Brewing on a Budget: Quality Control

Quality Control (QC) is essential for any successful homebrewer or professional, but complicated techniques and expensive laboratory equipment can make starting up a QC process or lab seem like a daunting task. In this course, you will learn the concepts behind essential QC tests, and how you can set up a lab on a shoestring budget in your home or brewery. This course will cover yeast storage, counting and viability, how to detect and identify microbial contaminants, and how to measure beer quality parameters, such as color, IBUs, carbonation and diacetyl. Through live, online lecture and small-group case study analysis, you will learn both theory and practical applications of several important beer quality tests. This course will arm you with the knowledge to design a routine testing plan at home or for any size brewery, and prepare you to establish a QC lab and start analyzing your own beer.

This course is designed and taught by Jon Hughes (PhD microbiology, UC Davis), founder of the QC lab and former Quality Assurance manager at Heretic Brewing Company (2013-2020).

Learning Outcomes

  • Design a QC laboratory to fit your needs
  • Analyze lab test results and determine the cause of defects in beer
  • Apply microbiological concepts to identify contaminants
  • Construct a routine testing plan for a brewery of any size


  • QC testing
  • Aseptic technique
  • Selective/differential media preparation
  • Record-keeping
Course Code