Online Master Brewers Certificate Program

Program at a Glance

  • 18 months
  • Online
  • $14,300

An Online Program Built for Serious Brewers

The best brewing program in the nation is now available online!

We adapted our popular Master Brewers Certificate Program to now be available in an easily accessible online format. Through highly produced, pre-recorded lectures and scheduled, live class sessions, you’ll receive industry-recognized training that will help you turn your passion into a career.

Over seven courses, you’ll receive in-depth training in brewing science and brewery engineering topics, including malting, mashing, brewing, fermentation and finishing, fluid flow, heat and mass transfer, solid-liquid separation, sensory science and more. Students explore these subject areas through professional-level equivalents of UC Davis degree-program courses and expand their brewing knowledge through assigned reading and writing exercises.

And for those looking to supplement their online training with hands-on experience, we also offer an optional, week-long bootcamp at our state-of-the-art August A Busch III Brewing and Food Science Laboratory.

What You’ll Learn

Lectures and live class discussions are designed to provide you with an understanding of:

  • Grain handling, malting, malt analysis and their effects in brewing
  • Brewhouse processes and the control of wort quality
  • Yeast and fermentation processes and their effects on beer quality
  • Finishing beer, sterilization of beer and packaging technology
  • Flow of fluids in pipes and through pumps in a brewery setting
  • Heat transfer and the effects of insulation and fouling on efficiency
  • Theory and practice of carbonation, including mixed gas technology
  • Theory and practice of refrigeration in the brewery
  • Beer flavor and sensory science

How You’ll Benefit

Become a knowledgeable, thoughtful, accomplished and professional practical brewer who is eagerly sought by employers in today’s brewing industry. Upon completion of the program, you will be prepared to:

  • Evaluate and select raw materials for specific brewing objectives and product qualities. Efficiently and safely operate the brewhouse for wort production. Manage yeast and fermentation to meet product objectives, and finish and package the product to contemporary standards of excellence. Conduct a quality assurance program suited to the brewery and product mix.
  • Design a brewery unit, or offer educated input to a brewery design team. Wisely select, or help to select, equipment from among several choices. Oversee installation of it to contemporary standards. Make logical and useful evaluations of processes used in a brewery and select appropriate options.
  • Undertake a wide variety of problem-solving tasks related to product quality, process efficiency or plant design.
  • Apply sensory science principles and techniques to inform everyday product and process decisions.

 

Prerequisites: While a degree is not required for acceptance to this program, college-level work in the subject areas listed below is required for success in the program. All minimum prerequisites must be completed in advance of applying. Incomplete applications will not be considered for admission. You must be able to provide transcripts documenting the math requirement and at least two other subject areas:

  • Mathematics: pre-calculus
  • Biological sciences: microbiology, cell physiology or biochemistry
  • Chemistry: general, organic, inorganic or analytical
  • Physics: heat and mechanics or process control
  • Engineering: topics in mechanical or chemical engineering

Practical brewing experience is a plus, but is not required for entrance to the program. Those who cannot document successful completion of the minimum academic prerequisites will not be admitted to the program. Such students should prepare at least one year before entering the Master Brewers Certificate Program by taking appropriate courses at a local college.

Learn more about the minimum academic prerequisites, and check out our frequently asked questions.

Program Courses

Raw Materials and Wort Production

Beer, at its most basic, is only a handful of ingredients: water, barley, hops and yeast. With these simple elements and a bit of instruction, anyone can brew beer. But when someone has been trained in the art and science behind brewing, that’s when something truly special can be created.

In this course, you’ll explore some of these raw materials, their properties and how they affect one of the first phases of brewing beer: wort production. Through online lecture and group discussion, you’ll explore a variety of topics, including the composition of malts and how to analyze them; the role that adjuncts play; the science of sweet wort and how to optimize its production; hop handling, processing and analysis; and the nature, properties and relevance of the principle chemical species important in brewing (notably polysaccharides, proteins, lipids, and polyphenols). By the end of this course, you will possess a fundamental understanding of the chemistry and composition behind beer’s most basic ingredients, and the ability to control those materials in order to achieve desired results during wort production.

