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

Juniper Black Ale (JBA) - Beer Camp #16 (Best Of Beer Camp)Juniper Black Ale (JBA) - Beer Camp #16 (Best Of Beer Camp)

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very good

524 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 524
Reviews: 368
rAvg: 3.93
pDev: 10.94%

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:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: jeffthecheff on 01-14-2010)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 524 | Reviews: 368 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of UCLABrewN84


3.65/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Toronado in San Diego, CA.

Pours an almost opaque super dark brown with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Foamy rings of lace line the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, cocoa, citrus zest, and slight juniper berry. Taste is much the same with a cocoa flavor on the finish. There is a medium amount of roasty bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer that is interesting but isn't as juniper forward as I was expecting.

Serving type: on-tap

03-04-2013 23:26:38 | More by UCLABrewN84
Photo of CampusCrew


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

This was one of the beer I had at the Sierra Nevada beer dinner at Kickbacks. neat beer, junper takes over the hops and adds the bitterness.very roasty, no aromas really, stronger than snells and more flavor. Was a great night. Had amazingly paired food with one of my all time favorite breweries. I would love to have this beer again as well as others from the night.

Serving type: on-tap

12-06-2011 21:02:19 | More by CampusCrew
Photo of Cyberkedi


4.43/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a rich, opaque coffee-sable with a thick, fine-bubbled tan head that leaves substantial lacing. Smoky aroma has firm notes of sweet chocolate and quality coffee. Flavor has smoky, chocolate and coffee notes with hints of caramel, hops and - could that be juniper? Darn tasty, anyway. Firm-bodied texture is quite fizzy, leaving behind a persistent smoky tingle. Usually, when I sample a beer on-tap and from a bottle, the former is better.

Serving type: on-tap

11-25-2011 19:41:29 | More by Cyberkedi
Photo of adam42381


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

Review from notes at World of Beer - Fort Myers on 10/8/11.

Poured on draft into a Sierra Nevada tulip.

Appearance: Pours a motor oil black with a 1 finger light tan head. Excellent lacing.

Smell: Dark roasted malt with chocolate and a touch of piney hops.

Taste: Dark roasted malt up front followed by bitter hops in the middle before ending with burnt toast at the finish. Aftertaste is bitter.

Mouthfeel: Full-bodied and creamy with a good amount of carbonation.

Drinkability: High drinkability. Despite the elevated ABV%, It goes down smooth. I could drink a few.

Overall: Good beer overall. Not my favorite Black IPA/American Black Ale, but it's still a solid beer that's worth trying.

Serving type: on-tap

10-09-2011 14:48:49 | More by adam42381
Photo of far333


4.33/5  rDev +10.2%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

09-19-2011 11:44:50 | More by far333
Photo of nezelrac

New York

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

served in a snifter

A - dark brown, black with reddish highlights; nice dense creamy beige head; fades quickly and leaves a little lacing

S - layers of dark and toasty roasty malt with a top note of juniper and some resinous hops; dark fruity notes and some cocoa lurking

T - delicate layers of dark malts up front; in the middle the juniper emerges with some resinous hops and more cocoa and baking chocolate; dried fruits and a clear dried blueberry note emerges on the finish

M - richly malty and lightly creamy; good CO2; the roasted malt is a little high as it becomes a bit astringent

O - quite good and very appealing; in between Black IPA and Porter/Stout

Serving type: on-tap

08-27-2011 17:58:33 | More by nezelrac
Photo of Gueuzedude


4.22/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tried on tap at 1702, Tucson; July 2011
The beer arrives with a one-finger thick, nicely browned, dark tan colored head that leaves some nice lacing on the sides of my glass. The beer is a nice black color that shows a clear, concentrated amber tinged, dark brown hue when held up to the light. The aroma smells of hearty roast grain flavors up front (mostly roasted whole grain, but nice mocha-java dark roast coffee aromatics as well), and this is accentuated by a soft herbal character that is hard to pin down as well as with a subtle fruitiness. Specific aromatic notes of burnt prunes, deeply toasted-but-not-burnt whole grain bread crust, fresh pine needle notes that subtly infuse the roast character and a woody character that reminds me (sort of) of cedar. As the beer warms up the roast notes start to gain a rich, cocoa like aromatic character which helps to boost the complexity even more.

