Site Beer Ratings and Availability

Discussion in 'Support & Suggestions' started by BeerAssassin, Sep 10, 2013.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. BeerAssassin

    BeerAssassin Initiate (0) Aug 17, 2012 Antarctica

    Am I the only person here who thinks that availability should factor into how a beer is ranked?
    I think beers should be ranked 1-5 just like other characteristics are ranked here, with very available beers getting a 5 and whales getting a 1. I'm tired of seeing so many highly ranked beers being almost impossible to get, are people just tasting the "rare"?
    Morockm and jtierney89 like this.
  2. FrankHammer

    FrankHammer Initiate (0) Jan 31, 2013 Michigan
    Beer Trader

  3. rozzom

    rozzom Zealot (585) Jan 22, 2011 New York
    Beer Trader

    I think it's an interesting idea, but not sure how it could be factored in, in a way that's both consistent and objective.

    i.e. MBC Lunch is not an impossible beer to get in NYC, but when it arrives, it goes quickly. What if someone just misses out on getting a bottle a few times in a row, and then scores it a 1 for availability when they finally get to try it? Conversely someone gets lucky and happens to land a very hard to find beer, and in turn ranks it too highly. It could just turn into an entitlement-meter.

    I suppose the Beers of Fame was designed to try and capture what you're looking for. Although all of the ones on that list aren't necessarily sitting on the shelf of your store right now, most should be get-able without too much hassle.
    Roguer and Mothergoose03 like this.
  4. jbertsch

    jbertsch Meyvn (1,065) Dec 14, 2008 Massachusetts

    You'd have to thoroughly define "availability". Not all beers are purchased by the one who drinks it. Plenty of people write reviews for beers that they've received in trades/gifts...beers that aren't distributed to them, so they may not know if the beer is easy to get in its own footprint.
    elchicodelgado likes this.
  5. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (2,951) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    That would give both Bud Light and Miller Lite a 5 for all of us. It would give Pliny the Elder or Westvleteren 12 a 5 for a few of us and a 1 for most of us. Not a good idea.
    kojevergas likes this.
  6. SoCalBeerIdiot

    SoCalBeerIdiot Defender (621) Mar 10, 2013 California
    Beer Trader

    That'd be interesting. Not sure if it'd actually make the scores better, though. I'd like to see a beers individual scores for each category, though. I really only care about Taste when it comes to sampling new beers and I'd pay attention to beers that score 1s and 2s on Availability so I don't miss out on them when I'm out on beer runs (cuz I'm a dumb noob).
  7. leedorham

    leedorham Defender (698) Apr 27, 2006 Washington

    Availability as a measure of quality would presume that all breweries should be production breweries with an agenda to expand and spread to all markets. That's simply not the case with the majority of licensed breweries in the US nor would it be feasible for over 2000 breweries to accomplish such a feat.
  8. Auror

    Auror Defender (634) Jan 1, 2010 Massachusetts
    Beer Trader

    afksports likes this.
  9. Izbiz

    Izbiz Initiate (0) Aug 15, 2013 Alberta (Canada)

    We should start rating if they can stand on their heads. 1 if not and 5 if they can.
    And while we're at it, let's rate the beer based on how high it bounces of the ground. I'll test this after work and get back to you with a scale.

    Come on now. Rating on the look is bad enough. It's a colored liquid and says beer on the label! It looks delicious 100% of the time.
    ONovoMexicano and fredmugs like this.
  10. dbrauneis

    dbrauneis Site Editor (5,918) Dec 8, 2007 North Carolina
    Subscriber Beer Trader

    Generally speaking, wouldn't the number of reviews + amount of time the beer has been on BA (assuming the beer has received decent reviews) be some indication as to the availability... If it has been on BA since 2006 + gets a 4.23 + has only 5 reviews, it is probably not that easy to come by (just saying).
    ONovoMexicano likes this.
  11. jRocco2021

    jRocco2021 Disciple (351) Mar 13, 2010 Wisconsin
    Beer Trader

    BA does you one better and just tells you what the actual availability is of each beer year round/seasonal/limited brewed once/retired. Why is more needed? You can make your own judgments.

