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 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.

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Photo of ProfessorHomer
3.46/5  rDev -12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours impressively black with a cream-colored head. Inviting. Smells, almost reeks, of hops. Taste is wildly hoppy & especially bitter. The hoppiness and bitterness lasted a looong time. Extra bitterness attributed to the Juniper berries. This is a "winter warmer"???? Past even a Black Ale, this bitter puppy tastes much more like an Imperial IPA. To tell you the truth, it is even more bitter than the Harpoon Leviathan Imperial IPA, which packs a 120 IBU wallop. My tongue was so embittered that any real malty overtones were crushed in surrender. Mouthfeel is good, nice high carbonation.

Unfortunately, I am not a hophead so I really cannot judge this beer on its hoppy/juniper merits. BUT, if you are a true hophead that worships hops, you GOTTA try this one - an extreme beer to say the least!

btw, abv = 8.0%.

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

A: Black in color, with a very thick dark tan head. Pretty impressive head on this guy.

S: Nice pine aroma, Some roasty aroma... Dark malts in there as well as some Gin scents. Probably from the Juniper.

T: Pretty big hit from the hops and juniper. Piney and earthy, with some roasted malts. Some good bitterness in the finish.

M: There is a nice creamy mouthfeel here. Medium in body, with a nice low carbonation that I think adds to the creaminess. The hop oils leave a bit of a residue in the finish.

O: Very nice overall, but it seems to tread the line between a few styles. Clean, and clearly well crafted, but not a new gold standard.

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Photo of yemenmocha
3.73/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a gorgeous black with tan head of sizable shape. Nose has a blend of citrus with roasty notes. Palate offers much the same, some delightful roastiness balanced with some floral, citrusy flavors. Creamy mouthfeel. Onwards to the finish the creaminess is nice, with a bitter aftertaste.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
4.18/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appears a dark roastd malted barley with a light tan head forming thick, the body has ruby brown highlights when held toward the light. Head leaves behind chunky bands of lacing. Aroma has herbal highlights with an earthy air of juniper additions, herbal pine mix of hops very nice smelling stuff with dark roasted malts this maybe the beer that actually makes it into produection. No offense but this kicks their Porter, and Stouts ass. Creamy dark chocolate flavor with piney/herbal hop bitterness blending together with a dry dark coffee finish. I've really enjoyed the Best of Beer Camp 2011 release this is #16 and I can't wait to see more of these exciting mixed 12 packs with different more experimental styles than their mainstream offerings. Mouthfeel finishes dry with dark malted barley bitterness, medium to fuller bodied even carbonation going on. Overall I think I said it best when I think this beer will make it into production.

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Photo of younger35
3.73/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a mix 12 pack of the Sierra Nevada Beer Camp to keep myself occupied on Sunday afternoon while watching some golf. They all look really interesting so this should be fun. Drank from my Russian River tulip.

Appearance- Pours a ridiculously pitch black with a small half finger dark tan head that looks creamy and inviting. A decent cap and super thick collar remain along with a fair amount of lacing.
Smell- Sort of a strange nose. It’s very sort of charred with an almost burnt grainy aspect that is very intense. Quite a bit of dark chocolate and even a touch of black molasses seem par for the course at this point. Then it gets strange. The juniper is surprisingly robust in the nose as there is a sort of piney earthy tone. Almost spearmint in tone as the roast and pine both match each other’s intensity quite well.
Taste- Tastes a lot like the nose sort of led me to believe but its crazy dry and I think that really accentuates the roast. Tons of dark bitter chocolate and even a touch of black licorice really do seem to dominate. The juniper is present though, just not as crazy as it seems in the nose. It’s earthy and piney and sort of adds a touch of flare to the bitter undertone of the beer. The hops are intense as well and seem elevated by the dry bitter bite of the roast.
Mouthfeel- Nice thick feel that’s pretty smooth considering the level of roast and amount of dryness. The carbonation is crisp and nice.
Drinkability- Sort of a strange duck here. The beer is uber roasty and the brash pine bitterness is a huge surprise to how the beer starts. I don’t know if I’d label this a true Black IPA but the bitterness is definitely on par with what it should be. I just feel like the roast is a little strong. Unique and fairly enjoyable.

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Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a dark brown to black color with a tan head. The aroma is heavy on the roasted malt and chocolate with some juniper and resiny pine notes mixed in. The flavor is more of the same. I get a lot of chocolate and bitter roasted malt, as well as some pine and juniper notes. Low to medium bitterness. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

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Photo of ColForbinBC
4.16/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into a pint; Beer Camp #16 Juniper Black Ale

Pours a chestnut brown with a bit of a ruby hue. A thick, two finger cap rose to fill the pint glass beautifully. A slow retreat, excellent retention and loads of lace. Can't really ask for much more in the appearance category.

Nice little nose on this guy. Semi-sweet chocolate, coffee grounds, piney hops and a bit of a bitterness from the juniper.

Pretty robust flavor profile. Roast coffee and chocolate lead the way with piney hops and juniper quickly in tow. The flavor is well matriculated; everything plays together nicely. I am enjoying this beer more and more as I work my way through it.

