Brewery waste and compost

DerffieJuly 24, 2014

I'm new to composting and am helping start our community garden's compost pile. So far, so good. Temps are about 120 degrees. I read that brewery waste can be used to make compost. Made my way over to a local brewery all too happy to get rid of spent hops and wheat. After I threw some of that into the pile I came across an article mentioning that some brewery waste can be allelopathic. Does anyone have any experience using brewery waste in compost?

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I came across an article mentioning that some brewery waste can be allelopathic

Didn't the article specify WHAT waste?

    Bookmark   July 24, 2014 at 10:29PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Just says "some spent grains" may be allelopathic

    Bookmark   July 24, 2014 at 10:39PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Maybe spent corn (maize) which prevents seed germination. But brewery waste is so hot and so green, it decomposes very quickly in the presence of any browns. If I remember correctly, composted pine needles have the same effect, until fully composted. They are much worse, because they decompose slowly.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2014 at 10:49PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I can find nothing that indicates brewery waste might be allelopathic when composted, only that this high protein material needs a lot of other high carbon material to offset that. What is the source of this article?

    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 6:22AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

This is from

've spent some time playing with different sorts of feed stock from New Belgium Brewery over the years and would always advise do some pre-composting with it for safety by getting the volatility out of the feedstock and homogenize it. Add the carbon source to it and hot compost it through two cycles for several weeks and layer the compost on worm beds about an inch or two thick and observe. Let us know what happens. The spent grains by the way have allelopathic properties so careful where you pile them as not much will grow there for a while. I might also suggest to do some sprout testing of the finished casting with cucurbit species at least to make sure it does not still have those adverse affects. If you choose not to go through all of this with just the sediment than top-dress the lawn and garden with it. No-tilling advised.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 6:42AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

It does mention sprouting. It should have no effect on transplants.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 10:03AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

If you put anything on something that is growing an inch or two thick it will stop that growth, but that is not from allelopathic properties of that material. Field, Cereal, Rye plants have some allelopathic properties but those do not extend to the grain. Barley plants also have some allelopathic properties but again those do not extend to the grain. Hops also have some allelopathic properties, in the plant roots, that probably does not extend to the flowers, although those appear to have an antibacterial property that suppress bacterial growth in favor of yeasts.
I can find nothing that supports that writers thesis.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2014 at 7:14AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
davids10 z7a nv.

the most intensive tests have shown the allelopathic is pretty much an urban legend-the simple explanation is root and nutrient competition-as for brewers waste as mulch-its such a great environment for pathogens and bacteria that it is certainly the best idea to compost first or spread it in the fall and let it winter in.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 12:36PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

davids 10, where can those reports be found? I have looked for that kind of information and have not found it, yet.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 6:57AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
davids10 z7a nv.

google corn as allelopath-many articles-the basic conclusion is that there are always so many factors that it is almost impossible to say that one thing is the cause-right now i have corn interplanted with squash, beans, tomatoes and peppers-everything is flourishing-i am sceptical of anything which is a sometime thing-allelopathy either stops germination every time or it doesnt exist-i go with the latter

This post was edited by davids10 on Tue, Jul 29, 14 at 18:57

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 6:50PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The local sod farm put several semi-sized truck loads of brewery waste on one of their fields to increase the organic content of a somewhat sandy patch. The new grass grew as well as anywhere else as far as I could tell, so IME the allelopathic qualities are minimal, at least for grass. The corn that is there now does just fine, but it's been a couple of years since the brewery waste was spread.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 11:38PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
toxcrusadr(Zone 6a - MO)

I've seen corn gluten sold as a weed control for lawns, but I have to wonder if those proteins (gluten is protein, right?) are still active after the cooking process that takes place at the brewery. Generally it is hot enough to denature proteins, which they want to do to get them to settle out.

Microbreweries usually don't use corn and rice anyway, they tend to make proper beer with malted barley and wheat. :-]

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 11:24AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

What I have seen about the potential allelopathic properties of some grains is that if seeds are planted in crop residue there is a reduction in seed germination, something well known for many years. Most plants that demonstrate allelopathic properties do that while they are growing and that property suppresses growth of competing plants. Buckwheat does have allelopathic properties but you can, as I have, till that in and reseed right away with no problem with seed germination.
Most of the literature I have read indicates the growth suppression properties observed may be from planting too son after tilling in crop residue rather then from a growth suppressing properties of the crop.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 7:09AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Compost is wet and soggy. Can I use it? It's not done yet..
Hi there. My first compost is almost a year old now....
Mikkel Nielsen
starting a new nursery/retail landscape supply business
lots of good reading here. I am looking at starting...
Clay addition to dry sand soil help
I have sugar-fine, sandy soil amended with compost....
Can I use Miracle Gro Garden Soil by itself ?
I just bought Miracle Gro Garden Soil with some bags...
Questions about gritty mix
Hi folks, I am a long time gardener but new to the...
hsw (zone 6, Boston area)
Sponsored Products
Remer by Nameeks L42US Single Handle Kitchen Faucet - REMER L42US
$128.98 | Hayneedle
Rosle Fine Swivel Peeler
$27.00 | FRONTGATE
Rev-A-Shelf Kitchen Shelves 3 in. Wide x 39 in. Tall Wall Filler Pull-Out Light
Home Depot
3Form Dark Bronze 27-Inch Wide Fluorescent Six-Light Semi-Flush Bowl with Ring a
$999.95 | Bellacor
American Standard Kitchen Prevoir Top Mount Brushed Stainless Steel 33.375x22x9
Home Depot
Thermocast Kitchen Manhattan Drop-in Acrylic 33x22x9 3-Hole Single Bowl Kitchen
Home Depot
Eago Square Bowl Toilet - TB356
$674.99 | Hayneedle
ECR4KIDS Colorful Essentials Play Stove - ELR-0746-BL
$111.10 | Hayneedle
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™