What's wrong with Whale Hunting?

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by BowWowWowYippyYoIPA, Jan 9, 2015.

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  1. Chugs13

    Chugs13 Devotee (403) Dec 11, 2011 New Jersey

    My problem with the whale hunting is when its someone who is trying to hunt down, for example lets say, Founders Backwoods Bastard, but has never had a Founders Dirty Bastard. These guys that turn their noses up to all the great beer readily available on the shelves every time they walk into a store because its not rare, and only has 90 BA rating as opposed to a 98. I have a problem with all these guys that have no problem rattling off the list of whales they've slain, but have never had the highly respected and well crafted beers that have laid the foundation to make all this happen. These people do not appreciate beer.
    ChicagoGuy, vurt and Redneckwine like this.
  2. Redneckwine

    Redneckwine Initiate (0) Dec 3, 2013 Washington

    The problem I see with chasing whalez is that there seems to be a point where the chase becomes the end instead of a means to it: the rush of the chase becomes more important than the enjoying the liquid itself, like hunting animals for the thrill of it instead of the meat. That brand of fanaticism tends to breed a lot of dick measuring, arrogance, greed, and other assorted douchebaggery, like "truck chasing" and "muling". I think the result is the common beer enthusiast (the vast majority) gets screwed by the chaser (the minority), and the craft beer community at large suffers.

    That being said, obviously there are a lot of folks out there that aren't assholes, and they don't fit the mold outlined above. To those people I say, chase on, brother - do whatever makes you happy as long as you're not shitting on others.
    Crackerbarrel, drbenderdo and jrnyc like this.
  3. woodchipper

    woodchipper Poo-Bah (1,537) Oct 25, 2005 Connecticut

    I have no problems with whale hunters OR tickers. I am guilty of both myself from time to time. In by opinion the sport-like aspect of both adds yet another dimension to our hobby.
    deford likes this.
  4. BradStokley

    BradStokley Initiate (0) Jan 19, 2013 Maryland

    I like most here have no problem with whale hunters. I DO have a problem with folks trying to take advantage of others on this site's trading forum once they land a recently released whale. Was anyone else here disgusted with the FT:ISO forum after Vanilla Rye was released? Gimme a break
    nc41, Scrapss and dirtyhalos like this.
  5. aasher

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

    Often it's the price of the harpoon that'll get you
  6. ArkansasTraveller

    ArkansasTraveller Initiate (0) Aug 4, 2014 Arkansas

    I see no problem with it. To each his own. But I won't chase whalez. Theres soooo many easily attainable beers I haven't tried yet, so I can't imagine spending tons of cash or doing anything that resembles work to acquire a beer.
    ChicagoGuy and KOP_Beer_OUtlet like this.
  7. Ian_B

    Ian_B Initiate (0) Apr 2, 2014 Massachusetts

    I'm not really interested in this question, or many of the responses. Whales should be based on personal desire/interest, not the most-reviewed/highest-rated beers on BA. Those ratings/reviews only speak to the taste of the general public. Also, it's probably pretty hard to wholly appreciate any of those beers without having tried many others that aren't on the list.

    Maybe we should talk about how hype adulterates perception.
    ArkansasTraveller likes this.
  8. fastenoughforphish

    fastenoughforphish Initiate (0) Nov 14, 2012 Illinois

    I have a few responses

    1) I am unsure what you mean about your wallet not allowing it, as I feel whales are extremely expensive examples of beer, and in fact not whale hunting is a MUCH more economical way to participate in this hobby (if you want to call it a hobby). Buying trust worthy but not whale beers is much cheaper. There are so many good examples of 9.99 six packs. Why not buy those if your wallet is an issue. I mean there are probably THOUSANDS of six packs of quality beer out there.

    2) I do have some problems with whale hunting, but I understand everyone is different. Some people can afford to buy expensive beer. If money is not an issue, you enjoy the taste of sours, or barrel aged beers, or hoppy bombs, or just like to drink out of bombers and 22oz bottles, etc etc, that I guess that is what you like. But my issue is the GROUP THINK on BA of what constitutes quality. I think whale hunting exacerbates this. I this we tend to be dismissive of some many wonderful types of beers based on things like rarity, like popularity, like the sour, and hops, and barrels. l think we let extreme flavors appeal to use and ignore delicious beer.

