Introduction to the Brewing Process


    General Information

    Professor Information

    Professor Photo
    Lindsay Ackerman
    (425) 286-8840
    By Appointment
    Please use Canvas Inbox

    Course Description And Purpose

    An overview of the basic principles and skills needed for home brewing. Basic chemical and biological concepts will be examined. Relevant sanitation, brewing, and bottling processes will be examined. 

    Course Objectives

    At the end of this course, students will able to:

    • Identify the various steps of the brewing process
    • Create and plan a brewing project
    • Examine the origins of beer
    • Describe the appearance, aroma, flavor and mouthfeel of beers from various regions of the world

    Important Information


    Please review the FIU's Policies webpage. The policies webpage contains essential information regarding guidelines relevant to all courses at FIU, as well as additional information about acceptable netiquette for online courses.

    As a member of the FIU community you are expected to be knowledgeable about the behavioral expectations set forth in the FIU Student Code of Conduct.

    Technical Requirements and Skills

    One of the greatest barriers to taking an online course is a lack of basic computer literacy. By computer literacy we mean being able to manage and organize computer files efficiently, and learning to use your computer's operating system and software quickly and easily. Keep in mind that this is not a computer literacy course; but students enrolled in online courses are expected to have moderate proficiency using a computer. Please go to the "What's Required" webpage to find out more information on this subject.

    Students will need to have access to a camera for recording the brewing project.

    This course utilizes the following tools:

    1. Discussion Boards
    2. Quizzes
    3. Assignment Dropbox

    Please visit our Technical Requirements webpage for additional information.

    Accessibility and Accommodation

    The Disability Resource Center collaborates with students, faculty, staff, and community members to create diverse learning environments that are usable, equitable, inclusive and sustainable. The DRC provides FIU students with disabilities the necessary support to successfully complete their education and participate in activities available to all students. If you have a diagnosed disability and plan to utilize academic accommodations, please contact the Center at 305-348-3532 or visit them at the Graham Center GC 190.

    Please visit our ADA Compliance webpage for information about accessibility involving the tools used in this course.

    Please visit the LMS Accessibility webpage for more information.

    For additional assistance please contact FIU's Disability Resource Center.

    Course Prerequisites

    There are no prerequisites for this course.

    Academic Misconduct Statement

    Florida International University is a community dedicated to generating and imparting knowledge through excellent teaching and research, the rigorous and respectful exchange of ideas and community service. All students should respect the right of others to have an equitable opportunity to learn and honestly to demonstrate the quality of their learning. Therefore, all students are expected to adhere to a standard of academic conduct, which demonstrates respect for themselves, their fellow students, and the educational mission of the University. All students are deemed by the University to understand that if they are found responsible for academic misconduct, they will be subject to the Academic Misconduct procedures and sanctions, as outlined in the Student Handbook.

    Academic Misconduct includes: Cheating – The unauthorized use of books, notes, aids, electronic sources; or assistance from another person with respect to examinations, course assignments, field service reports, class recitations; or the unauthorized possession of examination papers or course materials, whether originally authorized or not. Plagiarism – The use and appropriation of another’s work without any indication of the source and the representation of such work as the student’s own. Any student who fails to give credit for ideas, expressions or materials taken from another source, including internet sources, is responsible for plagiarism.

    Learn more about the academic integrity policies and procedures as well as student resources that can help you prepare for a successful semester.


    Textbook Image
    The Complete Joy of Homebrewing
    Charlie Papazian
    William Morrow Paperbacks, 4th Edition, 2014
    ISBN-10: 0062215752
    ISBN-13: 9780062215765
    You may purchase your textbook online at the FIU Bookstore.

    Required Materials

    In this course, students will create a brewing project and conduct a series of beer tastings. 

    Brewing Project

    Each student will be brewing their own beer. Brewing kits can be obtained through online retailers or at a local homebrew shop. A suggested list of stores to purchase a brewing kit can be found on Canvas. A one-gallon beer kit is recommended. 

