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Fermentation/sljive/plums/rakija | by brankomaster
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Orchards are far from roads. In the village (Serbia/Vojvodina/Srpski Itebej) and its surroundings there are no factories, industrial plants, junkyards and other pollutants.

Plums are solely of domestic varieties traditionally grown almost 800 years. It is important that the itebejska ljuta (plum brandy) is prepared of several varieties of plums, which together give a specific aroma and taste, never burst or treat any fertilizers or chemicals.

Plums are gathered when fully ripe, or when the fall from the tree by their own will. There is no harvesting, shaking trees, clubbing and other violent methods in order to accelerate the collection process.We collect only the fully ripe and healthy fruits, which are then stored in plastic or wooden casks to ferment. By no means should not be added sugar in order to get more alcohol.

We dont make any calculations, measurements of temperature, concentration of sugar in the fruits in order to calculate how much extra sugar you need to add, simply we dont use any extra sugar.

The only thing that is added to the plums is pure water in sufficient amounts to normal fermentation occurred.

Itebejska ljuta is exclusively made of fruit sugar and there is no place for mathematics, physics and chemistry.

Note: If someone interested in how to distinguish natural brandy from those in which extra sugar is added, you need to pour little denatured alcohol (alcohol - for disinfection has it all pharmacies) and dilute it with water. Then you take small sip and mix it in your mouth then spit out. Taste that you left in your mouth and feeling that the alcohol is caming out on your nose, through the eyes and ears from then on will always warn you that the brandy in which extra sugar is added.

Depending on the temperature, amount of plums and plum types, fermentation process can last from 8 days to several weeks. Reliable sign that the fermentation is done is crust thickness of about 10cm, which is created on top of the plums and is called "pogača".

Below the crust all fruit sugar is turned into alcohol and the peel and shell are submerge to the the bottom. Fluid created in process of fermentation is called "amura". Its liquid, red and resembles a wine, intensely feel the alcohol.

Distillation of plum brandy is done in cauldrons or as some prefer to call them "happy machine" or "factory".

Process of brandy distillation or separation of alcohol from "amure" is happening In cauldron. After the first distillation you get soft brandy, strenght around 10 grad (24% alc). Soft brandy is collected in a large barell, after all "amura" is distilled in soft brandy we start the process of re-distillation.

That means that we put all soft brandy in cauldron and repeat the process of distillation, after that process itebejska ljuta is finished.

Strenght of itebejska ljuta is about 21 grad (54% alc) and we also call it strong brandy.

Strenght of brandy is determinated by by your taste, this is achieved measuring and define right moment to stop distillation. Itebejska ljuta is poured in the mulberry, acacia or oak barrels, depending on the flavor and color that you want to get. After 12 months of standing brandy ca be stored in glass balloons.

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Taken on August 27, 2006