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Whole Leaf Tobacco

Curing burley question

USHOG

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#1
I have dried my Burley just hanging in the garage but it has taken many weeks in the past years to dry completely and I have had a few mold issues on the stem, but not the leaf. This year I allowed the leaf to yellow (took 3 days) and then dropped the humidity down to 60% to dry the stems. This worked out great no mold at all, but I was wondering if this quicker drying time will effect the taste down the road. I do not plan on smoking these leaves any time soon. Or does it not matter as long as the color is correct? I did allow several clusters of leaves to dry slowly to compare. I just was interested if this changes anything. Is there a better way of curing the burley that I am not doing or other ways to dry the leaf that will effect the taste?
 

deluxestogie

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#2
Once burley has color-cured, it remains pretty raw for at least a couple of months. Often, it requires about of year of just hanging, in order to lose the albuminous proteins and other constituents that give it a "grassy" aroma, poor burning, and a rough taste. A month in a kiln will eliminate the long wait.

Bob
 

skychaser

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#3
When the leaf has color cured and turned yellow, you can dry it as fast as you want. The faster, the better, imho. It won't affect the taste later on. Then you can just let it hang and let nature take its course, or kiln it. Once the leaf is colored you can also strip it off the stem and let it finish drying and age that way. If you have no stems, you can't get that pesky stem mold. :D

Some of the white stemmed Burleys age fairly quickly. Harrow Velvet and Golden Burley are smokable in 2-3 months. Kentucky Burleys smoke pretty good after 4-5 months,TN 90 & 86 need 7-8 months. The longer they age, the better they get. Burley 21 needs a year and then it is delicious. Try smoking after just a couple months and it will near kill you. lol
 

Knucklehead

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#5
I'm also from a high humidity area. Last year, I let my leaf cure in the shed and then took it inside the house and stacked the leaf on my propagation heat mats for stem drying. This worked out great. Just rotate the pile once a day. Another benefit is the leaves dried flat as though they had been ironed. The heat mats are used to put your seedling flats on raise soil temps in a cost effective manner, so I was just reusing something I already had. I use the double mats for two trays. The mats are available here: http://www.greenhousemegastore.com/category/s?keyword=propagation+mat
 

USHOG

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#6
I have to keep my dehumidifier going in the garage to keep it at 70% humidity or it will sky rocket to 85% or higher. So it is easy to turn the leaf yellow, but I needed another area with a much lower humidity to dry the stems. I am using a walk in closet that has a humidity of 60% to dry the stems. Doing it this way allows me to prime the leaves at different times and color cure them without mold issues. I just wanted to make sure I wasn't doing something wrong by dropping the humidity but it looks like it is working out great. Thank you all for the information
 

BarG

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#7
USHOG, I am right around the corner from you and have been having no trouble air curing for 4th year. Are you curing in an enclosed area[garage].Mine is completely covered but open enough for great air circulation. When temps are high and humidity low during the dog days of summer I give mine a spray mist on occassion to keep the leaves from shattering .
 

USHOG

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#8
Mine are all hanging indoors. I have converted my smoking room into a drying room. Plenty of ventilation and I have total control over the temps and humidity. I just need another place with much lower humidity. I have a spare room that is now a lower humidity room to finish drying the leaf and stems. I am looking into building a kiln to dry some of the leaf but that is in the future.

I do have another question. What is the differences between the same leaf if it is flue cured verses air cured? I am talking about the finished product. I assume more sugars and nic in the flue cured since it drys so much faster but that is just a guess I am making
 

deluxestogie

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#9
What is the differences between the same leaf if it is flue cured verses air cured? I am talking about the finished product. I assume more sugars and nic in the flue cured since it drys so much faster...
That's pretty much the difference. Also, flue-curing goes up to 160ºF+ during the stem kill, so the leaf's primary oxidase enzyme is denatured. After flue-curing, the leaf ages much more slowly (but does continue to age, since the less active peroxidase enzyme is safe up to ~191ºF). It's damn near impossible to capture a bright golden color in an air-cured leaf.

