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BJCP 2020

Started by DerekMc, February 27, 2020, 10:33:41 AM

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Is anyone running a course for this in 2020?

Anyone else interested in doing the exam this year?


I'd be interested in this. Studying for the entrance exam at the moment. I was wondering how feasible it would be to study for the tasting exam alone?  A course would be fantastic if there was enough interest for it to go ahead.


I'd say this year will be tricky due to covid and its lingering effects. 2021 though...

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Fermenting: IPA, Lambic, Mead
Conditioning: Lambic, Cider, RIS, Ole Ale, Saison
On Tap: IPA, Helles, Best Bitter


Yeah, I'd say you're right. We won't be back to anything resembling normality for some time yet. I was in contact with the organiser of the London tastiong exam in October and he was doubtful that the exam would go ahead. 2021 might be more realistic. I can still be working away on it until then. Might hold off on actually doing the entrance exam as I think you need to get the tasting exam done within a year of passing the entrance exam.


This is something I'd love to do now that I'm fully retired and chomping at the bit to get busy with something new. Then along comes Covid 19. I'm telling you, someone up there doesn't like to see me having fun 😢😁 but I'll look forward to getting involved in the future.


Have a look here for 2015 BJCP style guidelines...
Or download the style guidelines for your phone.
There is tons of info in there, ingredients, specifications, along with beers that typify the style.
There is nothing other than availability to stop you coming to grips with the characteristics of each style.
Generally if you can't get a beer, brew it.
Stick to simple styles to start.
Get a few pale ales, stouts etc. under your belt first.


Sorry for not replying on here. We have run a course in the BrewDock upstairs a few times.
This year could be tricky but great to see there is an interest for it.

For those unfamiliar - the course is 6-8 classes where a theme is used to showcase a number of styles per class. Beers are tasted, discussed, one or two are scored. There is an optional homework beer to score as well.
For example we would have a class on German Beers, Belgians. We also run a couple of sensory sessions as part of it, this might take the second half of two classes. This is very popular - Andrew is the king of that space.

Typically we need 15 to sign up to make it viable, but lets see how this whole covid thing works out.
I'd imagine we will have a better idea in September.

If you are interested - by all means respond here



mr hoppy

Any thoughts on doing it over zoom if covid is an issue, would also be less dublincentric?

I know there are practicalities around the beers but I assume they aren't insurmountable.

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As it's a sensory subject, it's quite difficult to do remotely.

You need to serve the same beer so everyone can compare like for like, batch to batch variance can make a difference, e.g. last year Hobgoblin brewed 2 weeks apart was dramatically different, probably due to how they were stored locally (warm supermarket shelf, not in fridge, etc).

By supplying the beers from a single source you eliminate a factor that may influence your perception. Also, similar to a club meet, being able to discuss within your table group (~4) is a large part of the experience. That's when you get a lot of the 'aha' moments of 'so that's what you mean'.

Generally the people who have previously organised (& often attended) it, have had to travel >1 hour to get to the course. (Hats off to JohnRM's early morning commitments, with 5am starts on an Aircoach from Cork.) The course takes about 2.5hrs, so it's a 4-5hr duration for anyone taking part, which has to be balanced with family/work/other life commitments.

The NHC are very aware of the perceived focus on Dublin; but by the nature of all historic public transport being radially Dublin focused, we are restricted to holding the course on easy access routes & receptive bars that will let us use their premises. I doubt this will change in the short term until someone local with enough people hosts a course.

Whereas Andrew can relatively easily do (& has) a local Off Flavour session; it's more difficult to coordinate a 6 beer x 16 person BJCP tasting session outside of Dublin.

We're not closed to having it in another location, it's just the practicalities of doing so have to be considered.

Maybe there's a chance of tying it up as an 6hr day event in the future? With a local beer festival? Any thoughts & feedback are welcome.

mr hoppy

I hear you pob but perfection is the enemy of the good enough. It's amazing how many businesses which could never work remotely somehow did when they had to (and yes, I know not all could.) Personally  after 12 years of guessing games I'd take my chances.

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July 03, 2020, 08:18:18 AM #10 Last Edit: July 03, 2020, 09:41:51 AM by pob
Being able to taste the same reference beer at the same time is quite a vital part of the course.

If you aren't getting the same flavours or aromas from the beer that's been tasted it's rather moot discussing it. Not that every beer we try is in perfect condition, but rather that we can compare what we are perceiving when tasting it. That's where you begin to pick up & experience the different flavours, aromas, mouthfeel, off-flavours, etc. Not everyone picks up each element, everyone's sensory receptors are different & you distinguish a different range of elements compared to the person beside you, eg you may be hypersensitive to diacetyl (buttery, butterscotch), but totally miss oxidation (cardboard, wet newspaper); whereas your neighbour might be the opposite. Without comparing the same reference sample you may not be aware of it.

This is the principle of the BJCP exam, you are being judged against the baseline of the proctors assessment.

As an aside we were also lucky in being able to source a lot of beers not normally available that were the commercial examples suggested as part of the course. To pack up & get the same beers down to each person would be prohibitively expensive, as each person would need a full bottle rather than just 100ml.

I'm not saying you can't do a tasting online, it's just like watching a film with no sound. You get the gist of what's going on but you might miss something relevant without realising it.

Anyway keep trying to get your hands on some of the example beers & read up on the styles as you do so. Keep on asking any questions about them & hopefully we'll see you on the next course.


If you're doing BJCP you really should be aiming for the exam. At the moment we have no idea when it'd be happening next

However there's something to be said for organising a NHC tasting case and doing 3-4 tasting sessions online...
Issues with your membership? PM me!


There was a thread a few years back about people getting a easily available beer and doing a tasting night with it. Might be something worth looking back into.


Quote from: nigel_c on July 04, 2020, 11:12:15 AMThere was a thread a few years back about people getting a easily available beer and doing a tasting night with it. Might be something worth looking back into.

Yea - there is no harm in getting 1 or 2  beers from McHughs and doing scoresheets and BJCP calibation on them. Its not the course - or pretending to be - just an exercise to keep the beer senses fine tuned.