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 david18
3.42/5  rDev -13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I'm a little confused about this. The BA list of Beer Camp ales has a beer called India Ink as the one the join the other three in my mix case (Weizenboch, DIPA and California Commons) but my case has three bottles of the Juniper Black Ale. Anyway, I liked this beer but I didn't love it.

The color was a dark black with a pretty light colored head that faded away pretty quickly.

Aroma had some spice in it (I guess the juniper) along with a dark fruity malt character. Overall a nice smelling beer.

Flavor was a bit disappointing. Not a whole lot going on anywhere and a little thin and flat on the tongue.

Overall an ok but not great beer. I'm very curious to try the India Ink sometime. Not sure what the deal is.

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Photo of Natural510
4.08/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle from Summer Camp mixed sampler.

Pours a charcoal black with very thick brown foam which takes ages to dissipate.

Deep-roasted malt and bitter cocoa to the nose, with a fruity tinge which must account for the juniper berries.

Burnt malt, dark chocolate, tart berry and bitter pine-cone hops make up the bulk of the flavor. Unique combination, as are all black-IPA style ales (which I consider this).

Full, thick in body; bitter and extra-dry/astringent in the finish. No weakness there.

Good for what it is: heavy, dark and blistering without the balancing sweetness you'll find in a stout. Not for the weak-hearted.

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Photo of Eriktheipaman
4.3/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I would call this beer a "Black IPA" and not a Winter Warmer.

Poured solid black all the way through. Nice khaki head.

The smell is of fresh hops and to me smells like one of those chocolate oranges.

The taste is of roasted chocolate goodness with a pretty bitter front. The bitterness must also come from the juniper it is slightly different than your usual hop bitterness.

Loved this beer!

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

12oz bottle from the 2011 Best of Beer Camp mix pack served in a glass beer mug.

L - black with a beige head that thinned out but still left a nice thin sheet of lacing behind.

S - roasted malt with a hint of smoke.

T - roasted malt taste upfront with the Juniper making itself known before returning to a mostly roasted/smoked taste.

F - medium bodied with mild carbonation.

O - a good beer.

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Photo of Jmamay22
4.1/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This ale is very much black as the name implies. It is as dark as some of the most intimidating imperial stouts and a big fluffy mocha head tops it all off. There is a wonderful roasted malt scent with piney juniper. The juniper is subtle rather than slapping you up the face overemphasizing the beer.

Taste is very stout like with roasted malts, hints of dark sugar and coffee. The juniper again lurks in the background providing an enjoyable twist and fresh viewpoint to this ale. There's a heavier slightly creamy texture to the mouthfeel. Overall an enjoyable and unique ale without losing touch with being a beer.

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Photo of wagenvolks
4.1/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle from the Sierra Nevada Beer Camp #16.

Cola color while pouring, but Juniper Black Ale sits in the glass with a coffee body that nears jet black. A decent head slowly settles to a mottled cap of sticky tan foam. Great aroma, with toasty bread crust and dark chocolate from the malts, backed by an earthy floral note thanks to the Juniper and hops. Gingerbread, licorice, and caramel round out the profile.

This beer struck me as more of a CDA/Stout hybrid than a Winter Warmer. Hoppy bitterness up front with a roasty finish of dark chocolate malts and coffee. A nice vanilla-mocha sweetness in the middle keeps things in check. Juniper plays second fiddle, but adds a twang to the back of the palate that's both unique and tasty. Mouthfeel is full-bodied and nicely carbonated with a viscous, sticky, bitter finish. All in all, a great showing and one of the best varieties from the Beer Camp 12-pack.

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Photo of MrOH
4.12/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Black with a two finger dark tan, purple tinged head. Great retention and lacing.

Chocolate and a touch of juniper in the nose.

Comes on like a porter, finishes like a ginny pale ale. Nice chocolate and dark caramel at first, then dries to a hoppy, juniper-y finish. Lots of spice and pine.

Medium bodied, decent carbonation keeps things lively.

Pretty dang awesome. Would love to have this in late fall/early winter to go with red meat game meals.

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Photo of busterthecat
3.4/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Picked up the Beer Camp 12 pack first time I saw it.
Poured into SA perfect pint glass.

A- Pours a rich brown hue, a big foamy mocha head forms. Beer sits black in glass. Head resides to a nice filmy & rocky mix that leaves good lacing.

