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Powells Malt - My Experiences

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Sean

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roach said:
Sean said:
Sean said:
I don't have access to a leaky concrete floor, but I do have some empty Powells sacks full of sticks for fire lighting, so I've stood one in a small puddle to see what happens.
[post="66342"][/post]​
Well, I can now definitively say that moisure can find it's way in, despite the liner (probably through the seems in the floor of the bag).
[post="66349"][/post]​
i would be interested to see a side by side comparison with traditional packaging of JW or weyermann for example.

i also think the powells seams are more susceptible to stretching because of the brown paper bag packaging which is not quite as strong as the normal bags. I know that very little force is required to open up the seam at the top of the bag of powells cf JW eg.
[post="66350"][/post]​
The only JW bag I have around is too badly damaged to be any use as a test, and Fawcetts use a separate polythene bag inside the sack, which one would expect to be perfectly impermiable. I've not bought any Weyerman.

My guess is that it was contaminated before it went into the bag.
Probably sat around wet for too long and the growth started then.
It shouldn't be wet at( all after it's been kilned. Why do you think water getting into the storage silos or wherever it's stored bulk), is more plausible than it getting into the sacks? Presumably it's safe to say it wasn't visibly obvious when it was bagged - no-one would stand there and happly bag umpteen tonnes of clearly mouldy grain and not say something.

I reckon that the entire batch of that malt should be re-called and replaced
Maybe it has been recalled now. Reading between the lines it doesn't sound like they are shifting vast quantities of Munich and Organic, so they probably don't have any other batches to replace it with.
 

wee stu

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OK, I was finally brave enough to have a rummage throulgh my half bag of Organic Pilsner.

Yes there is some mould there :( .
But, I had to rummage quite hard to find it, and thus far it is only on the broken grains. It is no where near as easy to spot as Roach's example. And definitely no where near as rife as the munich MAH and I were going to split. You did not need to look for it in that bag.

If I had not been deliberately looking for it, sifting 2kg very carefully, I might easily not have noticed it.

FWIW min came from the bottom of the bag. SteveSA got the top half. Maybe Steve can report on his too. As well as being short in stature I am very myopic too, so maybe I am not the best of judges :p

awrabest, stu
 

roach

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wee stu said:
OK, I was finally brave enough to have a rummage throulgh my half bag of Organic Pilsner.

Yes there is some mould there :( .
But, I had to rummage quite hard to find it, and thus far it is only on the broken grains. It is no where near as easy to spot as Roach's example. And definitely no where near as rife as the munich MAH and I were going to split. You did not need to look for it in that bag.

If I had not been deliberately looking for it, sifting 2kg very carefully, I might easily not have noticed it.

FWIW min came from the bottom of the bag. SteveSA got the top half. Maybe Steve can report on his too. As well as being short in stature I am very myopic too, so maybe I am not the best of judges :p

awrabest, stu
[post="66378"][/post]​
wee stu is spot on in that if you are not looking for the mouldy grain in amongst a whole bag it would be easy to miss. also the mouldy pieces tended to be those that were already broken, rather than the whole grains.

i did arrange the grains in the photo to highlight the mouldy ones so AHBers could see the problem. but i still think the mould has gotten worse(ie grown) since I brewed with it a month ago. i also suspect that the bottom of the bag would be worse than the top.
 

MAH

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roach said:
wee stu is spot on in that if you are not looking for the mouldy grain in amongst a whole bag it would be easy to miss. also the mouldy pieces tended to be those that were already broken, rather than the whole grains.
Hi Roach, in the bag of Munich that I first discovered it in, it was extremely noticeable. Wee Stu was over and we were splitting the bag in half. As I scooped out the grain it was immediately obvious. It looked just like your photo, with the bluey green stain mostly on the ends of boken grains, but also on whole grains. The sample I took to our recent brew day, was just a random container full and everyone seemed to agree that it was pretty well contaminated.

roach said:
i also suspect that the bottom of the bag would be worse than the top.
I'd say it would be throughout the bag (if it was due to moisture through the floor), as they would stack the bags flat, not standing on one end.

roach said:
i also think the powells seams are more susceptible to stretching because of the brown paper bag packaging which is not quite as strong as the normal bags.
Yep, I agree, I did grab a bag by the top and it began to tear along the the stiching. But more robust bags, would add more to the cost.

roach said:
I must stress though that I am more than happy with the other Powells malts I have. Hopefully now that they are aware of the problem Powells can quickly fix it. We need Powells to be around in the longer term and provide a viable, affordable option for HB'ers, as we need competition in the local market and with Powells niche floor malted product it provides a good alternative.
Spot on Roach. Although this thread has put Powells under the spotlight for some problems we experienced, I would really like to see them succeed and not just from a HBers perspective. If we want quality commercialy available alternatives to mega-swill, brewers need alternatives to mega swill ingredients. A niche supplier like Powells, who take the time to floor malt, should help craft brewers attempting to produce full flavoured ales.

