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Tobacco Aging

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  1. User has not uploaded an avatar

    readix

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    I've read a few articles and watched a few videos on how to seal pipe tobacco in a jar so it could age. Most of the videos were about vacuum sealing the jar, which is a nonsense. So my question is. How do you seal the jar?

    I could just fill it with tobacco, screw the lid and let it rest in a dark place, but that just seems not enough to me. Or is it?

    When you push the lid you hear the click sound. Isn't the click a sign of not properly sealed jar?
    What do you do with the jar so it doesn't make the click sound anymore? Normally you put it in a hot water and boil it for a few minutes, but the high heat could damage the tobacco if I am not mistaken.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  2. workman

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    I don't think it needs to be boiling hot.

    Smoking is one of the leading causes of all statistics.
    Posted 5 months ago #
  3. haparnold

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    My (purely guesswork) take: you don't need a vacuum seal for anaerobic aging. You just need the jar to be airtight. Which means that as long as there aren't little bits of tobacco compromising the seal, the fact that the button clicks is immaterial. You just don't want new air getting in the jar, if your goal is anaerobic aging.

    I store all my bulk blends in half-pint mason jars, and simply tighten down the ring reasonably firmly.

    De Gustibus Non Est Disputandum
    Posted 5 months ago #
  4. ashdigger

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    I could just fill it with tobacco, screw the lid and let it rest in a dark place, but that just seems not enough to me. Or is it?

    Is it just that simple.

    Now, you can get NASA, Scandia Labs, Smuckers or any other agency or technique involved, but why??

    It always baffles me how pipe smokers make EVERYTHING unbelievably complicated, then they complain that pipe smoking and tobacco storage is so complicated.

    Ubi Ignis Est?
    Posted 5 months ago #
  5. bassbug

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    A good quality jar and lid, if both the rubber ring on the lid and the glass on the jar are clean provide an airtight seal without any boiling in my experience. Make sure the lid and screw ring are well seated and tight. Not wrench tight, but more than finger tight.

    My understanding is that you actually want some air in the jar for aging to occur, but I'll let those with more knowledge and experience comment on that.

    I don't care who you are, you're not walking on the water while I'm fishing
    Posted 5 months ago #
  6. cortezattic

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    I recently found a seemingly well researched article on aging by Chuck Stanion at SmokingPipes daily reader web page. Nothing to do with jars, per se; but nonetheless informative.

    I find myself sitting idly on the line dividing past and future,
    as if I could kill time without injuring eternity. -- Thoreau
    Posted 5 months ago #
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    readix

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    Thank you!Tobacco can age in an unopened tin then, but aren't some tins vacuum sealed? How can I find out if they are?

    Posted 5 months ago #
  8. cigrmaster

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    When I jar something I screw the lid on tight and that is it. No need to do anything else. The tobacco will age just fine.

    Harris
    Posted 5 months ago #
  9. jpmcwjr

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    That's about it. I generally jam as much tobacco in the jar that I can for aging. There's still plenty oxygen in the interstices of the tobacco bits; the less oxygen, the faster anaerobic aging begins.

    I know that you believe you understood what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.
    Posted 5 months ago #
  10. recluse

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    It always baffles me how pipe smokers make EVERYTHING unbelievably complicated, then they complain that pipe smoking and tobacco storage is so complicated.

    So true.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  11. craiginthecorn

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    One thing I’ve learned is that I prefer some blends with just a bit of age. Virginias as the tobaccos which are said to age the best, but some of them lose a brightness that I greatly value. I just got a few ounces of SG FVF which was aged 20 years. It’s now almost black and coated with plume, but so mellow that I don’t like it as well as my 2-year-old stock. It makes me wonder if I really want to stock up on some of my favorite Virginia blends like FVF, SGF, Brighton, Peacehaven, and Germain’s Medium Flake.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  12. sablebrush52

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    It makes me wonder if I really want to stock up on some of my favorite Virginia blends like FVF, SGF, Brighton, Peacehaven, and Germain’s Medium Flake.

    It's either that or learn to love Middleton's Cherry.

    It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one's mouth and remove all doubt. - Mark Twain

    It is pointless to argue with a fanatic since a dim bulb can't be converted into a searchlight. - Jesse Silver
    Posted 5 months ago #
  13. hawky454

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    I recently found a seemingly well researched article on aging by Chuck Stanion at SmokingPipes daily reader web page. Nothing to do with jars, per se; but nonetheless informative.

    Great article! Thanks for posting. I love Chuck, after years and years of reading P&T magazine, I feel like he is an old friend. He cracks me up!

