An interesting read for sure. Certainly many of the problems are well discussed, though the degree to which it actually impacts breweries is surprising. I think it is odd that Untappd hasn’t implemented a “Style score” as we have here, the quality of a brewery could then be quantified by its average style score. I suppose all the breweries at the top of the leaderboard who only make hazy IPAs and barrel aged stouts might complain when they drop way down the list.
Also, if I spent “on average 10 minutes writing each beer review”, I think a lot of people would no longer be willing to go for a beer with me.
I find the article a bit contradictory. At one part it’s all about negative influence of untappd scores on beer ecosystem and loads of users. In second part it’s about relatively low number of people which care about the scores.
A friend of mine did an interview with Greg Avola recently and possibility of introducing style scores was mentioned. The question was actually mine since I wanted to know Greg’s take on more intensive styles being hyped and potentially influencing the whole industry.
You can find it here
Over the years of using Untappd I’ve learned to translate the scores in my head and make my own system. So a 3.70 Helles is a good thing, but IPA or Imperial Stout not so much. However I’m aware of untappd scores influencing the distributors decisions. This happens in Europe too.
This caught my eye too. I do believe there are such users, but that’s not your average Ratebeerian. Especially not those with high numbers. Also a lot of things about Ratebeer were left unsaid.
That looks more like an ad for Untappd than an article though. Not to mention the… avoidance of mentioning certain other “inspirations”.
It actually mentions RB a lot and has a number of quotes from Joe. I did not read it as an ad for untappd at all. If anything it was critical. The thing that it did not mention was people pumping up scores for muling and trades, which would have been very relevant.
A major problem when out with my wife!
A good piece. Suggests trouble ahead for UnTappd.
Doesn’t address the “tyranny of the tickers” angle that I increasingly feel: the “once only” thing. Brewers cranking out 20 hazy IPAs rather than releasing the best couple of a few honed prototypes because people like us will only drink them once even if they’re good. Retiring a well founded BA imperial stout so as to release 10 spuriously different ones so people will get the ephemeral tick.
Actually, I was referencing the Wine & More article, not the Good Beer Hunting article. Quoting here sometimes randomly isn’t obvious I guess.
Agreed about the GBH article, it’s a pretty interesting take overall.
I’d be very surprised to see critically toned article at some web shop blog section.
Also one could say GBH article seems like an undercover ad for RB. There are several questionable statements on RB (connoisseurship???), and few more things left unsaid. On the business side of things UT found what seems a sustainable business model. RB not so much, even after the ABInbev investment.
Indeed, all true.
One weird thing about that article is suggesting that RB/BA are not, and never were, influential over the craft beer scene, but that’s fairly not true. I think its arguably quite true that the entire “big beer” trend, all the imperial stouts, barrel aged this and that, DIPAs and “american strong ales” as we used to call them definitely owes a big debt to the RB Top 50 that has always been dominated by these styles, and to the bros on BA who have evangelized these styles for many years.
While the reach of untappd is undeniable, one has to realize that the impies were aimed squarely at beer nerds, not to the general public.
However, the trend shift to hazy IPAs, pastry stouts, and milkshake beers certainly owes to untappd and its broader, less beer nerdy user base.
Agree with this fully @PhillyBeer2112
I think what’s remarkable to me about Untappd as opposed to old Ratebeer is that I don’t trust the ratings on Untappd even the slightest amount. Scaling anything always comes with a loss of quality and taste, and Untappd is no exception: the beers recognized as great by Untappd users has become so far off-base from what is considering amongst more knowledge to be quality beers that I’ve simply stopped looking at the app entirely. And it’s a shame, because with RB and BA dead, there is simply no longer any resource to get an accurate idea of the quality of the beer I’m looking at on the shelf. It was only ever in the later stages of RB’s life that I’d felt like this about the ratings here (and mainly with the uptake of kiddie juicebox sours (what’d you guys call them, Floridaweisse?) and zero technique mega imperial stouts). Meanwhile, you take super high quality, lean, complex beers and look at them on Untappd and they’re lucky to break a 3.5. The masses have just killed things.
My other takeaway from this article is that, at least in 2019, Untappd was getting more checkins in a single day than RB was getting in an entire year.
Certainly not anymore, where the 99% of the few remaining raters are pure tickers, but if you go back to the 2000s, there were a lot of raters focused on writing high quality reviews rather than just cranking out quantity.
I don’t think noone doubts that untappd is way more popular, but I think they also counted the repeat checkins (and just to give you an idea how big difference that alone makes: top urquell rater has 1900+ checkins, hell even I have 59). Now, even if you discard repeat checkins, and only count the unique ones, untappd will still beat rb. They allow homebrews, they allow stuff that is unrateable in rb (soda pop ciders for example), adminning is generally way less rigorous (you can probably still find some “craft water”, although to be fair it has gotten better), they are more liberal with vintages (who knew that pale lager vintages are a thing?!), and they allow separating by batche (for example every 3 Fonteinen batch is a new tick, never the same!)
The only thing that is more liberal in rb is allowing sake, but that is a very tiny part of the ratings.
Completely agree with this viewpoint. Anyone who has been around a long while on this site will probably remember that the likes of Brewdog, Struise and plenty of others from that craft wave at that time were often on these forums, these guys were savvy, Mikkeller was savvy especially with the RB guys at Beer Festivals, they tapped into this site, there was a lot of mining of information about what we wanted. The reason many of those beers are so highly regarded is down to the legwork and wallets of us and BA.
Also Dogfish Head, all their big beers were due to RB and BA. Which is why I was so pissed when Calagione called for a boycott after the changes to RB a couple years back. I’ve 100% stopped buying DFH beers as a result.
Just finally read this whole article, and one think the reporter fails to take into account, and I say this as a reporter myself, is that some breweries really are worse than others. Untapped, ratebeer or beeradvocate, if distributors aren’t picking up your beer then maybe it’s your beer. Granted if you’ve got the bombest ass new czech pils in oklahoma it may not be immediately recognized but otherwise?? Is there really a problem here?
I also want to point out that the most highly regarded lager breweries are regularly cranking out 4+ lagers on UT (see recent pils from Threes or Human Robot). Of course, it is easier to make a 4+ beer by making a bad kettle sour and pouring marshmallows and syrup in there.