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  1. #1
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    Why I trust mtbr beer recommendations more than BA...

    I live in a pretty rural spot in N. Idaho - it's tough to find some beers here. So, it took me a while to find the Sam Adams version of New Albion. I'd been waiting to try it for some time. I like it. Raw, grainy, and simple. And, a living piece of history.

    For those who have never heard of New Albion - it was probably the first commercial brewery that opened the door for the US beer revolution. It is really an amazing story and I encourage anyone to research it.

    I checked BA to see how it rated (the strengths and weakneses BA has been discussed in this forum before...). I was incredibly disappointed by the low rating and seeming lack of respect for history of the commenters. It does have a pilsnery (word?) feel to it, but given what Jack had available for equipment and ingredients, it is quite an accomplishment.

    Anyway, I'll keep lurking on this site and occasionally find some of the beers you all talk about.

    I'd say try New Albion - even if it is just for the history. Not a complicated beer, but it is good.

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  2. #2
    Afric Pepperbird
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    Me living in the Pacific Northwest, I can guarantee you there are hundreds of beers that take priority over something by Sam Adams. That's not to say I would not like to try this beer, it's just that, living in Beervana as I do (and you are close to it, too), I have much, much higher priorities. There is just soooo much great stuff in Oregon, California, Washington, etc. right now.

    I know you say it is tough where you live, but surely it can be done. Go get some!

  3. #3
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    Road trip!

  4. #4
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    Take BA reviews for what they are worth...I would definitely never use them as a gauge of a particular beer, or let them sway me.
    It's a flawed rating system, but it's probably one of the best we'll get, especially when trying to quantify something as subjective as personal tastes.
    New Albion is a very solid beer for the style, as well as the reasons you mentioned.
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  5. #5
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    I will check BA ratings from time to time to make sure I do not drop $30.00 on a BA beer that is crap.
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by JFryauff View Post
    Take BA reviews for what they are worth...I would definitely never use them as a gauge of a particular beer, or let them sway me.
    It's a flawed rating system, but it's probably one of the best we'll get, especially when trying to quantify something as subjective as personal tastes.
    New Albion is a very solid beer for the style, as well as the reasons you mentioned.
    The problem with BA is that people don't rate based on a "C average" so the distribution is skewed. People think a beer with a score of 70 is bad, when in fact it should be just average.

    I am guilty of this myself. That, or I like most craft beers enough to rate them 80+

  7. #7
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    BA is BS IMO

    The issue I have with BA and Ratebeer, is that the beers score is directly related to its demand, and its uniqueness. For example, if its a beer that is very difficult to get, that is also unique in some shape or form it is likely to get a high score, regardless of how good the beer actually is. When more "average" beers that are commonly available, and not "new and funky" but true to style and technically perfect will get poor ratings.

    Prime examples: Pliny the Younger and Bud heavy (not bud light).

    Pliny the younger is amazingly difficult to get and unique. I have had this beer 3 times now, and though it is a great beer, it isn't exactly "life changing" and I think many other commonly available double/triple IPA's can easily challange this beer for its title, including its older brother.

    Budweiser (heavy not light), is a technically a very good beer, has no faults, is drinkable, easy on the palate, and very true to style, but because it is so common it has a poor rating. "the bro's" rate it good, but the average reviewer has such hate on the brand that the automatically rate it poorly.

    BA should be taken with a heavy grain of salt, as you can find many many good beers on there that are rated "fair to poor" and many so so beers that are rated highly just because they are difficult to get.
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  8. #8
    i'm schralping yer thread
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guerdonian View Post
    When more "average" beers that are commonly available, and not "new and funky" but true to style and technically perfect will get poor ratings.
    Oh no...you just re-opened the BJCP style guidelines debate again, didn't you...

