09 March 2012

Prison Hooch

Iglesia Santa Ana in barrio Teusaquillo 

A few days after returning to Bogota I received a message from Diego saying the prison hooch was ready. Before leaving for Buga, Diego had shown me the contraption he had constructed for making "pruno", or prison wine, and had lamented I might not be around to drink it, despite his making a batch of 5 liters. If it was any good he and Antoine, who lived in the room beside him at the boarding house, were sure to drink it all before I returned.

Tube releases CO2 so that the container does not swell or explode,
and grounded in water no oxygen is allowed into the container 

But when I arrived at the boarding house in the Teusaquilla neighborhood, I found that Antoine had left for good and Diego had no one to drink it with. Diego had already set out a bottle for me to take home and he served me up a first glass. The hooch was pinkish colored from the cherries and tasted strongly of the apples and oranges he had also used. We each squeezed in a half a lime for flavor. It was certainly drinkable.

But it was a bit too sweet. This signaled that the fermentation process had not been carried out long enough to consume both the sugar he had added to the mixture as well as the natural sugars in the fruits. It just wasn't warm enough in Diego's room or in the kitchen and there was no sunlight to aid in speeding the fermentation. The hooch was more a mildly alcoholic fruit juice, probably on the order of 5% alcohol. Still, it was enjoyable to drink and the rest of the five liter container Diego planned to let further ferment. The total cost of the hootch operation was 5,000 pesos, or about $2.75.

Water + Sugar + Oranges + Apples + Cherries + Yeast

01 March 2012


With two days of disassembly, repair and cleaning now complete, the Bike Friday has a new rear sprocket set (including a lower low gear than the prior set), new chain, new front brakes, and a new Schwalbe Plus rear tire. Plan to take it out for a ride around Buga tomorrow and make adjustments. Some brake and shifting problems remain.
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