JAB: Here's ratebeer's current ratings on their full lineup:
None of that is very impressive. While 93 or 94 might sound great, for an IPA, I like to also look at the rating within the style. For example, the ZZ Top India Pale ale is 94 overall, but only 62 for style:
HOWEVER there aren't alot of ratings for any of their beers so perhaps these aren't as statistically accurate as others, but in the main I've found them very reliable. When beers score this low, for me life is just too short and there's too many brews out there... I wouldn't be making a special trip for it.
*Sigh* I know this isn't the" beer geek approved" method of selecting/drinking beers these days, but for me, personal preference and what I feel like drinking at the moment trumps any rating. Most of the beers I love to drink on a regular basis (also not a beer geek approved method of drinking beer these days) aren't rated that high. I couldn't care less what a small vocal segment of beer drinkers who are strongly influenced by peer pressure and who have more knowledge about what rarez and walez are available than they do about the brewing process, styles, faults, etc. and most importantly - their own personal preferences/desires thinks is the best (which are usually the strongest, boldest flavored beers with no finesse that taste great in small/cold samples). With taste being subjective and personal, I think life is too short to drink only beers other people think you should be drinking.
Okay, Staff, great... I accept your challenge for us to "follow our palates" and report on the world of beers. I note that you didn't offer any particular tasting notes on Auburn Ale House but strongly critized the resources I suggested to the poster, fair enough....
SO, I'll be glad to compare my tasting notes to yours, if you would so kindly reply with your top 2 or 3 favorite beers in each category. Almost certainly one of those will be available in my market area and we can exchange tasting notes....
....please provide the following:
Your favorite IPA's:
Your favorite barleywines:
Your favorite stouts:
Your favorite porters:
Your favorite wheat beers:
Looking forward to your recommendations. I will shortly taste them vs. my own preferences prior to the tasting and report back....
I agree with LStaff, though maybe not as strongly worded. I find BA and RateBeer skew towards bigger beers and lighter styles seem to get short shrift.
That said, there was a recent list compiled of the top 10 beers according to RateBeer ratings and I thought it was a pretty good list in many ways. When the top 10 has Westvleteren, AleSmith, and Russian River that's not bad.
Preference for "monster" beers is inevitable...
However, there's a way to navigate that, and that is to look not at the "overall" rating, but to the rating within the category. You have to click on the beer to find that number...
That's why a monster with a 96 may only score, say 70 within it's category because it's being compared to other monsters scoring 99's and 100's..., whereas a lighter beer with an overall 80 may score a 95 within it's category...
and of course these aren't "gospel", but when you're looking at 8 coolers and two aisles full of beer, they can sure help you narrow down brews to try. From there it's up to our individual palates.
So the implication is that some styles are better then others and therefore a curve is needed? I dont know if I agree with the notion that pilsners or milds are single A affiliates while imperial stouts are the major leagues. Does the site calculate this category only score by resorting by category or do people actually give two ratings per beer?
re: Insidious Rex
I don't think there are two ratings per beer, but not 100% certain.
I'd say it goes like this: I taste an excellent hefeweizen, maybe I give it a 2.9 or 3.0.... I taste a "good" hefeweizen and rate it a 2.6 say....
then I taste World Wide Stout, and give it a 4.0 because it's such a rare monster...Then I taste a "good" stout and maybe give it a 3.2...
SO, if you look at these ratings outside of the category, it looks like both stouts "outscore" both hefeweizens. However the 1st hefeweizen is a "monster" IN THE CATEGORY whereas the second stout is only fair in it's category...
So the category rating takes this differential into account and assigns the appropriate rankings overall (the headline number everyone sees), but then crunches the numbers within each category, so the highest-rated hefeweizen, let's say that's a 3.15, so (i think), that becomes a 100% rating for the category and all the other hefeweizens are scored against that for the category rating...
Pretty sure it works along those lines.
This doesn't really imply that any one style is "better" than others, but for most drinkers a monster barleywine or stout or a well-made double IPA is just going to leave a bigger impression ON AVERAGE than a simpler brew will...
Of course that's the average drinker, whereas some drinkers like you say will be knocked out by a great hefeweizen and only mildly impressed by an imperial stout, but IMO that's the minority, especially among rabid beer-drinkers who haunt microbrew bars and shelves.... so you really need a category rating that takes this bias into account.
Their site makes them look like an ale-centric Gordon Biersch. I live in SF and know several craft beer fans here and this is the first time I've heard of this place, which is probably not a good sign. I don't recall ever seeing their handles at any of the craft beer bars here either.
I think I had one of their beers last year, their stout I believe, but I don't remember much about it.
Seems like a popular spot on the weekends. I tried stopping by on the way home from Lake Tahoe once last year, and it was so crowded that I just gave up.