Swaen pilsner, pale ale - 90 min. mash at 150F, pH = 5.35; iodine test positive?

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Gadjobrinus

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Never had this happen before. First time using Swaen malt (76% Swaen pilsner, 24% Swaen pale ale). 90 minute mash that began at 1 qt/pound, because I typically add make-up water over the course of the 90 minutes to maintain mash temps. 1.0 qt/pound is a bit unusual for me even though I want room for additions, quite thick - usually it's about 1.2 qt/pound.

Mash at 150F, ph = 5.35. At 90 minutes tested several times for starch conversion, with clean sample (no grain, just surface liquid) each time, and each time returned a dark blue-black result.

Anyone have issues with Swaen malts converting? I'm letting it go another 30 minutes, but I shouldn't need 2 hours mash time, even if it's a 150F mash.

Edit: 2 hours. No change. This is extremely bizarre.

Edit: 2.5 hours, no change. Finally stepped to 160.5 x 30 minutes, and it converted. But, vorlauf is terrible. Still not clearing after over an hour of slow recirc.

Completely puzzled. I don't know if this malt is undermodified or something and I should have done a protein rest, but would have presumed unless specified deliberately as an undermodified malt (e.g., for a Pilsner Urquell, decoction), I wouldn't have dreamed it would require a protein rest in today's malt. It may be me, but I know I'll never use this malt again.
 
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Your mash pH is suboptimal. Try raising to 5.55 or 5.60 and watch what happens. Yes I am serious. There are deep rabbit holes to fall down into. Here's one:

https://www.homebrewtalk.com/threads/will-it-mash-at-ph-5-00.667992/page-2#post-8653242

I think Swaen malt is great, by the way. I'll use it again anytime. I don't find it to be undermodified or in need of special process controls. YMMV
Sorry, missed the comment on Swaen. OK, thanks. First time using it and with everything but that variable seemingly in place, seemed weird to me. But good to know. My LHBS sells a lot of their malts.
 
Well crap. Then your result really IS odd. Who crushed the malt? Was that different somehow? If crushed too much or too little, either way, there can be issues. But this is only a guess. If nothing else really changed besides the brand and the water to grist ratio, neither of which should be such a big deal IMO, then I am stumped.
 
Well crap. Then your result really IS odd. Who crushed the malt? Was that different somehow? If crushed too much or too little, either way, there can be issues. But this is only a guess. If nothing else really changed besides the brand and the water to grist ratio, neither of which should be such a big deal IMO, then I am stumped.
Same mill - the LHBS. OG coming up, which may be interesting, not sure. The water to grist ratio used to be the one I went with for a long time. You know the weird thing? That made the thickest mash I've ever had. Like, way too little. I'm wondering if somehow I screwed up, doughed in with much less water, and beat the grist up just to get it mashed in properly. On the other hand, strike temp nailed the target mash temp, so that doesn't seem likely. Yep, I'm stumped too!
 
Do you know from when the crop is? European maltsters have had issues with droughts, floods and extreme weather in general. 2023 was a particularly bad year. The Swaen even issued a statement on the dire state of barley grown in Europe. Your mentioning of having to raise your temperature to achieve full conversion seems to align with what they have communicated last year. Hopefully this year will be better, but if the trend continues it will only get worse. Other brands are likely to have similar issues. I've had extremely poor efficiency lately as well, but I thought it was due to my mill. Thinking about it now I might need to try a decoction to see if that will alleviate some of my own problems.
 
Do you know from when the crop is? European maltsters have had issues with droughts, floods and extreme weather in general. 2023 was a particularly bad year. The Swaen even issued a statement on the dire state of barley grown in Europe. Your mentioning of having to raise your temperature to achieve full conversion seems to align with what they have communicated last year. Hopefully this year will be better, but if the trend continues it will only get worse. Other brands are likely to have similar issues. I've had extremely poor efficiency lately as well, but I thought it was due to my mill. Thinking about it now I might need to try a decoction to see if that will alleviate some of my own problems.
Huh. That's interesting. Well, call me blown away because after an impossible mash and vorlauf, this is what I end up with going int the fermenter:

tripel 4-3-24 OG, clarity.jpg


There is no way I would have predicted such a brilliant wort. It's a tad off as you can see on the OG - expected 1.082, but I can live with this. Live and Learn.
 
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