The BJCP is now a truly a worldwide organization, with members on 4 continents! We hope to include contributions and reports from the educational activities of members around the world. Look for publication of this newsletter on a quarterly basis. From time to time, other urgent news will be released more frequently.
Since the inception of the CEP, we have taken great strides in an effort to increase opportunities for BJCP judge continuing education. In trying to make this program both flexible and meaningful, we created some measures to ensure both proper content and participation. The lack of 'active' participation by the BJCP membership indicates to us that we need to make some changes to our current requirements.. We have streamlined the application process and have lightened some of the requirements for creating a CEP class. Along with this newsletter you will find examples of both BREW sessions and BICEP courses that have actually been used. Hopefully this will give everyone a better idea of how easy and fun these things can be.
The BICEP and BREWs programs were never meant to be the 'end all' of the CEP. We have many new exciting projects and ideas in the works. With all our new projects/ideas there is not enough time in the day for my staff and I to do them all by ourselves. We want to increase the participation of the membership. You are a very creative and educated bunch that can very much help us in many of the projects and ideas that we have. Inasmuch, we seek your help. If you would like to get involved with the CEP in any facet please email me directly.
Your CEP Team,
Kristen England – Director
Kevin Pratt – AD
Mike Heniff – AD
2007 National Homebrewers Conference
Again the CEP has partnered with the good people running the 2007 NHC in Denver to offer CEP credit for current judges attending the various seminars. The seminars that count for credit will be indicated on the schedule. At last year's NHC in Orlando, we had each attendee take a quiz for each seminar to qualify for CEP credit. The quizzes were based on the material presented. This became a problem when the seminar speaker didn't cover material that was on the exam. In addition, the logistics of collecting and grading the quizzes made them a nightmare. It also occurred to us in hindsight that seminar attendance is voluntary and the attendees choose to go and listen. Well, that's more than enough for us this year. For all of these reasons, we have changed the way we are dealing with CEP credit at this year's NHC. It's very straightforward and very streamlined. There is a 'check-in/check-out' sheet. The attendees are responsible for providing their name and BJCP number and for staying for the entire seminar. Hence, 'check-in/out'. ONLY current judges will receive points. This way it will leave the attendees able to focus more on the presentation than on the piece of paper in front of them.
One of the largest and most important projects that we have undertaken is the creation of a beer judge's lexicon, the Beer Lexicon. Basically, this is a very large list of many different descriptors used in beer judging. The lexicon includes descriptors for aroma, flavor, appearance, mouthfeel, etc. This document is not meant to be final, but will be 'alive' and ever changing. In addition to a straightforward definition, each entry will have additional useful descriptions including audio files that correctly pronounce each term. This lexicon will hopefully expand the active vocabulary of beer judges lending them a greater ability for specific feedback when judging. This is the first of three lexicons that the CEP will generate. The other two will be mead and cider and will follow in the same mold as the Beer Lexicon, Mead Lexicon and Cider Lexicon, respectively.
The CEP is proud to announce a recent partnership with FlavorActiV. FlavorActiV is the world's largest provider of beer flavor training services and products. This past year Flavor ActiV received its second Queen's Award for Enterprise, in the category of Innovation, which is the United Kingdom's most prestigious award for business performance. The CEP has teamed up with FlavorActiV to create a BJCP specific 'off-flavor' kit precisely engineered to meet our judging needs. The initial testing of this product has recently been completed. Each full kit will contain approximately 10 different 'off-flavors' and will be used in the 'Doctored Beer Session' of BICEP courses.
The current kits include:
This is a very consistent and reliable way to identify common beer flavors and aromas. Many of these compounds are very difficult to create consistently, using the directions currently available. Having these kits will go a long way in helping teach new and experienced beer judges to train their palates. As a way of giving back to our membership the remaining kits will be given away, free of charge, to any BICEP course. The exact details will be announced shortly.
BJCP Instructional Course for Educational Progression (BICEP)
OK, maybe the whole name is hard to remember, but a BICEP is simply a series of classes. These develop your beer judging skills by broadening the range of topics that can be covered and gives a multitude of commercial examples for each individual beer style.
At its most basic, a BICEP series is an exam prep course. Recent topics explored have been yeast signatures, various roast grains and hop flavors. The basic idea is to explore a larger area of beer knowledge than can, or should, be covered in one class.
