I could use some experienced advice. A friend of mine asked if there was a way to make a poor man’s brew. I’m an all grain brewer, and basically throw my grains away after use. He was wondering if there was a way to re-mash the grain after the first mash out, and use the sediment from the first boil to “hop” the boil, and use another thing of yeast to make a second batch out of the same grain, basically a “poor man’s batch.”
All the fermentable sugars would have been extracted from the grain and all the acids would have been removed from the hops. They’re called spent grains for a reason. You can go through the motions but you won’t make beer. It’s kinda like wondering if you eat a candy bar after someone ate it and left just the wrapper.
Look up Parti-Gyle brewing. Basically, take a big grain bill and use the first runnings for a big beer (like a Barley Wine) and the second runnings (sparge) to make a smaller beer (like a Mild). I’ve heard of also taking third runnings to make a tiny (2-3%) beer but I imagine it would have to be a pretty big grain bill. Some amount of blending of the first and second (and third?) runnings could also be done to adjust the FG’s of each “batch” too.
As far as using the hops & dregs from the first boil, you wouldn’t get anything of value by reusing them.
No offense, but this idea sounds horrible.
If you want to reuse something from a previous batch in order to save money, it would be the yeast. Or if you don’t reuse the yeast cake, you could at least stick with a dry yeast to save a few bucks.
I know you could replace some of the malted grain with simple sugars or rice or corn. I’m not sure how far you can go with this and still end up with something resembling beer.
And to save on hops, just look for recipes that don’t require much.
Thank you for the feedback. I’m not too big on the idea of reusing hops, just thought I’d asked. I am more interested in getting the most out of the grains as that is the most expensive portion of my recipes.
[quote=“Mabus”]Look up Parti-Gyle brewing. Basically, take a big grain bill and use the first runnings for a big beer (like a Barley Wine) and the second runnings (sparge) to make a smaller beer (like a Mild). I’ve heard of also taking third runnings to make a tiny (2-3%) beer but I imagine it would have to be a pretty big grain bill. Some amount of blending of the first and second (and third?) runnings could also be done to adjust the FG’s of each “batch” too.
As far as using the hops & dregs from the first boil, you wouldn’t get anything of value by reusing them.[/quote]
That was my thought too. There actually is some sugar still left in the grains after sparging, the lower your efficiency, the more sugar that you could theoretically salvage by doing another sparge. But it is obviously a case of diminishing returns. If the sparge volumes are all equal, the gravity of the runnings will drop by 50 - 70% with each subsequent sparge. Meaning, if the first runnings are 1.070, the second will be around 1.025, third around 1.009, etc. You very quickly end up with only slightly sweetened water.
But I do remember reading about people getting desperate during the hop crisis back in 2008 when they would actually recover their late addition hops to dry out and reuse for bittering hops in future brews. The majority of the alpha acids are apparently still locked in there, even if all the hop oils have been extracted. But I never tried it.
It’s an interesting thought experiment, but as an AG brewer who buys in bulk, the cost of a batch isn’t very much. The time investment is much more of an issue. I’ll make the best beer I can, not the cheapest.
Really? For me it is the yeast, and that I’ll reuse. Not so much because of the cost, but mostly because you can’t beat freshly harvested yeast for generating a strong fermentation.
You can make dog treats with the spent grains. Dogs love them. If you can find a bunch of dogs that are will to pay $$ you can finance your brewing operations. Just do NOT use hops they are poisonous to dogs.
+1 My dog loves them. I usually add more peanut butter than the recipe calls for too.
Just tell him to make a low gravity, lightly hopped beer and use your left over yeast cake. 2yrs ago I made a Classic American Pils for NHC that cost me something like $10. Grain and hops bought in bulk. The gravity was fairly low and only need 2oz of hops. The yeast was collected and reused from another beer. I couldn’t have been happier with the final product… and the price tag!
Ah, the great hop shortage of '08, those were interesting times. I recall some hops going upward of 6 bucks an ounce if you could even find them and the HB shops limiting how many ounces you could buy of some varieties.
Haven’t tried yet but have heard you would be okay reuse dry hops in your next boil. Just estimate 80% ibus…just what I have heard…haven’t tried yet.
What I have done is let my sparge slowly drain what’s left after I have collected what is needed and if gravity is right used it for a starter. Even froze the runnings over several batches and made a “free beer”. Was a really good beer too, just impossible to recreate.
You can also use the Parti-Gyle method along with some extract to get the most out of the grain used in a big beer. Don’t push it though. Keep an eye on the gravity of the second running so it doesn’t get too low or you risk extracting tannins from the hulls. I have done this once and decided it was more trouble than it was worth for the cost of grain and extract.
As good as all these ideas are, they’re not what the OP was asking about. If you’re gonna use more grain for a partigyle, why not just use it to do a separate brew in the first place? What f the OP doesn’t want to do a high gravity beer to partigyle? The answer is what Matt said in the first response…ain’t gonna happen.
You probably won’t get much more fermentabls out of the grains but you could add a bunch of sugar and make something. You may get some flavor from the grain if you boil them a bit. The hops may give up a little more bitterness and flavor. Try it and let us know.