Freezing cigars

raymb1raymb1 Posts: 11 ✭✭
Saw this on another forum:  Cigar Beetle eggs can be killed by exposure to temperatures easily obtainable by home refrigerators/freezers. An industrial deep freeze is not required, as rumor has indicated.

There is a direct correlation between the time it takes to kill and temperature. The colder the temp, the shorter it takes to kill eggs.

The figures below are time to kill 95% (abbreviated LT95) of eggs exposed to the environment. Keep this in mind when applying these figures to cigars because 1) we want to kill 100% of eggs and 2) any eggs inside our cigars have a thick layer of insulating tobacco that must be cooled before the eggs will reach that temperature.

5c (41f) requires ~12 days (275 hours)
0c (32f) requires ~9 days (220 hours)
-5c (23f) requires ~4 days (100 hours)
-10c (14f) requires less than 24 hours
-15c (5f) requires less than 24 hours
-20c (-4f) requires less than 24 hours


The length of time you should freeze your cigars depends on the temperature your freezer is at. I highly recommend that everyone using their freezer to treat cigars keeps a fridge/freezer thermometer in there so they know roughly what temp range their freezer runs at. These are available at most grocery stores, usually with baking supplies. From experience I have seen home freezers that run anywhere from 1 degree below freezing to as low as -25c.
Right now I am trying to get data on how long it takes a cigar to go from room temp to 5c, and from 5c to -20c. Based on data from other consumables I estimate it would take a cigar at least 24 hours to reach the same temperature as the freezer (equilibrium) when it is moved into the freezer from the refrigerator. Based on this alone one should add 24 hours to amount of time cigars are kept in the freezer.
The times given above are to kill 95% of eggs. I have not found times required to kill 99.9% of eggs but doubling the LT95 for that temperature should be more than sufficient.

IN SUMMARY

Double bag your cigars and let them spend 24 hours in the refrigerator. I think everyone agrees that this gives the cigars a safe transition from room temp to near freezing. Move the cigars into the freezer. How long they should stay there depends on your freezer temp. If it is below -10c 72 hours in the freezer should be sufficient. That's 24 hours to get the cigars to -10c, 24 hours to kill 95% of eggs, and an extra 24 hours for good measure. When coming out of the freezer it is a good idea to let the cigars spend 24 hours in the fridge, and another 24 hours at room temp STILL SEALED IN THE BAGS. This protects the cigars from rapid changes in temp/humidity.

I know there are some out there who prefer to avoid freezing because of potential damage to cigars and the rest period required afterwards. The time required will vary greatly based upon the temp of your fridge. Keep in mind the temp will also fluctuate based on door opening/closing etc. (Although this occurs in the freezer, it is less of an issue due to the comparatively short time required) With an LT95 of 12 days at 5c I would personally keep cigars in there for at least 3 weeks.

This information should be applied to uninfested cigars for prevention of a beetle outbreak. If you have cigars that are infested or you know have been exposed to beetles they should be subjected to more lengthy treatment because they will presumably have far more eggs present than any uninfested cigars that picked up some eggs during manufacture.

Comments

  • raymb1raymb1 Posts: 11 ✭✭
    Addition to the above:  1. Place the cigars (singles or boxes) in a freezer bag and suck out as much air as possible using a straw and lung power. Or carefully use vacuum seal bags if you have them. Many BOTL double or triple bag the cigars as an extra precaution.

    2. Put the cigars in the fridge to slowly lower the temperature closer to the freezing point to prevent possible wrapper bursting from rapid freeze. 12-24 hours is plenty of time. Many BOTL skip this step with no ill effects.

    3. Move the cigars to the freezer where they will stay for X hours (see mortality chart). This ensures that the temperature is reached and any potential bugs are more than dead. It's probably a good idea to double the mortality time just to be safe. This will also account for the time it takes for the cigars to fully freeze.

    4. Move the cigars back to the fridge for 12-24 hours. Again, many BOTL skip this step with no ill effects.

    5. Remove the cigars from the fridge and allow them to come up to room temperature (3-5 hours) before putting them back in the humidor.

