Spent Grain, Redux

Brewers are into recycling.  The passion for reducing impact, being green, and reusing the byproducts of making beer is hot in the brewing community.  Brewers often buy old equipment from other breweries, recycle their water used in brewing, reuse bottles and kegs, and use wind and solar as a major power supply.

One of our favorite brewing byproducts that lends itself to much reuse is spent grain.  Spent grain is a brewing term which refers to the leftover malted grains found in the mash-kettle.  Once it's provided the fermentable sugars and flavors for the brewing process, it's no longer of use to the brewer, but still perfectly good for a few other uses:

Baking Bread – Many breweries are now reusing their spent grain as an ingredient in bread baked at their brewpubs.  The grain adds a beautiful coarseness and rich earthly flavor, making a perfect rustic bread or bun for burgers.  Spent grain can work in cookies, cakes or pie crusts as well, Deschutes Brewery in Bend, Oregon even adds spent grain to their house-made veggie burger.

Compost – Lovers of living green know that good compost is important to fight topsoil degradation and for good growth in a healthy organic garden.  Schlafly Brewery in St.Louis, Missouri has a beautiful vegetable garden growing from a rich compost soil full of their spent grain.

Mushroom Farms
– Spent Grains (and used yeast) are a perfect environment for growing mushrooms like shitake and oyster.  Breweries like Great Lakes Brewing in Cleveland, Ohio give spent graint to Killbuck mushroom farm and use the mushrooms in their recipes at their restaurant.

Cattle Feed – Spent grain contains protein, vitamins, and carbohydrates that are perfect for Cows and other livestock like pigs and goats to digest.  Sierra Nevada Brewery in Chico, California feeds local organic, free-range cattle their spent grain, then uses that meat in their steaks and burgers at their pub.