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

very good
369 Reviews
no score
Send samples
Juniper Black Ale (JBA) - Beer Camp #16 (Best Of Beer Camp)Juniper Black Ale (JBA) - Beer Camp #16 (Best Of Beer Camp)

Brewed by:
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
California, United States

Style: American Black Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by jeffthecheff on 01-14-2010

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 369 | Ratings: 534
Photo of micromaniac129
4.62/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a somewhat thick chestnut brown colored brew. Difficult to determine carbonation.
On top sits a nice 1 in foamy mousse like foamy head. Lingers and dissapates slowly similar to the way foamy head fades in a wheat beer. Lots of fine lacing.

Aroma, I get a nice complex malt backbone with plenty of roasted, no, burnt malts.
I can not tell you what juniper berries smell like but there is a nice underlying resinous to the aroma.

Flavor is awesome with a great roasted burnt malt flavor. The juniper berries I'm sure are playing nicely with the pallette as well as the hops who tease with some hop flavor and bitterness towards the end.

Not overly heavy as it looks. Sweet and spritzy and sprite.

This is a fun beer to drink both in sight smell and taste. If I was Sierra Nevada I would release this again as a winter or Christmas ale. I think it would be a winner.

 874 characters

Photo of hoptualBrew
4.57/5  rDev +16.3%
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.

 1,039 characters

Photo of TheHoppiest
4.57/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into an oversized snifter. Given the abv of 8%, I figured this to be a better choice of glassware. Pours a dark, dark brown, almost black, with a 1" thick, throthy head that slowly reduces, clinging to the sides like a thick milkshake.

Smells very hoppy, like thick, pungent evergreen boughs. I fact, this almost like smelling a bottle of gin, with hints of sweet chocolate, coffee and mild malt. The hoppy gin smell dissipates after a minute, leaving more of a RIS aroma.

Very complex tasting, starting somewhat bitter, and quickly turning sweet and smooth, before ending very dry, almost astringent. Piney up front, with sweet molasses and cocoa nibs middle, before zipping the tongue straight back through the middle and down the throat with a dash of resin bitter.

Medium to full bodied, this is so dry I believe I need a water chaser.

This is far and away the most interesting of SN's mixed 12 pack. I'm glad I saved this one for last, because I would have found the others to be too tame, too mundane to compare this brew. While I like it quite a bit for it's extreme qualities, it is definitely a one and done for the evening.

 1,164 characters

Photo of bum732
4.56/5  rDev +16%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

S: Big pine and resiny hops, very piney, some juniper, some roastiness.

L: Blakc with ruby highlights, light tan creamy head, great retention, amazing lacing.

T: Roasty and citrus notes up front followed by a mediumlow pine bitterness leading to a very mellow roastiness. Finishes semi-sweet with some hoppy and roasty dryness. Juniper pineness persists throughout in the background.

M: Rich creamy body, medium low carbonation.

Just an amazing balance, the hops are pulled back just enough to allow the roasty malt to shine. Super rich, creamy body. Nearly flawless, a great surprise.

 589 characters

Photo of bennetj17
4.55/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours very dark and black, looking moderately thick. Barely any light gets through around the edges. Espresso-tan foam is a half-inch and holds nicely leaving a lasting film. The smell is a nice mix of Sierra Nevada's signature piney Cascade hops and some dry, roasty, chocolate malt.

Oh man that is delicious. Light chocolate malt intertwined with intense hop bitterness, this is a fine Cascadian Dark or whatever you want to call it. The bitterness is long lasting with a grassy/herbal character throughout. It's hard for me to get a strong taste of the juniper berries, but I suppose there is a bit of the tangy fruit up front, though again it's quickly displaced by heavy roastiness and hops. The mouthfeel is class also, with a silky smoothness and bright carbonation that tickles the front of the tongue and creates a foaminess at the back.

This is a memorable ale that far exceeded my expectations. It could certainly be a popular regular release beer, though it's nice as a limited release also. The bitterness is a bit punishing, so if you are into that you should like this alot.

 1,094 characters

Photo of shand
4.53/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a nonic.

