Back In Black - 21st Amendment Brewery

Not Rated.
Back In BlackBack In Black

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

2,165 Ratings
THE BROS
72
okay

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,165
Reviews: 692
rAvg: 3.69
pDev: 13.55%
Wants: 51
Gots: 283 | 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: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Back In Black Alström Bros
Ratings: 2,165 | Reviews: 692
Photo of brewdoc75
4.45/5  rDev +20.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I gotta say, I haven't been a huge fan of the whole Cascadian Dark Ale/Black IPA craze. Nevertheless, I try to have a beer from the style on occasion to see if I change my mind. I heard this was a good one, plus it was on sale at my local liquor store.

A: Like the name would suggest, this beer is black. No Imperial Stout black, but definitely dark. There are some ruby hues throughout. The head is a off-white, bordering on brown color and is very present. Much creamier head than I would expect from an IPA. More like an oatmeal stout. It seems to last a long time and turns into a strong lace.

S: West coast hops here! Lots of grapefruit and pine. Very heavy hop aromas. I do get some chocolate and roastiness in the aroma as well. A little caramel too. Very nice aromas.

T: Again, I am impressed. Loads of hop flavors balanced out by strong maltiness and rich flavors from the debittered roast malts. It has the malty flavor of a good, foriegn export stout, without the strong, coffee-like roast component. Reminds me of a good Schwarzbier with loads of hops. The hops are very heavy on the grapefruit. I do get some nice pine as well. The beer finishes with ample bitterness, but not as much as I find with some other standard IPAs. The malts seem to add some nice chocolate and caramel notes. The yeast is fairly clean, but I do get some slight fruitiness in the end. All of this blends well together to make a tasty brew.

M: Medium bodied. Creamy at first, like an oatmeal stout, but finishes dry and crisp. I understand this is a fairly new style, but from what I've read, this beer fits well. Slight bit of lingering bitterness in the end, but not too much.

D: Overall, this was a great beer. I've been a little down on this style until now. Most of the beers I've had like this seemed like they were just dark IPAs, without much character from the malt. Or they were on the other end of the spectrum with too much roasted malts, making the beer more like a stout than an IPA. This beer had nice balance and great flavors. I hope to have more like this in the future.

Photo of HopheadDre
1.49/5  rDev -59.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

12 oz can poured into a Sam Adams Boston Lager glass.

It looked good out of the can, with a dark, almost black color with hints of red. The smell was not promising, a little bit hoppy with metallic notes. The immediate taste was unpleasant; some astringency as if the husks were still present but everything else was blocked out by the overwhelming metallic taste. The lingering taste was metallic. I let it warm (or air out, "open") but everything was still dominated by metal.

Overall, very disappointing. It was not palatable and I could not finish it, pouring out half.

I enjoy other 21st Amendment beers and canned craft beers in general. I actually had a 12 pack of Dale's Pale in my hand before seeing Back in Black at my local store. I hope this was a problem with a particular can or of bad transit.

Photo of damndirtyape
3.78/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Single can poured into a shaker pint glass. I know the company is in San Fran, CA, but my can says made in Cold Spring, MN. Huh? Maybe they contract brew there.

Appearance: On the table, black, with a light tan foam with lacing all over the place. The foam dies down to a thin 1/16" head across the top, but the foam will be more persistent if you give it a hard pour. Held up to the light, the beer is a very dark ruby red. The artwork on the can is very appealing...I have to admit it was what made me decide to pick it up. Nice work to whoever came up with this one.

Smell: An interesting combination of grapefruit/citrus hops up front and roasted malts at the end. Nicely appealing.

Taste: The beer is an odd clash of flavors. Not bad, just kind of odd. The citrus/grapefruit collides with a roasted malt and bitter coffee finish (probably from the roasted malts). It's okay cold, and better when warm. For the blend of hops and malt I think I prefer the Indian Brown style. It's good though - just not "wow" fantastic.

Mouthfeel: Plenty of carbonation, but not too much on the tongue. Does stick to the teeth a bit.

Drinkability: Interesting, but a one at a time beer for me. I've had it by itself and also with a meal...but I don't think I've found the right food to go with it yet.

