Getting overripe bananas for a fair price is not a problem but this “capricious” raw material requires a special approach from a moonshiner. First, banana moonshine will interest enthusiasts of exotic hard liquors which are hard to come by. The technology is comparatively complex, as it requires boiling the must. In return you’ll end up with a distillate with a scarcely perceptible aroma and a subtle banana aftertaste. In order to make home brew you can use any bananas (overripe will do better). The thing is to find untainted fruits without mold. The outer peel can blacken but the pulp itself should remain useful. Usually unconditional fruits are used for moonshine.
It is not recommended to mature home brew with banana peels because in order to increase the shelf-life before transporting peels are treated with chemical mixtures which can get into the final beverage. Furthermore, there’s almost no sugar in peels as well as aroma.
How to Make Banana Moonshine
- No Rinse Cleaner/Sanitizer
- Cooking Pot (Electric) or Cooking Pot (Stovetop)
- Stirring Spoon 24″
- Kitchen Scales
- Fermentation container (ss) or Fermentation container (plastic)
- Thermometer (Clip on) & Thermometer (Infared)
- Funnel with strainer & filter
- Distiller (Electric) or Distiller (Stovetop)
- Alcoholmeter & Hydrometer
- Measuring Jugs (Large) & Measuring Jugs (Small)
- Distillate collection jugs (Carboys)
- Glass Bottles – 750ml
- Bananas – 22.05 lbs/10 kg
- Sugar (not necessary) –6-15 lbs/3-7 kg
- Water – 1.3 gl/5 liters (plus 0.8 gl/3 liters per each 2 lbs/kilo of sugar)
- Distilling Yeasts – 2 oz/60 grams of dry (or 10.5 oz/300 grams of compressed)
- Cookies (Optional) – 1 piece per 2.5 gl/10 liters of homebrew can be replaced with kefir, sour cream or vegetable oil)
Banana home brew produces a lot of foam which can be suppressed with simple cookies without flavor additives or coloring compounds crumbled on the surface of home brew. You can use vegetable oil or dairy products for the same goal; the right proportions are in the recipe. The more sugar, the less banana flavor there is in the distillate. I recommend not adding sugar at all. In order to get the most high-quality moonshine possible you should replace conventional yeasts with wine yeasts or make broth following the standard technique. At the same time you should not forget that the fermentation with wine yeasts or broth lasts several times longer than with usual ones. Thus if you are just starting go ahead with distilling yeast. Depending on the variety bananas contain up to 30% of sugar, 1-1.5% of starch, and 0.7% of inulin – polysaccharide which can be broke down to sugar by heating up to a high temperature; the proper way to do this is described in the recipe. Saccharifying 1% of starch with malt is pointless to my mind because the yield will increase in a minor way but adding the malt will greatly influence the aroma and partly the flavor.
Making Banana Mash
1. Peel the bananas. 2. Mince the pulp using a meat grinder or in any other way until you get a mash. 3. In a cooking pot fit for heating mix the mash, water, and sugar (if you are going to use it). You should get homogenous consistency. 4. Heat up the contents of the container to 131-136°F/ 55-58°C. Maintain this temperature for one hour, stirring the mash from time to time in order to not let it burn at the bottom and to prevent lumps from appearing. Then cool down the must to 86°F/ 30°C. During this step inulin in the banana pulp will turn into fructose, which is perfect for the fermentation.
It is very important not to overheat the must over 140°F/ 60°C because such high temperatures cause enzymes to break down, thus stopping inulin from turning into fructose.
During the fermentation banana brew produces a lot of foam! I recommend filling the container to the half and crumbling cookies on the surface (1 piece per 2.5 gl/10 liters of brew).This method is the best. Alternatively you can add vegetable oil (1 teaspoon per 2.5 gl/10 liters) or thick sour cream (kefir) in proportion of 2 tablespoons per 2.5-3.1 gl/10-12 liters.
6. Install an airlock on the bottleneck of the fermentation container. 7. Leave the brew (you can cover it) in a dark place with a temperature of 64.4-80.6°F/ 18-27°C. Depending on the chosen yeasts and temperature the banana brew will ferment for about 5-45 days. When the airlock stops extracting gas, the taste has no sweetness in it, and there’s sediment at the bottom, you can get to the next step.
Distilling into Banana Moonshine
8. Filter the fermented brew through 2-3 layers of cheesecloth and/or funnel filter. Squeeze the pulp thoroughly. If you don’t filter it, the brew will burn in the process of distillation, which will cause the moonshine to have a bitter taste and unpleasant odor. 9. Fill a distillatory vessel of a moonshine still with the filtered brew. 10. Distill it for the first time, drawing off the overhead product, until the potency of the stream drops below 30%. 11. Dilute the obtained moonshine with water up to 18-20% and then distill it for the second time in your Moonshine still. Draw off the first 100 ml (plus 30-50 ml per each 2 lbs/kilo of added sugar) separately. That’s a harmful cut fraction called “heads”, you shouldn’t drink it. 12. Finish drawing off the main product while the potency in the stream drops below 40 degrees (it stops burning). 13. Dilute the finished banana moonshine with water until you get desired potency (40-45%). You should let the distillate mature for 2-3 days in a dark cold place for the taste to stabilize before trying it.