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frequently asked questions



Q. Where's the mobile apps?!
A. We do have a number of mobile apps available for a variety of platforms.

Q. Do you have beer scoring sheets?
A. Yes. As a matter of fact, we do.
Beer Tasting Form
Beer Tasting Sheet


Q. How do you calculate your beer scores? What do the scores mean?
A. We use a Bayesian weighted mean so that more ratings increase the score's validity. Simply put, a beer that has one hundred 5.0 scores will have a score just thousandths of a point under five, whereas a beer that only ten 5.0 scores might have a score a few *tenths* below a five. This not only helps us combat abuse but ensures a greater validity to our beer lists. Learn more about the scores here.

Q. Where can I find (BeerName) beer?
A. We've recently added distribution information. Go to the beer's page and then click the "geographic information" link to see where people have told us the beer is being distributed. Feel free to add you own information.

Q. How do I delete my account?
A. You don't. We typically don't do that here because we love our ratings. If you need anonymity from your ratings or have some other real need associated with the account, you can send me feedback or an email.

Q. What is "lege"?
A. It's one of many ratebeer terms described here in the RateBeer lexicon.

Q. What does retired mean and what beers get retired?
A. The 'retired' designation on Ratebeer is meant to identify those beers which are no longer commercially available and which are not likely to become commercially available again in the foreseeable future.

As a general rule of thumb, all beers on Ratebeer are considered 'innocent until proven guilty,' or 'active until proven retired.' All beers are granted a one-year grace period of activity or non-retired status. The length of this one-year grace period is based upon the one-year release cycle typical of most seasonal beers. This grace period is applied to both seasonal and festival-released beers, and for limited-edition beers in general regardless of whether they appear on tap or in bottles. There are exceptions, as stated below.

'One-off' beers are typically created specifically for a single festival or limited-attendance event, and these are beers which the brewer does not intend to brew ever again and which are no longer available after the event is over. (In all cases, the brewer should be contacted to determine the status of such beers.) These beers may be vintage dated, and will very likely be produced in small quantities. These are retired immediately, as this fits most appropriately with the ’retired’ definition stated above and distinguishes these ’one-off’ beers from more widely available seasonal and festival-released beers, which warrant the one-year grace period.

The one-year grace period, for the purposes of administrative simplicity, is assumed to begin on the first day that a rating appears for a beer, unless another specific date is determined by either contacting the brewer or providing additional information regarding the provenance of said beer. This one-year grace period is renewed following the release of a new batch.

This FAQ is meant to serve as the general rule of thumb for retiring beers on Ratebeer. If you believe a beer has been incorrectly labeled as retired (or should be retired), please use the 'Send Corrections' button to direct this beer to the attention of an administrator.

Q. Should I rate a beer to style as a beer judge would?
A. In short, no. While RateBeer encourages its members to learn as much as they can about beer and beer styles, RateBeer uses a Hedonic Scale to judge a beer according to how much it pleases the nose, eyes and tongue.

Rating to style is what is done at the Great American Beer Festival, many homebrew competitions and other beer competitions around the world. We're glad these contests exist and that they do rate to style, however we feel the same way about dog shows.

Dog shows are nice for those people interested in defining the best possible pinscher, poodle or Afghan. This is a great use of rating to style. If the dog doesn't look exactly like a certain breed should then it's score is dropped and the dog isn't given an award.

Now that's all fine and dandy, but we think our hedonic scale is more interesting for both everyday consumers and beer lovers in particular. We're not interested in poodles that look exactly like poodles. We're interested in the smartest dog, the highest jumping dog, the meanest dog, the biggest dog, the fastest dog, the strangest dog, the most amusing dog. We don't care what the hair looks like or what color it is -- we want dogs that thrill us.

This is the way we like our beer. We don't want it to conform to a mold, we want it to challenge us, intrigue us, surprise us, thrill us, dominate us, introduce us to new ideas... Simply put, we recognize great beer regardless of definitions. So please, learn about classic styles, learn about beer history, learn about the great brewers but when you rate put style aside and tell us how GOOD the beer is.

Q. I'm a brewer and you have my beer listed, but the information is incorrect. Or how do I send you an image of my beer? How do I let you know?
A. Please contact an administrator either by finding one in the forums or by using the the Feedback link in the footer of any page. Include the brewer name and beer name as it's listed, and be as specific as possible about the incorrect information. Please convert all images to 120 width and save in an optimized JPG or GIF format.

Q. How do I change my personal information like mailing address, etc?
A. Under My Account or on the bottom of every page, there is a link to Edit Personal Info. Click that and change anything you need to.

Q. The quick search is great, but how do I search for a particular brewer, or by beer style?
A. Try Advanced Search. If you'd like additional ways to search, let us know by using the Feedback link in the footer at the bottom of any page.

Q. I have a beer site that's way better than yours, but no one knows about it yet. How can I advertise on your site?
A. We currently support the Web industry standard "skyscraper" size advertisement in varying length. Please use the Feedback link at the bottom of any page to contact us to obtain our rate sheet.

Q. Ciders? Sake? Meads? C'mon...
A. RateBeer seeks to be inclusive of all food and beverage enthusiasts in the beer culture. RateCider, RateSake or RateMead do not warrant Web sites of their own, but there are a few folks that are *really* into world ciders, home cidermaking, cizers, meads, sakes, etc. Cider, mead and sake are linked more closely than many other beverages, especially ones we'd make a site for. So relax and pop open a cider the next time you're feeling a little beer fatigue.

