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  #1  
Old 04-17-2004, 06:16 PM
chefIL11 chefIL11 is offline
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How do prisoners make alcohol in jail?

I saw on a documentary that prisoners attempt to make alcohol in their cells... I also saw that they make it in a bag. How do they do this?
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  #2  
Old 04-17-2004, 06:23 PM
Joey P Joey P is online now
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Pruno
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  #3  
Old 04-17-2004, 06:29 PM
Larry Mudd Larry Mudd is offline
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Just about anything can be fermented to make alcohol. Materials are purloined from the kitchen and brewed anywhere something can be hidden.

My brother spent some time in prison and told me about a jailhouse brew that he and some of his peers went in on -- it consisted of a can of tomatos mixed with sugar and yeast in a thick poly bag, sealed up and hidden in a toilet tank in one of the cells. Word came down that a cell-to-cell search was being made, so the conspirators drank their brew early. There were two downsides to the early consumption: the alcohol level was not all that it could be, and the yeast was still active, so they all ended up feeling a bit gassy.

But hey, you drinking something that spent a long time fermenting in a damned toilet, you're obviously not that fussy.
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Old 04-17-2004, 06:42 PM
Qadgop the Mercotan Qadgop the Mercotan is online now
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The diabetics will often request glucose tablets, ostensibly to take if their blood glucose runs low, but in really to use to make hooch.

The soak basins issued for foot soaks figure in the process too.

I had to learn a lot after I started practicing in a prison.
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  #5  
Old 04-17-2004, 07:10 PM
bookbuster bookbuster is offline
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In The Great Escape they used potatoes.
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Old 04-17-2004, 07:32 PM
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Originally Posted by bookbuster
In The Great Escape they used potatoes.
Which makes a really bad tasting wine.
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  #7  
Old 04-17-2004, 10:00 PM
Padeye Padeye is offline
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Same way sailors do I figure. Something with sugar and a bit of yeast. Pineapple is effective if particularly vile. IIRC it had a heady bouquet somewhere between JP5 and 130 octane aviation gasoline.
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Old 04-17-2004, 11:30 PM
David Simmons David Simmons is offline
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Originally Posted by Padeye
Same way sailors do I figure. Something with sugar and a bit of yeast. Pineapple is effective if particularly vile. IIRC it had a heady bouquet somewhere between JP5 and 130 octane aviation gasoline.
People who want a drink will drink almost anything. I was in Greensboro, NC at the Overseas Replacement Depot and guys used to go down town and buy moonshine. I didn't drink at the time but tasted some of it. Most of it tasted to me like dirty socks smell.

I don't know whether the guys really liked it or it tasted better because they thought they were getting away with something.

And the funny thing is, they could have gone to the Officer's Club and gotten good liquor.
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  #9  
Old 04-18-2004, 08:35 AM
casdave casdave is offline
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In UK prisons this stuff is called 'hooch'

Anything with any form of sugar content can and is used, suger from the kitchens is the most common, but molasses feed used for farm animals is used too.

More sophisitcated prisoners can use grain boiled and mashed up, but these last two are only found in prisons with farms attatched.

Sugar is by far the most common method of producing alchohol, inmates will collect it and store it for use.

It is usual for oranges, or pretty much any fruit to be used to give it some kind of passable flavour.

The places selected for brewing determine how quickly it can be consumed, anywhere warm is favourite, but staff know this and so the best places are always under surveillance.

Containers are very often 5 litre containers which normally contain cleaning fluids such as disinfectant, floor polish and the like.
These are rinsed out but can leave the mark of their previous contents on the brew.

Prison staff try to ensure that empty potential hooch containers are slashed apart, I have seen rubbish bags used as liners for holes in the ground for the fermentation stage, these are camaflaged over with a thin layer of soil, greenhouses are the favourite place for this activity.