    6. Allow them a few weeks to acclimate to the proper RH before smoking.






    Good stuff to know:


    Although 70 is the gold standard for storage temperature, beetles can hatch even below 70 degrees.

    Although many producers (including cubans) may flash freeze their cigars, that is only one point on the stop to your humidor. Beetles can be introduced through a secondary wholesaler, vendor, or even that fellow BOTL or SOTL that so kindly bombed or sold you a few sticks. So prevention is key.

    Eggs hatch in 6-10 days under typical humidor conditions. It might be a while after that before you would see larval activity, depending upon whether the eggs were inside the cigars or on the exterior. Larvae mature in 30-50 days, after which they pupate for a week or two, then emerge as adults. The adults get frisky and lay more eggs. Only the larvae feed - adult beetles do not. So, when are you safe in assuming there are no larvae in your cigars? 2 months in quarantine (incubation) should be rock-solid proof.

    When freezing you're going to get fogging in the bag as the air in the bag cools and humidity condenses out. Cold air cannot hold as much water vapor as warmer air so you're going to go from 70rh at 20C up to 100rh at say 5C at which point visible condensation will be in full swing. This will continue until your cigars stabilize at 100rh at -15C or whatever your freezer temp is. Everything will reverse when you warm everything back up slowly to 20C if there are no air leaks or other areas for water vapor to escape.
    • VegasFrankVegasFrank North Town, VegasPosts: 711 ✭✭✭✭✭
      I wonder what kind of effect freezing has on the cigar in regards to taste. I have a **** pallet anyways because I smoke cigarettes in between herfs, but there is a noticeable difference between Frozen and fresh strawberries for instance, Frozen and fresh meat, etc. Is there anyone out there with a good palate who can attest one way or the other?
    • peter4jcpeter4jc Milwaukee, WIPosts: 5,967 ✭✭✭✭✭
      Freezing makes 'em taste better.   :p
      "I could've had a Mi Querida!"   Nick Bardis
    • Bob_LukenBob_Luken already sucked before joining forum,.....just sayin'.Posts: 6,981 ✭✭✭✭✭
      edited April 3

      Freezing makes them taste better, and burn cooler.

      In fact, if you want a super cool burn, smoke them fresh out of the freezer so you can get those little tobacco flavored ice crystals with each draw. Yum! Don't believe me? Google it.
        
    • YaksterYakster La Zona State of Mind when I haven't forgotten the coffee filtersPosts: 8,085 ✭✭✭✭✭
      Same thing as Folgers Crystals, right? Flavor country.
      I'll gladly bomb you Tuesday for an Opus today.

                   Join me on the Android vHerf (from link in Evernote on Android) or iOS vHerf Link -Chris
    • 0patience0patience Oregon CoastPosts: 8,446 ✭✭✭✭✭

      There is no crisis that a good cigar can't cure.
      In Fumo Pax
      Money can't buy happiness, but it can buy cigars and that's close enough.

      Wylaff said:
      Atmospheric pressure and crap.

      Some k n o b blocked the word k n o b and now we can't talk about adjusting the k n o b on the radio.
    • YaksterYakster La Zona State of Mind when I haven't forgotten the coffee filtersPosts: 8,085 ✭✭✭✭✭
      0patience said:


      Patrick has one of those cigars. Very limited release.
      I'll gladly bomb you Tuesday for an Opus today.

                   Join me on the Android vHerf (from link in Evernote on Android) or iOS vHerf Link -Chris
    • dirtdudedirtdude AZPosts: 4,895 ✭✭✭✭✭
      I take the precaution to freeze as home temps are around 80 in the summertime.
      A little dirt never hurt
    • YaksterYakster La Zona State of Mind when I haven't forgotten the coffee filtersPosts: 8,085 ✭✭✭✭✭
      Smart
      I'll gladly bomb you Tuesday for an Opus today.

                   Join me on the Android vHerf (from link in Evernote on Android) or iOS vHerf Link -Chris
    • KenpoKnightKenpoKnight KansasPosts: 534 ✭✭✭✭✭


    • miller65rodmiller65rod MidwestPosts: 4,481 ✭✭✭✭✭
      edited April 7
      I have never frozen. The only ones I would ever worry about are custom rolled off the island and I have yet to freeze them. 

