Best and Worst Beer Styles

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by MNAle, Aug 8, 2019.

  1. MNAle

    MNAle Poo-Bah (1,511) Sep 6, 2011 Minnesota

    I was looking at the new top beer rankings here on BA and noticed than many of the top beers in a style were really low-ranking in the overall ranking. So, I poked around a bit, and decided to produce my own ranking of the top styles.

    Note: this does not involve any sophisticated statistics. I am merely ranking the styles in order of the overall ranking of the #1 beer of the style. For example, American Imperial Stout's top beer in the style is also the top beer overall, so that style is #1.

    Here are the top 25, in order:
    1. American Imperial Stout
    2. Russian Imperial Stout
    3. New England IPA
    4. American Imperial IPA
    5. Belgian Fruit Lambic
    6. Belgian Quadrupel (Quad)
    7. Belgian Lambic
    8. American Imperial Porter
    9. Belgian Gueuze
    10. American Pale Ale (APA)
    11. American Wild Ale
    12. Belgian Saison
    13. British Barleywine
    14. English Old Ale
    15. American Barleywine
    16. American Strong Ale
    17. American Stout
    18. Berliner Weisse
    19. English Oatmeal Stout
    20. English Sweet / Milk Stout
    21. American Porter
    22. Belgian Dubbel
    23. Flanders Red Ale
    24. American IPA
    25. Bière de Champagne / Bière Brut
    Interesting on how far down American IPA is and how many sours are in the top 25. I wonder if the relative ranking of IIPA and APA to American IPA is due in part to the stripping of all of the NEIPAs out of AIPA, while not creating a NEIIPA or NEAPA style. Just a thought without any real investigation.

    And, for grins, here are the bottom 25:

    87 Chile Beer
    88 European Strong Lager
    89 Munich Dunkel Lager
    90 Braggot
    91 American Dark Wheat Ale
    92 Belgian Dark Ale
    93 California Common / Steam Beer
    94 German Maibock
    95 English Dark Mild Ale
    96 English Bitter
    97 German Bock
    98 Irish Red Ale
    99 Russian Kvass
    100 American Brut IPA
    101 American Amber / Red Lager
    102 English Pale Mild Ale
    103 Belgian Faro
    104 German Roggenbier
    105 American Light Lager
    106 European Pale Lager
    107 Low Alcohol Beer
    108 American Malt Liquor
    109 Japanese Rice Lager
    110 American Adjunct Lager
    111 Japanese Happoshu

    BTW, the #1 Japanese Happoshu is #43,898 overall, and the #1 AAL is #39,221 overall. Also, there is a huge difference between the "top" and the "bottom" of the worst list... the worst of the worst really dives down the overall ranking ...

    (Yeah, I do go off chasing rabbits sometimes...)

    Now, this ranking is subject to all kinds of anomalies (such as a very highly ranked #1 of style that is atypical of the style as a whole, and the overwhelming of a style with 5692 variations from a highly hyped brewery, etc.).
    #1 MNAle, Aug 8, 2019
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2019
  2. dennis3951

    dennis3951 Savant (903) Mar 6, 2008 New Jersey

    I still would like to know why we need American and Russian Imperial Stouts and not just Imperial Stouts.
    rightcoast7, Amendm, cavedave and 6 others like this.
  3. Roadkizzle

    Roadkizzle Aspirant (207) Nov 6, 2007 Texas

    And of course a number of my favorite beer styles are in the bottom 25.
  4. jonb5

    jonb5 Meyvn (1,052) May 11, 2010 United Kingdom (England)

    According to the BA style guide, a Belgian Faro is a blended Lambic, so why is Belgian Lambic ranked at 7 when Faro is 103rd out of 111?

    I’ve never had either, but surely they can’t be so far apart.
    bubseymour and PapaGoose03 like this.
  5. MNAle

    MNAle Poo-Bah (1,511) Sep 6, 2011 Minnesota

    The #1 Belgian Lambic is #26 overall, and the #1 Belgian Faro is #13,838 overall. I just went with the data...
  6. stevepat

    stevepat Defender (690) Mar 12, 2013 California

    I was under the impression that a Faro is a young lambic, and not typically fruited
    Shanex likes this.
  7. Shanex

    Shanex Meyvn (1,337) Dec 10, 2015 France
    Moderator Society Trader

    This list doesn’t bother me, it’s from BA so it must be somewhat true and reliable.

