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Bitter American - 21st Amendment Brewery

Not Rated.
Bitter AmericanBitter American

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

355 Reviews
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 355
Hads: 1,256
Avg: 3.9
pDev: 11.79%
Wants: 50
Gots: 123 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
21st Amendment Brewery visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Pale Ale (APA) |  4.40% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 01-16-2007

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

This American session ale packs a lot of hop and malt flavor into a refreshingly lower-alcohol brew, making it the perfect beer to have on hand when you have a little history to make.

42 IBU
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 355 | Hads: 1,256
Photo of AwYeh
2.43/5  rDev -37.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

12oz can poured into tulip pint glass; canned on January 15th. Thanks to Jesse13713 for this one.

A: Pours an almost crystal-clear amber-copper with three fingers of frothy, foamy white head, good retention, and great lacing.

S: Lots of citrus hops, a bit of must, and a solid backbone of caramel malts. (It's hard not to devalue this after my experiences with the beer's other categories, but since this was an unbiased reviewing of smell, I'll leave it.)

T: Despite the excitement the smell had built up to this point, my mouth is greeted by a light bitterness and a long, lingering metallic finish. Just a flash of malty sweetness before that finish kicks in, but only if you're looking for it. Something about the taste of this reminds me of the sickening flavor of poppy tea (if you've ever had it, you almost certainly know how disgusting it is).

M: Thin-bodied, with light carbonation and not much texture at all. Thin is the best word to describe this, and it doesn't leave much impression beyond that.

D: Well, it goes down easily, but I don't know that I am too interested in having it again. This glass may be finished slowly.

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Photo of MNAle
2.68/5  rDev -31.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Pours pale, cloudy orange color. White head that fades relatively quickly. Moderate, disconnected lacing. Citrus in the aroma, otherwise faint. Some visible carbonation but not excessive. Thin, but sweet malt initial taste with bitter hops next, and lingering in the aftertaste. The aftertaste is a bit unpleasant and faintly fruity. Not much mouth feel - thin. Not well balanced; the overall impression is thin, watery and hopped. Not very impressive. Even though the brewer calls this a pale ale, with "bitter" in the name, I was expecting better balance, more malt, not watery citrus. Disappointing.

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Photo of Urk1127
2.85/5  rDev -26.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Poured into tumbler. Finger of head. Dark cloudy orange. Smell is fruity, citrus. And bold strong malts. Taste is a little bit bitter and hoppy and a lot of malt. Medium feel. I don't really like IPAs or APAs and it was no different although I keep getting them.

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Photo of popery
2.92/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

From notes 3/11/11. Pours a transparent darkened amber, approximately tangelo, with a puffy white head that dissipates a bit quickly. Aroma is bright citrus hops with some lightly sweet caramel malt. A bit floral. Taste seems a tad off. The hop notes seem kinda soapy and mostly just provide bland bitterness with a touch of citrus. The malt flavor isn’t bad but kinda uninspired and largely hidden by the hoppiness. Mouthfeel starts sudsy but grows watery. Unfortunately, it doesn’t really drink bigger than its abv, which is my standard measure for lower abv beers. This just tastes like a weak APA, though not a bad one.

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Photo of marcpal
2.93/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

On tap at SF brewpub, poured into pint glass. Another I did not like on my way to the fine DIPA they had on tap.

One word for this: Dull. Boring would work too.

A: Light yellow copper color with a modest head and considerable lacing. It looks the part.

S: Bitter and awfully hoppy with nothing else to offer. A weird off putting type hops.

T: Not so much a bitter, too much citrus. Spicy tingling bitterness that again, did not bring anything else to the dance floor. This one appeared to be phoned in.

M: Light body with far too much bubbly. Felt like the burping kid in Willy Wonka after each sip.

D: Light, easy to drink but little flavor other than bland hops. Paired pretty good with the steamers but can be easily destroyed by other flavors or better beers on their lineup.

I feel like I am being harsh but just want to be honest.

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Photo of illidurit
2.94/5  rDev -24.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the brewpub. Dark gold color with a creamy tan head. Good lacing. Aroma is C-hops galore, a total mockery of the style. Flavor is mostly Cascade citrus hops with some mild toffee. Slight bitterness. Tastes like an American Pale Ale. Appreciable robustness for such low alcohol. Completely over-Americanized and over-hopped. I don't dislike the beer, but they ought to call it what it is: an APA.

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Photo of malprep
2.94/5  rDev -24.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

A - There is a nice appearance to the Bitter American. Head is a little soft and it seemed to be over carbonated.

S - I liked the smell. Nice bold hop scent.

T - Playing off of the over carbonation - little to carbonated for my liking.

