Dismiss Notice
Sneak peek! BeerAdvocate magazine #104 (September 2015) featuring Leah & Oscar from Highland Brewing in Asheville, North Carolina. Learn more ...

Back In Black - 21st Amendment Brewery

Not Rated.
Back In BlackBack In Black

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

678 Reviews
THE BROS
72
okay

(Read More)
Reviews: 678
Hads: 2,201
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: 678 | Hads: 2,201
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 DocJitsu
3.98/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours an opaque, very dark brown with a huge, fluffy dark taupe head. Average head retention. Cola-ruby glints are noted around the bottom edges. Aroma is characterized by chocolate, roasted malt, and cherry. Mouthfeel is thin for a stout style, but they call this a black IPA, in which case it is more true to style. Carbonation is a bit on the low average side. Very mild flavors, given the appearance, of chocolate covered cherries and some coffee acidity late. There's a mild sweetness throughout. Some of its hop character expresses itself about midway. It still drinks a bit more like an English stout. The 65 IBUs likely put it in an IPA category. Otherwise, it should be in an English stout category. (708 characters)

Photo of PatDugan
3.71/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I'm a pretty big fan of 21st Amendment in general but Back in Black is one of my favorite beers they put out. Black as night is a pretty adept description of the color this beer takes when poured into a glass. The taste is both smoky and bold, and the high ABV will have you feeling these pretty quickly. Highly recommend. (322 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 FosterJM
3.53/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

1541st Review on BA
Can to FW Snifter
12oz

Canned 5/07/12
Purchased from Total Wine & More, Sacramento, CA for $1.99

App- This was a very dark brown. Had a very good density in the glass. With the head it had a creamy looking guinness appeal to it. A semi decent amount of cling.

Smell- Wasnt a whole lot of aromatics on this one. What I did pick up on though was a small bit of a flat cola, dense malts, old coffee & citrusy grassy hops. While these are nice aromatics, they didnt really mesh well

Taste- Its a semi good Black IPA. Had all the requisite flavors but just didnt wow me. Lacking a bit of balance and pop. Was really only about a middle tier beer. Most of the flavors came from the malty chocolate powder.

Mouth- A lighter medium body almost a light body. Didnt fit the profile really but was still quite pleasant. The carbonation was pretty spot on and retained a medium carbonation. A bit smooth vs. prickly as well

Drink- Tasty, but not in the top tier yet of the black IPAs. Glad I got a single can because I dont think I want 6 cans and because I cant get this in So. Cal. (1,097 characters)

Photo of TwelveOunces
3.5/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 Oz can poured into a tulip glass

A- Black in the can with red around the edges. A one finger off tan head.

S- The nose is extremely hoppy. The hop profile in mine is quite aged, I can tell mine isnt too fresh. There is some pineapple, overly ripened fruits. I can smell the carafa malts and some caramel.

T- There is a slight bitterness up front followed up by a roasted malt. I get a bit of the carafa malt as well. The hop flavor is not as strong as I would like, there is a slight grapefruit. The hop profile in my beer has definitely faded with age.

M- This is a good sized beer and has a nice feel to it. Its sticky and only a little bitter. Cleanish finish.

O- This beer is only ok, I can tell mine isn't fresh and I think that may have a lot to do with it (772 characters)

Photo of mgironta
3.88/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This brew poured with a two finger fluffy tan head. It looks almost exactly like a stout. The body was a dark brown, almost black. As a result, there is no visible carbonation. The head takes awhile to dissipate and leaves significant lacing on the glass. The nose has a hint of smoke or toastiness (maybe a little nuttiness?) and some hops. This is different from a normal IPA. There is definite hoppy bitterness on the taste, but there is almost a roasted nutty taste to it. This isn’t what I expected at all, but then again, I never had a black IPA. The finish lingers with a lot of nuttiness, moreso than the hops. I would have this again, probably after I had another black IPA to compare it to. (702 characters)

Photo of hellhammermario
4.22/5  rDev +15%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Mother Earth tulip glass.

