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)
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  1. ADTaber

    ADTaber Meyvn (1,033) Apr 29, 2011 South Carolina

    The top rated list is just that, the list of the top 250 current beers on BA. If you add other stipulations to it then it is no longer the list of the top 250 current beers on BA and becomes the top beers with the x stipulations, thereby defeating the purpose of it being called the “Top”
    Jack_14, Junior, hozersr and 4 others like this.
  2. unlikelyspiderperson

    unlikelyspiderperson Poo-Bah (2,078) Mar 12, 2013 California
    Society Trader

    I thought the purpose of the Top 250 was to reflect the best regarded beers, that are currently in production, by the BA rating community. Adding other stipulations to that would.defeat that purpose would become a different list. I don't see any reason to remove.the current top list but see a lot of value in creating new lists that serve other purposes
  3. captaincoffee

    captaincoffee Poo-Bah (1,831) Jul 10, 2011 Virginia
    Society Trader

    How about almost none.
    I love when people disagree and then build a strawman to knock down instead of addressing any actual points made. Better yet, say those people just aren't smart or sophisticated enough to understand.
    I think you are 100% on the right track here, Todd. 75% percent are saying "yes" and they are 100% just as informed and sophisticated beer drinkers as the 25%.
    kemoarps, cavedave and Todd like this.
  4. hozersr

    hozersr Meyvn (1,114) May 11, 2014 Pennsylvania

    I voted no only because it give me incentive to find these beers. I travel often with my wife in our travel trailer. We travel to breweries just for this reason. It is an obsession of ours.
    Bhubbard34 likes this.
  5. bubseymour

    bubseymour Poo-Bah (3,435) Oct 30, 2010 Maryland
    Society Trader

    I would say leave the Top 250 list alone but create a legend with explanation of the meaning of each classification of acquisition difficulty. Maybe a 1-5 black Diamond rating…1 being easiest to acquire and 5 being the ultra difficult. In the legend explain what each Diamond of difficult mt to acquire means so people reading the list understand. Like 4 and 5 black diamonds…you’ll never find in any stores for example, 5 diamonds you need to enter a lottery or expect to stand in line for hours once a year etc. just an idea. Only would have to do this for the top lists on BA and not for all beers on the site so should be pretty easy for the moderators to mark them.
  6. bubseymour

    bubseymour Poo-Bah (3,435) Oct 30, 2010 Maryland
    Society Trader

    What if the top 250 had a maxium of 10 beers by style? Allow more representation of other beers style into the list….guarantees that at least 25 different styles get represented in the best 250 beers of the world listing. Just an idea to toss out.
  7. 57md

    57md Poo-Bah (3,413) Aug 22, 2011 Pennsylvania

    Good point. I recall the seasonal tags and you're definitely correct that there were several that were incorrect.

    Thanks for your response.
  8. jvgoor3786

    jvgoor3786 Poo-Bah (2,310) May 28, 2015 Arkansas
    Society Trader

    Sometimes words hurt, man.
    Bhubbard34 likes this.
  9. cavedave

    cavedave Poo-Bah (3,099) Mar 12, 2009 New York
    Society Trader

    Ahhh, then it has no real purpose. It is merely an intellectual exercise, an observation of data points, with no practical value. I think it is telling most of the people who voted believe it should have a purpose/practical value, and voted yes.
    kemoarps likes this.
  10. Sabtos

    Sabtos Poo-Bah (10,038) Dec 15, 2015 Ohio
    Society Trader

    If it doesn't have a purpose or practical value to you, then don't use it. But don't say that it doesn't have a purpose or practical value when it's been described unnecessarily several times over now that it does, and you're choosing to ignore it because of your own bias against it.
    Junior, ADTaber and Bhubbard34 like this.
  11. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Poo-Bah (1,914) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    Wouldn't the poll indicate it doesn't have a purpose or practical value to 75% of the people?
  12. Sabtos

    Sabtos Poo-Bah (10,038) Dec 15, 2015 Ohio
    Society Trader

    BeerAdvocate itself doesn't have a purpose or practical value to at least 75% of human beings, and if we're being honest it's probably more like 99.999%. So let's scrap the website while we're at it.

