Good guidelines for banana beer?

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Jun 10, 2012
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I live in West Africa and my neighbor just gifted me with a bunch of bananas. I've already made cake, so I figure it's time for banana beer.

My Kenyan friend advised mixing mashed bananas, water, and yeast in improvised quantities and leaving it for four days. I found a post that gives more complex recipe (, using bananas, water, oats, whole grain wheat bread, white sugar, lemon juice, raisins and yeast but says it takes much less time.

Does anyone have any guidance or suggestions for how-to? I've look in my brew books, and there's nothing. I'm new to this, but we have bananas everywhere so practice will make perfect...

Thanks in advance!
Just by way of an update:

Last night I boiled up 6 cups of mashed bananas with 10 cups of water to make an even gallon, added 1/2 a cup of toasted oats and 2 tablespoons of raisins, then cooled the whole thing, added 2 teaspoons Trappist Ale Yeast, and put it in an empty 3 gallon water bottle with a condom on top acting as an airlock.

The condom--which was suggested by a fellow Peace Corps Volunteer who is a homebrewer herself--might scandalize all you peeps that have access to real brewing equipment, but out here in West Africa, we make do with what we can. I tied the top of it so at least when the CO2 starts expelling, I won't scandalize anyone...

Updates to follow.

I do not have too much to add, but I do want to hear how it turns out.

As for the condom, all I can say is that I hope it does not have spermicide or anything that could leach down into the brew.

"How is your beer doing?" "Well, it's happy to see me!"

And remember, unless you are concerned about real bugs crawling up into the brew, all you have to do is cover the opening loosely. A piece of aluminum foil or the like to keep things from falling is all that is needed.

Good luck!
Well then, replacing aforementioned (well washed and rinsed) condom with a woven cotton cloth and a strong hair tie right now.

This will avoid anyone being startled in my pantry!

Looking forward to reporting back...
WLP300 yeast fermented near 70ºF gave me a very banana-flavored beer without me needing to add any bananas at all.

I just wish I knew it was going to do that ahead of time.
I wonder how funky the banana taste will be. I didn't add any sugar, so some will have converted.

I'm not sure I'd like the banana taste if I wasn't trying for it. Did you know that's what you were getting?
Here's the update, team:

After 2 days, the yeast started bubbling and the banana mash floated to the top of what looked like a pale opaque liquid. This liquid became more opaque at day 4, and at day 5 we strained everything through a cheesecloth and decanted it into bottles topped with a makeshift airlock. The banana beer is slightly effervescent, light and nicely flavored--not sweet, with a delicate banana taste and a fizzy sour end. It's also the color of watered-down milk, more like the local palm wine we get here than a beer, per se. It's only ever so slightly alcoholic and hints at being sour, but in a kombucha/kefir kind of way, not at all like vinegar.

All in all, I'd say this recipe was a success and I will do it again! After all, my friend next door has a forest of banana trees. Next time, I will increase the batch volume and make more. We only ended up with about a quart of beer. As my brewing skills improve, I'll try adapting this recipe and adding sugar for a proper secondary ferment.
If you like it, then do it again! That's the beauty about brewing; experimentation and creativity have led to some awesome beers or in your case wine.

Let us know if the sugar you add next time in the 2ndary will help balance out the sour notes/tones you mentioned.
Just an update from the field testing: the beer was well-received by the 2 Danes and 1 other American that tried it, and my neighbor agreed to give me all his extra bananas from now on! We drank it all (1 qt) in one sitting and it was very nice and effervescent, served cold. I'd say it was closest to an unfiltered sake with edges of savory banana. I'll post a proper recipe with photos and steps once I refine the final product a bit.

My Kenyan friend just mentioned that I could add hibiscus flowers for color (although pink beer...not really my thing) -- but also that the hibiscus leaves can be brewed into a lovely wine. My West African homebrew experiments are off to a good start! I do have a gallon of honey wine slowly attracting wild yeast in the corner as I type...