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jonalexdeval
11-11-2009, 06:54 PM
I guess I just want verification that this is not a stupid idea.

I have 5 gal. of a sweet show mead sitting in my closet. It's finished fermenting and needs to go to secondary:

15 lbs. white sage honey
lalvin 71B

(no gravity measurements, but it's pleasantly sweet)

Here's the idea: add upto 15lbs. bananas (ripened, thawed, peeled, sliced) to secondary and let sit for upto 2 weeks before racking again. (after stabilizing of course)

Will this end up being a messy disaster? Thanks. I really like bananas! My mission is to produce a viable and heady banana mead. :)

wayneb
11-11-2009, 07:13 PM
I've never had success with bananas in secondary exactly for the reason that you suggested - they disintegrate into a gloppy lees layer that fills half of the carboy.

jonalexdeval
11-11-2009, 07:58 PM
:( hmmm... maybe I should get one of those vials of artificial fruit flavor and add it at bottling? Not the same though...

If only there was the equivalent of a french-press screen for carboys. :confused:

Just out of curiosity, what happened when you did it? Did you have to trash it, or was it just a heck of a racking job?

ZachR
11-11-2009, 08:40 PM
I saw this on another forum, and it might help you in your quest. Sounds delicious if you can find a good way to execute it. Make sure to let us know how it turns out.

(Is it a no-no to link to other forums? Sorry, if it is...)

*************
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f79/banana-wine-33636/

From YooperBrew @ Homebrewtalk.com

Recipe Type: All Grain Yeast: wine yeast Yeast Starter: no Additional Yeast or Yeast Starter: no Batch Size (Gallons): 1 Original Gravity: 1.095 Final Gravity: .990 Boiling Time (Minutes): 2 Color: WHITE Primary Fermentation (# of Days & Temp): 1 week Secondary Fermentation (# of Days & Temp): Until finished
BANANA WINE (2) [Heavy Bodied]

3-1/2 lb. bananas
1 lb. chopped golden raisins
2 lb. granulated sugar
1-1/4 tsp. acid blend
1 tsp. pectic enzyme
1/4 tsp. grape tannin
1 gallon water
wine yeast and nutrient
Slice bananas into thin discs, leaving skins on fruit. Put into grain-bag, tie top, and place in 6 pints water. Bring to boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove grain-bag to bowl to catch drippings while pouring liquor over sugar in primary fermentation vessel and stirring well to dissolve sugar. Add acid blend, pectic enzyme and tannin, stirring again. When grain-bag cools, squeeze to extract as much liquid as possible and add liquid and drippings to liquor, discarding pulp. When liquor cools to 70 degrees fahrenheit, add yeast and nutrient. Cover and set in warm place for seven days, stirring daily. Pour into secondary fermentation vessel, fit airlock, and move to cooler place, leaving undisturbed for two months. Siphon off sediment, add chopped raisins, and add water to bring to one gallon. Ferment another four months. Rack and allow to clear. Rack again and bottle. May taste after six months, but matures at two years. [Adapted from passed-on recipe, source unknown, taken from Jack Keller's site]

akueck
11-11-2009, 09:06 PM
Is it a no-no to link to other forums? Sorry, if it is...

Other forums? Surely those don't exist. ;)

Interesting find, I remember hearing something about the skins of the banana being bitter.

Medsen Fey
11-11-2009, 10:13 PM
Banana skins my be some of most heavily pesticide/fungicide treated of any fruit there is - I'd get the organic ones if you plan to do this with the skin. I think the bitterness come from the white stringy/pithy stuff between the banana and the skin.

One way I was able to use banana without an overwhelming mess was to put in in a nylon stocking. That is a finer mesh than most grain bags and kept the sludge from distributing through out the mead, though a lot of fluid was lost when removing the bananas. That's very similar to the problem with mangos, and I'd like to try the centrifuge idea on it the next time I do a batch with a bunch of bananas.

I think seriously over-ripe bananas work best.

jonalexdeval
11-11-2009, 10:22 PM
cool. Medsen: you mean like pantyhose?

Oskaar
11-11-2009, 10:27 PM
I saw this on another forum, and it might help you in your quest. Sounds delicious if you can find a good way to execute it. Make sure to let us know how it turns out.

(Is it a no-no to link to other forums? Sorry, if it is...)

*************
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f79/banana-wine-33636/

From YooperBrew @ Homebrewtalk.com

Recipe Type: All Grain Yeast: wine yeast Yeast Starter: no Additional Yeast or Yeast Starter: no Batch Size (Gallons): 1 Original Gravity: 1.095 Final Gravity: .990 Boiling Time (Minutes): 2 Color: WHITE Primary Fermentation (# of Days & Temp): 1 week Secondary Fermentation (# of Days & Temp): Until finished
BANANA WINE (2) [Heavy Bodied]

