Ohhh... My Head... - Frequently Asked Questions

  • Background & Disclaimer
  • How does your rating system work?
  • What rating criterias do you use?
  • How is the score calculated?
  • How is this webbed?
  • How come the great beer XXXX is rated below the awful YYYY?
  • Why do some beers have so strange names?
  • Can I help you?
  • Why do you do this?
  • How do you find all this beer?
  • Who are the members?
  • Where are you from?
  • Why do you have such a silly name?
  • How do you define countries?
  • Some historical moments
  • Thanks to
  • Copyrights
  • Background & Disclaimer

    Once upon a time there was a few people who were going skiing for a week. These people wanted to buy some beer, but couldn't agree in which beer to buy. So one of them said "Let's buy all beer in this store and find out which one is the best". So they did. They bought about 100 different kinds of beer and started trying them. After testing them all they said "Aaaah... This one is the best! - But, there are even more beers. How do we know none of them is even better?". And so it is...

    I think we while making this list has broken every rule there is in beer testing. We have been trying up to 40 beers a night. The beer has been in bottles, on can, and a few have been on tap. (However, most have been bottled.) A few beers have really been in bad condition when we tested them, and has therefore unfairly low marks.

    Since a lot people, both male and female, with different taste, are in the jury, there is as good as always someone who dislikes a beer with different taste from what we're used to. Therefore are some of the exciting beers way behind the top beers in this list. The names of the beer may be incomplete, misspelled or simply wrong

    ...and, oh, please don't blame us for not having tested your favourite beer. We try every beer we can get our hands on, so if it's not listed it's not because we don't like it. (If it's really important for you that we list your favourite beer you could always send it to us ;-)

    How does your rating system work?

    The ratings ranges from 0 to 5:

    0 - Impossible to drink even if it is for free.

    1 - Bad, but drinkable.

    2 - Not very good, but nothing wrong.

    3 - Good

    4 - Very good

    5 - Excellent

    In January 2000 we decided to refine the system by using adding + or - to the rating, where a + means that the value is increased by 1/3 point, and a - means that it is decreased with 1/3. So the actual range is now -0.33 to 5.33. Previous to January 2002 the rule was that A beer must be rated by at least three persons before it can be registered in our database. But as that left out many very interesting beers, like basically all draught only beers, it was changed to that beers that are hard to get the rest of the group to share can be included in our listings, provided that the person(s) who rate it also writes a review, not just a rating.

    What criterias do you use?

    Every rater sets his/her own criterias. Some of us are more experienced than others and uses other criterias, but in the end it's all subjective anyway...

    How is the score calculated?

    First the average rating of the beer is calculated. Then we also calculate an "expert score" which is weighted according to how many beers each rater has tried. One beer gives you one vote. Since it's up to everyone to interprete our rating system (0-5) we all have different average scores for the total amount of beers we have rated. (An example: Rater A's average rating might be 2.56, while Rater B's is 3.12.) This is corrected for in both this values before we add them to one score where the "normal" average is given twice as much importance as the "expert score".

    If we would have been satisfied with this it would have been much easier for beers that only three persons have rated than one which has been tried by ten to get really extreme values, and end up in the top or the bottom, and this is compensated for.

    This means that theoretically a beer can end up well outside the range 0-5 (in fact I think the limits are something like -8..13). To view this simple formula click here!

    How is this webbed?

    Our database consists of a nowadays rather advanced Excel-sheet, in which all the calculations are performed. From there the data is transfered to a UNIX-system where a shellscript auto-generates all the list files, before they're transfered to our webspace located at Stockholm University. Even though this is pretty much automatic every update takes a significant amount of time wherefor it's not possible for us to update it too often.

    How come the great beer XXXX is rated below the awful YYYY?

    We started out as complete amateurs, and even if some of us now actually has aquired some small pieces of knowledge we will always have to live with our old ratings. We also continously accept new members.

    Add to that that we consist of a lot of different people with different preferences, and that this is done just for fun. We know that some beers are terribly underrated, and that some are way too high up, it's just not such a big deal.

    Another thing that might influence our ratings is that, of course, the beers we get from our local micro is usually fresher than a bottle that has travelled for months from far away places to get to us. Some beers we have tried have been in terrible shape while others have been extremely fresh, and even if we wanted to there is not much we can do about it.

    And besides, when it all comes down to it, all opinions are subjective, These are our points of view and not some kind of universal truth we present.

    Why do some beer have so strange names?

    A lot of beers are relabelled when exported. For instance the mediocre Danish beer Bjørnebryg are also known as, for instance, Bear Beer or Bären Bier. We try to stick to the original name as much as we can, but sometimes that is not possible.

