Chocolate Banana Stout (with weizen yeast) -- just stupid enough to work?

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by abraxel, Aug 29, 2012.

  1. abraxel

    abraxel Savant (385) Michigan Aug 28, 2009

    I'm curious about brewing a chocolate stout with weizen yeast to get some nice banana flavor. I'm not sure I'd have the highest hopes for it, but it could be tasty and at worst it would be an interesting experiment.

    Has anyone tried anything like this, or have any guesses how it might turn out? Any thoughts on which yeast and/or stout recipe might work best? I stole this chocolate stout recipe from someone; it looks like a good place to start:

    10 lbs 2 row
    1 lb Flaked oats
    1/2 lb Chocolate malt
    1/2 lb Roasted barley

    1.5 oz EKG @ 60 min
    0.5 oz EKG @ 15 min
    1/2 lb Cocoa powder @ 5 min

    I'm thinking Wyeast 3068?

    Sidenote: If I brew this I'll probably call it Frozen Banana Stand, but that would be more apt if I added some peanuts...
    Gilmango likes this.
  2. MaxSpang

    MaxSpang Advocate (515) Ohio Jan 28, 2011

    Call it the Big Yellow Joint.

    I probably would add some banana in secondary on top of the weizen yeast, but that's just me. I don't know if the banana flavor from the yeast would hold up to the other flavors, but I could be wrong.
  3. Maybe you can ferment at a high enough temp to get the yeast to puke out enough banana to be detected.
    inchrisin likes this.
  4. abraxel

    abraxel Savant (385) Michigan Aug 28, 2009

    Oh, most definitely! I spent a minute or two trying to come up with a better reference than "Frozen Banana Stand", and that's exactly what I was looking for. Thanks!

    That's a good idea... I might try both at some point, since I'm curious how the weizen yeast would work in a stout, and if I'm using actual bananas I may as well just ferment with American ale yeast or what have you.
    BlackBelt5112203 and MaxSpang like this.
  5. abraxel

    abraxel Savant (385) Michigan Aug 28, 2009

    That makes sense... from what I read it sounds like mid-70s might be a good target?

    I'm beginning to worry that brewing this beer well might take quite a few rounds of tweaking, but oh well :)
    Eriktheipaman likes this.
  6. kungpao

    kungpao Aficionado (185) Texas Dec 8, 2009

    Interesting Idea! I listened to an interview with an employee from Wyeast on YouTube in regards to pitching rates. He mentioned that when pitching a heffe yeast you can purposely under or over pitch to achieve more banana or clove esters in the finish product. Under pitching will make for a beer that leans towards the banana side, leaving most of the clove aroma out.

    He mentioned pitching around 6 million cells per degree plato to achieve a banana forward beer. Using a yeast starter calculator you should be able to do the math to figure out your pitching rates. Fermenting on the higher side, temperature wise, should produce more esters. Theoretically using both techniques you should end up with a chocolatey banana beer.
    abraxel likes this.
  7. abraxel

    abraxel Savant (385) Michigan Aug 28, 2009

    That's really useful, thanks! Is this the video you're talking about? I'm watching it now, thanks for pointing me to it. He mentions 6 million cells per mL for a banana-forward wheat beer, or about 100 billion cells in a 5-gallon batch, which conveniently is about what you get if you just pitch without a starter.

    It sounds like this could actually work! I'll just need to get a heating pad or something to keep it warm.
  8. kungpao

    kungpao Aficionado (185) Texas Dec 8, 2009

    Yes that is the video I was referring to. One thing I forgot to mention is that your yeast will be stressed in general from under pitching, and you'll want to be certain to properly oxygenate the wort to avoid a stuck fermentation. Good luck on this one, please keep us updated on the results.
  9. abraxel

    abraxel Savant (385) Michigan Aug 28, 2009

    Hm, I don't have anything fancier than just shaking the beer to aerate, hopefully that'll be enough.

    Thanks! I probably won't get around to brewing this for at least a few weeks, but I'll post updates when I have them.
  10. Danielbt

    Danielbt Savant (380) Texas May 4, 2012

    I know from personal experience that WLP005 fermented at 75F is freakin' bananas.
    ericj551 and Eriktheipaman like this.
  11. koopa

    koopa Champion (800) New Jersey Apr 20, 2008

    A buddy of mine actually made a chocolate banana beer using real banana's. I want to say he said he put them into the mash but I'm not entirely sure. If I can find out in a quick fashion I'll let you know.
  12. nanobrew

    nanobrew Initiate (0) California Dec 31, 2008

    I did this with plantains. I thought it worked fairly well, a little more would have been good (though I don't remember the quantity off the top of my head). I also roasted the plantains in the oven for a little bit.
  13. CASK1

