Brewing Microbiology

brewing microbiology 2019 header image

MICR 4003 - CRN 66934

Science just got better.

Brewing Microbiology is about the science behind beer brewing. Learn about the microbiology of yeast (including growth, metabolism, aseptic technique and contamination), biology of grain, biochemistry of malted barley, chemistry of water, preservative nature of hops, and the human physiology of taste and smell.

Enroll now!

  • Open to OSU students, non-OSU students and the community.
  • 100% online course, no required on campus meetings.
  • 3-credit-hours of upper division science, no prerequisites.
  • Students do not have to be 21 years old to take this course.
  • Virtual tour of Stillwater's oldest brewery: Iron Monk.
  • Coursework begins: August 2019



MICR 4003, CRN 66934

Enroll as an OSU student through the OSU registrar to earn 3 hours of OSU course credit, subject to tuition and fees. You will have full access to all course content, course activities, including discussions and assessments.



MICR 4003, CRN 66934

Enroll as a Non-OSU student to earn 3 hours of OSU course credit, subject to tuition and fees. You will have full access to all course content, course activities, including discussions and assessments.




This course will be available as a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) for non-credit at no cost. Learn more about the topic and participate in the course without earning OSU credit.

You will be able to see course content, but may have limited access to discussions and assessments. Participation in the open course will not be certified on an official transcript.

In this course you will:

  • Have a basic understanding of the history of brewing and innovations in brewing practices.
  • Analyze scientific reports and explain how brewing innovations were made possible by natural processes at work in beer ingredients.
  • Discuss the basic science underlying the components of beer: yeast, malt, water, and hops and their role in each step of the brewing process.
  • Apply mathematical analysis of yeast cell size and culture growth.
  • Comprehend the essential nature of enzyme activities in yeast and malt that enable brewing.
  • Have a basic understanding of how the human body perceives taste and smell.
  • Explain how beer components contribute to appearance, aroma, taste, and mouth-feel.
  • Evaluate the reliability of informative sources of brewing information.
  • Judge scientific knowledge of the brewing process to improve their crafting of beer.


  1. History of Beer
  2. Beer Ingredients
  3. The Brewing Process
  4. Varieties of Beer
  5. Science of Taste
  6. Drinking practices

Syllabus Highlights

  • General Education course with Natural Science (N) designation
  • Email office hours, daily
  • Virtual office hours, bi-monthly
  • There is no textbook for the course
  • Computer and internet required
  • Assessment to include un-proctored online quizzes, discussion boards, writing assignments, and activities
  • Virtual tours:
    • Stillwater's oldest brewery: Iron Monk
    • Yeast laboratory
    • Grain production excursion
  • Guest experts:
    • Iron Monk Brewery
    • OSU faculty from Hotel and Restaurant Administration, Horticulture, Integrative Biology, etc.

ConwayCompTyrrell Conway, Ph.D.

Professor and Department Head of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics

Course Instructor

Tyrrell was born in Bartlesville, Oklahoma and graduated from Oklahoma State University with a doctorate in Microbiology. He held faculty appointments at the University of Florida, University of Nebraska, Ohio State University, and the University of Oklahoma, before returning to Oklahoma State University where currently he is Professor and Head of the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics. Amongst several scientific discoveries, Tyrrell is the co-inventor of U.S. Patent number 5,000,000 for genetically engineering E. coli to make biofuels and he published the first DNA microarray paper on E. coli. He was the first scientist to systematically determine what carbon sources are used by E. coli to colonize the animal intestine. His current research interests include the mechanisms employed by enteric bacteria to compete for nutrients in the intestine and mapping the genetic circuitry of the E. coli genome by RNA sequencing. Tyrrell is a member of the American Academy of Microbiology. If he had time, he would read more novels and go fishing more often.


This course is brought to you in collaboration with Iron Monk.

IronMonk logoThis course is shot on location in part at Iron Monk Brewing Company in Stillwater, Okla. After years of planning and construction, Dave Monks and Jerod Millirons founded Iron Monk Brewing Company in 2014, bringing the first and only craft brewery to Stillwater. Dave Monks has a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology. Jerod is a graduate of Oklahoma State University with a B.A. in Biology as well as an MBA. Monks and Millirons met while teaching biology together at North Central Oklahoma College in Stillwater. With over 30 years of combined brewing experience, a love of science and shared entrepreneurial spirit, they tirelessly set out to create exciting, local, handcrafted brews.