Short answer, no, but why don’t we take a minute and understand why we should not have endorsements for particular styles. Currently the BJCP has two types of judges, beer and mead, with cider on the way very soon. The reason for the individual certifications/endorsements is pretty simple judging beer as opposed to mead or cider is a slightly different animal and the methods for making the beverages and corrective actions required to improve are specific to each one. Of course anyone can judge any one of them, but passing the exams for each provides the judge director for a particular competition with some assurance you have the ability to judge those categories.

Recently on social media someone suggested sour styles might benefit from a special endorsement. While some sours use bacteria or wild yeast as opposed to beer yeast and bugs, they still end up being beer and have been part of the guidelines since the guidelines were established. While a judge may not know exactly how the entrant made the sour beer, they can certainly and easily offer suggestions on what characteristics would improve the beer. Say the beer smells of vomit or baby diaper, it really doesn’t matter how those off-characteristics were introduced, the sour beer brewer should be able to look at their procedures and determine how to eliminate from their process, if they cannot then they probably should not be brewing sours. While it is preferable the judge have some experience with judging sours, there is no reason for any endorsement. What should happen is judges should request to not be assigned to styles they don’t feel prepared to judge or where they cannot be objective. In the end we judge to the style guidelines and so I personally feel comfortable with all the styles, even if may not have had or judged that particular style. So no, we don’t need an endorsement for sours anymore than we need one for wheats, lagers, or IPAs, they are all beer and it doesn’t require anything special to judge the styles.

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