Sunday, August 11, 2013

Speaking of Beer..

With my previous post about the New Glarus beer it occurs to me that I should perhaps explain the rating system. The basics of it is a 1-10 where 1 is totally undrinkable and 10 is what I consider a world class beer that you should always choose to drink if available. For the break down however here goes:

1:  Perhaps the simplest of the ratings, it is just plain wretched and undrinkable. Even the smell of it is off, if it is spoiled or otherwise damaged or if it is just as it is. Generally I would expect this to be a ruined beer that either escaped quality control for a professional or something that is so old and ancient that it perhaps ruins the brand.

2:  Still pretty much awful. While you may be able to have a few sips of this you will not get more than a few down your gullet. While this may or may not be spoiled it is something you will never get past the first sip or two. In fact you will probably just spit it out.

3: Not really great here either. You will be able to swallow but some lingering off flavors remain on your palate, or perhaps just right away hit your taste buds. The smell is off and while it may be only marginally drinkable its something you would not really want to finish the whole beer.

4: Drinkable, but nothing you would recommend. It will not be a beer you want to try again but it does the job. Consumable for sure but recommendable, probably not. This also is a beer that misses the mark or is a major disappointment in flavor or style profiles. Still its not a beer that you would dump, perhaps cook with or its a beer you would drink after you have *ahem* had a few and your taste buds are a bit.. muted.

5: An average drink. Not anything to write home about (or write a blog about if you had to) but nothing bad either. May be a slight disappointment for a hyped beer, could be confusing to the taste buds for too much going on at once, could be too much of something. (bad bitterness, too malty, sweet, etc.) It is still a solid drink however, and one that I would see drinking again, particularly if the price is right.

6: Something that could either just miss the intended mark or something that is a pretty tasty brew that you would quaff regularly if the price point is right. It may be a bit off in terms of either style or flavor but still something that you would drink if available. You just are not going to rush to the liquor store to pick up a bottle or sixer of it. Another way to look at it is its a solid tasting beer and one you will be hard pressed to go wrong with at least with in season!

7: This is where it starts to shake the lesser beers from the rest. To earn a 7 The beer must be outstanding. The flaws must be small if at all. This also should be a beer that is relatively easy to find (if you are in the Midwest) or at least be priced in a reasonable manner for the amount you get. This should also be a beer you can consume on a regular occasion, at least with in the season it is released. This is a beer that you would consider a stand by and commonly stock when available.

8: This is a superior beer in nearly all aspects. It should have zero flavor flaws, be true to style with in reason, be something you would gladly drink again and be something you would give to anyone else that either appreciates a good beer or someone you would want to show that there are more beers out there than the BMC lagers.This is also a beer that you would stock constantly if  you are able to and something that even a novice drinker would say "Yep that is a tasty beer!"

9: This is a world class example of beer. It hits all the style points, is a pleasure to drink and is one that you would hand over in a heart beat to someone that can appreciate it. It is also a drink you would horde and pick up as much as you can just so you can have more of it. It meets the definition of a beer that you would always love to have on hand. Its also likely a multiple medal winner if its an established drink or one that would take home the gold with out a doubt.

10: Is there this holy grail out there? Probably. To me its every positive thing about beer drinking, availability, taste, cost or memories associated with it. This is a beer that you would drive hours to go get. This is the beer everything else in the world is compared to.

Some notes however:

Limited Releases: This is likely to have a slight impact on the beer scores. A beer that is very hard to get a hold of will be judged by its flavor but the availability is something that will harm it slightly in some aspects if it is not worthy of moving mountains to obtain. If its limited to a single area or a single day of the year for release, well it may be a damn good beer but its going to be damn hard to share. If this is truely a world class brew, so be it but any defects will stand out much more readily due to the nature of the drink.

Storage problems:  I will try to be fair with this one, For example if I suspect that the stock is old or not well cared for I'll note it. However I would also hope that the distributors are watching the conditions of which their beer is stored at if the retailers are not doing so. Some Breweries take care to make sure flagship beers at the very least are not stored improperly.

Reputations:  I'm human and I'll do my best to give a honest taste feed back or recommendation on a beer. A highly reputable beer will not gain positive points  because of the reputation, and if I think the reputation is overblown I'll say as much.

Scoring: I may also adjust the scoring as I do a few informal reviews. I want truely exceptional beers to be in the 8-9 range. I want a great beer to be a solid 7. The average beers I want to be a 5-6 and so on and so forth. If I see that my scale is sliding too far one way or another I will revisit this and adjust it.

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