Whole Leaf Tobacco

A Kiln, Tobacco, the Process, and Why

burge

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Good post aging tobacco is important as from reading unless virginia is kiln then its hard to get it to that nice yellow
 

tzrnee

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I am trying to determine the correct temperature for kiln. So far I have seen often being said that temperatures up to 125F and more are used.

But in this video Nick Perdomo explains how they rotate the pilones as soon as the temperature inside reaches 103F:
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=loLW-LPV-DA


So what temperature do you guys suggest for the kiln based on your experiences? I was using temperatures up to 130F so far but all it got me was sweet honey smell of tobacco straight away. It never reached the smell of ammonia so it never really fermented. Also it never tasted as it should.
 

ChinaVoodoo

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I'm unable to watch the video because I'm in Canada. Is this wrapper leaf by chance? There are plenty of other videos out there. I screen shotted and zoomed in on a clip board once and they were clearly going as high as 118.

I've tried a low as 114, but it was difficult to maintain and was more prone to mold. I think it is possible to ferment at any temperature above room temperature but what it comes down to is time and effort. Lower temperatures require much more effort to avoid mold and much more time because of chemistry.

We go with temperatures above 120 mostly because it is nearly effortless as mold is greatly inhibited.
 

Jitterbugdude

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We go with temperatures above 120 mostly because it is nearly effortless as mold is greatly inhibited.
Yup

Keep in mind that each cigar producer has his own "formula" for making what he thinks is the best cigar. This includes the temperature at what they ferment their tobacco leaf. You can kiln at any temp you want to, it just depends on how much effort you want to put into it. Lower temps would mean you would need to be more vigilant looking for mold. Myself, I kiln everything at 122F. No particular reason why 122. I've tried everything from about 114 to 130 and never really noticed a difference. The old books ( Killebrew for example) point out that cigar leaf was always fermented at a lower temp (approx. 114) because it was thin and therefore delicate.

ps.. China.. So Canada blocks tobacco videos???
 

ChinaVoodoo

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Sometimes YouTube videos are not licensed outside of the United States, and I would need to use a VPN. Usually I encounter that with things like tv shows and music videos.
 

Muggs

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I'm using a small crockpot in an old Refrigerator.temp runs around 120.no sure about the humidity an a small fan.its not dry but damp to the touch.turn the Golden Leaf to a dark color.
 

tzrnee

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Thank you guys for your comments.

Tell me on thing: when you are fermenting in your kiln at 120F do you get that heavy ammonia smell?

The reason I am asking this is that I dont get that smell, I only get smell of honey which makes me think the tobacco should be good, but instead it tastes terrible. So I am quite sure I am doing something wrong here.
 

Alpine

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I prefer to kiln my leaves at 52C (125F more or less) and 75% rH. At 120 the kilning process is slower (but works anyway). How long have you been kilning your leaves and at what rH? I do get the ammonia smell after the first few days of the process, but some strains are more prone to off gas ammonia than others (in my experience burleys and orientals). A lot depends from soil and fertilization too.
Hope this helps.

Pier
 

tzrnee

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I get the ammonia smell afterwards, but not during.
Isnt the whole point of fermenting getting rid of ammonia? Meaning there should be ammonia smell while the leaves are fermenting and once they are done they should have that pleasant sweet smell of tobacco.

I ferment my tobacco at 120F or 125F at 70% humidity for a month or so and I never get the ammonia smell. I visited some of the factories in Esteli and they showed me the process there: the tobacco at early stages of fermenting was releasing so much ammonia that you got tears to your eyes if you smelled it up close. And the tobacco at the late stage of fermenting was smelling super nice. So I imagine that should be the same when fermenting in kiln only it would take years to get there but weeks.
 
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Jitterbugdude

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I don't get the ammonia smell either but since I ferment in containers I do get a stink that lasts for about 10 days to 2 weeks. It is very noticable every time I open the lid to vent the tobacco (which is once a per day). After that it becomes nice and sweet smelling.
 

vilbertob

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I read all 12 pages of this very very very interesting thread. I Like the photo of the 6 big boxes full of tobacco leaves.... My leaves are much less than those....
I notice that somebody here talk about cigarettes.... I'm a pipe smoker and I process my tobacco to smoke It in the pipe. So...the kilning process discussed in this thread can be apllied indifferently to tobacco for cigarettes and pipe? The kilning process Is the same.... Insnt'it?
 

Alpine

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Of course it’s the same exact process. Every tobacco benefits from aging. What to do with your kilned tobacco is up to you, bearing in mind that some tobaccos are better suited for some uses (snus or chew for example) than others but who knows? Experiment with your pipe and report back, we’re all curious people!

pier
 

vilbertob

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Of course it’s the same exact process. Every tobacco benefits from aging. What to do with your kilned tobacco is up to you, bearing in mind that some tobaccos are better suited for some uses (snus or chew for example) than others but who knows? Experiment with your pipe and report back, we’re all curious people!

pier
I'm curious like you! I'm not 100% sure but I think that all famous pipe tobacco whose recipe Is now an industrial secret they were born from experiments of curious blender... :D
 

burge

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Isnt the whole point of fermenting getting rid of ammonia? Meaning there should be ammonia smell while the leaves are fermenting and once they are done they should have that pleasant sweet smell of tobacco.

I ferment my tobacco at 120F or 125F at 70% humidity for a month or so and I never get the ammonia smell. I visited some of the factories in Esteli and they showed me the process there: the tobacco at early stages of fermenting was releasing so much ammonia that you got tears to your eyes if you smelled it up close. And the tobacco at the late stage of fermenting was smelling super nice. So I imagine that should be the same when fermenting in kiln only it would take years to get there but weeks.
Leaves always ferment in the aging process. Ie the bags of tobacco that I leave for 3 or 4 years have the ammonia smell. Fermentation occurs when you put tobacco under pressure. Leaves will ferment in a bale.
 

Shao

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Hello guys. I just started growing tobacco for a cigar. Can you tell me please.is natural fermentation different from kiln fermentation?I mean. Does the final product differ from each other?
 

deluxestogie

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Welcome to the forum. Feel free to introduce yourself in the Introduce Yourself forum.

The underlying, enzymatic process of tobacco fermentation is the same within a pile of thousands of pounds of tobacco leaf and within a kiln. For cigar leaf, the growing latitude (sun angle and exposure) bring about a greater difference than the specific fermentation method you choose. So my home-grown Corojo 99, kiln-fermented and aged about two to three years is of a similar quality to commercially grown and pile fermented Corojo 99, but the home-grown is not quite as intensely flavored, and its nicotine is slightly lower (so far as I can guess).

Most home growers do not have the option of creating a giant pile (as large as an automobile) of leaf for fermenting in a sub-tropical climate. Smaller piles don't provide sufficient insulation and heat generation. You are realistically left with the only option being to build a kiln--which is always easier than it seems.

If you are along the Black Sea coast, or in the Kolkhida Lowlands, then you may have the sub-tropical climate for bulk (pile) fermentation to work, but you are still unlikely to have sufficient leaf.

Bob
 

Shao

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Deluxestogie hanks for the info.I grow Connecticut shade.connecticut broadleaf.bezuki.havana.habano.cuban Criollo.As I know they are cigar varieties.Can you give me some advice.maby better varieties?Where can I buy them.
 
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