Obsession with BA ratings

Discussion in 'BeerAdvocate Talk' started by rubicat, Dec 22, 2012.

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  1. TylerD420

    TylerD420 Initiate (0) Jun 27, 2012

    I am guilty of doing this.... But only because I just got the technology to do it!! But I find it is nice to be able to read the reviews, opposed to just being guided by the numerical rating.
  2. AndrewBV

    AndrewBV Initiate (0) Jul 13, 2012 Connecticut

    I'm relatively new to beer (just turned 21), so I'll look up stuff I haven't heard of on my phone, but I'm not a slave to the numbers. I'll try anything around 80 and above because I just don't have the money to buy a lot of beer (being the cheap college student I am), but if it's a brewery I like or a local beer I've been curious about, I'll try it without bothering with the ratings. Distinguishing between "only" 88 and 90+ is incredibly stupid, though.
  3. decimator

    decimator Zealot (572) Jun 1, 2009 Ontario (Canada)

    I never used BA scores to influence my beer purchases. I have a rule that I'll always try a beer once or twice before dismissing it completely.
  4. yamar68

    yamar68 Initiate (0) Apr 1, 2011 Minnesota

    I find the dickbag walking around the beer shop with his ipad to be more annoying than what he's doing with it.
    BobZ, dachshunddude86 and TylerD420 like this.
  5. 4ster

    4ster Zealot (512) Aug 17, 2012 Ontario (Canada)

    My view on this is much like my views on other things to be appreciated in life... if you start working your way up from the bottom, ie, deciding to go beyond the macro's, trying whatever beers you get your hands on in your local stores, I find this is the best way to start getting an idea for yourself what you like and what quality tastes like and forming your own opinions. Much like wine, if you're 18 years old and never had a bottle of wine, would you be able to tell the difference between a 9$ bottle of Australian Shiraz and a 500$ bottle of a 2000 Bordeaux? Same with Champagne, Scotch, cigars, cars, women.... I started to get into European/Belgium beers about 5 years ago, craft beers about 3 years ago and only now am starting to feel confident on writing reviews for beers that I try, and only starting to seek out 90+ rated beers, or paying over 15$ for a bottle.... but I feel I actually appreciate a +90 bottle of beer much more than if I just went straight from a Coors Light to a (.....) and I also agree with the people so far that say a rating shouldn't be the end all of what to drink.... there are many many amazing beers out there that have had under 10 reviews, and I think like buying something on Amazon, it'd be pretty hard to base buying preferences based on just a few random people's reviews (which are so often just based on person preferences...) and you can often find some real gems that not many people have tried that you can then share with others....if we only drank the beer from Breweries that made 90+ brews, then we'd basically just have a bunch of macro breweries again....
  6. qchic

    qchic Defender (616) Jul 6, 2004 Maryland
    Beer Trader

    Interesting analogy. Buying only New York Times bestselling novels would also be pretty dreadful.
    jasonmason and kingofhop like this.
  7. Gregfalone

    Gregfalone Initiate (0) Sep 5, 2012 California
    Beer Trader

    I do this all the time when I'm looking for a new beer to try. Started doing it after I wasted $4.99 on a bottle of bayhawk chocolate porter. I LOVE porters. It's my favorite style, but if I'd looked at the review I would not have wasted my time. That money could have been spent on a taddy!
  8. cyrushire

    cyrushire Crusader (732) May 25, 2012 Florida
    Beer Trader

    one of my all time favorites only got an 84. I must drink swill!!
  9. zac16125

    zac16125 Poo-Bah (1,805) Jan 26, 2010 South Carolina
    Beer Trader

    If Im at a bottle shop and am not looking for something special, local, etc I almost always look at BA reviews. I dont have a specific cutoff, but if its lowly rated I usually wont get it. I dont see whats wrong with that. There are how many IPAs at any given bottle show, 50? 100? If Im going to pick one up that Ive never tried before, wouldnt looking at its rating be the logical thing? Sure I might not agree with the rating after Ive had it, but if the BA community gives one IPA a 90 rating, and the other a 70 rating, odds are the former is better than the latter. Why leave it to chance when you can be an informed consumer?
  10. chinabeergeek

    chinabeergeek Meyvn (1,279) Aug 10, 2007 Massachusetts
    Beer Trader

    for popular styles like IPA and imperial stouts, yes, the scores are inflated. for certain classic styles like pilsner and pale ale, i'd say the scores are often heavily depressed. even some of my own reviews have reflected this disparity. we get excited by bold flavors, it's only natural.