    This is a opinion. In the end the quality and taste of beer is an opinion, it is subjective, as all things taste are. But I really do believe the group think of BA and the craft beer movement has negative qualities to it that are driven by the hunt for whales (ie sours, saisons, hops, and barrels/stouts). I think some people don't take a honest look at what there taste buds enjoy but instead what others tell them to enjoys. And styles such as english Milds, pilsner, brown Ale, hefe's, porter (to a degree), dubbel, are under appreciated, when styles such as saison, IPA, american wild, stout, barleywine, are obsessively sought after.

    In the end, it is just an opinion of mine. I love IPA, stouts, saison, and sour beer. But I equally love lagers of all types, english ale, brown ale, kolsch, and more. I think you just have to take an honest look into why you are drinking the beer you drink. Is it to through it up onto untapped, or because you love it? Have you honestly given lagers a try, because they are AMAZING, and take just as much effort and quality from a brewer if not more than an IPA. But its just beer. We enjoy it because it tastes good, and gets us drunk.
    rgordon, TongoRad and SierraJosh like this.
  9. mactrail

    mactrail Poo-Bah (12,134) Mar 24, 2009 Washington
    Moderator Society Trader

    My idea of a whale is wandering into an uncelebrated little brewing joint and finding something tasty or intriguing, maybe some jovial people to make you welcome, and enthusiastic and unpretentious brewers pouring the beer. It's what makes travel interesting these days. Local beer.
    Scrapss likes this.
  10. JrGtr

    JrGtr Devotee (472) Apr 13, 2006 Massachusetts

    I haven't read the whole thread, but IMO, there's nothing wrong with seeking out the best beers, as long as it's not to the exclusion of everything else.
    I do watch for the top stuff to come out - the BCBS, KBS, I've been known to make pilgrimages for Dark Lord, Heady Topper, Hill Farmstead and so on, but I still search out and look for other beers that are good, even if they're not on the top 100 list.
    For those who won't drink a beer if it's not on that list, I would say, lighten up, it's just beer. It's not the cure for cancer or anything like that; it's a beverage that will give pleasure for a little while, there will always be another one on the horizon.
  11. AugustusRex

    AugustusRex Initiate (0) Apr 12, 2013 Canada (ON)

    Before it is possible to enjoy experimental beers completely, I think it's necessary to have a strong understanding of traditional beer styles. For me, living in Ontario, Timothy Taylor, SNPA, Augustiner Brau Lagerbier Hell, and Old Rasputin are among the 'whales'.

    I think traditional brews (some whales such as Thomas Hardy Rodenbach Alexander and Cantillion included) will always be at the top of my wants.
  12. Dansac

    Dansac Initiate (158) Dec 6, 2014 California

    I personally follow breweries that I have good reason to believe will be interesting, not necessarily highly regarded ones.

    I don't care, for instance, for Great Divide, the Bruery, Avery, Odell, Dupont, Westy, FW, Founders, or a lot of Stone stuff. Which is not to say each of them has beers I really enjoy. Pliny the Younger doesn't intrigue me, for instance. Sounds like an exceedingly boozy one.

    But I will hunt Noble Ale Works, Sante Adairius, Anchorage, De Garde, Ale Apothecary, To Ol, Crooked Stave, Prairie... though these might be generally less regarded.
  13. boudeysbigbrew

    boudeysbigbrew Initiate (0) Mar 29, 2014 California

    For me, rare and hyped beers searching is worth it because I just love the experience of it all. To me, there's nothing more fun than road trips to breweries and meeting many like minded people at releases and sharing whales with friends and that euphoric bliss you get when you get a box full of goodies. Lots of people here don't see it that way though and that's okay.
    Is it expensive, yes? Do I value the experience and fun of tasting with friends more than the money, abso-fucking-lutely.
  14. humuloner22

