Sunday, July 10, 2011

Sierra Nevada - Best of Beer Camp 2011 - Juniper Black Ale

Purchased From: Harvest Fine Wines & Spirits
Serving Type: 12 oz. bottle, poured into a mug

This final ale in the Beer Camp sampler has given me the most trouble. After the first bottle I was turned off. I didn't find it revolting, but saw it coming in somewhere between a C and a C-. I had it again since first reviewing it and thought I must've been off my rocker to think it so disappointing. I'm not sure if it was the level of Juniper flavor and its interaction with the other characteristics of the beer that changed so dramatically from bottle to bottle, or my impression of it. I'm still not sure I've worked it all out, but I've arrived at a place where I'm happy with my thoughts on the beer.

The beer pours a deep mahogany, it is quite dark. The large, rich brown head has a creamy consistency and great retention. Likewise, the lacing on this beer is excellent. A roasty, coffee-like malt nose is complimentary to the pungent and piercing piney hops character, which is itself magnified by the distinct pine-like aroma of juniper.

Initially a standard-seeming Black IPA the beer is very high on its sappy and piney hop character. Juniper berries add a light tartness and some bitterness. The finish is slightly vegetal with a bitter piney hop edge and a pronounced and a lingering juniper flavor.

Final Verdict: B

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