(Catch up with Part 2 – IBUs, here.)

I want to start by making a note on my use of the BJCP guidelines for this exercise. The purpose is not to necessarily categorize the BJCP guidelines themselves, so much as use the existing guidelines as a list of statistics for “typical beers” to represent what should be pretty much every beer in existence. Basically, I’d like to create a final formula/set of statistical guidelines that can describe any beer. In the absence of an enormous amount of data about existing beers in the marketplace (which would be really preferable), I’m using this as an example set of what the typical range of beers would be if every single beer style were represented evenly in the market. In this case, one of each.

In this post, I’m looking at the average Original Gravity (OG) and Final Gravity (FG) for each style and here’s why:

OG is a measure of how much sugar is present in wort pre-fermentation and FG is a measure of how much sugar is present in wort post-fermentation. Using the two together, you can calculate the amount of alcohol in a beer, which is always a useful statistic. In theory, with these, we can get an accurate sense of how sweet or dry a beer will be. This is, of course, exactly what we need to play against IBUs to attempt to predict what a beer will taste like. Sweeter beers should balance against high IBU beers to create more balance. Dry beers should accentuate hops to give an impression of a more bitter beer.

For the purposes of this I translated OG and FG to “Gravity Units” (GU) by starting with the OG, subtracting 1 and multiplying by 1000. Or, in other words, I just took the last 2 digits of the OG:

1.054 – 1 = .054 * 1000 = 54

Playing with all these numbers has been a little funny. I keep on playing with almost arbitrary math to try to play with these numbers in a way that makes sense to me, and here’s been my stumbling block:

For years, I’ve been using the system laid out in Designing Great Beer by Ray Daniels. It’s somewhat of a biblical text in my house. Sometimes I just read it for fun. In this book, Ray uses a ratio of BU:GU to figure out balance in beer. It’s a good system, but the more I’ve been looking at it while playing with these numbers, the more I think it might be a little – not a lot, but a little – off base.

I sorted my style list by GU – just to get a quick gander of what it looked like. In theory, if the BU:GU ratio is correct, then the beers with the highest GU should be the sweetest and the beers with the lowest should be the driest. And while it’s close, it doesn’t quite work out.

Here’s the list, in order of lowest original gravity to highest.

Berliner Weisse, Scottish Light 60/-, Lite Lager, Mild, Ordinary Bitter, Southern English Brown, Scottish Heavy 70/-, Dry Stout, Special Bitter, Standard American Lager, Blond Ale, Northern English Brown, Brown Porter, Lambic, Scottish Export 90/-, Kolsch, German Pilsner, American Wheat, Weissbier, Witbier, Munich Helles, Cream Ale, Vienna Lager, Schwarzbier, Guezue, Dark American Lager, Dunkelweizen, North German Alt, Bohemian Pilsner, Dusseldorf Alt, Roggenbier, Premium American Lager, Belgian Pale Ale, California Common, Irish Red, Munich Dunkel, Dortmunder Export, Sweet Stout, Classic American Pilsner, Flanders Red, American Brown Ale, American Amber Ale, American Pale Ale, Oktoberfest, Extra Special Bitter, Saison, Oatmeal Stout, Robust Porter, Flanders Brown, English IPA, American Stout, Foreign Extra Stout, American IPA, Traditional Bock, Maibock/Helles Bock, Belgian Dubbel, Belgian Blond Ale, Biere de Garde, Baltic Porter, Old Ale, Weizenbock, Belgian Trippel, Imperial IPA, Belgian Golden Strong Ale, Doppelbock, Belgian Dark Strong Ale, Russian Imperial Stout, Eisbock, Strong Scotch Ale, English Barleywine, American Barleywine

It’s close, but to have things like Lambic, Scottish Export 90/-, and Kolsch all right next to each other doesn’t seem quite right. Same goes for having Southern English Brown, and Scottish Heavy 70/- down on the “dry” end.

If you were sorting in order of alcoholic strength, this would be pretty close.

