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Exam Details

Those preparing for the Certified Cicerone exam should be sure to review the Certified Cicerone Syllabus. This syllabus outlines all the knowledge that may be tested during the exam. The syllabus is organized into five knowledge areas as shown below. The portion of overall exam points accounted for by each section is listed as a percent at the end of the line.

  • Keeping & Serving Beer (25%)
  • Beer Styles (25%)
  • Flavor & Tasting (25%)
  • Brewing Process and Ingredients (15%)
  • Beer & Food Pairing (10%)

The Percent of Exam document gives a more detailed breakdown of the point percentage for each section of the exam.

Exam Format

The Certified Cicerone exam consists of three parts: written exam, tasting exam, and a short demonstration. To pass, candidates must achieve an overall grade of 80% or more and also achieve a score of 70% or higher on the tasting portion.

Written Exam: The written exam begins with approximately 150 short answer/fill-in-the-blank questions that cover all five areas of the syllabus. In addition, candidates will complete three essay questions: one each in the areas of beer service, beer styles, and brewing process.

Tasting Exam: The tasting exam consists of three components: 

  • First, you will receive a control beer and four samples. We will provide a list of beer flavour compounds from the Certified Cicerone syllabus. Your proctor will treat three of the four samples with a flavour compound from that list, leaving one sample untreated. Your job is to identify the names of the flavour compounds in the treated samples and identify the untreated sample. 
  • The next section of the tasting exam is style discrimination. Here we’ll provide four samples. For each, you have a choice between two beer styles. Your job is to select which beer style each sample best represents. 
  • Finally, we will provide you four different beer styles. You must taste each sample and determine whether they contain flaws associated with mishandling between the brewery and the point of sale. If you taste any, we want you to name the fault and its likely cause.

Demonstration: Candidates will be given a question relating to an aspect of the beer keeping and service portion of the syllabus. They will also be given a relevant item with which to demonstrate their response to the question. Responses are limited to 3 minutes and are videotaped for later grading.

The complete exam takes approximately four hours to complete.

For additional information on preparing for this exam, see CC Exam Preparation page.