Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by draheim, Feb 5, 2013.


Can you objectively taste and review every beer, regardless of who brewed it?

  1. Yes, I'm 100% objective all the time. I'm like a frickin' machine.

    13 vote(s)
  2. I try to be objective, but I'll admit I'm influenced by factors other than the beer itself.

    50 vote(s)
  3. I'm a craft beer enthusiast. I automatically rate a beer lower if it comes from certain breweries.

    2 vote(s)
  4. I go out of my way to rate BMC beers higher just to even the balance.

    1 vote(s)
  5. I never drink or review BMC beers.

    14 vote(s)
  6. Other (explain)

    8 vote(s)
Multiple votes are allowed.
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  1. draheim

    draheim Poo-Bah (2,439) Sep 18, 2010 Washington
    Beer Trader

    As many of us know, it's all too easy to bash BMC on this site. After all, it's good clean fun! But recent threads and posts about the new Bud Black Crown (which I haven't had) and other BMC attempts to change up their brand got me wondering. Could most BAs objectively taste and review a BMC or similar product without pre-judging it negatively just because it was brewed by one of the big monolithic breweries?

    Hypothetically speaking, say ABInBev or SABMiller canned and mass-produced a beer that smells and tastes identical to Heady Topper. (This is not, after all, an impossible proposition.) How many of you would give it a lower rating only because it came from a BMC brewery?

    To be honest, I probably would. I think I'd second-guess myself if I knew the beer was made by a huge multinational brewery, and accordingly ding even the best beer by a few points. I might even do this subconsciously. I almost never do blind tastings, so there's no way to know.

    Vote and discuss. Cheers!
    Chaney likes this.
  2. SammyJaxxxx

    SammyJaxxxx Poo-Bah (2,211) Feb 23, 2012 New Jersey
    Premium Member Beer Trader

    I wouldn't know because I wouldn't buy it.
  3. Nectar

    Nectar Initiate (0) Jan 17, 2013 New Jersey

    This is why every other tasting my group has is a blind what. You'd be amazed how your rankings differ...
    szmnnl99 likes this.
  4. LeRose

    LeRose Meyvn (1,280) Nov 24, 2011 Massachusetts
    Premium Member


    Our sensory group here does this all the time to try and minimize bias. Amazing when you find out your "category leading product" comes in third preferred among people that work here when they don't know who's product they are tasting.
  5. Bad_Trader

    Bad_Trader Initiate (0) Nov 8, 2012 Namibia

    Blind tasting is the way to go. It's like blind voting, which is why I clicked on every box. Clicking on boxes is fun.
  6. draheim

    draheim Poo-Bah (2,439) Sep 18, 2010 Washington
    Beer Trader

    Absolutely great idea for tastings, but if you primarily drink beer at home (and don't want to bother the wife/husband/significant other to select, open, and pour your beer for you) or at a beer bar where you order, not possible. Just a couple practical considerations to bear in mind.
  7. djrn2

    djrn2 Poo-Bah (1,961) Nov 4, 2009 New Jersey
    Beer Trader

    I totally agree with that. I highly recommend blind tastings. You just have to find a poorer who doesn't mind.

    The OP has a great question. I've thought about this before. I believe I would give it a lower score if I new where it came from. I also believe that if you do know that a major brewery brewed it, you would do everything you can to find mistakes just to lower your score.
  8. agileh

    agileh Initiate (0) Jan 24, 2010 Ohio

    We've been doing blind tastes lately because of that bias. We recently did O'Doul's and it was low-rated, but everyone admitted that they would have bashed it more if the test hadn't been blind. I've even found that the type of glassware used in the blind taste test can bias the ratings. Beers in snifters tend to rate higher than beers in pint glasses, when nothing else is known about the beer.
  9. Nectar

    Nectar Initiate (0) Jan 17, 2013 New Jersey

    Our pourer is the host. That way its an agreement amonst everyone every time.
  10. denver10

    denver10 Poo-Bah (2,348) Nov 17, 2010 New Mexico

    I am definitely biased, but more in towards the positive in regards to breweries I like. But, also, I do find myself more drawn to some breweries and less drawn to others, and that probably does impact my bias when trying each brewery's respective offerings. Business model really hasn't been an issue for me. My experience with AC Golden was much more positive than many micro-related experiences.

    End of the day, I drink for pleasure. Objectivity can get in the way of that for me.
  11. LeRose

    LeRose Meyvn (1,280) Nov 24, 2011 Massachusetts
    Premium Member

    For sure - that could get messy! And I think usually if we're sitting down with the intent to write a review or otherwise score a beer, we have a "beer target" in mind already and wouldn't take that approach. But it is interesting what happens when you take away the external reference points, and I'd say try a blind tasting if you get a chance just for fun.

    There's going to be subjectivity in evaluations, no doubt about that. For instance, I don't care for products from Rogue. I'd like to think I could taste a Rogue product without any preconceptions and judge it fairly, but I am not sure I could if I knew it was one of theirs.
  12. frazbri

    frazbri Crusader (740) Oct 29, 2003 Ohio

    I haven't written any reviews for a few years. When I did, I tried to be objective.
  13. fishtremble

    fishtremble Initiate (185) Jan 18, 2010 Michigan
    Beer Trader

    I always try to be objective, if I have had many failures by a brewery I think somewhere in the back of my mind I already have an opinion forming before the cap is popped. So even if the poor brewery brewed a average beer it would be rated lower in my mind compared to other beer of the same style and rating just by the number of misses I have had from them.
  14. loafinaround

    loafinaround Aspirant (296) Jul 16, 2011 New York

    humans are fallible. no matter how earnestly we try, we can't 100% put aside preconceived notions. This is why there are both blind tastings and double blind scientific data analysis.
    I'll freely admit I'm biased... won't even try to hide my brewer preferences.....
  15. tjensen3618

    tjensen3618 Initiate (0) Mar 23, 2008 California

    To get objective ratings...

