Should we split up the Top 250 Rated Beers?

Discussion in 'BeerAdvocate Talk' started by Todd, Jun 15, 2021.


Should we split up the Top 250 Rated Beers?

Poll closed Jun 22, 2021.
  1. No

    162 vote(s)
  2. Yes

    497 vote(s)
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Echo-Arazele

    Echo-Arazele Initiate (10) Apr 16, 2021 Ohio

    I just want a list of beers accessible in most areas, divvied up by type & in a normal person’s price range
    Maybe there could be a separate category for some incredibly esoteric brews that are not readily available or financially accessible to most people for those World Class connoisseur types
    Lil-Hoss likes this.
  2. Mebuzzard

    Mebuzzard Poo-Bah (3,964) May 19, 2005 Colorado
    Society Trader

    Mostly because the limited released beers tend to have a biased following and/or more extreme ratings (high and low) based on hype and other factors.
    kemoarps, BigIronH, Lil-Hoss and 3 others like this.
  3. JLK7299

    JLK7299 Meyvn (1,429) Apr 21, 2016 North Carolina
    Society Trader

    Not voting because I’m in the camp of keeping the present list as is but adding this other idea.

    Im at 198/250. Thets a lot of work I’d prefer not to see go down the drain!

    The bottom 15-20 rotate in and out a lot.
  4. jpr2510

    jpr2510 Initiate (48) Oct 19, 2014 New York

    Keep the top 250 as it is - I've had 125 last time I checked.

    Untapped already has a list of Top Rated Beers.
  5. dcotom

    dcotom Poo-Bah (2,959) Aug 4, 2014 Iowa
    Society Trader

    I voted no. I don't have any skin in this particular game; however, having finally attained 113 styles and 50+1 states after years of trying, I have to say I do appreciate the effort that tickers put into their quests. As others have stated, those moving targets are tough. :wink:
  6. brentk56

    brentk56 Poo-Bah (11,318) May 13, 2004 North Carolina
    Society Trader

    Though I have tasted 125 of the top 250, it has never been a serious focus of mine as I view the list as weighted to certain breweries and a limited number of styles. It is driven by hype and breweries that are within driving distance of where BAs are concentrated. There are many beers out there that are worthy of being top 250 but they are produced by breweries that are far from the crowds and they may only get a couple of reviews and a handful of ticks. I am not sure how you solve for that problem so I just do my thing and don't pay much attention to the top 250.

    FWIW, I much prefer seeing the diversity of beer styles in the beers of fame list.
    kemoarps, mdaschaf, Whyteboar and 3 others like this.
  7. Bhubbard34

    Bhubbard34 Disciple (324) Mar 4, 2016 Pennsylvania

    I personally visit BA the most for 1. Trades and 2. The Top 250 list. Almost two years ago I made it a goal to tick the BA top 100. I’m currently at 71/100 and would be very very disappointed to see this list altered. They are the best beers in the world they SHOULD be hard to get. The fact that I’ve been fortunate to try 71 of the top 100 in about two years shows you that while hard to get, with effort, a lot of them can be tried. Why does the top 250 have to be “easy” for ppl to get. If you want them and care, then join the trading forum fun. If you don’t want to put the effort in, then maybe ticking the top 250 isn’t for you. I’m not opposed to adding a “top 250 year round beer” tab…..BUT DO NOT ALTER THE TOP 250. @Todd you mention it’s one of the most visited things on the site so people must not care too much about it be “stagnant” if it changed frequently, no one would be able to chase it.
    AlexIrigoyen, Sabtos, dcotom and 5 others like this.
  8. Matt_a_Morr

    Matt_a_Morr Initiate (68) Jul 22, 2013 Indiana

    Perhaps this is heresy, perhaps it’s already been said: the current top 250 is significantly whack. I’ve had many across the list (and no, I don’t keep count), and the rating bias for a few not-to-be-named breweries and styles skews the list unrealistically.