Just to make sure I wasn’t misrepresenting the stat by taking BU out of it, I also sorted by BU:GU ratio. It’s *also* really close, but you still get things like Strong Scotch Ale (BU:GU of 0.26) and Standard American Lager (BU:GU of 0.256) being directly next to each other. Certainly, the ratio of hops to malt in them are very similar, but the flavor profile of these beers is staggeringly different. On the other end of the scale, I can come up with Ordinary Bitter (BU:GU of .834) and AIPA (BU:GU of .84) right next to each other. Again – ratio similar, flavor profile vastly different.

I keep on doing weird crap to these numbers to try to get something closer. I calculated apparent attenuation (how much sugar has fermented out of the solution) to see if that made sense and that was all over the map. I really wanted to apply attenuation back to the original gravity to see if I could get the high gravity beers with low attenuation to just fall out naturally, but since attenuation is based off of OG and FG I kept coming back to the final gravity. And then I thought something that sounded in my head like, “Duh.”

So I sorted by Final Gravity to see what the list looked like. Here it is from lowest FG to highest FG:

Lite Lager, Guezue, Berliner Weisse, Lambic, Standard American Lager, Flanders Red, Saison, Ordinary Bitter, Dry Stout, Kolsch, Cream Ale, Special Bitter, Witbier, Munich Helles, Dark American Lager, Premium American Lager, Flanders Brown, Mild, Blond Ale, Northern English Brown, German Pilsner, American Wheat, Belgian Golden Strong Ale, Brown Porter, Belgian Trippel, Scottish Light 60/-, Weissbier, Vienna Lager, Dunkelweizen, Roggenbier, Belgian Pale Ale, Irish Red, Biere de Garde, Southern English Brown, Scottish Heavy 70/-, Dusseldorf Alt, North German Alt, California Common, Classic American Pilsner, Dortmunder Export, American Pale Ale,
American Amber Ale, Scottish Export 90/-, Schwarzbier, Munich Dunkel, American Brown Ale, Extra Special Bitter, Belgian Dubbel, Belgian Blond Ale, Oktoberfest, Oatmeal Stout, Robust Porter, English IPA, Foreign Extra Stout, American IPA, Maibock/Helles Bock, Bohemian Pilsner, Imperial IPA, American Stout, Traditional Bock, Belgian Dark Strong Ale, Sweet Stout, Old Ale, Weizenbock, Baltic Porter, Doppelbock, American Barleywine, Russian Imperial Stout, English Barleywine, Eisbock, Strong Scotch Ale

If you were looking for a list of beers, dry-to-sweet, this is pretty damn close. Of course, it makes a lot of sense. The lower the FG is the less sugar is in it. What’s more, because of the limitations of what yeast can actually digest, the higher OG beers will pretty much never ferment out as low as the lower OG beers, with the possible exception of that wacky Saison yeast, so high FG beers will always be sweet, and low FG beers will always be dry, OG be damned.

My next step was, logically, a BU:FU ratio and, again, it’s super close. In order of low-to-high ratio, this would be – in theory – malty-to-hoppy. Clearly, I’m not accounting for pH here, so any sour beers are going to land in the malty end.

Strong Scotch Ale, Lambic, Weissbier, Doppelbock, Eisbock, Dunkelweizen, Weizenbock, Berliner Weisse, Roggenbier, Southern English Brown, Scottish Light 60/-, Dark American Lager, Scottish Heavy 70/-, Traditional Bock, Baltic Porter, Witbier, Belgian Dubbel, Belgian Dark Strong Ale, Standard American Lager, Guezue, Mild, Sweet Stout, Oktoberfest, Belgian Blond Ale, Scottish Export 90/-, Munich Dunkel, Irish Red, Munich Helles, Biere de Garde, Cream Ale, Maibock/Helles Bock, Premium American Lager, Vienna Lager, Blond Ale, Schwarzbier, Belgian Pale Ale, Dortmunder Export, American Wheat, English Barleywine, Flanders Brown, American Brown Ale, Oatmeal Stout, Northern English Brown, Brown Porter, Old Ale, Flanders Red, American Amber Ale, Classic American Pilsner, North German Alt, Bohemian Pilsner, Robust Porter, Belgian Golden Strong Ale, Belgian Trippel, Kolsch, Russian Imperial Stout, American Pale Ale, California Common, Extra Special Bitter, Special Bitter, Lite Lager, German Pilsner, Ordinary Bitter, Dusseldorf Alt, American Stout, English IPA, Foreign Extra Stout, American Barleywine, Saison, American IPA, Dry Stout, Imperial IPA

