Monday, March 17, 2014

ChocoNanner Stout

In my quest to inject even more bananas into my system, I began to craft my second unique beer recipe that used this beloved ingredient.  It would be a stout.  Then it became a chocolate stout.  Yes, a chocolate banana stout - that's the ticket!  Fear and uncertainly filled the eyes of those who heard of it but I was undeterred.  At worse it would be nigh undrinkable.  But it succeeds....then I would be greatly pleased.

This was to be a 2.5 gallon extract recipe.  I checked out recipes online, looked at my previous stout attempt and settled on the following:

Steeping Grains:
1/2 lb chocolate malt
1/4 lb roasted barley
1/4 lb crystal 90

Malt Extract at boil:
1 lb pilsen light DME
3 lb pilsen extra light DME

1 oz Willamette (60 minutes)
1/2 oz Fuggle UK (15 minutes)

4 oz unsweetened baker's chocolate at flameout
Safale-04 yeast

OG: 1.058

At first I was concerned: this didn't look very stoutly.
Did I screw up my steeping grain choices?

Not to worry, that was just the look of the fermentation.
Once the yeast dropped out, it darkened.

So after three weeks in the primary fermenter we had a chocolate stout.  Now there's a couple different ways to add banana flavoring to your brew.  Most seem to use a hefeweisen yeast and ferment high (hef's often have intentional banana flavors supplied by the yeast.)  I also saw a tasty report that used banana puree mixed with rum for a banana fosters cream ale.  For this batch I opted to go as simple as possible.  Other recipes recommended about 5 pounds of bananas for a 5 gallon batch.  Based on their estimates, I bought 12 bananas and let 'em ripen in the basement.  I sanitized all my equipment (and my hands) peeled the bananas and just sliced 'em up.

Workshop is prepped for activy

I was aiming for 2 pounds 6 ounces so I was pleased to go over

Happy in their new home

Lotta peels

I sanitized the other 3 gallon carboy and shoved all the bananas in there.   I went to take a gravity reading and the hydrometer slipped out of the case and smashed on the floor.  My first hydrometer casualty!  They're so thin and fragile that it was bound to happen eventually.  Just a bummer that I couldn't take a reading before adding the bananas.

Racking to secondary

Let their powers combine!

The sludge left in the primary

The strange mixture was left to its own devices and for about a week nothing much seemed to happen.  Then after about ten days a secondary fermentation kicked in and a new layer of krausen was visible amongst the bananas.  I guess it took a while for the bananas to break down before the yeast could go to town on their sugars.  Seems like that's a point in favor of pureeing the bananas rather than just dropping them in as slices.

A true secondary fermentation

After 20 days I took a gravity reading of 1.014.  Three days later I pulled a 1.011 and that's where it finished.  Since I don't have a gravity reading prior to racking to secondary, I can't be sure about the ABV.  I'm guessing that it's in the 5.5-6% range.

Racking to the bottling bucket

I ended up with 22 bottles of the stuff.  I drank the hydrometer sample.  I could definitely taste the chocolate.  The banana was also there.  The sample had almost a cola taste to it.  Definitely "interesting."  I know I'm not selling it very well but I'm going to wait until I sample the fully carbed version to give a full report.  I'm sure you'll see it in my next Adventures in Homebrewing post.  Thanks for reading.


  1. Definitely sounds interesting...

  2. I'm a certified guinea pig. Trade you two (Not So) Choco-Barack O Coffee Porters for one of these frankensteins

    1. You got yourself a deal there, Slim.

  3. I tried one last night. Carbonation wasn't too bad but I think it'll improve with a bit more time. A definite banana aroma. It's very bitter - which I think comes from using the roasted barley and chocolate combination. After a couple sips though the bitterness wasn't an issue for me. Overall I'm happy with it and it's basically what I was looking for.