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CJay
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Composting leftovers from wine and beer.

Okay so I looked around and didn't see this. So,,,
My boyfriend makes whiskey and beer and I make wine. Yes has his distillers licence.

Is there any way that we should prepare the left over mash before we compost it? I know there's a bunch of nasty stuff left over in his corn mash after distilling. So I was thinking he should boil it all off before putting it in the bin. Should we do the same with the grains and fruits from his beer and my wine to kill off the yeast or will that yeast help the process? And will the little bit of ethanol in the beer and wine mash hurt the process?

Thank you in advance for the advice.

Mr green
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Re: Composting leftovers from wine and beer.

I have no direct experience my self, but a friend of mine makes beer and he puts all the waste in and around his garden and that seems to work fine. I'm not sure about the ethanol in larger amounts and its effects on microbial life.

Hopefully theres someone with more experience on the topic.
Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished - Lao Tzu

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CJay
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Re: Composting leftovers from wine and beer.

Thank you for responding.

I did some reading and apparently the fusial oils left over after distilation play havoc on microbial life. So they recommend having a separate pile for distlate solids to age so the oils break down and evaporate naturally into the air. Then add the solids to the primary compost bin.

We will see how it works. I might make a mini bin and use it as potting soil to see how it works out that way I don't kill my entire garden.

toxcrusadr
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Re: Composting leftovers from wine and beer.

I am a chemist and home brewer of both wines and beers. I would think the minor amounts of other alcohols and such would not be a problem in a compost pile. Now if you're seeing authoritative research that the stuff needs to be pre-composted, I will not argue with that. Actually I'd love to see a link if you have one - chemist you know.

But. First of all fermentation waste is generally high in protein (i.e. nitrogen) and needs browns (high carbon materials) to balance it as well as help dry it out so it doesn't get anaerobic from being too wet. That should dilute anything that would be hard on microbes. In a household size pile with a few lb of stuff at a time, mixed with some other materials, it should not be a problem.

Also, the more volatile stuff like methanol would have come off at the start of fermentation - the 'head shot'. Hard to imagine there is much left in there that can still evaporate away after boiling the mash to get the alcohol out. Maybe the stuff they issues with is actually heavier than ethanol and is left behind.

As for wine or beer, obviously the stuff was not subjected to boiling after fermentation so that's a different deal.

In any case, I would compost away and see how things go. If it gets stinky add more dry browns.
Tox

Mr green
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Re: Composting leftovers from wine and beer.

If you have good amounts i would think a seperate pile would be good. How oily are this distilled waste? It might become an anaerobic composting process if has a decent amount of oils because blocks oxygen, if so maybe should adapt a method accordingly.
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CJay
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Re: Composting leftovers from wine and beer.

Yeah the axitone and methanol comes out in the foreshots and head cuts. He keeps that stuff to clean bike and truck parts as well as for feints runs.

The stuff left over after distilation is very oily. He dumped some over a bush his mom wanted gone and it died within a couple days. Nasty nasty stuff. His LM reflux still is like 20 gallons. And by the time he's gotten his hearts and tailings out of it there's like 12 gallons left. I assume that a lot of that is water and solids. But those fusial oils are nasty little things.

Mr green
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Re: Composting leftovers from wine and beer.

Alright sounds like an anaerobic set up from the beginning might be the right one for those kind of waste, specially since it can become quite smelly if doing it in open piles. And you don't want your ordinary pile go anaerobic either.
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toxcrusadr
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Re: Composting leftovers from wine and beer.

Ha, degreasing solvent. I like it.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fusel_alcohol

Had to look these up, always wondered what the term 'fusel oil' meant. It refers to heavier alcohols with 4-5 carbons (methanol has just one, ethanol two, isopropyl alcohol has 3). Stuff like isoamyl alcohol. They have higher boiling points so they are left in the mash after distillation. Fusel is German for 'bad liquor'. 'Oil' refers to the oily texture of these alcohols - they are not really oils, they just feel oily.

These would ONLY be a concern in distillation residues, because they would be concentrated in the leftover liquid (which is mostly water). Beer and wine have a little bit of them but they go along with the product and the concentration is low enough in undistilled products that they don't harm humans, much less compost. So now I'm caught up to you. :-D

PS 'acetone' not 'axitone', by the way. Unless you're in the hood, axing about some solvent. LOL
Tox

Mr green
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Re: Composting leftovers from wine and beer.

Ah allright! But if they feel oily may they act like oils in such way as becoming anaerobic? You know create like a hue that doesnt allow much oxygen to enter?

Or is the oily stuff not present at all on the solid organic stuff when seperated from the liquids?
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CJay
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Re: Composting leftovers from wine and beer.

Autocorrect must have gotten me. No more posting right after waking up (i work 3rd shift so your afternoon is my morning)

I don't know how much of that nasty stuff is left on the solids. I just know it smells like it. A soapy oily smell.