Nice list! The only real problem is that, in terms of creating a statistic, our numbers start at .702703 (Strong Scotch Ale) and end at 6 (IIPA). It’s a really weird metric – it’s good for making this list, but not for saying something like, “This beer is a 35? Woooo! Hoppy!” Which is, essentially, my end goal here.

So next up? Making these numbers into a form that’s easier to digest than .702703. With any luck, this should be pretty quick.

In the meantime, homebrewers (or hey.. commercial brewers if you guys are reading this with baited breath), can you do me a favor?

Go do a BU:FU calculation on some of the beers you have logged into your brewing journal. Get the end number, (like .702703), multiply by 20 (it’s an adjustment), then tell me the style of beer, the number you came up with, and if YOU think the beer was malty, hoppy, or balanced.

It goes like this:

Let’s say you made a Vienna Lager, FG of 1.012, 24 IBUs.

24/12 = 2
2 * 20 = 40

“Erik, I made a Vienna Lager, the number is 40, I thought it was quite well balanced.”

Share
Tags Tags: , , ,
Categories: appreciation, industry, marketing, op-ed
Posted By: erik
Last Edit: 13 Nov 2009 @ 03 12 PM

EmailPermalinkComments (3)

Part 1 of this little series happened a while back. It was my original foray into trying to figure out a good simplified set of statistics for beer. Feel free to head back there if you need a refresher.

You may have thought that I forgot all about this. In reality, I have been percolating.

The problem with my original post is that a lot of the math I’m using is fairly arbitrary. Basically, I was experimenting to try to find something meaningful. Mind you, that covers a good portion of actual statistics, but what I keep going back to in my head is that what I really want to do is come up with a good way to represent the relationships between the existing numbers in an easy to read statistic for the layperson.

So today, I’m heading back to IBUs because this, I think, is the root of a portion of the problem.

IBUs are calculated in a sensible manner… ish. The original calculation (for metric units) is meant to predict how many mg of iso-alpha acids there are per liter of beer. For example, 30 IBU = 30mg of iso-alpha acids/liter.

The non-metric unit formula – which deals with gallons – listed in Wikipedia (yeah, I’m referencing Wikipedia), looks like this:

Wh × AA% × Uaa ⁄ ( Vw × 1.34 ), where

  • Wh refers to the weight of the hops used, in ounces
  • AA% refers to the alpha acid percentage [of the hops in question]
  • Uaa is the percentage of alpha acid that is actually used during the boiling process
  • Vw means the volume of the wort, in gallons
  • 1.34 is a constant factor that adjusts the measurement to account for the use of U.S. customary units

There’s a little bit of a woogy bit on Wikipedia. They note in their text:

The bittering effect is less noticeable in beers with a high quantity of malt, so a higher IBU is needed in heavier beers to balance the flavor. For example, an Imperial Stout may have an IBU of 50, but will taste less bitter than an English Bitter with an IBU of 30, because the latter beer uses much less malt than the former.

True!

Then they note:

The technical limit for IBU’s is around 100; some have tried to surpass this number, but there is no real gauge after 100 IBUs when it comes to taste threshold.

This is where referencing Wikipedia comes around and bites you in the ass. On the other hand, it’s like someone is asking me to write this post.

The problem here is that other elements in beer do (of course) effect bitterness. 100 IBUs might be very hoppy but, as they note, the more malt there is the less the bitterness is perceivable. By that logic, if something is very highly malted you should technically be able to detect a bitterness difference above 100 IBUs. Certainly, there is a significant difference between Dogfish Head’s 90 Minute IPA (90 IBUs) and Dogfish Head’s 120 Minute IPA (120 IBUs). I’m having a hard time believing that the difference would be the same if it were only 10 IBUs more instead of 30. Maybe I’m deluding myself.

