BJCP Certification Exam Thread

Discussion in 'Brewing & Beer Knowledge' started by Gonzoillini, Dec 7, 2016.

  1. Gonzoillini

    Gonzoillini

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2013
    Location:
    Chicagoland
    Searched around on the forum this morning, and was surprised that I couldn't find a dedicated BJCP exam thread.

    Going to be starting with the study sessions for the exam in June 2017 tonight with a great teacher in the Chicagoland area (Steve McKenna) and a few folks from local homebrew clubs. I've been judging homebrew competitions without certification for about 5 years now, but considering I'm the club president of our local hombrew club and we run a BJCP / AHA sponsored competition, I figured it was about time I get the paper that shows I have some formal training.

    Thoughts from folks who've taken the exam? Tips? Things to study over others?

    I'll post thoughts throughout the next few months, but wanted to kickstart the conversation as it's on my mind this morning.

    Cheers!
     
  2. Phischy

    Phischy

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2013
    Location:
    Who-ston
    In addition to understanding styles, nuances between similar sub cats (and differences) focus on the mechanics of the exam. You should be finish grading a beer in about 12 minutes, as you'll have an average of 15 mins per beer. if you're 3/4 of the way though a beer and the next one is being poured you're already behind. Rushing cases lapses and can cause lost points.

    To that end http://bjcp.org/examcenter.php read Exam Scoring Guide to understand how points are awarded. Be complete, for every hint per section, address it. Finish/Aftertaste are 2 seperate points to address.

    Lastly, work on vocabulary. understand how to describe beer to be quick and efficient. Plus understanding all off flavors, suggestions how to correct them etc....

    Recognized and Certified aren't too difficult to hit, National is top 10% of judges and Master is top 1 or 2%.
     
  3. Phischy

    Phischy

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2013
    Location:
    Who-ston
    I received my latest tasting score back for an exam I took without prep. They were 1 person below the 6 minium threshold else it'd be cancelled, so I jumped in and wow...got 80+. So now I'm prepping for the written exam that I last took in '08.

    I don't have the nose for Master rank so at long last I'm finally done with the tasting exam. Hallelujah.

    And on Sunday I'm starting a prep class for others for an upcoming exam.
     
  4. BadJustin

    BadJustin Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2013
    Location:
    Complaint Dept.
  5. Lutter

    Lutter

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2013
    Location:
    Breakfast Tacos
    BJCP is actually useful, however, lol. Been thinking about getting mine for a while now as I've been invited several times to judge things and, without your BJCP you're basically stuck at "volunteer" status at most AHA competitions (pour beer, setup, etc...) out here.
     
    Phischy, BadJustin and Gonzoillini like this.
  6. Gonzoillini

    Gonzoillini

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2013
    Location:
    Chicagoland
    I'll have some more information to post in here from the first few classes I've taken along with some picture in the coming day or two.
     
    More Betterness likes this.
  7. BadJustin

    BadJustin Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2013
    Location:
    Complaint Dept.

    I'm just breaking em on Gonzo. :)
     
    jivex5k and Gonzoillini like this.
  8. runlikealope

    runlikealope

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2013
    Not to hijack this but somewhat related. Anyone here taken the advanced cicerone? I know you guys love the program SO much!
     
    Gonzoillini likes this.
  9. Phischy

    Phischy

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2013
    Location:
    Who-ston
    I'd be very interested to know what sub cats (beyond sour/wood) you guys aren't covering. 2015 guidelines have so many new ones that trying to run a class on everything is rediculus.
     
    Gonzoillini likes this.
  10. Phischy

    Phischy

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2013
    Location:
    Who-ston
    I'm a certified Cicerone Beer Server. And I know which beers pare best with girlscout cookies.
     
    BigFrank, scramin85, Frank and 3 others like this.
  11. quinnsi

    quinnsi

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2014
    What are you looking to figure out about it?
     
    BigFrank and Gonzoillini like this.
  12. axeman9182

    axeman9182

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2013
    Starting my class for the exam next week. Runs every Tuesday besides the Tuesday of our monthly club meeting until sometime in July.
     
    Gonzoillini and Phischy like this.
  13. runlikealope

    runlikealope

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2013
    I was just seeing what others experiences were like since not a ton of people have done it yet. I took it yesterday. God. Fucking. Damn. That shit was brutal. 9 hours of awesome. super heavy on the technical stuff. Got in a bunch of beers at dovetail and half acre though. Now to wait 8 weeks for results.....
     
