Exploration: Offline functionality

We are keen to start exploring this functionality and to help us understand a little more about it, we invite you to share your experience in the following areas.

1. Your use cases.

Whether it’s locations/situations with limited connectivity, events like festivals where input speed is essential or other more unique edge cases. Help us understand where offline functionality is making a noticeable difference in the way you review beer.

2. Your approach.

Can you shed some light on your current step by step process? What and how much/little information are you capturing whilst offline? Does your review take multiple sessions/passes? Are you using other techniques or apps in parallel to help you complete a review or remember specific details?

3. Review completion.

Are there any sticking points or difficulties in completing the review once connectivity is restored?

We really appreciate you taking the time to share your experience with us.

Thank you :star_struck:


1. Your use cases.

The main one is when I’m travelling abroad and I don’t have roaming data or WiFi. Almost as important is when I’m drinking a beer that is not on ratebeer yet, and I can’t be bothered adding it. I can write an offline review and then upload it once I’m at home and have added the beer properly.

2. Your approach.

Offline, I am still writing a full review of the beer, and putting the scores. Often I will write a first draft that gets updated as I continue drinking, so yes, multiple passes. Don’t use anything else to write my review.

3. Review completion.

I guess just matching the beer name I wrote down in the offline review with the one in the database.

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(I’m not an App user but I develop my own desktop tools, so these are just a couple of suggestions)
1. Your use cases.
I did some homework and I already know which beers will be available at a festival or brewery I will visit.
Most of my homework is done on desktop/laptop.
At the festival Internet may be available, but I don’t want to spend time looking up again.
I want to quickly remember that I need to try the Rum variant, not the Bourbon variant.

2. Your approach.
Pre-load the offline list with beer already taken from the RB database (available beers at a festival are often known in advance, same when visiting breweries).
Since I prepared my list on a computer, I must be able to see the data with both front ends.
At the festival just use the list to write the ratings.
(as a reference for the visibility between mobile and computer, think of how Google Keep works)

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this would be a great extra feature.

1. Your use cases.
Everywhere and at all times. Sometimes there is bad internet service, sometimes I want to socially interact with people and not lose too much time with looking up beers in the database.

2. Your approach.
I write a full review and then put my scores there. I also write the name of the beer somewhere (since I often can’t match it with the database due to being offline, I just need an empty text field for the name there)

3. Review completion.
I look for the beer name I wrote down in the database and upload exactly what I wrote and exactly the scores I wrote down earlier, possibly fixing some typos that might have happened.

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1. Use case

I rate offline if I can’t properly check the database for the beer. The reasons for this can be:

  • It’s not in the database and I don’t have time to add it
  • I have no connection
  • I’m at a tasting and I simply don’t have time to check

2. Your approach.
In these cases, in Eric’s app I would open a blank rating and fill it in. Sometimes multiple edits, as others mentioned. The blank rating page looks just like the normal rating page, except that I can enter a “beer name” to my own liking. Usually my beer name would be such that

  • I know that the search function will find it quickly using what I entered, or
  • I will be able to identify the beer again using other data like a festival guide, etc, to add it to the database.

3. Review completion.
When I have time and a connection, I’ll go through the offline ratings, check which beers are already in the database and add the others, and then upload.
Idea for this step: Would be super cool if I could do something like a batch upload (like: selecting a number of all my stored offline ratings) with setting a prefix to be appended to each rating ("At Great Beer Festival 2019. ") and adding availability info. Currently I simply have this string on the smartphone clipboard and paste it manually for every single rating.


calling @cgarvieuk


Thanks for looking into this.


I added something to my previous example please check.

1. Use case
When in a rush, I don’t have time to write every detail about the packaging; sometimes we may find out later that I should have paid attention to small details to know exactly which beer I had (colour of the label, design of the label, list of hops…).
Therefore I take pictures of the bottle, the glass, the back label, the barcode, a pump clip…
1 - I may use it for identification later
2 - It’s a good picture and I want to upload it
3 - I may use the details on the label to enter the beer later (beer description, list of hops etc)

2. Your approach.
At any time during my offline rating process I can take one or more pictures.
On my phone, the pictures are linked to the beer that I’m rating.
I must be able to delete pictures to free up space. I can access the pictures to delete beer by beer, but I can also access them from the App Gallery for individual deletion; the App Gallery has an option for deleting all images too.
If my phone uses a photo sync process (e.g. Google Photos, Apple cloud etc) I’m able to choose if the pictures taken with the RB App will be part of the sync or not (App settings).

3. Review completion.
When I’m matching my offline ratings with the RB database I may need to open some of the pictures to find details that help me with the matching.
I may upload a good picture to the website (*).
When I’m done completing the upload of my rating, and my offline rating is “gone”, a popup will ask me if I want to keep the pictures in the App Gallery or remove them from the phone.

(*) notice that:
At this time only admins can upload pictures; this is probably the only activity where you need to check if the user has admin rights.
I don’t know if it’s on the RB roadmap, but hopefully we will be able to support multiple pictures for a beer, like other websites.