This is one amazing looking beer. It pours pitch black with a huge head that retains and laces very nicely. The smell is also very nice, the famous piney Sierra Nevada hops pair very well with some roasted malts. The taste is great, a up-front smooth roastiness pairs very well with the piney hops and hints of juniper. There's a bit of a burnt edge to the roastiness that makes itself known at the very end, along with just a bit of smoke. Very nice. The mouthfeel is smooth and creamy at first, with a nice drying aftertaste. The drinkability is quite good, especially for the ABV. Overall, this is a really great black IPA, one of the best I've had for sure.

 702 characters

Photo of jwhawkins81
4.5/5  rDev +14.5%
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

 314 characters

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

I had this beer on tap in Boise a couple of years ago. It disappeared and then reappeared this spring in bottle form in Sierra Nevada's new mix pack.

Appearance: Pitch black. a medium dark head that laces nicely.

Smell: A sweet malty nose. A sourness that reminds me of cream. There is also a hint of dark fruits alongside an herbal hop presence.

Taste: Follows the nose with a little bitterness on the finish.

Mouthfeel: Good amount of carbonation and a nice dry finish that is also smooth.

Overall: This is another amazing Sierra Nevada brew. I like it more than a few of their seasonal brews and a few of their year around brews as well. In a few years when people think of Sierra Nevada this is one of the beers that will come to mind along with SNPA and Bigfoot.

 776 characters

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.

 426 characters

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

Black body with a light and airy whipped head of brown froth. Lacing is quite generous. Great aroma of chocolate and hop resin. This beer is chock full of flavor too. Bitter roasted malts blend with pine and citrus very nicely. Lingering sweet and bitter feel to it. Very nice. Creamy body and easy drinking.

 308 characters

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

Serving: bottle poured into a pint glass

A: Almost black with nearly tan head. Decent lacing all the way down the glass

S: I smelled hints of dark chocolate, coffee, and roasted malts.

T: Nice and bittersweet. I tasted hints of dark chocolate and coffee. There is a distinct pine note from the juniper berries used in the brewing process. There is an ever-so-slight hint of gin in the aftertaste, but that is not surprising since juniper berries are the main ingredient in gin.

M: Smooth and velvety. Nicely carbonated.

O: I really like this beer. It's an ale that is borderline stout. I could easily drink way too many of these in a night.

 645 characters

Photo of yesyouam
4.48/5  rDev +14%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sierra Nevada Juniper Black Ale is an opaque, pitch black ale with a huge, fluffy, lumpy, light brown head that has incredible longevity and leaves clumps of foam on the glass. The aroma is grassy and hoppy. It seems a little muted by the head, but it's still strong. There is a note of resiny sweetness. It's medium bodied and quite smooth. The finish is dry and leaves the tongue a little dusty. It tastes a little bit sweet and quite bitter. The juniper is really prominent and it's backed by resiny pine and ashy roast. This has a lot of flavor. This setting works really well for the juniper. The aftertaste is drier and has more dark roast. This is a bold beer in many ways. It looks, smells and tastes like a beer lover's beer. Outstanding brew!

 752 characters

Photo of colforbin73
4.47/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

whoa man! it is a tough crowd around here. what is not to like about this beer? this is probably the #1 reason to buy the SN Beer Camp mixed 12 pack!

pours a lovely gloopy brown black with a decent little tan head. bit of sticky lacing as well...

the smell is full of the juniper, roasty-toasty goods, and a little sour bitterness. the taste follows suit, but is full of deep layers of sweet and bitter and rich cocoa/caramel goodness -- roasty, herbal, smoky -- there is a lot going on here. as usual -- the drink improves as it warms.

the 8%ABV provides a solid pay-off in the end. but this is a really well-made beer -- not boozey sweet... nuanced in texture and taste -- really good.

CONGRATULATIONS JUNIPER BLACK! this is the best beer of the Sierra Nevada BC12!

 774 characters

Photo of Gambrinus1184
4.47/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a stubby 12-ounce bottle into a Ro's Restaurant pint glass.

A: Black with ruby highlights under a three-finger thick head of densely packed tan bubbles which held nicely and left decent lacing.

S: Rich, roasted black malts with spicy, citrus and pine hop resins rising from the brew. Hints of licorice and peat trip across the nose.

