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Old 06-08-2009, 02:18 AM   #1
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Default First time wine brewer-banana wine?

Just want to make a 1 gallon jug of some sweet wine, im thinking banana-peach or i have a pear tree in my back yard that should start producing soon. How long do these kinds of wines take to become drinkable? What is racking, i hear that term a lot among brewers. After it is put in to bottles do i have to wait still to drink it? And When recipes call to put juice, sugar, yeast in the primary for 7-10 days and stir daily should it have an airlock on it or just like some plastic wrap?

Thanks much.

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Old 06-08-2009, 02:45 AM   #2
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Depending on the alcohol content of the wine, it might take 6 months to a year or more to be really good.

Racking means siphoning. Once the wine has been moved to secondary, you want to absolutely minimize any oxygen exposure. This means keeping an airlock on it, and to siphon when it's time to move the wine off of the sediment ("lees"). You'll do that a couple of times to get the wine off the dead yeast so you don't get off-flavors from the decaying yeast and/or fruit.

When I have wine in the primary, I just have it covered with a clean towel to keep bugs out of it. When it's time to move it to secondary, then I carefully rack it and then use an airlock.

Winemaking isn't hard at all- especially if you have the correct tools. You'll need some sanitizer to make sure that you don't get any unwanted bacteria or yeast in the wine, and a hydrometer. A hydrometer is useful because it tells you the alcohol content of the finished wine just by doing easy math, and it will tell you when the wine is done fermenting. You'll need a few other items, too, but if you look over the recipes you're thinking of using, you'll know what you'll need. Welcome to the hobby!

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Old 06-08-2009, 11:42 PM   #3
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I've seen several banana wine recipes lately. They all stated the wine didn't hit peak flavor until 3 years. Prior to that it will be like unripe bananas with lighter fluid aftertaste.

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Old 06-09-2009, 04:58 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by malkore View Post
unripe bananas with lighter fluid aftertaste.
exactly what my 3 month old banana wine tastes like. 15% of fire water goodness.
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Old 03-14-2014, 10:09 PM   #5
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I just made an apple-banana wine with some extra ingredients. 4 gallons made with 6 lbs of peeled bananas, 2 lbs. of fuji apple cores, 2 whole lemons, a pound of regular grapes, 3 lbs of dehydrated cane syrup (raw sugar) and a couple pounds of corn-off-the-cobb that was just chillin in the freezer. Everything but the corn was organic.

The whole thing was an experiment, the apples and bananas were leavings from my two tot nephews. I decided to throw in the rest of the kitchen sink to see how it would all do, since I'm not really that fond of bananas anyway. The result isn't so bad, but because I didn't add as much sugar as I would regularly for such a large batch (usually about 2 lbs per gallon for sweet and potent results) it came out without any sweetness and not a lot of alcohol.

The banana taste barely registers until its just at the back of the tongue, the apple is a bit stronger, the raisins are there if you pay attention, and the corn makes for a bit of smokey flavour. The lemons are the strongest. Usually I use limes in my more tropical brews (such as Pineapple "Wado" or Cactus Fruit), and only a couple at that. This time I used two large whole lemons, so it serves me right to have such a strong citrusy brew.

Anyway, enough about my wine. If you're gonna do a sweet brew, you need to make sure there's carbs leftover when you decide there's enough alcohol in the batch. The way to do this is to kill off the yeast, and the simplest method I know is to let it die by alcohol poisoning. (Step in anybody and tell me a better way, if you like!)

Wine yeasts usually die off at about 18% abv. My 2 lbs per gallon recipe guarantees that there will be sugar leftover after the yeast dies off. But that can make for a really sweet wine if you're already using a sweet fruit (cherries, apples, pears, grapes, tropical fruits). Use less sugar for these, about 1 1/2 lbs per gallon. The yeast will still be killed by the 18% alcohol, but there will be little residual sugar. Anything less than 1 1/2 lbs will not kill the yeast by alcohol overdose, and your wine will not be sweet at the finish, except if you use another method to kill the action.

