ENGR 1933: Science, Technology, and Culture of Craft Brewing

Course Description

This course will introduce students to the science of brewing and technology needed to design and operate a craft brewery. Students will learn and apply biology, chemistry, and foundational engineering concepts and equipment needed to convert grain, water, yeast, and hops into craft beer. Students will also develop product analysis and product design skills to justify brewing choices based upon brewing science, technology, economic, and cultural considerations. Judging craft beer quality is a sensory experience that draws upon technical, cultural, and geographic aspects of each beer style; different styles will be highlighted throughout the course. Student must be 21 years of age with government-issued photo ID by their first day of class in the term taken.

Course History

The spring ENGR 1933 course was launched in 2017 for Engineers only (“Engineering a Craft Brewery”), and remains the largest-enrolled first-offering elective in SSoE history.  ENGR 1933 was expanded to have campus-wide registration in 2022 (“Science, Technology, and Culture of Craft Brewing”), and the enrollment for Spring 2023 was 120 students. We have completed 4 study abroad trips (2018, 2019, 2022, 2023) over spring break or in early May (2022).  To launch this course, we worked closely with University Counsel and Pitt’s Environmental Health and Safety office.  To date, we have 0 alcohol incidents since 2017 either in the class or study abroad.

Course Details

Course Deliverables:  Homework, Sensory Quizzes, Course Project, Final Exam, and Class Participation

Sensory Quizzes are scored sampling days, where students will have the opportunity to experience different beer styles and their underlying culture and history. Students will be expected to construct a BJCP (beer judge certification program)-style review of each beer sampled on a sensory day. For students who do not wish to sample beer, short papers about the history of the style sampled and the brewery that made the specific beer used in the sensory, can be substituted for the sample analyses.

Course Calendar (from Spring 2023)

*Sensory days will require ID

**are days off

Day Topic
Mon Jan. 9 Intro to ENGR 1933
Wed Jan. 11 Brewing Process
Fri Jan. 13 Intro to ENGR 1933 Sensories*
Mon Jan 16 MLK Day**
Wed Jan 18 Beer Styles
Fri Jan 20 Off Flavors*
Mon Jan 23 Grains Grain Bills, and Malting
Wed Jan 25 Specialty Grains and Grain Bill Design
Fri Jan 27 Sensory - Dark Malty Ales (Brown, Scottish, Irish)*
Mon Jan 30 Mashing
Wed Feb 1 Beersmith Tutorial
Fri Feb 3 Sensory - Stout & Porter*
Mon Feb 6 GUESTS - Full Pint*
Wed Feb 8 Lautering
Fri Feb 10 Sensory - Lagers (Pilsner, Schwarzbier, Marzen, and more)*
Mon Feb 13 Water Budget (Prof. Cole)
Wed Feb 15 Mashing & Lauter revisited, plus Beer Design
Fri Feb 17 Sensory - Belgian Beers*
Mon Feb 20 Heating and Cooling (Prof. Cole)
Wed Feb 22 Boil Kettle
Fri Feb 24 Brew Experience - and TAKE HOME SENSORY (NEIPA)*
Mon Feb 27 Hops and Hop Chemistry
Wed Mar 1 Pumping and Flows (Prof. Cole)
Fri Mar 3 NO CLASS - Belgium**
Mon Mar 6 Spring Break / NO CLASS - Belgium**
Wed Mar 8 Spring Break / NO CLASS - Belgium**
Fri Mar 10 Spring Break / NO CLASS - Belgium**
Wed Mar 15 Hops and Boil Kettle (part 2)
Fri Mar 17 GUESTS - Jailbreak / Beaver Brewing*
Mon Mar 20 Fermentation, part 1
Wed Mar 22 Fermentation, part 2
Fri Mar 24 Sensory - Pale Ales and IPAs (in all their forms)*
Mon Mar 27 GUESTS - Walking Distance*
Wed Mar 29 Fermentation (adjuncts/lagers), Sustainability, and Heat Integration
Fri Mar 31 Sensory - Sour Beer*
Mon Apr 3 Filtration and Centrifugation
Wed Apr 5 Safety Concerns in Brewing
Fri Apr 7 Sensory - Wheat Beer*
Mon Apr 10 Catch Up Lecture (Filtration, Safety)
Wed Apr 12 PROJECT WEDNESDAY (see announcement)
Fri Apr 14 Analytical Testing*
Mon Apr 17 Seltzer - it's like Beer*
Wed Apr 19 Packaging, Pouring, and Carbonation
Fri Apr 21 Sensory - CLASS DESIGNED BEERS - Benedum Hall 3rd Floor*