I have heard about being able to make alcohol in jail. How would that be done? I imagine the the ingredient list would be limited like thing that would only be found in a cell. Anybody have first hand experience? As far as utensils you have your hands, socks, toilet other basic supplies found in jail.

2 Answers 2


An acquaintance of mine who did time claimed he used Five Alive to make jail brew. But then what can you believe from inmates! Prison brew generally does not taste all that great.

Here is one way to make Jailhouse Brew:

Pruno is a type of easy homemade fruit wine that’s often made by inmates in prison. Because pruno is typically made with makeshift ingredients, it doesn’t always taste very good. Making pruno is quite simple, but some recipes create the perfect environment for Clostridium botulinum. This is a bacterium that causes botulism, a form of food poisoning that can be fatal. Because of this, you must be very careful when you're making this homemade wine.


Artisan Pruno

  • 10 oranges, peeled and roughly chopped

  • 10 apples, roughly chopped

  • 1 cup (225 g) plus one tablespoon (14 g) sugar

  • 2¼ teaspoons (one 7-gram package) yeast

  • 3 cups (711 ml) water

  • 1 cup (227 g) fruit cocktail

  • 1½ ounces (43 g) raisins

Minimalist Pruno

  • 10 oranges, peeled

  • 1 cup (227 grams) fruit cocktail

  • 2 cups (474 ml) water

  • 6 teaspoons (30 g) ketchup

Making Artisan Pruno

Method 1

Method 1

1 Gather your supplies. Traditional pruno made by inmates is made with few supplies and the ingredients that are available in prison. But at home, you can also make your own version of pruno using all the convenient equipment and ingredients available in a modern kitchen. To make artisan pruno at home, you'll need:

•Immersion blender

•Wooden spoon

•Large saucepan

•Small bowl

•One-gallon (3.8-L) sealable plastic bag

•Clean bath towel

•Heating pad



•Large bowl


•Large sterile bottle or jar with lid

2 Puree the fruit. Combine the apple and orange chunks, plus the fruit cocktail and raisins, in a large saucepan. Use the immersion blender to puree the fruit until it’s juicy and pulpy, but still has some bite-sized chunks in it.

•Make sure to move the immersion blender around in the bowl as you blend, to ensure the fruit is pureed evenly.

3 Boil the fruit, sugar, and water. When the fruit is ready, add the 1 cup (225 g) of sugar and 2 cups (474 ml) of the water and stir to combine. Put on the lid, transfer the fruit mixture to the stove, and bring it to a boil over medium heat, stirring frequently to prevent burning.

•Once the fruit comes to a boil, let it simmer for 30 minutes to kill any bacteria that may be present. Continue stirring the mixture regularly.

4 Cool the fruit. After the fruit boils for 30 minutes, remove it from the heat and let it cool. You don’t want it completely cold, but slightly above room temperature to help the yeast flourish. As the fruit cools, continue stirring from time to time so it cools evenly.

•The cooling process will take about 30 minutes to an hour

5 Activate the yeast. Combine the yeast, the 1 cup of warm water, and the 3 teaspoons of sugar in a bowl. Set the bowl aside for five to 10 minutes to let it activate.

•As the yeast comes to life, it will begin to froth and bubble in the bowl.

6 Add the yeast and transfer the mixture to the bag. Pour the yeast mixture over the fruit and stir to fully combine. Transfer the mixture to the plastic bag. Press out as much air as you can, then seal the bag.

•It’s important to warm the fruit mixture because the yeast will die if it gets too cold.

7 Store the mixture somewhere warm and dark. Wrap the fruit mixture in a clean bath towel to help keep in the heat. Then place the towel on top of an electric heating pad turned to low temperature. Transfer the fruit, towel, and heating pad to a dark place, such as a closet.

•If you don’t have an electric heating pad, fill a hot water bottle with warm water. Be sure to check on the water ever six to 12 hours, and add fresh warm water as necessary when the bottle starts to get cold.

•The reason you have to keep the fruit mixture warm is so the yeast will stay alive to ferment the fruit and turn it to alcohol.

8 Burp the bag daily. As the yeast converts the sugars in the bag to alcohol and carbon dioxide, the bag will slowly fill up with gas. To prevent it from bursting, remove the bag from the towel once or twice a day and open the bag to release the gas and pressure.

•Reseal the bag, wrap it back in the towel, and return it to its dark spot on the heating pad.

•When the mixture stops bloating, it means the yeast has converted all the sugar to alcohol and carbon dioxide, meaning the pruno is ready. This will take about five days.

9 Strain the pruno. When the mixture has stopped bloating, it’s ready to strain. Place a cheesecloth-lined strainer over a bowl. Pour the fruit mixture into the strainer and let the juice drain down into the bowl.

•To get the most juice out, wring out the cheesecloth with the fruit still inside

10 Transfer to a bottle and chill before serving. Place the funnel inside the neck of a sterile glass jar or bottle. Pour the pruno into the bottle. Transfer the bottle to the fridge and allow it to chill for several hours or overnight.

•A large mason jar will work to store your pruno, or a large two-liter pop bottle.

Source: How to Make Pruno

  • Sorry no prisoner is going to go through all this trouble to ferment something. Even I wouldn't go through this hassle and I can do whatever I want! Just some apple or grape juice in a bag is all you need. Commented Jul 24, 2018 at 16:53
  • @Muze The quickest way to make some hooch undercover is apple juice or grape juice. Welch's if you are from the USA. And some yeast. If no yeast add some grapes with skins on. Simple as that. Put the yeast (or grapes) in the juice, preferably in a bucket of some kind with a lid and let it rip. If using yeast, fermentation should start within hours. Grapes could take a couple of days. When it finishes fermenting put it in some kind of bottle with as little of the dregs as possible. Enjoy! Commented Jul 25, 2018 at 20:42

Any fruit juice that will ferment. Apple, grape, orange, peach or whatever sugary concoction you can get your hands on. Raisins are especially good. Prunes. Tomatoes. Fruit Cocktail. Packets of sugar. Maple syrup. Even bread that has been turned into mush will ferment again. The hard part is fermenting it without being caught. Any plastic bucket will do. Ziploc bags. Even the toilet in your cell is good enough. Don't worry about yeast. If you can get a piece of fresh fruit like an apple it will have enough yeast to do the dirty work. Then just like our ancient ancestors, drink it when it's done fermenting. Who cares if it's cloudy or full of chunks, you have one goal and that's to get a buzz...

Friends of mine worked for Aramco in Saudi Arabia. Of course there was not alcohol allowed, but the Americans lived in a separate community and the Saudi police turned a blind eye as long as they didn't catch you drunk in public. People got very creative about brewing up stuff from the grocery store. Apple juice and grape juice were easy to get. Baker's yeast and a large bucket and voila, you had apple cider. Then stick it in the freezer until frozen solid and then drain out the alcohol, then you have something about 30% alcohol. Yum!

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