Over the weekend, I re-took the BJCP exam here in Denver. I initially offered to give up my seat to anyone on the waiting list, but the organizer informed me that he had plenty of spaces avaliable, and I wouldn't be taking up wanted/needed space.
I was much more relaxed at this testing. Knowing what to expect, and knowing that I at least know a little about beer, made the experience much more enjoyable. Did I do any better? No, probably not.
I did get my exam sheets and the proctor scores (along with beer info) last night. Here's the info:
Judged as a German Pilsner
Proctor Total Score: 40
My Score 39
The beer was a Heinekin Light. I actually said in my overall impression that it was a nice beer with nice balance, but perhaps too light in body and hop character for the style (I almost said "this tastes like a light beer")....
Judged as a Belgian Wit
Proctor Score: 35
My Score: 36
This beer was a homebrewed version. I don't think I did particularly well with the descriptions...but I felt it looked, smelled, and tasted as it should.
Judged as an American IPA
Proctor Score: 34
My Score: 36
In reality, this beer was a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale (from a can), which is the archtype for an American Pale Ale. This is the organizer trying to be sneaky. I actually loved this beer, had nothing bad to say about it except not quite to style (that is why I scored it so high...nice beer). I actually typo'd that " hops were a little low for an American APA style"....I meant to say "American IPA", but I was thinking that this was a nice APA. I hope they give me credit for my brain getting ahead of me on this....
Proctor Score: 32
My Score: 28
Judged as an American Barley Wine
In reality, it was an Am Barley Wine, Old Ruffian by Great Divide.
I dinged it for not enough malt body to support hops....that probably wasn't it, but this was my second worst score (off by 4, is still acceptable).
Proctor Score: 37
My score: 29
Judged as a Robust Porter.
This was my worst score (off by 8), and I don't know if I should be ashamed or not. The porter catagory is one that I supposedly know a little more about, but this beer to me, was high on roast (as it should be), but didn't have a supporting maltiness in the body and was thin in the mouthfeel. I felt it was more like a Stout in this respect, which may mean that I have the two switched in my head. I should have stated that I thought it would have been more well recieved as an export/foriegn stout, or even a coffee stout....
Proctor Score: 42
My Score: 44
Judged as a Flander's Red.
This was a homebrew. It was another sneaky attempt by the test organizer. When I was reviewing for the exam, I literally passed over reviewing all of the sour beer catagories saying to myself "they'll never give us one of those". The reason being is that they are still pretty rare here and take a long time (especially those made to style), expensive buy (from Belgium), and may suffer from age related problems when imported. When they announced the style, I muttered to myself "well played evil organizer, well played". Most other test takers I spoke to thought it was too acetic (sour, vinegar is acetic acid), but this to me is the dominating factor of most Flanders Reds I have tried. The exception is the Duchess of Bourgogne, which is the most tame Flanders Red I have ever had. I usually stay away from this catagory.
The beer smelled just like the Duchess....but was more sour. I couldn't find fault with that (since my experience). This is such an advanced and relatively rare beer syle, I feel like it is almost unfair.
All in all, I did a little better in the scoring than I did the first time (off by 1 or two in 4 of 6 beers...and sometimes landing in between the master judge proctors), and probably no better (if not worse) describing the beers. Did I pass? Again, probably....but I have to wait 3 or more months to find out.
I am likely to find out about my first exam just before the AHA's 1st round of their National Competition. I may be judging rather than stewarding this time, since I know they need the help.