Brewing Science MRes

Brewing Science MRes MRes Brewing Science
This research-based degree is designed for individuals seeking to gain entry into this thriving and progressive sector.

Fact file

MRes Brewing Science
1 year full-time
Entry requirements
PhD/MPhil/MRes: 2:1 (or international equivalent) in a relevant subject or 2:2 (or international equivalent) in a relevant subject with a Merit at masters; other qualifications may also be accepted
6.5 (no less than 6.0 in any element) If these grades are not met, English preparatory courses are available
Start date
Sutton Bonington Campus
Other requirements



This flexible course will help you develop the laboratory skills needed for a career in research and development, particularly within the food and beverage industry.

While covering the scientific principles of brewing, the course allows you to focus on a novel research-based project. Projects are targeted towards subject areas of industrial significance, potentially leading to process improvements and optimisation, as well as helping you develop a detailed knowledge of particular areas of the brewing process. 

Course structure

This course comprises a major brewing research project worth 150–160 credits, 20-30 credits of taught subject modules and up to 20 credits of generic training courses and optional modules.

The structure of the MRes is very flexible, allowing you to fit your research project around taught classes.

As a  rough  guide,  approximately 85% of the course involves laboratory-based research work. The other 15% involves a taught course which is delivered through elearning and intensive week-long residential courses held at the University each semester. These residential courses incorporate lectures, seminars, workshops, laboratory practicals, industrial visits and tutorials. The course can be taken on a full or part-time basis.

Research projects are typically conducted on site within laboratories at the University, although there may be provision to undertake them within laboratories of an industrial partner (if you have secured one). 

Taught modules are usually completed within the early part of the course, providing a good knowledge base for the research project. 

Course delivery 

For the research component of this degree, students will be allocated a supervisor with the relevant expertise to support the project. Full provision will be made for laboratory training and acquisition of relevant techniques. 

The taught component is delivered through a combination of interactive elearning and intensive advanced residential courses. Full access to a library of electronic brewing resources is provided. As a guide, 75% of the taught component is delivered via interactive e-learning which can be undertaken at any time. The remaining 25% of the taught component is delivered through intensive week-long residential courses held at the University each semester incorporating lectures, seminars, workshops, laboratory practicals, industrial visits and tutorials.


Typical taught modules are:

Raw Materials for Brewing

This module covers the following aspects of the raw materials used in brewing:


  • Structure and biochemistry of the barley grain.
  • Botany and agronomy of malting barleys/ varietal evaluation.
  • Barley genomics and breeding programmes to enhance malting quality.

Malting science and practice:

  • Outline of the malting process: Intake, storage and dressing, steeping, germination, kilning, de-culming, blending

Malting biochemistry (key enzymes and enzymic modification,  biochemical changes occurring during germination, molecular regulation of barley germination

  • Characteristics and production of the main classes of malts used in brewing
  • Flavour generation via the Maillard Reaction during kilning/roasting
  • The 'Virtual Malt Analysis Lab': video clips and animations covering the key malt quality parameters and associated analyses; typical values of key parameters
  • Malt specification; quality assurance; Maltings HACCP/safety aspects

Hops (cultivation, varieties, processing and forms used in brewing, specifications and analysis, introductory hop chemistry)

Water Quality (sources of water, water treatment, significance of ionic composition)

Adjuncts (purpose and overview, Mash Tun adjuncts, Copper adjuncts) and other topics related to raw materials as deemed appropriate.

Brewery Yeast Management

This module considers brewing yeast management in relation to brewery fermentations. Students are introduced to scientific principles and their relevance to industrial practices:

  • Brewing taxonomy
  • Brewing yeast cell biology
  • Brewing yeast genetics
  • Brewing yeast biochemistry
  • Brewing yeast replication and growth
  • Yeast culture maintenance and supply
  • Methods of analysis (genetic, biochemical and physiological)
  • Brewing yeast propagation and pitching
  • Other topics related to brewing yeast fermentation as deemed appropriate.

Brewhouse Processes

This module is integral to the ‘brewing process’ course component and covers the scientific principles and technology of processes employed in the Brewhouse: · Milling of malt · Wort Production (mashing):Process control: principal mashing methods and mash schedules; influence & control of mash pH; mashing biochemistry (e.g. starch conversion, proteolsis, glucans/ arabinoxylans & mash viscosity) · Mash separation; theory, technologies & equipment design · Wort boiling Rationale behind process & technologies employed; process control Formation of colour and flavour (Maillard chemistry & polyphenolics; reductones) Evaporation/volatile stripping Protein denaturation & trub formation (protein-polyphenol interactions) pH drop & mechanisms involved Wort oxidation & redox state Hop (product) addition in the boil. Hot wort clarification; the whirlpool Wort cooling (cold break) & aeration Wort quality Aspects of Brewhouse design, utilisation (capacity planning) & energy conservation and other topics related to the generation of wort for fermentation as deemed appropriate. 