M - Light on the mouth. Flavorful. The bold malt and hops had a good taste to it.

O - Bitter American was okay. I enjoyed the purchase but would have like to see it less carbonated allowing the boldness of the hops to come out.

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Photo of HomeGrownThirst
3/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

At 42 IBU, this American pale ale has a nice balance of bitter hops and grainy malt. It has a long bitter aftertaste. Bitter American comes in a can, a feature becoming more popular with some microbreweries. It is the reviewer's opinion that while this does not negatively affect the quality of the beer, one should transfer to glass for serving. (Unless of course the pool does not allow glass!) Overall, this is a quality beer even though it would not make my list of lifetime favorites.

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Photo of Bouleboubier
3.03/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Is this a bitter or an IPA? The bar where I had it seemed to think the latter. I'm not so sure myself.

Didn't pour with much head, but packed some surprising fizz. Bland, clean, light-copper color.

Wet metal and hop aroma. Mildly malty sweetness in the nose and palate. Could swear I was getting a good bit of rye in the flavor as well.

The jury is out as to how honest the attempt was to brew this is to style. Naturally, there'll be a spin on it. It does maintain a feel and body somewhere in the neighborhood of a British ale. I didn't, however, encounter any bitters nearly as hoppy in the UK. Even by British IPA standards, the hops are a little much from start to finish, which I believe foiled the effort.

Just a strange (off-)balance of bold (dry-)hopping covering up (what might actually be) a (enjoyably) mild taste that slides off into a ghostly finish (the low ABV is certainly noticeable, and true to style)... Queer brew. Didn't offend, but sure didn't impress.

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Photo of Derranged
3.03/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

From notes. Poured from a 12 ounce can into a standard pint glass.

A- Pours an amber color with a big white head. Lots of tiny bubbles in this.

S- Strong smell of hops with some malts and faint citrusy aroma lingering.

T- Strong hops bitterness which dominated over everything else. There was a malty citrusy sweet taste to it in the background. However latter flavors mentioned were not strong in fact this beer was a little watery.

M- Thin and very carbonated.

O- Not really impressed with this one. This is the blandest APA I've had, even more so than Porkslap. An easy drinker nonetheless, inoffensive if you like hops.

Oddly enough this had some similar characteristics to Abita Purple Haze, in that it was bland, super carbonated, low abv, similar color and had lots of bubbles.

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Photo of MaltsOfGlory
3.04/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance is very clear, not a cloudy IPA at all, looks kinda like an amber really, still has some IPA orange in it though. The head is about one and a half fingers, it dissipates very quickly though, looks like it's leaving good lacing though. Super hoppy on the smell, very hoppy for only a 4.40% IPA, it smells like a legit IPA. Maybe picking up hints of pine on this as well. Oh man, taste is unbelievably disappointing, very very little flavor here. Wow, this might be the weakest "IPA" I have ever had. I mean this just tastes like half a bottle of an IPA mixed with a half a bottle of water. The taste really just sucks, tastes like water mixed with a tiny bit of hops. The smell and the taste are completely on the other site of the spectrum from each other. I would think the drinkability would be somewhat high due to the water aspect, but it actually makes it taste pretty gross. Disappointing beer here.

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Photo of h00kwurm
3.13/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Canned: 01-05-2012 (from bottom stamp)
Opened: 03-05-2012

Poured from a 12oz can into a regular pint glass.

A: 1-fingered wispy white head with decent retention. The color is a clear golden amber with a slight shading of orange.

S: fruity hops, citrus and floral essences are detected.

T: slightly metallic flavor with flat hops, carmel malt flavoring
underlying. lacks robustness but still enjoyable. Flavor decays quickly
increasing drinkability (it's dry). I'm not sure if the metallic taste is a result
of the can, but it must be said I have not had this issue with 21st
amendments Brew Free or Die IPA (which is excellent).

M: moderate carbonation, which in some ways detracts from the hops but
brings out the malt.

O: this is a good beer. its lack of intensity in hops, alcohol, and
carbonation make it perfect for relaxing outside. As a result, it lends
itself well to an introduction to good beers for those ignorant
InBev/MillerCoors drinker friends some of us may have.

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Photo of FosterJM
3.15/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

1545th Review on BA
Can to Firestone Walker Snifter

Canned 5/07/12
Purchased from Total Wine, Sacramento, CA for $1.99

App- A bit of a clearer yellow with some radiating highlights of gold. A small capped head that was about 1/2" in size and faded quickly. Some nice cling and lace but nothing special.

Smell- A small pale ale with a bit more hops added to it. I think was suffering from being almost 5 months old. A bit of a loss on the aromatics. Was a bit small and a bit musty as well.

