Masters students brew their own beer in the name of academic research

In February this year three students taking an MSc in Brewing Science and Practice at The University of Nottingham, got the opportunity to brew and market their own beer as part of their project dissertation. Their task – to produce a 3,000 litre commercial batch of beer.

The postgraduate team behind the new German-style ‘Altbier’ are Stefano Occhi, responsible for PR, Quality and Timeline management; Will Brennand – Brewer; and Will Gelder – Sales and Marketing.

Now their work is done and the beer – ‘Alternate Universe’ – will be officially launched at 7.30pm on Tuesday 12 July at the Canalhouse pub in Nottingham. After that it will be available in Castle Rock pubs and selected bottle shops.

Stefano, who has a passion for brewing and dreams of running his own brewery one day, said: “Of course, this is a dissertation project so it had to be scientific but the project also involved marketing research, sensory analysis and product development. It was also very practical because the final production had to be on a commercial scale.”

“Our objective was to produce a craft beer that wasn’t too strong but reflected the old style German beers which are beginning to flourish once again. We think we’ve come up with just the right balance of flavours. ‘Alternate Universe’ is a pleasantly drinkable beer, well balanced with a malty, roasted caramel flavour which should have wide appeal.”

The project – now named zerogravity brewing – was introduced by Dr David Quain who brought the idea with him from Heriot Watt University in Edinburgh where, not surprisingly, it increased in popularity year after year.

The team used the University’s state-of-the-art brewing facilities which include a micro brewery and the SAB Miller pilot plant.

You can hear more about the project via this BeerSmith Podcast.

A series of postgraduate courses are run by the The International Centre for Brewing Science, in the School of Biosciences which is home to a team of scientists working with the brewing industry to meet the challenges of the 21st century. They are researching new process developments targeted towards increased sustainability, efficient resource usage and minimising waste or effluents. This multi-disciplinary approach provides new solutions bringing together expertise in crop science, malting, brewing, sensory science, engineering, materials and environmental science.

Stefano said: “We are delighted to announce the launch of ‘Alternate Universe’, in collaboration with our friends at Castle Rock Brewery in Nottingham. We would also like to thank Cristiano Ferrari, a Nottingham based graphic designer for designing the new logo.”

The launch will take place at 7.30pm on Tuesday 12 July 2016 at the Canalhouse, 48-52 Canal Street, Nottingham, NG1 7EH.

You can keep up with developments on Twitter @zerogravitybrew.

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