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 n2185
4.04/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours black with light tan head that recedes into a thin ring with a little lacing.

S: Some roasted malts at first followed by a floral, lavender-like aroma--possibly from the juniper berries? There are some orange and piny hop notes that follow. Interesting and quite good.

T: Lots of roasted malts at first with some sweet floral notes in the middle. Piny, bitter hops kick in towards the finish along with another blast of the roasted malts, giving a char and smoky finish. Slight alcohol burn as well.

M: Medium body and carbonation, this beer is fairly roasted and bitter so it's not too smooth.

O: Overall, a good beer. A little heavy on the bitter flavors for my liking, but not too bad.

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

12 oz bottle into a snifter...part of the beer camp series...was interested to try this one because a friend of mine and I tried to brew a juniper gruit style ale, which turned out well for funky cheese pairings but wasn't sessionable.

Pours a deep black with a-plenty of tan head. Excellent appearance. Aroma is malty and sweet with a good yeast profile. Balanced hops. The juniper is not especially heavy, although it is definitely there. They probably didn't want to go too far-out with this one. Good on the tongue, big sweet malt, decent depth. Deent bittering. Mouthfeel is very solid, as I've always found to be the case with this brewery. Recommended to try, although I'm not sure if I'd make it a daily drinker (which is probably good, since it's a limited release).

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Photo of rapidsequence
4.45/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Another 12 ozer from the BeerCamp mixpack.

Appearance: Basically opaque (maybe a hint of color at the edges). Nice and thick light brown head with excellent retention and trademark SN lacing.

Smell: Smoky dark chocolate and a some coffee grounds. Citrusy and pine resiny hops. Really good.

Taste: Blast of pine and citrus pith. I can convince myself that juniper is present, but I've only ever tasted it in gin. Tasty dark malt flavors of charred wood, unsweetened chocolate, and espresso don't overpower. Lasting bitterness, but excellent balance of complex flavors.

Mouthfeel: Medium feel in the mouth, dry finish and lasting flavor.

Overall: A very well done black IPA. I'd buy a six pack of this.

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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 stephens101
4.18/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The American Black Ale is a style that has slowly but surely grown on me, and SN is a bastion of consistency, so needless to say, I have greatly anticipated this brew.

A very promising thick and dark tan head tops out quickly at the rim of the pint glass, making a waste a time sitting still before turning rocky and slowly crumbling while leaving a fluffy quilt of covering and a prominent lace.

Complex and invigorating aroma consists of malts, a bit of green tea leaves, burnt sugar and distant hops. Thick, malty and syrupy taste up front with an quick infusion of oily hops and a nice hit of caramel with more burnt sugar working into the fold after a couple of sips.

Striking but not too hot down the throat with a creamy middle that keeps things from going completely wild-fire on your ass but just enough to keep the belly warm. Sticky and somewhat airy. Well carbonated goes without saying.

Anxiously awaiting my next ABA excursion and absolutely loving beer camp this summer.

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Photo of LordAdmNelson
3.81/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This was a great addition to the Beer Camp pack. Thick oily black with moderate tan head, this beer certainly looks like a black ale. Nose wasn't too great for me, as I was getting some off aromas... mildew-y aromas even... I didn't like those. I'm not sure what in the beer could make that, so I'm guessing it might be my buddy's glasses... but I don't know. Underneath, however, were some roasted malts and a bit of pine. Flavor is robust--big roasted malts followed by a swift crack of resiny hops. Juniper isn't super apparent in this beer, but I don't care. It's quite flavorful and good. Thick feel, a bit heavier than I was in the mood for actually. Overall a nice beer that I was glad to try. I would buy a 6-pack of it, if SN offered one.

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Photo of dogfishandi
4.13/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2011- the best of beer camp #16- juniper black ale

12 oz bottle at fridge temp poured into a snifter.

pours out pretty much completely opaque black with a nice thick 1 1/2 fingers of khaki colored head that eventually settled to a thin retentive layer which is easily roused by a light swirl. some sporadic sticky lace all over.

not much juniper in the aroma, maybe a slight fruitiness. mostly roasted malt mingling with pine and citrus hops. alcohol is evident, but nothing overpowering.

not a whole lot of the juniper berries at first. a slight woody/ herbal fruitiness comes in the more it warms, but the taste is mostly roasted malt with pine and citrus hops in the finish. lots of lingering bitterness in the finish as well, which im assuming some comes from the juniper berries.

medium bodied, a nice carbonation for the style. creamy and smooth feeling with a palate impacting lingering bitterness.

overall: a super drinkable beer. not super complex, but lots of hops and slight nuances of juniper make for a great beer. id buy this again if SN made it avilable on its own in 6 packs.

