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You might already know this, but it turns out that you can become a BJCP beer judge in Australia. Being a certified BJCP beer judge is one of the very few recognized/respected credentials in the beer world, not to mention by becoming a BJCP beer judge, you help with the growth and quality of homebrewing mainly by way of judging in and/or helping organize homebrew competitions.

My guess is that with the recent growth in homebrewing and craft beer throughout Australia, there is a growing demand for certified beer judges in Australia.

And it looks like the BJCP has at least tentative testing sites for the tasting exam in the following cities (per the link below):


HOWEVER..., before you can schedule your tasting exam to become a certified beer judge, you have to first pass the online Entrance Exam (which is pretty challenging).

So here are three resources to help you pass it (hopefully on the first attempt):

1. BJCP Entrance Exam Mock Practice Test: This practice test is very similar to the actual BJCP Entrance Exam (30 questions to be answered in 10 minutes). The practice test is free and gives you a pretty good feel for what the actual online exam is like, and gives you a chance to practice using the beer style Compare-O-Matic (see # 3 below).

2. How to Pass the Online BJCP Entrance Exam: This guide breaks it all down in a very simple and direct way, covering what the exam is like and tips and tools that will help you to pass it.

3. Beer Style Compare-O-Matic: This is the most effective free tool out there to help you with the Entrance Exam. Period. Basically, the majority of the questions on the online exam will ask you about very specific details about certain beer styles from the 2015 BJCP Style Guidelines, and this tool helps you look up that info in a matter of seconds instead of minutes. You do have to log in to use it, but that's simple enough.

After you pass the BJCP Entrance Exam, you just need to get prepared for the tasting exam and there are plenty of online resources on how to do that.

Anyways, I just thought I'd throw this out there to the homebrewing community just as a resource.
Thanks for the easy referencing post - good stuff, I know in Victoria for 2017 that there are more people wanting to do it than places available. I gave up being in the ballot because my desire was to learn about the styles as opposed to judging and it wouldn't be fair to get in front of someone else who wants to do it for the judging.

We possibly need more facilitators, as I'd prefer to still do it and be available to judge here and there. The other issue for some, like me, is living 300km ~ 200mi from the sites that host the schooling...

cheers for the post
i actually helped run the tasting exam in nsw. its not as easy as just walking up and doing it.
most actually run a study group previously and then do the exam.
your best bet if you want to do it is to contact the person running the exam and they will let you know when the group starts.
i know that in nsw its an upfront cost including the test as they were having 12-15 people do the course but only 4-5 doing the test.
A number of years ago, I helped run one in Melbourne. From memory, we met once a week for about thirteen weeks, hitting a category or more each week for tasting and discussion. Technical topics were covered by a different guest presenter each week and reading material listed and recommended. Two fault sessions were included.

Finding fresh, well cared for examples of every style is very difficult but you can cover a lot and learn a lot.

The online exam isn't so bad and you can take it multiple times if necessary (as well as do some practice ones). Tasting is obviously a lot harder and if you hit 80 plus on tasting, you can sit a further written exam to get higher qualifying levels.

I highly recommend doing it and I also highly recommend anyone considering it helps out with judging at least one competition. Lack of willing judges (let alone experienced judges) is a common thing faced in the comp scene (even bigger comps).
I'd love to become a registered BJCP judge, but I have the same problem as many brewers in regional areas - Australia being a big country about the size of the Continental USA but with the population slightly less than that of Texas.

So I'm two and a half hours drive from Brisbane and attending a weekly session is out of the question. I wonder if there would be any way that we could do an intensive weekend somehow, if any members of the Brisbane Amateur Beer Brewers could give up a couple of days of their time for a good cause? And of course if there was interest from regional home brewers.

It could maybe be organised at a residential site, motel with conference room sort of thing where we had rah-rah 2 day sales and training meetings when I was a tobacco rep in the old days.

Beer. Weekend. Two words that go well together in any sentence :lol:
Agree with ya there Bribie. Still it would probably be a 2 weekend gig. I think 5 or 6 sessions over two days would be pretty full on for instructors and students. Though in for a penny...
Like droid I'd jump at the oportunity not specifically to judge but to get a deeper knowledge of styles and faults.
If you can taste every style in every category in a weekend, I take my hat off to you.

Probably a facebook or google group with ppt presentations and reading material would be best. Someone to organise and post beers. A weekend or 2 to do some judging practice and fault sessions.
What would be really good was if the commercial industry got behind this. Distrbutors could then create style six packs, for order only; through one or two of the big chains.

I know we have a few members who work in some of these natioal liquor stores. Perhaps a suggestion could be made to the higher ups??
Holy bonkers that practice test is hard....
I guess the BJCP Entrance Exam prior to 2015 used to be easier, but when the BJCP switched to a total online entrance exam, everyone thought it would be way too easy and everyone would pass it. And it's implicitly open-book/open-internet. So, yeah, I admit, I kind of thought the online exam would be a breeze and didn't take it very seriously.

Then I took it, and "holy bonkers" is right. So this practice test is good b/c it gives a sense of the difficulty level of the actual open-book online exam and what kind of resources you want to have available (at least with respect to questions about the different beer styles, which is the bulk of the exam).

The Entrance Exam is tough and probably does weed out some folks, but then again the entrance exam is $10, so the stakes are pretty low (especially compared to the Cicerone exams).

That said, according to the BJCP, the people who do pass the online exam have a ridiculously high rate of passing the tasting exam. Don't quote me, but I heard it was over 90%.

Nevertheless, as folks here have pointed out, you do need to know how to describe beer, fill out BJCP score sheets (which isn't that hard), and have access to some relatively good examples of the different beer styles.

The tasting exam itself consists of describing 6 beers. During the tasting exam, you're told what style the beer is, and you describe it. They typically serve you a range of quality beers, from bad to sometime really good. Sometimes you might be told a beer is an Irish Red when it's actually an American Red (or something like that), but that really wasn't my experience (in other words, they served the style they said it was).

To prepare, what I do is get a good example of a beer style and describe it. For example, let's say you want to be able to describe an Australian Sparkling Ale (Category 12B on the 2015 BJCP Beer Style Guidelines). Not too surprisingly, it turns out "Coopers Sparkling Ale" is listed as a good example of the style. So, track down a bottle, and without looking at the BJCP description, pour the beer into a glass and start describing the aroma, appearance, flavor, mouthfeel and overall impression. Then compare your notes to the BJCP style description. Keep doing that with different beer styles until your descriptive language more or less reflects the BJCP descriptive language. Yes, you'll have to be able to pick out flaws in less than great examples of beer styles (which also isn't too hard), but the majority of your score (perhaps 80-90%) on the BJCP tasting exam comes from your ability to describe beer in a BJCP-like fashion.

It's good to practice describing beers with at least one other person so that you can compare notes to make sure you're generally on the same page.

So, no, simply walking up to the to the tasting exam with no practice describing beer probably isn't going to turn out that well, but being able to describe beers well is totally learnable.
Are there any classes or courses to help learn more about this in Brisbane?

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