Ready to Get Started? We’ll walk you through everything you’ll need to know in your free user account. Once you’re certified you’ll show up in our member directory. You’ll even have your own page on our site.

Certified Cicerone Overview

Those who pursue a career in beer learn from many different sources and soon accumulate knowledge that sets them apart from those on the "customer" side of the bar. But without certification, it is hard to tell what people really know simply by looking at a resume or business card.

The Certified Cicerone exam allows individuals to quickly demonstrate that they possess a professional body of knowledge and essential tasting skills related to beer. Those who pass earn the right to use the title "Certified Cicerone®" and display the logo on their card and correspondence. They also get listed in our certification directory where anyone can verify their status. Certified Cicerones enjoy enhanced respect and prestige that can help improve their business success and career prospects.

Prerequisites: Must have passed the Certified Beer Server exam. Candidates for this level of certification must be of legal drinking age.

Exam Cost: $345 for first-time exam (USD) Exam fees are non-refundable. 

Exam Details

Certified Cicerone is the second level of certification. Those who achieve this certification have a solid and well-rounded knowledge of beer and beer service as well as basic competence in assessing beer quality and identity by taste. The four-hour exam includes written, tasting, and demonstration portions. It is given more than 100 times each year at sites across the US and Canada and also at other international sites.

Preparation for the Exam - This challenging exam requires substantial preparation. Use the Certified Cicerone Syllabus (below) to guide your preparations and pursue training and knowledge from a variety of sources. In addition to the study materials we offer, we recommend a number of resources from other suppliers in our Resources & Links section. While an experienced professional or someone with excellent tasting and academic skills might prepare for this exam in as little as six months, many individuals should plan to spend one to two years preparing for this exam.

Knowledge Area Responsibilities - As with all Cicerone exams, your first resource should be the syllabus. Certified Cicerone candidates must have detailed knowledge of retail beer storage and service issues, excellent knowledge of modern beers and styles with some familiarity with beer history and historical styles, competence in identifying flawed beers and recognizing appropriate and inappropriate flavors in modern beer styles, good understanding of the beer ingredients, familiarity with the brewing process and its common variations, plus knowledge of beer pairing principles and the ability to recommend reasonable beer pairings for common foods. Consult the Certified Cicerone Syllabus for a comprehensive catalog of the knowledge required.

Cicerone® Certification Program US Certified Cicerone® Syllabus

The Certified Cicerone® Syllabus presents an outline of the knowledge tested in the exam. Review it to guide your studies and assess your readiness for the exam.

  1. Keeping and Serving Beer
    1. Purchasing and accepting beer
    2. Serving alcohol
    3. Beer storage
    4. On-premises draft systems and their maintenance
    5. Beer glassware
    6. Serving bottled beer
    7. Serving draft beer
    8. Special situations
  2. Beer Styles
    1. Understanding beer styles
    2. Style parameters
    3. History, characteristics, and flavor attributes of styles by region
  3. Beer Flavor and Evaluation
    1. Taste and flavor
    2. Identify normal flavors of beer and their source
    3. Identify common beer off flavors by name and source
    4. Tasting examination
  4. Beer Ingredients and Brewing Processes
    1. Ingredients
    2. Processes
  5. Pairing Beer with Food
    1. Possible outcomes of successful beer and food pairings
    2. Beer and food vocabulary
    3. Pairing concepts
    4. Common beer and food interactions
    5. Creating a pairing
    6. Designing a meal
    7. Classic beer and food pairings
    8. Cooking with beer

Certified Cicerone® Exam Scoring Breakdown

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 and is organized into five knowledge areas:

  • Keeping and Serving Beer (25%)
  • Beer Styles (25%)
  • Beer Flavor and Evaluation (25%)
  • Beer Ingredients and Brewing Processes (15%)
  • Pairing Beer with Food (10%)

Overall, the Certified Cicerone exam will be graded so that each of these knowledge areas accounts for a certain portion of the overall grade as shown in parenthesis after each section above.

 

  Short Answer Essay Demo Tasting Exam
Keeping and Serving Beer 16.50% 4.50% 4.00% 0.00%
Beer Styles 20.50% 4.50% 0.00% 0.00%
Beer Flavor and Evaluation 8.25% 0.00% 0.00% 16.75%
Beer Ingredients and Brewing Processes 11.50% 3.50% 0.00% 0.00%
Pairing Beer with Food 10.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00%
Totals percentage of overall score 66.75% 12.50% 4.00% 16.75%

Road to Cicerone Books

These coursebooks guide your learning through hands-on activities supplemented by readings both from the text and from the Oxford Companion to Beer*. Each book comes with an accompanying quiz which lets you earn a badge on your profile.

*purchased separately

Exam Schedule & Details

The Certified Cicerone Exam is taken in-person at multiple locations throughout the United States. View the schedule to find a location and date near you.

View Exam ScheduleView Exam Details

Other Certification Levels

Level 3
A designation of distinctive expertise and tasting skill.