3-1/2 lb. bananas
1 lb. chopped golden raisins
2 lb. granulated sugar
1-1/4 tsp. acid blend
1 tsp. pectic enzyme
1/4 tsp. grape tannin
1 gallon water
wine yeast and nutrient
Slice bananas into thin discs, leaving skins on fruit. Put into grain-bag, tie top, and place in 6 pints water. Bring to boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove grain-bag to bowl to catch drippings while pouring liquor over sugar in primary fermentation vessel and stirring well to dissolve sugar. Add acid blend, pectic enzyme and tannin, stirring again. When grain-bag cools, squeeze to extract as much liquid as possible and add liquid and drippings to liquor, discarding pulp. When liquor cools to 70 degrees fahrenheit, add yeast and nutrient. Cover and set in warm place for seven days, stirring daily. Pour into secondary fermentation vessel, fit airlock, and move to cooler place, leaving undisturbed for two months. Siphon off sediment, add chopped raisins, and add water to bring to one gallon. Ferment another four months. Rack and allow to clear. Rack again and bottle. May taste after six months, but matures at two years. [Adapted from passed-on recipe, source unknown, taken from Jack Keller's site]

Well, um . . . hmmmm. Jack's site has some great recipes for wine to be sure, and I go there alot to see what's new in the wide open home winemaking scene. I also have a lot of respect for Jack Keller, not just for his site and for the wine he makes, but, he just does a great job of keeping people engaged and interested so my hat's off to Jack.

Focusing on this recipe specifically I personally would make a number of changes and lose the tannin and acid, change the sugar to honey, leave out the skins and not heat the must.

I'd slice the bananas and simmer them for a few hours in a fine mesh grain bag in a crock pot on the lowest setting. I would essentially use that reduced syrup to add to my must, and then go with the blend of raisins and spices used in spice cake (allspice, cinnamon, mace, nutmeg). Basically I'd translate my favorite chocolate spiced banana nut bread recipe to mead.

I'd honey roast some walnuts and pecans then chop them coarsely and dangle them in a grain bag during fermentation. You'd want some pectic enzyme in the primary. I'd also add in some vanilla beans and about four good handfuls of cocoa nibs. In the mean time I'd be soaking some medium toast oak cubes in some cognac during the primary.

So a 6 gallon primary yield recipe would look like:

Oskaarz spicy banana nutz:

15 lbs bananas, sliced and simmered, decant the supernate and reserve. Add slices to a grain bag and add to ferment.
16 lbs honey (meadowfoam, macadamia nut, locust)
2 qt Maple Syrup (Grade B dark amber)
2 lbs dark (carmelized, not burnt!) honey roasted pecans and walnuts coarsely chopped
1 lb sultanas, chopped
5 vanilla beans
3 nutmegs, cracked and smashed
4 cloves, whole
10-15 allspice berries, cracked and smashed
3 cinnamon quills, crushed
4 handfuls coacoa nibs, crushed
2 oz medium toast American oak soaked in Cognac

Balance must to about 1.130

Check your pH something like this could go low on you and cause a sluggish ferment.

I'd go with either 58W3 or BA11 for this puppy and be sure to rehydrate with GO-Ferm, and use a standard nutrient addition schedule. Keep the must moving during the fermentation. Moderate fermentation temperatures apply here so keep it right at 70 F.

After the primary taste your mead and see where it may need adjustment to bring the flavors in to balance. Take your cognac soaked oak cubes and put them into your secondary vessel, rack the mead onto them and add any additional ingredients you may feel are necessary. If you feel this is lacking in acid (I don't think it will be but that's up to you) wait until the end before you bottle or keg to add acid as the chocolate and spices will add a sharpness to it as well.

Maybe not so simple, but worth the effort.

Medsen Fey
11-11-2009, 10:37 PM
Well, that recipe certainly has appeel. ;D

Xixist
11-11-2009, 11:08 PM
Reducing the bananas seems the logical tactic but I would watch the burnt factor. I would think that flavor would carry sharply through banana sauce.
Xixist

wayneb
11-11-2009, 11:40 PM
There will definitely be a difference between the cooked banana (slightly oxidized and carmelized sugars) and fresh fruit, but man, Oskaar's approach sounds yummy as a dessert drink!

wildoates
11-12-2009, 01:48 AM
Oskaar never fails to impress. :)

ZachR
11-12-2009, 01:28 PM
I wonder how a "Bananas Foster" mead would turn out, if you could utilize intentionally carmelized banana from the crock-pot banana reduction in Oskaar's recipe and ferment with dark honey, brown sugar, molasses, and/or maple syrup. [Starting a second thread about a possible recipe for this, so please respond there]

After looking at a Bananas Foster recipe, could you get some good banana flavor into a mead by adding banana liquer? Or what about making your own banana extract with 151 or grain alcohol, then adding to a finished batch of mead? Not sure if you would get the same "quality" of banana flavor this way, but at least it would keep all that banana gunk out of the fermenter.

Obviously Oskaar's recipe sounds amazing, but it sounds a little daunting, at least for a newb like me.

Matrix4b
11-12-2009, 05:54 PM
5 vanilla beans
3 nutmegs, cracked and smashed
4 cloves, whole
10-15 allspice berries, cracked and smashed
3 cinnamon quills, crushed
4 handfuls coacoa nibs, crushed
2 oz medium toast American oak soaked in Cognac




Whoa! That's a whole ton of spices. Major repect for some of the mead masters here but I just did a pear nutmeg mead with only 1/2 a whole nutmeg roughtly crushed and it was almost overpowering. Same thing with the vanilla beans, I did 6 in a vanilla Almond mead and it turned out way too vanilla, turned out to be so sweet it was like drinking maple syrup. I have also read a number of times that if you use Whole cloves then you only want 1-2 cloves or it will end up verrrry clovey.

