Dismiss Notice
Microbrew Invitational
Join us June 3 + 4 in Boston and help us drink 300+ beers, ciders, kombuchas, meads, sakes and more!

TICKETS: beeradvocate.com/micro/

Is consistency a factor when rating a beer

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by rvajohn, Jan 21, 2013.

  1. rvajohn

    rvajohn Savant (330) Virginia Nov 22, 2012 Beer Trader

    Do you rate after having just one or two, or several? Do you rate the beer based on the best version of that particular beer you are rating or after several samplings over a period of time? How does the consistency of the beer, batch after batch, play a roll in your BA rating
  2. I look, smell, taste and then give my rating. I like an Immediate response from a beer. IMO it eliminates any of my justifications that I may create about the beer.
    I always feel bad when I don't like beers from breweries I typically enjoy. So, a lot of the time I try and justify something about the beer to make myself feel better about it.
    egrace84 likes this.
  3. UCLABrewN84

    UCLABrewN84 Poobah (1,475) California Mar 18, 2010 Verified

    I buy single beers and rate them based on the one bottle.
  4. leedorham

    leedorham Champion (845) Washington Apr 27, 2006

    If most reviewers had to have more than one beer before reviewing, let alone have a sample from multiple batches, this site would have less than half the reviews it has.
    JrGtr likes this.
  5. egrace84

    egrace84 Poobah (1,070) Illinois Mar 25, 2012 Beer Trader

    I agree with you on this one, and do the same when reviewing and ultimately deciding how i feel about a beer... but I have no bias on any beer/brewery when reviewing or determining how i feel about it.
  6. mecummins

    mecummins Savant (425) Illinois Nov 16, 2012

    I rate the beer on the qualities of what's in front of me. Now, if I try it again and my mind is changed for whatever reasons, I 'll amend my review accordingly . But let's face it, if a beer has several bad ratings from various BAs, it's not a bad batch. It's probably just a bad beer .

    Consistently doesn't play into any of my ratings. It does play into whether I continue to buy that particular beer. And that 's probably much more important.
    LeRose and devlishdamsel like this.
  7. Unless of course you are hosting a "bad" beer tasting party. ;)
    mecummins likes this.
  8. mecummins

    mecummins Savant (425) Illinois Nov 16, 2012

    I just call that hanging out with my SIL's relatives.
  9. If a beer is inconsistent then it can't be given any meaningful rating.Just a range.
    I've learned over the years that beer can't be judged on first impressions. These quite often flatter to deceive.It's necessary to drink the full amount the beer's intended to be consumed in.That's why beer judging is so difficult to do well and might account for some strange results in competitions!
  10. Dennoman

    Dennoman Advocate (525) Belgium Aug 20, 2011

    Do you just mean batch-to-batch consistency or consistency throughout the unit (bottle, growler, ...)?

    Especially with bottle-conditioned beers, the whole thing can change dramatically either for better or worse if you add the yeast sediment, which is something most brewers recommend you don't do. Most people like their beer to look clear and crisp, I don't because the whole reason I'm into craft is to have my beer NOT look factory processed.

    I do add consistency as a factor in my session beers. If it's low-alcohol and I just buy it when I feel like a generic "beer", I'll definitely take consistency into consideration in my review of it. I hardly ever see the use in reviewing those beers though, as the simple fact I keep going back to it probably says enough about how much I like them. Got half a case of Punk IPA coming soon, can't wait!
  11. Treebs

    Treebs Advocate (640) Illinois Apr 18, 2011

    I usually rate just one, but if I have the same beer and it is consistently better (or worse) due to a recipe change or some other factor I'll make an addendum in my existing review to note this change. My score reflects the best version I had of that particular beer.
  12. Stahlsturm

    Stahlsturm Savant (440) Germany Mar 21, 2005

    Would that be such a bad thing ? :)
    drtth likes this.
  13. spoonhawk

    spoonhawk Savant (370) Iowa Dec 3, 2010

    I think your first impression is likely most valuable. Of coarse there is the possibility that you have gotten your hands on a bad beer at no fault of the brewer. However, if it the case that there are a ton of mishandled beers on the shelves, it is your duty to rate it as is. Is it fair to the brewer? No. But, it is fair to the consumer.

    If 20% of the beers on the shelves (to pick a random number) are too old, been shaken up, been left out in 100 degree heat for days, and people fail to review them as is, then people who use BA as a guide will have been sold a bill of goods.

    I think there is merit to giving a beer you believe to be off a second go in the name of an accurate review. I do not think reviewers should feel any sense of obligation to seek out peak condition beer, if doing so requires buying a beer over, and over, and over again.
  14. LeRose

    LeRose Advocate (725) Massachusetts Nov 24, 2011 Verified

    If I rate a beer and have a huge negative deviation, I will look critically at my review and see what others have written and how they scored the product. Then I will go back for a second look, and if I am still of the same opinion, so be it. I've at least done some due diligence to understand what the beer is supposed to be all about and given it a fair chance beyond concluding that "this suck" in a non-Lagunitas way. That will at least partially address the "maybe I got a bad bottle/batch business" assuming I can find a bottle with a different date.

    That said, I agree with those who have already stated consistency is not the problem of the consumer. It's our job to review a beer honestly as presented. Inconsistency (for whatever reason) should be reflected in the scores and written reviews almost automatically, if you think about statistics. If reviews are all over the map rather than centered around some average value, then maybe the brewer has an issue with making the product the same each time. For most beers, there are tons of reviews and scores that provides a decent sample size.

    Of course, widely distributed scores could indicate problems with distribution, storage, and product age as well. But we need to see and understand that as an important part of the equation. It might take a bit of research to ferret that out as a cause of inconsistency - brings up the dreaded bottle date code again. Let's not go there ;)

    I think somewhere in the site changes synopsis there was talk of a graph for scores - that would be a great way to see this sort of thing laid out visually. I've done a couple myself just out of curiosity, but it is a bit of a chore to do without having access to the scores in a database. There's a ton of data - a lot that could be done with statistics, but not an easy undertaking.
    mecummins likes this.