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15 Over-Rated Beers
And The Reasons Why - Or Why Not....
September 23, 2004
Written by SilkTork
On the 14th of August at 3.41 pm RateBeer time, Dixon posted one of the forum’s most popular questions: What’s the most overrated beer in your opinion?
He suggested Guinness, to which there were immediate cries of support from chris_o and Joeh, who called it “cheaply made pasteurised nitro swill”. Soon, others were putting forward their own suggestions. Westy 12, Orval, Old Rasputin and Arrogant Bastard - big beers with big reputations were tossed in with the Guinness. A chant for Chimay rose up, and the name of the makers of its Canadian clone Trois Pistoles was also rubbed in the dirt. Traquair House Ale, Aventinus, and Expedition Stout were named and shamed. Lees Harvest Ale (without the sherry or sherbet dip), World Wide Stout in all its various incarnations, Thomas Hardy (specifically the original version), Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout and that little ol’ Devil called Hop were included in the incredulous gasp of “Why doesn’t everyone think like me?”
Why not indeed?
Anyway, taking 15 of the beers claimed to be overrated I thought it might be interesting to see what the 10 Top Raters (the ultimate Beer Gods, well used to sitting in the clouds and sipping the ambrosia of beers), thought of these “overrated” beers as compared with the views of the sweaty, heaving mass of the People. So the plan emerged.
Simple enough:- for each beer I grouped together the scores for the top ten Beer Gods. I then compared the Beer God’s score with the People’s score to arrive at a percentage difference. By this method I arrived at the most and least overrated beers of the 15. I also noted which Beer Gods scores were closest to the site average - and these are thus honoured with a laurel wreath and the title of The People’s God. The Beer Gods who scored highest and lowest were given the titles The Over God and The Under God respectively. I also took a look at the biggest fan for each beer (The Fanatic), and the biggest enemy (Old Grumpy). Extracts from the comments are given for each beer. The scores of those who had rated less than 10 beers, hadn’t rated anything in over a year, had rated bad bottles, or were clearly insane (giving Westy 12 a score of .05!) were of course ignored.
The results are given here in reverse order so we finish with the most overrated beer on RateBeer (no peeking - what do you think it will be?).
The first four beers on the list are, according to the Beer Gods, far from being overrated, they are in fact underrated.
The Underrated Beers
<font size="+1">1) Orval</font>
Orval is a dry, pale ale produced by one of the Trappist breweries. It is the only beer the brewery makes available to the public. It undergoes a triple fermentation process. The yeasts used give it that distinctive Belgian taste. A guide-line abv of 6.2% is given; when freshly bottled the beer is normally around 5.2%; after a year in the bottle the abv can rise to 7.2%. Michael Jackson’s appreciation of this beer has given it a very high reputation.
The People’s Score: 3.93
The Gods’ Score: 4.2
The Difference: +7%
<u>People’s God Argo 3.6 (-8%)
Taste is herbal, spicy, with light sourness. Doesn’t compare to the quite inviting aroma. Good, but not great, beer. Perfumy, yeasty and fruity smell. Complex malty orange flavor that finishes bitter.
<u>Under God SilkTork 3.4 (-13%)</u>
The aroma is definitely the most attractive feature of this beer. The flavour doesn’t match the promise and range of the aroma, but is pleasant with soft, delicate orange flowers and a very mild spiciness.
<u>Over God Oakes 5 (+27%)</u>
The room fills with perfume, medicine, noble hops, tangerines, horseblanket. Fun stuff. Bitter body brings a strong citric component, and these are complemented by warming pale malts, an underpinning of alcohol and a sour, bretty finish. Vibrant, funky, alive. A nature that is challenging yet comforting, a potency that can satisfy with one bottle or with four, Orval is truly a pleasure for all of your senses. In short, Orval is beer.
<u>Fanatic MartinT 5 (+27%)</u>
Engulfed in a whirlwind of wild flowers and citrus fruit……Then deposited on a bed to frolick with thousands of herbs……Deep, full, and creamy caramel spread out minutiously on every flower bud……Making love in a field with my bien-aiméée……
<u>Old Grumpy Choos 0.7 (-82%)</u>
I think someone left a smelly old sock in the bottom of my bottle.
