Oregon State University

Beer Quality and Analysis Series


With one of the top fermentation science research programs in the world, Oregon State University is proud to offer a new series of world-class beer brewing science courses for professional and advanced hobbyist brewers.

Our Beer Quality and Analysis Series of online/onsite courses will teach you the fundamentals of basic microbiology and its role in the brewing process and give you the tools to analyze and evaluate beer to influence quality control in a production brewing setting.

While advancing your skills, you’ll explore the craft brewing culture of Oregon. We’ll show you how local breweries incorporate innovative practices, and teach them how Oregon State’s long-running research in beer’s raw ingredients—including the Cascade hop, a type developed by the university’s researchers that’s become the most often-used hop variety by craft brewers—continues to influence the brewing industry today. You’ll learn why Oregon is the home to so many beer enthusiasts.

What do breweries think of Brewing Analytics?

"We sent two of our experienced production brewers to the Inaugural Brewing Analytics at Oregon State.  It was a great opportunity for these individuals to expand their vast practical knowledge with a thorough overview of the lab and analytics side of brewing".

--Jason Perkins of Allagash Brewing


Beer AnalysisWatch an online information session to learn more about our brewing science course series.

Course information and syllabi

Download a PDF of the syllabus for Microbiology and the Brewer and Beer Analyses.

Microbiology for the brewer

Price: $1,100

The student will gain an understanding of the fundamental techniques involved in basic microbiology in a hands-on learning environment. An emphasis will be placed on yeast, yeast handling, identification of wort/beer spoilage organisms using microscopy, staining and differential media. Additionally, data analysis and interpretation will be addressed where it pertains to a production brewery setting.

The course begins with the release of two days of online content on May 15. The online portion of the course must be completed by June 10. You can anticipate the following schedule for the onsite portion of the course.

Day One - Monday

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

Day Two - Tuesday

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

Beer analyses

Price: $1,100

The participant in the hybrid course will learn fundamental principles of beer analyses in a hands-on learning environment. There will be a strong focus on evaluating the aspects of packaged beer relating to quality control. Additionally, data analysis and interpretation will be addressed where it pertains to a production brewery setting.

The course begins with the release of two days of online content on May 15. The online portion of the course must be completed by June 10. You can anticipate the following schedule for the onsite portion of the course.

Day One - Wednesday

  • 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

Day Two - Thursday

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

Quality assurance and OSU/Willamette Valley tour

Price: $300

Download a PDF of this syllabus.

Note: this course requires enrollment in one or both of the other courses (Microbiology for the Brewer, Beer Analyses) offered in Corvallis during the week.




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.


The afternoon focuses on hops and barley breeding and production. We will begin with a tour of the Oregon State facilities featuring guided tours from both barley and hop breeders. This will be followed up with a scenic drive north into the hop growing region of the Willamette Valley with a stop at a commercial hop farm. Participants will be able to see hop growing on a commercial scale and will tour the picking, drying and baling equipment and operations. We will have the opportunity to taste beers made with hops from the farm before returning to OSU.


Tom ShellhammerTom 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. During the 2008-2009 academic year while on sabbatical leave from OSU he worked at the Technische Universität Berlin and the Versuchs- und Lehranstalt für Brauerei as a Fulbright Scholar and Alexander von Humboldt Fellow. Dr. Shellhammer is the International Section Chairman and member of the Board of Examiners for the Institute of Brewing and Distilling, London, England, a member of the Editorial Board of the Master Brewers Association of the Americas’ Technical Quarterly and Vice-President of the Board of Directors of the American Society of Brewing Chemists. In addition to his research, Dr. Shellhammer is a sought-after educator of beer brewing science classes and was a featured expert in the 2011 Discovery Channel documentary “How Beer Saved the World.”


Jeff ClawsonJeff Clawson is the Pilot Brewery and Food Processing Plant manager in the Department of Food Science and Technology at Oregon State University. As part of the undergraduate Brewing Science program, he assists in the Brewing Analysis course. Additionally, he oversees the pilot brewing activities involved in all brewing research projects conducted at OSU. He has been executing descriptive/analytical and consumer sensory panels for beer since 1993 and educating students about the use of sensory science in the brewery for 17 years. He installed the OSU research brewery in 1995 and has been an instructor in Brewing Science since the Fermentation Science Program inception in 1996. 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. 


Dan VollmerDaniel Vollmer is a graduate student at Oregon State University and a member of Dr. Thomas Shellhammer’s laboratory. He is pursuing a doctorate in Food Science and Technology and researching the origins of hop aroma in beer. Daniel is a member of the American Society of Brewing Chemists and a certified Diploma Brewer, a title given by the Institute of Brewing and Distilling, London, England. He completed the UC Davis Master Brewers Program in June of 2012 during which he participated in an internship at the Harpoon Brewing Company in Boston, Mass. Dan received his Master of Science and Bachelor of Science in Food Science and Technology from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.


Dan VollmerJeff Edgerton, the Brew Master for BridgePort Brewing Company, graduated from OSU in 1987 with his BS in Microbiology.  He started his brewing career in the Quality Assurance lab at (the now defunct) Blitz-Weinhard Brewing Company in 1989.  He worked there for 10 years then went to work as the Quality Assurance Manager for BridgePort Brewing Company in 1998. He is now the Brewmaster/General Manager for BridgePort and an active supporter of the Fermentation Science program at OSU.


Dan VollmerJay Skovbjerg from Anton Paar has been working with the malt and brewing industries in Denmark and the Western US since 1989. He has developed expertise within the fields of compositional analysis and dissolved gas analysis.




Fred Strachan bio photoFred Strachan attended and completed the UC Davis Master Brewer’s program and Institute of Brewing exam in 1995. Upon completion of the program, Fred began his brewing career in the Filtration Department at Sierra Nevada Brewing Company. He has held various positions within several departments and most recently has taken on a position in the Quality Assurance Department with focus on instrumentation and quality control. Fred currently is the Past-President of the American Society of Brewing Chemists as he serves on the Finance, Program and Craft Brewers Committees. In addition, Fred is an active member of the Master Brewers of America Association and the Institute of Brewing and Distilling.


 Charles “Chaz” Benedict is an Application Development Manager for Hach Company with a decades-long passion for understanding and refining the measurement of oxygen in beer. After studying chemistry at the University of California, Santa Cruz, Chaz worked on oxygen scavenging systems for underwater autonomous vehicles at Aquanautics Corporation. In 1989, ZapatA Industries approached Aquanautics for help creating oxygen scavenging bottle closures for the brewing industry. Chaz was responsible for field-testing of the first prototype SmartCap closures — research that resulted in a patent for Oxygen Scavenging Compositions from Polymer Concentrates. In 1994, Chaz joined Orbisphere Laboratories, and then continued with Hach when they acquired Orbisphere. In 2000 he joined the American Society of Brewing Chemists, and was a member of the Technical Committee for 10 years. He is the current ASBC Treasurer and is a member of the Brewers Association.

Oregon and craft brewing

Beer has a home in the Pacific Northwest, making it the perfect location for continuing education courses for advanced beer brewers.

Professionals and advanced hobbyists living in the region no longer need to travel far to attend world-class beer brewing courses, while those living and working elsewhere will have the opportunity to explore the unique brewing culture of the Pacific Northwest and learn from faculty and guest lecturers from Widmer Brothers Brewing and Deschutes Brewery.

Hops and barley are cultivated throughout the Willamette Valley, and microbreweries thrive in Oregon’s communities, large and small. Portland holds the unofficial title of America’s Microbrew Capital, while Bend boasts more microbreweries per capita than any other city in Oregon. Corvallis, home of Oregon State University, lies in the heart of the Willamette Valley and is located just 90 miles south of Portland and an hour from the Pacific coast and Cascade Mountains, making it the perfect base for Oregon travel.


