Juniper Black Ale (JBA) - Beer Camp #16 (Best Of Beer Camp) - Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Juniper Black Ale (JBA) - Beer Camp #16 (Best Of Beer Camp)Juniper Black Ale (JBA) - Beer Camp #16 (Best Of Beer Camp)

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

532 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 532
Reviews: 368
rAvg: 3.93
pDev: 10.69%
Wants: 7
Gots: 9 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Black Ale |  8.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: jeffthecheff on 01-14-2010

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 532 | Reviews: 368
Reviews by TastyIsBeer:
More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
4.22/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

8%ABV.Winter Warmer..uh nope.This American Black ale infused with juniper poured near pitch black except for a ruby tinge when held right up to the light,a 1/2 finger off white head atop.Piney hop and more piney hop in the nose,unsweetened chocolate really comes thru as well,the juniper gives off a similar pine aroma but it stands out from the hops.Earthy tones and unsweetened chocolate set the table for the beer,pine resin as well as a light pine cone note.This is a cool beer, highly hopped and "dark" tasting,as I drink more a French roast coffee flavor really lingers,I like it alot because of its complexity.

Photo of lordofthewiens
4.03/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My second foray into Beer Camp. In a Sam Adams pint glass the beer was a very dark brown, almost black, color. A tan head left some lace.

Roasted malt aroma. Juniper. Earthy.

Coffee and a bit of chocolate. Piney hops. And juniper, which kind of takes over.

Nice beer, medium to full bodied. This was one of those beers that need to be drunk one at a time.

Photo of Beaver13
3.53/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle. Pours a dark black/brown with a big rocky light tan head that retains well and laces the glass.

The aroma is roasted malts with some char, some dark fruits, black licorice and some juniper and floral notes.

The flavor is roasted malts, black licorice and a little dark fruit with a big bitter finish. The mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with smooth, slightly watery, carbonation.

Overall, an interesting beer. A little too charred and unbalanced for me.

Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a dark brown to black color with a tan head. The aroma is heavy on the roasted malt and chocolate with some juniper and resiny pine notes mixed in. The flavor is more of the same. I get a lot of chocolate and bitter roasted malt, as well as some pine and juniper notes. Low to medium bitterness. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

Photo of lostandwandering
3.7/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poored from bottle into a pilsner (what i have).

Poors an opaque black with a thick tan head that lingers. Some lacing though not much.

Some juniper scent with plenty of coffee and roasted malt smell.

Taste is a litte more bitter than initially espected, but not terribly so. Roasted malt flavor is apparent. Some juniper is present though neither hidden or overpowering.

Despite its appearance, the black ale is not creamy in the mouth. Plenty of carbonation.

Overall, a pretty solid beer. A good kick that is well hidden. Would recommend this one.

Photo of bsp77
3.93/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Best of Beer Camp #16: Juniper Black Ale

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Nonic Imperial Pint. Bottled on 1098 (April 8, 2011)

Appearance: Near black with a garnet hue. Nice tan head that leaves lacing lines down the glass.

Smell: Chocolate, coffee, spicy hops and a light gin-like character.

Taste: Roasted backbone of semi-sweet chocolate and coffee. Finish is piney and spicy with a long juniper aftertaste reminiscent of a gin and tonic.

Feel: Smooth, somewhat full body with low carbonation. Oddly dry finish from the juniper.

Overall: While pretty good overall, I am going to go old school and rate this metric on drinkability. While interesting, the juniper is more of a distraction than an asset, especially on the aftertaste. Still, must give some credit for this experiment, which some may enjoy immensely.

Photo of dogfishandi
4.13/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2011- the best of beer camp #16- juniper black ale

12 oz bottle at fridge temp poured into a snifter.

pours out pretty much completely opaque black with a nice thick 1 1/2 fingers of khaki colored head that eventually settled to a thin retentive layer which is easily roused by a light swirl. some sporadic sticky lace all over.

not much juniper in the aroma, maybe a slight fruitiness. mostly roasted malt mingling with pine and citrus hops. alcohol is evident, but nothing overpowering.

not a whole lot of the juniper berries at first. a slight woody/ herbal fruitiness comes in the more it warms, but the taste is mostly roasted malt with pine and citrus hops in the finish. lots of lingering bitterness in the finish as well, which im assuming some comes from the juniper berries.

medium bodied, a nice carbonation for the style. creamy and smooth feeling with a palate impacting lingering bitterness.

overall: a super drinkable beer. not super complex, but lots of hops and slight nuances of juniper make for a great beer. id buy this again if SN made it avilable on its own in 6 packs.

