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Whole Leaf Tobacco

A couple of Question re:Burley

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#1
So I have some Burley I harvested last year, and that was my first attempt at growing. I never realized the importance of remembering the variety of Burley planted so I have no idea what kind it is. But here are my questions.
1. Is it best to keep it lightly moist or let it dry up to the point where the leaf is brittle.
2. I live in SoCal and it is average of about 10 to 20% humidity so things dry way to quickly. I hang the leaves for a couple of days then cover them while they are still hanging in plastic bags. I have noticed this allows them to start changing color and not dry to quickly. I do need to monitor them on a daily basis but so far this has worked pretty well. Is this type of drying arrangement ok or should I be doing something else? Keeping in mind I have no Kiln and the days are typically 95 to 100d.
3. Is there a way to speed up the mellowing out of Burley or is it just a matter of patience.
Any Help or suggestions as always are greatly appreciated.
Thanks
 

davek14

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#2
I have some Burley about one year old now. It's smokeable, but barely. You can case, toast, and other ways to mellow Burley, but I think it really needs a couple years on it first. Burley is pretty formidable unaltered, but I think that's distinct from the raw, unaged taste I'm still getting.
 

Charly

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#3
Don't forget that tobacco does age slower if completly dry.
To age, it needs water.
Try to put it in a place with 60-70% of relative humidity, but take care : if it's too moist (like 75-80%) it is likely to mold.
The leaves must be in low to medium case (you can handle them without breaking them, they are pliable, but they have a dry feeling under your finger) (I don't know if I explain well...)
 

deluxestogie

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#4
Charly hits the nail on the head. Time means nothing to dry tobacco. Most burley requires about a year (mostly while in at least low case) to mellow. Also, white-stem burleys in particular may not have completed their primary curing if they fully dried too soon after coloring to brown.

Once burley has acquired at least a year of age (mostly in case), subsequent kilning really smooths it out.

Bob
 
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#5
Charly,
Thanks for that, time to get out the bottle mister the humidity is so low plywood bows.
 
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#6
Thank you Deluxestogie,
One more question if you would, Is there a way to tell the difference between tobacco after it has been dried, specifically Burley from Bright Leaf.
Thanks,
 

davek14

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#8
Charly hits the nail on the head. Time means nothing to dry tobacco. Most burley requires about a year (mostly while in at least low case) to mellow. Also, white-stem burleys in particular may not have completed their primary curing if they fully dried too soon after coloring to brown.

Once burley has acquired at least a year of age (mostly in case), subsequent kilning really smooths it out.

Bob
I've wondered, does it completely stop or slow way down. I have half in the unattached garage in boxes to age where it goes in and out of case, but I have half inside where it stays pretty dry. I don't have to worry about mold if it's dry.

Does it age at all when in an air conditioned and heated room, thus pretty dry?

sjnawa - If it's 95-100 many days it will age fairly quickly if you keep it in case.
 

deluxestogie

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#9
...does it completely stop or slow way down.
Most enzymatic (and catalytic in general) reactions speed up or slow down exponentially with respect to temperature. Each has its thermal sweet spot.

The "oxidation" caused by the tobacco's two oxidase enzymes scavenges its required oxygen from free water molecules. Usually tobacco in even low case (not out of case) provides sufficient water for that. When the tobacco is out of case (truly dry), it does not. Tobacco cannot support mold growth in low case, but as the water content increases, so does the ability for various molds to support vegetative growth.

So for aging (or kilning or fermentation), warmer is much better--up to the point of destroying the enzyme, and at least some moisture must be present.

Is there a way to tell the difference between tobacco after it has been dried, specifically Burley from Bright Leaf.
Burley is always distinctive when you smoke it. And the throat "hit" is notably greater for burley. You just have to experience it to know. After that, it's easy. [Exactly like telling the difference between a grilled beef burger and a grilled camel burger. Not all that different, but you just know.]

Bob
 
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