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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)

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

369 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 369
Hads: 534
Avg: 3.92
pDev: 13.01%
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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 369 | Hads: 534
Photo of LiquidAmber
4.1/5  rDev +4.6%
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

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.73/5  rDev -4.8%
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.

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Photo of LtCracker20
3.95/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours an almost black body that just shows slight brownish/reddish hints around the edges. Nice 2-finger khaki head that stays around for a while. Pretty sticky and it leaves some nice lace as well.

S- Piney and resiny hop aroma up front, some citrus is in there towards the back, along with nice roasted malt aroma. Some chocolate or espresso thrown in there, too. Juniper

T- The juniper is there, and you can taste it, more piney hops, good bitterness level, and the roasted malt aromas try to balance it out, but it is still a hop forward beer. Flavors due seem a bit watered down though, as in their not as strong in the flavor as in the aroma, with one exception: a subtle chocolate flavor.

MF- Moderate bodied with a nice amount of carbonation that keeps it sharp on the tongue.

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Photo of tsauce2
3.65/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

P: 12 fl oz bottle into a New Belgium snifter.

A: SRM is dark brown. Semi-opaque. Head is light tan, creamy, 1 in, dissipates to 1 cm. Medium carbonation. Medium lacing.

S: Juniper jumps right off the nose, followed by dark roast malt and moderate hop additions.

T: Dark roast malt, juniper, moderate hops with citrus notes and light bitterness. Aftertaste is juniper and malt.

M: Medium body. Malt gives a nice solid base, juniper adds a peppery, somewhat sharp spiced note to the feel. Wet finish.

O: I am not the biggest fan of juniper or gin, but maintaing objectivity, this beer nicely incorporates the use of juniper into the overall flavor of the beer. Juniper is at the forefront, but not overpowering. I would not buy this beer again, but would not turn it down.

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Photo of neenerzig
4.1/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A 12 oz bottle poured into my mug. This beer pours a clear, medium black color. The tan head is well over an inch thick when poured that eventually settles to a nice thick ring lining the inside if the mug with decent lacing. Has a nice hoppy aroma along with strong hints of juniper and a bit of cocoa and a nice roasted malt smell too. The hop flavor really hit by palate up front in a big way before the taste started to give way to the juniper berry sweetness with hints of dark chocolate bitter sweetness. Rounded out with a slight roasted caramel malt flavor. A very nice complex mix of flavors. The hop bitterness certainly stands out as the dominating flavor here. Has a crisp, medium bodied mouthfeel with moderate carbonation. A pretty good beer here to be sure. Drinkable in the way good beer needs to be.


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Photo of HalfFull
3.91/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into a large wine glass, showing a deep brownish black color with a dense deep tan cap of foam. Just a bit of ruby around the edge in the light and quite clear. Nice retention/lacing.

Nose of roasted malts, bit of earhy hops and a touch of chocolate/cinnamon spice. Juniper is lightly evident, and not so much to add a harsh bitterness. Pleasant throughout.

More fruit forward in flavor than the nose might suggest. Touch of dark cherry and bittersweet chocolate. Bit of roasted malts and hops. Firm carbonation lends a solid feel and finish. Lingers with a flash of dark fruit and a moderate bitterness.

Good take on a style I don't generally pine for. Likely six months or so of shelf time so the hop presence may bit a bit subdued vs. fresh.

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Photo of spinrsx
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz Bottle

Appearance - The beer pours a black/brown colour with a large size fizzy/frothy brown coloured head. I can't see much carbonation due the darkness of the beer and there is some good lacing on the sides of the glass. The head lasted for over 5 minutes.

Smell - Chocolate, coffee, malts, hops

Taste & Mouth - The beer has an average amount of carbonation and I can taste chocolate/coffee mixed with malts and a smokiness. I can also pick up on some herbal notes, hops, and a touch of grapefruit. It ends with a bitter hop and juniper? aftertaste.

Overall – I would have liked a little bit more fruit juiciness and a little less bitterness, but it's still a great beer. Sierra Nevada does every thing well.

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Photo of willjschmidt
4.2/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a Sierra Nevada 30th anniversary glass.

A: Pours a jet black color with a thick tan head.

S: Chocolate and lightly roasted malts, along with some piney hops.

T: Great balance between dark, chocolate, lightly roasted malts and piney, citrusy, American hops. Finish is drying. Wouldn't identify any juniper if it weren't for the label.

M: Medium bodied, average carbonation.

O: A very enjoyable beer. Great balance between the competing elements in this beer.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
4.08/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The beer is black with a thick, whipped, beige foam cap. Ample lacing clings to the walls of the pint glass.

The aroma offers roasted malt, chocolates, pine. Nicely done.

Quite tasty. Honestly, this is much better than I expected. While I am generally not a big fan of this style (though I do my best to rate fairly), this is a good beer. A bit more of the juniper emerges as the beer warms, but remains subtle enough to keep the beer in balanced. Roast and piney hops play co-starring roles.