    I don't think we have to cram every possible aspect of a beer into a number rating. Its just a guideline I don't really even look up beers anymore I don't care what they are ranked I want what I want. If I was using it to decide beers or find out if they're any good I would just use the word rankings to judge (poor, good, average, excellent, world class....etc)
  12. Roguer

    Roguer Poo-Bah (2,586) Mar 25, 2013 Georgia
    Beer Trader

    It's not a bad concept to consider availability, but rating a beer a "1" because it's rare is ridiculous. Is that really equivalent to a beer TASTING like a 1? Or smelling like a 1? Others would argue that a beer gets rated higher because it's rare; that's not quite right, either (except for the phenomenon of your brain deciding that the beer tastes better before you even try it).

    Overall, I think it's perfectly acceptable to mention it in your review, or to complain about it. Never going to have a great beer, because they brewed it once in a batch of 200? Yeah, pretty ridiculous to pretend it's "World Class." But does that make it a bad beer?

  13. UCLABrewN84

    UCLABrewN84 Poo-Bah (12,114) Mar 18, 2010 California

    That is a silly idea.
    afksports likes this.
  14. BeerAssassin

    BeerAssassin Initiate (0) Aug 17, 2012 Antarctica

    Great point I didn't think of that. I agree that maybe having it as part of the score would be a bad idea. I still think it'd be nice to have a scale of how hard a certain beer is to get based on store allotments, but it wouldn't affect the beers score it'd still be nice to know.
  15. elchicodelgado

    elchicodelgado Initiate (0) Mar 3, 2008 Texas

    This is the biggest problem. I'm from Dallas and just got ST Pumpking, Creme Brûlée and Revolution Very Mad Cow in Chicago. To me they are crazy rare but I'm pretty sure they really aren't.
  16. WiscoBrewsco

    WiscoBrewsco Initiate (0) Dec 7, 2012 Wisconsin
    Beer Trader

    That would be a very silly idea. Beers are rated on here based on the quality of the beer. Not how readily available it is. Heady Topper being only available in Vermont or Hunahpu being only available one day at the brewery, doesn't make the beer taste any worse. This sounds more like an example of you having sour grapes and not liking that you will have to put in some considerable effort to get the beers that are highly sought after. Part of the fun of getting whales like that is in the hunt and it's really rewarding to finally get your hands on it. Sometimes they live up to the hype. Sometimes they don't. But how readily available they are to you should most certainly not affect its taste and quality rating
  17. BeerAssassin

    BeerAssassin Initiate (0) Aug 17, 2012 Antarctica

    I both agree and disagree with you. It should be about the taste but, I will always wonder what scores beers like Heady, KBS and Westy would get, if you could go pick them up off the shelf anywhere. To me Heady lives up to the hype (its the only IPA I'd ever get again), but KBS and Westy definitely don't. Not saying their bad beers, but there are more common ones I like better. I feel like rare beers seem to get more love than the common beers that are just as good if not better.
  18. dennis3951

    dennis3951 Crusader (730) Mar 6, 2008 New Jersey
    Beer Trader

    Pliny the Elder has 1,000 more reviews than SNPA. I think we know which one has more available.
  19. dbrauneis

    dbrauneis Site Editor (5,918) Dec 8, 2007 North Carolina
    Subscriber Beer Trader

    So I guess that you are saying there is no correlation between amount of time on BA, number of reviews, and a fairly high score and the availability of the beer???

    I have trouble believing that is true from my experience using BA over the last few years. I'm not saying that it is an exact science but both examples you chose are pretty available (and have been around for quite a few years). I guess there is an additional factor of how desirable a beer is to try (or the prestige associated with trying it) but that is not easily quantifiable.

    I'm sure we can find examples one way or the other to disprove it - a beer that is easily available with very few reviews and/or a beer that is super hard to get with lots of reviews - but as guidance I do not feel that it is bad advice.