    With that said there are some surprises; English bitter #96 and Euro Strong Lager #88? I’ve had enough from either style to convince me I like the former infinitely better.
  8. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (3,936) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    Nice idea for an analysis and I'm finding some useful information, but I'm a bit uncomfortable in that most popular to least popular is not identical to best to worst.

    (This a vent and is not directed at you personally.)

    What we need if we want talk about best is metric for "best." We don't have that. Such a metric can include multiple different measures that should include popularity but somehow using only "popularity," as we must do on this site, distorts the notion of "which is the best?"

    It is quite possible for two beers to be equal as "best" because while they may have different qulities and the numerical numerical difference between them isn't really meaningful. Indeed, even the rankings on here can be misleading. Is it really meaningful to look at the numerical score for the top 2-3 beers on the list and find that the difference between their scores doesn't justify calling one better than another.

    Top 250 rated beers have Number 1, 2, 3 The ratings scores for those beers are: 4.9, 4.81, 4.79. In what meaningful sense can, say number 2, be superior to number 3 with a difference of 0.02 between their scores? (Also consider the conditions under which ratings are done. How many of us don't know the Style and Brewer of the beer we are reviewing? How many of us have favorite and disliked breweries? Guess what happens to those scores.

    The information we have is great for thinking about which beers people like and that we might enjoy, but presence is not equal to best.

    (End of rant.)
    evoljetta and MNAle like this.
  9. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (3,936) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    All of those Faros I've tried here and in Belgium (not many) were blended lambic with sweetness added after brewing and before bottling. The first one I rated for this site was known for using an artifical sweetener (probably only in those shipped to the US). I'm a taster. Hate Artifical Sweetners. But I think I gave close to a fair review in spite of that since not all of us are tasters.
    stevepat likes this.
  10. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,093) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    “I am merely ranking the styles in order of the overall ranking of the #1 beer of the style. For example, American Imperial Stout's top beer in the style is also the top beer overall, so that style is #1.”

    I wonder how the beer styles would list out if instead an average score of the top 50 (or whatever) of the beers per beer style was utilized?

    My observation of the list as presented in the OP is that BAs tend to highly rate extreme beers. Beers that are high in alcohol, high in hops, high in sourness, etc. No wonder that BA sponsors an event of Extreme Beer Fest.

  11. rgordon

    rgordon Savant (956) Apr 26, 2012 North Carolina

    Damn this is interesting. Did you have the day off?
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  12. TongoRad

    TongoRad Poo-Bah (2,627) Jun 3, 2004 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    Welcome to the club; there's only so much clumsy, obvious and pretentious I can handle these days :wink:.
  13. PapaGoose03

    PapaGoose03 Poo-Bah (2,458) May 30, 2005 Michigan

    I am dismayed that my favorite style, Maibock, is in the bottom 25, and one of my least favorites, American Barleywine, is in the top 25 list. What's going on!? At least my actual least favorite, American Adjunct Lager, is in the right position. :slight_smile:
  14. PapaGoose03

    PapaGoose03 Poo-Bah (2,458) May 30, 2005 Michigan

    The moral of that story is don't mix your beers. :grin:
    jonb5 likes this.
  15. MNAle

    MNAle Poo-Bah (1,511) Sep 6, 2011 Minnesota

    Don't tell my boss... :wink:
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  16. nw2571

    nw2571 Initiate (44) Feb 26, 2017 Indiana

    So is there a way to export the data for all beers to a spreadsheet? I'd be interested in doing some further analysis.
  17. rgordon

    rgordon Savant (956) Apr 26, 2012 North Carolina

    If you work for yourself, you're in big trouble.
    MNAle likes this.
  18. MNAle

    MNAle Poo-Bah (1,511) Sep 6, 2011 Minnesota

    Yes, I agree. But that is too much work for an "outsider" to do. It would require access to all of the raw data. For one thing, to do it "properly" you wouldn't merely use the overall rank, but would use a more sophisticated calculation. (Doing this simple-minded ranking took me long enough, and was tedious - and once I got started, I was just too stubborn to quit part way through... :stuck_out_tongue:)
  19. MNAle

    MNAle Poo-Bah (1,511) Sep 6, 2011 Minnesota

    My data is in a spreadsheet, but all it contains is the style name and the overall rank of the #1 beer. It doesn't even have the name of the #1 beer. So, not very useful for further analysis.
  20. MNAle

    MNAle Poo-Bah (1,511) Sep 6, 2011 Minnesota

    Connecting the two lists in my OP...