    The following list is the required items needed to brew and typically can be purchased in a kit: 

    • Brewing ingredient mix
    • Adjunct and additive ingredients (if adding any flavors not part of the kit)
    • Fermenter
    • Thermometer
    • Vinyl tubing
    • Racking cane and tip
    • Chambered airlock and bung/screw-cap stopper (will vary depending on fermenter) 
    • Sanitizer 
    • 6 to 10 non-twist off bottles (recycled bottles can work)
    • Bottle capper and caps 

    In addition to the brewing kit, students will need to have a pot and a strainer to brew their beer. Most kitchen equipment can be used to brew the kit. A funnel and spoon may be helpful in the brewing process.

    Beer Tastings

    During the semester students will taste a selection of eight beers. Suggested beers are provided on the corresponding assignment on Canvas. Each regional beer should be easy to obtain at a local beverage or grocery store. 

    • German and Czech beer – Two beer styles
    • Belgium beer– Two beer styles 
    • British and Irish beer – Two beer styles
    • North American beer – Two beer styles

    In addition to the beer tasting assignments, there will be two extra credit tasting assignments. 

    • Cans vs. Bottles – Same style of beer purchased in a can and a bottle
    • International beer – Two international beers

    Panthers Care & Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS)

    If you are looking for help for yourself or a fellow classmate, Panthers Care encourages you to express any concerns you may come across as it relates to any personal behavior concerns or worries you have, for the classmate’s well-being or yours; you are encouraged to share your concerns with FIU’s Panthers Care website.

    Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) offers free and confidential help for anxiety, depression, stress, and other concerns that life brings. Professional counselors are available for same-day appointments. Don’t wait to call 305-348-2277 to set up a time to talk or visit the online self-help portal.

    Expectations of this Course

    This is an online course, which means most (if not all) of the course work will be conducted online. Expectations for performance in an online course are the same for a traditional course. In fact, online courses require a degree of self-motivation, self-discipline, and technology skills which can make these courses more demanding for some students.

    Students are expected to:

    • Review the How to Get Started information located in the course content
    • Introduce yourself to the class during the first week by posting a self-introduction in the appropriate discussion forum
    • Take the practice quiz to ensure that your computer is compatible with Canvas
    • Interact online with instructor/s and peers
    • Review and follow the course calendar
    • Login to the course five times per week
    • Respond to discussion boards, blogs, and journal postings within 48 hours
    • Respond to emails/messages within 2 days
    • Submit assignments by the corresponding deadline

    The instructor will:

    • Login to the course daily each week
    • Respond to discussion boards, blogs, and journal postings within 48 hours on weekdays
    • Respond to emails/messages within 2 days on weekdays
    • Grade assignments within 5 days of the assignment deadline
    • Assess students in a manner that accurately reflect the material covered in class and assigned in coursework

    Course Detail

    Course Communication

    Communication in this course will take place via the Canvas Inbox. Check out the Canvas Conversations Tutorial to learn how to communicate with your instructor and peers using Announcements, Discussions, and the Inbox.

    Messages is a private and secure text-based communication system which occurs within a course among its Course members. Users must log on to Canvas to send, receive, or read messages. The Messages tool is located on the Course Menu, on the left side of the course webpage. It is recommended that students check their messages routinely to ensure up-to-date communication.

    The Email feature is an external communication tool that allows users to send emails to users enrolled within the course. Emails are sent to the students’ FIU email on record. The Email tool is located on the Course Menu, on the left side of the course webpage.

    Discussion Forums

    Keep in mind that your discussion forum postings will likely be seen by other members of the course. Care should be taken when determining what to post.

    Tips for Electronic Discussions (adapted from Creating Strong Contributions to Electronic Discussions)