1. Use case
Either because I forgot that I already reviewed a beer, or voluntarily, I’m reviewing a beer again.

2. Your approach.
When offline, I just write the review in the usual way.

3. Review completion.
After the matching is done, the App finds that I already reviewed that beer;
therefore, for reference, the App shows the total score I gave to the beer, date, the first line of the review (where we usually write where and how we had it) and asks:

  • do you want to replace the old review with the new review
  • do you want to merge the reviews
  • do you want to discard the new review and keep the old review

In case of merge, the App asks a follow up question (“do you want to keep the old score or replace the score” *) and builds the review text by concatenating

{today’s date} {new scores from offline review}
{offline review}
{previous review date} {previous scores}
{previous review}


2019-02-11 7-3-7-3-15=35
Tap at Alibi Room. Hazy blond with large head. Delicate, round, soft, with crisp malt base; strong yeast character, a bit funky, spicy; delicate citrus fruit.
2018-11-15 7-4-8-3-15=37
Can. Delicate, round, soft, with crisp malt base; a bit funky, spicy; with delicate citrus fruit. Hazy blond with large head.

(*) Sometimes I want my last score to count on Ratebeer because I have a newly formed opinion; sometimes I’m drinking a very old bottle for fun, usually not as good as fresh, so I want to keep track of the new score in my notes/review but I want the old score to count for RB stats because that’s more relevant.
Note: the App may just ask to type the score attributes again to count for the beer score, and use what I wrote offline just for the text (as described above).

Note to developer: be able to manage the merge also when there are more than 2 reviews; you can look at my example here.


Currently I am using the notepad of my mobile phone to take notes for the beer even if I have internet connection.
This way I can use half words/expressions in order not to spend too much time on the rating and be able to talk to others :slight_smile:
Also after some beers I make too many mistakes trying to type the words.
So later I find the beer in the database (or add it) copy the review, correct it and finally upload it.

If I could use the app for this it would be great. It would be even greater if those “off line ratings” could be uploaded to my account and still be off line or orivate ratings in order for me to be able to access, fix and upload them from my desktop later


Thank you so much to everyone that has contributed so far! :grinning:


Away just now, and Barely been on line. But emailed some info on this topic.


A) preloaded list of beers looked up before hitting pub or festival

B) beer does not exist yet. Don’t want to add now

C) poor or no reception

D) fast. Im in rush. Or socialising. Don’t want any Internet lag just want to jot name and notes done and be able to upload new/append to existing later when ive time

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This totally this

The one thing erica app fails at that would be amazing is appending to existing review. Or at least flag a clash of information

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@aww don’t sweat it that much, we are talking about an app=smartphone, every smartphone has a notepad app or there is one free to download anyway. So they can take their short notes and write down their scores there, save it, get done with it. Later they can sit behind their desk, upload those notes on dropbox or drive, edit them which is much easier with a computer keyboard than a mobile’s keyboard anyway, search the beer on the database or add it properly, copy and paste their notes and scores. Done.

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So offline functionality is pretty useless since there is an alternative (notepad app, edit your rating on desktop), what would be useful and I think Eric’s app had that, is that you would sync your ratings once online and then when offline you would search for a beer and see if you had it already, for example when at a festival or shopping. If there was something like that and I had to open another app (notepad), big deal.

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Sorry Christos, but I can’t help noticing that you rated 133 beers in 2018; that’s like 11 a month.
Here we are talking of supporting also users that rate up to 5000 beers in a year, and easily 50 in a single day at a festival.
The point of view is completely different.
I understand that having to manage a handful of ratings doesn’t require the functionality, but other people have different needs.

To be honest, I do exactly as you said.
I always take notes in Google Keep (excellent synchronization); but my reason is that I first copy the ratings to a personal database, and then upload to RB (and by the way, my database is in some way like the offline functionality we are discussing here).
But if I didn’t want to maintain my database I would certainly use the offline functionality.

Also, many users don’t really use a desktop. And transferring from notepad to browser on mobile, manually, one by one, when you have 300 ticks after a weekend, can be very painful.


hellno. This is what I am forced to do after Eric’s app stopped working, and it costs me countless hours of extra work. Every tick takes twice as long basically. And that makes a huge difference when you rate multiple thousand beers per year.


One more use case which Eric’s app did perfectly at some point:

Keeping an offline database of all my ratings, so that I can look up what I already rated (and how!) when having no connection. This functionality deteriorated over time as more and more API problems crept up, but it was extremely useful on festivals and at tastings.


No no and again thrice no. Maybe your happy with notepad and then cut and paste. But thats just insane extra work. Erics app effectively allowed a separate entry for each beer. That you could take notes on and each attribute score.

Then it took 3 clicks to upload, one to search, one to select the right entry, one to upload.

Those 3 click vs your open note pad, try to select the right text, cut, change to ratebeer, type in beer name, search, select correct one, select edit, paste, then copy each of the scores to right box, then submit change back to notepad and repeat. The two are not remotely similar in effort needed


A good offline solution would also add another feature would add an additional function of adding a beer that isn’t listed, which with Eric’s app was a bit of a chore. We can facilitate that by searching by brewer, then showing a difinitive list to allow a user to know with certainty that the beer does not exist in the db. Then pre-populate the brewer field, take a guess at the style based on the name and frequency by the brewer and add the beer name.

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