The Wolf - Bourbon Barrel-Aged
3 Sheeps Brewing

The Wolf - Bourbon Barrel-AgedThe Wolf - Bourbon Barrel-Aged
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American Imperial Stout
Ranked #381
Ranked #1,985
4.28 | pDev: 6.31%
3 Sheeps Brewing
Wisconsin, United States
The Wolf - Bourbon Barrel-AgedThe Wolf - Bourbon Barrel-Aged
Notes: *ABV varies by year*

This beer is a bit dangerous. It’s packed with flavor — rich bourbon, warm wood tannins, and notes of sweet caramel and chocolate. Yet it’s so easy-drinking that you won’t notice the 13.5% ABV. Yes, 13.5%. The Wolf is a simple beer at heart, a classic imperial stout with a robust malt bill, but has a science-y trick up its sleeve. We treated the alcohol sweetness as an ingredient instead of an afterthought, using it to to harness the strong bourbon notes and maintain the beer’s light body. The result? The liquid equivalent of a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
Reviews: 38 | Ratings: 109 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Buck89
4.32/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bottled 18 months ago. Poured into a snifter. Dark, dark brown color with a thin tan head that settled. Smooth whiskey aroma along with fudge and vanilla. The bourbon also led the way on the palate, but was met by a rich, fudgey malt presence. Feel was big and thick, but not overly sweet. Vanilla was also there, along with floral hops. The finish was sweet but from the alcohol, fading away and making this beast even more drinkable. Well done.

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Buck89 from Tennessee, Feb 08, 2020
Photo of rudzud
3.47/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Received as an extra in a trade. 2019 vintage (my bottle also states it is 12.0%)

A - Poured into my Duvel tulip a nice dark brown almost black with a thin half finger mocha head that faded relatively quickly to leave a creamy halo and light wisps. Legs are decent but not great. Hard swirls foam the head back up to that half finger creaminess.

S - Aromas of lightly charred dark malts, flashes of almost a licorice aromas, the barrel notes are incredibly faint. touch of vanilla, not much bourbon, and rather heavy flashes of that 12.0%. Flashes of cookie dough as well but overall the aroma coming out of the glass is incredibly dull and muted.

T - Taste is similar to the nose with more of that slightly charred dark malts. Little bit of nuttiness as well. The chocolate is incredibly light, decent amount of sweetness going on like a sticky caramel sauce. The sweetness of the malt plays into the sweetness of the bourbon which makes this not quite cloy but pretty close. Decent vanilla and flashes of oak. The alcohol comes and goes; one minute it's hard and hot and the next it's sticky.

M - Mouthfeel is lightly carbonated, bit sticky, alcohol pops, finish is a bit sticky too and somehow thin.

O - Overall...this beer was a mess. Hot and boozy, really sweet, next to no actual stout notes. Reminded me of trying to drink fresh Black Tuesday; an utter chore.

Serving Type: Bottle

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rudzud from Massachusetts, Jan 02, 2020
Photo of bbtkd
4.35/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

3 Sheeps The Wolf BBA Stout, 12% ABV. Pours black with no head, and obviously no lacing. Nose is brown sugar and chocolate. Taste is roast malt, strong sweet caramel, some chocolate, bourbon, slight bitterness, caramel in a long-lasting aftertaste. Decent mouthfeel, though thin and a tad over-carbonated. Overall outstanding and complex.

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bbtkd from South Dakota, Nov 28, 2019
Photo of The-Adjunct-Hippie
4.09/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle from GreenBayBA
2019 edition
Smokestack Snifter


Deep inky black with a thin beige ring of head, no lace.

Aroma of clay and smoke, some bakers cacao, some chalk dust, a little bourbon oak.

Flavor brings heavy caramel candy, a little kettle corn, some dark brownie, brown sugar, a hint of raspberry syrup, a touch of coconut, and tons of whiskey.

Feel is hot and thick, very viscous, very nice alcohol heat and appropriate for the beer.