Fairly light bodied up front, with roasted grain notes that make this fairly dry tasting, as the beer rolls across the palate though it picks up a dark malt sweetness that accentuates a pronounced cocoa flavor in the finish as well as accentuating a touch of viscous heft to this beer. The viscous character is ultimately lightened up in the long finish by a lingering roast and hop bitterness that leaves you thirsty and ready for another sip. This is not the most quaffable beer (because of the viscous & cocoa middle), but is still something I would like to drink by the pint, the richness makes it appropriate & dangerous for quaffing during the colder months of the year. There is a nice pine like character in the finish that almost has suggestions of cedar to it (likely from the combination of the pine and roast flavors, but actually perhaps it is from the juniper flavors and tastes more like pine than it would in a beer that is not so roast dominated).

I can’t say that there is anything particularly spectacular about the aroma, but for some reason the balanced combination is something I find incredibly appetizing. The flavor is almost as good, but more for the distinctness of the cocoa flavors, the varied texture and the bitterness in the finish; the flavor is actually not as well integrated as the aroma, so it is not quite at the same level of enjoyment. Still, this is just a fantastic beer that I am quite enjoying.

Serving type: on-tap

08-11-2011 14:29:15 | More by Gueuzedude
Photo of drabmuh


3.63/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

At the time of this review, this beer is the #49 American Black Ale on the best of lists on beeradvocate.com Beer served on tap at a local DC beer bar, served in a tiny snifter, who cares for how much?

Beer is brown to black, hazy at the corners, nice head, tan to brown with some lacing low carbonation.

Aroma is chocolate, sweet, and roast. Smells good.

Beer is thin in body and plain on the palate, finishes with a little dryness and some bitterness from coffee and some grain. The second taste is fuller and has some sweetness at the front but overall the berries are an afterthought / aftertaste. Just OK, not my favorite.

Serving type: on-tap

07-15-2011 21:01:58 | More by drabmuh
Photo of SubpoenaDeuces


3.9/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: the appearance is similar to a slick porter but with some imperial stout lacing. It maintains a bubbly chocolate milk head with nice sticky lacing.

S: This is tough to place because immediately I want to group it in with imperial stouts, but it feels a bit off on the nose. For example, there‘s a bit of the chocolate that you would expect but the pine and hoppy notes seem out of place.

T: The taste is similar, good coating, thin black, boozy bourbon notes, mild alcoholic heat, overall a strange representative of the style but it pulls it off nicely, like when the nerd girl removes her glasses and paint stained overalls, some additional attention generates all the difference.

M: A bit thin on the coating, but then again this isn’t supposed to be an epic imperial stout, I don’t know if it is off for the style but it seemed a bit unbalanced in this regard. It maintains a huge flavor but then washes away quickly.
D: This feels exceptionally drinkable for the 12oz pour that I tried, but I don’t see the average King of Queens viewer to be on board for much more than that. It wasn’t the heat or any specific deficiencies. The melange of the flavors was a bit much for the palate to handle in large outings.

