1. BeerAdvocate on your phone?! True story. Try the beta now.

Back In Black - 21st Amendment Brewery

Back In BlackBack In Black

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
83
good

1,635 Ratings
THE BROS
72
okay

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1635
Reviews: 635
rAvg: 3.68
pDev: 13.86%


Brewed by:
21st Amendment Brewery visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Black Ale |  6.80% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
ABV varies around 7%.
65 IBU

(Beer added by: tpd975 on 11-23-2008)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Ratings: 1,635 | Reviews: 635 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of shand
shand

Florida

4.1/5  rDev +11.4%
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.

Serving type: can

09-05-2012 02:05:38 | More by shand
Photo of brentk56
brentk56

North Carolina

3.28/5  rDev -10.9%
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

Serving type: can

08-30-2012 22:38:31 | More by brentk56
Photo of vfgccp
vfgccp

New York

3.98/5  rDev +8.2%
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.

Serving type: can

08-26-2012 20:11:44 | More by vfgccp
Photo of Murrhey
Murrhey

Montana

2.68/5  rDev -27.2%
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.

Serving type: can

08-26-2012 19:33:58 | More by Murrhey
Photo of JamesMN
JamesMN

Minnesota

3.63/5  rDev -1.4%
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.

Serving type: can

08-26-2012 05:51:21 | More by JamesMN
Photo of Ilafan
Ilafan

Minnesota

3.9/5  rDev +6%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

08-19-2012 21:34:47 | More by Ilafan
Photo of Jdouble777
Jdouble777

Virginia

4.33/5  rDev +17.7%
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.

Serving type: can

08-18-2012 22:24:25 | More by Jdouble777
Photo of RblWthACoz
RblWthACoz

Pennsylvania

3.48/5  rDev -5.4%
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.

Serving type: can

08-07-2012 07:08:12 | More by RblWthACoz
Photo of AriRock
AriRock


3.65/5  rDev -0.8%
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.

Serving type: can

08-07-2012 01:31:15 | More by AriRock
Photo of IllNate
IllNate

British Columbia (Canada)

3.45/5  rDev -6.3%
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.

Serving type: can

07-22-2012 01:00:24 | More by IllNate
Photo of tony223366
tony223366

California

3.68/5  rDev 0%
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.

Serving type: can

07-19-2012 04:23:35 | More by tony223366
Photo of kemoarps
kemoarps

Missouri

3.43/5  rDev -6.8%
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.

Serving type: can

07-12-2012 20:50:46 | More by kemoarps
Photo of billab914
billab914

Virginia

3.53/5  rDev -4.1%
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.

Serving type: can

07-06-2012 21:52:52 | More by billab914
Photo of trxxpaxxs
trxxpaxxs

New York

3.95/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a super deep brown, verging on black, with a full finger of khaki colored head. The foam takes forever to settle. Decent lacing as it drinks.

S: The nose is dark chocolate, caramel, citrus, pine, and roasted nuts. There isn't one standout scent, it's a pure blend of all of those things.

T: Starts out sweet like caramel, mixed with some burnt toast. Citrus hops shine through right after. The middle is mainly malt. The finish is a blend of char and bright citrus.

M: Medium bodied beer. Tons of flavor, nice malt and hop play. Nothing lingers for too long.

O: Solid. I'd drink this again if I saw it.

Serving type: can

06-27-2012 20:37:11 | More by trxxpaxxs
Photo of superspak
superspak

Michigan

3.58/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce can into tulip glass, canned on 8/15/2011(oh well, lets give it a shot). Pours a clear extremely dark brown color with a nice 2 finger dense khaki head with great retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lasts. Some good spotty lacing clings to the glass. Aromas of orange, grapefruit, caramel, roasted malt, toast, pine, herbal, floral, and light chocolate. Aromas are pretty malty sweet smelling, with moderate roast character. Taste of grapefruit, pine, roasted malt, caramel, toast, chocolate, floral, and herbal spiciness. Fair amount of bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of citrus, roasted malt, toast, pine, and herbal spiciness on the finish for a good bit. Pretty nice balance flavors; with a good hop/roasted character balance. Medium carbonation and body; with a fairly creamy and sticky mouthfeel. Alcohol is well hidden with hardly any warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is a good black IPA. Nice roasted character to hop balance, and very smooth to drink. No idea what to expect from a fresher can, perhaps better aromas.

Serving type: can

06-25-2012 03:37:12 | More by superspak
Photo of hopsolutely
hopsolutely

Ontario (Canada)

4.18/5  rDev +13.6%
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!

