Our three week Certificate in Practical Brewing course is ideal for anyone looking to set up or establish a commercial microbrewery. The course has a strong practical focus and is suitable for those with no prior brewing experience as well as those looking to develop home brew skills.
Along with gaining the accredited Brewlab Certificate in Practical Brewing, you will also acquire many elements of the knowledge required to undertake the internationally recognised IBD General Certificate Examination.
The course features the opportunity to design and brew your own recipes from scratch on our specialised small-scale development kits. This enables you to put learning into action and provides a fundamental understanding of topics such as liquor calculations and recipe formulation.
Brewlab has its own on-site 500 litre commercial brewery which is an ideal practical environment to demonstrate all parts of the brewing process enabling you to gain first hand experience of a full brew day. In addition, you will also attend two daily placements at local successful microbreweries.
You will also have access to our laboratory facilities using techniques that Brewlab follows as one of the UK’s leading providers of all types of quality assurance for the brewing industry. This will give you a unique opportunity to delve into the requirements of quality assurance in micro brewing, assisting you to plate up and identify beer characteristics at a microbiological level.
At Brewlab we offer an industry leading sensory evaluation module that provides a sound introduction to standard flavour and taste training techniques. The finished products you create will be entered into group tasting sessions where feedback and recommendations are offered.
Students who attend this course will aquire the knowledge and skills to produce a wide variety of high-quality beers, brewed consistently. In addition the commercial business elements of the training provide you with the frameworks for setting up and operating a successful brewing business. This includes premises and equipment design advice, encompassing all of the legal HMRC requirements.
The course is tutored by industry specialists who have a vast wealth of expertise and experience in their fields.
“A ‘must’ for brewers at any level the course is challenging but has played a huge part in ensuring the longevity of my career in brewing.”
Adam Kershaw, Certificate Graduate
Some understanding of the brewing process, along with basic maths and chemistry skills, are beneficial but not essential.
Extended placements are available following the course – please enquire for details.
Many of our previous students now operate their own successful craft breweries and you can read about these in our case studies section.
The class size is limited to 10 places.
There are 15 teaching days on the course and the fee is £3,950 (£263 per day).
A £400.00 deposit is required to secure a booking. The balance has to be paid 6 weeks prior to the course start date.
Self catering accommodation is included in the course fee through the University of Sunderland.
If you wished to arrange your own accommodation the revised course fee would be £3530 (£235 per day).
Payment plans can be arranged on request.
All prices include VAT where applicable.
Our course payment terms and conditions can be read here.
At the end of the course, you will have a sound understanding of:
- The brewing process and ingredients.
- Liquor treatment and the ability to adjust specification to particular beer styles.
- Recipe formulation for different beer styles.
- The key elements of Quality Assurance in a brewery.
- The importance of health and safety protocols in a craft brewery.
- Malting and adjunct production.
- Mashing processes.
- The current hop market.
- Different fermentation processes and practice.
- Yeast management in terms of storage, culturing and hygiene.
- Packaging legislation and methodology.
- Food safety systems and how to create your own plan.
- Dispense systems.
- Effective cleaning and disinfectant protocols.
- Flavour evaluation techniques.
- The key strategic commercial frameworks for a successful brewing business.
- Brewery design, premises, equipment requirements and considerations.
- The legal requirements for setting up and operating a craft brewery in the UK.
- Brewing history and the evolution of styles.
You will have:
- Brewed your own recipes at least twice on the small-scale development kits at Brewlab.
- Undertaken two placements at commercial breweries, enabling you to assist in production and gain a better understanding of their processes.
- Followed a standard quality assurance plan, taken and analysed samples from your own brew.
- Used standard laboratory methods to assess samples for flavour faults and characteristics.
- Gained experience and skills in using a light microscope.
- Packaged your own beer (bottle conditioned and filtered options available).
- Submitted your beer for professional evaluation as part of a group exercise.
- Developed skills and experience in sensory evaluation.
Raw Materials and Processes:
- Health and safety.
- Liquor treatment.
- Malt and malting.
- Mashing and wort production.
- Wort boiling and chilling.
- Fermentation and yeast handling.
- Practical brewing.
- Racking, fining and filtration.
- Packaging – casking, kegging, bottling and canning.
- Recipe formulation.
- Wort boiling and chilling.
- Yeast management.
Quality Control and Microbiology
- Beer tasting and flavour assessment.
- Cleaning and hygiene.
- Features of microorganisms and their impact on beer quality and character.
- Quality control.
Operating a Craft brewery
- Brewery design, premises and equipment.
- Business start up frameworks.
- Customs and excise.
- Financial planning.
- Marketing for a start-up business.
Brewlab training courses offer the ideal blend of classroom and practical learning in the most efficient time frame. We place a strong focus on making all parts of the course as practical as possible, giving you as much hands-on experience as we can.
