A Legend in My Own (and Untappd’s) Mind

untappd-legendaryI recently “earned” the Legendary badge on Untappd for checking in to my 500th unique beer. I’m now up to 771 check-ins with 544 unique beers. I thought it would be interesting to see how many of those 544 beers I gave the full five star rating. There were only twelve. Two of those were the last two years of Sierra Nevada Celebration. Damn I’m a picky bastard. Now my Untappd ratings are suspect for a couple reasons. I usually rate the beer after my first sip, out of convenience and so I don’t forget. The first sip is a poor indicator for many beers. The first sip is the coldest, masking many flavors. Most beers will change quality for a drinker as you drink, for better or worse. My opinion of a beer has swung dramatically from first to last sip of one serving. The second reason my ratings are suspect is I’m occasionally intoxicated when I make them. Even if I’m not necessarily drunk I may be a couple Imperial Stouts or Double IPAs in and my palate may be destroyed. That said, it’s safe to assume that the twelve beers I gave five stars are excellent beers. A more thoughtful rating of the other 532 would probably garner more five star ratings. I’ve also objectively given many excellent beers four or four and a half star ratings, because I’m a picky bastard. I’ve probably given a few GABF gold medal winners less than five stars.

Here are my five star Untappd ratings in no particular order:

  • Firestone Walker Double Jack
  • Sierra Nevada Palefoot
  • Sierra Nevada 30th Anniversary – Fritz And Ken’s Ale
  • Sierra Nevada Narwhal Imperial Stout (2012)
  • Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale (2012)
  • Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale (2013)
  • Sierra Nevada Northern Hemisphere Harvest Wet Hop Ale (2012)
  • Uinta Hop Notch IPA
  • Sierra Nevada Bigfoot (2013)
  • Badische Staatsbrauerei Rothaus Tannenzäpfle Pils
  • Sierra Nevada 30th Anniversary – Jack And Ken’s Ale
  • Oskar Blues GUBNA Imperial IPA


The first thing that stands out is I’m a Sierra Nevada fan boy. That’s partly because I live in Chico and have plenty of opportunity to try their beers. It’s partly because Sierra Nevada is objectively awesome. Seriously, they’re better than your favorite brewery. One of the Sierra Nevada beers, Palefoot, is a mix of Bigfoot and Pale Ale. Try it sometime, you won’t be disappointed.

I seem to have a couple favorite styles, with most styles not making the list at all. IPAs dominate the list with a couple stouts, a couple barley wines, and a lone pilsner. About that pilsner…don’t pretend you’ve ever heard of it. I know, mad cred. It’s by far the best pilsner I’ve ever had. It’s what all pilsners should aspire to. My daughter’s German nanny brought it to me from Germany because it’s her favorite beer. She knows more about beer than you do (the nanny, not my daughter).

Uinta and Oskar Blues are great breweries but I don’t remember Hop Notch or GUBNA being THAT good. In fact I can think of other beers from those two breweries that stand out much more than those two. Are Hop Notch and GUBNA really better than Dubhe and Ten FIDY? Those are just a couple of the beers that are noticeably absent here. Where the hell is Sierra Nevada’s Estate? Bell’s Two Hearted? Green Flash Hop Head Red? Old Rasputin? Pliney the Elder? I’m pretty sure I’ve claimed each of those were the best beer ever at some point, but apparently that didn’t warrant five stars.

I think the important lesson we’ve learned here is you shouldn’t trust my Untappd ratings.

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