How We Taste & Test
Reviewing beer may sound like a dream job, but our tasting and review panel takes the role seriously. Composed of professional brewers, certified Cicerones, and Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) judges who have all studied, trained, and been tested on their ability to discern characteristics in beer, our panel is independent and doesn’t include any CB&B editors or staff. The panel tastes all beer blindly—they do not know what brands and beers they are tasting until the tasting is complete.
Our goal is to inform you about the strengths and weaknesses of these beers as well as their relative differences (not everyone has the same taste in beer, so accurate descriptors are more valuable than straight numerical values). The quotes you see are compiled from the review panel’s score sheets to give you a well-rounded picture of the beer.
As our reviewers judge, they score based on the standard BJCP components: Aroma (max 12 points), Appearance (max 3 points), Flavor (max 20 points), Mouthfeel (max 5 points), and Overall Impression (max 10 points). We’ve listed these individual component scores, and the bottom-line number is derived from adding then doubling these component scores to produce a rating on a 100-point scale. Note that we’ve rounded the printed component scores to the nearest whole number, so the math won’t necessarily add up.
Our judges use the following scale in valuing scores:
95–100 » Extraordinary World-class beers of superlative character and flawless execution 90–94 » Exceptional Distinguished beers with special character, style, and flavor 85–89 » Very good Well-crafted beers with noteworthy flavor and style 80–84 » Good Solid, quality, enjoyable beers 75–79 » Above Average Drinkable and satisfactory beers with minor flaws or style deviations 70–74 » Average 50–69 » Not recommended Keep one thing in mind as you read these reviews—your perception of a beer is more important than that of our review panel or editorial staff, and reading reviews in a magazine (or on the Web or in a book) is no substitute for trying the beer yourself.