    CORKSCREWFISH Initiate (0) Apr 22, 2011 Illinois

    Naa! But I'd gladly slap your face if you told me it should be in the 90's!
  12. UCLABrewN84

    UCLABrewN84 Poo-Bah (12,446) Mar 18, 2010 California

  13. zac16125

    zac16125 Poo-Bah (1,805) Jan 26, 2010 South Carolina
    Beer Trader

    Agreed. And people don't really rate to style, but instead rate in comparison to other beers theyve had, no matter the style, myself included. And I don't think Ive ever had a pilsner as good as any decent IPA or IS. There's a reason certain styles are rated higher than others.
  14. chinabeergeek

    chinabeergeek Meyvn (1,279) Aug 10, 2007 Massachusetts
    Beer Trader

    i actually have gradually moderated myself to try and rate more to style. it's a big reason why i still have pilsner urquell and augustiner edelstoff helles in my top 25 scores.
  15. biercycle

    biercycle Initiate (0) Apr 8, 2012 Pennsylvania

    By only trying the "good" or "highest rated" beers, one is missing out on a more rounded experience that will help to appreciate the good ones you do have. I would not argue that a BA needs to drink a PBR or Miller High Life from time to time to keep the palate grounded. However, only drinking the best beers in the world will necessarily skew one's perspective.

    I never check reviews before I buy. But I do have a list of beers that I want to try based on recommendations, ratings, breweries I like, forum discussions, etc. Regardless, I have up with plenty of rather poor beers but the experience of not enjoying a beer is still a valuable, and important, one.
    decimator and jasonmason like this.
  16. lucasj82

    lucasj82 Zealot (595) Aug 13, 2009 Indiana
    Beer Trader

    I have said before I try not to look at BA until after I drink a new beer. Everyone's taste varies to some extent and I prefer to make an uninfluenced (unless I have had a few too many) personal decision on a new brew. I've had a lot of beers in the 80's that where amazing to me and quite a few in the 70's that I thought would be much rated much higher as well. I've also had some that I thought to be fairly bad but where ranked pretty high.

    To each his own.
  17. kzoobrew

    kzoobrew Meyvn (1,167) May 8, 2006 Michigan

    I don't drink beer with other peoples palates, not going to start buying beer based on other peoples opinions.
  18. Daemose

    Daemose Devotee (426) Oct 3, 2011 Texas
    Beer Trader

    When I first started this site, most of the beers I loved were in the 80s, and the ones in the 90s were like holy grails to me.
    dachshunddude86 likes this.
  19. dachshunddude86

    dachshunddude86 Initiate (0) Dec 21, 2012 Florida

    Someone is an android fan :stuck_out_tongue:
  20. RBassSFHOPit2ME

    RBassSFHOPit2ME Meyvn (1,126) Mar 1, 2009 California

    I find BA ratings for the most part extremely accurate so long as there's 200+ reviews for said beer. I'm not "that" guy with the I-pad in the store, I use my I-phone...
  21. kzoobrew

    kzoobrew Meyvn (1,167) May 8, 2006 Michigan

    I had a good business going with my gold plated butt plugs and then Apple sued me. Apparently they have a patent on expensive shit for assholes. :wink:
  22. TheJollyHop

    TheJollyHop Initiate (0) Sep 2, 2009 California

    Yes it is lost in this world, because that is how education expands. It is no longer necessary to have to make a first hand mistake when there is a plethora of information already available to those who would look. You don't have to get a telescope to try and decipher if the earth revolves around the sun or not. It has been done. And when it comes to beer reviews, there is nothing wrong with checking what other people have to say, because with sooo many good (90+) beers to try, why bother risking a bad beer. I am sure, unlike your post, I wouldn't enjoy that "disappointment." If you want to self discover, add a beer to the database to help others.
  23. dachshunddude86

    dachshunddude86 Initiate (0) Dec 21, 2012 Florida

    First things first, can someone please clean up the soda I just spit across my desk laughing

    Second: start up that business again, apple's patent only applies to white or black objects, gold plated is just fine and has a long been a free market expensive commodity for assholes who don't want to buy solid gold since that would constitute an actual investment with residual worth

    Sent from my iPad :wink:
  24. HeadyTheElder

    HeadyTheElder Disciple (390) Nov 3, 2012 Louisiana
    Beer Trader

    For beers that are available locally, I'll try pretty much anything at least once, unless I have heard really bad things about it, it is a style that I'm not really into, or I am not sure if it is worth the price.

    However, when I am considering beer to bring home from a different part of the country or buying from an online store, you're damn right that I will strongly consider the BA score. I'll tend to try the stuff that is above 90 first. Usually, I can find enough beer that is at least above 90 to fill up my allotted haul. The reasoning is simple: I've had very few beers rating above 90 on BA that I didn't at least like, but I have had plenty in the 80s range that have been pretty "meh" to me. In fact, I don't think I have had a beer with a score above 95 that I have been really impressed with, regardless of style. So, anything above 95 is a must-buy IMO.

