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The (*Freeze Dried*) Durian Short Mead

In Brief:

Searching for a way to speed up the fermentation process, brewmaster Mary Izett stumbled on a recipe to make the sweetest mead from the stinkiest fruit.

The author is a talented authority on the home brew, and you can follow her discoveries here. Her most recent book, Speed Brewing, details the art of fast fermentation.

We were in Vietnam last year, and I bought some freeze dried durian.

People have a love-hate relationship with the fruit, but I love it, and I thought the taste of the durian would shine in a short mead. I’ve always been fascinated by the science of cooking, and brewing is the perfect amalgamation of art and science. There is something magical about making alcohol.

When durian is fresh, all of its different aromas volatize very quickly, and that’s when it smells like garbage. But when durian is freeze dried, it has an aroma of strawberries and other fruity tropical notes. Durian is so creamy and custardy, it’s like a flan with fruit on top. The honey melds well with the durian, but the durian is the driving flavor of this beverage, and I paired the short mead with the champagne yeast — which is a freaking work horse, it makes alcohol so quickly and cleanly. I made this short mead on a Monday night and then served it on a Saturday.

Mary Izett's Durian Short Mead
Freeze Dried Durian 1 oz
Honey 1 lb
Beer Yeast Nutrient 1/16 tsp
Dry Champagne Yeast 1/4 Packet
Filtered/Dechlorinated Water
This will take: 1 week

Step One: Starting and Sanitizing

Place your yeast packet, stopper or lid, airlock, and scissors (to open the yeast packet) into a sanitizing solution. Clean and sanitize a glass jug or jar. Sanitizing is recommended but not required. Regardless, thoroughly clean all equipment before using. Now heat one cup of water to a boil. Pour the off-boil water over the durian, add the yeast nutrient, stir and steep for ten minutes. Then place the sanitized jug or jar on the scale. Zero the scale and add the honey.

Step Two: Mixing Is Magic

Remove the jug from the scale and add the filtered water—but make sure to leave enough room for the durian tea, and the cap or cover. Now shake until the honey is combined. Take a look at the bottom of your jug; if honey is still clinging on to the bottom, keep shaking. Now uncap the jug and add the durian tea, including the fruit. Top it all off with water to bring the mixture to a gallon, recap it and shake gently to combine. (You may take a gravity reading using your hydrometer or refractometer at this point if you like. Your OG will be in the 1.034 to 1.038 range.)

Step Three: Patience

Once everything is all mixed, take the cape off, pitch in the yeast and place a stopper or grommeted lid to create an airlock on the jug. Ferment between 66-78 degrees for between five to fourteen days. Wait a week and then taste.