UQ's Dr James Fraser and student Cody Price dabble in the art of Guinness beer brewing.
UQ's Dr James Fraser and student Cody Price dabble in the art of Guinness beer brewing.
19 April 2013

Beer brewing is a serious business for students at The University of Queensland (UQ).

The University began an undergraduate beer brewing research project for third-year chemical engineering and science students this week.

Project coordinator Dr James Fraser, from UQ’s School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences, said beer brewing practical courses were common in Europe and could cover the disciplines of biochemistry, chemistry, genetics and microbiology.

Dr Fraser said such courses were rare in Australia.

“We’re using beer and the process of fermentation as an experimental platform to help integrate different disciplines, enabling students to understand high-level content in their third year,” Dr Fraser said.

Dr Fraser said the students would design and conduct experiments linked to beer brewing and then interpret the data.

“When studying the microbes in beer, the students are practicing microbiology, and they venture into genetics when looking at the mutants and the inheritance of information in the yeast employed,” he said.

“They begin branching into the area of biochemistry when looking at the enzymes used to produce beer, and employ analytical chemistry when characterising their products.

“Brewing pulls all these scientific disciplines together.”

The beer brewing exercise is designed to help prepare students for the Honours program and for transition into the job market.

“Other practicals don’t require students to be responsible for designing the experiment and trouble-shooting at this level,” Dr Fraser said.

“With this research experience they can develop a fundamental understanding of experimental techniques as well as the integration of multiple scientific disciplines.”

The project began at UQ's St Lucia Campus on Wednesday, 17 April and will run for four weeks until 9 May for Semester 1.

Media: Dr James Fraser, +61 7 3365 4868 or jafraser@uq.edu.au

Photo opportunities of the beer brewing project are available on Wednesdays at 2pm and Thursday sessions at 10am and 2pm until 9 May at UQ's St Lucia campus. To arrange a photoshoot contact UQ Communications Officer Belinda Berry on 07 3365 3439 or communications@uq.edu.au.