Select a question to view or hide the answer
What kind of accreditation is offered for these courses?

We are offering both the sensory courses and brewing analyses courses. While students who enroll in the sensory courses would benefit by having an intermediate knowledge of excel and previous understanding of brewing science, they do not require previous experience in the brewing industry. The brewing analyses courses, however, do require a certain level of experience and previous coursework or training. These courses are designed for the development of brewing professionals rather than individuals seeking training to become a brewing professional. While those outside the industry may benefit from these courses, by themselves these courses are not "door openers" for those seeking entry into the industry.  We can confidently state that these courses would help as part of a broader set of training/development from other foundational coursework and internship experiences, but as a stand-alone they would not make students competitive prospects as entry-level brewers. Much of the material that will be covered includes concepts and theory that should already be part of the students' previous education and experience.

Can you recommend any outside grants or scholarships for your program?

To the best of our knowledge, there are not currently any scholarships or grants available.

What will a day in class look like?

For the Microbiology for the Brewer course: The day will start with some housekeeping, followed by introductions of participants and instructional staff.  We will start the hands-on part of the course with the basics behind microbiological techniques commonly used by technicians that work in a QA/QC lab at a brewery.  These will be a hands on exercises that build upon the online material the participants will have engaged in and been tested on prior to coming to campus.  All of the instructional staff from the OSU Brewing Lab will be present during the two-day course where they will instruct, coach, and critique the participants as they work with microscopes, stain bacteria, and prepare media for microbial growth.  It will be a format similar to a set of labs carried out here on campus for our Brewing Science students, just tailored to meet the needs of QA/QC technicians working in the brewing industry.  The skills built during day one will be employed in day 2 where we discuss yeast enumeration and staining for viability, assessment of beer spoilers, propagation strategies and accelerated fermentations.  The day will be segmented obviously to keep the class rolling, but for the most part it will be an open forum where the students will solidify their learning by practicing techniques in the lab and asking questions as they go. The day will end with tasting beers that have predominant yeast and bacteria-derived flavors.

Is there an alumni network for this course? (i.e. jobs board or e-mail listings for graduates to find brewing jobs)

This is the first year we are offering these courses. As such, we do not have an alumni network in place. However, we are very much targeting these courses to the professional brewing community, so we are assuming we will have a fair amount of students who are currently employed in the business. That, and the fact that we are partnering with Widmer and Deschutes in offering the sensory testing courses, makes these courses a great networking opportunity for anyone that might take them. 

How quickly is the course filling up?

We currently have spots within each course, but hope to have all of them filled quickly.

How extensive is the online coursework? Is there a sample lesson to look over? And if so, how many lessons comprise the online section?

For both the microbiology course and brewing analyses courses in Corvallis, there are 2 days of online coursework. Therefore a total of four days of online course work would have to be completed between May 15th and June 10th prior to attending these courses in Corvallis. We cannot provide a sample at this time because the instructor is still developing the content, but it will involve a series of animated Powerpoint slides with voiceover and educational videos that will walk you through some lab processes and tests that you will perform on site in Corvallis. The instructor has made it clear that completion of the online coursework will be critical to a student's success and enjoyment of the respective onsite coursework.

Are these courses for amateurs or professionals?

The brewing analyses courses taking place in Corvallis were designed for professionals in mind. However, the sensory course taking place in Bend is open to the public. It is definitely more in-depth sensory analysis than the standard, but anyone is welcome to attend.

Are there any required texts for this course series?

There is one required textbook for these courses. The book is Standards of Brewing by Charles Bamforth and can be purchased here. If you need any help locating the book, let us know.

Request more information

Contact us with your comments or questions

Professional and Continuing Education
4943 The Valley Library
Corvallis, OR 97331-4504

Copyright ©  2015 Oregon State University