The main functions of the Continuing Education Program (CEP) of the BJCP are to:
- Act as an approval body for the improvement of brewing and judging education
- Develop and promote quality continuing education for its membership
- Instill in each judge the ability to give adequate, relevant, and helpful feedback for each and every beer, mead, and cider they judge
These responsibilities encompass multiple facets.
The chief focus of the CEP will be the continuing education sessions themselves.
In order to flawlessly incorporate these sessions into the established BJCP program, they must be well structured, and the roles for presenters, organizers and attendees must be well defined and their point schedules unambiguous.
To ensure this, every class syllabus or outline for presentation and the accompanying discussion questions must be presented in advance to the CEP for approval. This enables the CEP to ensure that the basic components, such as tasting and the instruction in technical and stylistic topics, are included and presented capably, and to develop a library of presentations for other organizers and presenters to use.
Secondly, the CEP will approve "special events" that do not fit the projected format but still include an obvious enrichment of judging ability. Some of these will encompass already established events such as AHA nationals, and others will be created for local functions such as structured tastings. Special event point assignments will be arranged according to division of responsibilities and roles in such an event.
Last, but certainly not least, is the CEP's involvement in BJCP course instruction. In order for the CEP to be effective, BJCP members must already have a solid knowledge base from which to build on. This makes our course instructors some of the most valuable assets to the organization. Management of a course is a massive time commitment and should be recognized as such. Therefore, a point schedule is recommended to encourage such individuals and entice others into adding their efforts.
Follow these links for a detailed description of the separate programs:
The hallmark of the CEP will be short courses. Since brewers love using acronyms, we have titled these short courses:
Brewing Review Education and Wisdom sessions (BREWs).
Briefly, these sessions will include:
- The judging of a beer, mead, or cider along with the accompanying score sheet
- A technical topic such as malt, malting, and mashing
- Three stylistic topics, which will include their history, original location, ingredients and a basic recipe formulation
- A short exam on the topics covered
- The minimum number of BJCP participants is five. However, additional attendees need not be BJCP members. The requirement may be relaxed by the CEP if there are special circumstances, such as a rural area that does not have five BJCP judges.
- The BREW session outline or syllabus, presenter(s) credentials and their topics must be presented to the CEP director at least one month in advance of the course date, and needs to include the following:
- The proposed length of the class.
- A description of the flawed beer, mead or cider for tasting.
- A copy of the test questions that will be given to the participants.
A BREW session should last about 1-2 hours. It must include:
- a "flawed" beer, mead or cider tasting segment, complete with score sheets
- presentation of at least one technical topic, and
- the presentation of 3 different styles
In addition, after the tasting is completed and the score sheets are filled out, the organizer will lead a discussion on these score sheets. The participants will exchange their sheet with fellow participants and give feedback and suggestions. These should include, but are not limited to, clarity, perception, flaws, stylistic accuracy, relevant feedback, and suggestions to the brewer. The CEP Director reserves the right to sanction classes where tasting, stylistic or technical topics may not be involved. This latitude will be given in extreme cases only (e.g., where a meeting location prohibits alcohol).
Recognition of flaws and their causes is crucial for good judge perception and feedback. The CEP suggests the following formats:
Historic and Emerging styles
Recognizing that the current BJCP guidelines are designed to add new styles and archive others, lateral or vertical tastings of commercial examples is encouraged. The CEP suggests that these tastings include examples that represent the mean of the style. A blind tasting of the style with score sheets would be expected.
Historic beers would generally be homebrews, but the methodology and historic reference source should be provided to the participants in support of the example(s). Meads and ciders as well as specialty beers reflecting popular trends will also usually be homebrewed. In these cases, brewer's notes for methods and intended flavor should accompany the sample.
Emerging styles will generally be commercial examples. Breweries that go "outside the box," such as Rogue, Stone and others, usually will readily provide brewer's notes on the evolution of the beer. Such notes should be provided to the participants. To avoid redundancy, notes provided to the CEP will be available for redistribution.
Recognized styles are those that are currently in the BJCP guidelines. They do not include archived styles. Revisiting styles that are less popular is important for keeping judge skills current. Often the passage of time will change one’s perspective of the flavors of a style. It is also important to review the style guidelines here, because wording and intent may change with new revisions. Such is the case of certain specialty beers where a clear underlying style is no longer a requirement.
Flawed beers should not be random. Specific doctoring of otherwise clean beers is the recommended method of control; however, commercial beer with known defects are also useful in this regard. This allows the participants to hone their palate more closely. Advanced tasting of "multiple flaws" should be similarly controlled. The presenter should be aware of all flaws being analyzed, as well as their causes and how to correct them.
These are intended to be intermediate to advanced topics relating to chemistry, biology, and methodology effects on beer, mead or cider production. This includes but is not limited to ingredient sources or flaws, packaging issues, production methods or side-by-side comparisons for style. Tastings for methodology or ingredient comparisons can be substituted for style and/or flaw tastings. Examples could be:
- differing yeast or water treatment
- differing hops
- late aeration
- differing pH of mash
- stale ingredients vs. fresh
This substitution needs to be noted in the course outline or syllabus.
