When I was a kid, maybe 11, I spent an entire summer listening to Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours. Every single day. In my room, in the backyard on a Walkman, at the beach on a Walkman, in the car, etc. For whatever reason that album just did it for me that summer. Because of that, it’s always a “summer album” to me; whenever I hear it I think of summertime. Or at least, that summer. Even when I saw Fleetwood Mac live a few years ago, every song from that album just made me think of summer.
So it’s only natural that when I sat down & started typing about grains as the summer is waning, I somehow inserted the word into a Fleetwood Mac song.
“Graiiiiiin, keep us together… Run in the shadows… Graiiiiin, keep us together…”
Ahem. Anyway, yes, today I’m going to be talking about grains. Specifically the kind left after you make beer, called “spent grains,” which are pictured above.
Back a few months ago, Pete, (a friend of ours for ages- however he’s been Jay’s friend way longer than mine, admittedly), messaged me on Facebook & offered me some of his spent brewing grain to bake with. He’s a home brewer & makes a variety of beer, as well as a new business owner. He has a business in Baldwin, NY called Homebrews & Handgrenades where he sells all kinds of grains for home brewers like himself. Turns out, this grain is largely wasted after the brewing process, because it’s served it’s beer-making purpose. But it’s still perfectly good grain. Yes, some people do bake with it. And others use it as animal feed or as fertilizer. But I’m willing to bet a large portion of it is just a waste.
Brewer’s spent grain (also called spent grain, brewer’s grain or draff) consists of the residue of malt and grain which remains in the mash-kettle after the mashing and lautering process. It consists primarily of grain husks, pericarp, and fragments of endosperm. As it mainly consists of carbohydrates and proteins, and is readily consumed by animals, spent grain is used in animal feed. Spent grains can also be used as fertilizer, whole grains in bread, as well as in the production of biogas. Spent grain is also an ideal medium for growing mushrooms, such as shiitake, and already some breweries are either growing their own mushrooms or supplying spent grain to mushroom farms. This, in turn, makes the grain more digestible by livestock. Spent grains can be used in the production of red bricks, to improve the open porosity and reduce thermal conductivity of the ceramic mass.
Beer-making is actually a fascinating thing, one I’d like to learn more about eventually.
Anyway it sounded like an awesome opportunity for me to try something new, so I of course said yes. And I promptly ended up with around 10 lbs. of frozen spent brewing grain in my possession. After defrosting it overnight, I put it into different containers & jars so it would be easier to store.