One new benefit to signing up your exam prep class as a BICEP is getting a FREE Off Flavor Dose kit for tasting preparation. Ten flavors are included, for a value of almost $150 per set! These are custom made for the BJCP by FlavorActiv and include 10 readily detectable flavor and aroma beer faults. We have a limited supply of these kits, so first come first served. Each flavor makes about a liter sized sample, so could easily be used for a class of 15+ participants.
Who Does This?
Anyone who is beer curious can organize a BICEP. There is no rank or experience requirement. Instructors will generally have a solid knowledge base to share but don't always have to be a BJCP judge. Participants that are already judges will qualify for CEP credit (e.g., non-judging points) but don't let that limit the size of the class!
What Should I Teach?
BICEPs have been created by clubs, experienced judges and just plain curious brewers in order to get more depth about beer ingredients, processes and evaluation. The overall aim is to make better judges, so tasting is just as important as sharing information. There are many different examples of BICEP's. Each organizer has a different teaching style and usually a different way of going about presenting the information. Therefore, the CEP will be providing multiple examples of BICEP syllabi along with suggested materials for teaching different topics and styles. This is by no means meant to be the end all and the only way to teach a BICEP. We will provide these examples to be used as stand alone units or hopefully a way to improve on an existing class or give new methods for teaching the required topics.
How Do I Register?
Go to: /cep/bicepform.php for the online form. Yes, we know it looks complicated, but it isn't. We've recently lightened up much of the information required, so now organizers don't have to have a BJCP ID number. We still want to know who you are, when the class starts and what city it's in. Much like the Competition page, we will advertise your event on the CEP events page. You may list it as an open class or you may list it as a closed class. It's entirely up to you. Future participants may want to contact you about the next class in the area.
For the presenters, (you will have at least one, won't you?) a name and simple qualification statement is enough. Qualifications can be short like, "Professional Brewer," "National Judge," "Science Teacher." Again, no BJCP ID number is required. If a presenter changes, a simple email to us will fix the information.
Topics are helpful, but not required for each class, if there is just one general topic. If the topic is 'to be determined,' then apply anyway, and get back to us when it is decided. Putting together a simple syllabus goes a long way in allowing us to help you plan the course. When you put your ideas down on paper you will get a much better idea yourself of where the class is going and how you are going to get there.What's With This "Quiz" Thing? The idea of the quiz is twofold: to reinforce the knowledge taught, and to indicate attendance. You get points by participation and this is our method of validation. If this is a huge burden to holding a class, email us to talk about it and we can work something out. Often, we can find other ways to work with you. However, classes that do participate in weekly quizzes actually do much better on the exam than ones that do not. It's a very good idea to put the participants in a 'testing' environment in order for them to understand what is expected of them and the time constraints therein.
What Happens After The Class?
Send us a final list of presenters and participants and we'll make sure points get added to the database.
Overall, we are here to help make judges better evaluators. The CEP is not meant to me an exam class governing body nor do we want to be. We are not making you jump through hoops just for the sake of it. The organizers that put more time into the preparation of the BICEP courses always have a much richer environment for learning and in being so the students learn more. As the CEP we have a vast array of experience with leading these types of courses and immense amounts of material in which we can supply the organizers/presenters. Its very much true that beer evolves, ingredients change, processes become better understood/debunked… and sometimes inspiration and creativity become a whole new way of thinking about beer. BICEP is just one format of courses that can qualify for CEP credit.
If you're going to do the work of educating judges, you might as well get credit for it!
BREWs: The CEP Short Course
The BREW (Brewing Review Education and Wisdom) session is the hallmark of the Continuing Education Program (CEP) of the BJCP. Witty acronym aside, a BREW is a short course that covers a few topics with a short judging session and a quiz. The courses are usually 1-2 hours in length making them a perfect fit for a homebrew club meeting or a short after work or weekend get-together. Likely, some of the existing homebrew club educational sessions already meet these requirements or can easily do so with some slight modifications.
Why host a BREW session? Why modify your current educational session to meet this format?