    • Remember to use your subject line effectively.
    • Sign your posting to the discussion; this helps because it:
      • Lets classmates get to know who you are
      • Lets readers know who wrote a particular contribution
      • Supports and enhances your overall conversation online
    • Adopt the right tone.
      • Be specific in your writing. For example, include names and examples that explain or make known who you agree/disagree with, why you agree/disagree, and what you want to add to the conversation. This helps other readers follow your ideas and tie them back to the discussion.
      • Invite interaction and collaboration from others. Consider using phrases like "What do you think about my idea?" and "Do you agree with this?" Let readers know you want to hear their opinions.
      • Respect others' thoughts and ideas. Be constructive in challenging different views and explain where you disagree and why within the rules of "netiquette."
    • Techniques
      • Take a chance. Electronic discussions afford the opportunity to brainstorm and think online. The nature of an online discussion is more relaxed than other forms of written communication. Test ideas. See how others can help you look at and stretch your thinking.
      • Don't use fancy formatting or bullets. Remember that online are discussions are text-based. Stick to the basics:
        • Single-space within a paragraph and double-space between paragraphs.
        • Keep your paragraphs short.
      • Consider why it is called a "threaded discussion." Use the "reply" function to respond or reply to a posting. This helps keep the thoughts and threads of a discussion grouped together in order. Use the "new message" function for new thoughts or ideas.
      • Proofread and check the spelling. While online communication is more relaxed, it is not careless communication. Doing a quick proof of your work before you send it may alleviate the need to clarify your posting and save you some time and potential embarrassment.
    • Keep your responses to less than 20 lines. Use paragraphs to organize your thoughts. Remember: the longer your response is, the less effective your message becomes.
    • You are expected to post to the Discussion Forum each week, with no exceptions.
      • The posting must occur between Monday 12:01 AM and Sunday 11:59 PM for that particular week’s module. In order to get full points, you must post by Friday 11:59 PM for that week.
    • Each week’s postings will be graded by the instructor within 48 hours of the Discussion Forum’s closing.
    • Your posting will be graded based on the rubric provided.
    Criteria Exceeds Expectations Meets Expectations Does Not Meet Expectations
    Offers substantive comment or opinion

    Responses to questions are substantial, well thought-out, detailed and well-written.

    (3 points)

    Responses to questions have detail and are written with minimal grammatical errors.

    (2 points)

    Responses to questions lack significant detail and/or are not well-written.

    (1 points)
    Reflection and/or application relates to chapter readings, the industry and/or their professional career

    Answers to instructor's questions supported with quotations and by citing specific page numbers in the assigned readings.

    (3 points)

    Answers to instructor's questions are supported by the reading or other exterior material. It is not simply the writer's opinion.

    (2 points)

    Answers to instructor's questions reflect little or no reading. Opinions not supported by the readings or any other material.

    (1 points)
    Discussions relates to the topic*  

    Addresses the specific topic

    (2 points)

    Strays from the specific topic, or fails to address the topic

    (0 points)
    Participated before Friday  

    Participated prior to deadline.

    (2 points)

    Participated after the deadline.

    (0 points)
    Student has responded to another student's posting (bonus points)

    Student significantly responds to at least one other participant's comments.

    (2 points)

    Student significantly responds to at least one other participant's comments however, the response lacks sustenance and/or only states whether they agree or disagree

    (1 point)

    Student does not respond to at least one other participant's comments.

    (0 points)


    There will be a Midterm, a Final Exam, and 4 Quizzes in this course.

    In order to mitigate any issues with your computer and online assessments, it is very important that you take the "Practice Quiz" from each computer you will be using to take your graded quizzes and exams. If you need further assistance please contact FIU Online Support Services.

    Assessments in this course are not compatible with mobile devices and should not be taken through a mobile phone or tablet. If you need further assistance please contact FIU Online Support Services.

    Quiz Expectations:

    • Quizzes will be available from Monday 12:01 am – Sunday 11:59 pm
    • 60 minutes duration
    • Students will be able to see the results after the availability period has ended

    Midterm and Final Exam Expectations:

    • Exams will be available from Monday 12:01 AM – Friday 11:59 PM
    • Exam duration will be 120 minutes
    • Students will be able to see the results once the exam has been graded
    • The expected turn-around time for feedback and grades is 5-days


    Brewing Video – Due at or before 11:59 PM on November 27

    • Students will brew a one-gallon beer of their choice from home
    • Students will record the brewing process and explain the stages of the brewing process in their video

    Brewing Presentation – Due at or before 11:59 PM on December 6

    • Students will present the beer they brewed in a presentation
    • The presentation will be approximately 10 to 15 minutes
    • The presentation must be narrated by the student. Presentations that do not include student narration will be unable to receive full points
    • The presentation will provide information about the beer
    • Presentations should include: History of beer style, food pairings for the beer style brewed, recipe information, and a label design
    • The presentation should demonstrate knowledge and skills developed during the course

    Tasting Journal

    • Students will conduct four beer tastings at home during the course
      • German/Czech Beer Tasting – Due at or before 11:59 PM on September 8
      • Belgium Beer Tasting – Due at or before 11:59 PM on September 29
      • British Beer Tasting – Due at or before 11:59 PM on October 27
      • American Beer Tasting – Due at or before 11:59 PM on November 24
    • Students will analyze each beer on head retention, color, aroma, taste, mouthfeel
    • Tasting notes will include descriptions about the beer and the tasting experience
    • Note: For students under 21 years of age or students unable to taste, please contact the instructor for a non-alcoholic tasting or alternative assignment

    Submission of Assignments

    All assignments are to be submitted electronically according to the instructions on Canvas. Assignments will not be accepted via email or any other means other than as indicated on Canvas.

