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Beer, Lots of it  RSS feed

 
Tim Luden
Posts: 26
Location: Missouri
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I've seen conflicting thoughts on using beer in/on a compost pile. What do you guys think. I have a good friend who makes and unbenknownst to me wastes a lot of beer. Yesterday he was going to throw away about 40 cases of bottles until I told him I'd find something useful to do with it! What do the permies think should be done with it? And there is way to much to drink!
 
Nick Kitchener
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Location: Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada
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Distil it and make whisky.
 
Tim Luden
Posts: 26
Location: Missouri
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Nick Kitchener wrote:Distil it and make whisky.


Between permaculture and aquaponics I don't have any time to learn anything else new. And i'm scared to learn how to make whiskey!
 
wayne stephen
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Location: Western Kentucky-Climate Unpredictable Zone 6b
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Plan a big project , like swaling a hill or rows of hugel mounds . Ice the 40 cases down and invite some good old boys and girls over . Fork out for some burgers and brats and get some manual labor done. Make sure that the energy expended in the beer making goes forward and lives on.
 
Tim Luden
Posts: 26
Location: Missouri
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wayne stephen wrote:Plan a big project , like swaling a hill or rows of hugel mounds . Ice the 40 cases down and invite some good old boys and girls over . Fork out for some burgers and brats and get some manual labor done. Make sure that the energy expended in the beer making goes forward and lives on.


I don't have that many friends! Besides this isn't a one time thing. He said he constantly has kegs that go stale and cases that get old. Think there would be any benefit/downfall just pouring it on top of compost piles or even just the soil?
 
Luke Burkholder
Posts: 42
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I say go ahead and add it your compost and/or other plants; maybe thin it out with some water at first to see if it gives you any problems.

Most beer is around 5% alcohol, so it shouldn't be concentrated enough to sterilize your compost pile. As it is digested by bacteria in the presence of oxygen, the ethanol will turn into acetic acid, so be aware of your soil/compost pH and adjust accordingly. The biggest problem I see is that if you dump a whole keg of beer on your pile it will make it too wet.
 
S Bengi
Posts: 1359
Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even distribution
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Just pour on the soil, use it to water your garden.
The beasties will love the sugar/alcohol.
According to this study ethanol levels from 0.4% to 3% helps and anything over 5% seems to harm soil microbes.
http://libdspace.uwaterloo.ca/bitstream/10012/1224/1/dbaraujo2000.pdf
 
wayne stephen
steward
Posts: 1793
Location: Western Kentucky-Climate Unpredictable Zone 6b
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Oh Oh , the ground is trembling ! Earthquake ? No , just the effect of millions of beer bellied bodies turning in their graves. Quite a rumble. I would worry about repeated or frequent additions of beer to soil or compost pile. I am wondering if mixing with dry matter such as bran would make for good vermicompost ?
 
S Bengi
Posts: 1359
Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even distribution
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The extra carb in the beer would deplete the nitrogen in the soil as the microbes multiply. (think liquid sawdust).
If we had worms or some other critter to close the loop faster rather than slower it would be a big help.

While the beer has a low ph I am pretty sure, the microbe will eat it, the sun will evaporate it and the rain will leach it way.
 
Luke Burkholder
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Beer can have a lot of protein (hence nitrogen) in it too, depending on the style. What you should really go after are the spent grains from the brewing process. They are a super-rich nutrient source for compost (and vermiculture, I'm sure.) When I'm building compost piles with spent grain, I consider them a "green" (nitrogen-rich) material. The only piles I've gotten up to 160 F have always contained significant amounts of grain and plenty of leaves/sawdust/cardboard/carbon-rich material.

Also you need to figure out why this person is making so much bad beer. Is he actually making terrible tasting beer, or is it going stale/sour before he can drink it all?
 
Chris Kott
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Location: Toronto, Ontario
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If its not too permie for you, the nitrogen needs of the increasing microbe population could be addressed by cutting your beer with human urine. I have read that urine diluted with water in a ratio of 1:6 makes a good strong fertilizer, too much for some plants, and I've seen recipes that call for a 1:20 ratio, probably to account for high-sodium diets. You could use beer instead of water. Just water everything with it.

-CK
 
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