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Beer Quality and Analysis Series: Microbiology and Beer Analysis | Quality Assurance

With one of the top fermentation science research programs in the world, Oregon State University is proud to offer a comprehensive series of world-class beer brewing science courses for professional and advanced hobbyist brewers: Microbiology and Beer Analysis for the Brewer and Quality Assurance.

Tom Shellhammer's popular Beer Quality and Analysis Series course teaches you the fundamentals of basic microbiology and its role in the brewing process, and gives you the tools to analyze and evaluate beer to influence quality control in a production brewing setting.

Learn the Science of Beer

Designed for professional and advanced hobbyist brewers, Microbiology and Beer Analysis for the Brewer is an intensive learning experience, covering the fundamental techniques & microbiology essential to making the perfect brew.

Dive into six weeks of online course material that emphasizes yeast, yeast handling, identification of wort/beer spoilage organisms using microscopy, staining and differential media.

Once you have a handle on the science of beer, you'll craft your capability to analyze beer quality by evaluating the aspects of quality control in packaged beer. Additionally, data analysis and interpretation will be addressed where it pertains to a production brewery setting.

What You'll Learn

  • Microbiological techniques and American Society of Brewing Chemists Methods of Analysis used in brewing QA/QC labs.
  • Fundamental techniques for isolating, enumerating, staining, and screening brewing yeast and contaminants.
  • Official methods that can be implemented in a brewery lab.
  • How to use modern equipment to analyze wort/beer and evaluate process quality
  • Official methods used to evaluate beer production in a QA/QC lab.
  • Scientific principles behind packaged beer quality and analysis.
  • Ways to implement and analyze statistical data as it relates to brewing quality beer.
  • Quality assurance vs. quality control as it applies to a brewery.
  • Lessons from discussions with hop and barley breeders from Oregon State 

"This workshop helped me reach my goals, my overall production improved - and as such, more sales! I would recommend it as a concise and to the point program that gives you a hands on learning experience." -  Christian Rincon (past student)

Microbiology and Beer Analysis for the Brewer

Over the course of the program, you will learn:

BASICS

  • Microscopy basics
  • Aseptic techniques
  • Isolation of pure cultures
  • Gram staining
  • Differential media

YEAST

  • Yeast counting
  • Assessing yeast viability
  • Forced fermentations for estimating attenuation
  • Yeast propagation
  • Data analysis and interpretation

ETHANOL

  • Wort gravity via hydrometer, densitometer and refractometry
  • Ethanol – via density + refractometry and Beer Alcolyser
  • Beer calculations – Extract of original wort, real degree of fermentation, carbohydrates, calories
  • Diacetyl measurement

PACKAGE

  • Package gases (TPO, CO2, headspace air)
  • Dissolved oxygen in beer
  • Package fill height
  • Beer clarity and color
  • IBUs in beer

A Practical Understanding of State-of-the-Art Brewing Production at Scale

The program concludes with a focus on quality assurance and brewing ingredients.

Understanding the differences between quality control and quality assurance will be the theme of the morning session. Both lecture and reading material will be used to develop skills around basic statistical analyses that can be used in a quality lab setting. With the help of statistics, a quality technician can assess the control of a brewery. This information is vital in process control with regards to maximizing product quality and output as well as minimizing waste and downtime.

calendar
New dates coming soon!
location
Online
price (2)
$1,500 (+ $60 registration fee)
1560

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Question: What are the prerequisites for this brewer training course? ~ Charlie D.
Answer: Though there are no specific prerequisite courses needed to participate in this class, this is a program designed for professional and advanced hobbyist brewers who want to learn the science of brewing.
Question: Is this a BJCP course? ~ Joe S.
Answer:

This course is not specifically affiliated with the BJCP program.

Question: Are there any required materials for this Beer course?
Answer: There is one required textbook for this course. The book is Standards of Brewing by Charles Bamforth.
Question: Does the Beer Quality course come with a printed certificate of completion or only an online badge?
Answer: Yes, upon completion of this Beer Quality Analysis course you will receive an online certificate from OSU's Professional and Continuing Education that you can print out at your convenience.
Question: How quick does this beer science class fill up?
Answer:

Historically, this Beer Quality class reaches max capacity a few days before it starts.

Question: What are the lodging options for the duration of the in-person portion of the course?
Answer:

There are a number of places to stay in Corvallis, you can find a listing of hotels on Kayak, Travelocity, Priceline, or similar discount website. A few nearby hotels to consider are – Comfort Suites, Best Western Holiday Inn Express on the River and Hilton Garden Inn Corvallis. Airbnb is an alternative option to hotels. 

Question: What is the online beer brewing course like? Are these accredited beer brewing classes that count as college credit? ~ Ani S.
Answer:

This online and onsite course is designed for both professional and advanced hobbyist brewers alike. You will learn:

  • microbiological techniques and ASBC methods of analysis used in quality assurance and quality control labs
  • fundamental techniques for isolating, enumerating, staining, and screening brewing yeast and contaminants
  • how to use modern equipment to analyze wort/beer and evaluate process quality
  • ways to implement and analyze statistical data as it relates to brewing quality beer

The series is composed of the online Microbiology and Beer Analysis training as well as the onsite and hands-on beer quality lab workshop.   

Professional and Continuing Education is the non-credit part of Oregon State University and you can earn continuing education units, however, this program does not count towards traditional college credits.  

Question: What is the structure/schedule of these online brew master lessons? Are the modules self-paced that could be completed around my full-time job? ~ Lauren K
Answer: The online portion of the Beer Quality training requires 4-8 hours per week of work. There are no specific days or times when you need to be online. There are a total of five modules in the online portion of the course with a module being released weekly. You can still register for the course and not fall behind if you register before the last week of the program. 
Question: Can this coursework be completed at night? ~ Scott S.
Answer: This beer quality course is entirely asynchronous, which means there are no specific dates or times when you need to be online and there are no live meetings, so anytime you choose to complete it is fine. There are assignments due weekly that can be completed at any time during the week prior to their due date. 
Question: What are the time commitments for this beer brewing program? ~ Jason S.
Answer: Typically, you can expect about 4-8 hours per week during the online portion. However, one of the benefits of online learning is that you can learn and study at your own pace and dive deeper into each week's material.
Question: Will you know how to professionally brew beer (aka a brewmaster) after attending this course? Yvonne D.
Answer:

This program will teach you how to brew beer at a production scale. The program assumes you already have a working knowledge of beer brewing and this program will help you take your knowledge and skills to the next level.

Our online Beer Quality and Analysis Series course teaches you the fundamentals of basic microbiology and its role in the brewing process and gives you the tools to analyze and evaluate beer to influence quality control in a production brewing setting. 

Because it's designed for professional and advanced hobbyist brewers, Microbiology and Beer Analysis for the Brewer is an intensive learning experience, covering the fundamental techniques & microbiology essential to making the perfect brew. 

Question: I'm already a brewer in PDX with formal brewing training. I'm looking for some advanced course work on the science side of brewing, my weak side. Is this the course for me? Is there another recommendation for my needs? ~ Tucker E.
Answer: Yes, this program is made for you. This series is designed by Tom Shellhammer, who has consulted for the top brands in the world. This program is made for professional and advanced hobbyist brewers. In this university-backed beer course, you will learn microbiological techniques and ASBC methods of analysis used in quality assurance and quality control labs, fundamental techniques for isolating, enumerating, staining, and screening brewing yeast and contaminants, how to use modern equipment to analyze wort/beer and evaluate process quality, and ways to implement and analyze statistical data as it relates to brewing quality beer. 
Question: Is it possible to take this brewer training even if I do not have access to a lab at home? Thanks! ~ Kevin T.
Answer: You will be able to take the online portion and learn the science of beer without any access to lab equipment. You will also have the option of taking the onsite portion, which has direct hands-on access to the beer lab.
Question: I would like to get into this field. Do I need a 4-yr degree, or can I do this certificate program and begin a career in the brewing industry? ~ Shane R.
Answer:

This program is open to everyone and there are no pre-requisites. Many folks take our noncredit beer quality and analysis courses because they are already in or just getting into brewing. You will be able to network and meet other brewers and you'll have direct access to our expert instructors who help consult for some of the biggest brands in the world.

