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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 cichief
4.03/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poure from a 12 ounce can into a fluted pint glass.

A- Pours a very dark,nearly opaque, brown-black, with an ample brown head.

S- Some hoppy freshness, pine-like.

T- Hoppy, but not floral, a bit of coffee with a little sweetness.

M- Very bubbly, a bit of CO2 burn, medium body.

D- Very drinkable, not heavy, refreshing for a dark beer.

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Photo of Durge
4.03/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A thick black-ish brown color with a healthy light brown head and a nice network of lacing. The aroma is a dark molasses malt and creamy nut with just a hint of can in there. Decent. The flavor is charcoal licorice malt with a bright herbal hop. It's very smooth, almost creamy with light carbonation, medium bodied and very drinkable. Lots of near chocolate malt and a pleasant hop overtone. At first I thought I detected some metal but that disappears quickly. I enjoyed this. Could drink quite a few and quite flavorful with stout and ipa ideas nicely blended.

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Photo of steve8robin
4.03/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Wanted to try this one for a little while. 12oz can...

A: Super dark with very faint ruby highlights around the edges when held up to the light. Super, super thick 2 inch off white head that fades at a slow pace. Very good.

S: Bitter, grassy hop scents upfront with a hint of chocolate and caramel on the backend. I get some breadiness in the middle. Good.

T: Hmm, almost tastes like a porter blended with an IPA. A creamy coffee taste upfront quickly followed by a nice blend of bitter hop, but not super bitter. Very dry brew. I get some booziness on the backend. I get some malts hidden in the back. Good.

M: Medium body with a medium carbonation. Ok.

D: This one goes down a lot easier than expected. Very good.

All in all, this is a solid brew. Glad to get to try it. Definitely good if you're looking for an interesting take on an IPA or if you're a fan of Black & Tan's. If you're looking for the straight and narrow though, don't worry about this one.

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Photo of DmanGTR
4.03/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A big thanks to BJ for the hookup!

Poured from a can into my Duvel tulip at 45°F.

Pours a dark shade of crimson, probably closer to dark brown but has glimpses of deep red in the light. A nicely formed off white/beige head that left massive mounds of froth all over the place. It's a bubble bath here! Aroma is very interesting. I gather lots of citrus aspects: grapefruit, tangerine peels, hint of lemon. Follow this with a nice honey/caramel sweetness and a touch of roasted coffee and that's your lovely bouquet right there. I must emphasize that the roastiness is just EVER so slight, you might think it's an off-aroma at first but give it a little bit to warm and let your olfaction adjust to it. Very balanced between bitter, toasty, and caramel sweetness. I was actually expecting less roast and more hops but this is quite pleasant. Much more of that coffee taste is apparent, but it works well with the citrus and honey. No alcohol heat detected at all. Moderate, yet appropriate, carbonation, touch of dryness in the finish. Medium bodied. Quite drinkable, in fact I wouldn't mind another at all! Or another after that...

Overall, I find this to be a most enjoyable beer. It brings a new perspective to how widely variable a style of beer can be and offers to blur the stylistic lines even more. If I were to describe this in terms of style, I would say that it's 80% citrusy IPA blended with 20% English porter. Thanks again, BJ!

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Photo of qthompso
4.03/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Nearly pitch black. Darker than I was expecting for a black IPA. Good pour, thin tan head with good lacing.

S: Smells like a citrusy IPA. Orange, grapefruit, grassy with roasted malts and almost a touch of something spicy.

T: Good bitterness. Smoke comes across at first. The malts are definitely well roasted with this guy. The finish is almost a sharp mild chocolate. It's probably mental but I think I can almost pick up some of the metal from the can.

M: Medium mouthfeel. Surprisingly smooth at first but it feels pretty heavily carbonated towards the finish.

D: I never would've guessed this was right around 7%. Pretty good beer. I could probably have a second one of these but might stop there. The roastiness is a bit much for a few IPAs.

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Photo of BeerDawgs
4.03/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Dark brown, not black. HUGE head and lacing on the glass. That part is impressive

S - A lot of hops in the nose. Citrus, dried fruits, tangerines.

T - Nice hoppy flavor, dark malt backbone. Very well balanced.

M - Creamy. Full bodied, very well carbonated.

O - A very good beer, but not amazing like some of the other 21st Amendment brews I have enjoyed.