This is just my experience.

Do you expect the spices to be dulled greatly when mixed with the nuts and banannas?

Oskaar
11-12-2009, 07:01 PM
In a six gallon yield with the ingredient list here, the spice added to the primary will be significant, but not overpowering. If you find that it may be a bit much for what you prefer you may factor it down and add in the secondary to be on the safe side.

That's the beauty of mead, what you factor out at the start, you can usually factor in at the end.

Hope that helps,

Oskaar

jonalexdeval
12-02-2009, 12:41 AM
Ok, I think I'm actually going to go for Oskaar's recipe... it sounds a bit daunting but I'm going to try it. We're planning on brewing on December 12, and I'm going to get the ingredients together to do it then.

I'm new at meads so I'll come back and ask questions if I have any. Hopefully I'll be able to find all those ingredients. Again, this is a bit advanced for me, but I figured it sounded so good I have to try it. Thanks!

JimSar
12-02-2009, 01:18 AM
Too bad out here in the US we pretty much refer to one variety of bananas, I think it's the cavendish which is very common in grocery stores. If I were to make a banana mead, I'd probably look at the senorita or lady finger variety which is a lot sweeter. Another interesting variety is the sabah which is more commonly boiled before eating, or peeled and rolled in raw brown sugar and fried/caramelized and sold as "banana-que" ,skewered in bamboo sticks. Tastes flat when eaten as is, but very sweet after boiled with skin on.

jonalexdeval
12-02-2009, 11:57 PM
Yeah, here in CA there are a few stores that have different kinds of bananas: the small red and purple ones, for example. I'm going to go and buy a sampling of each kind of banana and pick the one that tastes best to me.

JimSar
12-03-2009, 12:20 AM
Yeah, here in CA there are a few stores that have different kinds of bananas: the small red and purple ones, for example. I'm going to go and buy a sampling of each kind of banana and pick the one that tastes best to me.

So you're in the Bay Area. Check out Berkeley Bowl and Ranch 99, they have different varieties of bananas. Don't bother with the green plantain which they have at Berkeley Bowl (as of last weekend, anyway). It's too starchy.

Have fun, keep us posted.

akueck
12-03-2009, 03:40 AM
Yay more Oakland people! Berkeley Bowl produce rocks.

JimSar
12-03-2009, 04:53 AM
Speaking of produce, if you happen to drive through the I-80 corridor between Sac and the Bay Area, check out Larry's Produce in Suisun Valley between June and December. They have incredible prices on fruits and vegetables.
http://www.yelp.com/biz/larrys-produce-fairfield
Disclaimer: I have no affiliation with Larry's produce, and sorry for the mini hi-jack. Yes, we have no bananas.

JimSar
12-03-2009, 05:08 AM
Ok, I think I'm actually going to go for Oskaar's recipe... it sounds a bit daunting but I'm going to try it. We're planning on brewing on December 12, and I'm going to get the ingredients together to do it then.


Hope this helps ... in case you haven't sourced cocoa nibs yet, they have them aplenty at Berkeley Bowl. I didn't look for the other ingredients, but I bet they have them, as well.

As Akueck said, Berkeley Bowl produce rocks! Actually Berkeley rocks, especially that university up the hill with reserve parking spots for their Nobel laureats. (It sits on top of the Hayward fault ... I always pray it doesn't rock when I'm at the Memorial Stadium watching football.)

Matrix4b
12-03-2009, 07:17 PM
I saw a recpipe that sounded really good for Bananna Wine. It used the bananas sliced with peal on and put in a mesh bag. Then boil it in water, I think that it was like 4 gallons of water boiled. Boiled, not neccessiarily an angry boil but a good one. The boil time was 30 min. Then take the mesh bag out and drain. Use the resulting liquid in your primary, because it was wine they added sugar. Swap out for honey and a bit more water, maybe some nutmeg and Bam you have bananna mead. I believe the recipie was like 20 pounds of bannanas for a 6 gallon batch and like 10 pounds of sugar. I think that would translate to about 14 pounds of honey. Ofcourse I like it sweet so I would probably do 16 and back sweeten with 4 pounds.

In a 6 pound batch I would only do 3/4 a whole nutmeg. 2 Whole cloves, and 2 short sticks of cinnamon. That should be plenty.

Ferment normally, rack til clear and then just age for 18 months min.

with the wine recipie it sounded like it was fantastic but only after aging close to 2 years at one year good but nothing to rave about.

wildoates
12-03-2009, 09:17 PM
Hope this helps ... in case you haven't sourced cocoa nibs yet, they have them aplenty at Berkeley Bowl. I didn't look for the other ingredients, but I bet they have them, as well.

As Akueck said, Berkeley Bowl produce rocks! Actually Berkeley rocks, especially that university up the hill with reserve parking spots for their Nobel laureats. (It sits on top of the Hayward fault ... I always pray it doesn't rock when I'm at the Memorial Stadium watching football.)
When I was in college I got a photo of a parking spot that was labeled "Nobel Laureate." I'm glad I did. Nowadays it just says "NL" because people kept stealing the signs and it cost a fortune to replace them alla time. But still...it is cool to have gone to a university that has so many Laureates that they need specific parking places. I often wondered what the heck I was doing there!

