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Old 09-04-2012, 04:13 PM   #1
WilliamWS
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Default BJCP Tasting Exam

I'm taking the the tasting exam in two weeks. Any of you guys have any tips that might help me prepare?
Thanks

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Old 09-07-2012, 03:42 PM   #2
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Ok, no tips or advice.
So I'll ask a more specific question: From everything I've read I'm a little unclear on the procedure. It is stated that the tasting exam is "closed book" but it is also stated that we will be judging the six beers as though it was an actual competition. At a competition the style guidelines for the category are read before judging, not what I'd call "closed book." So I guess my question would be, are the style guidelines for each style being judged during the exam read like a competition or is it truly "closed book?"

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Old 09-07-2012, 04:48 PM   #3
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My understanding is that it is truly closed book. You'll have to do it all from memory. Just like tests back in school, you'll get no help on it - but then later, when you actually need to use those skills, the "book" is available for reference.

Good luck. I've only just started studying for it in earnest.

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Old 09-07-2012, 04:52 PM   #4
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Maybe this will help.

BJCP Exam Tips - LONG post.

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Old 09-07-2012, 05:12 PM   #5
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Quote:
The BJCP Beer Judge Exam was revised in March 2012, and now consists of three exams:

The BJCP Beer Judge Entrance Examination, an online examination to screen prospective candidates.
The BJCP Beer Judging Examination, a practical tasting examination of six beers.
The BJCP Beer Judge Written Proficiency Examination, a written examination consisting of 20 True-False and five essay questions used to test skills and knowledge necessary for higher ranks.
-http://www.bjcp.org/examcenter.php
Sorry Revvy, that information is out of date. They changed it on April 1, 2012. No foolin’
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Old 09-07-2012, 05:26 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WilliamWS View Post
Ok, no tips or advice.
So I'll ask a more specific question: From everything I've read I'm a little unclear on the procedure. It is stated that the tasting exam is "closed book" but it is also stated that we will be judging the six beers as though it was an actual competition. At a competition the style guidelines for the category are read before judging, not what I'd call "closed book." So I guess my question would be, are the style guidelines for each style being judged during the exam read like a competition or is it truly "closed book?"
Yes, The tasting exam is closed book. You do not know what style of beer you will be tasting until it is served to you. There are no guidelines available to help you judge the beer. It all have to be done from your memory and knowledge of the 23 styles and substyles.

The judging sheet you will be using is slightly modified. The normal BJCP sheet has some helpful hints and check boxes you can use to pinpoint flaws. Those are blank on the test sheets.

The test is to determine your knowledge of the beer styles and how close to style the sample beers are. The test will also determine how well you pick up any flaws in the beer you judge.

It is a LOT more difficult than judging in a competition where you have the style guidelines in front of you to refresh your memory and descriptions of common flaws and their causes.

Good luck.
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Old 09-07-2012, 05:32 PM   #7
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Thanks, Revvy. That was helpful (even though the exam has changed since that post). I guess I should have done a search.
I was mainly curious about the administration of the tasting. I took the written part of the new test in April and it was relatively easy and I'm still familiar with all the recognized styles but was curious if I need to brush up a bit before the tasting.

I feel like I'm pretty good at describing beers and have been scoring commercial examples and checking my sheets against examples for the same beers on the BJCP website. My descriptions have been pretty similar to the examples and my overall score has always been within 3 pts. of the example. But, then again, these are classic commercial examples that we're talking about with no major flaws so I don't know if what I'm doing is really all that helpful.
I am familiar with all the major off-flavors, what causes them, remedies, etc but I haven't actually scored a beer that exhibits them. Likewise, I haven't really attempted to score out-of-style/miscategorized beers. So I guess this gives me something to do this week.

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Old 09-07-2012, 05:42 PM   #8
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Thanks, Wayne1. That's kinda what I figured (though I didn't realize that the score sheet would be modified).

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Old 09-07-2012, 07:51 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Wayne1 View Post
Yes, The tasting exam is closed book. You do not know what style of beer you will be tasting until it is served to you. There are no guidelines available to help you judge the beer. It all have to be done from your memory and knowledge of the 23 styles and substyles.

The judging sheet you will be using is slightly modified. The normal BJCP sheet has some helpful hints and check boxes you can use to pinpoint flaws. Those are blank on the test sheets.

The test is to determine your knowledge of the beer styles and how close to style the sample beers are. The test will also determine how well you pick up any flaws in the beer you judge.

It is a LOT more difficult than judging in a competition where you have the style guidelines in front of you to refresh your memory and descriptions of common flaws and their causes.

Good luck.
Agreed that it is a LOT harder than judging in a competition. No guidelines, no hints.

You could be given a Baltic Porter and be told to judge it as an American Lite Lager. You could be given a beer that has been intentionally oxidized (hard to identify in the early stages of your judging career) or a beer with acetaldehyde or diacetyl. From what I understand the new exam is 6 beers within one and a half hours.

That being said, taste and critique A LOT of beers. Write down your thoughts. Use the style guidelines. Take notes on the style guidelines. Time yourself while "judging" beers. You should be able to complete a score sheet in 12 minutes. Repeat process 20-30 times. Dream about the nuances between a Robust Porter and American Stout.

I kid, but seriously, it's hard. I studied for 7 months with a Grand Master II tutor, judged in a competition, critiqued a lot of beer, took enough notes to fill a 1.5" binder and still only managed to score an 88 on the tasting exam.
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Old 09-12-2012, 08:20 PM   #10
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Is there a copy of the modified exam score-sheet available somewhere? I'd like to spend these last few days scoring beers without the little hints, etc that are on the normal score-sheet (I've been trying to ignore them but I'd prefer practicing as though it's the real thing).

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