Many home-brewers, believing that spent grains are worthless, will throw them out when finished brewing.
This belief is far from the truth.
Spent grain is an excellent source of nutrition. They are packed with proteins, vitamins, fiber, and flavor. When mashing and lautering, the grains are steeped in water heated to somewhere between 150 and 170 degrees. This process draws the sugars, colors, and flavors from the grains into the wort. HOWEVER much of the flavor and all the rest of the healthy goodness remains behind, locked inside the grain.
Some studies have made an association between spent grans and all kinds of health benefits. I don't have the citations right now and I'm too lazy to go look them up -but if you're reading this you probably know how Google works. Eating spent grains (particulary ryes) has been proven to significantly reduce serum cholesterol levels in humans. Other studies have shown that eating grains helps prevent all sorts of really nasty "gut" cancers -liver, pancreatic, colon, bowel, and stomach. Spent grains are loaded with complex carbohydrates and dietary fiber -which is extremely good for your digestion.
Also, spent grains are delicious.
Some people like to bake bread with their spent grains. If you want to try that do NOT use only the spent grains in your baking -you will end up with a wonderful smelling but thoroughly inedible brick. You need some standard all-purpose flour in your recipe.
Here is a great breakfast recipe (in fact I'm eating it while typing this blogpost):
Spanky's Spent Grain Oatmeal
- 1 1/2 cups cold water
- 1/2 cup dry oatmeal (I use Quaker Oats)
- 1/2 cup spent grains
- 1 tsp. raw honey
Combine the water, oatmeal, and grans in a small saucepan and bring to a boil while stirring. Be careful, it is really easy to overboil and make a huge mess. Turn the heat down (I have a crappy glasstop stove -I turn mine to 1/2) to a gentle simmer. Continue to simmer while stirring occasionally for 10 minutes. Pour into a bowl and serve with the honey (and a bit of cream if you like). A cup of Irish breakfast tea goes great with this.
I'll try to publish some more recipes in the future (including some wonderful hippie "granola" bars), but for now here are a few from the Brooklyn Brew Shop
Q: What if I'm not a home brewer?
You can still get spent grains. Go to your local microbrewery, and bring along a clean container with your name written on it. Ask them for some spent grains, and give them the container. If they don't have any at the moment, they will on brewing day. They will fill your container and give it back to you. In extremely rare cases they will say no or ask you for some money, but ususally they will be happy to just give them to you.
"Spent Grains: They help you go to the bathroom. If you don't eat them you will get cancer and die."
Hope this helps!