Posting reviews without text to back it up

Discussion in 'BeerAdvocate Talk' started by hottenot, Mar 29, 2019.

  1. dbrauneis

    dbrauneis Poo-Bah (8,175) Dec 8, 2007 North Carolina
    Moderator Society Trader

    I agree that is a different reason why one was "prevented" writing a review... in my case, that is almost 100% of the ratings I have done.
  2. cavedave

    cavedave Poo-Bah (2,572) Mar 12, 2009 New York

    Am I the only one who sees the irony in a young generation of people who basically have an opened portal to the internet in front of their faces constantly, and write on it constantly, and then complain how inconvenient and time consuming it is to write down what they are experiencing as they drink a beer?
  3. MNAle

    MNAle Meyvn (1,472) Sep 6, 2011 Minnesota

    No, not the only one!
    cavedave likes this.
  4. altstadt

    altstadt Initiate (120) Nov 1, 2015 British Columbia (Canada)

    In order to get good reviews, then (1) expectations must be set and (2) the process must be as friction-free as possible.

    (1) If the forum posting at is the expectation, then this posting needs to be elevated out of forum obscurity to a position front and center on the home page.

    (2) The UI should remind newbies of these expectations and also let experienced hands quickly tap in rating numbers and descriptions in seconds.


    (1) I have a spreadsheet (more than 600 single number reviews and simple notes) that I started a few years ago. It meets my personal needs to track beers that I want to buy again and others that I want to avoid. 1 means "pour this down the sink", 5 means "my mouth is doing a happy dance", and 3 means "average beer that I would consider ordering in a pub". After finding the posting above, it was easy to convert my existing reviews to "Overall" and add in columns for the other categories. But it would have been great to see this posting before I created the spreadsheet.

    (2) Last year I spent 3 weeks in Belgium and Netherlands with a group of people who I had mostly just met. In that time I had about 20-30 beers that I have no record for because I was not about to stick my face into my internet portal while I was with the group. At 57 I was below average in age for the group, but not by much. Manners matter. If I could have entered each review in 30 seconds, then I'm sure that several others in the group would have been very interested instead of turned off. A thumb-wheel for each of the 5 numbers with a free-entry text box that also remembered my previous entries and let me select one of them, would have been friction-free enough to remain sociable.

    On topic

    I appreciate any reviews. A bunch of bare number reviews show me an average trend. Well thought out text might be intimidating (I can't taste all those things in beer any more than I can in wine), but also lets me know if my tastes might be different from the reviewer.

    No review or reviewer is pointless. One of my favorite movie reviewers had completely opposite taste to me: if he raved about it, I knew I would hate it, and vice versa.
    TrojanRB and Chuckdiesel24 like this.
  5. VoodooBear

    VoodooBear Defender (607) Aug 25, 2012 Puerto Rico

    Frankly, it's just a cop-out. I get a feeling people just want to be completionists and "pad their stats" so to speak. If you don't have time to write a "full review", don't! That's OK! The wonderful thing about BA is that there's a ton of ways to be a part of the community and contribute. Leaving a bunch of ratings so your beer count and beer karma go up is not one of them. As for "not knowing how to review". No one expects a 4 paragraph blog on each beer. No one is born an expert either. Just describe what you get from the beer and why you think it's "Just okay", "very good", "exceptional", etc. No one's looking for a Shakespearean piece on why Speedway Stout is the best thing ever. Literally anyone that's into this enough to take the time and create an account and log into a beer specific forum/website can do it.

    Honestly? I don't think so. That's precisely what I don't like about Untappd. And one of the reasons scores there are just wild as hell. That it even gives you the option of "taster" as a serving option is ridiculous. You can't really explore or get to the bottom of a beer off of a 2 or 3 oz. pour. I'd rather people not enter anything at all. But then again, that's why it's so successful. It feeds into people's need to run up their numbers and get cool little badges and whatnot. "Let me go ahead and rate these 6 beers from this flight of 2 oz. tasters... Ding ding, that's 3 new badges, 4 new levels on this thing and that and 6 "new beers" for my total score".
  6. VoodooBear

