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Wednesday, March 01, 2006


I have concluded after three minutes of uncareful thought that, where ratings are concerned, less is more. The various systems of detailed ratings on each element of the beer thwart the purpose, methinks. Therefore, I will henceforth employ these categories to all beers:
  • A Classic - a superlative example of the style.
  • Excellent - technically flawless, just short of the kind of character that distinguishes it as as the best in its style.
  • Good - a well-made beer that is a fairly common example of its style.
  • Average - nothing stands out; beer doesn't have off-flavors, but fails to impress as a good example of its style.
  • Not Poisonous - off-flavors mar the recipe.
  • Poisonous - off-flavors so profound the beer is undrinkable.
Almost every commercial brewery should be able to make at least average beer, but there may be a few brewpubs out there who don't. Thus the lower categories. Feel free to comment if you have thoughts.

This post has been updated.


  1. Homebrewing is appropriate for your scale. Fortunately, I never fared worse than "Not Poisonous".

  2. Hoo boy, I have. My one and only lager effort produced a beer so wrong that even bringing one's nose to it forced a convulsion away, as from hazardous chemicals.

    Thus I no longer brew lagers.

    (I do, however, have a lambic in the hole...)

  3. I would suggest some derivation of "nasty" instead of poisonous. Poisonous is a stretch for beer, it is rarely harmful to drink (alcohol and headache exceptions of course) and the term poisonous is misleading. As Papazian said, it is nearly impossible to make a beer that actually "hurts" you in the way meant by poisonous.

    Just my two cents.

  4. You're right, but it's more entertaining this way. I was aiming for evocative, and as you probably experienced, some off-flavors taste poisonous.