Top Ten Uses for Spent Grain from your Homebrew

Christmas Ale
Specialty grains:
1cup oatmeal
1/2 lbs crystal malt
1/4 lbs Breiss organic chocolate malt

3.3 lbs amber malt extract
3.3 lbs dark malt extract

0.5 oz Hallertau 60 minutes
0.5 oz Cascade 25 minutes
0.25 oz Cascade 5 minutes

Additional spices
2 oranges worth of peels
1tsp Allspice whole
1tsp Allspice ground
2tsp crystallized ginger
4 three inch cinnamon sticks
1 tsp cloves
0.5 pounds raw honey

-Steep honey and additional spices for 45 min.
-Specialty grains steeped at 150 deg for 20 min.
-mix together and add extract.

Fermented 2 weeks

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on Flickr”>The spent grains from the porter. #bigbrewHere are my top ten uses for spent grain:

  1. Compost it when you compost your other homebrew ingredients.
  2. Peanut Butter Dog Biscuits. This requires grain, flour, peanut butter and an egg. Sounds like it is more than just a dog treat. Big Daddy would like that too! Someone is even selling their spent grain dog biscuits online.
  3. Alewife, a user on the forums, has a recipe for bread made with spent grains from an all-grain mash. She says that although this is a very rustic and rough bread, it is also very flavorful. Read the entire thread, though, because she does make some corrections further down.
  4. Alewife also has a pizza crust recipe she says is good. This same recipe can be adapted for focaccia, she says.
  5. has a recipe for Treberbrot, a German-style spent grain bread. The recipe says that the bread is best eaten with a beer and a spread of schmaltz, which is rendered fat with seasoning. Sounds delicious! It turns out that "treber" is the German word for spent grain. It makes me wonder if that is a true cognate with "trub." Probably so.
  6. Rob's Home Brew Supply also has a recipe for bread using spent grain. This one includes apple juice and molasses, so it is probably much sweeter than some of the others.
  7. According to, spent grain can be used as a growth medium for shitake mushrooms. It takes a bit of extra processing, but if you have the resources and ability, you might be able to turn a profit off your waste, or at least have a great meal.
  8. Deer love stuff like spent grain. As a photographer, that makes me want to spread some in the yard and wait with my camera. Attracting deer to one spot can also work as a against them eating your flowers and other garden plants. I once visited a winery that did this with their pressed grapes and they said it was very successful in redirecting the deer away from the vines. They spread the waste material at the edge of the woods and the deer were happy to nibble on that.
  9. Barnyard animals also love spent grain. Feed it to the cows, chickens, pigs, goats, and whatever other critters you tend.
  10. Back in my vegetarian days I used grains for lots of recipes, and substituting in spent grains for some of these would have worked very well. I might just try that for my lunches next week. Homemade veggie burgers come to mind. Yum!

Storing Spent Grain

Let's face it. Having brew day and baking day on the same day is nuts. If I were going to save my spent grain, I would put it in small sandwich bags and keep it in the freezer. Overnight in the refrigerator might be fine for a few days, but all that water and residual sugar that is left in the grain make it a great growth medium for molds and bacteria.

You could also dry the grain by using a dehydrator, but baking in the oven probably can be tricky, as even the lowest oven setting can change the chemical composition of the grain. However, you may love that roasted grain flavor, and if you are careful this can be a great way to go about it.

What are your uses for spent grain?

Spent Grain by

9 comments for “Top Ten Uses for Spent Grain from your Homebrew

  1. Gary Elderman
    January 1, 2015 at 5:44 pm

    Does one not be concerned with the barley husks when using for human food?

    • Carl
      April 8, 2015 at 3:30 pm

      Hi Gary. It is digestible, but definitely has little nutritional value. The husks will be good roughage though.

  2. Marc
    February 9, 2016 at 7:39 pm

    I have decided to use it for fish food in a local pond, dumping in a spot I plan on coming back to and dropping a line at. Haven’t proved it works yet but we’ll see.

    • Carl
      March 2, 2016 at 1:31 pm

      Be sure to send photos of your catch!

    • Gary
      March 14, 2017 at 8:47 pm

      Did you ever catch with the spent grain?

  3. Susan
    May 12, 2016 at 11:47 am

    I am looking into uses for spent grains both for farm animals as food and for making dog treats, found info on both but I’m wondering how quickly should I get the spent grains distributed to friends for their farm animals? Is there a risk of bad bacteria growing that could be harmful to them? Thanks

    • Jonathon
      March 28, 2017 at 4:43 pm

      I’m very interested in this, also. A local brewer has approached me for possible pickup of 450kg (weekly) for farm feed. Would love to know more.

    • Carl
      May 18, 2017 at 8:33 pm

      I don’t know if it becomes harmful but if not used or dried within a day, this sort of thing gets stinky pretty quickly. You can dry and roast it in a kiln or large oven.

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