Curieux | Allagash Brewing Company

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3,886 Ratings

Brewed by:
Allagash Brewing Company
Maine, United States

Style: Belgian Tripel

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
First brewed back in 2004, Curieux was our first foray into barrel aging. To make Curieux, we take our Tripel and let it age in bourbon barrels for seven weeks. Once that time is up, we take the beer out of our cold cellars and blend it back with a portion of fresh Tripel. The resulting rich, golden ale features smooth notes of coconut, vanilla, and a hint of bourbon.

Added by Todd on 04-05-2004

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Ratings: 3,886 |  Reviews: 936
Photo of mentor
3.46/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

July 2005 bottling maintained carefully in my cool dark cellar. Pours a fizzy soda pop head with vigorous streaming. Off white soapy head. Liquid is perfectly clear golden, a touch dull. Smells fruity. Cherry and strawberry mostly. Oak sour tannin. Bready.

Tastes oak mostly to start with wet smooth malt rising. Vanilla and toasted grains. Oranges. Doughy and thin on the malt character. Mostly, this beer is about the wood. A thin light beer that tells the character of the barrels. A touch of chocolat almost comes across as malty. Wheat beer character is a touch yeasty Clove.

Md-light body and strong carbonation. Okay to drink, but there isn't much here. Isn't the oxidized bomb that I was fearing. Nice carbonation for the age.

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Photo of HardTarget
4.27/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle Inspection: Notes bottling date “December 04”, bought roughly at that time in Texas, cellared personally until sampled in March 07, 340 cases bottled, suggests a wide mouth glass. Brown 750ml corked and caged.

Aroma: Bourbon’s heady alcoholic flush, kept silently in deep wood.

Appearance: Hazy apricot glass with a thin cover and collar that leaves a bit of lace.

Flavor: Mild sweetness is almost worty, firm bourbon, an earthy wheat note, all well blended, no flavor overpowering the other. I’m not the biggest bourbon fan, but this worked very well.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, good carbonation, lively but not fizzy, dry but lingering.

Overall Impression: Easy but firm. I’ve been looking forward to this and after reading opinions in the cellaring forum voting against holding this one, I feel it stood up well to what I gave it time wise. I’ll be looking for more to hold.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.8/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

October 2005 bottling. Sun-splashed lemon with a wealth of fine carbonation enlisted in the creation of a regal white head. The texture of the foam isn't quite as spectacular as on most authentically Belgian ales, but it's still mighty attractive. Thick sheets of lace look like they'll stick until the cows come home. Like most Allagash beer, this one is a looker.

The nose is very nice, it's just that I was expecting some indication that the beer was actually aged in Jim Beam barrels. It smells like an excellent, impressively fruity tripel that... wait just a minute... a few more sniffs deliver a little woodiness... that still isn't very whiskey-like. Here's hoping the flavor profile is as advertised. [note: warming opens up the nose so much that it approaches the quality of the flavor at roughly the midway mark of the bottle.]

Curieux is outstanding beer! For some strange reason, my nose didn't identify what my palate is having no trouble identifying and greeting like an old friend. Allagash says there's a 'hint of bourbon'. I respectfully disagree. There's as much bourbon whiskey present as there is tripel. It's no surprise that these guys have found the perfect balance between the base beer (Tripel Reserve) and the flavor imparted by the wood.

Their decision to age the beer in bourbon barrels has done several things. It has effectively eliminated the ethereal complexity of Tripel Reserve and has replaced it with the power and deliciousness of Kentucky's finest. As a bourbon fanatic, I love the outcome. It's as if the brewers created an entirely new world-class beer from one that was world-class to begin with.

The flavor profile consists of ripe, buttery pears; caramelized sugar; charred oak and a huge splash of vanilla. Allagash has definitely done their homework (as always) because they've managed to imbue the beer with the very essence of the barrels' former occupant. As far as I'm concerned, the decision to age the beer eight weeks was perfect.