    Quote Originally Posted by Guerdonian View Post
    BA should be taken with a heavy grain of salt, as you can find many many good beers on there that are rated "fair to poor" and many so so beers that are rated highly just because they are difficult to get.
    Absolutely, it's kind of like going to MTBR for objective reviews of bikes...just sayin'.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guerdonian View Post
    BA should be taken with a heavy grain of salt, as you can find many many good beers on there that are rated "fair to poor" and many so so beers that are rated highly just because they are difficult to get.
    Agreed, though I wouldn't say its based on uniqueness or what's difficult to get. Perhaps somewhat, but if a beer is trendy people love to talk up how awesome it is. In some cases this is surely to justify how long they stood in line to get a pint . Sometimes they are right and it is awesome, but maybe you or I just don't like that particular beer that much or the style. And this being the internet there are plenty of people who spout off without knowing what they're talking about. At the end of the day only you know what you like, and you will just have to try it yourself.

    I put more trust in my friends opinions for sure, because I know what they have liked or not liked in the past which gives a better frame of reference.

    Quote Originally Posted by Guerdonian View Post
    Budweiser (heavy not light), is a technically a very good beer, has no faults, is drinkable, easy on the palate, and very true to style, but because it is so common it has a poor rating. "the bro's" rate it good, but the average reviewer has such hate on the brand that the automatically rate it poorly.
    Bud doesn't have a poor rating because its common, it has a poor rating because its piss. Keep in mind the average reviewer on BA is a craft beer fan who puts quality above mass marketing, cost, or (supposed) cool factor. Its a completely different market segment from the "bros" and "Joe's" who mostly drink macro brews. The "bros" like Bud because they think it makes them look cool, or its cheap, or they don't like "dark" beer. A saying I heard a while back is that Heineken is for people who don't really like beer, but want to look cool drinking it. And I don't disagree with that at all. What I do disagree with is that Bud has no faults, unless you consider having no flavor to not be a fault. A lot of the Czech and German beers have a ton of flavor as well as all the attributes you mention.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guerdonian View Post

    Budweiser (heavy not light), is a technically a very good beer, has no faults, is drinkable, easy on the palate, and very true to style, but because it is so common it has a poor rating. "the bro's" rate it good, but the average reviewer has such hate on the brand that the automatically rate it poorly.
    "American Lagers" are to beer what wine-coolers are to wine. At most, they are a "beer-inspired beverage" that makes you feel good because you're drinking something refreshing and popular that other people drink. Unfortunately, they are so far removed from the beverage they are based on that it's not really true to call it the same thing. It's not like the guys in belgium, germany and france were beer from rice, but since you can ferment just about anything, some people decided to start using rice and bland ingredients and then simply shock you into thinking it's good by getting it really cold. So...not really beer in my experience. Beer is available these days fortunately, using proper ingredients, but it's not called "budweiser" or "coors".
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guerdonian View Post
    BA is BS IMO

    The issue I have with BA and Ratebeer, is that the beers score is directly related to its demand, and its uniqueness. For example, if its a beer that is very difficult to get, that is also unique in some shape or form it is likely to get a high score, regardless of how good the beer actually is. When more "average" beers that are commonly available, and not "new and funky" but true to style and technically perfect will get poor ratings.

    Prime examples: Pliny the Younger and Bud heavy (not bud light).

    Pliny the younger is amazingly difficult to get and unique. I have had this beer 3 times now, and though it is a great beer, it isn't exactly "life changing" and I think many other commonly available double/triple IPA's can easily challange this beer for its title, including its older brother.

    Budweiser (heavy not light), is a technically a very good beer, has no faults, is drinkable, easy on the palate, and very true to style, but because it is so common it has a poor rating. "the bro's" rate it good, but the average reviewer has such hate on the brand that the automatically rate it poorly.

