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

very good
369 Reviews
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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.

For Trade:
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Reviews: 369 | Ratings: 534
Photo of Cyberkedi
4.41/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a rich, opaque coffee-sable with a thick, fine-bubbled tan head that leaves substantial lacing. Smoky aroma has firm notes of sweet chocolate and quality coffee. Flavor has smoky, chocolate and coffee notes with hints of caramel, hops and - could that be juniper? Darn tasty, anyway. Firm-bodied texture is quite fizzy, leaving behind a persistent smoky tingle. Usually, when I sample a beer on-tap and from a bottle, the former is better.

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Photo of JackieTH
3.93/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured dark brown with a small amount of light brown foam leaving slight lace. Smell was earthy, roasty, and evergreen. Taste was pleasant pIne juniper forward with a soft malt and a trace of sweetness that keeps some semblance of balance. Bitter into the finish. Mouthfeel was medium, creamy with nice carbonation. Good beer.

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Photo of whatthehull
4.03/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tasted may 19th 2011 (from notes)

A - an opaque dark, dark brown, one fine deep tan head and some nice lacing

S - sweet, toasted, stout like, molasses, caramelized brown sugar, kind of hopish, flowers, herbs and a bit fruity

T - earthy, toasted, slightly hoppy, chocolate, brown sugar caramelized, herbs, flowers and very sweet

M - thick, chewy, low acidity, long finish and huge but balanced flavor

D - this stout like ale is great for lovers of any beer (as long as you love beer). Smooth, full flavored and balanced

Final thoughts - 8% ABV and wonderful tasting, this beer is worth its weight in gold

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Photo of laituegonflable
4.27/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very dark colour with a red tinge, like polished mahogany. Head is beige, nice texture to it but a bit whispy. Lacing is something else, though. Very nice.

Smells pleasant and floral, but with a nice earthy grounding from the darker malts. Junipers comes through strong and clear (for the record, I've never smelled juniper so when I say that, I mean it smells like gin) and is very nice - spicy, floral and fresh. Dark malts are a good foil.

Juniper is strong from the get-go, providing a floral flavour with a hint of peppery spice upfront. Develops into nice, smooth dark palate which is far more dark malt than anything else, slightly roasty but never really bitter. May well be the floral notes lifting that. Not a mind-blowing palate, but a very nice harmonic flavour chord struck. Am enjoying this.

Decent body, fair amount of texture. Dry on the finish but leaves a residual film in the mouth. Really very enjoyable.

Great drop; clever flavour idea and well-handled to get the most out of it.

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Photo of MrELovesBeer
3.58/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Where's the juniper?? I'm digging this, don't get me wrong. The nose is more boozy than I expected, pretty much veering into RIS territory and there's good bitterness and roasted notes that lingers for a bit. There's a bit of a medicinal taste; maybe that's the juniper coming out? Dunno. I'm a gin drinker so I was excited to try this. Enjoyed it for what it is, not what's advertised. I'm having cheap slices of pepperoni which surprisingly goes well as the fat and the booze/roast match nicely with each other. I probably won't be going back for seconds but I'm happy to have swilled a bottle.

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Photo of GbVDave
4.03/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into an imperial pint.

A: Pours a rich, deep black with a generous dallop of khaki colored cream on top. Retention was fantastic and the lace sheeting left behind was plentiful.

S: Hearty roasted grains, spruce tips, and when it comes up to temp, some raisin.

T: Very close to how it smells with a late addition of bittersweet chocolate. Juniper a little more prominent, too.

M: Starts relatively smooth and velvety but gradually picks up some mint and dry roastiness towards the finish.

O: This has been my favorite of the Beer Camp box. I would totally buy this one in 6-pack form.

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Photo of brewdlyhooked13
4.21/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - looks mostly opaque but when held to light shows off a nice brownish burgundy. A finger plus of light mocha; creamy,thick, and very resilient. I got distracted watching the Carrier Classic, the head maintained a nice thick covering and is still going strong.

Aroma - a brief whiff of pine on opening the bottle, but as this goes into the glass it gets dominated by some good roasty tones. Some grapefruit fights through now and then but the black ale side is on top.

Taste - a brief show of roasty grain, very brief but very nice. The hops move in quick and intensely. The juniper must be in there as well, increasing the pininess I would guess. Wow, lots of hop bitterness, true to Pac NW style. I thought the hops would kind of drown out the malt after a few sips, but the roastiness comes through with each sip. Ends roasty and dry.

Mouthfeel - creamy, crisp, and fluffy.

Drinkability - I rarely get behind a beer this hoppy, but the roasted grain really offsets and complements well. Great example of the style.

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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.

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Photo of lacqueredmouse
4.1/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served to me blind by @LaitueGonflable.

