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After brewing a batch of beer, I always end up with ~14 lbs of spent grain that I usually just toss in a pile in the corner of the yard.

Are there better things to do with it (i.e. cooking, baking, etc.), or better ways to get rid of it? Even though I'm using it to make delicious beer, I feel like all that grain is somehow going to waste afterward and that it could be used for something else.

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Is the sugar content of the malt not unhealthy for the animals? –  Peter Brancato Aug 24 at 12:42

12 Answers 12

up vote 19 down vote accepted

Personally I compost it most of the time.

I have used it to make bread, and pizza crust. Typically i just grab maybe 2 cups of it while it's still wet and fresh from the mash, then add the typical ingredients of a wheat bread recipe (milk, butter, etc). I then add enough flour to make the dough ball 'look like dough', then proceed as normal. I'm pretty look and feel with my bread, vs. strictly recipe focused.

For extra effort, you can dry it and mill it in a coffee grinder, and it'll be much more versatile in recipes.

It can be used for cookies!

You can make dog treats, just make sure there aren't hops in there; hops are toxic to some dogs.

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The bread idea sounds very cool, but doesn't it make horrible bread, because of all the husks? –  Jeff Roe Nov 11 '10 at 1:04
    
That's why I only use it for no more than, say, 1/3 of the dough. I haven't tried this yet, but I bet if you dried and milled the grain it'd be less husky and gum cutting. –  Morgan Nov 11 '10 at 1:58
    
@Jeff: On my honeymoon, we went to a <a href="woodstockinnnh.com/">brew-pub</a>;, and the bread they brought out before dinner was all spent-grain bread. It wasn't too husky, but I also don't know how much they used per batch (or how large the batches are/were). –  Pulsehead Nov 11 '10 at 13:25
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I make bread all the time. If you bake bread a lot and don't brew too often, the grain keeps well in the freezer. I just bag it still wet and freeze it, then thaw what I need for the recipe. –  Tristan Nov 11 '10 at 15:48
    
@Pulsehead: In comments format your links like this: [Example Text](http://example.com). How did I do that? I enclosed the example in backticks: ` –  Dennis Williamson Nov 16 '10 at 1:14

My dogs absolutely love spent grain dog biscuits, I use this recipe (originally from here):

  • 4 cups spent grain
  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 cup peanut butter (or oil or pizza sauce)
  • 1 egg

Mix together thoroughly (get your hands in there!), place onto lined baking tray in whatever shapes you like and bake for 30 mins at 350F/180C then reduce heat to around 225F/110C and leave in oven until completely dried out.

NOTE: Hops can be harmful to some breeds of dog, don't use grain that has been first wort hopped for this recipe.

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Spent grain is great for composting. You probably do not have enough to warrant making some kind of arrangement with a farm to use the spent grain as feed, but that is what many commercial breweries do.

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I have never met a farmer who wasn't excited to get local grain, even 10-20 lbs at a time. That's where all of mine goes! –  JoeFish Dec 2 '11 at 20:29

If you've got backyard chickens, they love the leftover mash, especially if it's still warm. I'm planning to take some of the mash from my last batch of beer, freeze it in 1-quart freezer bags, and then pull it out and microwave it to feed them on cold mornings.

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My spent grains end up in the compost or my coworker's chicken coop. –  Tobias Patton Dec 3 '11 at 2:02
    
When I bring a bowl of spent grain out to the chickens, they come running and go crazy jumping up trying to get to the grain. It's one of their favorite things! –  Tut Nov 20 '13 at 12:39
    
I've put an ad up on my local homebrew facebook page and had homebrewers with chickens come get batch after batch of spent grain. Way better ecological use than composting. –  Keith Hoffman Aug 25 at 6:31

Any nearby hobby farms with cows? I understand it makes a fine food for cows.

The deers and/or bears (not sure yet exactly which) that pass through my yard seem to enjoy it.

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I've got a buddy in San Diego that makes dog treats out of the spent grain:

http://doggiebeerbones.com/

I thought that was pretty cool!

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You could make granola. Some have praised this recipe or slight variations of it: http://www.healthywithheather.com/2011/07/cinnamon-coconut-crunch-spent-grain-granola/

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You can make a flour from the grain, and follow any of the recipes listed here: http://brooklynbrewshop.com/themash/category/spentgrainchef/

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Came to check for this link. I've made at least half the recipes on there, and they're pretty much all delicious! –  Peter R Nov 24 '13 at 0:43

It has been suggested to me that I add my spent grain to the local brewery's or brew pub's spent grain. They apparently have an arrangement with local farmers who can use it. I have not yet contacted them to arrange adding my grain to the pile, but I plan to. Sure beats throwing it away.

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Our chickens love a bit of spent gain. Although we only have two chickens so we still end up composing most of it.

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I put mine out around the birdfeeder, they acted like they were at a banquet, it was gone in about two hours. (1 lb from an grain-extract kit)

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Some of mine turns into dog treats using the flour/peanut butter recipe above and she loves it, however it only takes a few cups to make a huge box of treats and since we don't want our dog getting obese I've got plenty of leftovers.

For a long time I've given the remainder of my grain, in plastic buckets, to my grandparents to feed to their Clydesdale horse. He loved it and he "farts like a brewery horse". Unfortunately Joe the Clydesdale is no longer with us, so I've reverted to composting.

In short: dogs, horses and probably cows LOVE spent grain. If they have it uncooked, it needs to be used pretty quickly though because it goes off rather quickly (and attracts rats).

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