    Here are #s 26-86

    26 German Hefeweizen
    27 German Eisbock
    28 American Black Ale
    29 Fruit and Field Beer
    30 Leipzig Gose
    31 French Bière de Garde
    32 Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy
    33 Baltic Porter
    34 German Doppelbock
    35 Belgian Tripel
    36 American Brett
    37 Belgian Strong Dark Ale
    38 American Cream Ale
    39 Flanders Oud Bruin
    40 German Weizenbock
    41 Belgian IPA
    42 American Imperial Red Ale
    43 American Pale Wheat Ale
    44 American Imperial Pilsner
    45 Herb and Spice Beer
    46 Scottish Gruit / Ancient Herbed Ale
    47 Pumpkin Beer
    48 Belgian Strong Pale Ale
    49 American Brown Ale
    50 Rye Beer
    51 Smoke Porter
    52 Robust Porter
    53 English Stout
    54 German Dunkelweizen
    55 Foreign / Export Stout
    56 American Blonde Ale
    57 Belgian Blonde Ale
    58 American Lager
    59 Belgian Pale Ale
    60 German Rauchbier
    61 Bohemian Pilsener
    62 American Wheatwine Ale
    63 English Porter
    64 German Kölsch
    65 German Märzen / Oktoberfest
    66 German Pilsner
    67 American Amber / Red Ale
    68 Finnish Sahti
    69 Irish Dry Stout
    70 English Strong Ale
    71 Belgian Witbier
    72 German Helles
    73 English India Pale Ale (IPA)
    74 English Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB)
    75 German Schwarzbier
    76 German Altbier
    77 English Brown Ale
    78 German Kristalweizen
    79 Smoke Beer
    80 European Dark Lager
    81 Winter Warmer
    82 English Pale Ale
    83 Vienna Lager
    84 German Kellerbier / Zwickelbier
    85 European Export / Dortmunder
    86 Scottish Ale
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  21. thesherrybomber

    thesherrybomber Aspirant (276) Jun 13, 2017 California
    Society Trader

    Surprised to see American IPA so low in the rankings

    Beer drinkers are a fickle bunch
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  22. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (3,936) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    Oh yes they can. Some are or were artificially sweetened, but in addition the ones I've sample were almost nauseatingly sweet compared to beers with hop flavors showing.

    The are not popular and hard to find as well.
    rgordon likes this.
  23. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (3,936) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    Look instead at the rankings only in the style. ( Bet the surprise will go away...)
    LuskusDelph likes this.
  24. chipawayboy

    chipawayboy Devotee (429) Oct 26, 2007 Massachusetts

    Put #3 up a couple of slots and I think BA nailed it. Cheers.
  25. stevepat

    stevepat Defender (690) Mar 12, 2013 California

    hm interesting, my only experience with the style is at a super funky nano brewery locally and he describes it as the base sour beer he would use for a lambic style ale, and it is very acidic. I think he ferments it with a mixed culture and then the lambic style are set in barrels for a while (with or without fruit) and that mellows them out on the raw acidity and increases the funkier flavors. Anyhow, learn something new everyday dinking around on a site like this. I don't think I'd like a true Faro based on your description but I may just have to try and track one down
  26. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (1,864) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina

    Lol, it’s why lists are sketchy. AAL 2nd to the bottom? They’re light lagers not shitty beer for the most part, some better than others, but they’re user friendly. I would whole heartedly love to be the sole owner of “shitty “ Bud Light, I’d be on line from my home on the French Rivera. For the record I don’t like Bud Light, but young uns with money do
  27. MNAle

