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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 beerdown77
4.03/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This pours very black, and almost purple. The head is tan and frothy, and as usual with Sierra Nevada, lasts and lasts. May I remind my large viewing public…I prefer IPA. When you stray away from your norm, SN just cannot disappoint. This is similar to their porter in its dark smokiness, but this Juniper Black Ale has an ever so slight tart flavor. There is a bitter crispness that reminds you of the ale that we oh so love. I think I can detect more “juniper” (whatever that is) in the smell. There is a pleasant fragrance that makes this beer artisanal…a fine, rare treat. I Googled “jumiper”…and yeah, this is kinda piny. Thanks Internet.

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Photo of far333
4.3/5  rDev +9.7%
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.

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

A: Pours a nearly opaque black color, with dark ruby-brown highlights. The densely frothy, light brown head is quite tall initially, and retention is impressive. The head gradually becomes a bit rocky as it fades and deposits some sticky rings of lacing on the glass.

S: Some lightly roasty aromas, along with some medium bittersweet chocolate character. Piney hop notes are accented nicely by the juniper, which is obvious but not overrepresented. Light earthy notes are also detectable, along with a faint, nondescript fruitness.

T: Dark caramel and very firm roasted malt flavor up front. Dark chocolate and lightly-burnt marshmallow are also present, although sweetness is mild overall. Hop bitterness is strong, with primarily piney flavor. Some mild, puckering citus rind is also detectable. Juniper adds some depth of piney flavor and melds impressively with the rest of the flavors.

M: Medium body. Fairly creamy, considering the fairly prickly carbonation and increasingly dry, hoppy finish.

D: A very nice black ale from the Beer Camp mixed pack. Juniper might be overpowering in many styles, but given the big, roasty maltiness and aggressive hopping in this beer, it works effectively. A bit of a palate-burner, with a sneaky warming alcoholic presence, but very enjoyable nonetheless.

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

This beer pours a dark brown nearly black color. The head is an inch in height, and recedes quickly into a solid quarter inch of tan colored foam that sticks around. The aroma is of roasted malt, grapefruit, and chocolate. The taste has more roasted malt, and less grapefruit than the aroma with a dry lingering malt finish. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with moderate carbonation, and a smooth texture. Overall, this is a good beer that I would certainly drink again.

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Photo of danmcg62
3.31/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A-Poured into a pint glass. Pours a deep black color with a mocha colored head that is super thick and hangs around for a while. There is some nice lacing on the glass as the head slowly disappears. Damn nice looking brew.

S-At first whiff there is some dark chocolate with pine and some flowers. Coffee and roasted malt come through as well. Mild alcohol flavor as well.

T-Dark chocolate is at the forefront. Very malty with a mild hop kick at the back end.

M-Very chewy and a heavy, thick body. Very slow drinking.

O-Overall this is a solid offering from the Beer Camp collection. Might be the weakest of the bunch, but not a bad beer at all.

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Photo of treehugger02010
4.12/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I don't remember where I purchased this, but I pulled it out of the Beer Camp Variety Case. I poured it into a pint glass.
Appearance: The body is very black, but not thick looking. The head is 2-3 fingers tall, tan, tiny bubbles, great lacing, and fine retention.
Smell: The aromas are coffee, pine notes, and grapes.
Taste: The flavors are peppery, earthy, and resiny.
Mouthfeel: The body of this beer is medium, and has a lingering finish.
Overall: This beer is very good.
Don't drink and review.

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

Pours a jet black hue which leaves a two finger khaki head and heaps of lacing,the smell is juniper berries,blackcurrants,sweet malts and spicy herbal hops,the mouthfeel is above medium bodied and has tastes of juniper berries,mocha,blackcurrants,roasted malts and finished with a nice dose of piney hop bitterness and overall a very pleasant brew that i would buy again if its still there when i return cheers.

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Photo of zhanson88
3.68/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Looks almost pitch black in the glass, with just a hint of ruby around the edges. About 1" of khaki head forms, which has good retention, and excellent lacing.

Smell: Juniper berries are apparent immediately. Sweet, and a bit tart. Dark malts, part of them lightly roasted. Some piney hop character as well.

Taste: Dark malts without too much roast up front. Mostly sweet berries show next. They are a pretty unique flavor. Piney hops on the back end. A good balance between malt and hops.

Mouthfeel/Overall: Body is between light and medium, with fine, very nice carbonation. Goes down smoothly. Overall, a pretty nice black ale. I kind of wish they had left the berry out, as the base beer really suits my taste. Not a lot of roast and prevalent, but not overly bitter hops. Still, I enjoyed this more than I had expected to.