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Photo of magine
4.03/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a nonic glass.

Pours a near black brew, with some ruby shined through on the edges. Tan head with massive chunky head that settles to a lace island and has great lacing throughout. Very good looking brew.

Brew smells of hops, nutty malts. Piney hops, maybe even grapefruit, nutty earth malts. Decent smell.

Brew is smooth and on medium feeling, slightly thin and carbonated. Very good flavor balance; nutty flavors, piney and fruit hops. Brew finishes a tad bit bitter and slightly dry. Has a oily resin noticed as you drink. This is a very good tasting brew.

The brew is thin enough to session like crazy. I bought a case and I am very pleased. This will be gobbled up for a nice session, at 6.8% it will catch up with you. Very good stuff. My first from 21st Amendment, certainly impressed.

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Photo of BostonTriggs
4.05/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from, awesome, 12oz can to pint glass.

Dark brown in color, around 25 or 26 SRM. Has nice amber hues in the light. Head is a light tan color. It appears to be clear, but hard to tell because of color.

The smell of this has a lot of dark malt. I also pick up orange, biscuit (a little yeasty) and some chocolate. The nicest part is the floral hops I pick up every couple of smells. It's well hidden behind the malt, but somehow balances things out nicely. There's a little bit of a smoked quality to this one.

I'm not sure why I like this beer. There's no particular flavor that wow's me with each sip, but I immediately want another one. The floral hops are hard to find in the taste, but there is a nice little bitter pop to counteract the malty sweetness and acidity. The acidity is kind of milky (not sure if that makes sense to anyone but me) and clings to the palate after each sip. It's very malty, sweet, and buttery. Oddly, it's very IPA-like at the same time. It goes from very sweet, to a big burst of acidity, and then a slightly sharp bitterness blends in with this.

The texture is rough and chalky. However, it's not viscous like I expected it to be. It's thin, just a bit thicker than an IPA. The carbonation is at about a medium level; I only really noticed it at the beginning of a sip.

I found this very drinkable for a beer with such assertive malt flavor. I found it refreshing, and I don't understand how that works. I could probably have 2 or 3 before I wanted to move on.

Overall, not too shabby. I enjoyed it both cold and warm. My big complaint is the lingering flavors it leaves on your palate. It tastes like the bitterness and acidity have mixed together and glued themselves to my palate.

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Photo of ChuckHackett
4.05/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Smooth,Malt, earthy. Slightly hopped. Very Easy Beer to drink. Even though the IBU's were at 65, it didn't taste that hoppy. I think it's a unique beer. I didn't feel like it was 6.8%ABV. It was very smooth and would think it was more in the 6.2%. It was like having a Nitro Milk Stout and a Alaskan IPA having a child.
I think there is room for the creation of the Dark IPA market. It's nice to have those earthy, full-mouthed IPA with some stout notes.
I would think that this would be at least scored in the 80's. I think there are better IPA's, but then again. Is this just an IPA?

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Photo of The-Adjunct-Hippie
4.05/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Appearance : Cola brown with 100% opacity. Popcorn colored head, 3 fingers tall. Leaves pockets of lace on the sides of the pint glass.

Smell : An exceptional aroma of both pine needles and roasted malts. Rye bread, cocoa, milk, and oat can also be nosed.

Taste : First piney, then malty, then piney again, and a final wash of cocoa malts. A fair bit of cocoa powder, toast malts, lactose, and oatmeal accompany the piney body. Some burnt brown sugar as well.

Feel : Medium bodied, yet still crisp and refreshing. Moderate carbonation props it up and finishes on a semi-dry parch.

Overall : A very nice Black IPA. These are my kinds of IPA’s. I’d gladly have this one again.

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Photo of HitokiriNate85
4.05/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Entirely black except for the slightest dark red tinge around the bottom of the glass. Frothy tan head that's breaking apart and starting to lace from the start.

S - Pithy herbal, orangey, citrus hop aroma with undertones of bread and chocolate. It's a really nice smell that's only lacking a bit in power. After taking a sip the smell reminds almost exactly of orange chocolates. Also, about halfway through the glass, it smells just like black patent grains.

T - Strong citrus rind, orangey, pithy hops lead the charge, but there's plenty of malt backbone to match. There's a breadiness to it, but chocolate really dominates. The finish is slightly roasty, but it doesn't dominate anything else. I thought bitterness might seem a little low at 65, but I think it hits the mark really well.