Overall, a pretty good bourbon stout, and although it's not quite the caliber of CW's offerings, it still stands on its own.


Deep inky black with a thin ring of beige head. Partial lace left behind.

Aroma of smoke, dark malt, slight vanilla, and very faint bourbon oak.

Flavor brings quite a lot of oxidation, followed by caramel, vanilla, burnt popcorn, brown sugar, slight coconut, sharp cherry/wild yeast, smoke, cherry tobacco, and some very faint buttery bourbon oak.

Feel is hot and thick and viscous, alcohol burn is intense and very well placed, with a dry, slick finish.

Overall I think I may have got an infected/oxidized bottle which happens to every brewery from time to time. This seems like it would be a really good beer without the (slight) infection, so I'm eager to re-visit it with a second bottle and give it a fair shake. Damn.

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The-Adjunct-Hippie from South Dakota, Nov 24, 2019
Photo of DoctorZombies
4.45/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours black with ruby edges at 51 degrees; a finger of tight fizzy tan head upon aggressive pour reduces to a small island of micro dots and solid ring; soapy lace and thin legs on swirl. Bourbon and vanilla nose; somewhat boozy exhale. Intake is bourbon, vanilla, caramel, toasted coconut, toffee and oak; chocolate emerges as liquid warms. Moderately prickly carbonation; medium minus body; dry oaky tongue coating/finish; minimal warming from 13.5% ABV. Overall a very tasty BBA Stout with a pleasing bourbon barrel and caramel malt finish; it has a cola feel especially with the carbonation and I would have liked the body to have been fuller feeling; otherwise, lots of complimentary flavors between the malts and barrel; and I hardly notice the alcohol - easy drinking and sneaky dangerous.

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Photo of Dankacheese
4.09/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A little bit bitter and a little bit thin. Mouthfeel is bigger than it's appearance. A lot of barrel that really masks a lot of the base flavors a bit too much instead of heightening or adding to those flavors.

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Dankacheese from Illinois, Sep 08, 2019
Photo of Radcpa
4.33/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Dark appearance with minimal tan head. Aroma is a sweet chocolate and caramel with a touch of bourbon. Taste is also a slightly sweet chocolate and caramel with some bourbon and a lot of alcohol bite even after months of aging. A little thin.

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Radcpa from Washington, Jun 25, 2019
Photo of AyatollahGold
4.29/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2018 review.

Pouring from a 12 oz. bottle into a snulip, this beer pours out a very dark brown and forms in the glass as black as night. It forms thin, light caramel colored crown that dissipates very quickly. 4

The nose brings a lot of charred, burnt and roasted sweetness layers. Roasted barley, burnt chocolate, toasted brown sugar. It’s heavy and thick. 4

The taste brings in that heavy thick sweetness too. Burnt brown sugar mixing with layers of chocolate and molasses. Dark fruit; raisins. Not a huge barrel presence; but it does have a slight barrel “warmth” to it. It reminds me a lot of the regular dark lord. 4.25

The body is thick and full; very good. The sweetness clings making this body heavy. 4.5

O: 4

2019 ratings

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Photo of Rub_This_BBQ
4.34/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

L: crystal clear black when poured a some
A little light
S: big nose of fig booze and bourbon
T : follow the nose oak and bourbon with some nice dark fruit and figs .
F nice that is not super sweet and well in balance
O: overall this a great stout to be sipped

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Rub_This_BBQ from Massachusetts, Apr 07, 2019
Photo of stortore
4.37/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12 ounce bottle into a snifter. Bottled 6/6/18, had 8/14/18.

Pours near black, mostly opaque, with a half inch head and some soapy lacing. Smells terrific. Aromas of bourbon, malt, oak, chocolate, toffee, figs, caramel, some cocoa and tobacco. The taste is similar and as good as the aroma. Flavors of bourbon- more as it warms, malt, chocolate, oak, caramel, some figs, light cocoa, a little coconut. Smooth, a very good full body, well carbonated.

