Original document by Julie Lawson, Edited by Bruce Buerger.
This program structure is designed to help empower existing BJCP Members to conduct study sessions for existing members or potential new members seeking the Mead Judge designation or endorsement. It is also structured to help the participant become more comfortable with mead judging, as well as promote good judging practices. Existing mead makers not seeking to become a judge but looking to better their meads will also benefit. Additionally this guide can be used for self-directed study. It should be considered as a starting point and should be modified to meet the needs of the participants that will be going through the program.
If desired this program can be used as the basis for a EDT-Approved Course by the Education Liaison. Please be sure to review the ETD Course Submission and Approval Process and Point Award Outline well ahead of conducting any courses.
It is outside of the scope of this offering to detail exactly what one may need to study or do in order to do well on the BJCP Mead Entrance or Judging Exam.
This is designed as a four-part self-study course with recommended reading and reference material. It is recommended that a short quiz be developed and conducted at the end of each part in order to reinforce key items. These courses can be enhanced by scheduling classes or a causal get-together with friends at the end of each part to discuss key points, share samples of mead and honey and prepare for the on line entrance exam as well as the tasting exam.
The BJCP website lists all the resources needed to prepare one to become a Mead Judge. A lot of expertise and time has already been put into this reference material so it is not the intention of this program to re-invent this but rather highlight key points and serve as a guide for navigating through this material.
Mead Exam materials can be found in the Exam & Certification section of the BJCP website. The Mead Exam page lists numerous links related to mead, honey, other ingredients and judging information. The amount of material can be overwhelming at first glance and while it is all extremely interesting and informational focus should be placed on the following for these courses:
- Mead Judge Program Overview – Administrative details about the program.
- The BJCP Mead Exam – Presentation on the program.
- BJCP Exam Program – Information about the BJCP Exam Program, previously part of the Mead Study Guide.
- Mead Exam Study Guide – The knowledge base necessary to pass the exam.
- Mead Style Guidelines – Listing of mead styles.
- Ingredient Descriptions – Detailed descriptions of specialty ingredients, previously part of the Mead Study Guide.
- Troubleshooting Mead – Fault list and possible troubleshooting.
What Is Mead
Alcoholic beverages are differentiated by the source of fermentable sugar consumed by yeast. Mead is fermented honey, wine is fermented crushed grapes or grape juice, cider is fermented sweet apple cider, fruit wines are the fermented juice of fruit other than grapes, sake is fermented unmalted rice, and beer is fermented cereal grains (typically malted barley or wheat). Mead is made with honey, water and yeast (Traditional) or fruits, grapes, spices and malt can be added for variations on styles.
Each course lists key items that should be covered as well as some reference material pertinent to the course. It is highly recommended that course administrators publish the list of materials that will be referenced prior to the course so participants have a chance to review them and bring questions for discussion.
2015 BJCP Mead Style Studying
Throughout each of the course parts or sessions participants should review and sample the styles outlined in the 2015 BJCP Mead Style Guidelines. The following is an outline that can be modified to suit course needs along with a few items that should be taken into consideration when planning the course offering.
- Select similar styles & group together.
- Study one group of styles during each of the sessions.
- Suggested style groupings by BJCP Category for four sessions:
- Review the Overall Impression, Ingredients, and Style Comparison sections on each and discuss with others.
- Consider emphasis on comparing / contrasting styles, style history, ingredients, and processes.
- Whenever possible purchase Classic Examples outlined in the guideline.
- Publish the styles to be reviewed during each session as early as possible in order to give participants time to review prior to the session. Also encourage participants to review the styles to be covered in order to bring questions and engage in a healthy discussion.
- Taste these examples and fill out scoresheets.
- Review the scoresheets and grade them against the BJCP Exam Scoring Guide.