Cheers
MAH
 

wee stu

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In the bag of Munich it would have taken a blind man not to notice it :huh: .

My ale malt looks fine.
 

MAH

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wee stu said:
In the bag of Munich it would have taken a blind man not to notice it :huh: .
But if he had a taste of the malt he would definitely know some was not right.

Both Wee Stu and I munched on a mouldy grain and it was absolutely foul. The flavour had just penertrated the malt, it had taken it over. It was an extremely strong and lasting foulness.
 

Boots

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Following on from a conversation I had with Roach here is a beer I might look at brewing for the upcoming state competition.

Category: OMPA (Organic Mouldy Pale Ale)

Ingredients:

5KG's Organic Mouldy Pilsener Malt
0.5 KG's Mouldy Munich Malt
100mls ExitMould Bathroom Cleaner
50g EKG at 60min
50g EKG at 5 min
1 Smack Pack of 1028 London Ale

Mash at 66 degrees, add Exit Mould with strike water.

Mash for 10 minutes (no need to mash for longer, as the grain is already wet and conversion should be almost completed before it leaves the sack)

Extended 90 min boil to make sure all the mould has ample time to be fully converted into the most toxic stuff possible.

If necessary extra ExitMould can be added in secondary - add to taste.

Care should be taken when crushing grains, apparently there are some natural bacteria that can live within grain kernels, we wouldn't want them infecting our beer.

;)

Seriously though, I'm heading to Ballarat next week, so I'm tempted to make a small detour to show them some of the mouldy grains. I agree with the general opionions already voiced, and wish Powells all the best at ironing out any possible probs.
 

dicko

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Boots said:
Following on from a conversation I had with Roach here is a beer I might look at brewing for the upcoming state competition.

Category: OMPA (Organic Mouldy Pale Ale)

Ingredients:

5KG's Organic Mouldy Pilsener Malt
0.5 KG's Mouldy Munich Malt
100mls ExitMould Bathroom Cleaner
50g EKG at 60min
50g EKG at 5 min
1 Smack Pack of 1028 London Ale

Mash at 66 degrees, add Exit Mould with strike water.


[post="66509"][/post]​
Hi Boots,

The recipe sounds good :p
however I feel that if you substitute the 1028 London Ale for the "Lactobacillus Yeast Stick" that TDA uses at times, the result should be closer to the style. ;)

:lol:
Cheers
 

sosman

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I hope everyone who has got dodgy product has got back to the supplier and explained the situation (I know some have) and arranged for a replacement.

Mouldy grain is unacceptable, how the supplier makes good and also fixes up the problems upstream is an important factor in the overall service levels.
 

Boots

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Sosman - MAH has let them know about each instance.

The problem with mine and Roach's bag is that it wasn't really picked up till a fair while after the order was delivered. In both our instances they were stored dry, with other grain, etc, but I can totally understand Powells not doing much about our bag considering the delay in notifiying them. Still, we'll see what they say.

In our instance they were told more just so they knew than trying to get a replacement.
 

Sean

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Boots said:
Sosman - MAH has let them know about each instance.

The problem with mine and Roach's bag is that it wasn't really picked up till a fair while after the order was delivered. In both our instances they were stored dry, with other grain, etc, but I can totally understand Powells not doing much about our bag considering the delay in notifiying them. Still, we'll see what they say.

In our instance they were told more just so they knew than trying to get a replacement.
[post="66516"][/post]​
Freighting a replacement might be a bit unreasonable, given the costs of freighting a single sack, but refunding the cost of the sack would be a decent gesture. Especially as Powells do seem keen to look after homebrewers and get them on-side. (An attitude that makes a lot of sense, in my opinion. All grain homebrewers are likely to be the sort of people who not only support boutique breweries, but chat to head-brewers about their ingredients.)
 

roach

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Might give the OMPA recipe a whirl as I have some infected 2565 in stock that would match the malt well :lol:

As Boots suggested we dont care whether we get a replacement bag or not. Also a refund would nice, but not going to lose sleep over half a bag each either. Reckon I have saved much more than that in buying 3 other bags of Powells malt which are fine(pale, vienna, and wheat)

More important though is how Powells respond more generally to this problem.