Many prisons make their own bread so yeast is not a problem, but if this cannot be obtained then mouldy bread yeast cultures are used, also yeast extracts such as marmite are used to start of the frementation process.

Hooch is often adulterated even more to make it more potent, I have heard of cases where anti-freeze has been obtained from prison vehicles to fortify it.

In low category prisons getting hold of alchoholic beverages is not difficult so hooch is fairly uncommon, but the higher security rated prisons it is a consant hunt for the stuff.

Inmates try to make it for certain times of the years, such as Christmas and news years eve, and since it usually takes about a week to ten days fermentation before the hooch can be decanted we usually do sweeps to find it during the run up to known hooch festival times.

Hooch is not the major problem in UK jails as it once was as it has long been surpassed by hard drugs, still, it does cause staff hassle as inmates are not the most intelligent of drinkers(or indeed as examples of humanity) and they can become aggressive, or make themselves seriously ill.
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  #10  
Old 04-18-2004, 10:37 AM
xvxdarkknightxvx xvxdarkknightxvx is offline
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Why aren't inmates allowed to make their own alcohol in jail?
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  #11  
Old 04-18-2004, 03:27 PM
casdave casdave is offline
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It can be a cause of serious disorder, stand outside a nightclub when they are clearing out and you will probably see a few drunken brawls.

The prisoners are not exactly concerned with the quality of the liquor, they take it just like any drug, to get as intoxicated as possible as fast as possible.
The stuff they make can be dangerous to health, and the way they consume it makes the risks far greater.

Why should they be able to have alchohol in prison, part of the principle of prison is denial of goods and services, so this means they have restrictions on all their possessions and these are used to provide incentive for good behaviour.
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Old 04-18-2004, 07:57 PM
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Well usually they get Lizzie to agree to make it. Then some big thug like Monnie pressures Wonky Lynn Warner into bringing in yeast from the outside job she conveniently works at. But then something usually happens and then Judy has to dump the hootch that's left after Noeline gets drunk and bashes in the new color TV making Erica, the Governour stupid.

But Judy left some hootch and they rest of the gang hid it int he fire extinguisher which when Steve used it to put out a fire sent him backwards toward the fall and yet after he fell he STILL landed on his back.

All I learned about Prison I learned from Prisoner Cell Block H.

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  #13  
Old 07-08-2016, 05:13 PM
jaykay197575 jaykay197575 is offline
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Originally Posted by chefIL11 View Post
I saw on a documentary that prisoners attempt to make alcohol in their cells... I also saw that they make it in a bag. How do they do this?
Right...you get a 5 litre tub, easily available from the cleaners, collect about 15 oranges, again easily gotten when they have the fruit option at mealtimes, about 1-2 kilo's of sugar and yeast or marmite, easily gotten from the kitchens. squeeze all the oranges into the tub, add the marmite or yeast and half the sugar, fill ip[ up halfway, and cook it every night using hot water in a mop bucket, after 4 days add the rest of the sugay and fill container right up, remember to spear holes in the lid or it will explode, give it another 6 days of cooking at night time, then drain and drink...it gets u rat-arsed but the hangover is hardcore...also when youve drained, keep the dregs at the bottom and just add more oranges and sugar to kick it off again...hope this helps
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  #14  
Old 07-08-2016, 06:24 PM
pulykamell pulykamell is offline
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Zombie notwithstanding, why are you cooking it? Or do mean merely warming it up a bit to speed up fermentation? Because once you get in the 50C range, you're killing your yeast. And does Marmite even have live yeast cultures? I would imagine with all the salt and heat processing, it'd be dead, and any fermentation you happen to get is just happenstance.
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  #15  
Old 07-08-2016, 06:34 PM
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It would seem not:
Quote:
[They] add salt to a suspension of yeast, making the solution hypertonic, which leads to the cells shrivelling up; this triggers "autolysis", in which the yeast self-destructs. The dying yeast cells are then heated to complete their breakdown, and since yeast cells have thick cell walls which would detract from the smoothness of the end product, the husks are sieved out.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marmite
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  #16  
Old 07-08-2016, 07:05 PM
D.E.S.K.Top668 D.E.S.K.Top668 is offline
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THIS is a funny, yet informative, article about the production of prison wine and a review of the result.

