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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IPA - Black / Cascadian Dark Ale
3.95 | pDev: 10.63%
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
California, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Very Good
Juniper Black Ale (JBA) - Beer Camp #16 (Best Of Beer Camp)Juniper Black Ale (JBA) - Beer Camp #16 (Best Of Beer Camp)
Reviews: 370 | Ratings: 535 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Exec_Crawfish
Exec_Crawfish from California

4.24/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Vintage 2011 bottle into dimple pint.

Pours a deep black, with a vigorous mocha head that lingers well - five minutes in and there's still a full finger.

Smell is a nice mix of dark and caramel malts, with the expected juniper bite.

Flavor profile is very close to a stout, but the finish has an excellent crispness and there's a lingering herbal note in the finish along with the dark malt. The mouthfeel is more ale-like and the beer doesn't coat the palate. I was surprised by how well the juniper worked - it came through at every stage.

Jan 22, 2019
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rodbeermunch from Nevada

3.88/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Black ale, black pour. Solid 1" tan head. Aroma brought the juniper, truth in advertising, also brought some pine, was real nice that this still went with tree like hop aromas instead of a roasted scorched earth policy like so many black ales.

Bitter, roasty, much like a hoppy porter. Dry finish, excellent at covering the substantial alcohol, you wouldn't know it until you look at the label. Good format, professional stuff, would bang again.

Mar 10, 2016
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barczar from Kentucky

3.93/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Vintage 2011. Due to age, rating given as average. Floral notes emerge, and their sweetness pervades.

Beautiful our pour, with pine, juniper, resin, grapefruit,a touch of chocolate, roast malt leaping from the glass. Very aromatic for the age.

Flavor reveals a deeply roasted malt backbone, which becomes coffee-like mid palate and a touch charred in the finish. Muted citrus plays nicely against it, but the rest of the hop profile has faded.

Held up amazingly well. There's just a touch of cardboard dryness in the finish.

Jul 11, 2015
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UCLABrewN84 from California

3.68/5  rDev -6.8%
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.

Mar 04, 2013
Photo of sarajayne

3.68/5  rDev -6.8%
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:

Nov 27, 2012
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nimrod979 from Maryland

3.91/5  rDev -1%
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.

Nov 06, 2012
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Littlesteam12 from California

3.27/5  rDev -17.2%
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!

Oct 08, 2012
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BigPlay1824 from New York

4.07/5  rDev +3%
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

Sep 11, 2012
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WastingFreetime from Wisconsin

4/5  rDev +1.3%
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.

Sep 05, 2012
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RblWthACoz from Pennsylvania

4/5  rDev +1.3%
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.

Aug 05, 2012
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Badbobx from Indiana

4.17/5  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.

Apr 19, 2012
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bigfnjoe from Pennsylvania

2.82/5  rDev -28.6%
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, 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.

Apr 12, 2012
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LiquidAmber from Washington

4.1/5  rDev +3.8%
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

Mar 21, 2012
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Phyl21ca from Canada (QC)

3.73/5  rDev -5.6%
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.

Mar 05, 2012
Photo of LtCracker20
LtCracker20 from Connecticut

3.95/5  rDev 0%
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.

Feb 14, 2012
Photo of tsauce2
tsauce2 from Indiana

3.65/5  rDev -7.6%
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.

Jan 19, 2012
Photo of neenerzig
neenerzig from Ohio

4.1/5  rDev +3.8%
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.


Jan 13, 2012
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HalfFull from California

3.91/5  rDev -1%
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.

Jan 06, 2012
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spinrsx from Canada (ON)

4/5  rDev +1.3%
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.

Jan 05, 2012
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willjschmidt from California

4.2/5  rDev +6.3%
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.

Dec 29, 2011
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Huhzubendah from District of Columbia

4.08/5  rDev +3.3%
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.

Dec 25, 2011
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jwhawkins81 from Ohio

4.5/5  rDev +13.9%
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

Dec 24, 2011
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vfgccp from New York

4.13/5  rDev +4.6%
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.

Dec 23, 2011
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Heatwave33 from Florida

3.5/5  rDev -11.4%
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!

Dec 11, 2011
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CampusCrew from Florida

4/5  rDev +1.3%
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.

Dec 06, 2011
Juniper Black Ale (JBA) - Beer Camp #16 (Best Of Beer Camp) from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 88 out of 100 with 535 ratings