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.


    DISKORD Devotee (460) Feb 28, 2017 South Carolina

    Is "clap back" a new Millenial term for a "diss"?
  2. champ103

    champ103 Poo-Bah (4,821) Sep 3, 2007 Texas

    This is ridiculous, and I hope you are being sarcastic...oh and have a Vietnamese Banh Mi with duck liver pate, it will change your life.
  3. RKP1967

    RKP1967 Aspirant (298) Sep 26, 2010 Virginia

    I'm a vegetarian, so I won't be having that.

    But my point is that not all things we (mankind or nature itself) create taste equally good. I'll take a good NEIPA over the best lager in the world any day of the week. Do I have to rate the lager as high as the NEIPA (or higher) just because it's the best lager I've ever had, even though I prefer the NEIPA? That seems dishonest.
  4. champ103

    champ103 Poo-Bah (4,821) Sep 3, 2007 Texas

    Thats not the same thing as saying a style can or can't be rated as high as another style. That is just your personal opinion, which I'm fine with you saying that in a review, we all have bias just own it.
  5. unlikelyspiderperson

    unlikelyspiderperson Poo-Bah (1,548) Mar 12, 2013 California
    Society Trader

    This gets to the crux of the question, what are these ratings for? If you think that your beer ratings are just a way for you to track the beers you've had and liked then of course you should just rate hedonically. If you think that at least some of the point of these ratings sites is to create a useful tool for other beer consumers to make purchasing decisions then you've got to at least keep style in mind.
    Many of us would gladly take the best example of many different lager styles (I'm sure you're aware that "lager" isn't a style) over any neipa at least some of the time. Neipa is not objectively the best style just like helles or geuze isn't objectively the best.
    If you choose to rate strictly hedonically you are basically choosing to make your ratings largely worthless to everyone else. That is, of course, a fine choice but it's pretty obvious why that would be frustrating to a lot of brewers who don't brew the trendy styles and thus see their efforts discounted on the major consumer databases.
    meefmoff, beertunes and champ103 like this.
  6. MNAle

    MNAle Poo-Bah (1,935) Sep 6, 2011 Minnesota

  7. beertunes

    beertunes Poo-Bah (7,663) Sep 24, 2007 Kiribati
    Society Trader

    And I would take the "worst" Lager over the "best" Murkbomb. I still say they shouldn't even be called IPAs, and are a shit style.

    But, when I review one, I do the best I can to compare it to the other Murkbombs I've had, and not compare it to a Stout, Wild Ale, or IPA.
    Lare453, joerooster, Ranbot and 2 others like this.
  8. MNAle

    MNAle Poo-Bah (1,935) Sep 6, 2011 Minnesota

    See, there's your mistake... you should rate them purely according to whether you like them, and thereby make the ratings more useful! :stuck_out_tongue:
    beertunes likes this.
  9. maximum12

    maximum12 Poo-Bah (4,712) Jan 21, 2008 Minnesota
    Society Trader

    I don't believe in rigid scoring guidelines, nor do I believe in telling other people how they should be scoring beers, or in brewers telling *me* how I should rate their beers. People rate beers for all sorts of different reasons. Brewers can accept that or feel free to tilt uselessly at windmills if they so desire.
    RKP1967 and PA-Michigander like this.
  10. officerbill

    officerbill Zealot (569) Feb 9, 2019 New York
    Society Trader

    Then why even bother with reviews & ratings since they are useless for anyone else?
    If your reviews are meant to help others they need to be measured against some sort of recognized standard.
    If your reviews aren't meant to help others why publish them?
  11. Celtics76

    Celtics76 Crusader (742) Sep 5, 2011 Rhode Island

    Other than the couple of Hazy IPAs Sierra Nevada has produced, can you really compare them though? Trillium just recently brewed their first WC IPA ever. Try a fresh Hop Bullet.

    BTW I'm a Trillium fan (though not as much as I used to be)
  12. meefmoff

    meefmoff Devotee (474) Jul 6, 2014 Massachusetts

    Yeah, this. I've never used Untapped - do they have an option for ratings to be public vs. private? I'm thinking of something like how imgur and other picture upload sites allow you to keep a personal collection vs. sharing pics with the world.

    Seems like an easy way to at least partially keep the "judging to style" and "just keeping track of my personal preferences" ratings separate.
  13. beertunes

    beertunes Poo-Bah (7,663) Sep 24, 2007 Kiribati
    Society Trader

    You can check in a beer without giving it a score, or rate it from 1-5 stars. I give almost everything on UT a 4. If I give a beer a 3.5 it's got real problems, and if I give it a 4.5 it's the kind of beer that folks would stab their Granny for.
  14. maximum12

    maximum12 Poo-Bah (4,712) Jan 21, 2008 Minnesota
    Society Trader

    I feel like the answer is self-evident, but I'll play.

