Friday, September 9, 2011

When rating beer; Why rate what you hate?

Go to any online beer rating sight such as or and take a closer look at some of the reviews for styles that you don’t particularly care for, or even hate, for that matter.

What you will find are some pretty harsh words and low rating scores for beers that were brewed in strict accordance to the style in which they were intended.

For example, one person rating a De Cam Oud Gueze from Belgium wrote; “Cloudy orange with almost no head. Sour notes and basement aroma, stale and earthy. Very (!) dry and acid-like mouthfeel that made it impossible for me to enjoy it. Disappointing.”

That person gave it a 2 out of a possible 5 rating. Huh? After having described the De Cam Oud Gueze for what it’s supposed to be (a sour beer), he/she slammed it hard. It’s one thing to not appreciate a certain style, but to criticize it when it is, in fact a great representation of the style is just wrong! BTW-I’m not a fan Gueze, but I can’t give a poor rating to a beer that captures the style characteristics to perfection.

Here’s another crazy rant and rating for the very classic Rauchbier Aecht Schlenkerla Urbock; “oh, god. I AM NOT A FAN OF THIS STYLE> I COULD NOT FINISH THIS> Sorry, I do not like it. This is a very strong version of the smoke style. Not even after 5 very hot spice nuclear wings can I get the taste out of my mouth and nose. If you are not a fan of smoke beers, please, stay away.”

Rauchbier is a SMOKED BEER! This guy gave it a one. A one? For being the classic representation of the style, he gives it a one? That’s crazy!

It’s one thing to slam a beer when you feel it doesn’t live up to your expectations of what the style is supposed to represent. Or maybe you can or dole out a low score when a certain beer totally misses the boat, even within its style range. Hell, it’s fine to kick the ass of an Adjunct Lager made by Mass-Mega-Brewers of bland suds, because they brag in their advertising about how great they are, when in fact, they suck.

Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but it is absurd to attack something for being exactly what it should be. Does a vegan get all persnickety when he knowingly bites into a juicy hamburger and screams in horror, “THIS TASTES LIKE MEAT!!!!?” Well, probably. I suppose that’s a bad analogy, but you get the point. If you hate it, don’t rate it! If you feel you MUST comment on your dislike for the style; fine. Just don’t mark it down for being true to the style.

Ok, where did I put that Cranberry Lambic?


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