Baltimore brewers clap back at review culture with '2 Stars Not My Style' sour

Discussion in 'Beer News & Releases' started by Precisiondigital, Dec 1, 2019.

  1. Precisiondigital

    Precisiondigital Initiate (148) Dec 27, 2018 Maryland

  2. rgordon

    rgordon Meyvn (1,085) Apr 26, 2012 North Carolina

    Random arbitrary reviews on any media platform are mostly meaningless. Period. Personally, I don't care at all about reviews, except for when they are funny.
    meanmutt, Roguer, mikeinportc and 3 others like this.
  3. beertunes

    beertunes Poo-Bah (7,687) Sep 24, 2007 Kiribati
    Society Trader

    Good for those brewers.
  4. sharpski

    sharpski Meyvn (1,195) Oct 11, 2010 Svalbard & Jan Mayen Islands
    Society Trader

    Three Magnets One Kap Kolsch has also mined this theme.
  5. Giantspace

    Giantspace Champion (822) Dec 22, 2011 Pennsylvania

    I rate Untappd for my taste. I don’t rate to style there as I only use it for my own use and find almost all star rating there worthless beyond what I input for my own use.

  6. Precisiondigital

    Precisiondigital Initiate (148) Dec 27, 2018 Maryland

    That's what I'm saying. It doesnt really matter on there. I find my reviews on here are very closely related to other people's reviews.
  7. Precisiondigital

    Precisiondigital Initiate (148) Dec 27, 2018 Maryland

    That's cool to know!
  8. socon67

    socon67 Poo-Bah (2,322) Jun 18, 2010 New York

    That's the deal with Untappd; it is a quick method for a person to rate what *they* think of a beer. It is not much else, though people do use the ratings of others as Top Beers are based on overall ratings.

    This is why I prefer BA if I'm using input from others on potential purchases.
  9. Precisiondigital

    Precisiondigital Initiate (148) Dec 27, 2018 Maryland

    Just look at how people on BA write long posts and people on untapped dont even write anything. That's testament right there.
    mikeinportc likes this.
  10. Precisiondigital

    Precisiondigital Initiate (148) Dec 27, 2018 Maryland

    I looked that up. Pretty cool lol
  11. Rekrule

    Rekrule Defender (604) Nov 11, 2011 Massachusetts

    People don't rate to style here much either. There are also quite a few other breweries that have mocked rating systems with beer names. This is unoriginal and just a spot for people who aren't high on untapped to feel superior even though it's much of the same user base. Same fallacy of "casuals" on more involved fan pages across consumerism hobbies.
    hvy1 likes this.
  12. socon67

    socon67 Poo-Bah (2,322) Jun 18, 2010 New York

    Taking it one step further, I picked up the Lagunitas Willitzed Coffee Porter based on the thread on BA which gave it positive feedback. You don't get that context anywhere else.
  13. maximum12

    maximum12 Poo-Bah (4,718) Jan 21, 2008 Minnesota
    Society Trader

    From the article. Hey, idiot brewers, you might not like it, but Untappd is social. And fun! Just because you don't like people panning beers that might not be very good doesn't mean there aren't thousands of folks who enjoy pecking away at such apps & other review sites. Like, well, BA.
    #13 maximum12, Dec 2, 2019
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2019
    hvy1 and thesherrybomber like this.
  14. PA-Michigander

    PA-Michigander Meyvn (1,448) Nov 10, 2013 Pennsylvania

    So they expect people to give full length reviews on what’s essentially Twitter for beer? Good luck
  15. GetMeAnIPA

    GetMeAnIPA Defender (654) Mar 28, 2009 California


    I love. the label....I don’t like lagers, 1 Star. Haha, and that’s exactly what people put.
  16. Tilley4

    Tilley4 Poo-Bah (2,235) Nov 13, 2007 Tennessee
    Society Trader

    I come here for reliable info on a beer unknown to me... Untapped is for ticking...I dont even rate beers over there, i just check them in and sometimes throw a photo up
  17. islay

    islay Disciple (333) Jan 6, 2008 Minnesota

    Does Untappd ask users to rate with style in mind? I don't know the answer. I know this site does. I also know that it's plain to see that the vast majority of people at all the rating sites don't rate with style in mind or at most rate with it very weakly in mind.