T: Nice, robust, charred malt bittersweetness up front with a slow-building fruity hop flavor that takes hold around mid-palate. Hints of tobacco, soil and coffee beans endure a spicy, medium-hop attack to lead out through a dark and toasty bitter finish.

M: Full-bodied flavor with a pretty nice balance going on. All of the sticky sweet and toasted flavors of a porter pulled together with the dry heat and balance of an IPA.

O: A very good American Black ale in the seemingly endless pile-up hitting the market today. Dark and toasty with warming alcohol make for a nice fireside companion. Great on its own and even better with a peanut-butter and chocolate fire-pie; trust!

 1,028 characters

Photo of titosupertramp
4.45/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Very, very dark. You have to really try to find the ruby at the bottom of the glass. Two fingers of mocha head leaves a wonderful looking film and loads of lacing. Terrific.

S: Fresh hops. Pine with some citrus. Nice roasted smells mixed with dark fruit and sugar. I'm liking this beer a lot.

T: Good blend of the hop, sweet and roasted flavors. Big pine and citrus followed by the roasted malts, coffee/espresso, licorice..I think. Man, this is a tasty beer.

M: Somewhat full, has a little burn to it. Dry and sticky.

O: This Beer Camp pack is the real deal. This isn't the most drinkable of the four because the alcohol does show up in the taste, but this might be by favorite. I'm excited by this beer.

 712 characters

Photo of peacebone116
4.45/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Included in the 2011 Sierra Nevada Beer Camp Mix Pack. Poured into Delirium Snifter.

A: Deep black body with nice thick tan head that does decently to stick around and lace to the sides of the glass.

N: Pine and charcoal and chocolate.

T/M: Chocolate and stone fruit with a piny tartness. The beer is well carbonated and feels much lighter than the black body implies it would be. The pine notes contributed by the Juniper and the hops is really impressive. As it warms, the complexity of the flavors increases.

This is my favorite beer in the Mix Pack. It is a delicious offering, and I really hope that this becomes a regular in the SN lineup. I feel like I am really now getting a handle on this Black IPA style, and this beer really helps me fall in love with it! There is a great mix of chocolate and coffee coupled with earthy hoppiness, while the body is light enough that the beer maintains great "drinkability". Well done SN & you Beer Campers!

 958 characters

Photo of rapidsequence
4.45/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Another 12 ozer from the BeerCamp mixpack.

Appearance: Basically opaque (maybe a hint of color at the edges). Nice and thick light brown head with excellent retention and trademark SN lacing.

Smell: Smoky dark chocolate and a some coffee grounds. Citrusy and pine resiny hops. Really good.

Taste: Blast of pine and citrus pith. I can convince myself that juniper is present, but I've only ever tasted it in gin. Tasty dark malt flavors of charred wood, unsweetened chocolate, and espresso don't overpower. Lasting bitterness, but excellent balance of complex flavors.

Mouthfeel: Medium feel in the mouth, dry finish and lasting flavor.

Overall: A very well done black IPA. I'd buy a six pack of this.

 705 characters

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

Poured from a 12 ounca to a glass...

Pours a dark non transparent black, with HUGE tan head with loves of big and tiny bubbles. The juniper is definitely present, big sea weedy, pine needles, gin, yet tiny hints of chocolates, and sweet malts on the end. Big porter type taste, roasted nuts, chocolates, toffee, candied nuts, sweet malts, a touch of hops. Sweet piny juniper slips through. Medium body smooth milky, dry. Id love to see this on in regular rotation.

 465 characters

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

Sierra Nevada Juniper Black Ale is a delicous and fruity black ale. This beer doesn't fit easily into a well-defined beer style. It's less of a winter warmer though, and more of a black ale that goes easy on the hops and amps up the fruitiness.

A: Black colour with a 4 mm head that fades to decent lacing. 4

S: Smells of blackened malt and some fruitiness. 4.5

T: Taste is all malt and charcoal to begin with with some hops too. There are some sweet dried fruit flavours in the finish. All the flavours mesh very well together. 4.5

M: Reasonably foamy. 4.

O: I really enjoyed this. It was definitely my favourite beer in the beer camp sampler.

 649 characters

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

Part of the Beer Camp Series, Camp #16.
Not sure why this is labeled as a Winter Warmer since it's definitely more of an American Black Ale than anything else, even has the hoppy presence to back it up and is lacking any typical winter spicing.