Ah, good times.

akueck
12-04-2009, 12:54 AM
When I was in college I got a photo of a parking spot that was labeled "Nobel Laureate." I'm glad I did. Nowadays it just says "NL" because people kept stealing the signs and it cost a fortune to replace them alla time. But still...it is cool to have gone to a university that has so many Laureates that they need specific parking places. I often wondered what the heck I was doing there!

Ah, good times.

I think I saw someone parked in one of those spots maybe 3-4 times in 5 years. Granted I was almost never on campus, but still, what a waste of parking space!

I do know someone who got a ticket for parking in one and not being a super genius though.

jonalexdeval
12-04-2009, 02:46 AM
ok, thanks for the info. I'll have to check out Berkeley Bowl and that place in Suisun. I drive between Sac and Oakland semi-regularly.

Yeah, I actually had to look up cocoa nibs and vanilla beans to make sure I knew what they were exactly. The vanilla beans are going to be more difficult I think. When he says 5 beans, does that mean like one vanilla "stalk" or whatever those things that hold the beans are? (are there any preservative-free vanilla extracts?)

I've also heard there are different kinds of cinnamon. Some softer version rather than the regular hard one that you find most often?

This is going to be an expensive mead!

Should I do a starter? or not necessary?

Matrix4b
12-04-2009, 10:47 AM
organicvanillabeans.com

Great prices for vanilla beans.

I got 3/4 pound, that was about 90 beans for about $30.00 including shipping. They are fast and the beans are great quality. Don't waste your time in a store on this one.

akueck
12-04-2009, 03:58 PM
Berkeley Bowl has a "bulk food" section, you'll find nibs there. Weigh out as much as you like, pay by the pound. They sell vanilla beans too, usually 2 to a pack, by the spices. I think they usually go for like $3-5 per pack, at least the last time I bought some.

"1 bean" means the whole pod, a couple inches long. Generally you split them open, sometimes you can also scrape out the insides to get them into the mead faster.

Matrix4b
12-04-2009, 04:39 PM
http://www.organic-vanilla.com/servlet/StoreFront

Sorry I had missed the dash. Current Prices today:

lb Gr A Certified Organic Bourbon Vanilla Beans 8" & longer
Super Size Grade A Gourmet Planifolia Beans Metric: 227gm / over 20 cm long
Price
$25.00

lb Gr A Certified Organic Bourbon Vanilla Beans 7" to 8" long
Grade A Gourmet Planifolia Beans - Metric: 227gm / 17,5 - 20 cm long
Price
$20.00

lb Gr B Certified Organic Tahitian Vanilla Beans - Mixed Lengths
Extract Grade B - Metric: 227gm
Price
$10.00

lb Gr B Certified Organic Tahitian Vanilla Beans - Mixed Lengths
Extract Grade B - Metric: 113gm
Price
$7.00

Guide to buying
http://www.organic-vanilla.com/servlet/Page?template=a-buy

I learned a lot on this site.

JimSar
12-05-2009, 10:51 PM
Those who aren't too keen on buying online, cacao nibs are also sold at bigger Mexican markets, under $5 a pack, maybe half a pound. Visiting ethnic markets is fun for the fruits, spices, etc that you don't usually find at the regular supermarkets.

BTW, I just bought a bunch of saba bananas, 50 cents a pound from Island Pacific Supermarket. Not for mead, I intend to boil some, skin on for eating, and the rest, peel, slice and fry. Yum! Typical afternoon snack when I growing up in the islands.

jonalexdeval
12-06-2009, 09:26 PM
akueck & JimSar,

Is Berkeley Bowl a good place to buy honey? I might be able to get some vetch from a friend of mine who knows a beekeeper.

JimSar
12-06-2009, 10:45 PM
akueck & JimSar,

Is Berkeley Bowl a good place to buy honey? I might be able to get some vetch from a friend of mine who knows a beekeeper.

No, to me, retail honey ends up too expensive because they're packed in small (as far as our needs are concerned) jars and priced accordingly. Last couple of batches of mine used honey bought from Oak Barrel Winecraft, San Pablo Ave, Berkeley. $3.25 a pound. You'll save some money if you bring your own container. They're stored in 5 gallon buckets, and I spied "Colton, CA" on the sticker, which might translate to Miller's Honey which is in Colton. You'll probably pay less if you bought directly from Miller's, even after adding shipping charges.

I've also bought Orange Blossom honey from MoreBeer in Concord. Very aromatic, and had lots of pollen and other stuff, so I guess it's "raw". The guy behind the counter said they bought the batch from a local beekeeper. Please let me know if you get hooked up with the beekeeper.

akueck
12-06-2009, 10:52 PM
Berkeley Bowl sometimes has interesting honey, but it is usually expensive. You can get it cheaper elsewhere. Miller's is good and will deliver to your door. ;D

jonalexdeval
12-06-2009, 11:32 PM
hmm... Miller's is even a little cheaper than the beekeeper I had in mind!

One of my college roommates was actually a part-time apiarist, but now he's only got a few hives left and some wildflower. A friend of his has vetch for about $2 per pound (5 gallons) whereas Miller's works out to $1.73 a pound for a 5 gal of orange blossom.

