Brewing Microbiology


Programme fact file

Programme title: Brewing Microbiology 
Qualification: 10 credits 
Start date: Jan 2017 
Duration: 4 months 
Maximum places available: Limited 
Fees: £570 Home and EU students /£1,330 International students (50% bursaries are available for UK agrifood sector through Agrifood ATP) 
Available on weekends/evenings: No  

School of Biosciences 

Programme overview

Course description

This course considers the occurrence, frequency, biology and detection of the micro-organisms that are associated with the spoilage of the brewing process, from raw materials to final product. The impact of contamination on process and final product quality will be considered while the principles and practice of HACCP, cleaning-in-place and GMP will also be discussed. 

Programme detail

Course details

Unit 1: Microbiology of barley and malting

  • Microbial communities in barley.
  • Microorganisms associated with pre-harvest barley.
  • Routes and mechanism for contamination of barley.
  • Microbial communities in malted barley.
  • Process steps that affect microbial loading.
  • Types of organisms and effects on quality.
  • Impacts of microbes on grain germination and malt quality.
  • Negative effects of microbes.
  • Positive effects of microbes.
  • Premature yeast flocculation.
  • Starter cultures in malting.
  • Enhancing microbial stability of malt.

Unit 2: Microbiology from wort to final pack

  • Intrinsic and extrinsic factors affecting microbial growth.
  • Occurrence and impact of microbes on brewing process.
  • Key contaminants of wort and beer.
  • Gram positive microbes – types, classification, occurrence, spoilage potential, effects.
  • Gram negative microbes – types, classification, occurrence, spoilage potential, effects.
  • Lactic acid bacteria – metabolic pathways and spoilage.
  • Strictly anaerobic organisms – occurrence and effects.
  • Hop tolerance/resistance.

Unit 3: Wild yeast

  • Definition and types of wild yeast.
  • Saccharomyces - types, classification, occurrence, spoilage potential, effects.
  • Non-Saccharomyces - types, classification, occurrence, spoilage potential, effects.
  • Fermentative wild yeasts.
  • Non-fermentative wild yeasts.
  • Killer yeasts.

Unit 4: Detection and identification of brewery microorganisms

  • Detection of microbes in malting – culture dependent/independent approaches.
  • Detection of microbes in the brewery.
  • Sampling techniques and planning.
  • Swabbing, filtration and ATP testing.
  • Isolation and enrichment – forcing tests, spread plates, pour plates, incubation times.
  • Enumeration – microscopy, RMDS, DEFT, MPD, Bioluminescence, dilution, automated devices.
  • Identification – media types, gram stain, catalase test, oxidase test, API strips, biology, Sporulation tests, PCR, RFLP, Ribotyping, RMDS-PCR, MALDI-TOF, RAPD PCR, DGGE, TTGE.
  • Brewery laboratory set up and essential equipment.

Unit 5: HACCP

  • HACCP principles and hazard identification.
  • Defining CCP, decision trees and implementing HACCP plans.
  • HACCP and malting.
  • HACCP and brewing - key stage points, considerations and example CCP limits.

Unit 6: CIP and brewery hygiene

  • Importance of hygiene in the food industry.
  • Specific demands of breweries.
  • Closed and open food contact surfaces.
  • Cleaning and disinfection in the brewery – principles and practice.
  • Hygiene standards and levels of cleanliness.
  • Cleaning methods and types of detergents/sterilisers.
  • Techniques - manual cleaning, immersion cleaning, sprays, foams, gels.
  • Impact of brewery water (hard/soft) on cleaning regimes.
  • Spray balls and rotating heads – locations for use and advantages/disadvantages.
  • Soil composition and beer inclusions.
  • Process and chemistry of detergents.
  • Caustic and alkaline detergents, sequestrants and surfactants, acid cleaners, oxidising disinfectants.
  • Water treatment.
  • Use of steam in the brewery.
  • CIP assurance and role of ATP testing.
  • Recycling of chemicals.

In addition to the e-learning , there is a 2.5 day residential.


About Sutton Bonington Campus

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The University of Nottingham,
Sutton Bonington Campus,
Sutton Bonington,
LE12 5RD


About Sutton Bonington


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Sutton Bonington Campus
University of Nottingham
LE12 5RD  
t:   +44(0)115 951 6610 

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