Spent Grain


Has anyone tried using spent grain from making beer in their sourdough? I found one forum thread from a couple years ago that mentioned it, but there was no follow up.

Hubby and I went to an event at a homebrew store yesterday and there were some people talking about it, but they had never tried it with sourdough. Also, they had just used them as stir-ins, the same way you'd add nuts, etc. The storeowner's wife and I got to talking and she is interested in having me bake bread for a wild game dinner they are having in January. The idea is to use the spent grain from the beers that will accompany the meal in sourdough bread as part of the meal. I'd like to try pulverising it in a blender and have it actually incorporated into the bread, because this would release more of the unique flavor of the malted grains. Anybody have experience with this?

287 users have voted, including you.


masterbaker 2010 November 10


You don´t have to pulverize the spent grain!!

Use it as it is, it will break down while incooperating it into the dough.

And just use beer instead of water (I would prefer a dark one) and you will have some kick-a... bread  ;o)

Peace, have a swell day,

Dorean 2010 November 10

So I take it you've done this before? How much did it change the flavor and/or texture? Did you have to adjust the amount of liquid used? Sorry to bombard you with so many questions. I figure the more info I have before the first experiment the less botched batches I'll have.

SmokedMalt 2011 March 23

I know this is an old topic and I haven't tried it yet...  but the American Homebrewers Association just posted an article about making bread from spent grain.  Here's the link: Bread from Beer Grains


They have a recipe and some basic guidelines.  As brewers, we're trained to taste everything we put into the beer to better understand the ingredients.  I would suggest the same thing here... taste the spent grains before adding them to any recipe.  If your grist has a large amount of highly roasted grains, it may lead to an unwanted harshness in the bread.  Also, consider that, after sparging, there may not be much left but husks and and mouth-puckering tannins.


Masterbaker mentioned using beer instead of water but I would consider using some of the sweet, unfermented (pre-boiled, pre-bittered) wort instead.  If you "mash hop", taste the grains and/or wort to make sure there isn't too much bitterness from the hops (there may be some isomeration of the hop oils even though they haven't been boiled yet).


I'm new to baking bread; have a starter going but haven't actually baked a loaf yet.  Once I get it down, I may give this spent grain thing a try.  (I have made spent-grain dog biscuits in the past.  My dog loved them... of course, she eats deer shit too.)

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Brew Cat 2013 March 12

Hi SmokedMalt,

I would be interested in your experience with the Homebrewer's recipe.  I surfed advice on substituting sourdough starter for yeast and tried it out.  I can now probably tell you what not to do!  I used some spent grain from a Butler brew, substituted 1 cup of starter (100% hydration) to create a preferment, adjusted the flour and water for the starter quantity.  I also used honey rather than sugar.  The result was entirely too wet; I added at least another cup plus the preferment equivalent of flour to compensate. They said to knead it until it was nolonger sticky; was that a challenge!  It created two very large loaves, which I expected to be weapon's grade given the amount of flour.  Surprisingly, it is very light and flavorful; not the least bit heavy.  Our weather is a bit damp today, so it did not keep the hard crust very long.

I am going to try the yeast recipe to see what it yields before I judge my batch.  I have converted the recipe to metric, so I can try to refine my process.  Any tips from one and all would be greatly appreciated!

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