Learning Outcomes

  • Analyze the essential compositional features of barley and other grains, water, hops and yeast as they pertain to brewing process performance and product quality
  • Understand and control the chemistry, biochemistry and physics underpinning the processing treatments that are used to render barley, water, hops and yeast in a state suitable for brewing
  • Detect key microbial threats to brewing and beer and address them
  • Apply the basic principles of plant cleaning and sanitation
  • Differentiate between Quality Control and Quality Assurance and describe the major analytical procedures that are employed from barley to beer
  • Understand and control the chemistry, biochemistry and physics of beer quality attributes, including foam, color, haze and physical stability
  • Test grain to be suitable for malting and brewing

Skills You Will Gain

  • Raw brewing material analysis, selection and handling
  • Wort production

Required Textbooks

  • Scientific Principles of Malting and Brewing
  • Standards of Brewing
  • Technology: Brewing and Malting
  • Brewing Yeast and Fermentation
  • Brewing Materials and Processes: A Practical Approach to Brewing Excellence
  • Practical Handbook for the Specialty Brewer: Raw Materials and Brewhouse Operations (Vol. 1)
Beer Production and Microbiology

Fermentation, or the process by which yeast converts sugars into ethyl alcohol, is a quintessential step in beer brewing. Understanding the chemistry behind this process and learning the practical skills to control it is a requirement for any advanced or professional brewer.

In this course, you will study the chemical and microbial sides of beer production from both a theoretical and practical perspective. Through online lecture and hands-on group exercises, you will gain an understanding of the biological principles behind the fermentation and maturation of beer. Topics covered will include yeast morphology, physiology and metabolism; methods in yeast harvesting, handling, and pitching; as well as techniques for detection and prevention of microbial beer spoilage. By the end of this course, you will possess the skills and knowledge necessary for establishing better process and production control in a commercial brewery.

Learning Outcomes

  • Explain the process of yeast enumeration and quality control
  • Describe the microbiology of spoilage organisms
  • Compare and contrast the physiology and metabolism of different brewing yeasts
  • Deliver consistent hop aroma through the introduction of hops in post-fermentation
  • Produce beer with desired clarity, stabilization and carbonation
  • Measure and control the color of your beer
  • Identify and control the chemical species that impact the flavor of beer over time
  • Achieve a stable foam on your beer while avoiding over-foaming (gushing)

Skills You Will Gain

  • Yeast harvesting, storage and pitching
  • Fermentation
  • Beer production

Required Textbooks

  • Scientific Principles of Malting and Brewing
  • Brewing Yeast and Fermentation
  • Technology: Brewing and Malting
  • Brewing Materials and Processes: A Practical Approach to Brewing Excellence
  • Practical Handbook for the Specialty Brewer: Raw Materials and Brewhouse Operations (Vol. 2)
Brewery Cellar and Lab Operations

Sanitation and quality control are not the most glamorous aspects of beer brewing, but they’re arguably the most important. Without rigorous cleaning standards and a rigid adherence to proven quality control processes, even the best beers and breweries will fail.

In this course, you will learn both practical and theoretical concepts in sanitation and quality control/quality assurance (QA/QC) methods necessary for production of the highest quality beer. Through lecture and a review of case studies, you will explore a variety of topics, including cleaning and sanitizing of brewery equipment, such as brewhouse vessels, hoses and fermentation vessels; the basics of quality analysis, laboratory design and common beer quality testing procedures; and the science and technology of quality assurance from nano-scale breweries to multinational corporate production facilities. At the end of this course, you will have a practical understanding of how beer is moved throughout the brewery, the points at which impurities can be introduced and an understanding of how to prepare for and avoid contamination of your beer. You’ll also be able to build your own QA/QC plan, including sampling and testing schedules, establishing thresholds, and developing standard procedures in the event of process failures.

Learning Outcomes

  • Evaluate and apply the science and technology of cleaning and sanitizing agents
  • Evaluate and apply the science and technology of beer quality testing
  • Conduct and interpret beer quality tests
  • Develop and employ a QA/QC plan
  • Apply best practices in cleaning and preparation of brewing equipment
  • Apply best practices in beer dosing and dry hopping
  • Apply best practices in the movement of beer throughout a brewery
  • Apply best practices in the filtration and clarification of beer
  • Apply best practices in the preparation of beer for packaging and distribution

Skills You Will Gain

  • Basic brewery design
  • Beer processing
  • Cellar operations

Required Textbooks

  • Brewing Yeast and Fermentation
  • Quality Management: Essential Planning for Breweries
  • Practical Handbook for the Specialty Brewer: Raw Materials and Brewhouse Operations (Vol. 2)
Brewery Engineering

Running an efficient brewing operation means knowing how to properly use and maintain the equipment that keeps your business productive. In this course, you’ll gain an intuitive understanding of the equipment and engineering principles relevant to a brewery. Through online lecture and equipment demonstrations, you’ll learn the math, science and engineering behind brewing equipment. Topics covered in the course include addressing basic physical and engineering problems, physical dimensionality and common units, and the use of common brewery fluid, thermal- and controls-related equipment and instrumentation. By the end of this course, you will understand the working principles of common brewery equipment, and will have the quantitative skills to apply that knowledge in any brewery.

