1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Comment Obsession with BA ratings

Discussion in 'Site' started by rubicat, Dec 22, 2012.

  1. rubicat

    rubicat Aficionado (120) Ohio Nov 22, 2012

    I was in a local bottle shop yesterday and there were these two guys walking around with an Ipad. The one guy said, "Check this out" and the other guy types on the Ipad and then says "nah, it's only an 88."

    I walked by them and caught a glance of the Ipad and, sure enough, they had a Beeradvocate review on the screen. Apparently they weren't buying anything unless it was in the 90's.

    The BA reviews are a nice guide, but basing your buying decisions entirely on them is stupid IMO. There are plenty of beers in the 80's that I really like.
    yemenmocha, ant880, jminch and 10 others like this.
  2. Preluderl

    Preluderl Savant (340) Pennsylvania Sep 27, 2012

    As someone who is really new to this, I almost always refer to BA when I'm in the store before I buy something.

    But, if something sounds really good,and I know it's up my alley based on previous experience, I'll usually buy it anyway.
  3. ndepriest

    ndepriest Savant (290) Georgia Feb 21, 2012

    I would hope someone would have the courtesy to give me a swift kick in the ass if I passed up on Dale's just because it was in the "80's."
    Shroud0fdoom, ant880, JimKal and 12 others like this.
  4. That was me in the store.
  5. Well, I cant imagine they were going up and down the aisle checking out every beers rating and buying the higher rated ones. At least I hope they were only checking ones they were unsure of. I do the same thing if it's something I've never had, is at a price point I'm not comfortable risking, or is a brewery I'm not totally confident in. However, when I do check ratings, I don't go announcing to everyone around me that I'm doing so. Total newbs. Or is it noobs. I dk...
    Jules11788 likes this.
  6. TurdFurgison

    TurdFurgison Champion (775) Ohio May 29, 2005

    I always check the rating before buying something new. There are just too many choices out there these days, and too many of them are overpriced swill.

    An 88 wouldn't stop me from buying but <80 (with a large # reviews) probably would.
  7. A few stores I shop at have the ratings on the cases. Ironically enough these places don't have prices for these cases unless you ask.
    AmitC and dachshunddude86 like this.
  8. I saw the same thing yesterday! I knew right away what he was up to. I mean whatever, if something is really highly touted here, yes, that will probably make me more likely to seek it out, but some of my personal favorites are rated in the 70's and 80's. It's so subjective...you are going to miss out on a lot of beer you would really like if you only want to try A-rated stuff.
    Hazy, BrownAleMale and alexipa like this.
  9. Victory Festbier is in the 80's and i'll be damned if thats not one of the best marzens out there
  10. hoppytobehere

    hoppytobehere Savant (495) Colorado Aug 10, 2012

    Walking around a bottle shop with an ipad says it all.
  11. jrnyc

    jrnyc Advocate (620) New York Mar 21, 2010

    I always check BA before I buy a new beer. I might not like every highly rated beer, but the ratings are spot on to me and I like to buy higher rated beers. Also, when shopping for extras for trading partners I use my iPad or iPhone to make sure I am sending something of quality.
  12. Agreed, but isn't there a price threshold you're not willing to cross blindly? For me, if a bomber is, I'd say, more than like $12, and it isn't a brewery I have all that much experience with, I'm going to do a little research on BA first. However, this is kind of a new tactic for me. I used to buy anything really. I think this is just me trying to save some money so I can stop sleeping in a room across the hall from my dad...
  13. Todd

    Todd Founder (1,410) Colorado Aug 23, 1996 Staff Member

    New thread title: "Obsession with what other people are doing." Discuss. ;)

    Joking aside. It's their money. If they want to increase their chances of not buying a mediocre beer, or potentially miss something good, by using our ratings ... why not?
  14. I'm with you. If its a $12 bomber from a brewery I am not familiar with, yes, i will do a quick background check on my phone. But to me that's different than walking in a shop with an iPad and turning up your nose at 88's.
    Eastside151 and mikeburd1128 like this.
  15. rubicat

    rubicat Aficionado (120) Ohio Nov 22, 2012

    Don't get me wrong. I've got nothing against using BA reviews. I refer to them all the time. But to assume that a beer is "mediocre" or worse just because it doesn't have a 90+ rating is just dumb IMO.

