Wow, I didn't realize I would write so much. tl;dr - I make OJ wine with wild yeast from raisins. The results have been "interesting."
I was actually doing a little bit of research on a wine I'm making from OJ concentrate and came across this. This will be my fourth batch (3 gallons or more per batch) in 3 years.
I don't have a recipe pinned down because of the nature of the way I came across it. We received some fan mail at our offices from a listener in the Huntsville, TX unit (death row) about making what I later found out was called pruno (mentioned already in this thread). The thing is pruno is quite literally foul, but this inmate's recipe was simple and borderline drinkable.
Somewhere I have the actual correspondence, but here's how I make it from memory:
- OJ concentrate
- Prepare per label directions (typically three cans of water)
- Add sugar (no specifics, but I aim for 13-15% potential alcohol on the hydrometer)
The directions said you could prepare the raisins three days ahead of time by adding them to a sugar/water solution to rouse the yeast. Oh yeah, that's the yeast source—raisin wrinkles. The point was made that the cheaper they were the better since they would likely undergo less processing.
Results have been mixed. The wine always tastes the same, but it exhibits strange properties. The first time I prepared it, I didn't have any sort of device to measure SG, so when it was done "boiling" (the term the inmate used for fermentation), I began consuming it one pint glass at a time to gauge taste and alcohol content.
I can sympathize with the "vomit" characteristic, but since even the smell of vomit makes me gag, the fact that I could drink it means it was probably just extremely acidic.
The heat is very real and actually helped overpower some of the odd characteristics. During fermentation, I would use a turkey baster cum
wine thief to sample. Early on the vast amount of sugar and concentrated OJ* offered intense rose notes and at around 6% (I found that this was the amount much later) it was like a sweet champagne.
I let the yeast run their full course, about 8-10 days and decided to rack to the fridge to crash cool and knock the yeast out of suspension.
As I said before, I had no way to gauge ABV, so I poured a pint glass full of wine. The first sip was "Whoa! That's intense! Ugh, I don't know how much of this I can drink." My wife took a whiff and compared it to the smell of feet, but didn't explain in much more detail.
By the second sip, I had already shocked my senses, so the acidity and dryness took over and I realized how "crisp" it tasted. Not necessarily in a good way, but in a redeeming way that help cut through some of the crazier flavors.
At sip three, I was convinced that I could drink enough to gauge whether or not I had actually created alcohol. I hadn't done much fermentation at this point in my life, so I was really flying blind.
Cut to pint 3 and I am quite inebriated. I found out later that I was probably in the 13-15% ABV range and at this point I had finished 32oz (just under a liter) and was working on 16 more and my wife noticed something... um... off. She had seen me at various levels of intoxication, but it wasn't so much about the level rather than the—how can I say this—state.
My behavior was a lot more random. My level of excitement was through the roof, partially because I was shouting "I MADE ALCOHOL!" over and over. All that and a few other things made for quite an interesting story the next day. The bonus was since there were no sulfites present, no wine hangover despite having the equivalent of 1.5 bottles.
This story made it around my group of friends and they jokingly said, we need to get together and try this. That weekend, five of us sat around the kitchen table and consumed the rest of the wine. A sixth friend showed up a few hours later, but because of some food that didn't agree with her earlier she was in no position to join us in drinking. She said there was definitely something "off." She said we were "giggly" as if we had been smoking herb instead of wine drunk (I can assure you there was no MJ present). She too said we appeared to be in a different state.
Thus, the legend of my prison wine was born. Nobody who has consumed it since has not heard the stories, so there is no control test. I'm the only one who could be considered a control, but I thought I was just really excited about making prison wine. I don't buy into the altered state theory that seems to persist around this recipe, but I keep making it and people keep speaking in tongues. Even if it is a placebo effect, it's funny to watch peoples' expressions as they take their first sips.
*Concentrated OJ is artificially flavored to reintroduce much of the flavor and smell that is lost during processing, but even "not from concentrate" OJ is often re-flavored due to degradation during the deoxygenating process.