<font size="+1">2) J.W. Lees Harvest Ale</font>
This fully fermented (pasteurised) strong ale has been brewed once a year by J.W. Lees since 1985. The bulk of the production is purchased by B. United for export to the USA.
The People’s Score: 4.0
The Gods Score: 4.1
The Difference: + 2%
<u>The People’s God SilkTork 4.0</u>
First sip is orgasmic - a pornographic sweetness wraps around the tongue. Each sip is a story of its own, and no two sips are alike. The sips that are good are like The Beatles on acid playing Rubber Soul live in your mouth; but the sips that are bad are like a pirate copy of Suicidal Tendencies playing Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells over and over again. A most stunning and extraordinary beer.
<u>Under God Argo 3.5 (- 12%)</u>
Think port and you’re much of the way there. Very sweet and malty. Overall, it’s OK for a sip or two, but I couldn’t imagine drinking much more.
<u>Over God JacobLövenlund 4.9 </u>
The flavours explode in your mouth. Strong, sweet and full bodied. This truly is a complete brew.
<u>The Fanatic UglyRadio 5 (+25%)</u>
Wow! What a wonderful flavor! Man, this beer is like eating a cake, fucking marvelous.
<u>Old Grumpy Shadallion 1.8 (-55%)</u>
This beer’s silly flavors of plums and coconuts were over-whelming and completely out of whack.
<font size="+1">3) Westvleteren 12</font>
Westvleteren has the smallest output of the Trappist breweries, with only a small part of their production going very far into the world.
The People’s Score: 4.54
The God’s Score: 4.61
The Difference + 1.5%
<u>The People’s God Argo 4.5 (-0.8%)</u>
Absolutely wonderful beer. Very malty, rich & complex. Alcohol warmth adds to, rather than detracts from, the wonderful flavor.
<u>Under God Oakes 4.4 (-3%)</u>
Aroma shows alcohol, wood, hint of smoke. Flavour notes highlight raisin bread, allspice, deep fruitiness (apricot), demerara. Long, sweet, silky malts in the finish, with dates and light bready notes. Ultra smooth.
<u>Over God SilkTork 5 (+10%)</u>
Soft and sensual. Fellatio, cunnilingus - whichever way you like it, and call it what you will, this is oral sex of the highest order.
<u>The Fanatic willblake 5 (+10%) </u>
This is what beer is supposed to be.
<u>Old Grumpy HighGravity 2.5 (-45%)</u>
I do get a strange off flavor that tastes similar to plastic that I do not find favorable.
<font size="+1"> 4) Arrogant Bastard </font>
This is an aggressive beer. You probably won’t like it. It is quite doubtful that you have the taste or sophistication to appreciate an ale of this quality and depth.
The People’s Score: 4.01
The Gods Score: 4.03
The Difference + 0.4%
<u>The People’s God Oakes 3.9 (-3%)</u>
The best I’ve ever had brought some wonderful citrusy, leafy hops overtop of the crystal malt. This trend carried through the earthy body. If it’s not so fresh, and doesn’t have a fresh, rich hop aroma, it gets dominated by that malt and is not nearly as impressive nor enjoyable.
<u>Under God Per 3.7 (-8%) </u>
Aggressive citrusy aroma. Short blast of reasonably soft, clean firm maltiness. Very bitter finish.
<u>Over God Argo 4.4 (+10%)</u>
Aroma is intense grapefruit, medium sweet. Taste is grapefruit, chocolate, finishing alcohol-tinged grapefruit and light chocolate. I could see this as one of my "Desert Island Beers".
<u>The Fanatic Hugerat 5.0 (+25%)</U>
Until I find something better, this will remain at the top of my list. I love this beer, everything about it is insulting and wants to spit in your face. Long live Arrogant Bastard!!