    BA should be taken with a heavy grain of salt, as you can find many many good beers on there that are rated "fair to poor" and many so so beers that are rated highly just because they are difficult to get.
    Pretty much agree with all of this. There is a tremendous amount of group think on BA. Personally, I find the idea of reading what somebody else thinks about a beer a little ridiculous. I use BA like I use mtbr...I peruse the forums to learn about new trails/beers and never read the reviews.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carl Hungus View Post
    Pretty much agree with all of this. There is a tremendous amount of group think on BA. Personally, I find the idea of reading what somebody else thinks about a beer a little ridiculous. I use BA like I use mtbr...I peruse the forums to learn about new trails/beers and never read the reviews.
    Yep, and that group think is what drives the hype of beers and is the basis for the ridiculous "economy" of beer trading. The only reason to leave a review is so that you can revisit it later and see if your palate or opinions have changed.

    The forums can be great, especially when industry guys participate. It's like the framebuilding forum here - so cool to have the experts chime in!

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by evdog View Post
    Agreed, though I wouldn't say its based on uniqueness or what's difficult to get.
    That's it right there. I've never been on BA, never even heard of it to honest. I've got to say that I've never seen or heard of most of the beers you guys talk about. I live in BFE, NC and there isn't a whole lot of selection around.

    The simple fact is that I don't like any of the common American Lagers. Budweiser, Michelob, Coors, Natural ( ), etc. I like some of the Sam Adams Seasonal Brew (Octoberfest FTMFW!!) Yuengling, Yeungling Black and Tan, and I love Fat Tire. My wife can't drink beer because she has to eat gluten free, so it's hard for her to want to go to a brewery even though there are a couple close by. One thing I want to do by the end of the summer is head to Asheville to sample some of their beers.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by jtmartino View Post
    Yep, and that group think is what drives the hype of beers and is the basis for the ridiculous "economy" of beer trading. The only reason to leave a review is so that you can revisit it later and see if your palate or opinions have changed.

    The forums can be great, especially when industry guys participate. It's like the framebuilding forum here - so cool to have the experts chime in!
    While I occasionally peruse the ratings, I've never ventured into the forums. For me, being a Northwesterner, the bias is just waaaay to East-Coast-Centric. NTTAWWT. No wait- there is actually.
    I definitely agree the uniqueness and cache' of a hard-to-find beer drives up the rating.
    Years ago, when I was into homebrewing and judging and got to know all the industry peeps, I was really getting sucked into the whole scene. I feel fortunate that I got out when I did- it was just before things went INSANE with the Bourbon-this, On-Lees that, aged in Whisky barrels blah blah blah.
    I no longer have that rabid drive to get the newest rarest beer. (Okay- I did get some Westy, but that was more of a fluke).
    In fact, while I still can drop $200- $300 on a visit to the beer store, more often I'm just going to Whole Foods or someplace and buying the more "pedestrian" beers. Or at least, the more widely available imports and craft beers.

    /Rant off.
    Oop- back on; while Bud may be technically excellent and match it's BJCP guideline, the guideline for the entire NAIL style describes a beer that tastes like watery piss, so, uh kudos to Bud/Miller/Coors for having most of their corporate lineup meet that stringent criteria.

    NOW then, back to my Ninkasi Total Domination. (In a growler, no less!

