Generally, you have to gain experience by judging in competitions and possibly raise your exam score by retaking the exam to qualify for a higher rank.
The BJCP uses a tiered rank system for beer judges, but also has ranks for mead and cider judges. Ranks are determined by the exams taken, the highest scores on those exams, and the amount of experience points earned.
Standard Beer Judge Ranks
The beer judge ranks of Recognized and Certified can be obtained after passing the online beer entrance exam and the beer judging exam in the process described in the “how to become a judge” section above.
- Recognized rank is awarded to judges with a score of 60-69 on the judging exam OR to judges with a score of 70+ who have earned fewer than 5 experience points*.
- Certified rank is awarded to judges with a score of 70 or higher on the judging exam after earning 5 experience points.
Advanced Beer Judge Ranks
Beer judges who score an 80 or higher on the beer judging exam (and have earned 10 judging points) are eligible to take the BJCP Beer Written Proficiency Exam to reach National or Master Beer Judge ranks. The scores from the judging exam and written exam are averaged to create a composite score.
- National beer judge rank is earned with a composite score of 80-89 and 20 experience points (with at least 10 points from judging). Note that judges with a composite score of 90+ who do not meet the experience point threshold for master rank remain national judges until their accrue the required number of experience points.
- Master beer judge rank is earned with a composite score of 90+ and 40 experience points (with at least 20 points from judging).
Current National rank judges can retake either the beer judging or written exam to improve their composite score and attempt to earn the 90+ composite score needed for Master rank. Certified or Recognized judges who took the BJCP Beer Legacy Examination prior to April 2012 qualify to sit for the written exam if they received an 80% or higher on the tasting portion of the legacy exam format and have 10 judging points.
The Grand Master Beer Judge rank has the same exam score requirement as Master rank, but requires 100 experience points and an additional “Grand Master Service Requirement” to the BJCP such as points earned from grading exams (see the Grand Master Service Requirement rules for details).
*All experience point rank requirements require at least half of the total experience points to be earned from judging.
Mead and Cider Judge Ranks and Endorsements
BJCP judges who take the mead or cider exams without becoming a beer judge will have the rank of either Mead Judge or Cider Judge. There are no levels of mead or cider judge ranks; however, mead or cider judges who score 80 or higher on the judging exam are qualified to proctor mead or cider exams, respectively. Beer judges who pass the mead or cider exams will retain their current beer judge rank and earn the mead judge or cider judge endorsement to complement their beer judge rank.