Blind Beer Tasting at Brewforia: The Results Are In…

A couple weesk ago I put up a post about a blind beer tasting where the taster was put to the test.  He was given three brews and had to identify them by taste and smell alone.  It didn’t go well, and his answers were right in line with complete random chance.  Well a couple weeks back Rick Boyd at Brewforia held a blind beer tasting, but instead of the taster being put on the spot, here the beer was the center of attention.

They drank and rated 6 Imperial IPAs.  Two were from regional breweries in the Pacific Northwest, and the rest were either national or far bigger that the two regional breweries represented.  The results show the power of branding in the marketplace.  Strip all that away and what are you left with?  Here are the results as reported by Rick…

Last Saturday we held our first Brewforia Beer Trials where customers tasted 6 imperial IPAs blind, they were given tasters of each glass and a score sheet to keep track of how they felt about the beers based on 4 different observations: Sight, Smell, flavor, mouthfeel and the urge to want another.

We’ll get right to the point, here is how things shaped up (based on total points awarded) according to the guys and gals who joined us last Saturday for the first ever Brewforia Beer Trials — Imperial IPAs.

Average score, out of 100.

  1. Ninkasi Tricerahops Double IPA – 71
  2. Beer Valley Leafer Madness – 68
  3. Lagunitas Sonoma Farmhouse Hop Stoopid – 67
  4. Dogfish Head 90 Minute – 66
  5. Avery The Maharaja Imperial IPA – 63
  6. Stone Ruination IPA – 59

You guys definitely know and love the beers that are close to home (Eugene and Ontario, Oregon), that’s an immediate observation that can be gleaned from the results — the top two are Imperial IPAs that aren’t on Beer Advocate’s top 50 or RateBeer’s top 25 for the style.

You can find a more complete breakdown of the results on Brewforia’s Blog Page.  It definitely goes to show 1) that we are brewing some pretty awesome beer here in these parts (I live about 30 minutes from where Leafer Madness is made), and 2) Branding plays a huge role in what we buy and think is good.  Rick goes on to break each of these beers down by scores given on Beer Advocate and Rate Beer, so I encourage you to go to his site and see the complete analysis.  Interesting stuff.


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7 Comments on “Blind Beer Tasting at Brewforia: The Results Are In…”

  1. September 3, 2010 at 12:31 pm #

    Sure, the one I love (the Avery Maharaja) stinks. Thanks, Boise. Thanks alot!

    • Don
      September 3, 2010 at 12:57 pm #

      No accounting for taste Jim. I think it got a lower score because it is so big and bold. Its in your face style really appeals to some, but others like a little less challenging IPA.

    • Marvin
      September 3, 2010 at 12:59 pm #

      Maharaja has never been a favorite of mine, not balanced and very astringent IMO. It was one of my lowest rated beers in the blind test. I rated DFH 90 minute (1st) and Leafer (2nd) the highest. Tricerahops was the best beer of the bunch but not a DIPA and I am a nerd and style still counts to me so it was 3rd. Then Hop Stoopid which is too sweet and has a weird candy-like quality that is off putting. Then Ruination and Maharaja were dead last with a tie. I’ve never liked Ruination in the bottle though and think it’s much better from a keg. It’s too sweet then too bitter from a bottle.

      Hard part on this for me is I like hops but am not a hop head. So I do drink these beers but not very often. Although I feel good about my blind tasting as it follows what I normally liked pretty well. I am a little scared though as Rick could throw some curveballs at us and ruin my little glasshouse of beer snobbery. Once you remove preconceived notions of label and breweries, you’d be surprised at what our taste buds will think, including about some beers that we look down upon daily.

      • Don
        September 3, 2010 at 1:54 pm #

        It’s a pretty paranoid existence for people who live in glass houses! But all in good fun, and I think you learned something about the style, etc. I hope I can be a part of one someday.

      • September 3, 2010 at 2:32 pm #

        Yeah, blind tastings are scary to the beer ego, Marvin. Glad to hear you didn’t stray from your non-blind opinions. I’m not sure I would do the same.

        But then again my opinions are always changing, so I’d probably just chalk it up to that!

      • Marvin
        September 3, 2010 at 6:24 pm #

        It can come back to your mood and demeanor also. Just my attitude alone when drinking a beer can change what I perceive. Man I love the human body.

      • September 3, 2010 at 11:38 pm #


        Why don’t you think Tricerahops is a DIPA? Ninkasi labels it as such, and it’s listed as a double/imperial on both Ratebeer and Beeradvocate.

        Just askin’ ’cause I definitely respect your technical beer knowledge — and your beers. 😉

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