Brewers, or brewery technologists, use science and brewing equipment to convert malted barley or other grains into beer. Brewers select and check the type of malted barley or grain needed to make a brand of beer. They add hops, yeast, hot or cold water and other ingredients at the correct times and monitor the temperature and pH values (acidity or alkalinity of a solution) throughout the brewing process.
They check the rate of fermentation (yeast breaking down sugar into alcohol) and check and adjust the temperature of the beer at various stages of production. They take test samples of beer as it matures in conditioning tanks and check the quality of the beer before and after filtration and once it is packaged. They also have administrative tasks, such as monitoring the costs of production; managing a team of brewery workers; liaising with suppliers, customers and other brewers; and ensuring the delivery of beer.
In large brewery companies brewers may also specialise in one area of the brewing industry such as packaging and production, laboratory work or sales and marketing.
Brewmasters must have good technical and scientific skills, and they must be able to analyse samples. They should have good organisational and communication skills, and they should be skilled in making calculations. Basic mechanical skills are also useful, particularly for brewers working in small breweries.
They need to know about: beer production methods; hygiene and sterilisation methods; brewery machinery and technology; chemistry, microbiology, biology and maths; the raw materials used in brewing (such as yeast and types of malted barley); and methods of quality control. They also need to know about relevant legislation and regulations, and in large plants some knowledge of industrial law is useful.
Brewmasters work in laboratories or brew houses, in ‘brew-pubs’ and small craft breweries. They may also travel overseas for training, and to visit other plants if they work for large organisations.