Friday, 31 October 2008

Homebrewed "Superjuice" in Canada

A scary homebrewing related story sent in by "M@" tells of a viciously strong (and probably horrible tasting) beverage reminiscent of prison hooch running rampant among the people of Canada's "First Nations:"

Moonshine beverages such as fermented "bean juice" have long been common in the ostensibly "dry" communities, but superjuice, which first started appearing about four years ago, raises intoxication to new, dizzily dangerous heights.

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.

This raises a couple of eyebrows. First of all, anyone paying $80 for this swill is getting seriously ripped off. They could set up their own operation for far less. You can get champagne yeast (good up to about 12-15% abv) or distilling yeast (even higher, but more than likely will max out around 15-18% abv) at many homebrew shops, usually for less than $3. Secondly, assuming this "superjuice" weighs in at around 20% abv, two liters of the stuff would be equivalent to roughly a handle of cheap liquor - which would taste far better, and cost far less than $80. Maybe it's a typo and they meant $8?

Whatever the economics of the particulars, it's pretty clear from the story that alcoholism is causing a lot of damage in this community. There's no question that the backward ghettoization referred to as "reserves" contributes to this, despite the good intentions of those who perpetuate it.

No comments: