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Back In Black - 21st Amendment Brewery

Not Rated.
Back In BlackBack In Black

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
83
good

2,061 Ratings
THE BROS
72
okay

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,061
Reviews: 667
rAvg: 3.69
pDev: 13.55%
Wants: 49
Gots: 209 | 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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,061 | Reviews: 667 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of hustlesworth
4.08/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A- head monster. superhead. naturally this thing pours like a porter. it's black with some rosewood colored highs when held up to the light. the foam is amazing- it's big and khaki colored and unsettling an it leaves an unearthly amount of thick sticky lace behind.

S- huge aromas of mandarin orange and grapefruit, pineapple and passion fruit over a mellow smoky malt background. some burnt caramel and burnt chestnut roastiness as well with hints of lemon and lime. columbus/centennial/simcoe always a great combination.

T- tastes like a hugely hopped smoky porter. nutty and earthy, pumpernickel, burnt peanuts, charred wood, burnt grapefruit peel, burnt... everything. very nice. well balanced and well put together. hops definitely stand forward perhaps thanks to the de-bittered black malt? roasted char flavor is everywhere while roasted bitterness is nearly non-existent. some flavors of cocoa and coffee, but not in the usual sense. more of the essence of the two, so to speak. finishes woodsy and hoppy with a long piney burnt citrus and sour malt aftertaste.

MF- slightly juicy, slightly resinous, but overall more of a medicinal oily one-dimensional mediumly carbonated glass of thin hop juice. kinda boring.

D- although it looks and tastes like a hopped up porter, in truth it's more like a hopped up schwarzbier. seriously hopped up to the point where any and all malt sweetness is pretty much eradicated. hoppy and earthy, easily drinkable and handsome. black ipa is an interesting style and i have a feeling that sooner or later most breweries will take a stab at it.

Photo of frlrv1020
4.08/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of jbredbeard
4.08/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Wow. This looks like a stout but is all west coast style IPA. Very piney aroma folllows into the flavor with a medium-strong hippy bitterness that is very refreshing. Pleasantly surprised.

Photo of Georgiabeer
4.08/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours dark brown with a swirly head. Smells pretty light with some light citrusy hops, some light roastiness, and a touch of sweetness. The taste is a good deal more pronounced- this isn't a blow you away beer, but something about the nicely balanced creaminess, dry stout-like roastiness and gentle citrusy bitterness really works for me. I'm at the end of this six-pack, and this beer has really grown on me. Nicely creamy in the mouth and quite tasty. I like this better than I though I would.

Photo of StoneTSR
4.08/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Thanks to Jrod1969 for this one. What a killer extra he threw in my end of the trade!

APPEARANCE: Looks like a porter or a stout, stark black with a generous and foamy white head. As it SLOWLY faded away, the head did change color a little bit and take on a more off-white hue. The head retention was a thing of beauty and there is some lacing forming on the top of the glass already where the head dropped from. UPDATE: As the beer goes down, the lacing does not. It is really clinging to the glass all the way around and from top to bottom. This is an exceptional looking beer.

SMELL: A nice, solid traditional IPA smell - very piney, but bitter as well. It smells like there will be an impressive hop flavor. We shall see. Upon the second sniff, before the first sip and after the head had subsided a bit, a fairly strong, smoky, coffee flavor was present in addition to the hops and pine.

TASTE: The first sip was dominated by coffee. The hops seemed to be there, but only to provide a bitter aftertaste and not to provide the pine from the nose. A brief jolt of grapefruit also hits the palate with each sip. This is certainly a complex and unusual beer - a nice break from the ordinary.

MOUTHFEEL: The feel of this beer is more like that of a porter and not so much like an IPA. Very smooth and oily, but it is also drying on the way down as well. A nice feel, but I would have preferred more carbonation.

OVERALL: A lot of times something as unusual and different as a black IPA is can be too difficult for your palate to understand at first, making it tough to drink. That is not the case with the Back in Black. It is a very drinkable beer that tastes like a nice, bitter IPA and a smooth and smoky porter had a baby.

Photo of OBeerMeGreatOne
4.08/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

From notes.
Look: Pours black with deep brown around the edges. Thick tan head with huge gobs of lace.
Smell:Citrus and pine with some nice roasted malts.
Taste:Bittersweet chocolate and hops, tons of hops. Has a metallic/mineral taste in the finish that might be from the can, it isn't strong enough to be that off-putting.
Mouth: Seems to be about right for the style, maybe a little thin.
Drink: I've gone back for seconds and thirds since the review. I recommend grabbing a sixer, they'll disappear.

Photo of Natural510
4.08/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark, dark brown with thick, dense off-white head with a creamy consistency.
Tangy, bitter nose with alternating notes of roasted malt and grapefruit rind.
Dry, roasted malt with charcoal character meets a sour, tart citric hop.
Full in mouthfeel & body, this one is sturdy.
My first of the style, unlike any other "IPA" I've had. This is not only due to the roasted malt character, but the utter lack of sweetness to the ale. I like.

Photo of jmartinger
4.08/5  rDev +10.6%

Photo of WoostaBia
4.08/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of elNopalero
4.09/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From a can, picked up on a recent trip to San Francisco. As I type this I realize I realize I didn’t make note of a canned on/best by date. But I’ve had it for about three weeks at this point. Doesn’t seem like it’s suffered.

Pours black, like a darker shade of cola. To be honest, the novelty of a canned beer doesn’t hold much effect upon me, typically, but pouring this I got a kick out of it for some reason. Anyways, there’s a pleasing hop aroma that comes through on the nose. Citrus notes, tropical fruit blend, grapefruit zest and a sprinkling of pine. Tastes good, with more of the same coming through in each sip. For 65 IBUs it’s an exceptionally easy sipper. There’s a slim malt but a nice mild roast that complements the hop bitterness. Crisp and refreshing.

When I first tried this a year or so ago I wasn’t impressed but either the recipe or the batch (or my own palate) has changed for the better. Tasty!

Photo of BierJager89
4.09/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A: Pours translucent brown into black in the glass with a short, almost creamy, brown head.

S: Nutty dark malts, roasted malt, earthy coffee, sweet mango, and orange in the nose.

T: Malty, fading to floral hoppiness in the middle, finishing roasty, dark and dry.

M: Medium bodied and quite smooth.

O: Not the best of the style and, given how good the brewery is, a bit of a disappointment for someone like me (who loves the style). Recommended.

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.1/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Rich and smooth, 21st Amendment packs the strength of an IPA (6.8% alc./vol.), all of the bitterness (65 IBU's), and quite a bit of hop flavor and aroma (65 IBU's) into one really nicely balanced, chocolatey/roasty ale.

It displays a deep mahogany brown body that appears almost black in the glass beneath a creamy head of khaki. The head holds quite well, and it leaves sheets of spotted and craggy splashed walls of lace behind.

The aroma is leafy, citrusy, and floral over a base malt of dark caramel and chocolate.

In the mouth it's medium bodied and creamy with a zest of carbonation on the tongue.

The flavor delivers a combination of citrusy, floral, grassy, and leafy hops upfront atop a gently roasty and darkly caramelish malt that warms to become more chocolatey across the middle. The hops also become a bit more spicy. It finishes with a drop of dark milk chocolate rising, but that's then quickly dried as the hops become more spicy and piney.

As to drinkability, I think it's quite accessible. If you've enjoyed a strong porter and you enjoy hops, this has got you covered. It could probably be more focused, but it's still very nicely done.

Photo of GrizzlyBrew
4.1/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Black is right alright. (well, dark, dark red it seems when held up to the light) Has a beautiful tan, well-supported head that collapsed fairly quickly, but left a thin layer on top.

S - To me, it was nothing but hops, citrus hops to be exact, typical for IPA and a nice level at that. I'm not getting much roast or toast to boast, if any.

T - Hops on the front and back, roast I was expecting in the middle

M - A little light on viscosity, carbonation fairly high (which I like)

D - It's good and if you really like the roast/hops thing of DIPA's or CDA's (take your pick), this one one is definitely a sessionable one

Photo of chodinheaven
4.1/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Looks awesome considering they call it an IPA. Pitch black is a cool color anyway.

S: Smells like a light IPA, which is nice. Enjoyable aroma.

T: Tastes like a weak IPA with a stout or porter mixed in. Not a lot of bitterness, but enough to make hop heads like it. Fairly complex taste between the light bitterness and porter or stout flavor. Good beer.

M: Feels nice. Perfect carbonation level. Feels good in my mouth.

D: About as drinkable as it gets, could put back numerous Back in Black cans in a night.

Good beer thats out of a can. Love that unexpectedness. Love it when craft breweries do that.

Photo of buns
4.1/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz can from D's six pax and dogz $2.00. Pours extremely dark brown. Healthy white brown head, but quickly dissipating. Coffee toffee and american hop smell. Roasted malt taste balanced well by those wonderful citrusy hops. Neither the hops nor the roast of the malt is too bitter. It's made even more drinkable by a slight appealing sourness . Definitely true to its label. Good job.