    How about a better example:
    Pliny the Elder (reviewed since 2003, rAvg 4.64, 7270 reviews)
    Pliny the Younger (reviewed since 2005, rAvg 4.71, 1731 reviews)

    I can safely make the assumption that Pliny the Elder is much easier to acquire than Pliny the Younger = greater availability.
  20. dennis3951

    dennis3951 Crusader (730) Mar 6, 2008 New Jersey
    Beer Trader

    Please explain to me how Pliny the Elder is "available". It seems you can only get it in parts of CA and on tap at about 5 bars in Philadelphia.
  21. jtierney89

    jtierney89 Initiate (0) Aug 15, 2011 New Jersey

    I'm part of a local beer club that does blind tasting knock out rounds on different styles a beer once every two months. The guys who run the club are really into beer and track down everything and anything and when we did our double IPA blind taste testing, pliny was knocked out in the first round and Burton Baton won the competition overall with racer 5 coming in 2nd. I feel a lot of high beer reviews are hype. Also, the first 3 beers of the "beers of fame" list are all incredible hard to track down.
  22. otispdriftwood

    otispdriftwood Crusader (736) Dec 9, 2011 Colorado
    Beer Trader

    The only way to accomplish what the OP suggests is to have two ratings for each beer - one based on the beer and one based on availability. Good luck with that. Besides, if you know about the beer, you should know whether it's readily available.
  23. BrettHead

    BrettHead Devotee (474) Sep 18, 2010 Nebraska

    It's probably been said, but then Bud Light is a 5 beer and something like PtE is a 5 or 1 one depending entirely on where you live.. Nonsense; so yes you probably are the only one.

    And honestly it sounds like the entire "problem" is that you haven't been able to try these beers so you want their scores lowered.
  24. TommyLiam

    TommyLiam Initiate (0) Jun 10, 2013 Arizona


    I do wish that distributors were clearly linked/marked on the beer's page and limited release stuff had their release locations specified.
  25. EJLinneman

    EJLinneman Aspirant (213) Mar 2, 2009 New Jersey
    Beer Trader

    I think that availability makes a difference and certainly goes into the idea of quality or taste in ratings. Someone that's trading or putting in a great deal of effort to obtain a beer(s) from outside what's distributed in their area, will already have the perception that what they're getting in the trade is better than what they can get regularly. Most people won't want to admit that after shipping, they spend $30 on a six pack of average or slightly above average beer. The same thing goes for "rare" or hype beers.

    However, I don't think there's an easy way to quantify this on a rating scale considering the difference of what's available in the different distribution areas.
  26. Kyrojack

    Kyrojack Disciple (336) Oct 9, 2012 Indiana
    Beer Trader

    I think that availability should be some type of feature on this website although I'm not quite sure if it should be factored into score for the reasons previously mentioned.

    I know what is available and distributed to Indiana for the most part. But it would definitely be useful for traveling purposes.
  27. dbrauneis

    dbrauneis Site Editor (5,918) Dec 8, 2007 North Carolina
    Subscriber Beer Trader

    It is brewed pretty frequently and is available in a somewhat limited geographical distribution but more than just at the brewery... I know folks that have gotten Pliny the Elder in CA, Oregon, Colorado, and Philly as well as Washington (which they have since stopped distributing). Not like it is only available at the brewery.
  28. dbrauneis

    dbrauneis Site Editor (5,918) Dec 8, 2007 North Carolina
    Subscriber Beer Trader

    You need to contrast something like Pliny the Elder with something like Foothills Bourbon Barrel Aged Sexual Chocolate (~1500 bottles released per year) and you can see how one might look at PtE as more available - note that I did not say that you could pick up PtE at any store in any state/country... Availability is always somewhat subjective by where you live.
  29. yemenmocha

    yemenmocha Poo-Bah (2,459) Jun 18, 2002 Arizona

    No I don't. In every beverage category I'm familiar with it just so happens that many of the best examples are also hard to get either because of low production or price, or both. It goes with the territory sometimes.

    Plus availability really isn't a quality of the beer itself.
  30. Jeffo

    Jeffo Poo-Bah (2,619) Sep 7, 2008 Netherlands

    Besides the fact that "rarity" is often specific to location, we're scoring/rating the beer, and the beer doesn't determine how available it is.

