BSG is the leftover insoluble residue that is separated from the mash before beer fermentation. Brewery spent grains can be fed to cattle, hogs, poultry, or fish. As they are ruminants, cattle are able to utilize a good portion of the nutrients from BSGs. This is the most common use for them among farmers.
Foam to farm, where brewers give their BSGs to local farmers, is not a new concept, especially not in Colorado. Arvada Beer Company donates some of its spent grain to a local dog biscuit bakery, while The Fort Collins Brewery bakes dog biscuits in their adjoining restaurant’s kitchen for local family friends. Empyrean Brewing Co gives all their spent grain to local farmers for use as cattle feed. 85% of brewers’ waste is spent grain, so there is a big revenue potential in getting spent grain from the many local breweries in the Colorado Springs area alone. Retail price for spent grain is about $300/ton.
While BSGs contain significant energy resources from their organic contents, they have some major problems. These include high moisture and nutrient content and handling difficulties. Drying has been the most effective method of preserving BSGs and prolonging storage time. Drying also reduces the product volume and decreases transport and storage costs. Drying BSGs require space to spread the grain so they can be air dried. No other specialized equipment is required, but trucks will be needed to pick up the BSGs. There trucks can be acquired from the breweries.
Especially for students looking to go down the agricultural or sustainability path, the process of turning spent grain into feed can be a big educational opportunity. It helps answer a number of problems, including taking care of the trash generated by brewers and providing feed for cattle and other livestock.
Do you have thoughts or feedback about this material?