      A few years back I left a cigar in my garage for over a year and it was over 100 degrees and never a hatch. I am doing this with a CC currently. No beetles yet. 

      CC's that are exported are frozen before export, they have been doing this since 2006 or 2008. I worry more about humidity then I do temp. The key IMO is stability in humidity. 

      I am hoarding over 7200 boxed seegars at last count. I have added more and storage is always the issue. 7 120qt coolers (just bought another) and a very large humi are not cutting it. 

      Where I am currently it gets over 120+ during the day. My coolers here are in the mid 70's or even higher at times. A/C cannot keep up. Humidity though is in the upper 60's in the coolers. Never once had a problem. 

      I think many are over doing it. That's just my perspective. Stabilize your humidity and enjoy.

      Try some experiments and see. You may be surprised. 
      Free Cuba
      "I ain't got no Opus's"
      LLA
      - Lancero Lovers of America
      2016 Gang War (South)

                
    • YaksterYakster La Zona State of Mind when I haven't forgotten the coffee filtersPosts: 8,085 ✭✭✭✭✭
      I want some one sign of a beetle hole in a cigar from another brother and another brother saw a beetle hole in a cigar that I sent him oh, but I haven't had any real big problems with beetles.

      I did go through all my sticks when it was reported to me that I sent out a stick with a beetle hole in check them all.
      I'll gladly bomb you Tuesday for an Opus today.

                   Join me on the Android vHerf (from link in Evernote on Android) or iOS vHerf Link -Chris
    • Bob_LukenBob_Luken already sucked before joining forum,.....just sayin'.Posts: 6,981 ✭✭✭✭✭
      edited April 7

      Show of hands,........Who has actually had beetles? Confirmed sightings, or undeniable evidence. (One little round hole in a wrapper is not undeniable evidence in my book.)

      I've had three separate incidents. These came to me from outside sources. Never cigar.com. And it happened years ago. I froze a lot of cigars. Since that time, no signs of bugs, and I have relaxed my methods.

      My advice,.... It's rare, don't worry about it until you have something to worry about. 
    • YaksterYakster La Zona State of Mind when I haven't forgotten the coffee filtersPosts: 8,085 ✭✭✭✭✭
      Never saw a critter, just a suspicious hole.
      I'll gladly bomb you Tuesday for an Opus today.

                   Join me on the Android vHerf (from link in Evernote on Android) or iOS vHerf Link -Chris
    • jd50aejd50ae West Gnawed Pencil, TNPosts: 7,178 ✭✭✭✭✭
      Tried freezing once. No particular reason. Its just when they defrosted it took days to mop it up.
      Bill Whittle "Look It Up"
    • 0patience0patience Oregon CoastPosts: 8,446 ✭✭✭✭✭
      Many, many years ago, I got some cigars from an island and that island wasn't Cuba. It were an island mon.
      And those cigars did have holes and did have beetles.
      Fortunately, I didn't have a lot of cigars that I kept on hand at that time, so the loss was insignificant.

      But I did learn something.
      And while I don't freeze, I don't have problems either and most of that comes from where you purchase from.
      There is no crisis that a good cigar can't cure.
      In Fumo Pax
      Money can't buy happiness, but it can buy cigars and that's close enough.

      Wylaff said:
      Atmospheric pressure and crap.

      Some k n o b blocked the word k n o b and now we can't talk about adjusting the k n o b on the radio.
    • Amos_UmwhatAmos_Umwhat West TNPosts: 4,575 ✭✭✭✭✭
      edited April 7
      Couple suspicious holes, and one cigar with growing larvae assumed to be the dreaded beetles.  Don't remember the cigar brand, probably 2009 or'10.  Froze everything that I got between June and October after that for a couple years, then got lazy.  er.  
      WARNING:  The above post may contain thoughts or ideas known to the State of Caliphornia to cause seething rage, confusion, distemper, nausea, perspiration, sphincter release, or cranial implosion to persons who implicitly trust only one news source, or find themselves at either the left or right political extreme.  Proceed at your own risk.  
    • YankeeManYankeeMan Posts: 2,187 ✭✭✭✭
      Bob_Luken said:

      Show of hands,........Who has actually had beetles? Confirmed sightings, or undeniable evidence. (One little round hole in a wrapper is not undeniable evidence in my book.)

