Spent Grain Handling
I'm trying to find an easier way to handle my spent grain. I now dump
it into 200 gallon galvanized water troughs on wheels and load them into a farmer's truck using a fork lift. I would like to auger it to an outside holding tank and then auger it into the farmer's truck possibly drying it (partially or completely) somewhere along the way. Has anyone done something like this? Thanks for any information. John
Take a gander on this site with the search function. There was a thread within the last year that discussed the energy costs of drying spent grains. For a small Brewery, it would cost more than it's worth unless you do some pretty interesting facilities changes. It's not impossible, it just takes a lot of planning and changes if you've already built yoru Brewery.
What we do at our B2 Facility is to use steel tilt bins on casters that will hold a single batch worth of spent grain. We lift the tilt bin, transport it over to the farmer's vehicle, then puled a rope. The bin empties itself into the farmer's vehicle. We hose the bin out and put it back in the brewhouse area. That's for a 15 Bbl batch.
Unless you clean it a lot, the auger idea will leave you with a pretty smelly situation over time, if not a component corrosion problem.
Brian your system sounds great!
Do you use a forklift to get the container over to the farmer's truck ?
we're trying to find a better way to deal with our spent grain for our 15bbl plant...unfortunately our farmer wants everything in bags.
If you could elaborate a bit about your system that would be cool.
Tariq (Dark Star Brewery, West Sussex, U.K.)
We use a tilt bin (aka tilting container) that is made to use with fork trucks. It has casters on the bottom so it can be rolled across the floor manually. Ours hold about 1.5 yards of material and is made of steel. The conatiner has a latch mechanism that can be pulled by a rope from the fork lift driver while the bin is on the lift. When loaded, the bin is over center and automatically dumps its load. We had ours "Rhino" lined, a popular truck bed liner application here in the States.
When we empty the mash tun, we roll the bin over to the chute and shovel out the manway, down the chute, and into the waiting bin. We roll the bin over to the edge of our brewing pad to await fork lift pick-up. If we have a wait for our farmers, we apply a cover of stretch wrap because it seals the smells in more than just a lid.
The container is picked up from the brewing pad by the fork lift. A safety chain is connected around the lift tongs so the container can't fall off the forks. The fork lift drives to our bay door, aligns over the farmer's waiting dump trailer, and the rope is pulled. The spent grain unloads into the dump trailer. We hose out the container and stage it for another use.
Our farmers drive the grain out to their farm using their truck pulling the dump trailer. They pull a lever and their trailer tips to unload the spent grain to happy, waiting pigs. They mix some out of date milk as well to make the biggest bowl of cereal I've rever seen.
Literally, you can see where there's very little hands on of the spent grain product. It just weighs too much and is too cumbersome. One of the local regional Breweries up here in Washington State does this same procedure, so it scales up nicely.
I hope that helps, Tariq!
Really interesting.... thanks a bunch !
Thanks a lot for the input. I was considering a similar set up, but we have the additional problem that our farmer is far away and will only pickup once a week. Typically we have four or five batches of spent grain by then. I'm considering dumping a tilt bin into a small outside silo with either an auger output or just a slide gate that you can get a truck underneath.
Any recommendations on tilt bin manufacturers?
Thanks again for your help.
At our brewery we use a similar system as at Diamond Knot - works great! Our bin does not have casters, just slots for forks. We use a pallet and pallet jack to navigate the bin in and around the close quarters of the brewhouse, and a forklift to load.
Our tilt bin is made by JESCO (517-542-2903), and is built like a tank - I think it will last a long time. Brian's Rhino liner idea sounds great, I will have to try that one! Because the bins are so heavy, freight can be fairly pricey. It seems like trying to source one as close to home as possible will save you some freight cost. I believe we paid (including freight) about $550 for our 1 cubic yard bin. I wish we had purchased a 1.5 CY bin, as ours is not quite big enough to handle many of our 14bbl batches, however, the larger bin was too large to move around our cramped space. I think there are a number of companies making similar bins across the US, not sure about the UK.
John, It sounds like you need to store several batches worth of spent grain. Maybe an open top trailer with a sloped floor and something to catch the drippings? I wonder what any system with a week's worth of grain in the Summer is going to smell like though....Maybe you need to find a 2nd farmer who can pick up any day.