Ernie Q on casing, pressing, and blending

Ernie Q

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"One could cook sugar, at sea level 😏, for hours at 250*F and it'll never become caramel. What will start to happen at those temps, with almost any organic animal or plant material and especially for prolonged periods of time, is the malliard reaction... and malliard means flavor, both for food and tobacco. Mucho flavor, por favor! 😁🤘
Is that anything like the @millarddj reaction? Because nobody wants that....
 

Lee D

^ not me
Patron
For those of you who may have missed them drooling all over @Ernie Q ‘s delicious offerings, he has some great blog posts regarding blending tobacco on the Watch City website as well.

https://watchcitycigar.com/blog/
Just noticed this and did some reading. I had never noticed the blog before - thanks, and thanks to @Ernie Q for the blog posts.

From Part 1:
"Having read extensively through some of the "Blending" posts on internet forums, I can see a lot of people are stuck where I was...devising concoctions of vanilla extract and cocoa powder and rum in proportions that make my tongue burn just thinking about them."

This is exactly where I am at! I brought home 2 oz of McCormick's best vanilla extract and 8 oz of Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa yesterday! I already had some excellent rum (and bourbon, and Irish whiskey) :).

From Part 6 (the last one so far):
"Next up: Blending Burley! We'll be getting into casings and top notes."

:nanaparty:
 

Mrm1775

Well-known member
Sales
Did I miss a picture of your plug making device? I'm thinking of trying myself to this and don't know how yet. I'd appreciate some explanation on your pressing process!
So I'm using 2 different things:

A mold that I made from red oak with removable bottom and a ram
I lay a big piece of parchment paper over the mold anf start placing leaf on top while pushing it into the mold. Load the desired amount and place the ram on top. Use a big c clamp, vise, bar clamps or an elephant to push the ram down into the mold.
Walk by and add more pressure daily (feed the elephant).

The 2nd is a 6 ton press, 1/2" steel plates and 1.5" thick piece of osage orange.
Steel plates on bottom, parchment paper, leaf, leaf, leaf........, parchment paper, osage orange plank then lots of pressure.

I'm in the process of building a metal mold for the 6ton press.162333970642820307926815897917.jpg16233397890386190652341732915914.jpg
 

Eulogy

Well-known member
So I'm using 2 different things:

A mold that I made from red oak with removable bottom and a ram
I lay a big piece of parchment paper over the mold anf start placing leaf on top while pushing it into the mold. Load the desired amount and place the ram on top. Use a big c clamp, vise, bar clamps or an elephant to push the ram down into the mold.
Walk by and add more pressure daily (feed the elephant).

The 2nd is a 6 ton press, 1/2" steel plates and 1.5" thick piece of osage orange.
Steel plates on bottom, parchment paper, leaf, leaf, leaf........, parchment paper, osage orange plank then lots of pressure.

I'm in the process of building a metal mold for the 6ton press.View attachment 104307View attachment 104308
No half measures when you set your mind to something.
 

BlueMaxx

Well-known member
Patron
So I'm using 2 different things:

A mold that I made from red oak with removable bottom and a ram
I lay a big piece of parchment paper over the mold anf start placing leaf on top while pushing it into the mold. Load the desired amount and place the ram on top. Use a big c clamp, vise, bar clamps or an elephant to push the ram down into the mold.
Walk by and add more pressure daily (feed the elephant).

The 2nd is a 6 ton press, 1/2" steel plates and 1.5" thick piece of osage orange.
Steel plates on bottom, parchment paper, leaf, leaf, leaf........, parchment paper, osage orange plank then lots of pressure.

I'm in the process of building a metal mold for the 6ton press.View attachment 104307View attachment 104308


That is like the version of what I so woefully failed to put into words farther back in the thread.
Except ours was about 10’ long and maybe 6-8” wide and had a jack every foot or two and you could glue up long boards in multiple layers.