This is outstanding. Great bourbon flavor, lots of depth to the aroma and flavor. Definitely, well worth a purchase.

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stortore from Illinois, Mar 19, 2019
Photo of Hopheadjeffery
4.24/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Tasted in a snifter from draft at Beer Bazaar on January 22, 2019. Notes of rich bourbon, warm wood tannins, sweet caramel and chocolate. Light in body.

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Photo of MonDak_Joe1953
4.4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from 12oz bottle into glass. Bottling date marked on label as '06/05/18'. Textured label has slogan of 'BREWED WITH HEART + SCIENCE'.
Black colored body with a dark brown back lit edge. Half a finger of light tan head, settles back to thin, interrupted cap and ring. Most of the lacing on each sip slides back down into the beer but there is left a few scattered spots of lacing on the glass.
Aroma of dark roasted malts, rich char flavored oak barrel tannins (with bourbon), chocolate, and sweet molasses. Quite decadent and strong with the bourbon.
Taste is dark roasted malts, and an expressive array of bourbon tinged oak barrel tannins that suggest coconut and dark fruit. Has chocolate and sweet caramel. Not a bit of bitterness.
Medium plus mouth feel, with slight syrup. Good supportive carbonation. Generally smooth across the tasting experience.
Very tasty bourbon aged stout that is sublimely smooth and expresses no bitterness. Slightly sweet, but the alcohol is well hidden. Tremendously well done barrel aged stout.

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Photo of REVZEB
4.33/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Had on tap. This stout does well to bring dark, robust flavors: roasted malt, barrel wood, earthiness, molasses, licorice, coffee, and bourbon to the taste, but then opens up into a world of vanilla, toffee, fig, date, plum and dried cherry. And yet for all of this beefy flavor, the body is medium at best, and the smell is less complex and somewhat subdued in comparison. So really packs a ton of punch for composition. A rewarding beer experience.

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REVZEB from Illinois, Dec 19, 2018
Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.05/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This one pours a fairly dark brown color, almost black, with a small head, and no lacing.

This smells like barrel char, vanilla, dark chocolate, bourbon, and coffee.

Though this is slightly thin, the flavor is great. It's got that great dark chocolate and charred barrel feel that I crave in barrel aged stouts. It's got that in spades. There's also vanilla and lots of bourbon here. It's a touch boozy, but this is to be expected, I suppose.

This is medium bodied, and a touch thin, with a good level of drinkability.

This brewery and beer was completely unknown to me before tonight. I'm impressed.

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GreesyFizeek from New York, Dec 16, 2018
Photo of timmy2b
4.21/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bourbon hits right on the tip of the nose as soon as you open the bottle. Pours a very dark brown with an off white almost tan laced head. Taste of mild chocolate and the bourbon is mellow and more in the aftertaste than up front. Very well blended and 13.5% is well hidden. Almost too easy to sip but would try again without hesitation. Thanks @azuelke

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timmy2b from New York, Dec 06, 2018
Photo of SomethingClever
4.1/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a willybecher glass.

A: Very Small khaki head that settles quickly to a ring. Body is a nicecrich blackness.

S: Oak, bourbon, leather roasted malts a little bit of nuttiness.

T: Nice soft on the tongue leather oak a little toffee some chocolate and a little honey.

M: Fairly thin with a medium body.

O: Very nice flavor nice beer overall lighter bourbon barrel beer.

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Photo of joe1510
4.1/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz Bottle
$14.99 4-Pack
Village Dell & Wine - Rice Lake, WI

The Wolf is about as black as they come. There are no highlights, there is an absence of light. The body itself, as it's being poured, is oily and slick looking. A fingers worth of khaki foam eventually forms on the pour and crackles down fairly quickly leaving behind a chunky ring and some thin but sticky lace. It looks good.

The nose is pretty densely packed but the barrel characteristics are what stick out the most. Damp oak and a rich, deep caramel sweetness leads the way. Soft vanilla and a boozy flash of bourbon. The beer itself brings about a good roasty element, not quite at char but not far off either. Some dark berries and and a drizzle of molasses add complexity along the periphery. The nose is barrel forward but the robust maltiness manages to stand up.

