Fundamentals of Beer Brewing and Wine Making - Biochemistry, Organisms and Omics Techniques

Course content

This course focus on the biochemistry in beer brewing and wine. It adopts a molecular approach to understanding beer brewing and wine making.

Biochemistry, cell biology, organic chemistry and microbiology constitute the fundamentals that relevant technologies in beer brewing and wine making build upon. Relevant technologies comprise analytical techniques (spectroscopy and –omics techniques), enzyme technology and development of improved plants, yeast and malolactic bacteria.

Theme 1: Raw material for beer brewing
The taxonomy of the barley genus will be covered with a focus on the phylogenetic structure of the genus. Examples and prospects for (re)introduction of valuable traits in barley cultivars from wild relatives will be discussed. Molecular and biochemical aspects of grain filling, starch accumulation, amylase expression is covered in relation to malting and the development of technical enzymes for malting. Hops, types and cultivars.
Theme 2: The vine and the grapes
The biochemical/physiological basis for canopy management. Grape anatomy, extraction, designing technical enzymes as extraction aids. Analysis of non-volatile components of wine and must.
Theme 3: Pest, disease and infection
Diseases and infections and their vectors. Resistance genes, and how to use these in breeding and engineering.
Theme 4: Flavor and aroma compounds - sensory science
Metabolomics of natural products in must and wine; analysis of volatile compounds, and identification of signature aroma and flavor compounds for different grape varieties. Oxidation, aging and promotion of wine maturation by enzymes.
Theme 5: Natural products: pigments and flavors
Regulation of pigment biosynthesis. Yeast and process derived aroma compounds. Aroma compound assays of predictive value. Technical enzymes as extraction aids. Glycosylation of pigments and aroma compounds. Beta-glucan sequestering of natural products, and the engineering of heat-stable beta-glucanases.
Theme 6: Fermentation
The molecular biology of baker’s yeast. Barley malt and the biochemistry of the fermentation process. Malolactic fermentation. Metabolomics of the fermentation process. PCR-identification of yeast strains and the effect of strains on taste and flavor.


MSc Programme in Biotechnology
MSc Programme in Food Science and Technology

Learning outcome

The primary outcome will be a sound knowledge of the biochemistry that underlies beer brewing and winemaking and the analytical techniques that support production.

•    Demonstrate an ability to apply cell biology understanding to properties and processes in grape and grain of relevance to wine and beer
•   Describe biochemical pathways, and the chemical structures, leading to important components of beer and wine
•   Describe biotransformations of compounds during fermentation.
•   Demonstrate overview of spectroscopic and chemical analytical techniques used to guide production.
•   Understand the molecular basis for resistance against pests and disease.

•    Students with biotechnology background will be able to apply their knowledge for the development of new technical enzymes and ingredients used in beer and winemaking while the students with food science or horticulture background will employ these tools diligently.
•    Apply their knowledge of yeast and malolactic bacteria for strain development, selection and use.
•    Implement existing spectroscopic or analytical methods, or develop new methods for monitoring components, processes and biotransformations in beer and winemaking.
•    Apply their understanding of pest and resistance genes in plant breeding.

•    Work independently and make intelligent use of scientific literature also from fields outside brewing and winemaking
•    Be theoretically prepared and qualified for applied courses in brewing and winemaking

The core teaching is comprised of lectures delivered by a wide range of speakers, including invited international guest lecturers. These are supplemented by journal clubs and practicals in the form of demonstrations and tastings.

Primary scientific papers and reviews will accompany all lectures, demonstrations and exercises. These papers define the curriculum and are thus exam relevant. A deck of cards with molecules that are relevant to beer brewing and wine making will be used in teaching. This "vocabulary" of molecules is also curriculum.

It is essential for the ability to follow the course to have knowledge on bachelor level in cell biology, biochemistry, organic chemistry, molecular biology, genetics and microbiology .


Students hand in micro-project reports (group-wise). Feed-back is provided for each micro-project so that general issues are handled orally in plenum while group-specific issues are dealt with in writing to each group.

7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Oral examination, 25 minutes
Type of assessment details
The oral exam is individual. The exam tests the student’s ability to discuss the scientific underpinning (chemical compounds, biosynthetic pathways and associated technologies) of beer brewing and wine making. An exam question comprises two main parts: 1) A thematic question typically inspired by one of the lectures; and 2) One of the curriculum papers. Approximately half the time will be spent on discussing the thematic question and the other half discussing the scientific paper typically with a focus on data interpretation or experimental design. This include testing the students achieved chemical knowledge using the "molecule cards".
Exam registration requirements

Participants will do groupwise projects. It is a requirement that the project reports have been submitted and approved.

Without aids
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Several internal examiners

Same as ordinary.
If the requirements are not met the reports have to be handed in individually 2 weeks before re-exam and must be approved.

Criteria for exam assessment

See learning outcome.


Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 50
  • Preparation
  • 125
  • Theory exercises
  • 21
  • Practical exercises
  • 9
  • Exam
  • 1
  • English
  • 206


Course number
7,5 ECTS
Programme level
Full Degree Master

1 block

Block 1
The number of seats may be reduced in the late registration period
Study Board of Food, Human Nutrition and Sports
Contracting department
  • Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences
  • Department of Food Science
Contracting faculty
  • Faculty of Science
Course Coordinators
  • Peter Ulvskov   (7-786f79766e727943736f6871316e7831676e)
  • Violetta Aru   (8-7a6d737069787865446a737368326f7932686f)

Peter Ulvskov, Andreas Blennow, David Collinge, Birger Lindberg Møller, Bodil Jørgensen, Mickey Palmgren, Henrik Siegumfeldt, Mikael Agerlin, Wender Bredie, Dennis Sandris, Mogens Larsen, and guest speakers from industry

Saved on the 28-02-2023

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