I think I might go for a clover this time... my last two batches were orange and sage...

with shipping, 5 gallons from Miller's works out at $2.25 a pound...

jonalexdeval
12-08-2009, 09:16 PM
Ok, I'm really trusting Oskaar here! :)

Just bought all ingredients except honey and wood chips. About $50 before maple syrup, about $100 including maple syrup (stuff is outrageous). The spices were actually pretty cheap since I bought the alternative brand at Berkeley Bowl.

http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/nYuVuBq8nyhXXuf-YGUqQA?feat=directlink

If anyone has advice, now's the time, especially Oskaar. ;) This is only my fourth batch of mead! I'm going to do this Saturday at the earliest.

The only change I've made so far is going with vanilla extract (preservative free organic) rather than vanilla beans (price). If this is dramatically inferior then I can change, but I figured I would add the extract in very small amounts with each racking and tasting. Any suggestion on amount of extract to add?

TheRabidKumquat
12-09-2009, 01:43 AM
You want cubes, not chips.

akueck
12-09-2009, 02:29 PM
Vanilla extract is fine, since you'd be making one by putting beans in alcohol. I'm not sure how much to use, but one good way of figuring that out is to add measured amounts to a cup (or some volume) of mead, then scaling the addition to the whole batch. General advice is to use only about 75% of the amount you calculate for the whole batch since the flavors will change as they integrate--you can add more later if you need it.

The oak cubes are also a better option, they will react more slowly and give you a more complex oak character.

jonalexdeval
12-09-2009, 09:58 PM
Ok, thanks. I really appreciate everyone's advice. I got the oak cubes today.

So far, I'm planning on 4 changes to Oskaar's original recipe:

1) vanilla extract (preservative free) instead of beans

2) clover honey instead of macadamia nut, locust, etc.

3) I'm planning on making a starter

4) Yeast: D47 instead of BA11


I went to two homebrew stores today, and one of them told me BA11 is only sold in bulk. It's possible I might be able to get it at another store in Concord, but probably not. So what about D47? I would like it to finish no dryer than semi-sweet.

Still planning on the 1.130 SG as per recommendations...

JimSar
12-09-2009, 10:15 PM
... I might be able to get it at another store in Concord, but probably not. ...

If you're planning on checking out Concord, you might as well do it this Saturday the 12th. MoreFlavor aka MoreBeer / MoreWine has a one day "event", 15% off everything in stock at the store, $1 and $5 bargain tables, brewing demonstrations, wine tastings with 5 local wineries, etc. Sounds like fun, I'll probably go here myself after I hit the farmers market.
Jim

akueck
12-10-2009, 12:45 AM
I've picked up BA-11 at MoreBeer in Concord.

Don't bother making a starter, it's a waste of time and resources when using dry yeast. If you need more yeast than comes in a single pack, use two.

jonalexdeval
12-10-2009, 03:06 AM
I've picked up BA-11 at MoreBeer in Concord.

Don't bother making a starter, it's a waste of time and resources when using dry yeast. If you need more yeast than comes in a single pack, use two.

Cool, I'm going to swing by Morebeer tomorrow and hopefully get some BA11. I can't go Saturday because I'm having company.

One of my brewing buddies started making starters for his beers, and he now tells me that a starter is always good. I told him just what you said, that I thought from my reading (Schramm, Palmer) that it wasn't necessarily with dry yeast, but he didn't believe me because he said it acclimates the yeast to the fermentables or something.

wayneb
12-10-2009, 11:33 AM
One of my brewing buddies started making starters for his beers, and he now tells me that a starter is always good. I told him just what you said, that I thought from my reading (Schramm, Palmer) that it wasn't necessarily with dry yeast, but he didn't believe me because he said it acclimates the yeast to the fermentables or something.

Nice theory - but from much practice and backed up by lots of research by the wine yeast manufacturers (principally Lallemand), it truly is not necessary for the average wine or mead must. There are special cases where a starter may be indicated, but in general it isn't necessary if the yeast are properly rehydrated first.

But, if it makes him feel better to do a starter for wines and/or meads, then he should do what minimizes his stress potential. Remember RDWHAH? The first three words are relax, don't worry,... ;D

akueck
12-10-2009, 12:52 PM
To stress the point, starters are VERY GOOD for commercial liquid yeasts (both the Wyeast smack packs and Whitelabs tubes) and yeast you propagate yourself, which is common with beer yeasts (I have some in my fridge now). If you get yeast in slants, you obviously know that starters are necessary. The yeast in the liquid packs are (hopefully) alive and kicking, waiting for sugar to eat. But, the cell count is too low in a single tube for a 5-gallon batch of higher than about SG 1.050-60. From the yeast gurus I've heard talk/write, you want to control the population increase of your yeast during fermentation and keep it at about a 4- or 5-fold increase from pitching to completion. If you take a tube of yeast and put it into your 1.110 mead, the population will have to increase by roughly 10-12 times, which puts the yeast under stress (either from the repeated budding or from nutrient starvation when trying to bud). And the ~1.050 number assumes all the yeast in the liquid culture are viable, which is only true if your yeast is very fresh. So even with a wort/must in the "safe" range, it's still a good idea to make a starter to reestablish the health of your culture after it has languished in a refrigerator for weeks/months. If you do cold fermentations (lagers), you need to pitch even more yeast and starters become even more important. You could buy 2, 3, 5 packs of liquid yeast and skip the starter, but that gets expensive.

