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The science behind freezing

This is a discussion on The science behind freezing within the Cigar Questions forums, part of the General Cigar Discussion category; I took this from a friend of mine and BOTL on another forum and figured I'd share. Might want to ...

  
  1. #1

    WTF Scott W.'s Avatar


     

    The science behind freezing

    I took this from a friend of mine and BOTL on another forum and figured I'd share. Might want to make this one a sticky especially as it has been a hot topic and the summer months are upon us.


    There will be constant discussion around whether or not to freeze your cigars and whether it impacts flavor or not. If the risk of potential damage in the form of burst wrappers, loss of flavor, or drying out is worth taking a risk on having cigar beetles. I have enclosed a couple of the more extreme versions of what happens to cigars after these critters get to them. It can happen in both Cuban and Non-Cuban varieties.

    I have had 1st hand experience with cigar beetles on two occasions costing me several fine sticks (ok 4 cigars, but in my mind that is several) and while in the second case the vendor took care of me I have since decided that the money, time, and effor that I put into this hobby in all forms is worth the time to handle incoming inventory properly. As such I have spent considerable time researching the various aspects of cigar beetles and how to kill them.

    One of the first things to understand is that although many producers including cubans may flash freeze their cigars that is only one poin on the stop to your humidor. Also cigars are very insulative and given that we do not fully know the quality control of the producer there is risk that eggs are not killed. In addition there are points along the way that beetles can be introduced, secondary wholesaler, vendor, or sadly that fellow BOTL or SOTL that so kindly bombed you are sold you a few sticks. So prevention in my mind is the key.

    I have adopted a 100% freeze policy, that means that every stick that enters my house is frozen before being tranferred to my humidors regardless of where they come from or how they are shipped and regardless of outside weather. After two infestations I have never had one single case.

    The are many opinions around how long it takes to kill the various stages of beetles. I have read many different forums and finally started searching for research rather than word of mouth. After reading several similar studies with varying degrees of testing and information I settled on one that I felt was most comprehensive for a Cigar Smokers needs.

    The study is

    Low-temperature as an alternative to fumigation to disinfest stored tobacco of the cigarette beetle, Lasioderma serricorne (F.) (Coleoptera: Anobiidae)

    Completed and submitted on April 2005 revised October 2005 as undertaken at the Leaf Tobacco Research Center, Japan Tobacco Inc.

    If you want to read it I have it in pdf it is a bit of a dry read but for me it was interesting.

    One other thing I did was check the average temperature of my freezer. If you don't have a thermometer I have looked and found that the average temperature of a household freezer is between -12 and -18 degrees Celsius and if you go with the higher temp and work from there there is little risk.

    Many people will tell you that the freezing will ruin the taste of the cigars. I have my opinion and that is there is no discernable difference. In addition I have bombed, gifted, traded, sold several hundred cigars to members of this board and others and not one has told me that the cigar tasted like it was "frozen" opinions will vary on this but there is little if any imperical evidence either way.

    Last peice before I lay out the process is one excerpt from the white paper, and that is the mortality table for all stages of cigar beetles and various temperatures.

    Egg

    -20 degrees C Time to 100% mortality 1 hr
    -15 degrees C Time to 100% mortality 4 hr
    -10 degrees C Time to 100% mortality 12 hr
    -5 degrees C Time to 100% mortality 48 hr
    0 degrees C Time to 100% mortality 240 hr
    5 degrees C Time to 100% mortality 336 hr


    Larval

    -20 degrees C Time to 100% mortality 1 hr
    -15 degrees C Time to 100% mortality 3 hr
    -10 degrees C Time to 100% mortality 12 hr
    -5 degrees C Time to 100% mortality 96 hr
    0 degrees C Time to 100% mortality 288 hr
    5 degrees C Time to 100% mortality 336 hr

    Acclimated Larval (acclimated at 15 Celsius for 3 months to determine acclimation impact if any)

    -20 degrees C Time to 100% mortality 1 hr
    -15 degrees C Time to 100% mortality 6 hr
    -10 degrees C Time to 100% mortality 24 hr
    -5 degrees C Time to 100% mortality 504 hr
    0 degrees C Time to 100% mortality 1176 hr
    5 degrees C Time to 100% mortality 1680 hr

    Pupal

    -20 degrees C Time to 100% mortality 1 hr
    -15 degrees C Time to 100% mortality 4 hr
    -10 degrees C Time to 100% mortality 48 hr
    -5 degrees C Time to 100% mortality 288 hr
    0 degrees C Time to 100% mortality 840 hr


    Adult

    -20 degrees C Time to 100% mortality 1 hr
    -15 degrees C Time to 100% mortality 2 hr
    -10 degrees C Time to 100% mortality 2 hr
    -5 degrees C Time to 100% mortality 72 hr
    0 degrees C Time to 100% mortality 288 hr
    5 degrees C Time to 100% mortality 840 hr


    This information is the information I used to determine my process.