Pours a pleasant deep black, with hints of reddish hue around the corners of the glass. Head is crispy and foamy, with large bubbles crackling out of the body, and persisting rather well. Colour is a deep, creamy beige. Minimal lacing and the body looks a little thin, but otherwise good.

Nose is lovely, with a very pleasant roasted character through the centre and an interesting touch of acidity or hops--something which adds a little greenness to the aroma (obviously the juniper). Very nice melange--it's almost like a fresh black IPA, but there's a twist to it that makes it very intriguing.

Taste is also nice, with a robust roasted character that seems to come mostly from the grains rather than the hops, and a lingering vegetative character. No oily hop residue, which makes me think the bitterness is indeed from straight char or husk tannins. The finish dries out quite a lot, giving hints of fresh roasted coffee. Feel is smooth and light, but slightly chewy.

Really nice, easy drinking dark ale, with plenty of character and a little bit of mystery. Cracking drop.

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Photo of foles
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a jet black, with a motor oil texture. Somewhat piney, slightly harsh/phenolic & aggressive hops on the nose, which follows through to the palate. Smooth dark malt character can be detected, but is overwhelmed by heavy piney, earthy, citrus hop character coming through with the beer as it goes down. Mouthfeel is quite soft and creamy despite the prickly hoppiness - maybe a result of the high gravity and resulting body. Very assertive bitterness, which is the only thing slowing this down from being a super easy drinker. Alcohol hits at the end but its mingled together with the bitterness, so its hard to notice - but it can be sensed.

Nice black IPA, or perhaps a double black IPA? Although the hops have a hard time shining in a high gravity dark beer.

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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 spicelab
3.78/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

355mL bottle thanks to mulder1010.

Near black with a huge dense tan head. Strong retention and lacing.

Moderately roasty with lots of brewed coffee and some cocoa. Grapefruit and pine hop character comes through initially but seems to fade over the course. Juniper character is pronounced and tangy and integrates well.

Flavours are similar, with additional sweetness that plays well off the roast malt character and makes for some lengthy sweet dark chocolate and iced coffee notes. Relatively mild pine bitterness floats about.

Slick and syrupy mouthfeel. Moderate carbonation with a touch of sizzle. Mild but lingering bitterness.

Good stuff. A bit lacking in the hops department for mine, but the juniper is a perfect fit for the roasty elements.

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Photo of barleywinefiend
4.35/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured black with a nice tannish cap

S: Immediate juniper, cocoa, light citrus

T: Juniper is first thing I noticed, prickly feel with some hints of citrus with a typical CDA body of roastiness, ocoa and dab of faded coffee

M: Medium body, soft and creamy, tasty

O: I found this extremely tasty and very drinkable. Well put together CDA.

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Photo of JohnnyChicago
3.93/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a stemless snifter.

A: Pours a beautiful creamy black with a light brown fluffy head.

S: Rich, piney hops resonate and there is certainly more than a hint of bitter berries in the smell.

T: Roast is the first blast of flavour. The bitter, resin hops full the middle and a dry, hoppy bitterness finishes. No berries in the taste, but there is some slight tannin which is a bit unusual, but works just fine.

D: Alcohol is well hidden and the flavours are pretty balanced. There is more than a hint of roast in this one, but the hops aren't overwhelmed. Solid drinking stuff.

Overall: Most black IPAs either lean towards dark-coloured IPAs or hoppy porters; this is the latter. Its nice and robust, with a generous bittering. That being said, I would have liked to see more berries in this, but that's only a small complaint; tasty stuff!

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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 ms11781
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed on 05/14/2011. Bottled on 04/08/2011. 12oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

Pours a solid black color with deep reddish brown hues near the edges of the glass. Initially the head is huge, 3 fingers of fluffy light brown foam. With time it dwindles down to a nice tan cap and leaves excellent lacing.

The nose is dominated by roasted malt and piny hop aromas, almost is equal parts. Some coffee is present but it's really subtle. Perhaps there is some juniper here that is being confused for the piny aromas. Either way it's pretty balanced.

The taste follows along with the nose. Roasted malts lead the way along with what is definitely some juniper. It's kind of like pine but not quite and is quite distinctive. Hints of coffee and even some chocolate make appearances before a sticky, bitter finish.

The body falls somewhere on the line between medium and full with medium carbonation. Slightly resiny but sticky and bitter in the finish,

Definitely a unique beer. I know when I first took notes it was actually list as winter warmer and it was a head scratcher. It has aspects of a black IPA, a big porter and a lighter stout but really doesn't fit any of the categories. Either way, it was very enjoyable.

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Photo of danieelol
4.03/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pour is very much like a stout. Dark black with massive head and good lacing. Very impressive.

Nose is very stouty with roast and a very distinctive juniper smell. Reminds me of paté which has juniper berries on top. Theres also some hoppy/malty smells but they're a bit hard to separate from the juniper. Bit of ginger.

