In case you have not already figured it out – I am a bit of a beer geek! Part of this geekiness has been studying to take the BJCP Judging Exam to become an official beer judge. For those of you who are not as familiar with beer geekiness, BJCP is the Beer Judge Certification Program and it is a very real thing (for more info see – bjcp.org).
The Beer Judge Certification Program, Inc. (BJCP) is a world-wide certifying organization for judges of beer and related fermented products. Founded in 1985, we now have a presence in over 40 countries and have more than 6000 active judges in the program. Judges are certified through an examination covering technical aspects of brewing, world beer styles, the purpose of the BJCP, and judging procedures, and by demonstrating practical judging skills. Judges are ranked based on their examination scores and accumulation of practical judging experience.
After studying with a group for the past year and half, I wrote my beer judging exam this morning and I feel really good about it. The judging exam consists of 6 beers that you must judge in 90 minutes, or 15 minutes per beer. Written scoresheets are completed by each examinee for each beer and sent off to be graded. By the time the exam was done my hand was sore from writing furiously to fill in all of my scoresheets.
The exam scoresheets are graded on the following 5 areas:
Perception: Did you perceive and describe the same aromas and tastes as the other examinees and proctors?
Descriptive Ability: Did you use detailed, clear language to describe what you perceived in the beer?
Feedback: Did you provide the brewer suggestions for improvement of the beer? Does the beer match the style? What did you like about the beer?
Completeness & Communication: Did you fill in all available space and checkboxes? Were your descriptions detailed?
Scoring Accuracy: Was the score you assigned the beer close to the other examinees and proctors?
Now it’s time to be patient and wait – exam results can take 3-5 months to get back.