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Whole Leaf Tobacco

Deluxestogie's Endoskeletal Wood Tobacco Kiln / Flue-cure chamber

Valahnuk

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Hi!
I´m new to this forum! :)

I´ve read this thread earlier this year and got very excited about your Kiln, so i decided to build my own :).

Said and done, the kiln is built and I am now running my first indoor grown tobacco batch to test how it works.
The kiln has been going for little more than a week now and everything seem to work really well, so now i´m starting to plan for my next batch of tobacco, and now I want to try to flue-cure when my Virginia Gold in the garden starting to yellow.

I just have a question, do you have any water in the crockpot when you are flue-curing, or do you run it dry during the whole process?
 

deluxestogie

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Welcome to the forum. Feel free to introduce yourself in the Introduce Yourself section. If you enter your general location into your profile, it will appear alongside each of your posts.

If the flue-cure type leaf has begun to yellow, then I do not add water to the Crockpot for any part of the flue-curing regimen, but I keep the temp in the 92°F to 98°F range for the yellowing phase. You'll have to get a sense of how rapidly the leaf is drying. Water added during the yellowing phase may prevent fairly dry leaf from dying before it yellows fully.

Bob
 

Valahnuk

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Ok, Thank´s for reply!

Do you hang the tobacco in the kiln after the flue-curing is complete, and run a normal fermenting for 4-6 weeks?
 

deluxestogie

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Do you hang the tobacco in the kiln after the flue-curing is complete, and run a normal fermenting for 4-6 weeks?
I have done that. It turned lemon-colored leaf somewhat reddish, reduced the sweetness an acidity a bit, and was simply a demonstration that the high temp oxidase (denatured at ~191°F) is still active after flue-curing up to 165°F.

Ordinarily I do not kiln the flue-cured leaf, but rather allow it to age on its own a few months or more. I prefer brighter, more acidic bright leaf.

Bob
 

2Baccy

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What are the problems that you will encounter if you open the kiln during the flu cure process? I think I’ve read that it can be opened during yellowing but not the wilt or stem dry phase. Is this correct? I’ve built a last minute chamber based on this guide but my chamber is mostly tape and XPS foam with a few wooden corner braces.
 

deluxestogie

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The sudden drop in temperature that occurs when the door is opened can create discoloration in the desiccating leaf lamina, "puffing" and a lowering in the overall quality of the finished leaf. That's not a problem during yellowing.

North Carolina State University, as well as extension services of most other tobacco producing states provide guides on flue-curing. (e.g. https://content.ces.ncsu.edu/flue-cured-tobacco-information)

If your tape holds up to the temperatures of flue-curing, you should be fine.

Bob
 

2Baccy

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Thanks I just wanted to be sure I could check it at 24 hrs yellowing which is tonight to see the progress. The tape is covered with plywood in high stress locations so I’m hopeful. I did it in about 4 hrs and it holds heat really well no gaskets just foam to foam door seal. Door hinge is also tape. A table saw for the foam cutting really helped keep my joints straight and tight. I think British American tobacco shares might just drop a percent when they see her.
 

2Baccy

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The door is held closed with a stick leaning on it. It is not fancy.
Harvest season is here if it works it may get some upgrades in the off season. Tape used was nova flash as well as gorilla brand, both working good so far as long as foam is clean and tape is stuck once and once only, if you mess up throw that piece of tape out.
All foam started at 2’x8’ and I trimmed tongue and groove off all sides of everything with table saw to allow tight butt joint.
Cabinet dimensions are roughly 23”x27”x48” outside dimension.
All 3 sides and door are exact same measure.
The corner braces were not an option but a necessity, or it would not hold the weight of the tobacco.
 

deluxestogie

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It looks good to me. If you've tested that it can make 165°F as it is, then it should flue-cure easily. Using it later as a kiln may require a better door seal--or not.

Nice job.

Bob
 

2Baccy

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It may have been better to ramp temps sooner it seems a bit pale and not as bright as some I’ve bought. The leaf yellowed for 3 days at 100f Next run I will try ramping temps a bit sooner like 2 and a half days.
For anyone interested there was no fan in my chamber just convection air flow.
Run number 1 was 60 leaves run number two will be 90 leaves to see how that works.
Crock pot is 8 qt and it never needed to be put on high setting just low. (Not the warmer setting)
The poor door seal especially near the top was adequate for the steam escaping it seemed.
Probe of the ink bird thermometer was hanging in the leaf matter, dangling through small hole in the top of chamber basically in the middle of the leaves from all directions.
I would like to stress that I did not know what a tobacco plant looked like just 6 months ago so don’t take my word for anything. All I know is what this site has taught me.
To any fellow Canadians, if you want to try roll your own smokes from whole leaf tobacco. I recomend flue cured Virginia tobacco. Nothing else added. Yes this is boring to some coniseurs but it’s a starting point and tastes similar but better then any of the dry garbage smokes you can buy here for 17$ a pack.
The biggest issue I had when perfecting my whole leaf smoking experience was the relative humidity of the leaf. Through testing and more testing and many harsh smokes not to mention smokes too wet too burn. I’ve finally found a longer cut tobacco (2” ish) and a boveda 69% humudipac makes it perfect. The boveda 72% is too wet. Humidity packs are better at adding then removing moisture.
You don’t need humidity packs but it takes the guesswork out and helps you get the feel of a good moisture content.
 

deluxestogie

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The cure looks correct, in terms of timing. Lower leaf (on the stalk) will always be paler than higher leaf, even with the same flue-cure schedule. As you work your way up the plants, expect richer, then redder cures. The entire key is your timing of the move from yellowing to leaf wilt. That requires observation and judgement.

In one season of runs, my very bottom leaf was pale yellow. The lugs were lemon. Leaf from mind-stalk on up were progressively redder and darker.


from 2017.

Bob
 
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