Bananas for body? Questions and comments invited....

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St Allie

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Mar 6, 2009
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not sure where to post this.. and couldn't find a comprehensive discussion on bananas in the files held here.

After talking to the homebrew shop lady locally.. I was told adding bananas to a must for body is a bad thing. Apparently it gives people nasty hangovers and off flavours in the wines..Bananas are mainly starch and she prefers to recommend the addition of raisins instead.

Her personal mission at the moment is to stop people doing it.

Who uses bananas?.. and why? Do you feel her comments are justified?


I use bananna's with no ill effect. I would NOT use them during fermentation though. After "TASTING" prior to bottling is when you may make a decision to use if the wine is "thin". If making a kit I don't see any need as the mfg. has figureed it into the kit.
Another option is to use Glycerine for mouth feel and body.
BTW You will not taste any bananna in the wine.

if it is a choice between raisins and bananas, and I am talking specifically cheap wine kits in need of a bit of tweaking.. for this question to you.

you say you wouldn't use bananas during fermentation. Is it easier to adjust the wine with bananas after fermentation then? Does it cause the wine to start fermenting again if done this way?

why wouldn't you add them to the primary?

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I have never used bananas for adding body so I cant advise here, Ive always used grape concentrate, tannins, or raisins only because I didnt want to deal with the mushy mess from bananas deteriorating. I have made banana wine and it was ok, I dont remember and headaches or funky tastes from it. If I did use them i would have added them in during fermentation though so Tom could you explain how to use them after fermentation?
I'm saying Why add them IF you don't know if its needed?If doing grapes or juice most will be OK for body. Kits should be OK but, when it dont come out as you like then you know there is something you can do.
If you are only looking for body the other thing to add is glycerine

OK I see where you are coming from..

How do you decide then, if a wine needs banana after fermentation and you are adjusting?.. I think that is also what Wade is asking..

does it re-ferment?

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Not if sorbate is added.
Remember the 3 "T's" ?
Its to YOUR taste. If you feel the wine is thin then there are things to do
Have a huge batch of banana wine on the go at the moment here Wade, it's a gorgeous colour and smells really nice.. no banana overtones at all.

Thinking maybe the homebrew woman meant that bananas react with grapes in some way to contribute the hangover and off flavours.

I have no idea..

OK to adjust the question again perhaps..

Would you choose to add bananas or raisins or glycerine?..or a combination? and why?

I usually use golden raisins to wines I suspect will be short on body like the dandelion batch I have fermenting. I just think the golden raisins taste a little better and smoother and i dont add any extra color.

As I understand it, bananas are a traditional fix for commercial French wines. Sorry I don't have proof/link to that info.

There are a lot of folks on other forums that use bananas in lesser kits to increase body with positive results reported.

Personally, I dislike bananas. Even the smell bothers me. (OK, yeah I know I'm weird.) I also have not tweaked kits with bananas or raisins. I tend to buy better quality kits, so feel that it's not necessary.

If I was making a Chai Maison red kit, I would probably add raisins, but not bananas. But again that's my personal taste.

I could very well be wrong here, but I highly doubt that bananas are permitted in the production of quality French wine. France's AOC regulations are extremely tight and restrict not only the grape varieties used and maximum yields, but also restrict the viticultural and winemaking techniques along with the use of additives. I know for a fact that bananas would not be permitted in Ontario's VQA wines, and since the regulations for VQA are more new world in scope (ie. more permissive) I believe that one could assume that bananas would not be permitted in French wine.

I'm not saying that bananas were NEVER used in France... they also used to use beets fermented with spent grape pomace to make cheap wine for vineyard workers/labourers... I'm just suggesting that they are not likely being currently used in the production of any quality French wines.

That doesn't mean they won't work well for the home winemaker, though!
Tom is right, you will not find banana flavor in the finished wine.
Banana's will however bring sugar, some nutrients and some body to a wine.
I have added banana's to several of my wines with success. Yeast really likes banana's....

I make banana juice, with my steamer.
3 kilo banana's in the steamer and after a few hours I'll have 2 liter banana juice. That is what I add to the must.
Banana's have a yellow-gold color, the juice will be greyish.

You can also add 3 kilo banana's to 3 liter water and boil them for a while. Then strain and add the juice to the must.
Do this upfront when making the wine. I usually replace part of the water (needed for making the must) with the banana juice.

Never had any bad experiences with it.

Luc's methods of preparing the "juice" of the bananas is the way to go. Once I tried adding mashed bananas to a must to ferment, and even after weeks of settling there was about 20" of loose pulp with about 10" of clear wine on top. After (lightly) straining it through nylons, I still had several inches of pulp settle in the new carboy.
Well, that's a really positive outlook for the bananas then..

Thanks for the replies, I'm still adding bananas to my wine creations. It has raised a few questions for me too, as I have never used glycerine, so will have to do my homework there. If anyone has info to share on glycerine usage.. please post.. I'm sure I won't be the only one that needs to learn about it.


ABOUT THIS PRODUCT: (FLV310) Use Glycerine in your wine to give it more body. Glycerine increases the wine`s mouth-feel giving it a fuller, more pleasant texture. Glycerine also smoothes over some of the harsh characteristics that are prevalent in most younger wines. Glycerine is a natural by-product of fermentation. It is a colorless, odorless, viscous syrup that has little noticeable flavor except for a slight sweetness. That makes it perfect for taking any wine and turning it into a big, macho red. Glycerine can also be used in cordials to enhance their body.

DIRECTIONS: Before adding Glycerine, the wine should be clear and moved off of any sediment into a clean container and ready to bottle. Add the Glycerine directly to the wine. It is important that the wine be stirred thoroughly to evenly disperse the Glycerine.

DOSAGE: Use between 1 and 3 tablespoons of Glycerine for each gallon of wine, or between 2 and 8 ounces of Glycerine for each 5 gallons of wine, depending on your taste. When adding to cordials, use 1 to 2 tablespoons per each quart.

MAXIMUM DOSAGE: Total dosage in wine should not exceed either 4 tablespoons for each gallon of wine or 10 ounces for each 5 gallons of wine.

EACH 4 FLUID OUNCE BOTTLE: is sufficient for treating up to 10 gallons of wine, depending on the dosage used.

INGREDIENT: 99.5% Glycerol Syrup (CAS: 56-81-5)

I prefer to use raisins myself as they are grapes and wine is grapes. I have used bananas before and it does work. I will lean toward the other side though and say I have tasted the banana is a couple of wines I made. I tend to prefer raisins though. I coarsely chop them and add them. I don't see much value adding whole raisins to a wine but many do. So for me it is raisins to a varietal wine but if it is a somewhat sweet to sweet fruit wine, I add bananas at a rate of around a half pound to pound per gallon,
Thanks for thatTom.

Steve? out of interest, the wines you said you could taste the banana in.. were they grape kits or fruit wines?

Steve? out of interest, the wines you said you could taste the banana in.. were they grape kits or fruit wines?

If you're asking me... I have never added bananas to a wine. My dislike of bananas has nothing to do with wine making.

oops sorry Steve.. that question was for Smurfe ( aka Steve) hehehe


(off to the gym , back later!)