A Beer Judge’s Diary: Becoming a Beer Judge

The most recent BJCP guidelines, for use in all competitions in November. Expanded quite a bit from 2008.

Written by Ken Carman


bjd-265x300 Right up front: this Diary is going to be different. And I’m not going to sugar coat anything: this is a sales pitch, a promotion. If you love beer, especially craft beer, you brew beer, or are interested in the process and might like to learn: think of becoming a beer judge.
 You don’t have to become a BJCP beer judge to judge beer. And please don’t call them “Certified.” That’s a rank. There’s Recognized, Certified, National, Master, Grand Master and almighty, unquestionable, all powerful (especially once I’ve had a few brews) BEER DEITY: ME!  Yes, the last was just me goofing around, the others actual ranks.
 The test is very tough, takes a lot of studying, and don’t pay much attention if someone claims they don’t want specifics, they just want to know the breadth of your knowledge. Horse hocky. Before you pass you’ll need to know, backwards, forwards and upside down, many specifics… so many “specifics” I’ve known those who say the BJCP beer test is tougher than some of what they had to do to get their PhDs. .
 Good news: you can take it online. More on that in a moment. Continue reading “A Beer Judge’s Diary: Becoming a Beer Judge”

Beer Profile: Victory Sour Monkey

Maria Devan's photo.

Profiled by Maria Devan

Looks like a tripel. Sweet golden color. Creamy white head Slight chill haze.

Smells like a tripel. Soft sweetness of the pils malt. Fruity middle wafting out to the top of the nose without any fanfare from the tettnang. They simply look on and give out pepper and floral as a greeting. Spice as your bring your head down to drink.

Taste is a gentle sour on all that nose. Citrusy fruit mingling with soft breaddy malt. A sparkling touch of acidity to enliven the palate before a crisp finish. Tettnang is known for it’s clean bitterness and in this beer it only shows you as much as it needs to to finish the beer and let that malt come to the finish breaddy and dry while they wait for all that long finish earthy and herbal . A warming from alcohol so slight, so pleasant a touch of sweetness from the alcohol . The finish is where you finally get a sense of the body of the beer. Medium, creamy, and carbonated to a bubbly perfection.

It’s amazing at 9.5%. Drinks like a sour tripel.



Welcome to the PGA beer rating system: one beer “Don’t bother.” Two: Eh, if someone gives it to you, drink. Three: very good, go ahead and seek it out, but be aware there is at least one problem. Four: seek it out. Five: pretty much “perfecto.”


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mdMaria Devan lives in Ithaca, NY and is a great beer writer. That’s Maria in the middle. She lives on a hill, but has to walk down and up it because she has yet to buy a jet pack.