The BJCP and Cider and Mead
August 9, 2011
I promised to blog about the Beer Judging Certification Program (BJCP) and why it annoys me that they took under their wing the categories of cider, mead, and apple wine. Actually, I think the last one hits the nail on the head: what are they doing judging wine?
Okay, I’m getting ahead of myself. What is the BJCP? Their website reads, “The purpose of the Beer Judge Certification Program is to promote beer literacy and the appreciation of real beer, and to recognize beer tasting and evaluation skills. We certify and rank beer judges through an examination and monitoring process.” Basically, it is a program to educate people on beer and try to bring consistency to beer styles by defining them and how they are to be judged. The BJCP does allow some flexibility in creativity, but does have a hard time dealing with experiments outside a “standard.”
But to judge cider and mead, both of which are made like wine, is stupid. First off, at least with cider, you press the apples and then ferment the juice just like you do wine, not beer. Mead is technically “honey wine.” Both cider and mead use sulfites just like wine does, not beer. Last of all, a good cider and mead need to be aged like wine, not drank young like beer. So since both are like wine and not like beer, then why is it judged as beer? Who gave the BJCP permission to take cider and mead under their wing?
Actually, the BJCP does a good write up on cider and mead, and they probably do a good job at training actual judges, but the training is hard to find. So really, it is the people who are really into beer and think they can judge cider and mead because it is on the BJCP without reading the BJCP. The education is lacking. Maybe they don’t know to go find the special judges sheet for cider and mead, so I’m judged on “hoppiness” and if it is appropriate. Stupid. Also, what I’ve seen is that the BJCP does is promotes adding sugar to cider to make apple wine http://www.bjcp.org/2008styles/style28.php, and then you end up with homebrewers who don’t age it and then refer to it as rocket fuel, and they wonder why. There is just a disconnect, and I really wish the BJCP would leave at least cider alone.