Big Hashishin Byrd-Tech Styleé: Hash Class with the Current Emerald Cup Hash Champ!
What better way to kick off an early 420 of 2021, than a rendezvous meeting among several of the best hash makers on the west coast. For the hash-passionate consumer such as myself, it was honor meeting and smoking with some of the best. The classes taught by several hash makers revealed the thread that ties us all together: a love of cannabis and sharing that love with others. A conversation I had more than once this weekend, consisted of the way it used to be when you met another cannabis consumer. You could almost tell instantly that they were cut from a similar cloth as yourself and cannabis consumption was still symbolic of the cerebral, independent thinker and rebel at heart. Just consuming cannabis isn't enough anymore with today's gamut of users. In today's market we see all kinds, from those that always consumed, to those that would never consume unless it was legal in their state (despite cannabis still being federally illegal in every single state). Regardless, with widespread use the consumption of cannabis isn't symbolic as it once was, making events like this weekend's hash class all the more revealing of like-minded individuals serving the plant. Before I proceed, I want to thank Frank@Dank for having me down and giving me a couch to crash on, (along with moobie the house dog for keeping me warm). Same to the Byrd man himself, thank you for having me and congratulations on another Emerald Cup Gold and Bronze for the 2021 Personal Use category. I was super stoked to learn of Byrd's repeat gold medals, having won last year's personal solventless division, just days before the class! Although not teaching the class, this year's second place Emerald Cup finisher, Gold Country Resin came down, and it was awesome to sit and sample some of their bests. Respect to all who entered the Cup and came to the class. Day 1- Lazy-Ass-Stoners Kicking things off bright and early Saturday morning, unlike some lazy stoners, we were treated to a live wash of fresh frozen cannabis beginning at eight AM. The two-day event was split up among teachers and topics, covering most of the solventless spectrum of techniques. This included some of the older and less "in demand" techniques of solventless refinement, which I agree are particularly important to any and all who didn't grow up experiencing the evolution of concentrates first-hand. This is true for the young-bucks who may have never tried flower rosin, traditional bubble hash, or dry-sift that dominated for decades, prior to BHO's (Butane Hash Oils) emergence around 2010. I often forget that most of my understanding pertaining to solventless refinement comes by way of reasonable deductions and logic, having lived and consumed each variety, while cannabis concentrates evolved over the last thirty years. For future and current generations, I don't blame you for not trying every variety of solventless refinement, as I'm certainly not going back in time today to try yesterday's forms of hashish. However, understanding each concept is the best way to grasp ice water refinement and how we got to where we are today. Most of today's concepts build upon aspects of those before. By learning and mastering each aspect and style of solventless refinement, you improve your overall ability to make six star ice water hash. Message Number ONE Day one certainly had a message and a message I vibe with: Want to know how to make ice water hashish? Learn to grow cannabis first! To paraphrase what Byrd and Pez Bros. said: "The only way to truly understand ice water refinement is to understand cannabis and the only way to understand cannabis is to grow it yourself." The intricate nuances necessary for resin farming and refinement are absorbed slowly over time; time usually spent growing the plant. The class discussed the drastic difference in time a hash maker spends washing a crop in a matter of hours, versus the many months a farmer spends tending to each and every crop. Only by growing it yourself, do you learn the intricacies of genetics and the structure of plants, flowers, and trichomes. This lesson snaps me back to my 19-year-old self, remembering how much was clarified about cannabis simply by growing it myself. The internet was new, and books and information were lacking and limited, so I learned most of what I know today through trial and error back then. Knowledge that ONLY comes through first-hand cultivation experience. While I'm certainly no master grower, growing hydroponic cannabis for a number of years informed me on most of the topics I write about today and more importantly, it taught me to respect life, life-cycles, and the magic of this plant. Growing cannabis teaches you a few simple concepts, allowing you to understand the anatomy of cannabis and solventless refinement in a rather straightforward and logical way. Me-Too I cannot tell you how many people have hit me up, asked me about, and mentioned making their own hash, without ever growing cannabis themselves. While I never made this direct connection, it explains my sub-conscious feeling and underlying belief that it just isn't my place to be making hash, I "document" (smoke) it. Several people have even begun making hash after coming to me for a consumer-level solventless education, which still blows me away. Here's my thoughts: If you're going to poach the game now that it's all figured out for you, that is wonderful and terrific, but not everyone deserves or needs a brand name to cherry pick the work of all those who devoted their careers and lives, risking their freedoms, while you chose another path. Respect the culture of the plant. AM Fresh Frozen Machine Wash Using the 5 gallon bubble magic D-shaped machines, we learned about the crashing vortex of water that only this model and shape of machine causes. I always wondered why producers like Byrd use numerous small, countertop washing machines and figured it was for the sake of smaller batches. Turns out there is quite a bit more to it, and even ordering the larger size machine is no good. The larger model is not to scale with the smaller model and creates an ineffective spin cycle. (This is a golden tip to all the home producers out there.) Afterwards, Byrd discussed using the Harvest Rite Freeze driers and all the ins and outs of perfectly drying full melt hash. PM Handwashing of Dry Material It was another honor to meet and speak briefly with Rakkems, who traveled in to help teach a class and wasn't alone. With batches of trim and small buds, the class chose to wash Sundae Driver over Pussy Print, a genetic name Rakkems couldn't say enough. "That Pussy Print this" and "This Pussy Print that," it was all the pussy speak I could handle (I joke, and it was referred to as P. Print by Rakkems). Hand Washing Bubble Hash Rakkems was on the floor to show off handwashing bubble hash and produced some surprisingly clean rosin after washing from dried and cured material, closer to shake