A Beer Judge’s Diary: The Long Wait

By Ken Carman
By Ken Carman
 This may seem a minor complaint, so I offered a few minor suggestions, and one BIG caveat.
 I have taken BJCP tests several times. After I became Certified I took them because, by the time I was done studying for the next exam, my knowledge base expanded exponentially. Becoming National was pretty much beside the point.
 Recently I decided to advance horizontally. In other words add mead and cider, figuring I could be of more use in competitions, and maybe these additions might help me organize my thoughts more efficiently when filling out scoresheets. Once I started that I went beyond these two goals, IMO. Especially with my most recent cider exam.
 I firmly believe the different ways mead, cider and beer are judged can be used across that divide. Some terms, some methods like “first attack” (to the palate) are useful judging all 3.
 However one thing that I think drives judges nuts is waiting on results. About three months is not unusual. After I achieved mead I pursued cider and it’s been almost 4 months since that test.
 First I think judges in wait need to understand is why it takes so long. This is important when it comes to understanding the long wait…
 From my understanding of the process judging the judges is all voluntary and done by National and above. To complicate matters I would assume when judging mead or cider judges I’m pretty sure they need mead or cider judges. Neither cider nor mead have ever been the MAIN focus of the BJCP. (HEY! It’s in the name: Beer Judge Certification Program.)
 So, after the caveats…
 How about notifying judges when the tests have been assigned to be judged, when they started working on them and what they are guessing finish time may be? At least one of the three?
 BTW, I am NOT suggesting pending judges be told who is about to judge their tests. I understand the necessary wall between those being judged and those doing the judging. I also understand at first the test is judged and then between the team and a head judge scores/results must be agreed to. It’s consensus. All that is fine and OBVIOUSLY takes bloody time.
 It just makes sense to me that pending judges not be kept in the dark so long without at least a little recognition that the tests are going through the system. To make it easy there could be form E-mails or whatever to inform them.
 Like those who enter competitions, those who agree to pay to take tests, do so on their own time, all to be able to help the BJCP and the clubs that run BJCP competitions, are also volunteers. These could be our next National, Masters, Grand Masters.
 What do you think?


A Beer Judge’s Diary is one of many columns by Ken Carman, Certified BJCP beer judge, homebrewer since 1979 and seeker of both simple and complex quaffs who once upon a time thought he didn’t care all that much for beer. Then in the early 70’s he discovered brews beyond the standard fare’ that had been available on the east coast in the 60s. Thus the adventure began.
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Ken Carman and Cartenual Productions
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