Love drinking beer and offering criticism? Learn to put your talents to work as a homebrew beer judge.
: Don't drink unless you're of legal age. Drink responsibly, and never drink and drive.
Step 1: Learn about beer Learn about different styles of beer. Note each style's characteristic aroma, color, clarity, head character, and flavor, including chemical byproducts produced during fermentation.
Step 2: Pour beer well Start enjoying any beer you drink like a judge. When holding a bottle, examine it for sediment and any signs of a bacterial ring in the neck. Then, pour the beer down the center of a clean, clear glass or plastic cup; adjust the pour's angle based on the beer's carbonation for a good presentation.
Step 3: Examine physical features Sniff the beer to get an initial impression. Then, judge the brew's color and clarity against the style's standards before sniffing again, noting any changes. Write down your impressions as you go, assessing them against the beer style's guidelines.
TIP: Make your notes detailed to help distinguish nuances in the beer.
Step 4: Taste the beer Take a few sips; use one to measure the strongest flavors, a second for additional impressions, and a third to judge the beer's body and feel in your mouth. Then, take a last sniff before having a final taste to round out the beer's flavor profile.
Step 5: Taste homebrews Taste homebrews together with other enthusiasts. Volunteer as a judges' assistant, known as a steward, at American Homebrewers Association competitions -- these events use judges sanctioned by the Beer Judge Certification Program, or BJCP.
TIP: You can also take beer-judging classes to further develop your beer acumen.
Step 6: Take a test Confident in your palate and beer vocabulary? Take the BJCP exam, covering brewing techniques, beer styles, judging procedures, and ethics. Score 70 percent, and earn judging points at a few events to become certified. Then, go on to promote the love of homebrewed beer.
FACT: In 2010, a Scottish brewing company sold 12 bottles of beer encased in stuffed stoats, squirrels, and a hare for $765 a piece.