Now dry yeast is a different animal. Being dried, they live a lot longer when properly stored. This means your retention of viable cells is higher over time. Also, there are just more of them in a pack of dry yeast than you get in the liquid pack. In fact, the directions on many packages say 'sprinkle on the wort' which will end up killing a significant number of yeast as they rehydrate in sugar-water, and still there are more viable yeast than if you used a liquid package. The low cost vs. liquid yeast means it's easier, faster, and cheaper to buy a second sachet instead of making a starter. Of course, you can make a starter if you like. And if it brings peace of mind, it's worth it. But don't be bullied by anyone telling you it is necessary all the time. It's not the starter itself that is important, it is the health and count of the yeast you pitch that matters. Achieve those however you like.

Medsen Fey
12-10-2009, 01:58 PM
But, the cell count is too low in a single tube for a 5-gallon batch of higher than about SG 1.050-60. From the yeast gurus I've heard talk/write, you want to control the population increase of your yeast during fermentation and keep it at about a 4- or 5-fold increase from pitching to completion. If you take a tube of yeast and put it into your 1.110 mead, the population will have to increase by roughly 10-12 times, which puts the yeast under stress (either from the repeated budding or from nutrient starvation when trying to bud).

Jonalexdeval, I think a key point is that starters are more important for beers, because generally speaking, you don't aerate beers. Even a package of ADY only has enough sterols for perhaps 5-6 generations which may be enough for a 5 gallon batch at a low gravity, but could come up short. In order to increase 10-12 times or more, the yeast need oxygen exposure to develop the sterols and lipids in the cell membranes.

You can do that in a starter, and brewers do it often as it allows oxygen exposure for the yeast without oxygen touching the wort. For wine and mead makers, oxygen exposure to must is usually less of a concern, and so you can aerate a must to allow the yeast to make enough divisions to accomplish the job. Even with a packet of liquid yeast, as long as it swells and shows viability, just pouring it in will work if the must gets the necessary aeration.

Obviously, with a slant, you'd want to make a starter to make sure the yeast are viable. Another special circumstance would be high gravity musts where pitching a larger biomass is beneficial for complete fermentation and pitching multiple packets of yeast or creating a starter definitely is warranted. Otherwise, a starter is nice, and proves the yeast are viable, but it's certainly optional.

Medsen

jonalexdeval
12-11-2009, 02:19 AM
Thanks for the informative posts. Medsen: by "aerate", you are talking about introducing oxygen during the first few days of fermentation itself?

My impression was that you always aerate at pitching (beer and wine), but never after fermentation. As for during fermentation, I wasn't quite clear on that... I knew you could stir the must... but you are saying I can shake it during active fermentation? (and maybe I should do that with this one considering Oskaar recommended keeping the must "moving"?).

Edit: ok, maybe I'll answer my own question here. As far as oxygenation damage goes, it seems to me it wouldn't matter whether aeration is done at pitching or during fermentation. So I presume you mean aerating anytime before fermentation completes.

So... beer can by aerated during fermentation then also? It's just a matter of not over-doing it (as when using an O2 tank)?

Am I just confusing myself here? :)

AToE
12-11-2009, 02:39 AM
Common practice with mead s to aerate only to the 1/3 point of the fermentation, at most the 1/2 way point. Some cases call for even more, but that is the general idea, and people like to do a vigorous aeration at least once a day for that period, better if 2 or 3 times a day though.

Hard to say how many days it takes to get to the 1/3 sugar break (for example, if you started with a gravity of 1.099 the one third break would be around 1.066), it could take several days, or it could take place during the first day, a lot of factors are involved in that, which is why it's sometimes a good idea to take frequency SG measurements.

EDIT: Beer I think you need to be more careful with, but I'm not a beer maker.

slowbie
12-11-2009, 11:11 AM
For beer, unless you are acting on advice for a specific recipe that is given by someone who knows what they are talking about, I would only aerate your beer when pitching. I remember reading some commentary by Oskaar on how some types of beer can be improved by effective aeration during fermentation, but to my best knowledge it is uncommon in homebrewing because of the risks involved if it is done improperly.

I did a quick search and found that thread here. (http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthread.php?t=15206)

wayneb
12-11-2009, 11:53 AM
There are benefits to aeration (oxygenation) during the first 1/3 of primary fermentation for just about any wort/must that will ferment to a final ethanol concentration roughly above 10% ABV. That is very high for most beer worts, but on the low end of what we try to achieve with most wine or mead musts.

The reasons that you don't want to inject too much O2 for beer is that the yeast are not chewing through enough sugars to render their resulting environment overly toxic, so they don't need as much O2 early on in their life cycle to promote vigorous reproduction and cell wall development. And, if you over-supply the wort with O2, enough will remain in solution after the yeast have finished fermenting that the beer will end up being somewhat oxidized.

