Benchmark Beers

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by Dtapeski, Dec 12, 2012.

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  1. Dtapeski

    Dtapeski Initiate (86) Oct 26, 2012 Colorado

    When trying a new beer, which beer is your benchmark for the style?

    Mine would be-

    Pale Ale- Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
    IPA- Odell's IPA
    Russian Imperial Stout- North Coast Old Rasputin
    Porter- Deschutes Black Butte
    Brown- Upslope Brown
  2. JulianB

    JulianB Initiate (0) Feb 1, 2012 South Carolina

    Agree on SNPA and Black Butte. I view SN Torpedo as my IPA benchmark in the sense of "if this beer isn't as good as a Torpedo, why would I buy it again when I can get Torpedo all the time and it's (usually) cheaper?". Bell's Kalamazoo is my benchmark American stout, again because it's good, priced well, and always available.
    szmnnl99 and Johnnyramirez like this.
  3. Extravadanza

    Extravadanza Initiate (0) Aug 3, 2011 Ohio

    Pale Ale- Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
    IPA- Bells Two Hearted
    Russian Imperial Stout- Thirsty Dog's Siberian Night
    Porter- Great Lakes Edmund Fitz
    founder26 likes this.
  4. Rekrule

    Rekrule Initiate (0) Nov 11, 2011 Massachusetts

    Pale Ale-SNPA
    IPA- Smuttynose Finest Kind
    DIPA- Heady Topper
    RIS- Ten Fidy
    patrickcmcd likes this.
  5. justintcoons

    justintcoons Poo-Bah (2,251) May 26, 2009 Pennsylvania

    I'll agree with the SNPA, Torpedo and Old Rasputin.

    Porter - Fuller's London Porter
    Amber - Fat Tire
    Dubbel - Prior 8
    Quad - Rochefort 10
    Old Ale - HotD Adam
  6. draheim

    draheim Poo-Bah (2,421) Sep 18, 2010 Washington

    Agree on SNPA.
    IPA: Stone IPA or Bell's Two Hearted
    DIPA: Pliny the Elder
    Porter: Founders
    Saison: Saison Dupont
    Tripel: Westmalle Tripel or La Fin Du Monde
    BSPA: Duvel
    Oktoberfest: Ayinger
    Hefeweizen: Weihenstephaner
    American Barleywine: Bigfoot
    Doppelbock: Celebrator
  7. Sarlacc83

    Sarlacc83 Initiate (0) Mar 2, 2008 Oregon

    Flanders Red - Rodenbach Grand Cru
    Gueuze - Drie Fonteinen Oude Gueuze
    Old Ale - HotD Adam
    Belgian Pale Ale - Orval
    Smoked Porter - Alaskan Smoked Porter
  8. colty42

    colty42 Initiate (86) Nov 14, 2011 District of Columbia

    Hmmm...some styles I don't think I could do this for, but some are not so difficult:

    Porter: Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald
    Hefeweizen: Sierra Nevada Kellerweis
    Imperial Stout: North Coast Old Rasputin
    Dopplebock: Ayinger Celebrator or Spaten Optimator...not sure
    Weizenbock: Aventinus
    Belgian Golden Ale: North Coast Pranqster
    Belgian Strong Dark Ale: Chimay Blue
    Belgian IPA: Piraat
    Dubbel: Ommegang Abbey Ale
    Tripel: Tripel Karmeliet
  9. alexipa

    alexipa Initiate (0) Oct 7, 2011 Colorado

    Wow, I completely agree with all of these.

    Wit- White Rascal
    BA stout- Parabola
    Amber- Alaskan
    Saison- Tank 7
  10. fishtremble

    fishtremble Initiate (0) Jan 18, 2010 Michigan

    RIS: Dark Horse Plead the 5th
    BSPA: Brooklyn Local 1
    Tripel: La Fin Du Mond
    Quad: Ommegang Three Philospher's
    Weizenbock: Weihenstephaner Vitus
    Porter: GL's Edmund Fitzgerald
    English Porter: Short's Publican Porter
    American Stout: Short's Cup of Joe
    American Double/ Imperial Stout: Wow not even going to pick one this style has just too many flavor ranges for me to compare against each other

