🇺🇸 Retired veteran, father, rock-climbing expert & rosin connoisseur
The goal of aging bubble hash is comparable to aging wine or whiskey. An 18 year old scotch is more desirable than a 2-year. It becomes smoother and more mellow over time, yet also more complex and intriguing to the senses. Just because something is ready to consume doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s reached its full potential.
Understanding more about aging hash will allow you to control the inputs that, together with time and patience, invite the most exquisite qualities of the hash to shine. Time happens automatically, but the correct environment for aging hash does not. So what exactly is aging, and what can hash makers do to optimize it?
What Is Aging?
Aging takes place after hash is dried and lightly cured, when it is technically ready to be consumed. But allowing the hash to age longer before consumption makes it even better. Aging gives hash the extra time to settle into itself, for natural chemical processes like isomerization, dehydration, cyclization to take place. As this happens, the resin transforms in beneficial ways.
If the environment is controlled in the right way, over months and years the hash will transform in flavor, aroma, appearance, and texture. It’s important that the hash isn’t exposed to direct light, or left in the open air, or exposed to excessively high temperatures over 85 degrees Fahrenheit. It needs to be sealed in a glass jar, but “burped” every couple days to slowly release the remaining moisture in the hash. This regular burping, or briefly opening the lid of the jar to let it breathe, is useful for the first few weeks of aging, but after that the hash can be left to age in the jar without disruption.
Much more scientific research is needed to determine the ideal environment for aging hash. Although now we might not have the science, we do have the knowledge and experience and traditions of hashishins who have been making hash as their livelihood for many generations.
We can look at what traditional hashishins in countries like Lebanon have been doing to store their hash for long periods of time. And we can thank people like Frenchy Cannoli for bringing these practices to light for the modern cannabis industry.
One thing we do know for sure is that one of the major transformations taking place is THC converting into CBN. THC gives us that nice high, while CBN provides a sleepy effect. The higher the temperatures used during aging, the more CBN will be present. So keeping the hash in a cool environment preferably under 60 degrees (but not freezing) is crucial to maintaining good levels of THC.
How To Prepare Hash for Aging
It’s not enough to sieve trichomes using ice water extraction, dry, and then store the hash to properly age it. There needs to be other preparations to set up the correct environment. One aspect of this is to heat and press the hash after it’s been dried. You can place the hash in between layers of thick plastic, and using a wine bottle filled with hot water, roll and press the hash until it’s in the shape of a thin pancake. Then that pancake can be rolled together in a smooth ball.
The ball of hash is worked back and forth through the hands to polish and harden the outside layer. Traditionally, this outer layer was brought to a thick protective barrier by rubbing it on something like an enamel plate, so that it gets a tough outer membrane like an egg shell. This protects the resin inside the ball from the outside environment, and creates the right conditions for the resin to age perfectly inside.
3-5 years is a common length of time for aging hash, although 10+ years can yield some truly divine changes if proper care is made in the process.
This preparation of heating, pressing, and rolling hash is referred to as making a Temple Ball. This is a key piece of the puzzle to aging hash. If the hash is left in its loose form, the aging process won’t occur effectively. Too much oxidation will occur throughout all of the hash, instead of just the outer layer as with a temple ball.
Constant exposure to the open air is not beneficial for the aging of hash. Minimizing oxygen is good for aging. One way to do this is to place the Temple Ball into a vacuum sealed container.
This method of preparing hash for aging is often referred to as the “Frenchy Style” since Frenchy Cannoli has been so influential in bringing these practices to the Western World from their origins in traditional hash making countries in the Middle East. He has also started a collaboration with other hash masters called the Trichome Research Initiative, which will no doubt bring much more knowledge into the space.
You can read more about making Temple Balls in our article What Is a Bubble Hash Temple Ball?
Age alone doesn’t improve quality, but quality bubble hash placed in a good environment with the proper preparation will agree favorably with the passage of months and years. Low humidity, low temperatures, low light, and storage in an airtight container are good variables to aim for when aging hash.
Aging is an art, and it’s more than just the long-term storage of hash. Much more scientific research is needed to find out why these changes happen in hash over time. What are your experiences with aging hash? Let us know in the comments!
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
How long can you age bubble hash?
Aging hash can happen over the course of several years, even over a decade. 12-year hash can remain stable and maintain its therapeutic value if prepared and stored properly.
What is the best way to store bubble hash for aging?
Storing hash in a vacuum sealed glass jar in cool temperatures is the best environment for aging.
What is the main benefit of aging hash?
Smoothness of flavor is one of the most evident advantages to aging bubble hash.
How do you prepare bubble hash for aging?
Rolling hash into a Temple Ball is the best way to prepare it for the aging process. You can learn more in our article about Bubble Hash Temple Balls.
Is curing the same thing as aging?
No, curing is more short-term. First there is drying, then curing (lasts a couple months), then aging which lasts years and is meant for long-term preservation.