Learning Outcomes

  • Apply a general understanding of physical and engineering concepts applicable to the brewing environmentL
  • Understand and apply relevant conservation laws in your brewing operation
  • Solve basic brewery-related physical and engineering problems
  • Assess factors affecting physical conditions within the brewing process

Skills You Will Gain

  • Brewing equipment operation and maintenance
  • Brewery engineering

Required Textbooks

  • Introduction to Food Engineering
  • Technology: Brewing and Malting
  • Practical Handbook for the Specialty Brewer: Raw Materials and Brewhouse Operations (Vol. 3)
Beer Packaging

Ensuring that your beer is just as good when it reaches the customer as when it left your brewery is one of the most essential elements of running a successful brewing operation. In Beer Packaging, you’ll explore every facet of the packaging process, from the bright beer tank, where brewing is completed, to the warehouse where containers of beer are ready for beer drinkers to enjoy.

Through online lectures and group discussions with your fellow classmates, you’ll study a variety of packaging topics, including pasteurization theory and common industry practices; the sequence and process for cleaning, filling and sealing containers; how to create a conceptual line design and layout; packaging types and quality standards; and post-filling handling and movement of finished inventory. The business aspects of packaging operations will also be addressed, as you learn how efficiencies can improve the brewery’s bottom line. By the end of this course, you will have a thorough understanding of the methods and reasoning behind beer packaging operations, as well as the practical skills necessary to step into the daily operations of a brewery packaging line under the supervision of a packaging manager.

Learning Outcomes

  • Analyze beer packaging types and the appropriateness of containers for different needs
  • Inspect packaging materials for defects
  • Understand packaging line layouts, including machines, conveyors, control and access points
  • Apply industry best practices for cleaning, filling and sealing different beer containers
  • Test critical beer filling and post-filling quality factors and control processes
  • Prepare for the risk factors involved in the movement of finished inventory

Skills You Will Gain

  • Packaging line layout and design
  • Beer packaging and storage
  • Quality control of packaged beer
  • Sanitation practices

Required Textbooks

  • Beer Packaging
Sensory Science of Beer

From the sound the beer makes when it’s poured into a glass, to the taste someone perceives when the beer reaches their mouth, the act of drinking a beer is a complete sensory experience. And the degree to which someone enjoys the sensation of drinking your beer is almost entirely—though not completely—up to you, the brewer.

In this course, you’ll learn the basic fundamentals of sensory science as it applies to beer, and how to apply those sensory techniques to inform everyday product and process decisions. Through online lecture and an evaluation of real-world case studies, you will learn about flavor perception and sensory bias, which will inform how you apply various sensory methods and statistical analysis techniques. You’ll gain an understanding of how sensory can be used for raw materials evaluations, test verification, consumer research and quality control. Along with these topics, nuances of panelist feedback and data communication within complex production dynamics will also be discussed. By the end of this course, you will possess a deeper understanding of how to influence and adjust the sensory of your beer through methods you can use in any brewery.

Learning Outcomes

  • Apply sensory methods and techniques in regular quality control testing
  • Analyze sensory QC data to make business decisions
  • Train a sensory panel to evaluate for product quality and consistency
  • Set brand targets and evaluate for inconsistencies
  • Communicate sensory QC data
  • Evaluate adjunct flavor
  • Execute sensory methods and techniques to make quick in-process decisions
  • Apply consumer research techniques and methods of analysis
  • Identify common beer aging characteristics
  • Leverage sensory data to make every day brewery decisions

Skills You Will Gain

  • Sensory analysis
  • Quality control
  • Consumer research

Required Textbooks

  • Brewing Materials and Processes: A Practical Approach to Brewing Excellence
  • Building a Sensory Program: A Brewer's Guide to Beer Evaluation
Beer Quality, Safety and Sustainability

The practice of producing, packaging, distributing, marketing and selling beer has been a viable venture for hundreds of years. And while techniques, equipment and business models have improved over time, the fundamental processes by which beer is made remains the same. But what does it mean to operate a brewery in the 21st century? In light of the modern consumer’s preferences toward quality, safety and a sustainable approach to doing business, how does today’s brewer meet these expectations while also running a successful brewing operation?