    Posted 5 months ago #
  14. cstanion

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    I did an experiment years ago, using Ball jars to store McClelland 5100 and 2015 with and without vacuum seals. After six years I tried them and could not distinguish a difference. Both had aged nicely, but any difference between them was lost on me. YMMV.

    We don't get a true vacuum with vacuum sealing, and even tins are only partially vacuumed, so there's still plenty of oxygen in there for aging. I still vacuum seal my jars, but only because I think it provides a better, longer-lasting, safer seal.

    I advise against using plastic, even the heavy-duty plastic bags that come with vacuum sealing gizmos. Plastic will permit the exchange of air molecules over time. Glass is the only way to go, in my opinion. I sealed some Esoterica in heavy-duty, food storage plastic for 10 years and it was dried out when I opened the bags. Re-hydrating it only made me mad, because what flavor was leftover was a weak echo of itself.

    Aside: Thanks for the kind words, hawky454! I'm pretty inconsolable about P&T, but Smokingpipes is a good gig and I'm having enough fun to keep me interested, so you'll be seeing me around for a while yet. I ain't going gently into that good night.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  15. folanator

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    I ASSumed that the atmosphere that promoted aging was anaerobic? Am I wrong on that?

    Posted 5 months ago #
  16. craiginthecorn

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    I love seeing these kinds of controlled tests, Chuck. How did you vacuum seal the jars? I ask mostly to understand how much vacuum was achieved. The three methods I know are:

    1) Heat the jar in hot water with lid loose, then tighten and cool.
    2) Use a mason jar attachment on a countertop vacuum sealer
    3) Use a commercial chamber sealer

    Posted 5 months ago #
  17. sablebrush52

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    I advise against using plastic, even the heavy-duty plastic bags that come with vacuum sealing gizmos. Plastic will permit the exchange of air molecules over time. Glass is the only way to go, in my opinion. I sealed some Esoterica in heavy-duty, food storage plastic for 10 years and it was dried out when I opened the bags. Re-hydrating it only made me mad, because what flavor was leftover was a weak echo of itself.

    You're referring to mylar? Plain Mylar isn't a solution for long term storage for the reason that you mentioned, but that's not true of the metallized version. I use glass jars for aging and metallized mylar as a protection for tins since tins aren't a good solution for long term aging either.

    Your experiment and results are interesting because Greg Pease published an article about a similar experiment that had decidedly different results where the vacuum sealed jars did noticeably retard aging.

    Very sad about P&T.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  18. cstanion

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    I used a countertop vacuum sealing apparatus with an attachment for Ball jars, not wanting to heat the tobacco.

    Regarding the plastic: I sealed the unopened, 8-oz metalized bags that bulk Esoterica came in (maybe it still does; I've not bought it in forever) inside of two heavy-duty bags each that came with the vacuum machine. I tried it on both Penzance and Dorchester, and they both dried out. Maybe I got a batch with poor seals on the original bags, but they looked airtight and didn't exchange air when squeezed, as far as I remember.

    If Greg Pease can taste a difference in vacuum sealed and non-vacuum sealed tobacco, I'd err on his side. His sense of taste is far superior to mine and he's able to distinguish characteristics I can only imagine. For my personal use, with the Neanterthal taste buds my DNA shortchanged me on, it makes no difference.

    Posted 5 months ago #
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    jitterbugdude

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    The quality of matalized mylar bags varies between manufacturers. I've opened 4 year old bags from MylarPro and the tobacco was just as moist as the day I put it in. I bought some cheap bags from ebay and my tobacco was dry within 1 month.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  20. hoosierpipeguy

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    I advise against using plastic, even the heavy-duty plastic bags that come with vacuum sealing gizmos. Plastic will permit the exchange of air molecules over time. Glass is the only way to go, in my opinion. I sealed some Esoterica in heavy-duty, food storage plastic for 10 years and it was dried out when I opened the bags. Re-hydrating it only made me mad, because what flavor was leftover was a weak echo of itself.

    I researched this prior to converting a good deal of my tobacco storage to mylar bags. One, several members here report success with storing tobacco up to 10 years and older in mylar bags (no vacuum, just heat sealing the bags). The laboratory results I read show there is very little difference between ball/mason jars and quality 7 mm mylar bags with respect to air leakage. I have used the zip lock only sealing of mylar bags for several months this winter, in my relatively dry man cave, for short term storage of tobaccos. That same tobacco that will absolutely dry out in a regular zip lock showed no signs of dryness in the mylar zip lock bag.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  21. hawky454

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    Ahhhh, it’s good to see Chuck in the house!!!