Peace - DESK
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  #17  
Old 07-08-2016, 08:18 PM
usedtobe usedtobe is offline
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Hell - since I really should have asked way back when:

How do these rigs ensure ethanol (aka 'grain alcohol') instead of methanol (aka 'wood alcohol')?
I was under the impression that the heat at which the mash is cooked determined this for your basic moonshine - but I'm guessing thermometers aren't exactly common in cell blocks.
My best guess: You have to really try (i.e. increase heat, add ?) to get methanol, and whatever comes out of these 'cell block stills' is not heated enough to produce methanol.

And is the stuff called "alcohol" used as rubbing for sore muscles, cleaning stuff, etc. even vaguely related to either ethanol or methanol?
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  #18  
Old 07-08-2016, 09:01 PM
pulykamell pulykamell is offline
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Originally Posted by usedtobe View Post
Hell - since I really should have asked way back when:

How do these rigs ensure ethanol (aka 'grain alcohol') instead of methanol (aka 'wood alcohol')?
I was under the impression that the heat at which the mash is cooked determined this for your basic moonshine - but I'm guessing thermometers aren't exactly common in cell blocks.
My best guess: You have to really try (i.e. increase heat, add ?) to get methanol, and whatever comes out of these 'cell block stills' is not heated enough to produce methanol.

And is the stuff called "alcohol" used as rubbing for sore muscles, cleaning stuff, etc. even vaguely related to either ethanol or methanol?
Unless I'm misunderstanding, most of the stuff you get in cell blocks is not distilled. It's just fermented. That's what pruno and things of that nature are. Stick a bunch of sugar-rich liquid in a bag, throw in some yeast (or hope to get some natural yeast), wait, and you should get something in the 5%-15% ABV range through the process of fermentation. Concentrating further is a bit more complicated and does require a still or freeze distillation (which tends to concentrate the stuff that gets you really bad hangovers.)
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  #19  
Old 07-08-2016, 09:07 PM
usedtobe usedtobe is offline
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Aha!

Fermentation vs distillation.

Should have seen that. Old age - it's not for the weak.
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  #20  
Old 07-08-2016, 11:13 PM
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Originally Posted by usedtobe View Post
Hell - since I really should have asked way back when:

How do these rigs ensure ethanol (aka 'grain alcohol') instead of methanol (aka 'wood alcohol')?
I was under the impression that the heat at which the mash is cooked determined this for your basic moonshine - but I'm guessing thermometers aren't exactly common in cell blocks.
My best guess: You have to really try (i.e. increase heat, add ?) to get methanol, and whatever comes out of these 'cell block stills' is not heated enough to produce methanol.

And is the stuff called "alcohol" used as rubbing for sore muscles, cleaning stuff, etc. even vaguely related to either ethanol or methanol?
iso-propyl alcohol, Has an -ol connected to an ixo-propyl, instead of connected to a methy or ethyl group. Drinking and fuel alcohol is fermented: alcohols for other use are produced by industrial chemical reaction.
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  #21  
Old 07-08-2016, 11:17 PM
Velocity Velocity is offline
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Man........is the need for alcohol that desperate?
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  #22  
Old 07-09-2016, 11:22 AM
Qadgop the Mercotan Qadgop the Mercotan is online now
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Man........is the need for alcohol that desperate?
Yes. That's what alcoholism is, a desperate desire for it.
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  #23  
Old 07-09-2016, 02:12 PM
Leo Bloom Leo Bloom is offline
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Originally Posted by Velocity View Post
Man........is the need for alcohol that desperate?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Qadgop the Mercotan View Post
Yes. That's what alcoholism is, a desperate desire for it.
Quoted for impact and example of truth.

