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.

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Ratings: 534 |  Reviews: 369
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.
Beer rating: 3.93 out of 5 with 534 ratings