Photo of ehammond1
4.03/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle (2011)

Oceanside, CA

A dark, nearly black pour with dark brown edges. Thick and persistent tan head. Thick and consistent lacing down the glass.

Roasted malt and piney, floral hops combine for a strong and unique aroma. There's some chocolate scent and just the slightest hint of sweet berry. I've certainly never smelled anything like it. It seems like a hoppy stout with just a touch of sweet fruit added. Interesting.

More piney hops in the flavor than I would have gathered from the aroma alone. Although it's full of flavor, it's actually incredibly well balanced by strong roasted malt and coffee flavors. I don't taste much, if any, juniper berry.

Rich, relatively heavy mouthfeel. But it feels like a Sierra Nevada beer, and that is always a good thing.

A unique and interesting stout/black IPA/porter hybrid. A lot of interesting flavors and a wonderful beer, but not one I could drink a lot of.

Photo of MattyG85
4.08/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12 oz. bottle into a Samuel Adams perfect pint glass.

Appearance: Very dark brown and black with a little color shining through the bottom. Big three finger tan head with very good retention and lots of lacing.

Smell: Aroma of earthy, grassy hops backed by dark roasted malts. Strong hints of dark chocolate and coffee as well as some sweet dark berries.

Taste: Grassy, piney hops and dark roasted malts up front give way to the sweet juniper berries with hints of chocolate and coffee. Finishes with some more hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a moderate level of carbonation. Fairly smooth and creamy.

Overall: A very interesting and tasty version of a black ale.

Photo of far333
4.3/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Low white frothy head tops a dark and nearly opaque brownish black. Inviting aroma of toasty malt, cocoa and leather. Rich
Flavors of darkly toasted malt and cocoa, paired with floral notes and flavorful bitters. Notes of juniper berry, freshly trimmed cypress, and pungent bitters. Slightly tannic mouthfeel, a bit powdery. Great beer.

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.95/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Wow, winter warmer? This is a straight black ale if you ask me. Pours black, big tan head coming out of it. Great aroma, bitter, pine, hoppy, and juniper more than a nuance (although I've had it after some hoppy beers that make the juniper a little tougher to detect). Trees.

Taste, bitter, but roasty, taste profile of a stout at times, but the viscosity of a black ale/ipa. Bitter juniper mouthfeel. Hides the alcohol quite well. Dry.

Good price point for an 8.5% beer. Would recommend.

Photo of WVbeergeek
4.18/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appears a dark roastd malted barley with a light tan head forming thick, the body has ruby brown highlights when held toward the light. Head leaves behind chunky bands of lacing. Aroma has herbal highlights with an earthy air of juniper additions, herbal pine mix of hops very nice smelling stuff with dark roasted malts this maybe the beer that actually makes it into produection. No offense but this kicks their Porter, and Stouts ass. Creamy dark chocolate flavor with piney/herbal hop bitterness blending together with a dry dark coffee finish. I've really enjoyed the Best of Beer Camp 2011 release this is #16 and I can't wait to see more of these exciting mixed 12 packs with different more experimental styles than their mainstream offerings. Mouthfeel finishes dry with dark malted barley bitterness, medium to fuller bodied even carbonation going on. Overall I think I said it best when I think this beer will make it into production.

Photo of chinchill
3.87/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle from 2011 Beer Camp pack served in a pint glass. [from notes].

Opaque black with a reddish brown fringe and a very ample and durable frothy tan head.

A fine hoppy aroma with an unusual evergreen sappy note I assume is juniper. Fairly strong aroma. Alcohol evident after warming.

T - plenty of hop flavor as well as medium and dark roasted malts. A bit herbal and earthy. An odd bitter finish with notes of coffee, reflecting the mix of hops, juniper and, perhaps malts. Rather strong flavor which, with the evergreen component, approaches the challenging level.

M - medium body with good carbonation but a small bite in the semi-dry finish.

O - This Black IPA may work best if treated as a Imp. stout or a winter warmer, but it worked fine for me at the end of this exceptionally hot day.

Photo of glid02
4.17/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle from the mixed 12-pack purchased from Green’s on Ponce in Atlanta.

Pours black with a tan head leaving solid lacing.