In any case, a measure of hop bitterness within a beer is not an accurate measure of the actual bitterness of the beer. However, the formula stated above does accurately measure the bitterness being contributed to the beer from the hops. We have to assume that there are other factors, but we’ll get to those another day. For now, let’s keep talking IBUs.

The BJCP guidelines (which are just a tick more static than other guidelines right now) show us that in the full range of beers in the world, acceptable IBU values range from 0 (at the low-end of Gueuze) to 120 (at the high end of American Barleywine and Imperial IPA). For the sake of argument, let’s consider those as our range. We have to accept the theory that there can be beers above 120 IBUs, because they can exist mathematically, but let’s call 120 our arbitrary upper limit because in order to standardize things, we need one.

Just for giggles, here’s a quick plot of all of the upper and lower limits of the BJCP beer styles, sorted by the mean IBU of each style (in green).

Far left is Gueuze, far right is IIPA. You can click it for a bigger version.

IBUs

What you can really get off of this is that the vast difference between the middle and the top vs. the middle and the bottom.

I broke all of the styles into three values: Bottom IBU, Top IBU, Average IBU. They are the stated bottom of the acceptable range for the style, the top of the acceptable range for the style, and the average of the range.

The mean of the Bottom IBUs is 21. The mode is 20.

The mean of the Top IBUs is 37. The mode is 40.

The mean of the Average IBUs is 29. The mode is 30.

So what does this tell us? That the line between “hoppy” and “not hoppy” is much thinner than it might seem when the upper end is 120. As we’ve already noted, this has a lot to do with factors other than hops, and that IBUs aren’t the best way to measure the bitterness of the beer itself, just how many hops were put in.

Okay, cool. That first part is interesting and the latter part is fairly obvious. We know we need to use IBUs – at least in part – in order to calculate an overall bitterness, so let’s see if we can breakdown the range of IBUs a little better. From this point out, I’ve actually discarded the average for anything but sorting, and I’ve put the highs and the lows together in the same variable to give us the upper and lower limit of the acceptable range all in one place.

The mean of all of the IBU values across all of the beer styles is 29, the median is 25, and the mode is 20. The standard deviation of values from the mean is ~19.

This seats the middle of the range of IBUs in beer styles squarely in the 20’s, and I would say that the average (29) probably represents what we could call our middle in terms of perceived hoppiness. The standard deviation from the mean gives us a high end of 48 – let’s say 50 – and a low end of 10. Anything above 50 would definitely be hoppy (but not necessarily bitter) and anything below 10 would probably not have any hop character at all.

If we were to break it down on this scale we could say that we have, essentially 4 categories.

0 – 10: No apparent hop character
10 – 30: Low hop character
31 – 50: High hop character
51+: Very hoppy

If we were to sort existing beer style IBU averages into these categories we would get:

0 – 10: Guezue, Lambic, Berliner Weisse, Lite Lager

10 – 30: Standard American Lager, Weissbier, Dark American Lager, Dunkelweizen, Scottish Light 60/-, Witbier, Roggenbier, Southern English Brown, Mild, Scottish Heavy 70/-, Flanders Red, Cream Ale, Munich Helles, Premium American Lager, Belgian Dubbel, Doppelbock, Blond Ale, American Wheat, Scottish Export 90/-, Flanders Brown, Irish Red, Belgian Blond Ale, Weizenbock, Munich Dunkel, Biere de Garde, Traditional Bock, Vienna Lager, Oktoberfest, Kolsch, Northern English Brown, Belgian Pale Ale, Strong Scotch Ale, Brown Porter, Dortmunder Export, Schwarzbier, Saison, Belgian Dark Strong Ale, Belgian Golden Strong Ale, Maibock/Helles Bock, Ordinary Bitter, American Brown Ale, Sweet Stout, Belgian Trippel, Baltic Porter, Eisbock

31 – 50: Special Bitter, North German Alt, Classic American Pilsner, American Amber Ale, Oatmeal Stout, German Pilsner, Dry Stout, California Common, American Pale Ale, Robust Porter, Bohemian Pilsner, Extra Special Bitter, Dusseldorf Alt, Old Ale, English IPA, Foreign Extra Stout

51+: English Barleywine, American IPA, American Stout, Russian Imperial Stout, American Barleywine, Imperial IPA

If we made the “low hop” cut off 29 (the average) instead of 30, Ordinary Bitter, American Brown Ale, Sweet Stout, Belgian Trippel, Baltic Porter, Eisbock would all be in the “high hop” category.

