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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, followed by the total percentage of exam points accounted for.

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

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 12 samples divided into three sets of four.

  1. Off-flavor identification. Here you will be given a control sample and four unknowns. Three of the unknowns will be spiked with common beer off flavors. Candidates must identify each sample giving the name of the off flavor or stating that it is "same as control."
  2. The second set of tasting samples covers style discrimination. For each of four beers you will be asked to tell whether it is more representative of style A or style B.
  3. The final set of samples assesses beer acceptance. You will be told the brand name and style of the beer. You are told that a customer ordered this beer but doesn't think it tastes right. Your job is to determine whether the beer tastes good enough to serve. (Note: the four beer acceptance samples require more detailed answers and count for half of the total tasting exam points.)

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.



Candidates may postpone their exam pursuant to the following guidelines:

  • More than 1 month from the exam date - no rescheduling fee
  • Less than 1 month before the exam date - a $50 rescheduling fee will be assessed before one may register for another exam
    • The rescheduling fee is $25 for postponement of a partial retake (tasting or written)
  • Neglecting to attend an exam for which one is registered (no show/no call) - a $275 rescheduling fee will be assessed before one may register for another exam
    • In the event one 'no shows/no calls' for an exam retake (full, tasting, or written), the full registration fee is forfeited
  • Candidates must contact Cicerone staff ( to arrange postponement and rescheduling
  • Postponement due to injury, illness, or a medical emergency will be considered upon review of a doctor's note
  • Exam rescheduling is subject to availability
  • Exam and rescheduling fees are non-refundable and non-transferable