How do I get better at smelling, tasting, and describing beer? I hear this question over and over. Often, it isn't even a question, it's a statement like: "I'm not good at tasting and describing beer (or wine), so I can't do the BJCP or Cicerone tests." Never say that again and correct anyone else who does, it's just not true! Read on to see why.Read More
Straight lambic is a very rare find, in Belgium it's traditionally served flat and from a pitcher. A blend of three lambics that go through a "secondary" fermentation in a bottle to carbonate is typically what makes up a Gueuze. Alternatively, by adding fruit to lambic brewers can make Kriek, Framboise, and other fruited lambics. We know these beers are fermented by a variety of yeast and bacteria, but which ones and in what order? This great research published in PLOS One and titled The Microbial Diversity of Traditional Spontaneously Fermented Lambic Beer provides some answers:
"Abstract: Lambic sour beers are the products of a spontaneous fermentation that lasts for one to three years before bottling. The present study determined the microbiota involved in the fermentation of lambic beers by sampling two fermentation batches during two years in the most traditional lambic brewery of Belgium...From 14 samples per fermentation, over 2000 bacterial and yeast isolates were obtained and identified. Although minor variations in the microbiota between casks and batches and a considerable species diversity were found, a characteristic microbial succession was identified. This succession started with a dominance of Enterobacteriaceae [enteric means "of, relating to, or occurring in the intestines," you don't want to ingest these, luckily they're not present in the final lambic product, they contribute to lambics' funky barnyard, goaty, and bilious characteristics] in the first month, which were replaced at 2 months by Pediococcus damnosus [creates lactic acid] and Saccharomyces spp. [typical brewer's yeast], the latter being replaced by Dekkera bruxellensis [Brettanomyces, which contributes fruitiness, earthiness, and funky barnyard characteristics] at 6 months fermentation duration."
The Certified Cicerone® exam has a "demonstration component" where you have to show off a beer skill in front of a camera. As long as you've studied your Beer Scholar Study Guide for the Certified Cicerone® Exam and read this advice on how to beat the demonstration section you'll be in good shape even if you're asked to demonstrate something you've never done before.Read More
This is big news, the Cicerone Certification Program just announced that they will begin testing for a new level in early 2016. The new "Advanced Cicerone" level will fall between the Certified and Master levels. Only 10 people have ever passed the Master exam. The Advanced Cicerone level will give many of us a new and more reasonable goal to strive for!
According to the CCP: "In the early months of 2016 we will start conducting Advanced Cicerone exams and awarding that certification. The syllabus will be posted in early September this year and exam dates and locations will start to be announced this fall. By April and May of 2016, you’ll see the first Advanced Cicerone certifications being awarded!"
Beer Scholar started as a Kickstarter. It completed at 506% of the funding goal, thanks to everyone who supported us!
In 2014 Beer Scholar raised money via Kickstarter for our Study Guides for the Cicerone Exams. Chris, the guy behind The Beer Scholar, would like to thank backers and friends for their support in spreading the word about this project to beer geeks all over the world! The Kickstarter allowed us to produce truly professional study guides, flash cards, and practice tests. We crushed it with this Kickstarter thanks to 303 fabulous beer community backers!
If you missed the Kickstarter but want to purchase the Beer Scholar Study Guide for the Certified Cicerone Exam, you can find more information about it and purchase it right here.