Isoamyl acetate .... Beer that tastes like banana's

So we all know that yeasts create different esters and phenols during fermentation.   Some of the common esters and phenols produced from fermentation are fruity, clove, bubblegum, pepper, and certainly one that many people know and love is the banana flavored ester that people enjoy in their Hefe's.  Isomyl acetate is the ester that creates this banana flavor.   If you want to increase isomyl acetate in your hefeweisse, belgian, or any other beer that you want to taste like liquid banana bread you can do a few things.  You can certainly ferment on the upper range of that yeasts temperature range.  If you're brewing a Hefe and want lots of banana, ferment that sucker in the low 70's.   You also could under aerate your wort which causes yeast to be more ester-y(that's a technical term.)  Another way to really kick it up a notch would be to add some zinc to your recipe.  Zinc aides in the production of isoamyl acetate.   The more zinc you add, the more banana you shall receive.

Bananas in beer = no thank you

This banana flavor is the one that I hate the most.....so if you're like me, your going to try and figure out a way to decrease this ester, either by yeast selection, or fermentation temperatures, or fermentation procedures.  I just don't dig on banana's in my beer, or in my banana splits, or in my malts.  The only time I like banana is in bread, or by itself.   Definitely not in my beers.  Maybe in a hefeweiss, but never in my Belgians!   

I, for one, will look to reduce isoamyl acetate at all costs.   If I ever do a Hefe again, or a Dunkel, or a belgian wit, or certain belgian strains, I'll definitely be fermenting a well aerated wort, with a large yeast starter, and at 60-65 degrees (at the extreme low end of the temp range).

My recommendations on way's to reduce this ester..
  • Yeast's to aviod or ferment in the low 60's.  Any Hefe yeast.like Wyeast 3068, or the white labs equivalent White Labs WLP300, Wyeast 1214, and many other Belgians and Hefe yeasts. 
  •  Use Wyeast Belgian Ardennes -3522, or Wyeast 3787 - Trappist High Gravity for Belgian Dubbels and Triples (I used is for a Patersbier and it turned out amazing).  Try Wyeast Belgian Wheat 3944 for your Hefe's and Wits or WLP380 and keep those temps in the low 60's while fermenting the first few days! 


  1. Awesome post man. I'm with you, I'm not down with banana in beer, and it seems to be such a huge component of so many North American brewed Belgian-style beers. I was thinking about doing another Belgian IPA in the future and kicking up the temp to make it more ester-y (like that term btw). Was thinking of using Wyeast 3711 or maybe 3724 as it looks better with warmer temps. Above all I want to stay away from banana flavours. What do you reckon... maybe that 3522 you suggest above?

  2. I think a Saison yeast would do a good job, but may become too dry for that style. That ardennes would do a good job probably if you keep the temp down, or maybe that Wyeast Abbey II. I don't really know. I've actually avoided brewing these styles up until this point. I know a buddy that recently brewed a Belgian Strong Golden with the Abbey Ale I and he kept the temp range at the very bottom and it turned out amazing with no detectable isoamyl acetate. Sounds like a good one for a split batch!

  3. I was actually thinking about doing an extremely hoppy Saison soon with that 3711. Man...I need more time and carboys!

  4. I just brewed a Belgian Dubbel that came out with very strong isoamyl acetate flavors. Any advice on trying to cover that flavor? Blending? Dry Hopping? or any other ideas?

  5. Hey Mike, Sorry I'm just getting to this know..but in case you or anyone else that comes to this post is wondering the same thing. I don't think there is much you can do. I'd just drink it up and brew it again, and try and avoid that yeast. It's possible you could blend it and dry hop it, but I can't see most dry hops meshing well with bananas. Also, I haven't noticed that aging helps either. Ferment in the low 60's next time.

  6. I actually like the banana in beer ,but it should not be too uch flavor in side it ,because it will have after drink impact in the mouth and stomach.

  7. YEAH, many people love it...just not my thing.


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