Wednesday, August 24, 2011

My BJCP Classes Have Begun

Last Wednesday was my first BJCP class.  I've been so busy with other things lately that, frankly, it kind of snuck up on me.  I didn't get as much pre-class studying done as I would have liked, so hopefully I'll be able to keep up and do well on the October exam. 

I'm still on the waiting list for the exam, but I believe I have a good chance of getting in, since I'm not too far down on the waiting list.  The agonizing part is that, after testing, it can take 4-6 months (possibly longer) to get my results back.  That's a long time to wait to find out how well I did. 

The October exam will also be the last one given in the current format, which consists of a three-hour written exam along with four different beer taste-tests, which are brought out in half-hour intervals after the first hour and a half of the exam.  So it's important to pace yourself well, and be prepared to take a 10-15 minute 'break' from the written test to evaluate each beer brought out to you. 

In part because getting results takes so long, the BJCP is changing up the format of the exam starting next year.  In the new format, the written portion of the test can be taken online, while the tasting portion of the test must be scheduled at a differnt time, and of course in-person.  Since the new format online test will basically amount to an open-book test, it will be setup so that you have to answer each question quickly (i.e. No time to go 'look up' the answers).  Also, with the new format, 'Recognized' is the highest level you can achieve, even if you score a perfect 100 on the written test.  In the current format, it's possible (though unlikely unless you're just that good) to score a 'Master' rank right out of the gate if you do well enough on the written and tasting portions of the exam. 

It's too early for me to say how I feel I'll do on the exam, but I'm going to be studying hard and looking forward to the practice test we'll have later on in my class.  Week 1 of the class was a basic introduction, including judging procedures, a discussion of malting grains, and we tasted/evaluated some Light Lagers (Style Caterory 1) and Pilsners (Style Category 2). 

This weeks class will focus on preparing better beer scoresheets, the beer faults checklist (what causes 'off' flavors in beer and how to remedy them in the brewing & fermatation process), and we'll be tasting/evaluating some European Amber Lagers (Style Category 3), and some Dark Lagers (Style Category 4). 

We've only just begun and there's a long way to go.  So please excuse me if my posting slows down a bit in the next month or two.  I'll be busy studying all of the material.  Or, who knows, I may find that posting more about what I'm studying each week could help me retain more of the information as I pass it along to you.  I'll have to wait and see. 

Drink responsibly and stay safe out there. 

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