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

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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.

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Reviews: 369 | Ratings: 534
Photo of nickthetick
2.44/5  rDev -37.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: pours an opaque black in a St. Bernardus ballooned goblet with a thin dark tan head that leaves no lacing.

S: a lot of dark chocolate, pine and alcohol.

T: dark chocolate, burnt biscuit. Overcooked is the primary theme here, but there are some sweet notes in the background.

MF: warm, medium body and bitter/sour.

O: meh beer, I wouldn't buy it unless in the mixed 12 again. Even then I'd probable pawn it off on my dad.

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Photo of bobhits
2.5/5  rDev -36.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

This is one black, black ale. Pours a huge tan head with some notes of lacing.

Smoke and almost a liquorish smell without any of the sweetness associated with the candy. There are some fruity notes in the background that almost take on more citrus characteristics. A very unique smelling beer here.

Bitter hop bite followed by smoke and bitter dark chocolate, amazingly interesting beer here. The malt profile here imparts virtually no sweetness which is fascinating given the rest of this beers qualities. I think the malt flavors come off as a bit of a malted milk like flavor. The hop profile is the dominate flavor but some kind of spice or something that’s adding this smoked flavor is easily the second biggest flavor.

The finish here is chalky and lingers leaving my mouth a bit dry. The body is medium and there is appropriate carbonation.

This is certainly one of the most unique beers I’ve had in a long time. They certainly have added a few extra layers to the black IPA style which I somewhat appreciate, but I don’t see myself going back for more.

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Photo of trappistlover
2.54/5  rDev -35.4%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

(12oz bottle from Beer Camp mixed pack). Pours black with full tan head. Aroma of resin, charcoal, juniper. Taste is bitter with a semi-sweet malt backbone. Tastes like ashtray. Medium bodied with a creamy texture. Bitter finish. I do not like hoppy black ales. Pass.

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Photo of jeffthecheff
2.68/5  rDev -31.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Served in a shaped glass. The bar is dark, but it's a nice looking beer. Black color with a tan head that has solid retention and lacing.

The juniper berries added a slight minty, toothpaste character, which combined with the dark malts smelled like a chocolate covered mint left on a hotel pillow. I got a bit of pine character, seemingly from American hops, but the berries could have added to the "tree" aspect. All is good, but the strength was a bit low, and it could have used more juniper character.

The first impression on this beer was okay. It had a thick, smooth mouthfeel with some rich chocolate notes in the front. There was some chocolate-mint character that was interesting, but not very tasty. There was some berry character towards the finish, but a the bitterness combined with the mint character was a bit harsh. The beer is rich, but is a bit overwhelming. The finish is bitter, and lingers a bit much.

It took a while for me to finish this beer, and I wouldn't (and didn't) order another. Judging by the description, I thought this could be good, but after tasting it, I'm not sure this beer could ever work. I wouldn't reccomend it, but it was very popular on the kickoff night.

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Photo of scottfrie
2.69/5  rDev -31.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

12oz bottle into Portsmouth snifter.

A: Pours a very dark brown with a billowing fluffy dark tan-ish brown oily head that slowly faded into a thick film leaving a network of sticky lace.
S: I don't know why I'm surprised, but I can actually smell the juniper (although it's not very strong). It's hoppy as well with notes of pine, but there is also a darker, maltier, burnt character.
T: Pretty big hop punch on the palate at first followed by more roasted and coffee-like flavors. A decent, well rounded black ipa if I've ever had one, but the juniper doesn't stand out. Finish is fairly bitter with a hint of coffee.
M: High carbonation that is prickly at times, medium-thin body and a slightly astringent mouthfeel. This aspect could use some work.
O: SN are pros and definitely one of my favorite/go-to breweries. However this one just doesn't really do it for me. I can see what they were going for in this, but to me it's just not that exciting or drinkable.

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Photo of bigfnjoe
2.82/5  rDev -28.2%
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.

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Photo of zoolzoo
2.91/5  rDev -26%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Dark brown, approaching black. One finger cream head.

S: Herbal / piney hops, roasted malts.

T: Clashy hop and malt combination. Large amount of hop bitterness on top of dark roasted malts. Sort of like an overhopped porter. Juniper seems to add little else but astringency and bitterness.

M: Medium body, medium carbonation.

O: This really didn't come together for me. Not the best selection from the Beer Camp pack.