Taste is first off roast with a juniper and hop backing. You do get some nice hop bitterness too.

Mouthfeel is quite thick and creamy with a bit of hop resin. Lots of palate bitterness.

Overall a really interesting blend of styles which moves between stout, IPA and juniper elements. Juniper was a clever choice of special ingredient due to its similarities to hops, and I'm sure it can work well in other beers also.

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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 adam42381
4.03/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review from notes at World of Beer - Fort Myers on 10/8/11.

Poured on draft into a Sierra Nevada tulip.

Appearance: Pours a motor oil black with a 1 finger light tan head. Excellent lacing.

Smell: Dark roasted malt with chocolate and a touch of piney hops.

Taste: Dark roasted malt up front followed by bitter hops in the middle before ending with burnt toast at the finish. Aftertaste is bitter.

Mouthfeel: Full-bodied and creamy with a good amount of carbonation.

Drinkability: High drinkability. Despite the elevated ABV%, It goes down smooth. I could drink a few.

Overall: Good beer overall. Not my favorite Black IPA/American Black Ale, but it's still a solid beer that's worth trying.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle date of April 8, 2011. Poured in to Founder's tulip.

A - Dark black with a small amount of light brown head and some good lacing.

S - Dark roasted malts and a decent hop bitterness. Pine and light citrus.

T - Dark roasted malts and pine. The juniper is not specifically evident but comes through by heightening the pine flavour. The roasted malts quickly become the background flavour and the finish is dry and bitter with the pine notes sticking the tongue.

M - Light to medium body. Light carbonation.

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Photo of herman77
3.7/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Black with a light tan, fluffy head. Good retention. Nice lacing.

S: Roasted malt, some coffee a bit of coco. Pine and juniper are very evident.

T: Follows the nose pretty close. Kind of like a black IPA with an extra jolt of pine hops, which is probably actually the juniper.

M: Medium body, pretty creamy. Nice carbonation.

O: Not bad. Not the most drinkable though. One is enough for me, just a little too much pine and juniper. Worth a try though.

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Photo of JednoPivoProsim
4.2/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 fl oz bottle into a pint glass. Bottled on day 98 of 2011 (April 8). 2011 Juniper Black Ale.

Appearance: Pours an oil black with a thick tan head. This bad boy looks hearty!

Smell: Alcohol and a lot of fresh fruit.

Taste: Heavily roasted malt flavor. Great, rich flavor that neither overwhelms nor lingers for too long. Tastes very much like a stout/imperial stout, although I do not detect a lot of alcohol. Bitterness is there, but it is not a hoppy bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, thick and refreshing with just the right amount of aftertaste.

Overall: This is a great beer and my favorite out of the Beer Camp sampler. I thought I'd like this beer the least as I am not usually a huge fan of high ABV, heavy, dark beers.

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Photo of TheWhiskerReview
3.65/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Tasting sample- pours a ruby-edged black.

Nose is heavily roasted with coffee and chocolate flavors joined by a big dose of pine from the juniper. All comes together for a very cigar-like nose.

Palate is med-full bodied with a big roasted-bitter maltiness and a very sizable bitterness- flavors of cigar, leather, earth and flowers. Finish is long and trades the burnt maltiness for a little roasty-sweetness while the hop bitterness continues. The most juniper comes through here on the finish.

Wow was this one intense. It was good but I definitely wouldn't want more than one. Bitterness hits ya from all angles from the intensely roasted malt to the typical SN hoppiness, yet I wouldn't say it's out of balance. And I'm glad to see the juniper shining through which I can't say about the other juniper-infused beer I've had (NB Sahti).

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Photo of Beaver13
3.53/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle. Pours a dark black/brown with a big rocky light tan head that retains well and laces the glass.

The aroma is roasted malts with some char, some dark fruits, black licorice and some juniper and floral notes.

The flavor is roasted malts, black licorice and a little dark fruit with a big bitter finish. The mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with smooth, slightly watery, carbonation.

Overall, an interesting beer. A little too charred and unbalanced for me.

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Photo of juhl31
3.91/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

-this beer looks great. very black. i cant really get any light through it. it poured a nice tall, tan head and it has slimmed down to a good sliver the rest of the way. quality lacing to boot

-the smell isnt as big as i would hope. there is some roast in the forefront, followed by a sweet type smell and the juniper is lingering a bit in the back

-big time roast flavor. it really lingers on the palate too. the juniper flavor is quite subtle, but it works nicely with the beer, not overdone

-pretty smooth and tongue pleasing. i still have a strong bitterness feel from the roastiness

-this is a tasty beer. i have enjoyed it both bottle and tap and they are both pleasers. this is my favorite of the 4 in the beer camp pack

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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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