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General Category => General Homebrew Discussion => Topic started by: tomsawyer on December 08, 2011, 02:52:41 PM

Title: BJCP Exam Question
Post by: tomsawyer on December 08, 2011, 02:52:41 PM
I passed the exam last year and got a Recognized overall, but my written was good enough for certified (barely, 70).  I had no experience tasting/judging beers when I took the test.  Now I've judged some contests and have a bette idea of how things go.

My question is, with the changes that have (or are going to?) occur, how would I go about retaking the tasting portion of the test to get to the next level of Certified?

Title: Re: BJCP Exam Question
Post by: jeffy on December 08, 2011, 03:24:38 PM
Once you have taken the complete exam you can sign up to take either portion or both parts again, assuming you can find an exam near you with extra seats.  The changes for the tasting portion are minimal, I think.  Six beers, instead of three if I read that correctly.  Here's a pdf I found on the new changes:
http://www.bjcp.org/docs/newexam.pdf
Title: Re: BJCP Exam Question
Post by: tomsawyer on December 08, 2011, 07:49:30 PM
Thanks, I didn't see that on the BJCP website but it was probably there.  Its always tricky to get in to take an exam, I had a chance last summer on short notice but hadn't really practiced much.  This isn't something I'm in a big hurry to do but I do want to get to the next level if possible.
Title: Re: BJCP Exam Question
Post by: tomsawyer on December 12, 2011, 06:27:54 AM
After posting this, another forum member contacted me with an invitation to take the tasting test at their exam in January.  Its even close by in Galesburg IL.
Title: Re: BJCP Exam Question
Post by: MDixon on December 12, 2011, 07:01:40 AM
The taste exam by itself is currently not something you have to spend an extreme amount of time studying for other than to taste a myriad of beers and learn to describe what you sense. Fill in all the white space and don't make things up. IMO on the taste exam try to not speak to style until the Overall Impression (if even then) and you will maximize your results.
Title: Re: BJCP Exam Question
Post by: tomsawyer on December 12, 2011, 07:31:42 AM
Thanks, I'll certainly take that advice.  I've judged six or seven contests now, including one this past weekend.  So I have the mechanics down and am building up my adjective arsenal.  I feel like I have a decent palate as far as detecting your classic flaws, only thing I'm not good at detecting is oxidation.
Title: Re: BJCP Exam Question
Post by: weithman5 on December 12, 2011, 07:37:43 AM
i think oxidation tastes like stale bread.  if you have ever decided to finish off the remnants of a kegger a few days after it was tapped you'll understand that one.  everything else i am at a loss for still
Title: Re: BJCP Exam Question
Post by: morticaixavier on December 12, 2011, 08:29:26 AM
I get cardboard with oxidation. it can actually start out kind of nice, a little sweet tasting (I guess this is called sherry like) but quicky turns to cardboard.
Title: Re: BJCP Exam Question
Post by: denny on December 12, 2011, 08:42:40 AM
I get cardboard with oxidation. it can actually start out kind of nice, a little sweet tasting (I guess this is called sherry like) but quicky turns to cardboard.

I find oxidation often produces exaggerated caramel type flavors.
Title: Re: BJCP Exam Question
Post by: jaronson on December 13, 2011, 04:05:16 PM
Usually if you are just wanting to take the tasting portion it is much easier.  Contact the test organizer and let him/her know you just want to take the tasting portion.  Usually even if they are currently booked, they will be able to get you in in a week or two before the test date.  I have done this personally a couple of times.  If you have any further questions I would be more than happy to get you answers.  You can contact me at jonathan@beerjudgeeducation.com.  Cheers
Title: Re: BJCP Exam Question
Post by: tomsawyer on December 13, 2011, 06:20:43 PM
I am being offered the chance to just do the tasting, and others have suggested it is easier to take the tasting part by itself.  If I can keep the better score (which I've been told is the case) then I don't see why I a leaning towards taking the whole test again.  I have no aspirations about gaining a national rank but I could probably add a few points to my written score.  Plus I've always been one of those geeks who likes to take tests, and I have a week off at the end of the year to do a little cramming.  I'm still debating this though.
Title: Re: BJCP Exam Question
Post by: udubdawg on December 13, 2011, 08:47:21 PM
I am being offered the chance to just do the tasting, and others have suggested it is easier to take the tasting part by itself.  If I can keep the better score (which I've been told is the case) then I don't see why I a leaning towards taking the whole test again.  I have no aspirations about gaining a national rank but I could probably add a few points to my written score.  Plus I've always been one of those geeks who likes to take tests, and I have a week off at the end of the year to do a little cramming.  I'm still debating this though.

yeah you'll get 1 hour for the tasting, which is easy for judging 4 beers.  Now that you have some judging experience, you'll do great!

