Home brew warnings after death
Mon, 14 Jan 2013 6:14p.m.
By Adam Hollingworth
Friends of a teenager who died after drinking home-brewed spirits say he sculled two bottles in quick succession.
The death of Tyson Devon has put the spotlight on the growing home brew industry, which insists there's no danger as long as brewers follow the rules and drinkers don't overindulge.
The impact of the tragic birthday party are still evident two days after the death of 18-year-old Mr Devon.
“He was drinking home brew, then he spewed up,” says friend Billie Jean Simon. “He drank some more home brew then he spewed up, then he drank some more and then he waddled himself at the back.”
The sister of friend Hayden Morris, who was celebrating his 18th, says the home brew spirits were a present from her brother's boss.
“He fell to the ground then he got back up, then fell again,” says Ms Simon.
But he never regained consciousness.
Family say Mr Devon was only drinking for about 10 minutes, but in that time he knocked back two one-litre bottles of homebrew spirits.
Toxicologist Chip Gresham says the problem with home-brewed alcohol is it's hard to gauge how strong it is.
“The potential is definitely there if people aren't doing this correctly and following instructions on these home brew kits,” says Mr Gresham. “The potential is there for severe complications or death.”
“You'll capture it here at about 95 percent, then it's up to you to water it back to 40 percent,” says Peter Morgan, a home brew store owner.
Mr Morgan owns homebrew stores in Mt Eden and in Papakura, where the party was on Saturday. He believes he didn't sell the kit that Mr Devon drank, but says home brewers must follow the instructions.
“Basically if you follow the processes, the instructions, the YouTube videos, the advice you get in the shops, I guarantee you you're going to make a good product,” says Mr Morgan.
A post-mortem on Mr Devon was being carried out this afternoon.
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16/01/2013 5:20:14 p.m.
Sensationalist rubbish reporting at its very best! Drink x2 1 liter bottles of %10 by volume and you will have ingested 200mls of pure alcohol into your system, %20 by vol= 400mls etc... Mainstream spirits run around %35-%50 so lets take a weak example: %35 by volume x2 liters = 700mls of ether alcohol ingested in a space of 10 mins (as reported by witnesses) into 5 liters of blood could potentially lead to max alcohol blood reading of; 140mls/L. or to break it down 14mls/100mls of blood. So at this weaker level of commercially available spirit the idiots blood would have been as strong as a wine! %14 alcohol by volume... the legal limit for vehicle operation is .08mgs/100mls of blood or %0.08 by volume! This guy was the victim of ignorance and his own stupidity or a suicidal mentality. end of!
15/01/2013 12:44:34 p.m.
@Andrew, undoubtedly the primary responsible for this is on the victim who undertook to drink the 2 bottles of spirits - but it is also on those who saw him indulging in what can only be described as drug abuse. They had an obligation to prevent him from doing so, especially when he continued drinking after the first time he vomitted. For God's sake, he was in the presence of friends and family, not uncaring strangers. To have allowed a kid to do this to himself was disgustingly negligent behaviour. No doubt further information will come to light in the next few days that will allow for a more accurate assessment of the events as they occurred. The bottom line is that alcohol is a dangerous drug when abused, and people need to realise that the legality of a drug is in no way related to the harm that it is capable of causing when abused; in fact, given the effects of alcohol metabolites there is no "safe" dose, but the benefits of low doses outweigh the harms of low doses. High doses - all bets for any benefits are off.Let's just hope that this tragedy saves others' lives, and teaches people to look out for their mates when dealing with alcohol.
15/01/2013 12:08:53 p.m.
Paul Manson wrote:
The fact that this young man was drinking home made spirits isn't really relevant. The toxicologist should have pointed out that even with alcohol at 37.5%ABV bought from a liquor store, drinking two litres within ten minutes will cause alcoholic poisoning.
14/01/2013 11:31:19 p.m.
NathanW, the responsibility for this bravado rests squarely with the unfortunate victim himself. Why do you seek to blame others, particularly the hosts?
14/01/2013 11:13:30 p.m.
Home brew isn't the problem, drinking two litres of alcohol in a ten minute time frame is! People need educating on the ill effects of alcohol, there is huge difference in potency between beer/rtds and wine and spirits. you should be putting more emphasis on the dangers of drinking any range of spirits that fast and using Tyson as an example instead of blaming the type of alcohol! It's not what we're drinking it's how we're drinking!
14/01/2013 11:13:27 p.m.
14/01/2013 10:04:38 p.m.
Key points:The source of the alcohol is irrelevant; if this kid had downed 2 bottles of Smirnov in 10 minutes the result would be the same. Until there is evidence that the spirits were over 50% there are no grounds to use home brew as a whipping boy (given that duty-free Bombay Sapphire is 50%)The soundbyte from the toxicologist saying that it's hard to judge the strength of home brew is rubbish. Anyone involved in distillation will use an alcometer so that they know when to stop collecting the distillate.The responsibility for this tragic drug overdose lies fairly and squarely on the hosts of the party and those who saw the victim engaging in this incredibly stupid behaviour, especially after he had vomitted not once but twice - and also on the victim himself.
14/01/2013 8:59:07 p.m.
Why is the media making this about "Homebrew"? Drinking 2 liters of any spirit in 10 minutes would put the majority of people over the LD50.
14/01/2013 7:16:36 p.m.
It is hardly the homebrews fault but blame the idiotic behaviour. Who in their right mind downs two bottles of spirits in 10 minutes?
14/01/2013 7:01:40 p.m.
JC Carter wrote:
So people are going against the home brew industry? This person chose to consume two liters of spirits in 10 minutes? Even stock 40% ABV spirits could have killed him. You cannot legislate against stupidity.
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