2014 Jersey City Brew Club BJCP Study Group Details

Edit: we may be doing a new 2018 class. Stay posted.

To Sign Up Please Visit:


If you are interested in becoming a certified or just want to sharpen your brewing knowledge, all Jersey City Brew Club members are welcome to join the BJCP study group.  The study group will meet for 11 weeks (see comprehensive schedule below).  In order to afford a meeting space, and to cover the cost of beer and other materials there is a $70 cost per person.  The cost was calculated as conservatively as possible.

It is essential that each person to sign up be a dues paying JCBC member for this course.  The BJCP course will make use of the new JCBC library.  Yearly JCBC dues are $10, and can be given to President/Treasurer Kendall at any meeting or on the first day of the BJCP study group meet-up.

The first BJCP Study Group meeting will be held on February 26, 2014 at 7:30 pm.  Each meeting will run for 2 hours.  Books will be distributed and assigned on that day.  Between the first and second meeting we will have one month to read the study materials.  Readings in between weeks will also come suggested for each coming meeting.  Please come expecting to participate.  This is not a class, no one particular person will be giving a lecture for two hours every week.  Everyone will be asked to give some brief overview of a particular subject that is covered in their books.

Our outline will follow almost exactly the outlined course on the BJCP website.  It is highly suggested that all who sign up visit and explore the BJCP website. http://www.bjcp.org/study.php

It is also suggested that you refrain from taking the practice test, as it will be more useful to you by the time we finish.


02/26 Meeting 1. Introduction: Set up, introduction, books, BJCP requirements.

03/26 Meeting 2. Light Lagers: American Light (Budweiser, Coors, Michelob) and Pre-prohibition Pilsner, Bohemian and German Pilsners (Pilsner Urquell, Bitburger, DeGroen’s), Dortmunder Export (Stoudt’s Gold), Munich Helles (Augustiner Edelstoff Helles).

Technical topic: Malt, including the malting process, types, adjuncts, kilning and the styles with which different malts are associated.

04/02 Meeting 3. Amber and Dark Lagers:Vienna (Dos Equis, Negra Modelo), Oktoberfest/Maerzen (Spaten, Paulaner), Munich Dunkel (Spaten), Schwarzbier (Koestrizer), Bock (Paulaner), Helles/Maibock (Ayinger, Fordham), Doppelbock (Paulaner Salvator, Ayinger Celebrator), Eisbock (Kulmbacher Reichelbrau).

Technical topic: Water, including minerals, pH, hardness, adjustment, and the effect on the development of world beer styles.

04/09 Meeting 4. Bitters and Pale Ales: Ordinary (Boddington’s Draught), Special (Young’s Ramrod, Fuller’s London Pride), ESB (Fuller’s), English and American Pale Ales (Bass, Whitbread, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Tupper’s Hop Pocket), English and American IPA (Young’s Special London Ale, Anchor Liberty, Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale), California Common (Anchor Steam).

Technical topic: Mashing, including types used for different beer styles, mash schedules and enzymes.

04/23 Meeting 5. Brown, Scottish and Strong Scotch Ales: Light and Dark Mild (Grant’s Celtic Ale), English and American Brown (Newcastle, Sam Smith’s Nut Brown Ale, Brooklyn Brown Ale, Pete’s Wicked Ale), Scottish Light, Heavy and Export (McEwen’s Export, Belhaven, MacAndrew’s), Scotch (McEwen’s, Traquair House).

Technical topic: Hops, including varieties, IBUs, hopping scheduled and the association with different beer styles.

04/30 Meeting 6. Stout and Porter: Dry Stout (Guinness Draught, Murphy’s), Sweet Stout (Watney’s, Mackeson’s), Oatmeal Stout (Anderson Valley Barney Flats, Young’s), Foreign and Imperial Stout (Sheaf Stout, Sam Smith’s Imperial Stout, Victory Russian Imperial Stout), Brown Porter (Anchor, Sam Smith’s Old Taddy Porter), Robust Porter (Sierra Nevada).

Technical topic: Yeast and fermentation, including characteristics of different yeast strains, bacteria, by-products and relationship to world beer styles.

