Wednesday, December 2, 2009

BJCP Results and Feedback

After a protracted battle with the mailman, My BJCP results finally got to me. I thought I'd share a concise version here, for those of you thinking of studying for the exam or curious about the organization.

The program puts a lot of clear care into the examinations. The packet I received had a members guide, a neat color chart, pin, list of my previous experience, certificate and, of course, the results.

I scored a 76 on the written. My exam was well balanced between the technical and style ability. The first comment I got was about my poor handwriting and losing some data in copying by writing in the margins. I knew the former to be a peoblem, but the latter was disappointing not to know about before the test. Still, I should have thought they'd be copied. As that is my only complaint, It should be evidence of how highly I think of this process.

On the style questions, I did well on recalling the styles, classic examples and comparisons. My answers were still short on depth and I am missing some specific details on aspects.the German lager question, which was the one I knew least about before studying turned out to be my strongest answer.

Technically, I lacked depth and missed a lot of details. In particular I did not provide enough detail about decoction, how to manipulate body and I overlooked techniques to balance and work with biterness, wort chilling, water chemistry and aeration. All of this reflects areas where I am inexperienced in brewing. I am impressed by how well the test reflects what I feel are my weakest areas in my knowledge.

I scored an 80 on tasting, so I can't imagine needing to retake it for years to come, which is exciting! I scored close to the proctors on 3 questions (within 2) and was 18 points high on the last. I generally gave decent feedback. I had a lot of trouble detecting wood flavors and also some issues with esters and sherry notes. This is consistent with my prior judging experience. I overused 'some' and 'good', and the program would rather see me use intensity indicators. This isn't surprising and I am glad to be given a means to correct this overuse of vague terminology.

The feedback I got was much more detailed than the overview I gave here. I am an OK brewer with a solid knowledge of brewing, and I feel that has been reflected here. My pallette is better than my ability to write about what I find. I will delve into the recommended reading (Michael Jackson, George Fix) and will think about taking the test again once I have 15 points or so. Right now I am happy to be a certified judge and know I have a lot to learn from many very nice people before I move into the more top tier of judges.

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