Is there a method of fermenting bananas? I have a lot of bananas here, apparently they are Cavendish(?) bananas. Is there a simple method to produce a sort of palatable drink from them? Bare in mind I live on a boat so stills are out of the question (I would like to keep the boat in one piece - please!).
There is banana beer and there is banana wine made from Cavendish bananas, but they are not the same thing!
What is banana beer?
Banana beer is an alcoholic beverage made from fermentation of mashed bananas. Sorghum, millet or maize flour are added as a source of wild yeast.
And there is a difference with banana wine.
Banana wine is a fruit wine made exclusively from bananas. It is different from banana beer, which has a long tradition and great cultural significance in East Africa. Blocker et al. (2001)1 wrote a chapter on "Banana Wine" in the book "Alcohol and temperance in modern history: an international encyclopedia", though this is slightly confusing, as they define what is traditionally referred to as banana beer as being banana wine. The data they present on Production Techniques and Social Practices and Rituals relates to the latter and not to what is commonly known as banana wine.
Here is how to make banana beer the African way.
Peel ripe bananas by hand. Only use bananas ripe enough to be peeled by hand
Use grass to knead the bananas until clear juice is extracted. The residue will remain in the grass.
Mix 1:3 water: banana juice ratio.
Sorghum flour:banana juice ratio, 1:12. Stir the mixture well. Sorghum is added to improve the color and the flavor of the beer
Ferment in plastic containers covered by polyethylene bags. Allow to ferment 18 -24 hours.
Force the liquid through a cotton cloth bag either by hand or use a press.
Place in 1 liter size plastic bottles
Several days, refrigerated - African Banana Beer
Here is how to make homemade banana wine.
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.
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.
As a side note one can peruse the banana tag on the Homebrewing SE site for more information.
Step by Step guide to make banana beer at home Banana Beer Recipe Yummy!