When we brew, we have a lot of grain left over… even my small all grain batches use about 5 lbs of grain. Steeping grains for extract batches can weigh about a pound or so, so that’s a lot to go straight into the garbage.
So, I’ve tried to figure out ways to reuse the spent grain… if I can use what would be going straight to the trash to make something else, than that’s a win… right?
Here’s three things I’ve thought of:
1. Spent Grain Bread
The credit for this recipe goes to a post on Beer Advocate.
- 1 bottle (12oz) beer (any style or brand)
- 2 tablespoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon yeast
- 3/4 cup dry milk
- 1 1/2 cups spent grain
- 2 eggs
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 5 cups flour
Direction & Notes:
- Make a sponge by combining the beer, sugar, yeast, dry milk and spent grain. Cover this and let it sit for a couple of hours.
- Add the eggs and salt, and enough flour to make a workable dough. Knead it (working in only as much flour as you need), then let it rise again.
- Shape it into loaves, and bake by placing it in a cold oven. Set the oven temp to 400 for 15 minutes, then down to 350 for an additional 20 to 30 minutes.
The bread is pretty good… and fairly nutritious, as well… though, I probably spoil the nutritional value by smearing the bread with butter and jelly after I toast it. It makes good sandwich bread, as well. I HIGHLY recommend this recipe.
2. Spent Grain Dog Treats
Ever wanted a way to get your pooch involved in your brewing? Well… apart from letting your dog drink your brew… you can use some of the left over grain to make man’s best friend some delicious treats. I’ve made them a few times, and my in-law’s boxer, Champ, loves them. He actually drools spit bubbles from his jowls when I bust out the little baggie full of dog treat goodness.
I would suggest using a food dehydrator… otherwise, they take FOREVER in the oven to completely dry out. Last time I baked a batch, they took 6 hours in the oven… and they still weren’t completely dry. Speaking of completely drying them out… if you try to break one and it has any resemblance to a Fig Newton, they need to cook longer. They need to be completely dry, or they’ll mold after a few days. Thinner layers will cook and dry quicker… the thinner the better. And, it might not hurt to line the pan with a layer of parchment paper… to guarantee no dog treat stickage to your wife’s prized cookie sheet.
Credit for the recipe goes to a post from HomBrewTalk.com
- 4 cups spent grain
- 2 cups flour
- 1 cup peanut butter (all natural)
- 2 eggs
Mix all ingredients thoroughly. Press down into a dense layer on a large cookie sheet. Score almost all the way through into the shapes you want. Bake for about half an hour at 350 F to solidify them. Loosen them from the sheet, break the biscuits apart and return them, loosely spread out on the cookie sheet, to the oven at 225 F for 3 to 4 hours (or until they are really dry) to prevent mold growth. Store in an airtight container to keep them dry and mold-free.
3. Spent Grain Granola
I haven’t tried this yet… but the idea seems appealing. A friend of mine on MrBeerFans.com posted this recipe, so I figured I’d share it.
Credit to a post on MrBeerFans.com
I used about 2 cups each of spent grains, oatmeal and sunflower kernels, 1 cup each of almonds and coconut, some honey, cinnamon and melted butter, spread on a cookie sheet and baked at 375 for about 30 minutes, stirring every once in a while. Once they came out of the oven, I added some raisins and craisins.
… the ultimate “green” solution to your spent grain dilemma. And, I’m sure you’re garden will love the compost.
Here’s the tumbler I’m thinking about building… once I actually have my own house that has a back yard and a larger garden plot. You’ll need to source a rain barrel… but I’m betting they’re pretty easy to find.
Also, if you just do the regular compost pile kind of thing, be cautious… animals LOVE spent grain. Another homebrew friend said he just throws the grain over the fence for the deer… and he said squirrels, raccoons, possums, skunks, and every other forest critter will come out of the wood work to get at the grain pile. This tumbler seems to keep everything a little bit more “contained”… and less likely to attract unwanted friends from the woods. But, I guess that’s a fifth use of spent grains, if you don’t mind some company… just leave them out for the animals to enjoy. Maybe put them in a little box, or something, for the squirrels to eat. Let them in a loose pile for cheap bird seed. Whatever floats your boat, I guess.