Taste- Not a lot going on in this glass for me. It was a bit of an awkward balance of the malts and hops and even had some grassy/soapy flavors behind it. Not sure if its the age or if its the intended flavor to be more of an American bitter?

Mouth- A bit lite for me and lacking some balance. It was a lighter medium body with a lighter carbonation. Residual flavors of grass, hops, bitter, soap.

Drink- Meh. I mainly got this one because I cant get 21st in So. Cal. Way to go me on a single can.

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Photo of nickthetick
3.18/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: pours a clear amber gold with about two fingers of off white head that slowly dissipates and leaves a fair bit of lacing.

S: crisp light orange hops and sweet light malts.

T: light orange hop flavors. Biscuity and a little sweet.

MF: medium body and a tad watered down, the flavor could be a little more pronounced.

O: a slightly above average beer, for the price it won't be seeing the inside of my fridge real soon.

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Photo of cbutova
3.18/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

21st Amendment is releasing some nice looking cans these days, I hope this tastes as nice as it looks.

A- Amber body with a nice frothy head of substantial size. Good retention makes this a pretty beer to look at. Very nice coat and rings of lace.

S- A blast of hops release from the can upon opening. Pouring it allows nice hints of citrus, tropical fruit, pine and floral hops to escape from the beer. A very nice hop profile with just a bit of malt and bread below it. It sure does fade fast once I start to actually drink the beer.

T- Hops shine here but not as much as the aroma. Pine pretty much takes over with big floral hints right behind it. Malt, dark fruit and bread become bigger here balancing out the beer a bit. Some hoppy fruit notes. An off-flavor of tin kicks in but does not ruin the beer completely.

MF- Somewhat creamy feel to an overall light body. High carbonation and a pretty substantial bitterness.

DB- The aroma, at first, had me very excited. After a few sips the beer developed a metallic flavor that didn't ruin the beer but did take away from it. It somehow ended up tasting old but it started off super fresh, very odd experience.

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Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.18/5  rDev -18.5%

12 oz can into a wine glass.

Appearance: Pours a cloudy amber color. The head is two fingers high, with a shade barely off-white. Retention is somewhat low, and the texture is a bit rough. However, it does leave behind a good amount of lacing behind. (3.5)

Smell: Grapefruit-laden hops and sweet caramel malts comprise the majority of the aroma. Touches of herbal, piny notes also come through. But come to think about it, it does a good impersonation of a standard 6% pale ale - even if it's a standard issue aroma, managing to come across larger than it really is gives it bonus points. (3.5)

Taste: The flavor profile is more in line with its actual gravity. Grapefruit and pine open it up, while some maltiness finishes it off. Holy crap, not only does the nose impersonate a bigger pale ale, the flavor also has the excessive crystal malt presence most standard pales do! I jest, I jest. This one is alright. (3)

Mouthfeel: Somewhat light and dry, but there's also some lingering sweetness which seems to beef up its body. There's also a huge amount of carbonation which is honestly distracting. (3)

Overall: This really tastes like a regular 6% pale ale - the grapefruit hops, the crystal malt sweetness, everything! It's fairly standard, but the lower ABV makes this solid for session duty. (3.25)

3.18/5: Nothing too special, but gets the job done as a session ale

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Photo of gpogo
3.19/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

A- Cloudy orange body with lots of carbonation. Small white foam cap and a light lacing.

A- Sweet bitterness. Orange and a touch of pine.

T- Sweet lightly sour plain malt flavor. Kindof empty. Constant bitterness, but not unpleasant.

M- Light body, moderate-high carbonation.

D- Quite an enjoyable session beer. Taste and aroma are far from amazing, but it is a decent brew.

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Photo of facundoCNB
3.21/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - transparent copper color, constant carbonation going straight through the middle of the glass, constant 1/2" of head throughout

S - copious amounts of hops, you can definitely smell the bittering hops, slight floral scents as i took the first sip

T - a little on the sweet malty side with a nice amount of slight bitterness

M - very easy going down, nice and crisp finish

O - this is a pretty good ale with slight complexion, which makes it the perfect beer for a lazy sunday afternoon.

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Photo of ghengisflan
3.26/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Appearance: Pours a nice thick white head. Beer itself is a fairly cloudy but light honey blonde.

Smell: Citrus-ey hops are very prominent on first whiff.

Taste: The first sip is malty, but as you keep drinking there is a cumulative bitterness with a grassier hop flavor than the smell would indicate.

Mouthfeel: It has a pretty average body for an ale: Not too light or heavy.

Overall: A good beer, maybe a little too bitter for my taste. If that's what you like, give it a try.

