Class Central is learner-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.


Beer: the science of brewing

KU Leuven University via edX


In this course of 12 modules, our team of academic scientists and brewmasters will introduce you to the science underlying beer brewing. At the end of this MOOC, you will understand the science underlying beer production, and why your beer tastes the way it does!

This MOOC also gives you a sneak peek inside some of Belgium’s most iconic breweries. It features talks from Belgian brewers and maltsters, as well as from some of the most renowned academics on key features of the malting and brewing process.

Thirsty for more? Also check out the new postgraduate in malting and brewing sciences that is organized by KU Leuven:


Module 0: Course introduction
Introduction to the main topics and goals covered in this MOOC.

Module 1: History and Overview of the brewing process.
A brief history of beer brewing and an overview of the basic steps in the brewing process.

Module 2: Beer ingredients: Malt
Exploration of the typical characteristics of cereals used to make different types of beer, as well as the different steps in the malting process.
Expert speakers module 2 :

  • Prof. Christophe Courtin, Full professor at KU Leuven, Leuven Food Science and Nutrition Center, BE
  • Dr. Sofie Malfliet, Operations Manager at Albert Maltings, BE

Module 3: Beer ingredients: Water
Focus on the importance of water composition, how water is treated and its influence on beer quality and taste. You will also investigate your local water quality.
Expert speaker module 3 :

  • Prof. Hedwig Neven, Master brewer, Duvel-Moortgat, BE

Module 4: Beer ingredients: Hops and spices
Exploration of the typical characteristics of hops and spices used in beer brewing, and their effect on beer taste and aroma.
Expert speakers module 4 :

  • Prof. Thomas Shellhammer, Nor’Wester Professor of Fermentation Science, Oregon State University, USA
  • Dr. Gert De Rouck, Brew Master, KU Leuven, BE

Module 5: Beer ingredients: Yeast
Introduction to the different brewing yeasts, as well as their metabolites that influence beer.
Expert speakers module 5 :

  • Prof. Kevin Verstrepen, Full professor at KU Leuven, Director of the VIB-KU Leuven Center for Microbiology, BE
  • Prof. Bart Lievens, Professor at KU Leuven, BE

Module 6: The brewing process
Explanation of the main stages involved in beer brewing.
Expert speaker module 6 :

  • Dr. Gert De Rouck, Brew Master, KU Leuven, BE

Module 7: Fermentation
Exploration of key biochemical reactions during fermentation.
Expert speaker module 7 :

  • Anne-Françoise Pypaert, Brew Master, Orval Brewery, BE

Module 8: Filtration and packaging
Overview of filtration and different packaging types.
Expert speaker module 8 :

  • Dr. David De Schutter, Innovation & Technology Development Director Europe, AB InBev Brewery, BE

Module 9: Beer quality and stability
Overview of beer quality checks, and what parameters affect beer stability.
Expert speaker module 9 :

  • Prof. Charlie Bamforth, Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Department of Food Science and Technology, UC Davis, USA

Module 10: Beer assessment and tasting
Get hands-on experience in beer tasting and identifying key (off)flavors.
Expert speaker module 10 :

  • Dr. Veerle Daems, Senior Sensory Scientist, Haystack Consulting, BE

Module 11: Final exam

Taught by

Stijn Mertens, Stijn Spaepen, Karin Voordeckers and Kevin Verstrepen


4.7 rating, based on 6 reviews

Start your review of Beer: the science of brewing

  • Anonymous
    Very nice and interesting course! As a starting home brewer I knew very little of all the different aspects of making beer and what details can make or ruin your beer. I really have learned a lot new information which I will now use for homebrewing. Even if you have practically no (good) knowledge of bioscience, the course is very clear and well explained. The advantage of these types of courses is that you can always go back and take another look of a specific subject. The course itself is also very well created with different types of teaching methods which keeps it interested at all times.
  • Anonymous
    Very intense course, with a lot of scientific informations about all the aspects of beer and brewing. Really well done. Needs a lot of time to understand everything, especially if you're not a specialist in Biochemistry. Everything is well explained with videos, figures, diagrams, etc. At least, I understand many concepts I was reading in my favourite magazines for years, and what is happening when I brew. Really interesting.
  • Anonymous
    I have taken several on-line classes, and this one is by far the most polished. The content is clear and well organized. They clearly have put some time into editing. The professors are responsive and seemed interested in incorporating feedback. I found...
  • Jim Vanderkerken
    I like the literature references, the links to new unknown websites and the insight into the latest brewing science. The science and biochemistry is challenging but with some effort you are not left at sea. It is digestible and helps to get insight in...
  • Anonymous
    Excellent course with a great value. A lot of details in the design of the visual interface. The tests are well thought and it covers thoroughly most subjects concerning the science behind brewing, malting and beer ingredients.
  • Anonymous
    The course "beer: the science of beer" combines the theoretical knowledge collected with practice on a small scale as is that of a homebrewer. Highly recommended!

Never Stop Learning.

Get personalized course recommendations, track subjects and courses with reminders, and more.