Question: Does this beer science course include any equipment needed? ~ Andrew D.
Answer: The Beer Quality and Analysis course does not require any personal equipment for participants. If you choose to attend the onsite, hands-on beer training, you will get to learn and practice with the production lab equipment.
Question: How many hours a week is the on-line brewing portion. Is there extra reading or tests? ~ Jayson M.
Answer: The Beer Quality course is entirely asynchronous, which means there are no specific dates or times when you need to be online and there are no live meetings. There are assignments due weekly that can be completed at any time during the week prior to their due date. Most students spend about 5 hours per week working on this course. 
Question: I’m interested in the Beer Quality training course, but I live out of state. Would this be a good course for me? Do you think I'd be missing out on the in-person hands-on portion?  ~ April L.
Answer: I’m interested in the Beer Quality training course, but I live out of state. Would this be a good course for me? Do you think I'd be missing out on the in-person hands-on portion? 
Question: It appears that this brewing science course is a week long, but the website says it happens over the course of a month. Does that mean I would get to select which week I attend? And do the courses happen during specific hours of the day, or would it be up to me? ~ Eric T.
Answer:

The Beer Quality Analysis course contains a month-long online portion that dives into the science of brewing. You can expect about 4-8 hours of work per week. There are no specific days or times when you need to be online. There are a total of five modules in the online portion of the course with a module being released weekly. You can register for the online portion and not fall behind if you register a week before the hands-on portion.

The hands-on in-person portion is where you get to work in the lab and work directly with the instructors as you learn the fundamental techniques and microbiology essential to making the perfect brew.  

Question: I am currently comparing all of our options for online classes in the area of craft beer brewing, managing a brewery, start up, ownership and the likes.  Will this brew master course cover the "how to" of brewing or just how to inspect for quality and safety? Would this be a class mostly for those wishing to be a lab tech?  or a Master Brewer? Will travel be required to complete or is this strictly online only? ~ K.T.
Answer:

What makes our Beer Quality unique is that it's taught by Nor'Wester Professor of Fermentation Science, Dr. Tom Shellhammer. Tom is an internationally recognized expert in hops chemistry and consults for some of the largest beer brands in the world.

The program is a comprehensive series of world-class beer brewing science courses for the professional and advanced hobbyist brewers. Comprised of  online and onsite sections, you will learn the essentials of basic microbiology and its role in the brewing process, and you have the tools to analyze and evaluate beer to influence quality control in a production brewing setting.

By the end of the program, you will learn microbiological techniques and ASBC methods of analysis used in quality assurance and quality control labs, fundamental techniques for isolating, enumerating, staining, and screening brewing yeast and contaminants, how to use modern equipment to analyze wort/beer and evaluate process quality, and ways to implement and analyze statistical data as it relates to brewing quality beer. 

The online beer quality section is asynchronous, which means you can login anytime and anywhere that's most convenient for you. The one-week in person beer lab section will allow you to work with the latest tools and interact and connect with industry experts as well as peers throughout the nation.

Question: Are there specific times that I would have to be available for the beer course? Or is this more of a video and discussion forum type course? I am interested in taking the class, I'm just trying to figure out if I can work it into my schedule. ~ Brian M.
Answer:

Our  Beer Quality course is entirely asynchronous, which means there are no specific dates or times when you need to be online and there are no live meetings. There are assignments due weekly that can be completed at any time during the week prior to their due date. This means you can choose when you login that's most convenient for you. 