    I long have advocated using a purely hedonic rating scale because I think:
    1. The vast majority of ordinary consumers are insufficiently informed about styles to do anything else in any but a cursory way.
    2. Most consumers don't care about fidelity to style standards nearly as much as how much they enjoy the beer, so the latter is the much more relevant standard.
    3. Matching style expectations is a test of brewer skill and execution but says little about how good the beer itself is to the person drinking it (i.e., it's measuring the wrong thing).
    4. Many brewers are not attempting to hew closely to style guidelines in any given beer, and thus it's inappropriate to hold them to style standards.
    5. Consumers inevitably will default to rating hedonically anyway.
    I've participated in some style-based beer judging, and I can say first-hand that it's very difficult to rate to style even after reading extensively about the styles under review and making a concerted effort to eschew my personal preferences. I found that most judges ultimately select on how much they like the beer as long as it seems to be unflawed and broadly lies within style guidelines, even when they're directed to select on how quintessential the beer is with regard to those style guidelines. "2 stars not my style" is valuable consumer feedback to a brewery, especially if they hear it repeatedly. Also, notice that breweries seem not to be bothered by the 4.5 bottle cap reviews handed out left and right to middling examples of sexy styles by people who enjoy those styles, which seems to me to be a far more common phenomenon.
  18. Precisiondigital

    Precisiondigital Initiate (148) Dec 27, 2018 Maryland

    I feel the same way about this. It is hard for me to differentiate styles. It's even harder to differentiate success of a beer according to specific styles. I mean, if you drink the same style beers often, I guess that could be a way of honing in on the success of a brewer with specific styles. That's been my big thing. How do I learn more about beer styles when there are so many variations?!? It's a good question. what did you mean about the last part when you said 4.5 bottle cap reviews?
    mikeinportc likes this.
  19. Precisiondigital

    Precisiondigital Initiate (148) Dec 27, 2018 Maryland

    This is the same with me. I don't really see the value in untapped except that it seems like more people are on it and therefore small brews are more likely to be on there. But honestly, I like being the first to contribute a beer on here. It makes me feel like I am helping the community.
    mikeinportc, Tilley4 and officerbill like this.
  20. Precisiondigital

    Precisiondigital Initiate (148) Dec 27, 2018 Maryland

    Good point lol
  21. Precisiondigital

    Precisiondigital Initiate (148) Dec 27, 2018 Maryland

    Yeah, But I think The Point Is That If You Compare The Average Untapped User Vs The Average BA User, People On Here Are More Thoughtful And Deliberate In Their Ratings, Instead Of Just Tossing Up A Review Because They Don't Like The Style Of The Beer In The First Place. It's Just An Unfair Way Of Reviewing It When They Don't Appreciate The Style.
  22. Precisiondigital

    Precisiondigital Initiate (148) Dec 27, 2018 Maryland

    EXACTLY. On Here, People Are Much More Interested In Promoting The Beer Community And Knowledge About Beer That You'd Otherwise Never Know!
  23. beertunes

    beertunes Poo-Bah (7,687) Sep 24, 2007 Kiribati
    Society Trader

    Their point is that people aren't panning beers because they're middling or worse, it's thst people are panning well made beers just because they don't like the style. Lots of great Lagers, for example, get low scores, even though they're well made.
  24. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (2,089) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    So, kinda like how the beer market (and other markets) works, too? :rolling_eyes:

    I know this is a popular trope in the craft brewing world, but, to me, beer is a beverage, hopefully an enjoyable and satisfying one. But "Fun" ? :rolling_eyes: Well, certainly many people are having fun while drinking it (some, OTOH, are downright bored or depressed but... well, that's another topic). Like many on this site, I do enjoy following the industry and like trying new or old familiar beers but "fun" ? Heck, I'll supply the fun when required or desired, brewers should just brew good beer.

