What’s in a rate?

60302320The problem with rating anything is that it is personally subjective, plus there are so many variable external influences that can, or could, influence the reviewers score or comments either consciously or unconsciously. Rating beer is no different.

Mood, location, are you too warm or too cold, is the beer to warm or too cold. Is it lively or flat as a kippers dick, is it supposed to be lively or like the other.

Knowledge, personal preference, location, experience, expectation, loyalty, brand perception, the unknown, peer pressure.

The last drink you had, that bag of spicy Space Raiders you just ate, or the delicious cheese you are eating right now that just pairs so well.

Who brewed it, when did they brew it, how was it shipped, is it fresh, is it old, is it “meant” to be drunk fresh or is it better to save it until it is old, if so for how long, how long is too long?

Where was it stored, how was it stored, how did you pour it, into what, was it clean, did you bother to pour it into anything, a can is for supping from right, did I see you just chugg that Orval??

Too bitter, too sweet, too hoppy, “hoppy, this isn’t hoppy”? Wow that’s strong, pfft too weak, way too much whisky barrel, it’s cloudy, that’s haze, too clear, I love unfiltered, this is boring, too brown, why is there fruit in here, can you taste phenolic sweetcorn?

What you just read on Untappd, Ratebeer, Beeradvocate and such?

Then there’s the actual rate, how do you rate, what is “good” for you, a three, a four, a FIVE, in that case what is exceptional?

Untappd Groupie!

Untappd Groupie!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not knocking folks who rate, I personally use Untappd for example, and as such am at times (and definitely without any positive thought going into it), a certified “badge wanker”.. It was during such activity last night that these thoughts were pondered.

I don’t normally post comments, or at least anything worth reading tasting note wise, maybe an expression of delight or at worst a “meh”, but last night reading down some of the others below before I “tappd” I was a little bemused by some of the comments, so I did:

“Fucking hell there are some odd remarks about this beer on Untappd, it is ace, end of ūüėÄ #justsaying” I said, exactly.

The beer in question being the Buxton-Evil Twin collaboration “Anglo Mania, described as an English Barley Wine.

What made me think that more than anything were the two comments on separate rates below.

“My rating is based on expectation of a smash English Barleywine. Way too hoppy. It’s more of an American Barleywine.”

“Love a good barleywine but I feel this could do with some big piney American hops.”

One was expecting an English Barley Wine and clearly didn’t get one, too damn American tasting, what WERE those brewers thinking!?! The other bought an English Barley Wine and wanted it to be bloody “Merican”, maybe that clue in the title just wasn’t clear enough… For me, I don’t really care which style it was, it tasted great, I loved it.

Then of course there’s the marking system, (if you use one). I do, but it’s hardly rocket science and probably changes several times a session depending on many things including alcohol and memory. It goes something like this.

1-1.5. Shite, drain pour, why me..

2-3. Meh, below average, probably wouldn’t drink again.

3-4 Decent, rising through regular standard, I like sorta beer.

4.5. OOOOOH, really good, I could drink loads of this.

and finally

5. Fuckadoodledoo, call the registrar and arrange a special licence, I’m in love and we are gonna have ourselves a wedding. (I actually rated this as a five, it was probably only a 4.75, so put away that wedding dress Mr Stronge.) 

But then of course others rates are totally different, as again was evident in a conversation with a good mate who I know, knows his beer. He (Rich) said “I gave it a 3.8 so it was quality”. On chatting he clearly loved it, but obviously has a different, perhaps more in-depth (or less haphazard) way of logging what he’s tried than I. Different strokes for different folks…

Then do you share your thoughts on social media, or keep them to yourselves? Personally speaking I rarely share these days apart from the odd one or two and of course the obligatory “badgewankery”. Some do though and at times I think for slightly unscrupulous reasons too on occasion.

The thing is, people do read these comments and can pre-judge by what has been said and/or for low or high scores. I know I have, especially if it relates to an unknown brewery or perhaps a particularly expensive beer, where I will have a quick peek at what people are saying before deciding on whether or not to buy. I’m not proud of it, and dread to think of how many really good beers I’ve passed by in doing so.

So, what’s in a rate, a personal opinion of a moment in time is all it is. So keep an open mind when you next read beer notes and be mindful of what you write.

Cheers

Advertisements

Your own personal Jesus

EvenMoreJesus_label-465x346Your own, personal, Jesus someone to hear your prayers, someone who cares..