than buds. Boat ore in hand, we were treated to the traditional style hand-washing that sets the best brands apart. The debate between machine wash versus hand wash is one that is sure to live on for the foreseeable future. Maybe one day there can be a definitive winner, but until then hand-washing is usually considered to be supreme. DRY SIFT Another celebrity siting was in store for all in attendance as Rosin Bell came to teach the oldest methods of cannabis refinement known to the world. Dry-sift predates our concepts of hash and rosin and has been performed in one way or another for millennia. The concept is basic, but achieving a high quality sift, is difficult and tedious work. It was cool to see a master of the art explain the process and show the painstaking specifics of dry-sifting. Day 2 While day one was all about washing cannabis, day two focused on the rosin press. The material washed and collected day one was ready for the rosin press by day two. The fresh frozen cannabis washed by Byrd and Pez-Bros. was pressed into a live rosin, while Rakkems came through with the "dead-rosin" techniques. It's shocking how good dry-sift can be when done correct. Same thing has to be said for washing dried and cured material, as Rakkems press looked similar to a live rosin. With such a drastic improvement in the quality and THC content of cannabis, the traditional dried and cured cannabis makes for some high-quality bubble hash today. It's been so long since anyone focused on regular bubble hash that the results were sure to improve massively just as the quality of cannabis improved drastically since bubble hash was last in vogue. With the mega-profits of chemical solvents, without people like Rakkems, Rosin Bell, Pez Bros, and many more, we may still be getting ripped off on cheap chemical extracts that are a far cry from quality cannabis. Dead Rosin If fresh-frozen cannabis is used to make "live rosin", dried and cured material is washed to make "dead rosin," of course. Taking the hand washed bubble hash from day one, Rakkems pressed it into some fire "dead rosin" as proof that even small buds and trim from dried material can create a quality, usable product when done right. Bird Tech/Rosin Sauce/Jar-Tech Using the rosin pressed from day one's ice water wash, Byrd showed the class how to create a live rosin sauce. In just a matter of hours it was evident that the rosin was changing and solidifying into THC crystals and terpenes. Here's the before photo: Several hours later: Mechanical Separation While I had to miss some of this class, Rakkems showed how to make solventless THC-a diamonds using the rosin press, with the same material washed the first day. Creating a similar end product as the jar-tech, in theory, where the terpenes separate from the THC-a. I'll let Rakkems explain it briefly: "Yeah, the mechanical separation is us taking the rosin and repressing it at a lower temp. to liquefy the terps and crystallize /solidify the thc-A into two fractions. The jar tech is doing that all at once in the jar with oven heat". Two ways to get to a similar end and the root of many solventless cartridge attempts, this mechanical separation drew some from out of state to attend the class. Temple Ball The man himself, Frank@Dank came on stage to teach traditional Temple Ball hashish passed along by Frenchy Cannoli. While no longer prominent, this style of hashish is almost a precursor for today's rosin press. Collecting and drying normal bubble hash, it can be worked and pressed into a "temple ball" to be aged appropriately. I'm not one who is very fond of the idea of aged hashish, however I can't slam the door shut until much more scientific testing is done. There's been a long-held belief, stemming from Frenchy Cannoli, that new compounds were found to be present in aged hashish that aren't present anywhere else. I hear there were somewhere around fifty new compounds contained in dry and aged temple ball style hashish. Until further testing is done to confirm or deny new compounds, the final result is out on that one. Unlike live rosin, this style of temple ball hashish does not remove the outer membranes of the trichome glands, but rather presses them in with the hashish. It is believed that these trichome membranes may allow a different process to unfold where cannabinoids and terpenes work their magic. More testing is needed to confirm the validity of new compounds in aged hashish. Frenchy Baby I first heard of Frenchy about a decade ago when he was rolling out bubble hash with a bottle full of hot water. He used the bottle filled with boiling-hot water like a rolling pin to press bubble hash into a more traditional pressed hashish or for temple balls. At the time I will admit, I thought he was half crazy, although I knew there was something to what he was doing, and I paid attention and respected the art of his craft. With chemical extracts improving rapidly around the same time, little attention was being paid to these ancient methods. It would take the next decade to go full circle, before anyone was willing to return to a more traditional style of hashish. And in case his message wasn't crystal clear, a surprise live zoom brought Frenchy remotely to the stage. While certainly different, I see many similarities between today's rosin press and Frenchy's rolling-pin of super-hot water. While Frenchy uses the hot water bottle to press bubble hashish, the rosin press also uses heat and pressure on ice water hash. Many of today's top techniques utilize aspects of Frenchy's tech, along with aspects from the long legacy of sieving, sifting, and pressing trichomes. Wrap-Up While today's six-star ice water hash from fresh frozen cannabis is the epitome of quality resin refinement, without each and every one of these prior techniques, we wouldn't be close to where we are today. Today's methods pull parts and pieces from each prior technique, including BHO and chemical extractions, which taught us a lot about what not to do and led to the invention of dabbing and dab rigs (water pipe for dabs). By the time six-star hash and live rosin was discovered, we already had a firmly built and evolving practice of dabbing, crucial to now enjoying the highest quality of hash. The evolution of hashish and it's culmination as ice water hash and live rosin, breathes life into the eternal and awakens the hashishin spirit of old. This ancient wisdom and tradition has been passed along for thousands of generations by word of mouth. Today's best hash serves as a portal in time, containing traces of all the methodology that came before and uniting a spiritual connection that knows no limits in time. It was an honor to be invited to Byrd_Extracts_Co class, where famous hashishins such as, Rosin Bell, Pez Bros, Rakkems, Mendo BudSmith, Gold Country Resin, Manzo-Gardens, Frenchy Cannoli and many more converged upon this historic summit to engage in an open transfer of ancient techniques made new. 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