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General Category => Events => Homebrew Competitions => Topic started by: flbrewer on June 24, 2015, 07:42:35 PM

Title: BJCP Certification Thoughts
Post by: flbrewer on June 24, 2015, 07:42:35 PM
Who has been through it? Which level did you get to? What did you think of the process?
Title: Re: BJCP Certification Thoughts
Post by: toby on June 24, 2015, 07:49:38 PM
I'm currently Certified.  My tasting score is at National level, but waiting to take the Written to try and advance.  I think they're trying to improve the process and it's better than it used to be.
Title: Re: BJCP Certification Thoughts
Post by: denny on June 24, 2015, 07:56:20 PM
I'm National, 1 point short of Master.  It's grueling but rewarding.
Title: Re: BJCP Certification Thoughts
Post by: morticaixavier on June 24, 2015, 07:59:05 PM
Just made certified, just barely have a masters level tasting score and will be retesting next month. I think the training course was probably the part with value so if you can find a group near you I would totally recomend that. The exam is a nice goal though.
Title: Re: BJCP Certification Thoughts
Post by: klickitat jim on June 24, 2015, 08:02:00 PM
It's a lot of work and therefore quite an accomplishment. I'm Recognized and need one more judging session to reach Certified. In a few years when I have enough points to reach national I might test again.

There are a few top notch people in the organization. Some that I have met are James Golovich, Randy Scorby, and Steve Antoch.
Title: Re: BJCP Certification Thoughts
Post by: AmandaK on June 24, 2015, 08:19:11 PM
I am BJCP Master. I took the legacy exam with a 90/84 written/tasting. It was not hard, but I studied for what I needed to study and I am a good test taker. I took the tasting in May of last year and got the 90 on the tasting I needed to rank up.

I think the process of learning how to become a new judge and knowing what to study is disjointed and somewhat archaic. I brought this up to Gordon at NHC and he agreed. So I am working on putting together a "BJCP Judge Training Course" that can be ported to any potential judge or any current judge looking to form a study group. Hopefully that will help anyone trying to get into it a pretty good shot at getting a pretty good score no matter their location or access to a local pool of judges.
Title: Re: BJCP Certification Thoughts
Post by: reverseapachemaster on June 24, 2015, 08:34:05 PM
I'm not certified and haven't sat for an exam but that is because the LSAT, three years of law school exams and the bar gave me test-taking fatigue.

Amanda is right about the need to know how to study and how to take the test. Those two skills are often as important as learning the subject matter, especially as you try to get closer to a perfect score. It's often difficult for the test preparers to provide effective guidance on these subjects because they are not thinking about how to best learn what they already know or how to game the test they designed. You need people outside the system who have performed well to develop the prep materials.
Title: Re: BJCP Certification Thoughts
Post by: Pinski on June 24, 2015, 08:42:48 PM
I'm certified with an 83 tasting score and have not taken the written exam.  A friend and I were going to try and get in on a written before the guideline shift. I'm just feeling like I need to spend some time being certified, gain more experience and let the new guidelines settle in a bit.  Really glad to hear about Amanda's project to put together a study group outline.  I that will be really helpful to focus preparation.  I'm anxious to see how the new guidelines affect competitions, judging and exam preparation. 
Title: Re: BJCP Certification Thoughts
Post by: AmandaK on June 24, 2015, 09:22:45 PM
I'm certified with an 83 tasting score and have not taken the written exam.  A friend and I were going to try and get in on a written before the guideline shift. I'm just feeling like I need to spend some time being certified, gain more experience and let the new guidelines settle in a bit.  Really glad to hear about Amanda's project to put together a study group outline.  I that will be really helpful to focus preparation.  I'm anxious to see how the new guidelines affect competitions, judging and exam preparation.

The project I am working on is intended to get people into what is now your position, e.g. someone who scored well on the exam without a lot of actual experience. The "Advanced Judge/Grader Training", which is being worked on by another set of people, would be for people who have tested well on the Tasting and want to advance by way of taking the Written.
Title: Re: BJCP Certification Thoughts
Post by: udubdawg on June 24, 2015, 09:26:50 PM
Mead/Master. Just took beta cider exam.
Probably my biggest passion re: BJCP is improving Feedback. I want less of the "add more Munich" or "uncover your boil" guessing and more "here's how your beer differs from the style:..."

