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I was inspired to make a banana mead after reading Gravity's Rainbow. I have made mead before, and looked online for recipes, but all of them contain grape juice.

Is the grape juice there for some fundamental reason (pH etc.) or can I omit it and just increase the amount of bananas used?

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Mead is a honey based beverage. Where are you looking that showed grape juice as the ingredients? Are you asking about banana wine or a banana flavored mead? –  brewchez Jul 2 '10 at 10:29
    
yeah - I was confused by the inclusion of grape juice myself, hence the question... –  Germ Jul 28 '10 at 23:33

2 Answers 2

I wonder if an you fermented a standard mead with a hefewiezen strain at the right temp if you force some of those banana esters out.

I don't think grape juice is an ingredient in standard mead making.

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You do not need to use grape juice. I know that honey has almost no nutrients and such for the yeast cells to eat. Most recipes I've seen have you throw in a teabag (for a few days), or grape juice, or whatnot to add nutrients to the must so the yeast can do it's work.

I personally go with Yeast Nutrient and Yeast Energizer. I'd suggest starting with a nice clean flavored honey (clover works great for this), and then adding mushed bananas to the secondary. FWIW, I'd also recommend you get Baby or Red bananas since (to my palate, at least) they taste more banana-like than the regular ones. Yes they are more expensive, but trust me on this. Also I'd suggest not getting them when they are green. In fact, I'd say buy them and then wait a good week before putting them into the mead. Let those skins get good and dark brown before using them (most recipes for banana bread suggest this, btw). Peel em up, toss into a zipper bag, mush and then put into the secondary.

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Nice answer and seems to clarify some of the issues I had in my mind. –  brewchez Jul 2 '10 at 14:38

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