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Thread: simple banana mead?

  1. #1

    Default simple banana mead?

    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.

  2. #2
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    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.
    Na zdrowie!

    Wayne B.

  3. #3

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    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.

    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?

  4. #4

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    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]

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZachR View Post
    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.

  6. #6
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    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.
    Lanne pase toujou pi bon
    (Past years are always better)

  7. #7

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    cool. Medsen: you mean like pantyhose?

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZachR View Post
    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.
    Is it tasty . . . precious?

  9. #9
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    Well, that recipe certainly has appeel.
    Lanne pase toujou pi bon
    (Past years are always better)

  10. #10
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    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

  11. #11
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    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!
    Na zdrowie!

    Wayne B.

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    Oskaar never fails to impress.

  13. #13

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    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.
    Last edited by ZachR; 11-12-2009 at 12:35 PM.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oskaar View Post
    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?

  15. #15
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    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
    Is it tasty . . . precious?

  16. #16

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    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!

  17. #17

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    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.

  18. #18

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    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.

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by jonalexdeval View Post
    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.

  20. #20
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    Yay more Oakland people! Berkeley Bowl produce rocks.
    Want to see something added to the GotMead Glossary? PM me! Didn't know we had a glossary? Check the top row of links.

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