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Whole Leaf Tobacco

How long under pressure ?

Charly

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#1
Hello everyone,

I have some tobacco under pressure to make perique, but I am wondering how long I should let it...

I've read that 3 month was good, but I would like to know if there is any benefit to let it under pressure for longer ? (for the real St James perique, they let it for one year)

As anyone already tried to let it for more than 3 months ?
 

deluxestogie

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#2
In St. James Parish, they fill the barrels with one season's crop, and have no need to remove it before the next season. My suspicion is that most of the expected changes occur during 3 months under pressure, and that further time in the press might offer only a subtle difference. I can't really tell the difference between 3 month and 4 month Perique.

In Louisiana, the Perique barrels are apparently maintained at ambient outdoor temperature. Although they seldom experience freezing, their average temp is lower than the temp of my enclosed back porch (where I make Perique). Since the enzymatic processes are highly temperature dependent, it is difficult to know what "1 year" of St. James Parish is equivalent to, in a different temperature regime.



Bob
 

Charly

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#3
Thank you for the answer :)

My perique is at about 18-22°C (64-72° F) since the beginning.
I'll wait for the 3 months to complete and I'll try it.
I might keep some under pressure for a longer period, to see if I can tell any difference.
 

Smokin Harley

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#6
How long has it been under pressure? and what type of leaf?
The leaf is actual Perique (seed was from a member here). But, I have two styles of Perique going. The older one is the carrotte or navy plug style that has been under wraps in canvas and rope since late October. The other is an actual vessel/clamp pressed perique has been going since early December. I guess I had thought it was in there much longer...being off work for a while the days tend to either run together or drag.
 

burge

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#7
There is a link on how to make perique. In the barrels I think it is under pressure for 6 months in old liquor barrels. I think it would be interesting to try all sorts of liquor barrels. I know that Dons lemon when pressed becomes almost fruity in taste. I only hand press by forcing a pound in a 100 gram tub.
 

Smokin Harley

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#8
I have an experiment Id like to try . Some stores have tiny oak barrels/kegs to age cheap rum or whiskey . I think they are pre-charred and hold something like anywhere from a quart to 40 oz. I wonder what it would do to age some alcohol in one for a year then unhead it and put tobacco in it . I saw one on sale after christmas for like $19.99 at TJ Maxx.
 

burge

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#10
Smokey I think that will work. If I recall correctly the barrels that are used are ones that can't be used again for liquor again. I would look at used liquor barrels.
 

Jitterbugdude

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#11
. I wonder what it would do to age some alcohol in one for a year then unhead it and put tobacco in it . I saw one on sale after christmas for like $19.99 at TJ Maxx.
HA!.. I just did that. I bought some 1 and 2 liter oak barrels from a place in Texas. I made a small batch of Perique in the 1 liter barrel. I also made another batch in my Stainless Steel (SS) container that I usually make Perique in. That was 4 months ago. The Perique made in the SS tastes excellent (as always). The oak barrel "stuff" smells like a combination of vomit and feces. I've never had a batch go bad before so this might be the first one. Right now the "stuff" is going to age in a poly bag for a few months before I attempt to do anything with it.

I really like my SS Perique set-up. Real easy to sanitize between batches. I only tried the oak barrel because traditionally that's how Perique has always been made. Plus, an oak barrel in a press setting on a table looks...cool.
 

DistillingJim

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#12
Does anyone know if the barrels used in St James have been used prior the the periquing? I'm wondering if holding the ~60% spirit used by bourbon makers may help steralize and remove some potential sources of infection? Also wondering if the barrels have been charred and what effect this may have? I'm assuming your barrel was raw and unused Jitterbug?
 

Smokin Harley

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#13
HA!.. I just did that. I bought some 1 and 2 liter oak barrels from a place in Texas. I made a small batch of Perique in the 1 liter barrel. I also made another batch in my Stainless Steel (SS) container that I usually make Perique in. That was 4 months ago. The Perique made in the SS tastes excellent (as always). The oak barrel "stuff" smells like a combination of vomit and feces. I've never had a batch go bad before so this might be the first one. Right now the "stuff" is going to age in a poly bag for a few months before I attempt to do anything with it.

I really like my SS Perique set-up. Real easy to sanitize between batches. I only tried the oak barrel because traditionally that's how Perique has always been made. Plus, an oak barrel in a press setting on a table looks...cool.
well then ...thats settles that
 

Charly

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#14
HA!.. I just did that. I bought some 1 and 2 liter oak barrels from a place in Texas. I made a small batch of Perique in the 1 liter barrel. I also made another batch in my Stainless Steel (SS) container that I usually make Perique in. That was 4 months ago. The Perique made in the SS tastes excellent (as always). The oak barrel "stuff" smells like a combination of vomit and feces. I've never had a batch go bad before so this might be the first one. Right now the "stuff" is going to age in a poly bag for a few months before I attempt to do anything with it.