I love those light and airy Belgian tripels and I also love this one. It's heavily silky, lightly sticky and aggressively carbonated. When the bubbles wear off on the swallow, the flavor lingers with a determination that reminds me of my favorite bourbons. Not only that, but the huge ABV is warming me nicely and is beginning to blur my senses. Time to slow down so that I can finish this review with some sort of coherence.

Curieux had three huge things going for it right off the bat. It's brewed by Allagash, it uses Tripel Reserve (one of my favorite tripels) as its base beer, and it's aged in bourbon barrels (my favorite liquor). Therefore, I'm not the least bit surprised that I've been gobsmacked yet again. If you like beautifully crafted, amazingly delicious, Belgian-style ales with an American flair, it doesn't get any better than Allagash Curieux.

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Photo of mmmbeer
4.2/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The second beer from my four beer sampler at the Sunset Grill and Tap - 5 oz. in a miniature pokal. It appears a hazed straw with light carbonation and a small white head that leaves little lacing. The aroma is very tropical (mostly orange and pineapple) with an oaky/vanilla kick - quite distinct. It is also quite tropical on the palate, with orange, pineapple, peach, melon rind, and banana, along with notes of wheat, green hops, yeast, vanilla, oak, and a peppery character. The body is medium and very smooth, with medium carbonation and finish. It's also dangerously drinkable, hiding the alcohol well, and I especially like what the bourbon has done to this brew. Recommended - I wish I had a bottle for aging.

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

Slightly hazy golden colour with a bit of an orange hue and an incredibly dense, bright white head. The thick foam produced a ton of solid, chunky lacing made up of extremely small bubbles. The aroma was very fruity, some papaya and mango, with definite oak and vanilla character. Just a little boozy too. Likewise, the flavour was heavy on the fruit, very tropical, with plenty of papaya and tart pineapple. Notes of vanilla swam in and out of focus, and oak was prominent, along with a woody alcohol warmth reminiscent of finer whiskeys. Although it was quite sweet, there was a solid bitterness underneath it all. Full bodied and palate coating, it didn't quite end up sticky. The carbonation was finely integrated and produced a creamy texture that led into a dry finish. This is truly great stuff from Allagash. The combination of fruitiness and wood aging really worked well together. Thanks Matt!

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Photo of yelterdow
3.25/5  rDev -24.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Served at cellar temperature in a Chimay chalice. Bottled in September, 2004.

Appearance- Pours a crystal clear burnished gold with a quarter-inch cap of foam, replenished slowly from the etched fleur de lis.

Smell- Old, boozy oak barrels with a strong vanilla and wood character. Musty cellar. Notes of mold and wet carpet.

Taste- Bourbon clearly out front, with its alcohol sweetness coating the entire mouth and tongue. The usual nuances of a Tripel are, unfortunately, masked by the overwhelming bourbon oak barrel influence.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- Exquisite development in the mouth from beginning to end... the initial subtle carbonation becomes impossibly creamy and remains so throughout.

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Photo of jaluria
3.73/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appeared a cloudy, yellow color with a white head filled with bubbles. Aromas of hops, yeast, and mellons. The taste was fruit-filled with a hint of smoke and vanilla. Malt and hop flavors dominated the finish. Quite creamy and textured. Smooth and mellow with plenty of depth; I really liked this beer, but it didn't present itself in both appearance and smell as well as it tasted.

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Photo of Raymond69
4.27/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

November 2006 vintage poured into wide mouth glass as recommended on the bottle.

Hazy golden color, not much of a head or carbonation apparent.

Smell has faint grassiness , some alcohol.

Taste has a tart fruitiness, some bready yeast notes, just a hint of the bourbon comes through. A very nice triple.

Mouthfeel is somewhat dry, good carbonation.

Drinkability is very good for a beer with such high ABV. This beer seems to be a good candidate for the cellar.

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Photo of RichThatchr
4.35/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I found this at Whole Foods today while looking for a good beer to match with my most ambitious cooking project from scratch, which was Japanese Wafuu Curry with a double portion of chicken over brown rice.