If we made the “very hoppy” cut off 48, English IPA and Foreign Extra Stout would be in the last category.

It’s close. Really close. Of course, some of the beers that end up in the hoppier categories actually end up having a much lower perceived bitterness due to the fact that they’re also very malty. Sweet Stout, Trippel, Baltic Porter, Eisbock, English Barleywine and Old Ale come to mind.

So now we have some benchmarks in place. I had been treating IBUs as a continuous scale, because it is a continuous measurement. However, if you believe that 100 IBUs is the upper limit of human detection and 0 IBUs is the lower limit, that would suggest a mid-range of around 50 IBUs. We’ve shown here that the mid-range, at least in terms of what we expect out of our beer styles, is actually a little lower than that, so we may actually have to do a little bit of normalization when we’re using IBUs in a formula to calculate bitterness more efficiently.

Next up: An IBU standardization formula and how OG and attenuation fit into the bitterness equation. (Part 3 is here)

Share
Tags Tags: , , ,
Categories: appreciation, industry, marketing, op-ed
Posted By: erik
Last Edit: 13 Nov 2009 @ 11 55 AM

EmailPermalinkComments (8)

I’m not a statistician, so this is a bit of a stretch for me. But I’m posting this information because the internet is smarter than I am.

Last week, in the discussion of my post about what certain numbers (Specific Gravity, IBU, etc.) mean about your beer, the idea came up to make what amounts to a simplified statistic about beer – a way to represent, more simply, what people really want to know about their beer. It goes along with the pipe dream of having breweries print statistics about their beer on the labels.

The theory, in my mind, is that nobody wants to pick up a beer and think, “1.056 and 1.010 with 60 IBUs.. hrm… that’s pretty bitter.” Some beer geeks can do that in their heads, but a lot of people can’t, or don’t want to. On the other hand, if you could pick a beer and say, “A hoppiness rating of 92? Good heavens! That’s big!” it would be pretty cool.

So, I’ve been playing with numbers a wee bit. Mostly collecting them. I started with the BJCP Style Guidelines. I recorded the maximum and minimum stats for OG, FG, and IBUs and calculated what the average beer would look like in each style category.

For example, for English IPA the style range shows:

OG: 1.050 – 1.075
FG: 1.010 – 1.018
IBU: 40 – 60

Thus, the average English IPA would be:

OG: 1.063
FG: 1.014
IBU: 50

This is just to give a basic sample range of beers to work with that should be fairly representative of all the styles involved, though I’ve considered removing sour styles from this exercise, since Lactic Acid kind of fouls everything up on the whole, “This is what flavor you should expect” front.

I also calculated apparent attenuation for each style – finding out how much sugar has been fermented out from each on average.

(GU – FU)/GU

The Average English IPA listed above has an Apparent Attenuation of 77.60%. In other words, 77.6% of the sugar in the solution has been converted to alcohol. In reality, that’s not quite right, since alcohol is lighter than water and this is being calculated by the density of the liquid. You can ferment down to a final gravity lower than 1.000. However, for this purpose, this calculation should be good enough.

Then, I made what I’m (currently) referring to as a “hoppiness score.” It’s on the same line as a GU:BU ratio, but instead what I did is divide IBU by GU, then multiply it by 100 to give us a nice round number that we can related to instead of a decimal. The theory is that the more hops there are in comparison to original gravity, the higher this number would be. It should correspond with how hoppy the beer is. It works fairly well.

The English IPA up there would have a hoppiness score of 80. Is it an arbitrary number? Sure. Work in progress. Bear with me.

