What does it take for you to give a beer a "5"?

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by hoptheology, Apr 21, 2015.

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  1. TheeWalrusHunter

    TheeWalrusHunter Initiate (0) Aug 23, 2013 Oregon

    ... and we thank you for your service to style integrity.
    BBThunderbolt likes this.
  2. AlienSwineFlu

    AlienSwineFlu Initiate (0) Dec 14, 2012 Ohio

    Haven't given a 5 yet, but I've given a few 4.9+. I rate per style, as well as by what the brewer was trying to accomplish. Based on that, DB Huna is the highest rating I think I've ever given out.
    DoubleSimcoe likes this.
  3. do_ob

    do_ob Initiate (0) Feb 12, 2015 Kentucky

    I only have 60-some beer reviews under my belt, but still I've only given one of them a 5. I agree that it should be somewhat reserved for beer that really wow's you, even more so than your normal favorites.
    hoptheology likes this.
  4. Thirstygoat

    Thirstygoat Initiate (0) Nov 22, 2012 Illinois

    Never have, doubt I will. I gave BCBCS a 4.9, Parabola a 4.85 and Ruinten was among my 4.75s. My best experiences with those respective styles. Some world class quads are right there, but no five point oh. Tough grader, I guess?
    DoubleSimcoe likes this.
  5. johnInLA

    johnInLA Pooh-Bah (2,274) Jun 12, 2005 California
    Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    Personally, I think 5 means "best in class" at the time of the tasting.

    To me a 5 does not mean:
    - "perfection", which is unattainable
    - "can not be improved upon", because don't believe there is an upper limit on improvement

    Of course, now that we have five attributes to rate, its much harder to get a five overall, because each attribute must be "Best in class" at the time of the tasting.
  6. thgreatrandini

    thgreatrandini Initiate (0) Jun 26, 2014 Pennsylvania

    I do not understand reserving 5s for some imagininary beer, or fantastic beers somehow made better.
    I am only capable of a certain ammount of pleasure from a taste. That threshold is my 5 I'd say. I have reduced things from a 5 to a lower number as i tastes greater things and my experience is broadened.
    rightcoast7 and JLaw55 like this.
  7. TheOneTC

    TheOneTC Zealot (718) Aug 23, 2013 Massachusetts

    I can't argue against giving a beer a 5 because there might be a better beer out there. At that point, you're comparing beers against one another, and not just rating the one beer. Each beer deserves to be rated on its own, and not compared to some imaginary beer that may or may not exist. If I find a beer in the future that makes me go back to my original "5" and I discover a flaw, well then, its time to re-rate it. But so far, that's never happened to me.

    To me, if I can't find something that could be improved on the beer, then it gets a 5. I've scored one perfect five out of nearly 1000.
  8. TongoRad

    TongoRad Grand Pooh-Bah (3,838) Jun 3, 2004 New Jersey
    Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    It would have to 'do it' for me time and time again; I don't think I could rate something a 5 on a whim. I like to live with a beer for a while before settling in on how I feel about it. Sometimes they grow on me, sometimes the opposite.

    All that being said, I do have three 5s to date, and they all still give me incredible pleasure and satisfaction after all these years: Schlenkerla Urbock, Alaskan Smoked Porter, Ayinger Celebrator.
    DiUr, Kurmaraja and Doctor_Bogenbroom like this.
  9. IPAGeorge

    IPAGeorge Initiate (0) Oct 28, 2014 Illinois

    Now is this an overall 5? Or just a 5 in any category?
  10. fps_dean

    fps_dean Initiate (0) Feb 3, 2013 Massachusetts

    All around perfection that is absolutely unsurpassable by any other beer.
    hoptheology likes this.
  11. Ipaupaweallpa

    Ipaupaweallpa Pundit (876) Dec 26, 2014 Alabama

    One where I have to stop drinking a tell a friend asap. One where the next day I buy like way more immediately after tasting
  12. PatriotsRule

    PatriotsRule Initiate (0) Sep 25, 2012 Massachusetts

    Delicious. Affordable. Available near me.
  13. Greywulfken

    Greywulfken Grand Pooh-Bah (5,669) Aug 25, 2010 New York
    Pooh-Bah Trader

    For a beer to get a 5, it would have to be the very definition of the style, and done exactly right. Weihenstephaner Hefe Weissbier is perhaps the closest to this, followed perhaps by Westmalle's tripel - I just feel that they way they approach and execute their styles is beyond reproach.

    Many styles out there are too mutable to have a true definitive version (IPA, stout, barleywine, etc.), but even with those styles that are definable (like the aforementioned), I refrain from the 5 more because of my limitation as a beer drinker (i.e., who am I to say?) than anything else.
  14. TX-Badger

    TX-Badger Initiate (0) Jun 14, 2012 Texas

    I've given out six 5s, one 4.96, and one 4.95. I try to approach beer rating like I did when evaluating the results of my research. 1 being poor, 3 being average, and 5 being pretty much perfect. I'm sure my 5s would have plenty here raising an eyebrow, but rating beer is personal, it's one's opinion of the beer and if one decides that it deserves a 5 for whatever reason, the can. I have tried to be more conscientious about reviewing the beers as of late so that I can put a rationale behind my rating.