    Fun topic OP I'm sure I could go on and on.
  11. CommanderOfAwesome

    CommanderOfAwesome Devotee (413) Aug 30, 2012 California

    I'm surprised with Old Raspy being the benchmark for RIS. It's pretty hoppy for that IMO and on the end of the RIS spectrum.
  12. Keithstone44

    Keithstone44 Initiate (0) Sep 21, 2011 Indiana

    +1 to this. The quality/price ratio of these two beers is very hard to match
  13. chumsnards666

    chumsnards666 Initiate (0) Dec 11, 2012

    I don't know how a benchmark discussion can go on without mentioning.........[​IMG]
    jRocco2021 likes this.
  14. Johnnyramirez

    Johnnyramirez Initiate (0) Nov 17, 2012 California

    My benchmarks are like JulianB said above, if its not as good why buy it again when something better is available. That said, I don't think anything world class should be a benchmark because it may not be readily-available outside your area, such as Pliny here or Heady in Vermont. So I'm looking at good, widely distributed beers.

    PA-Sierra Nevada
    IPA-Lagunitas, Stone, SN Torpedo
    Porter-Black Butte
    Stout-Obsidian, SN Stout
    RIS-Old Rasputin
    Hefeweizen-Kellerweis or Paulaner Hefeweizen

    There are better ones in my area that I reach for in the IPA and DIPA case but if I'm in a place with crappy distribution, these will satisfy me. Having a benchmark of Founder/Pliny/Heady etc will leave me pissed if I'm ever stuck somewhere that gets none of those
    BeerSocrates12 likes this.
  15. chumsnards666

    chumsnards666 Initiate (0) Dec 11, 2012

    I disagree with Black Butte, Edmund Fitzgerald is far superior.
  16. Brandywine

    Brandywine Initiate (0) Aug 20, 2012 Washington

    Pale Ale: Fremont's pale
    Quad: Rochefort 10 or La Trappe
    Old Ale: HotD Adam
    IPA: DFH 90 Minute
    Triple: Chimay White
    Flemish Sour: Duchess De Bourgogne
  17. Johnnyramirez

    Johnnyramirez Initiate (0) Nov 17, 2012 California

    Alas that isn't available to me normally, so I can't include it.
  18. Brandywine

    Brandywine Initiate (0) Aug 20, 2012 Washington

    Couldn't agree more. I've never understood the hype.
  19. kojevergas

    kojevergas Poo-Bah (8,058) Aug 15, 2010 Colorado

    Wee Heavy - Old Chub.
    IPA - Sculpin.
    Pale Ale - Alpine Ale.
    Old Ale - Old Stock Ale
    Imperial IPA - Pliny the Elder
    Irish Dry Stout - Guinness
    Irish Red - Smithwick's
    Cream Ale - Kilkenny
    Imperial Stout - Ole Raspy
  20. CommanderOfAwesome

    CommanderOfAwesome Devotee (413) Aug 30, 2012 California

    Oh I still like the beer, just a unique RIS, that's borderline RIS. Which is why as a benchmark I find it surprising.
  21. Thickfreakness

    Thickfreakness Initiate (0) Oct 2, 2010 New York

    Pale Ale- Dale's Pale
    IPA- Flower Power
    IIPA- FW Double Jack
    Saison- GI Sofie
    Tripel- La Fin Du Monde
    Dubbel- Ommegang Abbey
    Quad- St. Bernardus Abt 12
    RIS- Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout
    Barleywine- Smuttynose Big Beer Series
    Wee Heavy- Orkney Skull Splitter
  22. patrickcmcd

    patrickcmcd Initiate (102) Dec 25, 2010 Massachusetts

  23. jskennedy

    jskennedy Initiate (0) Oct 3, 2010 Virginia

    I agree with all of these except 90min. Just not a fan.

    Sour: Cuvee Rene.
  24. colty42

    colty42 Initiate (86) Nov 14, 2011 District of Columbia

    Forgot to mention Witbier: St. Bernardus Wit
  25. herrburgess

    herrburgess Meyvn (1,076) Nov 4, 2009 South Carolina

    Rauchbier: Schlenkerla
    Kellerbier: St Georgen Brau or Mahr's U
    Munich Helles: Augustiner
    Czech Pils: fresh Urquell
    Czech Dunkel: U Fleku
  26. shamrock1343

    shamrock1343 Initiate (0) Jan 4, 2010 New Jersey

    Wee Heavy Orkney Skull Splitter
    Pils Victory Prima Pils
    Porter Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald
    IPA Ithaca Flower Power
    IIPA Flying Fish Exit 16 or Sixpoint Resin
    Belgian Strong Mad Elf
    Barley wine Central Waters
    Saison Southampton Cuvee de Flurs
    Triple Victory Golden Monkey
    Quad St Bernardus Abt 12
    Russian Imp Stout CC Marshall Zhukov
  27. UCLABrewN84