Liquor treatment and recipe formulation sessions start early in the course allowing you to quickly gain the skills to design and brew your own beer. There are then seven separate opportunities to learn and hone your skills on the development kits here at Brewlab. You can let your imagination go wild and brew a variety of styles or perfect the parameters of a single concept. Feedback shows this is the most effective way to learn with repetition helping drill in key processes.
Throughout the practical brewing you’ll also be taking samples to make sure your beer is on specification, including ABV and to analyse during the quality control module.
You will get hands on training on how to use a microscope to make sure your beer is contaminant free, learning about common infections and different yeasts. This enables students to appreciate the importance of quality control and provides a solid understanding of common faults and how to solve/avoid them.
The beer you brew will also be used during the flavour evaluation sessions to help practice and develop your sensory skills, identifying off flavours and aromas. Acquiring these skills puts you at the forefront of brewing techniques.
One of the most popular and valuable parts of the course are the commercial brewery placements. This offers the chance to spend a full day with a brewer in a local brewery and soak up all the knowledge and experience you can. It’s an ideal way to see operational practices and how different processes are applied. You can also gain an insight into other parts of a brewing business that can’t be delivered in a lecture, such as selling to customers, troubleshooting methods and how to create brewing schedules based on local conditions.
There are seven different one day placements spread through the course.
Overall, we make learning interactive and responsive to individual needs. Graduates can feel confident and assured to brew in both small and large scale batches following the course, drawing upon all the practical training time spent on the course.
The Brewlab Experience
So, the course looks appealing and you’re seriously considering attending Brewlab, but you want to know more about the experience and logistics of studying here? We’ve prepared some general guidance but please just get in touch if you have any questions. Richard, the course coordinator would be more than happy to assist.
Why choose Brewlab?
Choosing to invest in studying at Brewlab is a proven route to success. It has been the starting point for many careers and new breweries. Along with receiving a comprehensive programme of study in the most time efficient and cost-effective way, Brewlab also opens the opportunity to adventure and experience life in the UK. Indeed, our training courses regularly attract people from around the world and the chance to get to know so many people who share the passion for craft brewing is truly unique. We’ve been fortunate enough to have had students from each continent start their brewing journey with us.
We boast a vast international network of successful graduates who are working in the industry and running their own breweries. Check out some of the glowing success stories they’ve provided for us here.
All the lectures are delivered in English. If there are subjects you’re struggling with during the course, whether they be brewing or welfare related, our team can assist or arrange extra sessions to catch up.
Where is Brewlab?
Brewlab is based in the coastal city of Sunderland on the North East coast of England. Sunderland is a modern location with an amazing industrial history particularly coal mining, shipbuilding and glass making. It’s worth reading more about how at one point Sunderland was the biggest ship building town in the world! It is now better known as a university city and perhaps for the football club, that recently featured on a hit Netflix Docuseries.
Check out the local tourist information for what to see and do during your stay. If you’re looking for inspiration you could get yourself along to the beach for some local fish and chips, soak up some local culture at the museum and winter gardens, take a class at the National Glass Centre or attend a show at the historical Empire Theatre.
Sunderland is a comparatively affordable place to live compared to London and other southern cities.
The River Wear runs through it all the way to Durham and beyond. Only a 30-minute bus journey away, Durham is a historic town woven with cobbled streets that lead to a magnificent cathedral which is a real highlight for tourists in the region.
Sitting just north and connected by the light rail system called the Metro, is the city of Newcastle. It is a vibrant, bustling city and home to a thriving brew scene. There are so many exciting breweries to enjoy and visit, Wylam Brewery being the most famous and distinguished. You’ll get a chance to undertake commercial placements in most of them.
During the course we’ll do a spot of tourism around the county of Northumberland and visit some inspiring craft breweries. That would only be an eye opener into this extraordinary region that features Hadrian’s Wall, Roman forts, Bamburgh Castle and Alnwick Castle, home to Harry Potter filming for the quidditch games.
Making the most of your trip
Students often make use of the weekends to have short stays and city breaks around the UK. Travel links are plentiful and easily accessible from Sunderland. The historic cities of Edinburgh and York are less than a couple of hours away on a train and a visit to London is only a little further. You could also venture to the Lake District, Scottish Highlands or North Yorkshire to explore some of the UK’s finest scenery.
During the mid-course break it’s common for students to either book a flight or hop on a local ferry over to Europe, taking in the beer and culture of the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany. Cities like Bruges, Amsterdam (only a one-hour flight away) and Munich feature some of the most famous and traditional breweries in the world. Dublin (at only a 45-minute flight away) is another popular tourist destination where you can sample a certain popular brand in all its glory!
Airbnb and hostels make it easier than ever to budget and keep costs down.
Newcastle Airport is the closest international airport to Sunderland. It’s about an hours journey on the Metro through to Sunderland central. You may choose to arrive at a different airport and then take a train or a bus to Sunderland.
If you were staying at the accommodation provided by Brewlab, it’s about a 30 minute walk or short bus journey to Brewlab HQ.