<u>Old Grumpy bigfuckinhair 0.6 (-85%)</u>
This is without a doubt the least appealing beer i’ve ever drank in my life. it tastes bad, it smells bad, it is bad. maybe i’m just not ’sophisticated’ enough.
The Overrated Beers
<font size="+1">5) Traquair House Ale</font>
The People’s Score: 3.74
The Gods Score: 3.73
The Difference: - 0.2%
<u>People’s God ecrvich 3.7 (+1%)</U>
Aroma is heavily malty (caramel, milk chocolate, dark bread, cookie), with notes of vanilla and toffee, hint of alcohol. Flavor is moderately sweet, moderately bitter, lightly acidic.
<u>Under God SilkTork 2.7 (- 28%)</u>
The hops are over stewed and over used, resulting in a stodgy bitterness. A rather heavy going and clumsy beer which has plenty of flavours but no control or style.
<u>Over God Argo 4.4 (+ 17%)</u>
Wonderful sweet malty aroma, a wee bit of brandy sneaking through. The flavor is rich and complex, the maltiness combined with fruitiness, mild smokiness and some chocolate.
<u>The Fanatic PhillyBeer2112 5 (+33.5%)</u>
I’m giving it my first perfect score. I was amazed at the wonderful malt flavors, almost like a red wine. Perfect balance, beautiful deep red/garnet color. Rich aroma. Lingering warm and alcoholic finish.
<u>Old Grumpy chronictonic 1.1 (-70%)</U>
It just tasted old, grungy and bad.
<font size="+1">6) Old Rasputin </font>
A rich, intense brew with a robust palate, a fruity nose and a warming finish. Very complex.
The People’s Score 4.16
The Gods’ Score 4.1
The Difference -1%
<u>People’s God Ungstrup 3.9 (-0.07%)</U>
It is so strong, that it warms my ears - a great winter beer. This is one of the very best beers I’ve ever had.
<u>Under God SilkTork 3.7 (-11%)</u>
Intensity without integration is my feeling on this one. A confused rush of alcohol, tangy carbonation and bitter bitter hops.
<u>Over God Oakes 4.8 (+15%)</u>
Has a nose of malted milk, and a brandyish, alcoholic body, with slight hints of milk. Like mixing brandy, malted milk and espresso. Phenomenal. chocolate and roast
<u>The Fanatic Pigfoot 5.0 (+20%)</u>
An old, old favorite that I’ve been loyal to since my very first sip. One of the finest stouts in all the universe.
<u>Old Grumpy clvand0 1.3 (-69%)</u>
I can’t understand what people see in this beer. I had trouble finishing my first bottle of it.
<font size="+1">7) Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout</font>
Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout is the winter seasonal ale produced by Brewmaster Garrett Oliver. This highly sought after brew attains its strength by using the first runnings from two and a half mashes of grain. It is a classic Russian Imperial Stout, modeled on the beers made by British brewers for the Czar’s Court in the Nineteenth Century. Black Chocolate is a wonderful winter warmer and a stunning accompaniment to a chocolate dessert.
The People’s Score: 4.1
The Gods’ Score: 4.02
The Difference: - 1.9%
<u>People’s God Per 4.1</u>
Roasty chocolate aroma, softly malty, full bodied. Lots of salty liquorice and dark chocolate in the palate. Bitter finish. A thoroughly well made and tasty beer.
<u>Under God SilkTork 2.7 (-34%)</u>
A rather simplistic alcohol fired stout aroma. Not great. A creamy mouthfeel with some barely noticeable fizz. The creaminess fades away wetly. Dry stout flavours and alcohol. Too much alcohol for too little reward.
<u>Over God Gusler 4.6 (+12%)</u>
The aroma of hot chocolate, sweet malt, hints of coffee and the toasted grains make this a quite sniffable brew, what a treat to this old honker. Delightful stout, and a must if you’re into the dark side.
<u>The Fanatic BrooklynBoy 5 (+22%)</u>
This was a treat. It poured beautifully. Nice and thick. Good creamy, brownish head. Dark black body. Inviting aroma. And the taste was wonderful. Rich and thick and smooth. This is my personal favorite.
