"Master Brewer" / "Brewmaster" - who uses these?
Don't get me wrong. These people exist. But I see more and more clips/quips/bios where this title is claimed. Seems almost flip.
And I'm gonna go out on limb and say it's more often a misused/improperly titled position. What are the thoughts of the ProBrewer gang? I've been called such and always "correct" those who do - I tell them I'm "just" a brewer. Master of the brew is rather hallowed...
Beerboy must not be getting paid enough! 20 more years grasshopper. We all are in the same position. Just keep denying. Your time will come.
In my opinion it's a pretty subjective thing, but I don't want to be called a Brewmaster / Master Brewer until I believe that I've attained that status!
I'd say Brewmaster could be the head person responsible for brewing in a brewery. Master doesn't always mean proficiency or knowledge, just rank in an organization.
Master Brewer has the sound that the person has 'mastered' brewing, so that person should be the best of the best.
Some people seem to think going to brewing school can give you this status, but I think it's about experience, knowledge, and a record of excellence.
I'm happy to call myself a brewer.
The terms mean very different things. There may only be one brewmaster at a brewery. The brew master is the highest ranking brewer in the organisation. A Master Brewer is a Brewer with several years expirience, that also holds a Deploma in Brewing Science. This is why most brewing schools are supposed to require expirience as a qualification for entry.
There is no legal definition (to my knowledge)so the terms are often used to gain status. This is sad because many of us have worked at our beloved art and are deminished when these terms are miss-used.
Hey David, I was thinking of posting the same argument a little while back, I certainly agree that its a misused title, I hate it when I hear myself called one or others I know are un educated (in the sense of the real meaning of the title).. I think the title should become protected like Dr or prof. etc.
Now a days any joe smoe can open a brew pub and call himself a master brewer even with under 10 brews under his belt... It makes us all look bad and undermines those who actually earned the title.
I work with a Master Brewer, meaning a person who under grads in Chem then goes forward to a 1-2 year brewing school like VLB, Domens, Harriot-Watt... Then does an aprenticeship for at least one year under the supervison of an experienced Master brewer...
This person has an insane amount of knowlage and theroy, whereas I only have my knowlege from reading, advise from you guys and my own brewing experiences... I still make a good beer. but I dont deserve the title which implies I have gone through the entire education process.
I think this term orignates in Germany where I also believe this term is protected.
Of course if you have this education you should be proud of it, but it doesnt neccasaraly mean an educated brewer is any better or worse than an uneducated one.
Time to go brew now!
I've had the same toughts as the previous posts. For many years, I too have called myself "just a brewer" when asked if I'm a master brewer. I am a long way from being a master brewer. One thing I have noticed when giving a tour or something like that, when I am asked if I'm a master brewer and I say "No, I'm just a brewer." there seems to be disappointment among the tour group as if I'm just a tour guide or I'm not as qualified as a "master brewer". Now during a tour, if I'm asked if I'm a master brewer I say yes and everybody says "ooh, wow a real master brewer." I guess it adds to the excitement. So now I use the title sometimes as a PR thing, I don't feel comfortable using the title because I don't feel I've earned it, but I think most people coming into a brewpub like to hear their beer is made by a "real master brewer".
Vestige of the guild system
The "Master" designator originates from the apprenticeship system of old. In Germany there are several ways of getting this title. One is called "Diplom Braumeister" which is one who basically followed the route described my Murphy above. There is even a "Dipl Ing Brewmaster" which involves even more study and is basically an engineering degree.
A brewer ("Brauer" in German) traditionally attains the title "Braumeister" after several years. First as an apprentice brewer, then as a proper brewer, and then upon attending a school (with the aforementioned requisite experience) and graduating with the "Meister" title. This is the same route required in other trades e.g. baker, painter, electrician etc.
