Highly Rated Beers: Truth or Fiction?

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by Roser, Jun 2, 2014.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Shroud0fdoom

    Shroud0fdoom Initiate (0) Oct 31, 2013 Maryland

    I haven't had Dinner yet as well. Another One, though, I've been drinking a lot of lately. It's by far my favorite AIPA. MO is a stellar brew in its own right. I prefer those over Lunch, actually I even prefer King Titus over Lunch. Back to basics, I was only mentioning MO because the OP found it not that enjoyable, which I dig his Opinion.
  2. snarygare

    snarygare Initiate (0) Nov 14, 2012 Kansas

    Fair enough.. Glad you like the KC BBQ, theres many great BBQ places around town these days and Gates is definitely one of the best !
  3. BeerDunson

    BeerDunson Crusader (480) Jul 20, 2012 Ohio

    Yeah I think some of our BA stouts are damn good(BA Siberian Night, Hopping Frog BA stouts, Clown Shoes BA Stouts, BBB(still on shelfs)) and many more. We also have a ton of sours sitting on shelves like Boon, Oud Beersel, Drie Fonteinen, GI Girls, Fantome, De Cam, Hanssens, and Rivertowne sours. Again, JMO
    miketd likes this.
  4. Jirin

    Jirin Initiate (0) Apr 28, 2013 Massachusetts

    There's a large enough sample group that any effects of individual raters skewing higher or lower would be mostly averaged out.
  5. bubseymour

    bubseymour Grand Pooh-Bah (4,374) Oct 30, 2010 Maryland
    Pooh-Bah Trader

    Yes what you mentioned is also a factor for liking lots of beers (tend to buy better quality beers to begin with thanks to BA ratings consulted with first before purchase).

    I try to review as often as I can, but just looking at ticking...3.75 to 5 gives you 5 different levels of "like/loving" a beer and that is enough differentiation for myself to go by.
    kingston2 likes this.
  6. LambicPentameter

    LambicPentameter Initiate (0) Aug 29, 2012 Nebraska

    @Roser - this quote does a better job of summing up my original issue with the topic at hand than I did. I'm not suggesting that no one is prone to rate based on what they've read or seen prior to their rating, only that it seems a bit presumptuous to use your own personal scores in comparison to the group average as "evidence" that people as a group are rating beers too high on this site.

    And honestly, I'm not even saying that the crowd is "right" and that your personal take on a given beer is "wrong". Just that they are different and that there are any number of factors as to why outside of people just following the crowd.

    PS - have you had the pleasure of sampling Oklahoma Joe's BBQ in KC? I think they are probably my favorite in the city. Something about eating BBQ out of a gas station makes it taste better.
  7. kevanb

    kevanb Pooh-Bah (2,427) Apr 4, 2011 Illinois
    Pooh-Bah Trader

    I'd actually argue the opposite. To suggest that anything between a 3.5-4 is not worth buying again is extremely lenient, and I'm not surprised to see his rDev almost always in the green. I'm definitely in the camp that on average, people score things way too highly, and personally I blame the quick ratings (hads/ratings/whatever it's being called now), but I've had this argument with the Bro's too many times to rehash it. I just think that people have a stigma against giving a craft beer a score lower than a 4, even when they enjoyed it. I try to go by the book.

    1 is awful
    2 is bad
    3 is average
    4 is great
    5 is un-achievable perfection

    most beers for me fall into the 3-4 category, as I think they are above average and quite good, but this almost always puts my rDev in the red.
    pjvie, champ103, Roser and 1 other person like this.
  8. Immortale25

    Immortale25 Grand Pooh-Bah (3,477) May 13, 2011 North Carolina
    Pooh-Bah Trader

    That's the thing, I'm not. I'm the opposite. About 70% of the beers I've rated have been a '4' or over and I've rated/reviewed over a thousand. It takes a lot for me to be willing to throw down cash for a beer a second time...or not a lot depending on how you look at it. Ha
    #88 Immortale25, Jun 2, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2014
    SeanBond likes this.
  9. SeanBond

    SeanBond Pooh-Bah (2,578) Jul 30, 2013 Illinois
    Pooh-Bah Trader

    I'd love to make it to KC just for Gates. I love their bbq sauce so much that I've ordered it on eBay before, just to have it here in Chicago (luckily now they have a website I can buy it from).
  10. mnredsoxfan69

    mnredsoxfan69 Initiate (0) Dec 27, 2013 Minnesota

    My ratings are correct. Everyone else's are wrong. :stuck_out_tongue:

    Seriously, I find some of mine are higher, some lower, some are pretty close to the overall rating. Not to jump on the "taste is subjective bandwagon, but...
  11. Immortale25

    Immortale25 Grand Pooh-Bah (3,477) May 13, 2011 North Carolina
    Pooh-Bah Trader

    Couldn't have said it better myself
  12. Roser

    Roser Zealot (540) Aug 4, 2012 Virginia

    Thanks for weighing in (again). Yes, you are correct. The quote you've referenced here does do a better job summing up your earlier comment. I opted not to reply to that because it came across as argumentative, and I had no interest in engaging in a pissing match.

