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Back In Black - 21st Amendment Brewery

Not Rated.
Back In BlackBack In Black

Educational use only; do not reuse.

684 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 684
Hads: 2,238
Avg: 3.68
pDev: 24.18%
Wants: 55
Gots: 321 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
21st Amendment Brewery visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Black Ale |  6.80% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: tpd975 on 11-23-2008

ABV varies around 7%.
65 IBU
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Back In Black Alström Bros
Reviews: 684 | Hads: 2,238
Photo of yeahnatenelson
3.28/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Thrown in as an extra by wavers1 -- what a nice guy!

Appearance -- Pours a dark burgundy brown wiht one finger of stiff tan head.

Smell -- Grapefruit, Pine sap, Smokey dark roast malt, a tinge of berry tartness.

Taste -- Grapefruit and pine up front with some earthy herbal hop character and burnt breadcrusts, red grape, tart berries, french roast coffee, .

Mouthfeel -- Medium in body with moderate prickly carbonation. It would be difficult to better the feel.

Drinkability -- Not too shabby. Hop-forwardness + big roast flavor is a pretty interesting combination. Don't think this one was my cup of tea; the berry-like sweet/tart thing threw me off a bit. This 'Black IPA' avoids the pitfalls of many of its contemporaries by showcasing bitter roast malt character instead of using debittered malt as essentially food coloring. Good on 'ya, 21st!

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Photo of Arithmeticus
3.28/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: whoa! more head than beer; as advertised, it's black
S: pleasant quaff of hops with a strange overtone of something, almost like palatable burned rubber
T: as one other reviewer noted, there is a tinny taste; perhaps it's of the can and perhaps something else; at any rate, if that overtone were not present, this would be a stellar beer, with subdued but complex hop profile and a citrus sweetness
M: about as good as any craft beer

21st A: please check out that strange taste; drinkers: enjoy with the above proviso

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Photo of cbutova
3.26/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A- Black with a huge tan head that has a nice creamy texture to it. Great head retention and some spotty of lace.

S- Light caramel and roasty malt. Hops lend a bit of fruit and earthy notes. Surprisingly a bit of alcohol too. Not much strength at all.

T- The roast and caramel malt flavors just don't work with the hops here. The hops seem out of place from the malt profile. Hops lend big pine/earthy flavor and some fruit notes. Feels a bit all over the place but still decent.

MF- Fairly thin, even for an IPA. The body doesn't work with the roast flavors very well. Somewhat watery with low-ish carbonation. Fair amount of bitters.

DB- I just don't think there is a good balance between the decent malt and hop profiles. The weak mouthfeel certainly doesn't help either. Seems like the Black IPA is one of the new trends that might not make it very far, just feels a bit... off.

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Photo of ABOWMan
3.26/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

My curiosity got the better of me and I decided to give this "interesting" take on an IPA, at try.

A: Poured a deep "cola" brown color with perfect clarity (once I held it up to a strong enough light to see through it) and my pour generated two fingers of caramel colored fine foam head. Lacing was evident and the head had great retention.

S: Roasted malt, caramel, maybe some floral hop in the background, but if so, it is very faint.

T: The flavor is mostly reminiscent of a porter. Roasted malt and caramel, but as I took a sip, I got a nasally blast of piny hops in my olfactory cavity.Really quite interesting. Not much else in the way of flavor profile, just a nicely roasted malty beer with a touch of hop.

M: Somewhat coating on your tongue from the roasted malt, not enough floral hop to create a cleansing crispness.

D: If your in the mood for a porter, this would be very drinkable. If you looking to enjoy a hoppy IPA then this ale probably won't cut it for you.

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Photo of goldbot
3.25/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

If nothing else the design of the can for this beer is plain awesome.

Pours, well, black, with thick, silky, foamy tan head that sticks around but doesn't lace as well. Resinous hops aroma; earthy pine and floral notes. Some roasted aroma lurks but is well-covered by the hops. The flavor comes on as intensely hoppy quite resinous but lacking in much depth. Some roasted malt adds dark chocolate and coffee notes. Unfortunately, the beer almost completely lacks any body. There seems to not be enough malt there to balance the resinous hops amount.

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Photo of KM_Seahawk
3.25/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

12oz can - pours a dark caramel/black color similar to cola, with 2 finger beige head with moderate lacing. The smell is roasted malt with slight coffee notes and faint earthy pine hops. The taste is like the nose, roasted malt upfront with small amount of coffee finished with mild bitter pith and semidry. Definitely hides the 6.8% alc well. Light to medium body and low to medium carbonation. Overall not bad but not mind blowing either. Nice to have if you want something a bit different and I like cans.

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Photo of Tucquan
3.25/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Had this on 2010-10-02 in Columbia, PA. This is my 200th review.

