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)
Very Good
534 Ratings
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.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 534 |  Reviews: 369
Photo of Sammy
3.68/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

An interesting black beer, part of the beer camp. Jet black colour, slightly spicey aroma. Smooth mouthfeel. The Juniper adds a significant but not overbearing sweet spiceyness to the mix. The sweetness comes from some chocolate. Does it need to be 8%?

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Photo of kylehay2004
4.08/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours with a frothy, two finger brown hued head. Moderate to high carbonation which bubbles throughout the entire experience. Aroma is very mildly sweet and somewhat roasty. Color is solid black. Initial sip is strong however subsequent sips produce a mellowed experience however still with a bite to them. Mouthfeel is medium to full. This is my first juniper ale. Overall it seems well crafted. Perhaps the best of the SN brew school 4 brews.

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Photo of jaydoc
3.75/5  rDev -4.6%

Photo of Texasfan549
3.5/5  rDev -10.9%

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.

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Photo of kjkinsey
4.5/5  rDev +14.5%

Photo of oriolesfan4
4.4/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Part of the Beer Camp mixed pack, really enjoyed this one. Had no idea the ABV was at 8% until I came on here, totally tastes like a smooth session beer in the 4-5% range. Either way, this beer is very unique and tasty. Not quite a black IPA, but more than a stout, it's a breed of it's own but it's well balanced goodness. Nice maltiness to it, finishes smooth. My 2nd favorite of the pack (after the double IPA).

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Photo of t0rin0
3.75/5  rDev -4.6%

Photo of BEERchitect
3.68/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A very intriguing dark ale that fuses IPA hop character with schwarzbier dry roast, and the sprucy character of juniper. -A combination of flavor that demonstrates an elegant complexity and array of taste that belong together.

Dark brown with garnet highlights, Juniper Black Ale builds a creamy/dense off white head that retains well. Mild streams of lace fall back as the beer falls. Again, very schwarzbier-like.

Intriguing hoppy scents emmit from the black ale and challenge both the sense of smell and sight. Sharp citrus of white grapefruit, orange pith, and pine set the tone while other aromas of alcohol, mint, and fresh cut grass round out the nose as the beer warms.

Moderately roasty with a toasted malt base, the beer again challenges the notion of bitterness- is it derived from the hops or dark malts, or both? The dichotomy plays out, keeping you guessing. The aura of juniper always shaddowing the beer with a minty, sprucy, gin-like taste. Tart berries weave in and out of the hop flavor and bitterness for complexity and an element of surprise. Like in all Sierra Nevada beers, no flaw in technique or recipe detected.

Creamy and moderately full early, but the beer takes a very IPA-ish turn at mid palate and favors the citrusy hops for acidity, bitterness, and dryness late. The finish is alcoholic warmth, minty evaporation, and powdery dry from the roast.

The beer challenges the notion of what beer should be. It's easy enough to drink, until you start to think about it- then there's a lot to chew on (er, drink on).

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Photo of kojevergas
3.48/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 fl oz brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into a generic hefeweissbier glass in low altitude Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Acquired as part of a beer camp pack, at Wally's Wine.

A: Pours a six finger tan colour head of really nice cream, great thickness, and good retention (especially for the high ABV). Colour is a solid black. Very appealing.

Sm: Cream, vanilla, and chocolate. All light in the balance but appealing. Aroma is moderate in strength.

T: Vanilla, chocolate, light roast, and maybe nuts. Well balanced and built, with no alcohol coming through in spite of the high ABV.

Mf: Smooth and wet, but dry enough to bring out the flavours in the climax. It suits the flavour, but isn't tailored to them.

Dr: Very drinkable for the high ABV. Well priced and pretty good quality. I'd love to try this on draught or nitro-tap.

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Photo of zeff80
3.85/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out an opaque, jet-black color with a one-finger tan head of bubbly foam. It left sticky rings of lace on the glass.

S - It smelled of juniper and pine with a strong roasted malt presence.

