It's Risky Brewing Prison Hooch. I learned the hard way. (2023)

If there's one thing prison does for guys like me, it's teach, although lessons are learned the hard way.

At the beginning of my offering, I was talking to a friend of mine about finding a way to eliminate the hunger pangs we both regularly suffer from. True, the Department of Corrections offers three meals a day, but most would likely be turned down by a starving child. Not to mention the 12-hour gap between dinner and breakfast that he and I now find ourselves in.

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"Yo, what's there to eat?" I remember he asked.

"All I have is two soups to my name bro."

"Damn it, and we still have a minute before we go to the store."

"Yes, I know that very well," I told him. "This fortnight is killing us now."

A fortnight is a period where your unit cannot shop for two weeks, putting you in a situation where your hunger becomes your brain. I'm not exactly sure what this "rule" is for, but what I do know is that it's hard to browse alone without family members sending you some groceries.

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And unfortunately, my arrest at that time strained the relationship between me and my family. They were rightly upset, let's just say they chose to make love tough.

"We have to hurry," said my friend.

"What are you thinking?"

He stopped. "The cheapest way for us would be to expose a cargo of wine..."

Most of you can probably guess that prison drug dealing is the most lucrative way to earn money. But coming in a strong second isProduction of wine or spirits, as we call it. Unlike what you've seen on TV, it's not done in the bathroom, at least not anymore. And it can be just as potent or even stronger than the wine and spirits you buy at a state-owned store when done right.

But while my friend's logic was sound, I didn't jump in head first. To tell you the truth, I was afraid to take that risk. Not so much the immediate punishment of getting caught, but the potential impact it could have on my parole from prison. Combine that with the fact that I'm not a drinker, either here or abroad, and you'll understand why I didn't just go flush to make the juice.

"I don't know, bro... That's not my trail..."

“Well, we have to think of something andimmediately," he said.

EUHe shared my friend's frustration with our situation in more ways than he probably didn't even know. At that time he had some addictions, namely cigarettes and gambling, which dominated my life enormously. So it doesn't take a rocket scientist to see where I'm going.

All it took was the drunk in the room to come up to me a few weeks later and ask me where he could find his vice of choice.

"Oh brother, why don't you make wine?" he asked, not realizing he'd thought of that.

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This drunk looked and acted more like an NFL linebacker than the alcoholic he was. If it was so easy, I thought, why didn't He do it? I wanted to lie so I wouldn't look silly, but I've learned that in situations like this it's best to be honest.

"I don't know how," I replied honestly. "Besides, I'm trying not to get caught with it."

He usually looked around to see if anyone was listening before saying, "Well, I could tell you how to do that..."

It looked promising, but I have trust issues. This was technically a stranger after all. So I initially shrugged off his suggestion and went on with my day.

But I soon found myself in an even worse financial situation than before, and my despair was at its peak. Soon, when she couldn't find a decent job, she was afraid to resort to more demeaning and aggressive tactics like stealing money, intimidation or blackmail.

So I crawled the dorm drunk again and took a crash course in Alcohol Prep 101 and left feeling like it was Jack Daniel's prison.

Sugar, tomato paste, water and time were my main ingredients for making a decent batch of liquid courage, and three days later I had all four. The science behind alcohol production isn't as complicated as you might think. I mixed about a pound of sugar for every pound of pasta with a little hot water, let it sit for about three to five days, and voilà, booze.

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They do this in any plastic bag or container you can get your hands on. I chose an old washing powder bottle because it gave me the ability to hide my efforts in plain sight. With desperation as my motivation, I gave up fear of consequences and was ready to start grabbing.

The first batch tasted like sweetened soap, but that didn't stop me from selling the two liters to the drunks in the room for the regular price of $8 each, which netted me $5 after cost. It may not seem like much, but this is where it can come in very handy.

Excited about the money and how easy everything was, I now wanted to improve my product by eliminating the soapy taste, which turned out to be more of a challenge than I expected. The sequential cold water rinse procedure appeared to be effective.

Meanwhile, in my earlier conversation with the drunk, he told me that the general rule of thumb was the longer you let it rest, the better. The reason for this is that the main ingredient, sugar, needs as much "cooking" time as possible to increase the durability of the decanter. Another important instruction he gave me was to "burp" the bowl regularly to avoid building up pressure and possibly exploding.

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With all that under my control, batch two was so successful that I was able to charge a few extra dollars per liter.

Now I felt like a "drink master" and on a winning streak. I haven't seen the cafeteria for a little over a week, because now I could do my shopping and also invest in more products to increase my income. Everything looked good in my world, so of course I didn't waste any time prepping deck three.

EUI would be lying if I said I knew why the drunk or anyone else likes to drink so much. Maybe it's the thrill of breaking the rules in prison or it helps you mentally escape. What I did know, however, was that his zeal fueled my desire to follow him sooner rather than later. With a potential $40 win, my mind was racing to find a way to speed up the process. After all, there's enough food here for two weeks.