Photo of beergod1
4.1/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The Pour is black with one finger of beige head, lasting through out. Light lacing. Nose is floral hops, pine, roasted malt, and light caramel. Taste is very similar to the nose. A nice Balance of roasted malt with the mild hop finish. Light to Medium body, makes this a beer I can drink often. And from a can, Amazing.
I had the Oscar Blues Ten Fidy from the can, and I am starting to be a believer.

Photo of BarrelO
4.1/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz can poured into a pint glass.

A: Quite black. Nice head with a lot of lacing.

S: Citrus and roastiness.

T: Intense citrus flavor. Like biting into a grapefruit. Medium bitterness. Just the slightest hint of roastiness.

M: Juicy, not sticky.

D: A very nice IPA that's incredibly easy to put down. Thumbs up.

Photo of cottonkoozie
4.1/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A - Nice thick cream colored head, some lacing, good retention. Very dark brown, reddish in light.

S - Roasted malts, toffe sweetness, and hops. Kind of reminds me of a hopped porter smell.

T - Much heavier on the hops than what I could smell. Nice bitter hops up front, and then finished with a roasted malt flavor. Taste like a well balanced apa that has been roasted. There is a slight metallic aftertaste though, other wise very good.

M - pretty heavy, but I think that's appropriate for the beer.

O - Good beer. Like I mentioned before I am getting a slightly metallic aftertaste, but otherwise this is a good beer. I think it is a good alternative for a hop head that likes a little more toasted flavor of a dark malty beer for a change. This offers a good in between balance. I would buy it again.

Photo of elgiacomo
4.1/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz canned July 2, 2010. Marked 6.8% ABV.

Pours dark brown, black in the glass with ruby highlights with a large tan head that recedes fairly quickly, leaves some short-term lace.

Aroma is quite citrusy up front, oranges and grapefruit, some floral hops, with a nice amount of roasted malt, caramel and a bit of chocolate. Decent dose of dark bread as well.

Flavor is a nicely balanced mix of hops and roasted malt. Citrus and resinous hops up front, roasted malt, chocolate, caramel in the middle, finishes with medium bitterness and a bit of sweetness. Tasty.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, smooth, low to medium carbonation, invites sip after sip.

Ahhh man what a nice Black IPA. Not as HUGE as Sublimely Self Righteous, but right there with Yakima Twilight tied for my 2nd favorite of the style that I've had so far, and it is a great value to boot. Will buy again (and again and again...)

Photo of jlandis
4.1/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Deep rich black with huge tan head that grabs the edges of the glass. I haven't had many Black IPAs, so it is still odd to see something this color and think about hops.

Fresh citrus hops right up front with a nice roasty malt background. The citrus and the roast seem to fight back and forth in my brain as I try to figure out what I'm about to drink.

OK, I'm sold. This beer is fantastic! Mild hop bitterness up front with huge citrus and grapefruit flavor and just a bit of roast in the finish. The intermingling of roasty chocolate malt and light pale malt; bitter grapefruit hops and a coca molasses all dance around together creating an amazing blended style.

Moderate creamy body with subtle carbonation.

I have only had a few Black IPAs before, but I think this one really nails the style. A perfect balance of roasted malt and bitter American citrus hops. I'm still thrown back and forth since this is a new style, but I can dig it (a reference to that fact that I'm watching "The Warriors" right now).

Photo of Act25
4.1/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Alstrom's, I always read them, but every now and then, they need to re-review a beer to do it justice. Back in Black is such a case, it's a delightful 4.0 beer.

A: Can poured into a .5l cylinder named Spaten. Results in dark walnut clear brew with large tan head, and tons of retention and lacing. A sticky cola like pour. A beauty.

S: aroma is nicely balanced between citrus, hoppy, leafy, and floral set against a malty base malt of dark caramel, chocolate and black bread.

T: Like it smells but better. Well balanced, slightly sweet, plenty hoppy, never over done. Definitely want another, definitely want to find a case.

Paired with garden tomatoes, cukes, peppers, mozz, with truffle oil and balsamic, multi grain toast points. - Perfect August dinner!

M: medium bodied, creamy with a zesty finale of carbonation and bitter on the tongue.

Overall: accessible. If you love porter and you enjoy hops, try this. Love the depth, sweetness, and originality. I don't feel this beer has lost it's way, it's just a "good herb" like its namesake home.

I 100% agree with the reviewer NeroFiddled (PA) who wrote:
"Rich and smooth, 21st Amendment packs the strength of an IPA (6.8% alc./vol.), all of the bitterness (65 IBU's), and quite a bit of hop flavor and aroma (65 IBU's) into one really nicely balanced, chocolatey/roasty ale."