Questions will be given at the end of the session to ensure the participation and focus of the attendees. These questions can include simple short answer, multiple choice or matching. The organizer will include the list of questions that will be given to the BREW session in the application and quality questions will be approved for use. A few simple rules will be implemented:
- Test questions will be stand alone and not be tied to prior answers (i.e., double jeopardy).
- Test questions should NOT cover the same information twice.
- Test questions should have a definite answer, and must be clear and understandable. Vague or ambiguous questions will not be accepted.
Policy and Requirements
Topics will be left to the presenters and organizers, but will be subject to review and approval by the CEP Director prior to B.R.E.W.s presentation. Unapproved topics may not qualify for credit. The CEP recognizes both the importance of judge education and the sometimes-limited resources of remote locations. Therefore, it is not a requirement that organizers or presenters be members of the BJCP. This is intended to encourage competition organizers and small clubs to provide B.R.E.W.s sessions as a part of their events and meetings.
Presenters need only to be proficient and accomplished in the topic they are instructing. This includes judges with recognized abilities and perception of any rank. The CEP also will allow instructors that are non-BJCP members, but are proficient in their field and the topic they are presenting. This is designed to allow brewing professionals, teachers and other experts to present within their area of expertise and to allow certain conferences or courses to qualify for CEP credit.
BREW Participation Fulfillment
Participants must pass the question component of the session with a score of =70%. The organizer is expected to correct the questions. Participants wishing credit for the class must be present for the full class and be current members of the BJCP. This will include those that have taken the BJCP test, but not yet received their results back. Retroactive points for non-BJCP participants will not be granted.
Notification of Sanctioning
Much like the application process for sanctioning a competition sanctioned BREW sessions will be reviewed and posted to the BJCP website. Additional links to organizer's information will be added if available.
To ensure good organization and presentations, evaluations will be available to be filled out by the session participants online. Poor presentations will be recorded. Poor organizers or presenters with multiple inadequate presentations will not be allowed to participate in organizing or presenting at future BREW sessions.
Special Event BREWs
This is an adaptation of the normal BREW sessions of the CEP. There are basically two different types of special event BREWs that qualify.
The first is for especially large regional competitions or courses organized by "third parties" to the BJCP. These include, but are not limited to AHA Nationals, MCAB and other competitions, National conferences or extended learning programs (e.g., Siebel, UC Davis, etc.) where there are many different seminars and brewing discussion sessions. These are typically advertised nationally and sponsored by private institutions.
In the second type we want to allow for the creativity of home brewers. These type of "Creative" special events are usually much more local and could include, but is by no means limited to, brewer led tastings, some pub crawls, triangle tasting sessions, detailed brewing sessions (e.g., teaching decoction), special meetings (e.g., tours of a malt house), etc. These events are typically club-sponsored extracurricular activities.
These all will have the common thread of expanding judge knowledge for improving perception and feedback. It is up to the participants to notify the CEP and/or the organizer, prior to the event, to gain CEP sanctioning. A brief outline of the event, and what is expected to be learned, shall be forwarded to the CEP Director. The CEP will not generally seek out events to sanction, but may make inquiries on behalf of BJCP members that request it.
BICEP Instruction Course
For ease of reference the BJCP instructional courses will use an acronym. The BJCP course will be entitled:
BJCP Instructional Course for Educational Progression (BICEP).
BICEP is the brewer's basic education into styles, the BJCP, judging and brewing. It consists of a series of classes that usually range from 10 to 15 classes. They are taught over a period of 1 to 4 months with the majority being 2 – 3 months long. The primary purpose of these classes is to teach beer, cider and mead styles and judging. These classes can be quite similar to BREWs, depending on how one organizes them. The difference is that there is a whole series of courses covering all aspects of brewing knowledge and BJCP styles.
Policy and Requirements
The CEP program should not encompass only BREW sessions, special events and institutional learning. Before all things, one must first have a basic education. Even though by definition the CEP's focus is on continuing education there should be no reason to limit its scope to secondary education. A BJCP member's primary judging education is nearly always acquired through a led BJCP class covering the numerous styles and various technical topics that will/could be covered on the BJCP exam. This starting level of knowledge provides the building blocks for everything else the brewer/judge will learn in the future.
It has been our experience that the better the teacher, the better the student; instructors who bestow an excellent baseline education will produce pupils who functionally understand the most about judging and brewing. In our opinion, leading these classes is the single MOST important aspect of the CEP program. Without adequate primary education, continuing education lacks purpose, focus and direction.
There are no requirements for leading a BICEP series however in order to qualify for CEP points prior approval is required. In addition, even though there are no requirements to lead a BICEP course, points will only apply to current BJCP members either presenting topics or retaking the BJCP course (attendees).