In anything with a target above 10% ABV (again, this is a rough number, not an absolute), the yeast will be stressed by the ethanol they have to swim in during their latter stages of life, and so having enough O2 along with the necessary amount of nutrients (nitrogen, vitamins and other micronutrients) available to them early in the fermentation, which allows them to fully develop their cell wall defenses, is essential to ensuring that they can "go the distance."

BTW, I don't swirl or stir most of my mead musts. I WTC (as in Whip The Cr@&) out of them until the 1/3 sugar break, usually by using a heavy duty stainless restaurant kitchen wire whisk to stir up the surface and get it exposed to as much air as possible. I'll do this at least a couple of times per day until I get to that 1/3 break. The yeast will use all the O2 that I can introduce this way, and oxidation of the final product never results.

jonalexdeval
12-12-2009, 01:00 PM
Cool. Thanks Wayneb. Maybe I'll just shake the bucket a few times during the first 1/3 of fermentation.

Oh, and I found BA11 in Concord... last one on the shelf. I thawed the bananas and am cooking them right now in two crockpots... let them go for a few hours and then we'll get down to business... I'm not using any sulfites before pitching as I figured the banana fruit would be fine as long as I was careful not to touch it too much when peeling.

Believe it or not, I've never actually balanced a must before to a specific gravity. I've always followed a recipe. I assume I just measure the gravity, add some water, measure again, etc. until I get there. I know you've got to have all your fermentable sugars in there and stirred around, but some of it won't measure (like the banana sludge and raisins)... when Oskaar says 1.130, I assume that takes into account the little extra sugar in the solids.

jonalexdeval
12-13-2009, 05:17 PM
Ok, quick question. I pitched yesterday after balancing to 1.130. Today, not yet 24 hours later, the gravity hasn't really changed (airlock is bubbling steadily, though not vigorously). I'm afraid the gravity went up a little above what I intended when I put the bananas in (they are steeping inside a set of tied-off pantyhose).

Should I go and get another yeast packet and pitch it just in case? (I pitched 8 grams rehydrated BA11). Or will that not really help?

I did whisk the surface like Wayneb said. Also following standard nutrient additions. And PH is good to go! (about 4.1 at this point)

The whole thing is over 6 gallons... I had to rack some into a smaller container... but it tastes outrageously good... like liquid banana bread.

AToE
12-13-2009, 05:28 PM
You should be fine, pitching more won't hurt anything if it's going to save you from loosing hair to stress, but it shouldn't be necessary. That is a pretty high starting gravity for 8 grams of yeast though, so they're probably just taking a little bit to get going.

akueck
12-13-2009, 05:30 PM
If you're diligent with the oxygenation and nutrients, 8 g of yeast should be enough. Also remember that the CO2 in the fermenting must will push the hydrometer up and you'll get readings higher than they actually are. Spin the hydrometer to dislodge the bubbles.

jonalexdeval
12-15-2009, 02:30 PM
Does anyone know how long to leave a nylon stocking full of soggy cooked bananas in primary? ;D

I was thinking at least 2 weeks?

Bugleman
03-22-2012, 02:31 AM
What happens if you just mash and put in the bananas with pectic enzime?

mrbear37
08-25-2012, 11:42 AM
Greetings all!

I completed the secondary fermentation on a Bananas Foster wine ( not technically a mead)... Here is what I did..

I made a one gallon experimental batch :

6 Bananas,
one cup of brown sugar
one cup honey
two Cinnamon sticks

process was simple syrup for the brown sugar, and cinnamon and water.. then into the primary, added water to cool.. at room temp added honey, and bananas, then pitched the yeast It was a Champagne yeast forgive me I have forgotten which one..

After the secondary fermentation I procured some Appleton Estates Jamaican Rum.. and added about a shot.

killed off the yeast.. ( campden tablets) and then let it sit for a few weeks.
I back sweeted a glass and initial tastings were approved by quality control ( aka - the Mrs).. and tasting notes were .... ( drum roll)....

Nothing like Bananas Foster at all !

Very grapey, Chardoney esque a hint of citrus ( although there was none used).. a little caramel..and ripe hay.. wonderful stuff.. just not what I was looking for.. LOL Oh Happy Accidents !

Peace,

Mark..

Chris200071
01-23-2016, 09:49 AM
Well, um . . . hmmmm. Jack's site has some great recipes for wine to be sure, and I go there alot to see what's new in the wide open home winemaking scene. I also have a lot of respect for Jack Keller, not just for his site and for the wine he makes, but, he just does a great job of keeping people engaged and interested so my hat's off to Jack.

Focusing on this recipe specifically I personally would make a number of changes and lose the tannin and acid, change the sugar to honey, leave out the skins and not heat the must.

I'd slice the bananas and simmer them for a few hours in a fine mesh grain bag in a crock pot on the lowest setting. I would essentially use that reduced syrup to add to my must, and then go with the blend of raisins and spices used in spice cake (allspice, cinnamon, mace, nutmeg). Basically I'd translate my favorite chocolate spiced banana nut bread recipe to mead.

I'd honey roast some walnuts and pecans then chop them coarsely and dangle them in a grain bag during fermentation. You'd want some pectic enzyme in the primary. I'd also add in some vanilla beans and about four good handfuls of cocoa nibs. In the mean time I'd be soaking some medium toast oak cubes in some cognac during the primary.