  31. dennis3951

    dennis3951 Crusader (730) Mar 6, 2008 New Jersey
    Beer Trader

    Sorry but you missed my point. By any standard PtE is a hard to get beer. Yet has been reviewed 1,000 more times the best selling craft beer SNPA.
  32. dbrauneis

    dbrauneis Site Editor (5,918) Dec 8, 2007 North Carolina
    Subscriber Beer Trader

    Like I said, you can find cases where the availability does not quite match up but trying to point out that there is no correlation is not really true either - considering that Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and Sam Adams Boston Lager are probably two of the most easily available craft beers, the number of reviews don't really support that (of course, the number of review of BMC products is nowhere near their availability). Like I stated, there is a hype factor as well since people want to review more desirable beers rather than poor to average beers that are easily available.
  33. Andrew041180

    Andrew041180 Crusader (700) Mar 15, 2013 Massachusetts

    Originally I liked the idea, but only because I also like the "biggest bang for the buck" threads. I just read one about six packs. My point is that while I love tracking down the rare stuff (that is 9 times out of 10 very much worth tracking down), I also enjoy finding readily available 12 packs that I can pick up anywhere. Torpedo being my best example to date. So I like when such a beer pops up in the ratings and I am able to find it.

    After reading the full thread, however, I agree that availability should not be tied to score.
  34. LMT

    LMT Initiate (0) Oct 15, 2009 Virginia

    Maybe not tied to score, but I do wish there was a value that could be associated with each beer based on availability. Then, be able to sort the list of any given style (or brewery) based on availability.
    BeerAssassin likes this.
  35. 1fJef

    1fJef Initiate (0) May 4, 2013 Maryland

    Great idea
    if a beer tastes great in the woods but there is nobody there to taste it...
    Does it REALLY taste great?
  36. redmaw

    redmaw Aspirant (236) Jun 30, 2013 Pennsylvania

    What do you guys think about doing a map where the color of each state is determined by the number of reviews (<10 white, 10-50 pink, 50-250 red, etc.) That should at least help someone determine at a glance if it is distributed to their state, and is so how popular it is. Is it perfect? Probably not. Worth the effort? maybe.
  37. dennis3951

    dennis3951 Crusader (730) Mar 6, 2008 New Jersey
    Beer Trader

    Are you saying that SNPA and SABL are poor to average beers? Or that BA tend to review hard to get beer (and overrate them) more often?
  38. BeerAssassin

    BeerAssassin Initiate (0) Aug 17, 2012 Antarctica

    I have tried some of these beers KBS is the best example it's a great beer, but there's stuff like BCBS, Dragons Milk, BA Blackout, Black Note I'll admit this ones rare and others that I feel are better. I'm convinced people give extra points to KBS and other rare beers just for being rare.
  39. dbrauneis

    dbrauneis Site Editor (5,918) Dec 8, 2007 North Carolina
    Subscriber Beer Trader

    BAs tend to review harder to get beers and often rate them a little on the higher side...

    I do not think that SNPA and SA Boston Lager are amazing beers but probably more along the just above average category in my opinion. I did also state that other widely available beers like BMC are also under represented on this site considering their availability (Bud and Bud Light are pretty much available everywhere but only have ~3.5K reviews each) and those beers are the "poor" ones.
  40. LeRose

    LeRose Savant (960) Nov 24, 2011 Massachusetts

    I don't think availability has anything to do with rating the beer on its own merits. Yes - many great beers are difficult to impossible to find, but that doesn't add or detract from the beer itself. It is pretty easy to figure out how readily available a beer is with existing information. BMC - virtually all of them would be fives, right? And KBS would be a one. An availability "scale" might be useful, but not as part of the "scoring" system.

    Personally, I choose not to play the whale hunter game and I don't really have much interest in the trade wars either. Trading changes the game and certainly makes things available, granted. So availability is a tricky thing. For me here in MA, New Glarus is rare because t isn't distributed here. Fortunately, I travel to WI frequently for work so I drink the hell out of NG (and Ale Asylum) when I get there. I don't have the time to make the pilgrimage to Vermont, so all those great beers might as well not exist to me either. Doesn't mean they aren't great beers worthy of their high ratings - just means I can't get them without making extra effort or using methods I can't really be bothered with. Maybe I am just a lazy BA, but I don't want to make buying beer a chore. If I have to work to get a beer, I'd rather put the effort into making my own. YMMV...
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.