    In Sweden beer must be below 3.5%ABV to be sold in regular stores, therefore a lot of brands, both domestic and foreign, comes in different versions. To separate the different versions we sometimes add the prefix , klass II or , klass I to the beers name. This however is messed up with the new rules that beer below 2.8% is not taxed, which have resulted in that the same brand sometimes comes in both 2.8% and 3.5%... Also Finland has a similar system, where these classes are denoted from I to IV, where I is the weakest and the strongest, IV, is divided into IV A and IV B where the latter is stronger.

    We also consider draught or cask conditioned versions as different from the bottled version of a beer so that both can be rated separately. A cask conditioned beer is always denoted by , draught respectively , cask.

    Beers that are aged before we rate them are denoted with , aged X years.

    A star, *, means that the beer is brewed under contract in another country than what is stated in the list. However the beers always get listed after the original country of the brand, not where it is actually brewed.

    Can I help you?

    Yes of course. If you spot any errors don't hesitate to mail us. (I will probably forget to correct it, but that's another story...) If you feel like you're having a very interesting beer we have not yet rated that you'd like to share with us, drop us a mail, and maybe we could work something out. Though new beers are always welcome we can not gurantee that we always have the time to set up an exchange.

    Why do you do this?

    Beacause it's fun. Because we like beer.

    How do you find all this beer?

    Even though Systembolaget (the government contolled stores that are the only ones allowed to sell alcoholic beverages over 3.5%) has a pretty good assortment these days the main part of the beers we rate comes from various travels, or are gifts from people abroad. We also find some beers at local pubs such as Akkurat.

    Who are the members?

  • Johan Zetterlund
  • Mattias Leidebjer
  • Lars Berggren
  • Per Forsgren (ex. Samuelsson)
  • Lars Samuelsson
  • Cecilia Gårdebäck
  • Marie Holmlund
  • Kristian Ekfors
  • Fredrik Huldt
  • Anna Hultén
  • Lasse Granström
  • Oscar Hansson
  • Robert Boström
  • Minna Hytönen
  • Fredrik Nyström
  • Jonas Bofjäll
  • Nina Gustafsson
  • Björn Alnebo
  • Helena Lindh
  • Former members
  • Jenny Swärdh
  • Henrik Zetterlund
  • Where are you from?

    We all live in Sweden, and all of us either lives, or has been living in or near Stockholm where nearly all our ratings are conducted.

    Why do you have such a silly name?

    No comments. Next question please ;-)

    How do you define contries?

    Countries are defined from a travellers point of view, rather than from a politival point of view. Therefore regions with no or limited independance count, as long as they are separated from the main country by either large distances (for instance Azores, Madeira, New Caledonia etc.) or by political barriers that makes travelling to the region more difficult (for instance Transdniestr and Tibet). Some regions with limited independance are also included (for instance Åland, Macau, HongKong, Greenland etc.)

    Some historical moments

    May 1993:The first 80 beers rated. Küppers Kölsch leads.
    7th June 1995The list is posted to alt.beer and made public for the first time. Guinness leads.
    Later in June 1995The list is webbed at a page at The Nicholson Wall of Beer
    August 1996We get our own webspace. Theakston's Old Peculier leads.
    December 1996We get listed on Netscape's "Vad är häftigt" ("What's Cool" in Swedish).
    18th July 1997Ch'ti Blonde becomes beer #1000
    Later in July 1997Our new web listings are presented
    August 1997The non-alcoholic Venezuelan Malta Caracas becomes first beer with a score below 0.00
    January 1998We become the largest rating collection on the web in Europe. Westvleteren 12 and 8 into top position.
    May 1998Alaskan Smoked Porter 1997 becomes our 1500th beer
    August 19993 Monts is beer #2000
    January 2000The rating systen is refined with +/-. Nils Oscar Julöl 1999 Imperial Stout becomes the first Swedish beer on #1 position.
    August 2000Grub server down (forever?). We switch to the ohhh.myhead.org domain. We're now the webbed beer ratings with the most countries represented anywhere.
    October 2000The Russian lager Stepan Razin Studentskoye takes over as the worst beer in our history by scoring -0.07.
    May 2001Sailor Hägar's Narwhal Pale Ale takes us up to 3000 beers, and the same evening we become the first beer ratings on the web with more than 100 countries documented.
    August 2002De Dolle Special Brouwsel 20 is our beer #4000
    June 2003Amarcord La Puténa from San Marino is beer #5000 from country #130.
    May 2004Deus becomes beer #6000
    December 2004Drie Fonteinen Schaarbeekse Kriek reaches a record breaking score of 5.16, and takes over as number 1.
    February 2006Baladin Elixir is the official beer #8000.
    May 2007Lost Abbey Angels Share is the official beer #10000.
    July 2009At a visit to the brewpub Brasserie de Monaco the principality of Monaco becomes our 200th country.