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Photo of AustinBeerLvr
4.4/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a 12 ounce bottle into a brandy snifter glass. Bottled on the 98th day of 2011, which would be March 10th.

Big old head on this brew that took several minutes before it even started to fade. Chunky lacing all over the glass after each and every sip. Jet black body.

I heard this beer is brewed with berries in addition to black malt to give it's unique aroma and flavor. The SN Beer Camp folks definitely succeeded there, as this brew's wonderful roasted, semi-sweet, chocolate malt flavor is perfectly accentuated by a slight berry sweetness. As stated above, this brew was bottled in mid-March, so it's only natural the hops aren't there as much as they used to be. I remember the first bottle being quite a bit hoppier both in terms of bitterness and flavor. Honestly, I think that much like the Big Foot, I prefer this one with a few months of age to let more malt character shine through. Piney, citrus notes are still somewhat noticeable in the background, with just a slight hit of alcohol in the finish. Nice creamy, well carbonated mouthfeel.

Since I will probably never get to have this beer again from SN, it's one that I like so much I just may try to brew it myself. Like many beer lovers, I am continuing to like and appreciate the American Black Ale more and more. It basically has all the qualities a beer lover wants (and a light beer drinker cannot stand), and combines them all into one great tasting combo. Hops, roasted malt, creamy, refreshingly carbonated, you name it, this style seems to have it.

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Photo of cjgator3
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle

A- Pours a dark brownish black color with a light tan head with good lacing and retention.

S- The aroma is dark roasted malts, a hint of chocolate and fresh hops. The juniper berries are not very noticeable to me, perhaps a little more as the beer warms in the glass. Smells great though!

T- The taste is dark and roasty up front. There is some hints of sweetness and dark chocolate coming through next with a good dose of hops in the finish creating a nice lingering bitterness.

M- The mouthfeel is light bodied with a good amount of carbonation.

O- Overall, I am a big fan of Black Ales and Juniper Black Ale did not disappoint. Recommended!

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Photo of msubulldog25
3.96/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. black-capped bottle, one that somehow stowed away in the icy depths of our Labor Day picnic cooler. Who brought it (and is missing it?) is a mystery... Emptied to a Full Sail pint glass.

Subtitled: 'Camp #16' [from the new 'The Best of Beer Camp' series]

A: Just as 'black' as black can be; 'ebony' and 'midnight' don't do this justice. Terrific topping of solid beige foam, a little smoky/singed at the edges and built to a finger-and-a-half height. Slow to diminish, abundant lace in sticking patches and wobbly waves.

S: Hearty nose, dusty and ashy, vaguely sweet and jammy. The dark roasted-ness of coffee, a wafting scorched nuttiness, piquing pine and flowers. A little muddy and moderately weighty... good but not captivating.

T: Dry and chocolate-y from the instant the first drop hits tongue. Husky, smoky and burnt, but not oppressively so... there's orange citrus rind and grassy spice amidst all that char. Fleeting moments of honey before coal blackness re-emerges. Where the juniper squeezes into the flavor I can't quite tell... I suppose there's a little tartness and evergreen spice that wouldn't be there otherwise. Kinda intriguing.

M: Bigger, chewier medium/full body, but nothing out of line with an 8% beer. A little tamer than expected, feel-wise, despite a notable brassy-dry finish that lasts minutes. Coating sediment hangs on every surface of the mouth, a velvety shroud.

O: Straight up, I don't like this style. I've tried between 15-20 different versions of ABA/BIPA/CDA and still don't 'get' it. What's odd is: I like porters and stouts, I like smoked beers and I like [most] IPAs - but the blending of all just doesn't work for me usually. This, however, does. Not saying I LOVE it (still such an abrasive roast and brusque citrus hopping), but there's good balance and rich feel... and it's as pretty as can be. Not rushing out to by more, but had no problem finishing this... and that's saying something.

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Photo of JTSbeerislife
4.03/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle, label printed vintage 2011, purchased from a reliable bottle shop 7/2011.

Poured into a British Imp Nonic

Pours a nice one finger head, which settles down to a thin cap, very lively and easily revived with a little swirl of the glass. Great lace on glass!
Very, very dark brown (Black) color.

The first thing that you smell is deep roasted coffee, rich malt, yeast and black bread, really not much here in the way of hops, but this is not a criticism as it seems to fit well with the style of this ale.