    I've greatly enjoyed reading everyone's comments and sharing of opinions, as they've been overwhelmingly positive and informative, regardless of whether or not an individual agreed with my observation. I've been careful to point out I realize there's no "right" or "wrong" when dealing with something so subjective as taste. I don't think I'm being presumptuous, and definitely wouldn't say anything I noted was (mildly) "insulting." I just wondered what the passionate, beer loving folks in here (like yourself) thought about how the ratings get applied, especially when it comes to some of the more popular selections. While it's been nice to see so many that agree with me, I didn't start this thinking that would necessarily be the case, and I was prepared for an onslaught of differing views. That said, the thread is enjoying a good run, and I look forward to continued responses/comments.

    And, no, haven't had OK Joe's BBQ, but it's now on my list. Thanks for the tip!!!
  13. TongoRad

    TongoRad Grand Pooh-Bah (3,826) Jun 3, 2004 New Jersey
    Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    You may always be in the green, and @kevanb may always be in the red, but that in and of itself is probably not saying very much. If either of your scores are always within one standard deviation for a particular beer, green or red, then you are usually with the pack either way. If, however, you are usually two standard deviations or more higher, then you could look at yourself as a 'high-rater'.
    SierraJosh likes this.
  14. turbotype

    turbotype Initiate (0) Nov 5, 2013 California

    I don't consider anything else except my honest opinion of the beer in question. I don't care if someone else gave it a 5 or a 1. The ratings are entirely subjective. Some beers come out ahead of the pack, and some don't. In answer to the OPs question, I think there is definitely some truth and some fiction in many peoples reviews. I would like to think that it balances out, but it might not. Drink what you like and call it like you see it. Its the only thing you can do.
    kevanb likes this.
  15. Roser

    Roser Zealot (540) Aug 4, 2012 Virginia

    I like that rating system, and think I tend to follow similarly when rating beers myself. I think along lines re: Superior (5), Excellent/Great (4), Good/Ok (3), Bad (2), Dump it (1).

    I've yet to give a 5, and have only dumped a beer once.
    pjvie and kevanb like this.
  16. EvoRich

    EvoRich Initiate (0) Apr 2, 2014 Pennsylvania

    I tend to rate beers I like very well. Usually, if I like a beer, I REALLY like it. I've had a good bit of different (usually IPA's) beers that I know rate very highly and I just don't see why. Victory Dirt wolf for instance, I think it's terrible. Stone IPA, I couldn't even get through a whole glass to review it. And then I'm the kind of guy who wonders why Leinenkugel Summer Shandy only get's "meh" reviews. I think it's lovely.

    I can see how hype can affect a review, but it's not always the case. BCBS, I first had, before I ever even heard of it, and became obsessed. I then realized I wasn't alone. I purposely haven't reviewed it yet, to try and let some hype wear off.

    I've only rated a few beers at or below the rDev.
  17. jwswigs

    jwswigs Initiate (0) Jan 23, 2014 California

    I think the average score being above 3 is because if you're drinkin a beer its most likely "okay" at least.
  18. frazbri

    frazbri Initiate (0) Oct 29, 2003 Ohio

    Theoretically, you're doing as it is supposed to be done. Problem is with the proliferation of styles, you almost need to be a certified beer judge to correctly rate how good a beer is. Unless the Bros. want to require beer reviewers to pass a test, it's not realistic to ask the average rater to know all the little stylistic details. (and this is with a knowledgeable membership)
  19. rgordon

    rgordon Pooh-Bah (2,605) Apr 26, 2012 North Carolina

    This is the most interesting thing I've read today. Somebody please make this clear.
  20. rgordon

    rgordon Pooh-Bah (2,605) Apr 26, 2012 North Carolina

    Thank you. Love those great local 'cue places. We are blessed here with a variety, west to east.
    Most of our great places serve only sweet tea and no beer. I smell a big opportunity.
  21. dougfur

    dougfur Initiate (0) Jan 24, 2011 New York

    I generally agree with ratings on here. There have been exceptions, but largely I agree with the crowd. But, count yourself lucky if you find other beers you think are better! The high rated beers are generally difficult to obtain.
  22. Treyliff

    Treyliff Grand Pooh-Bah (4,654) Aug 10, 2010 West Virginia
    Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    This is true if you are new to reviewing, but after trying a dozen or so of a style, one should have a pretty good idea of what to expect. Now if I'm grading a style I'm not familiar with, I simply read the Bros explanation of said style beforehand. That way I know what to look for.

