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Old 06-08-2013, 05:29 AM   #1
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Default Fast Banana Wine

Notice: I'm going to be running a new version of this wine within the next couple of months. I believe the new approach I am planning will totally wipe the floor with the recipe below, so you might want to wait a little bit while I get things put together.

I've been looking at banana wine recipes. To frank, I'm just not willing to wait two years for it to mature. So, I thought I'd put together something similar with a few changes I'm hoping will shorten the aging time it needs. This is a little bit of a cider approach as opposed to a more classic wine approach.

This recipe is designed to be made in a fermenting bucket.

Fast Banana Wine
Batch size: 5 gallons
OG: 1.100
FG: 1.000
ABV: 13.3%

Estimated time to maturity: 6 months

10 lbs of bananas. (18-20 bananas, usually. Slightly overripe is preferable.)
1 tbs pectin enzyme
2 tbs citric acid powder (You could use acid blend, or even a 1/2 cup of lemon juice if you prefer. I just have this on hand all the time.)
Water to a total volume of 5 gallons
Sugar to a gravity of 1.100, about 9 lbs
1 tbs and 3/4 tsp bentonite powder
1 gallon pasteur champagne starter
About 1lb of sugar
5 grams of dried pasteur champagne yeast (1 packet)
2 tbs and 2 tsp yeast nutrient
1 tbs and 1 tsp yeast energizer
Spice blend
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp ground gloves
A couple of days before you plan on brewing: Make your starter. Mix water and table sugar to gravity of 1.020 to a volume of 1 gallon. Add all of the yeast nutrient and yeast energizer to it. Add 1 5 gram packet of dried pasteur champagne yeast to it. It's best to use something that has a lid you can seal so you can shake this up periodically. Do not install an airlock, cover with aluminum foil. We want oxygen to get in.

Add citric acid and about 1 gallon of water to a non-reactive pot. Stir until dissolved. Peal and slice bananas, adding immediately to the pot of water as each batch is sliced.

Heat the pot on medium until it comes to a bare simmer. While the pot is heating, add your spice blend and mix until it's completely integrated. Turn down the heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat.

Add about 6lbs of sugar to your fermenting bucket. Pour the hot banana mix onto it. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Add cold water to about 3 gallons total volume. Cool to pitch temperatures. This is a good time to use a wort chiller if you have one. Using ice instead of cold water also works well. Add pectin enzyme. Add your starter. Add sugar and additional water until you reach your desired gravity and 5 gallon volume.

After about 3 weeks in primary: Take gravity readings over three successive days to verify the batch has finished fermenting. If it hasn't, you will want to wait until it has to proceed further. Mix bentonite powder with about 8 oz of the must in a resealable container. Shake periodically until all the lumps are broken up. transfer off of the lees into secondary. You may need to fish out floating banana pieces with a slotted spoon. Mix bentonite slurry with the batch.

After another two weeks in secondary: The batch could be bottled at this point. However, I would recommend aging to the full six months in bulk if feasible.

At bottling time: Taste the wine. Did I really have to tell you to do that? Decide if you wish to back sweeten, or add additional acid at this point. If you decide to back sweeten, I would recommend pasteurizing the bottles.

When you wake up the next morning hung over and smelling of banana bread: Drink more, and start baking. I am not responsible for your inability to stop drinking this delicious stuff, or any injuries or marriages that may result from your drunken behavior.

If you are familiar with banana wine you probably noticed the omission of the tannin. Tannin produces some wonderful complexity, but it also takes years to do so. The spices should lend the wine a needed level of complexity, without taking the kind of time tannin needs. It won't, of course, be the same flavor.

The second thing that stands out is the high level of nutrients. I don't know what exactly the yeast are getting out of the bananas. Therefore, I estimated the nutrient additions based on a nutrient devoid sugar solution and the desired ABV. With these nutrient levels we shouldn't have any undesirable fermentation by-products from nutrient deficiencies. That means we shouldn't have to wait for them to age out.

This recipe also leaves the banana solids in for a lot longer. The idea being to extract as many of the flavor from them as possible. Hopefully that will result in a stronger banana flavor, and make the aging until apparent alcohol flavor has disappeared less important.

I also intend to leave banana solids in each bottle, to be stirred back into suspension just before the wine is served. That should bump the banana flavor, and improve the mouth feel. It will also make the wine look bad, though I'm not sure exactly what it will look like at this point. I believe the acid solution was successful in breaking down the oxidizing enzyme in the bananas, though only time will tell.

Actually specifying a starter in a recipe is a little odd. The other option would be to pitch 16 grams of dried yeast. That seems a bit excessive to me, hence the starter.


The first batch made this way went into my fermentor about an hour ago.

