Plum Brandy/ Slivowitz

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Plum Brandy/ Slivowitz

Postby thecroweater » Mon Nov 09, 2015 3:56 am

Plum Brandy
Plum brandy is known by many names, the most common being Slivovich or slivowitz and there are many methods to make it
When fermenting fruit the general rule of thumb is not to exceed a ratio of 1 part fruit to one part sugar to 5 parts water and this will produce a spirit that will taste virtually the same as a wash with no sugar (purists will argue that point) . I've done Sliv with no sugar and with abou 2:1 ratio and couldn't differentiate between the final product, only to greatly reduced yield. Generally I use no more than 2 kg of fruit to 1 kg of sugar to 5 ltrs of water but not everyone can get a lot of fruit free so the method I will write up is using the maximum rule of thumb ratio based on a 25 ltr wash
fresh plums have a white power coating the outside of the skin, this is yeast and you can use it to ferment with. The thing is the type of yeast will vary from tree to tree and district to district so the attributes of your wild yeast until you use it are unknown. to guarantee a good fast ferment I would recommend a white wine yeast . If they are bought polished plums you will need to add yeast for certain and I never use a bread yeast when dealing with fruit . In my experience The final product was awful
Plum Brandy
5 kg's of plums
5 kg's of white sugar
20 ltrs of warm water (around 30' centigrade)
20 to 30 grams of wine yeast
Hydrating the yeast
have about 500ml of warm water at around 30" Centigrade and I dissolve a tbl spoon of sugar in it (but that's not imperative) and then add the yeast
dissolve the sugar into 10 or so ltrs of water, a paint or plaster mixer on a drill works well for this
Mash the plums, this works best if the plums have been picked a few days before and allowed to deteriorate a bit. Place the plums in a bucket and mash them, I use a plaster mixer on a drill . when they are fairly well mashed add some of the sugar water and remix/mash the plum pulp then tip into your fermenter, pulp stones and all.
Top the fermenter up with the remainder of the sugar water and warm or cool water so that it is around 27 to 32' when full (leave 70 to 100mm head space, 150mm for bigger ferments) . stir in your hydrated yeast and that's the wash started.
Racking your plum wash
Now the fun begins. This stuff has a fair bit of sediment and I like to milk all the wash I can out as there are some nice flavors in that mush down the bottom . make sure the ferment has finished, some times fruit washes can stall due to a low pH level (too much below say 4 may need adjusting)and an alkaline may need to be added to keep the yeast healthy (I use hydrated lime) . I also wait for most of the cap to sink but that may not be necessary.
Bail or siphon the top wine off until you get down to the sediment. there are several ways to deal with this crap and this is how I do it. I scoop a small bucket out and tip it on a flyscreen placed over a bucket until it gets too thick for that method and then I put it in a towel and wring the towel out . the resulting wash is pretty sludgy but with a good rolling boil you shouldn't get any issues with scorching, I never have
Make sure you do good cuts with fruit brandy, fruit contains pectin and the yeast will turn that pectin into methanol. The methanol will fraction off in your head cuts, you can blend some tails in to add a complexity to the spirit but don't bother blending in any heads
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