Beer Judge Certification Program
The Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) is a program to "promote beer literacy and the appreciation of real beer, and to recognize beer tasting and evaluation skills." (BJCP 2006). BJCP was founded in 1985 with exams given at the American Homebrewers Association annual conference, and now has a substantial program to certify and rank beer judges worldwide. BJCP has a detailed examination and monitoring process in place to certify beer judges that judge beer competitions worldwide. The BJCP also produces a detailed beer, cider and mead style guideline that is designed for judging beer but is also a useful tool for homebrewers targeting a particular beer style.
Beer Judge Certification Levels
Judges are awarded certification levels through the accumulation of participation credits (experience points) and high scores on the BJCP exam. The recognized levels include:
- Apprentice (and Honorary Master)
- Grand Master (which can be Level I, Level II, etc)
BJCP Style Guidelines
The BJCP produces what is arguably the definitive beer, cider and mead style guideline for brewers and competitors. For BJCP sponsored competitions, the BJCP style guideline determines the major style categories for competition. These guidelines are also a very useful reference for brewers attempting to create a particular beer style.