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

12oz. bottle served cold into a pint glass.

Very dark brown in color with good clarity evident on the pour. Head is short lived but leaves some lace behind.

Aroma is that of a good porter with nice roasty quality.

Flavor is also similar to a porter but has a much more bitter flavor from the juniper.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and well carbonated.

Overall a very good beer. It's just as bitter as a black IPA but not as hoppy. Unusual but pleasant.

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

Jet black just like a deep rich stout. Creamy tan head , again like a stout.
Thats where the similarity ends! There is not much of a bouquet to this brew, I've tried to pick up something, but really couldnt. I was waiting for the juniper aroma, there was a hint, but I anticipated more. There is also another aroma that is present, not very beer like, I cant identify it, but its ok. The taste was a bit on the thin side. On the first taste, I picked up the juniper berry. It was a wild juniper, more like what you would normally taste with gin. Slightly pungent and spicy. Throughout the sips, I just kept coming back to trying to determine what the bouquet is and I am a bit stumped. For a second, it brought me back almost 40 years ago to some of the first domestic Ales I ever tasted.

This was part of Sierra Nevada' Summer Beer Camp which is a 12 pack variety that is a most for all summer beer lovers

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

Pours a dark rootbeer color then Black in glass with the brown around the edges when held to light. Solid foamy light tan head with good lacing throughout the beer.

Dark malt up front on the nose, to a solid hop character with mild piney notes. Small hint of chocolate.

Full bodied flavor with good balance. Deep dark maltiness up front transitioning to the subtle hop character then a coffee flavor finish with a increasingly bitter aftertaste that isn't the most pleasant.

Mouthfeel is full bodied, that's creamy with low carbonation and a tad chewy.

Overall it's a good beer. It'd beer a great beer if it wasn't for the bitter aftertaste that doesn't make you instantly want another sip. The bigining and middle are fantastic. Can't wait to try more from the SN Beer Camp.

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Photo of animalchin
3.78/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a pitch black oily body with a very light tan head that retains for a good portion of time.

S - Sweet esters mixed with a coarse malty aromatic backbone upfront, followed by more earth-like features. Also picking up the pine-based sharpness of juniper.

T - Roasted and fruit-like malty characteristics at first that turns into more chocolate and bitter coffee traits. A lot more dryer overall in the taste than initially expected, but it is still a bold beer.

M - A bit thin/watery for a black ale; feels very unrefined and broken apart.

O - Been waiting to try this since hearing about the Beer Camp release. Definitely a creative take on the style, but it seems to fall short in terms of experimentation. However, I really enjoy this for what it is in itself. Hopefully SN picks this up as a regular brew in the future.

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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 Rhettroactive
4.12/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From 12oz bottle to Bruges hybrid glass on 5/24/11
*From notes

A: Dark brownie batter brown with a huge three finger head on a good pour. Lovely lacing follows.

S: Elderberries, charry toast and black vine fruit. The nose is really fantastic.

T: Black cherry, boysenberry and rich, dark, chewy malt. It's slightly smokey, with a touch of raspberry tart on the finish.

M: Reasonably thick and viscous, though it's not Ten-FIDY. The carbonation could use some taming, but it doesn't hurt the overall presentation of the beer.

O: Sierra-Nevada's Beer Camp Juniper Ale may be the best of the bunch. It's strikingly different and really tasty. I hope they consider bottling this in sixers or bombers, as I'd love to share this with friends, family and my customers on a consistant basis.

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Photo of Mit
3.78/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

a- Black as night. With a nice lasting head.

s- Slight juniper smell, roasted malts

t- Earthy, coffee notes, dark chocolate....slightly bitter...very refreshing and filling.

m- Very thick in keeping with the ABV.

O- Overall this is a great rep of the style. I'm not a huge stout/porter fan but i would have this again in a heart beat.

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

Pours black as a stout with a light brown head.

Light aroma of roasted malt with hints of juniper berries.

The taste is big on roasted malt flavors of coffee, molasses and chocolate. It's bitter, but just so. I'm not really sure I can taste the juniper, the roasted malts seem to be too strong. This isn't a criticism, though, because it still tastes quite good.

Creamy body that's almost like a milkshake. Excellent.

This is one of the best from the Beer Camp 12-pack. Seek those packs out while there still around, they are well worth it, even at $20.

