Announcing New Additions: Redux and Blind Reviews
Before I explain some additions/changes I will be making to this website, I would like to thank everyone who is reading this — over the course of my first sixty reviews, I’ve received some nice comments and feedback, as well as many reblogs and likes. I am, by no means, an authority of any sort on beer, but I think most people who read my musings about the world’s greatest beverage are much like me: curious. I try to review these beers with curiosity in mind and no pretenses. So thank you for reading and your feedback, and I hope you continue to do so.
This past Thanksgiving night, I was enjoying a beer I had reviewed on this website before. I’m not going to name the beer right now, because it will likely be the subject of my first Redux Review, so here’s just a brief outline of the situation: As I was drinking this beer, I noticed how similar it was to another beer I had reviewed that had gotten a fairly high score on my point scale. I remembered that the beer I was drinking didn’t get such a high score, and I wondered why there was such a huge discrepancy (we’re talking over 15 points here).
So, the next day, I took a bottle of the beer in question and a bottle of the beer to which I had drew some similarities too — the one that had rated high. I poured them each in sample glasses and blindfolded myself to see if I could tell a difference. I could. Then I re-rated both beers without looking at the original review sheets. The final totals confirmed my suspicions: the beer that was rated lower rated much higher on a second evaluation.
Immediately, I started thinking about why. Beer is a living product, made with ingredients that are naturally grown. One could reasonably expect one batch of hops to be different from another batch, even though they are the same type of hop. Beer is made using machines operated by humans. Bad bottles can exist. In short, anything can happen. Maybe I had an off bottle.
Or maybe I was off. Reviews of anything are subjective, no matter how objective one tries to be. And factor in the human element; was I having a bad day on that review? Did any number of things influence the review by even a point or two? It’s hard to pinpoint.
That is why I will be introducing Redux Reviews, where I will review a beer I have reviewed before, but for a second time. It’s not really an effort to repair reviews I think are off, but more so an effort to chronicle the various factors that affect the beer and the reviews themselves. Maybe my palate got more experienced since the last time I sampled something. Or maybe my tastes have changed. Or maybe the beer has changed. Who knows? I think it could be interesting, and while I don’t plan to do Redux Reviews often, I’m thinking one a month seems like a good amount.
After thinking of this idea, other thoughts ran through my head, most notably, “Why don’t I drink multiple samples of beer before reviewing?” Well, my answer to that is time. This isn’t a paying job, and if I drank these beers under purely optimal conditions, one review would take days. I would want to drink at least three samples, on three different days. And then you’d have to buy different samples from different stores, which means from different packs or different suppliers. Overall, I think that goes against the kind of do-it-yourself atmosphere I want this website to suggest when it comes to beer. I just want to grab a bottle or six pack, take it home, refrigerate it, pour it in my glass, and enjoy. Or review.
Look for the first Redux Review coming soon.
And then, there’s another type of review that went through my head…
Cue the drama! In a Blind Review, I will not know what I’m drinking until after I review it. The only thing I’ll know is the style of the beer, i.e. Porter, or Brown Ale, or Lager. I will review it as normal, score it, and then reveal what it is.
I’ll be doing this for beers I have reviewed and those that I have yet to get to. I suspect I might do one or two of these a month, too.
In effect, any beer can now be subject to three different types of review: a review in my regular series, a Redux Review, and a Blind Review.
Now seems like a good opportunity to point you to another document on this website where I explain How I Rate Beer — it explains my point scale, who buys the beer, and the glassware I use.