In case you saw Comet hops on the shelf in your local homebrew store or if you saw them on a product page in your favorite homebrew supply website and you didn’t think the descriptors helped you out enough, well, you’re in the right place now.
We brewed a one gallon SMaSH (single malt and single hop) beer to understand this variety better. Take a look at this video to see how we describe the Comet hop aroma and flavor profile:
Comet Hops Aroma and Flavor
A little history about Comet hops before we get started. This variety predates the craft beer revolution in the USA as it was selected for breeding in 1961 and released commercially in 1974. It grew well in the Yakima Valley of Washington State but as the 1980s came along as well as super alpha acid hops, the commercial growing of Comet hops stopped. But as hop demand grew, the variety had a comeback and is now available again.
As for our notes, Mike got a peachy, Cascade aroma off the top. He likes the words ‘fleshy fruit’ to describe aromas and I think that paints a nice picture in your mind to help you with the aroma. When he said, “Cascade”, my first thought is the smell of grapefruit since that is the signature aspect of that hop.
He said the flavor didn’t live up to the aroma. It was more subtle than he was expecting. He got a bitter cucumber skin flavor after he tasted it. He elaborating with descriptors of pine and resin.
My big revelation with this hop was grapefruit rind. When I first tasted this beer, I was brought back to my family’s kitchen table where we would eat halves of grapefruit and the skin and the pith were a big part of that eating experience. That bitter grapefruit taste is what I got out the beer Comet SMaSH beer.
Where To Use Comet Hops
Make no mistake, Comet hops are an American variety and have the characteristics that come with hops that are grown in the USA: citrusy and piney.
Even though they are known as Citra’s little sister, I think they would work well to complement that hop or Amarillo. I think the bitter citrusy flavors that this hop brings would help shape more “sweet” fruit flavors of other hops.
Since it is listed as a bittering hop, you could try to switch it out and use it in place of Columbus, for instance or as a stand alone hop in a wheat beer. I think either of these applications would work too.
Thanks for reading. Hope you try Comet hops soon. Brew on!