Cheating with Untappd check-ins?

I’m not hundred per cent sure whether I’ve been cheating a tad with my Untappd beer check-ins. See, over the Christmas break my unique check-ins experienced a bit of a spike.
They went from 286 up to 311 in the space of just nine days. In that time I was in Canberra to spend Christmas with my wife’s family and then headed to Newcastle for a short holiday. While in both places, I spent money on unique beers.

The beetroot beer from Wig and Pen. Kinda looks like a soft drink, doesn't it?

The beetroot beer from Wig and Pen. Kinda looks like a soft drink, doesn’t it?

That meant a visit to Plonk and the Wig and Pen in Canberra (got to taste a Beetroot Berliner Weisse at the W&P, which was weird. Glad I’ve had a beetroot beer but not sure if I’ll be ordering another one in a hurry).
In Newcastle, that meant me blowing $100 of Christmas money at Warners at the Bay and then opting for lunch at the undeniably awesome Albion Hotel.
Which brings me to one of the cheating concerns. While at the Albion I bought a paddle of their beers on tap (which included Adobo Ruby -a 4 Pines beer made with chilli, which was rather well-made). Now I’m never totally sure whether it’s strictly fair to count tasting samples as a unique check-in.

The tasting paddle from the Albion Hotel in Newcastle. Are those samples big enough to qualify as Untappd check-ins?

The tasting paddle from the Albion Hotel in Newcastle. Are those samples big enough to qualify as Untappd check-ins?

On the one hand, I did drink all of every sample and they were a decent-sized sample too. So that’s a tick. On the other hand, they’re only samples rather than a full serving. So that’s a cross. Ultimately, however, I’ll allow them under the ‘‘beer festival’’ rule. You go to a beer festival and try a stack of different beers and I reckon they certainly count. So a tasting paddle should too.Much more of a worry is counting a beer I’ve had before as a unique check-in. See, I don’t believe in the retroactive check-in, so any beer I drank before that date I joined Untappd doesn’t count.
But over the Christmas period I ‘‘re-drank’’ some of those beers – 10 in fact – which obviously aided my unique beer count. It included some unflash numbers – like Boag’s Lager and Kosciuszko Pale – and some I couldn’t believe I hadn’t already checked in – like Vale Ale and 4 Pines Pale Ale and Coopers Green. Coopers Green for Chrissakes! How did I miss that before now?
I’m not totally convinced these 10 beers are legit check-ins. Here’s my logic – in my head I’ve got this idea that a ‘‘unique check-in’’ means a beer I’ve never had before. So adding one to list that I had pre-Untappd just feels a bit on the shady side.

The beer haul from Warner's at the Bay. All of which I have already drunk, so don't come round asking for any.

The beer haul from Warner’s at the Bay. All of which I have already drunk, so don’t come round asking for any.

I know it shouldn’t but it does. Which isn’t to say I’m going to scrub them out – with some guys on my Twitter feed passing 1000 beers, I need all the help I can get. It’s just something that gives me pause.

8 replies »

  1. It’s all about having fun, appreciating good beer and not a competition or a race. If unique check ins encourage us to try new beers, even in small sizes then that’s a good thing. I’d encourage the sample size tasting as you have enough to appreciate the beer and you don’t end out steaming drunk, especially with the overproof beers. If you like it you can go back and have a full size glass. The Wig and Pen’s half pint sample sizes are way too big when you have just one session to sample 15 beers. Don’t fret about checking in beers that you have had already, everyone else does the same, but never drink a beer that you’ve had before and didn’t enjoy just for the sake of a unique check in (remember it’s about having fun.) The real cheats are the ones who go into their Beer Advocate account and check in every beer that they’ve ever had in one night! Here’s to drinking great beer.

  2. There are no rules for how to check-in on Untappd…other than your own! So don’t bother for one second what anyone says and/or does about checking-in beers because ultimately the output will only ever be for your benefit…and who knows how long the app fad will last!

    Personally, I am happy to check-in any beer that I’ve never checked in on Untappd before. To me…it doesn’t matter if I’ve had the beer in the past or since I started using Untappd If I’m drinking it in the here and now and Untappd is at my fingertips…I will check it in. This is because I use Untappd as a complete log of my beer drinking history, showing me the trends, pace and diversity of my drinking and the experiences I have had with beer.