    Keep it, set it to the side, and let’s try for something both more accessible (but not overly so, I love my elephant hunts) AND more reasonable.
    kemoarps, brentk56 and BBThunderbolt like this.
  9. zac16125

    zac16125 Poo-Bah (2,353) Jan 26, 2010 South Carolina
    Society Trader

    Solid idea. I don’t really care, so long as you don’t mess with the Beers of Fame list. That’s the REAL list worth ticking.
    kemoarps, skivtjerry, jmdrpi and 3 others like this.
  10. chrisiswhothisis

    chrisiswhothisis Disciple (371) Dec 15, 2011 California

    Beer Advocate does the list right. Breaking it out into affordability is subjective. Distribution can change (i.e. Founders in CA). A list with year-round beers would be nice, though.

    See Untappd list for wrong way. Any beer with a year on the label should be on a separate list. I'm sure a 2010 Bourbon County was amazing, but it wouldn't be today and is a waste of space on a list. And I know this isn't an Untappd thread, but can I also say that Heineken is NOT a trending beer. A percentage differential should say what's trending not quantity consumed. Duh, 1,000's of people are drinking Coors Light right now...doesn't mean it's trending up or down.
    bret27, Sabtos, ChicagoJ and 3 others like this.
  11. UrbanCaveman

    UrbanCaveman Meyvn (1,109) Sep 30, 2014 Ohio
    Society Trader

    I have a sneaking suspicion that at least some of the allure and mystique of the Top 250 is from the reputation of each beer and the effort required to get hold of it as opposed to the sensual qualities of the beer itself (a la the old Judgment of Paris in the wine realm). If that hypothesis is true, that implies it to be a list prone to reinforcing itself, because nobody who has invested the time, effort, and expense to get hold of any of those beers would rate them as on par with anything perceived as lesser or more common. For one example, I don't know that terribly many folks could reliably distinguish between St B Abt 12 and Westy 12 in a completely blind test, and one of those is on virtually every import shelf in the US while the other requires a trip to Belgium, an international order, or a trade.

    The stagnancy of the list seems almost to be evidence for this hypothesis - keeping to that same example, no one at all has come up with a better quad in the time since Westy 12 hit the Top 250, regardless of experimentation? All others are vastly inferior, and the closest thing to the Platonic ideal of "quad" is and forevermore shall always be Westy 12?

    This explains my preference for the Beers Of Fame list, and expressed opinion that expanding that sort of functionality to encompass newer beers would be preferable. That is but my opinion, based on how I approach beer acquisition and enjoyment. Others may find that the hunt truly does enhance their enjoyment and delight in a beer, and more power to them.

    The suggestions to keep the overall Top 250, with either additional lists of more readily acquired beers or filters that can be applied to the Top 250 list itself, seem like the best of both the casual and thar-she-blows enthusiast approaches.
    kemoarps, Harrison8, ChicagoJ and 4 others like this.
  12. zonker17

    zonker17 Meyvn (1,204) Aug 23, 2011 Texas

    Very simple solution. Keep the current Top 250 and add a new query that excludes limited/seasonal beers and call it something else. Top 250 Attainable Beers, etc.
  13. TravelingJay

    TravelingJay Initiate (116) Dec 18, 2020 Tennessee

    A little late to the thread here as I’d only been using the BA250 as a shopping guide wish list. With only about maybe 30 of them checked off the list I think it’s a good benchmark list - like the BA250 is the GOAT.

    Keep it intact but add the top 100 for every year as rated by users, and then based off the BA250, it’d be easy to produce a top 100 seasonal list too. So:

    1. Top 250 (or 100) GOAT
    2. Top 250/100 year-round
    3. Top 250/100 seasonal

    Todd linked me here via the Discord so there’s my contribution
  14. cjgiant

    cjgiant Poo-Bah (6,011) Jul 13, 2013 District of Columbia

    I would've argued to break it up, but people who have much more interest in it than I have convinced me to vote to leave it as is and perhaps add another means of doing the new list (others have posed good ideas).

