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Master Brewers Program

The objective of the Master Brewers Program is to prepare candidates for the Institute of Brewing and Distilling (IBD), London, Diploma in Brewing Examination (IBD DBE). Passing the examination is an internationally recognized standard of achievement and professional qualification for practical brewers, managers and executives in breweries, maltings and allied industries.

The Master Brewers Program is a unique, 18-week program that provides an in-depth understanding of brewing science and brewery engineering. Major topics covered in brewing science include malting, mashing, brewing, fermentation and finishing, while the brewery engineering subject matter focuses on fluid flow, heat and mass transfer, solid-liquid separation and more. Students extensively explore these two fields through courses that are the professional-level equivalents of UC Davis degree-program courses, seminars and tutorials in these fields.

Participants study brewing science and brewery engineering in parallel courses that include university-level lectures, tutorials and seminars. In addition to such directed studies, students expand their brewing knowledge through guided library research, assigned reading and writing exercises and visits to local breweries.

The IBD examination. This challenging nine-hour, three-part examination is administered annually to more than 300 candidates worldwide. UC Davis is an approved examination site. The examination consists of two papers in brewing science and one in brewery engineering. The examination is written and graded by a distinguished panel of brewing academicians, brewery scientists and engineers selected by the Institute of Brewing and Distilling (IBD) and impaneled as the Board of Examiners. The final examination is held each year in June, immediately following the Master Brewers Program.

Who should attend. This program is for persons who desire a formal professional qualification in brewing science and engineering, either to enter the brewing industry or to advance within it, or for those in formal training programs at breweries. The examinations are challenging, and only those seriously committed to study in the field of brewing science should consider enrolling. Candidates should have some college education in science and/or engineering subjects or equivalent educational experience. Practical experience is a plus, but not essential for admission at this level.

Application deadline. The application deadline is December 1 of the year preceding the course you are enrolling in. Complete application packages must include a completed application form, transcripts supporting the academic prerequisites, a resume listing any practical experience in brewing or a related field, and the application fee of $45.00. Applications are reviewed and accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. Class size is limited so early application submission is encouraged.

Prerequisite. While a degree is not required for acceptance to this program, college-level work in the subject areas listed below is required for success in the program. All minimum prerequisites must be completed in advance of applying. Incomplete applications will not be considered for admission. Applicants must be able to provide transcripts documenting the math requirement and at least two other subject areas:

  • Mathematics: pre-calculus
  • Biological sciences: microbiology, cell physiology or biochemistry
  • Chemistry: organic, inorganic or analytical
  • Physics: heat and mechanics or process control
  • Engineering: topics in mechanical or chemical engineering

Those who cannot document pertinent experience in at least three of these areas will not be admitted to the program. Such students should prepare at least one year before entering the Master Brewers Program by taking appropriate courses at a local college.

Withdrawal/Refund. If a request for withdrawal is received within the first five days of the class and all course materials are returned, a refund will be granted for tuition fees paid beyond the non-refundable deposit. No refunds will be granted after the fifth class day.

Location. Classes are held at the UC Davis Extension classroom at Sudwerk Privatbrauerei Hubsch in Davis, California. This location allows observation of beer production by Sudwerk's two world-class systems: a fully automated 65-barrel Steinecker system and an original 15-barrel Caspary brewhouse. 


Charles Bamforth, Ph.D., D.Sc., distinguished professor and leader of malting and brewing studies at the University of California, Davis, has more than 35 years of academic and professional brewing expertise, including senior roles with Brewing Research International and Bass Brewers. A fellow of several organizations, including the Institute of Brewing and Distilling (IBD), Bamforth is also editor in chief of the Journal of the American Society of Brewing Chemists (ASBC) and has published extensively on beer and brewing. He is a recipient of the ASBC's Award of Distinction and is vice president of the IBD.
Sue Langstaff, M.S., is principal of Applied Sensory, LLC, a consulting company specializing in providing independent sensory evaluation services to breweries and wineries, and has extensive experience in the field of sensory evaluation of beer, wine and other alcoholic beverages. Langstaff has published papers in the Journal of American Society of Brewing Chemists and the Journal of the Institute of Brewing. She earned her M.S. in food science from the University of California, Davis. Her thesis, under the guidance of Michael Lewis, Ph.D., explored the sensory and instrumental evaluation of the mouthfeel of beer.
Michael Lewis, Ph.D., is professor emeritus of brewing science at UC Davis, and the academic director and lead instructor of UC Davis Extension’s Professional Brewing Programs. Lewis was honored with the Master Brewers Association of the Americas' Award of Merit and the Brewers Association’s Recognition Award. He is an elected fellow of the Institute of Brewing & Distilling and a life member of ASBC, MBAA and IBD. He is also a recipient of the UC Davis Distinguished Teaching Award.
Timothy Marbach, Ph.D., is an assistant professor at California State University, Sacramento. His industrial experience includes four years at the U.S. Army Fuels and Lubricants Research Facility at the Southwest Research Institute and an U.S. Department of Energy Industry Fellowship at Siemens Westinghouse Power Corporation. He has taught courses in thermodynamics, engineering measurements, HVAC engineering, alternative energy systems, project engineering, research methodology and combustion. His current research projects include experimental study of biofuel combustion and computational analysis of heat recirculating burners.
Steve Presley retired from Anheuser-Busch, Inc. in 2009 as senior assistant brewmaster. During his 30-year tenure with Anheuser-Busch, he held various brewing management positions at several of their 12 breweries and also worked in the company's international brewing division. Presleyis a Beer Steward Instructor and was actively involved in the creation of the Master Brewers Association of the Americas' Beer Steward Certificate Program. He is past president of the MBAA's Rocky Mountain and Southern California districts.


Jan. 25 - June 9, 2016


Sudwerk, 2001 2nd St, Davis, CA

To enroll:

Program tuition is $16,000 and includes all course materials and books, field trip transportation and examination fees. The tuition fee does not cover room and board.







"Sierra Nevada offered me a cellar operator position, which I enthusiastically accepted. I cannot thank you enough for the post-program support. Once again, it shows why the choice to attend UC Davis Extension was the best one."

Ben Einhaus, 2013 Master Brewers Program graduate

"I have landed a position with the North Coast Brewing Company....I just wanted to take some time to thank the people that have helped me get to this point....Thank you once again for your patient tutelage and preparing me well for this new chapter in my life."

Brandon Jacobs, 2011 Master Brewers Program graduate

"The Master Brewers Program shines like diamonds in a sea of coal in the brewing industry!!"

Mark Peffers, head brewer, Bull & Barrel Brew Pub, Brewster, NY, 2011 Master Brewers Program graduate