Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Real Life Can Be An Intrusion At Times

As my regular readers know, I'm currently taking a BJCP study course, designed to help increase my beer knowledge and beer tasting skills.  Unfortunately, I've been so busy with so many other things in my life lately, that I haven't been finding enough time to study for the class/exam nearly as much as I should be.

At our last class, we were given a 1 1/2 hour take-home practice exam.  If I were to take that practice exam right now, I'd do fine on much of it, but there's also quite a bit I wouldn't be able to complete.  I need to be able to clearly differentiate between different (but similar) beer styles including aroma, appearance, flavor and mouthfeel, know the history of at least one major ingredient of each sub-style, name commercial examples, and describe the similarities and differences between the sub-styles. 

And that's just one question.  There are several other that go into a lot of detail regarding specific styles and their attributes.  I think it's one of the most difficult portions of the exam to prepare for - becuase you never really know what beer styles will be on the exam. 

I really don't like to make excuses, so I'll just admit it.  I simply haven't been finding the time to study enough. Between my regular job, getting my house on the market, looking for a new place to live, brewing/bottling for a few upcoming beer competitions, running for the Flying Bike Board of Directors, etc. etc. I have quite a lot on my plate right now. 

I've thought about dropping out of my BJCP class and trying again when I don't have so many other things going on to distract me, but I haven't decided yet.  I'd like to try to spend the next few weeks studying hard and trying to get caught up in preparation for the exam (which I've already paid for anyway), before I decide if I think I can handle the exam of not. 

One of the reasons I'd like to take the exam now (this October), is that it will be the last time the BJCP Certification Exam is given in it's current format.  It will be changing next year to a 2-part format, with an online written exam (timed to make it more difficult, since it's essentially an 'open book' test that way), and a scheduled tasting portion, where your tasting and evaluation skills are measured.  Honestly, it may be easier to get certified taking the exam in the new format next year, but I'm hoping to get at least one crack at the old format before it goes away.  I believe it's a more difficult exam and, even though I'm struggling a bit right now, I like to challenge myself.  And right now, I'm facing a challenge. 

So, please excuse that I haven't been posting as often lately, but that may continue for a few more weeks, as I try to ramp up the amount of time I'm devoting to studying for my BJCP exam.  Wish me luck.

Drink responsibly and stay safe out there.

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