MF - Pretty standard for the style, leaning towards a lighter body.

D - I'm really enjoying this so far. I had sort of gotten the notion that black IPAs(or IBAs, whatever) weren't my favorite, as the grain bill and hops always seemed to clash. I love this combination, though, which is probably because it uses two of my absolute favorite hops(Columbus and Centennial).

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Photo of GarrettMD
4.05/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a deep red, almost black, not completely opaque. 2 finger off white fluffy head with great retention. Lacing is great.

S - All hops, mostly citrus, some pine comes through.

T - Nice chocolate and coffee malty taste up front, roasted malts work perfectly with the bitter hops. Slight citrus flavor, but the piney hops are the ones that come through in the taste.

M - Light bodied for the style. Good carbonation. Finish is much the same as the taste the whole way through, just slightly more bitter hops.

D - Very good drinkability. I would have probably liked a little more bitterness in the taste, but that's just me, overall a very good Black IPA, or CDA, whichever you choose to call it. Will definitely be getting again.

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Photo of SMcGuire33
4.05/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I absolutely love IPA's, drink them whenever I can, but Back in Black was my first Black IPA.

A- Lighter shade of black, maybe molasses, with a thick eggshell head.

S- Smell is of chocolate and coffee aromas. Sweet

T- The taste was actually the best part of this beer. While not as hoppy as regular IPA's, there was a nice balance between hops and malt. Chocolaty throughout with a hint of coffee, but there was also a distinct bitterness to it which was nice. A hint of citrus in the middle.

M- Decent amount of carbonation. More than your average stout which this beer is often compared to, and comparative to your average IPA.

If you're craving an IPA I don't think Back in Black is what you're looking for, but to me it is a must try for any beer enthusiast. I am an IPA diehard and I very much enjoyed it. Yes sir, I will have another.

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Photo of Metalmonk
4.06/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very thick head of rocky light tan foam, like that you'd see atop a root beer float. And the liquid is definitely black in the glass, after having poured out in a stream that was more like a glassy, oily dark brown. Some dark reddish tones are pulled out in the light. Immense lace stick, like webs of styrofoam. My god what a ridiculously good looking beer!

Nose is a roasty, toasty, even slightly burnt bit of malt. Like burnt popcorn and charred toast, with a coffee-like edge and a hint of steamed milk. Hops shine through all that darkness with a citrus-like brightness. What a contrast.

Taste: Charred/burnt malts are in control and not overpowering the palate, while a fruity, bright citrus spark flashes by, over and around the burnt stuff. It's a flavor that takes awhile to get the taste buds around, but here, in Back In Black, it very much works. It exhibits a healthy balance between two seemingly opposite poles. Dark, rough and dirty versus bright, tart and sweet.

Neither watery nor at all thick, the mouthfeel is one that is slick and slippery; round and present although subtle enough to let the delicate balance of the flavors take most of the attention. Almost reaches the creamy heights of the mighty Iniquity, but only almost. Very much does the job, is what it does.

This is my third can of this in as many days, and the first time I wasn't totally feeling it...the second go-around I started feeling more clued in to its secrets...and this third time I just totally get it. It helps that I really like this emerging style, and while this is no Iniquity, it can definitely stand as a good representation of the style.

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Photo of BEERMILER12
4.06/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Enjoy By: 01/22/15

A: Pours a near black color with 2+ fingers of tan head that very slowly fades down to a nice fluffy cap that leaves some nice lacing

S: Nice and hoppy along with a decent amount of roast up front. Hops are lightly citrusy and piney, with a bit of earthiness. Also get some dark chocolate in there, made a little sweeter from the crystal malt

T: Follows the nose. Starts off with the roasted malts and citrus and pine notes. This is followed by some mild sweetness and earthiness. Finishes with a moderate bitterness and more roast

M: Medium-full bodied with low-moderate carbonation. Very smooth, nearing on creamy

O: A very drinkable and enjoyable black IPA. Not over the top with bitterness or hops, it is extremely well balanced and does a great job getting the most out of both malt and hops. A nice surprise

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Photo of cynicgiraffe
4.07/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is my first black IPA for what it's worth. Pours opaque black. Overwhelming grapefruit in the aroma. So much so that I can't get anything else. Thin creamy head, disappears quickly but leaves lots of lacing. Taste: lots of grapefruit but some pine. Thick mouthfeel, almost like a Russian imperial. Bizarre (and has some palette dissonance) to have this palette with the hop profile. Back end has a peculiar combo of hop bitterness and stout bitterness. I love this beer. Well balanced. I would drink this any time. Awesome.

