Frequently asked questions
Many people email me asking the same questions. And believe it or not, even the glaringly stupid questions keep getting asked. Please avoid wasting my time and yours by checking here first before you email. You won't get a reply if you ask any of these questions by email.
As you may have noticed it's not just a simple "match what you type" system. It has a small degree of intelligence built-in, albeit not to the same extent as Google's search algorithm.
All matches are case-insensitive. When searching for a location, matching is performed against the location name, the county name and (if there is one) the nearby town name.
- First, the system tried to find a precise match for what you typed (including punctuation, spaces, etc.) If one or more matches are found, you're taken to display.
- If no precise match is found, everything but alphanumerics (a-z, 0-9) is removed. In addition, any accents or diacritics are removed (so for example "ü" is transformed to "u") and where possible, non-latin letters are transliterated (so the German "ß" becomes "ss" and the Cyrillic "Г" becomes "g"). The system searches for any match containing what's left within names similarly treated.
- If there's still no match found and you've searched for a beer or a producer, the above two steps are repeated - within beer names if you searched for a producer; within producer names if you searched for a beer.
- If only a single match is found, you're taken straight to the matching producer (or in the case of a beer search, a pop-up shows you is details).
- If more than one match is found, things get complicated...
- If only one of the matching results relates to an open producer, then that producer's entry is displayed But above the producer details you'll see a message telling you that there are other matches, along with a link which will take you to a list of all of them.
- If there are more than one matching open producers (or none), then you'll be taken to a page which lists all producers matching your search. With luck you'll find what you're looking for here.
No. In order to maintain its independence, Beermad doesn't accept any advertising.
Beermad is an information site, not a link-farm. The only links across the site are to producers' own websites, Cyclops data and to the relevant producer's page at Quaffale, Beermad's partner site. So the answer is "no" unless you're a beer producer listed on the site.
Possibly because I don't know about it. However there are certain circumstances when I don't link to a producer's website even when I do know about it, such as:
- Sites that can only be viewed using Flash. Apart from being horrible technology, Flash is so full of security holes that I have it permanently blocked on all of my computers.
- Sites that won't allow you in unless you let them set unnecessary cookies. I have no objection to cookies when they're actually of use to the visitor (such as for shopping baskets) but a site which demands I tell it my date of birth and expects to set a cookie from that is beyond the pale.
- Holding pages that haven't been changed for a long time. One particular brewery's website said nothing but "Coming soon" from March 2005 to some time in 2011).
Possibly. However, I've put a large amount of time and effort into building up the information in my database. Make me a financial offer and we'll see if it's sufficient.
No. If I knew anything about it, it would be on the site.
There's a beer search option at the top of every page. If the beer's known, you'll find it this way.
I have absolutely no idea. I've probably never been to that town and it's likely that I never will. Try asking the brewery.
When I started Beermad back in 1999 there were far fewer breweries than there are now. The sheer number of breweries now in itself means that there are just too many new beers every week for me to keep up with.
This problem is exacerbated by the fact that a lot of breweries these days produce ridiculous numbers of one-off brews to exploit the "scooper" market - I can think of at least one brewery that's "produced" over 250 beers in little over three years of operation (from considerably fewer mashings, I understand).
To demonstrate how silly the numbers have become, in a single month, November 2008 I added almost one thousand beers to the database
From a number of sources, including:
- Brewery and pub websites (I check over 500 of these on a regular basis for new beer information.
- Beer enthusiasts' mailing lists.
- Beer festival programmes.
- Direct information from brewers who are kind enough to send it.
In collating a producer's regular or seasonal beers, I take a brewery's website to be the definitive source of information (providing it makes it clear which are or aren't core products and it appears to be up-to-date). Where I can't be certain about core beers from the website (or there isn't one), I take whatever's listed in the Good Beer Guide as being the core range.
Beermad is run as a hobby, so while I try to reply to emails that need a response this isn't always possible and it may be some while between you sending an email and me having time to respond. I don't reply to emails asking for information that's already on the site or others asking stupid questions. Nor do I reply to emails from people too stupid to work out that Beermad isn't the website of a brewery whose page they've found here.
No, Beermad is entirely independent. My only connection with the beer and brewing industry apart from being an enthusiastic consumer of its output is that I have a number of brewers and publicans as personal friends and my investment portfolio sometimes includes small shareholdings in some breweries and pub companies (in order to be open and honest, these are listed in my declaration of financial interests). I am, not surprisingly, a member of Camra.
Beermad started originally as an exercise to learn how to put together a website. I thought maybe a couple of people a week might visit, as opposed to the nearly 2000 people a day who actually come here. Beermad is my contribution to the promotion of interesting real ales by providing information to publicans about what's available so they can give their customers an interesting choice, and providing a reference to my fellow beer-lovers about what's being brewed and has been brewed in the past. I get nothing personally out of running Beermad apart from the satisfaction of knowing that I'm doing something that a lot of people find useful, as well as a tool to record which beers I've tried and how highly I rated them (this information is not published.)
I had originally intended to write regular articles about beer and brewing, but I simply haven't had enough time. So leaving a handful of out-of-date articles lying around seemed silly. However, as the Beginners' guide to Belgian beer has been one of the most popular pages on Beermad, I've updated this and retained it.
I'm not. Unfortunately spammers pick random domains and send their unwelcome rubbish with forged headers so it looks like that's where the spam came from and there's nothing I can do to stop them pretending to use Beermad.
The only emails sent from the Beermad website are the email alerts listing new beers and breweries. These are only sent to email addresses that have requested them and confirmed that they are wanted.
I make a personal rating of every beer I try, on a scale of 1 (it was so foul I spat it out) to 10 (I want to drink it for the rest of my life). I don't publish all of my ratings - mainly because they're only a matter of personal taste and I don't want to condemn breweries just because their beers don't suit my palate. But there's a small number of beers that I think are so delicious (worthy of a rating of 9/10 or 10/10) that I think they're worth highlighting. Everybody's taste differs, so it's no bad thing if you think the beers I rate as great are horrible (sadly there are people who regard anybody having different tastes to their own as being in some way reprehensible - I wish this were a joke).