Smells of smooth roasted malts with good amounts of unsweetened chocolate with hints of citrus hops and lighter hints of herbal juniper.

Tastes similar to how it smells, though not quite as robust. Robust roasted malt flavors up front are quickly tempered by semi-sweet chocolate. The citrus and pine hops and juniper hit their stride midway through, carrying through to a solidly bitter ending. Mouthfeel is very good, with smooth carbonation.

Overall this was different than I was expecting, with the juniper playing a small part and the roasted influence stronger than I was expecting. A solid beer that’s worth a shot.

Photo of ianjsullivan
3.85/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

ST: 12oz poured into an oversized wine glass.

A: Very dark brown with a thin head that collects around the edge of the glass. It does not have great retention, but it does leave nice spot lacing.

S: Coffee, roasted malt, smoke, chocolate, bread, some juniper, and grapefruit.

T: Lots of roasted malt character join espresso bean, char, smoke, and grapefruit. The finish is very bitter with a mix of grapefruit, juniper, and smoke that lingers on the tongue.

M: On the heavy side of medium bodied and dry.

O: American Black Ales should have a strong hop profile, and Sierra Nevada delivers in this ale: It is very bitter. However, this beer also has a lot of darker stout characteristics: lots of smoke and roasted malt. Because the beer is on the heavier side and is bitter, it is not a beer to be consumed in multiples if one is not a hop head.

Photo of rhoadsrage
3.7/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

(Served in an American pint glass)

A- This beer pours a jet black body with a creamy deep tan head that last for a good bit. There is a carbonation of big bubbles gliding to the surface.

S- The green leafy aroma has hop pellets blended in and some mellow roasted black malt notes to finish. The beer has a new sneaker smell to the malt that grows as the beer opens up.

T- The bitter herbal flavor is followed by some much softer roasted malt notes and a green bitterness in the finish that has a strong pungency and a bit of a pith character.

M- The medium mouthfeel has a gentle alcohol heat that grows as the beer warms.

O- The green flavor is not distinctly hops with more of a pungent herbal flavor and not much support or balance from other flavors.

Photo of LXIXME
4.14/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours black and appears to be clear if one could see through it, a big tan/light brown head rests without much thought to receding above this moderately carbonated ale.

Aroma is light dark roasted malt with something else very far off but can't really discern what it is.

A rich dark roasted light chocolate malt taste with light accents but overpowered by the roasted malt, a very rich taste and mouthfeel, a very worthy drink.

Light to moderately dry aftertaste that brings the rich roasted malts right along with it.

A little heavy for me but a bottle or two of these are definitely worth the venture, check out a beer camp 12 pack before their gone.

Photo of Brenden
4.2/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer is black, though in the light some brown manages to shine through, and the edges are a bright, almost ruby red. The head is between one and two fingers tall and light tan in color, and it showcases good retention and stick in the form of patchy lacing left down the glass.
Pine comes out first on the nose backed by grapefruit, but smoke isn't left out. Coming along for the ride are some chocolate and coffee notes showing in the roasty edges. Lots of earthiness comes out as well, and juniper is by no means an afterthought, coming through with a spruce-like effect. All in all, this aroma is an interesting and complex blend.
This beer has quite an interplay in the flavor; where some might expect all this complexity and depth to get muddled or these different flavors to clash, they instead blend very well together. Whether an ABA or a Winter Warmer, the roasty, stout or schwarzbier character and the hop-forward (but well balanced) IPA character are a great mix. The nature of the blend gives at once lots of earthiness, plenty of pine and spruce, lots of roasty character, cocoa and coffee, and fruits (particularly citrus).
The body is medium-full, leaning toward the IPA character in feel. It begins creamy and smooth with a crispness to boot, then it goes dry and stays that way into a mildly lingering finish. Carbonation is just enough.
I've only had two from the pack thus far. This is an interesting experiment that could have gone awry but turned out very well.

Photo of rdilauro
3.78/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Jet black just like a deep rich stout. Creamy tan head , again like a stout.
Thats where the similarity ends! There is not much of a bouquet to this brew, I've tried to pick up something, but really couldnt. I was waiting for the juniper aroma, there was a hint, but I anticipated more. There is also another aroma that is present, not very beer like, I cant identify it, but its ok. The taste was a bit on the thin side. On the first taste, I picked up the juniper berry. It was a wild juniper, more like what you would normally taste with gin. Slightly pungent and spicy. Throughout the sips, I just kept coming back to trying to determine what the bouquet is and I am a bit stumped. For a second, it brought me back almost 40 years ago to some of the first domestic Ales I ever tasted.

