I hate just throwing away all that good spent grain after I’m done brewing. Luckily, there are some great things you can do with spent grain so that you only have to get rid of most of it!
Yesterday, once I got everything going in the fermenter, I pulled up this great recipe from Omnomicon for spent grain chocolate chip cookies. These things are delicious, with the grains adding a kind of rustic hardiness — manly cookies that chew back!
The beer I made was an American Stout (extract with a lot of flavoring grains), so my leftover grains had a bit of thick, black liquid pooling in the bowl beneath them. I took a taste: an oily dark/burnt grain character with a mild sweetness (as you might expect from a bunch of black, crystal, and Munich malts). A bit tannic, but very interesting and overall fairly pleasant. I had to try doing something with it, so I thought it might be good as a whiskey mixer. So I tried a 1: 1 ratio of this stuff with Bourbon whiskey, mixed on the rocks. It was okay, but missing something. My wife was thinking as I was: some kind of citrus character would be good. I cut a slice of orange and gave it a good squeeze. Better — pretty good in fact! It was sort of similar to an Old Fashioned, with the black slurry standing in for both the sugar and the bitters. I think it could stand a bit of tweaking (maybe a tad more sugar, for one), but it was a pretty good drink for saying it was done on the fly.
I have yet to make spent grain dog treats (which are often not that far off from the human versions) but these are another popular use for brewing leftovers. Here is one recipe from BYO. My dogs would be so pissed if they knew this was an option.
So these are a few ideas for brewing byproducts, anyway. I really hate wasting things, and I mentioned how I still have to get rid of most of my spent grains (none of these projects use up much of the brewing quantity). However, even disposing of my leftovers won’t be bad from now on, as my friend wants to take it all for composting (which is another good use for spent grains). Great!