Then I applied apparent attenuation. It was noted in the discussion that the more dry a beer is, the more bitterness would be apparent to the drinker. I agree. To account for this, I multiplied the hoppiness score by the apparent attenuation. I called this “Apparent Bitterness.” I figured that the drier a beer was, the higher the apparent attenuation would be and so the closer the “Apparent Bitterness” would be to the Hoppiness Score. In the full list of styles, it does what I was hoping for and tends to give styles in which you would expect more bitterness a higher score.

Here’s the list I was working from sorted by Hoppiness Score:

Style # Style Name Hoppiness Apparent Bitterness
14C Imperial IPA 113 91
13E American Stout 88 65
13A Dry Stout 87 69
07C Dusseldorf Alt 85 64
14B American IPA 84 66
08A Ordinary Bitter 83 63
19C American Barleywine 81 63
14A English IPA 80 62
02B Bohemian Pilsner 80 56
13D Foreign Extra Stout 76 60
02A German Pilsner 74 58
08C Extra Special Bitter 74 56
08B Special Bitter 74 57
13F Russian Imperial Stout 74 55
07B California Common 74 56
10A American Pale Ale 71 54
12B Robust Porter 66 50
07A North German Alt 65 49
02C Classic American Pilsner 63 47
10B American Amber Ale 62 47
19A Old Ale 60 45
13B Sweet Stout 58 38
12A Brown Porter 58 44
13C Oatmeal Stout 58 43
10C American Brown Ale 57 43
04C Schwarzbier 55 40
11C Northern English Brown 54 42
06C Kolsch 53 43
19B English Barleywine 53 40
11A Mild 51 36
01E Dortmunder Export 51 39
16B Belgian Pale Ale 49 37
03A Vienna Lager 49 37
16C Saison 49 43
09C Scottish Export 90/- 48 35
06D American Wheat 47 37
06B Blond Ale 47 36
09B Scottish Heavy 70/- 47 31
09A Scottish Light 60/- 46 30
03B Oktoberfest 45 33
04B Munich Dunkel 44 33
09D Irish Red 43 33
11B Southern English Brown 43 28
05A Maibock/Helles Bock 43 34
12C Baltic Porter 40 29
01D Munich Helles 40 31
17C Flanders Brown 39 33
01C Premium American Lager 39 32
18C Belgian Trippel 38 32
06A Cream Ale 36 29
05B Traditional Bock 35 26
18D Belgian Golden Strong Ale 35 30
17B Flanders Red 33 29
16D Biere de Garde 33 27
18A Belgian Blond Ale 33 27
16A Witbier 31 25
05D Eisbock 30 22
18E Belgian Dark Strong Ale 30 24
01A Lite Lager 29 27
15D Roggenbier 29 22
15C Weizenbock 29 22
18B Belgian Dubbel 29 24
04A Dark American Lager 28 22
15B Dunkelweizen 28 21
09E Strong Scotch Ale 26 16
01B Standard American Lager 26 22
15A Weissbier 24 18
05C Doppelbock 23 18
17A Berliner Weisse 18 16
17D Lambic 11 9
17E Guezue 10 9

And the same chart sorted by Apparent Bitterness:

