Can’t hold their port

CANOE — CNEWS – Canada: High-test homebrew fuelling violence

The main ingredient is SuperYeast, a fast-acting yeast available in home-brewing stores. Mixed in a pail with sugar and water, one pouch can make 25 litres of superjuice in just a couple of days. The standard price of a two-litre bottle of superjuice is $80.

People drunk on superjuice are prone to violence, wild emotional outbursts, suicidal thoughts and frequent blackouts, Wood said. “With regular alcohol you can know what you are doing up to a point, but with superjuice you can’t control yourself,” he said.

A search for superyeast shows that the police seem to be, uh, perhaps just a little off base. In two days, you get 14% alcohol, which is equivalent to strong wine, or about twice the alcohol content of beer. In five days you get to 20%, which is the same as fortified wines, or about 3x regular beer. The top end, then, is 40 proof, which is to say half the alcohol content of whiskey, vodka or other spirits. I’m a little suspicious, even given isolated dry communities, that people are paying $80 for the alcoholic equivalent of 2 or 3 sixpacks of bad beer. (Especially when in a cold climate you can freeze-concentrate your liquor to well above distillery levels.)

But it sure makes a good story to blame the craziness of being in an isolated community subject to enormous cultural, environmental and economic pressures on some new genetically-enhanced strain of yeast.

The only clue I can see to why this stuff might be producing excess craziness is in the comment that people are drinking it after one day of (probably non-optimal-temperature) fermentation. The yeast probably isn’t strong enough to ferment at body temperature — if it were, these people would stay drunk indefinitely — but a quick look at the recipe page shows that two liters of partially fermented mix will have something like a pound of pure sugar in it. So imagine drinking a six of light beer while chowing down on a pound and a half of marshmallows. There’s a high that will make you cray, and a hangover you’ll never want to repeat.

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