Beyond the Numbers: Exploring the Art of Beer Ratings

Beyond the Numbers: Exploring the Art of Beer Ratings


If you’re a beer enthusiast, you’ve probably come across beer ratings in your search for new brews. You might have also wondered what separates a 4-star beer from a 5-star one. After all, taste is subjective, and what you love might not be someone else’s cup of tea. So, how do beer ratings work? Are they just numbers, or is there more to it?

The Ratings System

Most beer ratings systems are based on a 5-point or 10-point scale, with 5 being the lowest and 10 the highest. Beer enthusiasts use these ratings systems to evaluate different aspects of a beer, such as its appearance, aromatics, flavor, mouthfeel, and aftertaste. Not all ratings systems are standard and may vary from different online review websites.

How Beer Ratings are Influenced

While most beer enthusiasts will consider the taste and quality of the beer in their rating, other factors can also influence their score. Factors such as the brewery’s reputation, a brew’s rarity, or the cost of the beer may influence a person’s review of the drink. This use of the rating scale can be considered more objective, taking away from the human element of palate preference.

The Human Element

As mentioned earlier, taste is subjective, and everyone has their own preferences when it comes to beer. A rating system can never be perfect because there will always be individual differences in taste and opinions. As a result, when giving a beer rating, it is important to consider both tasting notes (objective criteria) and your personal preference (subjective criteria). It’s important to rate a beer based on your overall experience with the beer.

Expert Ratings

Beer ratings are influenced by beer experts like brewers, judges of beer competitions, and certified beer judges. The Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) has a tasting exam, which trains swillers to get beyond the superficial comments on a beer’s flavor, taking a deeper evaluation. The BJCP score system rates beer across six specific areas; the rating system aims to align the judges’ rating to the beer style and remain as objective to the judged beer as much as possible.

Popular Beer Ratings Websites

There are many online beer rating websites that have user-generated content, where beer enthusiasts can subscribe to rate and review different types of beers. These websites include Beeradvocate, Ratebeer, and Untappd.


Q: What should I look for when rating a beer?

It is essential to consider both the beer’s taste and other factors like its mouthfeel, appearance, and aftertaste. These factors play a vital role in your overall experience with the beer.

Q: Are beer ratings reliable?

Beer ratings are a good starting point to identify different beers’ qualities based on objective and subjective preferences. However, you should always trust your taste buds rather than relying solely on ratings.

Q: What separates a good beer rating from a bad one?

Good beer ratings take into account both objective and subjective criteria while being able to articulate their taste experience. A bad beer rating is typically vague, unhelpful, and lacks detail.


Beer ratings are not just about numbers; they are an art form. The experience of rating a beer is both objective and subjective, combining individual palates and outside influences. Beer ratings are an excellent starting point for identifying different qualities in a beer, but ultimately, you should rely on your taste buds and personal preferences.

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