Medium bodied with solid carbonation. Alcohol masked well by aggressive roast and pine flavors.

Overall, a solid beer. I would have this again.

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Photo of jwhawkins81
4.5/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Tasted on 5/12/11

Aroma - Sweet roastiness with a fruity hoppiness that is a really great nose.

Appearance - As advertised black with a big tan head that isn't quick to dissipate

Taste - Roasty and hoppy and definitely delicious. Roasty upfront and an awesome hoppy bitterness with a dry finish

Notes - Awesome

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Photo of vfgccp
4.13/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A – Beautiful, shiny, cherry-black body with cola highlights. Khaki head leaves a great lace and hangs around with ok retention.

S – Smooth roast malt and a kiss of rosemary. Hint of smoke. Bitter chocolate and booze deeper in the nose.

T – A backbone of piney hops supports a solid malt body and a warm but moderate booze. The flavors are relatively simple but well executed.

M – Lingering bitters through the aftertaste. Medium body.

O – A solid brew with a clean, well integrated profile.

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Photo of Heatwave33
3.5/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle to a Cigar City Snifter.

Color: Black with a brown head.

Smell: Hops, fruit and caramel malts.

Taste: Hops, fruit, caramel malts and chocolate.

Mouthfeel: Good carbonation, creamy with a dry finish.

Overall: Had a good balance. Definitely a brew worth trying but I wasn't impressed. Cheers!

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Photo of CampusCrew
4/5  rDev +2%
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.

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Photo of PhageLab
3.76/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a standard pint glass.

A - Black opaque brew, big brownish froth, excellent retention and lacing. Looks like a stout.

S - Dark chocolate fills the nose initially, followed by some mild hops and just a touch of pine.

T - Sort of minty, with pine notes and juniper berries. Hoppy yet balanced. The juniper works well with the other flavors.

M - Medium bodied brew with a mild carbonation level. Finish is dry and also a bit minty.

D - Interesting concept, and not a bad beer by any means, but not my favorite of the beer camp series, and not one I'd find myself having a craving for. Worth trying.

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Photo of Cyberkedi
4.41/5  rDev +12.5%
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.

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Photo of JackieTH
3.93/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured dark brown with a small amount of light brown foam leaving slight lace. Smell was earthy, roasty, and evergreen. Taste was pleasant pIne juniper forward with a soft malt and a trace of sweetness that keeps some semblance of balance. Bitter into the finish. Mouthfeel was medium, creamy with nice carbonation. Good beer.

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Photo of whatthehull
4.03/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tasted may 19th 2011 (from notes)

A - an opaque dark, dark brown, one fine deep tan head and some nice lacing

S - sweet, toasted, stout like, molasses, caramelized brown sugar, kind of hopish, flowers, herbs and a bit fruity

T - earthy, toasted, slightly hoppy, chocolate, brown sugar caramelized, herbs, flowers and very sweet

M - thick, chewy, low acidity, long finish and huge but balanced flavor

D - this stout like ale is great for lovers of any beer (as long as you love beer). Smooth, full flavored and balanced

Final thoughts - 8% ABV and wonderful tasting, this beer is worth its weight in gold

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Photo of laituegonflable
4.27/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very dark colour with a red tinge, like polished mahogany. Head is beige, nice texture to it but a bit whispy. Lacing is something else, though. Very nice.

Smells pleasant and floral, but with a nice earthy grounding from the darker malts. Junipers comes through strong and clear (for the record, I've never smelled juniper so when I say that, I mean it smells like gin) and is very nice - spicy, floral and fresh. Dark malts are a good foil.

Juniper is strong from the get-go, providing a floral flavour with a hint of peppery spice upfront. Develops into nice, smooth dark palate which is far more dark malt than anything else, slightly roasty but never really bitter. May well be the floral notes lifting that. Not a mind-blowing palate, but a very nice harmonic flavour chord struck. Am enjoying this.

Decent body, fair amount of texture. Dry on the finish but leaves a residual film in the mouth. Really very enjoyable.

Great drop; clever flavour idea and well-handled to get the most out of it.

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Photo of MrELovesBeer
3.58/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Where's the juniper?? I'm digging this, don't get me wrong. The nose is more boozy than I expected, pretty much veering into RIS territory and there's good bitterness and roasted notes that lingers for a bit. There's a bit of a medicinal taste; maybe that's the juniper coming out? Dunno. I'm a gin drinker so I was excited to try this. Enjoyed it for what it is, not what's advertised. I'm having cheap slices of pepperoni which surprisingly goes well as the fat and the booze/roast match nicely with each other. I probably won't be going back for seconds but I'm happy to have swilled a bottle.

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Photo of GbVDave
4.03/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into an imperial pint.

A: Pours a rich, deep black with a generous dallop of khaki colored cream on top. Retention was fantastic and the lace sheeting left behind was plentiful.