    However, I have shied away from giving 5s as of late as my opinion of what it takes to achieve a 5 has changed as my palate has become more attuned as to what to expect from certain styles. I also pay attention to what the brewer says about the beer, how they describe it, and what they intended it to be, and then compare what I smell and taste to what they intended the beer to be. Just my $.02.
    hoptheology, Greywulfken and R3ason like this.
  15. jlsims04

    jlsims04 Initiate (0) Jul 14, 2013 Illinois

    Because it is stupid to bitch about the way it which others choose to rate things. Why create a thread to bitch about others opinions on a beer.
  16. elNopalero

    elNopalero Grand Pooh-Bah (4,186) Oct 14, 2009 California
    Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    Honestly, there's nothing objective about beer ratings. Even rating to style isn't accurate because the styles themselves have so much variation. I think a big part of what makes a 5 a 5, for me, is as much the experience as anything else. I thought Xyauyu was an amazing beer, but tasting it at Open Baladin in Rome after an equally-spectacular Cantillion certainly secured my perception of it.
  17. Jirin

    Jirin Initiate (0) Apr 28, 2013 Massachusetts

    Liking the taste. A lot.
    kerry4porters likes this.
  18. hoptheology

    hoptheology Grand Pooh-Bah (5,293) May 12, 2014 California
    Pooh-Bah Trader

    Overall 5
  19. Beer-Me-Bryan

    Beer-Me-Bryan Aspirant (286) May 17, 2014 Illinois

    who keeps baked potato or steaks on a different floor than the grill?
    hoptheology likes this.
  20. IPAGeorge

    IPAGeorge Initiate (0) Oct 28, 2014 Illinois

    The only way a beer gets an overall 5 for me is if every other category is a 5. Hasn't happened yet.
  21. maxifunk777

    maxifunk777 Initiate (0) Feb 19, 2015 California

    North Coast Old Stock Cellars Reserve 2011 gets a 5 all day every day.
    The Bruery Melange 3 is a 5, Black Tuesday is a 5 and Bruery has 3 or 4 others I've tried in the 4.8 to 4.9xxx range.

    BCBW was quite good only had it once 12 oz pour was very good another very 4 beer.

    Thirsty Dog Wulver gets a 4.95

    New to the craft world so I still have not tried enough to have a long list but I have a great small cellar to look for more 5 beers. cellaring Abyss, KBS, Back Note, Parabola, Big Bad Baptist, Chocolate Rain, Sucaba, 2011, 2013 Old Stock Cellars Reserve, Gratitude BA and non BA, & Sunday Morning Stout!
  22. KaeF

    KaeF Initiate (0) Jan 11, 2015 Netherlands

    The "Wow" factor. I had a few beers that are great in all aspects: smell, taste, mouthfeel, overall experience. Those beers that you keep talking about with your friends over and over again. Mostly stouts or lambics in my case :slight_smile:.
  23. WesMantooth

    WesMantooth Grand Pooh-Bah (4,748) Jan 8, 2014 Ohio
    Pooh-Bah Trader

    Not finding any aspect/detail (even minute) that I would improve upon or change with my non existent magic beer wand.
    Example: Double Barrel Hunahpu
  24. glass_house

    glass_house Initiate (0) Jan 10, 2014 Ohio

    I don't ever give my beers a five. I'm more of a fist bump guy.
  25. jlsims04

    jlsims04 Initiate (0) Jul 14, 2013 Illinois

    Care to explain?
  26. Ilovelampandbeer

    Ilovelampandbeer Initiate (0) Aug 25, 2013 New York

    I give a 5 if I feel the beer hit all the areas it was trying to hit
  27. utopiajane

    utopiajane Initiate (0) Jun 11, 2013 New York

    I don't think it's taboo to give a 5. I mean some beers have no flaws and they embody the style. Your fives are likely to be unique. I have only 2 5's.
    JuicesFlowing likes this.
  28. Mike_Aguirre

    Mike_Aguirre Initiate (0) Jan 20, 2015 Mexico

    I just have one review with straight 5s, and the beer wowed me big time. Now is my favorite and I buy it all the time.
  29. BeerGreg

    BeerGreg Initiate (0) May 17, 2013 Illinois

    3-story townhouse. Doesn't work logistically, yo. Sorry that I ask a lot of my beer.
    Immortale25 likes this.
  30. Immortale25

    Immortale25 Grand Pooh-Bah (3,489) May 13, 2011 North Carolina
    Pooh-Bah Trader

    When reviewing, I still have never given a beer 5's across the board. My two highest scoring reviews were for FW Wookey Jack and FFF Zombie Dust where they each got all 5's, except for appearance where they got 4.5's. That's basically my thing, is I haven't reviewed a beer that is perfect in appearance as well as all the other criteria. That's not to say I've never given a beer a 5 for appearance. I have a penchant for the cascading foam of a nitro beer when it's first poured so sometimes they get a 5 for appearance. I doubt I'll ever find a beer on nitro pour that will be able to accomplish 5's in all the other criteria though.