When in SF, try visiting 21st Amendment!

Photo of zoso1967
4.11/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

As one might expect, Back in Black pours a slightly transparent black. When I say slightly transparent, I pretty much mean only when held up to a bright light source does it show some clean motor oil like hues around the edges. The head is a surprisingly dark tan color, creamy, and stubborn in its staying power. It leaves some pretty serious lace on the sides of my glass. This is a beautiful looking beer.

It has a pretty powerful aroma full of slightly charred roasty malts and juicy citrus hops. There is also a fair amount of chocolate, and some pleasant bready malt sweetness. Everything is well integrated, and if you smell it without concentrating hard it adds up to just one singular and tasty aroma.

The flavor strikes me as much more complex. Right off the bat it is slightly smoky and leathery. Astringent charred malt comes in next, with roasty coffee and some bitter cocoa also making an appearance. Grapfruity citrus and pine are also there. If I was to describe the hop flavor in a picture I would draw a nice juicy ruby red grapefruit hanging from a pine branch. There is also a nice biscuity malt sweetness that combats most of the bitterness of this brew.

The mouthfeel is on the fuller side of medium. This is a smooth drinking beer that has a well crafted finish. This beer is neither too dry nor sweet and the slightly sticky aftertaste is chameleon like in its nature, vacillating between roasty, malty and hoppy.

This beer is fairly drinkable, but is one of those beers that I drink slowly just to appreciate all that is going on. The India black ale is still a young style, and the different interpretations I have had are all quite different, but one thing is for sure, this is one of the better examples I have tried thus far.

Photo of velosuds
4.11/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Edit 9/4/2011:

I have now gone through about 4 more six packs since reviewing this upon the first try. I like this more than I indicated in original review (4.5/3.5/4.0/4.0/4.0). Increasing the taste to 4.5. If the aroma were a little more developed I would raise the total to about 4.25. This is my favorite Black IPA/Cascadian Dark Ale/American Black Ale available in six packs. Good value at $10.99. Great value on sale tonight at $7.99. This "style" is becoming my favorite. I know it rubs some the wrong way, but I love the creativity and innovation.

From a 12 oz. can into a clear pint glass. No freshness dating apparent. Paid $9.99 a six pack at Whole Foods in Bend, Oregon.

A-pours a ruby chestnut brown, not quite dark enough to be a black ale. Generous two-finger, fluffy, tan head slowly recedes into sticky lacing.

S-Aroma is too faint for style, but nicely balanced between dark malts and citrusy hops. Good choice of hops in Columbus, Centennial, and Simcoe, the latter two also dry hopped. I was expecting more intense aroma, but have no idea how fresh, or not this beer was.

T-Initial citrusy hops are sufficiently hoppy and bitter to be an IPA at 65 IBUs, but not overpowering since it was balanced by deep, bready and roasted malt flavors. Hops are not assertive enough in the taste, aside from the adequate bitterness.

M-Medium dry body is very smooth and well balanced. Carbonation level is very good.

O-Overall this is decent.

Photo of BeerBelcher
4.11/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thrilled to find this in Ohio; further thrilled that it is in cans! For some reason craft beer in the Columbus area seems old or abused by the time it makes its way into my hands. I had recently made a Black IPA of my own, and had heard a lot about this and wanted to see how my mine stacked up.

And they are quite different! This beer differs from other IPAs in more ways than just color. It is (of course) dark and nearly opaque, but the dark color betrays a ton of dark roast chocolate-y aroma and flavor. It is far more chocolate-y and deeply malty-sweet (like a malted milkball) than my beer turned out. This chocolate and maltiness was balanced out by a slammin' amount of citrus-y hop character. The beer is plenty hoppy, but I'd say it is skewed more towards the chocolate/malt end of the spectrum than the hoppy side of things.

Mouthfeel is pretty good...a touch thick and chalky feeling. Until I can make another BIPA, I'd buy this again.

I bought this 6-pack at Blacklick Liquor in Columbus, OH.

Photo of shand
4.12/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz can into a Sam Adams perfect pint.

Back in Black pours a deep brown color with two fingers of mocha head. The aroma is excellent, it's got a big amount of piney hops over roasted malts. The taste follows the nose, striking the formula for a black IPA right on the nose. Piney hops, roasty malts, that's all you need. The mouthfeel is lighter and well-carbonated, and the drinkability is great. It's not particularly jaw-dropping, but a perfectly tasty beer. It gets the balance just right.

Back In Black from 21st Amendment Brewery
83 out of 100 based on 2,061 ratings.