    humuloner22 Initiate (0) Feb 7, 2013 North Carolina

    I was thinking just the other day what do the ratings really mean. For example I have had Heady Topper, its amazing. Lots of people think its amazing. It has a high score given by nearly 9000 reviewers. On the flipside KBBS has like 400 (I am rounding up a little, because I cant remember the exact number), does that mean that KBBS hasn't earned its place in the top 10, I don't know? I am not sure how the numbers are calculated, but a beer with thousands of reviews with top numbers should outweigh a beer with hundreds of reviews. I have no idea how someone like me can actually obtain one of these rare beers unless I develop someone with a direct connection or actually drive to the brewery and hope to score one myself on release day. Don't get me wrong I have searched for some bigger ones, and had some success, but not so much, those with less than 500 people rating them. I likely will never land one of those. I don't know if what I have just written has made any sense, but to me there might be a small batch beer that has no ratings at all that are just as good as these "whales" I honestly think its more of an obsession for some people more than anything else. You want generally what you can't have or something that is difficult to obtain, its just human nature.
    #94 humuloner22, Jan 11, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2015
  15. Scrapss

    Scrapss Crusader (768) Nov 15, 2008 Pennsylvania

    Ahab, nah. Starbuck, definitely not. Queequeg probably. If an opportunity presents itself, sure. Sustenance more than obsession. Enjoy what you experience, and don't obsess too much. If you can experience it, great. Healthy obsession is oxymoronic and begins to own you.
  16. IowaBiertrinker

    IowaBiertrinker Initiate (0) Sep 20, 2010 Iowa

    Would love to send you a bottle of KBBS some day. As soon as I can get 1 or more. I think another key is patience. If we want what we can't have now, we get frustrated. If we network well, go to the right places and have patience, some of our whales may just land in our lap. I got to try some things at bottle shares this year that I never thought I would try. I don't consider any of them as 'have to' but simply would 'like to' try some day. You never know when or where thry may show up.
    humuloner22 likes this.
  17. Coorsy

    Coorsy Defender (684) Jul 11, 2014 Massachusetts

    no need for an explination. There is absolutely nothing wrong with hunting for great beer.

  18. UrbanCaveman

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

    Not a thing. As long as you're not forcing me to do it. Way too much phenomenal beer just sitting there on shelves for me to bother standing in lines, camping out, or calculating shipping costs.
  19. HectorB

    HectorB Initiate (0) Sep 21, 2013 New York

    I guess it just depends on how much time and money you are willing to spend on hunting down beer, so there's no right or wrong answer. Personally, I refuse to go out of my way for beer, or stand in any line other than your average checkout line. On the other hand, I travel a fair amount (for reasons not related to beer), and I do take some time to educate myself about what might be available wherever I happen to be going, and in that way I've been able to try many wonderful beers, and have even lucked into being present for a few special releases. The great thing about craft beer today is that there are many wonderful beers to be tried almost everywhere, so there's no real need to chase the real rare stuff. I'm sure I'm missing some true gems, but that's ok - to me no beer is worth driving way out of my way or standing in line.
  20. mbeerdino21

    mbeerdino21 Initiate (0) Dec 24, 2013 New Jersey

    If I had more time, more money, less kids and a more "beer friendly" wife I would def spend more time searching out some of the rarer beers. As it stands now ill either stumble upon or purchase some of the stuff I can't find online. May pay a little more sometimes but I find my time to be a more valuable commodity.
    IowaBiertrinker and HectorB like this.
  21. IowaBiertrinker

    IowaBiertrinker Initiate (0) Sep 20, 2010 Iowa

    Also, it should be pointed out that if anyone is choosing their whales based on ratings, the current range from #1-250 is about 0.4 points (4.32 - 4.73), which if you have rated many beers, is fairly arbitrary and even I have changed my rating 0.5 point or more before when I have revisited a beer. So, for me, a beer in the 200-250 range may be preferable to some in the top 50. Just my 2 cents.
  22. mungbeans

    mungbeans Initiate (0) May 27, 2007 Massachusetts

    I tried out whale hunting for like 6 months and then realized that there were more important things in life to be obsessing over. My local package store always has enough good things on the shelf that makes me feel like the extra effort it takes to find a true whale seem a little pointless. Whatever floats your boat I guess.
    jj139 likes this.
  23. RochefortChris