You did exactly what I envisioned to create an efficient and heavy duty ability of putting pressure on the tobacco.....now to add steam & heat 😎
 

Montag

Well-known member
I had some bulk cube cut burley/Virginia that I found a little lack luster and a little harsh. I followed @Ernie Q ‘s casing formulation from the first post on this thread and lightly added more basic casing solution to the tobacco and let it rest awhile. It made a significant improvement in my opinion especially the little pH adjustment from the vinegar.
 

jmg362

New member
Hi @Ernie Q, first of all thank you for sharing your recipes and methods. I’ve been experimenting for the last couple of years with various methods from the internet with marginal success, until I found this thread. Now I can blend some decent pipe tobacco!

One question though, do you have any methods in dealing with cigar leaf? This is found more easily in my country, as it is sold in some wet markets. I had to exert more time and effort in finding a supplier for virginia and burley, and luckily I was able to locate one who lived near virginia and burley farmers in another part of my country. But I would like to incorporate more cigar leaf into my blends since it is easier to get a hold of, but unfortunately it usually is too harsh. Any methods you can share would be greatly appreciated.
 

Ozark Wizard

Well-known member
Sales
Old Ted Award Winner
Hi @Ernie Q, first of all thank you for sharing your recipes and methods. I’ve been experimenting for the last couple of years with various methods from the internet with marginal success, until I found this thread. Now I can blend some decent pipe tobacco!

One question though, do you have any methods in dealing with cigar leaf? This is found more easily in my country, as it is sold in some wet markets. I had to exert more time and effort in finding a supplier for virginia and burley, and luckily I was able to locate one who lived near virginia and burley farmers in another part of my country. But I would like to incorporate more cigar leaf into my blends since it is easier to get a hold of, but unfortunately it usually is too harsh. Any methods you can share would be greatly appreciated.
I typically treat the cigar leaf like Burley.
 

Ernie Q

Well-known member
Sales
Patron
Hi @Ernie Q, first of all thank you for sharing your recipes and methods. I’ve been experimenting for the last couple of years with various methods from the internet with marginal success, until I found this thread. Now I can blend some decent pipe tobacco!

One question though, do you have any methods in dealing with cigar leaf? This is found more easily in my country, as it is sold in some wet markets. I had to exert more time and effort in finding a supplier for virginia and burley, and luckily I was able to locate one who lived near virginia and burley farmers in another part of my country. But I would like to incorporate more cigar leaf into my blends since it is easier to get a hold of, but unfortunately it usually is too harsh. Any methods you can share would be greatly appreciated.
I'm glad you asked this question because some cigar leaf, despite what some makers would like you to believe, is cased. Cigar leaf, as we know, is air cured and "Sweated" or "Fermented". The air curing produces a high Ph. and the sweating produces Ammonia. an initial careful fermentation and a Long careful aging period will take care of the Ammonia. Not sure what effect aging has on Ph., but many manufacturers use a secret recipe they call "Bethune" or "Betune" to bind any ammonia and to balance the Ph. There are many different recipes and reasons for using Bethune-
1) To remove/bind residual "nasties".
2) To impart a homogeneous character to the leaf from crop to crop
3) In extreme cases, dyes are added to the solution to give mottled or imperfect leaf a uniform color.

Essentially, like with pipe tobacco casings, Bethune is acid based. I've heard of bethune being comprised of mixtures of Coffee, Citrus juices and rinds, Red wines, mineral water, cocoa etc.

What you do with your cigar leaf depends greatly on whether it has been sweated or fermented yet. If it has, then a simple mist with lime juice will get you where you want to be and help bring out that cigar flavor. If it isn't? Then you will need to sweat it (Pain in the :ass:). So my suggestion is to try to acquire sweated leaf.
The small amount of cigar leaf I purchase is ready to go. I've tried sweating on a home basis and for my purposes it's a huge pain in the :ass:....but in your more humid climate it may be a piece of cake.

E.
 
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