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Photo of KeefD
3.28/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a light amber color with a huge head that stuck around forever, leaving decent lacing on the glass. I could smell the citrusy hops as I was pouring it from the can, but upon closer examination the hops seems much more piney/herbal. Not a lot of sweetness coming through in the nose. Taste is pretty much what the aroma indicates. Nice hoppiness, but not overly bitter. Malts are dry and crisp, with only a hint of breadiness coming through. I actually could go for a little more sweetness/body in this beer to balance out the herbal/piney hops. Not a bad beer, definitely drinkable, but again, needs some more malt/body to even things out.

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Photo of timmylange
3.28/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Canned 1/26/13
A: translucent, warm orange hue, thick foamy head
S: fresh hops, slight citrus scent
T: low hop, bitterness
M: dense, sharp carbonation but not fizzy, dry, very slight warming sensation
O: flavorful but simple, great beer for a picnic or after a cold shower on a hot summer day

21st Amendment beers are usually complex and flavorful with a bold taste. This beer however deviates but yet has that signature quality of 21st Amendment. I have not yet found a disappointing beer from this brewery.

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Photo of srandycarter
3.28/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Nice, fairly clear copper, good solid white head, slow to leave. Lots of cling.

S - Medium dollop of malt, hops circle around it.

T - Thin on the malt. The hops are kind of tinny against the watery malt.

M - Light body,good carb, twang at end not completely pleasant.

D - Easy to drink and low ABV.

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Photo of DefenCorps
3.3/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Single from the Village Pump for $1.99. With only 9 reviews in January, I've been slacking, and the $12 I spent there today should get me 5 quick ones. Canned on the 12th of December

A clear amber with a dense, off-white head with pretty excellent retention and lacing, this is a good looking beer. The nose is solid. Bright, fresh and fruity with a blend of Simcoe tropical fruit and the dry, chalky Cascade citrus notes, there's plenty of dry hop character present. There's also a mild toffee and dry caramel malt backbone here, keeping things well-rounded. Looking at the malt bill, there's Munich (which I can't say I pick up) and Golden Promise (which I do, and immediately brings to mind the Dry Dock DIPA), and it seems well done. Nice stuff.

The palate opens with quite a bit of dry, Cascade bitterness with citrus (grapefruit) peel, with a mild herbaceous/chalky character from that hop. Despite the promise of the nose, the malt character is painfully thin, and the lack of hop resins to add to it only makes it more jarring. Watery in the mid-palate and drying on the finish with a mild toffee and butterscotch note, there's a little bit of flavor that lingers. However, it's the Cascades that rule the show here. Light in body with medium-high carbonation, this definitely does foam up in the mouth if you give it a chance. Decent stuff. I'd drink it again, but probably wouldn't buy it for myself.

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Photo of TheShaunsie
3.33/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a can into La Fin Du Monde Tulip

Appearance: Quite a beautiful copper-orange hue, with an ivory head. Thin, dainty lacing following the first sip. Looks like an enticing IPA or copper ale.

Smell: Perhaps the most admirable part of this brew. Picking up hop oil, slight pine, itty-bit of candied caramel, and after swirling several times, a bit of grapefruit and acidic citrus.

Taste: Somewhat akin to an English-Style Bitter. Hops are present, but only reveal their agenda in the finish, and it doesn't last quite as long as you think it should. You'd think by the color of the beer that it should have a bit more malt complexity, but surprisingly, there isn't much complexity to be found.

Mouthfeel: The aroma of hop oil doesn't translate to a smooth, coating mouth on the Bitter American. It feels light and skittish, never hanging around for long enough to make a decent lasting impression. Good carbonation, but it seems to dissipate any lingering flavor too quickly.

Drinkability: Despite most of the complaints, I will be finishing a few of these beers this fine, 35 degree MN evening. Perhaps it's the want of this brew to be bigger, better. Perhaps it's the tantalizing hop profile like a gal showing a bit more leg every time you cast your eyes her way. Or it could be the damned astronaut monkey on the label.

This would be a great substitute for a sporting event beer, simply because it has more character than some of the swill. They call it session beer, and rightly so. The 4.4% is perfect for exploring 3-4 cans in an evening, and it just might take you that long to really hunt down what this beer might have to offer.

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Photo of drgarage
3.37/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured out of a can.

As 21st claims, this is a pretty decent attempt at a low ABV American Pale hopped like an IPA to make something closer to a session IPA. Nice piney hops with little citrus or tropical character. Substantial head and solid carbonation. A bargain at $9 a six-pack. Worth picking up if you see it.

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Bitter American from 21st Amendment Brewery
87 out of 100 based on 355 ratings.