<u>Old Grumpy surfmurf 1.3 (-68%)</u>
Ouch! This is a stout and I don’t much care for them. This reminded me of rubbing alcohol. I dumped it.
<font size="+1"> 8) Dogfish Head World Wide Stout
World Wide Stout is one of the world’s strongest dark beers. It is brewed using six different yeast strains over seven months and then aged for half a year. Dark, rich, roasty, and complex, World Wide Stout has more in common with a fine port than a can of cheap, mass-marketed beer (released in early winter with very limited availability).
The People’s Score: 4.12
The Gods’ Score: 4.02
The Difference: - 2%
<u>People’s God Argo 3.9 (-5%)</u>
It’s good stuff, no question about it. I can’t call it well-balanced, but I still can’t figure out how they can put so much alcohol in this beer. Sure there’s an alcohol flavor, but nothing like what you’d expect with this much alcohol.
<u>Under God SilkTork 3.6 (-12.5%)</u>
Cellophane, alcohol and vinyl aroma. Sweet and tingly up front. Lots of caramel, toffee, fudge flavours. Nice - but way too powerful!
<u>Over God JacobLövenlund 4.6 (+11.5%)</u>
Very complex aroma of dark fruits, sherry, vanilla, chocolate and coffee. The flavour is extremely complex and powerful as well. It really fills your mouth well. The alcohol is very well hidden.
<u>The Fanatic WISEGUY572 5.0 (+21%)</u>
If you try to drink the whole bottle you miss all this wonderful activity and end up giving the beer a lower score because it is, indeed, too hard to drink. The only thing you get out of the second half of the bottle is the remaining 333.3 calories. And enough alcohol to have a one-beer hangover
<u>Old Grumpy Securb 1.5 (-63.5%)</u>
To call this a stout is just not true this is more of a Brandy made from malt. I approached this stout as a beer and was very disappointed, I waited a month until I was in the mood for a brandy and still could not drink more that a couple ounces of this stuff.
<font size="+1">9) Thomas Hardy</font>
The People’s Score: 3.87
The God’s Score 3.78
The Difference - 2%
<u>People’s God Oakes 3.9 (+0.7%)</u>
The oldest beer I’ve ever had. Spicy, brandyish, smokey, chocolatey, alcoholic aroma. Thick body. Smokey, richly fruity, slightly candyish, toffeeish, slightly tart...
<u>Under God Duff 3.2 (-17%)
Really potent nose, warming spirity aroma. Soy sauce and balsamic vinegar, with a salted licorice, very warming alcohol finish. I couldn’t help but feel the bottle was slight past its prime.
<u>Over God Per 4.3 (+11%)</u>
Woody nose with traces of smoke. Rich and intensely malty. Very salty with some chocolate in the background. Dense, velvety finish. Salty, bitter finish.
<u>The Fanatic jca_lbi 5 (+29%)</u>
Oh dear God this is stage 5 beer nirvana! Smooth, vinous aroma (slightly oaky as well). Delightful caramel and port-like characteristics. Outstanding!
<u>Old Grumpy pilsnerrogge 1.1 (-71%)</u>
I know that this is supposed to be a classic beer but it just didn’t do it for me! Sweet, almost like syrup and the taste of alcohol was way too dominant.
<font size="+1">10) Victory Hop Devil IPA</font>
Bold, spicy and menacingly delicious, this American-hopped India Pale Ale offers an aromatic punch and then follows through with a lasting, full-bodied finish.
The People’s Score: 4.04
The Gods’ Score: 3.79
The Difference - 6.1%
<u>People’s God Per 4 (-0.9%)</u>
Light bodied, dry, huge cascade/citrus aroma, bitter.
<u>Under God Duff 3.1 (-23%)</u>
I can’t believe how boring it ended up being, considering the amount of flavour in it. Tasty, yes, but very one dimensional.
<u>Over God Gusler 4.3 (+6%)</u>
’OOOOOOHHHHHH DEM HOPS’. A great beer for us ’Hop Heads’.
