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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)

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very good

531 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 531
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
to view all ratings, reviews and sorting options.
Ratings: 531 | Reviews: 368
Photo of Sammy
3.68/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

An interesting black beer, part of the beer camp. Jet black colour, slightly spicey aroma. Smooth mouthfeel. The Juniper adds a significant but not overbearing sweet spiceyness to the mix. The sweetness comes from some chocolate. Does it need to be 8%?

Photo of t0rin0
3.75/5  rDev -4.6%

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.68/5  rDev -6.4%
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.

Photo of Texasfan549
3.5/5  rDev -10.9%

Photo of kjkinsey
4.5/5  rDev +14.5%

Photo of Thorpe429
3.96/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to bmanning for this bottle. Served in a tulip.

Pours near black with a thick, two-finger off-white head. Really creamy and dense. Long lasting as well. Thick, ringy lacing as it eventually goes down. The nose brings forward some roasted malt as well as some piney and earthy hops. Good roast and a bit of coffee. Juniper is there, though not overpowering. The flavor is really rich with some roasted malt and a bit of dark chocolate. To that comes a good portion of piney hops and a slight amount of juniper. Everything is well balanced and works in tandem. Medium body with a good bitterness in the finish. The best of the Beer Camp beers, in my opinion. Thanks again, Ben.

Photo of kylehay2004
4.08/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours with a frothy, two finger brown hued head. Moderate to high carbonation which bubbles throughout the entire experience. Aroma is very mildly sweet and somewhat roasty. Color is solid black. Initial sip is strong however subsequent sips produce a mellowed experience however still with a bite to them. Mouthfeel is medium to full. This is my first juniper ale. Overall it seems well crafted. Perhaps the best of the SN brew school 4 brews.

Photo of jaydoc
3.75/5  rDev -4.6%

Photo of BEERchitect
3.68/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A very intriguing dark ale that fuses IPA hop character with schwarzbier dry roast, and the sprucy character of juniper. -A combination of flavor that demonstrates an elegant complexity and array of taste that belong together.

Dark brown with garnet highlights, Juniper Black Ale builds a creamy/dense off white head that retains well. Mild streams of lace fall back as the beer falls. Again, very schwarzbier-like.

Intriguing hoppy scents emmit from the black ale and challenge both the sense of smell and sight. Sharp citrus of white grapefruit, orange pith, and pine set the tone while other aromas of alcohol, mint, and fresh cut grass round out the nose as the beer warms.

Moderately roasty with a toasted malt base, the beer again challenges the notion of bitterness- is it derived from the hops or dark malts, or both? The dichotomy plays out, keeping you guessing. The aura of juniper always shaddowing the beer with a minty, sprucy, gin-like taste. Tart berries weave in and out of the hop flavor and bitterness for complexity and an element of surprise. Like in all Sierra Nevada beers, no flaw in technique or recipe detected.

Creamy and moderately full early, but the beer takes a very IPA-ish turn at mid palate and favors the citrusy hops for acidity, bitterness, and dryness late. The finish is alcoholic warmth, minty evaporation, and powdery dry from the roast.

The beer challenges the notion of what beer should be. It's easy enough to drink, until you start to think about it- then there's a lot to chew on (er, drink on).

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.73/5  rDev -5.1%
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.

Photo of mikesgroove
3.11/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

nice pour with a thick look to it that id manage to let some light through though not terribly much, still not a terrible look overall by any means, aroma is charged with spice, cinnamon, hints of brown sugar, ginger and touches of all spice dot the landscape among a sea of nice malty notes. flavor is interesting as it starts sweet and quickly moves over with an earthy hop note and a decent mix of spices that dry the finish and give it a kick, not sure where the juniper comes in, not really picking any of it up. overall it was alright

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

A: The beer pours a very dark brown with some amber hints to it and a huge khaki colored head.

S: Lots of roast, chocolate, and coffee up front. A mild acidity, but big time juniper aroma. A nice herbal, floral, and fruity quality from the juniper which is really nice and works well with the roast.

T: Big juniper flavor right away, and it intensifies as it warms up. Lots of herbal and fruity flavors from the juniper and a nice solid roasted malt flavor to go with it. Coffee and chocolate, even some licorice, and a mild bitterness.

M: On the fuller side of medium in body with a moderate carbonation.

O: A really nice beer. I wouldn't mind having this again.

