Homemade banana wine is an interesting thing, in a few ways.
|For one, by the time you’re ready to add the yeast to get the product started… well, you’re working with a liquid that just looks revolting. Muddy brown-grey dishwater looking stuff. You add the yeast, cross your fingers, and hope for the best.
Then, the yeast starts acting on it. Oh BOY does it ever! I’ve never seen such violent fermentation before! It really was a sight to behold.
One day, you walk by your carboys, and you think “Hrm. My orange mead looks really yellow for some reason”… and then you realize that you’re looking at your banana wine. All of a sudden, that ugly, milky looking mixture clarified at some point. It left you with a gorgeous, brilliantly golden yellow and crystal clear wine.
… and it tastes like heavily banana-flavored Everclear! Yes, we’ve termed our banana wine “Banana Jet Fuel” for good reason – it comes in at a whopping 20% ABV!
No worries though – let your finished wine age for about a year after bottling, and you’ll be rewarded with a smooth, flavorful wine that packs a punch! The harsh “Everclear” flavor will age right out.
Banana wine is very easy – and very CHEAP – to make. Also, it finishes a unique color, which will make a beautiful addition to your wine rack – or gift.
If you haven’t attempted making wine before, don’t be intimidated! Check out our primer to home brewing, it starts here, with parts 2 and 3 here and here. Just a small handful of entries, and you’ll be good to go!
Homemade Banana Wine Recipe
21 lbs of RIPE bananas, sliced into thin rings
5 gallons water (You won’t use it all)
15-20 lbs white and/or brown sugar (We used white)
6 tsp acid blend
5 tsp pectinase
1.25 tsp wine tannin
6 tsp yeast nutrient
4 lbs golden raisins
1 packets of wine yeast (We like Red Star “Champagne” for this recipe)
Potassium sorbate or other wine stabilizer
7.5 gallon pot (or bigger)
1 6.5 gallon fermenter bucket and lid
1 or 2 6.5 gallon glass carboys & stoppers
1 air lock
Siphon, siphon tubing.
In large stock pot – we used a 7.5 gallon turkey fryer – combine bananas, sugar, and about 4 gallons of water. Heat to almost boiling, mashing and stirring until sugar is dissolved. Continue to heat for about 45 minutes – never allowing it to come to a boil – stirring every few minutes. Remove from heat, add acid blend, pectinase, tannin, and yeast nutrient. Stir well.
Place raisins in a freshly sanitized 6.5 gallon fermenting bucket. Carefully strain hot banana liquid into the fermenting bucket, over top of the raisins. Top with water to 6 gallons, and add a few scoops of the banana mush. Cover with sanitized lid and air lock, allow to cool to room temperature (overnight).
The next morning, give the mixture a quick stir with a sanitized paddle, and – using sanitized equipment – take a gravity reading. Keep track of the number! (This is an optional step, but will allow you to calculate your final ABV %)
Sprinkle yeast into fermenter, cover with sanitized cover and air lock. Within 48 hours, you should notice fermentation activity – bubbles in the airlock, carbonation and /or swirling in the wine must. This means you’re good to go!
Let sit for about a week, stirring (sanitized paddle!) Every couple of days or so. It will get black on top. It’ll look awful… and your whole brewing area / basement / garage will smell like banana bread!
After a week or so, use your sanitized siphon setup to rack the must into a freshly sanitized 6.5 gallon carboy. (At this point, we ran the raisins and remaining pulp through a juicer and added it to the carboy, but that’s entirely optional. Will give the wine extra body if you do it!)
Put the carboy somewhere cool (not cold!), and leave it alone for a month or so.
Using sanitized equipment, rack the banana wine off the sediment, into a clean, freshly sanitized 6.5 gallon carboy. (At this point, we added 4 lbs sugar for added sweetness. It probably also upped the final ABV!). Cap with sanitized airlock, leave it alone for another 2-3 months.
|By this point, you’ll find that your wine has clarified, and looks NOTHING like it did when it started. Enjoy your handiwork. Rack one more time, leave it for another 3 months or so.
When your wine has been racked a few times and shows NO more fermenting activity for a month or so (no bubbles in the airlock, no more sediment being produced, you can move on to bottling.
Follow the instructions on your selected type of wine stabilizer to stop fermentation. For potassium sorbate, this needs to be done 2-3 days before bottling.
Using sanitized equipment, take a gravity reading, then rack the wine into clean, sanitized bottles. Cork. (We like to use these for corking our homemade wine. Easy to use – no special equipment needed! – easy to uncork, and – should you have any wine left in your bottle after serving (pfft!), the “cork” is easily replaced for temporary storage!).
I’m not going to lie – the wine you bottle is going to be pretty harsh. Drinkable, but definitely banana flavored fire water. Put the bottles into the cases they came in and forget about them for a year (or two!) – you’ll have a much tastier wine at the end of the wait!