Beer Data: how acquired expertise influences ratings

Two researchers from Stanford University have undertaken a beer-fuelled study into how our tastes evolve as we become ‘expert’. Using data from the RateBeer & BeerAdvocate websites – i.e. approx. 4.6m beer reviews – they have developed a model to identify ‘user expertise based on online reviews’ which resulted in this selection of the 20 best beers in the world (well, from the USA and Belgium predominantly).

The aim of the research paper by McAuley & Leskovec is to enable online recommendations to identify products for an individual that they will enjoy today whilst acknowledging that their tastes will evolve over time as they consume more of a product type and gain more expertise.

Warning: if you try to become a beer ‘expert’ in one sitting at your local Oktoberfest then your ability to provide objective beer reviews may be drowned out by your singing along with the Oompah band.

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