Another would be grading; I mostly grade the Written Exam; anyone is free to contact me on how to prepare for it.

...however I have little time for either right now. Busy with question pool for cider exam, my other big area of interest.

Practice with filling out scoresheets is critical to success on the exam. Write down what you experience - level, descriptor, attribute.
And obviously drinking some commercial examples (in good condition), while reading the relevant guidelines.
Title: Re: BJCP Certification Thoughts
Post by: AmandaK on June 24, 2015, 10:14:41 PM
Probably my biggest passion re: BJCP is improving Feedback. I want less of the "add more Munich" or "uncover your boil" guessing and more "here's how your beer differs from the style:..."

I think the weakest part of feedback is the assumptions. People need to look for multiple clues when judging to accurately give feedback. Not looking for multiple clues leads to feedback like "Watch sanitation" or "add more Munich".
Title: Re: BJCP Certification Thoughts
Post by: kramerog on June 25, 2015, 01:40:01 AM
Taking tasting classes for the exam has reopened my eyes to styles I thought I didn't like English IPA and Bavarian weizens of all kinds.  I'm planning to brew beers for these styles soon.
Title: Re: BJCP Certification Thoughts
Post by: hopfenundmalz on June 25, 2015, 01:49:06 AM
I am certified, and joust did a do over on the tasting last Saturday. Hopping for an 80 or above so that I can retake the written. I have enough points to be national once I get the scores.

Here is my take. I mean this in the best way possible, pointing out that we all have areas of excellence.

Some are good test takers.
Some are good judges.
Some are good Brewers.

Then there is Gordon.  ;)
Title: Re: BJCP Certification Thoughts
Post by: dkfick on June 25, 2015, 03:07:01 AM
I am certified, and joust did a do over on the tasting last Saturday. Hopping for an 80 or above so that I can retake the written. I have enough points to be national once I get the scores.

Here is my take. I mean this in the best way possible, pointing out that we all have areas of excellence.

Some are good test takers.
Some are good judges.
Some are good Brewers.

Then there is Gordon.  ;)
Wow. I totally forgot I was suppose to supply 2 beers for that exam. After NHC and San Diego vacation afterwards it totally slipped my mind until I read this. Glad Fred had other people lined up. Though I did have the beers if I was reminded. Either way... Hope you scored well Jeff.

As to the OP... I'm National/Mead and took the beers cider exam at the NHC. For the tasting exam I recommend a beer studies course or just lots of practice filling out scoresheets and reading other scoresheets. For the written...it's all about the time. Practice writting answers for the questions in the pool as fast as possible...

As for what I get out of the BJCP... I'm not totally sure. I really enjoy judging at competitions, but I don't need to be ranked to do that. I suppose is nice to be recognized for the work you've put into honing my skills at evaluating and providing feedback on beers/meads. Also the more judges are better able to evaluate and fill out a scoresheet the less I have to facepalm when judging with them or receiving scoresheets. I think without an organization like the BJCP evaluation skills in this hobby of ours, and thus quality, would be sorely lacking.

That was a lot to type on my phone...Lol
Title: Re: BJCP Certification Thoughts
Post by: udubdawg on June 25, 2015, 01:20:09 PM

As for what I get out of the BJCP...


Personally it greatly improved my brewing, more than any other thing has.  But in fairness I'm a technical, to-style, German-type brewer.  If one were a serial experifermenter I don't know that it would do the same.
Title: Re: BJCP Certification Thoughts
Post by: dkfick on June 25, 2015, 01:45:41 PM

As for what I get out of the BJCP...


Personally it greatly improved my brewing, more than any other thing has.  But in fairness I'm a technical, to-style, German-type brewer.  If one were a serial experifermenter I don't know that it would do the same.
Oh I agree it made me a much better brewer. I tried to convey that in my extra long phone gibberish post.
Title: Re: BJCP Certification Thoughts
Post by: S. cerevisiae on June 25, 2015, 03:24:27 PM
Personally it greatly improved my brewing, more than any other thing has.  But in fairness I'm a technical, to-style, German-type brewer.  If one were a serial experifermenter I don't know that it would do the same.