S: Hearty roasted grains, spruce tips, and when it comes up to temp, some raisin.

T: Very close to how it smells with a late addition of bittersweet chocolate. Juniper a little more prominent, too.

M: Starts relatively smooth and velvety but gradually picks up some mint and dry roastiness towards the finish.

O: This has been my favorite of the Beer Camp box. I would totally buy this one in 6-pack form.

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Photo of brewdlyhooked13
4.21/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - looks mostly opaque but when held to light shows off a nice brownish burgundy. A finger plus of light mocha; creamy,thick, and very resilient. I got distracted watching the Carrier Classic, the head maintained a nice thick covering and is still going strong.

Aroma - a brief whiff of pine on opening the bottle, but as this goes into the glass it gets dominated by some good roasty tones. Some grapefruit fights through now and then but the black ale side is on top.

Taste - a brief show of roasty grain, very brief but very nice. The hops move in quick and intensely. The juniper must be in there as well, increasing the pininess I would guess. Wow, lots of hop bitterness, true to Pac NW style. I thought the hops would kind of drown out the malt after a few sips, but the roastiness comes through with each sip. Ends roasty and dry.

Mouthfeel - creamy, crisp, and fluffy.

Drinkability - I rarely get behind a beer this hoppy, but the roasted grain really offsets and complements well. Great example of the style.

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Photo of hoptualBrew
4.57/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this one a few days ago & damn it blew me away! Basically combines the best of both worlds, or a few worlds - roasty stout-like character with hoppy profile of an IPA and juniper to spice it up & add a unique herbal tone. Black like a stout with a khaki head, lacing everywhere. Roasted malt, fresh hop, juniper herb in the nose. Imagine this, a roasty campfire in the midst of an aromatic wet hop & juniper field - yeah, pretty damn nice.

Tasting this brings me back to one of my first craft beers - Mad River's Steelhead Extra Stout. The roastiness here is so reminescent of that brew! Its crazy how familiar the profile is that it instantly took me back to sipping that beer nearly a year ago. A good amount of grapefruit hop character smooths out to a creamy mouthfeel and exits the stage with that hop bitterness. Fantastic brew here. I picked it up as apart of the Beer Camp 12-pack for $14.99 at Total Wine & More. The rest of the brews in the box were stellar as well, except for the weizenbock - just not a fan of the style.

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Photo of lacqueredmouse
4.1/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served to me blind by @LaitueGonflable.

Pours a pleasant deep black, with hints of reddish hue around the corners of the glass. Head is crispy and foamy, with large bubbles crackling out of the body, and persisting rather well. Colour is a deep, creamy beige. Minimal lacing and the body looks a little thin, but otherwise good.

Nose is lovely, with a very pleasant roasted character through the centre and an interesting touch of acidity or hops--something which adds a little greenness to the aroma (obviously the juniper). Very nice melange--it's almost like a fresh black IPA, but there's a twist to it that makes it very intriguing.

Taste is also nice, with a robust roasted character that seems to come mostly from the grains rather than the hops, and a lingering vegetative character. No oily hop residue, which makes me think the bitterness is indeed from straight char or husk tannins. The finish dries out quite a lot, giving hints of fresh roasted coffee. Feel is smooth and light, but slightly chewy.

Really nice, easy drinking dark ale, with plenty of character and a little bit of mystery. Cracking drop.

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Photo of foles
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a jet black, with a motor oil texture. Somewhat piney, slightly harsh/phenolic & aggressive hops on the nose, which follows through to the palate. Smooth dark malt character can be detected, but is overwhelmed by heavy piney, earthy, citrus hop character coming through with the beer as it goes down. Mouthfeel is quite soft and creamy despite the prickly hoppiness - maybe a result of the high gravity and resulting body. Very assertive bitterness, which is the only thing slowing this down from being a super easy drinker. Alcohol hits at the end but its mingled together with the bitterness, so its hard to notice - but it can be sensed.

Nice black IPA, or perhaps a double black IPA? Although the hops have a hard time shining in a high gravity dark beer.

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3.17/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle to stein. Sampled 5/13/11.

A: On the pour, 4 fingers of a billowing light brown head, fluffy, filled with air - and not going anywhere. Incredible retention. Sea foam lace is left in its wake. The body is dark brown if not black and ruby edges can be seen along the bottom of the glass.

S: The main detriment to the nose is the saltiness that I pick up (which eventually went away), along with an odd phenolicky aroma. Combination of rubber and plastic, with the latter being more noticeable. Luckily these aromas didn't overwhelm the aroma entirely.

T: Much better than the nose. Grassy, piney, earthy, woodsy, musty. Bitter chocolate plays up the bitter finish.

M: The highlight of the beer for me. Extremely full body with a thick, creamy texture to boot. Very solid mouthfeel.

O: As good as most hoppy dark ales tend to be. Always somewhat of a clash in flavor, as if there's some sort of internal ingredient battle going on.

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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 369 ratings.