From what I have heard from other peoples experiences Powells provide excellent customer service and genuinely try to do the right thing.
 

MAH

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Sean said:
Freighting a replacement might be a bit unreasonable, given the costs of freighting a single sack
Hi Sean

This gets back to my earlier point that mistakes can be extremely costly to remedy, particularly when they relate to the reputation of a business.

Sean said:
refunding the cost of the sack would be a decent gesture
In South Australia at least, this wouldn't be considered a decent gesture, it's the minimum requirement under consumer protection law. Basically if goods can't be used for the purpose they were intended for, the supplier is obligated to provide a full refund.

Let's see how good a corporate citizen is. I'm confident they'll prove themselves to be an honourable outfit.

Cheers
MAH
 

THE DRUNK ARAB

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dicko said:
[post="66509"][/post]​
Hi Boots,

The recipe sounds good :p
however I feel that if you substitute the 1028 London Ale for the "Lactobacillus Yeast Stick" that TDA uses at times, the result should be closer to the style. ;)

:lol:
Cheers
[post="66514"][/post]​
[/quote]

You bastard dicko. Now everyone will want to use it :ph34r: !

C&B
TDA
 

SteveSA

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wee stu said:
OK, I was finally brave enough to have a rummage throulgh my half bag of Organic Pilsner.

Yes there is some mould there :( .
But, I had to rummage quite hard to find it, and thus far it is only on the broken grains. It is no where near as easy to spot as Roach's example. And definitely no where near as rife as the munich MAH and I were going to split. You did not need to look for it in that bag.

If I had not been deliberately looking for it, sifting 2kg very carefully, I might easily not have noticed it.

FWIW min came from the bottom of the bag. SteveSA got the top half. Maybe Steve can report on his too. As well as being short in stature I am very myopic too, so maybe I am not the best of judges :p

awrabest, stu
[post="66378"][/post]​
Finally got around to checking my half of the organic pilsner... bad news for me too!

It's very difficult to see but there is definitely some mouldy grains in there. Had to look very closely and probably only found half a dozen in a double-hand scoop (you won't find that in your weights and measures books). There's just enough to make me hesitant to use it.

Disappointing really. Let's hope they sort it out.

Steve
 

MAH

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Well my initial good feelings towards Powells have almost come to an end, and I'm pretty p!$$@& off at them :angry:. The story so far is they had made an offer to replace the mislabled Caramalt, then when I let them know about the mouldy Munich they also offered to replace that. Since then, NOTHING :excl:

I had been communicating via email with them, but they've simply stopped replying. They haven't contacted to update me on the replacement malt, and when I've let them know that other brewers have found mouldy Organic Pilsner, they haven't bothered to reply to this at all.

I've even offered to send samples of the mislabled malt and the mouldy malt, so they can verify the problem for their own quality assurance. I'm more than happy to demonstrate that I'm not trying to blag free malt from them.

I've emailed Powells this morning and let them know that I'm happy to accept a full-refund for all the unuseable malt (anyone know the consumer affairs law in Victoria).

My initial good experience has been soured and based on this, I personally wouldn't recommend that homebrewers deal directly with Powells. If you want the malt go through a HBS that you feel confident dealing with and who you can trust to meet their obligations if they sell you damaged goods.

As far as I'm concerned at the moment, Powells can go get F^@#& :excl:

MAH :angry:
 

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MAH said:
As far as I'm concerned at the moment, Powells can go get F^@#& :excl:

MAH :angry:
[post="67283"][/post]​
Mark

I would send an envelope of the mouldy grains back to the them with a polite but stern letter saying "please fix as this is not fit for sale".

If that doesn't work, then they may not be around in the long term anyway.

Cheers
Pedro
 

Batz

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Well MAH we have just ordered 34 bags , I hope all is well with it.

Batz
 

sosman

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Batz - I'm sure you'll be right. MAH has shared his experience but I have had nothing but good service from Powells. It is inexpensive and I am getting great beers from it.
 

Batz

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I must say I am pleased with there service so far , yet to see the malt

They are sending 3 bags of the Munich and not charging us , if we are happy with it they ask that we forward the cost of the malt.
Fair enough for me

Cost of all the malts we have ordered is nothing less than exellent.

Batz
 
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