Style # Style Name Hoppiness Apparent Bitterness
14C Imperial IPA 113 91
13A Dry Stout 87 69
14B American IPA 84 66
13E American Stout 88 65
07C Dusseldorf Alt 85 64
19C American Barleywine 81 63
08A Ordinary Bitter 83 63
14A English IPA 80 62
13D Foreign Extra Stout 76 60
02A German Pilsner 74 58
08B Special Bitter 74 57
08C Extra Special Bitter 74 56
02B Bohemian Pilsner 80 56
07B California Common 74 56
13F Russian Imperial Stout 74 55
10A American Pale Ale 71 54
12B Robust Porter 66 50
07A North German Alt 65 49
02C Classic American Pilsner 63 47
10B American Amber Ale 62 47
19A Old Ale 60 45
12A Brown Porter 58 44
13C Oatmeal Stout 58 43
06C Kolsch 53 43
10C American Brown Ale 57 43
16C Saison 49 43
11C Northern English Brown 54 42
04C Schwarzbier 55 40
19B English Barleywine 53 40
01E Dortmunder Export 51 39
13B Sweet Stout 58 38
16B Belgian Pale Ale 49 37
03A Vienna Lager 49 37
06D American Wheat 47 37
06B Blond Ale 47 36
11A Mild 51 36
09C Scottish Export 90/- 48 35
05A Maibock/Helles Bock 43 34
09D Irish Red 43 33
04B Munich Dunkel 44 33
03B Oktoberfest 45 33
17C Flanders Brown 39 33
18C Belgian Trippel 38 32
01C Premium American Lager 39 32
01D Munich Helles 40 31
09B Scottish Heavy 70/- 47 31
18D Belgian Golden Strong Ale 35 30
09A Scottish Light 60/- 46 30
06A Cream Ale 36 29
12C Baltic Porter 40 29
17B Flanders Red 33 29
11B Southern English Brown 43 28
16D Biere de Garde 33 27
01A Lite Lager 29 27
18A Belgian Blond Ale 33 27
05B Traditional Bock 35 26
16A Witbier 31 25
18E Belgian Dark Strong Ale 30 24
18B Belgian Dubbel 29 24
15D Roggenbier 29 22
04A Dark American Lager 28 22
15C Weizenbock 29 22
05D Eisbock 30 22
01B Standard American Lager 26 22
15B Dunkelweizen 28 21
15A Weissbier 24 18
05C Doppelbock 23 18
09E Strong Scotch Ale 26 16
17A Berliner Weisse 18 16
17E Guezue 10 9
17D Lambic 11 9

It’s not quite right, but it’s definitely headed in the right direction. I would love to hear from anybody who has different ideas on how to represent these numbers, and you can damn well bet that I’ll be posting more as I fiddle around with math.

Maltiness coming soon, it’s a lot more challenging.

[Head on over to Part 2]

Share
Tags Tags: , , ,
Categories: appreciation, industry, marketing, op-ed
Posted By: erik
Last Edit: 08 Oct 2009 @ 07 32 AM

EmailPermalinkComments (6)
 24 Jul 2009 @ 3:29 PM 

Earlier this week, I had my first try of Westvleteren 12, the so-called best beer in the world. No doubt, it was awesome; indescribably wonderful. When I checked later on, though, I noticed that while it was listed #1 at Beer Advocate, it was listed #2 at Rate Beer. Interesting.

It got me to thinking about the differences between the two sites and how much they agreed with one another. I started to take a closer look at what was listed at both sites.

As Andy Crouch noted earlier this week, there is a distinct lack of lagers on each of these lists, and an abundance of barrel-aged and/or hop heavy and/or alcohol heavy offerings. They’re also both heavy in rare, small-run, and hard-to-find beers. I suppose it’s all very American. Bigger is better and if it’s hard to get it must be awesome. Sounds like a recipe for eBay, if you ask me. But that’s not my focus today. That’s for my “please make more session beer” column later.

What I found fascinating was the agreement between the two lists. First of all, I found it interesting that more than half of the beers appearing on one list do not appear on the other (52). In Rate Beer’s case, 6 of the Top 10 beers they have listed do not appear in Beer Advocate’s Top 100 whatsoever. Only 1 of Beer Advocate’s Top 10 does not appear in Rate Beer’s Top 100.

So I cut myself down to looking at only the 48 beers that appear in both lists. Of those 48 beers, there is very little close agreement. Only one matches right on. Pizza Port Cuvee de Tomme ranks at #95 on both lists. The next closest agreement is the aforementioned Westvleteren 12. Only 27% of the list (13 out of 48) were in what I would consider close agreement (within 5 places, plus or minus, of the other list), whereas 38% of the list (18 out of 48) were more than 20 places apart.

I also threw a couple of scatter plots together.

Beer Advocate vs. Rate Beer

They’re both the same scatter plot, sorted two different ways. Scatter 1 is sorted by BA rank (thus stripe of blue up the middle) and Scatter 2 is sorted by RB rank (thus the strip of red up the middle). You can see from these that, of the beers that both sites ranked in the Top 100, Beer Advocate tended to rank the beers higher (lower in number: Rank 1 = The Best).