T - Good roasted malt flavor with hints of chocolate and burnt molasses. It had a nice piney bitter hop bite.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium bodied ale with a dry, clean finish.

O - This is pretty tasty. Quite possibly my favorite of the Beer Camp pack.

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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.

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Photo of LXIXME
4.14/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours black and appears to be clear if one could see through it, a big tan/light brown head rests without much thought to receding above this moderately carbonated ale.

Aroma is light dark roasted malt with something else very far off but can't really discern what it is.

A rich dark roasted light chocolate malt taste with light accents but overpowered by the roasted malt, a very rich taste and mouthfeel, a very worthy drink.

Light to moderately dry aftertaste that brings the rich roasted malts right along with it.

A little heavy for me but a bottle or two of these are definitely worth the venture, check out a beer camp 12 pack before their gone.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.06/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sierra Nevada "The Best of Beer Camp" Juniper Black Ale

Man, you've gotta love Beer Camp. Every one of the beers I've tasted has been great, and this one's no exception.

It's an almost opaque black beneath a frothy head of dark tan. The head retention and lacing are both quite good.

In the nose it displays pine and yeasty fruitiness over subtly roasty dark caramel and low-level hints of bittersweet chocolate.

In the mouth it's smooth as velvet with a medium-medium/light body and moderate, fine-bubbled carbonation.

The flavor is fuller and richer than the nose suggests. Its dark malt is somewhat roasty, a touch smokey, and very much like bittersweet chocolate and burnt sugar. The juniper is clear, and it's a bit piney and fruity. A solid bitterness balances it, and it finishes drying as the juniper and pine notes slowly fade away.

Overall it's a fairly rich beer with a nice bit of complexity within its malt, juniper, and hop components. And it's unique! I think there's a little bit too much going on for it to be a session beer, yet at the same time it's not exactly a sipping beer. I really enjoyed it though, and although I'll probably never drink two in a row, I'll certainly be looking forward to the next one, whenever that may be.

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Photo of jlindros
3.76/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I'm not usually a fan of juniper , but lets see how this goes.

Pours a big fluffy 2 finger head with lots of sticky lacing, over essentially pitch black colored beer.

Nose has plenty of juniper, a gin like juniper aroma, piny (not hop piny like pine tree), light roasty and crystal malts, hint of earthy spicy hops.

Taste starts with dark creamy malts, crystal and light roasted porter like malts, a decent smoked malt kick, creamy malts, toasty, light pine and juniper which is less than I thought it would be, some light earthy piny bittering hops, fairly bitter overall, a slight chewy and earthy grassy hop as well; Finishes pretty bitter, the hops really kick in on the finish with bitterness, and an earthy, grassy, and piny bitterness, then some malty dark flavors, crystal malts, a hint of smoked malt, and dry overall finish, and some pine tree juniper which starts to dominate the late finish.

Mouth is medium to slightly heavier bodied, decent carb.

Overall decent, better than I expected for being a juniper beer, the nose has too much juniper though which is a huge turnoff, but the flavors are much better, the juniper mixed well with the hops but not crazy, nice malts.

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Photo of chinchill
3.87/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle from 2011 Beer Camp pack served in a pint glass. [from notes].

Opaque black with a reddish brown fringe and a very ample and durable frothy tan head.

A fine hoppy aroma with an unusual evergreen sappy note I assume is juniper. Fairly strong aroma. Alcohol evident after warming.

T - plenty of hop flavor as well as medium and dark roasted malts. A bit herbal and earthy. An odd bitter finish with notes of coffee, reflecting the mix of hops, juniper and, perhaps malts. Rather strong flavor which, with the evergreen component, approaches the challenging level.

M - medium body with good carbonation but a small bite in the semi-dry finish.

O - This Black IPA may work best if treated as a Imp. stout or a winter warmer, but it worked fine for me at the end of this exceptionally hot day.

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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.

