Site Is/was anybody else afraid to do beer reviews?

Discussion in 'Support & Suggestions' started by Beardcore, Jul 21, 2013.

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  1. Beardcore

    Beardcore Initiate (0) May 5, 2013 Nevada

    Are you or have you been afraid to do beer reviews on here? I've been putting it off for weeks, because I'm nervous about how serious I think the reviews are. These days I see these reviews used to advertise beers in every liquor store I go to, so I take the idea of them very seriously, which has me questioning my ability to rate beers. I LOVE beer, just like everyone on here, but I'm nervous that my biases will skew results. I realize that there is some sort of statistical analysis used, so I can't screw things up too much, but I finally realized that it is weird that I put so much emphasis on this. I am mainly worried that I don't like hoppy beers, but I know that sooooo many people do, so I don't want to adversely affect a good beer because I have a predisposition against it. So has anybody else gone through this?

    Second question: If you have felt this way, did you avoid drinking certain beers so that you could get over your fear and review them? It's silly, but I've had a can of Heady Topper in my fridge for three weeks that I would not drink because I was not ready to review it. I finally made a Word document with the BA format on it so that I could do notes to review before I submitted it. I guess I'll get over it and try to be fair, but it makes me wonder if anybody else thinks that reviews are really this serious.
  2. DrStiffington

    DrStiffington Meyvn (1,083) Oct 27, 2010 New Jersey
    Beer Trader

    I waited awhile before reviewing because I thought my reviews would suck and I'd come across as a douche. Then I finally felt confident enough to say "who gives a shit?" And just started. Well, my reviews probably do suck and I come across as a douche BUT nobody gives a shit, so you shouldn't either.

    Answer to second question: no.
  3. utopiajane

    utopiajane Poo-Bah (2,361) Jun 11, 2013 New York

    Don't be scared and of course your biases will skew results. It's expected. You are not the only person who doesn't like this or that style and if you want to give a good and fair rating regardless of your personal tastes then use the style guidelines from this website or the bjcp. Everyone is different. If you care as much as you say then you are serious about your review. Start with the form and then let your style develop.

    You can do it!
  4. beveritt

    beveritt Initiate (0) Apr 6, 2006 Ohio

    I look at beer reviews as a tool for myself to develop my palate and descriptive repertoire. Yes, there is a chance someone else could look at or use them, but who cares. I have sought out different beers since I started drinking beer. Only when I started recording stuff in here did I really begin to develop the ability to differentiate between styles based on taste or description.
  5. BeerTheater

    BeerTheater Initiate (0) Oct 18, 2012 Florida
    Beer Trader

    Drinking the beer right before your review will calm your nerves padawan. Drink that Heady!
  6. mudbug

    mudbug Zealot (594) Mar 27, 2009 Oregon

    Chill out, Hardly anybody reads every review. Review beers for yourself, the score you give will hardly effect any overall rating. If you don't like the way one comes out, you can change it later, no worries.
    That said, please go ahead and write the review regardless. It adds much much more to this site than the "hads"
    My suggestion is start with beers you like, it's much easier to be positive than negative, at least for me. There are no rules against only reviewing beers you enjoy ( It can be easily demonstrated that the vast majority of BAs do this already) Add to this the fact that clicking on the "beers" tag gives you all the most recent reviews mixed with the worthless "hads" so almost nobody will see your review unless they are interested in that beer. (making that page about as useful as tits on a boar and as enjoyable as a stubbed toe) Cheers!
  7. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (3,005) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    If you start reviewing with beers that have a hundred or more reviews already you can get great practice and there is no way your single set of numbers can skew the results even if you were to just chalk up all 1's or all 5's. Any bias you might have will just get lost in the noise.

    Look at reviewing as a way to sharpen your abilitiy to recognize different flavors to be found in the beer. Do your review first and finish about half way through the beer. Then compare your review with the reviews of other who have taken tried to do a throughful review. Ask yourself what you found or missed and why. Some flavors you'll not recognize at first but then looking at some other careful reviews you'll recognize that there were things there you did spot but just didn't have the right words to use, etc.

    So relax and have fun while learning a lot about what you enjoy and and are able to pick up from tasting a beer.
  8. TheMonkfish

    TheMonkfish Initiate (0) Jan 8, 2012 Chad

    I know it's obviously encouraged, but if you are hesitant putting your words out there don't feel that you absolutely have to post your reviews online (long form or quick rating 1-5.) I now do all of mine in a spreadsheet that I keep locked away in a safe, secret place.

