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What Is "Brewers Spent Grain?"

If you haven’t heard of it before, you’re not alone. So-called "spent" grain is a massively overlooked potential source of human nutrition that accounts for 85% of the brewing industry’s byproducts. Think of it similarly to how whey protein is produced as the cheese industry's primary byproduct. Both are co-produced each time their better-known half is made and should be put to the best/highest use: feeding people! 

wet brewers spent grain

Every 6-pack of beer uses approximately 1 pound of grain, but it is difficult to convey the scale of this. In the US, approximately 20 BILLION pounds of BSG are produced every year. That’s heavy stuff.

Brewers Spent Grain Composition

But what IS “spent” grain comprised of, and what exactly makes it "spent?" Brewer's Spent Grain is the industrial moniker used to describe the malt after a brewery has already used it to make beer. Malt is generally made from barley that has been soaked, sprouted, and dried. The grain is deemed "spent" because it cannot be used to make more beer, as most of its starches have been extracted by the brewery to provide fermentable sugars to the yeast. 

The brewing process begins with the liberation of soluble components of the malted barley's germ and endosperm that can be fermented into beer. The remaining insoluble grain is considered “spent," which before ReGrained was largely relegated to lower uses.

Malted Barley


Instead, we turn the artist-formerly-known-as "spent grain" into SuperGrain+, our upcycled secret weapon...

From BSG to SG+!

Our work has developed a growing demand in developing innovative food products using SuperGrain+. Given its stacked nutritional profile, this is not surprising. "Spent" grain has health properties as a functional food!

spent grain health fiber protein 

Fiber

Nearly half of BSG’s composition is fiber! It’s no wonder that studies consistently find that it promotes healthy digestion. BSG has even helped treat patients with inflammatory bowel diseases by changing gut microflora! This is also good news for the avid bakers: by adding just 10% of spent grain, fiber content is doubled compared to bread without BSG. This effect is especially enhanced in combination with other enzymatic bread processes.
spent grain nutrition
spent grain bread

Protein

About 20% of BSG’s composition is protein, and not just any protein. Whereas other cereal grains are generally lacking in lysine, it is unusually abundant in BSG. Lysine is an essential major protein building block that cannot be produced in the body.
spent grain health

Phenolic Compounds (Polyphenols) 

The remaining 30% of BSG are largely phenolic compounds. While not as well-known as fiber and protein, phenolic compounds have substantial long term effects and have been identified as antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anticancer agents that also prevent age-associated diseases. Science has shown that phenolic compounds lower the risk of contracting Type II diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular diseases, and colorectal cancer.

 

Human Health and Brewers Spent Grains

Overall, it has been demonstrated in well documented studies that spent grain has a positive effect on human health and is successful in improving conditions of patients with a number of conditions like high blood cholesterol, cancer, and heart disease. With ReGrained SuperGrain+ it is finally possible for us to fully appreciate the benefits from spent grain, for the sake of our health and our planet's!

 

 

References

[1] Steiner, J., et al. “Brewer’s spent grain: source of value-added polysaccharides for the food industry in reference to the health claims.” Eur Food Res Technol, vol. 241, 2015, pp. 303-315.


[2] Lynch, Kieran M., et al. “Brewers’ spent grain: a review with an emphasis on food and health.” The Institute of Brewing & Distilling, vol. 122, 2016, pp. 553-568.


[3] Ikram, Sana, et al. “Composition and Nutrient Value Proposition of Brewers Spent Grain.” Journal of Food Science, vol. 82, no. 10, 2017, pp. 2232-2242.


[4] Prentice, N., D’Appolonia, B.L., 1977. High-fiber bread containing brewers’ spent grain. Cereal Chemistry 54, 1084–1095. 


[5] Lynch, Kieran M., et al. “Brewers’ spent grain: a review with an emphasis on food and health.” The Institute of Brewing & Distilling, vol. 122, 2016, pp. 553-568.


[6]  Lynch, Kieran M., et al. “Brewers’ spent grain: a review with an emphasis on food and health.” The Institute of Brewing & Distilling, vol. 122, 2016, pp. 553-568.


[7] Stojceska, Valentina. “Brewer’s Spent Grain From By-Product to Health: A Rich Source of Functional Ingredients.” Flour and Breads and their Fortification in Health and Disease Prevention, Elsevier, 2019, pp. 189-197.


[8] Mussato, Solange, et al. “Brewers' Spent Grain: Generation, Characteristics and Potential Applications.” Journal of Cereal Science, Jan 2006, pp. 1-14.




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