This batch was made from 12 lbs. of bananas, 10 cans of 100% orange juice and 6 cans of 100% white grape juice ($47) as well as some star anise and fresh ginger root. I adapted a 1-gallon recipe from Jack Keller for my 6-gallon batch (I would link to his recipe, but I found it on his “blog” page and the recipe doesn’t seem to have a unique URL of its own). I also substituted 10 cans of 100% orange juice for 48 juiced Valencia oranges. The wine is spiced with star anise and ginger root.
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The usual process with a few new activities: boil/simmer banana slices with star anise and ginger root slices for 40 minutes and poor resulting fluid into primary fermenter with sugar, white grape juice and orange juice. Once all 6 gallons of the must was assembled I let it sit for 12 hours or so and then added my 12-hour primed yeast. Within a few hours fermentation appeared to be taking off. Fermentation picked up by the second day and on the third day fermentation was violent.
Racked into carboy this morning. Fermentation is slow already, but still happening. 2010-12-30: Still fermenting. 2011-01-07: Still fermenting. Moved the carboy upstairs to warm it up and hopefully kick the fermentation into second or third gear.
The frequency of bubbles finally dropped to a very limited level this week, so I added 6 cambden tablets and stirred the wine and lees up real good. I also did a taste test: the over abundance of orange juice that I added to the must has made it so any taste of banana is pretty well disguised. Before stirring, the wine was already quite clear towards the top of the carboy. The flavor is distinctly citrus. I’m thinking it might be best with a slight sweetening. We’ll see.
Wine was only slightly cloudy and an inch or so of lees had collected at the bottom. I racked the wine into my primary fermenter and added 2 cups of sugar (sweetened according to taste). My wife also thought that the wine could use more “spice”, so I sliced up another inch-long segment of fresh ginger and a tablespoon of whole anise and dropped them into a freshly cleaned carboy. Then I racked the sweetened wine into the carboy, over the ginger and anise.