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 ChainGangGuy
3.16/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Sierra Nevada Beer Camp Pack - $16.99 at Total Wine & More in Kennesaw, Georgia.

Appearance: Pours a black body with large, foaming, tan-hued head. Modest retention, though leaving some decent lacing as it blows out.

Smell: Mostly just the black patent malts with some notes of pine, bitter chocolate, and maybe even dried juniper berry struggling to not be swamped by the hardly-kilned malt.

Taste: Roasty blackened malts. Though some Italian coffee and bittersweet chocolate tries to tenuously move forward, its ruthlessly shoved behind the ever astringent black malt. Hop tastes of citrus pith with a moderate bitterness joining in with those harshly roasty malts. No more than a little of the sprucy, piney, gin-esque juniper reach the taste buds. Astringent, char-encrusted finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation. Some slight smoothness to the mouthfeel.

Overall: Rather Black IPA-ish. I find that the oppressive black patent malt tends to simply squelch everything else, leaving it rather one-note for me.

Photo of zeff80
3.85/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out an opaque, jet-black color with a one-finger tan head of bubbly foam. It left sticky rings of lace on the glass.

S - It smelled of juniper and pine with a strong roasted malt presence.

T - Good roasted malt flavor with hints of chocolate and burnt molasses. It had a nice piney bitter hop bite.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium bodied ale with a dry, clean finish.

O - This is pretty tasty. Quite possibly my favorite of the Beer Camp pack.

Photo of TMoney2591
3.33/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in a Dogfish Head shaped pint glass.

My third experience from the Beer Camp pack. It pours a dark black-brown topped by a finger of dirty off-white foam. Garnet highlights show up along the edges, but just barely. The nose comprises burnt toffee, light roasted malts, cocoa, pine sap, and some strong grapefruit peel. The taste runs along similar lines, but the pine and grapefruit take center stage here on the tongue. Unfortunately, they get a little rowdy and push out a good portion of the "darker" flavors, which try to hang on for dear life, weak and partially muted. Everything's pretty sideways, baby. Not that great. The body is a stolidly light medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a dry-ish finish. Overall, an almost nice CDA (yeah, I'm starting to prefer that old name), but the clashing flavors on the tongue (as opposed to cooperative ones) keep this from any sort of heights in my book.

Photo of JAHMUR
3/5  rDev -23.7%

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.06/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sierra Nevada "The Best of Beer Camp" Juniper Black Ale

Man, you've gotta love Beer Camp. Every one of the beers I've tasted has been great, and this one's no exception.

It's an almost opaque black beneath a frothy head of dark tan. The head retention and lacing are both quite good.

In the nose it displays pine and yeasty fruitiness over subtly roasty dark caramel and low-level hints of bittersweet chocolate.

In the mouth it's smooth as velvet with a medium-medium/light body and moderate, fine-bubbled carbonation.

The flavor is fuller and richer than the nose suggests. Its dark malt is somewhat roasty, a touch smokey, and very much like bittersweet chocolate and burnt sugar. The juniper is clear, and it's a bit piney and fruity. A solid bitterness balances it, and it finishes drying as the juniper and pine notes slowly fade away.

Overall it's a fairly rich beer with a nice bit of complexity within its malt, juniper, and hop components. And it's unique! I think there's a little bit too much going on for it to be a session beer, yet at the same time it's not exactly a sipping beer. I really enjoyed it though, and although I'll probably never drink two in a row, I'll certainly be looking forward to the next one, whenever that may be.

Photo of nickfl
4.42/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours with one finger of medium brown head, topping off an opaque, black body. The foam recedes fairly quickly and leaves average lace in its wake.

S - Light roasted notes, followed quickly by fresh, pungent aromas of lemon, ginger, and juniper.

T - Roasted grain and lemon zest up front with some toffee and dry caramel. More dry, roasted notes with spicy hops and juniper in the middle. Some more lemon and ginger spice notes come out in the finish with strong bitterness, smoke, and bittersweet chocolate. The juniper lingers in the finish and creates some gin notes that hang on the palate.

M - Medium-light body, moderate carbonation, and a dry finish.

D - A juniper black ale sounded like a strange combination and I didn't necessarily expect much from this beer, but I was blown away by how well it actually worked. The juniper is readily apparent in the aroma with notes of lemon and ginger that work surprisingly well with the roasted character. This oddly enjoyable combination remains strong in the flavor profile as the juniper keeps the beer bright and drinkable in a way that I would not normally associate with the base beer style. I am a big fan of Gin and grapefruit juice, so I tend to enjoy most beers with juniper in them, but this is a surprising and particularly enjoyable combination.

