to play with the hop on a homebrewing scale. This gave HBC the idea, in 2015, to release the hop exclusively to homebrewers for a time, before releasing it commercially. On top of the unprecedented first access homebrewers got, all proceeds went to the ALS Therapy Development Institute to fund continued ALS research. How To Brew With Sabro Hops If you plan on growing hops in your backyard, we would make a few recommendations to help you in your endeavors. Before you choose the variety you want to grow, it’s a good idea to talk to other local growers or possibly someone at your local homebrew supply store. They may be able to point you toward varieties that grow well in your area. The Sabro variety is patented by The Hop Breeding Company, so plants and rhizomes are not available. Expect more and more of the new varieties to be protected by their creators. However, there is some light for the home gardener. A few public varieties have come out just recently, Cashmere being one, and there’s a whole backlog of public hops to choose from also. Be sure to visit our other hop profiles to get great brewing information and some hop variety planting possibilities. General Characteristics Origin- The Hop Breeding Company (USA) Year Released- 2018 Growth Rate– Not Available Yield– Not Available Cones– Not Available Maturity– Mid to Late Susceptible to– Not Available Resistant to– Not Available Ease of Harvest– Not Available Storage– Fair; Retains roughly 68% alpha acids after 6 months storage at 68oF Patented or Public- Patented Acid Composition Breakdown Note: Hop oil composition will vary between harvest years and where the hop was grown. The numbers below are meant to be an average only. Alpha Acid: 12 – 16% Beta Acid: 4 – 7% Co-Humulone: 20 – 24% Oil Composition Breakdown Total Oils: 2.5 – 3.0 ml/100g Myrcene Oil (% of total): 55 – 65% Humulene Oil (% of total: 8 – 10% Caryophyllene Oil (% of total): 11 – 13% Franesene Oil (% of total): ≈0.61% B-Pinene Oil (% of total): ≈0.90% Linalool Oil (% of total): 0.3 – 0.5% Geraniol Oil (% of total): 0.3 – 0.6% Aroma & Sensory Description Sabro brings quite a complex array of aromas and flavors both fruity and herbal. Its fruity side is often described as stone fruit, sweet citrus, tropical fruit, and some coconut. The herbal elements tend to be a subtle backdrop of wood (cedar) and sometimes mint; more recognizable in the finish much of the time. It also may have whispers of garlic/onion. Several brewers have said Sabro’s fruit flavors are somewhat akin to orange soda. Bitterness is said to be quite smooth. Here’s a link to the Brew Dudes and their assessment of a SMaSH brewed with Sabro. Availability Sabro is the hot new hop of the moment, so it’s likely it’ll both be easy to find and quick to be out of stock. If your local homebrew shop keeps up with new trends and tries to take part, it’s likely they’ll have Sabro. Online it’s easy to find, though like I said, it may run out pretty quickly too. Be aware when looking for this hop that it’s still often sold under either its designator “HBC 438” or the nickname “Ron Mexico.” Amazon carries it under “HBC 438” and “Ron Mexico” and MoreBeer even offers a “Ron Mexico” Pale Ale Single Hop kit. Common Beer Styles Using Sabro Hops American IPA Specialty IPAs Pale Ales Saisons Use Sabro is considered a dual-purpose hop. It may be one of the most well-rounded hops when it comes to both having a satisfying bitterness profile and a complex, well-translating set of aroma/flavor characteristics. If you’re only going to use Sabro on one side of the boil, make it late and/or dry-hopping to take advantage of its unique profile. It could, and has, carried many single hop beers (especially, pale ale and IPAs). However, it can also play a key role in rounding out the character of two or more other hops as part of a blend.