 

Question: Can the beer brewing science program be done long distance or does it require living in Oregon? ~ Travis H.
Answer: You can complete the Beer Quality Analysis program from anywhere in the world! The online portion is entirely asynchronous, which means there are no live meetings and you can choose when and where you attend the course. The one-week in-person part is held on campus, and you'll have access to the beer quality lab. We're located in Corvallis, Oregon, with ample hotel options for your brief visit!
Question: What degree/certification would you receive from this brewing science program? ~ Rachel M.
Answer:
Yes, the Beer Quality Analysis training program DOES provide a certificate upon completion, which you can put on your resume and LinkedIn profile. However, because it's a non-credit program,  it cannot count towards a Bachelors or Masters program.
Question: Is the beer master training course offered multiple times a year? ~ Grace Kennedy
Answer: Typically, we only offer the Beer Quality training course once per year in the late spring. 
Question: Interested in joining. Is there brewing faculty support? ~ Casey M.
Answer: Yes, the online portion is asynchronous and instructor-led. That means that you can choose when and where you attend, but compared to pre-recorded on-demand programs, you'll have weekly/daily interaction with the brewing instructors and other professional brewers, and advanced hobbyists in the course! The in-person section offers personal interaction with the instructors and industry experts.
Question: Are there scholarships for the beer training course? ~ Alysha H.
Answer: There are currently no scholarships for the Beer Quality training course with Tom Shellhammer. However, there have been students who received a Pink Boots Society Scholarship. This page has more information on their current scholarships and how to apply - https://www.pinkbootssociety.org/current-scholarships/
Question: Can you use a credit card for payment? Is there a website or link, that answers payment and registration questions? Can my business pay for me?  ~ Jamie J.
Answer:

Yes, you can pay with a credit card and yes, your employer can pay for you as well. Professional and Continuing Education non-credit courses do not qualify for federal funding (FAFSA, GI Bill, etc.).  However, we do accept Americorps funding. For more information on payment questions, you can visit this page for more details - https://workspace.oregonstate.edu/accepted-funding-plan-options

"This course was a great way to refresh some familiar topics and expand my skill set and network! I found it especially valuable being able to discuss with industry experts such as Dr. Shellhammer and Dr. Curtin. Interacting with professors who could answer my questions about the specifics of what we did in the lab and topics we discussed in the classroom was invaluable. I also thoroughly enjoyed the tour of the barley/malting labs."

Audrey Ragle

This program helped get me hired at two different breweries. It helped me understand the approach of quality first. I recommend this Beer Quality program to a lot of people. It's reasonably priced, gets your foot in the door and trains you in skills that are required at larger breweries. Anyone can monkey around a tiny brewery, but the class gives you the tools to work in a brewery that can afford more than one full time production employee.”

Nik Stevens

This program developed new skills and understanding for essential equipment related to my field. It also boosted my confidence and credentials, and I landed a brewer position at an admired brewery a year later (Of note, I wasn't looking for a new job until about a year later, and got the first job I applied to). The program covered all the essential information, equipment and tools. It was nice to be able to talk to people in the industry and attain real experience and knowledge. I also enjoyed that I was able to prepare online prior to going to Corvallis.”

Joyce Lau

The instructors were fantastic. I have been implementing what I have learned in my job as head brewer.”

Ben Mork

Instructors

Tom Shellhammer
Beer Quality and Analysis Series

Tom Shellhammer is the Nor’Wester Professor of Fermentation Science in the Department of Food Science and Technology at Oregon State University, where he directs the brewing education component of the fermentation science program and teaches courses about brewing science and technology, beer and raw materials analyses, plus the history, business and technology of the wine, beer and spirits industries.

Jeff Clawson

Jeff Clawson is the Pilot Brewery and Food Processing Plant manager in the Department of Food Science and Technology at OSU. Additionally, he oversees the pilot brewing activities involved in all brewing research projects conducted at OSU. Jeff’s approach to teaching is via experiential learning, which encourages students to learn by doing, and he promotes a very hands-on, technical understanding of sensory analysis, beer and the brewing process.

Scott Lafontaine

Scott Lafontaine is a graduate research assistant at Oregon State University and a member of Dr. Thomas Shellhammer’s laboratory. Scott received his Master of Science in Chemistry at Oregon State University in 2015, and his Master of Science in Biotechnology in 2012. Scott is a member of the American Society of Brewing Chemists and a member of the Master Brewers Association of Americas.

Past Students' Work

Take a look at some recent projects our students have created.