    And drink that Heady yesterday! :slight_smile:
    BedetheVenerable likes this.
  9. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (3,005) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    Agreed, if you start with reviews of beers you do like so that you enjoy doing the review as well, you may also find that as you learn more about flavors and how to describe them that you're also starting to like some of those beers you started out not liking.
  10. Ljudsignal

    Ljudsignal Initiate (0) Jul 19, 2013 Massachusetts
    Beer Trader

    Was and still am to a fairly substantial extent, mostly out of a fear of getting my terminology wrong. Although I work with beer full-time in a retail setting, I'm still painfully aware of the shallowness of my knowledge when taken against some of the folks on this website. So there can definitely be a self-intimidation factor involved.

    Eventually, though, it occurred to me that what it all boils down to is this: did you like the beer, and what did you like or dislike about it in particular? And that made writing about it infinitely easier. Just write what makes a particular beer appealing or unappealing to you, and if you don't like a particular style, either simply don't write about it at all or try to read up on the hallmarks of that particular style and rate the beer based on how well it stands up to those hallmarks, as well as against your own palate.

    Also, it's worth remembering that the beers that advertise their BA ratings tend to do so based on an aggregate of hundreds, if not thousands, of ratings. If they've earned a consistent enough score to be willing to use it in their marketing, it's unlikely to change significantly based on one or two people deviating from that norm. That said, though, if you're still too intimidated to review Heady Topper, I'd be more than happy to take it off your hands... :stuck_out_tongue:
    TMoney2591 and kemoarps like this.
  11. Ispeakforthetrees

    Ispeakforthetrees Aspirant (232) Apr 2, 2012 Colorado

    Who cares if someone judges on the quality of your review?
    It's made for your benefit and use in the first place.
    PalatePilot, jreindl and BeerKangaroo like this.
  12. JohnSnowNW

    JohnSnowNW Defender (602) Feb 6, 2013 Minnesota
    Beer Trader

    Meh. I don't write reviews because, unless there are very few others posted, I'm not the most gifted writer...and I think it should be left to those who are.

    "Hads" are good enough for me.
  13. weakness33

    weakness33 Initiate (0) Jul 1, 2011 Illinois

    I've thought about reviewing but in a thread I made mention about a beer having a vanilla taste and someone came off with a "dude wheres vanilla in there? Nowhere" - not cool. I do basic lookups when I'm at the store, talk with the BM there, and my buddies.
    beveritt and Loveyourbeer like this.
  14. Ri0

    Ri0 Poo-Bah (2,377) Jul 1, 2012 Wisconsin
    Beer Trader

    I went through almost 190 different beers in about 10 months before I felt I had enough knowledge to write my first review.
    draheim, jreindl and kojevergas like this.
  15. KYGunner

    KYGunner Initiate (0) Sep 16, 2012 Kentucky

    Been there. I write reviews for myself because I feel it's important to articulate what you see, smell and taste to educate yourself. Best advice is to simply do it because no one can comment on your personal opinion.
  16. Loveyourbeer

    Loveyourbeer Initiate (0) Mar 24, 2011 Virginia

    I got blasted on here one time far worse than that. I admit that I don't know as much about beer as many people on here but it was uncalled has made me less likely to write a full review, but it has never stopped me from trying a new beer. I like what I like.
    Janeinma likes this.
  17. Jwale73

    Jwale73 Poo-Bah (3,506) Aug 15, 2007 Rhode Island
    Beer Trader

    Don't sweat it. I personally review for myself so I can remember what I've had. If you want to review, review - it only enriches the community as a whole.
    TMoney2591 likes this.
  18. JamesShoemaker

    JamesShoemaker Initiate (0) Sep 21, 2012 Michigan
    Beer Trader

    Yeah dude. My first reviews sucked! You've just got to practice.
    BeerKangaroo likes this.
  19. jbdpsu82

    jbdpsu82 Disciple (399) Aug 28, 2012 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    I used to be reluctant to review beers because I always felt my ignorance to the subtle flavors, aromas, and descriptive language would lead to a flat review; and it has. But, who cares? If someone reads my review and makes a judgement call about a beer based upon it, that's their own fault for not researching further. Your first review won't be awe-inspiring. Just be honest about what you experience, and build from there. You have to start somewhere.

