Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Me? A Beer Judge...?

What's more fun than going to beer festivals?  Judging beer festivals.  The Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) sets standards for beer judges, competition organizers and participants, and creates and edits the style guidelines.  From their website:

"The purpose of the Beer Judge Certification Program is to promote beer literacy and the appreciation of real beer, and to recognize beer tasting and evaluation skills."

On April 1, the BJCP updated their examination process, moving to an online Beer Judge Entrance Examination as the starting point for those interested in becoming Apprentice, Recognized, Certified and beyond judges.  Basically, you have to pass the Beer Judge Entrance Examination before moving on to the Beer Judging Examination where six different beers are tasted and evaluated.  The Beer Judge Entrance examination weeds out those who are unprepared or haven't sufficiently studied and does it in a pretty intense way.  It consists of 200 questions in multiple formats (true/false, multiple choice, and multiple choice/multiple answer) covering the complete style guidelines, brewing techniques, history, and information related to beer judging and competitions.  You have one unbroken hour to answer all 200 questions.  Here are four sample questions they include in the Study Guide so you can get an idea as to how the test is organized content-wise:

True-False Example:
Düsseldorf Altbier typically has a light body and a medium carbonation level.            

True            False

Multiple-Choice-Single-Answer Example 1:
Which of the following characteristics is inappropriate for Southern English Brown Ale?

Rich, malty          Notes of plums            Medium            Moderate hop               Low
sweetness            and raisins                    body                aroma                  carbonation

Multiple-Choice-Single-Answer Example 2:
A Doppelbock typically has:

More caramel         More hop            More melanoidin        More astringency        More diacetyl
character than       aroma than          character than              than                       than
Traditional Bock    Traditional Bock     Traditional Bock        Traditional Bock        Traditional Bock

Multiple-Choice-Multiple-Answer Example:
Check all that apply. Acetic acid is perceived as having which of the following characteristics: 

-Paper             -Sherry             -Vinegar               -Sour                  -Vinous

I feel lucky to have passed and earned my "Provisional" judge status.  I wish that they provided feedback in connection to your results so that you could review missed answers afterward to see what mistakes were made, but you only get such details if you don't pass.

Beer Judge Entrance Exam Passing Certificate

The next step is sitting for and passing the Beer Judging Examination.  The next exam administration locally is on October 20, 2012, but there are already 70 people (!) on the waiting list.  If you don't take the Beer Judging Exam within a year of passing the Entrance Exam you have to retake it.  I've got my fingers crossed.


  1. I'm glad that you finally took the test. We have only had our study guidelines for over 3 years. Anyways congrats...Need me to embroider you a polo shirt with BJCP on it? ;)

  2. I don't know if "Provisional Judge" would carry much weight, even if it was embroidered on a polo. Now I just need you to take the test, too. We could do a lot of studying (i.e. drinking) together in preparation for the Beer Judging Exam.


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