Behind the Barn Door: The Haw River Blog

filed under: Beer, Sustainability, Events
posted by: Dawnya Bohager

Put that Spent Grain to Use!

A few weeks ago, Haw River Farmhouse Ales was lucky enough to have been invited to pour our beer alongside some of the most promising upstart breweries in the state, helping to raise funds to benefit the Triangle's oldest no-kill animal shelter, Second Chance Pet Adoptions. The awesome folks at Steel String Craft BreweryDeep River Brewing Company, Four Saints Brewing Company and newcomers to the scene, Raleigh Brewing Company and Crank Arm Brewery, were all in attendance at Rockfish Seafood Grill in Durham for a night of great beer and great people.

Spent grain biscuits

As part of the effort, each of the breweries made dog biscuits from the spent grain left over from our batches of beer, and then made them available to attendees who made a $2 donation to the cause. Our treats went over like gangbusters, and we had a couple folks ask for the recipe, so here you go. Needless to say, you can easily double or triple the recipe (we needed a bunch for the event, but they keep pretty well): 

• 2 cups spent grain (just make sure there are no hops included... hops are poisonous to dogs)
• 1 cup unbleached flour
• 1/2 cup natural peanut butter (make sure you include any of the oil as well)
• 1 egg

Mix ingredients thoroughly (don't be afraid to use your hands, to help to make sure everything's distributed well). Press into a large baking sheet (or two, if you're doubling the recipe) in a dense, consistent layer about 1/4"-1/2" thick. Score into the shapes you want (or use a cookie cutter shaped like a dog bone or something fun; Martha Stewart, of all people, has some that come in a few sizes that you can get at PetSmart) and bake at 350F for 30 minutes. After a half hour, take the sheet(s) out and cut all the way through the score marks to completely separate the individual treats, then bake at 225F for an hour. Brush each with an egg wash on the tops & sides, then bake another 3-5 hours or so (depending on how thick they are, how hot your over is, etc) or until dry and completely firm when you press them with your finger (they should feel like, well, a dog biscuit). Turn off the oven and leave the pan(s) in there until they're cooled (this helps to make them as dry and solid as possible).

By the way, for those of you out there who would like to try this recipe, but you've not yet delved into brewing your own beer, you can usually email your local neighborhood brewery and they'll be happy to allow you to swing by to fill a small bucket or two (the raw spent grain freezes well) next time they're cleaning up after a brewday. Or heck, we can always save a little for you next time we brew, as well—feel free to drop us a line and we'll set aside a few bags' worth when we next drum up a batch!