Denard Brewing

Better brewing through science.

Mpahe Mead or Banana Sorghum Mead

Mpahe is a traditional banana based beverage made in certain areas of Africa. It is quickly becoming a historical ale due to the fact that few know how to make it anymore. I categorize this as an insane brew due to filtering banana solids. It’s not easy, but worth it!

If you view the link at the bottom, you can read the traditional way to make this beverage. It involves feet. I’ve decided to bring the recipe up to modern day practices and convert it to a mead. Typically, Sorghum grain is used with banana. Here, I’m using a Sorghum Honeydew honey that carries many of the same characteristics. Sorghum syrup could also be used to replace half the honey. Your choice!

Batch size is 2.5 gallons: Yield is 1.5 gallons after filtering. 

1. Sanitize 8 lbs of new bananas (~20 bananas) by immersing in a solution of star san for a few minutes. Dry on paper towels. 

2. Add the 8 lbs of bananas to a sanitized 5 gallon pot lined with paper towels. Leave the top off. 

3. Allow to age until extremely ripe and fragrant (2-7 days). Turns out that sanitized bananas don’t turn black in a week. They do get really ripe from ethylene production. The extra ripening is key in improving the product. 

4. Cut the stalks off. Mash bananas with a bladed potato masher until it is a thick paste. Skin and fruit. 

5. Add 5 lbs Sorghum Honeydew honey.

6. Add water just shy of 2 gallons (if needed). 

7. Add 0.8 tsp Fermaid K and 1.6 tsp Fermaid O. (Add 1.6 tsp Fermaid O again in 2 days.)

8. Mix well. 

9 Add a starter of Wyeast 1388. 

10. Ferment at 70 F for 6 days. 

11. At Day 6, it will be extremely sour and very dry. Add 4 lbs honey and 2 lb bourbon barrel aged maple syrup.

11. After fermentation, cold crash and filter through a mill and a fine mesh filter into a secondary carboy. This is a lot of work and will take quite a while to complete. Make sure it’s cold before this step to avoid oxidation. 

12. Cold crash again until clear and bottle. 

13. I leave it at room temperature for a few days to allow carbonation, but this is optional. Stabilize it if you want to avoid carbonation. Or keg it. 



SG 1.186 (total)

FG 1.040

19% ABV

-Yes, it’s cloudy. Think wheat beer, shut up, and drink it. It’s also very strong. Bananas and step feeding really push the yeast to its max.


4 lbs ripe banana 

-100 calories per banana; 1 banana adds 4 points per gallon. 4 lbs is 10 bananas or 40 points.

by denardb on Nov. 12, 2019, 1:45 a.m.