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5 Awesome uses for leftover grain in beer-making

Always wondered what happens to the spent grain that's used in the brewing process?

by: Karl Tessendorf | 22 Jul 2019

To brew beer you need a lot of malted barley. Once the brew is over, you end up with a lot of spent grain. Most of the sugars have been taken from the grain during the process, but they’re still packed with fibre, nitrogen, protein, carbohydrates and omega oils. Typically it’s used as animal feed but, in the true spirit of craft, we’re starting to see a range of awesome beer by-products. 

Eco-friendly six-pack rings 

It’s no secret that the ocean is under a plastic attack. Six-pack beer plastic rings are a huge contributor to the problem, with many getting caught around the necks and bodies of animals. The clever folks at E6PR have developed a fully biodegradable six-pack ring from spent grain and wheat remnants. It only takes a few days to decompose and the best part is that they’re now available locally and you can find them on Facebook. 

Darling Brew Spent Grain Beer crisps 

Being green and sustainable is nothing new to Darling Brew. They’ve always had a conservation aspect to their identity and contributed to many wildlife funds. They produced the first carbon-neutral beer in Africa, and in 2018 became the first local carbon-neutral brewery. It was only a matter of time until they did something awesome and delicious with their excess spent grain. They currently have 2 variants, one made from Slow Beer spent grain, and another made from Bone Crusher spent grain. What do they taste like? Kind of like if a nacho and a taco had a delicious whole-wheat crispy barley baby. 

Brew Doggy Biscuits 

Beer people are dog people – many of the world’s most famous breweries were inspired by dogs and even feature a pooch on their packaging. Considering how good spent grain is for animal feed, it’s no surprise that it’s found its way into a brew biscuit. There are plenty of brands and flavours overseas but, unfortunately, no one has started a local brand just yet. If you’re reading this and you’re in the biscuit game, why not be the first? My chocolate lab will be eternally grateful if you do. 


Beer Grain Soap 

The next best thing to bathing in beer itself is to make or get your hands on a few bars of spent grain soap. Never made your own soap before? It’s relatively simple. All you need to do is get some spent grain from your local craft brewer and boom, you’ve got yourself a weekend project all lined up. 

DIY Spent Grain Flour 

I love to bake bread, so when I heard that you can use spent grain in baking, I was hooked. It takes a little time to dry out in the oven, but once it’s dry you can use as is or you can blitz it into flour. It adds a nutty texture and flavour, and you can use it to replace a percentage of flour in all sorts of baking recipes. To get some barley into your baking life, just grab a bag of spent grain from your local craft brewery.  Dry it out in the oven at 80°C for a couple of hours while stirring regularly. When it’s completely dry, you can store as is or blitz into flour.  

Read more on: beer  |  brewing  |  drinks

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