This was part of Sierra Nevada' Summer Beer Camp which is a 12 pack variety that is a most for all summer beer lovers

Photo of racer2k
3.83/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured this Beer Camp edition into my favorite pint glass

A - Beer pours a very dark "ink black" color which yields an off white creamy head and a decent carbonation profile.

S - Dank hops, fruit and toasted malt aroma which is consistent with a "Black IPA" style. Pretty tight aroma profile but opens up a bit as the beer warms. Hints of the 8% abv are present.

T - Hop forward taste with a sweet malty finish to this beer. There is quite a strong finish to this beer which seems to be an intersection between strong bitter hops and dark malt characteristics. There is also a dark berry "Juniper" component of the taste profile which is unique and interesting.

M - Medium carbonation and warm alcohol heat with this beer which becomes more complex as the beer warms.

O - Decent beer with a nice hop and malt mix with a backbone of Juniper/ black berries...that rounds out the flavor profile. Not my favorite black IPA but certainly interesting and drinkable.

Photo of mdaschaf
3.53/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Review from notes.

A: Pours a dark brown with ruby highlights when held up to the light. Nice 1.5 finger tan head with good retention and moderate lacing.

S: Roasty malt, light citrus/floral notes, but good bit of both juniper and pine, almost hard to distinguish the two.

T: Very roasty with a little bit of chocolate and juniper berries. Piney backend and bitter finish.

M: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation, but seemed a little light.

O: Interesting for sure, a little on the bitter side. There was something about it that I just didn't love. If it were a regular offering from SN, I would pass.

Photo of tastybeer
3.88/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Looks excellent. Nearly black with a large poofy topping that is light brown and leaves plenty of lacing. Big patchy lace strings all over. Aroma is roasty with tobacco and wood smells, foresty, a little minty with perhaps juniper, some refreshing creamy/milkiness and piney hops. Taste is good and malty with a cool freshness to it. Its like a maltified spruce forest. Dark bittersweet chocolate, a hint of vanilla, pine, and leafiness. Mouthfeel is kind of creamy, kind of smooth, and I notice moderate bitterness through the finish. Carbonation is just right. Overall I am enjoying this beer. Its no session beer, but I could certainly have one every now and then.

Photo of MrVonzipper
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark rootbeer color then Black in glass with the brown around the edges when held to light. Solid foamy light tan head with good lacing throughout the beer.

Dark malt up front on the nose, to a solid hop character with mild piney notes. Small hint of chocolate.

Full bodied flavor with good balance. Deep dark maltiness up front transitioning to the subtle hop character then a coffee flavor finish with a increasingly bitter aftertaste that isn't the most pleasant.

Mouthfeel is full bodied, that's creamy with low carbonation and a tad chewy.

Overall it's a good beer. It'd beer a great beer if it wasn't for the bitter aftertaste that doesn't make you instantly want another sip. The bigining and middle are fantastic. Can't wait to try more from the SN Beer Camp.

Photo of BennyL1
3.88/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The next offering from the Beer Camp. Into a standard pint glass.

Black body with a good sized tan head from a pretty aggressive pour. Also some decent lacing on the glass.

Lots of roasted malt in the nose with hints of bittersweet chocolate and coffee. There is a bit of pine in there as well from the hops.

Taste is dominated by the black malt, but in a good way. A touch of coffee in there too. Slight hop bitterness adds a bit of balance. Not picking up much of the Juniper but its still a very tasty brew.

Medium in body and carbonation. Smooth and pleasing on the palate.

A very solid offering from the Sierra Nevada's Beer Camp, can't wait to try the other two.

Photo of GilGarp
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle served cold into a pint glass.

Very dark brown in color with good clarity evident on the pour. Head is short lived but leaves some lace behind.

Aroma is that of a good porter with nice roasty quality.

Flavor is also similar to a porter but has a much more bitter flavor from the juniper.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and well carbonated.

Overall a very good beer. It's just as bitter as a black IPA but not as hoppy. Unusual but pleasant.

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Juniper Black Ale (JBA) - Beer Camp #16 (Best Of Beer Camp) from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 532 ratings.