Narrative: “Well if they don’t like vaudeville, then I DON’T KNOW WHAT ELSE TO PRESENT THEM!” Sloucho Marx slammed his fist down wearily. “Sir, they just don’t understand your relentless puns and physical comedy, we…we need a new approach.” It wasn’t easy being an heir to a comedy empire. Heavy is the head that wears the crown and heavier still is the head that wears the false moustache. “I don’t know if we’ve seen eye to eye and I’m not sure we’ve seen each other still, must be something I ate!” His assistant sighed a heavy sigh and rolled his eyes. “You see sir, these reports clearly demonstrate the falling value of dated comedic bits.” “I had a dog named bits, never saw a dog eat so much kibble, cannibalism, it was!” The chapter 11 documents received a clenched embrace. It wasn’t always like this, at first the physical comedy was entertaining, endearing even, however in the light of clear financial distress it began to wear thin. “Sir, we all appreciate your comical duck walk, however, blight!-” The crisp lapel of Sloucho’s Ben Sherman suit had been outfitted with a seltzer water pump and he fired it with the utmost solemnity.

Serving type: on-tap

07-05-2011 08:08:50 | More by SubpoenaDeuces
Photo of BretSikkink


3.9/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Darkest brown, murky and opaque. Tanned head with great stick and lacing. Nose is piney, with a good backdrop of sweet fruits. The malts are present, lightly sweet, with specific notes of caramel, toffee, and chicory coffee.

Smooth and slightly chalky, with good notes of roasted malts alongside some bitter chocolate, pine, caramelized sugar, woodsmoke, and tobacco.

Interesting and fairly complex for an easy-drinking ale. Great idea and execution, although I don't need to have many of these.

Serving type: on-tap

06-30-2011 01:37:21 | More by BretSikkink
Photo of drpimento


4.5/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this treat yesterday and felt lucky. Served with a great, tan, foamy, thick, frothy, head that lasted a looong time with lots of glass coating lace. Color was an opaque brownish black. Aroma was toasty toffee malt, hints of juniper, fruit, yeast, and hops. Flavor was very similar with the toastiness standing out. Excellent body and carbonation. Finish was about medium long. Easy drinking stuff; would love to have more.

Serving type: on-tap

06-05-2011 03:08:30 | More by drpimento
Photo of wcintula

New York

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

A mysterious black ale, categorized as a Winter Warmer, I suppose, for lack of a better category? Poured into a small trumpet glass with a black body that allows no light to pass with a tan head. The smell is very much of a leafy hop with a strong roasted malt character. The taste follows through with a faint hint of chocolate and juniper. It's moderately bodied beer that's smooth on the palate and hardly harsh for 8.5% ABV. Interesting beer, off-centered, and hard to place.

Serving type: on-tap

05-19-2011 20:26:50 | More by wcintula
Photo of rand


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

Served at Toronado SD, aged one year

From tap to tulip glass

The beer pours a jet black with a small, wispy,  mocha-colored head that leaves patches of lacing as it slowly recedes.  Sweetened chocolate is the first aroma noticed, some berry juice right behind.  A touch of leafy  hops linger in the background, as alcohol rounds the bouquet. Alcohol is distict but light for the ABV.

The taste is again chocolate-forward, but malty sweetness that wasn't in the nose swirls the palate.  Toffee is noted. The beer has a strangely light complexion, almost like a porter, which again was surprising given the abv, and the carbonation is just about right to wash the sweet residue.

A light, indistinguishable berry-tartness is apparent mid-sip, and with the alcohol it almost tastes like the ale was finished with a splash of gin. Finishes warm and sweet.

Toronado had this keg sitting around for a year, and judging from the other reviews here, age has served it well.  The sharp juniper aspects have mellowed, leaving the chocolate and malty sweetness to become prominent, the flavor profile rounded.  

Serving type: on-tap

02-23-2011 06:05:34 | More by rand
Photo of Arbitrator


3.2/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

On tap at the Rose & Crown. Poured into a pint glass.

A: The body is a nearly opaque black with well-retaining tan head. Some swirly film on top of the brew, with a little lacing down the sides.

S: Very strong juniper; hard to miss. Chocolate, berries, and small amounts of pine hops with a hint of earth.

T: Lots of juniper up front; you can tell they put a lot of it in here. Chocolate defines the mid-taste, along with a woodsy berry character. The finish brings out some pine hops and just the lightest hint of earth. An enjoyable flavor in small doses.