    Thanks to:

    Todd Shumsky - for countless US microbrews, web-help, inspiration etc...
    Brent Nicholson & The Wall of Beer - for all the US microbrews and inspiration.
    Josh Oakes - for a lot of Canadian and other beers & drinking company.
    Philippe Corbat (Bov) - For loads of Swiss and French microbrews as well as beer from Sri Lanka & Tunisia
    Christer Hultman - for beer from mabny crazy countries as well as drinking company
    Sandro Regusci - for beer from countless countries as well as drinking company
    The Alnebo family - for beer, food, hosting and company
    Joe Tucker - for beer, food, hosting and company
    Donald Bible - for drinking company, many US microbrews and beer from strange countries
    Peter Jones - for British beers and drinking company
    Katrin Hintze - for loads of German beers
    John Warner - for loads of US microbrews
    PsychProf - for loads of US microbrews
    Chris Quiroga - for a grand tour of Southern California and many fine beers
    Dr. Bill - for hosting a superb beer tasting
    jcalabre - for Bear Republic Big Bear Black Stout
    Steve Kinsey - for showing me Stuffed Sandwich
    Gusler - for loads of US microbrews
    fiulijn - for Swiss & Belgian beer
    jjpm74 - for US East Coastmicrobrews
    Jacob Lövenlund &and the Danish Ratebeerians - for Danish & Belgian beer and drinking company
    Jeppe Bjergsøe - for many interesting beers
    Martin Thibault and the Montréal Ratebeerieans - for organizing a great tasting in Montréal
    MrWalker - for good beers and drinking company
    oh6gdx - for good beers and drinking company
    Davis Lévesque - for many beers and drinkig company
    The Texas ratebeerians - for American beer and drinking company
    jca_lbi - for loads of US microbrews and his own superb homebrew.
    Boris Georgiev - for loads of German beers and Liberian beer
    Duff - for loads of Australian microbrews.
    asedzie - for Taiwanese microbrews.
    VENOM - for Adams Honey Bragget.
    Yogi_Beera - for German beers
    DougShoemaker - for S.t Ambroise Vintage Ale
    Iva & Pavel - for Czech beers
    rauchbier - for British barley wines
    Bo Skoog - for Hoegaarden Grand Cru and a bunch of Michigan microbrews
    Frank Dittrich & Camilla - for loads of German beers.
    Uwe Weid - ditto...
    Åke & Birgitta Samuelsson - for all the Thai, German, Canadian, US, UK bottles etc.
    The Zetterlunds - for a bunch of Hungarian brews.
    Lars Stjernestam - for the samples of his excellent award winning homebrews.
    Esa Karell - for Sahti and information on beer in Finland.
    Jonas Bofjäll - for Mexican beer and a cool domain name
    Patric de Boussard and Elin Isgren - for Russian beers.
    Akkurat - for being the best pub in town (if not the world...).
    Oliver Twist - for rivalling Akkurat for that position.
    Hagges Bärsklubb - for membership & great beer.
    Bengt-Åke Ericsson - for many new African countries, as well as Colombian & Mexican beers as well as beers from Congo-Kinshasa
    Thomas Eriksson - for beer from Mali
    Johan Fors - for beers from Tanzania, St. Vincent and St. Lucia
    Peter Svensson - for beer bought in Oman etc.
    Leffe Wahlström - for Leffe Tripel.
    Christoffer Gustafsson - for beer from Madagascar, US Virgin Islands and Utah.
    Fredrik Lindström - for Golden Delster from Pakistan
    Linus Rispling - for Murree Brewery's Malt-79 from Pakistan
    Pauli Norman - for Safari Lager Export from Tanzania
    Stefan Erlandsson - for Presidente from Dominican Republic
    Gábriella Varga - for the Romanian Ursus Premium Pils.
    Malin Lindskog - for Anchor from Malaysia.
    Pehr Åhlberg - for loads of Slovenian beers and Gotlandsdricke
    Mats Åberg - for loads of Fijian, Cambodian and Japanese beers
    Roger Nordlund - for Nisse 3.5%
    Sedat Anter - for that (unfortunately broken) Uzbekistani bottle.
    Göran Nordlöw - for Gold Pulsar from Uzbekistan
    Yusuuf Faarax - for Ethiopian beer
    Mats Höjbrand - for Romanian beer
    Per Carlsson - for Indonesian beer
    Baban Aziz - for Haitian beer
    Mikael Markhill - for Guatemalan and US American beer
    Berit Bergquist - for Mexican & German beer
    Mats Wärme - for Bintang from Indonesia.
    Shameel Sanoon - for Víking Gylltur from Iceland.
    Kathy Zolfaghari - for Sey Brew Lager from the Seychelles
    Kathy Kitchin - for Hansa Urbock from Namibia.
    Göran Thimberg - for Bofferding from Luxembourg
    Kalle Björke - for that Spanish bottle, wherever it is...

    ...and lots of people I've forgotten about. Sorry!


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    Partly updated 2010-01-21 Per Forsgren