Thursday, June 23, 2011

#1,013 - Juniper Black Ale

Black.  Hmmmm. What can I say about "black".

Well, it can be good or bad, right?

For example, a budget operating "in the black" would be good.  A budget "in the red" would be, of course, bad news.  Just ask Greece.  

How about your little toe turning black after you accidentally smashed it into the dresser.  Bad. For sure.  (I did that once.  Damn......)

How about teacher comments in black ink?  I would consider that good.  We all know red ink isn't such a nice thing to see on a term paper you were working on for weeks...

Big, nasty black blisters (preceded by headache, fever, chills, and vomiting) that eventually break and ooze pus and blood?  Bad bad bad.  That means you are likely suffering from Bubonic Plague and you're gonna die.

Blackbirds.  Well, that depends.  Hundreds of European Starlings in your yard might be a drag.  But what about a Tri-colored Blackbird in Washington? That would be WAY COOL, especially if it happens to me in a few weeks!

So you get it now, I hope. Black. Good or bad. It could go either way depending on the circumstances.

Juniper Black Ale (#1,013) from the Sierra Nevada Brewing Company?


Things certainly started okay.  It poured nice (black, as you might guess) and looked nice.  That head was way cool, too; foamy, two fingers thick, and a nice lacing as it dwindled over minutes.  The roasted tones on the aroma were pretty fair, too.  But something was in there that I could not quite grab. It was hiding behind the chocolate.  

Once on the tongue, it fell apart.  Completely.  The acidic bitterness I was struggling with on the nose was in my face.  Juniper berries according to the brewer. I would argue that they chopped down the whole damned tree and stuffed it into the kettle. The piney resin-like tones were waaaaay too strong.  The finish was a massive dogfight between roasted malts, pine sap, and coffee.

Don't get me wrong. Juniper can have a place in beer.  Just not this one.  1 out of 5.  The folks at gave it a "B+". I am not sure how that is possible. 

This is one of the saddest beers I have had in long time.  Fortunately, I did not get a six-pack.  It was in sampler 12-pack: three bottles of four beers each. 

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