    However, this problem goes beyond the style of the beer. I've seen so any reviews where people grade poorly because they don't like an ingredient that was used., even though it was the brewers intention to showcase that ingredient. For example, grading a coffee stout low because you don't like coffee.
    frazbri likes this.
  23. ChuckHardslab

    ChuckHardslab Initiate (0) Jan 25, 2012 Texas

    I think another reason for many positive and few negative reviews is many of us were raised being taught if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all. The good beers get rated, the bad ones are ignored and forgotten.
  24. Mikexw

    Mikexw Pooh-Bah (2,018) Mar 3, 2014 New York
    Pooh-Bah Trader

    Everybody's obviously got their own reference point for what's good and what isn't; I have never really tried to describe what the numbers mean, but basically if something is a 3.25 or lower I probably won't buy it again; if it's in the 3.5-3.75 range I think it's good and would have no problem ordering it at a bar, if it's a 4 or above I really like it. But I could probably drink the same beer twice and have a swing of .25 or even .5 (probably not more). And as folks have pointed out, the beer style matters (I love IPA's, if I give an IPA a 3.5 that's a relatively low score -- if I give an English IPA a 3.5 that's incredibly high because I typically don't like them). I actually track by beer style what my average ranking is and how it compares with the overall average to try and understand what styles I prefer.

    And a great to think about this is if you ever get a flight. If I go somewhere with a diverse selection of beers that I haven't tried before, I usually order a flight, decide how to rank things (drinking a few beers close together helps with that), and then the next time I go to that establishment I'm the weirdo with the index card listing their menu with color coded marks next to it showing what I am considering ordering.
  25. Roser

    Roser Zealot (540) Aug 4, 2012 Virginia

    So here's a thought, suggestion. Many of the beers are rated on here by using only the 1 to 5 scale without bothering to comment re: appearance, smell, taste, mouthfeel, and overall. That's fine, but I don't rate them 1 to 5 until I've gone through each component, documenting the experience. Takes more time, yes, but maybe some ratings would be different (lower? higher?) if the reviewer did the same. Might approach it differently. I know it affects how I do it.
  26. drtth

    drtth Initiate (0) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    After introducing the ability to do ratings without a review being required, the Bros. kept review rating scores and ratings only scores separate. After a lot of data had built up they compared the two differen sets of overall five point scale numbers and found that they were the same for all intents and purposes so they merged the overall rating scores from both sources.
    #106 drtth, Jun 3, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2014
  27. babaracas

    babaracas Initiate (0) Jan 30, 2008 Florida

    The rating scale changed a while back: 3 used to be tagged "mediocre" which has a negative connotation, hence most decent beers are rated higher than 3. Also, if you want to draw a conclusion from numbers, you should use more than just the rAvg -- also look at recent scores and the pDev (accounts for batch inconsistency, distribution expansions, polarizing aromas and flavors).
    DIM and TongoRad like this.
  28. TrojanRB

    TrojanRB Grand Pooh-Bah (3,003) Jul 27, 2013 Texas
    Pooh-Bah Trader

    I try to consider the style when I rate (Ex: I may not love lagers, but is this beer an excellent lager?), and generally use the following system:

    <3.0 - Will not buy, might drink if free
    3.0 Might buy for river if offered in cans
    3.5 Probably won't buy, but solid
    3.75 Pretty good, won't go out of way to drink, may buy on sale
    4.0 Very good, will drink in rotation
    4.25 Excellent, will drink frequently
    4.5 World class, a must drink at every opportunity!
    >4.5 Haven't met one yet!
    Mikexw likes this.
  29. BEERschlitz

