Tuesday, August 7, 2007

How we rate beer

Here is our rating method, modified from a good rating scale that can be found on RateBeer.com:

Appearance (5 points)
If it looks like a beer, we’ll probably drink it, but that doesn’t mean we’ll be extremely pleased with that decision. A good beer looks tasty and makes you want to pick it up—important characteristics such as color, head, and clarity can do a lot for the beer-drinking experience. At least that’s the case with the first couple of beers… results may vary after that.

Aroma (10 points)
Try as we might, it’s damn near impossible to taste something without smelling it, and vice versa. These senses are highly linked, so this category has a bit more weight than the first. The aroma of a beverage will often tell you even more about its subtle qualities than tasting it will. The only thing a good-smelling beer won’t help you with is how your breath smells after putting away a six-pack.

Palate (5 points)
A balanced mouthfeel is essential—drink a beer that feels too dry or overwhelming and you’ll probably need to order something else for the next round to recover. That said, different styles of beer will naturally follow a palate pattern based on their composition. Ratings in this category are usually defined by what the drinker is expecting based on the type of beer, coupled with the enjoyableness of the mouthfeel based on that expectation.

Flavor (10 points)
This is what drinking beer is all about. The balance of different flavors and the intensity of those flavors will distinguish the beers you like and the beers you tolerate. And as always in life, tolerance is a virtue.

Price (5 points)
We’re cheapskates. That’s not to say that we won’t shell out for good beer, but we expect to get what we pay for. Did I mention that we’re cheapskates?

Buzz (5 points)
Fact: People like to get a beer buzz. Fact: The older I get, the fewer beers I drink. Conclusion: A beer that feels full in my stomach and gets me a tad tipsy is a good thing—fewer drinks and a slower pace never hurt anyone.

Overall (10 points)
This is the place to give a little extra credit for anything that strikes our fancy. We’re not just talking excellence in the categories above; anything from socially responsible business practices to cool label art can get points here. The beer experience goes far beyond the act of drinking it, and this category reflects just that.

That puts us at a total of 50 points, which is divided by 10 for a total score out of 5.0. Individual band member scores are averaged to give us the master composite score, which is then laid down in the history books as absolute truth, forevermore (or until we try the same beer again).

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