Comments, questions, any personal experiences you would like to share with something similar, they are all welcome.
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Old 06-08-2013, 05:29 AM   #2
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More pictures. I realized I hadn't allowed for any head space in my fermenting bucket. Oops. So 6 quarts of this batch has been split into the smaller fermenting bucket. It will get oak chips in secondary. That will make it take longer to mature, but it should be interesting.

dsc_0015.jpg   dsc_0020.jpg   dsc_0021.jpg   dsc_0026.jpg   dsc_0027.jpg  

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Old 06-08-2013, 10:57 AM   #3
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I think you will find those bananas are going to turn to mush soon, no chance of retrieval with spoon a few weeks from now. Any chance you could contain them in a straining bag? You didn't include any of the peels as your made the 'soup', they are a huge component to flavor plus those peels have an enzyme which will make this clear so much sooner (perhaps for next batch)?

Other concerns/questions:
-3 weeks in a primary without airlock?
-Why wait three weeks to add bentonite, it will do wonders when added preferment?
-16 grams of yeast for 5 gallons, why so much?
-any plans for vanilla/vanilla bean once at F.G.?

Regardless, I think this looks great and I am sure it smells awesome.

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Old 06-08-2013, 04:21 PM   #4
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The aging isn't because of the bananas, really. It's because of the high OG. With an OG of 1.100, this isn't going to be a quick wine.

Cutting the amount of bananas and adding more sugar means it will probably take longer, not less time, to age into something drinkable I'm afraid. Simple sugars get really "hot" and it will ferment easily to .990 so it's be a very rocket fuel wine for the first year or two.

I use 3.5 pounds of bananas per gallon, which gives a banana flavor but not an overwhelming flavor. I also use the skins. I would use 17.5 pounds of bananas in a 5 gallon batch. By reducing the bananas to almost in half, you'll lose a ton of the banana flavor, and not using the peels means even less flavor. I also use raisins- which gives fullness and body.

By using less bananas, more simple sugar, and a higher OG, this wine will be thin, hot, and lacking banana flavor.

Three weeks in primary may mean oxidation, so I'd rack once fermentation slowed and not keep it in primary after it's done.

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Old 06-09-2013, 03:21 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by saramc View Post
I think you will find those bananas are going to turn to mush soon, no chance of retrieval with spoon a few weeks from now. Any chance you could contain them in a straining bag? You didn't include any of the peels as your made the 'soup', they are a huge component to flavor plus those peels have an enzyme which will make this clear so much sooner (perhaps for next batch)?

Other concerns/questions:
-3 weeks in a primary without airlock?
-Why wait three weeks to add bentonite, it will do wonders when added preferment?
-16 grams of yeast for 5 gallons, why so much?
-any plans for vanilla/vanilla bean once at F.G.?

Regardless, I think this looks great and I am sure it smells awesome.
You are probably right about the bananas liquefying. We will see in a few weeks. I do not own a straining bag. I'll have to do some reading on the enzymes, I was not aware of that. I wanted to exclude then as the bitter flavors in the peel says "age me" to my taste buds.

3 weeks in primary with an airlock. Really, once it's hit FG it should be transferred. No matter if that's 3 weeks or 5 days.

I'm wanting a fair number of the solids to drop before adding the bentonite. If they haven't, then it would likely require so much bentonite to reduce the level of solids in the wine you would end up with something with a metalic flavor. I consider 1tsp/gallon to be an absolute max on bentonite without negatively impacting the flavor.

The high pitch rate is a direct result of the high gravity. Yeast stress=compounds that need to age.

I'd love to try some vanilla beans in secondary. I don't want to go to the expense to do that in any large quantity until I've got a base recipe I'm completely happy with though. This is the first running here.

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The aging isn't because of the bananas, really. It's because of the high OG. With an OG of 1.100, this isn't going to be a quick wine.

Cutting the amount of bananas and adding more sugar means it will probably take longer, not less time, to age into something drinkable I'm afraid. Simple sugars get really "hot" and it will ferment easily to .990 so it's be a very rocket fuel wine for the first year or two.

I use 3.5 pounds of bananas per gallon, which gives a banana flavor but not an overwhelming flavor. I also use the skins. I would use 17.5 pounds of bananas in a 5 gallon batch. By reducing the bananas to almost in half, you'll lose a ton of the banana flavor, and not using the peels means even less flavor. I also use raisins- which gives fullness and body.

By using less bananas, more simple sugar, and a higher OG, this wine will be thin, hot, and lacking banana flavor.

Three weeks in primary may mean oxidation, so I'd rack once fermentation slowed and not keep it in primary after it's done.
I do not agree. I've done several ciders and various fruit based wines with gravities right around the 1.100 mark. In fact, they were done almost exactly this way. Fruit base, either actual fruit or juice, with added table sugar. The ones that need to age more then six months had one or more of the following conditions;
1. To low of a pitch rat.
2. Nutrient shortfall during fermentation. (IE: They went stinky.)
3. High fermentation temperatures.

I do not have temperature control equipment. So, I covered the pitch rate and the nutrients.



