Bitter taste when I smoke my pipe

Discussion in 'Need Pipe Smoking Advice? Ask an Old Fart!' started by RobSpitzTN, Feb 4, 2012.

  1. RobSpitzTN

    RobSpitzTN New Member

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    When I smoke my pipe down about half way it starts tasting bitter like I'm smoking straight ash. Or like a cigar gets bitter sometimes while smoking it. Any suggestions to why this is happening and how to prevent it?
  2. Arkie

    Arkie Active Member

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    Some burley blends have a tendency to get bitter but my first thought was that you might be smoking a bit too fast. What blend are you smoking and how long does a pipeful last for you? A medium sized pipe should last 30 to 45 minutes.
  3. ol gto

    ol gto Active Member

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    Welcome aboard, is this a new pipe or is it in need of a good cleaning?
  4. RobSpitzTN

    RobSpitzTN New Member

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    It's a new pipe and I been smoking captain black white. It takes me about a half an hour or so to smoke a bowl. My pipe smells and taste like an ashtray. I don't know if it's something I did or bad tabacco. How do you get the ashtay smell and taste out of a pipe. I saw something about filling them with salt. Should I do that?
  5. Captain Eight

    Captain Eight Member

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    Might have something to do with the Captain Black White.... I don't know much about it, but I don't think that's very highly regarded.

    My pipe smells like an ashtray too, although not overly strongly. Only if I stick my nose in an old bowl. I think that's just how they smell. It is burning tobacco after-all...
  6. Jussto

    Jussto Active Member

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    Captain Black White should not be getting bitter, I would be money that you are smoking a little fast. Puffing too hard will make any blend taste bitter. Slow down and take small sips, and see if that doesn't help. Even a medium sized pipe takes me 45 minutes to an hour to smoke.

    Good luck and Welcome!
    ol gto likes this.
  7. ol gto

    ol gto Active Member

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    I have never known CB white to go bitter. A new pipe is better broken in by filling it @ 1/4 full for the first few bowls, 1/2 full for a few bowls, 2/4 for a few bowls - this allows the bowl to gently break-in/season. If your pipe is brand new the bitter taste may be coming from the surface of the bowl itself, once seasoned that taste will go away.
  8. RobSpitzTN

    RobSpitzTN New Member

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    thanks for all the advice.
  9. Bear84

    Bear84 Active Member

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    Like others said, slow down and take your time breaking it in by the 1/4, 1/2, 3/4 loading method. Also let it rest and cool down, don't try to break it in too fast. Some of the OTC blends tend to be a bit moist and the temptation is to smoke it fast to keep it burning contributing to some bitter off flavors.

    Above all, don't get frustrated with it. Smoking a pipe really is relaxing! Happy smokin...:bing:
  10. DGErwin11

    DGErwin11 Moderator Moderator

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    Are you running a pipe cleaner through after every bowl?
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  11. ruffinogold

    ruffinogold Burlatvaperaro !!!! Mayor

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    Try whats been said already ... and go buy some Carter Hall to try as well
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  12. jgstudios

    jgstudios Member

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    GTO and Bear84 are probably on target with this one. Almost all my new pipes I get always have some type of bitterness or a non-tobacco weird taste when burning. The break in process probably helps speed up the good carbon build up, and that taste will go away eventually. I never use the break in method, just because I'm lazy. I just smoke em till they're ready. Some pipes don't taste bad, some do. I don't worry much about it. Never had any damage done to a pipe by not following the method. the carbon builds up eventually and they smoke fine. I do think the break in method helps speed up the carbon build up down low where the bitterness seems to linger. I bought a La Rocca pipe that just tasted like crap for a long time. I almost gave up on the thing, but for some reason I kept in in my rotation and now it's fine. No bitterness. Also, I don't really worry about ghosting so especially with new pipes, I smoke all kinds of baccy in there. Aros, virginias, Lats...whatever until that pipe lets me know what it wants to smoke. Then it sort of gets "dedicated" after some time. Doing that seems to minimize the bitterness quotient as well.
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  13. Jay

    Jay Active Member

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    Could it be the bitter taste of burning briar? It has a nasty taste, unlike tobacco ash. Go slow with your break in process and stop when you taste the bitterness (if indeed it is wood burning), relight when things have cooled down. This could be damaging your pipe.
    ol gto likes this.
  14. Sasquatch

    Sasquatch Clumsy Poop!

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    Pipes that smell awful and ashy or sour usually are pipes that are wet. So I'm going to guess here that you are smoking a bit fast, the tobacco is getting wet from the combustion process at a rate that is faster than the pipe can dissipate. Result is tobacco that is harder to burn, and more moisture yet. This will taste like crap and also leave the pipe smelling foul.

    So... this is a technique thing. Smoke slower. Possibly how you load the pipe has an influence too - if it's packed too tight it will smoke wet (too loose and it just won't ever light properly or stay lit).

    Captain Black is probably not the easiest tobacco to learn on. It's not bad but does have a tendency toward wetness and bitterness if not smoked exactly right (never mind that sort of chemically taste). If you switch to a tobacco that burns a little more easily, you'll be able to perfect your smoking technique. Maybe a tin of Mac Baren Navy Flake or something.
  15. WrightwoodJohn

    WrightwoodJohn Wrightwood expatriate

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    I don't smoke OTC's...guess that makes me a tabac snob. Could be contributing to the problem your mentioning though. Sometimes I will take a break about half way through a bowl, when I come back to it, it's as good or better..
    ol gto likes this.
  16. Puff The Magic

    Puff The Magic Active Member

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    Regardless, if you smoke to the temperature where the flavor drops off, ashtrays out on you, or just doesn't taste good anymore, you may very well have scorched the leaf beyond its rewarding flavors. Even if you have to do a quick split second zap of fire, your best flavors from most blends are slowly simmering, nearly going out. Flavor from leaf is directly related to burn temperature. Not all blends perform best at the same temps. Burleys like to burn hotter, imo, for the best flavors but you edge it up too hot and it mushes out and becomes toilet cake tasting or that of licking ashtrays (never licked one, but can only imagine...;)). When this happens, back off on the burn rate and your flavors should return...some don't though. Some burleys finish sort of rough but i like it that way sometimes......rough finish ;)

    Ed
    Puff
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  17. WrightwoodJohn

    WrightwoodJohn Wrightwood expatriate

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    PS; Hey Puff, BTW I only liked your previous post because smoking gun likes it:D
  18. JayinHK

    JayinHK Member

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    Another possibility is you have stain inside your bowl/shank--what kind of pipe are you smoking, and is the inside of you bowl stained?
  19. upinsmoke

    upinsmoke Member

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    It requires more than running a pipe cleaner through it between smokes. Use the pipe cleaner whenever the taste is heavy or bad. That improves the smoke a lot. Also it is best if a pipe, like a baseball pitcher, gets 4 days of rest between smokes.