Rich, malty, coffee dominated flavor, followed by bitter hops?/coffee, very full bodied with an excellent balanced carbonation, quite dry flavor profile which is extremely refreshing, after it warms up a little more delicious malt, again there is not a noticeable hop taste but there are some hops here. The 8% ABV is completely hidden by the coffee and rich malt. As for the Juniper I did not notice any, but I am a Craft Gin drinker and I guess that it would have to be pretty intense for me to really pick up on that taste.

Very long, rich, dry, coffee/malt finish that is exceptionally enjoyable.

I have heard a lot about the Beer Camp Series, but really did not know what to expect. I am not disappointed at all about this offering. I believe that a little more hop kick would have elevated this brew into a much higher rating, but that being said I cannot really fault any one element of this ale, as it just seems to be an excellently balanced ale. Delicious and a pleasure to drink. I definitely could drink several of these back to back. Good job SN.

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Photo of TangTKE402
4.06/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Poured from a 12 oz. stubby bottle into a 16 oz. Guinness glass. 2-finger thick, foamy head with great lacing, and a tar-pit black body.

S: Sweet and malty, with a hint of the juniper alluded to in the name. Suggestions of raisins, prunes, "GORP," toasted caramel malts.

T: Slightly sweet up-front with a malty mouth and a toasted, roasted, smoky swallow. Dried fruit, mild licorice, burnt molasses or caramel, coal smoke, pine resin, prunes. Good complexity of flavors in the mouth with a bone-dry, scorched-earth finish. Quite a trip.

M: The head feels good on the lips, but the feel doesn't live up to the flavor complexity. A touch thin in the mouth with a big, arid after-feel.

O: When you drink this beer, it is akin to coming into a fire-warmed cabin from a lip-chapping winter's day.

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Photo of CraftBeerTastic
3.7/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Ba Review #48
Served On: 8/27/2011
Glassware: Pint Glass

Found this beer in the 2011 Best of Beer Camp mixed 12 pack.

Look: Poured an extremely dark (stout-like) black. Head was a tall 3 fingers of mocha chocolate. This beer had a real stout quality – but with a thinner body

Smell: Earthy and roasty malts. I think I picked up on the juniper. It was a weird wild root smell with a woody characteristic. The rich earthy and roasted notes certainly dominated the nose.

Taste: At first I got notes similar to fresh cut ragweed. I’m comparing this to back when I was a young boy and the fragrance of ragweed was prevalent in the potato patch as my father and I dug the potatoes every fall. There was also a roasted malt quality – like a fine stout or porter. The aftertaste left hints of the wild weed notes and the roasted quality.

This was an interesting ale. I would have to say it was the best offering out of the Sierra Nevada 2011 Best of Beer Camp 12 pack. I may even try ageing one of these in my cellar to see what happens with that interesting ragweed quality.

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Photo of nezelrac
4/5  rDev +2%
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

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Photo of BucannonXC5
4.05/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a pilsner glass. Rocky head, roughly 1 ½ inches. Tons of film on the side of the glass that made circles the whole drink. Lacing stayed throughout as well. Color was coffee black.

Coffee smell, along with hints of toffee. Hops makes a surprise appearance as well.

Black coffee initial taste. The only other taste that came, though late, was alcohol.

Full body with a slick texture. Average carbonation with a smooth finish.

I enjoyed this beer very much. It really grew on me as it went along. Smooth rules the day.

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Photo of thain709
3.61/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured with a black body but I think there were some ruby highlights lingering around...the creamy, mocha colored head stood about two fingers tall...nice retention lead to great lacing

S - There was a lot of roast in the nose and not a lot of hops...roast and chocolate stood out and overshadowed a light piney hop aroma

T - We have the same thing going on with the flavors...the roast takes over the hops...the malts are nicely roasted and give off flavors of dark chocolate and some light coffee...the hops do get a little bump towards the end of the beer...they are juicy and piney...I might have to attribute this to the Juniper part of this Juniper Black Ale...the finish shows a roasty bitterness

M - Medium bodied...roasty, bitter, creamy, long

O - This was my least favorite of the four Beer Camp beers...I agree with tnip23 when he described the flavors as a roasted pine tree...the roast stands out more than the hops

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Photo of RonfromJersey
4.35/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Absolutely enormous cascading tan micro-bubble head tops a not quite black hole but more than coffee body. Good sticky lacing.

Good coffee aroma, with a nice fruity background.

Taste is an inviting mellow but not weak coffee. Fruity finish, though I don't know junipers to tell if that is what I'm tasting.

Smooth full mouthfeel approaches oily.

A nice fruity dark ale (porter? stout? does it matter?) which exceeded expectations.

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

I'll be the first to admit I know nothing about this style, so I'm going to review as if I grabbed something new -- which I did.