People will attempt to eat rocks for hunger--and a pathology can be as essential as any instinctive life force.

As a personal aside, as shocking to me, perhaps, as this is to Velocity, is learning about the desperate and almost unthinkable ways the mentally ill will endeavor to end their lives.

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  #24  
Old 07-09-2016, 02:21 PM
HoneyBadgerDC HoneyBadgerDC is offline
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Originally Posted by jaykay197575 View Post
Right...you get a 5 litre tub, easily available from the cleaners, collect about 15 oranges, again easily gotten when they have the fruit option at mealtimes, about 1-2 kilo's of sugar and yeast or marmite, easily gotten from the kitchens. squeeze all the oranges into the tub, add the marmite or yeast and half the sugar, fill ip[ up halfway, and cook it every night using hot water in a mop bucket, after 4 days add the rest of the sugay and fill container right up, remember to spear holes in the lid or it will explode, give it another 6 days of cooking at night time, then drain and drink...it gets u rat-arsed but the hangover is hardcore...also when youve drained, keep the dregs at the bottom and just add more oranges and sugar to kick it off again...hope this helps

I have never heard of cooking brew. Grains are cooked only in the begaining to extract sugars. The only other reason for cooking is to distill the alcohol after the yeast has quit working.
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Old 07-12-2016, 06:05 AM
Gilbert1984 Gilbert1984 is offline
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Originally Posted by Joey P View Post
The original article contains this epic quote (epic to speakers of English English as opposed to American English)

"the Peter J. Pitchess Detention Center in Santa Clarita Valley -- hatched a scheme to let inmates pick grapes at a winery and shag golf balls at a local driving range."

I didn't know it was physically possible to "shag golf balls".
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Old 07-12-2016, 11:19 AM
Atamasama Atamasama is offline
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Originally Posted by D.E.S.K.Top668 View Post
THIS is a funny, yet informative, article about the production of prison wine and a review of the result.

Peace - DESK
Thank you for this by the way. Very entertaining.
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  #27  
Old 07-12-2016, 06:55 PM
Irishman Irishman is offline
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Originally Posted by pulykamell View Post
Zombie notwithstanding, why are you cooking it? Or do mean merely warming it up a bit to speed up fermentation?
Considering their only source of heat is the hot water tap in their cell, they aren't so much cooking it as heating to aid fermentation.

Quote:
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Man........is the need for alcohol that desperate?
You don't know the half of it. A cop at one of those anti drug seminars explained some of the bad shit people were doing for a high or to get drunk. Take a foot long loaf of french bread, trim the ends to make a cylinder, pour a bottle of liquid shoe polish through the bread, drink what comes out at the bottom.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gilbert1984 View Post
The original article contains this epic quote (epic to speakers of English English as opposed to American English)

"the Peter J. Pitchess Detention Center in Santa Clarita Valley -- hatched a scheme to let inmates pick grapes at a winery and shag golf balls at a local driving range."

I didn't know it was physically possible to "shag golf balls".
Yeah, I caught that one.
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Old 07-12-2016, 07:21 PM
pulykamell pulykamell is offline
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Considering their only source of heat is the hot water tap in their cell, they aren't so much cooking it as heating to aid fermentation.
I was wondering because hot water from a tap (around 50C) gets into the yeast killing territory. I guess if you just dunk it in that water, you'll be fine and speed the process up. Might affect the flavor negatively a bit but, well, flavor is not what we're going for in prison hooch, after all....
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Old 07-12-2016, 07:30 PM
silenus silenus is offline
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So, we've established that:

1. people will go to great lengths to alter their reality, if only for a little while
2. fermentation is a basic principle that can be practiced just about anywhere
3. jayjay197575 doesn't know what it is talking about
4. When given a choice, the red is preferable to the white
5. zombies like hooch too
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  #30  
Old 07-13-2016, 05:04 AM
si_blakely si_blakely is offline
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Originally Posted by usedtobe View Post
Fermentation vs distillation.
Remember that distillation is just concentrating the products of fermentation.

