A while back the idea struck me: wines are a fermented fruit drink and we commonly see a wide variety of different fruits used as the primary flavor in these drinks; however, despite being one of the more commonly consumed fruits in this country (and often number 1, in fact), bananas are not featured very heavily in the brewing scene. Occasionally I come across some recipes that recommend using a banana to complement another fruit, as they can add a nice mouthfeel to an otherwise thin feeling drink. But they are rarely the focal point, or even included for their flavor.
So I did some research, and it turns out that banana wine does exist. It is actually quite simple to make, but due to the high starch content of bananas, it can take a bit of work to keep the amount wasted low. So be warned, this does tend to have a lot of solids fallout of suspension at the bottom of your brewing container. Rescuing the surrounding liquid will require a bit more in the way of filtering.
Ingredients – Primary
- 20 Pounds of Bananas
- 4 pounds of Brown Sugar
- 4 Pounds of White Sugar (Ratio of types of sugars can be to your taste, but I would increase one or both sugar types were I to try it again)
- D47 Yeast
- Pectic Enyme/Pectinase (this will help prevent cloudiness)
- Water to fill up to 5 gallons
- Yeast Nutrients
Due to the amount of solids I wasn’t able to get an accurate gravity reading
I froze my bananas because they weren’t as ripe as I wanted, and was hoping to break down the cell walls a bit. I think that step can be skipped, however, and instead you bake the bananas in order to help break down the starches into more sugars. Heating them at 300 degrees F for 30 mins will help to convert the starch in the bananas into a yeast-digestible sucrose. This effectively ripens them much faster and more thoroughly than they would on their own. I recommend slicing up the bananas (peel and all) prior to this baking, as they get quite liquidy after the fact.
Once prepared, toss all your ingredients in your fermenting vessel, and stir it up. Fair warning it looks a bit gross. Like grey mop water. But it smells great, and with time will turn a nice golden yellow.
The smell is quite nice. A strong banana-y sweetness. It also has a rich, golden color. The taste is very subtle, however, even using 20 pounds of bananas, the flavor of the actual fruit doesn’t really present itself until the finish. And I think some of the recipes that came across using a higher amount of sugar than I did were correct, this could easily have taken half again or even double the amount and still not been too cloying.