Banana Wine, Sloe Gin, Neil’s Personal Brewing

I’ll start off with the more interesting and technical banana wine then move on to the easy peasy sloe gin.

Banana Wine (Recipe Notes Later)

I live above a convenience supermarket. Many people that we know fish in the bin for goodies and eventually we ended up with about 100 bananas. Abundance does not publicly endorse dumpster diving/skipping. We couldn’t face eating more of them raw, we invented roast banana and potato so eventually I got myself together for an epic brew of banana wine.

The book used for the recipe was C.J. Berry’s First steps in Winemaking. You can buy it from these taxdodgers though if I remember correctly I got mine in Headington Homeware. You will need the reasonably exotic brewing ingredients listed in the picture below. I got my grape concentrate and Amylozyme (amylase) from Hops and Vines in Witney by mailorder.


Like most brewing it involved making a “must” of some kind of edible stuff, LOADS OF SUGAR, water, agitation, a boil and then enzymes and yeast once its cooled.

For a good while it did not ferment. My dad (who along with my mother taught me brewing) wrote my stinking soup off. To be fair it wasn’t looking good. I had used a mystery yeast (beer ?) from the cupboard and no nutrient, but by the time he had posted me some wine yeast the ferment was well underway. Bubbles were appearing. It tasted okay. I added some “nutrient” in the form of crushed vitamin supplement pills and continued the brew.

Next in the process was racking. This involves siphoning off the liquid from the sludge in the vat into demijohns and an airlock bung in the top. Keep it all scrupulously clean with sterilising powder and you should be good. Now my wine is happily sitting, out of the way for the next few months. It makes a satisfying bubble sound every 7 seconds. A factoid I repeat at length is that for every atomic weight of carbon dioxide (O-C-O) that come out, it produces the same atomic weight of alcohol. wOoP! I can now forget about my wine for many months until it is ready. I’m going to give the bottles some great decoration. I hope keen abundancers get a taste when its ready!

Quick Notes on Recipe:

  • Use black or spotted bananas. Place them, together with the peel (this can include orange and lemon peel as well), into a cloth bag.
  • Put the cloth bag, tied up, into a large saucepan of water and bring to a boil. Simmer for half an hour, after which, pour the hot liquid over the sugar and the juice squeezed from other fruit (for 3 kilos of bananas, 1 lemon, and 1 orange, use 1.5 kilos of sugar).
  • Squeeze as much juice from the cloth bag as possible once it cools down a bit. When all the liquid is lukewarm, that is, 21° Celsius, add  the amylase enzyme. Amylozyme is a propriety name.
  • After 24 hours add the yeast, cover closely, and leave in a warm place for a week, stirring daily.
  • Pour into a glass jar and  keep in a cool place, closed with a piece of cling film and a rubber band.
  • After a couple of months, when a large sediment sets at the bottom, siphon the liquid off, and add the grape concentrate (100 ml).
  • Fit and airlock, then siphon off again after four months, leave for further six months before sampling, the liquor improves the longer you keep it.

General Tips

  • Keep it all clean with sterilising powder. Write down the dates you did things. Ask a friend to help.
  • You can make wine out of very wide range of things. Google something? My next is either rose petals or birch sap.
  • If you want to make beer instead of wine , it’s a lot simpler. Buy a starter kit and the cans of malt.

Sloe Gin

A good friend of mine gave me some of his sloe gin and a torch for Christmas. He knows me well. Ta Andy! Immediately I was in the outdoors with a plastic bag a-hunting sloes. Get them home and whack them in the freezer till an appropriate time. Buy gin and sugar, defrost sloes, wash, smush them to bits with a fork, add sugar, smushed, berries and gin to a tightly lidded container. Shake every day for as long as you can bear to wait. Filter, bottle and distribute. Easy. Peasy.


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