05/07 Meeting 7. Barleywines and Old Ales: English Old Ale (Theakston’s Old Peculier, Thomas Hardy, Hair of the Dog Adambier), English and American Barleywines (Young’s Old Nick, Sierra Nevada Bigfoot, Anchor Old Foghorn, Rogue Old Crustacean, Dominion Millenium, V ictory Old Horizontal).

Technical topic: Brewing procedures, including sparging, boiling, fining and carbonation methods. Reasons for each should be discussed, along with potential problems.

05/14 Meeting 8. German Ales, Wheat Beers and Rauchbiers: Duesseldorf and North German Alt (Bolten Alt, Fordham Alt), Koelsch (none currently available), American Wheat (Pyramid Wheathook, Anchor Wheat), Bavarian Weizen (DeGroen’s, Paulaner, Victory Sunrise, Schneider Weisse), Dunkelweizen (Hacker-Pschorr), Weizenbock (DeGroens, Schneider Aventinus), Berliner Weiss (Kindl), Bamberger Rauchbier (Kaiserdom, Schlenkerla).

Technical topic: Troubleshooting I, which includes a discussion of how positive and negative attributes are perceived and produced, the beer styles with which they may be associated and corrective measures. The flavor descriptors on the beer scoresheet or the BJCP Study Guide should be split into two sections.

05/28 Meeting 9. Strong Belgian and French Ales: Dubbel (Affligem, La Trappe), Tripel (Affligem, Westmalle), Strong Golden and Dark Ales (Duvel, Chimay, Orval, Scaldis, La Chouffe), Biere de Garde (Jenlain, 3 Monts), Saison (Saison du Pont).

Technical topic: Troubleshooting II.

06/04 Meeting 10. Other Belgian Ales: Oud Bruin and Flanders Red (Rodenbach Grand Cru, Liefman’s Goudenband, Liefman’s Framboise), Gueuze and Fruit Lambic (assorted Boon, Cantillon and Mort Subite), Wit (Celis White, Hoegaarden), Pale Ale (Corsendonk Pale, Celis Pale Bock).

Technical topic: Recipe formulation, including the selection of appropriate hops, malt, water, yeast and brewing procedure for different beer styles.

06/11 Meeting 11. Doctored beer seminar: This is an informative and practical method of learning how isolated flavors taste in beer. A clean lager is generally doctored with near-threshold amounts of compounds which either occur naturally in beer or mimic those that do. Examples include artificial butter for diacetyl, sherry for sherry-like oxidation, vodka for alcohol, almond extract for nuttiness, grape tannin for astringency, hop oils for hop flavor and aroma, and lactic and acetic acid for sourness. Recommended amounts are given in the table below. Note that some of these compounds have very strong flavors, so they should be diluted in water or beer before adding to the base beer. For example, a detectable amount of lactic acid is approximately 0.4 ml of 88% USP lactic acid to a 12 oz. sample of beer. Since most of us do not have access to pipettes to measure such a small quantity, 1/8 tsp. may be added to 3/8 tsp distilled water, and 1/3 tsp of this solution added to the reference beer. This is equivalent to adding 1/12 tsp times 5 ml/tsp, or approximately 0.4 ml of lactic acid.