    I wonder if it would be possible to give some sort of indicator of the number of ratings/reviews for each beer in the last year and/or more recently (maybe last 3 months). IF possible, this could really be done for all lists. It could give people an idea of how available a beer may be and perhaps an indication of whether a beer is holding its position over time or resting on its past success.
  15. Todd

    Todd Founder (6,669) Aug 23, 1996 California
    Staff Moderator Fest Crew Society Trader

    Thanks for dropping your thoughts in the thread.

    Thanks to all of you.

    Good discussion with some solid ideas forming.
  16. teromous

    teromous Poo-Bah (3,417) Mar 21, 2010 Virginia
    Society Trader

    There are currently options for country and state if you use the drop-down options, for example:
  17. draheim

    draheim Poo-Bah (3,022) Sep 18, 2010 Washington

    I don’t really have a stake in this so take my opinion for what it’s worth. But one thing that’s great about BA is that you are sitting on a mountain of data. Not only do you have a massive database of beers, sortable in all kinds of ways, but you also have many years’ worth of user ratings and reviews. All of this is stating the obvious of course. But what’s interesting to me as a user is all the different ways you can slice and dice the data to reveal things about the current world of beer.

    I think of the Beers of Fame as a list of the “classics” and the Top 250 as “tickers’ paradise.” Sounds like you are looking for something in between. Honestly I’d be OK with four or five different lists, as long as it’s clear what each represents. For the casual beer drinker it’s probably pretty frustrating to dive into the Top 250 only to learn that most of them are next to impossible to get. But as others have noted, from a marketing standpoint (both for BA and for breweries) it’s a valuable list to have.

    So bottom line, I voted yes but I’d like to see lots of different ways all this data can be shuffled to get interesting results.
  18. Lil-Hoss

    Lil-Hoss Initiate (32) Oct 31, 2015 Pennsylvania

    Please make a separate list of the top beers for the "common family man. Some of us do not make six figures, nor do we have the time to track down these expensive beers. Many of then are over-hyped, and many are high in alcohol. Sometimes, I think that is the only reason they are rated so highly. I have enjoyed some fantastic specialty beers from Genesee. A list that would include reasonably priced, not over $2 a bottle, and easily accessible beers across the nation would be fantastic and frequented by more people. Thanks for considering a different Top 250 list!
    ChicagoJ and BBThunderbolt like this.
  19. StevieB332

    StevieB332 Initiate (15) Dec 11, 2020 Pennsylvania

    I don’t see any downside to splitting up the list into what’s accessible year round and what is limited/seasonal/regional. Up for whatever the group decides and frankly what is the downside to splitting apart the 250 anyway? Who would get pissed about that?
    kemoarps likes this.
  20. jjayjaye

    jjayjaye Poo-Bah (1,616) Sep 26, 2004 New York

    I wouldn’t recommend messing with the list but I like the idea of being able to filter looks at it. Top by style, top with no fewer than x# of reviews. The list motivated me to plan beer Safaris and get involved in trading, back in the day.
    Sabtos and ChicagoJ like this.
  21. algebeeric_topology

    algebeeric_topology Zealot (554) Dec 30, 2014 Florida

    +1 to breaking it up.

    It would be really nice to see much more flexibility in regard to what "top 250" could be. Given the partnership with Untappd, it'd be nice if I had the option to do 250 worldwide, 250 US, and 250 norhteast/mid Atlantic. Style filters would be nice too.

    I'd love for there to be a seamless way for finding "top beers" in another region whenever I travel. I wouldn't even be mad if someone called me out for how easy it already is, I'm just too lazy to figure it out.
    kemoarps, ChicagoJ and Sheppard like this.
  22. 22Blue

    22Blue Poo-Bah (2,414) Nov 10, 2013 Kansas
    Society Trader

    I like the Top 250 as is. I live in Kansas and have managed to enjoy over 90% of the list. Trading, festivals, shares, and travel have made it an enjoyable experience. I will probably never complete the entire list (thanks Ann), but I am loving the journey!