    The concept that throwing non-traditional flavoring ingredients into the brew kettle or fermentation tank like "pretzels, pawpaw fruits and peaches...Inspired by Simmons’ daughter’s “Snappsy the Alligator” book..." makes a beer "fun" is not shared by all.
  25. Lucular

    Lucular Poo-Bah (3,272) Jun 20, 2014 Maryland
    Society Trader

    I just drank this beer last night and thought the label was pretty funny.

    The beer itself was actually really tasty and I could distinctly taste the peach, the paw-paw, the honey, and the pretzel (some salinity, anyhow). It was sour and bright but not cloying or muddled. Kind of amazing for an openly gimmicky 4-way collaboration. The only flavor I did not get was "IPA." And that was just fine with me.
  26. ScaryEd

    ScaryEd Poo-Bah (2,548) Feb 19, 2012 New Hampshire

    So my issue with the whole "rate to style" thing, is how do you rate or review a beer from a style you've never had before? Are you expected to drink a bunch from the style so you can become an expert before writing a review? If so, what's the cutoff point for how many beers you need to drink? It's kind of absurd if you think about it.

    Sure, you can read up on the style and get basic expectations, but taste is entirely subjective, and rating to style has a basis in objectivity. I can write a review about the facts of what I taste and smell, but someone else will taste and smell other things.

    Just my two cents.
    Prince_Casual likes this.
  27. socon67

    socon67 Poo-Bah (2,322) Jun 18, 2010 New York

    Everyone's preferences are different, so reviewing based on your experience is fine. I think the point that these Baltimore brewers are making is that is that reviewing styles that you simply don't enjoy throws a wrench into the Untappd ratings. What if I were to review a NEIPA and give it a 2.0 because I didn't like the hazy look of the beer and found the bitter notes off-putting. It is absolutely my experience and preference, and I can review however I please. It does however, seem a bit flawed that the basic concept of the beer is what I don't like.
  28. ScaryEd

    ScaryEd Poo-Bah (2,548) Feb 19, 2012 New Hampshire

    Ok yeah that makes more sense.
  29. MNAle

    MNAle Poo-Bah (1,936) Sep 6, 2011 Minnesota

    I was going to reply to this thread, but it seems to already contain more than enough self-important pomposity.

    Aw, what the hell... what'll one more self-important post matter...:wink:

    Rating to style is difficult and requires preparation. I generally review / rate with style "in mind" rather than "to style" (since I'm not qualified to do the latter, and I can more-or-less handle the former by reading style guidelines). But, that requires effort, too, and is apparently beyond the interest of the typical untapped user, where "look at me" seems to be the primary motivation.

    Rating to personal taste is not a problem so long as you explain yourself. Even the "I don't like lagers. 1 star" tells me something... namely ignore that rating. Giving a beer a high (or low) rating with no explanation of why you liked it is useless to anyone but you.

    Overall ratings on untapped are less than useless (except, perhaps, to a market analyst). At least yelp makes SOME effort to discount out the garbage ratings...
    imtroy703, mikeinportc and dcotom like this.
  30. Harrison8

    Harrison8 Poo-Bah (4,075) Dec 6, 2015 Missouri
    Society Trader

    "Brewers reading mean reviews" has become a thing around here, with local breweries reading 'mean reviews' in a different brewery every month or two.

    There will always be two sides to Untappd/Beer Advocate. It's clear most of the contributors haven't been 'trained' (myself included), but it's also a consumer's site - not Cicerone Reviews. I get the impression some brewers are upset that their beers are not well received by this consumer critics.

    It would be interesting to see where craft beer would be without Beer Advocate/Untappd. Both sites reward trying and providing input on new beers, and one site offers 'rewards' for logging repeat beers. I can't help but think there would be less push for 'new' beers, and thus less new breweries, without a common website/app to rate/tick what has been tried.
  31. Harrison8

    Harrison8 Poo-Bah (4,075) Dec 6, 2015 Missouri
    Society Trader

    One quote changed the way I think about social media; "Instagram is the 'highlight reel' of someone's life". You don't see people posting photos of their mundane office job or eating dinner on the couch in front of the TV or grocery shopping in baggy sweats - but all of a sudden, their feed awakens when they're on a trip.