    Additionally, don't let your perceived biases influence your tasting of beers. For every beer you are biased towards or against, there are dozens biased in just the opposite direction making reviews. I recently saw a guy on here have a 1/5 to nearly every Russian River brew. The ratings are what they are, and yours won't skew it anymore than any other single review.
  20. IndyDad

    IndyDad Zealot (586) Jan 21, 2013 New York
    Beer Trader

    I have yet to formally review a beer here. I'm not scared. A little lazy, maybe, but not scared. I give them a rating for my own good,but i dontt write the review. Does that make me a bad BA? Maybe, but oh well. It's beer. I freakin' love the stuff, and don't really care what others think. Maybe someday I'll do it, but for now I'm just gonna keep enjoying the crap out of it.
    Remember, as great as it may be, it's still just beer. Drink and enjoy!
    Theniz and utopiajane like this.
  21. Momar42

    Momar42 Initiate (0) Sep 19, 2010 Maryland

    This, word for word, to the infinite power. Review what you want, how you want, when you want. Its the internet, you have an opinion like everyone else. Try and be civil, but when it all comes down to it, how much does the anonymous opinion of someone who wants to talk shit really matter to you?? Drink beer, enjoy beer, share beer. To hell with the D-bags.
  22. Ego

    Ego Initiate (0) Oct 17, 2004 New Jersey

    I write my reviews for 2 groups
    a couple of my friends

    if other people read them that is cool but is not my main thing, I like to look back on certain things about breweries and styles etc to see how my taste has evolved over the years

    you don't remain a virgin if you keep f'n chicks... if you get my drift. I personally like to read honest and well thought out reviews, the ones that are mailed in suck a dick and are fodder, the quick rating (had) is good if you just want a snap shot but I dig the reviews that give you a nugget of the beer, something different, it doesn't have to be some outrageous shit but when you find a nugget... you know it, and THAT is what made this website imo. be one of those reviewers, mr miyagi said something about try and do.. like.. so that would apply here
  23. scotorum

    scotorum Meyvn (1,478) May 28, 2013 Massachusetts

    I do detailed BA format reviews of about half the beers I drink. The rest did not stand out enough in any of the ways the BA format suggests to make saying anything about them worthwhile. I review for my own reference later when I consider what I should re-buy. Sometimes just a number is enough to remind me what to steer clear of.

    One thing I believe is important is I am (and I think anyone should be) not intimidated by and perhaps even rather suspicious of anyone who mentions more than one or two taste profiles in a beer review. How the hell can anyone distinguish whether a particular IPA has "notes" of strawberry cheesecake, Madagascar avocados, Teddy Bear peanut butter, Oscar Meyer bacon, Chilean bush beans AND God knows what else? To me it's like so-called "modern" poets where nothing makes sense and every other word is something hardly any real human ever uses. Phony, or at least hugely pretentious. I was into premium cigars for the past five years and saw lots of the same drivel. Oh this cigar has "notes" of Baluga caviar, with hints of Calaveras jumping frog vomit, Honduran goat dung, Eastern Cuban fire ant spit and Dominican underarm sweat. Give me a break. At my age I'm fortunate I can still taste hops in beer.
  24. scotorum

    scotorum Meyvn (1,478) May 28, 2013 Massachusetts

    And hey some of us have never even SEEN a full can of Heady except on the BA "what are you drinking" forum. So drink and enjoy the damn thing! And if you are so inclined, review it!
    jreindl likes this.
  25. UCLABrewN84

    UCLABrewN84 Poo-Bah (12,132) Mar 18, 2010 California

    Just give it a shot. They get easier to do as time goes on.
  26. cavedave

    cavedave Poo-Bah (2,175) Mar 12, 2009 New York
    Beer Trader

    The more you review the better you find what you like in the beers you like. Reading your old reviews lets you know if you want to try a certain beer again, and to shows you how your palate has evolved over time.

