Two easy ways to use spent brewing grains

My husband and I are big fans of craft beer and I’m excited my hiatus is almost over. During the pandemic, my husband has been home brewing, which leaves us with pounds of spent brewing grains after each batch. He started with brewing kits and has transitioned to creating many of our favorites from our travels. I am so impressed with taking only one sip of his brews, from the Sierra Nevada, NE IPA, Stout, Root Beer for me, Apfelwein, and Helles. The next beer is a Citra-infused Hazy IPA.

He typically brews a 5-gallon batch once to twice a month. If you are familiar with the process, then you know you will end up with at least 10 pounds of spent brewing grain! This volume isn’t enough to donate to a local farmer for feed. I’ve been on a mission to determine what to do with the Spend Brewing Grains.

Dog treats and whole-grain flour are my top uses. Through this whole experiment, I’ve created a monster with Opha May the Bulldog. She loves her spent grain treats so much that she pouts when I reach for the milk bones. this post walks through making both, dog treats and flour.

Before you start any of the following recipes. Make sure your spent brewing grains does NOT include, rice hulls or hopps. Both can be dangerous to animals!

1. Dog Treats from Spent Brewing Grains

Effort: Minimal

Time: 3 hours

Cost: $4.00 (Makes 6 dozen treats)

Grains used: 3 cups out of ~30 cups

Ingredients
  • 3 cups Spent Grains
  • 1 1/2 cups Whole Wheat Flour
  • 3/4 cup Organic Peanut Butter (the more natural and lower sodium the better)
  • 3 Tbls Flax Seed
  • 9 Tbls Water

Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grind Flax Seed in the food processor on high for 2 minutes.
  3. In a small bowl, combine 3 Tbls of ground flaxseed and 9 Tbls of Water. Stir and set aside for 5 minutes.
  4. In a large bowl, combine 3 cups of Spent Grains and 1 1/2 cups of Whole Wheat Flour. Stir. Add 3/4 cup of Peanut Butter and stir well.
  5. Add the flaxseed and water mixture to the large bowl mixture. Stir well.
  6. Using a rolling pin, roll out the mixture on a flat surface. The mixture should be 1/4- 1/2 inch thick.
  7. Cut into squares or use a cookie cutter.
  8. Using a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, load on the treats. You can put them pretty close together. They will not expand.
  9. Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.
  10. Decrease the heat to 180 degrees. You will want to bake them until your treats are fully dried. Check your thickest treat to determine the level of doneness. This step may take up to 2 hours.
  11. Treats are good for up to three weeks in an airtight container.
The Results

This spent brewing grain recipe made ~75-100 dog treats. Since they only last 2 weeks, have a plan to share with other pups!

Just a portion of the treats!

If you would like to make a fancy gift from the treats, I recommend cellophane gift bags. You will be able to find generic bags at Dollar Tree or Amazon has cute paw print cellphone bags. Attach the ingredient card and deliver!

Click here to download the ingredient card to affix to your doggie treat bags.

Check out our Pumpkin Dog Treat recipe post!

2. Make Flour from Spent Brewing Grains

Effort: Minimal

Time: 9 hours

Cost: $0

Grains used: ~7 cups per baking sheet

This repurposing process, while requiring minimal effort does take a significant amount of time! Next time I will make my husband start brewing at 7:00 AM so I am not up stirring drying grains at 1:00 AM. One challenge with trying to repurpose all the spent brewing grain is time. The grain will start to go sour after about five hours of unrefidgerated, so you need to work with a sense of purpose. If you plan to refrigerate, you can make flour and or treats the following day.

This recipe will cost you nothing! Well, besides your oven being on for 7 hours.

The Process
  1. Count how many cookie sheets you can fit in your oven. I was able to fit 2 full-size cookie sheets and 2 cake pans. You’ll be able to get ~6-7 cups per baking sheet and ~3 cups per cake pan.
  2. Layout a bed of paper towels on your kitchen counter and spread out the spent brewing grains (1/2 inch thick). The purpose of this process to get as much liquid out of the grains as possible. You can hand squeeze them, but goodness gracious, who has time for that!
  3. Dry the grains for 2 hours. During this time, you can be baking the dog treats!
  4. Heat the oven to 190 degrees. Note- the total baking time is 7 hours.
  5. Layout the spent brewing grains on the cookie sheets 1/2 inch thick and place them in the oven.
  6. Stir at the 4-hour mark. Some of the grains will lightly stick to the cookie sheet, gently scrape clear the grains.
  7. Remove from the oven after 7 hours. Let cool.
  8. Time to grind! In small batches grind the spent brewing grains in your food processor. I have a 12 cup food processor and did ~6 cups of grain per batch. After grinding, 6 cups of grains turn into 1 1/2-2 cups of flour.
  9. After all the grains are ground. Label and store in an airtight container. Flour is good for up to 6 months.

The whole grain flour can be used for a recipe requiring whole wheat flour. You can substitute half of the required whole wheat flour for whole grain.

Just for kicks another option: Feed for chickens

We are lucky and have two neighbors with chickens! If I do not have time to make treats and still have enough flour from the previous batch, we will give our spent brewing grains to our neighbor. Make sure to give them a heads up, since the grains have a limited lifespan.

Enjoy the time in the kitchen!

Emily M

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