How to brew your own banana beer.
Banana beer is – of course – made from bananas, mixed with a cereal flour and fermented to an orange, alcoholic beverage. It is sweet and slightly hazy with a shelf-life of several days if stored under correct storage conditions. There are many variations in how the beer is made. For instance Urwaga banana beer in Kenya is made from bananas and sorghum or millet and Lubisi from Uganda is made from bananas and sorghum.
|[Banana carrier in Uganda]|
Local cereals, such as sorghum or millet, are ground, roasted and added to improve the colour and flavour of the final product. The mixture is placed in a container, which is covered in polythene to ferment for 18 to 24 hours. As the raw materials are not sterilized by boiling they and therefore provide an excellent substrate for microbial growth. After fermentation the product is filtered through cotton cloth. The end result is low in alcohol and its taste resembles a mix between wet bread and bananas. It's an acquired taste.
|[Image by Samauel Peters: Urwaga/Lubisi Banana Beer]|
Bananas contain natural wild yeasts. As with many other traditional fermented products, the micro-organisms responsible for the fermentation are largely unknown. However there has been some research to identify the micro-organisms involved in banana beer production. The one involved is Saccharomyces cerevisiae, which is the same organism that produces grape wine.
 Battcock and Azam-Ali: Fermented Fruits and Vegetables: A Global Perspective in Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations – 1998