Cannabis enthusiast and student of the art of solventless extraction
There’s much more to aging bubble hash than simply the passage of time. Without proper preparations and a controlled environment, hash is just getting older in long term storage, not really aging like a fine wine, tobacco, or cheese. There isn’t yet much scientific research that gives us a clear understanding of the chemistry behind the magic of aging bubble hash, but we still have data. That data comes from human experience, passed down through the traditions developed over thousands of years in hash producing regions of the world.
Much of the work on aging hash can be attributed to the late great Frenchy Cannoli, a pioneer in fusing ancient traditions of the hashishin to modern methods of solventless extraction. He openly shared his deep knowledge of traditional methods and decades of experience in working with cannabis resin. We can look to Frenchy’s work as a guide to the methods (and mysteries) of aging bubble hash.
As the term implies, aging happens over an extended period of time. When the right conditions are met, transformations take place that enhance the hash rather than degrade it. Bubble hash is unique in the world of cannabis products in that it can actually get better over time.
Let's take a look at what happens during aging, the benefits it brings, and how to prepare bubble hash for the process of aging.
What Are the Benefits of Aging Bubble Hash?
The ideal environment for aging bubble hash facilitates a sort of chemical digestion, a natural process in which the terpene-rich hash eliminates undesirable components like trichome membranes and other phyto particles. The best qualities are locked in, while the less desirable qualities are faded out. This enhances flavor and creates a more mellow smoke.
Aging bubble hash allows for long term storage, so you can enjoy the bounties of a particularly special run of hash for years to come. Without the conditions that prepare and protect bubble hash for the aging process, cannabis will actually lose its effectiveness and overall appeal over time.
That said, the main idea behind aging bubble hash is to improve the cannabis resin over time, not to simply maintain it.
How Do You Prepare Bubble Hash for Aging?
Without the proper preparation, letting time take its toll on your bubble hash will lead to a lesser product, not a better one. But if you start with a quality hash and know how to prime it for aging, you can witness a great cannabis concentrate morph into something truly spectacular. Similar to producing rosin, pressure and heat are the main inputs used in preparation for aging, but to lesser degrees.
Pressing trichomes with heat gels the loose heads together into a resinous mass that locks the flavors and fragrance into the hash. In this way, terpenes remain bound into the hash for the long term. This allows the hash to take on corrosive characteristics, in which it absorbs much of the trichome membranes and microscopic pieces of plant material. What we’re left with is a cleaner, richer, more complex-tasting hash.
Pressing with heat also decarboxylates the THCA and CBDA molecules, transforming them into THC and CBD respectively, their more desirable, non-acidic form.
Frenchy Cannoli’s method is the gold standard for aging hash. Let’s see how it works.
What You Need
- Transparent wine bottle with all labels removed
- Solid wooden table
- Two insulated potholders
- Plastic turkey bags
- Nitrile gloves
- Boiling water
- Fresh (and thoroughly dried) bubble hash
Pressing the Bubble Hash To Prepare for Aging
Here’s the process you can follow:
- Cut a turkey bag into four equal pieces
- Place the fresh and dried hash into one of the pieces of plastic and fold it like an envelope around the hash
- Fill the wine bottle with boiling water
- Roll the hot wine bottle over the hash, pressing it down like a pancake. Work the wine bottle back and forth to stretch it out
- Flip the bag over and roll over the other side
- Flip once more and keep spreading out the hash inside the plastic
- Press a few times on each side, until the color and texture starts to homogenize
- Wait a few minutes until the resin cools down. Once cooled, peel the resin away from the plastic and fold it onto itself until it’s in a small, flat square. Place it back into the plastic bag
- Fill the bottle with fresh boiling water and press again a few times on either side. The pressing process should last 7-10 minutes and should be repeated 3 times so that a total of 20-30 minutes of decarboxylation has occurred
- After pressing and decarboxylation is complete, remove the hash and roll it into a ball between your palms. This is called a Temple Ball
- Leave the temple ball on a drying rack for a few hours to allow this active phase of chemical transformation happening inside to slow down
Storage for the Aging Process
To help reduce oxidation to the bubble hash while it’s aging, wrap the temple ball inside natural cellophane (not polypropylene). Store this wrapped temple ball inside of a glass container in a cool, dark place, around 60 degrees Fahrenheit. A vacuum-sealed container from The Press Club is even more effective.
Aging continues to improve the bubble hash over the course of several years. 3-5 years is common, over a decade isn’t unheard of.
The biggest risk to your hash while it’s in storage for aging is mold growth. If the trichome heads are not completely dried before the pressing process, the conditions will be right for microbial growth. Therefore, don’t press hash for aging until it’s completely dried.
Aging bubble hash involves a chemical transformation that happens naturally as terpenes, cannabinoids, and lipids interact over time. With heat and pressure applied to fresh bubble hash at the outset of the aging process, we can jump start decarboxylation and then allow the rest of the magic to happen gradually over time. Proper storage of the hash for aging is a crucial component as well. Wrap the temple balls in a natural cellophane covering and keep in a cool, dark place.
It’s incredible to see how bubble hash can age like a fine wine over time. Aged hash is arguably the most phenomenal way to enjoy the profound gifts of the cannabis plant.
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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is the purpose of making a temple ball?
A temple ball prepares the hash for aging through the formation of an oxidized casing on the outside that protects the resin on the inside.
What is aging bubble hash?
Aging bubble hash is similar to aging wine or cheese in that it allows the product to transform over time, enhancing into a smoother and richer smoke.
Can you age other cannabis products besides hash?
Bubble hash is unique in that it's the only cannabis product that can actually get better with age rather than simply degrade. The key is in the preparation and storage.
Why do you need heat to press the bubble hash before aging?
Applying pressure and heat to bubble hash allows the product to congeal together, the trichome membranes to start to break down, and for the cannabinoids to decarboxylate (transform into their non-acid form).
How long can you age bubble hash?
3-5 years is common for aging bubble hash, while even a decade or more is possible while still maintaining top quality.