    MNAle Poo-Bah (1,511) Sep 6, 2011 Minnesota

    Instigator; rabble-rouser; troublemaker; provocateur... :wink:
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  28. bbtkd

    bbtkd Poo-Bah (2,552) Sep 20, 2015 South Dakota
    Society Trader

    While I agree, I've made this argument before but the history majors among us are quick to point out that RIS is historically important, AKA a sacred cow. I don't think we even need imperial vs non-imperial, particularly since the cutoff is a range, not a specific number. Just put the ABV on the label and let us decide if it's strong.
    cavedave likes this.
  29. scootercrabb

    scootercrabb Disciple (398) May 2, 2007 Illinois

    Irish dry stout? did not make the list
  30. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (3,936) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    There may be more variability in flavors than were suggested in my comments, but all Faro are sweetened before fermentation. I didn't mean to suggest it was only sweetness that came threw. I guess that for me I just don't enjoy beers that come through as offering sweetness up front in the flavor profile. The one I tried here in the States was the Lindemann's and I hear they no longer use Artificial Sweetners. Probably should find another to re-review.

    Edit: I should also have noted that I've only had Belgian brewed versions. Nothing brewed in the US (in part because they may vary a bit from the Belgain model, just as many other beers in the US are varients but differ from the Belgian in some procedure or ingredient or brewing process.
    #30 drtth, Aug 9, 2019
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2019
  31. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Meyvn (1,330) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado

    That was surprising to me as well. With BAs love for bigger beers, I would have expected a better showing. Maybe the styles proximity to fizzy yellow beer scares BAs away.
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  32. cavedave

    cavedave Poo-Bah (2,596) Mar 12, 2009 New York

    Thank you for this sir, completely agree!
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  33. rgordon

    rgordon Savant (956) Apr 26, 2012 North Carolina

    Historically Faros can fit in a Shandy-like category. There are dry plain faros that are indeed odd to me. I reference John Renbourn's version of Faro Annie. I think I have seen a Lindeman Faro somewhere in the past.
    drtth likes this.
  34. rgordon

    rgordon Savant (956) Apr 26, 2012 North Carolina

    That Romanov connection is hard to let go.....
    cavedave likes this.
  35. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (3,936) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    Exactly. Some times history brings to us a "dead hand" that refuses to let go and that can block things such as rational reorganization of a taxonomy that "just growed."

    The Linnaeus of beer has not shown him/itself yet.
  36. jonb5

    jonb5 Meyvn (1,052) May 11, 2010 United Kingdom (England)

    I’m no brewer, but I’ve heard Maibocks aren’t that easy to brew, you can’t just throw in a load of hops to disguise the flaws. Sometimes they taste a bit too sweet and boozy, but I agree they’re underrated.
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  37. rgordon

    rgordon Savant (956) Apr 26, 2012 North Carolina

    You could not give a better example of North Carolina (and largely southern) dialect than "just growed". Perhaps in a 100 years some more modern @jesskidden will dig up the historical relevance of RIS.
  38. Spaten454

    Spaten454 Disciple (363) Aug 23, 2012 Texas

    I drank German lagers long before I got into craft beer so it's disappointing to see them ranked so low.
  39. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (3,936) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania


    Interesting you mention that. Triggers a memory of something that popped up out of old memories and into my mind a day or so ago. As you know I was "living" in NC for a few years way back in the day. Did some short trips to other states. First time I realized there were two slightly different dialect uses in southern states of "ya'll." Before that I'd always assumed that was just standard for the south. :wink:
    rgordon likes this.
  40. Amendm

    Amendm Zealot (509) Jun 7, 2018 Rhode Island

    What I find most interesting about this list how the lowest and highest values are comprised(mostly) of the top consumed styles.
    At the top:
    1. American Imperial Stout
    2. Russian Imperial Stout
    3. New England IPA
    4. American Imperial IPA
    At the bottom:

    105. American Light Lager
    106. European Pale Lager
    107. Low Alcohol Beer
    108. American Malt Liquor
    109. Japanese Rice Lager
    110. American Adjunct Lager
    111. Japanese Happoshu

    #'s 106,109 and 111 are anomalies in this case.
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