Saturday, January 19, 2013

Spent Grain

Now that we're starting to sell some beer out of Cerveceria Dos Aves (the smallest brewery in the world). I'm brewing several times a week and with that comes the by-product of my efforts, heavy, wet, spent grains from the mash tun. It wasn't long before I discovered that I had nowhere to dump my spent grain. There are no dumpsters in San Miguel that I could just toss it into and I didn't want to stock pile it for a week while waiting on the trash truck to pass down my street ringing their sheet metal bell signalling the residence that it was time to take out the trash. I also don't think the trash men that man the bed of the truck picking out recyclables from the regular filth would appreciate hauling a couple hundred pounds of wet and sour barley husks up into the back or for that matter, spending the rest of the day with it underfoot.

Shortly after brewing my first batch I noticed some twenty-something slackers hanging outside the entrance to the neighborhood tienda a short distance down the cobbled street. Occasionally they would glance up towards the odd gringo that was new to the barrio who spent his day cooking something in beer kegs. I asked my friend Antonio who was helping me out this day what he thought I could do with all the wasted grain and he immediately scooped up the plastic bag full of spent grain and headed in the direction of the slackers. Antonio had a short conversation in Spanish with one of them, a slender but tough looking tattooed girl who peered suspiciously into the bag and then nodded approval. She took the bag from Antonio and disappeared into the darken entrance of a nearby concrete niche. Antonio explained to me that these youngsters apparently raised fighting cocks on the roof of their apartments and could use the grain for free feed. Problem solved. Not Quite.

Victor
The author goes riding
I would be brewing a lot of beer and I feared that the chickens would not be able to consume as much as I would be producing. I put a call out on the local on-line community forum asking for someone with livestock to come and remove it as I needed. I was answered by a few people but one, Victor, proved to be the best candidate. He has several horses, goats and a cow that all would love to have the barley to supplement their normal intake. The day I brew I make the call and at the end of the brew session Victor arrives and hauls it away. He explained that he has to dry the grain before the horses will eat it and so he built a primitive drying rack which he says is too small and that he'll be making another to deal with all of the additional grains that I'll be giving him.

A horse sampling the grain. Is it dry enough?

Victor was so appreciative to have the grain that he invited me and my wife to where the feed was going and to go horseback riding in the country. We spent a very enjoyable afternoon meeting the animals and riding. It was great to get out of the city for awhile and I was glad to see the grain going to a good cause.

1 comment:

Vince Herr said...

Hola señor. I always enjoy your writing.

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