First, hosting educational sessions helps to improve the judging (and brewing!) abilities for those involved. Judging competitions and events are not every day occurrences so the BREW sessions enable judges to stay sharp without having to commit massive amounts of time and energy. Second, the organizer, presenter, and attendees will earn BJCP experience points. That's to say that current BJCP judges will 100% receive non-judging points for the effort and participation in any BREW session. Finally, they are fun; most judges love to learn more about judging, brewing, and beer.
What is required in a session?
The following is a list of 'minimum' requirements for a BREW session:
- Judging of at least two beers with scoresheets. If at all possible one of the beers should be 'flawed'. This can be something like a pilsner that is 'light struck' or maybe a style judged in the wrong category like a dry stout as a sweet stout.
- Two to three styles are covered including history, ingredients, recipes, and sensory aspects. This can be combined with the judging of the beers. Whatever styles are covered can then be judged.
- One technical topic. Again, this can all tie in with the styles. If one was doing American ales then hops could be covered or if doing amber lagers one could do malts.
- A quiz (at least multiple choice, fill-in-the-blank, or matching) with 10 questions. These quizzes are not meant to be a 'cake walk' nor are they meant to be extremely difficult. They should be challenging to the point of making the participants show that they have been paying attention and have learned what has been presented.
- Minimum of 5 attendees (for remote locations, approval for smaller sessions should be submitted in advance)
- One to two hours in length. Sometimes it's shorter, sometimes it's longer. Basically, however long it takes to get the requirements accomplished is all we care about.
Are there any good tips for making this easier?
First, refer to the example BREWs at the BJCP website, or better yet use one directly as is (more examples to be posted soon). Second, take advantage of styles and beers that you may already have at your venue (beers served at a homebrew meeting, competition, or your own homebrew). Also, enlist fellow experienced judges to help develop and/or present educational material, brew example or flawed beers, or provide commercial examples. Try and get professionals involved. If you have a highly successful brewpub/brewery in your area, see if the brewer would like to present on a certain topic or style.
How can I deliver the best education during the session?
A nice quiet and well-lit area is best for an educational atmosphere. All beers should be served at their proper temperature in adequate glassware (small glasses or plastic-ware (free of off aromas) is best for ounce sized tastings. Prepare well, know your material, and provide a good outline in addition to good content. It's a very good help to have handouts that participants can take home. Things like charts, graphs and tables are always good in that they can be clipped out and saved for future reference. Done be afraid to hand out material that you do not cover but that goes more in depth on whatever topics you are covering. Draw on the BJCP Style Guidelines and the Brewers Publications Classic Beer Style Series for style information.
How does the process work?
The organizer should prepare their material well in advance of the class and should submit at least an outline to the CEP Director before the class (may be submitted afterwards but the risk of not being approved is taken by the organizer). An outline is necessary and one with accompanying technical content and quiz is preferred (and can even be used for future BREW sessions by other groups or clubs). After the class, the organizer should send the list of judges passing the quiz (greater than 70%) with judge ID numbers to the CEP Director for credit. If ID numbers are not known, they can be looked up.
How many points do I get?
The organizer, presenter, and attendee each get 0.5 points per session with a maximum of 1 point per day.
Where can I find more information?
More information about the requirements of a BREW session is located at the BJCP website, specifically in the CEP section.
Are there any examples that I can use?
One example of an outline is at /cep/xbrews.php. Numerous examples will be available on the BJCP website soon.
How can you help the CEP?
If you have hosted a BREW session, submit your handouts, syllabus and such. We will have them put on the website so other organizers can have more examples and get ideas from what other people have done.
The Special BREW is basically for any educational event that doesn't fit in the normal BREW outline. These can be anything from taking courses at a university, a professional development course (e.g., Siebel), organized tours of maltsters or breweries and various other events. These ALWAYS need to be applied for before the event (not including professional courses). Things like pub crawls will not count or your local homebrew club meetings (see BREWs). This part of the CEP is meant to give credit for creative and special situations of which rarely occur. Past approved Special BREWs have included professional sensory training seminars, National Homebrew Conference seminars and a hard cider seminar. One of the coolest Special BREW sessions was done by some of our Australian members who, unable to get a lot of the BJCP style guideline commercial styles, had them specifically flown in and then set up a tasting session. The things people do for beer. Hopefully this type of session will elicit the massive amount of knowledge and creativity our membership possesses.