    Popular opinion isn't something I hang my hat on in discussions like this.
  13. Coronaeus

    Coronaeus Poo-Bah (1,891) Apr 21, 2014 Canada (ON)
    Society Trader

    I spend most of my time with the Canada top 100 list. I am not sure if what I don’t like about it has any crossover to the Top 250 list. The lack of change to the Canada Top 100 list is due to the small pool of Canadian users actively rating beers on the site. Without any access to data, I can only go by my experiential observations. I would presume that the number of Canadian reviewers/raters today is much lower than it was when I joined 7+ years ago. The list certainly reflects this assumption. The list is also skewed towards beers that are distributed to the US. Dieu du Ciel! and Collective Arts have numerous entries on the list. The former makes a lot of very good beers. The latter is decidedly average compared to what is available locally throughout the country.

    These two things contribute to list that is more in line with a ‘Canadian Beers of Fame’ or ‘Widely available’ list than a Top 100 list. That is fine of course, but also paints a very out-of-touch picture of the Canadian beer scene. My fear with a change to the Top 250 list along the lines proposed would be that it becomes less exciting for many in the way the Top Canada list has become for me.

    Again, I’m not sure this translates to the Top 250 list and the concerns over it. What I have wanted to see with the Canadian list is making older ratings, and out of country ratings, worth less to some degree in the calculation, I think the list would better reflect a truer Top 100.

    That said of course, doing this skews ratings in a different direction, one that I would prefer, but likely some others wouldn’t. It also doesn’t account for the Untappd problem. In Canada, Quebec beer aficionados tend to rate local beer much higher than in other provinces. So, the Untappd top list looks like a Quebec top list. There are some fairly convincing social and political reasons for why this occurs. And, the beers at the top are all excellent and reflect a more current picture of the Canadian beer world than the list here. The provincial lists are much more useful on the whole though, due to what appears to be a very different tacit rating criteria shared by drinkers in the other provinces. .

    I don’t know. The lists were one of the things that drew me to the site originally. I find them to be far less interesting now. That is partly because of how little the one I look at most has changed despite huge changes to the beer world here. But, also, I don’t really care much about ‘ticking’ any more.

    I suppose whatever makes the lists most exciting to a majority of users would be my vote.
    #173 Coronaeus, Jun 18, 2021
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2021
  14. cavedave

    cavedave Poo-Bah (3,099) Mar 12, 2009 New York
    Society Trader

    A curiosity in and of itself, or an intellectual exercise with no goal other than to display a result, is not a practical purpose. Just saying it is doesn't make it so.

    This site isn't an intellectual exercise. It s a business. The goal of the business is to help breweries to sell beer. 75% of the people who voted in the poll want to split up the list so that it is better at doing that.
    kemoarps, AlcahueteJ and skivtjerry like this.
  15. Sabtos

    Sabtos Poo-Bah (10,038) Dec 15, 2015 Ohio
    Society Trader

    You're trying too hard to separate this list from the greater purpose of this site, because you personally want one to continue to exist and the other to not, instead of stepping back and recognizing the absurdly contradictory nature of your statements.

    Just as this site isn't an intellectual exercise, for the same reason you yourself listed, neither is the top list.

    1. 1.
      of or concerned with the actual doing or use of something rather than with theory and ideas.
    The list curates a collection of actively brewed, highly-regarded beers for those of us who care to seek out the best of the best as determined in the aggregate.

    It serves as a reference point we otherwise wouldn't have had any way of knowing, outside of someone writing an article listing their favorite beers. Articles being the opinion of one person, or some collection of persons, often having nothing to do with beer other than being an entertainment and/or food writer for some magazine in some metro locality, you can always take such lists with a much larger grain of salt, particularly by questioning what role marketing and advertising played in the compilation thereof.

    This list is far more practical than an opinion article, ergo far more useful to beer consumers, as well as vendors, bars, and even brewers and breweries. It provides inspiration to explore the world of beer, visit breweries and attend festivals in a more targeted manner. It helps us keep a bearing on what to look out for that might open a new world of beer to us, good or bad.

    The beer on this list isn't the only beer sold in pursuit of completing this list. If a brewery is on the list, their pedigree tends to be tested as far as the rest of their beer is concerned, and often, so too will the local area's offerings--maybe brewers left and started their own competing breweries, or joined on somewhere else that seems to be making waves. Or maybe there's just a really solid beer culture in that town, in part because of that brewery, or the roots it grew from. Then there's the fact that these beers have historically often commanded a pursuit of comparatively valued or similar brewed and aged beers in return in the trading community. This all generates more interest and exploration, and inspires actual action in enthusiasts.

