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composting spent grain

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Hi All:

I'm not sure if this is the right place for this question, so my apologies if not.  But I'm ending up with a fair amount of spent grain after brewing 5 gallon batches of beer (approx 11 lb dry is a lot heavier when wet!)  It seems like a waste to have the trash guys haul that away to a landfill.  Do you compost your spent grain?  Are there any other ways to dispose of it responsibly?  If you compost, do you have any tips for someone with little experience?  Thanks!

yeah go ahead and compost, mix in grass cuttings or hay to help eliminate the smell or if you have a dog make yourself some biscuts.

Its imperative that you avoid letting the mass of grain go septic (anaerobic).  The smell is horrendous!  Mixing the grain with other loose organic materials can help keep the pile open and breathing.  Occasional fluffing and turning of the compost pile will also help keep the environment of the pile aerobic. 

If you are starting out a new compost pile, mixing in a little bit of the local soil will help innoculate the pile with microbes needed to perform the composting.  Place the compost pile in a shaded area to reduce the moisture loss or be ready to ocassionally wet the pile to keep it moist. 

I have a large enough yard that I can simply spread the spent grain on the lawn.  I basically put it in a homer bucket, use a large spoon and broadcast spread it as if I were planting wheat in the days before modern equipment.  The squirrels love it and it decomposes without any issues.

The only time it has ever gotten a little ripe was a year or two ago in the spring.  I had brewed quite a bit over the winter.  When the snow melted I had a lot of grain on the ground and it was all wet.  A little sun and a couple passes of the lawn mower got rid of it though.


Jimmy K:
The grains contain way too much nitrogen, which is why they smell, the breakdown can create ammonia and other smelly compounds.  But that means they can be mixed with carbon-y materials like grass clippings, wood chips, leaves, etc which normally don't compost well.


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