Sunbeam Hops

Sunbeam Hops: Lighting Up Your Beer With the Perfect Style Match

Reading Time: around 3 min

Sunbeam hops are like a mystery sun rays breaking through the clouds in the world of beer brewing. Mainly because there is very little information available about this variety.

People know them mainly for their bright, lemon yellow color of leaves. And because they are widely considered an ornamental variety. Just like the Aureus variety.

The only difference is…

…Sunbeam contains alpha acids.

Which technically speaking makes them suitable for brewing.

Now, you might wonder where these sun-drenched beauties fit best in the beer style lineup.

Well, let me spill the hops. 

Sunbeam, apart from its great name, doesn’t offer too much of an excitement.

Key Takeaways

  • Sunbeam hops are widely considered an ornamental variety.
  • Might be ideal for lighter brews like Saisons and Blonde Ales.
  • Although they are suitable for brewing they don’t offer too much of an excitement.


Sunbeam Hops: The Spotlight

Let’s shine a light on Sunbeam hops. 

They’re not exactly like your favorite hops. Or the unsung heroes of the hops world.

But they are brightening up your day with hops with a touch of sunshine.

A Brief History: From Sun to Beer

You may not have heard of Sunbeam hops because they’re not your typical rock stars in the hop arena. Originating in the good ol’ US, they’re like the quiet kids in class who secretly have all the talents.

Except this one doesn’t…

The Science of Sunbeam: Alpha Acids & Aromas

Sunbeam is somewhat similar to the Czech Saaz. Maybe it is not so noble and aromatic, but it can be quite an interesting alternative for it. With all due respect to Saaz of course.

It has a similar amount of alpha acids and slightly less beta acids. 

Sunbeam, however, has a much higher content of hop oils. At least in theory. And what does it look like in the case of the aromatic profile? Also here you can find some similarities to noble Saaz.

From which she comes from. According to the street legends

But in all fairness, this variety indeed has a noble character with a spicy-resin profile.

Which is a very nice composition.

You should note, however, that Sunbeam is not a hop variety intended for industrial production. It does not give a very satisfactory harvest, but unlike Aureus, it is not only for decoration.

Main Characteristics

  • Purpose: Aroma
  • Aromas: Noble, Spicy, Resinous, Floral
  • Alpha-acids: 4.0% – 5.0% [bitterness added through boiling]
  • Beta-acids: around 2.5% [bitterness added through lagering]
  • Cohumulone: around 36% of alpha-acids [bitterness profile: low = smooth, high = sharp]
  • Hops oil breakdown: 0.8 – 1.3 mL / 100g [responsible for flavors and aromas]
    • Myrcene: around 56%[resinous, citrus, fruity]
    • Humulene: around 14%[noble, woody, spicy]
    • Caryophyllene: around 4% [spicy, piney, herbal]
    • Farnesene: around 6% [fresh, green, floral]


Perfect Pairings: Sunbeam Hops & Beer Styles

Let’s cut to the chase, you’re here for the lowdown on Sunbeam hops and where they shine brightest in the beer world. I’d like to say fasten your pint glass, you’re in for a sudsy ride.

Except that you’re not…

When you’re wielding Sunbeam hops in the brewhouse, you’re flirting with a somewhat noble, but unpredictable bouquet. Honestly speaking I am not sure how to deploy this hop effectively.

In case you’d really want to, I advise being rather conservative.

Try a touch of dry hopping with Sunbeam to throw an after-party for your nose.

A small amount can be just enough. Grab yourself a handful, throw them in the mix.

Without jazzing up the aroma and turning your beer into a perfume shop.

Common descriptors combined with high myrcene and farnesene amounts could indeed suggest noble, resin and floral profile. Topped with spicy notes. Therefore aroma hopping is my safe bet.

On the other hand in case you decide to go for bittering you probably should expect rather sharp results. That is what high cohumulone would suggest. But hey, no risk no champagne 😉

Beer styles?

I’d probably shoot that it may work well for some ales. For example IPA, due to the (supposedly) slightly perceptible lemon notes. Blonde Ale is also an option and willing-to-experiment Saison.

But the important question is: anyone willing to take the risk?

Picture of Damian


A lifelong learner, hop enthusiast and a lover of the state of extreme exhaustion.

Finance Analyst in the Investment Bank and co-founder of