    I'd wager that the Top 250 list has generated far more economic activity than the Beers of Fame list, because the Beers of Fame list got that way by popular consumption more generally, whereas the Top 250 list is a lot harder to get ahold of, and in turn inspires the quest, which ultimately costs a lot of time (money) and money (money). It may have even generated far more economic activity than any of us could imagine, considering its longstanding yet everchanging presence in the craft beer community as a whole.

    Now, are you just going to ignore everything I said, again, and repeat your whole intellectual exercise schtick once more?
    Junior, o29, ADTaber and 1 other person like this.
  16. Chuckdiesel24

    Chuckdiesel24 Poo-Bah (1,843) Jul 6, 2016 Illinois
    Society Trader

    No, that's not what it indicates. It indicates that 75% of the people who voted want to "split it up", which could mean quite a few things.
  17. BRLockwood

    BRLockwood Aspirant (279) Aug 1, 2005 Florida

    Good idea! I haven't read all the posts but maybe an all time top 250? I guess the way it is now with retired and rotating/seasonal beers. Then you can have an idea of what historically was the best beers of all time. But I do like the idea of a year round top 250 list. Keep and add. Thanks!
  18. cavedave

    cavedave Poo-Bah (3,099) Mar 12, 2009 New York
    Society Trader

    I read your your definition of practical. Did you? Refer to my statement that 75% of people who responded want to make the list more practical.

    There are folks who want the list to be an intellectual exercise. They have responded in this thread. There are those who want the list to stay the same because they fear there will be less challenge to their ticking and completionism if it is revised. At least you finally came out and admitted that the practical purpose of it you see is to make things as difficult as possible for tickers/completionists. I think this also hits the nail on the head to explain the disparity in the voting.

    Anyway, nice discussion. I'm out. Cheers!
  19. BBThunderbolt

    BBThunderbolt Poo-Bah (9,807) Sep 24, 2007 Kiribati
    Society Trader

    Ease or difficulty of obtaining a beer has no impact on the quality of the beer.

    Perhaps a separate list of the Top 250 Most Difficult To Obtain Beers should be created.
  20. Sabtos

    Sabtos Poo-Bah (10,038) Dec 15, 2015 Ohio
    Society Trader

    I genuinely do not think you did, and you certainly did not make any sort of connection from the definition to my illustration of how it is practical.
    And you reveal yourself with your vindictive re-writing of history, putting words in my mouth that I did not say.

    You are emotionally connected to the idea that this list be demolished, while I'm countering your hyperbole directly with a sober analysis of the list's practical use.
    Accessible =/= practical.
    Junior and ADTaber like this.
  21. Damian

    Damian Poo-Bah (3,364) Jun 1, 2006 Massachusetts
    Society Trader

    Point taken. I guess what I meant to say is that I don’t CARE if the top rated beers are difficult to acquire. Typically, however, most have been limited and/or rare and I’m 100% okay with that.
  22. zid

    zid Poo-Bah (1,757) Feb 15, 2010 New York
    Society Trader

    Many responses here surprise me. The BA database has certain data for each beer. A restructuring of the top 250 list would change the organization of things according to that data, but it will not change the data. It seems like a good portion of people are not fully taking this into consideration and are instead taking the interesting proposal as a magic fix to something they dislike.

    Simply excluding "rotating and seasonal" beers will not take the price of the beer into account. It will not take distribution area into account. It will not take production output into account. It will not take batch size into account. It will not negate people's ratings biases for certain styles. It will probably not create a list that can be ticked without trading. I'm guessing it might not get SNPA on the list (it's currently ranked as the 5,248th best beer... down 4 spots from yesterday). The list will exclude by design something like Celebration, but it would potentially include a draft-only, brewery-only beer from a small brewery.

    What that exact organizational change will do is make the output of certain brewers ineligible for consideration for BA's top beers list... brewers who have a business model with practically everything in their portfolio as a rotational (a business model that likely has increasing popularity in the industry).

    I decided to quickly scan the top beers of NY list to see how many of them were year-round. After some spot checking, I only found 4 on the top 100. Half of those were incorrectly listed as year-round. I also found a year-round beer that was incorrectly listed as rotating. It also became clear that different people have different definitions of year-round. The Other Half website currently has 152 beers categorized as "year-round" vs "occasional" (yeah, right). The first year-round beer on their list is not currently available for purchase at the brewery (unsurprisingly) and it is listed as "rotating" on BA. In other words, even if such a change was made to the BA list, the change will only be as valuable as the accuracy of the data.

