How to Become A Mead Judge
- Study for the mead exam and understand the mead judge examination process. The BJCP Education Directorate has created and published several judge training and study programs to assist prospective judges with their studies.
- Pass the BJCP online mead entrance exam. The starting point to become a beer, mead, or cider judge is the same: take and pass the appropriate online entrance exam via Coursewebs. The entrance exams screen prospective candidates via multiple-choice, true/false, and multiple answer question types. The online mead entrance exam contains 200 questions over 60 minutes. Online exams can be taken once per day, but we suggest taking time to study before retaking after a failed attempt. Passing an online exam allows an examinee to register for a judging exam (see step 3 below), but does not grant membership in the BJCP.
- NOTE: Once you pass an online entrance exam, you only have one year to sit for a mead judging exam (see step 3 below). Because mead exams are scheduled less frequently than beer judging exams, we strongly recommend that you secure a spot to take an exam before passing the online mead exam. Otherwise, if you cannot find an open exam seat within a year, you will have to retake the online exam.
- Pass the BJCP mead judging exam. This is a practical tasting exam of judging six meads in a competition-like setting. Passing this exam grants membership in the BJCP and awards the mead judge rank (for new judges) or mead judge endorsement (for existing judges).
- Tips to register for an exam: Search the BJCP Exam Calendar for a mead exam that you can attend. Contact the exam administrator to inquire if there are open exam seats. If there are, ask to secure a seat and pay any exam fees to the exam administrator. Once you have secured an exam seat, take and pass the online mead entrance exam sometime during the 12 months preceding your exam date. Note that some exam administrators may require the online exam certificate before securing an exam seat or may set a deadline to pass the online exam to keep your exam seat.
The BJCP Mead Exam
There is no prerequisite for taking the BJCP Mead Entrance Exam. The exam is open to BJCP judges and those not in the BJCP. Passing the BJCP Mead Entrance Exam is a prerequisite for taking the BJCP Mead Judging Exam. Anyone who passes the BJCP Mead Judging Exam will receive a BJCP Mead Judge pin and certificate. Mead Exams do not count towards program (rank) advancement. An existing BJCP judge may not advance in rank based on the score received on the BJCP Mead Judging Exam. Non-BJCP members passing the BJCP Mead Judging Exam may not advance in rank without taking the BJCP Beer Exam.
BJCP Mead Judge Entrance Examination
The BJCP Mead Judge Entrance Examination consists of 200 questions to be answered in a 60 minute time period. There is a mixture of multiple choice, true-false and multiple answer questions which are designed to test a prospective mead judge’s knowledge of mead styles, mead characteristics and the mead-making process. The key reference for the style-related questions is the BJCP Style Guidelines, and prospective judges are encouraged to become very familiar with this document before attempting the entrance exam. The 200 questions are drawn from a large pool of questions so each examination will potentially be different. The BJCP does not intend to publish the list of questions in the pool as that will invalidate the quality of the examination – a published pool would be too easy to query for answers without the examinee actually learning the material. The BJCP will monitor for questions that are made public and will work to remove said questions from the examination pool.
Questions on the BJCP Mead Entrance Exam cover the following topics:
- The BJCP Mead Program
- BJCP judging procedures and ethics
- Mead Balance and Style Attributes
- Varietal Honey Identification and Usage
- Non-Honey Ingredients in Mead
- Identifying/Troubleshooting Mead Characteristics and Faults
- Mead Making and Process Control
- Mead Troubleshooting
BJCP Mead Judging Examination
The BJCP Mead Judging Examination is closed book and requires the judging of six meads as if one were at a competition, with the scoresheets evaluated on the basis of scoring accuracy, perception, descriptive ability, feedback and completeness.
BJCP Mead Resources
- BJCP Mead Style Guidelines
- Mead Judge Training and Study Program
- Mead Exam Study Guide
- Ingredient Descriptions
- Troubleshooting Mead
The Mead Judge Designation
To support the Mead Judge Exam program, a new Mead Judge designation was created. This designation is treated differently depending on whether or not the person passing the Mead Exam is already a member of the BJCP.
- For existing BJCP judges, the designation is called an endorsement. Judges continue to hold their existing BJCP ranks, and otherwise operate within the program in the same manner as before. They may refer to themselves as Mead Judges, but their rank is still based on their beer exam score.
- For those who have not taken the BJCP Beer Exam, the designation will be the judge’s rank. Non-BJCP members passing the exam become active BJCP judges, get assigned a BJCP ID, may accumulate experience points, and have all other rights, privileges, and responsibilities due an active BJCP member.
- For existing BJCP Cider judges the Mead Judge designation is an additional rank.
Those passing the BJCP Beer Exam use a graduated system of rank levels that depends on exam score and experience points. Those only passing the BJCP Mead Exam use the Mead Judge rank exclusively. Those having passed the BJCP Mead Exam and the BJCP Cider Exam may use either the Mead Judge or Cider Judge rank. All groups of judges are full BJCP members. The Cider and Mead Judge ranks differs from the Beer Judge ranks (Apprentice through Grand Master) in that there is only one Cider or Mead Judge rank level – no advancement in rank is possible without taking the BJCP Beer Exam.
Note that there are not different types of judging experience points; no distinction is made whether they are earned judging mead, beer, or cider. Any judging experience within the BJCP system develops skills and experience, and is recorded on the BJCP judge’s judging record. So, experience points gained while holding the Mead Judge rank can be used towards advancing in the Beer Judge ranks once the BJCP Beer Exam is taken. An existing BJCP judge with the Mead Judge endorsement will obviously continue to earn experience points as before; no changes in the rank system are made because of the endorsement.
The criterion for the Mead Judge designation is simply to pass the Mead Judging Exam (i.e., receive a score of 60 or higher) after passing the Mead Entrance Exam. No experience points are required. All who pass the Mead Judging Exam may check the Mead Judge checkbox on the BJCP Scoresheets and may wear the BJCP Mead Judge pin. Distinctive Mead Judge pins and attractive certificates are provided by the BJCP to all who pass the exam. Existing BJCP judges passing the Mead Entrance and Judging Exams should check the appropriate BJCP Rank checkbox on a BJCP Scoresheet in addition to the Mead Judge checkbox.
Existing BJCP judges who pass the Mead Judging Exam will receive Education and Training Directorate (ETD) credits, which are non-judging experience points on their judging records. ETD points are awarded based on the overall Mead Judging Exam score (0.5/1/1.5/2 points for a score of 60/70/80/90). Judges may receive the ETD credit once for each type of exam (mead or cider). Judges retaking the Mead Judging Exam will be given ETD credit based on their highest score.
Mead Program Authorization & History
The BJCP Board approved a wide-ranging proposal in March 2006 to incorporate Mead and Cider fully into the BJCP’s programs. This proposal created the Mead and Cider Committee and directed the creation of a Mead Judge Exam, program, and all related materials. The legacy question pool was finalized and field-tested in 2007, with the exam format determined in early 2008. A pilot mead judge exam was given in August 2008 in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Results of that pilot test were then used to adjust the program, and to determine what information was most needed by examinees and graders.
The development of the 2015 BJCP Style Guidelines and the need to update the Mead Exam created an opportunity to revise the Mead Exam to conform to the exam techniques used for the Beer Exam since April 2012. The original Mead Exam is now referred to as the BJCP Legacy Mead Exam and is retired effective on 1 November 2015.
The Mead exam was jointly sponsored effort with the Mead Makers International (MMI, formerly the International Mead Association). Members of the MMI helped with the exam questions and study materials.