Is it bad so many of the best Top 250 are over 10%?

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by StJamesGate, Feb 10, 2013.

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  1. jacewg

    jacewg Defender (616) Jan 7, 2012 District of Columbia

    While I agree that there are a lot of subtle charms in a well crafted pilsner or hefeweizen, the fact is you just don't get the same experience from a Prima Pils that you do from a Bourbon County Coffee. It's no secret or accident why the top 250 looks the way it does. People, myself included, love big flavors.

    I am a huge fan of Lagunitas Daytime. It became my go to session beer for concerts, tailgaiting, etc. Will I ever rate it higher than or choose it over Sucks, Heady, Abrasive, etc? HELL NO!
  2. Providence

    Providence Initiate (0) Feb 24, 2010 Rhode Island

    I do find it sad that lower abv, more sessionable brews are under appreciated here. Don't get me wrong, I love the Headys, KBS's and Wesy's of the world, they are tremendously flavorful and well crafted brews. I just wish that big/bold/intense didn't dominate the best of list.
    Ernest_Hooper, Sarlacc83 and joeebbs like this.
  3. Providence

    Providence Initiate (0) Feb 24, 2010 Rhode Island

    I see where you're coming from, but wouldn't that rationale put you in a position where you prefer, for example, straight bourbon to beer? If a bourbon drinker had the same attitude as you wouldn't they be mocking how tasteless your 10% abv drinks are? Isn't that the same thing you are doing to lagers?
    steveh, Crusader and LMT like this.
  4. LMT

    LMT Initiate (0) Oct 15, 2009 Virginia

    I have't been able to get BCBCS, but I have experienced both BCBS and Prima Pils. And you're don't get the same experience. However, I can honestly say that after I finish a bottle of each, I am no less satisfied by the Prima Pils than the BCBS.

    Actually, it's a little more impressive to me that Victory can make a terrfic beer whose style has a terrible reputation. Imperial stouts, on the other hand, already start with a good rep...even before you taste a specific brand.

    For me, it all depends on my mood, setting, expectations, etc. I'd probably think BCBS was less than stellar if I was drinking it on the beach in the summertime. Or even if I had more than one in any one sitting.

    To me, both are great styles and it's almost impossible to say which is better because it's all due to one's own personal preference at any given time.
    cjoc83 likes this.
  5. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (1,526) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina
    Beer Trader

    It would only be a bad thing if the ABV was being intentionally bumped, but the styles most popular like DIPA's and Imperial BA Stouts lend themselves to higher alcohol content naturally. An imperial Pils for example kills the idea of brewing a true Pils, they aren't designed to be 9%+ brews, pushing that envelope doesn't make much sense to me.
    steveh likes this.
  6. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (2,021) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    Truth hurts, huh?
  7. mmmbirra

    mmmbirra Aspirant (208) Apr 19, 2009 Italy

    "Should superb weaker beers get more cred?"

    Yes, they should.
  8. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (2,021) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    That's an awfully wide brush you're using to paint this constituency. I joined BA because I like beer and thought I could share that passion with others who like beer.

    You don't know much of what BMC use in their "beer," do you?
  9. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (2,021) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    It's not just lagers, have you seen this thread?
  10. bryanole27

    bryanole27 Aspirant (227) Jun 24, 2011 North Carolina

    And you don't know much about sarcasm do you? The poster was pointing out how useless a term like "World's Finest" is, because you'll see similar phrases on BMC products or in BMC commercials. It's an arbitrary/useless descriptor.
  11. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (2,021) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    He was quoting HerrBurgess:
    And yes, trying to be sarcastic, so I replied in kind.
  12. herrburgess

    herrburgess Meyvn (1,045) Nov 4, 2009 South Carolina
    Industry Beer Trader

    I guess it would be similarly hilarious/useless to talk about "drinkability" in the context of 10%+ ABV beers...
  13. jageraholic

    jageraholic Devotee (410) Sep 16, 2009 Massachusetts
    Beer Trader

    Pretty sure Rogue just read this and is adding bacon and Doughnut in there and it will be their next beer. They might even print this thread and add the paper in during secondary fermentation.
  14. tectactoe

    tectactoe Initiate (0) Mar 20, 2012 Michigan

    I don't understand why there always has to be debates over which type of beer is the best. Just drink what you like and stop worrying about what other people's tastes are. It seems like every other topic turns into a heated argument over what type/brand/kind of beer is truly "the best". Nobody will ever see eye to eye, as taste is such a subjective perception. If someone has different tastes than you, there's no need to bash them or turn it into a back and forth argument... be glad they're leaving more of your favorites on the shelf for you!

    The point of beer is to drink and be happy! Not argue about supremacy amongst a completely subjective set of standards!
  15. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (2,021) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    We're just not in with the in crowd.

    And I just remembered, what has it said on all of the Sierra Nevada labels for 30 years?

    Purest Ingredients. Finest Quality.

