ASBC Laboratory Proficiency Program

​What is the ASBC Laboratory Proficiency Program?

The ASBC Laboratory Proficiency Program (LPP) is an important quality tool for laboratories testing brewing raw materials and the final brewed products. The program is an excellent way to validate a subscriber's measurement process. This enables subscribers worldwide to assess and strengthen their quality standards by evaluating the accura​cy and consistency of their results.
The Society recognizes the need for a service by which laboratories can check their procedures and compare results with peer laboratories on a regular basis. ASBC offers a variety of beer, hops, malted barley, and barley samples that enable brewing and malting laboratories to:
  • Routinely evaluate instrument performance
  • Monitor the use of correct analytical techniques by laboratory personnel
  • Identify opportunities to improve the quality of laboratory results
  • Verify the reliability and accuracy of contract laboratories

  • How does the ASBC Laboratory Proficiency Program Work?

    Participants subscribe to a series within Beer Analysis, Hops, Barley, and Malted Barley. Subscribers receive specially prepared samples according to the schedule specified for that subscription. Upon receiving the sample, analyses are conducted and results are submitted by the scheduled deadline through the subscriber portal. Complete confidentiality of results is guaranteed as each subscriber receives a unique ID that is updated on a yearly basis. Results are analyzed, and a report is issued containing the statistical analysis of the results submitted by all participating subscribers. Subscribers will also receive quantitative estimates of the accuracy of their submitted results. Fees vary depending upon the series, the frequency, and the subscriber’s location.

    Final LPP reports will be available within days of the deadline for reporting results. Series will require more than 6 data points or participants to generate Z-scores and kernel density graphs. The reports will identify the following:

    • Series name, sample number and test material, and number of series participants.
    • Participant reported data listed according to the subscriber unique ID.
    • Assigned value (mean) and standard deviation for each constituent are reported after removal of data qualified as Grubbs’ outliers.
    • Z-scores (note: Z-scores are not calculated for data points classified as an outlier or for series having less than 6 participants.)
    • Outliers as determined by the Grubbs’ calculation (ISO 5725 Part 2) are noted on data entry reports with a G.
    • Chart of Z-score plots the Z-scores according to subscriber unique ID. Z-scores >2 standard deviations (S.D.) are indicated in yellow, greater than 3 S.D. are indicated in red.
    • Kernel density plots show the raw data against the probability density. Raw data of >2 S.D. are indicated by the yellow bar. Raw data >3 S.D. values are indicated by the red bar.
  • What are the Benefits of Participating?

    The ASBC Laboratory Proficiency Program provides subscribers an opportunity to evaluate accuracy, as well as instrument performance on a regular basis. By comparing internal laboratory data to results from other laboratories around the world, a critical assessment of the analytical data generated by subscribing laboratories can be made. Subscribers can also build confidence in the analytical data generated by their laboratory personnel. Participating laboratories rely on proficiency programs for a number of reasons, including:

    • Comparison of subscriber results with those of other peer laboratories over time (results are anonymous)
    • Confirming analytical proficiency of laboratory personnel within the same facility or across multiple sites
    • Benchmarking of best practices
    • Qualification of contract laboratories
    • Evaluation of alternative analytical methodologies
    • Enhancement of process control capabilities by providing an independent means to assure gauge-related contributions to data variability
    • Ensure accuracy of labeling information
  • What types of Samples are Available?
    • Barley — Subscribers receive one two-row and one six-row sample of barley on a quarterly basis.
    • ​​Beer — Subscribers receive a shipment of samples from a uniform lot on a quarterly basis. Analyses have been selected appropriate for breweries of all sizes.
    • Hops — Subscribers receive one hops sample per month. On a rotating basis, subscribers will receive a different hop product (powder, pellets, or extract), equating to four of each product per year.
    • Malted Barley — Subscribers have a choice of several options for participation. Depending upon the series selected, subscribers receive two-row and six-row malted barley samples. In addition to a specific series, a subscriber can choose to receive standard malted barley samples.
    • Mycotoxins — Subscribers receive samples of mixed grains, preground, which are naturally (but heavily) contaminated with aflatoxin, deoxynivalenol, and fumonisin. Subscribers receive four different samples with varying in levels of contamination, on a quarterly basis.
  • Is the ASBC Laboratory Proficiency Program Suitable for Subscribers of all Sizes?

    If measurements are made on beer or raw materials, the ASBC Laboratory Proficiency Program can help confirm the accuracy of those results for any sized operation.

    For another resource on growing your own Beer Quality Lab,click here.

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