Untappd is a powerful platform for rating, reviewing, and researching beer, but it is not without its flaws. Anyone who has used the app knows that a rating of ~3.6 is around average with variances based on the style of beer – Hazy IPAs are rated higher on average while Lagers are rated lower. By offering a 5 point scale (5 bottle cap scale?), the average should be around 2.5. That’s how math works. Based on both my personal ratings and others I’ve seen, 0 – 3 are rarely used, leaving a distribution graph that is skewed heavily towards the right. Take a look at my history of >18,000 ratings.
I rarely rate a beer below 3. The left side of this graph is a wasteland of unused rating space just asking to be properly utilized. I’ve always noticed this peculiarity of Untappd ratings but have never done anything about it. A pretty good Hazy IPA is a 3.8 – 4 for me. A meh Hazy IPA is a 3 or 3.1. Ratings below 3 are typically reserved for Bud Light macro-type swill or a beer with serious off-flavors. I’m doing myself and the entire 5 point rating system a disservice by not fully taking advantage of all those points, so I have devised a rating system that will allow me to explore the full spectrum from 0.1 to 5 with a more regular distribution – I’m fully recalibrating my Untappd rating scale.
My system is based off **coughSTOLENcough** the t8ke scale, a prominent whiskey rating system devised by Jay West aka t8ke. Here is his system:
1 | Disgusting | So bad I poured it out
2 | Poor | I wouldn’t consume by choice
3 | Bad | Multiple flaws
4 | Sub-par | Not bad, but many things I’d rather have
5 | Good | Good, just fine
6 | Very Good | A cut above
7 | Great | Well above average
8 | Excellent | Really quite exceptional
9 | Incredible | An all time favorite
10 | Perfect | Perfect
And here is the BrittskiBeers Scale® adjusted for Untappd ratings:
0 – 0.5 | Disgusting | Immediate drain pour
0.6 – 1 | Poor | Couple tastes and then drain pour
1.1 – 1.5 | Bad | Not good, some glaring issues
1.6 – 2 | Sub-par | Not terrible but wouldn’t choose
2.1 – 2.5 | Good | Decent and respectable
2.6 – 3 | Very Good | Better than average
3.1 – 3.5 | Great | Something I’d seek out locally
3.6 – 4 | Excellent | Something I’d trade for
4.1 – 4.5 | Incredible | Top 10 Beer of the Year candidate
4.6 – 5 | Perfect | Beer perfection
Utilizing this system I can explore all the 0.1 increments my Untappd Insider status will allow me to. That pretty good Hazy that was previously a 3.8? Now it’s a 2.5. That meh Hazy? 3.1 down to 1.7. No longer will my distribution graph be littered with most beers being a 4+. I’ll give some love to the left side and leave the right for those special beers that are truly deserving of their high rating.
Artificial inflation will no longer entrap me. I have long since stopped giving that much weight to a beer’s rating before drinking it myself, and this change should only increase my open mindedness. I’m a new beer rating man.
May 28 was the cutover date for me. It wasn’t easy. I started by going through a small backlog of beers and rating them using my new system. There is a lot of muscle memory I have to retrain, and it will undoubtedly take a while to be fully comfortable with the change. To the extent that people give a shit about what I rate beers, I’m sure other people will be a little confused as well. I foresee some comments along the lines of “wait did u really rate that beer that low OMG how dare u!!!” In reply I’ll calmly explain my new rating system in 160 characters or less. Maybe one day someone else will be inspired to adopt my system, but I won’t be holding my breath for that. This system is for me and my peace of mind. I want to more fully utilize Untappd for my own enjoyment, and this is a way of doing so.
With my new patented BrittskiBeers Scale®, here is an example of where beers would fall.
0 – 0.5 | Disgusting | Bud Light Lime-A-Rita
0.6 – 1 | Poor | Arrogant Bastard Crime
1.1 – 1.5 | Bad | Other Half Daydream So Hard
1.6 – 2 | Sub-par | Miller High Life
2.1 – 2.5 | Good | Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
2.6 – 3 | Very Good | Gnarly Barley Jucifer
3.1 – 3.5 | Great | Knotted Root Hazy IPAs
3.6 – 4 | Excellent | Parish Ghost In The Machine
4.1 – 4.5 | Incredible | Westbound & Down Western Justice
4.6 – 5 | Perfect | Bierstadt Slow Pour Pils
I’m interested in thoughts and feedback on this change. Like any good system it’s not super rigid and is amenable to change. As I use this new scale more, I will undoubtedly make subtle adjustments and refine it as I see fit. You know where to find me to engage in some lively discussion. Cheers!