Pours a dark dark brown, almost black color, good sized fluffy tan head, fades at a slow rate and leaves a good sized cap on top that takes awhile to fade away, small bits of lacing along the glass.

Smell has the aroma of pine needles melded with a dark roasted malt backing, the pine really makes me think I'm at camp surrounded by pine trees.

Taste starts out with a pine resiny hop bitterness, the bitterness doesn't overstay because a roasted malt presence seeps in, this is darkly roasted malt which also leaves a bit of a burnt bitterness too but works when coupled with the hop tree bitterness, neither is overpowering though and makes you come back, I don't know what juniper tastes like so I can't really comment on what it brings to the table.

This beer reminds me of Rock Art's Pumpkin Imperial Spruce Stout in a way, which is a good thing to me. While I don't think they used spruce needles in this beer, it certainly tastes like they could have.

 1,207 characters

Photo of obywan59
4.42/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours jet black into my oversized wine glass with a 1 1/2 finger brownish-tan head that leaves light lacing.

Quite a bit of piney (sprucey) hop aroma for such a dark brew. Smells like Christmas. Plenty of sweet roasted malt as well with spicy juniper and dark chocolate. Very woodsy, like hiking on a high mountaintop through a stand of dense evergreens.

The juniper is even more pronounced in the taste. Dark chocolate again with rich roasted coffee. Initially just sweet, followed by tart citrusy, piney hops and a rising bitterness in the end perfectly balanced with the lasting sweetness of the malt. Light vanilla.

Medium to medium-thick bodied with a light prickle of carbonation. Creamy with the warmth of alcohol in the throat.

Another great beer! The last of my SN Beer Camp mixed 12 pack. This wasn't the highest rated (by BA), but it's my favorite.

 863 characters

Photo of Casey10
4.42/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I really liked this one gots lots of chocolate notes from it as well as from the taste can also pick up the pine and juniper in the background.

A reviewer earlier likened it to a robust porter I would agree with that as it has a lot of similar characteristics.

This could be really nice if sold in its own six pacl hopefully this will be one that is continued as it is well done.

 383 characters

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

Offering from the 2011 beer camp mix pack. Poured into a standard pint glass.

Pours jet black, light brown head, very nice lacing. The darkness of the pour was shocking, especially when I gave the freshly poured brew a good whiff. It gives of a citrus hop aroma that blew me away.

The taste, however, is more complex than the aroma, and doesn't really match it, either. Which wasn't a mark-down, because the flavor really is superb and complex. It gives off a boozy, bitter chocolate bite at the front end of each sip. There is certainly a good deal of earthiness (pine mostly) which could be from the hops, from the juniper, or the two in concert.

Nice, bitter finish. Resinous coating of chocolatey goodness lasts for a bit. The final flavor is an unclean hoppy bite.

Definitely the gem of the solid Beer Camp 12-pack. Wicked variety of flavors here, all married well by the "mild" dark chocolate flavors and bitterness. A little bit of warming allows different flavors to dominate. Just enough of a booze bite as well. Great all around.

 1,044 characters

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.

 1,315 characters

Photo of TheFightfan1
4.41/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured just about opague black.Some lighter rubish highlight's.Amazing heading retention. Left ring's after every sip until the last gulp.Very impressive looking.

Smell is very much like a fine stout.Awesome roasted malt aroma.Heavy berry aroma jumps in for fun with a slight twinge of green grassy hops. Coffee aroma sticks around a little while.

Taste starts out very roasty.A mix of charring,ashy,burnt leaf taste takeover and linger around the palate for a bit.Juniper berry does peek it's head out but just for an instance.Until the insane hoppy bite pushes it's way through with a nice hot boozy flash of alcohol. ABV is not hidden and does flex it's muscle.

Mouth is full bodied,excellent carbonation.Super velvety texture and excellent balance in the mouth.

Well what we have here is the best of both worlds.The heavy,smooth,full body of a stout and the tremendous hop kick of an IPA.I am loving it.

 911 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Juniper Black Ale (JBA) - Beer Camp #16 (Best Of Beer Camp) from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
3.93 out of 5 based on 534 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    No fake news here. Get real beer content delivered to your doorstep every month.