I reread my original post and realized I failed to include a fairly important piece of information. I intend to leave banana solids in the bottles. The idea being to stir them into suspension before drinking. I believe that will increase the level of banana flavor rather dramatically. It should also improve the mouth feel.

I got the idea after tasting some rice wine that I had cleared, and finding it inferior to a sample from the same batch with suspended rice solids in it.


Thank you for your feedback. Anything else anyone would like to share, post it up.
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Old 06-15-2013, 04:28 AM   #6
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I was a bad boy. I snitched a sample from the smaller batch of banana wine. At this point, it's clearly not finished. It's also fantastic!! The banana aroma is a little less then I was expecting. The flavor is wonderful. Mildly sweet. Truly excellent mouth feel. Flavor complexity is nice as well. The new alcohol aroma and flavor is covering some of it I'm sure, but WOW! The appearance is better then expected too. The citric acid solution did deactivate the oxidizing enzyme. I've got white, yellow, and light tan particulate matter suspended in a clear liquid.

I had intended to allow this to ferment dry, then back sweeten and bottle pasteurize. However, with the quality of this wine now I'm not willing to risk the whole batch through to FG. I'll probably bottle and pasteurize the main part of the batch this weekend. The small batch I'll let got to FG, then probably split again and oak 1/2 of that.

Just in case I wasn't clear. This stuff is awesome!

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Old 06-15-2013, 03:31 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Leadgolem View Post
I reread my original post and realized I failed to include a fairly important piece of information. I intend to leave banana solids in the bottles. The idea being to stir them into suspension before drinking. I believe that will increase the level of banana flavor rather dramatically. It should also improve the mouth feel.

I got the idea after tasting some rice wine that I had cleared, and finding it inferior to a sample from the same batch with suspended rice solids in it.


Thank you for your feedback. Anything else anyone would like to share, post it up.
Your looking for a banana wine cooler like drink.
Usually one does not stir solids back into a cleared wine for flavor...Just get some banana liquor

Rice wine is made from fermenting rice its not flavored with it, trust me if you leave that much sediment in your wine its going to taste horrible as the banana ages and decays in the bottle.

On the other hand if you served your wine in a goblet with a wedge of banana or put a couple thin slices of FRESH banana at serving i guess you can get away with that..

Lets face it no one wants to drink a dirty, turbid wine. Appearence is everything.

Cheers.
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Old 06-16-2013, 05:37 AM   #8
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Your looking for a banana wine cooler like drink.
Usually one does not stir solids back into a cleared wine for flavor...Just get some banana liquor

Rice wine is made from fermenting rice its not flavored with it, trust me if you leave that much sediment in your wine its going to taste horrible as the banana ages and decays in the bottle.

On the other hand if you served your wine in a goblet with a wedge of banana or put a couple thin slices of FRESH banana at serving i guess you can get away with that..

Lets face it no one wants to drink a dirty, turbid wine. Appearence is everything.

Cheers.
I have made rice wine a few times. In actuality the rice does contributes to the mouth feel, flavor, and aroma of the wine very directly. Both in straight up rice wine, and red rice wine. The suspended rice particles represent partially saccharified starch. IE: Things that taste sweet, but are not fermentable in there present state.

I am not making banana liqueur. In rice wine you do, in fact, stir solids back in very deliberately. Whether this approach proves desirable with bananas remains to be seen.

I'm racking into my bottling bucket as I type this. Here is how things look with the floating banana solids removed.
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Old 06-16-2013, 12:58 PM   #9
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I was a bad boy. I snitched a sample from the smaller batch of banana wine. At this point, it's clearly not finished. It's also fantastic!! ...
What is the SG at for the portion you plan on bottling soon? Will be interesting to see how the solids come into play with this in the bottle, since you are experimenting after all. We did learn we love our rice solids, didn't we? You should try this blended with some of your rice wine.
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Old 06-16-2013, 01:13 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnnyhitch1 View Post
Your looking for a banana wine cooler like drink.
Usually one does not stir solids back into a cleared wine for flavor...Just get some banana liquor

Rice wine is made from fermenting rice its not flavored with it, trust me if you leave that much sediment in your wine its going to taste horrible as the banana ages and decays in the bottle.

On the other hand if you served your wine in a goblet with a wedge of banana or put a couple thin slices of FRESH banana at serving i guess you can get away with that..

Lets face it no one wants to drink a dirty, turbid wine. Appearence is everything.

Cheers.
I very much want to drink a turbid wine, thank you kindly. Appearance is the result of a process, not the driver. Form as a result of function.

Your premise may be based on a faulty assumption.
The rice (in this case banana) "solids" are in suspension. Like pectin or other nonfermentable micro's. It's not like the OP is stirring in banana puree before bottling, these are leftovers from the fermentation process.

You don't filter a deep red to 1micron, because it strips the flavor. Same deal here, but with bigger particles. It's part of the style that Gollem is trying to hit.
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