The flavor has softer edges than the nose and even a bit more complexity. The barrel characteristics are still a huge portion of this beer. Spicy oak and caramel, vanilla and boozy heat in smaller amounts. THe roastiness of the malt is my favorite characteristic of this beer. It's dark and slightly bitter. There's some heavily roasted coffee beans and a smattering of dark berries. This beer has good depth.

The body is about moderate in weight. Moderate is a little thin for such a monster. The barrels have thinned it out over however many months. It's not far off but it's off. There's a good roastiness that brings some bitter and a little alcohol heat in the chest. The carbonation is rather lax which gives the body some oiliness. This beer drinks a lot easier than most 13%+ beers.

This is a good 3 Sheeps beer. Small gripes would be that it's a touch thin and a little barrel forward but those are minor. The beer itself is robust and well done with some nice complexity. The barrel aging brings about some nice touches; vanilla, oak, and bourbon. I would certainly buy this again,

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joe1510 from Illinois, Oct 01, 2018
Photo of superspak
4.2/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got in a trade with GreenBayBA. 12 ounce bottle into snifter, bottled on 6/5/2018. Pours opaque dark brown/black color with a small fairly dense and fluffy khaki head with solid retention, that reduces to a a minimal spotty lace cap that lingers. Minimal spotty lacing clings on the glass, with a fair amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of big milk/dark chocolate, cocoa, caramel, brown sugar, toffee, fudge, marshmallow, vanilla, cream, bourbon, toasted oak, and dark bread; with light notes of coffee, nuttiness, licorice, molasses, raisin, prune, cherry, fig, date, leather, smoke, char, herbal, and yeast/roast/toasted earthiness. Damn nice aromas with great balance and complexity of dark/roast/bready malts, bourbon barrels, and light fruity yeast/earthy hop notes; with great strength. Taste of big milk/dark chocolate, cocoa, caramel, brown sugar, toffee, fudge, marshmallow, vanilla, cream, bourbon, toasted oak, and dark bread; with light notes of coffee, nuttiness, licorice, molasses, raisin, prune, cherry, fig, date, leather, smoke, char, herbal, and yeast/roast/toasted earthiness. Very mild herbal/roast/char bitterness and bourbon/oak tannin spiciness on the finish. Lingering notes of milk/dark chocolate, cocoa, caramel, brown sugar, toffee, fudge, marshmallow, vanilla, cream, bourbon, toasted oak, dark bread; light molasses, licorice, dark fruit, smoke, char, herbal, and yeast/roast/toasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Incredible complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/roast/bready malts, bourbon barrels, and light fruity yeast/earthy hop flavors; with a great roast/hop bitter/sweet, and bourbon/oak spiciness balance; with no cloying/acrid/astringent flavors after the finish. Lightly increasing dryness from lingering hop/char bitterness, and bourbon/oak tannin spiciness. Light-medium carbonation and fairly full body; with a very smooth, creamy/silky/velvety, and slightly slick/sticky/chalky/tannic mouthfeel that is great. Mildly increasing warmth of 13.5%, with minimal barrel booziness lingering after the finish. Overall this is a fantastic barrel aged American imperial stout! All around outstanding complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/roast/bready malts, bourbon barrels, and light fruity yeast/earthy hop flavors; very smooth and dangerously easy to sip on for the huge ABV, with the mildly bitter/tannic/drying finish. Very clean and rich malt complexity, with amazing barrel integration. Not overly boozy/tannic on barrels. Mild fruity yeast and earthy hop balance against sweetness. A highly enjoyable offering, and spot on style example. This was a great experience of developing complexities as it warmed up as expected.

