As I prepare this morning to judge a few rounds at competition I started thinking about why I decided to become a beer judge. I’m sure everyone else has their own motivations, but for me I was fairly new to homebrewing, had joined a homebrew club a short while before, and was acting as a steward on a flight of Belgian beers. At the time I knew little about beer styles, just that I loved most of them. I had made a Belgian Witbier and the style guidelines had been revised and I was unsure what category to enter. I chose correctly with some guidance, but was confused about the whole thing so when they sat me as a steward I did not realize my Belgian Witbier was going to be in the flight. This beer was a kit from Grape and Granary in Akron, Ohio and it was a darn nice beer. The judges on the flight were experienced and soon after one of them earned a Master ranking. As the flight progressed they came to the Belgian Witbiers and I started to sweat. I was not supposed to be sitting there while they judged my beer and certainly not supposed to interact with them. For that reason I kept my trap shut. There were four Wits in the comp and mine, the extract batch, scored a respectable 37 and bested the other three. As it turned out my beer was fourth in the flight and while it did not win a ribbon it stood up to the competition and I was a proud papa. I also knew I wanted to learn how to do what they just did and that set me on the path to become a BJCP judge. When I judged at the next competition I was placed with a Master level judge and even though it was my first competition as a judge I knew I would be taking the BJCP exam as soon as I could. I did and my results were good enough to earn a Certified ranking, but in hindsight I needed more training. A few years later I took the full legacy exam again and earned National. After a few more years I took the taste and earned a Master level taste score. Hopefully someday I’ll take the written yet again and get the points I need to be a Master judge, currently I need to up my written score by a point or two to achieve that, but with the recent style guideline update I need to spend time with the new styles.

Find your reason to be the BJCP Judge and take the online and taste exam. You will be glad you did!

2015guide

Advertisements