Appearance: Poured very smoothly, looked very similar to the appearance of a Coca-Cola. Very dark, but you can see some ruby colors towards the bottom when put to a light. Very nice tan/khaki head which dissipates quickly. Not much lacing.

Smell: Roasted malts, darker chocolates, black coffee aromas. You get just a pinch of floral hops, but the smell is definitely more malty than hoppy.

Taste: Plays off of the smell pretty well; you get a little more hop bitterness in the taste, but you still get the abundance of coffee and dark chocolate. Some caramel notes thrown in as well, enriching the malty flavor of the beer. Medium to light bodied, very easy to drink.

Overall: Personally, I could see this being a good session beer. While dark in nature, it is not heavy whatsoever, and malts/hops accentuate each other very well. Nothing too fancy, but definitely worth a shot! (922 characters)

Photo of mpedara429
3.45/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark in color, hence why they call it a "black" IPA. Somehow, it actually seemed a little bit lighter and browner than most other black IPAs. A very thin layer of head formed after pouring that was light brown in color. A very small amount of lacing stuck to the glass and was consistent the whole way through.

S: Very sweet and malty. There is a hint of citrus and piney hops too. It smells very much like a homebrew wort.

T: A strong reflection of its smell. It is very malty with a hoppy finish. The IPA part of the beer is really struggling to show itself. The malt portion has got a burnished/roasty taste to it.

M: Medium/Low carbonation over a medium body. Goes down pretty clean with little aftertaste.

O: I was happy to try this as black IPAs seem to be a bit hard to find in my area. This one had a very prominent malt taste to it. Overall, it was good, but average in every aspect. This would be good as a beginners black IPA. (944 characters)

Photo of sulldaddy
3.34/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Sampling a cellar temp glass poured into a pint glass. The beer pours a deep cola brown with fluffy tan head of 3 cm foaming up and reaching the top my glass before receding to a sturdy edge layer.
Aroma is rich and surprisingly malty. black ipa? where are the hops? I get some chocolate and maybe abit of herbal tea leaf scent, but certainly not the nose I anticipated.
First sip reveals an average body and fine tingly carbonation that is actually pretty gentle across the palate.

Flavor is caramel and toffee with bits of chocolate. I do get a little bit of astringent hops on the finish that dries out my mouth. Lingering bitterness as well.

The beer is very easy to drink, but the aroma is misleading to disappointing with lack of hops.
Probably wouldnt chase this one down again. (788 characters)

Photo of brianwakeforestnc
3.58/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a can into a standard pint glass.
A) Dark brown hinting on black, with deep ruby glow when held up to the light. Full inch and a half of head from a vigorous pour. Lace that persists throughout.
S) Weakest part for me. The smell is so slight, hint of bitterness. hops, burnt malt. I had to really stick my nose deep in the glass to get a good whiff.
T) Really a very satisfying and pleasant brew. Drink-ability is the name of this game. Nothing outstanding or life changing but whats there is held in a nice balance. A satisfying bitterness and wet hop smell followed by roasted verging on burnt maltiness. The bitterness persists in the finish, reminds me of cold espresso without the mouth puckering aspect, as if it was cold brewed. I could drink several of these and not get sick of them. Highly sessionable with more then a little going on to keep you interested. Hint of creaminess on the end.
M) Medium bodied, lactose quality that fills the mouth. Pleasant but not requiring too much thought.
O) I would definitely drink this again as it was enjoyable without requiring too much thought and sometimes that's exactly what I want. However it cost ten bucks a six pack, and at that price I want something earth shattering, and that this is not. But if you threw a can at me, I would gratefully drink it. (1,322 characters)

Photo of VeganBrewz
4.22/5  rDev +15%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a single of this one during my last trip to the local liquor store. Not my first experience with a Black Ale/Black IPA, but definetly memorable. Let's get into it, shall we?

Glassware: Pint glass.

A: Pours very nicely. Two fat fingers of silky, light-tan head tops a beer the color of rich dark chocolate. Lacing is good - not too heavy, but consistent.

