Cicerone cramming

Discussion in 'Mid-Atlantic' started by notjustgc, Mar 13, 2013.

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  1. So, I registered for the Cicerone exam... two weeks in advance. There have been a few threads on the topic of studying for the exam, most of which recommend months of preparation and careful studying and tasting your way through the entire BJCP style catalog. Obviously, that's not gonna happen.

    I've got a fair bit of knowledge already - I have no worries about draft systems, and I've committed myself to drinking nothing but BJCP commercial examples for the next two weeks to better familiarize myself with the few styles (mostly English/Scottish) that I'm not already super comfortable identifying blind. I've also been all-grain brewing for some time, so I feel 100% solid on the brewing process.

    So my question for those of you who have taken the exam (especially if you've taken it recently) is this - where should I be focusing my efforts given such a short timeframe? What tasting exercises did you find particularly helpful? (And so on.)

    Also, if anyone in the DC area is interested, I'm putting together an off-flavor tasting the night before this exam.
  2. Eriktheipaman

    Eriktheipaman Champion (795) California Sep 4, 2010 Verified

    I'm taking the exam on the 26th as well. I've been looking for other people who are taking it but have come up empty handed. I would be more than willing to in on an off flavor tasting. I've been studying off and on for a couple years but the last two months really put my nose to the grind and I am starting to feel pretty confident.
  3. As far as the off-flavor tasting goes, looking to do it the night of the 25th. It's the Cicerone kit, which gives each person 7 defects to sample, along with a webinar to guide the tasting. It works out to $15-$20 per person.

    So far we've got 4 people on board, so we're looking for 8 more BA's. Whether you're prepping for the Cicerone, BJCP, or just want to learn how to detect the most common beer defects, everybody is welcome.

    Location TBD - if anyone can provide a spot I'll cover the cost of your samples.
  4. Eriktheipaman

    Eriktheipaman Champion (795) California Sep 4, 2010 Verified

    Unfortunately I don't have a place nearly big enough. Hopefully we can find enough people to make this happen!
  5. The kit has been purchased, so one way or another it is definitely happening.
  6. Naterobsnyk4

    Naterobsnyk4 Savant (350) New York Jan 25, 2012

    Might be down to join depending on location.
    notjustgc likes this.
  7. Just curious - why are you taking the exam?
  8. Self improvement.
  9. Eriktheipaman

    Eriktheipaman Champion (795) California Sep 4, 2010 Verified

    Time and location will affect me as well. I would more than love to get in on this but I'm in Falls Church and would prefer to not have to come home from DC that late, considering I'll have an early next morning.
  10. I'll actually be staying at my brother's apartment in Fairfax, so that's definitely a possibility. If it's only five or six of us, we should have plenty of room to do the tasting at his place.
  11. Okay - your profile says you're a regional craft beer rep. So the certification would lend you some professional credibility, I guess, right?
  12. Eriktheipaman

    Eriktheipaman Champion (795) California Sep 4, 2010 Verified

    That would be good. I can chip in a couple extra bucks if there are only a few of us.
  13. That's definitely true, but I don't exactly get paid for that gig, so it's more of a personal challenge and perhaps a nice resume booster for the future.
  14. What does that position entail? Are you like a volunteer?
  15. Look at the therapist asking all the questions... :p

    Good luck Gene!
    notjustgc likes this.
    I'm lying on a virtual couch right now. ;)
    Squidly likes this.
  17. Looks like we're going to do it in Fairfax. I'll start a private conversation with you guys for the details. If anyone else wants in, feel free to reply here. It's a great thing to do even if you're just a homebrewer looking to improve your own stuff.
    Eriktheipaman likes this.
  18. Gonna try to put this back on track. We have our reasons why we choose to take exams, let's not dump on a good thread.

    I took the certified exam recently. Unsure of my results, that recently...

    Know your styles and if there are any is geographical significance to certain styles. Go through BJCP's guidelines and know their Commercial Examples for styles, especially major beers. Some quantitative measurements of IBU and ABV's may be asked. Know your SMR ranges.

    Understand how to pair with food.

    Hit the syllabus and find your target areas, if you can't talk about it confidently you might want to brush up. Pick each style and have talking points, special ingredients, flavor profiles, anything significant, region. You don't know what they'll ask you to write an essay on.

    Go over the 2008 exam they offer on the website, difficulty of questions has not changed drastically/noticeably.

    As for tasting, if you can get your hands on a kit I'd do it. (I didn't and wish I did.) Don't over spike when you're dialing in your sensory markers.

    Know draft quality owner's manual in and out. I'd find some youtube videos if you've never assembled/disassembled componets before.
    notjustgc likes this.
  19. Thanks for a very helpful first post, and welcome!
  20. Eriktheipaman

    Eriktheipaman Champion (795) California Sep 4, 2010 Verified

    I actually purchased a kegorator conversion kit so I can become comfortable with this, well plus cmon who doesn't want one? I hope the demo is with a faucet because I know it would be a hell of a lot quicker than disabling a coupler.
  21. I couldn't find anyone that gave me that kind of info, so glad to share. All I could find on the subject was... "Go study"... Everything else were people talking about how easy CBS (level 1) was. This I already knew. heh

    Keep us updated on results guys! I'll post mine when they come in. Predicting pass written and fail on tasting due to lack of elaborating on acceptableness portion. Think they quoted up to 6 weeks return time. I've been pulling my hair out wanting to know.
  22. Eriktheipaman

    Eriktheipaman Champion (795) California Sep 4, 2010 Verified

    That's weak...I have been curious about the result times :/. Also did you get a confirmation email or anything before the test? I signed up and paid a few months ago but want to make sure it wont be an issue.

    And none the less I'm sending good thoughts your way!
  23. You'll get an email the week prior with instructions. Basically says arrive 10 minutes early, don't wear cologne, bring ID and a pen. Also says eat well before exam so tasting doesn't hit you too hard.
    Eriktheipaman likes this.
  24. marshmeli

    marshmeli Savant (485) New York Feb 14, 2012 Verified

    not that i am going to take the test, but just curious, i am sure they have water to cleanse your palette between beers, do they let you eat like crackers or something similar as well?
  25. Yup.
    Water and crackers were supplied.
    Eriktheipaman likes this.
  26. marshmeli

    marshmeli Savant (485) New York Feb 14, 2012 Verified

    thanks, just curious.
  27. sorry to dig up an old thread, but how did you guys get on?
  28. I was a bit short, 78% overall, 80% required. Should have no problem on retake, I know where I need to improve.
    alysmith4 likes this.
  29. I passed with an 87%, and a 98% score on the tasting. Doing the off-flavor kit the night before the exam was a massively great idea.
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  30. Eriktheipaman

    Eriktheipaman Champion (795) California Sep 4, 2010 Verified

    I knew it would be by a hair whether I passed or failed and I was right. But I passed at least which is awesome!
    alysmith4 and notjustgc like this.
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