Eventually, I came up with the idea of ​​"shake and burp". For some scientific reason I can't explain at this point, shaking the bottle sped up the brew enough that if I stayed up all night, I could practically cut my wait time in half.

Or at least that was the theory.

The countdown was over and bedtime was approaching. It had been at least an hour since my last shudder and belch, and I thought I'd have one more before I fell asleep... But then, suddenly, a shotgun sound. Now that I was using my product, my dabbler was showing. The bottle had exploded.

My best guess as to what happened is that the pressure built up faster than expected, causing the geyser-like explosion and ultimately my ridiculous and unfortunate circumstances.

Panic was pretty much my first reaction. It was over and I had the C.O. Had it happened then, my original fear of punishment would have come true. I quickly pulled myself together and created a cleaning schedule, starting with my precious TV. In the dark, I cleaned myself and my entire cabin in record time.

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But in the midst of trying to banish the smell of wine from my area, the security guard made his rounds and stopped in front of my bucket. I froze like a deer in headlights when I saw him sniffing the air and looking at me. Eventually he left to go about his business, which made me think he was in the clear.

"Is that you, brother?" a muscular, tattooed, bespectacled white man asked worriedly a few minutes later.

"O?" I said trying to play the idiot. I've seen this around before, but like I said, I have trust issues.

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"Were you the one who made the whole block smell like Martha's Vineyard?" he asked with a smile. I don't know if it was his tone or his approach, but something told me to keep going.

"Is it that obvious?" I said embarrassed.

"Yes. But don't worry, I have you." He turned to go.

I remember wondering at that point if this was a sign for me to fold while I was winning. But the white man returned a few seconds later, interrupted my train of thought, and began sprinkling baby powder on the floor from one end of our row to the other. It looked like the back of a bakery when it was ready and strangely it completely hid the smell.

"That should protect you until tomorrow," he said, handing me the rest of the baby powder to throw in my bucket.

"Good visa", I said.

FFor a few days my debacle had the dorm sergeant snooping around like an ATF bloodhound trying to catch the culprit, but I didn't care. I'm officially done making alcohol. If there's one thing I hate, it's fear and nervousness.

Later that day, I found the drunk outside the room and told him it was over. When he asked why, I told him what happened. He laughed at me for a minute and said, "Now you see why I can't."

My smuggling days are behind me and probably shouldn't even have started. These days I have a better external support system and my new prison cook friend is the one I don't have to risk my freedom with and it compensates and feeds me at the same time! There will always be desperate situations we face in life, but the key is not to make desperate decisions. I said I learn things the hard way.

Olethus Hill Jr., 32, is being held at the London Correctional Institution in Ohio, where he is serving a 16-year sentence for robbery and kidnapping with a three-year extension for carrying a firearm.


How do you make jailhouse hooch? ›

The science behind making hooch isn't as complicated as one would think. I mixed about a pound of sugar to every half-pound of paste with some hot water, let it sit for about three to five days, and voilà, hooch.

What does prison hooch smell like? ›

No matter how well guarded a batch might be, the fermentation process is a foul-smelling one. A prison nurse likened the stench to baby poop.

What is hooch jail slang? ›

HOLE, (THE): Another term for solitary confinement. HOOCH: Hooch is homemade, fermented alcoholic drink made from sugar, some fruit or juice, and some yeast. It's fermented in a bag or airtight bowl. HOOP: To hide contraband in a bodily cavity.

What does prison hooch taste like? ›

Pruno or prison wine is an alcoholic beverage that's made from various ingredients, many of which are circulated through the prison. The taste of pruno has been described as a “bile-flavored wine cooler” – not exactly something that sounds enticing. Hooch has been a mainstay for prison culture for years.

How do you make the strongest hooch? ›

Some people even go as far as fermenting for up to 3 months at a time before bottling the thing as well as adding more sugar to the mix. The addition of sugar can also help your yeast continuously produce alcohol for a stronger final product.

Is it safe to drink pruno? ›

If you make pruno, you put yourself and anyone who drinks it in danger of getting botulism. The alcohol in your drink won't destroy the toxin (make it harmless). The only way to be sure you don't get botulism from pruno is to not drink it.

How often should I burp hooch? ›

According to Rich's system I would let it sit for five days, “burping” the bag once a day to let off the gasses. Rich suggests that the best time to do this is right after lights out, since the guards won't be by for a while and the odor of fermenting juice is pungent and unmistakable.

What is a pretty drink in jail? ›

Pruno, or prison wine, is an alcoholic beverage variously made from apples, oranges, fruit cocktail, fruit juices, hard candy, sugar, high fructose syrup, and possibly other ingredients, including crumbled bread. Bread is incorrectly thought to contain yeast for the pruno to ferment.