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

A: dark brown but clear, beige head

S: juniper with coffee and roasted malt in the background.

T: resinous juniper flavor up front and fairly complex herbal and roasted/chocolate malt backing it up. Finish is mildly bitter and piney resinous.

M: medium body, moderate carbonation, and a bit warm especially in the finish.

O: very enjoyable, complex but balanced, there is a lot going on and the interaction between pine/roast/bitterness changes a lot as it warms in the glass.

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

An odd little offering from the Beer Camp lineup. Not bad, perhaps more refreshing that I had anticipated.

Pours a deep black with a fluffy tan head that leaves nice lacing. The aroma is strong and roasted, with coffee and chocolate and a hint of the juniper. The flavor is coffeelike, with molasses, burnt brown sugar, and a deep woody bitterness with a surprising pine top-note that I take to be the hops, which are otherwise lost behind the scorched malt. There is an additional surprise in the form of a milky sweetness on the finish, like a burned creme brule or an iced coffee made with a fantastically overroasted bean. The mouthfeel is fairly clingy and slick.

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

a: deep ebony brown in color, topped with a layer of khaki head, average retention

s: the nose features dark roasted barley char with a strong presence of dark pine resin hops, some deep burnt sugars, cocoa bean and molasses, big and brash with loads of pungent hops and a body to match - dig it

m: carbonation lively on the tongue, around moderate, body medium with a little fullness

t: quite tasty - lots of rich roast - charred barley, molasses, burnt sugars, cocoa bean, full pine and resin flavors, powerfully high acid hops put out a bitterness that starts mid-palate and grows late into the finish, lots of burnt sugar and roast flavors lingering long

o: kinda picky about black IPAs, but this one I can get down with, hefty on both the malt and hop sides of the equation, but avoiding the roasty clash found in some examples of the style

picked up as part of the beer camp mix pack

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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 KTCamm
4.12/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

Pours dark black with tan white foam. Settles out in the middle leaving foam ridges on the side. Grassy pine smell. Oily. Undercurrent of sweet malt. Taste is smooth and creamy with a light bitter hop close. Bittering grows as beer warms. Pine underlies. Solid beer.

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

Opaque black, with a 1.5-finger head and a toooon of lacing.

Smells of burnt, roasted malt and some pine.

Tastes is robust dark malt--roasted coffee and mild chocolate flavors--and a strong layer of pine that is either hops, the juniper, or both. I'm not entirely sure what juniper is supposed to taste like. But, either way, the malts are dominant here.

Mouthfeel is medium-full. Creamy, not very carbonated.

If you told me this was a hoppy Russian Imperial Stout, I'd believe you. I wouldn't call this a black IPA, but I don't think that's what it's trying to be. It's a good, strong black beer with a noticeable hop/juniper presence.

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

Pours black in color. Some dark brown hues can be see around the edges if you hold it up to a bright enough light. Nice light brown/tan head which is sticking around quite well and leaving behind some pretty good lacing to boot.

Smells a bit more hoppy than a lot of the other black Ipa's that I've had. The typical roasty notes are also present in the aroma.

Nice bitterness from the hops up front. As the hops slowly fade, the roasted flavors start to make themselves known. The hops manage to hang on enough to stay on the palate right through the finish.

I'd say the mouthfeel is sitting right around medium for the style with a moderate and appropriate carbonation level.

This is a really nice Black Ipa overall. A bit more in the way of hops than most others that I've tried, which is fine by me.

Morey's Bottom Line: Not a beer that you'll want to waste on one of your BMC's drinking buddies. This is for true BA's all the way. Cheers!

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Photo of Star80
3.7/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours out a dark "black" mahogany color with a thick tan head. Lots of lacing around the glass. Smells roasty like espresso, some liquorice and dark ripen fruits, intermingling with resinous hops. Hmm, reminds me a lot of a Russian Imperial Stout in the nose, and ahh, in the taste. So much malts and resinous hops that while I think this beer is very delicious, I am losing those piney Cascade hops and JUNIPER berries. Isn't that what this is was supposed to be about? I took a nice whiff of the bottle when I cracked it open and I got that! But now that I've poured it, it doesn't quite all come together in the same way I was hoping for....too much rich dark malt, and just too much sweet alcohol (which I would consider I slight criticism of the whole series) overpowers some of the nuances of the beer. If this was a Russian Imperial Stout I would say this hit the mark all the way, but it isn't, wasn't, was.

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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.
Beer rating: 3.93 out of 5 with 534 ratings