Author Topic: Cramming for a BJCP Tasting Exam  (Read 7103 times)

Offline newrocset

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Re: Cramming for a BJCP Tasting Exam
« Reply #15 on: September 24, 2012, 09:48:27 PM »
Take a deep breath....you have very little time to learn all the essentials of each style - but you can still cram to get a basic premise...If I were in your position, I would do the following:

Read all BJCP styles 1-19 and 22 over and over and over every single day if you can.
Read the troubleshooting section of the BJCP study guide over and over and over every single day.
There is also a good section in the BJCP study guide that tells you how to evaluate - read that, especially if you are new to judging.

Keep in mind, that your objective is to become a better brewer - you can always take the tasting exam again if you choke, and if you have already completed the written/multiple choice part, then you have a great foundation.  Have fun learning about all the beer styles and tasting at the exam!

For my exam, I modified the BJCP styles into a table format to make it easier to study - send me an email or PM with your email and I'll send it to you as a word attachment.
« Last Edit: September 24, 2012, 09:54:00 PM by newrocset »
Have a Kolsch and a smile!

Offline tomsawyer

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Re: Cramming for a BJCP Tasting Exam
« Reply #16 on: September 25, 2012, 05:19:11 AM »
do you have time to spend @ a craft beer bar and have the bartender pour you a random beer, where you'd have to guess it?  combine that (I'd suggest a half pour, or taster if they'll do it), fill out the score sheets, as they say, and try to find some good reviews on BeerAdvocate/Ratebeer and compare to yours.  iPad/remote internet/smartphone would be key for this approach.
You dont have to guess a style.  Just drink a classic example and score it, then see if you've used the right descriptors.
Lennie
Hannibal, MO

Offline tomsawyer

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Re: Cramming for a BJCP Tasting Exam
« Reply #17 on: September 25, 2012, 05:21:00 AM »
This from the the BJCP website:
Scoring Accuracy (20%), 9/20 is lowest score, though.
ŠPerception Comments (20%)
ŠDescriptive Ability (20%)
ŠFeedback (20%)
ŠCompleteness/Communication (20%)

Also there should be one nearly perfect brewery fresh beer and one badly flawed beer.
Thats true but if you don't match the proctor's perceptions you will also be dinged for perception comments and to some extent feedback.  My experience is that there are more points to be lost by not finding something, than there are to be had to identifying and describing what you perceive.
« Last Edit: September 25, 2012, 06:08:39 AM by tomsawyer »
Lennie
Hannibal, MO

Offline mtnrockhopper

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Re: Cramming for a BJCP Tasting Exam
« Reply #18 on: September 25, 2012, 05:36:15 AM »
The scoring directions also say to use the descriptors in the BJCP guidelines as a rubric, so if you're tasting a beer and the guidelines say 'No esters' under aroma, then you need to write something about esters under aroma, even if it is to repeat 'No esters here'.  A table would be great for studying. Tasting classic examples while reading the guidelines and filling out scoresheets will help too.

Edit: My guess is also that mentioning a character listed in the guidelines, even if your perception is wrong, will get you more points than failing to mention it at all.
« Last Edit: September 25, 2012, 05:38:40 AM by mtnrockhopper »
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AHA Member since 2006
BJCP: B0958

Offline mpietropaoli

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Cramming for a BJCP Tasting Exam
« Reply #19 on: September 25, 2012, 03:28:33 PM »
do you have time to spend @ a craft beer bar and have the bartender pour you a random beer, where you'd have to guess it?  combine that (I'd suggest a half pour, or taster if they'll do it), fill out the score sheets, as they say, and try to find some good reviews on BeerAdvocate/Ratebeer and compare to yours.  iPad/remote internet/smartphone would be key for this approach.
You dont have to guess a style.  Just drink a classic example and score it, then see if you've used the right descriptors.

I understand, but for me, working backward helped me to know what to look for.  I also was able to check and develop descriptors.
« Last Edit: September 25, 2012, 06:21:16 PM by mpietropaoli »
Primary: Common Cider; Xmas FauxCAP
Kegged: Pliny Clone; Rodney's Weizenbock; RIS
Bottled: Putain Biere de Garde; 51 RIS; Glutang Clan Roggenbier
Cellaring: Biere de Mars; Flanders
Planned: Schwarz

Offline gmac

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Re: Cramming for a BJCP Tasting Exam
« Reply #20 on: September 30, 2012, 01:28:52 PM »
Well, it's over. Guess I will know how it went in about 4 months.
Thanks to everyone for the advice.

Offline tomsawyer

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Re: Cramming for a BJCP Tasting Exam
« Reply #21 on: October 01, 2012, 04:36:05 AM »
How do you think  it went?  Were you able to ID plenty of aspects of the beers?  Did you have enough adjectives to describe what you were sensing?  Were you familiar with all the styles?