In this course, we will explore these vital questions through a real-world lens, diving into both theory and practical approaches for achieving quality, brewery safety and sustainable business practices. Through online lecture and interactive group discussions, you will gain an in-depth understanding on a variety of topics, including how to setup a quality assurance program for any size brewery; how a brewing operation is audited and assessed for value and efficacy; how to establish a safety program and a workplace culture that prioritizes safe practices; and the environmental, climate and socio-economic factors that affect every brewing enterprise, including measures that can be taken to not only mitigate, but improve those conditions for the community your business serves. By the end of this course, you will possess a firm understanding of the safety and sustainability challenges every brewery faces, and will be armed with practical approaches that will help your brewing operation not only address these issues, but actually thrive.

Learning Outcomes

  • Create and implement quality assurance programs for breweries of any size
  • Evaluate tests and screening systems for raw materials, processes and products
  • Apply safety regulations and compliance requirements
  • Develop a workplace safety program and promote a safety-first workplace culture
  • Evaluate and employ sustainable approaches to typical brewery activities and functions, including sourcing ingredients, out-bound shipments, effluents, emissions and more

Skills You Will Gain

  • Brewery QA/QC implementation
  • Workplace safety protocols and implementation
  • Sustainable brewing practices

Required Textbooks

  • Quality Management: Essential Planning for Breweries
  • Brewing Materials and Processes: A Practical Approach to Brewing Excellence
  • Brewing Yeast and Fermentation
  • Scientific Principles of Malting and Brewing
  • Standards of Brewing

Optional Bootcamp

For an additional fee, students will have the option of participating in a week-long bootcamp at the state-of-the art August A Busch III Brewing and Food Science Laboratory, where you'll receive hands-on training in a brewery-like setting.

Students who apply and enroll in the 2022 Online Master Brewers Certificate Program will be required to complete all seven courses in the order they are offered to earn the certificate.

Each course will take 10-12 weeks to complete with the entire program taking approximately 18 months.

The format consists of highly produced, prerecorded lectures and scheduled, live class sessions. Schedules for live class sessions and instructor office hours will be distributed on a course-by-course basis.

2022/23 Online Master Brewers Certificate Program Schedule

Course Title Dates
Course 1: Wort Production and Raw Ingredients January 10 to April 3, 2022
Course 2: Beer Production and Microbiology April 11 to July 3, 2022
Course 3: Brewery Cellar and Lab Operations July 11 to September 18, 2022
Course 4: Brewery Engineering September 26 to December 18, 2022
Course 5: Beer Packaging January 3 to March 12, 2023
Course 6: Sensory Science of Beer March 20 to May 28, 2023
Course 7: Safety, Sustainability and Quality June 5 to August 13, 2023

Course schedules are subject to change.

  • Fees: $13,200
    • The price of each course ranges between $1,600 and $2,000.
    • Payment of tuition for each course will be required approximately two weeks before the course start date.
    • A one-time, non-refundable registration fee of $125 must also be paid in order to receive your certificate.
  • Textbooks and Course Materials: $1,100 (approximate)
    • Students will be required to procure their own textbooks and any course materials.
    • To view a list of all required textbooks, please see the “Curriculum” tab or our FAQs.
  • In-person Bootcamp (optional): $1,400
    • Students enrolled in the Online Master Brewers Certificate Program have the option to supplement their coursework with a week-long bootcamp at our state-of-the-art August A Busch III pilot brewery and Sierra Nevada Brewing Science laboratory. Participants will get hands-on experience working with professional-level brewing equipment. The fee does not include room and board.
  • Withdrawal/Refund: If a request for withdrawal is received within the first five days of the course, a refund will be granted less a $100 processing fee. No refunds will be granted after the fifth class day.
  • Scholarship: The "Pour it Forward" Scholarship is available to a student who is committed to diversity, has experience and/or understanding of the barriers traditionally faced by people from underrepresented populations (based on race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, disabilities…) and demonstrates a high potential for leadership in promoting cross-cultural understanding in the brewing industry. Interested in applying? Learn More
See more information about financing your education.

All fees are subject to change.

Ready to pursue your passion?

Complete the program application

  • Applications are reviewed and accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. Early application submission is encouraged.
  • Complete application packages must include a completed application form, transcripts supporting the academic prerequisites, a résumé listing any practical experience in brewing or related fields and the application fee of $45.
  • To ensure your success in this online program, please review our technical requirements page.

Questions? We’re here to help.

Contact our Enrollment Coach, Kristy Craig, if you would like to schedule a no-cost appointment. She can speak with you about our program, answer your questions and help ensure it’s the right fit for your goals. Schedule your 30-minute conversation with Kristy.

You can also email us or call (530) 757-8777.