    88 is a good score, but when you are still trying new stuff, you are often presented with better, more reliable options.
  25. creepinjeeper

    creepinjeeper Crusader (743) Nov 8, 2012 Missouri
    Beer Trader

    As I posted in another thread, the ratings are great, but I prefer to use the "what are you drinking now . . ." thread. It's like trying friend's recommendations. "Got it, got it, need it, got it, whoa . . . NEED IT!" :slight_smile:
  26. hfc

    hfc Initiate (0) Dec 25, 2012

    yes. i found some 95-99 overrated and some 80-85 very pleasant.
  27. devlishdamsel

    devlishdamsel Initiate (0) Aug 1, 2009 Washington

    I've never looked to BA before buying a new beer. I just only recently started using this site ( although ive had a membership for a few years and stumbled upon it about 10 years ago.) Back in the day I trusted good guy friends of mine and their excellent taste. Aside from that, over the years ive relied on my beer premonition to steer me. It seriously works because only about ten percent of the beer I usually pick out turns out to be something I can't stand.
  28. imbrue001

    imbrue001 Aspirant (216) Aug 6, 2010 Pennsylvania

    So its weird for someone to look up BA scores because they are inaccurate?
    And then...?
  29. EJLinneman

    EJLinneman Aspirant (226) Mar 2, 2009 New Jersey
    Beer Trader

    I rarely look at BA scores as a final say in any purchase I make. There are many times when I'll actually look at the score AFTER I drink the beer to see what my tastes are compared to others. There have been many times where I've really enjoyed certain beers and have seen them rated in the 80s afterwards.

    I feel that relying on a source to make your decisions before trying them yourself automatically skews your opinion before you even try it. Numerical scores can't accurately calculate hype factor, availability, and freshness - among other things.
  30. vickersspitfire

    vickersspitfire Savant (910) Dec 11, 2006 Texas

    It really depends on your personality, I don't base my buying off any BA ratings but by internet buzz and word on the street. Call it ballsy or stupid, but if a beer had an 80 ratings, or lower for that matter, I'm willing to give all beers at least one try. It's in my nature to be risky...
  31. Mgm54

    Mgm54 Disciple (370) Apr 7, 2011 Illinois
    Beer Trader

    If it is a beer I have never heard of, than I will look it up and concider the rating in my decision, but if it is a beer that I have seen on BA somewhere in the forums, I am usually willing to try it without looking it up
  32. jtierney89

    jtierney89 Initiate (0) Aug 15, 2011 New Jersey

    I think people often forget how hard it is to get a 90+ score on BA as well. What I like about BA compared to ratebeer is that the scores are a lot more honest. On ratebeer every beer either has a 90+ score or a 50 rating, and hell a 90 score on that sight might as well mean average. On BA a 90 score is a true achievement but anything above an 80 means this beer is worth checking out.
  33. GodlessWatermelon

    GodlessWatermelon Initiate (0) Apr 12, 2012 Maryland

    Provided the beer isn't ungodly expensive, I'll buy it without looking at reviews. I like to try as many new beers as possible and if that means picking up a dud every now and again, so be it, it's part of the experience.
  34. Vonstein15

    Vonstein15 Initiate (0) Jan 15, 2010 Ohio

    I base less on ratings and more on the brewery,it has serve me well on trying different styles.Don't get lost in numbers get lost in the adventure called beer
  35. Lare453

    Lare453 Meyvn (1,338) Feb 1, 2012 Florida
    Beer Trader

    I usually buy the beers, try them, rate them in a database my wife made me, then look and see what they are rated on here. Mat of the time I am very close, occasionally I am a bit off and rarely I am way off.
  36. aasher

    aasher Poo-Bah (2,662) Jan 27, 2010 Indiana
    Beer Trader

    You know people do give reviews to pair with their ratings. Opinions are better than pure ratings the majority of the time.
  37. jsm1289

    jsm1289 Initiate (0) Mar 11, 2011 New York
    Beer Trader

    especially when money is tight and i really dont care to have anything less than excellent, it is almost a mandatory to check BA. Then again, I usually have a good idea of what I am seeking out before i leave for the store. I see no need to try something and have it be a 50/50 chance that its good. My liver and my brain cannot tolerate a testing process, we need to get right to the supreme stuff.
  38. fny1996

    fny1996 Initiate (114) May 30, 2008 New York

    Good topic. How about everyone come up with one beer that they really enjoy with a BA rating below 8. For me it's Southern Tier's Phin and Matt's Extraordinary Ale. Sure it's not as good as their IPA or 2XIPA but it's a solid choice when you want to put some beers down.
  39. GreenCoffee

    GreenCoffee Initiate (0) Jul 2, 2012 Illinois

    Assuming at least 20 reviews...
    - I've yet to find a 90+ to be godawful.
    - I've had good beers below 80, but none that made me go "WOW AMAZING."

    My goal is to try good beers on a small budget. I don't have time or money to try every mediocre beer I can get my hands on just for the sake of paying my dues or ensuring that I never miss trying a single beer that I would like. I am willing to sacrifice some false negatives in order to save money and time on the dozens of beers that have low ratings for a reason.

    We all have different palates but it's just statistics at work. Unless my palate is super deviant from the BA population's (which doesn't seem to be the case), the more ratings they give, the better it will likely approximate my opinion. Sometimes I will still disagree with the overall rating by quite a bit, but not very often.

    I do try to correct for score inflation within styles. A few months ago, I checked out the median-scoring beer for every style on the site and wrote it down. As other people say, there's definitely a big difference. A Russian Imperial Stout with an 80 is something like 9 points below the median. An American Blonde Ale with an 80 is a point above median. So I definitely take these things into account as well.
    Reagan1984 and yemenmocha like this.
  40. yemenmocha

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

    Well said
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