How to become a Certified Beer Judge

By | August 26, 2023
How to become a certified beer judge
When you become a certified beer judge, you open up more opportunities to advance in your career.

How to become a Certified Beer Judge

To become a certified beer judge is a good decision if you desire to go higher in your career as a beer judge.

This post shows you to path to become a certified beer judge; it gives the certification exams you need to take after becoming a beer judge, and get certified.

Continue reading, but first…

Who is a Beer Judge?

Beer judges are beer professionals who give scores and ranks to home-brewed beer, cider, and alcoholic liquor made from fermented honey.

They inhale, taste, and analyze beer to give judgment pertaining to flavor, aroma, and appearance of the beer.

They rank brewed beer according to the ability of the beer to meet the desired qualities, style, and taste.

After scoring, they give reply to the brewer, and the brewer will make corrections where and when necessary.

Beer judges also take part in competitions in order to increase consumer appreciation and satisfaction through analysis and criticism of beer.

They support and promote responsible alcoholic consumption, educating brewers at local and international levels.

Educational Requirements and Career Pathway for a Beer Judge

The first step to take for aspiring beer judges is to take the beer judge entrance examination – an online beer style examination for beer judges, beer characteristics, ingredients, brewing processes.

Provisional Judge is the award granted to those who pass this exam, following the scoring condition of pass or fail.

Before Provisional Judges can become members of Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP), they must take the BJCP Beer Judging Examination.

This is a practical tasting exam of 6 different beers. The examination scores will determine if they earn the rank of Apprentice, Recognized or Certified.

Tasters must retake the BJCP Beer Judging Examination within one year from the time they passed the BJCP Beer Judging Entrance Examination.

The BJCP Beer Judge Written Proficiency Examination becomes the final test. It’s a true-or-false and essay-question exam.

School for Beer Judge Training

Here are some schools where you can be trained to become a beer judge:

  • Siebel Institute of Technology

Siebel Institute of Technology was founded by Dr. John Siebel in 1872. Being the oldest brewing school in the country, the flagship course of the Siebel Institute of Technology is the twelve week International Diploma in Brewing Technology program.

Siebel offers over thirty courses less severe than the foreign program.

Some of the interesting programs of Siebel Institute of Technology are:

– Concise Course in Brewing Technology – two weeks
– Advanced Home-brewing Program – five days
– Master of Beer Styles – three days
– Sensory Analysis for Flavor Production – one day

  • American Brewers Guild

American Brewers Guild is a distance education program that is not hundred percent online as it requires one week experience at a local brewery.

The two available courses of American Brewers Guild are:

– Craft Brewer’s Apprenticeship (CBA) – twenty-seven weeks
– Intensive Brewing Science and Engineering (IBS&E) – twenty-two weeks

Training Requirements for a Beer Judge

Training helps beer judges to gather as much experience as they can. They may undergo training in an Institute or have a real-life experience at a bar or restaurant under a certified beer judge.

Beer Sommelier Training: Beer Sommelier Training is an Irish-based training program for beer judges. To become a Beer Sommelier you need an Accredited Beer Sommelier Training Scheme run by The Institute for Brewing and Distilling (IBD).

Attendance is at two courses, with oral examination and portfolio run in Dublin.

The Advanced Beer Academy is part of IBD’s Accredited Beer Sommelier Scheme. You will be able to communicate skillfully to customers and consumers the knowledge about beer.

The course touches on major aspects of beer tasting, beer assessment, beer and food pairings, brewing materials and processes, beer markets and trends, beer and lifestyle, aroma and flavor profiles, beer styles, and twenty-five beers to be tasted over two days. It is a twenty-question multiple-choice course examination.

How to Obtain Beer Judge Certification

To obtain beer judge certification, you must attend a Beer Judge Certification Program, which requires that you excel in the exam and acquire the knowledge of tasting and scoring beers.

Types of Beer Certification Programs:

The various types of certification programs for beer judges include:

  • The Cicerone Certification Program

The Cicerone program was introduced by Ray Daniels after he suffered series of poor beer service. The program has now become the standard beer certification in the United States.

It is a certification program for people in the beer industry. The program emphasizes on all kinds of beer services such as pouring, selecting, cleaning beer glasses and tap, comparing, styling, brewing, and flavoring.

The three levels of Cicerone certification program are Certified Beer Server, Certified Cicerone, and Master Cicerone.

The Certified Beer Server (CBS): The CBS certification requires the basic knowledge of beer that every beer seller should have.

The study material of CBS syllabus is provided on the Cicerone program’s website, requiring that participants pass a 60-minute online exam that costs $69 for double attempts. The Cicerone Beer Savvy online training program offers full staff training to interested participants.

The Certified Cicerone: The certified Cicerone test is a tough one and only 33 percent of the people who take it actually pass it.

There is need for knowledge in beer services, styles, pairing and testing; and it is several hours long and consists of written essay section, tasting section, and tap cleaning section.

The in-person test costs $345, and about one thousand people in the US have passed the Certified Cicerone test to date, giving them value and opportunities of applying for jobs at big restaurants, brewers, distributors, and top beer bars.

Master Cicerone: To become a Master Cicerone, you need to have strong beer knowledge acquired from reading wide range of books.

The test has been passed by only 10 percent of the people who have taken the test, which lasts for two days. You have to make beer your friend if you really want to pass the Master Cicerone test.

Other beer certification programs include Doemens Bier Sommelier Program, whose cost ranges from $4,100 to $4,450, awarding a title of ‘Doemens Bier Sommelier’ to students who pass the final test after taking classes on beer service, styles, basic brewing, and pairings.

Job Duties and Responsibilities of a Beer Judge

All beer judges must know their duties and responsibilities, as this will help them in their chosen career.

Below is a list of various duties and responsibilities of a beer judge:

  • Inspecting bottles to ascertain neatness and to avoid contamination
  • Pouring, tasting, and evaluating beer outlook and aroma
  • Scoring beer
  • Comparing and ranking beer
  • Setting apart initial flavors and aroma, and taking note
  • Attending beer competition
  • Sampling categories of beer and tasting to determine the winner
  • Giving reasons for selecting a winner
  • Abiding by the rules and regulations guiding beer judging.

Where can Beer Judges find jobs?

Beer judges get employed by pubs, clubs, restaurants, and bars that want to improve in beer services.

The judge knows every aspect of beer, including styles, pairings, and scoring. They study all the beers that they have to sample, share, and compare the brews with other beer enthusiasts.

Employment is possible when you can prove your competence by working efficiently.

Experience is a major factor affecting employment. After looking at your qualifications, the next thing will be to see you do what you claim to know.

For this reason, you have to get yourself equipped before seeking employment.

What are the Salaries of a Beer Judge?

The need for knowledge of the salaries of a beer judge is to assist job seekers during salary negotiation.

There are varieties of beer judge salaries according to experience, location, and industry of the job seeker. They earn approximately $49,000 to $50,000.


You can improve your career prospect by becoming a certified beer judge; you will be able to access more and higher opportunities in the industry with your greater beer knowledge and skills.

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