The story behind kp’s ratings

Reads 5550 • Replies 40 • Started Tuesday, September 4, 2007 4:38:39 PM CT

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kp
beers 10878 º places 12 º 16:38 Tue 9/4/2007

Several people have asked for the story behind my ratings and how I could rate over 4000 beers in a single day. Here is a brief background.

History
Living in Georgia, in the early 1990s, was living in a beer wasteland. In order to have good beer to drink I would have to travel and bring back good beers. The best closest place to get a good selection of beers was Washington DC, a nine hour drive each way. I’d make a trip once, maybe twice, a year and stock up for the rest of the year. When you only get to go to the beer store once a year, and are spending your annual beer budget all at once, you have to be sure you don’t keep buying the same crap, and you stock up on your favorites. I started rating beers in order to keep up with what to buy on my annual trips to DC. I also started a beer cellar at the same time, as I’d buy enough to make sure I had enough to last for the whole year (and then some). The ratings actually predate the cellar.
Hardware
About the same time I started rating beer I had bought a Sharp Wizard to track appointments and contacts. I started using the memo function to list beers and scores. Eventually in the late 90s I replaced the Sharp with a Palm III after I ran out of rating memory. A few years ago I migrated to a Palm Treo 600 to combine PDA and phone and pager into one device (and to get a keyboard to make it easier to store ratings).
Software
As stated above I started using the memo feature on a PDA. After I upgraded to the Palm platform I started looking for a good database program to use. I ended up using HanDBase as it is a good powerful relational database. I use a simple parent-child set of tables to track breweries and then beers for each brewery. I keep separate entries for beers that I want to track by vintage. I also frequently have separate entries for some aliased beers and beers that have changed names over the years. Within each entry I may have multiple sets of notes where I have review the beer multiple times. This is especially true of beers where I like to do occasional vertical tastings or where I’ll sample a beer in different serving modes (bottle, draft, cask). I plan to break these multiple ratings out into a new grandchild table to hold the notes and separate scores for each rerate.

 
kp
beers 10878 º places 12 º 16:39 Tue 9/4/2007

Upload
My RateBeer upload program is a ugly set of Perl LWP scripts running on a Unix server. I’ll export my PDA databases into a CSV file that are processed by the Perl programs. They will take my multiple entries, resolve aliases, and merge them into a single entry for upload, converting and averaging scores, and sorting multiple tasting notes. I track the last time an entry was updated and the last time it was uploaded so I know which entries need to be uploaded or re-uploaded.
In short, I have a program that thinks it is a web browser and surfs the RateBeer website. But instead of getting data from a user at a keyboard, it gets the data from my database and uses that to key in entries just the same as a user would key in entries. It even takes a brief rest break between each rating.
Everything I do is highly customized to how I do it. Unless you are a Unix/Perl programmer, I don’t see a whole lot of reuse in what I have done so far.
Future
I plan to always keep the master copy of my ratings in my PDA. It is an indispensable resource when going to a beer store or a bar. I’ll just periodically mirror these ratings back to RateBeer as I add or change them to keep a copy on RateBeer as well.
As mentioned earlier I plan to break up my database and track each rerate in a separate table with separate scores so I can see how the score changes as a beer ages or see the difference between serving styles such as cask and draft.
Another change I want to do is to export the data to a MySQL database on the Unix host to make it easier to do data sweeps. In conjunction with that I’ll change the Perl programs to be more object oriented than they are today.
I never see a Windows interface into my RateBeer upload. I’m just not a Windows person. Mac is possible, though. But hopefully before I take on a project that big I’ll just sit down and enjoy a beer until the feeling passes.

 
Quake1028
beers 638 º places 30 º 16:42 Tue 9/4/2007

Is that your entire backlog? Or do you have more to enter?

 
badbeer
beers 434 º 16:56 Tue 9/4/2007

eye uh-gree. sumb buddy shood take hiz ratings away.


Originally posted by fly
your a liar and stoopit and people hate you and yu couldn’t have done that so your a liar and people hate you.

 
cheap
beers 7312 º places 281 º 17:02 Tue 9/4/2007

Accolades, I thought you were making some of them up at first. That’s why I queried you on the Rivertowne Buffalo Trace Bourbon Barrel Stout!


Who am I to wonder??

 
kp
beers 10878 º places 12 º 17:04 Tue 9/4/2007

Originally posted by Quake1028
Is that your entire backlog? Or do you have more to enter?

That is all that I can put on RateBeer except a couple I need to add once I get more info from the brewery.
I have hundreds of ratings from breweries that were long gone before RateBeer came along or before the beers were ever entered on RateBeer.

 
mwsf
beers 361 º places 3 º 17:20 Tue 9/4/2007

A RateBeer API would be awesome so you could do this stuff without screen-scraping the site.

 
footy
beers 346 º places 12 º 17:41 Tue 9/4/2007

Can you tell from your database what beer or beers changed the most dramatically from your first and second tasting? Both for the better and for the worst. With the way peoples tastes change over time you must have some pretty disparate ratings especially if it was a long time between beers.

 
eboats
beers 1115 º places 32 º 19:04 Tue 9/4/2007

You are a bastard for using a program like that. It does me no good. Here I thought you found some easy to use universal upload program for those ratings. Guess I have to keep entering them by hand.

 
User37895
beers 3085 º places 92 º 19:33 Tue 9/4/2007

Phew, good thing the Ratebeer user policy doesn’t forbid using bots to execute site activity ;). Close one.

 
csbosox
beers 1229 º places 13 º 19:57 Tue 9/4/2007

Can you design a program to upload my ratings from various notebooks, napkins, beer coasters, and scraps of paper?