A - Dark brown with a two-finger, tan head

S - Dried plums, mild roasted grain and mild licorice.

T - Not my cup of tea. Initial sour mash followed by sour rotted fruit, metallic, meat, then dried plum sweetness and significant bitterness.

M - Light body and medium carbonation

D - I'll pass on this one.

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Photo of jjanega08
3.25/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A= The pour is a moderate dark color. Clearly transparant when held to the light and even when not it has some ruby edges on it. The head is a nice perfect two fingers high with thick rocky foam on top of it. The heads color is an off white not quite tan color.

S= Nice piney hop profile to it. Not much in the fruity hop department at all mostly just piney hops. The roasty character comes through a little in the nose but not much. A little bit of sweetness makes itself present.

T= The taste is really intense coffee flavor. More coffee than hops by far. The hops do make themselves present but not nearly as much as the coffee and roast malt. I'm a person who believes there is a difference in the CDA and a hoppy stout. This is just a hoppy stout. It doesn't have the balance it should.

M= This is actaully pretty good. Velvety and creamy.

D= Not a bad beer but I would venture out to say that it doesn't fit the style very well.

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Photo of VncentLIFE
3.25/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Leftover keg from the 21st Ammendment tasting at Sams. Welcome to Durham, 21st Ammendment!

Pours very dark brown, dark brown and mahogany hues are noticeable in light. Eggshell white head of about a half inch.

Smells light and slightly sweet. Hints of bittering hops, and lots of roasted malts. Tastes very sweet, almost adjunct sweet. Feels like BMC's attempt at a Swarzbier. Very light and sweet with hints of roast, hm Guiness Light!

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Photo of AdamBear
3.24/5  rDev -12%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

A-dark brown with a thick dark tan head

S-smells fairly hoppy with some dark roasted malts. the hops are fairly citrusy. smells more IPA than stout

T-hits the tongue with bitter hops. it slowly transitions in to dark malts of mocha and some coffee flavor. there's a matching after-taste with some hops. the flavors are there but not of high quality.

M-good creamy carbonation with a very dry finsih

O-this is almost an even mix of IPA and porter, but i find it leans more towards the more bitter porters that i've had.the flavors themselves are of medium quality. this really isn't all that enjoyable.

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Photo of russwaddell
3.24/5  rDev -12%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I am not a big American IPA fan, and I'm also not a fan of 21st Amendment's IPA. I wanted to give this a shot though, as I'm just starting to find a lot of dark IPAs and I dig the style.

a - this beer looks incredible. enormous head. creamy. really, incredibly dark. tons of lacing.
s - i'd like it stronger. hoppy, but i want more. roasty malt is there, but again i want more.
t - gets better the more i have, but i'm struggling to get any particular character from either the IPA side or the dark side. one major plus is a fantastic finish, maybe partly thanks to the decent abv. taste lingers a long time and gets more complex as it fades.
m - metallic, too thin for me. alcohol seems well hidden. maybe would do better with more bubbles.
d - i don't generally consider IPAs drinkable at all, but this one is not bad. i drank it fast, but can't say i was thinking "can't wait to get another mouthful"

In conclusion, a really well crafted beer that is maybe a work in progress. Looks awesome, I just don't think the taste backs it up. Maybe subtlety is lost on me.

addendum: awesome can and carry case.

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Photo of rfgetz
3.23/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a deep charcoal color, big poof of lightly khaki head, good retention and tons of sticky lacing. Scent is dominated by the malts - only lightly sweet, decent roast qualities with some char. The hops are quite muted in the nose, i pick up some citrus, but not much. Taste is malt forward, dry roastyness and lacking too much sweetness. The hops have gone missing as only a faint touch of citrus and grass can be found, and only if you think really hard. Maybe its like when you tell a lie so many times you being to believe it... hops are there, right? Medium bodied, quite high in carbonation and dry. Disapointing due to the lack of hop charachter.

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Photo of KeefD
3.23/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Had this on tap at Stub n Herb's. Pours a dark brown color with a light tan head. Aroma is like a little baby Darkness. Nice roastiness with huge hop presence, but on a lighter scale. Hops are nicely balanced with the roasted malts when it's cold, but becomes overly hoppy as it warms, which throws it out of balance. The last few swigs of the goblet yielded a bitter, minty, herbal hop flavor that just didn't mesh well with the dull roastiness. I would have liked more sweetness in this beer accentuate the hops, but it wasn't bad when it was cold.

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Photo of shleepy
3.23/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Served on tap at 21st Amendment brewery/restaurant on 6/18/2011 (going through older notes).

A: Black, with just a bit of amber shining through the bottom of the glass; very small, immediately dissipating head (surprisingly white, rather than brown)

S: Burned roastiness; citrusy hops.

