Making Banana Wine: A Simple One-Gallon Recipe from Start to Finish

by BC | Updated: May 23, 2023

In this episode of “Doing the Most,” we delve into the process of making Jack Keller’s banana wine. Jack Keller was a pioneer in home winemaking, exploring every fermentable he could find, including fruits, vegetables, roots, flowers, and herbs.

He literally wrote the book on the subject.

This banana wine is part of a broader series where we brew Jack Keller’s wines and learn from his processes.


For Jack Keller’s banana wine, you will need:

  • 4.5 pounds of bananas
  • 1 pound 14 ounces of sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of pectic enzyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon of amylase enzyme
  • 1/8 teaspoon of grape tannin
  • 1 gram of Fermaid K
  • 1 teaspoon of yeast nutrient
  • Yeast (we used Alvin’s D47)


  1. Start by boiling one quart of water.
  2. Put all the bananas, with their peels on, into muslin straining bags. This keeps all the fruit and pulp together, preventing it from floating in a mashed mess in your bucket.
  3. Add the hot water to the sugar to dissolve it.
  4. Pour the sugar water directly on top of the bananas. Mash the bananas a bit with a potato masher to ensure the liquid saturates throughout the bags.
  5. Let the mixture cool for about an hour.
  6. Add all the powders: the amylase enzyme and the grape tannins.
  7. Add more water to get it up to the one-and-a-half-gallons mark. Because there’s so much fruit in there, it will take some extra liquid to get a gallon quantity.
  8. Add the pectic enzyme and the yeast nutrients (both diamonium phosphate and Fermaid K).
  9. Add the yeast, cover the mixture, and put it under an airlock to let it ferment.
  10. Every day, open it up and move the bananas around to ensure they don’t get dried out and prevent any vectors for mold growth.
  11. After 10 days, remove the bananas, squeeze all the liquid out, and let it finish fermenting.
  12. About two weeks later, rack it off into a clean and sanitized carboy.
  13. After about a month of cold crashing, get it into bottles.

Tasting Notes

The resulting banana wine has a nice gold-yellow color. The nose is big on banana, almost like artificial banana, with fruity, cidery, and berry notes. There’s a hint of blueberry, tart apple, and a banana laffy taffy kind of thing going on.

The taste is quite unique. It’s like what a banana would taste like if it had no sugar. There’s a deep dryness to it, grippy and tannic. You can sense the banana peel, the smell of that gritty fibrousness of the peel that’s leafy and verdant.

There’s not a juicy, luscious banana character there; it’s not vegetal but it’s not fruity either. It kind of rides that line in a way. There’s just a bit of cideriness there, which is characteristic usually of country fruit wines, and just a touch of acid.

Back sweetening the wine can elevate all of those banana characters. Adding back some sweetness ties everything together, creating a truly great fermented product.

This banana wine recipe is part of a broader series on Jack Keller’s home winemaking book. A big thanks to Homebrew Ohio for sponsoring this series. Happy brewing and winemaking, and here’s to Jack!