S: Immediately aromatic. Slightly alcoholic, with a ton of really complex, warm spices. To be honest, there's so much going on in this beer that it was tough for my still-learning palate to pick out specifics, but I definetly got a solid whiff of caramel malt & coffee, accompanied by orange, cloves, ginger, and resinous piney, hoppy notes overtop. Very nice.

T: Very closely mimics the nose - bright, lively spices backed with slightly sweet roastyness and coffee. Some alcohol, but not enough to distract from the other flavors.

M: Nice and smooth - a little chewy, but definetly not heavy at all. Finishes clean.

O: Me likey. Solid & complex without being complicated or straying from the style. (1,069 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 brentk56
3.31/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a coffee color capped by a very impressive head that grows craggy but sticks a lot of lacing around

Smell: There is a piney, floral character but the malts dominate, bringing black bread and ash

Taste: Black bread, up front, bringing char and roast; by mid-palate, a bit of pine develops and, while it lingers into the finish, the malty muddle dominates

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Overall: Without a strong hop profile, this beer doesn't come near what I am looking for in an ABA, particularly since I didn't particularly like the indistinctly flavored malt bill, either (614 characters)

Photo of vfgccp
3.98/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Deep black brown body with red brown highlights. Nice bone white head. Fine bubbles. Nice lace and great retention.

S - Soft pine, light roast, and sweet chocolate.

T - Herbal hops over coffee and a nice roast grain. Slow ramp-up of bitter chocolate before a shock of woody hops in the center. Malty finish.

M - Medium/light body

O - Low end of the hop spectrum for the style, but still a great offering. (412 characters)

Photo of Murrhey
2.7/5  rDev -26.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a can into a pint glass. Reviewed from notes.

A- Thin khaki head with minimal retention. Spotty lacing. Mahogany color with no clarity.

S- Hoppy but with malty sweetness, seems like a porter. Interesting.

T- Strange chocolate flavors. Roasted malts, bitter hops and a kind of milkiness.

M- Creamy and dry. Unique to black IPAs I've tasted.

O- I like this beer less and less the more I have it. (411 characters)

Photo of JamesMN
3.58/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Completely opaque very dark brown with a tan head that dissipated quickly but leaves a bubbly film on top.

Aroma: Smells just like their regular IPA (which isn't exactly a good thing in this case). Sickly sweet hops and caramel malt.

Taste: Like a maltier version of their IPA. Specifically roasted malt characteristics. Dark chocolate is the most prevalent. There is a nice bitterness from the chocolate flavor that kills the hop sweetness in a pleasing way. Really enjoying the dark chocolate aftertaste. Almost some coffee-like bitterness on the end. Definitely tastes much better than it smells. The hops are there, but restrained from diluting the roasty taste. It's like an over-hopped Porter.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and medium bodied. Slightly above average drinkability. The bitter chocolate aftertaste gets slightly cloying about halfway through, but nothing out of the ordinary.

Final Thoughts: An upgrade from their IPA, but could use some work in the hop department. Either use some different kinds or tone it down and just make a great Porter. It seemed like every time I took a sip the sweet aroma stopped me from completely enjoying it. It's pretty good, above average. (1,195 characters)

Photo of Ilafan
3.88/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice mix of bitter and a slightly bread or chocolate taste. It pours dark, but not black, is medium in feel, and leaves a decent, lasting lattice. It tastes like a session beer, but the low alcohol content leads to quicker enjoyment. I like the roasted taste of this one. (271 characters)

Photo of Jdouble777
4.3/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Date: 7/8/12
Consumed: 8/18/12

First and foremost, Paul Revere ripping on a motorcycle is a pretty sweet can cover.

Appearance: Looks precisely as you would think, deep dark brownish/blackish with amber hues along the bottom of my glass. Presents well and appears as advertised. Nothing about the look stands out for me but is alluring.

Smell: Not fancy, which I enjoy, the smell is very akin to that of a milk stout with a light hint of chocolate surrounding a coffee and malty aroma. Not sure where the other guy got grapefruit or floral, to me this is an extremely prototypical dark beer. Smells delicious =0)

Taste: Spot on! Black IPAs are wonderful in that you get that milky sweetness of a milk stout without the coma inducing heaviness of a stout and a nice crisp hoppy finish. I agree with another reviewer, perhaps a different and more robust hops would allow it to finish with more of a "wow factor." Nevertheless, to me at least, very drinkable and enjoyable from sip to sip. Personally, I love this beer...I love stouts and pale ales the most of any style and this combines them brilliantly.