Photo of Mdog
3.53/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Dark brown, big head.

Smell: Malty then mild citrus.

Taste: Citrusy but not too bitter, underlying roasted flavor.

Drinkability: The beer went down pretty easy, I could have a couple in a sitting.

This was a pretty decent beer. Basically it seems like an overhopped porter to me--roasted malt flavors with more citrus bitterness than the porter. Interesting beer to try.

Photo of pwoods
2.88/5  rDev -22%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz. can purchased at The Root Cellar, poured into an imperial pint.

A: Pours black with some light around the edges. Moderate head on the pour without much retention but decent lacing.

S: Light American hopping with more of an English side. Nice dehusked black patent aroma.

T/M: Not much bitterness and not a lot of hop flavor. More of the dehusked flavor. Really not a lot going on. Body is medium to medium light with good carbonation.

D: Easy enough drinking but not very interesting.

Photo of HitokiriNate85
4.05/5  rDev +9.8%
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).

Photo of WVbeergeek
3.91/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pous like a stout , light cream head that decides to coat the sides of my pint glass with each sip. Aroma had dark roasted malts with herbal hops going on more like a hoppy porter or a stout than other black IPAs I've come across. This is the popular style of the moment everybody is making a dark hoppy beer nice to see some variation, not overly bitter in anyway. Flavor was creamy dark roasts a mix of dark chocolate and light coffee tones with blasts of herbal slightly citric hops, goes together ncely a good balanced blend. Mouthfeel is medium bodied carbonation is smooth and easy going I can't complain it's actally silky texture. Drinkability overall a nice blalanced hoppy dark beer I can't really call it a BIPA compared to other more aggressive versions but it was enjoyable.

Photo of mwa423
3.53/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Black as most stouts with two fingers of billowy tan head that stuck around for a good long time and left a great lacing.

S - Smells like a pot plant recently harvested and really nothing else. I assume the marijuana smell is the type of hops used.

T - This is a very interesting and complex flavor that reminds me of both a porter and an IPA. There are plenty of hops, but they are very balanced with a rich maltiness with hints of chocolate and coffee. Unlike most IPAs the flavor this leaves in the mouth is the malty sweetness and not the hoppy bite.

M/D - Mouthfeel is weak but certainly a beer that you don't mind keeping in your mouth to enjoy the different flavors. As for drinkability, I doubt that this would be a go-to for any single style lover, but it is an interesting an complex beer to try once.

Photo of ppoitras
4.42/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

12oz can purchased as part of a 6-pack from Yankee Spirits, Sturbridge, MA.

Poured into an imperial pint, formed a 1 1/2" tan head above the slightly cloudy reddish brown brew. Dense head lasts nicely, with sporadic chunky lacing. Aroma is grapefruity hops. Taste is sweet through to the middle, then citrus and grapefruit hops come on, lasting through the close. Mouthfeel is uber-smooth, and drinkability is superb. Another great beer to get for when cans are better than glass, or anytime.

Photo of kenpo23
3.86/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

the black packaging made it a bit hard for me to pass by for some reason. glad i grabbed it.

A- poured pretty nice with a good but short lived head. great black coloring which is what i was looking for from this.

S- smelled like malty, caramely fantastic goodness to me.

T- a really nice almost porter taste to it. still has that IPA taste to it to remind you that you are not drinking a porter though.

i loved the smooth taste it had and polished off the 6er pretty quickly. its definitely something i would want to sit and drink on a cool autumn night.

Photo of mdfb79
4/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From 7/24/10 notes. Had at the cdc release.

a - Pours a dark black color with little to no head or carbonation.

s - Smells of roasted and toasted malts, caramel malts, and fruity hops.

t - Tastes of pine hops, roasted malts, and caramel malts.

m - Light body and moderate carbonation.

d - A pretty good black IPA, but seemed much mroe malty to me than hoppy. Would try again.

Photo of Stigs
3.65/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16oz pour at The Library, served in a standard pint glass

A - very thin, short-lived film floating on top of the glass...the beer is very dark brown/amber in color...settling becomes very soda-like.

S - lightly roasted and charred malt, earthy and piney hops with a touch of light grass.