Now I’m not suggesting that you should seek solace in a bottle during troubled times, but if you were of a mind, you could do a lot worse than this dark and brooding little bottle of deliciousness from Danish brewery Evil Twin.

P1100724Up until September of last year I’d tried only a couple of beers from Evil Twin, these were Yin and Yang, a pair of beers designed to make up the ultimate black and tan as demonstrated admirably by Ghostdrinker in the picture, read his review here.

That all changed in September though when I visited the Borefts beer festival at De Molen brewery in Bodegraven.

Evil Twin were one of the invited guest breweries present and my god did their beers rock, the good folks there-present lapped them up big style. The beer list they arrived with came and went, each time you returned to the bar, another had the words “SOLD OUT” hastily scribbled next to it. Somehow, from nowhere, more beers turned up and very quickly went the same way and all were soon again long gone whilst many others around them lagged behind.

IMG_4568

The sign-writing may not have been up to the mark but the beers were a revelation, Hey Zeus, an imperial stout laced with liquorice and chilli was one of my top five beers of the weekend, Molotov Fruit Cocktail Impy Double IPA (irresistible name for a beer) was not far behind and for anyone in the UK close enough to be able to visit a Brewdog bar, available on keg at most of them at the time of writing this.

IMG_5435Even More Jesus is an Imperial Stout coming in at a whopping 12%abv. It pours as black as old motor oil into the glass, but forms this amazing copper brown head. Imagine molten rich milk chocolate whisked to a meringue-like froth and you’re somewhere close (this picture doesn’t do it justice).

The smells are amazingly intense. Masses of chocolate and coffee, stewed prunes in sweet baked rice pudding, warm molasses and a hint of kipper smokers flat cap, it’s smokey man..

You take a taste and are rewarded with a humongous mouthful of big old flavours. Chocolate of course leads the way coupled with dark roasted bitter coffee beans. Seared whisky barrel oak brings a pleasant but not overpowering smoke to the party mellowed by rich boozy rumtoft fruits and fresh malted bread. All these tastes are huge but still somehow manage to come across mellow and smooth, there’s no harshness here at all.

Even More Jesus coats every corner of the mouth with a thick oil-slick coating of delicious flavour that takes about as long to clear, make this your last beer of the night and savour every moment.

Luxurious, stunning, POSH?

Reach out and touch faith, go on, it’s over there, right next to the Soft Dookie…

STOP PRESS!

A tune to celebrate..

Cheers

Potteloereke

Thursday was a bit of a milestone in my “Belgian Beer Challenge” mini-quest, to find all 100 beers as I reached beer number 60. This was Potteloereke by Huisbrouwerij Sint Canarus.¬†I’d not come across this beer before nor any others from Sint Canarus and perhaps that’s not surprising considering the quote from their website:

“Homebrewery Sint Canarus, the biggest brewery¬†between Deinze and Gent, is one of the smallest¬†breweries in the world.The smallest brewery,¬†but the greatest beers! Enter the world of Dr Canarus.”

First off, great label!

Potteloereke is a Belgian Strong Dark Ale, when poured it is a deep rich redish auburn colour, with a thick creamy cappuccino head, minus the obligatory coffee bean stencilled in cacao powder.

The aroma is of fresh doughy bread, it draws you in like the smell as you pass a good bakery, some Christmas pudding fruitiness there too, that smell is gooood.

First mouthful of taste is warm doughy and very malt driven, a real full chewy mouthful, slightly syrupy in taste but not in texture. As the beer warms and opens up a little you get some sherry, dates, boozy soaked fruits with chocolate and toffee. Finally, the long warm finish really lets you savour the reassuring kick of booze at the back of the throat.

Although it’s a seriously malty beer, it does have sort earthy hop terroir if that makes sense. Nothing that hits you full on, it delicately mingles in the background to balance everything out nicely.

After having the usual Twitter chat about Potteloereke with a few Belgian beer enthusiasts it seems¬†Sint Canarus have quite a few more beers in the portfolio, if this is anything to go by I’d say they are definitely worth the effort.

Thanks to Tomas Danko for the Ratebeer link below.

I am interested in the actual brewery though, has anybody been to visit?

If so drop me some photos (or comments) and I’ll add them in here as an update.

https://twitter.com/#!/TomasDanko/status/121159106303238144

Cheers

Please sign the petition in support of #7POINT5 which unfairly targets high strength beers:

#7point5, what’s that all about?

Please sign the Government petition against unfair taxation on beers over 7.5% ABV, click HERE