    VoodooBear Defender (607) Aug 25, 2012 Puerto Rico

    As someone who belongs to that generation (I guess), I wish people would actually spend less time on their phones. If you don't have time, or don't want to seem out of place jotting down notes or being on your phone; just don't run into the internet to post about it! Enjoy the beer and be happy with that. Jumping into your phone while out with friends or going home after a night out and posting a bunch of "4/4/4/4/4" ratings on BA doesn't really help anyone.
    TrojanRB likes this.
  7. Roguer

    Roguer Poo-Bah (4,175) Mar 25, 2013 Georgia
    Moderator Society Trader

    Well, two quick thoughts:

    1) You don't have to enter a score on Untappd. That's actually what I DO like about it. I can log a "Taster," maybe even write down a few words about the beer for future reference, and not write a score - therefore no impact on the ratings. (This is also a nice feature if you think a beer may be infected, or the facility has dirty lines.)

    2) "Padding stats" also applies to reviewing. It's not hard to come up with 150 characters; you can do that just by mentioning that the beer is very dark, and was poured into a glass at a certain temperature. Now it's magically a full review.

    I see a ton of reviews that meet that bare minimum, and I can only assume it's because someone wanted to, as you said, pad their stats. Their "review" added absolutely no value over the numerical rating - so why bother?
  8. VoodooBear

    VoodooBear Defender (607) Aug 25, 2012 Puerto Rico

    It still counts towards your beer total, badges, etc. I doubt people care about actually scoring the beer and more about the "gamified" and social media aspects of beer drinking. I've personally never encountered any helpful, unrated notes like what you're pointing out (then again, I mostly use Untappd for beer menus and the occasional short review if I'm already in there) but that's actually very useful and I wish more people did that. Unfortunately that's the exception, not the rule. The ratings based off of tasters is far more pervasive.

    And I agree. Which is why I never said that a poor review is better than or a substitute for a mere rating, both are equally worthless and I don't think any sane person would argue otherwise. And in my 7 years here I've come across some bad reviews but I think you would agree that ratings outnumber poorly written reviews by far. However badly put together a review is, by default it requires some more steps and time that just plucking a couple of 3.5s on a rating and calling it a day. So again, those bad reviews are the exception, not the rule.
    Roguer likes this.
  9. Roguer

    Roguer Poo-Bah (4,175) Mar 25, 2013 Georgia
    Moderator Society Trader

    Yes, un-rated ticks still count toward badge attainment, but they don't influence the beer's score, which is the concern in BA, correct? I'd rather have a model where the "Ticker's gotta tick!" mentality doesn't impact a beer's score (in either direction). Badges don't bother me.

    As for your second point ... I'm honestly not sure. My gut instinct is that you are correct: in general, significant rDevs would seem to be more common (per capita) with ratings than reviews.

    Yet, in practice ... the latter still seem grossly common. "1.0/1.0/1.0/1.0/1.0 Super gross. Can't believe they put this in a can. Tastes nothing like Bud Light Lime. Groooooossssss."

    Yes, I'm making fun, but I'm not exaggerating: we've both seen may full "reviews" that are hardly reviews, and hardly objective in any way. Maybe they are the exception, but I don't think we're talking 1%, 5%, or even 10% here as the "exception." I think we're talking minority, but barely - especially if contrasted against pure ratings that aren't crap, themselves (i.e. absolutely valid numerical ratings without an associated review, which you would have to agree also happens).

    If random 1.0 or 5.0 ratings are more common than 1.0/5.0 ratings with reviews, then it is only in the aggregate, not inherently because of the format. Plenty of full "reviews" are utter crap (even if a minority), including 1.0/5.0 ratings that shred a brew's credibility with no real justification. Bud Light, for example, will show a trend that reveals ratings are more likely to toss a 1.0 on a brew than a full review .... but a full review doesn't exempt a beer from a 1.0 rating (converse theorem and all that).