T - starts off with roasted malts, some ash, earthy hops, wet pine needles. minor notes of bakers chocolate and some lightly roasted coffee grounds. good, just not as pronounced as other Black IPA's.

M - medium body with sharp prickly carbonation. a little drying from the charred malts and earthy hops.

D - eh, decent...just missing either some complexity or grace of others like it. I was ready to move on about halfway through this glass.

Photo of ABOWMan
3.26/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo of ugaterrapin
3.96/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured into a pint glass.

A: Pours and almost pure black color. When held up to the light there is a little transparency that reveals a deep coppery red color. The pour resulted in a two fingered billowy tan head. It recedes at a moderate pace to leave a little lacing.

S: The aroma is somewhat subdued. There is a hop and slightly roasted malt presence. There is also an aroma I can't place my finger on that I hope doesn't show up in the taste.

T: Luckily the off smell didn't make it into the taste. It has a straight forward Black IPA taste that I am used to in others I have tried. It has a nice dark malt presence on the front of the palate and then rolls into a nice balanced hop finish with very little bitterness. Overall a good example of this new style. The drinkability on this beer is great. I am about half way done with the first and feel like I could easily go through a six pack.

Photo of jpmclaug
3.71/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a stemed tulip

A - Black with a big fluffy light tan head.

S - Hint of citrus hop flavor with some roasted malt in the background. Not especially aromatic.

T - Similar to the smell. Some roasted malt flavor mixed with a slight citrus hop flavor. Not too much going on here. A little lighter on the hops than I'd like. Also a bit more balanced than I'd like. I think upping the hops would help a lot.

M - Medium mouthfeel with an above average amount of carbonation.

D - Pretty easy drinking. This beer is decent but it doesn't blow me away like I was hoping. Could go for some more hop flavor. That being said this being in a can really helps it stick out. I would like having this available to me locally just for the convenience of it coming in a can. I would consider picking this up again if I was in the mood.

Photo of Brew33
2.56/5  rDev -30.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Picked up a 6 pack at Jungle Jim's.

The pour is promising. 2 fingers of white head atop a Porter-esque body. The smell is more Pale Ale than anything. Not too hoppy. Very little dark malt. The taste was not very good. STRONG metallic taste right up front. IDK if it was the can or something in the beer but tons of metallic flavors, not something I've encountered with other canned craft beer. Watered down. Lacking in flavor. Dull, boring. The mouthfeel was thin and the drinkability was okay although I didn't really like the beer.

I'd like to see some more reviews to see if anyone else gets the metallic flavors.

Photo of gatornation
3.33/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

pours a black semi-thick color with a tan staying 1 finger head..looks good..smell is subdued with hops and malt some toffee and burnt toast or caramel,with some chocolate..flavor is similar its light on the porter flavors and light on the ipa flavors,,pine and citrus are there so is toffee and roasted malts,,but its all so light..mouth feel is light in relation to the style it has subdued flavors..21st just does not do it for me as a brewery..however out of the 3 ive tried i did like this one the best,,my recommendation? buy a single

Photo of SaCkErZ9
3.11/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

This is my second foray into the world of 21st Ammendment beers. I was excited to try this one in addition to the regular IPA these guys offer.

Looks great. Large, stark white head with plenty of lacing. Opaque, purplr chocolate in color with some dark chocolate highlights.

Aroma was okay. I definitely got some citrus type hops with a little bit of pine too. I didnt, however, get much of the roastiness that should be there, seeing as this is a black IPA.

Flavor was a bit off. A bit of sourness with a large metallic presence. The hop bitterness shines through but doesnt do much in the way of adding value to the beer.

The beer, although topped with a large head, was flat and dry and watery and very unremarkable on the tongue. The mouthfeel was the worst thing about the beer and was the final turn-off for me.

Wasnt please with this one. It looked great in the glass but fell apart upon tasting. Both of the 21st Ammendment beers were big misses for me.

Photo of berkey
3.28/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

On tap at Hopyard San Ramon as an after work brew 08/06/10. I've had this once before but not on a fresh palate. Served in a pint glass.

A small but stubborn tan head tops a very dark brown (but not quite black) body with some ruddy highlights. Some decent filmy lacing.

