Dr. Know: What’s spent grain? And what do you do with it?
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When we call spent grain a waste product, that’s perfectly true. However, it’s a very valuable one – which is why we don’t throw it away. But first things first.
After the mash is turned into wort, there are solids that remain behind: that’s the spent grain – more precisely called brewer’s spent grain or BSG. You could say it’s the “leftover” malt. But these solids contain valuable nutrients: protein, malt sugar, enzymes, vitamins and more. These substances are no longer useful in the wort since they’re hard to dissolve. That’s why they’re left over.
When it’s not being used by workers at Weihenstephan brewery to bake spent-grain bread (which is delicious – shout-out to those bakers, you know who you are!), the residue from the brewing process is given to local farmers who use it as a nutritious cattle and pig feed. Several times a week, the spent grain is picked up right at our brewhouse and loaded onto the farmers’ trailers.