S- Nice wiff of roasted dark malt, bittersweet chocolate. Mostly cocoa in nose, some very slight pine in background. The smell is dark but light in body. Smells like a single chocolate stout.

T- A quick smooth roasted malt taste upfront that transitions into a irish stout tanginess. Caramel, some toffee, cocoa nibs first. Some mild bitterness, but more metallic tang. Rather basic.

M- Medium-light bodied, rather wet which only sightly dries. This is a good tongue twister. The semi-bitter tangy feel resides on tongue for a while. Some chocolate in finish. Quite light for how the color would indicate.

O- A very nice sessionable brew. Nice and easy to drink. I would like some more body. A good beer to try.

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Photo of soughtbygod
3.42/5  rDev -13%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

First off dont mind me saying that aquiring this beer means that you have to have a job. This beer comes in a 12pack of 3other sierra nevada camp beers. They wanted $45 for the 12 pack that is crazy.

Now that I got that out of the way and I am $45 more broke let me tell you this beer was pretty good. it had a 1finger light tan head. The beer was black in color. the juniper pine flavor really pulled through the bitter chocolate accents. and left a lasting bitterness on the tongue. I would try this again if it was a cheaper 6pack.

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

Out of the Beer Camp pack. Pours a near black color with brown edges. The tan head is small but dense and leavings some lacing on the glass.

The aroma is of roasted malt, wet wood, caramel and a sour berry from the juniper. The aroma is nice but its not very pronounced.

The taste starts off with roasted malt, light coffee and a resiny hop bitterness. There are some earthy wood flavors as well as the sour juniper. The juniper is subtle, its not going to make you think your drinking gin. Though with the hop profile you do get a sense of a sprucy forest. There is some caramel sweetness but it barely pops through. This reminds me of an earthy bitter porter.

Full bodied with soft to tingly carbonation. Pretty bitter throughout with hints of sweetness to balance. This is quite bitter, lingers a bit too long.

Overall, I like this beer. It has good earthy flavors. However, the lingering bitterness takes the drinkability down a notch.

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Photo of Vdubb86
3.65/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in a pint glass

Thanks to TMoney2951 for sharing all of his summer pack with us.

Well this beer isn't a Black IPA, or even a winter warmer as classified here. It's like a dark sahti. The body is a blackened amber color with a decent sandy foam on the surface. The aroma was kinda weird. I imagine the herbal smell to be the juniper. The taste actually tasted like biting into some juniper branches. There was a bark like taste along with the herbal almost minty flavor of the body. There was roasted malt of coarse. While this beer wasn't bad, it just doesn't do it for me. The mouthfeel suffered from the herbal cutting taste. Overall, it wasn't bad, but I'm truly indifferent to this beer.

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

pours pitch black, yet thin, with a huge light khaki head that forces the beer to be poured in stages, as it slowly recedes and laces in chunks.

roasty, hoppy, herbal, sweet, spicy. a weird combination, but it smells pretty good.

starts herbal/spicy (juniper?) with a good amount of roasted malts followed by some piney hops. a considerable sweetness balances things nicely.

almost medium bodied with just enough carbonation with a bittersweet finish.

pretty impressive. unique, yet not weird. very good brew that could seamlessly enter their regular rotation.

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Photo of Dan3279
3.53/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is the the third bottle I have had out of the summer camp mix. I have only had one other winter warmer beer so combined with the added element of the juniper I didn't know what to expect.

Poured the 12oz bottle into a snifter glass to find a nice deep black body with a tan colored head that left a little lacing. The aroma had notes of malts, chocolate and dried fruits. The flavor was very good the chocolate hits you upfront, then with the malts in the middle and the juniper and some bitterness at the end. I was honestly expecting the juniper to stand out more but to me the flavor was more hidden than I expected.

The mouthfeel was good, lightly carbinated and overall a smooth beer that was easy and enjoyable to drink.

Overall it was a good beer and I would drink it again give the opportunity but I would not actively search for it.

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

I was expecting another Cascadian/Black IPA, a style that, so far, hasn't blown me away. I was pleasantly surprised to find that this beer makes to pretense toward that style - more of a well hopped, robust porter sort of creation. The juniper was not at all pronounced, but there is a background spicyness that is quite interesting, and the roasted malt has an interesting complexity.

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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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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