So a 6 gallon primary yield recipe would look like:

Oskaarz spicy banana nutz:

15 lbs bananas, sliced and simmered, decant the supernate and reserve. Add slices to a grain bag and add to ferment.
16 lbs honey (meadowfoam, macadamia nut, locust)
2 qt Maple Syrup (Grade B dark amber)
2 lbs dark (carmelized, not burnt!) honey roasted pecans and walnuts coarsely chopped
1 lb sultanas, chopped
5 vanilla beans
3 nutmegs, cracked and smashed
4 cloves, whole
10-15 allspice berries, cracked and smashed
3 cinnamon quills, crushed
4 handfuls coacoa nibs, crushed
2 oz medium toast American oak soaked in Cognac

Balance must to about 1.130

Check your pH something like this could go low on you and cause a sluggish ferment.

I'd go with either 58W3 or BA11 for this puppy and be sure to rehydrate with GO-Ferm, and use a standard nutrient addition schedule. Keep the must moving during the fermentation. Moderate fermentation temperatures apply here so keep it right at 70 F.

After the primary taste your mead and see where it may need adjustment to bring the flavors in to balance. Take your cognac soaked oak cubes and put them into your secondary vessel, rack the mead onto them and add any additional ingredients you may feel are necessary. If you feel this is lacking in acid (I don't think it will be but that's up to you) wait until the end before you bottle or keg to add acid as the chocolate and spices will add a sharpness to it as well.

Maybe not so simple, but worth the effort.

+1 on this recipe! I just made something very similar, using this recipe as inspiration and its turned out wonderful!

Recipe as follows:

7kg bananas
6 vanilla pods, cut in half
4 whole nutmegs, cracked
6 cinnamon quills, broken in half
200g dark Raisins, chopped
250g Cocoa nibs
60g Mixed-Roasted bourbon-soaked hickory chips
11 lbs honey
Mead yeast
Nutrients
DAP
Pecto Enzyme
Super-Klear

Brewing:

I boiled the bananas with the skin on. You don't want to boil long as the aroma is very volatile, and you lose it very quickly. As soon as it comes to the boil, you want to take it off. Next time, I would do it, as Oskaar said, without the skin. That means you put the pieces in a big strain bag and put it in your primary. This DOES give you a rich banana aroma, but it also can give you a bit of a stinky skunky smell, that doesn't go away for a couple of weeks of being in the secondary. If anyone has a better way to maintain aroma, I'm all ears. Maybe could try blending the bananas into a smoothy/soup then adding it? The skin left a really ugly grey color, but did disappear mid-way through the fermentation. SG: 1.082

Half way through the fermentation, I added half the nutmeg, vanilla and cinnamon in a hop bag.

Finished fermentation at 0.992 (giving an ABV of about 12%). Added super-klear, and then racked on to secondary with rest of the nutmeg, cinnamon and vanilla with the hickory (which was roasted to a medium-light and medium-dark toast, and then soaked on bourbon for a week) and bourbon tea.

After a week, I removed the wood, and added the cacao nibs and raisins. Beautifully complex and slightly astringent. I pumped up the acidity to .55% with TA. Haven't back sweetened; leaving it nice and dry. After a few days, i removed the chocolate and raisins, cold crashed for a couple of days, and primed with some dark brown sugar. Bottled in beer bottles, and will age for 6 months.

Won-der-ful!

Thanks Oskaar for the recipe. Good luck to anyone else making this!

1726

xanderphillips
04-16-2018, 01:25 PM
So replying to this really old thread but wanted to weigh in for anyone searching archives of posts: I've got a banana mead aging in secondary right now that is crystal clear. What I did: I took bananas that were way over-ripe to the point of being candidates for banana nut bread that I had peeled and frozen and put them in my blender with enough water to top off the blender. Blended it up until they were completely liquid. I then poured that into my fermentation bucket with all my water and honey. Topped that up to my desired gallons of reverse osmosis water and then blended it all well with my stir paddles on the power drill. Once everything was well mixed I pitched my yeast and blended again. Added (per label quantities) of pectic enzyme and hydrated bentonite. Over the next several days I followed my normal yeast feeding and aeration schedule being careful not to let it foam all over the place (I keep my primary fermenter bucket inside of a large plastic tub to catch overflows). It WILL gas like mad for the first several days giving off a ton of CO2 so be careful! About a week or so after my stepped feeding and degassing was complete it had settled down enough for me to transfer to a glass carboy. Funnel poured it all in. Let it sit like that with my tilt hyrdometer floating in it until it had fermented out almost all the sugars. Added Potassium Sorbate and Metabisulfate per label, took out to my garage to cold crash. Left out in the garage in the very low 60's to cold crash for a week. Brought back in and it was very well crashed. Then racked it all through a vinbrite filter over into a clean carboy. It's sitting there now and it's a nice deep yellow and clear as anything! You can read a drivers manual cover through the 4 gallon carboy!

https://flic.kr/p/26eiewp

Squatchy
04-16-2018, 11:10 PM
He friend.

I don't mean to be an ass. I'm sure you wouldn't have thought about it. It's not good forum correctness to dredge up old threads that have been dead for a long time. Just start a new thread if you feel the need to talk to current members. None of the people in this thread have even been around for a very long time.