Aroma is roasty and bitter with some subtle chocolate notes. Bitterness seems to be coming more from the roasted malts but the hops are playing a role as well.

Flavor follows the aroma to a high degree with mildly bitter chocolate still the main characteristic. Finishes clean but slightly bland. Hop bitterness is nearly drowned in the more stout-like qualities of this beer but manages to show some signs of West Coast citric goodness. Not sure it's enough for me though.

I'm not sure if the previously mentioned stout flavors are influencing my perception here but the feel seems very watery. Easy drinking but I'm ready for something more engaging and I'm less than one quarter done with this pint.

Photo of dubinsky
3.4/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Mostly black, but when help up to the light i see red. Poured it rather aggressively and had a nice foamy 3 finger than head. Good retention and lacing.

S- Malts, caramel, spices and a faint hop aroma. Smells rather fruity for an IPA, honestly not what i like to smell when drinking a hop forward beer, but its not bad.

T- I hate to say it, but the first sip of the beer was tinny. Tasted like aluminum, but as the time went on, that went away. The beer is awfully malty for an IPA, and thats whats killing me. I would like it more if it was marketed as something else than an IPA, but if i'm comparing it to others IPA's, something doesn't quite work form me. The roast and caramel malt flavors just don't mesh well with the hops here. Feels a bit all over the place, kind of like this review, yet somehow i am still drinking it and secretly enjoying it.

M- Initial tastes were a bit harsh. Fuzzy feel on my teeth. Fairly thin with low carbonation.

DB- Like others mention, there doesn't seem to be a good balance here between the malt and hop profiles. The weak mouthfeel certainly doesn't help either. Why fix something that isn't broken, Black IPA's just dont really do it for me. That being said, i think this is a good effort from a brewery that i usually really love. Stick to what you guys to best!

Photo of Kaiser777
4.03/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Dark brown almost black which the name of the beer explains, with a thick off white head, that leaves a nice thick lace on the glass as you enjoy this beer notice how the lace sticks there and never really disappears, which is always a plus in my eyes!

S- Not as strong as most American IPAs useally are, but there's no denying the citrus aroma and the blast of the dark malty hops.

T- Very delicious matter of fact I only intended to drink one after a long night of work and had two more, it wasn't as bitter as I would of liked but I can not complain, with the heavy malty,
hoppy taste with a citrus after taste that I love, very refreshing and enjoyable!

MF- Little to no carbonation heavy thick feel which was awesome, with the classic but light citrus feel that coats the mouth and has your taste buds screaming for more.

D- Very drinkable, like I said before I only attended to have one, and ended up drinking three, very refreshing and satisfying which surprised me cause it only comes in cans which you expect that metallic taste which it didn't have at all, with that said two big thumbs up to the 25th Admendment brewing company for a very enjoyable American style IPA.

Photo of wyattshotmaker
2.91/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

poured into a 25 cl snifter.looks pretty good, dark brownish black with a white head. nice lacing.

nose has alot of cocoa/dark chocolate. touch of roasted coffee.

the taste of this beer does more or less nothing for me. it's fairly bitter, not much hop flavor. alot of chocolate/roastiness. more like a watery porter if anything.

mouthfeel is kinda thin. drinkability is average at best. good to try but this isn't something im going back to.

Photo of russwaddell
3.24/5  rDev -12.2%
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.

Photo of cbutova
3.26/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

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

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

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

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

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

Photo of blackie
3.68/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a: schlitz chalice, deep brown in color with a frothy head that retains a nice layer

s: pale and caramel malt base with a moderate but still somewhat understated woody roast aroma, lightly sweet toffee, sappy green pine hops, simple

m: carbonation light-medium, body on the low end of the medium range, seems thin at times but that's more likely attributable to the dryness of the beer

t: the evident pale malt base belies the dark color of the beer, as a woody roast runs throughout showing glimpses of dry cocoa and coffee in succession, earthy toffee, mostly dry, full hop flavors - mostly dark green pine, and a balancing bitterness

d: no problem, a decent ipa variant, but the roast and hops don't really seem to jive

single from River City Cellars, Richmond, VA

Back In Black from 21st Amendment Brewery
83 out of 100 based on 2,165 ratings.