    Two hints: Try to form your opinion about smell in the first five sniffs of the beer, subsequent sniffs will be less full of aroma. Make sure you review a proper pour of the beer, so you can taste it as it changes temperature and as your palate gets used to the flavors of it.
    utopiajane likes this.
  27. JuicesFlowing

    JuicesFlowing Poo-Bah (1,939) Jul 5, 2009 Kansas

    I was nervous until one day I just did one. My early reviews are basic, and I got better as I went. It's just a process and most importantly - don't worry about what others think!
  28. beveritt

    beveritt Initiate (0) Apr 6, 2006 Ohio

    There seem to be a certain number of people on here to forget taste is subjective. Telling people what they taste is wrong or that "everyone" knows this beer is the best is annoying and pointless. I can get pretty passionate about the beer I love, but I try to always couch my posts as my opinion.
    jreindl and DrStiffington like this.
  29. 5thOhio

    5thOhio Devotee (499) May 13, 2007 South Carolina

    To answer the
  30. surfmanjim

    surfmanjim Initiate (67) Aug 21, 2005 New Jersey

    I stopped doing them because of allergy issues(especially during the spring and fall) and felt it wasn't fair to the beer. The same beer can taste completely different to me; depending on the level of allergens and the nasal sprays that are prescribed only make it worse.
  31. Benish

    Benish Champion (870) Mar 13, 2013 Wisconsin
    Beer Trader

    I write reviews and I still suck at it. But I write them for my own purpose to compare beers that I've had. Once I wrote a review for a beer and the rating dropped from 81 to 80 because of my submission. Don't remember which one it was, that did not bug me, it was strictly my opinion of the beer.
  32. rjniles

    rjniles Initiate (140) Aug 30, 2012 South Carolina

    I feel that you should rate a beer based on the style it is intended to represent. You say you do not like hoppy beers; do not dis a beer because it was meant by the brewer to appeal to us hop heads. Clue: beers with names like Hop Devil, Hopstopid, Hoptimum, etc are going to be very hoppy (and were intended to be).
    hoppytobehere likes this.
  33. TheNightwatchman

    TheNightwatchman Zealot (511) Mar 28, 2009 Pennsylvania

    You're worrying too much. Just review the beers.
    TMoney2591 likes this.
  34. chiefojibwa

    chiefojibwa Initiate (0) May 19, 2009 Washington

    not afraid, just don't care.
  35. TMoney2591

    TMoney2591 Poo-Bah (6,693) Apr 21, 2009 Illinois

    Reviewing's much simpler than many make it out to be. Just drink the beer, experience it with your senses, then tell whether you liked it and why, based on your experiences. Done.

    Shit, I don't even mind when people who don't like the style still rate it low, because that fact will be borne out in the text. I still get the description of the experience, the context within which the reviewer was working, and that's the most important part.
    mudbug likes this.
  36. AndrewM661

    AndrewM661 Initiate (0) Dec 31, 2012 California

    Yah i have been very nervous...started drinking only craft beer 2 years ago... I have had a lot and I feel my palate is changing all time time... Don't want to hurt a very good beer with an inexperienced review...
  37. TMoney2591

    TMoney2591 Poo-Bah (6,693) Apr 21, 2009 Illinois

    The beer can handle it; it's the other geeks that can't handle such things sometimes. But you really shouldn't worry about them...we're barely human as it is :wink:
    mudbug and jreindl like this.
  38. AndrewM661

    AndrewM661 Initiate (0) Dec 31, 2012 California

    True it is just beer!
    TMoney2591 likes this.
  39. Thehuntmaster

    Thehuntmaster Initiate (0) Sep 2, 2009 South Africa

    The first reviews I did really sucked and I ended up deleting them! It does get a lot easier over time, even for those of us who are not gifted writers. I find that reviewing a beer and making detailed tasting notes really enhances the experience and I do it for virtually every beer I drink (Yes, I am the weirdo who carries a note pad to bars and beer fests).
    kojevergas likes this.
  40. MystikCelt

    MystikCelt Disciple (325) Jun 11, 2011 New York

    Yes. A thousand times yes.

    After reading so many reviews, I don't feel my palate, or my literal conjuration of its experiences, adds much to the conversation. And so I rate my beers, but I've only ever given one "review"... and that was less a review than a deliberation upon Ahab's quest. Many a beer geek question whether or not their white whale is worth the abandonment such a chase requires, and I thought commenting upon that would be more worthwhile a venture than being just another judge who holds up a scored placard at the end of a gymnast's dance. Some things are too beautiful to put a rating to.

    Holy crap was that paragraph full of itself.
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