The number of times that the following words appear in both lists combined (if a beer appears on both lists, the word was counted once):

Bourbon: 10
Barrel: 16
Aged: 15
Imperial: 19
Stout: 31
Ale: 10
IPA/India Pale Ale: 7
Black: 7
Hop/Hoppy/Hoppiness, etc: 6
The suffix “-ation”: 8
Lager: 0

You’d almost think that stouts, and especially bourbon barrel aged ones were the most popular craft beers on the market, and not IPAs.

What final conclusion can we draw from all of this? It’s hard to say. Since they have two different ranking systems (5 point scale vs. 100 point scale) it’s difficult to draw any specific comparisons. Mostly, it’s an interesting look at the tastes of the user base at both sites. I wonder how many people rate at both sites and how their ratings compare given the different point systems.

I also put both lists together (where the beers match) and came up with a mean average of scores to give the overall Top 48 beers. Here’s the list:

BA Rank RB Rank Mean Rank Beer
1 2 2 Westvleteren Abt 12
5 3 4 Three Floyds Dark Lord Russian Imperial Stout
2 16 9 Russian River Pliny the Younger
7 13 10 Russian River Pliny the Elder
12 8 10 AleSmith Speedway Stout
15 7 11 Three Floyds Oak Aged Dark Lord Russian Imperial Stout
11 15 13 Rochefort Trappistes 10
4 24 14 Three Floyds Vanilla Bean Barrel Aged Dark Lord Russian Imperial Stout
10 22 16 Westvleteren Extra 8
16 19 18 Lost Abbey The Angels Share (Bourbon Barrel)
3 34 19 Deschutes The Abyss
24 14 19 Three Floyds Dreadnaught Imperial IPA
18 25 22 Surly Darkness
25 20 23 Bells Hopslam
8 40 24 Founders Kentucky Breakfast Bourbon Aged Stout
21 28 25 Stone Imperial Russian Stout
26 23 25 Port Brewing Older Viscosity
23 27 25 Russian River Consecration
33 18 26 AleSmith Barrel Aged Speedway Stout
17 39 28 Dieu du Ciel Péché Mortel
20 37 29 Russian River Supplication
36 31 34 New Glarus Belgian Red
19 50 35 Founders Breakfast Stout
6 65 36 Portsmouth Kate The Great Russian Imperial Stout
43 30 37 Struise Pannepot
22 52 37 St. Bernardus Abt 12
30 49 40 Russian River Temptation
69 12 41 Lost Abbey Isabelle Proximus
27 69 48 Firestone Walker 12
37 61 49 AleSmith IPA
39 60 50 Kuhnhenn Raspberry Eisbock
49 54 52 Lost Abbey Cable Car
78 29 54 Great Divide Oak Aged Yeti Imperial Stout
53 64 59 Stone Brandy Barrel Double Bastard
44 88 66 Cantillon Blåbær Lambik
54 83 69 New Glarus Raspberry Tart
46 94 70 Ayinger Celebrator Doppelbock
62 78 70 New Belgium La Folie
52 98 75 Surly 16 Grit
75 77 76 Stone Ruination IPA
60 93 77 Tyranena Devil Over A Barrel
83 71 77 Southern Tier Choklat
58 97 78 Russian River Beatification
81 89 85 Oskar Blues Ten FIDY
80 92 86 Ølfabrikken Porter
86 90 88 North Coast Anniversary Barrel-Aged Old Rasputin
97 91 94 Struise Black Albert
95 95 95 Pizza Port Cuvee de Tomme
Share
Tags Tags: , , , , , , ,
Categories: industry, marketing, media
Posted By: erik
Last Edit: 24 Jul 2009 @ 03 35 PM

EmailPermalinkComments (44)
\/ More Options ...
Change Theme...
  • Users » 130203
  • Posts/Pages » 204
  • Comments » 2,674
Change Theme...
  • HopsHops « Default
  • BarleyBarley

About



    No Child Pages.

Shirts



    No Child Pages.

Tour



    No Child Pages.