Tobacco Aging

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hawky454

Preferred Member
Feb 11, 2016
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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!

 

craiginthecorn

Preferred Member
May 8, 2017
1,285
498
Sugar Grove, IL, USA
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.

 

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jvnshr

Moderator
Staff member
Sep 4, 2015
4,042
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Baku, Azerbaijan
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.

 

hoosierpipeguy

Preferred Member
Jan 28, 2018
3,443
5,111
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.

 

hawky454

Preferred Member
Feb 11, 2016
3,199
1,149
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.

 

odobenus

Senior Member
Dec 15, 2018
463
962
Vermont
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.

 

cosmicfolklore

Preferred Member
Aug 9, 2013
19,954
5,557
Outer Space
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.

 

trouttimes

Preferred Member
Nov 26, 2018
2,124
4,637
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.

 

sablebrush52

Preferred Member
Jun 15, 2013
10,882
4,892
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.

 

cosmicfolklore

Preferred Member
Aug 9, 2013
19,954
5,557
Outer Space
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.

 

cortezattic

Preferred Member
Nov 19, 2009
15,151
7,598
Chicago, IL
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-♪♬♫ )

 

cosmicfolklore

Preferred Member
Aug 9, 2013
19,954
5,557
Outer Space
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.

 

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