Mouthfeel: Surprisingly soft and IPA like feel really was mind boggling given the texture of the head and very dark appearance. Again, there is nothing about it that makes the feel "pop," but overall the flow is smooth and almost creamy with an subtle IPA like finish. (1,380 characters)

Photo of RblWthACoz
3.48/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I think the thing that really strikes me on this beer is that there is so much caramel and maltyness to it. If this is a black ale, I would think there would be much more hop presence. There is a spice tone from hops, but I think the issue is that the caramel malt character is equal or greater to it, which doesn't work so well. And that sums it up for the beer: doesn't work so well. (385 characters)

Photo of AriRock
3.68/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer has a darkly toasted rye bread backbone with grapefruit zest and grassy hops that give way to a dry, bitter finish. I enjoyed the first few sips, but this beer is not very drinkable, nor exceptionally complex. I find the hop flavor here is noticeable but a bit overwhelmed by the tobacco and burnt toast flavors of the malt, and overall it just does not deliver the type of tropical or resinous hoppy aromas that would make it brighter or deeper. I would not buy it again. (482 characters)

Photo of IllNate
3.45/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark brown with dark amber highlights, generous light tan head, great retention. Generous hopping in the nose, citrus, with resin and pine, with some dark roasted malt in the backseat. Taste follows with malts moving taking a step towards the front seat. Hops are still mainly citrus, resin and pine. Mouthfeel is a bit harsh, but nice bitterness. Overall a fine cascadian dark ale, but not my favorite exable of the style. (431 characters)

Photo of tony223366
3.7/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is a brown that's as dark as night. Nice tan head that's about three fingers. Really attractive ABA. Nice lacing and good head retention.

S: Aroma is mostly fresh piney hops with some smokiness and rich caramel. Almost smells a little funky as well, a bit musty.

T: I think the flavors are good. The hops aren't overpowering but combined with the charred/smokey bitterness strike a nice balance with the rich, somewhat sweet caramel malt flavors. The hops taste mostly of pine and maybe a little grape fruit in my opinion. It's certainly very sweet though. The beer surprisingly is malt centric.

M: Nice, smooth medium body with good carbonation.

O: A malt forward ABA... not exactly what I was expecting but generally I like it. Far from the best of the style in my opinion but I do enjoy it. (811 characters)

Photo of kemoarps
3.41/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep dark cola, with a tan head that lingers, lacing the glass as I drink.

The nose is... difficult to pin down. There's some round maltiness to it, and maaaaybe a hint of hops, but I'm not getting much I can put my finger on.

It tastes better than it smells, but it's not blowing me away. There's an almost creamy caramel/biscuity malt backbone to it topped off with some nice floral hops, and a little bit of citrus on the finish. Decent, but not spectacular.

Carbonation seems appropriate, and it goes down smoothe enough. A decent brew, I'd definitely drink it again if offered, but not one you need to go out of you way to find right away. (655 characters)

Photo of billab914
3.53/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz can poured into my Ithaca glass. It poured dark brown in color with a half inch of foam covering the top of the beer. Decent head retention and lacing on the glass as I drank it.

The aroma has a noticeable juicy hoppiness mixing with some roasted darker malts. Coffee and some dark chocolate flavors come out and blend in relatively well with the citrus and pine hop flavors.

The taste shows off a little more of the darker malts. Coffee, dark chocolate and some burnt flavors are all present. The hops have a little more of a bitter grapefruit profile towards the finish. I get a little juicy hoppiness out of it, but it seems a little overshadowed by the darker malts.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied for the style with carbonation being moderate. Overall, it's a decent beer for the style but the darker, roasted malts overshadowed the hops a little too much for me. The flavors are bold, but also pretty good. (923 characters)

Back In Black from 21st Amendment Brewery
83 out of 100 based on 678 ratings.