Curious what micro-breweries do with used grain?

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jgmillr1

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As I finished feeding the spent grain from my last homebrew to my sheep, I got wondering what microbreweries do with their used grain. Even a small 5bbl operation has got to produce 400lbs of grain or so per brew. When I had cows, they would have loved that. Just the volume of something like 400lbs of wet grain would fill a few garbage cans. Managing the spent grains has got to be an issue for the suburban brewery.
 

Sammy86

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I know two of my local brew pubs gives the spent grain to farmers in the area for chickens and cows.

I also know that DFH gives their spent grain to their beef farmer and the beef comes back to the brewpub for the burgers...beer burgers taken to a whole new level
 

seatazzz

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I've got a friend that runs a small brewpub, he donates his spent grain to a friend that raises pigs. They love it. It also makes absolutely fantastic compost.
 

Qhrumphf

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The usual arrangement is a farmer comes and picks it up for feed. For free. Mutually beneficial exchange.

It was a big topic for the Brewers Association lobbying efforts as a potential new law (I think it was part of the Food Safety Modernization Act but it could have been separate from it) would have had a knock-on effect of requiring breweries to go through all sorts of expensive and fundamentally impractical hoops before a farmer could have taken their grain for feed. Which would have been bad for farmers and a distaster for breweries. It was fortunately amended to not impact brewers.
 
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I've got a friend that runs a small brewpub, he donates his spent grain to a friend that raises pigs. They love it. It also makes absolutely fantastic compost.
Have you composted it yourself? I've tried it with less than stellar results. Usually the pile of grain just stinks for a while, then dries up and doesn't do much. Admittedly I did not stir it with my compost pile - not easy to get into it.

MC
 
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My daughter raised pigs for a while. She would get a call from the local brew house once a week or so to come and get em. Free gratis.
 

LokiM4

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Seems to me like every small brewery that has any food service I have been to has spent grain bread items on the menu, flatbreads for pizza, sandwiches, etc. well as mentions on the menu or website of their cooperation with a (or several) local farmer(s) that they supply it to as feed; usually, again as mentioned above, having burger or other meat products from those farms returned to the brewery and in the menu.
 

seatazzz

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Have you composted it yourself? I've tried it with less than stellar results. Usually the pile of grain just stinks for a while, then dries up and doesn't do much. Admittedly I did not stir it with my compost pile - not easy to get into it.

MC
I've tried on a couple of occasions, need to mix it good with dirt/manure mix or you're right, it does just sit there and stink. 2 years ago I dumped some on my hops and mixed it good, they loved it.
 

grampamark

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Hog farms will surely take them :)

Cheers!
When Harvest Moon Brewing, in the metropolis of Belt, MT, was just starting out, one of their first recipes was a London style Porter. The owner hadn’t come up with a name for it yet. One day, around quitting time, a local hog farmer came by to pick up a load of spent grain. The owner gave him a glass of the Porter. The farmer said he thought it was pretty good and wondered what it was called. The owner said it didn’t have a name yet and that he was open to suggestions. The farmer took another pull on his beer and said “You should call it Pig’s Ass because that’s where it’s going to end up”.

It’s a really good Porter, too.
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Have you composted it yourself? I've tried it with less than stellar results. Usually the pile of grain just stinks for a while, then dries up and doesn't do much. Admittedly I did not stir it with my compost pile - not easy to get into it.
Yeah, you really have to mix it in. I also add ash from my grill and fireplace to the compost and I think that makes a positive impact with the grain.

In fact, there was one time after adding the spent grain, mixing it in, and also cleaning out the fireplace for the spring, I went back to the compost pile and it was positively steaming after a day or two.
 

50calshooter

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We give ours to:
a guy with goats
a guy with chickens
a lady that makes and sells dog biscuits
and some just gets thrown in the dumpster
 

A1sportsdad

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Have you composted it yourself? I've tried it with less than stellar results. Usually the pile of grain just stinks for a while, then dries up and doesn't do much. Admittedly I did not stir it with my compost pile - not easy to get into it.

MC
I always have a compost pile going to support my garden. Since starting brewing I have always dumped the grains into the pile. My compost pile does not stink, but you do have to turn it to keep air mixed in. I have 2 piles next to each other so I can turn it from one to the other and mix in new additions into the pile not just on top. They get turned either partially or fully every week or two. It’s easy with a good composting fork.
 

mashpaddled

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A lot of breweries give it away to farmers. It's free feed for the farmers and alleviates breweries from having to pay to dispose of it. It's better that it goes to feed animals in the food chain than becomes landfill waste so it's the best all the way around.

Like others, as a homebrewer the spent grain becomes part of my compost or unintentionally feed for local squirrels who dig into the compost.
 
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Some gets used for spent grain baked goods, but most is in the compost pile. I live with vegetarians, so that compost pile gets a lot of waste, which means that 2-4 times per year, I am composting the yard, and especially the hop plants! It's a little on the stinky side, but the plants love it!
 

day_trippr

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fwiw, in a different thread (I think?) I expressed some concern that my neighbors chickens I've been feeding since they got them a couple years ago might not fare well with spent rice hulls in the mix. So I had been dumping those (wheat and/or oat heavy) batches in the compost pile instead, where the deer kinda poke around at but they're not rice hull fans either. Can't say I blame them.

Finally spoke to said neighbor and he thought the chickens (and now, ducks - it's a growing menagerie :D) would just learn to pick around them and to go ahead with the whole (26# dry, effin' heavy wet) spent batch and see what happens.

I had done two batches four days apart, and by the time I brought over the second mash the birds had picked out all the good stuff and left the hulls prominently behind. So, they're not complete bird brains...

Cheers! ;)
 

Knightshade

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I have a micro down the street that cycles out their grain to a couple different local farmers. I actually have a couple down the street that has chickens that I've contemplated asking if they would be interested in my spent grains but it seems like an awkward conversation to have right now.
 

day_trippr

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I wouldn't be reticent to approach a neighboring bird owner regarding donated grains. I think most folks would enjoy a conversation about their hobby and how your brewing might be symbiotic.

I can say my neighbor usually comes out to say hello after I've scattered the mash inside their run and we end up talking for a half hour or so. A touch of random humanity in these trying times can be beneficial to all...

Cheers!
 

Knightshade

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I wouldn't be reticent to approach a neighboring bird owner regarding donated grains. I think most folks would enjoy a conversation about their hobby and how your brewing might be symbiotic.

I can say my neighbor usually comes out to say hello after I've scattered the mash inside their run and we end up talking for a half hour or so. A touch of random humanity in these trying times can be beneficial to all...

Cheers!
Yeah..I think you bring up a really good point. That is really just an excuse I've been leaning on as an introvert. I actually recalled by reading this that I have another neighbor down the street that I've recently started hearing 'clucking' from. Maybe I'll try them too...I'll consider it a stretch my comfort zone type of thing to do this weekend. ;)
 
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