    RochefortChris Poo-Bah (1,793) Oct 2, 2012 North Carolina
    Society Trader

    Nothing but there are so many easily accessible beers out there that are just as good. If I have the opportunity to 'catch a whale' I'll jump on it but it's certainly not something I go out of my way for. Just because it's rare doesn't mean it's better than what's readily available. I will say I do have a soft spot for KBS but again, I'm a firm believer that on a large scale there are equal or better beers out there than whales.
  24. mikepcarney

    mikepcarney Initiate (0) Oct 28, 2009 Ohio

    I will try and land whalez, but at the same time trying everything else. I don't see an issue with it. I just don't like the guys bring mules and hoarding a bunch of bottle hostage asking for crazy $ or trades.
  25. bluehende

    bluehende Poo-Bah (2,440) Dec 10, 2010 Delaware

    I only hunt whales if it is shooting fish in a barrel.
  26. NeroFiddled

    NeroFiddled Poo-Bah (13,616) Jul 8, 2002 Pennsylvania
    Society Trader

    yeah, agreed, I've been killing myself trying to find Vertical Epic 01.01.01... I need to just let it go ;p
    vurt likes this.
  27. Leebo

    Leebo Initiate (0) Feb 7, 2013 Massachusetts

    It's a free county and you can spend your $ as you see fit. I'm more of a drink fresh drink local kind of guy. I think some of the younger crowd has a lust for the best rated, best ticked that they might not explore what is right their own back yard. Maybe I will start a 100 miles club. No brews outside that distance for a month. Would be easy in my Boston, MA area.
    IowaBiertrinker likes this.
  28. Mo_fro

    Mo_fro Initiate (0) Feb 15, 2014 Connecticut

    I've been disappointed by to many whales. I check to see whats new or interesting and keep my eye out for it but I don't put much effort into the hunt.
    What bothers me more is when one of your favorites starts to become a whale because of hype. I haven't been to Tree House in so long. My apologies guys, I promise to endure your long lines out of respect for your talent very soon.
  29. Crackerbarrel

    Crackerbarrel Initiate (0) Feb 10, 2014 New York

    The distinction of "whale hunting" is where the experience of trying great beer ends, and the experience of "collecting baseball cards" begins.
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  30. Barrelsnbeer

    Barrelsnbeer Initiate (0) Oct 6, 2012 North Carolina

    My issue with whale hunting based on ratings is that it relies mostly on availability. you want to make a 100 rated beer? easy. pick the newest hop you can get your hands on, make a huge abv barley wine/ipa or sour, Age it on African baobab wood (or insert any exotic wood/liqour barrel) then make about 10bbls of it half of which is tap only. instant 100 point beer. want to add on to the legacy? do a few extremely short runs of variants.

    I love beer and i've had some Amazing beers in the 70pt range. Each site that rates beer kind of has a bit of a hive mind. BA is known to award higher points to more hop focused beers or beers that are just hard to get. also god forbid you get fruit near the beer that will automatically drop it at least 5-7pts. I still maintain that Craggie's Yo La Mango IPA was one of the best beers i ever had. in fact i came in to work for a week straight(on my time off) and drank the whole 5gal keg myself. its rating on here 86. I deal with people almost daily during the summer with their faces buried in their phones, wont listen to a single suggestion i give them and wont buy a beer unless its rated 95 or higher. Sometimes I just buy them a beer that they keep refusing, with my own money, and laugh when they come back telling me how good it was.

    Taste are subjective to each person, while ratings do help, it helps more to know what the people rating the beers prefer. Instead of taking the rating system at full face value.
    IowaBiertrinker likes this.
  31. MikeT77

    MikeT77 Initiate (0) Jul 2, 2010 New York

    The biggest problem with whale hunting is most times you wake up with a hangover the next morning having porked a fat chick you normally wouldn't have given a second glance to.....

