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Organic Gardening: beer grains?

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Forum: Organic GardeningReplies: 7, Views: 47
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(Zone 4b)

April 14, 2013
3:59 PM

Post #9483884

I noticed a very small 'do it yourself' brewing store not far from my home and I understand that there is a by-product of making beer known as "beer grains".

I have read some mixed reports re using this in one's home composter i.e. there can be a very prolonged strong odour.

I am just wondering if you have had a good experience using this in your compost?


Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

April 19, 2013
11:06 AM

Post #9489678

I never had access to brewer's side products. The only thing I can think of would be the solids they filter out - presumably yeast plus undigested grain.

Most things can be composted without a lot of smell as long as you can keep it aerated, and avoid having too much nitrogen.

If the brewers waste is high nitrogen, you would need to mix in more "browns" like straw, shredded paper, dry brown leaves, or sawdust.

How to keep a slushy, soupy pile aerated? Try to dry it out all you can. Make the piles smaller and turn them twice a week until they stop smelling. Rake them out into low, narrow rows instead of one big heap.

The keep it open and aerated, maybe pour the soup over something very coarse like twigs, brush or wood chips. You'll have to screen the slow-composting wood out of the compost before you can use the compost, but then maybe you could use the same brush for several piles one after the other.

Maybe add just a little of the soup to an existing compost pile that is mostly browns - like a pile of dead leaves. Split each batch of brew among several existing piles.

More speculatively:

Or use it as "top dressing" on some bad dirt that really needs organic matter added. If spread thinly enough, it might not smell as much. Or spread it out and then turn the soil over. Or dig a series of holes or trenches, half-fill them with slop, then backfill with enough soil to oprevent the stink from escaping. After a year or so, the bad dirt should become good soil.

Spread it thinly between rows in a garden, then scatter mulch over it?


Anne Arundel,, MD
(Zone 7b)

April 20, 2013
5:38 PM

Post #9491186

What he said.

Someone wrote here some time ago, quite amusing at times, about her adventures in getting brewery waste and using it. You can look back through old threads.

Or go to the hair salon:

This message was edited Apr 20, 2013 7:43 PM


Anne Arundel,, MD
(Zone 7b)

April 20, 2013
5:46 PM

Post #9491195

OK here:


Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

April 22, 2013
11:41 AM

Post #9493253

Thanks for the beer link, Sally. It's a good reminder to keep compost aerobic.

I love your avatar, by the way.


Anne Arundel,, MD
(Zone 7b)

April 22, 2013
6:56 PM

Post #9493826

That thread is a huge font of information, on beer as well.

thanks Ric, ! I like your frogs too. By the way, after the initial day or so of offering the avatars, the program was tweaked for more pixels;, If one re enters an avatar it may come out a bit more clear now.


Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

April 23, 2013
6:16 PM

Post #9494994

Thnaks! I love those tree forgs!
Cherry Grove, OH
(Zone 6b)

May 13, 2013
12:13 PM

Post #9519189

My son is a home brewer and we try to use all of his spent grains in our compost. (When he remembers to bring it here, half the time he throws it away) To be honest it smells pretty good, but the amount we receive is only a small percentage of out total composted material.

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