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Photo of oberon
4.22/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

8%ABV.Winter Warmer..uh nope.This American Black ale infused with juniper poured near pitch black except for a ruby tinge when held right up to the light,a 1/2 finger off white head atop.Piney hop and more piney hop in the nose,unsweetened chocolate really comes thru as well,the juniper gives off a similar pine aroma but it stands out from the hops.Earthy tones and unsweetened chocolate set the table for the beer,pine resin as well as a light pine cone note.This is a cool beer, highly hopped and "dark" tasting,as I drink more a French roast coffee flavor really lingers,I like it alot because of its complexity.

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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.

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Photo of mactrail
4.15/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Flavorful black bitter ale.

Really a lovely beer in the snifter with that deep dark color. Fabulous lacing and swirly carbonation gives a great mouth feel. Malty yet sharp, a study in contrasts. Hops are very forward though balanced with a rich, full-bodied maltiness. The juniper gives not so much a gin taste as a woody resin flavor with a touch of smokiness.

This is definitely a what-do-you-call-it, so I say it's a black IPA which seems to fit the category of American Black Ale. Excellent and non-standard brew. I hope they'll make it a regular seasonal.

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Photo of billab914
3.86/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Starr Hill glass. It poured black in color with a frothy, rocky, tan head filling the top inch of the glass. Very nice looking beer after the pour. The head faded a bit but left some nice lacing as it did.

The aroma shows some bolder, roasty and coffee flavors to it. I get bitter-sweet chocolate as well as a bit of a sweeter, caramel like flavor to it. The juniper gives it an interesting herbal like flavor as well. Pretty decent aroma overall.

The taste has a good amount of bitter-sweet chocolate and roasted malt flavors to it throughout the flavor. I get more of the sweeter, caramel and herbal, juniper up front while more of the bitter, coffee like flavors come out in the finish. I get a decent amount of citrusy hops coming out in the finish as well.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with carbonation being moderate. Overall I found it to be a pretty flavorful and interesting beer. It had some nice roasty and bitter flavors to it, and the citrusy hops and herbal, juniper flavors gave it some cool and unique flavors. Pretty solid and interesting beer overall.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.96/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to bmanning for this bottle. Served in a tulip.

Pours near black with a thick, two-finger off-white head. Really creamy and dense. Long lasting as well. Thick, ringy lacing as it eventually goes down. The nose brings forward some roasted malt as well as some piney and earthy hops. Good roast and a bit of coffee. Juniper is there, though not overpowering. The flavor is really rich with some roasted malt and a bit of dark chocolate. To that comes a good portion of piney hops and a slight amount of juniper. Everything is well balanced and works in tandem. Medium body with a good bitterness in the finish. The best of the Beer Camp beers, in my opinion. Thanks again, Ben.

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Photo of smcolw
3.91/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Decent start for the head.  It does die to a single layer of bubbles, but it leave some decent spotty lace.  Near black color where no light seems to pass.

Very neutral aroma, there are very few dark malt aromas.  Also, there is no hop presence that I can detect.

Dark aromas of near coffee.  It's dry with a mild bitterness more from malt than hop.  This is far more thin than most near stouts.  Highly carbonated.  I do detect some hop bitterness in the swallow and the aftertaste.

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Photo of russpowell
3.87/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours black with a finger+ of mocha head. Stellar head retention & lacing

S: Charred grain & hints of dark fruit & hints of steel

T: Follows the nose, much baker's choclate & a touch of black currant, plus a whisper of licorice & woody hops up front. Baker's chcolate, a hint of boozeyness & a hint of smokeyness

MF: Medium bodied, smooth carbonation, fairly nice balance, somewhat warming

Very drinkable, but was hoping for a more hop-forward experience. I would happily drink this again, but was looking for more juniper or hop to make this live up to other Sierra Nevada offerings

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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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Juniper Black Ale (JBA) - Beer Camp #16 (Best Of Beer Camp) from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 3.93 out of 5 with 534 ratings