    Oh wait, wrong kind of whale hunting. Sorry...
  32. Beerisheaven

    Beerisheaven Initiate (0) Dec 5, 2007 Pennsylvania

    The limited run bottles bring out the worst in people but then again I guess that should not be unexpected. I hate bottle releases not so much for the waiting element but the people around you who have nothing better to talk about then the beer they just traded for, what they traded to get it, what they are wanting to trade the beer that they are currently waiting in line for, etc. Limited releases bring the douche in douche bag out. Some people have no shame in telling assembled people how they beat the system, rip off people, etc. The last release at Forest and Main, some fat guy was telling people how he was in Whole Foods and saw the beer that was going on sale when the beer area opened. I am not quite sure I believed his story but he said he grabbed the bottles and went to the regular check out line and purchased them before the pub opened. He also told everyone about how he was at a place when the delivery was made and followed the case in the store from the truck and bought the entire case. Seriously, if I was such a loser, the last thing I would do is keep it to myself.
  33. rgordon

    rgordon Meyvn (1,282) Apr 26, 2012 North Carolina

    We're free to spend our money as we wish. Being an ass about seeking out rarer beers and bragging and profiteering about them is the problem.
  34. beatenbyjacks

    beatenbyjacks Initiate (0) Apr 17, 2011 Colorado

    To each their own. A whale to one could be a minnow to another. I have found time and again some HIGHLY rated beer to just be meh because I had these grand expectations based upon the score alone or the brewery that made it.
  35. LittleGus

    LittleGus Initiate (134) Mar 13, 2008 Minnesota

    I'm a total sucker for novelty. If I'm in a bar, and there's something on tap I've never had I'm gonna order it, but concentrating on whales means missing a lot of great beer. I think of it like fishing. I like catching a mess of crappies as much as I like fishing for muskies.
  36. Plasmafunk

    Plasmafunk Initiate (0) Jan 9, 2015 California

    I am relatively new to beer but I have decades of wine experience and following the discussions on BA mirrors what I've experienced with "90+" wines. For some cult California cabernets and French Burgundies the demand is absolutely insane. For example I spent 7 years on the waiting list for Harlan Estate and by the time I got in it was up to $350 a bottle. (I declined). Certainly some of the wines indeed taste incredible but others are not anywhere near their price. Plus you can't get them unless you're on the mailing list, get them at auction or go to a fancy restaurant to get them at 2-3x markup. While I would like to taste some nice beers I don't want to replicate that unpleasant experience of chasing and chasing only to be disappointed.
  37. David_CT

    David_CT Initiate (0) Jan 15, 2014 Connecticut

    The short answer to your question... Nothing!!
  38. Coorsy

    Coorsy Defender (684) Jul 11, 2014 Massachusetts

    Reading through this forum, it seems like when all is said is done, its what your motive is for whale hunting. Correct me if im wrong. But say your a guy whos favorite beer is something that you can typically buy in most bottle shops. You purchase one two or who knows three cases just to save yourself the time going back and forth. I do not see any harm in someone who does the same with a beer that just so happens to be a "whale". Its not his fault that its a whale. If he likes the beer he likes the beer and he is going to buy as much as he possibly can. Like i said, at the end of the day its not his fault the beers that he enjoy just so happen to be hard to come across.

    Of course there are people that will go out hunting a beer in which they have no desire to drink yet simply get as much as possible because its a whale and they just need to have it. If your looking for trade bait trying to come out on top (as in playing the well my beer is a whale thus is worth more card) then that is a problem.

  39. ovaltine

    ovaltine Poo-Bah (4,386) Apr 6, 2010 Indiana
    Society Trader

    I don't "hunt" the whales, but I've gotta admit, when my wife and I were in Aruba having dinner at a place called Madame Janette's (great German food) and I saw they had 2 bottles of Westy 12, I think my melon exploded. And yes, they were spectacular.

    And as long as I'm dropping names, I had two 4-packs of Heady driven from VT to St. Louis so I could fly in from Minnesota and claim them.

    Actually, that kinda embarrasses me. Kinda.

    Otherwise, I sample what I think I'll enjoy - which is a lot of different beverages. I'm not a beer snob, I'm a beer nerd.

    But I may walk to Russian River for PTY. Nah, I wouldn't do that.

    Unless someone would walk with me. That would be cool.
  40. DeadWalkerAir

    DeadWalkerAir Initiate (0) Jan 7, 2014 South Carolina

    Speaking of whales. A liquor store in the Dupont neighborhood of DC has 4 bottles of Dark Lord for 99 bucks a piece. Yeah I want to try it but not that bad.
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