    CASK1 Savant (370) Florida Jan 7, 2010

    One of the Zymurgy issues in the past year (I think) had an article about boosting banana character in Weizens. I remember adding an uncommon temperature rest to the mash that increases the precursor compound that the yeast converts to isoamyl acetate (banana ester). Sorry I don't have the details handy - I'll try to look them up later.
    kungpao likes this.
  14. inchrisin

    inchrisin Savant (470) Indiana Sep 25, 2008

    I accidently pitched a weizen yeast into a milk stout once. It did have a bit of a banana twang. I'd recommend fermening in the low 70s at first and ramp it up after high-krausen. Also, if I had to do the recipe again, I'd mash high 150s and add a minimum of 1/2#carapils 1/2# flaked oats. Make it beefy and thick to hold up against the chocolate.
  15. abraxel

    abraxel Savant (385) Michigan Aug 28, 2009

    Oh, that sounds interesting. I just subscribed to Zymurgy a few months ago, so I don't think I saw that issue, but I'd like to see that article.
  16. CASK1

    CASK1 Savant (370) Florida Jan 7, 2010

    I found the article. It is in the May/June 2010 Zymurgy: "Brewing a Wheat Beer with Intensive Banana Aroma", by Michael Eder. The basics are to use an unusual decoction with a "5:1 water to grist ratio by weight", which apparently leads to a higher mash pH (~6.0), and a step at 104F (40C). These lead to increased maltase activity which provides the yeast with more precursors for banana ester production.

    kungpao and abraxel like this.
  17. BomberKing

    BomberKing Aficionado (160) Texas Jan 15, 2011

    I have a black wheat on 3068 finishing up right now. I was going to just do my house hefe on the yeast cake, but this sounds funner. I'll have to try this on Saturday. I'm thinking a a rouge chocolate stout clone would work well. Thanks for the great idea!!
    Eriktheipaman and abraxel like this.
  18. abraxel

    abraxel Savant (385) Michigan Aug 28, 2009

    Awesome, let me know how it turns out!
  19. koopa

    koopa Champion (800) New Jersey Apr 20, 2008

    Spoke to my buddy and his feedback was:

    "I used the standard ratio of 1lb/gal. I waited til they were ripe and then I froze them. When the beer was about 90% finished with fermentation I thawed the bananas, pureed them and then added them to the fermenter. I got a lot of banana character, but with adding any unpasteurized ingredient, there is always risk of infection. It took me about 5 weeks to go through my 5 gal keg. I thought at the very end that I might have been able to pick out a slight infection, but it was so slight it might have been my mind looking for one.."
  20. maltmuncher

    maltmuncher Aficionado (195) Aug 22, 2012

    I think so, the only way to tell will be to brew it and send me one! :D
  21. abraxel

    abraxel Savant (385) Michigan Aug 28, 2009

    Not sure if anyone's still interested, but I did it! And it worked! Here's the recipe I ended up with:

    15 lbs Pale Malt, 2 Row, US
    1 lbs Crystal 40L
    1 lbs Chocolate Malt
    0.5 lbs Black Patent

    0.75 oz Chinook @ 60 min
    0.5 oz Willamette @ 45 min
    1 lbs Lactose @ 15 min
    4.5 oz Cocoa powder @ 15 min

    Smack pack of WY3068 (Weihenstephan), no starter, fermented at room temp. Underpitching and fermenting warm are important to the banana flavor.

    I had some serious mash efficiency problems (I think the crush was poor, I need to get my own mill), so I ended up at 1.080 OG instead of the predicted 1.096, but the beer still turned out well. It's a very smooth, sweet, chocolatey stout with subtle but unmistakable banana aroma and flavor. It doesn't seem artificial or forced, and the chocolate and banana complement each other. In all, it's actually really tasty. I think I'll try the same recipe again at some point, but try to ferment it at 75 instead of room temp (which is around 67-70 in my house) to up the banana flavor a little.

    Also, this is perhaps the best-looking beer I've ever brewed. Crazy good head retention, and look at dat lacing!

    Edit: I was considering trying a version using a more neutral ale yeast and mushed up bananas added to secondary, but I'm so happy with how this one turned out I might not bother.
    Beerontwowheels, Bay01, epk and 3 others like this.
  22. epk

    epk Savant (325) New Jersey Jun 10, 2008

    Glad it came out well! That head also reminds me of banana. Looks delicious.

    Side note, this thread makes me want to pour a half an half of Well's Banana bread and Brooklyn's Black Choco Stout.
  23. I think I will be making something similar sometime soon... maybe my first brew of the new year. Looking at doing a lower gravity porter with WLP300.

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