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 rodbeermunch
3.88/5  rDev -1.3%
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.

 450 characters

Photo of barczar
3.93/5  rDev 0%
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.

 528 characters

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.68/5  rDev -6.4%
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.

 613 characters

Photo of sarajayne
3.68/5  rDev -6.4%
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:

 561 characters

Photo of nimrod979
3.91/5  rDev -0.5%
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.

 935 characters

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!

 277 characters

Photo of BigPlay1824
4.07/5  rDev +3.6%
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

 973 characters

Photo of WastingFreetime
4/5  rDev +1.8%
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.

 756 characters

Photo of RblWthACoz
4/5  rDev +1.8%
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.

 278 characters

Photo of Badbobx
4.17/5  rDev +6.1%
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.

 356 characters

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.

 494 characters

Photo of LiquidAmber
4.1/5  rDev +4.3%
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

 528 characters

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.73/5  rDev -5.1%
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.

 472 characters

Photo of LtCracker20
3.95/5  rDev +0.5%
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.

 790 characters

Photo of tsauce2
3.65/5  rDev -7.1%
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.

 776 characters

Photo of neenerzig
4.1/5  rDev +4.3%
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.


 822 characters

Photo of HalfFull
3.91/5  rDev -0.5%
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.

 761 characters

Photo of spinrsx
4/5  rDev +1.8%
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.

 721 characters

Photo of willjschmidt
4.2/5  rDev +6.9%
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.

 496 characters

Photo of Huhzubendah
4.08/5  rDev +3.8%
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.

 641 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 vfgccp
4.13/5  rDev +5.1%
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.

 506 characters

Photo of Heatwave33
3.5/5  rDev -10.9%
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!

 321 characters

Photo of CampusCrew
4/5  rDev +1.8%
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.

 368 characters

Photo of PhageLab
3.76/5  rDev -4.3%
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.

 612 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

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.