Frequently Asked Questions

Q. How do I change my user name?
Do a search for the desired name. If nobody owns the name, then send a request through Feedback, a link to which is available at the bottom of every page.

Q. How do you calculate your beer scores? What do the scores mean?
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 has 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 get (BeerName) beer?
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. What is "lege"?
It's one of many RateBeer terms defined here in the RateBeer encyclopedia.

Q. What does retired mean and what beers get retired?
The 'retired' designation on RateBeer is meant to identify those beers which are currently out of production, no longer commercially available and which are not likely to become commercially available again in the immediate future. A beer is unretired as soon as it becomes commercially available again.

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?
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 its 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 beer marketer 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?
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 pixel width and save in an optimized JPG or PNG format.

You can also claim your brewery by affiliating yourself with it (sign in to your account, go to your page and click 'Are you affiliated with this brewery?') You will then have some editing rights. If you need more powers, just ask an admin!

Q. How do I change my personal information like mailing address, etc?
Personal information is editable in Account Settings. 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?
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. How do I delete my account?
We will honor all requests to remove all personally-identifying information (such as names, addresses, telephone numbers, etc.) from your account. Other site content (such as textual reviews) will remain in place but it will be anonymized so that your username is not associated with the review. If you want to remove all personally-identifying information from your account, send a request through Feedback, a link which is available at the bottom of every 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?
We have many ways to help you. Please contact sales @, or the Feedback link at the bottom of any page to contact us to see our rate sheet.

Q. Ciders? Sake? Meads? C'mon...
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?
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?
If the corrections button is not working, send a request through Feedback, a link which is available at the bottom of every page.

Q. How can I make a site suggestion?
I really do read my feedback. Please use the Feedback form available via the link at the bottom of every page.

Q. How can I get an article published?
We are not currently publishing new stories. If we do start again, we'll let you know. Cheers.

Q. Why aren’t cask and keg versions of a beer listed separately?
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. 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?
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.

Q. ZX Ventures, which is wholly owned by AB InBev, now owns RateBeer. What are you doing to ensure ratings remain fair and independent?
For many years RateBeer has gone to great lengths to ensure a focus on quality, and the proper safeguards in place -- not just with investors, but with advertisers prior. Our integrity is our greatest value and we will continue to maintain it. We have several protections in place to remain fair and independent, including:
  1. RateBeer's reviews are crowd-sourced and not editorial content and as such are beyond simple influence by the site's managers and employees
  2. RateBeer offer a transparency measure in the form of an API through which other brewers, industry watchers and journalists can easily view and vet changes in scores
  3. RateBeer has existing policies against affiliated users adding reviews of their own or competitor products
  4. RateBeer is developing a system by which any user can indicate association with the industry as a means to void all of their reviews for score calculation, and public viewing, but be able to store them for personal use

Q. Does RateBeer have any investors?
ZX Ventures, AB InBev's global growth and innovation division, owns RateBeer. This investment powers the maintenance and develop of RateBeer, and helps extend its ability to serve everyone around the globe. RateBeer has always been dedicated to integrity, passion, respect and gratitude and strives to remain the most trusted destination for those seeking out great beer.

Q. I work for a brewer. Do my ratings count toward the RateBeer score?
Today, this is managed on an "honor" system. If you work for a brewer, we ask that you associate your profile with that brewer and ask that you NOT rate beers from this brewer.
Here are the steps to associate your profile with a brewer:
1. Click on Advanced Search
2. Search for the brewer in Brewer Search
3. Select the brewer
4. Click on "Are you affiliated with this brewery?"
5. Click the button "Associate me with this brewer"
We are working on a way to systematically suppress select brewer employee scores. We feel that this is the right thing to do to support RateBeer's mission to provide independent, unbiased, consumer-driven information about beer and breweries and to enhance the image and worldwide appreciation of beer.

Q. I am a brewer and I want my beers removed from the site. What do I do?
The beauty and value of RateBeer comes in our users' ability to add publicly available content to our database.
If there is content that you are concerned with, please refer to the removal processes defined in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act section of our Terms of Service.