Comet is a high alpha acid variety originally bred in 1974 by the USDA as a daughter of English Sunshine and a wild American hop. Its unique sensory profile has recently brought it back to popularity.
The flavor profile is a combination of grassy “Wild” aromas with a zesty grapefruit character. This bittering variety is making a comeback as a late addition in IPAs and other high-acid beer styles.
Origin and History
Intended as a bittering hop when it was released in 1974, Comet has recently enjoyed a comeback thanks to its unique profile. Today, it is a popular aroma variety in IPAs, wild ales, farmhouse beers and other cutting-edge craft styles.
The origin of this particular hop variety is unclear, but it likely comes from an English Golding or Fuggle and a native American variety. This gave it a “wild American” character that was considered offensive to large commercial brewers in the 1970’s.
This was a problem for brewers in the USA, where they were forced to import varieties from Europe which often provided different bittering and preservative properties. To solve this, brewers began to breed hop varieties that were more suited to their growing conditions.
Characteristics and Flavor Profile
Comet Hops are an older variety that is making a comeback in the craft beer scene. This is an interesting bittering hop that combines zesty grapefruit character with wild grassy and herbal flavors.
Historically, brewers used Comet as a bittering agent for American-style lagers. However, it’s now making a big impression as a dry-hop in ales and IPAs.
Comet has a unique flavor that combines zesty grapefruit with grassy, tangerine, and herbal aromas, which are often described as “Wild American.” It has been gaining popularity again for this reason, and its lower Alpha Acid (9-12%) makes it a very attractive alternative to other higher alpha acids like Centennial or Columbus.
Comet hops are a high-alpha acid variety that are great for bittering beers. They also have a unique flavor profile that includes notes of citrus and grapefruit.
They are usually used in American-style pale ales and IPAs. They can also be used as a dry hop for additional aroma and flavor.
Generally, they are added in the early stages of the brewing process. It is important to add them early because they have a high alpha acid content.
The aroma and flavor of Comet hops is unique and can be a challenge to pair with other ingredients. However, they are worth experimenting with and make excellent late additions.
Pairing of $ prompt with different beer styles
Comet is a highly versatile and unique hop that can be found in all styles of beer, from ales to lagers to IPAs. With an alpha acid of 9.4% or so, it makes for a powerful and surprisingly flavorful addition to the brewing mix.
Originally bred in 1974 as a cross between English Sunshine and a native American wild hop, the best part is that it’s a relatively drought tolerant species that can be grown outdoors without much maintenance. You’ll need to provide it with the right amount of water and ample amounts of sunlight in order to reap the rewards. Its major oil components include myrcene, humulene, and caryophyllene. Be sure to sample a few different varieties before you make your final decision, as each will have their own set of characteristics and idiosyncrasies.
Availability and Cultivation
Comet was released in 1974 as the first American high alpha hop cultivar. It was developed by a team from the USDA including Chuck Zimmerman, Sam Likens, Al Haunold, Chester “Jack” Horner and Don Roberts.
It was bred from an open-pollinated English hop (Sunshine) and a wild American variety. Its flavor profile leans towards zesty grapefruit and tangerine with some unique grassy and herbal notes.
Despite being out of commercial production in the 1980s, it’s back with a vengeance and gaining popularity among brewers. While not as widely available as other hops, it’s still easy to find in local homebrew stores.
Because of its higher alpha acid content, Comet is best used for bittering. However, if you can’t find it in your local brew store, there are some great substitutes that will work just as well in your beer.