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Master Cicerone Overview

The Master Cicerone exam challenges individuals to master every technical and aesthetic aspect of beer. Candidates must converse with professional brewers and chefs as a peer, demonstrate the tasting ability of a seasoned quality control panel member and yet also speak with consumers using easy-to-understand but vividly descriptive language. Those who possess these skills serve the industry as consultants, educators and knowledge leaders in various organizations.

Prerequisites: Prior to 2018, preference will be given to Advanced Cicerones in accepting candidates for the Master Cicerone exam, but depending on demand from Advanced Cicerones, some Certified Cicerones may still have an opportunity to sit the exam through 2017. Beginning in 2018, all candidates for the Master Cicerone exam must have passed the Advanced Cicerone™ exam. Candidates for this level of certification must be of legal drinking age.

Exam Cost: Initial test: $995 (USD); Retakes $796 (USD). Exam fees are nonrefundable.

Passing Score: A grade of 85% overall is required to pass. For more detailed information please see Master Cicerone® Exam Scoring Breakdown further down the page.

Postponement/Rescheduling: If you're postponing more than 6 months from your exam date, you will be charged a rescheduling fee of 50% of your registration, and will get the remainder of your fee in a coupon code towards another Master Cicerone registration.

If you're postponing less than 6 months from your exam date or if you fail to attend the exam you are registered for without previously contacting a member of the Cicerone Certification Program staff, you forfeit your entire registration.

Exam Details

Master Cicerone exams are given one or two times each year in Chicago. Exam spots are awarded by lottery. More than a dozen industry experts participate in conducting and grading each exam.
Candidates for Master Cicerone will participate in a two-day examination that includes multiple written, oral and tasting components. The written component will consist of essay questions where candidates demonstrate the depth and breadth of their knowledge in each portion of the Master Syllabus.  Oral examinations will be conducted by industry experts and often involve hands-on demonstrations of knowledge. Taste assessments will include an extensive range of off-flavors, blind assessment of beer styles and descriptive analysis of blind samples. Overall, a grade of 85% or better is required to pass the Master Cicerone exam.


Master Cicerone Preparation

Master Cicerone Syllabus

The Master 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.

Knowledge Area Responsibilities

Candidates for Master Cicerone certification must demonstrate encyclopedic knowledge and an in-depth understanding of all issues related to brewing, beer and beer service.

The full Master Cicerone Syllabus is your guide to preparation. All of the resources recommended for the Certified Cicerone® and Advanced Cicerone™ exams should be considered in your preparation for the Master exam.


Expectations for Master Cicerone candidates:
  • In-depth theoretical and hands-on knowledge of draft systems is required, with a special emphasis on troubleshooting and draft system design.

  • Mastery of beer styles is expected with detailed knowledge of the current BJCP guidelines and familiarity with other style systems as well.

  • Tasting experience with a wide range of beers and styles is a must. Candidates should be familiar with a catalog of commercial examples for each style and have the ability to describe their flavors. Travel to classic beer producing areas in Europe can be highly beneficial.

  • Assessment of off-flavor recognition using AROXA™ flavor standards should be undertaken so that you have mastered recognition of all the off-flavors mentioned in the syllabus. You should also be able to describe unfamiliar off-flavors using specific and descriptive language.

  • Candidates must demonstrate detailed knowledge of the brewing process and its many variations with an emphasis on the sources of flavors in beer and a clear knowledge of how changes in the brewing process might change the flavor of the finished beer. Brewing beer alone or with partners can help to ensure thorough knowledge of the brewing process.

  • Candidates will be asked to complete a number of pairing and chef-collaboration exercises relating beer with food. Experience preparing and presenting beer and food pairing events in collaboration with chefs and/or brewers is strongly recommended.

  • Throughout the exam, candidates will be expected to describe beer (and food) flavors using vivid and specific terms that accurately cover the full spectrum of flavor while remaining within the reach of consumer understanding.

Master Cicerone Scoring Breakdown

Those preparing for the Master Cicerone exam should be sure to review the Master 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 (20%)
  • Beer Styles (20%)
  • Beer Flavor and Evaluation (20%)
  • Beer Ingredients and Brewing Processes (20%)
  • Pairing Beer with Food (20%)

Overall, the Master Cicerone exam will be graded so that all five knowledge areas of the syllabus are weighted equally.


  Written Exam Oral Exam Tasting Exam
Keeping and Serving Beer 13.00% 7.00% 0.00%
Beer Styles 13.00% 7.00% 0.00%
Beer Flavor and Evaluation 5.00% 0.00% 15.00%
Beer Ingredients and Brewing Processes 13.00% 7.00% 0.00%
Pairing Beer with Food 13.00% 7.00% 0.00%
Totals percentage of overall score 57.00% 28.00% 15.00%


Exam Schedule & Details

Master Cicerone exams are given one or two times each year in Chicago. Exam spots are awarded by lottery. More than a dozen industry experts participate in conducting and grading each exam.

Other Certification Levels

Level 3
A designation of distinctive expertise and tasting skill.