    The way that I look at it, if a beer is rated in the upper 90's is probably pretty awesome, and if it's in the 70's or lower it's probably mediocre or sucks. Everything in between needs to be tried!
  16. stealth

    stealth Advocate (545) Minnesota Dec 16, 2011

    If it is a beer in a style that I like and I'm really familiar with I do not put too much stock into the ratings, for example Hanssens experimental raspberry is below 80 but I absolutely love it. If I am trying something new I rely more heavily on the rating system to kind of guide me toward what I should be trying or looking for, however.
  17. StoutSeth

    StoutSeth Savant (265) Virginia Sep 24, 2010

    I buy extras based on BA score, but for the most part, I'm willing to buy just about any single regardless of BA score. Anything below 75 I think twice, but normally I don't mind trying anything at least once.
    Hazy likes this.
  18. I understand trying a $10 six pack or something without knowing how it is rated..but sometimes the BA/ratebeer ratings really come in handy. For instance, the other day I saw a $13 IPA from New Zealand in a 330cl bottle. An 85 rating in this situation equals a definite no-buy. As someone mentioned above..an 85 rated marzen would be a different story. I often make a mental note of a beer to check it out later, and if I had an ipod phone I'd probably do the same thing that the OP is whining about all the time.
    nicnut45 likes this.
  19. Cenosillicaphobe

    Cenosillicaphobe Savant (360) Maine Jul 24, 2011

    I must admit...I will tend to buy 90+ brews...and shun <80 brews...but I'm not a slave to the numbers...it's just a guide for me...not a bible...nahmean?
    BedetheVenerable, haddon and rubicat like this.
  20. rubicat

    rubicat Aficionado (120) Ohio Nov 22, 2012

    Not whining. Just trying to stir up some friendly discussion. That's what we do here, right? I don't really give a rats ass how those guys decide what to buy. To each his own. I've just noticed that these guys, as well as a few other BA's that I've met, live and die by these reviews instead of relying on their own judgement. You are going to miss out on some great beers if you only drink 90+.
  21. Ri0

    Ri0 Champion (925) Wisconsin Jul 1, 2012

    Well I find the styles I really like and look at the BA scores. After having drank over 120 beers I have learned that higher scores really matter. Occasionally I will like a beer much more than its rating or dislike a highly rated beer. It is a useful guide, unless you have been trying beers for many many years.
  22. Its true, some of my all time favorites rank under 90. But, if you're new to the game and want to get a handle on styles and what a benchmark for each style should be, then trying 90+ beers is not that bad of an idea. Now if they're a year into trying different beers and still only trying 90+ beers then they are for sure missing out.
  23. rubicat

    rubicat Aficionado (120) Ohio Nov 22, 2012

    A guide...not a bible...Exactly!
  24. Pecan

    Pecan Savant (410) California Dec 20, 2012

    It all depends on circumstances for me, but I don't see anything wrong with looking at the rating beforehand.

    When I am at a festival or plan on trying a lot of different beers in a day, I am open to trying anything and everything. If it's before a party, I'll usually go with a few I know are good and a few that look interesting without regards to ratings.

    If it is a normal week for me though, I get to drink about 1-2 bottles per week. While I usually make sure these are bottles I haven't tried before, I pretty often look them up beforehand to increase the odds of finding a beer that blows me away if I'm not sure of the beer. I figure a more informed decision can't hurt, right?

    I think using an iPad in public probably played a big role in them coming off as douches. If I had to guess, they probably sounded pretentious too. Seems more like an unpleasant people problem :)
  25. kingofhop

    kingofhop Savant (430) Oklahoma May 9, 2010

    I knew a guy that only bought records that were in the Billboard Top Ten.
    PsilohsaiBiN, SammyJaxxxx and Chaz like this.
  26. To play devils advocate it may be that they were shopping with a specific purpose. For example maybe they were in a BIF or trade where one of the requirements was that all beers be rated 90 or above.
    BarryMFBurton and Kunstman like this.
  27. Arbitrator

    Arbitrator Initiate (0) California Nov 26, 2008

    Ratings on BA are biased on the high end; below a 90 can be pretty damning.
  28. Cenosillicaphobe

    Cenosillicaphobe Savant (360) Maine Jul 24, 2011

    Troof.

    GREAT avatar btw.
  29. slander

    slander Site Editor (580) New York Nov 5, 2001 Staff Member

    Here's one for you...

    Fairly new brewpub visited & revisited, their blackboard lists their beers and "BA - 88", "BA - 90", "BA - 93", etc. next to some of them. The thing is none of their beers have taken 10 reviews yet, so the score they're posting is not the "BA score" but the "The Bros" score, because one of them reviewed a few of their beers. I've explained "That is one person's score of your beer and it doesn't mean anything, and you would be better served in replacing them with ABV's (which they don't list) on the board", but they're not hearing it.
    RobertV916 likes this.
  30. The concept of self-discovery and enjoying surprises or disappointments is lost in this world. Everyone wants to to be spoonfed someone else's expert opinion.
  31. kingofhop

    kingofhop Savant (430) Oklahoma May 9, 2010

    Troof being spoken unto power. You nailed it, brother.
    LeRose likes this.
  32. Well said.
    LeRose likes this.
  33. And that right there is where these scores start to take on more significance than they should. Advertising their beers based on the opinion (educated opinion, but still) of a sole individual pretty much goes against the entire idea point of having crowd-rated beers. Ethically, this should be broached to the brewery from BA.