T: Roastiness and hops create an interesting balance that results in a fruity/citrusy mid-taste and a chocolately (and not bitter) finish / aftertaste.

M: Fairly smooth, but mid-heavy body.

O: Solid, courtesy of the fruitiness in the mid-taste and relative lack of roastiness in the taste.

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Photo of MsScotch
3.22/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz can poured in to a pint glass.

Pours a dark brown with an off white head that leaves good substantial lacing.

Smells malty with a very slight hop tinge. There is an almost molasses like sweetness as well.

The sweetness comes through more in the taste backing up the strong malt backbone. The hops are present and cut through the maltiness some, but seem to get a little lost in the beginning. However, they definitely linger longer than the rest of the flavours, giving a nicely bitter aftertaste. The beer has a rather thick mouthfeel- not quite a porter but close.

Easy drinking beer, not too far to one extreme or the other.

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Photo of colforbin73
3.21/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

regarding the notion that a 3.0 is "average" -- well there is nothing average about this beer. but on a relative grading scale it falls somewhere to the back of middle -- scoring merit points for being an unusual brew, the seemingly up&coming "Black IPA." and while i am not entirely sure what a great black ipa would be, i am sure this brew is not it.

the first warning sign is the aroma -- which is "interesting," with a definite herb character (almost a juniper)... slightly medicinal. it is not really a hoppy aroma. pours a nice black with a hint of brown, a tan head foams up to about 1.5 fingers but dissipates quickly, leaving no lacing whatsoever as you drink it down.

the taste is somewhat resinous... maybe slightly burnt tasting. there is really no sweetness... i was expecting something richer and sweeter.... and the 65 IBUs, where are they? it has bitterness but it's not what you would expect. i don't hate this beer, but i find it confusing.... i "kind of" like it. (LOL -- enough to finish the 6 cans!)

when i think BLACK IPA -- i think an IPA that is richer in mouthfeel with more malt presence and earthiness. maybe... a black lager with extra hop bite. regardless, this was disappointing.

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Photo of surprenant1138
3.21/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a can into a pint glass, resulting in a large amount of slowly fading creamy tan head. I had to pause my pour in order for it to settle. This beer is a deep mohogany/black brew. Decent lacing. Aroma is light on the hops, slightly peppery. Somehow there seems to be a slight scent of citrus. Tastes malty, slightly spicy, lightly hoppy. Hints of caramel are detected. There is a slight metallic taste. Mouthfeel is of a medium body. This is not a great black IPA, but pretty decent.

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Photo of corby112
3.21/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours pitch black and completely opaque with slight mahogany edges when held to a light source and a two finger frothy, light beige head. Excellent retention, only slowly fading into a thick lasting cap that coats the glass with rings and splotches of soapy mocha lacing.

Earthy hop aroma with hints of pine needle as well as some citrus fruit notes. This is balanced by a slightly smokey, roasted malt presence. Hints of pine, grapefruit and lemon peel countered by chocolate and caramel malt, smoke, burnt toast and roasted coffee bean.

Medium bodied with a bitter, earthy hop blast up front that is contered by a roasted, smokey malt flavor mid-palate and a bitter dry finish. The hop presence is prominent with a lot of earthy pine flavor that lingers throughout. The citrus notes from the aroma are faint if there at all resulting in a mostly bitter beer that has a nice malt backbone. The malt presence is more prominent than expected for the style with an acrid, roasted/burnt presence. Hints of roasted coffee bean, burnt toast and oatmeal with hints of sweet chocolate, nut and toffee.

This beer is an interesting experiment, but for me, there's too much of a malt presence for it to be a good hop based beer(IPA, Cascade Dark Ale, Black IPA, American Dark Ale, whatever you want to call it) and too hoppy to be a malt based beer. It's not bad really just kind of all over the place with it's flavor profile.

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Photo of Treebs
3.21/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz. can served in a FFF Teku glass. Canned on 04/24/12. Thanks to danielnovak3 for the extra.

A: Pours a solid black color with some dark ruby edges. A light tan head forms on the pour and recedes to a nice bubble collar. It leaves some splotchy sheets of lace behind.

S: Some stale coffee, a little acrid in nature, with some dark chocolate malts and a little piney bite to it.

T: Some roasted malts with a bitter, hoppy bite to it. The finish is some stale coffee with some pale malts.

M: Medium bodied with a bitter, acrid bite to it. A little sharp with some medium carbonation.

O: This just tastes old. The hops have faded, the malt feel a bit plain and the coffee notes are stale.