    However I would enjoy a list of year-round beers.

    Sabtos, ChicagoJ, Whyteboar and 2 others like this.
  23. Longhorn08

    Longhorn08 Aspirant (283) Feb 4, 2014 Texas

    Just seems like you are proposing to create a new list just for the sake of creating a new list. I personally see no value added here.

    One mans opinion.
    ChicagoJ and Bhubbard34 like this.
  24. Ranbot

    Ranbot Defender (668) Nov 27, 2006 Pennsylvania

    @zid speaks for me, especially the last part about adding more interactive filters.
    ChicagoJ and FBarber like this.
  25. md3kcn

    md3kcn Devotee (493) Feb 4, 2021 North Carolina

    How about a "Beer Hall of Fame" list, then a "Top 250 Beers" list, with only active listings?
    Barleycorn likes this.
  26. bauers

    bauers Disciple (399) Feb 6, 2011 California
    Society Trader

    I voted in favor; some sort of modification would make the list(s) more useful.

    I wonder if it might make sense to have something like three lists:

    • Top 100 Year-Round/Seasonal Beers - the seasonals would be ones that breweries do every year (like, say, Anchor's Our Special Ale) rather than one-offs that happen to be released for a season.
    • Top 100 Limited Releases - this would include beers that can also appear regularly, but for very short periods of time and in more limited quantity.
    • Top "Classics" - in some ways, this would be the "Hall of Fame" for beers. While the other two would be limited to 100 beers, this list would have some criteria needed that, once met, placed the beer on the list... and retires it from competition on other lists. For example, if Our Special Ale appears on the Year-Round/Seasonal List for xx number of times, it "graduates" to the "Classics" list. Similarly if, say, Dark Lord is on the Limited releases list for xx number of times. This list would honor these consistently great beers, while making room on the other lists for new classics.

    Not perfect, but what list is?
    kemoarps and secondtooth like this.
  27. elNopalero

    elNopalero Poo-Bah (4,654) Oct 14, 2009 California
    Society Trader

    @Todd or mods,
    Can someone speak to the process that determines a top 250 beer? I imagine it is some combination of ratings plus reviews over a certain threshold, but how does something extremely rare (or even no longer available/in production) remain on the list? I’m not a trader and I’m not trying to complete the 250 so I don’t have the same skin in the game… (but I am trying for one of each style and one from each state so go figure. Maybe if there was a “people’s 250” I’d work on that next.)
    kemoarps, Whyteboar and bauers like this.
  28. Rhettroactive

    Rhettroactive Poo-Bah (1,893) Mar 28, 2009 Pennsylvania

    Maybe create a pull down tab that offers options for all three:

    1. Top 250, period
    2. Top 250 year-round/seasonal/available
    3. Top 250 whale bottles

    That way the original list stands, uncompromised. Plus you get the ability to see what’s available and tasty, and what’s not around and also tasty.
    Junior and Roguer like this.
  29. Roguer

    Roguer Poo-Bah (7,098) Mar 25, 2013 Connecticut
    Moderator Society Trader

    My vote is no, with a caveat: I think “Seasonal/Rotating” is too broad.

    Seasonal implies a beer is released every year. It’s not a year round beer or flagship, but it’s predictable and reliable.

    Rotating is more of a catch all, and can include beers in very limited rotation.

    If the goal is to separate rare or one-off beers from reliably attainable beers, I don’t think “Seasonal/Rotating” should be lumped in with “One-Off.” There’s too much of a gap between BCBS and Hoptimum, which just about anyone could obtain at least once, and Dark Lord, or gawd forbid, TG KBBS.