A medium to full body with a moderate creaminess. Could stand to be a bit smoother to reach perfection, but this is pretty damn good. A nice roasty/bitter finish from the coffee, juniper and hops.

Overall, I really liked this beer. I have had a handful of black ales in my day, and this has quickly lept into the pole position. I enjoyed this more and more with every sip.

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Photo of bsp77
3.93/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Best of Beer Camp #16: Juniper Black Ale

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Nonic Imperial Pint. Bottled on 1098 (April 8, 2011)

Appearance: Near black with a garnet hue. Nice tan head that leaves lacing lines down the glass.

Smell: Chocolate, coffee, spicy hops and a light gin-like character.

Taste: Roasted backbone of semi-sweet chocolate and coffee. Finish is piney and spicy with a long juniper aftertaste reminiscent of a gin and tonic.

Feel: Smooth, somewhat full body with low carbonation. Oddly dry finish from the juniper.

Overall: While pretty good overall, I am going to go old school and rate this metric on drinkability. While interesting, the juniper is more of a distraction than an asset, especially on the aftertaste. Still, must give some credit for this experiment, which some may enjoy immensely.

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Photo of jera1350
4.2/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Black in color with a chocolatey colored head that is very creamy looking and quite substantial.

The nose is full of chocolate followed with notes of Kahlua, juniper berry and citrus. Smells like one hell of a Black IPA to me. Can't wait to dig in!

Black IPA indeed, and a potent one at that. Big chocolate and coffee malt flavor up front. The juniper is noticeable behind the bitter and piney hop bill. The chocolate malt is probably adding some bittersweet chocolate bitterness as well. This has a really big flavor profile though and I like it.

Creamy, creamy, creamy and soft carbonation. Just a pleasure for the palate. The finish is extremely dry and quite clean. Medium bodied.

Drinkability is pretty high. This is really a top notch Black IPA. It's not shy on flavor anywhere. Kind of reminds me of Stone SSR, but even more flavor forward. This Beer Camp Sampler Pack is really doing the trick for me. Some of these beers need to be made yearly in my opinion.

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Photo of happy4hoppybeer
4.14/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours into pint glass an amazing opaque pitch-black,with an exceptional creamy,bubbly light-brownish/tan head about a half-finger thick,leaving an impressive thick and sticky tan lacing.

My nose detects roasted/toasted malted barley,some toffee, and maybe some cocoa. Subdued, and not heavy,but detectable. A little too light on the nose.

Roasted malts and cocoa are most noticeable on the tongue,with a nice faint grassy,subdued hops background.Noticeable hop bitterness lingering afterwards. The 8.0% ABV is fairly well hidden/restrained, light carbonation,body is medium,maybe a little thin.

Very good, as always SN has yet to unimpress me. Tasty, very good for cold nights, yet fairly easy to drink on hot summer days/nights as well. Recommended.

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Photo of JCaweinstein
4.25/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Tasted out of the Sierra Nevada Beer Camp 12 pack, 2011 edition. Poured into a snifter.
Look: Pours black w/ a tan one-finger head which dissipated rather quickly. Not much lacing left along the glass.

Smell: It smells like chocolate, the cocoa kind that came in the metal containers that I mixed with my milk as a kid. I'm also picking up a piney aroma which I'm assuming is coming from the juniper berries. This is secondary to the chocolate.

Taste: Sweet chocolate, piney and resinous from both hops and juniper berries. Like the smell the chocolate is the dominant flavor.

Mouthfeel: This is a medium bodied beer that is has a very bold flavor. There is a bitter after taste which I truly enjoy when having beers that focus on hops. Again, I think with this beer it's not the hops but the juniper berries. Either way I like the bitter aftertaste.

Overall: I really like this beer and would buy it as a standalone. I'm not sure if I would buy another Beercamp 12 pack at around $20 to get just three more of these however. Drinkability is there especially when looking for a beer with bold flavors.

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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.

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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 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 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 rand
3.83/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served at Toronado SD, aged one year

From tap to tulip glass

The beer pours a jet black with a small, wispy,  mocha-colored head that leaves patches of lacing as it slowly recedes.  Sweetened chocolate is the first aroma noticed, some berry juice right behind.  A touch of leafy  hops linger in the background, as alcohol rounds the bouquet. Alcohol is distict but light for the ABV.

The taste is again chocolate-forward, but malty sweetness that wasn't in the nose swirls the palate.  Toffee is noted. The beer has a strangely light complexion, almost like a porter, which again was surprising given the abv, and the carbonation is just about right to wash the sweet residue.

A light, indistinguishable berry-tartness is apparent mid-sip, and with the alcohol it almost tastes like the ale was finished with a splash of gin. Finishes warm and sweet.

Toronado had this keg sitting around for a year, and judging from the other reviews here, age has served it well.  The sharp juniper aspects have mellowed, leaving the chocolate and malty sweetness to become prominent, the flavor profile rounded.  

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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 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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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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