Sebastian Kaye (UK)


Two Processes become one!

Combining the beer brewing process with our Myco Insulation process for smart production of new materials.


Brewing Beer! - 23th May 2014 Gathering ingredients for the beer brewing workshop with Simon Buijs. Xiang Yu Yeung

From waste to insulation

Why throw away the spent grain from brewing beer when it could become food (substrate) for our mycelium based insulation panels?

This is the thought that brought us to this moment: Adapting a beer recipe & altering the standard process of beer brewing in order for the waste (grain) to be re-used in combination with mycelium to grow our new material for insulating the black barn, here at Mediamatic.

So during the Beer brewing workshop, we tried it out!

Alternative Recipes

Simon divided the workshop into three teams. One chose to brew a Belgium Triple, another a Blonde, and we (myco-team) chose to brew a stout.
With the stout recipe, we continued with the brewing, but kept the grain in during the cooking phase, where as the other two teams followed the usual brewing method, where the grains are removed before cooking it at 100 centigrade for one hour.

Cooking at 100ºc with the grains still in the wort, may produce more tannins (polyphenols). They tend to manifest themselves as a stringent or bitter flavor in the finished beer. Overcoming this is one of our many challenges: How to lower the acidity of the beer grain while maintaining a good beer taste, regardless of our myco-alterations?

This diagram explains how we have altered the brewing method:


Stout mycobrewing process Diagram - In development The pink indicates the changes we've made to the standard beer brewing process, for making mycoinsulation panels (and beer). Sebastian Kaye (UK)

Stout Beer ingredients:

2 kg Pale mout halcyon (5EBC)
168 g Geroosterde gerst (1200EBC)
80 g AMROMA (Smoked barley)

::Hops:: (total 37 grams)
17 g Amarillo 10 Alpha
10 g Cascade
10 g Centanial

One packet of yeast.
15 litres of water


For an effective Mash, the grain must be broken apart (milling). This involves smashing the grain for direct access to the starch inside the husks. This starch is later converted (during mashing) into sugars, which in turn are converted into ethanol (alcohol) & Co2.


Milling - Milling the grain at Brew Your Own 6-pack workshop with Simon Buijs 24th May 2015 Sebastian Kaye (UK)

But don't smash it completely as this will be impossible to separate later, this is why the grain is partially milled, enough to get the starch, but not so vigorously that you end up with flour!


Here, the enzymes in the malt break down the starch in the grain into sugars, (typically maltose) creating a malty liquid called 'wort'. This is achieved by heating the mixture and pausing at certain temperatures (varies from recipe to recipe).

For this stout recipe we did the following:
Heat the water up to 64ºc.
Then add the milled grains, hold temperature here for 30 mins.


Lex Mashing - Lex, a workshop participant and bio-engineer adds the milled grain to the 64ºc water. May the mashing commence! Sebastian Kaye (UK)

With: lex

Raise to 68ºc and hold for 15 mins.
Finally raise to 72ºc and hold here for 15 mins.


Brewing a stout beer! - Lex tends to the stour beer at the mashing stage, where the brew is taken through and held at specific temperatures. It needs constant stirring! Sebastian Kaye (UK)

With: lex

:: At this stage you normally separate the grains from the wort (Lautering)::

But we are not. Instead, we leave the grains in the wort and move to the next step:


Raise the temperature to 100ºc and hold for 1 hour. This is pasteurizing the grain, so we can grow mycelium on it later.


Brewing a stout beer - The stout and grains try to escape the pot, during the cooking phase in the brew your own 6 pack workshop with Simon, May 2015 Xiang Yu Yeung


Stout beer brewing transfer - The grains and wort got too big for the pot so we transferred it to a larger one. Mid-way through the cooking phase. Xiang Yu Yeung

At the beginning of cooking you can add some hops, this will bring bitter tastes into the resulting beer.
At the end you can also add some more hops. When we say end, we really mean it. Turn the heat off, wait for 10 mins and then add the final hops, and leave it also for just 10 mins before separating the grain & hops from the wort. Adding hops at the end brings sweet and fruity flavors to the beer.


Hops! - Cascade , Centanial and Amarillo! Adding hops to the stout beer wort. Xiang Yu Yeung

Adding the hops. We used 10 g Cascade, 10 g Centanial and 17 g Amarillo.


