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Surgical Beer Reviews


read 1539 times • 42 replies • posted 7/3/2013 1:28:30 PM

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fiulijn 14294:516
Originally posted by TheAlum
Most top raters ratings are worthless

I disagree, for a number of reasons
7/3/2013 3:31:37 PM

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sthlm 1224:136
Originally posted by fiulijn
Originally posted by TheAlum
Most top raters ratings are worthless

I disagree, for a number of reasons

I disagree as well because I think all serious ratings have some benefit. However, I do generally find the personal benefit of ratings from top raters to be fairly minimal for the very reason you posted:

Originally posted by fiulijn
You donít get 10000-30000 ratings drinking full bottles or pints.


I have had too many beers change dramatically (sometimes 1+ points) over the course of an hour or more to accept the claims by some people that they can give a thorough assessment from a 2oz sample downed in a few minutes. Not to mention the outlandish tales of being able to rate 50 or 100 beers at a single day festival or tasting without palate fatigue. Again, I think there is some benefit to such ratings, but I certainly would not bother seeking them out when I can read reviews from people who actually took their time with the beer. To each their own though.
7/3/2013 4:12:21 PM

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joet 2121:89
read robert parker. I also like stuff like this

http://blog.wblakegray.com/2011/03/robert-parkers-tasting-notes.html

where his tasting notes are dissected and made surgical.

really, you can say a lot with a little. and this means also tasting an ounce. The leading authority in wine did this, sometimes 400 times at a single sitting.

thereís nothing wrong with a much more modest approach.
7/3/2013 4:20:14 PM

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pellegjr 395:16
Originally posted by joet
read robert parker. I also like stuff like this

http://blog.wblakegray.com/2011/03/robert-parkers-tasting-notes.html

where his tasting notes are dissected and made surgical.

really, you can say a lot with a little. and this means also tasting an ounce. The leading authority in wine did this, sometimes 400 times at a single sitting.

thereís nothing wrong with a much more modest approach.


Good stuff, appreciate the insights, Joe.

Iíve recently wondered if it makes sense to distill and aggregate some of the key words/phrases contained within reviews and give transparency of the top 3 to the community. For example, if the most common three descriptors of say, Pliny the Elder, were "grapefruit", "resin", and "grass", well that information would be very helpful to me in determining if it was a beer I wanted to try.

Similarly, if beer entries were searchable by said descriptors, and sortable by rating, well that would just be the catís pajamas.
7/3/2013 4:49:35 PM

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sthlm 1224:136
Originally posted by joet
really, you can say a lot with a little. and this means also tasting an ounce. The leading authority in wine did this, sometimes 400 times at a single sitting.

I wouldnít dispute that. I would also say you can miss a whole lot by tasting only an ounce or rating when your palate is blown. Regarding "leading authorities" in wine, you posted a relevant article recently:

"Wine-tasting: itís junk science
Experiments have shown that people canít tell plonk from grand cru. Now one US winemaker claims that even experts canít judge wine accurately. Whatís the science behind the taste?"

From that article is the following quote:

"I think there are individual expert tasters with exceptional abilities sitting alone who have a good sense, but when you sit 100 wines in front of them the task is beyond human ability," he says.
7/3/2013 5:04:47 PM

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GT2 8163:564
For the surgical part, at lot beers are definitely not worth elaborating about. But for beers in the 3.9+ range I would hope in my own ratings that I "rave" about it rather than the occasional cringe worthy rating of:

caramel, malt, hops. 4.1
7/3/2013 5:06:15 PM

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pinkie 457:10
Originally posted by sthlm
Originally posted by joet
really, you can say a lot with a little. and this means also tasting an ounce. The leading authority in wine did this, sometimes 400 times at a single sitting.

I wouldnít dispute that. I would also say you can miss a whole lot by tasting only an ounce or rating when your palate is blown. Regarding "leading authorities" in wine, you posted a relevant article recently:

"Wine-tasting: itís junk science
Experiments have shown that people canít tell plonk from grand cru. Now one US winemaker claims that even experts canít judge wine accurately. Whatís the science behind the taste?"

From that article is the following quote:

"I think there are individual expert tasters with exceptional abilities sitting alone who have a good sense, but when you sit 100 wines in front of them the task is beyond human ability," he says.



I agree with this. I canít pick up everything without the whole beers time to do it and even then. The reviews start to read like carbon copies and thereís no way to judge what the score actually reflects. I mean if out of your own reviews, you could come up with for example 15 beers where you say "light pine and herbal hops over a caramel malt base" and thereís different scores on those beers, then that wasnít a good job of reviewing even if the beers were accurately rated.

So without being a poet lots of people add a simple observation, or comment; something that gives those words depth and definition.
7/3/2013 5:16:13 PM

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GT2 8163:564
Well overall, I donít read peopleís reviews too in deapthy, but if itís a reviewer I like and know personally that gives a beer a high score then that is all I need to know.
7/3/2013 5:37:45 PM

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brokensail 10547:800
Anyone with a half decent palate and thatís been to any number of brewpubs can probably guess pretty accurately what the Blonde Ale, Pale Ale, Amber Ale, Brown Ale, IPA, and Porter/Stout at the next mediocre brewpub are going to taste like. Of course, there are always surprises (whether good or bad), which is the fun of trying them. But I think most people donít care to be terribly elaborate about the same basic beer 100 times. Of course, the question then becomes: why bother trying them? My only answer is that itís something to do and it makes me look cool on the Internet.
7/3/2013 8:28:24 PM

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drowland 5980:172
My personal favorite part is that Iíve drank and rated with a few different people who openly disapprove of people with short ratings... then when I hang out with them they write down a few words and short descriptors, sometimes amongst 100 beers a fest, 2-4 ounces each, and yet somehow those ratings spawn into 10,000 word essays describing every nuance, including the start, middle, sub-middle, ending, mouthfeel, carbonation, head, sub-start, middle head, remaining head, lacing, colors compared to words none of us know, and so much more...

To me, 2 sentences of an on the spot rating is worth way more than someone writing down 10 words at a fest and fabricating it into an essay.
7/3/2013 8:48:32 PM

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