    Ahh, marketing.
    herrburgess likes this.
  16. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (2,021) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    Of course, you're right -- I enjoy just about all styles of beers, what BA wouldn't? But to answer the OP and then read something as apparently shallow as:

    Doesn't it make you wonder where the beer drinking world is going?
    Providence likes this.
  17. rlcoffey

    rlcoffey Initiate (0) Apr 20, 2004 Kentucky

    As MTV said in their early days: "Too much is never enough"
  18. tectactoe

    tectactoe Initiate (0) Mar 20, 2012 Michigan

    I wasn't pointing fingers at anybody in particular. I always think it's goofy to argue about things like this, because people will always have different views. You'd be better off having a debate about politics or religion. While I believe it's partially true that "bigger" beers can allow for a wider range of flavors, including a bigger robustness that many BA's look for, I also believe lighter, or "smaller" beers can be just as flavorful, but in a slightly different way - neither of which is officially "better" than the other, it really just depends on personal preference. It's almost apples to oranges at that point.
    Crusader likes this.
  19. herrburgess

    herrburgess Meyvn (1,045) Nov 4, 2009 South Carolina
    Industry Beer Trader

    I agree. So then the question is: is this where beer is going? To a place where there is a fundamental, qualitative split between "bigger" and "smaller" beers? If so -- as the OP is asking -- is this a good or bad thing? I, for one, think it's a bad thing. Others apparently would like proponents of smaller, more subtle beers to simply "go away."
  20. jtdolla911

    jtdolla911 Initiate (0) Nov 18, 2011 Massachusetts
    Beer Trader

    In response to the original question, I think it's a matter of a "sex sells" mentality. Higher ABV, limited release items will garner more hype and attention than something like Weihenstephaner hefeweizen. So some of the higher reviews might be due to the hype as much as the actual quality of the beer. There are some great higher ABV foreign items too, like JW Lees Harvest which is the best barleywine I've ever had, so it's not necessarily American v foreign, but I think the hype behind an item makes the consumer think highly of the beer before it even hits their lips. And this is a bit of a generalization but most of the hyped beers are high ABV, and if you wait outside the brewery for hours for a taste of a hyped beer, you've most likely decided that it's going to be a perfect 100, even if the taste is only worth 85. Like Kate the Great by Portsmouth, it was one of the top beers for a while, and when I finally tried it, I certainly didn't think it was top 10 in the world. Good, but not a perfect 100.

    Then look at the recent Westy 12 release. When it was uber rare it was almost untouchable on the list and easily top 5, then it was released to the public on a limited basis and the scores went down. The hype is gone, the aura of invisibility is gone, and now people expect more. I think its damn close to a perfect quad, and in beer circles people talk it down. Now that its available its not any good? Or does that just mean that those who reviewed didn't really have it? I think hype plays a pretty big role in the top 250. And there is a correlation between high abv and hype. Honestly I look through the top 250 and maybe half are attainable for me in MA. That's just my two cents
  21. Crusader

    Crusader Aspirant (212) Feb 4, 2011 Sweden

    That's my sentiment also, while arguing with people over politics and religion can be considered equally pointless, since people are unlikely to change their mind, at least it concerns issues which have far reaching consequences for entire societies, and it is also very difficult to accomodate everyone to where they are content and have their interests looked after equally. Where one sides wins another side loses.

    Whilst on the other hand, with beer it is very much possible for all drinkers to get their fill, without there being any inherent conflict between satisfying the desires and needs of one group and with satisfying those of another group. There's certainly room for arguing over beer also, but once it stops being light hearted and becomes hostile in nature, I find myself thinking "can't we all just get along" :stuck_out_tongue: .
  22. Crusader

    Crusader Aspirant (212) Feb 4, 2011 Sweden

    If lower abv beers were going extinct and were being replaced by higher abv beers I'd feel a similar apprehension, but I just don't see that happening. If anything I think that the focus on beer quality might prove the saving grace for qualitative lager beer in particular since the craftmanship will hopefully see a renewed interest at some point in the next decade or so. There are great swaths of beer drinkers out there who would enjoy a well made pilsner or lager in the finest exacting German traditions, that is my belief anyhow, and I would think that we will see a renewed interest in such styles as the fast-forwarded evolution in beer styles and preferences continues. I don't think well made lagers will become a thing of the past.
  23. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (2,021) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    And where are they now..? :wink:
    jtdolla911 likes this.
  24. rlcoffey

    rlcoffey Initiate (0) Apr 20, 2004 Kentucky

    Still chugging along, even if they havent played music in two decades.
  25. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (2,021) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    Maybe not in Sweden, but here in the U.S. it's difficult to find anything on shelves (worth drinking) below 6%. They're there, but not in as many numbers as the powerhouse beers.

