Have you ever gone to a bakery before, or a brewery with an in-house kitchen and seen ‘spent grain’ bread for sale? Have you ever tried it? Do you even know what spent grain is? Have no fear, I’m here to lead you on an adventure of innumerable proportions through the amazing world of spent grain (cue the church choir…)
Spent grain is essentially the used byproduct of what we make our beer with. It’s all the grains, oats, rice hulls, and various adjuncts that are left over after we have taken what we needed out of it. When the beer making process starts, the grain for the specific beer recipe is milled into a mash tun. The grain is then mixed with water- allowing the fermentable sugars to come out of the grain. Once we have all the fermentable sugars out of the grain, the sweet sugar water,- called wort- moves along the rest of the process to eventually turn into tasty beer. (It’s a little more complicated than that, involving enzymes breaking down sugars, but for the sake of moving this little blog along, we will get back to the grain.) What we the brewers are left with after the wort moves on is several hundred pounds of what is called "spent grain".
Yes, spent grain is a byproduct, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s trash. There are many things that breweries can do with spent grain in order to retain sustainability and reduce our carbon footprint. One way to reuse the grain is to donate it. College Street donates 100% of their spent grain to a pig farmer in Mojave Valley. Mark, the pig farmer raises Russian Cross Boar and his piggies benefit from the nutrient rich grain that we are all too happy to give away!
Another way to use spent grain is in your own recipes at home. It can be milled down into flour and used in virtually any recipe that calls for flour! It has a great texture and a nutty taste. I took some spent grain home and made dog treats out of it for my dog family, and I’ll tell you something, they loved them! It was the easiest recipe to follow, and my dogs loved the crunchy nutty taste.
If any of these fun grains of knowledge (yuk-yuk) has piqued your interest, all you have to do is call College Street and ask to have a little spent grain reserved for you on our brew days, and we would be happy to share!
Recipe for Spent Grain Dog Treats
4 C spent grain from your local brewery or homebrewer
2 C flour
2 large eggs
1 C natural peanut butter
Blend all ingredients together with your hands in large bowl, then roll out on flour coated surface and use cookie cutter to make desired shapes. Put onto cookie sheet and pop in a 350 degree oven for 30 min and then reduce heat to 225 degrees for 2 hrs to get longer lasting treats. Your pups will love ’em!!