Book List 

  1. Classic Beer Styles Series, (Brewers Publications, Boulder, CO). There are presently seventeen books in this series, plus three additional books on Belgian beer styles: Pale Ale, 2nd Ed. and Porter, both by Terry Foster; Continental Pilsner by David Miller; Lambic by Jean-Xavier Guinard; Vienna, Maerzen, Oktoberfest by George and Laurie Fix; Bock by Darryl Richman; Scotch Ale by Greg Noonan; German Wheat Beer by Eric Warner; Belgian Ale by Pierre Rajotte, Stout by Michael Lewis, Altbier by Horst Dornbusch, and Barleywine by Fal Allen and Dick Cantwell, Bavarian Helles by Horst Dornbusch, Brown Ale by Ray Daniels and Jim Parker, Kölsch by Eric Warner, Mild Ale by David Sutula, Smoked Beer by Ray Daniels and Geoffrey Larson, Farmhouse Ales by Phil Markowski, Wild Brews by Jeff Sparrow, Brew Like a Monk by Stan Hieronymus.
  2. Gregory J. Noonan, New Brewing Lager Beer (Brewers Publications, Boulder, CO, 2003).
  3. George Fix, Principles of Brewing Science, 2nd Edition (Brewers Publications, Boulder, CO, 1999).
  4. George and Laurie Fix, An Analysis of Brewing Techniques, Brewers Publications, Boulder, CO, 1997).
  5. Charlie Papazian, et al, Evaluating Beer (Brewers Publications, Boulder, CO, 1993).
  6. Michael Jackson, Great Beer Guide (DK Publishing, New York, 2000).
  7. Charles Bamforth, Beer: Tap into the Art and Science of Brewing (Plenum Press, New York, 1998).
  8. Harper, T., “Scrutinize. Swirl. Sniff. Sip. Swallow. Scribble.: The Six Habits of Highly Effective Great American Beer Festival Judges'” Sky (September, 29-31, 1997).
  9. Mark Garetz, Using Hops: The Complete Guide to Hops for the Craft Brewer (Hop Tech, Danville, California, 1994).
  10. J-X Guinard, M. Miranda, & M. J. Lewis, “Yeast Biology and Beer Fermentation”, Zymurgy 12(4), 14 (1989).
  11. Dave Miller, Dave Miller’s Homebrewing Guide (Garden Way Publishing, Pownal, VT 1996).

Beer Judge Certification Program study group details

Those interested in the Beer Judge Certification Program Study Group may now register through brown paper tickets at: http://jcbcbjcp.brownpapertickets.com/

The cost covers 11 weeks of beer for each meeting, snacks, our meeting space, and other study materials (books, etc). The first class will be on February 26th, and space is limited. We also have several experts from the field lined up that will give talks and guide us through fun tastings!

Even if you’re not interested in judging, this will be a great opportunity to learn about how small changes in the homebrew process can lead to great beer or bad beer.

Registration is limited to dues-paying members of the JCBC only! If you are not yet a dues-paying member, please bring your $10 annual dues to the February meeting (February 19th), or Contact Us.

What’s In Your Water?

Several of us just attended the AHA’s conference in Philadelphia and had a great time. One of the seminars was on water chemistry, and a few people asked about Jersey City’s tap water, and if spring water should be used instead. You’ll be thrilled to hear that Jersey City has perfectly fine tap water that can be used in most styles of beer.

There are a few exceptions, of course. You may want to use reverse osmosis or distilled water to get a blank slate, so you can reach your exact target through various additives. Or you might want to use some spring water, if you want very soft water for a style like a Pilsner. Don’t forget though, that beer needs mineral content to be good beer, so don’t assume that minerals are bad!

If you do encounter a smell or taste of chlorine in your water, just run the tap for a minute or two until it goes away. If it still persists, boiling will remove chlorine content, as well as reduce the hardness of the water.


Jersey City Water Profile

pH 6.6
Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) Est 210
Electrical Conductivity, mmho/cm 0.35
Cations / Anions, me/L 2.9 / 2.8

parts per million (ppm)

Sodium (Na) 39
Potassium (K) < 1
Calcium (Ca) 15
Magnesium (Mg) 5
Total Hardness (CaCO3) 58
Nitrate (NO3-N) 0.3 (SAFE)
Sulfate (SO4-S) 4
Chloride (Cl) 70
Carbonate (CO3) < 1
Bicarbonate (HCO3) 34
Total Alkalinity, CaCO3 28
“<” – Not Detected / Below Detection Limit


I have also compiled a spreadsheet of water profile for most of the major bottled water brands available in the US, as well as a few tap water profiles for cities in the area, and a few other major cities for comparison. Please download it here, and feel free to give feedback!

Water Analysis Spreadsheet

By the way, there’s another tab called “Info” on that spreadsheet if you’re curious about the source of data. Some of the bottled brands only gave a range of values, and not an average, so do with that what you will.