Title: Re: BJCP Exam Question
Post by: denny on December 14, 2011, 08:50:38 AM
When I retook the tasting last year, I did worse than I did on the original test!   :-[
Title: Re: BJCP Exam Question
Post by: jlap on December 14, 2011, 09:11:15 AM
IME the key to the tasting part is not to over think it.  Cover all the aspects for each section that the score sheet prompts you for and try to use descriptive language.  Fill in the available space and try not to miss anything.  It depends a lot on whether you're going for a 70 or >80 I guess.  If only a 70, missing an off character like oxidation probably won't be fatal as long as your score is in line with the proctors.
Title: Re: BJCP Exam Question
Post by: tomsawyer on December 14, 2011, 10:16:43 AM
I got a 70 on the written and a 60 on the tasting first time around, so I'd take a 70 on tasting.  Wouldn't mind giving myself some breathing room with a few extra points on the written.  I'm quite certain that I'm not yet at a national level, I've interacted with enough of them to know this.
Title: Re: BJCP Exam Question
Post by: denny on December 14, 2011, 12:10:52 PM
I needed to get a 98 on the tasting to get the 1 more point I needed.  Not even close....
Title: Re: BJCP Exam Question
Post by: tomsawyer on December 14, 2011, 08:01:23 PM
I needed to get a 98 on the tasting to get the 1 more point I needed.  Not even close....
You couldn't score a measly 98?!  Whats wrong with you?  You need more practice.  That or all those hops have dulled your taste buds.
Title: Re: BJCP Exam Question
Post by: MDixon on December 15, 2011, 04:41:57 PM
The highest anyone has ever gotten on the taste is a 97 and three have accomplished that feat. One person got a 96, eleven got 95...in reality only 83 people have ever made a 91 or above and at the time I figured out those stats 6,267 had tried ;)
Title: Re: BJCP Exam Question
Post by: tomsawyer on December 15, 2011, 06:58:23 PM
The highest anyone has ever gotten on the taste is a 97 and three have accomplished that feat. One person got a 96, eleven got 95...in reality only 83 people have ever made a 91 or above and at the time I figured out those stats 6,267 had tried ;)

OK Denny I forgive you.  But next time I know you'll set the new record.
Title: Re: BJCP Exam Question
Post by: CASK1 on December 15, 2011, 06:59:44 PM
I've graded many BJCP exams, and here's my advice for the tasting portion. The scoresheet gives crucial hints. In the "aroma" section for example, the scoresheet says "comment of malt, hops, esters, and other aromatics". It's important to hit all those features, even if you don't detect them (no diacetyl, no DMS). Similar hints are part of every section - hit all these highlights! I'm amazed at how many scoresheets make no mention of hop bitterness levels, etc. Another suggestion is to use as much descriptive terminology as possible. To (correctly) state that a beer has medium to high malt flavor is good. To describe (again, correctly) that the malt flavor is bready, or toasty, biscuity, caramel, roasty, etc. is MUCH better. Oh, and don't forget to check the boxes on the stylistic accuracy table at the bottom of the scoresheet! Cheers, and good luck on the exam!
Title: Re: BJCP Exam Question
Post by: tomsawyer on December 15, 2011, 08:15:02 PM
I've graded many BJCP exams, and here's my advice for the tasting portion. The scoresheet gives crucial hints. In the "aroma" section for example, the scoresheet says "comment of malt, hops, esters, and other aromatics". It's important to hit all those features, even if you don't detect them (no diacetyl, no DMS). Similar hints are part of every section - hit all these highlights! I'm amazed at how many scoresheets make no mention of hop bitterness levels, etc. Another suggestion is to use as much descriptive terminology as possible. To (correctly) state that a beer has medium to high malt flavor is good. To describe (again, correctly) that the malt flavor is bready, or toasty, biscuity, caramel, roasty, etc. is MUCH better. Oh, and don't forget to check the boxes on the stylistic accuracy table at the bottom of the scoresheet! Cheers, and good luck on the exam!
Appreciate the advice, I'm working on my adjectives and have been doing a better job of including a mention of those traits/faults I don't detect.  Its actually easy to include that verbage, sometimes I feel guilty when I include these comments in actual judging.  Its like I'm wasting space.