My first pour registered a slight head on a cloudy orange/gold body that reminded me of the other Allegash offerings in Belgian styles. The first smell of the beer had a pronounced Bourbon spirit to it and the first taste made me wonder if I was drinking a "Boilermaker"(shot of whiskey dropped into a beer, shot glass and all).

The beer flowed easily as I as trying to guess which sour mash maker had supplied the barrel for this particular batch. My guess was either Jim Beam or Maker's Mark because of the wide open sweetness combined with the tripel was very interesting.

As I got to the end of the very strong ale, more of the tripel elements showed themselves to me in the forms of malts and hops with great drinkability.

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Photo of Wildman
4.13/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer poured a slightly cloudy gold color and formed a bubbly white head the coated the glass with lace as it subsided. A medium amount of carbonation is present. An aroma of citrus with a hint of bourbon in the background. The flavor was of citrus, a hint of caramel and chocolate. The body was medium light with a slight creamy aspect to it. A sweet finish to it. Not a bad beer that could probably age well.

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Photo of nase
3.87/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Carbonation was rather high initially but completely went away as it warmed; Smell and taste of bourbon blends well with the citrus lending to adequate drinkability; mouthfeel is creamy

think i might prefer allagash's regular tripel but hard to say

Appearance - 3.0
Smell - 4.0
Taste - 4.0
Mouthfeel - 4.0
Drinkability - 3.5

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Photo of Fugazme
3.73/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

An awfully nice looking beer... deep yellow/copper... nice 1/2", bright white head with great staying power... excellent lacing... foams up around the edges... quite good.

Aroma: First whiff... big strawberry notes... definitely sweet... vanilla... not much for wood... lots of alcohol after sitting a few minutes.

Mouthfeel: Creamy, touch of alcohol burn... nice.

Taste: Malty, sweet... some grassy bitterness on the backend swallow... vanilla... caramel... bourbon, yes.

Overall... I'm enjoying it very much... alcohol is high and quite prevelant... wouldn't mind it at all if it were tamed down a bit.

Thanks Aprilluvsbeer! (SS '06)

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Photo of weeare138
4.4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is the 2006 version...
Appears a hazy, light orange toned gold with a fluffy, 2 finger white head that slowly fades out. Lots of sticky lacing is left around the glass. Small pockets of CO2 quickly rise to the top.
Smell is of tropical fruit salad, leather, peach, oaky vanilla, dough, caramel, and a nice bourbon aroma that is excellent to inhale. There is a warmness found in the aroma but not a hot boozy burn as I seem to remember from the 2004 version.
Taste is of the mentioned aromas and it seems to meld together nicely. This is one of the few Bourbon Barrel Tripels I've had and I think the peachy, apricot, tropical, doughyness really compliments the bourbony caramel, and vanilla warmness.
Mouthfeel is slightly sweet up front with a smooth warming vanilla and spice flow across the palate. Finishes semi dry with bourbon and oak resonating and making me lick my lips awaiting the next sip.

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Photo of cabsandking
3.06/5  rDev -28.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Golden to light copper color and a white head quickly diminishing to some scant lacing. Aromas display big woodsy oak barrel characters, earthiness, golden apples, soft fruits, and something lactic like yogurt. Large alcoholic burn dominates beer along with oaky bourbon flavor, vanilla, and bananas. BA spice characters meld well with those of the tripel but as it warms they seem to consume the other flavors. Typical tripel mouthfeel...thin, fizzy carbonation. Lots of alcohol and bourbon in the finish. Before I finish the bottle all I can taste is sweet, sweet, sweet aspartame and bourbon. Just couldn’t appreciate much of the tripels nuances... maybe some extensive aging would do this better justice.

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Photo of Westsidethreat
4.37/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Fro for this one.

2006 Vintage, 398 cases bottled.

A: Golden rod color with a lot of micro sediment. Head fell quick leaving wisps across the top and a solid ring of white bubbles around the glass.

