Beer in Compost

bluelake(8)November 21, 2010

My sister had left 3 bottles of that MMDG 64 (eew) beer in my fridge about 4 months ago. I simply will not touch that watered down stuff and was tired of it taking up prime realty in my fridge.

This morning, I was gonna pour them all down the drain and toss the bottles into the recycle bin and it dawned on me to pour it on my bin instead. My bin was dry as it was since we've had no rain, so I figured it couldn't hurt.

My bin prior to adding the beer was about 120 degrees. Through out the day, nothing really changed, abd I did add alot of other food scraps to the bin along with some bedding from my vermicompost bin. (another story)

However, I'm very curious to see how this affects the decomposition process since the beer does contain some yeast.

I did a search on it and found the link link below and it appears it may be of great benefit. From now on, whenever there's a little beer left in a can or bottle, or glass, I'll make a concious effort to put it in the compost pail on the counter, and not the sink.

Here is a link that might be useful: Beer and Compost study

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Hi bluelake,
Most beer here is pasteurized and filtered (especially the cheap stuff), so you wouldn't be adding any live yeast. Beer contains about 1 g of protein in a 12 fluid oz. can. That's not a lot of N addition per can, but if you add 80 (!) cans like the students did in the term paper above, you might get a quick flash of decomposition from microbes absorbing the protein and using it to digest high carbon materials.

The other thing about beer that could have produced their temperature spike is the high energy content of the carbohydrates and ethanol. The 80 cans they added contained a combined 11,700 calories! Just the heat released by microbes metabolizing the added carbs, ethanol, and protein could have resulted in the temperature increase, without any increase in the degradation of actual compost.

If you've got beer hanging around that you don't want to drink, compost is a great use for it. But I wouldn't go buying any of it for the purpose of juicing the compost, like someone reported here a month or two ago.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2010 at 2:08AM
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Some years back (1970's, 1980s. maybe) there was a lot of discusssion about using beer in the compost and I tried that. What I found was that if beer did benefit the compost much it was because the pile was not constructed properly because in a properly constructed compost pile the beer did nothing.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2010 at 7:01AM
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joepyeweed(5b IL)

I always add any dribbles of pop, beer, wine, milk, coffee, tea to the compost bucket. I consider it moisture.

I have noticed that my pile has a tendency to bloom beautiful (dog vomit) slime mold if I add a lot of alcohol. I love how the slime mold looks when it blooms, before it looks like vomit.

Life is too short to drink bad beer, so the best place for something like MGD 64 is the compost pile.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2010 at 10:13AM
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T S(zone 7)

Beer is great. As long as it pasturized. Dont use any unpasturized beer the yest will mess it up. The reason I love old beer in my compost is the added vermin it brings the snails love it. So dont do it near anything that snails love like lettice. On the flip side plant a few beer bottles near your garden to trap the snails. I usualy poor half the beer in the heep and plant the bottles.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2010 at 8:44PM
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Doesn't the alcohol in the beer kill stuff?

I've chucked some really stale stuff in there before but not much and very stale.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2010 at 11:58PM
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