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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

677 Reviews
THE BROS
72
okay

(Read More)
Reviews: 677
Hads: 2,200
rAvg: 3.67
pDev: 13.08%
Wants: 51
Gots: 301 | FT: 1
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: 677 | Hads: 2,200
Photo of NeroFiddled
4.1/5  rDev +11.7%
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. (1,161 characters)

Photo of GrizzlyBrew
4.1/5  rDev +11.7%
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 (628 characters)

Photo of chodinheaven
4.1/5  rDev +11.7%
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. (613 characters)

Photo of buns
4.1/5  rDev +11.7%
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. (386 characters)

Photo of beergod1
4.1/5  rDev +11.7%
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. (400 characters)

Photo of BarrelO
4.1/5  rDev +11.7%
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. (316 characters)

Photo of cottonkoozie
4.1/5  rDev +11.7%
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. (810 characters)

Photo of elgiacomo
4.1/5  rDev +11.7%
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...) (901 characters)

Photo of jlandis
4.1/5  rDev +11.7%
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). (1,015 characters)

Photo of zoso1967
4.11/5  rDev +12%
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. (1,758 characters)

Photo of velosuds
4.11/5  rDev +12%
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. (1,455 characters)

Photo of BeerBelcher
4.11/5  rDev +12%
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. (1,009 characters)

Photo of shand
4.12/5  rDev +12.3%
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. (509 characters)

Photo of LtCracker20
4.12/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours a not-quite-black deep brown body with reddish hues. A nice 2-finger tan head that falls relatively quickly to a nice thick cap. It leaves some really nice lacing.

S- Chocolate up front, espresso, coffee, caramel malts, and slight citrus hops.

T- Hops play a more up front role in the taste than in the aroma. But, still, mostly chocoloate and caramel malts are the big players here.

MF- Almost a full body with a good amount of carbonation. (453 characters)

Photo of flexabull
4.12/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed a couple of pints of this prior to the Phillies vs. Giants game today.

Pours a dark brown color with a faint white head.

Aromas are of pine, some cocoa, caramel, and burnt brown sugars.

Taste is a little sweet, creamy, and chocolate like up front. Beer then settles into a light coffee and brown sugar notes. Finish is nice and crisp and biting with an earthy hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel is full, thick, but not too heavy.

Drinkability is very good. Nice black IPA, flavorful, with a nice balance of sweet and bitter notes. (534 characters)

Photo of farrago
4.12/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Yields a big three finger head of deep tan color, quite airy, little dimpling, almost entirely microbubbles, the lacing is noticeably thick and sticks excellently. Not quite fully black liquid, more like brackish, muddy water, lots of brown with some yellow touches, plenty of floaties inside too. The nose has a gentle roast to it, coffee, cocoa, mocha and malted milk balls, brings some raisin to plum fruit too, nice floral dew, macadamia nuts, dried orange peel, requires concentration to register its complexity but it is there for the taking. Medium-bodied, at times a touch too foamy but calms down quickly, this added creamy texture helps reign in the hoppiness albeit it by no stretch gets close to greenness or bitter puckering. More dark chocolate and coffee bean than sweeter caramel or toffee, some milkiness though. The nuttiness higher here, that macadamia plus pecan and Brazil nuts. Conversely the citrus recedes yet you get more pine. Not sweet enough for raisin, stays in the plum, peach, cherry and apple range. Clings to your mouth pores, borderline oily. A very interesting as well as chuggable beer that is not worth getting pedantic about in terms of general categorization. (1,198 characters)

Photo of Ricochet
4.12/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is the first true "craft brewed" beer I've ever had from the can. I have been meaning to try Dale's , but never have. When I saw this at my "weird beers" store, I figured I'd give it a go. I took a swig from the can too, just to see.. Yep. It's what I thought. Damn good taste from a can. So, I poured and let's get to review:

A:Black. No see thru here, Poured with average head, but thick lace, sticky to the glass. Porter? Anyone? IPA! Hmmm.

S: Porter anyone? IPA! Hmmm. Coffee note is the strongest but a malty smell, like Co-Co Wheats brings up the rear. I also get the distinct smell of ice cream cones? That's different.

M: Bursts creamy in the mouth, washes with coffee bitter but aftertaste of bitter dark chocolate. Very nice.

T: Heh. This isn't from a can. It's a joke right? As I see more brewers are doing it, I say GO! When I took the tour of Yuengling Tampa, the tour guide said the boss hates canning. I say, WHY? Let's start with the coffee like bitterness then get into the follow through which adds a sharp malty-ness that really asserts itself. Sharp malty-ness? I said it. It bursts out in front of the hops but not enough to dominate.

D: I'd love to have this beer when everyone else is drinking Bud light...or maybe I need new friends. (1,269 characters)

Photo of lstokes
4.12/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very dark and very fragrant--you can really smell the grapefruit and citric hops on this one as well as some nice cocoa undertone.

The taste picks up on the smell but adds some coffee and brown sugar, and the mouthfeel is a little on the light side but still very wonderfully drinkable. It's one of the lighter, more approachable dark IPAs I've had, and I would definitely drink it again. (389 characters)

Photo of popery
4.12/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on tap at City Beer Store in San Francisco.

