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Old 09-04-2012, 03:19 PM   #1
homebrewdad
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Default Beer quality versus perception

Last night, I had my first Chimay Tripel (white). Great beer, loved it!

However, it struck me that this beer seemed extremely similar to Leffe Blonde. If I were to pay attention to beer review sites, I would understand that the Chimay is an outstanding beer, while the Leffe is average at best. This baffles me, as the two beers were (to my unrefined palate) so close as to be tough to tell apart once poured into glasses.

I started this as a post, but it got so long, I decided to do a blog entry on it: Beer Quality Versus Perception.

Feel free to tell me why I am wrong - I'd really like to know why.

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Old 09-04-2012, 03:31 PM   #2
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As you already pointed out the major beer review website all suffer from bigger, rarer beers MUST be superior. The easiest thing to do is forget "The Bros" reviews altogether and only use the general reviews to decide if a beer is obviously flawed or not.

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Old 09-04-2012, 03:35 PM   #3
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As you already pointed out the major beer review website all suffer from bigger, rarer beers MUST be superior. The easiest thing to do is forget "The Bros" reviews altogether and only use the general reviews to decide if a beer is obviously flawed or not.
And this is what I'm doing. I wonder, though... why even give supposed "expert" reviews if you can't do it in an unbiased manner? It's not like you are sponsored by a given brewery.
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Old 09-04-2012, 03:51 PM   #4
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why even give supposed "expert" reviews if you can't do it in an unbiased manner?
Everyone has a different set of expectations for and perceptions of beer. I look at it the same way as movie reviews. The movie critics generally praise smaller, art house type films that don't generate much attention. On the other hand major block busters often get panned for being mindless showcases for special effects. I don't know about you, but I would rather watch (or drink) something instead of suffering through something solely because it was reviewed well.
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Old 09-04-2012, 03:53 PM   #5
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I find a world of difference between Leffe Blonde and Chimay's tripel. Yes, the tastes are similar, but there are some intangible qualities that desperate Chimay. Something about Leffe feels a little too (for lack of a better term) processed. That said, I tend to find the Bros' reviews pretty spot on and in line with my tastes, even with less glamorous beer styles.

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Old 09-04-2012, 03:54 PM   #6
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And this is why I only look at beer review sites to see if a beer is bad, not if it's good. A decent score for an under-appreciated style usually means it's a pretty darn good example of the style.

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Old 09-04-2012, 04:06 PM   #7
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I've found it best to ignore the score and focus on the content of the review.

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Old 09-04-2012, 10:18 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by downtown3641 View Post
I find a world of difference between Leffe Blonde and Chimay's tripel. Yes, the tastes are similar, but there are some intangible qualities that desperate Chimay. Something about Leffe feels a little too (for lack of a better term) processed. That said, I tend to find the Bros' reviews pretty spot on and in line with my tastes, even with less glamorous beer styles.
This is what I'm talking about, to an extent. I'm not questioning that you perceive a difference - I have a poor sense of smell, and as such, I probably have a less sensitive palate than some.

That being said, I'm not sure that I understand how Leffe can feel "processed"?

Again, I'd be really interested to put the beers side by side, with no packaging and related expectations, and see what people thought - and how much difference they perceived. I wonder how much of the Chimay quality perception (see above statement that identifies me as a Chimay fanboy) has to do with our knowledge of the Trappist methods and the general excellent reviews they tend to get.
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Check out the priming sugar calculator and the beer calorie calculator.

Fermenting: nothing
Lagering: Swarthy Satyr (traditional bock)
Bottled: Royal Goblin (Hoppy Hobgoblin rendition), Treasure Type "T" (oatmeal toffee stout), Enchantress (big Irish red ale), Frostfire (Oktoberfest), Thundersmoke brown ale
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Old 09-04-2012, 10:24 PM   #9
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Not sure about Chimay white because my least favorite of the three. But I would love to find an equivalent to the Red (the dubbel) since it's very expensive (as they all are; the dubbel is typically the least expensive) and is one of the best commercial beers I have ever tasted. I can literally get lost in it. And it's not because of the price that it's my favorite, or that it comes from those wacky Belgians monks... The fact that it gets sold at Costco nullifies all 'intended' perception/marketing. The only thing about Chimay that is unfair IMO is that their 11.5 ounce bottles are excellent quality for rebottling.

Also I must say I doubt I would agree with the OG though I am willing to try the two out of curiousity.

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Old 09-04-2012, 11:48 PM   #10
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I agree w/ phenry, those sites are best used to avoid a bad beer...good is good, how good depends on individual taste.

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