    Because they're my reviews. I like beer. I like to write.

    Besides, this whole shenanigan is a red herring. The brewers appear to be annoyed by people who rate sours (or the like) & don't like them, not that Beer Nation isn't adhering to some erection-rigid scoring guidelines. How many times have you had a beer that's completely outside of the very loose guidelines for a style? Me, rarely - unless it's infected, or so badly flawed as to be unrecognizable.

    And I can't speak for others, but I've received several notes from others over the past decade thanking me for one aspect or another of one of my reviews. So you may not like how I operate, but reviews are helpful.
  15. islay

    islay Disciple (333) Jan 6, 2008 Minnesota

    One interesting wrinkle with NEIPAs specifically is that, before the beers were classified as NEIPAs -- that is, when they were classified as American IPAs -- most of them should have been considered terrible beers to someone rating with American IPA style guidelines in mind. No matter how much people enjoyed them, they "should have been" given low ratings if you believe in rating with style in mind. Too turbid, too sweet, too soft, inadequately bitter. Just about every Tree House beer that was atop the American IPA leaderboards was an abomination when viewed as an American IPA.

    Then, when the New England IPA style was established, they instantly "should have been" given much higher ratings -- and the old ratings thrown out -- because now they matched style guidelines. But of course very high ratings should be reserved for only the best of the best -- or perhaps the most New Englandy of the New Englandy, depending on how strictly you take "rating with style in mind." They should not be handed out like Halloween candy like they are here and at Untappd to NEIPAs (again, I see that phenomenon as a far bigger distortion than the overstated "I don't like the style" complaint that is the basis of this thread, from a non-hedonic ratings perspective).

    This is one of many examples of the absurd consequences of rating with style in mind if people actually bothered to do it; the ratings of beers should fluctuate massively based purely on their style classification (and note that many beers are in hybrid styles, no style at all, or the styles in which they're made are developing and/or not well defined).

    For the record, subjectively, hedonically, most NEIPAs suck and are far worse than most Sierra Nevada IPAs and most lagers (at least of the non-non-AAL/ALL variety), to use comparison points already employed in this thread. When I (hedonically) rate NEIPAs (not published here), they rarely score above a 3.

    Again, does Untappd ask its users to rate with style in mind? If not, this entire discussion is largely moot.

    Added: For better or for worse, I believe that the explosion in NEIPAs, pastry stouts, and heavily fruited kettle sours, along with other trends before them, was aided by consumer feedback on sites like this in the form of high hedonic ratings. Sure, most brewers care much more about sales than ratings, but high ratings can be a leading indicator of high sales. Consumers get more of what they want because they don't feel the need to pretend that all styles were created equal, that the best cream ale is just as good as the best imperial stout.
    #55 islay, Dec 2, 2019
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2019
    maximum12 and beertunes like this.
  16. Ranbot

    Ranbot Defender (643) Nov 27, 2006 Pennsylvania

    When you give an opinion you should be open about it, not pretend it's some universal truth.
    And there are many lagers I would choose over and rate much higher than another samey trendy NEIPA. Check your biases.

    That said, the issue here is specifically with reviews on Untappd, which as @PA-Michigander said, is...
    Untappd has no rules, it's the wild wild west of beer reviewing! Rate however you want. I use Untappd for fun. Sometimes I give high or low ratings for reasons other than the beer style guidelines because it's Untappd and it doesn't mean shit! Anyone who gets angry or excited about Untappd beer reviews is, in my opinion, an idiot tilting at windmills.
    No Untappd does not require rating to style, nor would they have any ability to control how users rate, short of draconian rules that would drive most of their users away. Not only is most of the discussion moot, but the brewers' complaint in the original article, which started this discussion is moot.
  17. islay

    islay Disciple (333) Jan 6, 2008 Minnesota

    Thank you. BeerAdvocate does ask/demand that users rate with style in mind, and respect for that misguided and unenforceable dictate is the main reason I've never entered ratings here. I don't want to do that, I don't think any but a small few people can do it meaningfully, and I think very few people consistently try. Just look at the style distributions of the top and bottom-rated beers of most people who advocate rating with style in mind if you want some quick evidence that they don't practice what they preach very well.
    beertunes likes this.
  18. oldbean

    oldbean Disciple (364) Jun 30, 2005 Massachusetts

    You have to find some better lagers.
  19. RKP1967

    RKP1967 Aspirant (298) Sep 26, 2010 Virginia

    I've had Bierstadt Lagehaus, Jack's Abbey, and a fair share of lagers on draft and in bottles while vacationing in Germany.
  20. socon67

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

    Granny better watch herself if we are talking whalez.
    Precisiondigital and beertunes like this.
  21. Precisiondigital

    Precisiondigital Initiate (148) Dec 27, 2018 Maryland

    Yeah it was definitely different. I was hit with a lingering apple cinnamon after taste. After I drank more of it, it seemed to fade away and just take like a sour beer. It's weird how beers can taste different one moment to the next and depending on how long it's been aged.
  22. Prince_Casual

    Prince_Casual Disciple (351) Nov 3, 2012 District of Columbia

    Beer rating isn't the same as Amazon Ratings, or is it? How many vacuums do you have to buy and use before being "allowed" to do reviews on vacuums?