Starch Test - Also known as an iodine test. The iodine solution is used to see if the wort brew still contains starch (indicated by a purple color) or if the starch has been converted into sugars (indicated by a yellow-brown color). The iodine doesn't indicate the presence of sugars, just the absence of starch. Xiang Yu Yeung

You can perform a starch test with iodine solution. Just drip some of your wort onto a surface. Then splash some iodine solution onto it. If it remains purple, there is still starch present. If it turns a brown- yellowish colour, then the starch has been converted into sugars.

After cooking is complete, and the final hops have been added, we separate the grains from the wort. In the beer brewing universe, this is called Lautering.


Filtering the Wort - Brewing a stout beer Simeon and Lex filter the grain and sparge it. Xiang Yu Yeung


A bucket with holes in the bottom was placed inside a larger bucket, which had only a tap. The whole brewing mixture (grains in wort) was then poured into the first bucket as it sits inside the second bucket. The wort drips through and the grain remain in the first bucket.
We then opened the tap and poured the gain-less wort into a third bucket, ready for fermentation, by adding the yeast. But first you must wait for the wort to cool down before adding yeast! 20 centigrade to be exact.


Spent beer grain - Spent grain and Hops. Substrate for mycelium. First needs to be cooled to below 20 centigrade and raise the Ph toward more alkaline, from 5 to 6-7 Ph if the mycelium are to have a chance at eating it. Xiang Yu Yeung

The 'waste material' from the beer brewing process: the spent grain (and in this experiment the Hops). The hot, wet grain is also acidic, not at all ideal conditions for happy mycelium growth.

Ph Testing spent Beer Grain - Beer grain is typically acidic, so we need to raise the Ph toward a more alkaline level for happy mycelium growth. By adding chalk we were able to raise it to 6ph. Xiang Yu Yeung


Chalk to Grain for pH - Raising the pH of the beer grain from 5 to 6 pH by adding chalk. Xiang Yu Yeung

With a 5 pH reading we add some chalk to balance it toward 6 pH.
While the grain cools down, we prepared the panel in which we shall inoculate the grains.

Panel Preparation - Preparing a panel for inoculation. The cling film laying over prohibits any unwanted microbes in the air from landing on the jute in the panel. Xiang Yu Yeung

As the grains continue to cool down we spread it out.
Once the grain has cooled below 20 centigrade, we can begin inoculating.
The crucial moment has arrived!


With 100 g of Schizophyllum grain spawn, we inoculate the panel. Some mixing is needed.


Hot Beer Grain - Spreading the beer grain in the panel. Will be inoculated with mycelium spawn for growing another mycoinsulation panel. Xiang Yu Yeung


Schizophyllum Grain Spawn - This is used to inoculate our panels. We also use Oyster Mushroom spawn. Xiang Yu Yeung


Inoculating Spent Beer Grain - Inoculation of beer grain with Schizophyllum spawn Xiang Yu Yeung

Once the beer grains have been mixed with the mycelium spawn, we then wrap it up with cling film ( a temporary solution) and make holes, covered with breathing tape as the mycelium will need some oxygen to grow. Also mycelium produce a lot of C02 and that also needs to escape.


Wrapping a Panel - After Inoculation, we wrap the panel in cling film. When we scale up the process we will find a plastic free alternative. Perhaps black metal molds. Xiang Yu Yeung


Breathing Myceilum - Allowing the mycelium to exchange its C02 and receive 02 by cutting holes in the cling film and then covering those holes with breathable tape. Xiang Yu Yeung

The inoculated panel is then taken to the incubation room and left there to grow in the dark at 28-30 centigrade.


First Myco-beer grain panel - Simeon explains: stout beer grain & schitzophillum mycelium. Xiang Yu Yeung


Incubation - Simeon adds the first stout beer grain inoculated panel to the dark and warm environment of the incubation room. Xiang Yu Yeung

And now we wait!

The days hard work brewing is rounded off with a tasting session of more craft beers in the sun!


Beer Brewers! - Enjoying some craft beers at the end of the 'brew your own 6 pack' workshop with Simon! Xiang Yu Yeung

With: Rosa Kieft

The following weeks shall reveal the results.