<u>The Fanatic bonvivant 5.0 (+24%)</u>
It is the best American IPA I’ve ever had! Very well balanced - you can actually taste the malts.
<u>Old Grumpy bac080 2.1 (- 48%)</u>
Every time I took a sip I felt like I had to scrape my tongue. If you don’t like strong hops, don’t bother with this beer.
<font size="+1">11) Aventinus</font>
The People’s Score 4.05
The Gods’ Score 3.77
The Difference: - 6.9%
<u>People’s God Per 4.0 (- 1.2%)</u>
Big aroma of toffee and banana. Full bodied, rather sweet.
<u>The Over God Duff 4.5 (+11%)</u>
The ingredients seem to blend well together. Sweetish, but dry-ish finish, totally insane in the end.
<u>The Under God Jacob Lövenlund 2.1 (- 48%)</u>
This extremely nice coloured beer with a great head looks superb in the cool glasses. Unfortunately that’s all. Unpleasant alcoholic wheat aroma. Strong and bad taste of farmyard manure.
<u>The Fanatic dirkules 5 (+ 23%)</u>
Perfect every time. Smells like sweet cloves and tastes like banana, caramel, cola, wood, and a hint of cigar! Fantastically well pitched flavour!
<u>Old Grumpy Grandpa 0.9 (- 77%)</u>
Whew, this is bad stuff. A foamy head, that quickly collapsed, sat on a very cloudy, dirty brown brew. The first taste was of sour, spoiled fruit. Several more swallows didn’t improve my reaction. The remainder went down the sink.
<font size="+1">12) Chimay Bleu</font>
Chimay Bleu is principally distinguished by its character of a strong beer. This is a beer whose fragrance of fresh yeast with a light, flowery rosy touch is especially pleasant. Its flavour, noticed when tasting it, only accentuates the pleasant sensations perceived in the aroma , while revealing a light but pleasant touch of roasted malt. This top fermented Trappist beer, refermented in the bottle, is not pasteurised.
The People’s Score: 4.1
The Gods’ Score: 3.8
The Difference: - 7%
<u>The People’s God: Argo: 4.0 (-2%) </u>
The mouthfeel is champagne-like, all light and bubbly. Cloudy, dark brown body, with a nice head of foam. I like this beer quite a bit, but I can’t say I love it.
<u>The Under God: Bov: 2.9 (-29%) </u>
Some sweetness followed by a tart bitterness with a synthetic malty finish. It’s hard to imagine that this was once a true world classic (and don’t tell me this beer has not changed during the last years !) What is the motivation of the Chimay guys to commit such a suicide ?? - this is now the most overrated beer in the world.
<u> Over God Oakes 4.3 (+5%)</u>
Has this beer mellowed lately? It is still quite a mouthful, but the complexity seems to be waning.
<u>The Fanatic Room_temp_beer 5.0 (+22%)</u>
Very smooth.. No beer is perfect, including this one, and I don’t like giving out perfect scores, but this is as good as it gets.
<u>Old Grumpy Gazza: 1.4 (- 66%)</u>
Dryish brew, thin bodied, hints of cardboard, artificial hop and a dull sweetness. Strange dry chemically malt finish with cardboard and alcohol. This used to be a decent beer, what happened?
<font size="+1">13) Trois Pistoles</font>
Strong Belgian type ale similar to a Port wine ! Is as dark as can be, mellow in taste with an aroma of ripe fruits. It can be compared to an old porto and is brewed from well roasted malt.
The People’s Score: 4.07
The Gods’ Score: 3.7
The Difference: - 9%
<u>People’s God austinpowers: 4.1 (+ 0.7%)</u>
My favorite Unibroue product - and I’ve had lots of them. A bit too carbonated, though.
<u>Over God Bov 4.5 (+ 10%)</u>
Spicy and complex aroma with a hint of cherry. Sweet and creamy vanilla. Long aftertaste.
<u>Under God motelpogo: 2.0 (- 50%)</u>
Stupidly sweet, cheap red wine and baking soda yeast flavour. Predictable. Tastes a lot like their other beers. Unpleasant burnt candy. One of the worst of its style.