    What about if someone buys a tablet, can't figure out how to connect it to the internet? Should they be allowed to leave a low review? What if the plot twist is that the device is extremely hard to connect to the internet, thousands of people are having that problem, and the reviewer is a corporate IT GUY!!! - does that change whether they should be allowed to leave a review?

    Circling back to beer- should someone review their first Kriek? What if it's actually not good? What if it's a new member who's been rating beers for decades but just got on BA or got locked out of his old account? Beer is a little bit different than electronics since you can easily consume them on a daily or weekly basis, and get better at reviewing. I think for enjoyment of reviewing, Cicerone or WSET wine or other beverage analysis training will greatly increase your PERSONAL enjoyment of rating and tasting. If you've done even the most basic of either of those programs it should be immediately apparent whether the reviewer is scoring "systematically" or just drunkenly tapping away on his/her phone.

    If you're looking for purchase feedback... if I'm looking at BA I'll look at maybe 3 recent reviews, then sort Lowest and see who hated it (usually people who don't know the style or think its not "worth" the pricetag) and then by Highest (again usually people who sound like they've never had the style but really seem to like it). This is how I use Amazon too, you have to read the review to decide if the person is credible or just ranting/ raving.
    officerbill, maximum12 and Bigrock like this.
  23. MostlyNorwegian

    MostlyNorwegian Zealot (550) Feb 5, 2013 Illinois

    If by review you mean engaging critical thinking skills, and measuring it against what it SHOULD be measured against. Which is other things in the same wheelhouse stylistically. Yes. If you mean measuring against your own opinion of what you actively like. No.
    The hardest and actually most interesting part of reviewing beer is to actually get over yourself, and those opinions and measure it against what you really do know about drinking those other beers you bragged about drinking.
    That said. I loathe untapped because it's amateur hour being taken for serious.
    Much to learn. Much to learn.
  24. Mattttt

    Mattttt Initiate (77) Feb 20, 2018 New York

    weird that the only brewers complaining about untappd are the ones with low ratings.
  25. Ranbot

    Ranbot Defender (643) Nov 27, 2006 Pennsylvania

    All good points that don't really matter in world of Untappd, whether you love it or loathe it.

    More generally, with any public review system or social media platform (which Untappd and BA have aspects of both) it is what you make of it.
  26. jmdrpi

    jmdrpi Poo-Bah (6,986) Dec 11, 2008 Pennsylvania

    If you're using "lagers" to mean AAL or light lagers, then sure.

    But the overall category of beers brewed with lager yeast is so broad that you can't make a general statement. Beyond the more mild pale lager styles, there are a ton of flavorful lager styles - schwarzbier, doppelbock, weizenbock, vienna lager, dunkel lager, baltic porter, etc.
    unlikelyspiderperson likes this.
  27. elliot23

    elliot23 Initiate (120) Jan 27, 2009 Maryland

    I definitely gave that beer 2 stars.
  28. officerbill

    officerbill Zealot (569) Feb 9, 2019 New York
    Society Trader

    Not frequently, but often. The most glaring examples are beers described as Bohemian or Bavarian pilsners, helles, and kölsches, but actually hopped up beyond the “loose guidelines” for those styles.

    When I come across an unknown beer, in an unfamiliar style, I'll check the guidelines to see if it sounds like a type of beer I might like. If it is, I'll check the reviews to see if that particular beer is a good example of that style.
    When I come across an unknown beer, in a familiar style, I check the reviews to see if that particular beer is a good example of that style.

    It's good to know if the “Bavarian Pilsner” I'm considering is really more of an IPL.
    When considering a bottle of Rodenbach Grand Cru I don't care that some random IPA drinker thinks it's “too tart”, I want to know if it is a good example of a Flanders Red (FYI it is).
    unlikelyspiderperson likes this.
  29. Lare453

    Lare453 Meyvn (1,414) Feb 1, 2012 Florida

    Sounds like a bunch of whiney brewers...

    Brewers will not tell me how to rate beer on any platform. If the platform has rules on how to rate beers that I don’t like, I’ll stop using it. Which is why I’ve only rated a few beers on here over the past several years.