Next up for tasting is Sterling. The hops I used were 7.1% AA from Hop Heaven, 2012 crop. The raw pellets had an interesting aroma. They were herbal and earthy, but I definitely picked up a cocoa note and a faint hint of cherries as well.
The nose has a lemony-citrus note up front. There is also some sweet spice and some fresh cut hay.
the palate, Sterling's noble heritage finally starts to show. The
characteristic herbal/floral noble hop flavor is much more prominent on
the flavor side of things. There's also a nice, spicy white pepper note.
There are undertones of fruity/lemonade notes as well, but it is
restrained and not that juicy/grapefruit C-hop type citrus. There is a
touch of resin that lingers as well. Bitterness isn't quite as neutral
as something like Magnum, but it's still pretty smooth.
Sterling has a lot to offer from a hop versatility standpoint. It will
fit in well as a flavor addition in a lager or as an aroma addition in
an American Wheat, especially at lower hopping rates. It should also be
really good in a Saison, given its nice citrus/spicy combo. It may be a
bit of a stretch, but I think I'd also like Sterling in an IPA. I like
to add some noble-type hops for complexity to IPA's on occasion, and
Sterling seems like it would hold its own even in a highly-hopped beer.