    Anyway, regarding the thread - if I saw those guys, I'd probably snicker. With all the online rating guides anymore, everyone always only wants "the best", and yet they're entirely comfortable basing that rating off the palates of others. Think of the fallacy involved here - we as a 'community' want brewers to experiment, and look down on them if they don't, but then only want beers safely ensconced in the 90th percentile? Somehow, that arithmetic doesn't work.
    hardy008, Profchaos20, moju and 3 others like this.
  34. denver10

    denver10 Champion (865) Kentucky Nov 17, 2010


    And the Bro's rated Bell's Two Hearted a 78, which I have forever since taken as a warning that me and them have very different palettes.
  35. WynnO

    WynnO Savant (490) Florida Oct 24, 2003

    Two things that you BA's have never failed me on:
    1) Finding a place to have a beer in a city/town I have never been in.
    2) Finding out something about a never-before-seen beer.

    The downside of the beer ratings though, especially when appearing on pub boards (which I am seeing also), is people are likely to pass up a lot of drinkable beers. The last thing I want to see is a small upcoming brewery lose sales because people are following numbers only and not giving their beers a chance. I do not like this trend---please pub owners---stop doing this. IMHO.

    Another problematic area: Take Mexican beers, Negra Modelo for example. BA's say it's "average". I would agree and proudly state that all Mexican beers suck! HOWEVER in the context of "Mexican" I would tell someone this is an very good offering. Also, since there aren't enough reviews of other Mexican brands to generate scores, who knows how they stand? Me? I just have try one if offered to me.

    Cheers
    creepinjeeper likes this.
  36. Danny1217

    Danny1217 Advocate (620) Florida Jul 15, 2011

    There are so many delicious beers with scores around an 88. I look at BA reviews all the time while I'm shopping, but an 88 is a score that would make me actually want to buy the beer, if it sounded like something that would interest me.
    When I shop for new beer, it goes like this: I look for something that interests me. If I find something interesting that I don't know anything about, I look it up on BA to make sure it doesn't suck. I'll try anything above an 80, if it isn't too expensive. Sometimes I'll try something in the 70s if it interests me enough. If it's pricey then it depends on how interesting it sounds. If the beer doesn't have many reviews, then I don't care as much about the rating.
    So yes, I use BA ratings while shopping. I probably get influenced too much by them, but at least I don't look like a giant tool, like these guys sound.
  37. Anyone think maybe they were new to craft beer? nothing wrong with going to the best source out there.
  38. In general I'm not a big fan of the numbers game but if you're new to beer geekery and you''ve got zillions of choices then looking at ratings is understandable. You''ve only got so much money & so much time.
    AmitC, Bitterbill and drtth like this.
  39. I read the reviews and tasting notes and try to ignore the rating number, if it sounds like something I'll like, I buy it.
    Graze likes this.
  40. Mosca

    Mosca Aficionado (130) Pennsylvania Jun 27, 2005

    One thing I consider is how distinctive a style the beer is. If I'm looking at an IPA and it's a lower rating, that will be pretty reliable; IPAs are very well sorted out these days. But if it's something unusual, maybe a barleywine, or a wee heavy, it might be very idiosyncratic.You might love it, I might hate it. (I appreciate Old Curmudgeon, but I don't like it. But I love Blithering Idiot. I know, different styles, but there is a similar sensibility at work in both brews.)

    Another thing to consider: am I buying a glass, a bottle, a six pack, or a case? If I'm buying a case, you damn well better believe I'm checking BA ratings. Nothing like a mixed case of average beer to slog through before getting back to the good stuff. With so much to choose from, and not having an unlimited budget, or amount of time, or amount of awareness (ie, one beer at a time), I do consult the ratings. On the other hand, if I'm in a bottle shop buying singles, I'll pick stuff that catches my fancy, based on anything from label to bottle shape to name to country of origin to an unfamiliar style. And in those cases, I'll ignore the ratings, do my own taste, and then see how my opinion compares to others. (I love Two Hearted Ale as well.) I don't have to agree to find the ratings useful; I just need to know where I am relative to the ratings.

Share This Page