Banana wine recipe

Bananas are very useful in winemaking. I add a few bananas to all manner of homebrew wines to add a bit of extra body. If you only add a couple, the banana flavour doesn't come through. However, it is perfectly possible to make a homemade wine out of bananas alone. If you are brave enough!

We add bananas to homebrew wine to increase the body. Wine made from bananas alone is tremendously rich and full bodied. It also tastes of bananas!

As bananas ripen and go dark and spotty, they increase their sugar content, and taste sweeter. I personally hate an over ripe banana - too sweet for me, but perfect for winemaking! Aim for about two kilos of overripe bananas. Ripen them by keeping them in a paper bag in a warm place. When soft and spotted, chop them up and stick them in a large pan with a gallon of water.

To peel, or not to peel ones bananas. Depends on how much banana body you want! I say peel the bananas, and then add the peel into the pan with the chopped banana flesh. Bring the whole thing to the boil and simmer very gently for about 20 minutes. Strain the muck out and add sugar up to about 1080. We are aiming for around medium dry here, but a dry banana wine works well. You can go the other way and make a very sweet banana wine - but this stops the banana wine being used for its prime purpose..see below.

You tend to get a lot of sediment with banana wine, especially if you've over boiled it. One common problem with banana wine is the starch. Unripe bananas are very starchy, and this starch does not ferment - it just clouds the banana wine. So make sure you add a generous amount of Amylase enzyme according to the packet directions. This enzyme will convert the unfermentable starch into plain sugar that gets fermented and stops the starch clouding the finished wine.

Don't even think about drinking banana wine for at least six months. Better yet, keep it 1 year.

Now the good bit. Although banana wine is perfectly drinkable on its own, it has a secret purpose! A medium dry full bodied banana wine is perfect for blending with other wines. If you have some other wine, e.g. Elderflower which is lacking in body, adding anything up to 1/4 banana wine can transform the dull wine into something highly drinkable. Blending newly made wines with some banana wine increases their aging potential. One good trick is to make a 5 gallon kit wine, and then chuck in a couple of bottles of banana wine at the end to flesh it out a bit and make the expensive kit wine go a bit further. It is actually worth getting a load of cheap over-ripe bananas and making a couple of gallons of banana wine just to use it for blending your other homebrew wines.