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Photo of jsh420
2.93/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 1 | overall: 2

pours dark dark brown(black in the glass) with a 1+ finger tan head that left plenty of lacing down the glass

smells of juniper roasted chocolate malt with the hops some citrus and pine in the background

taste - quite a bit of grapefruit upfront then the bitterness of the roasted chocolate malt takes over and makes this into a sipper

mouthfeel - way too much carbonation - every sip turns into a bitter foam ball

overall - this is a tough one - there are flavors in this beer that i did enjoy but the bitterness of the malts matched with the over carbonation makes this beer fail miserably - this beer drinks slower then GI BCBS - tiny tiny sips was the only reason that kept me from drain pouring this beer

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Photo of KSac4115
3.04/5  rDev -22.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very very dark brown, almost black. Almost no foam whatsoever gives the initial impression that it is very lightly carbonated. The smell is very strong of brown sugars and malts. Gives off a very brown ale scent. Maybe a bit of a honey scent in there. Overall just very sweet. Taste is pretty much what you would expect in a brown ale. Sweet and roasty. Not very very bitter whatsoever. Aftertaste is negligable. Mouthfeel is also what one would expect. Very little carbonation yet it has a somewhat strong kick considering the 8% alcohol content.

Overall, not a bad beer. It's essentially just a strong brown ale. Nothing really special about it. Flavors are week. The only black aspect of this beer is the color. All other black ales I have had are more distinct in comparison with brown ales. Not the type of excellence in brewing I have come to expect from Sierra Nevada.

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Photo of Jaycase
3.05/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

a: black as night. large tan head. nice sticky lacing

s: roasted malts up front. molasses, coffee, chocolate. slight hops presence

t: roasted malts are the most forward. Some hops then come through. Bittersweet.

m: medium-thin body. meh, nothing special

o: From promising appearance and smell, it went downhill from there. This beer doesn't do anything for me. Glad I had a chance to try it but not something I'll seek again. Most disappointing of the SN Beer Camp 12 pk mixer.

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Photo of beerman21
3.05/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

It seems to me Black Ales/Black IPA's have become all the rage lately. I've yet to come across one that’s really all that great. It takes me awhile for a certain style to grow on me. Anyways I got this from there Camp variety and I really haven’t had a bad brew from the pick. I've saved this one for last being as its not my favorite style so lets see how it holds up.

Poured from a 12oz bottle aggressively done so as usual forming a fairly substantial light cinnamon brown 2 1/2 finger head. Color is nearly black which I'd expect, when held to the light nearly opaque although some brownish shades come through near the bottom of the glass. Head looks strong, and fades down but hold up well. I can see already this will have some nice lacing.

Smell-Has a nice earthy smokiness to it, with faint fruitiness. Dark figs, plums soaked in alcohol with a nice blending of roasted malts. Nothing over the top but decent aroma.

Taste-Nice maltey sweetness, then a slow bitterness flavor, great earthy roasted smokiness. Very balanced. Alcohol a little pronounced toward then of the flavor profile but to be expected, and I'm not one to knock the booziness of any brew.

Mouthful- kind of chewy, coats the mouth well and the flavors linger, this is definitely a big beer.

Overall probably the best Black Ale I've had and as i said before I'm not to keen on the style in the first place. Very enjoyable although one is enough for me. The beer itself runs a fine line between a black ale and a Imperial stout. Recommend although its not going blow you away.

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Photo of ejimhof
3.06/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Let me start by saying this is my least favorite beer out of the beer camp sampler case.

Appearance: dark black pour with a tan head leaves a slight lacing.

Smell: Overwhelming smell of juniper reminds me of gin which I do not like. Slight coffee aroma also present.

Taste: I get a smooth and creamy coffe taste out of this beer but that juniper flavor is always there too..

Overall: This is definitely a different style of beer than your normal everyday beer. I find it ok but not really my cup of tea..

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Photo of pburland23
3.08/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Part of the SN Beer Camp Variety Pack.

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into my Great Divide Brussels glass.

Beer pours a dark black. Opaque and looks like a cup of thick coffee. About a finger and a half of light khaki head. Decent lacing and moderate head retention.

Smell is dominated by roasted malts and burnt sugar. There is some hops bitterness by not much.

Taste doesn't do it for me. There is roasted malt up front followed by some intense bitterness and some alcohol burn. Everything just tastes muddled and out of balance. There's also a funky earthy, mineral aftertaste. Yuck.

