What's the difference between the Version 2 and Version 3 Certified Beer Server syllabus?

certified beer server Sep 14, 2015

On September 1st, 2015 the Cicerone Certification Program released Version 3.0 of their Certified Beer Server Syllabus. So the big question is, what are the differences between Version 2 and Version 3 of the CBS syllabus? I've sat with the syllabi and compared them side-by-side to figure out exactly what's new. I'm not going to mention minor rewording, only important changes and new information you'll be required to know. The majority of changes are updates to beer styles that bring the Cicerone program up to date with the 2015 BJCP Stye Guidelines. Here's what you need to know!

Changes to the Keeping & Serving Beer section of the Version 3.0 CBS syllabus:

  1. New wording in I.E.2 regarding glass cleaning procedure includes that you should rinse glassware "heel in, heel out" in sanitizer and that glassware should be dried "inverted" on a rack so air circulates inside. 

  2. When preparing bottled beer for service (I.F.1), you should "store beer at ideal serving temperature as dictated by style, otherwise store all beer under refrigeration of 43F or less." The new information here is the addition of a specific temperature. 

Changes to the Beer Styles section of the Version 3.0 CBS syllabus:

  1. The big change is that the Cicerone Certification Program now uses the 2015 BJCP Style Guidelines as their standard (rather than the older 2008 BJCP Style Guidelines). Thanks to homebrewers and the American craft beer movement driving rapid change in the industry, the BJCP recently updated their standards for many major beer styles. The CCP uses the BJCP's Guidelines as their own standard and has therefore followed the BJCP update with their own updated syllabi for all levels of the Cicerone program.

  2. The terminology the CCP uses to describe the perceived bitterness (PB), color (C), and alcohol level (ABV) for many of the styles they test on has changed slightly. I've catalogued all the changes and will release a full update, this is an overview so I won't include every change here. Many styles have small but important changes like this: Saison's color was changed from "gold to light amber" to "light gold to amber." Fairly tedious stuff.

  3. For Belgian and French beer styles the CCP did not add any new styles and did not remove any styles. They renamed the "farmhouse beer" category, which includes Saison and Wit, to "unique beers."

  4. For British, Irish, and Scottish beer styles, the CCP:

    1. Removed British Mild & Scottish Ale. 

    2. Added Oatmeal Stout (actually, they shifted it to British styles from the American style section). 

    3. Updated style names: 

      1. Special/Best/Premium Bitter has changed to Best Bitter.

      2. Northern English Brown Ale is now British Brown Ale.

      3. Sweet/Milk Stout is now Sweet Stout.

      4. Dry/Irish Stout is now Irish Stout.

      5. Strong Scotch Ale/Wee Heavy is now Wee Heavy. 

  5. For the German, Czech, and Austrian beer styles, the CCP:

    1. Removed Munich Dunkel & Maibock. 

    2. Added Munich Helles, Helles Bock, Berliner Weiss, and Gose. 

    3. Updated style names:

      1. Bohemian Pilsner is now Czech Premium Pale Lager.

      2. Oktoberfest is now Märzen. 

      3. Hefeweizen/Weizen/Weiss is now Weissbier (thank you for that, CCP!). 

  6. For United States' beer styles, the CCP:

    1. Removed Oatmeal Stout (actually, shifted it over to the British styles). 

    2. Added American Porter and American Barleywine.

    3. Updated style names:

      1. American Lager (Light, Standard, Premium) is now merely American Light Lager. This style was also moved out of the "historic styles" section.

      2. Imperial IPA is now called Double IPA.

Changes to the Beer Flavor and Evaluation section of the Version 3.0 CBS syllabus:

  1. "Carbonation" has been removed from the III.A.1 emerging flavors. 

  2. There's lots of new information regarding key evaluation techniques in III.2.b. The Version 2 syllabus discussed only doing short sniffs of beer, but the Version 3 lists a variety of aroma evaluation techniques including Distant Sniffs, Short Sniffs, Long Sniffs, and Covered Sniffs. 

  3. Under III.B.2 traditional hop traits, the CCP has:

    1. Added "tropical fruit" and "catty" to traditional American hop traits. 

    2. Removed "woodsy" from the traditional German/Czech hop traits. 

Changes to the Beer Ingredients and Brewing Process section of the Version 3.0 CBS syllabus:

  1. None, yay! That was easy. 

And there you have it folks, all the major changes in the V3 CBS syllabus. It's nothing to freak out about. Just go through the beer styles section and update any material you need to change if you're not going to take the CBS exam until 2016, when testing on the V3 syllabus begins. Frankly, going through the tedium of updating your material will help you learn it. Meanwhile, I'll be here updating my Guides in preparation for the shift to the new syllabus. It'll be obvious when the updated versions are ready because I'll say so on the purchase page. Look out for a detailed breakdown of the new V3 syllabus for the Certified Cicerone exam here very soon, too.   

certified beer server