Sunday, April 22, 2012

Banana Mead, part 2

Ok, so I chopped all of the fruit, after it was "topped and tailed" into pieces about 5mm or so thick. I managed to get the whole lot into my GF's "Maslin" pan (jam/jelly making pan) with about 6 litres of water, but had to take some out and transfer it to the base of our pressure cooker, as it was just too much fruit for the 1 pan.

Both pans were brought to the boil, and then simmered for 30 minutes, then switched off and left to cool.

Once they were cool enough, I checked (the liquid/fruit was put through a strainer, and then the pulp was wrung out to remove the last of the "juice") how much "juice" I had and then made it up too 2 gallons. I was working from guidance that suggested 4 and a half pounds of banana to the gallon, and figured that 5 and a half pounds per gallon wouldn't make much difference as there was no point in trying to split the numbers. To that, I added the 6lb of local wild flower honey. All the liquid contents went into the chosen fermenter, which was capped and I shook the hell out of it. Then added sulphites (in the form of campden tablets). I use 3 tablets, because with the honey, it was up to about 11 litres of liquid.

This has been left for about 36 hours, with lots of shaking in between, so I'm hoping that the sulphites will have dissipated enough not to be a problem. The whole point of the sulphite was because I wasn't sure about what I was going to do next and was still digging round the net for idea's etc.

I've mixed up about 150mls of water and the same amount of the juice/honey mix, which has gone into a jam jar with half a tablespoon of GoFerm (7.5 grammes - which according the some stuff I've read about dosage should be 1.5 x the weight of yeast - a 5 gramme pack). I've put the yeast into that and shaken the hell out of it. Hopefully, by the time I've finished typing this, it will have started to show some signs of activity (about and hour or so).

I'll pitch the yeast and then give it all another bloody good shake to make sure it's as aerated as I can make it, without mechanical assistance.

Oh, and I took a gravity reading, which was 1.090 at room temp, so it I get the ferment down to 1.000 it will be about 12.2% ABV, if I can get it down to 0.990, then it will be about 13.5% ABV - I'm aiming for 14%, which is the tolerance for the chosen yeast, Lalvin 71B.

I'm still thinking about this batch and might chuck in a couple of vanilla pods, as that usually goes well with banana, and maybe a jar of malt extract, as malt also goes well with banana, but it would also give some fermentable and some non-fermentable sugars to the brew. I'm already expecting to have to add some more honey to the batch if I want 14% and some residual sugars for sweetness.

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