I suppose it would transfer back to aerobic once it's exposed to air. And mixing it in with solids from my wine must. The yeast is dead after distilation but there's still a lot alive in the wine must.

We use redstar yeast. Its very robust and once all the sugar has been metabolized and it's exposed to air it starts to feed on the alcohols producing water and co2 Instead of ethanol and co2. So I suppose if I roll the compost a little more often it could help provide more moisture. My concern is what the oils will do to the rest of the bacteria and what not.

When we were living in our apartment Brent dumped some leftovers into a large potted plant out back and it died within days.

Mr green
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Re: Composting leftovers from wine and beer.

If it killed the plant it may very well damage the microbes as well and stunting the composting process if so. Just to be sure i would compost this restproduct in a seperate pile/bin. As already adviced then i would take some notes of the process and share back with us! O:)
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toxcrusadr
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Re: Composting leftovers from wine and beer.

If brewing experts are recommending that I'm certainly not going to argue with it. I think it should not take long - a few days or a couple weeks in spring/summer/fall - in contact with air for it to begin decomposing and/or for some of that stuff to evaporate. Make sure it is mixed with enough dry browns so it doesn't get funky. And inoculate it with some compost, soil, etc.

I would only worry about this for distillation residue unless we're dealing with large quantities of grains or yeast sediment that are a significant portion of the pile. I've dumped spent grain from beer as well as wine sediment (which is mostly live and dead yeast) into the compost with no ill effects, but that's from 5-gallon batches and the pile was much bigger in comparison.

This is all based solely on my own experience which did not involve distillation, and obviously I've read nothing about composting industrial quantities of any of it. So take it with a grain of salt.
Tox

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CJay
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Re: Composting leftovers from wine and beer.

I've started building another compost container for the nasty stuff. I'll fill you in on how it goes.

As for the wine and beer stuff. I don't make too much. Like a five gallon batch every other month maybe once a month.

Right now I have two bins that hold 9 cu.ft each. But once we get all the other projects done we are going to modify a leantoo that we have toward the edge of our property into a big compost pile. It already has a bunch of nearly ancient bay stacked in it.

Mr green
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Re: Composting leftovers from wine and beer.

Im in agree with toxcrusadr theres some gardener on youtube that gets beer waste products from a local brewery for his compost. As said my beermaking friend use his waste around the garden hes no gardener though but weeds and some of the perrenial plants that was there before he moved in don't seem to bother.
And this is without composting. I even read that it would be ok to put leftovers of whine and beer (liquids) into the compost.
I do not experiment with it my self as i don't drink since a few years ago, ive done my share already.
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Re: Composting leftovers from wine and beer.

Since I've seen no mention of pre-fermentation waste, I assume you and your boyfriend are extract brewers. I brew enough beer a year to find the maximum legal limit to be quite restrictive and since I'm an all grain brewer, I end up with a fairly large amount of spent grains and hops each year (14-25 pounds of grains each batch). Besides coffee grounds, I've found that nothing heats up a pile like spent grains, and the resulting compost turns out phenomenal. The moisture and the sugar contents really does some magic. This may be besides the point, but this alone may give you food for thought to considering switching to any of the myriads of all grain methods. As an added bonus, you then no longer have restrictions on what you can make (if that ever have been an issue).

In either case, I have never really thought of composting the trub, the stuff that is left in the fermenter after racking/transferring, but I do however pour all of it around my fruit trees in alternate fashion. As in one tree gets the whole batch and I just give a different tree the next batch. Depending on the size of the batch and type of beer I brew, this amount is generally around 0.5-1.0 gallons. For an example, Triple IPA's tend to have much more trub due to the increased hops used and increased sugar contents which in turn dials up the volume of yeast left behind.

I have not noticed any ill effect by doing this. In fact, the cherry tree is doing phenomenal, and random bushes on the property that have received this treatment came back from brink of death. This may also be due to the increased moisture contents they receive, but if the alcohol or yeast were to harm these types of trees, one would think they would show signs of stress. I guess the soil buffers out any potential bad stuff. Maybe the results would be the same without this treatment, it's impossible to know, but I do know it does not harm anything.

If I were you and have fruit trees or any other similar robust plants you can "fertilize" with trub, I'd do that instead of composting it and save yourself the hassle of having a separate bin just for this type of waste.

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CJay
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Re: Composting leftovers from wine and beer.

I'll admit that I don't know all the terms or methods for brewing. So I guess I'm not sure what you mean by extract brewing. I know he malts his own grains for whiskey. And I've never really paid too much attention to him making beer. My brewing experience is limited to wine.

toxcrusadr
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Re: Composting leftovers from wine and beer.

Extract refers to using malt syrup or powder rather than actually boiling up malted barley grain. With extract brewing there is no leftover spent grain at the end.
Tox

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