Good luck to ya.
Lennie
Hannibal, MO

Offline gmac

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Re: Cramming for a BJCP Tasting Exam
« Reply #22 on: October 01, 2012, 06:57:43 AM »
How do you think  it went?  Were you able to ID plenty of aspects of the beers?  Did you have enough adjectives to describe what you were sensing?  Were you familiar with all the styles?

Good luck to ya.

I think it went OK to slightly better than OK.  Not excellent, thats for sure.  I was careful to comment on the different factors of the beer even if they weren't really there (for example, "No esters present" in lagers if I didn't taste any).
The biggest problem I found was identifying off-flavours.  There was something wrong with the 2nd beer I tasted but I can't decide what it was.  I don't think I have much of an ability to taste diacetyl and maybe that is what this was but I basically said somethings wrong, apologized for not being able to be more specific and recommended that they solicit more feedback to get a better understanding of what was wrong.  The styles I had were Kolsch (supposedly this had some astringency but I love bitter and I didn't really pick up on it and rated this highly), Bo-Pils (something wrong), German Weizen (no clove, little banana), APA (too bitter and thin), Robust Porter (pretty good) and Belgian Golden Strong (very good).  I know most of these pretty well so I think I did OK. 
Not sure there are enough adjectives in the world.  Would be nice to be able to type this since my hand writing is so messy and I could have used a bit more room.

Offline tomsawyer

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Re: Cramming for a BJCP Tasting Exam
« Reply #23 on: October 01, 2012, 07:31:09 AM »
You gotta figure there's going to be oxidation (cardboard), diacetyl and DMS (sweetcorn or cabbage).  In a pils I'd guess DMS or diacetyl, both are possible since short boils on pils malt leave DMS and no diacetyl rest and racking off yeast quick give diacetyl.

Anyway you got one under your belt.  Now sign up and judge a few contests, thats great experience.
Lennie
Hannibal, MO

Offline james

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Re: Cramming for a BJCP Tasting Exam
« Reply #24 on: October 01, 2012, 08:21:32 AM »
Maybe the Bohemian Pils was Pilsner Urquell that was lightstuck/skunky?  I've had that one on an exam before and I know a number of other people that have as well.  Seems to be a common test beer

Offline gmac

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Re: Cramming for a BJCP Tasting Exam
« Reply #25 on: October 01, 2012, 08:43:05 AM »
I'm pretty sure I know skunky, I get a lot of skunky from the beer I drink in the back yard cause of the clear glasses I use.  I also used to drink a lot of Sleeman Cream Ale and it's a clear bottle that'll skunk like crazy in direct sunlight.  This was something else that I just couldn't put my finger on.  Maybe oxidation but I can't say for sure.  Guess it doesn't matter now.

I did think that the Kolsch had some slight DMS in it.  It was already poured when I walked into the test and I immediately thought it was a cream ale just by the smell. 

Now the problem for me is where to get some judging experience.  There are practically no competitions around here (I did this more for my own learning).  I could drive down to Michigan or maybe upstate NY if necessary but that's 3-4 hours away at minimum.  Anybody need a judge?

Offline tomsawyer

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Re: Cramming for a BJCP Tasting Exam
« Reply #26 on: October 01, 2012, 08:57:15 AM »
I'm two hours from St Louis and more like four to five from Chicago and Kansas City.  I usually take the wife and make a weekend of it.  She stewards just for something to do.
Lennie
Hannibal, MO

Offline gmac

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Re: Cramming for a BJCP Tasting Exam
« Reply #27 on: October 01, 2012, 09:11:42 AM »
I've got 4 kids - 12, 10, 8 and 6 - and I don't think she'd let me leave them alone for the whole weekend just to judge beer, although it would be quieter.

I'll find a few comps, there are a few in Toronto that I'll volunteer for.  That's 2 hours but my wife's family is from there so the kids (and maybe her) can visit the grandparents.

Offline mpietropaoli

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Cramming for a BJCP Tasting Exam
« Reply #28 on: October 01, 2012, 02:33:46 PM »
You should organize a comp!  I'm not sure if u need your BJCP to be the organizer of one, and u might be able to get in as a novice judge without your certification. 
Primary: Common Cider; Xmas FauxCAP
Kegged: Pliny Clone; Rodney's Weizenbock; RIS
Bottled: Putain Biere de Garde; 51 RIS; Glutang Clan Roggenbier
Cellaring: Biere de Mars; Flanders
Planned: Schwarz

Online udubdawg

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Re: Cramming for a BJCP Tasting Exam
« Reply #29 on: October 01, 2012, 04:43:26 PM »
sounds like fairly commonly consumed styles and plenty of chances to show how much you know.  I bet you did fairly well.
Did anything seem way out of style? 
Just got back a tasting exam at 1 day short of 30 weeks.  Hopefully the backlog will become less grim soon.

cheers--
--Michael