I really like my SS Perique set-up. Real easy to sanitize between batches. I only tried the oak barrel because traditionally that's how Perique has always been made. Plus, an oak barrel in a press setting on a table looks...cool.
This experience looks like the first perique I tried to make (it was last year) :
I used some cherry red leaves in a jar, under pressure.
In the first days, a nice smell grew : vinegar, fruity, nice.
About one month later (after several airing and remoistening of the leaves) the jar broke and I had to put the leaves in a new jar, this time I think I added too much water to my leaves and the juice (when under pressure) was not as dark as before.
A few days later, I saw that the juice became blurred, I smelled the jar, it had a smell just like yours : a combination of vomit and feces (I am not kidding).
After the three months, I opened the jars and dried this "perique", I never dare to smoke it, so it is still in a jar, dried.
For the sake of science, I opened the jar a few minutes ago to see if it evolved (nearly one year after drying) : not at all, the smell is still something not engaging !

The other periques I made were very different : they stayed fruity and vinegar.

I smoked a lot of commercial Virginia/Perique tobacco in past ten years, many of them had a fruity aroma (McClellands...) and others were more vinegar (three nuns), but I tried two Virginia/Perique in which I found some similarities with my first perique :
- Samuel Gawith Cabbie's Mixture
- C&D Boubon Bleu

With these two tobaccos, when opening their box, I noticed a slight pungent smell, reminding me of the "vomit" smell of my own "failed perique".

I had never bought some pure commercial perique, so I don't know if it has this "bad smell" too... does anyone ever tried some ?
I wonder if the "real St James perique" might not be sometimes just like ours : more or less failed, more or less vomit sometimes ?
 

BigBonner

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#15
I did a full whiskey barrel back in 2011 . Everything was going great until I had to move my barrel and press into a hoop barn . I needed the press and barrel out of the bar because I was filling the barn with Burley . Temperatures got up to 105 f and when I checked on it I knew something had gone wrong . The high heat caused the barrel to sour and formed a thick foamy crust on top .The smell was barnyard nasty .
This crap is still sitting in that same barrel untouched since it went sour .
I do believe that whiskey stored in those barrels was at 130 proof

The next batch I did not make that mistake . I kept in my barn which was a cooler place .I would open the barrels up every couple of days , unpack and repack . After three weeks I started unpacking and repacking about one time a month .
I left the tobacco in the barrels for one full year .

With big barrels I had to hit the right pressure . If the pressure was too light then no fermenting . I would always check the barrel the next morning to make sure I seen bubbles . If no bubbles I would add more pressure and check again latter ..
 

Jitterbugdude

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#16
I'm assuming your barrel was raw and unused Jitterbug?
Yes it was. It was a freshly made barrel with a char inside. Don't get me wrong, I don't think there is anything wrong with using an oak barrel. I just prefer stainless steel as it can be easily sterilized and holds up to much more abuse. My one failure with an oak barrel doesn't mean I've given up on the idea.
 

deluxestogie

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#17
Perique is made by true microbial fermentation. The variety of microbes is always mixed, and always pot luck. The various microbe types compete with one another--life and death. What we can do to influence that is to set the conditions so that our friend, Picchia anomala, has the best chance of winning the competition.

There are nearly always E. coli strains in there. They are primarily responsible for the "fecal" aromas. All finished Perique has that aroma to some extent--hopefully in the background. The two batches of St. James Parish Perique that I've sampled in pure form, in 1972 and in 2013, both had a soft, background "barnyard" aroma, with a subdued fruity aroma. The fruitiness was far less pronounced than any home-made Perique that I've smelled. The latter includes my own numerous batches, as well as Perique made by a half-dozen or so FTT members.

The St. James Parish Perique is more potent than most home-made, which I attribute to their choice of tobacco variety, rather than their fermentation process. Theirs also seems to be somewhat more alkaline (by guestimation).

Conditions favorable to Picchia anomala:
  • adequate pressure [enough to rupture the laminar cells, then exclude bubbles of gas]
  • exclusion of air
  • high osmolarity [thick and concentrated liquid]
  • moderate temperature [I'm guessing between 50 and 80°F on average]
I've noticed that when I leave too much liquid above the seal [low osmolarity], it develops barnyard smells. If I allow that to slowly re-concentrate itself by evaporation, then keep the liquid seal minimal in volume, a fruity aroma returns. The evolution of its aroma profile reflects the dominant microbe(s) at the moment we smell it.

All wooden barrels leak. To become waterproof, they require time with a liquid inside, to swell the seams. Cheap wooden barrels may or may not be an issue. Even the best barrels "breathe". So the surface to volume ratio may be at play. That is, the larger the barrel, the smaller the problem with "breathing". Another issue with wooden barrels is the deeply fissured, irregular surface of the interior.

Bob
 

BigBonner

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#18
Whiskey will evaporate through the wooden stave , That is called the Angel's Share . First year loss could be as his as 10% and by the time it is ready to bottle there could be a 40% loss in a barrel .
 
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