    Simple ratings are a different story. If I'm at a bottle share or a bar with friends and I don't have time to do a full review, I'll give a beer a 5 if it's that mind-blowing. The four beers I've rated with a 5 are Lou Pepe Framboise (at Zwanze day in New Orleans), Olde Rabbit's Foot (at a bottle share at my house on my birthday), Atrial Rubicite (at another bottle share at a friend's house) and Cascade Manhattan NW (at a Cascade event at Thirsty Monk). I just could not imagine those beers to be improved upon in any way, shape or form upon drinking them. I'll never know what precise score I would've given them had I reviewed them, and I don't care. They were perfect at that time, which reinforces what other posters in this thread have said about the beer fitting the moment just right in order for it to fully achieve that level of perfection.
    NCMonte likes this.
  31. Doctor_Bogenbroom

    Doctor_Bogenbroom Initiate (0) Nov 2, 2014 Pennsylvania

    jlsims04 said:
    Why do you care? If someone thinks a beer is a 5 or a 1 that is THEIR opinion.

    I agree with you, Adjunct Hippy. I think your original post is extremely valid. I am VERY careful about posting 5s in my reviews. As others have already pointed out, a 5 means that what you are drinking is flawless. That's a very high standard to achieve, and should not be treated lightly. While it's true that everyone has an opinion, many people use this site to get a better idea of whether a beer is worth trying. Idly throwing 5s around only muddies the waters in my opinion, and prevents readers from getting a clearer picture of what a beer is actually like.
  32. Domingo

    Domingo Grand Pooh-Bah (3,896) Apr 23, 2005 Colorado

    I don't really do reviews or ratings anymore, but it would essentially have to be a beer I consider flawless. One I wouldn't change anything with. I think beers like that can and do exist, but they're obviously rare. Plus, personal preferences would have to be applied. I really like maltier beers, so clearly my "perfect" beers would probably be borderline undrinkable to some.
    R3ason and Doctor_Bogenbroom like this.
  33. Svingjo

    Svingjo Initiate (0) Jul 21, 2012 Canada (BC)

    Never given a 5. I have the same problem with the wine Point rating system. Very subjective. I give a wine a100 points today because it was the best I've had TO DATE is fine until I taste something I think is better. Does that mean it also has to be 100 points? If so I'm artificially inflating the rating system as other wines get compared to those high rated wines. So if a wine is what I figure as 10% less in quality than the 100 point wine it becomes a 90 point wine. Very good rating! Now if I gave the first wine a 90 point rating the second would only get a 81 point rating. Average at best. Beer is the same. I think my best rating was mid to low 4's and I thought it was awesome. Anytime I see someone rate a beer above 4.5 I take it with a grain of salt.
  34. glass_house

    glass_house Initiate (0) Jan 10, 2014 Ohio

    Couldn't agree more. Some people act like it will tear a hole in the fabric of the universe if you score a 5. I never looked at it as "this is the best beer in the world". Only that it meets every criteria I could be looking for in that style. I too have given a pair of 5's. BCBS and Zombie Dust. I just have a hard time believing I could find anything wrong with either. There may be "better" examples of both styles out there, but for my tastes, I just can't imagine wanting more out of a BA stout or APA.
    rightcoast7 and utopiajane like this.
  35. Chaz

    Chaz Grand Pooh-Bah (3,532) Feb 3, 2002 Minnesota
    Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    To my mind it basically has to be the very best example in its style. I've only rated a beer to a five -once- before going back to reevaluate and adjust the rating to somewhere in the 4.25 range; I've rated a dozen or so beers in the 4 to 4.5 range.
  36. Andrew041180

    Andrew041180 Initiate (0) Mar 15, 2013 Massachusetts

    Emotional reaction.
    FaradayUncaged and R3ason like this.
  37. rightcoast7

    rightcoast7 Maven (1,294) Apr 2, 2011 Maine

    This is pretty much my take as well. I give out 5's semi-regularly (as in maybe once or twice at a large tasting of top-shelf beers or a festival, and maybe once every other month from drinking at home). Basically, if a beer makes me go, "holy f*&% that's good" after I drink it, it's getting a 5.
  38. kell50

    kell50 Pooh-Bah (2,210) Jul 25, 2007 North Carolina

    I have to literally wet my pants or immediately start crying...

    Neither has happened yet.
  39. afi4lifer

    afi4lifer Initiate (0) Jan 20, 2011 Massachusetts

    When I feel the urge to give the speech from Beerfest after they discover the Von Wolfhaus family recipe and brew it. That's a 5.
  40. Dil_thebeerdrinking_do

    Dil_thebeerdrinking_do Initiate (0) Jan 21, 2014 Georgia

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