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headerSlivovitz (plum brandy) production
Slivovitz (Slivowitz, Slivovice, Sljivovica, Şliboviţă, Śliwowica) is traditional alcoholic drink in many East Europe countries which was obtained by distillation of fermented plum wash or plum juice. Basic operations in the production of plum brandy are: picking fruit, washing, crushing, fermentation, distillation and aging. Picking plum fruit is often done manually, by trees shaking. The fruit that falls to the ground becomes dirty and damaged and it is preferable that the area around trees is covered with nylon. In the industrial sector vintage equipment is performed on a hydraulic or mechanical principle. Collected fruits are transported to the wash to remove any impurities and undesirable microorganisms. Washed fruits must be disintegrate first, otherwise the fermentation process lasted too long. Crushed plum stone leads to deterioration of sensory characteristics and gives smell of almonds from amygdalin (laetrile). Amygdalin causes creation of benzaldehyde and poisonous prussic acid and formation of cancerous ethyl carbamate. For these reasons it is recommended complete removal of stones from the stone fruit crop for the production of fruit brandy or the percentage of crushed stone must be less than 1.5%. Charge for the fermentation vessel should be done in one day. Vessels for fermentation after filling the fruit mass should have about 30% of free space. For better fermentation process it is necessary to add selected (turbo) yeasts and materials for their nutrition (nitrogen compounds, vitamins). Because the acidity of plum fruit is 3.8-4.0, it is allowed the correct to pH = 3.2 with sulfuric or phosphoric acid. Fermentation takes about 2 weeks and the fermentation temperature should be maintained at 16-20° Celsius. During the alcoholic fermentation process, carbon dioxide is formating and raise the fermentation mass up and create bubble. When the fermentation process is completed, there is no more carbon dioxide formation and the bubble sinks. With certainty we can say that it is done when Oechsle scale shows a value of 8-20°Oe (Oechsle degree). Slivovitz making process in Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and in lot of East Europe countries is performing on simple distillation copper boilers. Filling the boiler with fermented wash is never full to the top and about 40% must be free. First distillation product is soft plum brandy with strength of about 30% vol and for making quality Slivovitz, soft brandy must be distilled. During this double phase of distillation, it is necessary to extract first liter (off a 120L wash) because of poisonous methanol. When the first fraction is removed, the middle run (heart of distillation) is collecting which gives a high quality Slivovitz. Collecting the middle run is stopping when the strength of the distillate at the exit of approximately 20% vol ethanol and the rest is tail which is not used for Slivovitz. Plum brandy made by double distillation has strength usually about 45% vol ethanol. Plum distillate goes to the aging in oak barrels and to the market comes with nice golden color and its specific sensory characteristic.
You got to try and enjoy.

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