Fermentation and Yeast Handling

This module considers brewing fermentations and the importance of yeast within the process. Students are introduced to scientific principles and their relevance to industrial practices:

  • Brewing yeast biochemistry
  • Brewing yeast propagation and pitching
  • Fermentation (biochemistry, technologies and process control)
  • Brewing yeast flocculation and sedimentation
  • Brewing yeast crop recovery, storage, acid washing and recycling
  • Recovery and disposal of spent yeast
  • Other topics related to malting as deemed appropriate.

Beer Maturation

This module considers biological and chemical processes that contribute to the maturation of beer once fermentation is complete. Students are introduced to scientific principles and relevance to industrial practice of: 

  • Maturation: flavour and aroma changes. Techniques to achieve product specification
  • Formation of non-biological hazes and stabilisation against non-biological haze
  • Carbonation: carbon dioxide addition, saturation and recovery
  • Clarification and filtration. Removal of yeast and beer recovery, beer filtration
  • Specialised beer treatments: low-alcohol, alcohol-free, ice beers, diet beers, bottle conditioning

and other topics related to maturation of beer as deemed appropriate.

Brewery Waste Management and Environment Issues

This module considers water effluents, waste treatments and disposal and conversion of waste streams into valuable co-products. Students are introduced to scientific principles and relevance to industrial practice of:

  • Sources of water, forms of treatment and the characterization of waste water, Life Cycle Analysis principle and application
  • Carbon footprint
  • The disposal of brewery effluents
  • Biotechnology and bioconversions
  • Disposal and potential uses of spent grains
  • Disposal and potential uses of spent yeast
  • Reduction in energy consumption in the brewery and other topics related to maturation of beer as deemed.

Brewing Microbiology

This module considers the occurrence, frequency and biology of non-brewing microorganisms that are associated with spoilage during the brewing process or the final product. The impact of microorganisms on process and beer will also be considered. Students are introduced to:·

  • Spoilage microorganisms associated with the brewing process and final beer product
  • Sampling, detection and identification of brewery microorganisms
  • Disinfection of brewery yeast
  • Cleaning- in place (CIP) operations
  • The principles and practice of brewery hygiene
  • Other topics related to brewing microbiology as deemed appropriate

Beer Flavour Development and Sensory Analysis

Flavor quality across the brewing process, examining the key materials, processes & quality parameters which influence beer flavor from grain to glass. Develops understanding of multisensory flavor perception & theoretical aspects of the sensory evaluation of beer.

Beer Flavour Development:

  • Key components of beer flavor (volatile / non-volatile flavor components & balance; sweetness-bitterness balance; chloride-sulfate ratio; trigeminal effects: temperature/ carbonation; mouthfeel (e.g. beer foam, viscosity) influence of pH; multisensory considerations). Interactions between the senses.
  • Range of beer styles and their flavor characteristics.
  • Development & control of key beer flavor characters or off-notes throughout the brewing process.
  • Trouble-shooting flavor defects in beer
  • Flavor stability / staling of beer during storage: oxidation/ maturation. To include methods for monitoring beer staling; current theories of beer flavor stability; separate contributions of materials & process to flavor stability; potential markers for beer staling

Sensory analysis:

  • Theory of sensory analysis/ designing & running sensory trials
  • Facilities & recruitment of assessors
  • Introduction to main sensory methodologies (e.g. discrimination testing/ quantitative methods/ descriptive/ profiling, threshold determination/ hedonic tests)
  • Beer flavor wheel/ QDA of beer
  • Ethical considerations/ consumer testing and behavior.
  • Experimental design & analysis of sensory data; ANOVA

Packaging of Beer

This module covers the essential elements of packaging beers and other related alcoholic beverages. The module includes theoretical and legal aspects of packaging together with consideration of the design and operation of modern high speed packaging lines. Specific units are:

  • Design and operation of bright beer tanks; maintain bright beer specifications including carbonation, clarity, flavour and microbiological status.
  • Assuring the microbiological stability of packaged beer using aseptic filtration, flash pasteurization and tunnel pasteurization. 
  • Achieving specifications of packaged beers including legal aspects of packaging and labeling. 
  • Packaging beers into large-pack containers including cask and keg.
  • Packaging beers in small-pack containers including glass, PET and can
  • Secondary and tertiary packaging used for beers and related alcoholic beverages.
  • The design and operation of modern high-speed packaging lines suitable for beers and other related alcoholic beverages. A consideration of the measurement of packaging line efficiency and the impact of production planning will be included. Warehouse design and operation and primary and secondary distribution systems used in brewing.
  • Beer dispense and cellar management

The modules we offer are inspired by the research interests of our staff and as a result may change for reasons of, for example, research developments or legislation changes. This list is an example of typical modules we offer, not a definitive list.

