The Grading System

One of the things that is always an afterthought in my beer reviews is the actual grades I assign to the beers.  I feel as a reviewer the need to actually assign some sort of grade to the beer, but I have some regular readers who love to call me out on why certain beers received certain grades.  I tend to not think of the grades as comparing one beer to another, but it would seem others do actually compare one A to another A.  So, at the suggestion of a reader or two, I wanted to do a little post that actually outlines what I feel A-F actually means.  I plan on creating a new page on the blog that you can click on and refer back to this post as a little reminder of what the letters actually mean.  So let’s begin!

Teacher Grade F: Sadly in some school districts, like the one I teach in, this grade actually doesn’t exist anymore.  If a child is failing my class, I actually have to assign them an E instead.  Evidentially, years of giving students F’s has placed a negative connotation on it.  I thought failing in general was negative.  Anyway, as many of my readers will be able to tell you, I really don’t give a whole lot of beers failing grades.  I believe I have done it here before, but I would really have to go back and check.  Let’s face it, I buy beer I think will be good because I want to drink good beer.  Chances are I’m not buying a beer I will consider crap.  Therefore, if I give a beer a failing grade, I really have to feel it’s bad.  The key point here is, if I do give a beer a failing grader, I will never seek to buy or drink it again.  F = Never again! I’ll drink water!

Teacher Grade D: I have assigned a few D’s in my year of grading thus far.  I sometimes buy a beer I really hope will be something special, and it goes the complete opposite way.  However, to keep it from receiving a complete failure, I have to find some redeeming quality to it.  It could be the use of hops, malts, or some other singular flavor I actually enjoy, but it has to have something going on it that I think makes it acceptable to have been brewed.  D = If it’s the only beer available!

A definite C in my book

Teacher Grade C: I think of C as a completely average beer.  It definitely isn’t a bad beer, and it definitely isn’t a great beer.  Even as a teacher, I never really feel all that bad about giving students a C.  It shows that they aren’t anything special, and they aren’t a terrible student either.  They are perfectly average.  This of course isn’t acceptable to the parents of the Talented and Gifted students I teach this year, but some people are just middle of the road.  Likewise, a lot of beers just don’t stack up against the superior competition.  C = I’ll drink it again, but I might grab a PBR first!

Teacher Grade B: This has to be a beer that is heading towards greatness, but it has something going on in there that is keeping it from reaching ultimate superiority.  Lately I believe I may have been a little too relaxed with my grading method.  I’m sure I’ve given a few A’s to beers that actually should have been something more like a B.  Therefore, I have a feeling a lot more beers will start showing up as B’s instead of A’s in the future.   I think a beer will get a B if it is missing some small aspect that I want or contains a component I don’t like.  It could be a little too much hops, a little bit too syrupy, or lacking in carbonation, either way, I  believe that beer will now receive a B. B = I will definitely drink this beer again, but let me take one more look at what you have!

Teacher Grade A: I have definitely been a slightly bad teacher when it comes to beers lately.  I

A definite "A" lately

feel like I’m the teacher you want to take in college because you know you’ll get an A.  Well times they are a changing!  I want to try to reserve my A grade for beers I feel truly deserve it.  I don’t want people to think I adore every single beer I drink; therefore, I’m hopeful I’ll be slightly more stingy with my A’s.  This beer has to have everything going on for it.  I need to not find a single thing wrong with the beer.  They truly need to earn the A from now on.  A = Don’t even tell me what else you have, I’ll take one of those!

I believe I’ll be relying on my pluses and minuses a lot more from now on to give a little more delineation between the really good and really bad, but I’m going to try to be a lot better with my grading system from now on.  Time will only tell if I stick to the parameters I have set out here.  Hopefully, I’ll have a few people a little bit happier with my grading system from now on.  Stay tuned to see if it works!

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4 Comments

  1. I would like to see annual (or more frequent periods as lyricslibationsandlife may prescribe) grade distribution statistics. 🙂

    I think you are stingier than you give yourself credit for.

  2. I’ve been thinking of doing a “beer review” piece for awhile because I thinking rating beers in general is subjective to a point (that noise you hear are the BJCA judges coming to castrate me) depending on the source.

    That being said, I love the way you have yours set up. You have a clear set of guidelines and have clearly put some thought behind them.

    As long as you don’t grade on a curve 😉

    • Why thank you! I did try to make it clear what my expectations were for each beer to receive a specific grade. I figured this way you can check back and say, “Okay, I see why that beer got that grade”. No curving grades that’s for sure!


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