Whole Leaf Tobacco

Mad Science experiment #1 Beerique

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#42
As this topic has casually gone astray I'll make one more before Green Dragon brings us back on topic with results, @waikikigun , I think it's risky to spend too much time justifying research. Just write the thing. Get the facts after.
 

GreenDragon

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#43
I know everyone has been waiting on the edge of their seat for an update, so I will bow to the pressure and deliver. It's kinda like waiting for GOT season 8 to start! LOL

I checked on the original Perique culture jar this morning, and found that it was very thick and cloudy. Big changes since Saturday. Mustering my courage, I popped the lid and took and very delicate sniff to see what was happening. Expecting a nose full of unpleasantness, I was very surprised to be rewarded with a lovely bread like aroma. Seems that the P.a. was finally starting to assert itself! After work I made another slide for confirmation. I took a scrape from a biofilm growing on the piece of leaf, and a swab of the gel growing on the bottom of the jar. Sure enough, looks like yeast!

Encouraged, during my lunch break, I escaped my prison and hit the local brew store and picked up some fruity red wine and Belgium ale yeasts. I stuffed 3 jars each with some BB red tip Virginia and Burley. To each jar I added enough brown sugar water to just cover the leaf. (I had a brain fart and forgot to pick up some malt while at the brew store - getting old is h***.) Then I added some of the Perique culture, the wine yeast, and the ale yeast to one jar of each of the Va and Burleys. Finger tightened the lids. Now the wait begins! I plan on removing the leaf and spreading it out a few times to allow O2 absorption, which should hopefully darken the leaf like a true Perique.

Also today, on doing some more online research, I found that Russ Ouellette, a prominent pipe blender, talked a Perique farm in Louisiana to process two barrels each of Virginia BL and Fire Cured tobacco in the Perique technique, and then used the resulting tobacco to produce some limited edition blends (RO Arcadian Gold, RO Fire Storm, etc.). So, it's not unprecedented to experiment with other varieties in this way. However, I haven't found anyone yet using beer / wine yeast in a similar manner.

IMG_0157.jpg
Today's view of the culture. Very different from just 2 days ago!

IMG_0162.jpg
All set and ready for the magic to begin!
 

waikikigun

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#44
I know everyone has been waiting on the edge of their seat for an update, so I will bow to the pressure and deliver. It's kinda like waiting for GOT season 8 to start! LOL

I checked on the original Perique culture jar this morning, and found that it was very thick and cloudy. Big changes since Saturday. Mustering my courage, I popped the lid and took and very delicate sniff to see what was happening. Expecting a nose full of unpleasantness, I was very surprised to be rewarded with a lovely bread like aroma. Seems that the P.a. was finally starting to assert itself! After work I made another slide for confirmation. I took a scrape from a biofilm growing on the piece of leaf, and a swab of the gel growing on the bottom of the jar. Sure enough, looks like yeast!

Encouraged, during my lunch break, I escaped my prison and hit the local brew store and picked up some fruity red wine and Belgium ale yeasts. I stuffed 3 jars each with some BB red tip Virginia and Burley. To each jar I added enough brown sugar water to just cover the leaf. (I had a brain fart and forgot to pick up some malt while at the brew store - getting old is h***.) Then I added some of the Perique culture, the wine yeast, and the ale yeast to one jar of each of the Va and Burleys. Finger tightened the lids. Now the wait begins! I plan on removing the leaf and spreading it out a few times to allow O2 absorption, which should hopefully darken the leaf like a true Perique.

Also today, on doing some more online research, I found that Russ Ouellette, a prominent pipe blender, talked a Perique farm in Louisiana to process two barrels each of Virginia BL and Fire Cured tobacco in the Perique technique, and then used the resulting tobacco to produce some limited edition blends (RO Arcadian Gold, RO Fire Storm, etc.). So, it's not unprecedented to experiment with other varieties in this way. However, I haven't found anyone yet using beer / wine yeast in a similar manner.

View attachment 27260
Today's view of the culture. Very different from just 2 days ago!

View attachment 27261
All set and ready for the magic to begin!
Super exciting! I hope you keep it up. Seems like a lot of these experiments Peter out; but this beerique seems too awesome to not take to fruition. Thanks for doing and sharing the project!
 

deluxestogie

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#45
Nice progress. Of course, it's missing the "control" of an ordinary bread yeast batch.

Russ Ouellette, a prominent pipe blender
I would have been more impressed if Russ had just made the stuff himself, in his basement or garage. I suppose his commercial sponsors wanted the marketable hype of St. James Parish.

Bob
 

Charly

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#46
Also today, on doing some more online research, I found that Russ Ouellette, a prominent pipe blender, talked a Perique farm in Louisiana to process two barrels each of Virginia BL and Fire Cured tobacco in the Perique technique, and then used the resulting tobacco to produce some limited edition blends (RO Arcadian Gold, RO Fire Storm, etc.). So, it's not unprecedented to experiment with other varieties in this way.
This type of experiments have already been done in the past.
I remember McClelland asked perique producers to make some perique with fire cured virginia. It became «cajun black» and was used to create 3 main blends (Royal Cajun Dark, Royal Cajun Ebony and Royal Cajun Special)
I smoked those and they were very interesting, very sweet and not biting at all.
 

GreenDragon

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#47
This type of experiments have already been done in the past.
I remember McClelland asked perique producers to make some perique with fire cured virginia. It became «cajun black» and was used to create 3 main blends (Royal Cajun Dark, Royal Cajun Ebony and Royal Cajun Special)
I smoked those and they were very interesting, very sweet and not biting at all.
Charly,

Yes, we have wandered slightly away from the original reasons I started this line of experiments, but I will be getting us back on track. To summarize:

My original goal is to develop a faster, easier, and less stinky method of making a fermented type tobacco. Bob's technique of making homemade Perique works just fine, but it takes a few months, and I don't enjoy the smell. Perique is made by utilizing wild yeast, primarily Pichia anamala (previously classified as Saccharomyces animala), found on the tobacco leaf, which is a slow growing yeast, and thus takes a while to out compete undesirable bacteria which cause the initial stinky phase.

P.a. is in the same family as Saccharomyces cerevisiae, which is a robust and fast growing yeast that is readily available in many different strains via the home brewing community. I'm hoping to find a strain of beer or wine S.c. that will give me similar results in less time and without the stinky phase. Also, because there are so many different strains I thought it would be fun to see if I can get different flavor profiles just as they impart different flavors/styles to beers and wines. By jump starting the fermentation process using a lot of healthy yeast on day one, we can immediately take over the culture and prevent bacteria from gaining a foothold and simultaneously reduce the time needed to make a batch (hopefully).

In short, I'm impatient, lazy, and have a sensitive nose! And this type of experimentation is fun to me :cool:
 

GreenDragon

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#48
Quick update. Today I took the tobacco out of their jars, spread open each leaf, and allowed it to air for 20 minutes before returning to the jar. I'm happy to report that all 3 versions (Perique, ale, and red wine cultures) all smelled good, like tobacco bread, but each was subtly different, which is what I was hoping for. The first vigorous fermentation stage has completed, and has settled down to a very slow secondary fermentation. My current plan is to leave it in the jars for two more weeks, airing out each weekend, then transfer them to bags and place them in the press for a few weeks.
 
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#50
I should mention that I once went about doing an experiment where I packed water and tobacco into a jar with a brewing airlock, so no pressure. This is basically the same as how I make pickles and sauerkraut except without salt. The fermentation that occurred was clearly lactic.
 
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