    Posted 5 months ago #
  22. hawky454

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    Regarding the plastic: I sealed the unopened, 8-oz metalized bags that bulk Esoterica came in (maybe it still does; I've not bought it in forever) inside of two heavy-duty bags each that came with the vacuum machine. I tried it on both Penzance and Dorchester, and they both dried out. Maybe I got a batch with poor seals on the original bags, but they looked airtight and didn't exchange air when squeezed, as far as I remember.

    Well, I’ll be a monkeys uncle. I kept two bags of Dunbar and one bag of Dorchester in their original Mylar bags and put them away in my cellar, it’s looking like I better check up on these and transfer them to jars. Thanks for the heads up!

    Posted 5 months ago #
  23. craiginthecorn

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    The article that Greg Pease shared on his website is not written by him. Great article, though.

    Plastic bags aren't considered to be moisture vapor barrier bags -- even if they're the polyethylene/Nylon laminated type. Plastic bags are notorious in the prepper community for developing leaks after a few years. Mylar/aluminum bags are pretty much the standard for them. All moisture vapor barrier bags have an aluminum layer, AFAIK. The difficulty with moisture barrier bags, however, is that they can be difficult to seal.

    The Esoterica bags have sometimes arrived fresh from the distributor with unsealed corners on the gusset flaps. In my experience, it's always the top seal. More than likely, that's the only seal being made at the Germain's factory. I've also found pinholes near folds or wrinkles. I wouldn't trust the bags for long-term storage, but for the sake of space, I have chosen to pack all of my Esoterica bags, unopened in their original bags inside 6-mil laminated mylar/aluminum vapor barrier bags which I hand seal with an iron. I can't prove it will work long-term, but I'm feeling confident.

    And agreed -- great to have you here, Chuck! Your vast experience will be a great asset.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  24. jvnshr

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    I recently found a seemingly well researched article on aging by Chuck Stanion at SmokingPipes daily reader web page. Nothing to do with jars, per se; but nonetheless informative.

    Cortez, that was one of the best articles I have read recently about pipe tobacco. Thanks a lot for sharing.

    Javan
    Posted 5 months ago #
  25. hoosierpipeguy

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    Well, I’ll be a monkeys uncle. I kept two bags of Dunbar and one bag of Dorchester in their original Mylar bags and put them away in my cellar, it’s looking like I better check up on these and transfer them to jars. Thanks for the heads up!

    Just purchase 1 gallon mylar bags and put the original bags inside of the 1 gallon mylar bag. Kind of double protection. Easier and less space consuming as well. I've done that with most all of my Esoterica blends.

    I would add, that I've switched to using an iron versus the purchased sealing tools. I believe the integrity of the seal I get using an iron is better.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  26. hawky454

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    The Esoterica bags have sometimes arrived fresh from the distributor with unsealed corners on the gusset flaps. In my experience, it's always the top seal. More than likely, that's the only seal being made at the Germain's factory. I've also found pinholes near folds or wrinkles. I wouldn't trust the bags for long-term storage, but for the sake of space, I have chosen to pack all of my Esoterica bags, unopened in their original bags inside 6-mil laminated mylar/aluminum vapor barrier bags which I hand seal with an iron. I can't prove it will work long-term, but I'm feeling confident.

    After reading Chuck’s post, I headed to Target to buy 16 more jars to put my Esoterica tobaccos in. I’m glad I did, upon opening the bags there was clearly several pinholes that where letting light though the bag, a few more years and I’m betting the tobacco would have been dried out. They’ve only been in my cellar for a couple of years at this point so little to no moisture was lost. I’m just glad I came across this thread as I saved myself some major disappointment down the road. The pinholes didn’t fully penatrate the Mylar but it was enough to let light though and if light is getting through, I imagine air molecules are passing through as well. Lesson learned, if I ever buy more Esoterica’s in the bag, I’ll be transferring the contents to jars from here on out.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  27. odobenus

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    I go back through and re-tighten all my mason jars periodically. Either there is some mysterious air-pressure or humidity change causing this that I will never understand (our doors swell and shrink in their frames on a weekly basis), or a poltergeist is smoking very small amounts of my tobacco.

    Non Serviam
    Posted 5 months ago #
  28. cosmicfolklore

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    I just put the tobacco in the jars and put the rings on for a few weeks, then remove the rings. Tightening the rings really won't do anything. The microbes eat up the oxygen, creating a vacuum that holds the lids on just fine. I will hear them "pop" and "ting" from time to time as pressure changes, but when I check the lids, they're always holding fast. I've never grabbed a jar to have the lid fall off. I always have to pry the lid off.
    I'm not sure what benefits you'd get from removing any air from the jar.