M: Medium-bodied, with moderate carbonation. It really doesn't drink like its ABV, which is 8.5% according to the brewer. Quite smooth.

D: It suffers a bit here. The juniper is strong, very strong -- and by the end of the glass I was looking for something else. I left several sips in my pint and moved on to something else. Even though it's not a viscous or heavy beer, it certainly weighs on the palate after a while.

Serving type: on-tap

03-02-2010 20:50:11 | More by Arbitrator
Photo of jeffthecheff


2.6/5  rDev -33.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Served in a shaped glass. The bar is dark, but it's a nice looking beer. Black color with a tan head that has solid retention and lacing.

The juniper berries added a slight minty, toothpaste character, which combined with the dark malts smelled like a chocolate covered mint left on a hotel pillow. I got a bit of pine character, seemingly from American hops, but the berries could have added to the "tree" aspect. All is good, but the strength was a bit low, and it could have used more juniper character.

The first impression on this beer was okay. It had a thick, smooth mouthfeel with some rich chocolate notes in the front. There was some chocolate-mint character that was interesting, but not very tasty. There was some berry character towards the finish, but a the bitterness combined with the mint character was a bit harsh. The beer is rich, but is a bit overwhelming. The finish is bitter, and lingers a bit much.

It took a while for me to finish this beer, and I wouldn't (and didn't) order another. Judging by the description, I thought this could be good, but after tasting it, I'm not sure this beer could ever work. I wouldn't reccomend it, but it was very popular on the kickoff night.

Serving type: on-tap

01-14-2010 22:07:39 | More by jeffthecheff
Photo of sarajayne

3.73/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This dark ale is great after a long day of checking people off of your shopping list. At 8.0% ABV, please do not take this beer lightly. This malty brew has lots flavor. The Juniper Black Ale has a mix of citrus and pine hops with a chocolate malt taste. This brew is great for those who love darker ales and want some spice to compliment their drink. An above average taste for a darker ale and this brew doesn’t leave a bitter after taste. Overall definitely worth a shot for any beer lover.

Collage girls drink GOOD beer:

Serving type: bottle

11-27-2012 18:37:06 | More by sarajayne
Photo of nimrod979


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

!2 oz bottle from 2011 poured into a standard pint glass.

Appearance: This beer pretty much pours black, opaque, An average one finger creamy tan head with some pretty good retention. Fades to a simple crown. Some lacing going on here and there.

Aroma: Nice blend of piney and citrus hops balanced with some chocolatey roasted malt. The juniper is also there, perhaps leading to that resinous aroma I'm picking up.

Taste: The roasted chocolatey malt hits up front. A mixture of piney and citrusy malts adds some bitterness and dry finish. The juniper can be tasted along with a minor touch of alcohol on the backend. Not overly complex but a decent depth of flavor.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with about an average carbonation. Dry and bitter finish with touches of that juniper spiciness. Nothing that blows you away but a solidly constructed ale that was I enjoyed.

This is one of my favorite styles and this one did not disappoint.

Serving type: bottle

11-06-2012 00:13:25 | More by nimrod979
Photo of Littlesteam12


3.28/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

This was the better of the 4 styles in this pack. A very thick beer with minimal after taste(personally not a fan of setiment after tastes) . Very flavor filled, it was a good thing there aren't 12 packs of this beer this beer is very strong and should not be ingested lightly!