    BEERschlitz Initiate (0) Oct 13, 2013 Michigan

    I personally feel everyone should have a single five rating. Whatever beer you've had that you can say, "That's the best beer I've ever had." If you've never had that feeling while drinking a beer, then I just feel sorry for your impossibly high standards that will NEVER be met. Just one man's opinion.
  30. mudbug

    mudbug Initiate (0) Mar 27, 2009 Oregon

    A couple of problems with your somewhat myopic observations.
    You make the very first mistake in thinking that other people rate beers with the same criteria you do. They don't
    You assume that your low rDev says something about the rest of the reviewers, it doesn't
    You seem to think your paltry amount of reviews make up some kind of database that has meaning, it doesn't
    Thank you for your post, now go back and review a few hundred beers, and I don't mean just rate them, review them. Then come back here and tell us what you have learned.
    utopiajane likes this.
  31. mudbug

    mudbug Initiate (0) Mar 27, 2009 Oregon

    Yep that's me, for one very good reason. I only bother to review beer I like. Why? It's because I am building a database of good (for me) beers. There is nothing wrong or incorrect about that. Imagine if every beer drinker in America had to rate/review their beers. I'd give you one guess what would be the top beer on the Best Beers list here, That's right, Bud Light.
    I see high raters as people that already know whats good. Are their opinions somewhat lessened by their refusal to review beers they don't enjoy? No.
    That's the only explanation of the fact that Budweiser has about half the ratings of Pliny the Elder.
    cavedave likes this.
  32. mudbug

    mudbug Initiate (0) Mar 27, 2009 Oregon

    What I am getting at is that the numerical rating here has almost no real meaning. A review will tell you way more about a beer than a number.
    TongoRad likes this.
  33. upsbeernut

    upsbeernut Initiate (0) Sep 22, 2011 Georgia

    The reviews and ratings offer some basic info that only guide you thru your selections. Everyone's taste buds are different for example I thought Avery's IPA was not hoppy at all but had a dank sour fruit taste with little carbonation. The rating was off in my opinion and so was the claim on the can for hop freaks.
  34. Leebo

    Leebo Initiate (0) Feb 7, 2013 Massachusetts

    You live in CA and have not had a 5? Interesting.
  35. 57md

    57md Pooh-Bah (2,587) Aug 22, 2011 Pennsylvania

    Numbers are just numbers, so there is no right or wrong way to rate beers on this site.

    Personally, I look at it this way: If it were possible for me to drink and rate every beer on this site, half of my ratings should be at or above 3 and half at or below that same number. Assuming that I choose to drink better beer almost all of the time, I don't find it strange that most of my reviews are above 3. My median rating generally hovers around 3.83-3.84.

    The other thing I look at regularly is my median rDev. I feel pretty comfortable if it stays in the range of +/- 1% as that indicates my overall array of ratings are consistent with the others on this site.
  36. TrojanRB

    TrojanRB Grand Pooh-Bah (3,003) Jul 27, 2013 Texas
    Pooh-Bah Trader

    I've had many excellent beers in California, and I think overall breweries are constantly improving and innovating, and our tastes are changing as well.

    The prophecies speak of a chosen one...the holy 5....it may not have even been brewed yet. But I'm going to keep drinking new stuff in my quest to find it.
    57md likes this.
  37. 57md

    57md Pooh-Bah (2,587) Aug 22, 2011 Pennsylvania

    I don't have a 5 either and I am almost at 700 ratings. I will keep searching for the mythical 5 as well.
  38. HRamz3

    HRamz3 Initiate (0) Feb 9, 2010 Pitcairn

    Is this about a "white whale"? I think I've heard about this before.
  39. Leebo

    Leebo Initiate (0) Feb 7, 2013 Massachusetts

    I'll bet you have had at least a dozen so far. Is you glass always half empty? My glass is always half full. Sometimes beer is about place, surroundings and friends too. Live in the present as apposed to obtaining some quest for the unobtainable.
  40. cavedave

    cavedave Grand Pooh-Bah (4,083) Mar 12, 2009 New York
    Pooh-Bah Trader

    Exactly the point I was thinking that made me dredge this thread up. But what about beers that have no hype at all, that somehow still get crazy ratings by thousands of people.

    Arguably even beers like Pliny have hype still. How about Mischief? Mischief is the most completely overrated beer I have had in a while, seriously I'm stunned it's a 90. How to explain that beer as a 90 and not a 70?
    I too am "guilty" of reviewing only beers I really like as a way of cataloguing for my own remembrance. OTOH I don't review small pours at all, in fact I dislike reviewing on less than a full bottle/growler anymore because of how much a beer changes as it goes along. So my reviews average out some 2 oz. pour reviews?

    Just to feed the fire I think we all would feel more honest if Bud Light was the top rated beer. Sometimes this crowd forgets just how much of a minority opinion we are still. That would be a good reminder of how far we've yet to go.
    mudbug likes this.
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.