So while yeast mainly produce ethanol during anerobic digestion, they do also produce some methanol. The problem is that methanol is rather toxic, and the concentration provided by distillation is enough to make the end result lethal, if the early fraction (containing most of the methanol) is not discarded.
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  #31  
Old 07-13-2016, 11:25 AM
Leo Bloom Leo Bloom is offline
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...You don't know the half of it. A cop at one of those anti drug seminars explained some of the bad shit people were doing for a high or to get drunk. Take a foot long loaf of french bread, trim the ends to make a cylinder, pour a bottle of liquid shoe polish through the bread, drink what comes out at the bottom...
What part of the precipitate of shoe polish gets you high? Real question.
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  #32  
Old 07-13-2016, 12:28 PM
Little Nemo Little Nemo is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gilbert1984 View Post
The original article contains this epic quote (epic to speakers of English English as opposed to American English)

"the Peter J. Pitchess Detention Center in Santa Clarita Valley -- hatched a scheme to let inmates pick grapes at a winery and shag golf balls at a local driving range."

I didn't know it was physically possible to "shag golf balls".
To clear up any confusion among non-Americans, shagging balls means retrieving balls after they've been hit out into a field. It started as a baseball term.
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  #33  
Old 07-13-2016, 02:39 PM
Atamasama Atamasama is offline
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Well, a rich gal will drink good pineapple juice
And a poor gal will do quite the same.
Yeah, but my gal she drinkin' old shoe polish
You know she'd get drunk just the same
- My Gal, The Lovin' Spoonful

Shoe polish often contains ethanol and methanol to speed the drying process. It's something you drink when you'd rather be dead than sober, like kerosene or sterno.
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Old 07-13-2016, 03:59 PM
skdo23 skdo23 is offline
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You don't know the half of it. A cop at one of those anti drug seminars explained some of the bad shit people were doing for a high or to get drunk. Take a foot long loaf of french bread, trim the ends to make a cylinder, pour a bottle of liquid shoe polish through the bread, drink what comes out at the bottom.
I've heard stories of soldiers doing the same thing w/ Aqua Velva during WWII.
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  #35  
Old 07-13-2016, 04:27 PM
pulykamell pulykamell is offline
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Originally Posted by si_blakely View Post
Remember that distillation is just concentrating the products of fermentation.

So while yeast mainly produce ethanol during anerobic digestion, they do also produce some methanol. The problem is that methanol is rather toxic, and the concentration provided by distillation is enough to make the end result lethal, if the early fraction (containing most of the methanol) is not discarded.
My understanding is that typically the stories you hear about people going blind or dying from illegal spirits is because they've been cut with antifreeze or industrial methanol, not improperly distilled. I've researched this before and it seems that even if you don't discard the "heads," you'll at worst suffer from a nasty hangover and the amount of alcohol you would need to drink to get methanol poisoning would kill you before you reach that point.