Mouthfeel is on the high end of medium. The carbonation is light doesn't add much but doesn't detract either. Previously mentioned alcohol burn hinders the drinkability for me.

Overall, a total miss for me. Have enjoyed the Beer Camp variety pack so far, but this is my least favorite by far.

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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

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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.

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3.17/5  rDev -19.3%
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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Photo of jgreenearrow
3.18/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

A: Pours an opaque deep brown, virtually black color. A creamy light tan head formed at the top of the pours. Some minor lacing on the sides of the glass.

S: A sweet brown sugar smell bursts into the nostrils and dominates the nose. Some burnt malt and slight hop notes are present as well. The nose is not very complex.

T: Some sweetness at the onset of the sip followed by burnt malt in the middle. There is some bitterness in the finish with a lingering mossy earth flavor that is slightly off putting.

M: Medium bodied with good carbonation and moderate viscosity.

Overall, this is an okay beer. Not sure what the juniper berries are really doing for the beer other than potentially adding the slightly off putting earthy flavor in the finish. The beer isn't tremendously balanced and not as complex as I would have guessed.

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Photo of Arbitrator
3.2/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

On tap at the Rose & Crown. Poured into a pint glass.

A: The body is a nearly opaque black with well-retaining tan head. Some swirly film on top of the brew, with a little lacing down the sides.

S: Very strong juniper; hard to miss. Chocolate, berries, and small amounts of pine hops with a hint of earth.

T: Lots of juniper up front; you can tell they put a lot of it in here. Chocolate defines the mid-taste, along with a woodsy berry character. The finish brings out some pine hops and just the lightest hint of earth. An enjoyable flavor in small doses.

M: Medium-bodied, with moderate carbonation. It really doesn't drink like its ABV, which is 8.5% according to the brewer. Quite smooth.

D: It suffers a bit here. The juniper is strong, very strong -- and by the end of the glass I was looking for something else. I left several sips in my pint and moved on to something else. Even though it's not a viscous or heavy beer, it certainly weighs on the palate after a while.

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Photo of Vixie
3.23/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a very deep black the a long lasting tan head that leaves a lot of lacing on the glass.

Smells a bit smokey to me, but I can also detect a bit of a floral scent as well.

Hard to pin down just what I am tasting, seems to be a bit of fruit. There is sweetness there, but it is quickly overpowered by a dry hops bitterness. Almost tastes like a really dry IPA.

Pretty solid on the feel.

This is very much a sipper. It is a bit too dry and bitter for my tastes, I prefer a sweeter beer over one with a lot of bitterness. An interesting one to try, but not a style I see myself becoming a fan of.

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Photo of armock
3.23/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottle from BevMo in Stockton, CA

A - Poured a very dark brown color with a brown head that leaves lacing behind

S - Is of roasted malt with some fruit definitely interesting

T - Like the nose starts off roasty then some fruit flavor finishes with some hop bitterness

M - This beer has a medium body with higher carbonation to it

O - While this isn't a bad beer by any means its not really for me maybe I'll just have to be in the right mood the next time but this is a one and done type of beer for me

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Photo of nsabo
3.24/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Roasted grain with strong hop presence and a lingering taste of juniper. SN could have called this a "Juniper Stout" and I wouldn't have questioned the style at all, but since I'm not too familiar with "black ales" I don't feel qualified to comment on the style. Interesting taste, I'd like the juniper a bit more prominent though.

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Photo of Littlesteam12
3.27/5  rDev -16.8%
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!

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Photo of wvsabbath
3.3/5  rDev -16%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Serving Type - Bottle

Appearance - Dark black.tan. Decent 1 inch white head. Plenty of lacing.

Smell - Hops, sugars, malts, dark fruits, grapes, plum.

Taste - Starts with a raw, gritty hoppy and malty stoutish bite. Plum and coffee mixed in with some Licorice gives this a bold strong flavor. Yeat sneaks in to add some bitterness, but the smoked roasted malts dominate.

Mouthfeel - Kindy thick, gritty and strong on mouth. Coats and covers mouth with bitterness, numbs tounge and palette. Kind of a mouth wrecker since its so bold.

Overall - Kinda odd taste and not so easy to drink. I Really didnt enjoy this from the first drink, and dont care to drink this again. The flavor isnt so bad but, its so gritty and bold, needs some work.

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Photo of danmcg62
3.31/5  rDev -15.8%
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 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.

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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.
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