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Old 10-05-2011, 11:35 PM   #1
nebben's Avatar
Nov 2008
Now legal in Utah
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So I thought about putting this in General Chit Chat, but since these fellows were technically "home" when they brewed this stuff, I figured it might apply here.

Salt Lake Tribune article: Utah inmates get sick from tainted brew

In a nutshell, the Salt Lake County Health Department is investigating a case where they believe at least 8 inmates consumed cell-made hooch and are now ill (some critically) from botulism poisoning.

A commonly held belief is that "one cannot get sick from consuming homebrew since bacteria or viruses that could harm oneself wont survive the harsh alcoholic environment of the fermenter."

I tend to agree with that statement, except in this case there is definitely room for argument since it sounds unlikely that the prisoners were heating up the hooch for any reason before allowing it to ferment.

Nevertheless, it appears they may have botulism poisoning. Even if the fruit juice, or sugar was suspect that they used, how would botulism spores be able to reproduce sufficiently enough to cause harm, while the yeast, in theory, was producing enough ethanol to slow or stop the botulism action?


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Old 10-06-2011, 12:06 AM   #2
daksin's Avatar
Aug 2011
San Diego, CA
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Without even stopping to read the entire post (let alone the article, or god forbid actually think out my post...), if there were some solids like mashed up fruit, nasties could potentially just propagate on the unsubmerged fruit without being exposed to too much alcohol/acidity. Also, prison inmates aren't known for their high IQs or extensive knowledge of fermentable materials- perhaps there was something in the brew that could harbor botulism, like spam.
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Old 10-06-2011, 12:17 AM   #3
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Apr 2010
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you should see some of the stuff we find from time to time. Cant imagine ever being desperate enough to drink it.
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Old 10-06-2011, 12:53 AM   #4
nicegut's Avatar
Feb 2010
Lawrence, MA
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They get together their left over "fruit cups" and put them in a plastic bag with a piece of bread I've heard.....

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Old 10-06-2011, 01:03 AM   #5
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Apr 2009
☼ Clearwater, FL ☼
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Originally Posted by bucfanmike View Post
you should see some of the stuff we find from time to time. Cant imagine ever being desperate enough to drink it.
Look what this inmate brewed up
- Andrew

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Old 10-06-2011, 01:15 AM   #6
beergolf's Avatar
Jan 2011
collingswood, nj
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They are not brewers but distillers.

Think about it. Beer will not make you sick.

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Old 10-06-2011, 01:16 AM   #7
neovox's Avatar
Feb 2010
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Hmmm if prison is home, is pruno homebrew?

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Old 10-06-2011, 01:18 AM   #8
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Jun 2010
Carnegie, PA
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Back to the OP, I would bet this ends up not panning out as botulism. The symptoms listed in the (newspaper article, not medical journal report) are extraordinarily vague, and could be from any number of things including toxic alcohol poisoning (ie, methanol), other drugs added to the mix, etc.
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Old 10-06-2011, 01:20 AM   #9
Jun 2011
Golden, CO
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What do they use as a fermenter? I am sure a toilet bowl could carry some pretty bad nastiness.

EDIT: Nevermind. Read the article

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Old 10-06-2011, 02:49 PM   #10
nos33's Avatar
Dec 2010
Orem, Utah
Posts: 208
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I read that on KSL and found it quite disgusting the lengths people will go to just to get drunk. I would never try something like that. No wonder it make them sick when you start adding rotten food.

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