Analytic Services for Breweries and Hop Growers

labCraft beverage services at Appalachian State University include analytical laboratory analysis catered for the brewing, distillation, hop & malt production, and alternative beverage industries. Our goal is to support craft producers through quality control programs as well as help to promote the regional identity of products from North Carolina and the Southeast.  We have assembled basic services that are commonly requested from breweries.  If you have specific requests or inquiries, please contact us.

Contact us for questions regarding pricing, sample submission, and data access.


See our brewing and hop analysis Catalog for rates and more information.

Appalachian State University 2017 Brewing Short Course (5-day)

The Appalachian State University Fermentation Sciences program will offer two sessions of a 5-day brewing short courses in July 2017. This course is intended for those working within the brewing industry and the advanced home brewer. The course will focus on proficiency and understanding of fundamental brewing principles and technologies, and include standard brewing operations, course material relevant to testing modules offered by the Institute of Brewing and Distilling (IBD), and hands-on brewing activities focused on recipe development and process control and monitoring. 

See for more information.

Brewing Analysis

Brewing Panel #1 (Alcohol, Density, IBU): An inexpensive panel aimed at basic quality control and consistency and evaluating general brewhouse efficiencies.

Brewing Panel#2 (Alcohol, Density, IBU, pH, Color, Calories (Calculated), Extract): A comprehensive analytical panel that provides the information to ensure that you are producing consistent high quality beer each batch.

IBU’s: International Bittering Units reflect hop utilization in the boil kettle, help validate and improve recipes, and help with troubleshooting issues in the brewhouse.

Alcohol, Density Calories (Calculated) & Extract: This analysis provides an accurate alcohol content to compare to predicted values and is critical for proper TTB labeling. This information is also valuable in maintaining a consistent product, and for identifying issues regarding the amounts of fermentable and non-fermentable carbohydrates produced during the brewing process. The calorie content can be calculated from alcohol content, extract, and ash content. Calorie content can is important for labeling, consumer and consistence reasons.

Turbidity (Haze): The visual appeal of a beer is the first thing the customer notices. By measuring the turbidity of beer you quantify how hazy the beer is. This is useful for consistence for beer style’s that a haze is expected or for troubleshooting beers with an unwanted haze.

CO2 Volume: Ensuring the proper level of carbonation is vital to a consistent high quality packaged product. This analysis determines the level of carbonation in the final packaged product.  Please send two bottles (crown cap) or cans when requesting this analysis. 

Color: This analysis is a simple indicator of quality, batch consistency, and trueness to style. Color is also a critical component of the first impression of your beer.

pH: This is important and simple value to track at every stage of the brewing process for proper enzymatic, yeast, and bacterial activity.

Yeast Cell Count & Viability:  Proper pitching rate is critical to a healthy fermentation and consistently producing high quality beer. Preforming a cell count and viability of your yeast slurry is required to ensure that the proper amount of yeast is pitched into each batch.

Microbial Plating: Plating onto a sterile petri dish is a great way to understand what microbes are in your beer. Whether you are checking for sterility or you have an infection, plating a sample provides lots of information about the microbes in the beer. Please contact us if you are interesting in plating onto specialized media.

Microscopic Scan / Gram Staining: Microscopic examination of beer can reveal a lot about any microbial or clarity issues. If bacteria are present a gram staining is preformed to better identify the bacteria.  

Nitrogen: Wort requires adequate nitrogen to ensure a healthy fermentation.  Measuring nitrogen levels in your wort will help you make appropriate nutrient additions for yeast.

Acetaldehyde: Acetaldehyde is a compound produced by yeast but is also a product of oxidation from long term storage or poor packaging conditions. The presence of high concentrations of acetaldehyde indicates issues in the production process of the beer.

Gluten (ELISA Assay): Measuring gluten levels in gluten free or reduced gluten beers is important for labeling and consumer reasons. Our lab conducts research projects on gluten free / reduced beers so we are able to offer this analysis at an affordable rate when we have the assay in stock. Please contact the lab if interested in this analysis for pricing and availability.

Diacetyl: Diacetyl is most commonly describes as a buttery flavor and is detectible at very low levels in beer. Our lab preforms this analysis periodically, so please contact us about pricing and availability of this analysis if interested.

Grist (Grain Crush Analysis):  This analysis classifies the grist after milling by using a set of standardized sieves. The percent of each fraction of grain (fine or coarse) is then determined and used to evaluate the setting of the mill. This analysis provides useful information in terms of the proper mill setting and mash efficiency. Checking the grist periodically ensures a consistent crush and the setting of the mill has not deviated over time.

Sensory evaluation is also available at no additional cost. Contact the lab at for more information.


Hop Analysis

We also offer rapid analysis for hop growers as hopyards expand across NC.  In addition to critical quality parameters of essential oil content, alpha and beta acids, moisture content, and dry matter, the lab offers sensory analysis, feedback, and recommendations. We are currently building on data collected over the past year to develop a picture of annual harvest trends to support the NC industry as a whole.

When sending hops for analysis, be sure to include a Hop Sample Submission Form.

Oil Content: This analysis provides the volume of essential oils in the hops. Essential oils are what contribute the desirable aromas of the hops. A higher volume of essential oils typically means more aromatic hops. This parameter is important for both brewers and hop growers in order to understand the quality of the hops.

Alpha and Beta Acids: Brewers will utilize these values in recipe formulation to quantify the level of bittering and flavor that your hops will provide. Alpha and Beta acids are considered key hop quality indicators.

Moisture Content: Drying hops to the proper moisture content is vital for flavor/aroma stability and preventing spoilage.  Ideal moisture content for dry hops is 8% - 12%.

Dry Matter: This value is often used by growers as a measure of hop maturity. For most hop varieties, 20% - 23% dry matter of the cones is considered the ideal range for harvest.

Hop Storage Index(H.S.I): The H.S.I is a ratio that comes from calculating the difference between two of the absorbance’s measured during the alpha and beta acid analysis. This ratio indicates how well hops will be preserved during storage. A larger value may indicate poor preservation during storage. 

The lab offers free sensory evaluation of hops and advice to beginner growing on the quality of hops submitted. This includes the aroma of the hops and whether they appear to have been harvest prematurely or dried improperly. 

See our brewing and hop analysis Catalog for rates and more information.


Turnaround Time and Viewing Data

Samples received between Monday - Thursday should be processed with a 24-hour turnaround time. Data is made available via email and uploaded to your online client account.

We are also building a database of varietal information to provide seasonal updates featuring anonymous data averages from across the state that you can use as benchmarks for your own products. See the Viewing Data ( page of our website to browse aggregate reports from our wine and grape analysis.

Create an Account: Creating an online account allows you to easily submit orders for analyses online with just a few clicks. Online submission gives lab personnel advanced notice that your samples are in the mail, improves efficiency for lab workflow, and gets your results back to you more quickly. Lab results will be sent to you via email and are made available and cataloged for lab clients via the member access function. Only contact information is required to create an account.


Contact us with your questions or to create an account.