What is a funny name for a jail? ›

  • jail.
  • clink (slang)
  • confinement.
  • cooler (slang)
  • dungeon.
  • jug (slang)
  • lockup.
  • nick (British, slang)

What does blood mean in jail? ›

They are a whites-only prison gang with a fierce reputation. Prisoners can't just join them; they have to be invited to become a member of the gang. They operate with a blood-in/blood-out mentality: Prisoners have to kill to get in and can only leave the gang when they're dead.

What do they call snacks in jail? ›

A spread is a prison meal made by inmates. Spreads are often made with commissary ingredients, such as instant ramen and corn puffs. Spreads can be simple meals, or elaborate and inventive combinations of ingredients.

Why did hooch get banned? ›

At the time, along with other alcopops, the drink received criticism for encouraging underage drinking by appealing to children due to its sweet taste and use of cartoon-like advertising.

Does prison wine actually get you drunk? ›

But even though its flavor is reminiscent of Mad Dog 20/20 and “is like drinking the nastiest sweet and sour margarita but with bread in there and orange,” according to Crouch, it does the job of getting you drunk and is the perfect way to pass a couple hours in the yard.

Why is it called hooch? ›

Hooch, a largely American colloquialism for 'cheap fiery alcoholic spirits', originated among the ethnic peoples of Alaska. A small tribe that lived on Admiralty island called itself Hutsnuwu, 'grizzly bear foot' (a name variously transcribed by Europeans as Hootzenoo, Kootznahoo, Hoochinoo, etc.).

Can you get drunk from hooch? ›

It will not get you drunk at all, it is a nice refreshing drink and is not bitter. It has a little twang to it, maybe like when you drink bitter lemon. It's tangy.

How strong is pruno? ›

It will be about 28 proof, or 44% alcohol [sic]. You'll see it react once you add the sugar. Once the whole mixture is made, you put the gallon of liquid in a plastic bag.

What kind of alcohol is hooch? ›

A spirit for fans of the original lemon brew, our Hooch Lemon Gin brings the citrus zing of classic Hooch in a 37.5% ABV gin.

Does hooch get stronger the longer it sits? ›

In short, if all of the sugars have been consumed, the answer is yes. The longer the fermentation process takes, the more sugar is converted into alcohol. As more sugar is converted, the resulting beer will feature a higher alcohol content.

What is the easiest fastest alcohol to make? ›

The easiest alcohol to make is probably mead. Making mead is very straight forward but it is not the fastest alcohol to make. If you want to make alcohol that you can enjoy fast, beer is probably the way to go for you. Wine and spirits generally have longer fermenting processes than beer.

What is the strongest alcoholic drink made? ›

What type of alcohol is the strongest in the world? Spirytus, a 96% alcohol by volume vodka created in Poland, is the strongest alcoholic beverage in the world (ABV).

What is the most unhealthy alcohol? ›

3 Worst Types of Alcohol for Weight Loss
  • Sugary Cocktails (500 Calories per 8 oz Serving) Fancy mixed drinks might sound tasty, but they're often loaded with calories. ...
  • Frozen Beach Drinks (280 Calories per 5 oz Serving) ...
  • Craft Beer (170 Calories per 12 oz Serving)
Dec 28, 2020

What is toilet wine? ›

Toilet wine is just another name for pruno, or prison wine. It's alcohol made by prisoners that is often hidden in toilet tanks.

What are the side effects of fermented alcohol? ›

Auto-brewery syndrome has significant effects on a person's life. The patient may experience side effects of vomiting, belching, chronic fatigue syndrome, dizziness, loss of coordination, disorientation, veisalgia, and irritable bowel symptoms.

Should you refrigerate hooch? ›

If you forgot about some stored bottles of hooch or just made too many of them, don't panic! After one to two weeks your alcohol will turn into vinegar and you can use it to cook with. Store your hooch in the fridge if you want to keep them for longer, but with enough time the hooch will turn to vinegar in the fridge.

Does hooch need to be refrigerated? ›

Yes. Because Healthy Hooch Kombucha is unpasteurized it must be refrigerated whether it is open or not.

Why is my hooch not bubbling? ›

By far, the #1 reason for a wine fermentation to not start bubbling is because of temperature. Wine yeast is very sensitive to temperature… some strains more than others. My recommendation is to keep your fermentation between 70° F.

What does orange mean in jail? ›

Orange bands are for juveniles. Yellow wristbands are for inmates with medical problems or communicable diseases.

Why are jails pink? ›

Prisons go pink

Once pink started to embody femininity, some wondered if it could be used to “tame” aggressive male behavior. Beginning in the 1980s, a handful of prison wardens painted holding cells in prisons and jails pink. The hope was that the color would have a calming effect on the male prisoners.