    Oh, and if you are having problems with jars leaking, it could be from not using fresh lids each time. I always use a fresh lid, and as soon as the jar is empty, I toss the lid into the garbage.

    Michael
    Posted 5 months ago #
  29. trouttimes

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    I agree with Cosmic (gasp!). If using good clean jars and new lids, there should not be a problem. So simple a caveman could do it. I can.

    “The Road goes ever on and on Down from the door where it began.
    Now far ahead the Road has gone, I must follow if I can
    Posted 5 months ago #
  30. sablebrush52

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    After reading craig's info on pinholes in Esoterica bags I bought the 7mil aluminized bags from Mylar Pro, put one Esoterica bag in each, and heat sealed each one. That's 7 barrier layers surrounding each bag. They won't be drying out any time soon. I'll be dust long before they are.

    Bulk I store in jars. I pack those suckers tight, leaving a small amount of air at the top. Ribbon cut is packed at a 1:2 ratio, like it is in tins. 2oz in a 4oz jar, 4oz in an 8oz jar etc. I always keep the rings on, no reason to take them off. I suspect that conditions where you live may vary how your jars do, but tightly sealed they should hold that seal for a good long time until you decide to break it.

    Long term cellaring of the rectangular and/or square vacuum sealed metal tins is for suckers. Those tins are not 100% sealed, they're slowly leaking, and over time the majority of them will lose their seal and the contents will dry out. They can be good for some years, but not for long term storage. So mine are either jarred or bagged like the Esoterica has been bagged, in long term food grade 7mill Mylar that's been heat sealed.

    Since posting the thread showing how early C&D tinned Pease blends have corroded from the inside out and failed, I've been getting reports from McClelland owners that their really old McClelland tins from the '90's are starting to rot out as well. Better start smoking that stuff instead of admiring it.

    Vacuum sealing isn't nonsense, it's just more than most of us are willing to do. But trying to prevent aging by vacuum sealing isn't 100% successful. You might retard aging, but stop it? Probably not. Has anyone tried sealing tobacco in inert gas for long term storage. How did professional blenders manage to keep their stocks of Syrian fresh for more than a decade after the last crop?

    And why would anyone want to prevent aging of tobacco? Isn't it always an improvement? Hell no. Aging doesn't improve tobacco, it just changes it. Whether that change is an improvement is up to the individual smoker to decide for himself. There are blends that I prefer well aged and there are some that I prefer fresh, cause they're already aged enough.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  31. cosmicfolklore

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    It is amazing that we used to send thousands of pounds of tobacco across the world on year long voyages with nothing preventing them from getting air, except maybe a barrel or a canvas tarp over a palette. Isn't this where many have said that the concept of aging came from? Then, we only had small amounts sold in little burlap drawstring bags for a few hundred years. Now, we have it down to a science, with no real studies done to support, but well thought out hypothesis nonetheless.

    The reason I remove the rings, is to assure myself that the seal has set. Plus, this is how I was always taught to can. I run the jams, jellies, tomatoes, green beans, etc... Then before I put them into the pantry, I remove all of the rings. If a sauce spoils, I can easily tell by how it pushes up the lid, and I don't have to wait for the sauce to ooze all over the shelf before I notice it.

    Rings provides a false sense of security. They are designed so that while in the canner/pressure cooker, air can escape the lids, but still hold the lids in place. They do not provide much pressure to hold the lid in place tightly, some other pressure is needed to set the seal. In tobacco canning, the pressure comes from the microbes using up oxygen. If a lid loses a seal without a ring on it, it would just as easily lose the seal with the ring on. So, it merely provides a false sense of security that is not detected until the ring is eventually removed.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  32. cortezattic

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    This doesn't address the issues raised by Cosmic, but on a well aged jar of tobacco, I had a lid pop off the jar just moments after removing the threaded ring. So internal pressure changes during storage: I hear lids clicking frequently in my stock of jars.
    (cf. http://pipesmagazine.com/forums/topic/♪♬♫-pop-goes-the-baccy-♪♬♫ )

    Posted 5 months ago #
  33. cosmicfolklore

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    I hear pinging all the time, but I've never had a jar pop it's lid. I have found some that didn't set, so I just put the ring back on for a few more weeks, and then when I take it off, it's fine. But, :::knock on wood::: I haven't had one pop off. I have jars going back to 2013 now; mostly H&H Annie Cake and 5100.

    Posted 5 months ago #

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