<u>The Fanatic frankR: 5.0 (+ 22%)</u>
Delicious beverage. One of the best Belgians I’ve had! Awesome fruit, yeast, spice. Very underrated.
<u>Old Grumpy DrunkAsASkunk: 2.3: (- 43%)</u>
The taste is pretty repulsive on the tongue... over ripe plums batter the mouth in an acidic free for all, and leave a grapefruity dryness to all hell. Morbidly awful acidity level here that made my tongue curdle...sandpaper like almost. I don’t think I will care to venture near this again.
<font size="+1">14) Bells Expedition Stout</font>
The darkest beer we make; this Imperial stout contains double the malt and five times the hops of our Kalamazoo stout and is perfect for cellaring as its complex character will evolve over time. Available October-March.
The People’s Score: 4.28
The Gods’ Score: 3.89
Difference: - 9.1%
<u>The People’s God: Oakes 4.2 (- 1.8%)</u>
Rich, vinous nose, faint hint of roast, deep fruit (cherry, plums), alcohol. Slippery body. Intense flavours of alcohol, coffee, big rich fruitiness, wine, burnt cherry and Christmas fruitcake. Wow.
<u>The Under God: SilkTork 3.1 (-27.5%)</u>
A very tasty brew, but the huge unbalanced bitterness and thick as two short planks mouthfeel mark this down for me.
<u>The Over God Gusler 4.6 (+ 7%)</u>
Excellent. Not meant for the weak of palate, as this is as robust as Stouts get. A real Stout Lovers dream. WOW! Big beer, big abv.
<u>The Fanatic raindog 5.0 (+ 16.8%)</u>
The palate is a bombshell of chocolate,coffee,burnt sugar,roasted malts,and a noticable hop finsh. This beer will warm you from the inside out and leave your STICKY lips begging for another round.
<u>Old Grumpy: clvand0 2.4 (- 44%)</u>
Like most other Bells beers - has character, but don’’t like the taste much at all. Some hints of coffee and maybe some hops in the flavor.
The Most Overrated Beer In The World:
<font size="+1">Guinness Draught</font>
Available in cans, kegs and bottles with nitrogen and carbon dioxide. Pasteurised. Usually called Draught; sometimes called Cold or Extra Cold - same beer, but served colder.
Launched in 1961.
Ingredients: Pale ale malt, about 25 to 30% flaked barley, and about 10% roasted barley, with no other grains or sugars; several hop varieties, mainly Goldings (pellets and isomerized extract); a flocculent head-forming ale yeast.
The People’s Score: 3.59
The Gods’ Score: 3.26
<u>The People’s God - Per: 3.5 (-2%)</u>
Black, creamy, roasty, dry and bitter. This was once upon a time one of my favourite beer, but since that I’ve learned a lot. It is not exactly subtle, but far better than most other mega brews.
<u>The Under God - Oakes: 2.7 (-25%)</u>
One of the world’s most overrated beers. Aside from the fact that the brewery insists on serving it cold, the nitrogen kills all the flavour and aroma. Nuts to all this ’classic’ crap, D’arcy’s is the true definition of Irish stout, and St. Ambroise brings a depth flavours Guinness hasn’t matched in 30 years.
<u>The Over God - Bov: 3.9 (+8%)</u>
Dark black colour, big legendary creamy head, black chocolate aroma, smooth, mildly bitter, slightly roasted, long dry and bitter aftertaste - probably the best of the most overrated beers in the world
<u>The Fanatic cheubi: 5.0 (+39%)</u>
Guinness is the standard by which all others should be judged. Coffee notes with a creamy, nitrogen-induced smoothness lead you into a deep taste.
<u>Old Grumpy BruceLeroy : 0.5 (-86%)</u>
My god this stuff is horrible. I’d drink Milwaukee’s finest monkey spunk over this bum urine.
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My god this stuff is horrible. I’d drink Milwaukee’s finest monkey spunk over this bum urine.
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