S: Oak, wet hay, bourbon, vanilla and grass clippings. Interesting. Wife describes it as "wet dog". So be it.

T: Begins sweet at the tip of the tongue with melon, papaya and apricot. The oak starts sneaking in at this point with an earthy quality to it. The vanilla is nice; its not over powering or fake tasting but very smooth and attractive. A buttery orange aspect begins to develop and mingles with white peach, pineapple and golden raisins. The bourbon is most noticeable when the fruity flavors are present and becomes prevalent once the beer warms up. Finishes sweet and fruity like marmalade with lingering oak.

M: Full body with a syrupy mouthfeel.

D: This beer could use some age but its nice now. With 2-3 years under its belt, this would be really superb. As it warms, the fruit gets really sweet and the bourbon really expands in caliber. Although it becomes more flavorful, it also becomes more cloying.

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Photo of brewcrew76
4.47/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled October 2005

A - Pours a dirty golden with 2 fingers of white lively bubbles.

S - Sweet candy, tropical fruits, vanilla. I am getting slight hints of scotch instead of bourbon. Very weird since I enjoy bourbon so much.

T - Earthy malt, sweet, tropical fruits, vanilla with some bourbon undertones. Slightly boozy but the sweetness balances the bourbon very nicely.

M - Medium bodied and smooth. The alcohol is present but also very deceptive.

D - This is a great one to share. The sweetness from the tripel blends nicely with the bourbon. Very smooth.

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Photo of CharlesRiver
4.07/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750ml corked and caged bottle. Bottled in Oct of 2004. IIRC this was $13.99 at Amity about 1 1/2 ago. My bottle states 10% not 11%. Maybe they changed later versions?

Pours out a very cloudy orange-yellow with a tiny head that does not last long. Kind of looks like a big bowl of light clover honey.

This might sound odd but the first thing I smell is dill. Second thing is bourbon and not much after that. Funny, the bourbon is the first thing that I notice about the taste as well. Vanilla and oak are some obvious notes that come through. After the first couple of sips you notice that the flavors start to meld, as best they can. I am actual amazed at how much "bourbon" flavor comes through. The alcohol is very well hidden.

One word of caution, if you don't like whisky do not try this one. It has all the great flavors of it without the harsh alcohol burn. To be honest, not my favorite combo but interesting none the less. I applaud Allagash for trying something out of the norm.

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Photo of BeerHonky
4.55/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer is fantastic. It pours a bright and hazy golden yellow with slight orange highlights here and there. A thin, prickly looking head doesn't stay for long.

Immediately you can smell a bouquet of citrus fruits. Many come to mind but its very hard to pin point any particular one that stands out amongst the aroma.

This beer also has a fantastic balance of fruity belgian flavor, hints of bourbon, and alcohol. I love bourbon and this was a perfect marriage of the two libations. This is a beer that will also become more flavorful as it warms up. If you can't taste the bourbon, give it some time and you'll start to notice it towards the end.

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Photo of TastyTaste
4.42/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

What can i say about this beer? A bourbon barrel aged tripels are pretty rare around these parts (read:earth) , and this is my first. Looks like a dark tripel, good sized head. Smell is very yeasty and malty, an unearthly amount of that good bourbon-oakey smell. The taste is also very different. Yeast first, bourbon and alcohol sting like a shot of whiskey. Rises and falls, leaving an earthy flavor. I have never had a beer like this, maybe not the best use of barrel-aging, but certainly worth a shot.

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Photo of ZimZamZoom
4.77/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

750ml bottle poured into 3 pint glasses (shared this with some lucky friends). Bottled October 2005, consumed November 2006.

This poured a nice light straw color with a thick pure white head. The head took it's time dissipating and left a nice lacing on the glass.

The aroma was oak first,and alcohol second, and that nice yeasty malty tripel all mixed in. The oak in the nose is right out front and very pleasant. I'm a fan of oak chardonnays and this is right up my alley.

