When Craft Brewers brew beer one of the by-products is the grain left over after the brew is finished. There is approximately a pound of leftover barley along with some other grains such as wheat for every six-pack produced. We use anywhere between 1,700 to 2,600 pounds of grain for every batch produced and that amount depends on the type of beer being brewed.
The majority of “spent grain” from breweries in the United States left after the brew will go to farmers and ranchers to feed livestock and to also to be used as compost. This is where all of our spent grain is donated to. There are many other uses for the spent grain and here are some creative ways that brewers are using this by-product of beer.
Quite a few brewery/restaurants will use the spent grain in many of their recipes. These brew pubs will use the grain in their pizza dough and to also bake breads and cookies. Some companies will use the spent grain as one of the ingredients to make granola bars. This will provide texture and a malty, nutty sweetness to the bar.
Alaskan Brewing Company uses a unique boiler system which burns the spent grain to produce steam to power a lot of the breweries operations. Great Lakes Brewing in Cleveland uses the spent grain as a bed on which to grow mushrooms. There are many other ways that a brewery can use spent grain in everything from dog bisquits, soap and mulch. So the next time you’re enjoying a Craft Beer keep in mind that all of the spent grain is going to good use and is not being dumped in the trash! Cheers!