Serving type: bottle

10-08-2012 19:10:52 | More by Littlesteam12
Photo of BigPlay1824

New York

4.05/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Enjoyed in a pint glass

A: Pours a nice deep impenetrable black with a thick head of foam that is very light and airy with fine bubbles, lingers nicely and kind of makes it look like a root beer float, leaves a ton of lacing on the glass
S: really great hop character which is a little surprising to see lasting this well after a year, also has a great chocolate malt back bone
T: the malt really hits up front the best, quite solid and deep with notes of coffee chocolate and tobacco, intense bitterness comes in at the end with just the slightest juniper note, much more well rounded than i remember it being fresh, juniper has definitely mellowed out solidly over the past year
M: medium carbonation tingle, nice bitterness and dryness lingers on the palate long long afterwards along with a slightly cool note
O: im really pleased with how well this has aged, really evened out phenomenally mellowing out the juniper notes and adding depth to the malt, quite wonderful

Serving type: bottle

09-11-2012 01:26:06 | More by BigPlay1824
Photo of WastingFreetime


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

Reviewed from tasting notes.

Poured out a black opaque color with a nice two finger tan colored head which leaves some decent lacing behind on the glass. Body is on the heavier side of medium thickness, but the carbonation level is adequately high enough to compensate for this.

Smells of black charred malt, juniper, grassy herbals, and pine resin. Tastes of roasted malt, bitter dark chocolate, and has light amounts of citric peel around the edges of the juniper /pine resinous center. Overall, this brew plays out like a Schwarzbier crossed with a Sahti, which I sense is exactly what they were aiming for. The hops are restrained enough to play a supporting role for the juniper and roasted / charred malt....Well done! Straight 4s across the board.

Serving type: bottle

09-05-2012 22:44:56 | More by WastingFreetime
Photo of RblWthACoz


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

This is a pretty nice black ale. Not really giving a lot of interesting or mind-blowing character, but it's a steady beer. I find it very easy drinking, but not overly inspiring. Could bring a bit more punch, but in the overall scheme of things, that doesn't really matter much.

Serving type: bottle

08-05-2012 19:56:12 | More by RblWthACoz
Photo of Badbobx


4.15/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Poured a bottle into a pint glass. There was a pleasant modest tan head on a black brew.

S - The aroma was rich with malts and smokey chocolate notes.

T - The taste was inspiring There was a balanced malty smokey richness.

M - The mouthfeel is full and chewy.

O - a very enjoyable beer. This could be a regular addition to Sierra Nevada's line up.

Serving type: bottle

04-19-2012 02:08:13 | More by Badbobx
Photo of bigfnjoe


2.7/5  rDev -31.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Poured from a bottle into a Victory tulip

A- pours black with a one finger light tan head. Looks about like what you'd expect

S- tons of juniper coming through in the nose...wow, almost overwhelming, but really nice aroma

T- with a year of age, this is a juniper BOMB. It absolutely overwhelms any other flavor in the beer, and is downright painful to drink

M- medium bodied

O- it was much better fresh....but man, this thing falls off in a way I didn't expect it to at all with age on it.

Serving type: bottle

04-11-2012 23:30:33 | More by bigfnjoe
Photo of LiquidAmber


4.13/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Review from 5/2011 notes. Poured into a Gulden Draak tulip. Pours a veru dark brown, appearing black. Light off white head and lacing. Juniper aroma on opening the bottle. In the glass, strong aroma of dark and smoky malts, light juniper and hops. Taste is excellent, dark and roasted malt, hops and faint pine flavor in the finish. Flavor is not aggressive, but everything works together. A very nice ale. This is 4 for 4 for this beer camp mixed case. I'm very impressed. All excellent beers I want to try again. Kudos, Sierra

Serving type: bottle

03-21-2012 02:57:31 | More by LiquidAmber
Photo of Phyl21ca

Quebec (Canada)

3.75/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a deep black color ale with a large foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of roasted malt with notes of citrus hops is quite enjoyable. Taste is also a nice mix between some medium dry roasted malt with notes of light pine and citrus hoppy notes. Juniper notes are not easily perceptible though a welcome addition to the mix. Body is about average with good carbonation and no apparent alcohol. Interesting though lacking a bit of character.

Serving type: bottle

03-05-2012 03:38:43 | More by Phyl21ca
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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 524 ratings.