There can be several "Brewmasters" working in a brewery since the title is independent of where one works, it is obtained individually and once you have it - you have it. In a large brewery then, the positions are typically broken down as 1st Brewmaster, 2nd Brewmaster, etc. I know several "Brewmasters" who are even working in "Brewer" positions. It's a question of salary as many salaries in Germany are in a union agreed scale.
The system described is the end result of the German 3way school system which I'm very critical of. Basically children are broken down into 3 tracks starting way back in 5th grade and they go on to become either workers, academics or something in between. It propagates an irksome class mentality in Germany that I for one am glad we don't have in the States.
Back to the brewery related aspects though, in the end the title doesn't matter (as in all fields). It's not the piece of paper that matters, it's what one can do. This is why I personally find brewing so rewarding, it's not about theory (IMHO), it's about reality.
I'm officially trained as an Electrical Engineering Technologist and always correct people when they don't know the terminology and say that I'm an engineer. That term is reserved for the engineering graduates and the term professional engineer is reserved for those that have received accreditation from a provincial body (in Canada).
I correct people the same way when I'm called 'brewmaster' and mention that I believe it should be reserved for the formally trained.
A while ago I filled out an online form that included a title field to gain access to a website. Now I get a ton of junk mail sent to the 'Chief Bottle Washer'.
In Germany - Most young Germans who want to be brewers attend a 3 year vocational school (Berufsschule) to earn the title Brewer and Maltster. Most of the time is spent in the classroom, but the students are required to spend a % of each year working as an apprentice. After that many Brewer and Maltsters go on to study in a graduate level program at either VLB (Technical Univ. Berlin) or Weihenstephan (Technical Univ. Munich). As someone mentioned earlier there are 2 options:
1. Diplom-Braumeister (Graduate Brewmaster - equivalent to a Bachelor of Technical Science). This program is 2.5 years.
2. Diplom-Ingenieur (Graduate Engineer in Biotechnology with focus on Brewing Science - equivalent of Master of Science). This program is 5 years.
Any brewery might have any number of employees holding these titles (which are not misused), just like they might have 7 chemical engineers.
There is another, relatively new program (in which I am currently enrolled) at VLB. It is an international course, which upon graduation (only have to prove 3 months commercial experience...and of course pass everything) grants the title Brewmaster VLB. The program is designed to be condensed (just over 5 months) and intensive, and is primarily attended by employees sent to the program by their (very large) brewery employers (AmBev, Efes, Sapporo, Boon Rawd, Kirin, etc.) There are techs, production officers, chemical engineers, supervisors, directors, industrial engineers, etc. There are also a few people with little-to-no experience who have to complete an internship before receiving their Brewmaster Certificate. It's not common for a German to get a Brewmaster Certificate (although we have one in our class) because it is newer/not the traditional path, and doesn't carry as much weight as the graduate level programs. It is however, ideal for someone who speaks English, already has experience, isn't trying to get a job in Germany, and doesn't have several years to spend on education. The guys with no experience are finding the course quite challenging, but we all study together and learn from/help each other and in the end I think most everyone will pass...except possibly a few who struggle with speaking English.
The Doemens Academy in Munich also offers programs, but they are not affiliated with a University and therefore don't have the University level diploma programs that VLB and Weihenstephan have.
In The U.K. - The term Master Brewer implies that one has passed the IBD exam. U.C. Davis prepares students to take the exam.
Last edited by jbryce; 03-31-2008 at 12:46 PM.
The 'Head brewer' term works for me if you heading up the production side of things. I leave the Brewmaster designation to those formally trained in brewery science.
A quick note to further clarify the somewhat labyrinthine German system. It is a lot different and based upon old European educational and apprenticeship traditions non-existent in the US.
The Diplom-Ingenieur is indeed equal to an M.Sc (Master of Science) in Engineering and is recognized worldwide as such. Graduates have a good background in physics, math, chemistry, biology, engineering as well as brewing and beverage science.