    I guess my main point is that, dropping down words in and of itself is not an act that guarantees accuracy. Full reviews may, on average, tend to give more thoughtful and accurate ratings. If you raise the standard to, "Everyone must jot down at least 150 characters!" what you will have is not a more accurate reflection of a beer's quality, but an increase in the number of worthless reviews where someone still jots down a wildly biased rating, but manages to fill up their review with 150 characters that, at the end of the day, don't help anyone at all.
  10. VoodooBear

    VoodooBear Defender (607) Aug 25, 2012 Puerto Rico

    Well for me it's not really a concern. I don't think I'd be in favor of BA allowing "check-in" type of things with no ratings or reviews at all. Untappd and BA, in my mind, are two very different platforms for very different things. I guess I just have some sort of misguided expectation from BA that if I go in to check out a beer I should have a little more to go on than a number and some random blurb like "Tastes awesome!! Beer #1,074" à la Untappd.

    So while I would love for people that are participating in this forum to review, I understand not everyone can. The reason I jumped into this thread in the first place is because I just saw the "I don't have time/I don't know how to review" justification for why some don't review on BA when the obvious alternative for me is to just not review at all. If you're going to spend time doing something online, might as well invest the extra couple of minutes to make it something helpful for others or even for yourself as a beer drinker. If time limits you to a couple of numbers, just spend that time enjoying your beer or company instead. As for the "not knowing how to review", that's just BS. If you're enough into beer that you sought out a niche forum and consider yourself skilled/knowledgeable enough to assign number ratings; you most definitely have the qualifications to put down 4 or 5 coherent sentences as to why you put those numbers there.

    I'm not really advocating for any changes in the review/rating system. And I'm not about to go into some rant on the virtues of reviewing beer. Honestly anything that needs to be said about that topic has been said here.
    cavedave and Roguer like this.
  11. thatoneguymike

    thatoneguymike Meyvn (1,116) Sep 18, 2012 Georgia

    I always felt like BA was the more mature sibling vs the immature, annoying untappd. You love them both, but sometimes the baby gets more attention.

    I default to ut if I'm just trying to check something in very quickly, to keep a tab/tick list, but if I want a serious conversation, or feel like a particular beer needs a full write-up (or want to read a write-up from someone else that's just as passionate as I), I come here.

    Not to mention, I've made actual friends through this site, and BA has proven to be a community, and ut has yet to achieve that experience for me.

    Both have their own respective places. Respect beer.
    sulldaddy, Purp1eOne, cjgiant and 3 others like this.
  12. UCLABrewN84

    UCLABrewN84 Poo-Bah (13,372) Mar 18, 2010 California

    I was a prolific reviewer for many years but there was a point in time where something clicked in my brain and I personally felt it wasn’t worth it anymore. I still do ratings to participate and track my data in a less time consuming way.
    lrend13, sulldaddy, PatrickCT and 6 others like this.
  13. beer_beer

    beer_beer Aspirant (228) Feb 13, 2018 Finland

    As I'm feeling now I will only be reviewing in NBS, and having all my new beers in the future there too. My supply is and will be limited, so NBS must have priority. Soon I have rated those around 40 NA beers I've had before from the local shops, then I'll have another earlier 40 beers from online to rate. Then I may circulate those 80 beers without reviewing, like ever.

    But let's see :grinning:
    #133 beer_beer, Apr 25, 2019
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2019
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  14. PapaGoose03

    PapaGoose03 Poo-Bah (2,429) May 30, 2005 Michigan

    I'm surprised that this debate/thread is still going on since Todd had said there will never be a requirement for reviews to be done. I'm not one who reads reviews or provides many Ratings, so it does not matter to me very much, but I especially see the point of you reviewers about a NEED for written text sometimes. It would be right to suggest at least a brief comment if someone gives a numerical rating below, let's say, 2.5 as a starting point. A pop-up box with any rating that low could say something like, "You have given an exceptionally low rating, so it would be great if you would provide a brief comment for your reason as a warning to those who rely upon these beer ratings."
  15. Buckeye55

    Buckeye55 Poo-Bah (3,184) Jan 11, 2019 North Carolina

    Relatively new to the site and the craft scene in general, but have been drinking beer for nearly 40 years. As I'm trying new beers, I give the reviews at that time. I too, read some of the reviews and wonder, am I fucking retarded, I don't even know what corriander or some of the smells/tastes I see listed even are. I have written reviews for all beers I have rated, but with some not drank in over 30 years, I go by the best of what I can recall. I know this is kind of unfair, but I know pretty much where the beer ranked among those I have tried.

