Since the inception of the BJCP, several tools have been developed to help potential judges study for the exam. The most widely used are the study guides written by Chuck Cox and Greg Walz. The former was assembled in the early 1990s with the help of readers of the Judge Digest and consists of an outline of the information and terminology needed to pass the exam. The latter is a more verbose discussion of ingredients, brewing procedures and flavors as they relate to beer styles and judging. The outline version is valuable because it encourages independent study; however the verbose version was used as the foundation for the first BJCP Study Guide because information could be added and updated without radically changing the presentation format.
This new edition of the BJCP Study Guide was written with a different approach that was motivated by the feedback and performance from those who have used other study guides. Most of these contain information that is outdated, incorrect or irrelevant to the types of questions asked on the exam. For example, a study guide should not be a tutorial on homebrewing, but should summarize the aspects of the brewing process that relate to beer flavors and styles. The information presented here was written by a group of technically proficient judges and brewers and tailored to the actual BJCP exam questions. The backgrounds of these authors are summarized at the end of the guide. The material has also been reviewed by the BJCP Exam Committee to ensure that it is technically correct and understandable. The goal was to prepare a document that is not only valuable in studying for the exam, but concise and complete enough to be used as a judging handbook. In addition, it is essential that this study guide be made freely available to potential judges. It is available for downloading in several formats on the BJCP website (http://www.bjcp.org).
The study guide begins with a section describing the BJCP and the motivation and mechanics behind the judging process. Also included are links to BJCP scoresheets, a comprehensive list of possible exam questions and an outline of a study course for beer judges. The BJCP style guidelines are introduced and discussed, and links to the guidelines are provided. Other study guides feature more complete style descriptions, but we found that many potential judges relied on that information as their sole reference for information about beer styles. This may be sufficient to pass the exam, but is no substitute for the wealth of information that is found in Michael Jackson’s Beer Companion and The New World Guide to Beer, for example. The last major section of the study guide is a review of technical information about the brewing process and flavors in beer. Although this material was written with the exam questions in mind, it is no substitute for gaining an understanding of the brewing process by reading the references and putting that knowledge to practical use by actually brewing a batch of beer.
We hope that this study guide fulfills its goal of offering a complete, concise and understandable overview of the information needed to pass the exam. We recommend that it be used in conjunction with the following references to gain a complete understanding of beer styles, beer flavors and the brewing process. Good luck!
Note: This guide has been revised to remove obviously outdated material and to update the document with program changes that have been made since 1998. A completely revised study guide will be produced after the current Exam Committee completes the revision to the BJCP Exam.
– Gordon Strong, March 2006.
Michael Jackson, Beer Companion (Running Press, Philadelphia, 1997).
Michael Jackson, The New World Guide to Beer (Running Press, Philadelphia, 1988).
John Palmer, How to Brew, (Brewers Publications, Boulder, CO, 2006).
Al Korzonas, Homebrewing: Volume 1 (Sheaf & Vine, Palos Hills, IL, 1997).
Dave Miller, Dave Miller's Homebrewing Guide (Garden Way Publishing, Pownal, VT 1996).
Ray Daniels, Designing Great Beers (Brewers Publications, Boulder, CO, 1996).
Jamil Zainasheff and John Palmer, Brewing Classic Styles (Brewers Publications, Boulder, CO, 2007).
Classic Beer Styles Series, (Brewers Publications, Boulder, CO). There are presently seventeen books in this series, plus three additional books on Belgian beer styles: Pale Ale, 2nd Ed. and Porter, both by Terry Foster; Continental Pilsner by David Miller; Lambic by Jean-Xavier Guinard; Vienna, Maerzen, Oktoberfest by George and Laurie Fix; Bock by Darryl Richman; Scotch Ale by Greg Noonan; German Wheat Beer by Eric Warner; Belgian Ale by Pierre Rajotte, Stout by Michael Lewis, Altbierby Horst Dornbusch, and Barleywine by Fal Allen and Dick Cantwell, Bavarian Helles by Horst Dornbusch, Brown Ale by Ray Daniels and Jim Parker, Kölsch by Eric Warner, Mild Ale by David Sutula, Smoked Beer by Ray Daniels and Geoffrey Larson, Farmhouse Ales by Phil Markowski, Wild Brews by Jeff Sparrow, Brew Like a Monk by Stan Hieronymus.
Gregory J. Noonan, New Brewing Lager Beer (Brewers Publications, Boulder, CO, 2003).
George Fix, Principles of Brewing Science, 2nd Edition (Brewers Publications, Boulder, CO, 1999).
George and Laurie Fix, An Analysis of Brewing Techniques, Brewers Publications, Boulder, CO, 1997).
Brewing Techniques (New Wine Press, Eugene, OR). Contains a wealth of information about the ingredients, history and flavors in beer. While no longer being published some articles are available at www.brewingtechniques.com.
Zymurgy Special Issues (Association of Brewers, Boulder, CO). Of particular use are the 1997 issue on Hops, the 1995 issue on Grains, the 1991 issue on Traditional Beer Styles, the 1989 and 1998 issues on Yeast and the 1987 issue on Troubleshooting. Back issues available at www.beertown.org.
Charlie Papazian, et al, Evaluating Beer (Brewers Publications, Boulder, CO, 1993).
Michael Jackson, Michael Jackson’s Great Beers of Belgium (Media Marketing Communications, Antwerp, 2005).
Roger Protz, The Taste of Beer (Orion Publishing, London, 1998).
Michael Jackson, Ultimate Beer (DK Publishing, New York, 1998).
Michael Jackson, Great Beer Guide (DK Publishing, New York, 2000).
Roger Protz, The Ale Trail (Eric Dobby Publishing, Kent, 1995).