Simple cellaring to get started

Discussion in 'Pipe Tobacco' started by derangedhermit, Jan 1, 2014.

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  1. derangedhermit

    derangedhermit Reclusive member

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    I've read the FAQ that includes a lot of comments about cellaring, and some stuff here about jars and tins and bags and pouches, etc.

    I'm starting from scratch in 2014. I have come up with the following things as a way to get started. The idea is to get established and some experience, while preserving the tobacco. And keep things simple for now.

    I live in Texas, and almost nobody has cool basements here. Slab construction is the rule. I'm not out in arid west Texas, or the humid TX/LA border area or coast.

    - Annual temp swings are from around 20F-110F, so indoor (temp controlled) storage is required.
    - I'm not yet sold on the need to transfer out of the original unopened tin for storage in 2014, while I'm selecting blends to cellar and building some inventory. So I will store unopened tins.
    - I have a number of 2" thick styrofoam coolers, and will put a few in a closet to be my cellar. The idea of using these is to reduce any daily external temperature and humidity swings to a minimum.
    - I won't buy any richly flavored / aromatic tobaccos for cellaring, since the word is I cannot assume they will age well.
    - I will mark each container with the year stored, and keep an inventory sheet.
    - Once a tin goes in the cellar, it stays in. Tobacco to be consumed will be bought.

    Does this seem a reasonable way to get started?

    One question I have is what sizes to buy in for best cellaring - 2oz, 8oz, 1 lb, more?? One thing being cost, the other being that once opened, it will take me a while to go through a pound of tobacco. I'm thinking that once opened, it's no longer "cellared", and should be consumed.

    Lee
     
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  2. Lucky Duck

    Lucky Duck Member

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    if you buy bulk blends, you'll save money. Also, you can put them in any size jar you want.
    My philosophy is, the smaller the jar the better. This is because, as you suggested, once you open the container you're no longer aging the contents. So, in a smaller jar you'll have less of the blend cracked at any given time, and more aging. There's my 2 cents worth.
     
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  3. sillyoldbear

    sillyoldbear Active Member

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    +1 one on the eskies. They're pretty much a necessity here in Australia as the temperatures can be pretty extreme.

    I've only just started cellaring myself but I'd say as small as is convenient. You'll want to break into them at intervals so wouldn't it be better to have smaller (not small, smaller) amounts that you can open at one year, three years etc, without disturbing the ageing on all of that tobacco?
     
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  4. ZeissMan

    ZeissMan Member

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    Great idea for a chain. I am going to follow with interest. I have been putting 1 and 2 ounce purchases into Ball Mason jars. The tins I have purchased are staying unopened and in storage. Keep going,
    ~ ZM
     
  5. jwh891

    jwh891 Active Member

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    Sounds like a good plan. A good resource for helping keep track of your cellar is tobaccocellar.com
    It's a free online database that allows you to enter your tins, when they were tinned (if the tin doesn't tell me outright I just go with when I bought it), when you opened them, how much you have cellared and how long you can expect your to last.

    My favorite aspect is that it gives you a graph showing the ages of your tobacco, and what kids of tobacco your blends are made of.
     
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  6. BigCasino

    BigCasino Member

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    Go with jars that hold about a tins worth of toebacky, like the fellas said you can open one and have a bout a tins worth of smoking while the others continue to age with out interruption...I think walmart sells 12, 8 oz jars with lids and rings for just under $7, and an 8 oz jar will hold about 2 oz of ribbon or shag cut and probably around 4 oz of flakes, Ball makes jars sized down to 2 oz I think
     
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  7. derangedhermit

    derangedhermit Reclusive member

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    There are apparently plusses and minuses to moving from the original container to other containers. On the "con" side, the FAQ said repeatedly that once the original container is opened, the aging will change - maybe not in a bad way, but it will change. And it is an opportunity to introduce mold spores, even if you go to the recommended trouble of sterilizing the jars. The cost savings of buying bulk is appealing, but I don't know yet if anyone's bulk packaging is suitable for long-term storage. GL Pease spoke highly of the bags he used. I need to learn about bulk packaging.

    If the original packaging is good, I think I'd rather get started by storing using original packaging. It is simple and easy.

    A quick pass through tobaccopipes' stock shows that 50g/2oz (57g) tins are at least 25%-50% per ounce more than larger containers, but the size and availability of larger containers varies greatly. That's expensive enough I have to think about doing something else. On the other hand, once in the cellar, I'd rather not open a container larger than 8 oz, and preferably even nothing larger than 2 oz. I seem to have conflicting requirements.
     
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  8. SteveNH

    SteveNH Active Member

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    Just started cellaring also. Concerned about the possibility of a future tax or ban on pipe tobacco, so want to store up some for the long haul. I use 8 oz mason jars, but they are too big for a 1.5 oz tin. The 4 oz jars are just a bit too small for 2 oz size tobacco. So.....my question is "Can you leave an air gap, or to go to an extreme, is it ok to cellar half a jar?"
     
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  9. sillyoldbear

    sillyoldbear Active Member

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    Even with the multi layered bags Pease uses you'll still to move it into jars for the long term.
     
  10. derangedhermit

    derangedhermit Reclusive member

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    I'm open to doing that eventually.
     
  11. jwh891

    jwh891 Active Member

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    From what I've heard in a lot of places, leaving air gaps is preferred as it allows that extra bit of oxygen to mix with the tobacco and do some scientific stuff that helps it age better.....of course my explanation leaves much to be desired as to the actual process, but it's something to that effect. :bangin:
     
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  12. JWG25

    JWG25 Active Member

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    Generally I have found that a 4:1 jar volume to tobacco weight ratio fits best when jarring normal ribbon and "ready rubbed" tobacco.