    UCLABrewN84 Poo-Bah (12,651) Mar 18, 2010 California

    How has nobody mentioned Anchor Steam yet? The definition of benchmark for the style.
  28. blackcloud

    blackcloud Aspirant (286) Apr 28, 2012 Alaska

    Pale: SNPA
    Porter: Anchor
    IPA: Total Domination
    IIPA: Tricerahops
    Stout: Green Flash Double
  29. Dtapeski

    Dtapeski Initiate (86) Oct 26, 2012 Colorado

    Man, I miss Ninkasi beers. They do not ship here and I don't travel to where they have distro.
  30. TheSixthRing

    TheSixthRing Poo-Bah (3,159) Sep 24, 2008 California

    True. I think it hasn't been mentioned because it's not a style most breweries make.
  31. blackcloud

    blackcloud Aspirant (286) Apr 28, 2012 Alaska

    I'd be into setting up a trade if you want. We definitely don't get the full line up here in Alaska, but get the regulars....
  32. gatornation

    gatornation Poo-Bah (4,482) Apr 18, 2007 Minnesota

    IPA - 2hearted

    THANAT0PSIS Crusader (767) Aug 3, 2010 Wisconsin

    I guess I'll be the only one to dissent in the Pale Ale category... Also, I have only had American entries for the most part.

    APA: Zombie Dust
    IPA: Odell or 60 Minute
    IIPA: Myrcenary or 90 Minute
    Brown: Bender/Coffee Bender or Indian Brown/Palo Santo Marron
    Red: Tocobaga
    Irish Red: Brian Boru
    Porter: Founders
    Stout: Obsidian
    AIS: FBS
    RIS: Narwhal
    Old Ale: Old Curmudgeon
    Wet Hop: Surly Wet
    Barleywine: Bigfoot
    BBBW: Central Waters
    Pilsner: New Glarus Hometown Blonde
    Lager: FFF Jinx Proof
  34. TongoRad

    TongoRad Poo-Bah (2,521) Jun 3, 2004 New Jersey
    Premium Trader

    I'd be more inclined to use a benchmark beer to recommend to somebody else, in order to give them a rock solid sense of what the style is like (i.e.- no outliers), rather than as my own personal reference point. With that being said, here are what springs to mind:
    Munich Dunkel- Ayinger Altbairisch
    Munich Helles- Augustiner
    Hefeweizen- Weihenstephaner
    Rauchbier- Schlenkerla Maerzen
    Bock, Maiibock- Einbecker Urbock and Maibock
    Doppelbock- Optimator
    Weizenbock- Aventinus
    Schwartzbier- Monshchoff
    N. German Pils- Jever
    Czech Pils- Urquell
    Tripel- Westmalle
    Dubbel- St. Bernardus 8
    Flanders Red- Rodenbach
    BSPA- Duvel
    Oatmeal Stout- Samuel Smith's
    English Pale Ale- Fuller's London Pride
    English Porter- Taddy Porter
    American Pale Ale- Sierra Nevada
    American Porter- Troegs Dead Reckoning
    American Stout- Obsidian
    American Barleywine- Bigfoot
    American IPA- Stone or Two Hearted

    ...I guess that's enough for now. Not too shabby a list of beers, either- I still keep all of them in the semi-regular rotation if I can, and a bunch of them are still monthly quaffs.
  35. Frankinstiener

    Frankinstiener Initiate (187) Jul 28, 2009 Illinois

    Beer: Boston Lager
    Pale Ale: Drifter
    IPA: Two Hearted
    Hefeweizen- Weihenstephaner
    Stout: Guiness Extra

    these are really my only benchmarks. I have a hard time saying any double IPA's or RIS are benchmarks. These styles are extreme by nature so benchmarking is difficult. Another way I like to do it is to compare everything to my local brewery (Two Brothers). They make pretty good representations of each style when in doubt I'll go with them.
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