Bob
 

USHOG

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#10
What are the taste differences between the 2 if used with the exact same leaf. The lighter colors in the leaf are set with the flue curing but how about the taste of the tobacco. Is it close to each other once finished?
 

deluxestogie

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#11
Flue-cured leaf is more acidic, and takes on a more leathery texture. Its aroma is distinctly that of cigarette tobacco. Air-curing a flue-cure variety yields a darker leaf that is not as acidic and sweet, but is still quite different in acidity, taste and aroma from air-cured cigar varieties.

Bob
 

USHOG

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#12
Thank you for the information. I have enjoyed growing tobacco for some time now but I am learning so much since I have been here mainly about the curing and fermenting end and all of the different types of tobacco. I had no idea. Growing tobacco is the easy part it is the amount of different processes that have a huge learning curve.
 

ladaok

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#13
I have to keep my dehumidifier going in the garage to keep it at 70% humidity or it will sky rocket to 85% or higher. So it is easy to turn the leaf yellow, but I needed another area with a much lower humidity to dry the stems. I am using a walk in closet that has a humidity of 60% to dry the stems. Doing it this way allows me to prime the leaves at different times and color cure them without mold issues. I just wanted to make sure I wasn't doing something wrong by dropping the humidity but it looks like it is working out great. Thank you all for the information
try crushing the stem through rollers of some description ... this takes lots of the moisture out
 

USHOG

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#14
My problem is that I am curing 29 varieties at the same time and they all require a little different temps and humidity but my system this year has worked flawless. I had to use the fermentation chamber to dry stems to speed up the rotation of priming each week so far so good
 

mwaller

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#15
I'd like grow a Burley next year for pipe blending. I want something relatively rich and strong that is easy to air cure. What varieties should I consider?
I see that Harrow Velvet is a popular choice. How does it taste?



When the leaf has color cured and turned yellow, you can dry it as fast as you want. The faster, the better, imho. It won't affect the taste later on. Then you can just let it hang and let nature take its course, or kiln it. Once the leaf is colored you can also strip it off the stem and let it finish drying and age that way. If you have no stems, you can't get that pesky stem mold. :D

Some of the white stemmed Burleys age fairly quickly. Harrow Velvet and Golden Burley are smokable in 2-3 months. Kentucky Burleys smoke pretty good after 4-5 months,TN 90 & 86 need 7-8 months. The longer they age, the better they get. Burley 21 needs a year and then it is delicious. Try smoking after just a couple months and it will near kill you. lol
 

Jitterbugdude

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#16
Don't know about a strong Burley but Yellow Twist Bud is very mild so you probably want to avoid it. You can make any tobacco strong by adding a lot of Nitrogen to your soil.
 

OldDinosaurWesH

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#18
mwaller:

If you want a full strength high nicotine Burley that is easy to grow and easy to cure, Kentucky 17. Beware though, it is pretty strong. I use it as a small percentage (5%) blend for cigarettes to give some kick. According to my spreadsheet, I have 567 of these leaves in various states of curing. That's about 25 leaves per plant. KY17 makes a fairly good sized leaf up to about 30" long and 14"-16" wide. Mine were in the 7 - 8 foot range. Give me some kilning time & I'll send you a few to try. Or you could kiln them yourself.

Wes H.
 

OldDinosaurWesH

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#19
You can probably buy TN 90 leaf from WLT. Send them an E-Mail & ask. I've been told TN 90 is the most commonly grown tobacco in the world.

Wes H.
 

deluxestogie

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#20
I think KY 17 would do fine, so long as you are not growing in a common tobacco growing region. TN 86 and TN 90 are so widely grown because of their multiple disease resistance traits.

If WLT doesn't have them, I know that BigBonner usually grows TN 86 or TN 90 by the acre.

Bob
 
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