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Photo of Snamnoum
3.2/5  rDev -13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Dark brown color near but not quite black with two fingers of tan head. Hop aroma is resigny and the malt smells nutty, toasted, and caramel. Overall though the nose is more subdued than I expected.
The beer starts off promising with some roasted malty sweetness and the first kick of oily resigny hops but the malt dies about mid way through and you're left wanting more. The finish is dry and thin. It begins round and balanced but ends acrid with the strong taste of charcoal and soot. Not very pleasant. The mouthfeel isn't remarkable either and falls somewhere between watery and oily. Also I thinks its slightly over-carbonated for the style. Overall not terrible beer but would I buy it again? No.

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Photo of burnheartsMKE
3.19/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I know this "Black IPA" has made some best of lists over the last year so I was quite excited to give this can a whirl. I cracked it open and dumped it into my favorite The Bruery tulip glass. Wow! This is a beautiful beer; khaki mousse-head topping a 12oz pitch-black ocean. I love how this looks!

Weak nose gives a trace of a peach cobbler; fruity. Pretty flat for a hopped black ale.

Great mouth-feel gives me hints of the dark malts but only teases. Sharp hop bitterness is the prominent attribute. As it warms I get a touch of dustiness that works well at hiding the bitterness at the finish, but it's the beers strongest (and only) flavor prominence.

For a beer I was so excited to try (and such a beauty to look at!) this beer is pretty disappointing. In comparison to other IBAs I've had I have to rate this at the mid-bottom.

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Photo of r0nyn
3.18/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a can into my Otter Creek nonic.

Pours a reddish dark brown hue that is almost opaque, but lets just enough light through to be translucent. There's a quarter-inch tan head that lingers for quite a while and leaves some stringy, soapy lacing. Loose streams of carbonation can be seen rising from the bottom to the top. Smell is full of floral hops with a definite citrus character, but is more subdued than I'm used to from everyday IPAs. There's a malt presence at the end as well.

Some lightish bittering from the hops to start, but like the nose, is pretty subdued. Definitely not as robust as other pale ales I've sampled. The hoppy quality gives way some sweet roasted malts that are also a bit on the toned down side. There's some mild bitterness in the ephemeral aftertaste, but that's about it. Mouthfeel is light and crisp, with a fair bit of carbonation. Finishes dry on the tongue. Bit of a chewy quality to it as well.

I had to review a beer named after my favorite AC/DC album and while it's not a bad beer, it's pretty underwhelming. Taste is a bit on the quiet side and while I'm not a big fan of big hops and bitterness, this definitely could have done well with a bit more character to it.

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Photo of jmerloni
3.18/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Great dark brown that's a bit hazy. Head is huuuge and sticky. This is a slow pourer and a very interesting take on an IPA.

S - Roasted aroma. Citrus. Smells like it has a high acidity. Hops!

T - This is just a hoppier than usual stout. Mild chocolate flavor. It's good, but nothing special, and I don't really see how it's anything like an IPA. Hoppy bitter afterbite.

M - Medium bodied. Dry finish. Highly carbonated.

D - Somewhat drinkable. I'd give it a 3.0 normally, because it's so far off from an IPA, but I appreciate the creativity here that 21st Amendment is trying to introduce...there is nothing in the book that says IPAs must not include chocaltey flavors. It does need work.

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Photo of beagle75
3.18/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz. can into a tulip glass.

A: Clear, dark brown color with two fingers of diminishing parchment-colored foam head. Light lacing remains on the glass.

S: Roasted malt, moderately intense with weak chocolatey and smoky qualities, in balance with pine, earth, and juicy green stems. A certain savory mineral quality is occasionally detected as well. As this beer warms the malt qualities associated with the smell become more intense, even turning artificial and meaty at times.

T: Begins off-dry, with dark citrus and umami followed by smoky dark rye bread and the start of some astringent bitterness. The middle features strikingly sharp mineral flavors that add to the bracingly bitter and astringent cacaphony of flavors. Whiffs of charcoal and lemon meringue pie are added to the discordant layers in the finish.

M: Thin to medium viscosity, a little insubstantial on the palate at times, with moderate carbonation.

D: This beer presents an array of flavors for the drinker to sort through, with the hope that they will find one that they like. The end result is not necessarily an extreme version of the style, but just one that struggles to be successful. Malt and yeast qualities seem the most off-center, being a bit too smoky but also bordering on being indicative of autolysis. Flavors are best early, when citrusy aromatics fill the senses aside the smoky malt. Reminiscent of Pizza Port's Warrior black IPA, although not as smoothly malt-forward as that other beer.

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Photo of alaimoa
3.18/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Pours a nice black with lots if brown head that lingers with nice lacing. Smells a bit of burnt chocolate, burnt caramel and hop resin. Taste isn't bad but thin and not too compkex, slightly too malty with a bitterness that hangs around for too long.

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Back In Black from 21st Amendment Brewery
83 out of 100 based on 684 ratings.