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"brewers" in Salt Lake County jail hospitalized

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nebben

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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?

Discuss!
 

daksin

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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.
 

nicegut

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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.....:cross:
 

beergolf

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They are not brewers but distillers.


Think about it. Beer will not make you sick.
 

biochemedic

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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.
 

Kaleco

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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 :)
 

nos33

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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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nebben

nebben

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It wasn't originally clear to me where they fermented it. In one part of the article, they mention a bag, and another part they mention in a toilet.

BIAB is probably the better option, I think :)
 
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nebben

nebben

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They are not brewers but distillers.


Think about it. Beer will not make you sick.
This is what I wanted people to discuss- I understand that it is a commonly held belief that "Beer will not make you sick." However, in this case, in what doesn't appear to be a distilled product, some people have become seriously ill from a fermented beverage.

If fermented in a toilet, I'm sure there could be harmful bacteria in that, but during the fermentation process, I would think that some of that would be neutralized. However, since these guys did get sick (some in critical condition), I have to question the mantra of "Beer will not make you sick."
 

bucfanmike

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inmates typically ferment in plastic bags which are readily available. then they hide the bags is creative spaces. Im unsure on this article when it mentions a toilet tank. I cant imagine any correction setting having a toilet with a tank. In my county jail we are seeing less bag brewing and more small batches in 20 oz bottles. The small bottles are easier to hide. They will often throw them in the garbage during the day to keep them out of their cells and then collect them before lockdown.
 

Zamial

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This is what I wanted people to discuss- I understand that it is a commonly held belief that "Beer will not make you sick." However, in this case, in what doesn't appear to be a distilled product, some people have become seriously ill from a fermented beverage.
This is WRONG, fear/panic mongering and now I will explain why...

There is a MASSIVE difference between rotten food and a "fermented beverage". We have no idea if what these people made even actually did ferment, I will bet that it did not, even a little. Which means it is NOT a fermented beverage it is rotten/bad juice. Think about it... If I took a bottle of 2 year old apple juice, stretched a sweaty tee shirt over it and left it in the sun do I have a fermented beverage or rotten apple juice? I think there needs to be a "change of terminology here".

If fermented in a toilet, I'm sure there could be harmful bacteria in that, but during the fermentation process, I would think that some of that would be neutralized. However, since these guys did get sick (some in critical condition), I have to question the mantra of "Beer will not make you sick."
Beer will NOT make you sick. You could ferment in a toilet if you like but it HAS TO FERMENT TO BE A FERMENTED BEVERAGE!!!! There is no way, EVER, that a fermented beverage will make you sick. If you REALLY want to push the issue search, there are a few VERY informitive threads on this subject, which has been beaten to death, reserected and beaten down again. Even the best of the scientific studies have been refuted in those threads. If a fermented beverage would make you sick our great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great grandparents would have died and we would not be here having this silly "discussion."
 

Lucky_Chicken

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how did we get onto "fermented beverage" it says they tried to make beer/ alcohal it never said they were successfull at getting it to ferment.

on another note... brewing where you poop.... sounds like a bad idea, maybe thats just me?
 

Zamial

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Prison Cell Brown Ale
and now this thread is headed in the correct direction which is the same as where the "hootch" that was attempted to be made should have gone...down the toilet...
 

rico567

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Botulism results specifically from toxins made anærobically (in the absence of oxygen) by certain microorganisms (in this case, Clostridium botulinum). The usual hazard posed by botulism comes from improperly canned food. Hard to say how the people in question could have accomplished this, but they certainly could.

The clostridia don't stop there in their fun & games, though. Probably the best known of the group is Clostridium tetani, an infection from which results in tetanus, or lockjaw. A simple scratch won't do it, but something like a nail puncture, which carries the spores below the skin level where they're not exposed to much oxygen, very well may.
 

realjd

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There is no way, EVER, that a fermented beverage will make you sick.
Sweet! And to think I assumed it was copious beer consumption that made me hurl after all those parties back in college... If it wasn't the beer that made me sick, I'll blame the cheap plastic cups! Or maybe I have a sensitivity to the plastic used for the beer bong... :mug: :tank:

/I took you out of context, I know, but I couldn't help myself :D
 
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nebben

nebben

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This is WRONG, fear/panic mongering and now I will explain why...

There is a MASSIVE difference between rotten food and a "fermented beverage". We have no idea if what these people made even actually did ferment, I will bet that it did not, even a little. Which means it is NOT a fermented beverage it is rotten/bad juice. Think about it... If I took a bottle of 2 year old apple juice, stretched a sweaty tee shirt over it and left it in the sun do I have a fermented beverage or rotten apple juice? I think there needs to be a "change of terminology here".