    So I’m in favor of splitting it up, but only along lines that improve the grouping, instead of just moving the line on how they’re grouped awkwardly.
  30. Condorito

    Condorito Initiate (19) Oct 13, 2020 California

    As a Pils or Pilsener drinker I generally have no interest in any other type of beer and a Pils deserves its own rubric for Pils Connoisseurs. I know there are "lushes" out there who will just about drink anything, but a Pils is in a class all of its own. It has allowed me to "live long and prosper."
  31. Todd

    Todd Founder (6,669) Aug 23, 1996 California
    Staff Moderator Fest Crew Society Trader

  32. boyoboyoboy

    boyoboyoboy Initiate (7) Sep 13, 2019 Illinois

    I voted "no". Why don't you give everyone a participation trophy while your at it? Just another step towards the "pussification of America". Let's tie one of Lebron James hands behind his back to equalize the skills of everyone on the basketball court. Let's let Michigan get a 48 point lead against Ohio State to give them a chance at winning "The Game". No thanks - I'll take my not getting every beer just as I would rather not be spotted points against Ohio State to have the victory mean something. It's not the same when you try to "equalize" everybody.
    bubseymour likes this.
  33. beerking1

    beerking1 Disciple (369) Feb 24, 2004 Virginia

    What would they be split into, and why? I only have had 46 of the beers, but that doesn't keep the remaining 204 from being in the top 250!
    ChicagoJ likes this.
  34. Bhubbard34

    Bhubbard34 Disciple (324) Mar 4, 2016 Pennsylvania

    The more I think about this, the lamer the excuse for change is
    “these beers are too hard to get so we don’t like the top 250 list”

    If you think the top 250 is “too hard” then chase the top 250 “trending”, or top 250 “new”, or top 250 “popular”. Lots of options for people to find diff list of great beers they choose to chase.

    changing the top 250 (that clearly a lot of people look at and chase) because some ppl think there’s too many whales on it seems like a really poor excuse to change it
    bubseymour, ChicagoJ and Hopelessly0 like this.
  35. HouseofWortship

    HouseofWortship Meyvn (1,352) May 3, 2016 Illinois
    Society Trader

    Part of the criteria should be whether you can shotgun the beer in its current format. If you aren't willing to chug a 750ml barrel aged adjunct stout in one sitting, how good can it really be?
    Affinity, Sabtos, ChicagoJ and 2 others like this.
  36. TODDwGrabill

    TODDwGrabill Aspirant (274) Aug 17, 2016 Pennsylvania

    There is no doubt you should freshen things up. Stir up the conversation with beers we can track down. Those discontinued beers have a place in some of our hearts and history is important. But lets keep the conversation rolling forward. The craft beer movement learns and grows right here on this very site. CHEERS!
  37. Mosca

    Mosca Initiate (153) Jun 27, 2005 Pennsylvania

    It’s just beer.

    Sure, it’s really good, and beer is fun. But the more serious it is, the less fun it becomes. Drink good beer and live your life.
    ChicagoJ and Whyteboar like this.
  38. Specialmick

    Specialmick Devotee (451) Aug 26, 2019 Connecticut

    Yes. I really believe if you can't even get a chance at the beers why should the top 5 beers be virtually unavailable. I definitely agree with @Zorro there needs to be a minimum of reviews in order to get an accurate review. I am sure those beers at the top are very good but who would know, the 200 people who reviewed them? Please
  39. Bhubbard34

    Bhubbard34 Disciple (324) Mar 4, 2016 Pennsylvania

    #5 heady topper is widely available in a lot of states now (my local grocery store is getting it about every other month). #4 BA Abraxas I traded local shellfies for $4$. Some of the beers on the top 100 are crazy whales yes, but again most can be gotten with a little time and effort.
    #79 Bhubbard34, Jun 16, 2021
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2021
    Junior and unlikelyspiderperson like this.
  40. stevoj

    stevoj Poo-Bah (9,888) Nov 22, 2011 Idaho

    Develop a baseline number of reviews for a beer to included on the list. I always found it strange that a beer with 12 reviews could be considered one of the top beers in the world. This may also address the availability issue, as a beer would need to be somewhat available to garner enough reviews.
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.