      I've had three separate incidents. These came to me from outside sources. Never cigar.com. And it happened years ago. I froze a lot of cigars. Since that time, no signs of bugs, and I have relaxed my methods.

      My advice,.... It's rare, don't worry about it until you have something to worry about. 
      Knocking on my head, I've never even seen one.
    • VegasFrankVegasFrank North Town, VegasPosts: 711 ✭✭✭✭✭
      Not sure what a singular round hole would be evidence of if not beetles?
    • 0patience0patience Oregon CoastPosts: 8,446 ✭✭✭✭✭
      Not sure what a singular round hole would be evidence of if not beetles?
      It is from beetles, but because there is a hole there, doesn't necessarily mean the beetle is still there.
      And it may have been frozen and the beetle is dormant. In which case, you'll get a little "pop" when it cooks. LOL!

      There is no crisis that a good cigar can't cure.
      In Fumo Pax
      Money can't buy happiness, but it can buy cigars and that's close enough.

      Wylaff said:
      Atmospheric pressure and crap.

      Some k n o b blocked the word k n o b and now we can't talk about adjusting the k n o b on the radio.
    • VegasFrankVegasFrank North Town, VegasPosts: 711 ✭✭✭✭✭
      Ah, I see!  I've gotten that pop before.  Awesome to know that I smoked a beetle!
    • jlmartajlmarta 50 miles from ParadisePosts: 6,831 ✭✭✭✭✭
      I’ve experienced beetles on a couple occasions. Early in my cigar journey I bought a few sticks from a B&M in a nearby college town. A few Partagas and a few of something else. The Partagas had beetles. 

      Another time, my child bride and I cruised to the Bahamas and I bought some sticks from Greycliff for myself and some for a forum brother. I bought these at the Greycliff hotel and there were beetles in all of them. Plus, Greycliff charged more for their sticks than I would have had to pay for them from CCom. 

      I didnt notice these beetles until until we got home. Needless to say, I’ve never bought another Greycliff stick. 👎
    • RhamlinRhamlin WVPosts: 7,043 ✭✭✭✭✭
      I did it at first but stopped which was what 8 years ago. I’ve never had a problem. The main thing is control the humidity and temperature. That’s why the 70/70 standard. Stay below that you’ll be fine. 
    • Bob_LukenBob_Luken already sucked before joining forum,.....just sayin'.Posts: 6,981 ✭✭✭✭✭
      Many pointed objects will poke a nice, very round hole in a cigar wrapper at some point along the distribution chain, before it gets into our hands. I've seen way more holes that I judged to be accidental damage than holes I considered bug related. There are other, more definitive clues.    
    • Dark_RoastDark_Roast St. John IndianaPosts: 1,069 ✭✭✭
      I have never frozen. The only ones I would ever worry about are custom rolled off the island and I have yet to freeze them. 

      A few years back I left a cigar in my garage for over a year and it was over 100 degrees and never a hatch. I am doing this with a CC currently. No beetles yet. 

      CC's that are exported are frozen before export, they have been doing this since 2006 or 2008. I worry more about humidity then I do temp. The key IMO is stability in humidity. 

      I am hoarding over 7200 boxed seegars at last count. I have added more and storage is always the issue. 7 120qt coolers (just bought another) and a very large humi are not cutting it. 

      Where I am currently it gets over 120+ during the day. My coolers here are in the mid 70's or even higher at times. A/C cannot keep up. Humidity though is in the upper 60's in the coolers. Never once had a problem. 

      I think many are over doing it. That's just my perspective. Stabilize your humidity and enjoy.

      Try some experiments and see. You may be surprised. 
      Sometimes we underestimate the resilience of tobacco. 
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