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by RRRoubaix View Post
    while Bud may be technically excellent and match it's BJCP guideline, the guideline for the entire NAIL style describes a beer that tastes like watery piss, so, uh kudos to Bud/Miller/Coors for having most of their corporate lineup meet that stringent criteria.
    That is probably the best way I have ever heard those beers described.
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  16. #16
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    I use BA as a tool to research breweries and find out about different beers. Overall their ratings haven't let me down, some are a bit too critical, but a solid resource nonetheless. I recommend anyone new to craft beers at least check out the site. Helped me out a lot.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by evdog View Post
    Bud doesn't have a poor rating because its common, it has a poor rating because its piss. Keep in mind the average reviewer on BA is a craft beer fan who puts quality above mass marketing, cost, or (supposed) cool factor. Its a completely different market segment from the "bros" and "Joe's" who mostly drink macro brews. The "bros" like Bud because they think it makes them look cool, or its cheap, or they don't like "dark" beer. A saying I heard a while back is that Heineken is for people who don't really like beer, but want to look cool drinking it. And I don't disagree with that at all. What I do disagree with is that Bud has no faults, unless you consider having no flavor to not be a fault. A lot of the Czech and German beers have a ton of flavor as well as all the attributes you mention.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    "American Lagers" are to beer what wine-coolers are to wine. At most, they are a "beer-inspired beverage" that makes you feel good because you're drinking something refreshing and popular that other people drink. Unfortunately, they are so far removed from the beverage they are based on that it's not really true to call it the same thing. It's not like the guys in belgium, germany and france were beer from rice, but since you can ferment just about anything, some people decided to start using rice and bland ingredients and then simply shock you into thinking it's good by getting it really cold. So...not really beer in my experience. Beer is available these days fortunately, using proper ingredients, but it's not called "budweiser" or "coors".
    I don't want to completely derail this thread by "defending" common american lagers such as bud heavy and Coors banquet, but I have to put in my 2cents. (let me first state that I do agree that all "lights" like BudLight, CoorsLight, michalobe light, etc... and many "heavy" american lagers are strait up piss, but some are technically good, no faults, crisp, clean, and session-able.) If you evaluate these beers (lets focus this on bud heavy and Coors banquet) for what they aim to do, they are very good beers. I think a lot of the hate (although somewhat well deserved) is purely based upon the label/brand and lack of "competition" from craft brewers. Craft guys don't make many lighter session-able lagers because they won't sell, people buy craft to get something far removed from the all to common american lager. There are some out there produced by craft (scrimshaw, mama's yella pils, lager of the lakes, Joe's pilsner, etc...) but these aren't bigtime sellers for craft breweries, and these offerings usually are "heavier" lagers and pilsners to keep that craft appeal. I guess my main point in my prior statement is that a lot of BA's BS is wrapped up in branding and excitement/uniqueness/flavor of a beer. Statments like " "American Lagers" are to beer what wine-coolers are to wine." only further prove my point that the public views the common beers not even as beers. I hate to break it to you but they are, and relatively decent beers IMO at that. Very few lagers/pilsners get above a B, when these styles take the most time to make, and are IMO the most difficult due to the flavor profile being so light that any faults are easy to distinguish. The best way to evaluate a brewery IMO is to try their lightest lager, as this will be the easiest to taste off flavor's (brewing problems) in. BA really needs more respect for the lighter beers, just because its below 5% abv, and is a lager/pilsner with crisp light flavor (as many coin "no flavor") does not mean its piss or a bad beer. Many true European lager beers are just as light and "flavorless" as some may say the hated american lagers are. The fact of the matter is super light low abv session-able lagers are not loved by the american craft seen, and I find this sad.

    On another side topic unless you follow reinheitsgebot, there is nothing wrong with adjuncts, yea I also prefer and always will be a proponent of barley based beer, but many beloved beers have adjuncts in them. While I 110% agree a beer should be primarily composed of barley not corn or rice, I have had many exceptions of rice based craft beers (Hitachi's nest for one) and a couple unique maze based craft beers (one I brewed myself out of blue corn) that were very enjoyable. Half the fun of beer is the fact it is so diverse and unique.
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  18. #18
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    I have had two encounters with an employee at my LBS and he has just gone off on some random rant. The latest one was a rant about Sun King's offerings being too expensive for what they are and something about how the ratings online are either absolutely glowing from people who don't know beer or scathing from people with thousands of reviews.

    I think this is a guy who takes his online beer reviews too seriously. Many of the local breweries here make lighter sessionable beers. I've had a couple I consider as my go-to sessionable options when I can find them. I do notice that they don't tend to get very much respect in a lot of cases.

  19. #19
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    I brewed the New Albion ale on a 5 gal setup and tasted next to the real thing. Both were a SMASH!

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