    PHBoiler, Gene, quinnsi and 1 other person like this.
  14. runlikealope

    runlikealope

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2013
    Axeman9182 that's why my box has been delayed BTW.
     
    axeman9182 likes this.
  15. Gonzoillini

    Gonzoillini

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2013
    Location:
    Chicagoland
    Alright time for some recap after the first 3 classes we've done.

    The classes I'm in are structured in a 3 part format with the first part of class dealing with off flavors, ingredients, and some BJCP online and tasting exam tips and tricks. The second part of class dives into specific styles and after the education aspect we jump into tastings with both spiked American Light Lager for off flavor examples and then style specific examples. The third part of class is judging homebrews with an emphasis on the BJCP scoring sheet and examples of beer styles we've covered in class.

    Class #1 was a recap about BJCP, the online exam, the tasting exam, ales vs. lagers concepts, and a flavor discussion regarding esters and alcohols. Unfortunately I got there a bit later and missed a bit of the beginning, and forgot to take any pictures.

    Class #2 was education about hops and their flavor profiles with an emphasis on what hops are traditionally represented from what countries and styles, diacetyl vs. acetaldehyde and oxidized flavor profiles, and a comparison / education on British and Scottish ale styles.

    Class #2 was held at Sawa's Old Warsaw which is an old Polish / Bohemian restaurant in Broadview, IL and the location worked really well (we were in the banquet room / basement of the place) for the class.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Class #3 was an education on yeast cycle, fermentation, fermentation problems, yeast and bacteria species, Acid vs. Ester flavors with a bit on autolysis, and a breakdown of Belgian styles.

    Class #3 was held at Imperial Oak Brewing in Willow Springs, IL in the new expansion area which is separated from the main bar and you can turn on the bright lights for a classroom like setting.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  16. Phischy

    Phischy

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2013
    Location:
    Who-ston
    How many classes are you going through and how long is each class?
     
    Gonzoillini likes this.
  17. Gonzoillini

    Gonzoillini

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2013
    Location:
    Chicagoland
    I believe we are doing 8 classes in total and they are about 3 hours long per class which includes the structured topics, off flavor and style tastings, and homebrew judging.
     
    Phischy likes this.
  18. Gonzoillini

    Gonzoillini

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2013
    Location:
    Chicagoland
    I missed class #4, but the topics started off with a discussion about grain and it's material composition (husk, starch, proteins), the malting process, mashing, and using adjuncts. A discussion of phenols and tannins followed, with an off flavor discussion on DMS. They then moved into German beers styles with a focus on Wheat beers (Berliner Weiss, Weissbier, Dunkle Weissbier, and Weizenbock), Altbier and Kolsch for the Ales and Pale Lagers (Munich Helles, Leichtbier, Exportbier, Festbier and Kellerbier), Pilsners (German, Czech and Czech Pale Lager), Bocks (Helles Bock, Dunkles Bock, Doppelbock and Eisbock).

    Class #5 started with a discussion between Caramelization vs Maillard reactions, sources in malting and brewing, lighstruck, metallic off flavors and a breakdown of Amber Brown Dark but not roasty styles including Amber Lagers (Vienna, Marzen, Rauchbier, Kellerbier, Altbier, Czech Amber Lager, International Amber Lager), Amber Ales (American Amber, California Common and Irish Red Ale), Dark Lagers (Munich Dunkel, Scwartzbier, Czech Dark Lager, International Dark Lager), Brown Ales (Dark Mild, British Brown Ale, American Brown Ale) and Bocks (Dunkles Bock and Doppelbock).

    [​IMG]

    Class #6 included a discussion on water chemistry, famous brewing water profiles, minerals and ways to modify water, then jumped into roasted malt styles including Porter (American Porter, English Porter, and Baltic Porter), Stout (Irish Stout, Extra Stout, Foreign Extra Stout, Sweet Stout, Tropical Stout, Oatmeal Stout, American Stout, Imperial Stout), Dark Lagers (Schwartzbier, Czech Dark Lager, and International Dark Lager) and American Ale Styles (Cream Ale, American Wheat Beer, Blonde Ale, American Pale Ale, American IPA, Double IPA, American Strong Ale, American Barleywine, and Wheatwine)

    Will be taking my online exam shortly which I'll be embarrassed if I don't pass on the first attempt, then we jump into a lot more judging before our exam in June.

    Cheers!
     
    BigFrank and jtmartino like this.
  19. Phischy

    Phischy

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2013
    Location:
    Who-ston
    I wrapped up my classes. Geared toward tasting exam and not online test. Lots of cross over but the online exam was not the focus.
     
    Gonzoillini likes this.
  20. runlikealope

    runlikealope

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2013
    Passed the Advanced exam. Awaiting my permanent ban from the site now.