    When I am thinking about trying out a new beer, I go by the number ratings not the review anyway
  16. FBarber

    FBarber Poo-Bah (2,787) Mar 5, 2016 Illinois
    Society Trader

    Don't let that aspect get you down. Everyone has a differing repertoire of smells/flavors they are familiar with or get so that is going to differ by person. Just write what you get and go with it! Honestly over time you'll start to pick up an expanded repertoire just by reviewing beers here.
    If I am misunderstanding you, then forgive me, but if you are writing reviews of beers that you aren't actually drinking and going off your memory from "30 years" - you really should stop that immediately. Thats not how to review beers here - like its literally in the list of "don'ts" for reviewing beers here:

    Beers change all the time, our palates change all the time, etc. Reviewing from memory even weeks or days ago can be unreliable. I can't even imagine trying to review a beer from 30 years ago ...
  17. Mkozaka

    Mkozaka Devotee (494) Apr 25, 2006 Connecticut
    Society Trader

    @Roguer - you cited exactly what I like about Untappd - would love for BA to allow reviews without scoring. I try to ignore scoring and read certain members adjectives/descriptions. I would start tonight if I didn’t have to focus on a rank/score.

    Has this option ever been considered for BA?
    Buckeye55 and Roguer like this.
  18. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (3,871) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    The option has been raised and discarded. The numbers have an important function for the site.

    But you don't need to feel concern about assigning a score to the various aspects of what you think of a beer since the only part of that that really matters is that you are consistent with yourself. Also if you've ever looked at two other people and thought that one was more attractive than the other you've been rating/ranking without realizing it. :slight_smile:

    Check out the Beer 101 essay on reviewing and give it a try some time. Don't "publish" any reviews until you feel comfortable but with a little bit of practice it gets easier.

    Edit: Plus I find that reviewing helps me better remember what I liked and didn't like about certain beers. Been saving money on not buying a 2nd bottle of one I didn't care for.
    #138 drtth, May 7, 2019
    Last edited: May 7, 2019
  19. Mkozaka

    Mkozaka Devotee (494) Apr 25, 2006 Connecticut
    Society Trader

    I understand the importance of the numbers but why not allow a review that has no rating and no impact on aggregate score?

    I’m comfortable with my ability to rate based on style; I just don’t want to assign a value as there are always external variables involved and my number could fluctuate one experience vs another with same beer.
  20. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (3,871) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    Why not? For that you'll have to ask the owners of the site.

    On a consumer rating site there are always external variables involved and the number certainaly can fluctuate from one time to the next. The same is true of written descriptions. The numbers have an advantage in that one can look at numbers across several people and assume that some of the noise in the individual ratings gets canceled out.
    Bitterbill and Mkozaka like this.
  21. TheIPAHunter

    TheIPAHunter Poo-Bah (1,934) Aug 12, 2007 Pennsylvania
    Society Trader

    Peace to my brother, @cavedave. I should read this entire thread, but I won't. I don't care if people give a score rating vice writing a review. Any idiot can describe an IPA these days. Have you seen some of these goons on YouTube, ahem, that go off top and always say the same exact thing? Besides, I will never fit in a box. If you ask me to describe an IPA, I'll compare it to a woman and, if you're paying close attention, you might just walk away going, holy shit, he actually said something. Cheers to whatever floats everyone's boat. We are all here for the love of beer. Mhmmm. Can I get a witness? Good lawwwd. Amen, Hunter.
  22. Junior

    Junior Defender (600) May 23, 2015 Michigan
    Society Trader

    But it provides context. Which is useful.
    Roguer, drtth and TheIPAHunter like this.
  23. TheIPAHunter

    TheIPAHunter Poo-Bah (1,934) Aug 12, 2007 Pennsylvania
    Society Trader

    I don't think it provides context when the 1-year member with aspirations of Poo-Bah writes:

    Yeah, this looks amazing.

    The nose is ridiculous.

    Taste follows.

    Ahh, it feels so good on the palate.

    I loved this beer. Check it out!