It's not on the 21st Amendment website and I trust my fellow BAs, but I thought that I should mention that the abv was listed as 7.2% at the store, which would make sense as Back in Black is brewed along the same lines as the IPA (who cares, really). Anyway, the beer pours an opaque dark brown with purplish highlights and a good creamy mocha head that leaves excellent lacing. I'm not really sure how to rate the appearance of an intentionally dark IPA, which was certainly not to style, but I like how it looked. The aroma was very close to the IPA, strong, rich hop aromas of pine and spruce with a tinge of citrus and herbs. The flavor brings the dark malt into play with subtle roasted notes underlying the strong hop flavors. I've only had one other dark IPA that I can think of, Stone's 11th/Sublimely Self Righteous, and while they have different hop bills, they're similarly delicious. It's a great variant on the style but oddly rare among commercial brewers, although the homebrew community seems to have embraced it. (1,081 characters)

Photo of bensbeers
4.13/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on tap at Golden West in Baltimore. Appearance was nothing special. Must not have gotten a good pour out of the tap because I had no head at all. Color was a dark dark brown with hints of red around the edges. Slightest touch of caramel colored suds on the top. Looks like a stout but definitely drinks like an IPA. Lots of rich scents on the nose - coffee, buttercream, chocolate, and a touch of smoke. The taste closely mimics the nose - definitely can taste the hops. Not citrusy but robust which gives me the impression that they are extremely well-balanced with the grains. Malty character but not too sweet - toasty and roasty. Dark flavors - bittersweet chocolate and toast with a hint of strong coffee at the finish. Mouthfeel was extremely pleasant. Not too crisp but not as flat as other dark beers can be. Overall an extemely tasty beer. Great take on the black IPA , but this is certainly open to interpretation - some my call it a stout m, some a brown ale. A great beer to kick off a session and enjoy when the weather is turning from cold to colder. Cheers! (1,076 characters)

Photo of BDJake
4.13/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I've tried a number of black IPA's over the last year, but from a can? Here's my take on my first canned one:

A- a nearly perfect pour, deep dark brown that falls just short of black, capped with an inch and a half of tan head that lasted for a long time and laced extremely well.

S- mostly of orange, pine, and of sweetly roasted malts

T- for such a dark version of this style, there was a lot of orange peel, grapefruit, pine, molasses and caramel... in other words, it had very little burnt notes I was expecting but good nonetheless

M- light-medium body, ample carbonation, and a citrusy aftertaste that was not in the least bit harsh or bitter

D- one of the easiest-drinking CDA's I have ever had the pleasure of drinking, and even though some may want more roasted or bitter tones, it was one of the best canned beers I have ever had (844 characters)

Photo of JayS2629
4.15/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark cola black that lets little light through. Some red tints in the light with a two finger dirty rocky tan head that sticks around for a while leaving foamy walls of lace.

The aroma is of tangerine, grapefruit and other citrus notes riding on top of a roasted coffee with hints of cocoa and caramel.

The taste very well balanced with a nice roasted coffee, mocha, chocolate front end. A bit of caramel gives way to some herbal, grassy hops that ends with a good dose of grapefruit. Its rounded out with an earthy note and some dark fruit aftertaste. Figs and cocoa are in the aftertaste.

Its got a creaminess up front but finished a bit thin and dry. Overall it is very drinkable and enjoyable. (709 characters)

Photo of hopsolutely
4.15/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Although this specific can is not exemplary, perhaps the best "Cascadian" black IPA I have ever encountered. A perfect mix of "stout" roasted malts with west-coast citrus hoppy undertones.

Can pours a dark burgundy colour, a beautiful amber when held up to the light, with decent head and lacing. Mouthfeel is pleasantly carbonated without being too slick, and the 6.8% ABV is terrifyingly well hidden. Aroma of dark roasted malts, albeit a subtle metallic twang in this can that hasn't been present in previous ones. Taste is well balanced with the dark chocolate and coffee roasted malt flavours, finishing with delightful citrus and tropical fruit hop notes. A pleasant bitterness lingers with the mango...

All in all, I consider this a benchmark beer. Thank-you 21st Amendment! (784 characters)

Photo of BigPlay1824
4.15/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

enjoyed in a pint glass

A: pours a clear deep brown almost black with two fingers of mocha colored fine bubbled and silky textured head that lingers nicely and leaves a ton of creamy lacing on the glass
S: very nice floral hop notes and also deep caramel malts and roasted malts really even it out
T: hmm, begins with the nice malt character and then moves into the nice citrus hop notes which linger and become more floral on the palate long after the initial sip
M: smooth, gentle carbonation that is a bit brisk, leaves the mouth every so slightly dry but very nice
O: typically im not big on black IPAs but this one was positively fantastic, so well balanced and just wonderfully drinkable, well done! (706 characters)

Photo of kwjd
4.15/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the 21st Amendment brewpub in San Francisco. Pours a bitch black colour with a finger or 2 of head, with nice retention. Lots of lacing down the glass. Smells of nice roasted malt and citrus hops. Good blend of bitterness and sweetness of the malt in the flavour. Creamy mouthfeel. Certainly one of the better CDA's I've had. (335 characters)

Back In Black from 21st Amendment Brewery
83 out of 100 based on 677 ratings.