Taste is again of oak and alcohol but yet is very smooth going down. You can tell it's strong because it warms you up but by no means does it burn going down. I have never had the Allagash tripel to compare this too, but it does taste like a fine example of the style. The bourbon oak just takes it to a new wonderful level. I am in love with this beer.

Mouthfeel is light and smooth.

This is a great sipping beer. It probably took 30-45 minutes for the three of us to nurse down our 250ml share. Each sip is better than the last, and it is mandatory to take a big whiff of this ale in between sips. Did I mention I love this beer? I have to say it is the best beer I've ever had, though I am no world traveler or anything.

378 cases bottled, 9072 bottles, and I was lucky enough to get a hold of one by total chance. I had never heard of it before but couldn't pass by it when I saw it on the shelf.

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Photo of scott
4.28/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This has a substantial pour of thick golden peach, minimal head & lacing. From the getgo, I knew this meant business.
Smell was almost tame, but had hints of vanilla & bourbon that made it's way into your mouth. Alcohol was masked wonderfully, and the carbonation was stellar.
Allagash with casks, what more to ask for. Beautiful, if you enjoy either of these.

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Photo of brentk56
4.47/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a hazy honey color with a modest head that retains a meringue topping and leaves copious splashes of lace around the chalice

Smell: Smells like a bourbon barrel; but there is a lot going on underneath - pears, candi sugar and a hint of bubblegum

Taste: Starts with a fairly neutral, bready flavor that, mid-palate becomes a fruit/nut (pear and almonds) and coconut blend; after the swallow, the bourbon, vanilla, oak and bubblegum flavors emerge and dominate the finish

Mouthfeel: Light and somewhat effervescent; considerable warming on the finish

Overall: I tried this a few years ago (2006) and have now updated my review (the Feb 2011 bottling consumed in Apr 2011); either the beer has changed a lot for the better or my palate is different, but this is a lot more balanced than my previous experience; really like the way the bourbon and tripel flavors have merged to create a delightful synergy

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3.26/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours looking like well carbonated honey gold that really glows. Hosts a huge off-white head. Nose is a creamy wheat and citrus balance. Enters the mouth rich with a strong oiley wheat tone. Includes a sour syrupy feel on the main part of the palate. This beer balances beter and mellows out as it warms a bit. The long soured wheat feel is the dominating attribute to this beer. The alchol is well hidden. Drinks pretty well overall but for $16 a bottle I was expecting much more.

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Photo of dherling
3.88/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A slightly hazy beer, honey golden with a small bubbly off white head. The nose is alcoholic, with woodyness, vanilla, and a little fruityness. The taste is like straight forward alcohol, but not totally harsh. It's warming, balanced out with vanilla, wood, and fruit again. Has a thick slick mouthfeel and a fairly dry finish, but the alcohol does repeat a bit.

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Photo of blackie
4.17/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

July 2005 bottling

appearance: The pour off of the sediment gives a bone white head that steadily falls back into the glass, leaving not much more than a ring behind. The beer is a crystal clear, bright golden in color.

smell: Smells delicious. Moderately sweet aromas of pale malts bring notes of apples and similar light fruits with a tropical touch. A touch of alcohol fume and a light, bourbon soaked wood aroma...the ethanol presence acting as an asset in this instance. Light to moderate aged European hop aroma.

mouthfeel: The carbonation is between medium and high, and the body on the light side of the medium range. Very delicate mouthfeel.

taste: Delicate pale malt flavors give a light sweetness on the tongue. Very subtle woody bourbon note. A light, aged Belgian hop flavor and bitterness. The alcohol is very well hidden, only noticeable for a second in the aftertaste. I understand that one needs to be conservative when adding flavors to a tripel, but I would have liked just a touch more bourbon presence. Maybe the subtlety is lost on me, but I'd like a little more depth in general.

drinkability: Pretty easy to drink, but the intoxicating effect and subtle character of the flavors make it a definate sipper.

750 mL bottle purchased from Whole Foods about a year ago.

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Curieux from Allagash Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.28 out of 5 with 3,886 ratings