    For example, an 8 ounce Ball jar will house 2 ounces of tobacco comfortably.

    Flake and plug style tobacco will likely have smaller space requirements due to the density of the tobacco.
     
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  13. RTOdhner

    RTOdhner Well-Known Member

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    Cellaring is always a good thing. The question is do you want it to be a true cellar for aging Virginia blends, a "doomsday bunker" to stockpile your favorite blends, or a little of both? The next question is how big do you want it to be. The size impacts the price you'll have to pay for the canning jars, as well as the types of tobacco you can cellar in-relation-to what you have to spend. The canning jars that are the size of jelly jars are probably the most practical, and one jelly jar-sized canning jar will hold a pouch of OTC or a 50 gram tin of Dunhill (or whatever). But they're actually more expensive in the long run than are the jars that are the next size up - which wil hold twice as much. It will also take you more time to fill all those smaller jars. Then comes the physical storage of those jars. This doesn't seem like much until you decide to cellar several pounds at once, then you'll see how all of those factors add up. If you want you cellar to also be a stockpile for your favorite OTC (i.e. SWR or CH or whatever), then you can save money on jars because those tubs that they come in are pretty durable and will last for years.

    MacB, Stokkeby, Lane, and C&D all make bulk blends that are very good and not too expensive - often less exspencive that OTC blends. McC, SG, and G&H offer pricier bulk blends. Many of these are very good, and it makes a lot of sense to cellar the bulk version of a blend that you really like. In that case, get the jars that are the next size up from the jelly jars. As far as cellaring tinned blends, you can either store them in the original tn or the jelly jar sized canning jars. Either way works, but if you opt to cellar in the tins be sure to inspect them periodically to ensure that they are still good-to-go.

    The cellar itself is limited only by your imagination. I bought cheap (but decent looking) storage cabinets. Wally World sells them for about $35 - $50 a peice, as does Target, Lowes, and Home Depot. They don't appear all that large, but they hold a surprisingly large amount of tobacco. If you do it right, and mix in a curio cabine, some pipe furniture, and a few personal items y9ou can get your little cellar to look like a tobacco shop. It's kind of fun - and it's a pretty awesome feeling to look into your vault of tasty tobaccos, say to yourself "Hhhm, I think I'll go with some Dunhill ightcap," and then just pull it out.
     
  14. BigCasino

    BigCasino Member

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    I just packaged up a pound and a half of P.S. Luxury Bullseye flake in 4 oz jars, 2 oz of flakes fit perfectly into the jars, yes there is some space for air, but thats not a bad thing 2 oz of bullseye flake averaged 28 to 30 flakes , I use about 2 flakes per bowl so you'll get a little more than a dozen smokes from a jar with 2 oz in it
     
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  15. BradNTX

    BradNTX Well-Known Member

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    Yep, there are several strategies for cellaring, and you can choose any one or all combined. Are you aging tobacco for improved flavor? Stocking up at today's prices to hedge against inflation or taxes? Stocking up to make sure you have a favorite blend that may not be around 5 or 10 years from now? All are valid, and can influence how you cellar. I'm in the all of the above category.

    I try to buy in bulk, depending on how crazy I am about a blend. I don't buy anything that doesn't rate at least an 8 on my 1 - 10 scale for cellaring. Blends I'm super fond of, like Dan Tobacco's Hamborger Veermaster, or Samuel Gawith Best Brown Flake I buy in 1 lb boxes or bags. Its a lot cheaper than purchasing buy the tin, and jars are cheap too. Boxes, bags, ziplocks, plasticware, etc is not acceptable long term storage, so jars it is. There have also been issues with square tins loosing their seal or cardboard tins rusting or even developing pin hole leaks. If I'm going to buy 20 tins of Samuel Gawith Golden Glow because I can't find bulk for an extended period, I'm not leaving that much $$ in tobacco to chance, especially when jars are so cheap. Round tins, I'll put in jars if I have them, but don't get in a big hurry. I'm pretty confident in the long term storage ability of the round tins, but again, for really long term, they can rust or loose their seal. Nothing beats the long term storage ability of a mason jar.

    Example- Stonehaven only comes in bags, so gets the jar treatment:
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    [​IMG]

    BTW, I live in Texas too, but have a basement, haha. I don't keep my tobacco in the basement, though, that's where the kid's bedrooms are. My storage is upstairs in my home office. :bing:
     
  16. colorduke

    colorduke Active Member

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    Has anyone tried vacume packing?
     
  17. BradNTX

    BradNTX Well-Known Member

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    There was someone a good while back that posted some pictures of vacuum packing his bulk blends. I don't remember who it was, and haven't heard if it worked out long term or not. I like the benefits of jars over vacuum bags because you can open a 16 or 32 oz jar, fill a baby food or 8 oz jar for current smoking, and close the big jar back up. I also like the way you can stack and store jars to easily see what you have.
     
  18. BigCasino

    BigCasino Member

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    Not that I have tried it but I have heard that even vacuum packed it will lose some moisture as the bags are designed to let gasses out, plus the oxygen that mixes in the jar with the tobaccos will let it age better.
    I am far from an aging expert but this is the information I have stumbled across
     
  19. afiaowo

    afiaowo Member

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  20. BradNTX

    BradNTX Well-Known Member

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