    Side note: I have never sought any status on here. You can find me in the WBAYDN forum daily, repping that BA love. Cheers!
  24. FBarber

    FBarber Poo-Bah (2,787) Mar 5, 2016 Illinois
    Society Trader

    Its still better than the 155 character "review" that lists where the beer was bought, price, what glass it was served in, and the weather out the evening it was consumed.
    beertunes, Roguer and TheIPAHunter like this.
  25. TheIPAHunter

    TheIPAHunter Poo-Bah (1,934) Aug 12, 2007 Pennsylvania
    Society Trader

    Cheers to that, sir. I think the point is that anyone can fulfill the minimum text requirement to get more points towards their karma. I like to use my words, albeit unorthodox, when I'm truly blown away. Otherwise, I'll score. You either respect my opinion, or you don't. I try to be fair.
    Scrapss, BrewsOverHoes and FBarber like this.
  26. Junior

    Junior Defender (600) May 23, 2015 Michigan
    Society Trader

    But it does. It tells us that we can ignore the review and the rating.
    VoodooBear, drtth and GOBLIN like this.
  27. Todd

    Todd Founder (5,578) Aug 23, 1996 California
    Staff Moderator Fest Crew

    All of that said, we do have plans to return to our roots by putting more focus on reviews.
  28. beertunes

    beertunes Poo-Bah (6,029) Sep 24, 2007 Montserrat

    Eh, FWIW, my approach on UT (which I do not take seriously, it's just casual fun) is to everything a 4. Unless it's really damn great, or really damn terrible. Perhaps you could consider a similar approach here? Pick middle of the road number, give everything that number, unless you realy love or hate it. Shrug.
  29. Oh_Dark_Star

    Oh_Dark_Star Savant (957) Mar 4, 2015 Washington
    Society Trader

    Restringing is not difficult, but there is something about breaking a string that makes this chore a beer-worth endeavor!

    Scrapss and pwdbyhops like this.
  30. Oh_Dark_Star

    Oh_Dark_Star Savant (957) Mar 4, 2015 Washington
    Society Trader

    Ugh. Had this up for a good read along with another tab for beer I'm drinking now, and I seemed to have gotten them crossed... That Bbomb is a powerful stout! Sorry about the off-topic post.
    PatrickCT likes this.
  31. Scrapss

    Scrapss Champion (847) Nov 15, 2008 Pennsylvania

    I review. My palate may suck, my reviews may suck and you may hate my opinion but I won't just tick numbers without justification. I will put words to emotion on beers I bother to pontificate about. You should too if you can. But if your socialization habits dictate no additional words, then notate for later please. I would like to see your review.
    Bitterbill and beertunes like this.
  32. Oh_Dark_Star

    Oh_Dark_Star Savant (957) Mar 4, 2015 Washington
    Society Trader

    Hmm I find this debate interesting. Overall I agree that you contribute as you see fit. I kept phone notes for transfer to Excel for years. This never accomplished the on the fly need for my personal data on how a brewery fared on a particular style when choosing new brews at the bottle shop or returning to the brewery. I get pulled in by good marketing and bottle/can design and may buy a totally awful beer because the label took me in yet again!
    So I finally transferred my data to BA. So I could have it at my fingertips. Now that was over a thousand beers, most of which I put down ratings for but not always reviews.

    I add notes when I feel that something stands out for good or bad. If a beer is so mediocre and average, I'm not going to take the time to try to define it's mediocrity. Also I agree that we are not all expert tasters and I would rather add notes I have confidence in than to spout artsy sounding BS which only serves to display ignorance.

    Last note is that the majority of my ratings are below the average, which you may perceive as bringing down beers with ratings only and no review, but I find that overall contributors on beer sites overrate the beers. They compress the range between okay and outstanding to such a narrow band so as to make the review a rubber stamp of meaninglessness. If everything is a 4 to 4.5 than what is really good? what is really just okay or average?
    If you will notice BA classifies the numbers. A beer goes from okay to poor at 3.0. I don't know about you but I do try a lot of beers that are just okay in this current saturated market. I don't shy away from rating that brew for what it is. It is not a 4. And that said very few should make it to 4.7 to 5. There have been BBA stouts that were so much better than what I'd previously had that I overrated them initially. I try to also go back and bring them back into perspective as I try new and better things.

