Hooked on Brewing


The information below is taken directly from the BJCP website - www.bjcp.org

The purpose of the Beer Judge Certification Program is to:

Encourage knowledge, understanding, and appreciation of the world's diverse beer, mead, and cider styles;
Promote, recognize, and advance beer, mead, and cider tasting, evaluation, and communication skills; and
Develop standardized tools, methods, and processes for the structured evaluation, ranking and feedback of beer, mead, and cider.We certify and rank beer judges through an examination and monitoring process, sanction competitions, and provide educational resources for current and future judges. 

The BJCP was founded in 1985 and has administered the Beer Judge Examination to 9,849 individuals worldwide. 5,743 are currently active judges in the program, with 800 holding the rank of National or higher. Since we started keeping detailed records, our members have judged over 1,203,698 beers and we have sanctioned over 7,375 competitions. 


  • One important condition that is necessary for accurate beer evaluation is the establishment of a suitable environment.
  • The environment should be well-lit, odor-free, and distractions should be minimized.
  • Natural, diffuse lighting is best, with incandescent lighting preferred over fluorescent lighting.
  • Table cloths and walls should be free of patterns that might obscure visual inspection of the beer, and light colored or white walls and tablecloths are ideal.
  • The room in which evaluation takes place should be as free of odors as possible.
  • Restaurants and breweries can be particularly troublesome locations for evaluating beers because food and brewing odors are likely to interfere with a beer judge’s ability to smell the beers being evaluated.
  • Smoking and perfumes should also be eliminated as much as possible.
  • In addition, the evaluation environment should be as free from other distractions.
  • Noise should be kept to a minimum, and privacy should be preserved to the greatest extent possible. Every effort should be made to make the beer judges comfortable by carefully selecting chairs and tables, monitoring the temperature of the evaluation room, and providing assistance to judges during the evaluation process (e.g.,stewards).

I knew the beer I submitted was going to be flat based on the sample bottle I made and kept for myself. Still, it is disappointing to see it confirmed in black and white. I will chalk this up as a learning experience, and will use this score sheet as a motivator to GET BETTER AT BOTTLING! Ugh.

I both JUDGED and ENTERED my first official craft beer competition recently.The entry rules were very specific regarding the bottles, the caps, the labels, information on the labels, etc, and the judging was equally particular. Because I had never officially judged before I had no idea what to expect. But, I was intentionally partnered up with a Master Certified BJCP Judge to help mitigate my inexperience. We judged a flight of about 8 beers in the "Specialty" category - styles 34a, 34b, and 34c. This is kind of a catch-all category for beer that doesn't fit neatly into any other category, and wow did we have a variety! And, thanks to my judging partner (BJCP competitions always have a team of two judges for each style group), I learned a TON ... I was apprehensive going into it, but excited coming out. Jim encouraged me to consider getting certified and I have begun the MASSIVE project of reading and researching. I have not set any time limits for myself, so this might end up taking me a year or more. The information is extremely detailed, precise, and particular. My hat is off to those who have become certified. This is no joke!

** Below is a short blurb from the BJCP Study Guide. I am posting it here as an example of how serious these competitions are taken. This is also gives you a good "feel" for how the BJCP test might be.

** Below is an example of ONE test question. Circle one:

 A Doppelbock typically has:

  1. More caramel character than Dunkles Bock
  2. More hop aroma than Dunkles Bock
  3. More melanoidin character than Dunkles Bock
  4. More astringency than Dunkles Bock
  5. More diacetyl than Dunkles Bock

Beer Judge Certification Program - BJCP