Splitting a batch of Belgian White IPA to create an experimental Banana beer

I’m a big fan of splitting batches of homebrew during the secondary fermentation stage or bottling stage. This is a great way to create small batch experimental beers. We had a cool start to the summer here in New England and I was able to brew a Belgian White IPA with Wyeast’s Belgian Ardennes yeast at ambient temperature. The primary flavor constituents being Apollo and Galaxy hops, complimented by some sweet orange peel. When it came time to dry hop, I decided I wanted split the batch in two. First to continue the IPA and also to make a fruit beer with banana that could also be poured as a Shandy. Splitting 5 or 10 gallon batches is a great way to try out new flavors and adjuncts without risking an entire batch of beer.

The first half of the batch was dry hopped and bottled per usual with a simple syrup made from corn sugar.

To get a real creamy banana flavor and mouthfeel in the second half, I decided I needed to do two things. First was to add banana to the secondary. I froze the bananas overnight, then soaked them in 145° santizer solution for about 15 minutes. The warm sanitizer accomplished two things at once. First, obviously, to cut down on the chances of infection. Second, because the bananas were frozen, it served to bloat the peel and make it fall away from the fruit. I added 6 fairly large bananas to roughly 2.5 gallons of beer. After three days the substance of the bananas had disolved and disseminated throughout the beer. I decided it was time to bottle and that I wanted to use pure banana as my sugar source. Roughly speaking, two bananas contain the fermentable sugar of 1 oz of priming sugar. It’s in the forms of Sucrose, Glucose, and Fructose in a 6:4:2 ratio. I repeated the freezing and poaching process with two addtional bananas. Why only two? I estimated that only part of the sugar in the previous bananas had been fermented and used a little math to determine 1 additional oz of sugar would result in the proper level of CO2. Once the two bananas were pealed, I added them to two cups of water and heated just shy of boiling. Cooled, added to the beer and bottled.

The results were great! The first half of the batch is a hoppy, slightly creamy IPA with a strong pressence of orange on the nose and in the flavor. I overhopped it both in the boil and dry hop, so it’s a bit more American than Belgian in bitterness and hop flavor. The second half of the batch is even better! The banana added additional creaminess to the mouthfeel and softened the orange flavor and aroma just a touch. The taste of banana is subtle and more understated than I actually expected, but it comes in a bit more at the finish and balances nicely with the hops. After just a few days in refrigeration, any remaining banana particles settled out with yeast. Poured half and half with freshly squeezed orange juice, this beer convinced a diehard hophead that Shandys are cool…


About mrhopsbeertalk
Avid homebrewer and craft beer taster. I love all the hops I can get. #hops #ipa #iipa #ipl #porter #dipa #specialtyale #saison #craftbeer western mass · mrhopsbeertalk.wordpress.com

4 Responses to Splitting a batch of Belgian White IPA to create an experimental Banana beer

  1. Pingback: Brewing my first Belgian beers, a White IPA and a Saison | @mrhopsbeertalk

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