    Multiply any large craft brewers rating by 115% (Widmer, New Belgium, Pyramid)
    Multiply any small breweries ratings by 90% (Hill Farmstead, Kern River, Lawson's)
    SammyJaxxxx likes this.
  16. LeRose

    LeRose Meyvn (1,280) Nov 24, 2011 Massachusetts
    Premium Member

    I don't think we should try and hide our brewer preferences, either. When you come right down to it, the most important factor about a beer is how much you like it. Certain breweries hit that spot more often than others, for sure, and those become our favorites. Bias works both ways.

    Think what we can rely on is the number of reviews tempering out the bias to some extent.
    loafinaround and mecummins like this.
  17. mecummins

    mecummins Initiate (0) Nov 16, 2012 Illinois

    I've never really thought about it before because I don't drink BMCs. I'd like to think that I could pick them out during a blind tasting, but who knows?
    As it is, I try to approach my reviews with an objective eye, but I'm sure that somewhere in the back of my mind there are certain expectations for a given brewery. In fact, I know that there are. I tried NG Winter Warmer Sunday and was so disappointed that I hated it. I certainly wouldn't have been as disappointed if it was from another brewery, but since I love NG, I was expecting greatness. As it is, I'm now going to try the beer again and see if my thoughts on it changes.
  18. PatriotsRule

    PatriotsRule Aspirant (257) Sep 25, 2012 Massachusetts

    I'm a freaking brainstormin' machine!
  19. jacksback

    jacksback Initiate (0) Jul 20, 2011 Massachusetts

    I think I could.

    The beers themselves that come from the big breweries, I've got no problem with. I wouldn't buy them, but if presented with one to drink and think about/review, I'd do so for what it is, not who it comes from.

    In my case, no matter how good it was, I wouldn't then go out and spend any money on it.

    Generally, I'd say something further about the big guys, but I think evilc has his panties bunched up enough already.
    Providence likes this.
  20. djrn2

    djrn2 Poo-Bah (1,961) Nov 4, 2009 New Jersey
    Beer Trader

    This could go either way. Would you review a average or bad beer better because it came from Hill Farmstead?
  21. Providence

    Providence Initiate (0) Feb 24, 2010 Rhode Island

    This is my response as well.
  22. FosterJM

    FosterJM Poo-Bah (2,719) Nov 16, 2009 California
    Beer Trader

    If I had them side by side and knowing it was a BMC, I could stay impartial.

  23. yemenmocha

    yemenmocha Poo-Bah (2,482) Jun 18, 2002 Arizona

    My stance has changed over time as the big brewers bought out & distribute others. I'll happily support a BMC owned brewery's beers because for me it's primarily about whether it tastes great or not. (though I'll never be buying BMC stuff that is what we used to mean by saying 'BMC' - adjunct lager stuff).

    Goose Island Sofie is ALWAYS in my fridge.
    Spaten products are ALWAYS in my fridge.
    jtmiller03 likes this.
  24. TMoney2591

    TMoney2591 Poo-Bah (6,766) Apr 21, 2009 Illinois

    And here I thought I'd have to get into another diatribe about how impossible true objectivity really is...

    But, in the context of this OP, I try not to let the identity of the brewery sway me all that much, instead opting to let the beer speak for itself. Sometimes, the beer will outshine its creators, sometimes it's the other way around.

    Take Bud's Black Crown and Beck's Sapphire, two recent macro-brewed offerings I sought out. I "knew" going in tey wouldn't be all that great, but I wanted to try them anyway. In the end, while neither was particularly bad (in fact, I prefer both of them to their respective brewers' flagships), I still felt I was fair, in that I gave them whatever positive credit was due them.

    Hence my selection of "Other" in the poll: I acknowledge my preconceived notions and try to work around them, but since I have no way of knowing just how deep those notions reached, I can't say I overcome them.
  25. Siggy125

    Siggy125 Devotee (460) Nov 10, 2006 California
    Beer Trader

    I don't care if an InBev product jumped out of the container and pleasured my Heady for a week. My hatred for their business practices automatically turns every they make into repulsive sewer rat piss which I have no intent of imbibing.

    Of course this does not include particular businesses they've acquired. :wink:
  26. MacNCheese

    MacNCheese Initiate (0) Dec 10, 2011 California

    If you know who brewed it, or heard about it before hand, then you cannot be objective. Which is why all judging is done blind. Hell, if you go to a blind tasting you shouldn't even know who made teh beers to be tasted. Just show up and start tasting/writing away. Find out later what it is you had.

    When I go into a beer bar and I know the bartenders I'll ask "I'll have something fresh and hoppy." "Or big and roasty"...after I finish it I'll ask what they poured me.
  27. UCLABrewN84

    UCLABrewN84 Poo-Bah (12,598) Mar 18, 2010 California

    Yes - see Coors Batch 19.
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