Last edited by pulykamell; 07-13-2016 at 04:28 PM..
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Old 07-14-2016, 03:36 AM
si_blakely si_blakely is offline
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Originally Posted by pulykamell View Post
My understanding is that typically the stories you hear about people going blind or dying from illegal spirits is because they've been cut with antifreeze or industrial methanol, not improperly distilled. I've researched this before and it seems that even if you don't discard the "heads," you'll at worst suffer from a nasty hangover and the amount of alcohol you would need to drink to get methanol poisoning would kill you before you reach that point.
Yeah, there isn't too much detail on how much methanol you can get in fermented beverages, and I did search. I would suspect that when distilling a large batch of mash directly into a jug, the "heads" could well be collected into a single jug that might have sufficient methanol toxicity. But I also know that the bigger risk for drinking moonshine was distillers using piping with lead in it, or car radiators with glycol residue, even if they did not cut the product with methanol.
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  #37  
Old 07-14-2016, 10:50 AM
Hypno-Toad Hypno-Toad is offline
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I imagine that this is part of why cheap-ass wines like MD20/20 are so bad. They skip the expense of removing the head or tail of the distilling run and pass the misery on to the consumer.
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  #38  
Old 07-14-2016, 11:08 AM
pulykamell pulykamell is offline
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Originally Posted by Hypno-Toad View Post
I imagine that this is part of why cheap-ass wines like MD20/20 are so bad. They skip the expense of removing the head or tail of the distilling run and pass the misery on to the consumer.
Wines are not distilled. ETA: But, wait, is Mad Dog fortified? So, maybe, but I would suspect that cheap grain spirits industrially distilled would be careful to keep the methanol content down.

Last edited by pulykamell; 07-14-2016 at 11:11 AM..
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  #39  
Old 07-14-2016, 12:26 PM
Velocity Velocity is offline
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Not to hijack, but is it common for alcoholic criminals to emerge from prison de-toxed, due to being deprived of alcohol?
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  #40  
Old 07-14-2016, 01:54 PM
Leo Bloom Leo Bloom is offline
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Originally Posted by Irishman View Post
...A cop at one of those anti drug seminars explained some of the bad shit people were doing for a high or to get drunk. Take a foot long loaf of french bread, trim the ends to make a cylinder, pour a bottle of liquid shoe polish through the bread, drink what comes out at the bottom...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Leo Bloom View Post
What part of the precipitate of shoe polish gets you high? Real question.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Atamasama View Post
Well, a rich gal will drink good pineapple juice
And a poor gal will do quite the same.
Yeah, but my gal she drinkin' old shoe polish
You know she'd get drunk just the same
- My Gal, The Lovin' Spoonful

Shoe polish often contains ethanol and methanol to speed the drying process. It's something you drink when you'd rather be dead than sober, like kerosene or sterno.
Thanks. So it's not the precipitate, it's the solvent...and, FTR, the separated components were trapped by baguette-filtration, meaning they weren't precipitates by definition, and I was unwisely showing off some misunderstood fancy vocabulary.

So I learned two things. Three, if you count learning there is even such a thing as bread filtration.


ETA: Four, counting the song reference.

Last edited by Leo Bloom; 07-14-2016 at 01:55 PM..
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  #41  
Old 07-15-2016, 06:20 AM
Melbourne Melbourne is offline
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Originally Posted by usedtobe View Post
How do these rigs ensure ethanol (aka 'grain alcohol') instead of methanol (aka 'wood alcohol')?
I was under the impression that the heat at which the mash is cooked determined this for your basic moonshine
The heat at which the mash is fermented is one factor in determining how much methanol you get.
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  #42  
Old 07-15-2016, 09:21 PM
Hypno-Toad Hypno-Toad is offline
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Originally Posted by pulykamell View Post
Wines are not distilled. ETA: But, wait, is Mad Dog fortified? So, maybe, but I would suspect that cheap grain spirits industrially distilled would be careful to keep the methanol content down.
Yeah, I was thinking of fortified wines like MD20/20, Night Train, and Thunderbird.
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  #43  
Old 07-15-2016, 09:31 PM
pulykamell pulykamell is offline
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Originally Posted by Hypno-Toad View Post
Yeah, I was thinking of fortified wines like MD20/20, Night Train, and Thunderbird.
Sure. I just doubt that they're fortifying it with methanol or poorly distilled alcohol or anything of the sort. I assume they just get some cheap Everclear-type grain alcohol and throw it in the mix.
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  #44  
Old 07-15-2016, 10:04 PM
bobot bobot is offline
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Here's one for anyone who would like to try the play at home version that requires no dirty socks. Or toilets.
(Warning: 20 min long video)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RWGxmdtybs0
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