Saturday, June 27, 2015

Uses For Spent Grain, and Other Links

Now that I've started down the road of partial extract brewing, I've started to see some interesting changes in the beers I've been brewing.  For example, when tasting the rye pale ale, I noticed lacing along the edges of the glass.  Being new, I didn't know what it was, so when I described it to a buddy and brew guru of mine, he quickly let me know that it was "a good thing".  So I've been reading up on things like strike temperatures, and the effects of the heat of the water and time spent mashing on the amount of fermentables in the wort, etc.  As exciting as this is (not being sarcastic here, I'm really looking forward to some good beers coming out of using this method), there is the issue of that bag of spent grain sitting in a bowl as I'm going through clean up, after I've set the fermenter in a nice, safe place.  What do you do with a pound (or in the case of a recent brew, more than a pound) of spent grain?

My brew guru said that his just throws it away, but he's going to start keeping it for composting. He did say that he made dog biscuits from it once, and the dog seemed to like them.  Okay, great ideas, all.  My wife and I have horses, and where the horses are boarded, there are chickens (and we get fresh eggs every now and then), so I have a good use for spent grains.

But I also like cookies.  ;-)  Here are just a few of the recipes I found:

Deschutes Brewery
Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

I've also seen recipes for granola, pizza crust, and a wide range of other things that you can do with spent grain.  I heard stories of a brewery in Reston years ago, and that farmers from across Loudoun County would come out with their trucks and pick up the spent grain for their livestock.  With a lot of "farm to fork" restaurants in Loudoun, Prince William, and surrounding counties, this seems like a great idea.  I like the idea of a closed loop (or as much as possible) for this sort of hobby.  With horses, if I owned some land, I'd give the spent grain to my horses, who are excellent producers of quality fertilizer, which would then be used in a plot for growing hops.  ;-)

Home Brewing with Minimal Equipment
I recently ran across a fascinating read from the Swiss Hills Ferments blog that talks about how to home brew with a minimum of equipment.  I really like reading articles like this because they show how you can have an idea and just try it out to see how it goes...which has a significant amount of carry-over from my day job.  I really like that this also gives those who might be interested in home brewing but may be a little intimidated by the amount (and cost of) equipment they see in videos for 10 gallon brews...for less than $20 (minus shipping) they can try their hand at home brewing, see how it goes, and see if it fits their lifestyle.

Bottling in Plastic?
Based on the Swiss Hill Ferments blog, I was wondering...if someone had 2 liter soda bottles (my wife and I don't drink soda, so we don't have those around...), could they use those?  After all, the ginger ale recipe in True Brews uses 2 liter bottles (Note: Emma's blog is found here).  Also, the now-out-of-production PartyPig is PET plastic.  So there's another idea to try out...if you can find a Party Pig.  Like I said, the web site says that they're out of production.  As far as fermenting beer in a plastic bottle, most of what I've seen on the Internet leans toward glass, although some will say that the "rule of thumb" is that if it didn't hold a carbonated beverage before, you shouldn't try putting a carbonated beverage in it.  So what does this mean?  If you drink soda out of plastic bottles, you may be able to use those, at least once or twice.  Continual reuse of extended periods may not be a good idea.  However, what can it hurt to try it?

1 Gallon Small Batch Brewing
Being a small batch home brewer, I know that it can be hard to find recipes and recipe kits to get started, so I wanted to share what I'd cobbled together over time...

Northern Brewer - my first 1 gal kit was the Wil Wheaton VandalEyesPA kit, and it was very good!
Strange Brew
UrbanBrewery - link is on Etsy, to 1- and 3-gallon kits
MidWestSupplies - Monk's Cowl Belgian Ale recipe kit
MaltoseExpress - 1 gallon kits

Brooklyn Brew Shop - kits and mixes; I see these at my local Total Wine shop; I'd love it if they'd carry the refills, or have one pulled part so you can see what's in it; I know that the box includes the fermenter, but I'd like to see what else it has.

Craft-A-Brew - brewing kits; I saw a video that Platt R. put together on YouTube, showing how to use a Craft-A-Brew kit to make beer.  They're 1 gal kits, and he refers to them as "partial mash", in that they come with a small amount of grain that you steep prior to the adding the extract (about 1 lb) and bringing it to a boil.  This is very similar to what you can get from Northern Brewer, and aren't really what I'd call "partial mash"; I'd call them "extract with a steep".

HomeBrewingFun - Some excellent links to all-grain home brewing

Again, these are just starting points...some of the recipes I (and others) have tried produce a very light beer, particularly if the recipe is for something that's light anyway, like a blonde ale.  A 10 min steep of a small amount (1/5 lb or so) of grain doesn't seem to add any appreciable flavor or body to the resulting beer.

No comments:

Post a Comment