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superspak from Michigan, Sep 22, 2018
Photo of brentk56
4.35/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Pours espresso brown with a one finger beige head that fades to a ringlet; leggy, with strands of lace every which way

Smell: Dark chocolate, dark fruit and Bourbon tones merge with hints of caramel and vanilla

Taste: Dark chocolate and caramel forward; hints of fig and prune emerge but the middle is dominated by the Bourbon, caramel and vanilla tones; a burst of sweet chocolate brings up the rear

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with low to moderate carbonation; warmth in the gullet

Overall: Bottled in May of 2017 and drinking superbly now; tastes more like an RIS to me

Thanks, Virby44, for the opportunity

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brentk56 from North Carolina, Sep 07, 2018
Photo of BEERchitect
4.2/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Residing at the intersection where imperial stout, porter and old ale meet, a sneaky, boozy and robust taste stems from the 3 Sheeps Brewing team which seems to be a big beer that's trying to do something that isn't normally done.

This "Wolf" happens to be a imperial stout in bourbony clothing, pouring with a dark bark brown hue, shy of black. Slight on froth or foam, the calm ale swirls with the robust scent of sweet booze, sherry, whisky, dark fruit, toast and chocolate wafting about the nose. Lavish sweetness coats the tongue with a medley of maltiness that spans caramel, toffee, brown sugar and chocolate once more.

Toasty, nutty, coffee-like and with that continued effort of bittersweet chocolate, the middle palate is halted just before reaching roast, burnt or charred proportion of stout. Seeming more of an imperial porter, the taste of dried fruit adds complex elements of plum, black raspberry, black cherry, date, fig and red grape before trending spicy on the late palate with strong impressions of sherry and bourbon.

Full bodied and without the roasted balance of charred grains, the sweeter, older and rustic taste of Wolf is a matured, oaken ale that trails long and lush on the finish like fine coffee liqueur. Waves of spicy sweetness continue to wash the after palate long after the sip has gone. This high octane ale surely sneaks up on you.

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BEERchitect from Kentucky, Aug 17, 2018
Photo of Badger2121
4.37/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours jet black with no head. Smell is booze, coconut, and vanilla. Taste is similar but finishes with chocolate. Feel is pretty light. Not syrupy. Overall like it a lot for the price.

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Badger2121 from Illinois, Aug 10, 2018
Photo of AdmiralOzone
4.58/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep dark brown (as close to black without actually being black) with a thin dark tan cap that dissipates rapidly. Minimal lacing. Aroma is bourbon forward with dark chocolate malts. Flavor is chocolate, caramel, vanilla and bourbon blended marvelously. Feel is medium thick and creamy. Overall a fabulous beer.

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AdmiralOzone from Minnesota, Aug 01, 2018
Photo of AlarmClock314
4/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, no date, 13.5% ABV. Pours hazy brownish/black with a small sized light khaki head. Smells of bourbon, roasted malt, caramel, barrel, cocoa, and a hint of fruity hops. The taste follows exactly with caramel, bourbon, roasted malt, barrel, cocoa, and hops. Higher sweetness and light but lingering bitterness. Noticeable alcohol throughout. Average body and lower carbonation. Overall, while somewhat boozy and unbalanced, it's drinkable and vibrant.

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AlarmClock314 from Wisconsin, Jul 13, 2018
Photo of ksimons
3.85/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A-almost black with dark brown highlights and a thin layer of tan head

S-big bourbon aroma with dark malt

T-bourbon, vanilla, chocolate, hot

F-medium body with light carbonation

Overall too heavy on the booze, maybe some time would help

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ksimons from Illinois, Jul 06, 2018
Photo of pagriley
3.61/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.75

12oz into snifter

Looks good, a bit transluct though and not as thick as pour as I'd hope
Smell is light roast malt and booze
Taste more the same. Not a lot going on, but nice
Feel is very thin. Lacking body
Overall nice, fine, but Central waters is cheaper and better

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pagriley from Illinois, Jul 04, 2018
The Wolf - Bourbon Barrel-Aged from 3 Sheeps Brewing
Beer rating: 94 out of 100 with 109 ratings