    All sources and work must be cited and referenced in APA style. See the following link for a comprehensive guide on APA style.

    Late Assignments

    No late assignments, discussions, or tasting journals will be accepted. Always double check your assignment submissions to make sure they have been submitted correctly.


    Course Requirements Number of Items Points for Each Total Points Available Weight
    Brewing Video 1 200 200 20%
    Brewing Presentation 1 100 100 10%
    Tasting Journal 4 25 100 10%
    Discussion Board 5 20 100 10%
    Quizzes 4 25 100 10%
    Midterm 1 200 200 20%
    Final 1 200 200 20%
    Total 17 N/A 1000 100%
    Letter Range (%) Letter Range (%) Letter Range (%)
    A 93 or above B 84 - 86 C 70 - 76
    A- 90 - 92 B- 80 - 83 D 60 - 69
    B+ 87 - 89 C+ 77 - 79 F < 60

    Course Calendar

    Weekly Schedule

    Date Content Readings

    Module 0 & Module 1

    Aug 26 - Sep 1

    Introduction to Course and Syllabus
    History of Beer

    Module 1 - Discussion
    Introduction Forum (Extra Credit)

    pp. 1 - 15

    Module 2

    Sep 2 - 8

    Ingredients and How to Taste Beer

    Module 2 - Tasting: German and Czech Beer 

    pp. 16 - 18; 54 - 94; 428 - 436

    Module 3

    Sep 9 - 15

    Cleaning and Sanitation

    Quiz 1

    pp. 130 - 136

    Module 4

    Sep 16 - 22

    How to Brew (Extracts and Mini Mash)

    Module 4 - Brewing Objectives 
    Recommended to start Brewing Project

    pp. 16 - 54

    Module 5

    Sep 23 - 29

    Adjuncts and Additives

    Module 5 - Tasting: Belgium Beer 

    pp. 94 - 118; 295 - 300

    Module 6

    Sep 30 - Oct 6

    Fermentation and the Importance of Yeast

    Module 6 - Discussion 

    pp. 119 - 129; 309 - 314; 43

    Module 7

    Oct 7 - 13

    Off Flavors in Beer

    Module 7 - Discussion
    Quiz 2

    pp. 421 - 427

    Module 8

    Oct 14 - 20

    Available from October 14 (Monday) at 12:00AM to October 18 (Friday) at 11:59PM 

    Module 8 - Tasting: Cans vs Bottles (Extra Credit)


    Module 9

    Oct 21 - 27

    Packaging Beer

    Module 9 - Tasting: British and Irish Beer

    pp. 32 - 39; 145 - 146; 405 - 411

    Module 10

    Oct 28 - Nov 3

    How to Brew (All Grain)

    Module 10 - Discussion

    pp. 285 - 371

    Module 11

    Nov 4 - Nov 10

    Avoiding Common Mistakes in Brewing

    Quiz 3


    Module 12

    Nov 11 - 17

    Beacons of Progress and Advancing in Brewing

    Module 12 - Discussion


    Module 13 

    Nov 18 - 24

    Pairing Beer and Food

    Module 13 – Tasting: American Beer
    Quiz 4


    Module 14 

    Nov 25 - Dec 1

    Brewing Video – Due November 27 (Wednesday) at 11:59 PM  

    Calculating Useful Brewing Information  


    Module 15 

    Dec 2 - 8

    Brewing Presentation – Due December 6 (Friday) at 11:59 PM  

    Module 15 – Tasting: International Beers (Extra Credit)


    Module 16 

    Dec 9 - 15

    Available from December 9 (Monday) at 12:00 AM 
    to December 13 (Friday) at 11:59 PM