    Would I like to see what a top 250 year-round list would look like? Sure. But as THE top 250 list, I imagine that it would be excluding a big portion of today's craft beer culture (and therefore be a poorer reflection of it in some respects) and not really providing the "beer for everyone" list that some here seem to envision/desire. It was stated in the OP that the list has become stagnant as a result of the current format. Changing the list to year-round only would shake things up tremendously at first, but after that initial upheaval, I can't imagine the list becoming any less stagnant. I would expect the limiting of the beers to just year-round offerings to potentially make the list even more stagnant since there will be fewer eligible beers and a tougher barrier for entry.
  23. keilerdunkel

    keilerdunkel Initiate (189) Apr 8, 2004 Illinois

    I voted to keep the top 250 list the way it is. To me, it’s representative of current reviewers’ tastes. It may seem static in the short term, but it’s changed a lot since 2004. Personally, it’s of little use to me to set goals for trying beers, but it’s interesting to see how many I’ve had. (No surprise that I’ve had many more of the beers of fame.)

    In short- keep the top 250 as is, but i like the idea of the year-round/seasonal lists.
  24. skivtjerry

    skivtjerry Zealot (598) Mar 10, 2006 Vermont

    I did not vote because my feelings are in that muddled area between the extremes. I say keep the Top 250 but make some changes. In addition to the ideas already discussed, I question whether you should use all ratings, no matter how old, to populate the list. That beer that was mind blowing 10 years ago when it had less competition is likely "good but nothing really special" nowadays. A rising tide doers not always lift all boats. So I say let ratings more than 7, 10 or 12 years old drop out of the database as far as compiling the list (definitely do not delete them from the site though!) and adjust rankings accordingly. I am definitely not a ticker and have no dog in this fight; just my thoughts.

    Just don't mess with Beers of Fame.
    AlcahueteJ likes this.
  25. aasher

    aasher Poo-Bah (3,608) Jan 27, 2010 Indiana

    Keep the current list then offer a different top 250 that features beers that aren't one offs
    keilerdunkel and Junior like this.
  26. bret27

    bret27 Poo-Bah (1,990) Mar 10, 2009 California
    Society Trader

    One-offs aren’t included on the top 250 currently.
    Bhubbard34 and Junior like this.
  27. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Poo-Bah (1,914) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    Maybe I’m misreading what you’re saying, and my apologies if I am. But what you said to @cavedave is that it doesn’t matter if it doesn’t have a practical purpose or value to him, because he’s only one person.

    Isn’t your opinion the opposite, and you’re the only one holding it? (I realize you aren’t, but @cavedave is far from the only one holding his opinion either).

    So what metric should we use to determine if the list is useful then?

    One might say that the people responding to this thread/voting in it are the only who do care.

    Also, maybe the site needs more traffic/members, and since the “Top 250” list is a key feature of the site, wouldn’t that be one of the first things you’d change to generate more user activity?

    kemoarps likes this.
  28. jjamadorphd

    jjamadorphd Poo-Bah (1,999) Jul 21, 2012 Florida
    Society Trader

    Took me a while to get to this, but I agree with the majority. Split this up, make it more attainable, and sit back see the stats go wild... :slight_smile:
  29. unlikelyspiderperson

    unlikelyspiderperson Poo-Bah (2,078) Mar 12, 2013 California
    Society Trader

    What I am noticing, and finding confusing, is the idea that the top list "doesn't have a practical purpose". It is, very simply, a list of the best regarded, currently produced, beers in the world by the rating community of BeerAdvocate users. That might or might not be useful information to any given person, but it just is what it is. Its the list of the best rated beers in the world, according to the aggregate of users on this site. Period.

    Its usefulness to me is largely confined to that of any cultural artefact. It conveys some information to me about the broader culture around beer in the US currently. I probably have looked at it less than 10 times in my life. Other people derive other value from it. Its had it's metrics tweaked a number of times apparently, presumably in an attempt to make it more "useful" to more people. However, it seems obvious that making a dramatic change like turning it into something like "top 250 beers that aren't extremely difficult to obtain" would really just turn it into an entirely different thing and it would lose essentially all of its current usefulness and have a new and different usefulness. People, myself included, who remain curious about what the general beer nerd regards as the "best" beers period will just have to find another list that aggregates drinker submitted ratings to consider to answer that question.

