This Fall semester, UMBC is offering an exciting course available as a credit and a non-credit course: Brewing I: From Raw Materials To Fermentable Wort. For M.P.S. students, the course is named Emerging Topics in Biotechnology (BTEC 655).
Meet the Instructors:
Dr. Paul Smith, Associate Professor, Associate Chair, and Undergraduate Program Director for Chemistry
Mr. Stephen Frazier, Lecturer, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
This course is being offered:
- For undergraduate credit through the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry as an upper-level elective.
- For graduate credit through the M.P.S. in Biotechnology as an elective (Emerging Topics in Biotechnology – BTEC 655).
- For non-credit through the Institute of Extended Learning
The format of this course will be offered as 75 MINUTE recorded lectures of each class. These recordings will be made available weekly on Tuesdays and Thursdays. A weekly one hour live synchronous class for questions and discussion is scheduled each Mondays at 6:30 for the duration of the course.
Who should consider taking this course?
This course is ideal for anyone who wants to gain a deeper understanding in the chemical, biochemical, and microbiology processes that are fundamental to brewing. Whether you’re enthusiastic about the brewing process, working at a brewery or want a better understanding of the different aspects of the process, you’d benefit greatly from this course. You’ll learn a great deal about the brewing process, general recipes, and gain a holistic understanding about the entire process. This course would be useful to someone who wants to seek employment in the booming microbrew industry, as well. There are lots of job opportunities because of the expanding field.
How was the course conceived?
“My path to becoming an instructor for this course started about 10 years ago when Dr. Paul Smith invited me to speak at a meeting of the American Chemistry Society,” stated lecturer, Stephen Frazier. “About two years ago, he reached out to me and a few others in the local brewing community to see if any of us had interest in helping to develop a program in brewing science at UMBC. I immediately responded that I was very interested.”
“What I think makes the course really exciting is the complementary background and knowledge base that Stephen and I have,” stated Dr. Paul Smith. “Stephen’s been a brewer working in breweries for more than 20 years, whereas I’m an academic who understands chemistry and biochemistry, which is the basis for brewing. We bring complementary kinds of expertise to the course, and I feel students will get a lot out of that.”
What students can expect to learn
Students will learn a lot about the nuts and bolts of how a brewery works.
Dr. Paul Smith: Stephen’s going to talk a lot about process. He’s going to teach about how the vessels are arranged for malting and for fermenting and how you get things from one place to another. He’s also very knowledgeable about the history of brewing. So you’ll learn some information that’s not necessarily directly related to the science, but things that are really fundamentally interesting about brewing. From my perspective, I’m going to talk a lot about organic chemistry and organic structures. What’s the structure of the polymers that are part of barley and how are those broken down? How does that contribute to the beer at the end of the day? What are the compounds that are present in hops? How do they contribute to the bittering and the flavor profile of a given beer? All of these different things will be brought together to give students a very holistic view of brewing from both the practical and the theoretical side.
Stephen: In this course, we’ll talk about brewing science, taking raw materials all the way through to fermentable wort. That is the product that you get out of the brewhouse portion of the brewing process before you actually go into fermentation. We’re going to be diving in at a molecular level to find what makes these materials suitable for the brewing process. And along the way, you’ll learn a lot of things that are not just related to brewing. Things like plant physiological structure and biosynthesis of chemicals that give beer its flavor.