Back In Black - 21st Amendment Brewery

Not Rated.
Back In BlackBack In Black

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BA SCORE
83
good

672 Reviews
THE BROS
72
okay

(Read More)
Reviews: 672
Hads: 2,184
rAvg: 3.67
pDev: 13.08%
Wants: 52
Gots: 290 | 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
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Reviews: 672 | Hads: 2,184
Photo of Arbadarchi
3.13/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

A- Great artwork on the can. Very black, minimal light finding its way through. I got a 2 finger head that lingered for a few minutes before fading to a thin cap on top. Some lacing on the glass.

S- Smells like the cross between an IPA and a stout. I got some citrusy hops and dark malts. Not the kind of aroma that jumps out at you

T- Hop forward that is blurred together with the darker malts. I got some of the citrus from the smell but I feel like the darker malts and some chocolate take priority. Good bitterness that stays with the taste the whole time. Some metallic flavors detract from the other flavors.

M- Not too thin, but not as full as most other dark beers. Moderate carbonation.

O- Not great, but not bad by any means. It's a satisfying beer if you come across some, however there are many other beers I'd rather buy than this. (848 characters)

Photo of qchic
3.13/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Back in...not quite black. Dark red highlights around the edges, decent head retention with larger air bubbles suspended. Some roast, some hop citrus in the aroma, but not much else. Kinda generic. The flavor is more lively, but still muddled. Again, the citrus/roast thing with bitterness. The aftertaste is kinda nice... (322 characters)

Photo of Teleweizen2
3.13/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A - lives up to its style. Black in color, completely opaque. Big three fingers worth of very light tan head that looks like dirty snow.

S - hops and malt seem balanced. Overall aroma is slightly dank. Citrus resiny hops. Bitter sweet dark chocolate and a roasty coffee undertone.

T - slight malty sweetness. Piney hops in the middle along with some coffee roastyness. Dry finish.

M - thin. A little watery. Mild carbonation.

D - decent ale. Black IPA, American black ale, whatever you want to call it, it fit its style guidelines and was easy drinking but not something I'd probably seek out again. (603 characters)

Photo of Buebie
3.14/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a single last week.

Poured from the can into a pub glass. A light brown 2" head is formed, taking its time to recede. Leaving sea foam consistency froth and sticky lace.
Color of the beer is black at the wider portion of the glass, but a glowing red can be seen at the tapering bottom and edges.

Aroma does not seem to follow the style, there really is not hop aroma to be found. But dont get me wrong, aroma is quite good. It smells like chocolate cake batter, sweet and delicious. For the style though it lacks.

Hops are citruss filled in taste and provide great leafy fruit forward flavors. Not too bitter though, but very good. Through the swallow an almost woody, semi charred grain flavor follows, as does mineral water and a bit of husky grains.
Finishing with bittering grains and a dash of pine.

Mouthfeel is light, with just the right amount of slick feel and carbonation.

Definatly a good beer all around, except for the husky grains. Does not seem to follow the style it is listed under here on BA, of an american ipa. But for a black ipa it does the trick. However, hop aroma does suffer. An interesting brew, but not somthing I could see myself drinking again. (1,194 characters)

Photo of tweeder263
3.15/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured out from a can a dark brown beer with a fluffy 2 finger head. Has a light cascade hop smell, some malt is evident. Taste is also fairly subdued, hops are fairly noticeable, some slight roasted notes show themselves towards the end. Mouthfeel is nothing special. Overall a drinkable brew,nothing special. (310 characters)

Photo of cindyjeffsmith
3.15/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

appearance: Well, it's not pale and not quite black.
smell: Hops and malt yes. Fairly well balanced.
taste: Again hops and malt and fairly well balanced. Almost like an IPA and a brown were mixed in the same glass. Not better than the sum of it's parts but not bad either.
average: Love trying new brews and bravo for the creative spirit. Won't be going back for seconds. (372 characters)

Photo of 100floods
3.15/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

first off, the label on this beer is super fucking awesome. Dare I say epic? Yes. Pours a deep, near dark brown. Huge tan head. Pretty fizzy, at least it sounds fizzy. Looks good, but not quite black. Pretty interesting aroma. Very sour smelling, not citrus, like you'd think of most hoppy beers. It doesn't smell like a wild ale. This is a different kind of sour. Smells almost like lemon rinds. There's a kind of dark malt thing in there, but not really. The overall aroma seems complex, but pretty hard to pick apart. First sip is a doozey. The dark malt and hops come at you simultaneously. They create their own flavor. It's kind of an earthy, pine off-citrus flavor. At first it hits you and you think you're drinking something thats suppose to be kind of sour, but then you realize it's the hops. Then the hops and malt coalesce to create a truly unique flavor combination that I've never tasted before. At some points it aint bad, but other times I don't even want it. The finish gives off a strong lemon juice flavor. This beer is certainly a good test for the pallet, and definitely a unique experience. It is, however, probably not the best choice for a go to, casual beer. (1,184 characters)

Photo of BlurryVisi0n
3.17/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured into a 14oz. flute from a can.

Appearance: Looks good. POurs into a super dark brown almost jet black with a 1/4 inch tan head....settles prettyl quickly into a almost to zero head.

Smell: Probably the best feature of this beer, smells of hops which really holds into your nostrils.

Taste: Unfortunately I have never had the luxury of having back in black on tap so my review is strictly reflected upon can.That is where the problem lies, in the words of my father it's like eating aluminum. Beer is hoppy but maybe served better in a bottle, for whatever reason it is back in black "canned" just sticks to strictly to hops and metal.

Mouth: Sticks to your cheeks but because of the taste your want to water it down quickly. Medium malt carbonation but texture is built well to go down super smooth.

Overall: pretty MUCH 21ST amendment needs to tweak this recipe if it's going to served in a can...I am fiending to find this on tap or bottle. The metallic taste is what is the worst just leaves you with an after taste wishing you could taste before you buy. (1,075 characters)

Photo of r0nyn
3.18/5  rDev -13.4%
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. (1,221 characters)

Photo of jmerloni
3.18/5  rDev -13.4%
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. (698 characters)

Photo of beagle75
3.18/5  rDev -13.4%
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. (1,498 characters)

Photo of alaimoa
3.18/5  rDev -13.4%
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. (250 characters)

Photo of burnheartsMKE
3.19/5  rDev -13.1%
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. (838 characters)

Photo of Snamnoum
3.2/5  rDev -12.8%
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. (704 characters)

Photo of colforbin73
3.21/5  rDev -12.5%
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. (1,213 characters)

Photo of surprenant1138
3.21/5  rDev -12.5%
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. (493 characters)

Photo of corby112
3.21/5  rDev -12.5%
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. (1,422 characters)

Photo of Treebs
3.21/5  rDev -12.5%
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. (695 characters)

Photo of MsScotch
3.22/5  rDev -12.3%
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. (637 characters)

Photo of rfgetz
3.23/5  rDev -12%
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. (655 characters)

Photo of KeefD
3.23/5  rDev -12%
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. (550 characters)

Photo of shleepy
3.23/5  rDev -12%
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. (580 characters)

Photo of AdamBear
3.24/5  rDev -11.7%
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. (605 characters)

Photo of russwaddell
3.24/5  rDev -11.7%
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. (1,107 characters)

Photo of goldbot
3.25/5  rDev -11.4%
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. (550 characters)

Back In Black from 21st Amendment Brewery
83 out of 100 based on 672 ratings.