    Untappd, like most any social media, is not immune to this mode of thought. It's more, "look at what I've tried" vs. concise thoughts how or why a beer is good. Not saying that makes the platform invalid, just that it's a totally different 'use' from other beer rating website(s).
    mikeinportc, MNAle and beertunes like this.
  32. maximum12

    maximum12 Poo-Bah (4,718) Jan 21, 2008 Minnesota
    Society Trader

    I think that's incorrect in all ways.

    People on BA can throw up just a number too. Saying people here are more 'thoughtful & deliberate' is pure unfounded opinion, unless you're talking about actual written reviews. And if you believe people here don't rate things based on taste vs. style...well, I'd say take a look at the top beers & count the number of lagers vs. IPAs or stouts.
    pmarlowe likes this.
  33. maximum12

    maximum12 Poo-Bah (4,718) Jan 21, 2008 Minnesota
    Society Trader

    I understand their point. I just the point they're trying to make it just a stupid, whiny point. :wink:

    And for the most part, American brewers suck at making clean lagers. Going to Europe for the first time was a revelation for me.
  34. Ranbot

    Ranbot Defender (644) Nov 27, 2006 Pennsylvania

    These brewers should do a follow-up collaboration beer called "Yells at Clouds."

    It can be a hazy IPA, for instant 4+ caps. Fun...right?
  35. officerbill

    officerbill Zealot (570) Feb 9, 2019 New York
    Society Trader

    The complaint is that some good beers are getting panned without regard as to how those beers are supposed to taste.

    I'm a big believer in at least trying to rate to style.
    Some of BA's style descriptors are pretty broad, but they do give you an idea of how a particular style should look and taste and there are many other guides for anyone with even the slightest interest. You don't need beer judge levels of competence, but you should be able to tell whether or not a particular beer is a good or bad example of a particular style; your personal preferences come into play once that has been determined.
    Down-rate a beer because it isn't well made, not because you don't like the way it's supposed to taste. It would be like me rating CBS (a style exemplar) a 2 because I don't care for the taste of maple.
    If you don't like a style, just don't rate it.
  36. Celtics76

    Celtics76 Crusader (742) Sep 5, 2011 Rhode Island

    A large portion of Untappd reviews are hype based. Just look at reviews of new Trillium releases as an example. There's a rush to post the first pic/5 star review. No thought is put into it. "Unhip" breweries who still put out good stuff (like Sierra Nevada) get hammered.
  37. RKP1967

    RKP1967 Aspirant (298) Sep 26, 2010 Virginia

    I'm going to go against the grain and say I prefer untapped ratings. Simply because of numbers.

    Random beer example: Aslin Apizza!. When a beer has 1300+ ratings on untapped and only four ratings (and only two of them with words) on Beer Advocate, it seems obvious to go by the one that has the mean of 1300 reviewers, as opposed to four (who could be friends of the brewers, or the brewers themselves, for all I know.)
    pjeagles, pmarlowe and maximum12 like this.
  38. RKP1967

    RKP1967 Aspirant (298) Sep 26, 2010 Virginia

    Sorry, I respect what Sierra Nevada has done for the craft beer world, and I appreciate that they are a great choice when you're pinching pennies. But Trillium makes far better IPA's than Sierra Nevada and the ratings should reflect that.
    TurkeysDrinkBeer likes this.
  39. MNAle

    MNAle Poo-Bah (1,936) Sep 6, 2011 Minnesota

    To coin a phrase...

    Garbage in, garbage out.

    The average of nonsense is not sense.
    Squire likes this.
  40. RKP1967

    RKP1967 Aspirant (298) Sep 26, 2010 Virginia

    Lagers *should* get lower scores than IPA's (for example), simply because IPA is a better tasting style, in general.

    A decent tasting pizza tastes better than the best fried liver, imo.
    TurkeysDrinkBeer likes this.