Whole Leaf Tobacco

Sun cured versus Air Cured Burley

USHOG

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Why does sun curing taste so different from air curing in my burley. I harvested all the same leaf position and sun cured about 100 leaves and air cured the rest. The sun cured tastes harsh and burns the nose badly where as the air cured tastes much better and smoother. All of the burley was fermented for 36 days at 124%. Also why did the air cured tobacco turn very dark after kilning where as the sun cured stayed a much lighter color. Also the smell is much better and very different in the air cured. Why so much difference in smell? This is all the same leaf so I am interested in what is causing all of these differences and how to manipulate these differences in the future.
 

FmGrowit

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The only "Sun Cured" Burley I've ever smoked was not truly Sun Cured, but it was field cured on the stalk.

I don't believe I've ever heard of anyone Sun Curing Burley before, so congratulations for being the first. Unfortunately, since you've started the book on Sun Curing Burley, you're going to have to finish it.

Looking forward to the answers to your own questions :cool:
 

USHOG

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It is just fascinating that the same leaf cured in different ways tastes, looks, feels so different. I have always air cured or fire cured everything I have grown until I found this forum now I am like a little kid again. Lots more to play with

At this point I would not sun cure any more burley it is just to harsh and the taste is off from what I am used to. Maybe blended it might get better
 

deluxestogie

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My experience has been that burley needs to rest for a few weeks to months after coming out of the kiln. It's smoking qualities change significantly during that time.

Burley has a peculiar trait in its chemistry. All tobacco has two major tasks to complete during curing:
  • breakdown of the chlorophyll while still alive (the color change)
  • breakdown carbohydrates, proteins and other complex compounds that detract from its smoking qualities
For most tobacco varieties, these two processes occur simultaneously, so that once the leaf is brown, the second set of tasks is also mostly complete. This is not true of many burleys. Those that carry the genes for defective chlorophyll metabolism (white-stem varieties), brown quite rapidly, but the other biochemical processes are not synchronized, and require more time than the color change. So, when burley first becomes fully browned, it's not finished curing.

I would guess that burley is unsuited for sun-curing for just this reason. I usually kiln my color-cured burley starting around Thanksgiving (late November), to allow it time to finish its curing work. The best time to kiln burley is after the marked "raw" aroma softens to a mere "grassy" smell. Better yet, allow it to hang through the winter and spring, then kiln it.

I'm not aware of any traditional methods of handling burley in which it is sun-cured.

For your batch of sun-cured and kilned burley, I would suggest just putting it away in low case, to rest for a few months.

Bob
 

USHOG

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This was a test to see what happens but I didn't expect this big a difference. I will let it rest for a few months and see if it changes if not I will compost it and lesson learned.
 

ChinaVoodoo

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This was a test to see what happens but I didn't expect this big a difference. I will let it rest for a few months and see if it changes if not I will compost it and lesson learned.
So, how did the sun cured burley turn out after aging a little.
 

DGBAMA

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I would speculate that sun curing resulted in the burley leaf caused it to cure/dry in a shorter time than is required for all the metabolic process to occur which would yield a good smokable leaf. Extra kilning or aging in medium case should bring it around. Let us know how it turns out.
 

USHOG

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It is still resting in the box. I will try it out in a few days and get back.
 

FmGrowit

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I would speculate that sun curing resulted in the burley leaf caused it to cure/dry in a shorter time than is required for all the metabolic process to occur which would yield a good smokable leaf. Extra kilning or aging in medium case should bring it around. Let us know how it turns out.
Actually, if the cure (sun cure) is properly executed, the heat generated during the cure might actually cook out some of the nitrogen from the leaf.
 

USHOG

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Last night I tried out both burley and the sun cured burley and the sun cured has almost no taste but the harshness has gone away. there was almost no flavor. The sun cured leaf also looks bleached and brittle. The air cured burley tastes normal.

So my next question is why do some tobaccos get flue cured when others are air cured? What is the reasoning behind this method? Is this to save time and space or is there something else to I and then what causes the tastes to be so different from air curing even when using the same leaf in both proccess?
 

Jitterbugdude

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The tobaccos that get flue cured have a high sugar content. By exposing the leaf to high heat the sugar level is "set". A high sugar level yields a smoother smoke. Burley has almost no sugar in it so does not benefit from flue curing or sun curing.
 

USHOG

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I do not know if flue curing makes the smoke smoother so far the few varieties I have air cured that are normally flue cured resulted in a smoother smoke to me than what I have bought in the same leaf that was flue cured, but I don't inhale the smoke and that might be the difference. I am a cigar nut, but I grow for a few others. I don't know if I am weird or what but I have to try most styles of curing on each strain I grow. I keep finding new tastes and effects by the same strain by manipulating fertilizers and curing methods so I can not stop playing and I am sure this is all been done a thousand times before but it is a fun plant to learn about. I have really enjoyed the information I have learned here.
So what happens to the sugar when the leaf is air dried over a period of time? I assume that it is converted into something else. Another question if locking in sugar helps smooth out some tobacco would adding sugar do the same to some harsh leaf. I am not interested in adding anything to the tobacco I smoke but that would make since after I have read a lot here on casings and some use different kinds of sugars in their recopies.
 

Knucklehead

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Experimentation is fun and the gateway to new ideas and methods. Some folks toast Burley for a smoother, less harsh taste. I have sun cured some flue cured varieties and found the sweetness to fall in between flue cured and air cured. I really liked it.
 

Jitterbugdude

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The natural sugars that are left in flue cured will reduce the pH (make it more acidic) of the smoke. A more acidic smoke is smoother on the throat but a more acidic smoke also means less nicotine is absorbed (more is bound) in the mouth so that's why you need to inhale it in order to absorb it. Burley has a higher pH so there is more free nicotine available, meaning you can absorb it through the lining of your mouth. That's why cigars and Burleys don't need to be inhaled. Adding sugar to a Burley is a way to make the smoke smoother.
 

ChinaVoodoo

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The natural sugars that are left in flue cured will reduce the pH (make it more acidic) of the smoke. A more acidic smoke is smoother on the throat but a more acidic smoke also means less nicotine is absorbed (more is bound) in the mouth so that's why you need to inhale it in order to absorb it. Burley has a higher pH so there is more free nicotine available, meaning you can absorb it through the lining of your mouth. That's why cigars and Burleys don't need to be inhaled. Adding sugar to a Burley is a way to make the smoke smoother.
Doesn't lower ph produce more tongue bite in a pipe?
 

Jitterbugdude

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Doesn't lower ph produce more tongue bite in a pipe?
It is supposed to but I wonder is it because of the lower pH or all the extra sugars and PG that are typically added to Virginia Laden pipe blends. I would think though as you keep lowering the pH it would have to bite more.
 

deluxestogie

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lower pH is acidic ...bite in tobacco is actually due to too high of pH or better known as "alkaline bite".
I disagree. Tongue bite in pipe tobacco is from the acid--from a low pH. The bite of acidic flue-cured tobacco is eliminated by blending it with higher pH Perique.

Bob
 
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