We see cider, mead and sake as important to the beer culture given their ubiquitous presence in North American and British pubs and their inclusion in many beer publications. These are also the subject of attention of many beer critics.

Q. So why not malternatives like Zima or Two Dogs products?
A. Malternatives are often entirely unrelated to beer in terms of ingredients and process. We've decided not to include them in our rating process.

Q. How can I get a correction made?
A. If the corrections button isn’t working, send an email to editor@ratebeer.com or to indra@ratebeer.com and it’ll get taken care of.

Q. How can I make a site suggestion?
A. Contrary to what most people seem to think, the best way to get this done is to take it directly to the source. For programming, design and business suggestions, email joet@ratebeer.com. For content and all things beer-related, email editor@ratebeer.com

Q. How can I get an article published?
A. First, write one. Then submit it to editor@ratebeer.com. We publish every Thursday and are always looking for new content.The editor generally takes it easy and lets the writers write whatever they want to. Editing is kept to a minimum but if you feel you need an editor’s guidance, don’t be afraid to ask.

Q. Why aren’t cask and keg versions of a beer listed separately?
A. I know this drives the English nuts to have them under one rating, but there are good reasons for this.First, whether the beer is “different” or not isn’t being debated.The question is whether it is a separate product. Those who believe it is argue that one is dead while the other is living, hence different recipes. Well, recipes change all the time. For example, if you take the gas mixture the a publican uses for his kegged beer – this is a change in the recipe. It could be argued that this change is done at the pub level rather than the brewery level, but when it comes to cask ale much of the work in done at the pub level.

Which brings us to another point – the slippery slope.Cask ale is a variable product. So once you start to differentiate between Beer A (keg) and Beer A (cask) then you start to worry about which pub Beer A is on, whether or not it has been dry-hopped, how long the cask has been on, etc. Ultimately, there are a lot of different variables that can make one pint of Beer A look/taste/smell different from another pint of Beer A. For simplicity’s sake, we don’t pick and choose which variables are important and which aren’t.

The need for simplicity cannot be overstated. While drinkers in the UK are generally well-versed as to the differences between cask and keg, drinkers elsewhere are less knowledgeable. The policy in place today was developed early on in the site’s life to alleviate confusion on the part of the many drinkers who were completely unfamiliar with the concept of “real ale” or “cask ale”. There were so many misplaced ratings, incorrectly entered beers and other mistakes that carrying separate entries for cask/keg/bottle/can simply became untenable. So it was settled upon that each beer be given just one entry, and the rater can specify if he/she so chooses what “version” they sampled.

Besides, if you’re English and a beer lover, you wouldn’t honestly rush out to try the keg version of anything, would you?

Q. What precisely is the site’s policy on barrel-aged beers?
A. Some barrel-aged beers are regular stand-alone brands.Others are simply a case of a brewer drawing off a few gallons of beer into a barrel or two and then showing off the beer at the brewery and festivals. On Ratebeer, there is a big difference between the two.

One reason is that we have to verify the existence of each beer that is entered into the database.This is a monumental task at the best of times, but beers of which only a few dozen litres ever existed are close to impossible to keep tabs on.Yes, we could talk to the brewers, and we do, but not all of them get back to us.

So the policy is this – if it is for public sale, defined as bottles, outside draught accounts, or as a regularly produced beer at a brewpub (a one-off where a full-sized batch was made will also suffice), then it counts.We want to able to verify the beers and also to have a database full of beers that other people will be able to rate, too.

Q. Who Runs This Place?
A. Joe Tucker (joet) is the owner and the boss around here. He heads up programming, design, marketing, and pretty much everything except the beer content. Josh Oakes (Oakes) is the editor and responsible for the beer content. Other senior admins work variously in programming, marketing and content. They are Ernest Crvich (ecrvich) - content, Rich Cave (MrDick) – programming and Eric Helms (Indra) - content. Many other administrators verify beers, places, brewers and other information. Still others moderate the forums and ratings.

Q. My Rating Got Nuked and Nobody Told Me Why? A. It is not always possible to explain why a rating gets nuked. However, chances are it was either a bogus rating or a duplicate rating. If two beers are determined to be one and the same, then when we merge those two beers, folks who have rated both will lose a rating. We keep either the most descriptive or the most recent, whichever makes more sense. Bogus ratings should be self-explanatory, but if it contains offensive comments don’t be surprised if it gets nuked. If it says nothing whatsoever about the beer don’t be surprised if it gets nuked. If you are a brewer, not only do we not want you rating your own beer, but we also would prefer you don’t rate your competitor’s beers either.If you look like a troll, act like a troll and sound like a troll, we’re going to figure you’re a troll. And if we think you’re a troll, be grateful only your ratings got nuked, leaving you the chance to start from scratch.

Q. How Does Someone Rate 280 Beers In One Month? How Is It That Someone's Rated 5000 Beers? Is It Legitimate To Rate At Festivals? A. Our users have a variety of ways of producing maximal quality ratings per month. By getting together regularly with others to share beers, attending festivals and tasting sampels at brewpubs, it's not hard to rack up scores of beers in a month.

RateBeer's position is that it's very possible to taste many dozens of beers in a month. We also believe one can and should do so without overindulgence and of course produce quality ratings as a result of these tastings. Many professionals taste small portions, several ounces, and are able to make a full evaluation from just the sample. Training in tasting and rating beer makes such evaluation easy for many people given repeated exposure to beer styles, certain hop and malt profiles and most importantly, the language used to describe beer.



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