Key facts

  • Research projects are typically hosted within the purpose-built Brewing and Bioenergy Building which is equipped with a state of the art pilot scale brewery
  • The course is taught and supervised by staff from theSchool of Biosciences with expertise in brewing and related sciences, together with contributions from specialist brewing practitioners
  • The UK Midlands region has strong historic links to brewing and our campus is situated just a short drive away from the famous brewing centre of Burton-upon-Trent
  • The School of Biosciences is one of the largest and strongest schools of its kind in the UK
  • The school is ranked the no. 1 research environment in the UK for agriculture, veterinary and food science in the Research Excellence Framework 2014; 97% of our work in the Schools of Biosciences and Veterinary Medicine and Science was judged to be of international quality
  • The Sutton Bonington Campus is a self-contained site in the beautiful countryside of South Nottinghamshire (10 miles south of Nottingham city)


Research projects are typically hosted within the purpose-built Brewing and Bioenergy Building which features modern state-of-the-art equipment. The main facilities relevant to core research interests of the group include:

  • 10 hL pilot scale brewerymicromalting facilities
  • 35 L Briggs brewhouse for experimental wort production
  • 9 x 10 L fermentation vessels (state of the art research tools; computer controlled with online monitoring of fermentation parameters)
  • experimental beer dispense rigextensive brewing research laboratories and analytical facilities
  • outstanding flavour research laboratories and sensory science centre with specialist ‘beer panel’
  • University Farm, extensive glasshouse and growth room facilities in plant and crop sciences
  • state of the art genomic and proteomic facilities

Research support

The Graduate School has prime responsibility for the delivery of the generic skills training and has a dedicated training team who provide a comprehensive generic research training programme. These courses include IT training, presentation skills, intellectual property rights, business studies, career management, research skills and techniques, the research environment and management and courses for students involved in teaching and demonstrating.

The Graduate School operates from the main campus of the University, in a dedicated and well equipped centre to provide central coordination, communication and leadership of postgraduate training. However, there is a dedicated postgraduate centre on the Sutton Bonington campus, where the School of Bioscience is located. 

A number of University support services exist to assist you during your time at Nottingham and beyond. The Students' Union are a particularly important source of support.


Find a supervisor

We encourage you to get in touch with a member of academic staff about your research proposal before submitting an application. They may be able to help you with your proposal and offer support to find funding opportunities in your area. Details of research supervisors at the University can be found on our research A to Z.

Fees and funding

Fully funded MRes and PhD projects in Brewing Science will always be advertised on the school web pages, as well as Typically such research work is funded by the brewing or allied industries, the research councils, the European Commission, UK charities and government agencies. Students proposing their own PhD or MRes projects need to identify a potential funding source, write a research proposal and approach a prospective academic supervisor in the department, who will advise on the novelty, relevance and interest in the proposed research topic as well as next steps towards securing an offer of a place and the required funding. 

Further to the above, there are funding schemes available to support innovative postgraduate research:

Government loans for doctoral study

Doctoral student loans of up to £25,700 are available for PhDs and equivalent research programmes. Applicants must ordinarily live in England or Wales.

Funded routes to PhD

Apply for a studentship

A studentship is a fully funded research place in a specific area. The process is similar to applying for a job and the advert will give specific details of how to do this.

Explore doctoral training programmes

If you choose a doctoral training programme, you will benefit from high-level research and skills training, with places often funded by research councils or charitable trusts. Each opportunity has a different application process and deadlines.

International and EU students

Research scholarships are available for outstanding international and EU students. You must already have an offer to study at Nottingham to apply. Please note closing dates to ensure you apply for your course with enough time.

We also provide information and advice on funding your degree, living costs and working while you study, as well as country-specific resources.




Average starting salary and career progression

In 2017, 100% of postgraduates in the school who were available for employment had secured work or further study within six months of graduation. The average starting salary was £28,000 with the highest being £65,000.*

* Known destinations of full-time home postgraduates 2016/17. Salaries are calculated based on the median of those in full-time paid employment within the UK.

Career prospects and employability

Those who take up a postgraduate research opportunity with us will not only receive support in terms of close contact with supervisors and specific training related to your area of research, you will also benefit from dedicated careers advice from our Careers and Employability Service

Our Careers and Employability Service offers a range of services including advice sessions, employer events, recruitment fairs and skills workshops – and once you have graduated, you will have access to the service for life.

Postgraduates in the BioEnergy and Brewing Science laboratory, Sutton Bonington

Get in touch

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This online prospectus has been drafted in advance of the academic year to which it applies. Every effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content) are likely to occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for the course where there has been an interval between you reading this website and applying.

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