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Photo of TangTKE402
4.07/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Poured form a 12oz. can into a pint glass. Pitch-black in color with a reddish hue on the outskirts of the glass. A thick, creamy, 1-finger ecru head emerged, lingered for about a minute, then dissolved into a thin veneer left on the surface of the beer. Some thin, wispy lacing.

S: Deep, rich notes of wet wood, toasted caramel malt, rich hops, chocolate, molasses, pine tar, and some slight citrus rind.

T: Dark toasted-malt notes up-front, with a rich, molasses middle, and a bone-dry finish. The flavor profile is consisted throughout, if a touch thin. Notes of grass, chocolate malt, burnt molasses, earth, and pine. A nicely balanced, hoppy-enough winter beer.

M: The mouthfeel comes in slightly lacking, with a silky presence that borders on watery, and a slightly chalky after-feel.

O: All-in-all this is a fine example of a good black IPA. It doesn't take many risks, but that's ok, as it has some very rewarding flavors, and is pretty much what you would expect.

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Photo of mcgwire756
4.07/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From the can into a pint glass

A friend got this from his local place in Boonton and recommended it so I tried one of his. Like it says it is a Black IPA that pours like a normal IPA. Nice lacing on the glass. It has the hoppy notes in the nose and in the taste which was a nice surprise considering the appearance. This beer is extremely drinkable and a highly recommended IPA if you are in the mood for something slightly different and a little harder to find.

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Photo of StJamesGate
4.07/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours black with garnet highlights and a loose lumpy cafe latte head that trails and rings. Straight leaf resin fresh hop flower nose - smells like hops straight off the vine. Some tar, cocoa nibs and molasses but big orange is fighting to get through and comes out in a sticky hops finish. No bitterness on the back end (65 IBUs? Where?) and tingly linger. Medium, creamy, clingy, smooth.

Hops forward for a CDA, dark malts really take a back seat. Those malts do more for the body, making this fuller than just about any IPA I've had, though it's coming off a bit thin and one note too.

Easy sipper in cans, and solid addition to the style.

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Photo of hreb
4.08/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Refrigerator cold 12oz can poured into pint glass. Beer pours dark cola brown with hints of red and a medium-thick chestnut head. Big, floral, hoppy aroma, all IPA, no dark ale (stout, brown, or porter). Serious dry hops.

Taste is simultaneously sweet, refreshing, and bitter. Subtle toasty notes, but also a solid hop bitterness (along with floral and grapefruit) all the way through. High on alcohol, but in no way out of balance with the malt and (for an American IPA) hops. Bonus: the carbonation is surprisingly light, leaving for a creamy mouthfeel that works really well with the burnt barley.

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Photo of xcrunner78
4.08/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aroma: Smell of sweet roasted caramels, a coffee bitter from the malts, and a face full of hops. I also smell a dark bitter, sort of like a porter, but with a lot more hops.

Appearance: The pour is black as midnight with a creamy head that dies down to a creamy layer that sits on top of the beer. It almost looks like a nitro-pour off of tap and the head stays in-tack to the glass with each sip.

Flavor: On the tip of the tongue, have this roasted malts, that washes back across the palate. The bitter from the malts becomes a little sour on the back of the palate. Very complex malts characteristics, rich and bready. With each sip, the hops comes out. I can taste a little grapefruit from the Columbus, but very earthy and piney and not floral at all with a dry finish.

Mouthfeel: Very full and creamy. The sour taste sits in the mouth for a while, sort of like a porter, but even better because of all of the hops.

Overall Impression: The taste that washes back of the palate lingers and lingers. Very intense hops characteristics and the complex malts will lead me to be intrigued of what else that they have brewed. I can't wait to try what other treats that they have!

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Photo of hustlesworth
4.08/5  rDev +10.9%
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.

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Photo of jbredbeard
4.08/5  rDev +10.9%
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.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
4.08/5  rDev +10.9%
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.

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Photo of StoneTSR
4.08/5  rDev +10.9%
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.

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