Review of Sierra Nevada Beer Camp Juniper Black Ale

15 Jul
Today I’m going to share with you my experience in tasting the Sierra Nevada Beer Camp Juniper Black Ale #16.  It’s produced by the Sierra Nevada Brewing Company ( located in Chico, California.

This is a beer from the specialty Beer Camp series, of which I have never tried, so I’m very interested in seeing what they are all about.

The commercial description had this to say about the brew:

This dark russet-colored beer has an intricate aroma of roasted malt and fruity esters, with a touch of resinous pine notes from the use of juniper berries.  The flavor is deep and complex with an upfront sweetness and flavors of dark baking chocolate, which give way to a dry finish from a mixture of hops, and a mild hint of juniper.  Juniper Black Ale is very drinkable and perfect for a cold winter night.

Let’s not wait any longer.  Let’s dive in.

The Juniper Black Ale has an ABV of 8.0% and comes in a 12 oz. bottle. 

The color was as expected.  Black with dark ruby highlights showing through the middle and along the edges of the glass.  A nice, creamy, smooth, khaki colored head stood on top of the liquid.  It had nice girth, good retention and suitable lacing.

In the nose, I first noticed a substantial, resinous hop profile that was both nice and even.  A bit piny too, I might add.  That was followed quickly by some toasted hints of coffee and chocolate.  They were not overly aggressive, but suited and melded harmoniously with the hops.  Deep in the aroma I started to notice traces of “smoke.”  That was very nice in my opinion.  A little extra boost for more complexity.  I, honestly, have never smelled of Juniper berries, so I have no idea if they were in there or not.  Nothing stood out that seemed odd or off putting, so I guess that’s good.

The taste brought out a “charred” and “burnt” flavor that I found to be quite appealing.  Well represented coffee profiles along with a chocolate chip cookie sentiment drove the flavor.  It wasn’t so much doughy, but rather like minuscule bread crust characteristics.  They kept popping up here and there.  Heck, I don’t know.  It could have just been me.  The resinous, piny hops were dished out in small, but significant stabs.  Through the middle of the drink I began to obtain a “woody” savor that helped smooth out the entire flavor profile.  In the end, only the most insignificant flavor of alcohol was detected.  Overall, it was even and well balanced I thought.

The mouthfeel was a solid and sturdy medium.  A touch chalky, but smooth, creamy and very dry.  A gentle alcohol warmth was felt on the back of the throat, however it only hung around for a few seconds.  The palate was left with convincing amounts of the other flavors though.

I must say that I thought this was a pretty darn good beer.  It totally reminded me of a Porter or Stout with the exception of the “hoppiness.”  The hops seemed to push the aroma and flavor along nicely and added a discernible twist to the coffee and chocolate malts.  I wouldn’t hesitate in recommending this beer to a friend at all.  The higher ABV would limit me to one or two during a sitting, but overall, the drinkability was very easy.  Pick it up and give it a try if you see the Beer Camp Juniper Black Ale and let me know what you thought of it.  I’m sure if I see it again, I will grab a couple of bottles.

Thanks for reading and commenting guys.  I hope everyone has a great weekend.


Score:  4.0 out of 5
Grade:  B+      


Posted by on July 15, 2011 in Country: USA, Sierra Nevada


2 responses to “Review of Sierra Nevada Beer Camp Juniper Black Ale

  1. Justin Rang

    July 15, 2011 at 10:39 pm

    I just poured me ones of these. I'd give it the same rating. Not perfect, but damn tasty.

  2. shrews824

    July 16, 2011 at 2:46 pm


    I thought it was solid for sure. Not “world class”, but definitely a nice change from the norm. Thanks for reading and commenting. Check back from time to time.



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