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Help please with my banana wine

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Bill Bates

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Hi everyone, my first post! I just started my winemaking journey a few weeks ago. I had a bunch of ripening bananas growing in the yard and since I'm on a low carb diet I tried to think of other ways to use them and I happened upon banana wine. I started a 1gal batch just over 2 weeks ago. The first 3-4 days it fermented like crazy! Unfortunately it was quite hot here in SW FL so the house was a little warmer than I would have liked. It slowed down quite a bit by the next weekend and I racked it off to a new carboy with an airlock. I tried a little bit of the yeasty leftovers from the 1st carboy and it tasted pretty good despite the strong yeast flavor. Strong! But still had some nice banana undertones that you could taste over the yeast. Fermentation has gone down considerably since then and now it seems to have stopped. The airlock is straight up level on both sides and you can see quite a bit of banana sediment forming on the bottom 2 inches of the carboy (see pic below). I'm wondering what I should do about that sediment. Should I give it more time to see if it settles more before I rack it again? What if it doesn't settle more? I hate to waste that. Is there some sort of filter I could use? BTW, I don't know the specific gravity...I just ordered a hydrometer which should arrive in the next few days.

 

salcoco

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I suggest racking off of the sediment . it contains dead yeast and some live yeast as well a banana pieces. unfortunately the live yeast will try to continue there action. without food they will stress and create a rotten egg odor or worse. after three weeks rack again should have some more sediment let wine clear add K-meta now and in three weeks, again in three months and then bottle if clear.
 

Bill Bates

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Thanks for your response, most appreciated! Sad to see that much wine go to waste since it's only a gallon but if that's what I have to do. If this turns out halfway decent, next time I'll up my game to 5gal. Should I rack it now or give the sediment a bit more time to settle? It hasn't settled much in the past few days.
 

salcoco

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everyday you do not rack increases the risk of bad odors I would do it now.
 

BernardSmith

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Hi Bill Bates and welcome. There is in fact far less wastage than you might imagine. Rack all the wine off the lees and then pour the lees (the sediment) into a mason jar or an empty wine bottle that you have cleaned and sanitized and put this in your fridge. After about a day (perhaps less, sometimes more) wine will rise towards the top and the sediment will pack down towards the bottom. If you have poured say, 6 inches of sediment you might find that in the fridge you have 4 inches of wine and 2 of sediment. You can then pour this wine into your carboy - or you can drink it. It won't be wonderful because it is so very "green" but you can get an idea of how well your wine is progressing.

The other thing is that, IMO, when making any batch of wine - whether 1 gallon or 6 gallons - you want to begin with more must (the liquid before you pitch the yeast) than you intend to rack. The way to do that is to use a bucket as your primary fermenter. You can then make a batch that is, say, 1.125 gallons or 1.25 gallons and you know, all things being equal, that when it comes time to rack you will always be able to fill your carboy. You store the excess in the fridge and if you need any of this to top up a second racking - you have the material.
 

Bill Bates

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That is fantastic advice, thank you! I have a perfect container for that fridge lees too. Great advice on going over for the first fermentation. So much to learn!
 

BernardSmith

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That is one of the real strengths of this forum. We all have a great deal to learn and here we all learn from one another. Everyone has something to learn and everyone has something or someone to learn from.
 

Bill Bates

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BTW, I got my hydrometer today and took a reading after I racked it. It was below .990. I'm assuming it's pretty much done fermenting at this point.
 

BernardSmith

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Below .990? That is very low. Can you check the hydrometer? Do you have some distilled water? Measure the gravity of that. It should be 1.000. Then dissolve 2 oz of sugar in distilled water to make 1 pint (don't dissolve the sugar in 1 pint - that is not quite the same thing). The gravity reading should be 1.040. Is it?
 

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