    In the end, the greater the sample size, even with wild extremes and personal bias, the more accurately the result will reflect the 'truth' of popular opinion and form a basis for relative comparison. My two cents, with review or not, further that cause!
    Bitterbill, PapaGoose03 and Junior like this.
  33. TrojanRB

    TrojanRB Meyvn (1,396) Jul 27, 2013 California
    Society Trader

    For what it’s worth, I always enjoyed your reviews.

    Understandable that after all the beers you’ve had, it probably became a chore.
    Bitterbill, cjgiant and PatrickCT like this.
  34. Sound_Explorer

    Sound_Explorer Poo-Bah (1,671) Dec 29, 2013 Washington

    Completely agree. I don't want to write a full review of every single beer, sort of takes the joy out of it. It becomes more a job or obligation added to enjoying the beer. Sometimes I am out with people and I just want to note and rate a beer I'm having in a matter of a couple minutes rather than 7-10.
    #154 Sound_Explorer, May 14, 2019
    Last edited: May 14, 2019
    Bitterbill likes this.
  35. Sound_Explorer

    Sound_Explorer Poo-Bah (1,671) Dec 29, 2013 Washington

    I will freely admit I don't review the overwhelming majority of the time. Self proclaimed ticker and proud of it thank you. I still take careful consideration when it comes to ratings though. I've taken care to establish, mentally for myself, certain rules to adhere to be consistent.I also make a point that if a beer really stands out as really good, or if my rating is quite off from the overall score at the time in case mine was a bad can/bottle or if the recipe improved and was better.

    I will also admit I did feel slightly intimidated when I first started with my ability to describe what I was tasting, I just didn't have the vocabulary. It wasn't anything the community did but I just read some other reviews with "mahogany color" or "biscuit and nut flavors" in them and I was just thinking 'WTH is all this fancy stuff I don't talk/think like that.' I've gotten more comfortable over time and experience (as well as reading a couple tasting books/articles) and got over that initial hesitation. Still don't know what plum nutty taste is though.
  36. BrewmanCapote

    BrewmanCapote Aspirant (251) Feb 3, 2013 Illinois

    Personally, I spend 40+ hours a week writing for a living, so writing is the last thing I want to do when I'm relaxing with a beer.
  37. rgordon

    rgordon Savant (937) Apr 26, 2012 North Carolina

    I rarely rate beers here ( mostly New Beer Sunday), but when I do I try very hard to get to the bottom of it. I love beer and language and find the convergence of drinking and informing quite a lot of fun. No verbiage attached to a rating is meaningless.
  38. surfcaster

    surfcaster Champion (803) Apr 20, 2013 North Carolina
    Society Trader

    Beer on your terms--the way it should be!
    Bitterbill likes this.
  39. beer_beer

    beer_beer Aspirant (228) Feb 13, 2018 Finland

    It looks to get in periods for me. Now suddenly rating and especially making own reviews take a step back. Why not following the feeling?

    There will be plenty of time to change opinions again.

    I may be a bit more beer-wise next time around too :grin:
    #159 beer_beer, May 15, 2019
    Last edited: May 15, 2019
  40. ScaryEd

    ScaryEd Poo-Bah (1,848) Feb 19, 2012 New Hampshire

    It isn't so much time consuming as it's sometimes simply impractical.

    I started rating here in 2012. That's a long time for me. My tastes and experiences have changed rather drastically over those 7 years.

    At first I was afraid to review, simply because I didn't feel I was "experienced" enough to thoughtfully explain what I was tasting, or smelling. Then I said "F it" and started writing reviews mainly for fun.

    Now it's become a genuine hobby, one in which I enjoy. I went from ticking every beer I drank to sitting down and reviewing 90% of them. That leaves the 10% that still go unreviewed, which I go back to your initial comments.

    Most beer I drink at home. To me, there's really no excuse to not write at least something down when I'm at home enjoying (or gagging on) a new beer. But the 10% I drink at pubs, breweries, or during beer shares, I just don't realistically see the point in doing it. Some people take notes and then review later. More power to them. Personally, beer is just as much a social experience as it is a personal one, so I think taking notes while I'm at a brewery with a friend is modestly absurd.

    And ultimately, I rate and review for myself. Ratings help me see if I liked a beer so I can decide to have it later and give it a proper review.