Judging can be a demanding task, particularly for those with difficulty writing, speaking, or fully using their sense of sight, smell, or taste. The BJCP Exam can be an even greater challenge due to its writing requirement. While it is not BJCP policy to discriminate against those who may have physical disabilities or other limitations, one must keep in mind that the principal duty of a BJCP judge is to be able to fully evaluate beer, mead, and cider in a competition setting. A current judge unable to carry out these duties should consider retiring from the program, and prospective judges should seriously reconsider attempting to join the program.
BJCP Exams are administered by volunteers using BJCP examination guidelines. Competitions are run by volunteers not under control of the BJCP. While the BJCP may provide for certain allowances to be granted in some circumstances, there is no guarantee that local volunteers will be able to accommodate these requests. The BJCP cannot force local volunteers to provide any of these accommodations.
BJCP Disability Policy
- The BJCP Technical Standards describe the essential functions required of all judges.
- Examinees with disabilities shall be accommodated according to the Disability Guidance listed in the Exam Administrator Guidelines. BJCP Exam Directors have final discretion in the event of disputes.
- Judges with disabilities shall be accommodated according to the disability guidance listed in the BJCP Competition Handbook (see Accommodating Judges with Disabilities and Special Considerations for Disabled Judges). The local competition organizer has final discretion in the event of disputes.
- Judges with disabilities requiring accommodations shall follow the disability guidance listed in the Judge Procedures Manual (see Guidanace for Judges with a Disability).
BJCP Technical Standards
Article II, Section 7 of the BJCP Bylaws (Non-Discrimination) says that "No Person may be denied membership in the BJCP on the basis of race, sex, color, national origin, disability, religion, creed, ancestry, veteran status, marital or parental status, or sexual orientation, except if these criteria cause the individual to be unable to perform the basic functions essential to being a member (i.e., consuming and evaluating alcoholic beverages, and providing a written assessment in a reasonable period of time)."
The following Technical Standards describe the functions essential to being a judge, as contemplated by the Bylaws. These standards are subject to evaluation and revision over time.
BJCP members and judge candidates must be able to fully perform all essential functions in each of the following categories: observation, communication, motor, intellectual, and behavioral/social. We recognize that degrees of ability vary widely between individuals. Those with a disability are encouraged to discuss their condition with the BJCP Exam Director and local Exam Administrator so that they jointly may consider technological and other facilitating mechanisms necessary to train for and become a BJCP judge. Once certified, a judge with a disability must discuss their condition with each local Competition Organizer to determine if accommodations at that specific competition can be made to allow the judge to function effectively. The BJCP is committed to enabling its judge candidates to complete the requirements for BJCP certification and to actively participate in locally-organized homebrew competitions using reasonable means of accommodation.
- Observation. The judge or candidate must be able to accurately observe the appearance characteristics of an alcoholic beverage (beer, mead, or cider). Color, clarity, head retention and texture are critical elements of an alcoholic beverage and a judge or candidate must be able to observe these elements accurately both as the beverage is opened and when close at hand. Observation necessitates the functional use of the senses of vision, taste, smell, and other sensory modalities.
- Communication. The judge or candidate must be able to communicate effectively and sensitively with colleagues and volunteers. The focus of this communication is to elicit information, describe sensory perceptions, compare scores, reach agreement or consensus, and perceive non-verbal communications. Communication includes not only speech but also reading and writing. The judge or candidate must be able to communicate effectively and efficiently in oral and written form with all members of the examination and/or competition teams.
- Intellectual – Conceptual, Integrative, and Quantitative Abilities. Judges and candidates must have the ability to synthesize and apply complex information. Judges and candidates must be fully alert and attentive at all times in judging settings.
- Behavioral and Social Attributes. A judge or candidate must possess the emotional health required for full utilization of his or her intellectual abilities, the exercise of good judgment, the prompt completion of all responsibilities attendant to the judging of an alcoholic beverage and the documentation required. Judges and candidates must be able to tolerate physically-taxing workloads and to function effectively under stress and while consuming alcoholic beverages. They must be able to adapt to changing environments, to display flexibility and to function in the face of uncertainties inherent in a primarily all-volunteer competition setting. Integrity, inter-personal skills, interest, and motivation are all personal qualities that lead to advancement within the BJCP ranks. The judge or candidate must be willing to fulfill all BJCP and competition coordinator-assigned tasks with colleagues and volunteers regardless of their race, ethnicity, gender, culture, religion, or sexual orientation.
Examples of Tasks:
- Complete a 200 question online examination in 60 minutes.
- Judge six beers in an examination setting and complete all required scoresheets within 90 minutes.
- Complete a written examination consisting of 20 true/false questions and five essay questions within 90 minutes.
- Fill out 16 to 24 scoresheets in a day in competition setting at a reasonable pace (no more than 12 minutes per scoresheet) and function effectively as a judge in a 5 to 6 hour competition.