A -- Opaque black with ruby highlights when held close to the light. Dense tan head that holds up long and leaves nice lacing.

S -- Roasted malts and spicy-citrusy hops in good balance, some chocolate and hot alcohol coming through, even vague caramel. There's a mellow alcohol character throughout the flavor, but not hot or unappealing.

T -- Roasted malt mixed with a milk chocolate sweetness, finishes with spicy alcohol and citrus hops. Very clean, dry finish with a mellow hop bitterness in the aftertaste.

M -- Mouthfeel is crisp to near syrupy with a light-heavy body.

O -- A very nice drinker -- sort of a hopped-up, amped-up Porter. I've never beena big fan of citrus hops and roasted malts together (even in SN's own Stout and Porter), but this is well done and very flavorful.

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Photo of PorterLambic
3.78/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours pitch black wih a nice creamy mocha colored head. Very good retention and great lace.
Smell is light with malt, smoke, hops amd something I can't define.
Taste is stronger with roasted malt, hops and caramel.
Medium-full body with a sharp upfront effervescence. Dry finish with a smoky aftertaste. Good stuff.

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

Picked up as part of the Beer Camp 12-Pack in early July from Bevmo for $17.99.

Beer poured jet black with a nice tan head that is leaving lacing behind.

Nose is great big malt base with mocha, some roasted quality lingering.

Taste is well balanced, roasted malts, chocolate, and citrus hops blend nicely together.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and smooth, very nice.

Overall a very enjoyable beer, love the style, glad i had the opportunity to try!

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Photo of AndyAvalanche
4.28/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a Sam Adams Perfect Pint Glass. Hard pour erupts a dark tan colored head with both bit and small bubbles. The head works its way down, but a thin layer seems to stay the whole time. Good lacing on this one too. On the pour itself, it looked like a dark cola color, but once it's all settled it looks much darker. Light brown/red highlights are more visible when held up to the light.

Smell is very good. Like many black ales there is a good amount of ingredients blended together here. Well malted, a certain sweetness, grains and sort of caramel that's been heated and slightly burned and some bitter coco. Citrus zest from the hops here too, a good amount.

Taste is by far the best part. Strong Malt flavors, chocolate and caramel. The sweetness tastes like caramel that's between over roasted and slightly charred. Still a bitter-sweet chocolate taste as well. Hops finish off the flavor quite nicely with a good strong presence. Mostly citrus, tangerine and grapefruit and lemon zest, all good. 8% is hidden extremely well, would never have guessed it.

Mouthfeel is good; full bodied. Excellent carbonation level. Well balanced and a surprising clean finish. Alcohol level is well hidden, I almost feel like this should just been a regular six pack beer in the 5-6% range. Well done beer camp, wouldn't mind seeing this one come back.

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Photo of ibbjamin
3.83/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a mixed 12pack of 12oz bottles of the Beer Camp series by Sierra Nevada from Bobby's Liquor in Santa Clara for about $20. I am reviewing this the last of 3 beers of this type in the pack. I thought this beer was pretty good thus far. I pour this one into my Rodenbach tulip to review.

Beer pours black with a dark tan head of an inch in height that consists of pretty small bubbles. Nice quarter inch layer of retention and great lacing.

Aroma is of juniper berries, chocolate, dark roasted sweet malts and resinous hops.

Taste focuses more on the dark malts and chocolate than my nose predicted, but a healthy dose of hops help to balance it out and the juniper berry adds a sweet complexity.

Thick and smooth going down with a full body and good carbonation.

Nothing mindblowing here, but a good beer nonetheless. Good use of the fruit in this malty ale.

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Photo of Dodt
4.3/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

decide to bite the bullet and pay the $40 for the case of the sierra nevada beer camp mix case.
poured from the bottle into the pint glass
appearance black as night with a thick fluffy tan colored head.
smell a wonderful blend of roasted malts ,juniper and some citrus
its a a real shame this beer is only a one time release this is a beer that should be made part of there regular line up.

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

Poured into a New Holland Pint Glass. Pours a very deep russet, almost black, opaque, clear beer with a big, three finger, yeasty, light tan head. Head is very slow to drop.

Aromas of citrus hop bitterness, juniper, gin-like, minty. Dark roasted malts and dark roast coffee.

Flavors of dark roast coffee and malt, light citric hop bitterness, juniper berries. Phenolic and minty. Finish is medium with a spicy, hop bitterness with a roasty astringency.

Mouthfeel is medium with a subdued, round bitterness, and a good level of carbonation.

Overall, a nice complexity. But the flavors aren't layered one upon the other, they each stand out to make their presence known. Very nice beer.

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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.