    I consumed many different beers before Untappd came along…and will sometimes be silly enough to buy an unchecked-in beer just for the expereince of a unique check-in. It is silly, but can lead to fun social interactions and new knowledge. For me the rule is simple…if I’m drinking a beer I check it in (should circumstances allow)…and then I will have the data that I want.

    Your check-in numbers may actually go up or down, as the App’s developers are often updating/merging/deleting beers to clean up the mess made my users creating duplicate or incorrect versions of beers.

    So…my tip is…decide whatever the numbers mean to you, then do it your way.

  3. James and William both hit on the same points on how I handle Untappd. I tend to not check into most samplings, especially two-ounce glasses, because I don’t think I could form a good opinion of the beer from that much.

    Then again, many people do because it’s easy to keep track of things, especially when you’re trying a lot. I’ll “check in” to some samples if it’s something that really blows me away or I want to remember that I had at that time and place.

    In the end, it’s handled however you’d like to do it, however. That’s the beauty of it all. There are worse ways to celebrate tasting some great beer!

  4. Interesting post about this, since I was looking up the FAQ for a minor thing I was wondering about Untappd. I agree with a lot of the things posted in this article, and what commenters said in this section. My unofficial rule is that if I do a retroactive check-in for something I forgot to do earlier, I always do it within 24 hours. And as tempting as it can be to check-in beers I once had years ago(only finally begun using Untappd in early 2014), I personally think it’s more enjoyable to check-in beers, as you drink them.

    Recently, I saw someone did 83 check-ins(yes, this is true!) on one day, since that person went to a beer sharing event. I have to admit I thought about unfriending that person, but narrowly decided against it. Since that person does check into some interesting beers from time to time, and does sometimes give me ideas for future beers to seek out.

  5. I do not believe in ranking samples as after the 4th one or so your taste buds needs more than a gulp or 2 to actually taste the beer. Case in point a friend of mine loves sample went to blind ipa test. It’s a flight of 6 IPAs. After each drink you give it a ranking from 1 to 10. You find out the results in a few days. He was excited to check in 6 additional beers. So the next day we had 3 full beers of some of the flights he had. He checked them in. Once we got the results we compared them, low and behold his samples were about 3 points off when converting them to the untapped scale. If you compare untapd scores to beer advocate or rate beer untapd is always lower my guess is due to people hunting for distinct beers and badges so they tend to drink more samples. In your sample if your first beer had a higher ibu then the next chances are your second beer will taste flat. There’s others than ibu that come into play such as alcohol, Gravity, dank which effects your taste buds for the next sample.

  6. I call it Performance Enhanced Drinking (PED). If PEDs are bad in sports, then they should be bad when drinking beer. Well, because the only think more important that sports is beer. Think about it, who watches a sporting contest does not drink a beer.

    I do not think logging samples/tasters is right based on the following.
    * I do not think anyone can truly judge a beer with a few ounces
    * When I was growing up, I wanted to drink beer; not taste beer
    * When I first started Untapped, I posted a question about how to log in large bottles. Basically, I was told that it was one serving/check in. Thus, you must drink the whole serving if you are checking in a beer. If you cannot share a large bottle (i.e. create your own samples/tasters at home), then you should not be able to do it at home.
    * Who decides how big a taster/sample is. I do not like sours, so should I determine that a thimble of a beer is enough to check in and then go on to check in a bunch of sours and rate them poorly even though I never really drank them.

    Of course, everyone gets to decide for themselves what they want to do. I just chose to do the right thing.

    While I have your attention, I do want to point your attention to a larger issue. Do not log “yearly” releases of a beer unless the beer actually has a date on the label and I am not talking about some best by or produced on date. This is one place where Untapped has spoken. When adding a new beer, it specifically states to not add a beer and include a year until the label says that. Why is it OK to check in the 2018 version of Lagunitas Brown Shugga’, but not the 2018 version of Hofbrau Maibock?

    Regardless, Have fun and drink beer!

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