Here's my "Ripple" (sugar-added) wine recipe:

Per gallon:
4-5 lbs prepared fruit
2 lbs sugar
water
yeast

Slow boil the fruit for about 20 minutes in half a gallon of water (adjust for your batch size), strain fruit pieces into a muslin bag, return fruit "tea" (wort) to your boiling pot. Add sugar to the water and stir to dissolve. Pour some cold water into the "tea" until the water is lukewarm (not to exceed your batch volume.. might have to wait until the water is cooled to a reasonable high room temperature). After cooled, pour the "tea" into your primary fermenter. I always like to add the fruit back into the batch for a primary ferment (usually I'm a one-ferment brewer, so it stays in until I decide to remove it.. about half way through). To do this, you might want to adjust your batch volume to allow for the bag, by volume a little over half a gallon, or use a larger fermenter container. If so, add the muslin bag, tied up, to the batch for the primary ferment (about a week). Rehydrate your yeast in a bit of warm "tea" from your pot, making sure it'll work by watching for proper action (a film of airy foam should develop within an hour). This can be done while waiting for your "tea" to cool to a room temperature. When ready, add your yeast and stash your primary out of sunlight for about a week, then proceed as usual for the next steps.

These guys can give you pointers from there. I'm a "corner-of-the-tent" homebrewer. My setup includes a plastic bucket, a plastic (unscented) trash bag, and a thick rubber band. That's it. I'm not a primary/secondary brewer, though I do such for friends and family when they provide the equipment. Most of my fruits come to me free from farms I'm working on in the summertime. I've made my "ripple" out of just about any fruit you could imagine grows north of 30 degrees latitude.

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Old 03-17-2014, 12:44 AM   #6
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for me, the "best" way to sweeten a wine is simple. I let it ferment out dry, with the ABV right where I want it. Then, once it's clear and ready to sweeten, I stabilize it with sorbate and some campden, sweeten to taste, and then bottle a few days later. It keeps the ABV under control, as some wine yeast strains can easily go over 18% before the yeast die off from alcohol toxicity. You can also control the level of sweetness exactly, from making a semi-sec wine to a dessert wine with predictable results.

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Old 03-17-2014, 07:46 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yooper View Post
for me, the "best" way to sweeten a wine is simple. I let it ferment out dry, with the ABV right where I want it. Then, once it's clear and ready to sweeten, I stabilize it with sorbate and some campden, sweeten to taste, and then bottle a few days later. It keeps the ABV under control, as some wine yeast strains can easily go over 18% before the yeast die off from alcohol toxicity. You can also control the level of sweetness exactly, from making a semi-sec wine to a dessert wine with predictable results.
Good to know!

As for the original poster, I'd like to speak to making a peach wine or peach combo.. Because the fruit is usually not so potent in flavour (and since fruit sugars are eaten up by the yeast in the ferment, so that doesn't really matter much) you should use quite a lot of peach fruit to get the intensity you desire. In my experience, I've had to go 1 1/2 times the fruit (from 4-5 lbs to 7) to get a strong enough flavour out of my peach ripple, squishing them to juice and using less water overall. The skins can be very bitter and don't have a lot of peachy flavour, so I scrub the fuzz off and blanch the majority, leaving only a couple skins in the entire batch.

For any tree fruit I'd recommend you wait until they're really ripe to make your brew, as the flavour will definitely strengthen. One of my favourites thus far was my apple-pear and lime peel ripple, of which I picked the pom fruits myself off the ground (overripe) at an organic farm.
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Old 03-18-2014, 01:07 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coleandrobin View Post
More of the fruits essential oil is in the peel.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ten80 View Post
The peel also contains most of the amylase enzyme and will help convert the starches from the banana flesh if you do a mash. I mashed my chopped bananas with 2-row malt at 147 F for my banana-barley wine and had really good conversion efficiency, but the mash required constant stirring because the bananas formed some pretty thick gloop.
From the topic "Banana Wine" http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f79/bana...6/index57.html

Guess its decided.. use the peel! I noticed the chunks of banana I put in my recent wine didn't really look eaten up.. If its true about the enzyme then I'm sure the flavour will improve as they break down and the starch is converted to more alcohol. The reason I didn't add much sugar to my batch was I figured the bananas would have enough starch and sugar in them to make up the difference, but now I know that's exactly what I missed out on by not including the peel.

I know from past experience about essential oils in brewing. It's why when I put citrus, the peel is the ingredient I'm really going for. I just happen to be lazy about peeling limes and lemons, so I slice em up and add the whole fruit.
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