Posted to JudgeNet Digest #1253, April 12, 1996, by
Scott Bickham, BJCP Exam Director
THE BJCP PROGRAM GUIDE
The Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) is an independent non-profit
membership organization of beer judges. It was formed in 1985 through the
efforts of the American Homebrewers Association (AHA) and the Home Wine and
Beer Trade Association (HWBTA). Over 1500 judges are currently active in
the program. The purpose of the BJCP is to promote beer literacy and the
appreciation of real beer, and to recognize beer tasting and evaluation
THE BJCP EXAM
The three-hour BJCP exam is given in two parts: essay and tasting. The
essay portion, worth 70 percent of the final score, is designed to determine
an individual's overall knowledge of beer and his or her ability to clearly
express the information in writing. Essay questions cover the following
- Technical aspects of brewing, ingredients, brewing process and
- World beer styles
- The BJCP. Judges represent the BJCP and should be able to explain
the program to potential judges and homebrewers.
The tasting portion of the exam is worth 30 percent of the final score.
Each candidate will judge four beers as if he or she were at a homebrew
competition. The prospective judge must score the beer and describe all
significant aspects of it, as well as comment on style characteristics.
PREPARING FOR THE EXAM
n preparing to become a beer judge you should acquire a broad understanding
of beer styles, know different brewing methods and how brewing methods affect
style and flavor. Brewing processes should be understood to the point where
you can intelligently discuss various techniques and ingredients and how
they may have affected the beer being sampled. Frequent tasting of
commercial beers will help you gain further understanding of style
- Beer Companion, Michael Jackson
- New Complete Joy of Home Brewing (Avon Books),
- Complete Handbook of Home Brewing (Garden
Way Publishing), Dave Miller
- Zymurgy 1987 Special Issue (vol.10, No.4) Troubleshooting
- AHA National Homebrew Competition Style Guidelines
- New World Guide to Beer (Running Press), Michael Jackson
- Simon and Schuster Pocket Guide to Beer (Simon
and Schuster), Michael Jackson
- Classic Beer Style series (Brewers Publications),
- Brewing Quality Beers (Joby Books), Byron Burch
- Beer Enthusiast's Guide (Storey Publications),
- Brewing Lager Beer (Brewers Publications), Greg
LEVELS OF JUDGES
Judges vary widely in their skill and experience. As a result, the BJCP
recognizes various levels of accomplishment. An individual's level of
certification is determined by two factors: exam score and experience points
earned through BJCP registered and AHA sanctioned competitions. The
different levels and the criteria for achieving them are outlined below.
- RECOGNIZED JUDGE - minimum score of 60 percent on the exam. No
experience points are necessary to attain this level.
- CERTIFIED JUDGE - minimum score of 70 percent on the exam and at
least five experience points, 2.5 of which must be judging
- NATIONAL JUDGE - minimum score of 80 percent on the exam and at
least 20 experience points, 10 of which must be judging
- MASTER JUDGE - minimum score of 90 percent on the exam and at least
40 experience points, 20 of which must be judging points
- GRAND MASTER JUDGE - FIRST DEGREE - minimum score of 90 percent on the exam
and at least 100 experience points, 50 of which must be judging points. A
service requirement for the BJCP, to be determined by the Exam Director on
an individual basis, must also be fulfilled. Additional degrees, second,
third, etc., can be earned in 100 experience point increments with
additional service requirements to be determined by the Exam Director on
an individual basis.
- HONORARY MASTER JUDGE - a temporary designation given by the BJCP committee.
Directors and individuals on the BJCP Committee bear this title during
ADVANCING IN THE BJCP
Because both exam scores and experience points determine the level of
recognition achieved in the BJCP, a judge should strive to meet both types
of criteria on an ongoing basis. A judge may wish to retake the exam in
order to achieve the higher score necessary to advance to the next level.
There is a reduced price for participants wishing to retake the BJCP exam.
A judge will be placed on an inactive list if no experience points are
recorded for two years. After two years on the inactive list, a judge will
be dropped from the BJCP roster. This policy encourages judges to maintain
their skills and assures competition organizers that they are using
experienced judges with up to date knowledge of beer styles and judging
practices. Upon certification by the BJCP Committee, the judge receives a
handsome certificate showing the date of award and level of recognition.
He or she also receives a wallet-size card denoting the same achievement.
Experience points are earned through judging at a competition registered by
the BJCP or sanctioned by the AHA. Points are awarded according to the
difficulty and responsibility of the task, as well as by the size of the
competition. Competition organizers and assistant organizers earn points
based on the number of entries.
|Number of Entries
*In competitions having 500 or more entries, judges will receive one point
for the first session attended and 0.5 points for each subsequent session,
with a limit of 1.5 points per calendar day and a total not to exceed 3
points for the event.
For any one competition, points may be awarded to individuals from different
categories (i.e. judging, stewarding, BoS or organizing) provided the total
points awarded to an individual do not exceed the calendar or event limits
for the competition. The organizer may only allocate the organizer and
assistant organizer points among staff members in 0.5 point increments. A
competition organizer may not submit experience points for more than one
best of show judge per 25 entries, with a limit of four best of show judges
per event. Experience points are recorded only after the competition
organizer has sent a competition report to the sanctioning body, and that
report is approved and recorded by the BJCP.
The Beer Judge Certification Program is governed by a Board of Directors
consisting of seven elected representatives of seven regions of North
America. This board manages BJCP policy and bylaws. The business of the
BJCP is managed by Directors who have different fields of responsibility.
Communication with test-takers and BJCP members is handled by a Program
Administrator, who also handles outside communications. This position
is currently held by Russ Wigglesworth.
- Exam Director: BJCP exam program
- Data Systems Director: BJCP Data Base
- Competition Director: BJCP competition registration program
Exam administrators are appointed by the Exam Director and earn non-judging
experience points according to the schedule below. An additional 0.5 point
may be awarded to one BJCP judge who assists in the scoring of the exam
|Number of Exam Takers
|more than 11||2
The exam delegate may also allocate his points in 0.5 increments to those
who helped give the exam.
This booklet outlines bylaws as amended through March, 1996. The names and
addresses of individuals in the program are available to organizers of BJCP
registered competitions. Discrepancies in experience points, or in
participant records can be reported in writing to:
BJCP Program Administrator
c/o Celebrator Beer News, P.O.Box 375, Hayward, CA 94543 (415)502-1070
Requests for scheduling BJCP exams should be made in writing to:
Scott Bickham, BJCP Exam Director
7507 Swan Point Way, Columbia, MD 21045 (410) 290-7721