    I can only hope you're correct on this, but it's not showing too readily, especially in the U.S.
    Crusader likes this.
  26. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (2,021) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    Therein lies the point. What TV? :astonished:

    Guess too much was just too much?
  27. rlcoffey

    rlcoffey Initiate (0) Apr 20, 2004 Kentucky


    Ive never noticed this. The vast majority of craft beers on the shelf of my local liquor stores is under 6%. Now, the "worth drinking" part makes you sound like the pro-big-beer fans.
  28. herrburgess

    herrburgess Meyvn (1,045) Nov 4, 2009 South Carolina
    Industry Beer Trader

    I, too, hope you're right. What I have been seeing more of is lagers that take the "more is better" approach when it comes to things such as hopping levels and ABV.
    Crusader and jtdolla911 like this.
  29. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Meyvn (1,354) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    It is often telling to ask the brewers what they drink everyday. The results might surprise some.
  30. bulldogbrewhaus

    bulldogbrewhaus Initiate (0) Sep 17, 2012 Virginia

    Bad for my wallet and liver.
  31. antilite

    antilite Initiate (159) Jan 1, 2012 Florida

    Hummers were hot for a while. Not so much anymore.
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  32. rlcoffey

    rlcoffey Initiate (0) Apr 20, 2004 Kentucky

    Swung by my local while out getting lunch and you were less wrong than I thought.

    Change it to 6.5% and you are dead wrong. While there are a lot of good beers under 6%, there were far more 6-6.5% beers than I would have guessed. It looks like 6.3% is the current craft "sweet spot".
    herrburgess likes this.
  33. TheSixthRing

    TheSixthRing Poo-Bah (2,604) Sep 24, 2008 California

    Bro, do you even drink?
  34. Treyliff

    Treyliff Poo-Bah (3,610) Aug 10, 2010 West Virginia
    Premium Member Beer Trader

    Hype plays a big part in this also. Most of the 'big beers' on this list are limited release, regionally distributed, therefore usually hyped up big time on this site. People seek long and hard for these beers, by time they finally get them, they already have some sort of perception before drinking them.

    I'm a firm believer that many of these beers have received a 0.5 point or so bump in average rating based on hype alone.
  35. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (2,021) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    I see you have now. :wink:

    The point of "it's difficult to find anything on shelves (worth drinking) below 6%." is that there are too few lighter alcohol beers worth buying (some being BMC swill I'd never buy). And I'm not anti-big beer, I just want a choice -- not all extreme all the time.

    I've made no secret that I enjoy almost all beers, I just don't like to always be limited to one beer a night because my eyes are bleary and blurry. As the brewmaster of a very nice 4% Munich Helles once told me, "It's nice to be able to have a couple in the same night, isn't it?"
  36. StJamesGate

    StJamesGate Poo-Bah (3,665) Oct 8, 2007 New York
    Beer Trader

    Not to single you out, jacewg, but I think your statement reveals what's really going on here: most people just don't rate to style.
  37. PuFtonLyfe

    PuFtonLyfe Initiate (0) Jun 2, 2011 North Carolina
    Beer Trader

    If members of this site didn't favor unusual beers with nontraditional ingredients, then more traditional styles would receive higher scores. For example- As of now, only one Vienna-style lager has broken 4.00 on this site, and (of course) it's above 6% abv. I agree that more small/table/session beers should make the top 250 list, but it should be obvious at this point that the average BAer doesn't agree.

    And, yes, I am fully aware of BMC's adjunct usage. They just seem to like terms such as "world's finest", too (even if they are referring to corn).

    So is it a bad thing that most of the beers on the top 250 list are high abv, high ibu, and often accompanied by nontraditional ingredients? No, it's just a thing. Does that mean we should all agree on the list of "best beers in the world". Definitely not, but I don't think anyone is going to have any luck convincing the average BAer that Vanilla Bean Dark Lord is on the same playing field as your favorite Czech pilsener.

  38. kdb150

    kdb150 Zealot (501) Mar 8, 2012 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    I think it has a lot to do with the fact that the vast majority of special release beers are very high in alcohol. People tend to gravitate towards the hard-to-find beers because on some level, we assume that beers which are harder to get must be better. I'm not arguing that that's not true, but just that it probably accounts for some level of bias in the rankings, and in trying to compare beers.

    What also accounts for it is that, like it or not, this site IS heavily biased towards American breweries, and what American breweries do best is make big beers with big flavor, and they also tend to screw up (with a few exceptions, of course) traditional lower-alcohol styles from the UK, Germany, France, and Belgium that might otherwise compete with the big beers in the rankings.
    herrburgess likes this.
  39. kdb150

    kdb150 Zealot (501) Mar 8, 2012 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    Well, the rankings ARE supposed to reflect how a beer ranks in its style. That doesn't mean that there is a Czech pilsener that necessarily deserves to be ranked a 5, but it probably does mean that more than 2 deserve a ranking above 4.
    steveh likes this.
  40. StJamesGate

    StJamesGate Poo-Bah (3,665) Oct 8, 2007 New York
    Beer Trader

    Saying that Dark Lord is a better beer than Pilsner Urquell is like saying that Mike Tyson was a better athlete than Wayne Gretzky.

    They're not trying to do the same thing.
    BKBassist likes this.
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