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On ratings, or lack thereof

Points, stars, grades, etc, things you will not be seeing in this blog when I review beers. I don't think it is accurate to rate beers (and most things actually) in such an absolute way. To me reviewing a beer is not like a test at school where all students are supposed to know the same stuff, it is about expressing my feelings while drinking it, and I can't reduce that to mere points.

Beer can be a very complex drink, more than wine, to some extent. It is the result of at least three or four basic ingredients: water (which is different everywhere); malts, usually from barley or wheat (which are actually a semi-product), hops and yeasts with all their varieties. In turn, they can be mixed according to the inventiveness of the brew master. Without considering less "traditional" ingredients like herbs, fruit, other cereals malted or no, etc, the recipes are endless and brewing methods are varied as well.

I like to divide beers into several categories: Everyday beers, thirst quenchers, session beers, beers to pair with food, experimental beers and beers to sit down and enjoy slowly. Though perhaps overlapping, each will give me different expectations. As great as a beer like X33 might be, it will not do the job as a thirst quencher for example.

Also, it has to be considered where the beer is coming from, is it from a big industrial bottler or from a small brewpub? How much I'm paying for it, I will not expect the same from a beer for which I've paid 25Kc, than from one that has cost me over 100Kc. And the most difficult bit, to understand what the brewer wanted to achieve when designing the beer. But that's not it, there are also moments, moods and more things to consider. That's why I think that coldly rating a beer with points, stars or grades is too simplistic since it gives the impression that all beers are measured with the same bar.

Perhaps, some of you will not agree with my reviews, and that's fine because at the end of the day, it all comes down to personal tastes.

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  1. You have touched a really sensible matter,I Think. Because feeling the beer you drink is exactly what it is made for`and the real aim of the brew master.In my opinion investigation with beer is based on a sentence: "To feel the beer made to be felt."

    Talking about ingredients...there's an important fact I would like to point out. I got a serious doubt about yeast being an ingredient in brew.I think that it is more a reactive, no doubt yeasts give complexity and add unique characteristics to each brew. The more I read and investigate about beer the stronger is my believe about that matter. Anyway I think we have a topic of discussion here, what's your opinion? A toast for you, and Sursum Corda.
    Oh I forgot it.....Congrats for the English version, its more than a version, it`s another blog in itself.Great!!!!

  2. You have a good point there.
    I to me, yeast is an ingredient, maybe not a key one, but still most beers as we know them would not be the same without it.
    I also depends on the brewmaster, that old Ale that I had at the beer xmas market last month was brewed using 8 or 9 different strains of yeast, so the brewers put a lot of emphasis on that.
    In fact, one of the reasons that the infamous German Purity Law was derogated were yeasts. But still, they are not usually mentioned on the labels as an ingredient.


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