Competition Rules

The Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) sanctions competitions, but does not operate them. Competitions are run by independent organizations that may or may not involve BJCP members. Any competition sanctioned by the BJCP must agree to follow these few general rules:

  1. Organizers have the right to run their competitions as they see fit, consistent with these rules and any applicable local laws. Organizers have wide latitude to create a unique competition experience. The Sanctioned Competition Handbook provides good guidance and advice, but is not binding. Just keep in mind that experienced judges anticipate a certain rhythm to competitions, so be sure to advise judges when the competition has unusual or out-of-the-ordinary elements.
  2. Organizers have the right to select the judges and staff needed to run their competition. No judge has a right to be seated at any competition, session, or panel. Judges may not “pull rank” to get a judging slot.
  3. Organizers have the right to remove or replace disruptive or non-performing judges or staff at their discretion, and to optionally ban them for cause from future competitions they run.
  4. Organizers have the right to exclude scoresheets from any judge who are clearly not performing their duties.
  5. Competition-specific rules must be published and not be changed from the time registration is open until the competition concludes. Unpublished rules cannot be enforced. If any entries are not eligible for any award, these criteria must be explained in advance.
  6. Judging must be fair to all entrants. Competition rules must be applied and enforced uniformly. Competitions must be run in a spirit of fairness, even as unique characteristics are incorporated.
  7. Blind tasting must be used. Judges must not be given the identity of the brewer or entrant. Competition staff are allowed to judge provided that they do not know the association between entries and entrants. Judges may enter competitions in which they judge provided they do not judge any competition category in which they have entries.
  8. Entries must be judged to published styles. The BJCP Style Guidelines are preferred, but any other published guidelines may be used provided that entrants and judges are using the same guidelines. If styles require additional information, organizers must provide this information to the judges.
  9. Judge panels must have a minimum of two judges and a maximum of four judges, including any non-BJCP or provisional judges. Excess judges should be encouraged to steward or observe the judging, provided they are not a distraction and that adequate sample volume exists for judging.
  10. Judges must always pick the best beer from those eligible. Judges, not organizers or staff, determine scores, ranking, and winners. Winners must not be selected on score alone when scores were determined by multiple panels of judges.
  11. Feedback must be given to the brewer or entrant. BJCP Judging Forms are recommended, but are not mandatory. Scoresheets must be returned promptly to entrants.
  12. An organizer’s report must be filed with the BJCP within 21 days, preferably using the BJCP Organizer Reporting System. The BJCP Experience Point Award Schedule must be followed.
  13. The BJCP Privacy Policy must be followed. Judge data may only be used to run the competition, and not be used for other purposes or shared with third-parties.
  14. The BJCP Disability Policy must be followed.
  15. While mead (honey wine) and cider (apple wine) are acceptable to be judged by BJCP judges and to receive points for doing so, other wines are not. We will not deter competitions from including wine or BJCP judges from judging wine; however, when counting the sessions in which BJCP judges judge to assess the number of points they receive, wine judging should NOT be included. BJCP judges will not be allowed to acquire judging points for judging anything other than beer, cider and mead. For example, if a judge were to judge a beer flight on Friday evening, cider and mead flights on Saturday AM and cabernet wine Saturday PM, the judge would receive 1.0 point for judging two sessions. Wine should not be included in beer, cider or mead BOS judging when considering the number of entries to determine if there will be BOS points awarded and how many judges can receive BOS points. In other words, include wine judging in a BJCP sanctioned competition, for the convenience of hosting wine judging in the same competition, and if they wish BJCP judges can participate in wine judging, however, the BJCP will not award any points for wine judging, only for beer, mead and cider. The number of wine entries should not be included in the organizer report or used to compute point structure for organizer or staff or stewards or the number of Best of Show judges.

Organizers not abiding by these rules may be penalized. Organizer points may be reduced or withheld. Subsequent competition registrations may be denied. Discipline of individual BJCP members involved in violating rules may be addressed in accordance with BJCP policies and guidelines.

Rule infractions should be brought to the Organizer’s attention immediately. Escalation to the BJCP Competition Director or BJCP Regional Representative can be undertaken, but attempts to resolve problems must be made locally first. The BJCP will work with those who escalate issues to the BJCP Competition Director or other officers or staff towards a satisfactory explanation or resolution, but Organizers are encouraged to properly manage their competitions and work with those with report issues.