Sierra Nevada – Beer Camp # 16 Juniper Black Ale

Tasting: June 8, 2011
Style: Ale (Black Ale)

When I think of juniper berries — I think gin. Pretty obvious since juniper berries are the primary flavoring of gin. What may be surprising is that even though juniper berries look like berries — they are really cones from a coniferous tree (an evergreen like a pine tree). So, it wouldn’t be surprising to experience a bitter herb/pine flavoring. Sounds like a complimentary addition to an ale — doesn’t it?

Pours a dark rich brown with a nice thin but stable head. The nose is of roasted malt, alcohol (8.0% ABV) and the juniper (or pine) is subtly present. The taste continues the roasted malt like burnt toast, I get some heat from the alcohol which isn’t welcome on a 98 degree day. The bitterness isn’t that overpowering. I can’t place it as juniper and the lack of juniper signature is disappointing. I’ll call this medium bodied. They call it a black ale — I might compare it to a porter. Regardless, this isn’t bad, 85 points.

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