Nelson Sauvin

Hop Variety

Nelson Sauvin


New Zealand

Alpha Acid %

12 – 13%

Beta Acid %

6 – 8%


Released in 2000 Nelson Sauvin has had a massive impact for such a young variety and some would say the “Marmite Effect” applies to it. Developed at New Zealands HORTResearch (Horticulture and Food Research) it is a Triploid variety meaning it is infertile and produces next to no seeds due to having 3 rather than two sets of chromosomes.

The name is derived from the the wine grapes grown in the same vicinity as the the hop which bear similar flavour descriptors to the hop. Nelson Sauvignon grapes are grown in the Montueka Valley near Nelson, hence Nelson Sauvin.

Brewing Attributes

One of the most unique aroma hops available to the brewer Nelson Sauvin has an intense fruity character with notes of Gooseberry, Melon, Citrus and Passion Fruit. It truly is unique and an aroma some find too powerful and others cannot get enough of. These attributes of course are perfectly suited to craft brewing where new, more and distinctive flavours are the primary goal.

Some may find the tropical, punchy aroma of Nelson Sauvin means it’s only suitable for one off beers and big fruity double IPA’s but one thing is certain, if you want unique, big character in your beer then Nelson Sauvin will provide it.

Possible Substitutions

Nelson Sauvin is truly unique, finding a substitute is not really possible. The only alternative if you cannot get hold of them is to modify your recipe, try something equally unique like Citra. That said though it won’t be anywhere near the same beer.

Commercial Examples

Mikkeller Single Hop Nelson Sauvin IPA is a beer to get to experience nothing but Nelson Sauvin, expect a medium bodied copper coloured beer with passion fruit, apricot and grape notes.

Thornbridge Breweries Kipling at 5.2% also uses Nelson Sauvin and is described as a South Pacific Pale Ale

Alpine Beer Companies Nelson generously hopped with Nelson Sauvin and then dry hopped is another beer to try and get your hands on, at 7% it’s a big beer.