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Whole Leaf Tobacco

The Periqueining

ProfessorPangloss

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#1
This thread is a long time coming, and I'm glad the day is here. I'm attempting to make perique out of Perique, using the lessons learned from others and some ingenuity (student labor). Since I work at a high school with a great vo-tech program, I was able to come up with some specs for the kids to build. The teachers love giving the kids problems to solve, so the student machinists made me a "cider press" from scrap steel. It takes a 3/4" threaded rod ($4.75 @ Lowe's). The welding kids added a handle from scrap of their own. The press itself is two pieces of 3/4" oak glued crosswise and clamped for three days to form a solid 1.5" puck of oak. The pot was from a thrift store. The press-follow is a floor flange with an Allen plug. The total investment is less than $10, though not everyone can get this done like that. Still, it's cheap and hopefully effective.

20160925_212119.jpg

Here's an entire sterilite bin of Perique from last year's grow. It's not great leaf, especially in comparison to this year's. If this whole batch goes pear-shaped, I can try again with better materials. I de-stemmed all of this, which took almost two hours.

20160925_212042.jpg
 

ProfessorPangloss

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#2
The Periqueining 2/2

Here's the press in action. I'll wager that there isn't more than a 1" thick puck of leaf across this 10.5" circumference. (It's amazing that 14 puny plants amounts to such a little volume).

The press does have a wide gap on one side because I didn't want to cut it so close it wouldn't come out of the pot - can't just break a metal pot if it gets stuck.

Also, there's an innovation you can't see because of the flange, but it may prove useful when it comes time to re-pack the leaf: there's a hole in the middle of the oak press that's just big enough for the nozzle of the blowgun on the air compressor. The idea is that if it gets stuck, I can pump air until it un-sticks the press. I also put in screw eyes to which to affix para-cord.

BEHOLD

20160925_231344.jpg

I've been misting this bin of leaf with distilled water all day in preparation, and I also sprayed it heavily as it was added to the pot. Consequently, it started bubbling dark liquid almost immediately, though the liquid isn't rising up the press very far. I could elect to drive it another turn, add water, or both.

20160925_231413.jpg
 

Jitterbugdude

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#3
Looks like fun. Is that a cast iron flange in your last picture? If so you might want to paint it or use a SS one. If you get Perique goo up and over your press board it'll get on the flange and probably impart a nasty taste.
 

Smokin Harley

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#4
nice looking little gizmo you got there. Did you hydrate the leaf much before pressing or just adding water after the fact? I'm confused about the "if this whole batch goes pear-shaped" reference.
 

ProfessorPangloss

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#5
Yeah, the flange is cast. When I unpack and re-stack next weekend I'll clearcoat it or put plastic under it.

Pear-shaped is just my pet reference for when stuff goes wrong. I'm not even sure how it applies. Like you're in the gym, busting your ass, but wind up pear-shaped anyway (? ).

To answer your question about the water, I started early in the day spraying distilled water into the bin and rotating the leaf. Did that several times, then I sprayed more as I added it to the press. It was basically soggy by the time I applied pressure. I figured that it was probably important to get moisture into the lamina before pressing and not just on the outside, and I do seem to have the requisite bubbly goo.
 

deluxestogie

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#8
The pressure, exclusion of air, and the high osmotic load of the tobacco "juice" prevent mold. Any leaf in the container that is exposed to air for several days will promptly mold.

Bob
 

ProfessorPangloss

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#9
I added more distilled water this morning, and just arrived home from work to see that it needs more water. I'm wondering if the wood is absorbing much of it (likely) or if it's evaporating (possible). I suppose I'll just keep adding distilled water until it levels out, then tie a bag over it to keep out nosy insects.
 

squeezyjohn

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#10
For something to go "pear shaped" is a very common euphamism for things going completely wrong in the UK ... as is "going tits up", "cocking up", "buggering it right up", or "turning in to a complete mare" ... such a beautiful language!
 

Smokin Harley

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#12
ok, I understand your euphemism now...I'd have never figured that one out without help.
So - back to baccy packin'....
(this question is for anybody who has made perique ) is there a distinct or even noticeable difference in end product between pressing in a simple 5 gallon bucket or metal "vessel" rather than pressing in an oak barrel?
I'm currently working overtime again(nuclear power outage) and don't have time to track down an oak barrel or keg. I can pick up a clean bucket though easily and cheap.
 

Gavroche

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#13
I do not know if the taste changes as for the wine but in a glass jar, I can see air bubbles going back up(raising) when there are not bubbles anymore I say to myself that it is squeezed(tightened) enough...

je ne sais pas si le goût change comme pour le vin mais dans un bocal de verre, je peux voir les bulles d'air remonter quand il n'y a plus de bulles je me dis que c'est assez serré...
 

squeezyjohn

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#14
I don't know a lot about the perique process except for the few videos I've seen on YouTube (which I assume many of us here also have!), however I do quite a bit of fermenting other things like alcohol, pickles and sauerkraut. The key is the exclusion of any oxygen from your ferment - the closest analogy I have is with sauerkraut where the shredded cabbage is forced to release it's own juices and pressed down to make sure any bubbles of air have come out of the mixture which could spoil the batch, although this is not under as much pressure as perique and the tobacco is not salted, the key is to have all the leaves you plan to use completely submerged with the fermenting liquid at all times. So topping up with water if it looks like it's evaporating off is essential.

With regards to the oak imparting a flavour that metal would not, I'm sure there is some transfer of the taste to the outer leaves, but it is not like whiskey or wine where the alcohol dissolves certain flavour compounds and is in free liquid form - I imagine the effect would be minimal. It's possible that the slightly porous nature of a barrel might allow some beneficial micro-organisms to flourish and help the fermentation process along though.
 

deluxestogie

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#15
If you consider the huge oak barrels that are used in St. James Parish, the surface-to-volume ratio is fairly low. Most of the time in the barrel for most of the tobacco is spent without proximity to the oak.

My vessel for making Perique is a polymer. It makes wonderful earthy and fruity, dark brown Perique.

Bob
 

Gavroche

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#16
If you consider the huge oak barrels that are used in St. James Parish, the surface-to-volume ratio is fairly low. Most of the time in the barrel for most of the tobacco is spent without proximity to the oak.

My vessel for making Perique is a polymer. It makes wonderful earthy and fruity, dark brown Perique.

Bob

You are right Bob but the wine aged in oak barrel has the same report(relationship) of volume and its taste is different from that aged in tank steel.

Vous avez raison DL mais le vin vieilli en fût de chêne a le même rapport de volume et son goût est différent de celui vieilli en cuve acier.
 

SmokesAhoy

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#17
I don't know how much that matters, most modern production wine is done in ss or glass fermenting containers, with oak blocks or sticks floating. Having an oak press on the top and perhaps bottom too would likely accomplish the same thing.
 

ProfessorPangloss

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#18
I think the point about flavor had to do with the cast iron flange. I did not char my oak press, and I don't think Brown Thumb did either, but his came out great. I suppose there's another variable to test someday.
 

Brown Thumb

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#20
Very nice build 2 things I noticed.
If you crank too hard you might blow the bottom out of the can.
I would put a round block of wood the same size as the inner Dia.and height or taller under the can.
The other thing is your glued together puck.
That is some serious Swap Juice in there I hope it does not come unglued.
Mine was a solid piece 3 to 4 inches thick and I dident char it either.:mad:
 
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