Beer will NOT make you sick. You could ferment in a toilet if you like but it HAS TO FERMENT TO BE A FERMENTED BEVERAGE!!!! There is no way, EVER, that a fermented beverage will make you sick. If you REALLY want to push the issue search, there are a few VERY informitive threads on this subject, which has been beaten to death, reserected and beaten down again. Even the best of the scientific studies have been refuted in those threads. If a fermented beverage would make you sick our great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great grandparents would have died and we would not be here having this silly "discussion."
Yea, no, I am not fear mongering or inciting a panic. You're the one that is yelling. Exactly what do you think "rotten apple juice" is? Sir, take a look in a dictionary at the word Fermentation. Is this a silly discussion now or what? :)

I've read the dozens upon dozens of posts about "beer wont make you sick", and I firmly believe that. However, based on the story, I was soliciting responses to possibly explain why they all got so sick. Zamial, you didn't provide any factual evidence, only "read other posts that everyone else talks about."

Thanks Rico, that is kind of what I was looking for. :D

edit: Kind of a crappy 1000th post, but that's how it goes I guess...
 

Zamial

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Yea, no, I am not fear mongering or inciting a panic.
Not yet but this is a touchy subject, that has been beaten to death. Please understand that I hate, to the core of my jaded soul, having to "discuss" this subject matter with people that have legitimate concerns about drinking home brewed beverages and with people that post up discussions here that are leading people to believe that it is not safe. :mad:


Exactly what do you think "rotten apple juice" is? Sir, take a look in a dictionary at the word Fermentation. Is this a silly discussion now or what? :)
Apparently, you never have...please allow me... :)
Webster's Dictionary said:
Definition of FERMENTATION
1 a : a chemical change with effervescence b : an enzymatically controlled anaerobic breakdown of an energy-rich compound (as a carbohydrate to carbon dioxide and alcohol or to an organic acid); broadly : an enzymatically controlled transformation of an organic compound.
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fermentation?show=0&t=1318027585

I've read the dozens upon dozens of posts about "beer wont make you sick", and I firmly believe that. However, based on the story, I was soliciting responses to possibly explain why they all got so sick.
Ok, then perhaps I misinterpreted the direction this discussion was headed. To me it sounded a lot like a home brew got me sick thread.

In reality the answer is much simpler than a problem with a homebrew. This is a discussion of people that have less than average intelligence, that the general public should have let die due to natural selection; because those 8 people were willing volunteers. Instead we rush them to the hospital and save them.

Zamial, you didn't provide any factual evidence, only "read other posts that everyone else talks about."
I did provide evidence, I present YOU as my "exibit A". If fermented drinks made people sick you (nor I) would be here, right now. :rockin: Anyway, the discussion as I saw it was about "home brew made me sick" when in fact that was not the case, I was wrong as I posted what you are looking for above.

edit: Kind of a crappy 1000th post, but that's how it goes I guess...
I sincerely apologize for that being your 1000th post, as I was misinformed. However, Congrat's on the 1000th post for what it is worth. :mug:
 

Malticulous

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The report I seen speculated they mixed food with toilet water. Who knows what kind of culture they grew in that?
 
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nebben

nebben

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Different dictionaries? For whatever it's worth...:
[ame="http://www.google.com/search?q=fermentation+dictionary&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:eek:fficial&client=firefox-a#pq=fermentation+dictionary&hl=en&cp=15&gs_id=4&xhr=t&q=fermentation+definition&qe=ZmVybWVudGF0aW9uIGRl&qesig=4E0YYonRNnrA2DQ-OIZUCA&pkc=AFgZ2tkdOJLZTlmdTsWX6jkCmrpBdiMKtciSnY-2Mj5oSaWM4jljVwJ7MzR4mAKKOZUgbpZawIOgvELi15Gr63AM8ZjV2eARJw&pf=p&sclient=psy-ab&client=firefox-a&hs=5eY&rls=org.mozilla:en-US%3Aofficial&source=hp&pbx=1&oq=fermentation+de&aq=0&aqi=g4&aql=&gs_sm=&gs_upl=&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.,cf.osb&fp=287cb8a321ceab01&biw=1280&bih=694"]Fermentation[/ame]
 
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We don't really know much about what they were drinking or what it was made from. We don't know that it was fermented -- by yeast. We don't know what they used as a sugar (or starch) source. It may have already had botulism spores or the way in which they let it sit could have allowed botulism spores to build up prior to any fermentation. We don't know if they cut it with something that might have been infected or had botulism spores. All of those unknowns makes it fairly difficult to contemplate how what happened there relates to what we do.
 
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