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.

Photo of jlindros
3.76/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I'm not usually a fan of juniper , but lets see how this goes.

Pours a big fluffy 2 finger head with lots of sticky lacing, over essentially pitch black colored beer.

Nose has plenty of juniper, a gin like juniper aroma, piny (not hop piny like pine tree), light roasty and crystal malts, hint of earthy spicy hops.

Taste starts with dark creamy malts, crystal and light roasted porter like malts, a decent smoked malt kick, creamy malts, toasty, light pine and juniper which is less than I thought it would be, some light earthy piny bittering hops, fairly bitter overall, a slight chewy and earthy grassy hop as well; Finishes pretty bitter, the hops really kick in on the finish with bitterness, and an earthy, grassy, and piny bitterness, then some malty dark flavors, crystal malts, a hint of smoked malt, and dry overall finish, and some pine tree juniper which starts to dominate the late finish.

Mouth is medium to slightly heavier bodied, decent carb.

Overall decent, better than I expected for being a juniper beer, the nose has too much juniper though which is a huge turnoff, but the flavors are much better, the juniper mixed well with the hops but not crazy, nice malts.

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 Slatetank
4.12/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

thanks so much to abru17 for this part of a mixed six BeerCamp brew -#16 is my 2nd to try ever!

Poured chilled from the 12oz into a willybecker.

This is a very opaque black ale as I do a real-time review -murky, yet fits the description of a 'black ale' with a think light beige cap and head retains well. The lace sticks in a ring. The smell is woody, not sure I would guess juniper if you told me in a blind tasting, but it is piney with a nice sweet mellow malty molasses type aroma and light coffee with a hint of alcohol. The feel is lightly yeasty and slightly roasted with a moderately creamy body. There is a subtle bitterness level with a nice element of woody resins under the high carbonation which presents a slight tannic element in the feel.

I enjoy this roasty/piney blend with a slight accent of acidity, however it gets slightly obtrusive in the middle with the bitter juniper deciding to take over the malt and yeast flavors with only a hint of chocolate malt hanging in to combat the woody gin-effect of the juniper in this stout. You can call it a winter warmer but after the beer camp is over the beer lives on and as I taste it in mid-june in a humid hot Pennsylvania day I wonder if this is supposed to be an American Stout with juniper flavor or a true Winter Warmer? Either way it is a decent attempt to merge the two and it fulfils what is promised, yet I still wish it could be more balanced -like a juniper stout or India black ale w/ juniper not Juniper black ale. I guess it was not intended for me, but I still appreciate it for what it is.
I have to give this a second review same format bottle, but different experience. I am thinking it is probably just me - my sense of smell or the food I ate it with I dunno. I think it was excellent with green curry! I upped the scores of feel to 4 smell to 4.5 and taste from 3.5 to 4 because I get more juniper in the taste and aroma with some nice piney hop accents. The malt seems to be full, but not as roasty as a stout which makes me wonder about the weather if it may have affected the overall experience. I appreciate this take on the style with the juniper making the winter warmer style make more sense and it still fits the cascadian dark or black IPA category I suppose. I think this beer is just one of those that I have to been in the mood for possibly.

Photo of russpowell
3.87/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours black with a finger+ of mocha head. Stellar head retention & lacing

S: Charred grain & hints of dark fruit & hints of steel

T: Follows the nose, much baker's choclate & a touch of black currant, plus a whisper of licorice & woody hops up front. Baker's chcolate, a hint of boozeyness & a hint of smokeyness

MF: Medium bodied, smooth carbonation, fairly nice balance, somewhat warming

Very drinkable, but was hoping for a more hop-forward experience. I would happily drink this again, but was looking for more juniper or hop to make this live up to other Sierra Nevada offerings

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

Flavorful black bitter ale.

Really a lovely beer in the snifter with that deep dark color. Fabulous lacing and swirly carbonation gives a great mouth feel. Malty yet sharp, a study in contrasts. Hops are very forward though balanced with a rich, full-bodied maltiness. The juniper gives not so much a gin taste as a woody resin flavor with a touch of smokiness.

This is definitely a what-do-you-call-it, so I say it's a black IPA which seems to fit the category of American Black Ale. Excellent and non-standard brew. I hope they'll make it a regular seasonal.

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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 531 ratings.