BJCP Course

Post #1 made 11 years ago
Hi All,

Just interested to know if anyone has sat and passed the BJCP exam, based on the information available on the web, a few good books and going through the styles :?:

Thanks in advance,

In wine there is wisdom.
In beer there is strength.
In water there is bacteria.
- German Proverb

Post #2 made 11 years ago
Hi there TR and welcome to the forum.

The BJCP course requires a massive amount of study. The exam is pretty difficult. You have to learn a hell of a lot of stuff by rote. Usually people attend a course, go through the manual and do many beer style tastings though you could possibly teach yourself if you had a good palate.

Brewers who appreciate a huge range of beer styles will enjoy the study etc. Those who enjoy a narrower range of styles would probably find the course/exam not as valuable. (I attended some sessions of a course but my beer tastes are pretty basic so learning about more obscure beers doesn't really hold an interest for me personally.)

The BJCP website has some sample exams. You are not allowed to take any books in with you so, as mentioned, a massive amount of knowledge has to be committed to memory. It really needs to be taken on as a long-term study project.

Cheers mate,
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Post #3 made 11 years ago
Hi Pat,

With Jamil's book, classic beer styles, I aim to work through that, plus as i go I want to get the Classic Beer style book (Porter, Stout, Wheat Beer, Scottish Ale, etc....) for each style as I BIAB my way to bliss.

Do you know Pat if there is a way to just get the course manual and slowly work through it?

BIAB has opened up a world of brewing possibilities.


TR :lol:

Post #4 made 11 years ago
Howdy TR,

I think there are several ways to pass a BJCP exam. For example, if you had a photographic memory and a poor to average palate there is a slight chance you would pass though you shouldn't of course.

I'm not too sure why the exam relies so much on rote learning. The reason might be that people going for the exam will have been brewing for a long time and much of the knowledge will be innate to them by that stage. But, knowing by rote the OG, FG, recipe, mash temp, and water profile of every beer style is a big ask in my opinion and may exclude brewers with excellent palates but not so great a memory ;).

If you don't have a photographic memory and haven't been passionate about a wide range of beer styles for a few years then I think you can approach this BJCP stuff in the following manner...

1. Ask yourself if technical knowledge and judging of a wide range of beer styles will be fun and challenging for you. Do you have a real passion for this? If not, forget it. The primary aim of BJCP is to give quality feedback to brewers. Plenty of people will sit the exam without this intention and then be able to judge. They shouldn't.

2. If personal knowledge of beer styles is your passion (and not judging) then you should taste, read up on and brew as many beer styles as you can. You will also need to take detailed tasting notes on the beers you taste. Working through Jamil's book is a top way of doing this but that is a lot of beers! I think it is a long-term project.

3. If knowedge of beer styles and the pleasure of handing on other brewer's feedback is your passion then in addition to 2 above, I would look at sitting any BJCP exam you can. If there is one next week, go and sit it! (There won't be - they are few and far between.) You'd fail for sure but you will also learn a lot. They also have different levels of passes. If you get a basic pass, you get certain rights and responsibilities. These increase with experience and/or better rote learning.

So, assuming you want to go all the way, you might want the course manual. I have one here and it is really just a photocopy of everything on the BJCP site. It is all downloadable. My manual is no better laid out than what you will find on their site. Some info is even years out of date!

Your plan of working through Jamil's book is brilliant. I would also suggest you spend many hours perusing the BJCP website. My manual is the size of a ream of A4 paper (must be 500 pages) but I haven't seen anything in it that is not on their site. So understanding their site layout and reading the stuff there will give you the same technical info as anyone else.

What it won't give you though is experience and a good palate. These could possibly be gained by joining your local brew club or getting online with some sites that discuss individual beers. You should do both these things and still be very careful of what comments you hear. I have tasted beers that have been obviously and hugely faulted only to see them described favourably. I don't regard myself as having any experience in beer appreciation so never say anything apart from, "That was great!" or "Didn't like that at all.". What worried me though was talking after these tastings to find some experienced judges saying, "Yep, I thought that beer was crap too," whilst less experienced people always seemed to play it safe in their scoring - it's always average!

Finding people that can accuratley describe and judge a beer in an honest language that you can understand will be the hardest thing. I had a guy (John Jens) teach me wine twenty years ago quickly and easily. I haven't found anyone that has been able to do it for beer yet.

We need more of these magic JJ guys in the beer department and you, TR, with your slow approach and attitude, may well become one of them.

Hope so!
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Post #5 made 11 years ago
Hi Pat,

Thanks for the words of wisdom and encouragement :!:

I have learnt so much since I joined my local club here in Melbourne. The judging night we have are excellent.

The club did hold a BJCP course last year, but until I get a fair way through Jamil's book, I am not really seriously looking to do the exam just yet, would be a waste of money at present I think.

Work in progress is all I can say for now.


In wine there is wisdom.
In beer there is strength.
In water there is bacteria.
- German Proverb

Post #6 made 10 years ago
this thread really caught my eye as the BJCP course would be one of the long-term goals of the forming of our club. how far through the book have you gotten TR and do you feel more confident about a sit down exam and blind tasting? Since I have already been through that wringer on the wine side, I am not as intimidated as maybe I should be...overconfidence usually is the beginning of most tragic efforts!
I have always had an intense interest in all of the many styles of beers that I have been able to taste over the years and I think I have the palate memory for about a third of the styles now but it would take a different kind of focused effort to know them by blind tasting I think. So two-thirds left to go!
I hope someone else that maybe has been there and done that could shed some light on it a little more.
PP when I read your post about water chemistry, recipes, etc. I became a little bewildered until you mentioned the levels of passing and criteria for permissions and such.
That made it a little less intimidating, because it seems that it might validate expert but not necessarily complete mastery which I believe is good too. I always want to help my fellow brewers/drinkers understand their beers and wines without all the hoity-toity crap I see perpetrated in restaurants by guys who should know better, but still choose to obfuscate and confuse. The beverage world really needs that stuff to end.
It's totally unnecessary and alienates our public.
(Getting off soapbox now!)
Hopefully someone that is already a BJCP certified judge is a BIABer and can help us understand this a little further and make it easier to decide when we should take the plunge.


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