    I don't see how a dramatic that, rather than a simple addition of another list, adds any net benefit to BA. But I'm also not in charge of this site or heavily invested in the lists either way, so maybe I'm missing something. I trust that @Todd and the team will continue to make well considered choices about their assets but I do think the notion that the "top beers" list needs to be "useful" beyond conveying the aggregate best rated beers is kind of silly. It is what it is.
  30. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Poo-Bah (1,914) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    Completely agree.

    Not implying you didn’t think that, but I just wanted to be clear since you quoted my post. Not that I’m offended or anything either, but your post was well said, and I do agree.
    meefmoff likes this.
  31. Chuckdiesel24

    Chuckdiesel24 Poo-Bah (1,843) Jul 6, 2016 Illinois
    Society Trader

    This one:

    In my opinion, no - if it's one of the most viewed pages on this site.

    Anyways, my point was that the poll was binary, and maybe a bit confusing. You could vote split it up and really mean "keep it the same but split out a new list of year-round", or you could mean "split it up and don't have one overall list". I think a more useful poll would have a middle ground option.
    AlcahueteJ and Bhubbard34 like this.
  32. MFly

    MFly Initiate (18) Nov 27, 2012 Georgia

    As a bar owner, I'd LOVE to get my hands on most of the current top 250, but they simply aren't available in Georgia. I like the idea of the Hall of Fame 250, but I'd be more interested in referring to a list of currently popular and respected beers that are nationally/regionally available, just to keep our rotating offerings fresh and exciting. Cheers!
  33. keilerdunkel

    keilerdunkel Initiate (189) Apr 8, 2004 Illinois

    I love the idea of regional lists- or at least having the option to sort by region. I would find useful from a consumer point of view and would welcome use by bar/restaurant owners as well.

    When I travel, it’s nice to know what are the well regarded regional beers, so that I can keep an eye out when preparing for dinner or eating out. (Yards brawler and Philadelphia pale ale are standouts and I’m not sure if I’d found the had I not been looking based on recommendations for standout shelf beers I saw in the forums.)

    We’re heading to Boston this summer and I’m looking forward to finding some Jack’s Abby in the wild.
    kemoarps and MFly like this.
  34. PA-Michigander

    PA-Michigander Poo-Bah (1,783) Nov 10, 2013 Pennsylvania
    Society Trader

    Which beers are you still missing?
  35. npolachek

    npolachek Meyvn (1,017) Jul 13, 2018 New York

    I think you should definitely keep the "whale beers" top 250 (e.g. current list) as that's part of the cache of Beer Advocate (and greases the baseball card 'esque trading wheels), but also add a Top 250 Mainstream list for beers that are actually produced each year that one can more readily.
  36. skivtjerry

    skivtjerry Zealot (598) Mar 10, 2006 Vermont

    Just noticed that the "Bottom of the Barrel" list is gone. In addition to being a public health and safety asset, it was a fun list to peruse.
    kemoarps, mdaschaf, ChicagoJ and 6 others like this.
  37. Bhubbard34

    Bhubbard34 Disciple (320) Mar 4, 2016 Pennsylvania

    So @Todd just wondering when a decision or change may or may not be made on whether to keep the current Top 250?

    I probably am not going to keep trying trading for them if the list is going away or drastically changing ….Thanks!
  38. Todd

    Todd Founder (6,666) Aug 23, 1996 California
    Staff Moderator Fest Crew Society Trader

    It's more likely that I'll create some new lists at this point. I don't foresee making any drastic changes to the existing Top 250. So, it should be a win-win for everyone.
    hopsputin, Jack_14, IKR and 9 others like this.
  39. Todd

    Todd Founder (6,666) Aug 23, 1996 California
    Staff Moderator Fest Crew Society Trader

    It's been gone for ages now. Maybe it's time to bring it back.
    o29, tone77, mdaschaf and 6 others like this.
  40. Bhubbard34

    Bhubbard34 Disciple (320) Mar 4, 2016 Pennsylvania

    Awesome thanks again for listening!! I agree creating new lists but keeping the old should be a win win
    hopsputin, Junior, FBarber and 2 others like this.
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