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Spent Grain Granola Recipe

November 7, 2011

When you brew beer, the ingredient you use the most of is the grain, usually barley, which provides the base of the beer. The crushed grains are essentially ‘steeped’ in a mash to extract the proteins/sugars. When you’re done, you’re left with spent barley which has much, but not all, of the proteins extracted. Even for a small 5 gallon batch (which is what we brew), this can leave you with 10-16 lbs (dry) of grain. What to do with it?


Many people just dump it or perhaps even compost it; it makes for rich fertilizer. Some people use a little to bake rustic loaves, others press it into dog biscuits or feed it to their chickens. I don’t have a composter (nor really anywhere to put fertilizer), I don’t have chickens or a dog, and the perhaps 1cup of grain you might use for bread leaves a lot of spent grain still unused. I like the idea of not wasting things if I don’t have to so, here’s my recipe for Spent Grain Granola!

I had read about it once after a lot of searching but there was really no real info out there. But the great thing about granola is that you can do pretty much anything with it. So here’s what I’ve done:

Spent Grain Granola

9 C Spent Grains

1 ½C Rolled Oats

1 ½C Chopped Almonds

1C Sunflower Seeds

1C Cashews

1C Wheat Germ

1C Sesame Seeds

 1C Raisins

1C Dried Cranberries

¼C Blackstrap Molasses

¼C Barley Malt Syrup

½C Dark Maple Syrup

1C Boiling Water

2 Tsp Vanilla

¼ C Vegetable Oil

Mix the dry ingredients (grains, oats, nuts, seeds, wheat germ) together. Mix the wet ingredients separately (sweeteners, water, vanilla, oil) and then add to the dry ingredients. Withhold fruit.

Pre-heat oven to 300. Spread mix out on baking sheets. Put in oven at 350 for 15 minutes, then turn down to 200 to finish drying.

When done, add the raisins/cranberries/etc… (Or add them into the oven with  5-10 minutes left)


For sweeteners, you could also use honey or all maple syrup, or whatever mix. I like the addition of barley syrup which my brother had bought me and tastes quite similar to molasses, figured it would go well with my barley grains! As well, these three additions worked well together (similar flavors) and are healthy additions.

It’s quite ‘healthy’ and earthy tasting and though I like it, it doesn’t taste like your standard granola. My little girl even likes it and asks for ‘Daddy’s granola’ to eat in her yogurt.

You can really add whatever to it. I’ve added shredded coconut before and like that; I just didn’t have it in the house this time. I’ve also added flax seeds. I like nuts but you don’t have to add them.

This is the grain from our Imperial Stout we brewed, so it is darker and has more dark roasted barley in it. It works, I’ve done it before but I’m sure it’s also good with a simpler grain bill such as from a pale ale.

After making this a couple times now, there are some hints to impart. The grains need to be dried before hand – they are wet after mashing and a decent way to dry them is put them in the oven at the lowest temperature (mine is 150), leave the oven door open and stir when needed until dry enough. If the grains are too moist it takes forever to bake and all the additions will likely over dry/char. Also, with the sugars, you might want to double up the baking sheets to make sure it doesn’t stick and burn on the bottom. You also want to make sure all the moisture is out before storing it.

This recipe makes quite a bit and could easily be made in smaller batches, though the 9C of grains here still probably uses only about ¼ of the grain from a single 5gal batch. You can dry the grains and then freeze for a few months to make another batch later.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. November 7, 2011 18:09

    Thanks for the suggestion! I hate throwing out all of that spent grain… I’ll try this next time!

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