QA_QC Icon

Quality assurance/

Quality Control

Creating Quality Standards

Quality is the most important aspect of any product. The Brewers Association defines quality as “a beer that is responsibly produced using wholesome ingredients, consistent brewing techniques and good manufacturing practices, which exhibits flavor characteristics that are consistently aligned with both the brewer's and the beer drinker's expectations.”

Quality should be the main focus of any opening brewery. Without quality, business success is difficult to achieve. With over 8,000 domestic breweries, the standard of quality is high and it’s important to meet or exceed consumer expectations.

What is a Quality Beer?
A quality beer is a beer free from defects that is consistent batch to batch. With that said, it doesn’t mean you are prevented from making improvements. Customer preference and intention are the most important aspects in producing any product and if the customer perceives any change or inconsistency in quality it may irreparably damage the brand.

Creating a Quality Program
Breweries set up quality assurance programs to monitor quality from ingredient quality and consistency to processes and finished goods. This can vary in scope and scale depending on the breweries’ resources.

Organizations such as American Society of Brewing Chemists, Master Brewers Association of the Americas and the Brewers Association all offer resources in building a quality assurance program and creating standards. You do not need a lab to create and implement a successful quality assurance program. Begin with documentation and the creation of standard operating procedures (SOP’s). Ensuring your process and products are consistent is a great way to improve and replicate quality.

The Next Steps
Determine what data collection points and analyses are beneficial for your organization and operating scale, document the processes and ensure your production is up to those standards.

Brewers Association Sensory Evaluation Program


In addition to in house testing, White Labs offers a full suite of testing through our TTB certified Analytical Lab to compliment every brewery’s need.


Contributing Author

Erik Fowler                                                                 Education & Brewery Experience Manager, White Labs

Erik has been with White Labs since 2014. Before coming to White Labs, he worked for: a prominent regional brewery, a nano-brewery, and several beer and wine focused retail outlets. He has led education classes on yeast handling, sensory techniques and QC. Erik holds his Cicerone® certification as well as a certificate in the Business of Craft Beer from San Diego State University. His objective is to use his knowledge and experience to make fermentation education informative, accessible and interesting.  

White Labs Analytical Lab
Test Tube Testing

Instrument Guidance

For Beer Quality Labs

Melissa Antone

Initiating a beer quality program can be daunting. Effectively utilizing a limited budget to achieve the most impactful result at the brewery requires a knowledge of potential pitfalls and pinch points based on the business model.


It is recommended that breweries join trade organizations such as the Brewers Association and the 

Flavor Map Sensory

Using Sensory Analysis

Answer Your Business Questions

Lindsay Barr

What motivated you to start a brewery? Making something delicious and joyful for your community? Further developing your creativity and talent through your brands? Or simply to make a few bucks by way of an independent pursuit? Either way, flavor is at the core of your motivation and business objectives and is therefore, an appropriate metric to capture through sensory analysis.

Really Clean Tanks

Quality Through Cleanliness

Larry Chase

When you think of quality in beer your thoughts might turn to a complete lab set-up that, when operated by a full-time employee, will help ensure the quality of your beer. With this scenario most start-ups might ignore instituting a quality program because they do not have the financial resources to invest in lots of lab equipment or an extra employee. At a basic level a lot of lab work is audit verification that you did your quality assurance correctly in the first place. Once you learn of a quality 

Beer Ingredients

Dry Hop Creep

Brynn Keenan

If done incorrectly dry hopping results in long cellar times, diacetyl issues, and over pressurized cans - collectively, these phenomena are known as hop creep. Diving into the process data tracked by Grist, we’ve seen that some breweries are achieving IPA cellar times of 150hrs with no diacetyl/over attenuation issues, while others are taking 500hrs. We’ll discuss the science behind hop creep, and how to manage it effectively.

QA_QC Icon


  • Research Lab Strategies

  • Source Lab Equipment


  • Set Up Laboratory

  • Establish Testing Protocol

  • Analyze Results

  • Adjust Systems Accordingly

Grow Graph


  • Review QA/QC Options

  • Research Necessary Materials

  • Add New Systems

  • Evaluate Improved QA/QC