Therein lies the value of going through BJCP certification process.  It teaches one how to determine if a beer is to style based on a set of guidelines as well as how to document one's sensory evaluation in a common language and structure.  That kind of specialized knowledge is needed to run well-organized competitions that provide consistent and useful feedback to contestants.  Everything else that is learned via BJCP participation can be learned as well if not better via other avenues.  I personally did not learn anything technical that I did not already know by going through the BJCP process.  A few things that are taught in the program are actually technically incorrect such as how trans-2-nonenal is formed.
Title: Re: BJCP Certification Thoughts
Post by: dkfick on June 25, 2015, 06:16:17 PM
Personally it greatly improved my brewing, more than any other thing has.  But in fairness I'm a technical, to-style, German-type brewer.  If one were a serial experifermenter I don't know that it would do the same.

Therein lies the value of going through BJCP certification process.  It teaches one how to determine if a beer is to style based on a set of guidelines as well as how to document one's sensory evaluation in a common language and structure.  That kind of specialized knowledge is needed to run well-organized competitions that provide consistent and useful feedback to contestants.  Everything else that is learned via BJCP participation can be learned as well if not better via other avenues.  I personally did not learn anything technical that I did not already know by going through the BJCP process.  A few things that are taught in the program are actually technically incorrect such as how trans-2-nonenal is formed.

I would argue that being able to document one's sensory evaluation will make you a better brewer rather you're evaluating beers that are brewed to style or not.  Knowing and being able to reference what you're perceiving in a beer will only be able to help you brew it better.  Obviously this knowledge is only a tool and you would still have to put in some effort to determine how to avoid or increase whatever you are perceiving/want to perceive in the beer.

I do agree you could accomplish this through other avenues.  The 'to style' portion of the BJCP mostly only comes into the equation when trying to score a scoresheet.  All the steps of evaluating a beer up to that point are just sensory perceptions and your ability to express them.
Title: Re: BJCP Certification Thoughts
Post by: jeffy on June 25, 2015, 07:36:49 PM
I am one of those people who tests well and am a Master BJCP judge.  The first time I took the written test 20 years ago, I scored 85, so I studied real hard, read about beer for months and retook it for an 83.  After teaching a prep class I made it to the next level.
I like the new format better.  It is more about actual judging and sensory perception.
Title: Re: BJCP Certification Thoughts
Post by: santoch on June 27, 2015, 02:38:54 AM
I'm a Grand Master (waiting for points to hit to be GM2). I started judging back in 2007 so that I could understand what the judges are looking for when judging my beers.  I could brew drinkable stuff, but after entering what I thought were some really good beers into competitions, I'd end up in the low to mid 30's.  I figured I'd never brew better unless I knew what they were perceiving that I wasn't.  It definitely helped develop my palate and introduced me to all of the styles, as well as practical experience with controlled off flavor tasting, all of which in turn drastically improved my brewing, since I no longer had to rely on the opinion of others to troubleshoot my own beers.

I agree with Amanda that the online materials are dated, and am glad that she has taken the initiative on renovating the learning materials.  We've been eyeing them as needing work but have been working on other priorities (particularly getting more graders so that we can address the backlog problems).

Feel free to PM me or email me (steve dot antoch at yahoo dot com) if you have any questions about the BJCP or judging.  If I can't directly answer them, I'll see that it gets to the appropriate person.

Steve
Title: Re: BJCP Certification Thoughts
Post by: klickitat jim on June 28, 2015, 01:09:29 PM

  Knowing and being able to reference what you're perceiving in a beer will only be able to help you brew it better.  Obviously this knowledge is only a tool and you would still have to put in some effort to determine how to avoid or increase whatever you are perceiving/want to perceive in the beer.


Are you saying that the BJCP is a bunch of tools?
Title: Re: BJCP Certification Thoughts
Post by: dkfick on June 28, 2015, 01:11:44 PM
Groan lol
Title: Re: BJCP Certification Thoughts
Post by: klickitat jim on June 28, 2015, 01:30:31 PM
Groan lol
I know, right?