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In India many people die from drinking homemade wine

  1. Aug 18, 2010 #1
    I'm not a science student. So, please keep your reply simple and straightforward. Thank you.

    In India many people die from drinking homemade wine yearly. What can be the reason(s) for this apart from outside factors such as delibrately introduing a posionous herb etc? I don't know if it's okay to call it wine because to qualify as wine it would have to contain more content of ethanol than beer. What would you call it, how much ethanol is in homemade alcohol? Methanol can be blamed for this poisonous effec because it is toxic. Here people mostly drink it after fermentation, I mean they don't continue with distillation. Can you please help me with it?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 20, 2010 #2
    I have no idea what they use and which could be the exact process; if you talk of methanol it seems likable that they mixes distilled wood in the product: if you distill wood or little branches (heat it at high enough T and condense the vapours) you also have methanol, acetone and other disgusting (and poisonous) things.
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2010
  4. Aug 20, 2010 #3

    Evo

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    Please link to what you are talking about. We cannot guess what they are doing or which ingrediants they are using.
     
  5. Aug 20, 2010 #4
    As far as I know, most publicized cases of mass deaths involve people drinking illegally manufactured distilled spirits. Deaths occur because manufacturers add methanol or pesticides to their brews to increase their apparent potency. I'm not sure if we can truly call that "homemade wine".
     
  6. Aug 20, 2010 #5
  7. Aug 21, 2010 #6

    Borek

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    Apparently they drank "contaminated" wine. That most likely means scenario described by hamster - someone deliberately adding something to the brew.
     
  8. Aug 21, 2010 #7
    Hi Hamster

    This is the first time I have someone saying this. Why would someone add them knowing that they are toxic and also knowing that they can also get themselves into legal or some other kind of trouble? Are methanol or pesticides really more potent? Obviously, when someone is near dying he would be more intoxicated and hallucinated. Would you please elaborate on what you exactly meant?
     
  9. Aug 21, 2010 #8

    Borek

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    Because people are stupid and greed at the same time.

    Not necessarily, but they may make the brew smell as if it was stronger or they can make you feel intoxicated much faster.
     
  10. Aug 21, 2010 #9

    Astronuc

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    Ethylene glycol contamination is also another possibility. It has a sweet flavor, but is toxic to people and animals. It seems it was a criminal group that was responsible for the liquour or wine, and obviously they did not observe safety standards.
     
  11. Aug 21, 2010 #10
    Also the still may contain lead solder.
     
  12. Aug 21, 2010 #11
    The practice of adding "stuff" to homemade distilled spirits (as long as those are intended for sale and not for one's own consumption) is probably as culturally universal as the practice of making those distilled spirits ... Spiked liquor makes you intoxicated faster. People know that you make strong moonshine, that raises sales. Brewers may add all sorts of stuff to moonshine, from laundry detergent to chicken, hm, guano.

    One other possibility, if this is done by gangs on a semi-industrial scale, is that they source industrial ethanol with various impurities (which is cheaper than fermenting and distilling your own) and add it to the mix.
     
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