What is the pink they put in jails? ›

Baker-Miller Pink, also known as P-618, Schauss pink, or Drunk-Tank Pink is a tone of pink which has been observed to temporarily reduce hostile, violent or aggressive behavior. It was originally created by mixing white indoor latex paint with red trim semi-gloss outdoor paint in a 1:8 ratio by volume.

What is a small jail called? ›

lockup. noun. a small prison in a village or town, where the police can keep a criminal for a short period of time.

What are jail nicknames for people? ›

People with nicknames like Baby 8, Baby Boy, Bam Bam, Bubbles, Cheater, Chino, Chico, Chicago, Colorado, Dangerous Dan, Denver, Downtown, Detroit, Demon, Diablo, George the Whore, Giggles, GQ, G-Hung, G-Ride, Kenny G, Honky, Hot Shower, New York and LA. He was gay...

What do you call a jail breaker? ›

synonyms for jail-breaker

On this page you'll find 8 synonyms, antonyms, and words related to jail-breaker, such as: defector, deserter, runaway, dodger, refugee, and escaped prisoner.

What does D block mean jail? ›

In prison days, D Block was the Treatment Unit for disciplinary cases. Alcatraz was a place for the country's worst inmates, and D Block was where they kept the worst of the worst. Prisoners there were locked in their cells for 24 hours a day. There are three tiers to D Block.

What does rabbit mean in jail? ›

Rabbit: An inmate who has a history of escape attempts or has plans to try to escape. Ride with: To do favors for a fellow convict, often including sexual ones, in exchange for protection, contraband, prison currency, or commissary items.

What does DP mean in jail? ›

Dismissal Reason Codes
DMDefense Motion
DPDeferred Prosecution Completed
FDFiled Directly in Superior or District Court
IAInadequate Affidavit
22 more rows

What is a Honeybun in jail? ›

Honey buns — so puffy! — have taken on lives of their own among the criminal class: as currency for trades, as bribes for favors, as relievers for stress and substitutes for addiction. They've become birthday cakes, hooch wines, last meals — even ingredients in a massive tax fraud.

What does fishing mean in jail? ›

Fish. A new or inexperienced inmate. Gassing. Throwing feces or other bodily fluids at a prison staff member or other inmate. The Hole.

How long does it take to make hooch in jail? ›

How to make fruity prison pruno cocktail AKA hooch? In prison, it's often done with a plastic bag that can be sealed. The fruit is pulped up, bread added, and then sealed. It's then placed somewhere warm, such as a toilet where it can ferment for 5 - 7 days (depending on if the guards find it).

What is the main alcohol in hooch? ›

(70cl) A spirit for fans of the original lemon brew, our Hooch Lemon Gin brings the citrus zing of classic Hooch in a 37.5% ABV gin. Blending the old with the new, this no-nonsense spirit will have you reminiscing the simpler times with every sip.

What's in a hooch drink? ›

A sparkling alcoholic lemon brew made with real lemons and natural lemon flavours, containing real juicy bits. Hooch is truly a legend of the drinks world. Originally launched in 1995 we had a brief sabbatical in the noughties but are now firmly back in the nation's hands.

Is hooch the same as moonshine? ›

In English, moonshine is also known as mountain dew, choop, hooch (abbreviation of hoochinoo, name of a specific liquor, from Tlingit), homebrew, mulekick, shine, white dog, white lightning, white/corn liquor, white/corn whiskey, pass around, firewater, and bootleg.

Do prisoners get condoms? ›

San Francisco has been distributing condoms to inmates in county jails for decades, but a new California law requires condoms to be made available to all state prisoners. California is the second state after Vermont to do so, even though sex between prisoners is unlawful here.

Can inmates drink beer? ›

Inmates are not permitted to have alcoholic beverages, and correctional officers confiscate pruno whenever and wherever they find it.

Is hooch a drug? ›

Marijuana. [Short for hoochinoo, from Hoochinoo, a Tlingit village where illegal liquor was distilled, from Tlingit xutsnuuwú.]

What alcohol was popular in the 90s? ›

Appletini. The -tini crazy hit the '90s hard and the tangy green Appletini arguably led the way. Made with apple vodka and sour apple schnapps, which gave it its signature electric green hue, the Appletini was the perfect accessory to the era's slinky slip dresses and a frequent order on the bar and club scene.

What is the strongest hooch? ›

The strongest wine, or hooch, you can make is 14% alcohol. The yeast will die after that. Bread yeast, champagne yeast, bread, normally occurring yeast. Even tho yeast eats sugar and poops alcohol, it will not survive much past 14%.

Who owns the hooch drink? ›

Global Brands Limited is delighted to announce the purchase of the Hooch, Hooper's and Reef brands from Molson Coors, 4th January 2023. These three brands have been produced and distributed by Global Brands since 2012, under license from Molson Coors.


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