The Diplom Braumeister is not equal to a Bachelor of Science. There is no international , i.e. American, equivalent for it. It is more than an Associate's degree but not a full Bachelor's degree, because science and engineering are cut a bit shorter than is the case with a full Bachelor of Science; however, the brewing courses are fairly extensive. The Diplom before it means that it was received from a university. There are institutions which are not universities but offer excellent degrees in brewing whose graduates are Braumeister (once they've passed the Chamber of Commerce exam) as well. There's no Diplom in their title.
Master Brewers are those who've attended Harriot Watt or a similar English speaking institution or who have passed the exam in the States.
Anyway, it's all rather confusing. In the end, just brew good beer and don't lose your passion for it or for learning more about it.
"There are the following admission requirements for the Diploma-Brewmaster at TU Berlin, equivalent to a Bachelor of Technical Science (BScTech)..."
Yes, that is true. The admission requirements are the same as for a Bachelor of Science. This means that in order to enter a university in Germany to begin a Diplom Braumeister degree, you must meet similar requirements, i.e. what you would need to enter any university in the States. A little background: German university-bound kids have completed in high school what US-American kids complete in their first two years of university. In order to enter the TUM-Weihenstephan, I was actually required to have at least two years at a university. At that time we were told it'd be better if we already had a Bachelor's degree. Now I think they've eased up, since they're trying to be more international.
Anyway, this does not mean that the Diplom Braumeister is equivalent to a Bachelor of Science once you have completed it, just that the requirements are the same to get in. The TUM-Weihenstephan and Berlin have always offered similar degrees, although Weihenstephan doesn't offer any short courses. I think, as you mention in your blog, in the Munich area Doemens does that. At Weihenstephan, they offer three degrees for brewers.
1. Diplom Braumeister (Dipl.-Brmstr.)
2. Bachelor of Science (B.S.)
3. Master of Science (M.Sc. = Dipl.-Ing. [at least by and large])
As I mentioned in my post above, the Diplom Braumeister and the Braumeister are something specific to Germany and have no US equivalents. Incidentally, Diplom refers to the completion of a thesis at the end of the studies (and, by definition, a university degree). The Diplom Braumeister can be considered an intense brewing education without the intense science background of the Diplom Ingenieur, although it is not without science course work. It is not at the level of a B.S., which is also offered.
Since attempting to shoe horn their degrees into the globally accepted Bachelor, Master, Ph.D. scheme, they've broken the Dipl.-Ing. program down to be equal to B.S. + M.Sc. This has been controversial, because the Bachelor of Science only contains part of the actual brewing course and lab work included in even the Diplom Braumeister and quite a bit less than that of the M.Sc. Therefore, the Bachelor can't really stand alone, like in the States. The problem lies with the fact, that to fit the international model, they've simply taken the Dipl.-Ing. and cut it in two parts and labeled them B.S and M.Sc. Consequently, if anyone is planning on studying brewing in Germany, it is ill-advised to stop at the Bachelor of Science; either do the Diplom Braumeister or the Braumeister, in which you'll receive less science and not have an internationally recognized degree but will learn a lot about brewing, or the Diplom Ingenieur, which is equal to an M.Sc. in Engineering. Either way they are both excellent programs.
I'd certainly never claim to be a "Master Brewer" based on my education or training, but I was the head brewer for two brewpubs and one microbrewery, my job title at the two brewpubs was "Brewmaster". The micro was going to call me that as well, but I had them put "Chief Zymurgist" on my business card...
You are right about the international shoehorn, which is explained here.
Perhaps the offerings that you have at Weihenstephan are a little different from what we currently have here in Berlin. Here, the Diplom-Braumeister is very much considered equivalent to a Bachelor of Technical Science by both TU and VLB.
You can see that VLB even has it listed that way here, as does TU on the page I previously linked to (Brauwesen\Studiengänge\Dipl. Braumeister).
Also, it's important for potential students to take notice that most of the Diplom-Braumeisters that I know here in Berlin took/are taking 3+ years to finish, which seems to be pretty common despite the prescribed 2.5 years.