Beerbusters II: The Numbers Are In

The intention of Beerbusters II was to evaluate American and Belgian beers of the same style and see which ones were superior in the opinion of a randomly selected group of tasters. (In other words, whoever walked in and agreed to taste ten beers and tell us what they thought of them.) The other purpose was to have a good time. In an amazing juxtaposition of work and play, we managed to do both, and we got some interesting numbers out of the whole deal.
Here, o ye beer aficionados, are the raw numbers. All ‘A’ beers are American; all B beers are Belgian. (I know you saw that coming, right?)

Beer

Average Score

Standard Deviation

Wit 1A: Celis White

3.576

0.780

Wit 1B: Abbaye des Rocs Blanche

3.424

0.986

Dubbel 2A: Ommegang

3.333

1.092

Dubbel 2B: St Bernardus Prior 8

3.152

0.957

Tripel 3A: Boulevard Long Strange Tripel

3.455

0.856

Tripel 3B: Tripel Karmeleit

3.545

1.257

Strong Ale 4A: Brother Thelonious

3.091

1.334

Strong Ale 4B: Abbaye des Rocs Brune

3.697

0.969

Saison 5A: Ommegang Hennepin

3.152

0.957

Saison 5B: De Proef Saison Imperial

3.242

1.016

A short explanation for those of you, like myself, who since high school have only dealt with statistics if they impacted my fantasy baseball team: standard deviation “…shows how much variation there is from the ‘average’ (mean)”. (Thank you, Wikipedia.) In English, the higher the standard deviation, the more widely spread the results were.

Here’s what I draw from these numbers: on the average, our tasters liked these beers reasonably well. The beers were rated on a scale of 1 to 5; the fact is, every beer we tasted ended up rating between 3.0 and 3.7. This makes sense; the beers in the tasting were chosen as reliable and quality examples of their style.

What I think is more interesting is the standard deviation of some of them. Everyone liked Celis White reasonably well; out of 34 raters only three gave it something other than a three or a four. However, you might not want to feature Brother Thelonious at your next party – taster response was all over the place, resulting in the largest standard deviation by far.

OK, enough stats geekery. Here’s the results of the Steel Cage Beer Match Of Death:

Round 1 (Wit): Close, but Celis White squeaked out a win over Abbaye des Rocs Blanche.

Round 2 (Dubbel): Ommegang handled St Bernardus Prior 8 just fine.

Round 3 (Tripel): Belgium’s Tripel Karmeleit outlasted Boulevard’s Long Strange Tripel.

Round 4 (Strong Ale): This was the most lopsided contest, with Abbaye des Rocs Brune walking all over Brother Thelonious.

Round 5 (Saison): The closest battle of all, with De Proef Saison Imperial beating Ommegang Hennepin by nine-hundredth of a point.

The final score? The Americans pulled out to a 2-0 lead, but couldn’t hold on, as Belgium sweeps the last three pairings for a 3-2 win. Individual honors go to Abbaye des Rocs Brune (1st), Celis White (2nd), and Tripel Karmeleit (3rd).

And oh yes – we had a fun time at the Galleria determining all these numbers. (It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it.) Come out and see us when Beerbusters III rolls around!

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