    Given the insulative properties of a box of cigars I deduced (ok fully guessed) that doubling the time would be sufficient to bring the cigars to the appropriate temperature for the appropriate time. It is important to remember that this was direct exposure to these temperatures for the bugs not nestled into a box of your favorite sticks.

    The following is my process based on what I have read and adjusted from the above and others.

    1. I vacumm seal my cigars in freezer grade bags ( I use a food saver food vacuum for boxes but be cautious it can crush a spanish cedar box easily) or a straw and lung power for singles. While some folk double bag if you are using food quality freezer grade I don't see a need for this.

    2. I then put the cigars in the fridge to slowly lower the temperature closer to the freezing point to prevent possible wrapper bursting from rapid freeze, I also assume (again a guess) that it is gentler on the cigars. I leave them there for 12 hours.

    3. I then move the cigars to the freezer where they will stay for 48 hours this ensures that the temperature is reached and any potential bugs are more than dead.

    4. The cigars then go back to the fridge to allow for a little slower thaw, this is done for between 12-24 hours.

    5. I then remove the cigars from the fridge and keep them in the back and allow them to come up to room temperature (3-5 hours)

    6. Out of the bag and back in the humidor where they will rest for a couple of weeks to acclimate to the RH% that I like as would any stick from a vendor.

    Here are a couple of pictures of beetles and the damage that they can cause.


    [SIZE=3]Pupal Adult and Larval




    What used to be some beautiful Cubans




    What used to be some beautiful Non Cubans



    The dust beside is what you will see if you suspect beetles and tap your cigar on white paper, the dust is beetle dung.

    [/SIZE]

  2. #2

    Leading Puffer Fish


     

    Re: The science behind freezing

    Thanks for the info. I've been wondering about the why and how behind freezing. It's truly disturbing to see the havoc those damn bugs can wreak!

  3. #3

    Puffer Fish with many spikes kenelbow's Avatar


     

    Re: The science behind freezing

    Definitely think this should be stickied. Mods?

  4. #4

    Evolving Lead Puffer Fish KINGLISH's Avatar


     

    Re: The science behind freezing

    WOW thanks for the info!!
    Smoke Em if you got em!!

  5. #5

    THE MAN WHO LOVES TWANG! TonyBrooklyn's Avatar


     

    Re: The science behind freezing

    Thanks Scott great post and great advice freeze everything.
    “When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.”
    Jimi Hendrix



  6. #6

    SCUBA Chimp


     

    Re: The science behind freezing

    Most residential refrigerators don't get anywhere close to 0 degrees F, so -5 C is probably the value to use. According to the data provided, 96 hours in the freezer would be more prudent, in case eggs have hatched during shipping.


    I've never had an outbreak. Do the Larvae or Pupa eat holes, or do they have to be adult beetles?

  7. #7

    Young Fish csteves's Avatar


     

    Re: The science behind freezing

    So I should freeze everything when I recieve them? I have a few boxes on the way and just got one in the other day....should I freeze them?
    Its chink food and birthday cake, what can go wrong?

  8. #8

    No longer a community member.


     

    Re: The science behind freezing

    Damn Scott
    Great info Thanks for putting this together, I love the degree chart as I also have started freezing many myself though I have yet to find a beetle.

    Great Work!!!

    Dave

  9. #9

    Evolving Lead Puffer Fish


     

    Re: The science behind freezing

    Most refrgerators are between 35-40 degrees F. Most freezers should be set at -10 F or lower. I go 24hr frig. and 36 hr freezer, 12-24 hr frig., 4-8 hr room temp. then the humidor... I have a seperate frig and freezer. Frig aprox. 36-37 and freezer -12. No problems so far.

  10. #10

    Young Fish gtacuban's Avatar


     

    Re: The science behind freezing

    FWIW, Habanos has been freezing all cigars since early 2005. I haven't noticed any difference in the taste or burn of anything after 2005 when the freezing started.

    Many folks have reported zero beetles in the last few years though.

  11. #11

    Who you calling clown??? Coop D's Avatar


     

    Re: The science behind freezing

    Is it me or do the bands on the cohibas look to be off???
    When the river runs red, take the dirt road!!!

  12. #12

    Viejo Maduro 007 Cruiser's Avatar


     

    Re: The science behind freezing

    I get ill looking at that box of Padrons.

  13. #13

    Not Here


     

    Re: The science behind freezing

    Quote Originally Posted by Coop D View Post
    Is it me or do the bands on the cohibas look to be off???
    That is the old band. Cohiba has changed bands a few times in it's existence.
    BIA!!!

  14. #14

    Who you calling clown??? Coop D's Avatar


     

    Re: The science behind freezing

    Quote Originally Posted by 007 Cruiser View Post
    I get ill looking at that box of Padrons.
    I teared up a little when I saw that
    When the river runs red, take the dirt road!!!

  15. #15

    Who you calling clown??? Coop D's Avatar


     

    Re: The science behind freezing

    Quote Originally Posted by Habanolover View Post
    That is the old band. Cohiba has changed bands a few times in it's existence.
    Good point. I thought it was a more recent picture
    When the river runs red, take the dirt road!!!

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