Serving type: can

06-22-2012 22:41:53 | More by hopsolutely
Photo of beerluvr
beerluvr

Ontario (Canada)

3.85/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a Duvel tulip with a nice long-lasting light tan head that leaves a nice pattern on the sides of the glass as it settles out. Very dark damn near black liquid goodness in the glass, fresh hoppy and bitter aromas with subtle roasted malts. Good mouthfeel and wonderful hop bitterness mingles with that roasted malt, giving a touch of bitterness as well. Finishes long and bitter with again that little roasted malt snap. Interesting and quite drinkable twist on 'ye olde I.P.A.'. Not too strong yet makes a nice 'gonna have a few of these'-type beers.

Serving type: can

06-07-2012 00:04:50 | More by beerluvr
Photo of NoLeafClover44
NoLeafClover44

Delaware

3.78/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. can poured into goblet.

A - Pours black with a half finger of mocha head. Carbonation dies to a thin wisp on the surface. Paints the glass with a lacing of bubbles.

S - Roasted malt, pine hops, toffee, char. All the components of a good Black Ale.

T - Resinous pine hops, chocolate, and toasted malt. Doesn't have amazing complexity, but very well balanced.

M - Plentiful micro-carbonation and a medium body make for a creamy mouthfeel. The hops offer a dry finish.

O - I consider this one "old reliable" for the style. Has enough hops to keep me satisfied combined with mellow malt. Makes for a very drinkable, tasty, canned brew.

Serving type: can

06-05-2012 02:08:39 | More by NoLeafClover44
Photo of GalenAnderson
GalenAnderson

New Hampshire

4.55/5  rDev +23.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had this beer on draft at the Armsby Abbey in Worcester MA. It was poured into a standard tumbler pint glass with a one finger head.

The appearance was a deep brown, not quite black and not fully opaque. The hoppy and malty aroma is nice but not as strong as the taste of the beer itself.

The taste of the beer is thankfully its best attribute. It was really wonderful and full of complexity. It is neither particularly hoppy nor bitter, but these flavors are present and balanced. The roasted malt flavors that held hints of chocolate and currents provide most of the taste. The beer is just a little sweet which balances with the bitterness perfectly.

Mouthfeel was nice, lightly carbonated, maybe a little bit lighter than expected.

Very drinkable and also very easy to enjoy with food.

Serving type: on-tap

05-27-2012 14:26:24 | More by GalenAnderson
Photo of TheEarl
TheEarl

Washington

2.25/5  rDev -38.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I had Back in Black poured from a can into a standard pint glass on the evening of May 23, 2012.

Appearance: As the name suggests, Back in Black is…black. Beyond the color, there is a quickly dissipating off-white head with medium bubbles and some decent lacing.

Smell: Back in Black’s aroma is as roasty and bready as the dark color suggests but I found the hop notes seem a bit inorganic—less like a pine trees and tropical fruit and more like pine air freshener and Capri Sun.

Taste: The taste is dry with roasted malt as the overwhelming flavor.

Mouthfeel: The mouthfeel with Black IPAs or, as we like to call them in Seattle, CDAs, is always a bit jarring. Simply put, the appearance primes you for a more substantial texture than these beers tend to offer and Back in Black is no exception. The mouthfeel is pretty thin, which is fine, but, I also found the beer lacked in terms of slickness or viscosity—it just felt rough.

Overall: I didn’t like Back in Black and I wouldn’t buy it again. BIPA/CDAs seem like a very “hit or miss” style and, for me, HUB’s Secession or Firestone Walker’s Wookey Jack are significantly better ales.

Serving type: can

05-24-2012 20:07:43 | More by TheEarl
Photo of BuxMontBeerLover
BuxMontBeerLover

Pennsylvania

3.88/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Revivals Restaurant in Perkasie, PA

Served in a standard pint glass

A - The beer is a very dark brown color (not quite black but pretty close). Mostly opaque. Was poured in front of me with a one finger, beige colored head. Low lacing.

S - Rather underwhelming aroma but a faint malty, hoppy smell.

T - This is a really easy drinking hybrid beer. It has the piney, hoppy, slightly bitter taste of an IPA with a backbone of roasted malts. As it warms up, more of the flavors (chocolate, perhaps) come through. The alcohol is well hidden.

M - A moderate consistency, moderate carbonation.

O - I enjoy this style of beer. It's a decent tasting brew that goes down easy with a nice flavor. If you're into this style, I'd recommend giving it a try.

Cheers!

Serving type: on-tap

05-24-2012 20:00:52 | More by BuxMontBeerLover
Photo of Eddxii
Eddxii

Florida

3.6/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Back in Black does not pour a full black color. It has more of a dark root-beer hue, though in the low lighting of a bar it might as well be absent of color. A medium two-finger head of light tan bubbles appears initially, slowly dissipating to a thin but consistent layer atop the beer that nicely laces the sides of the glass.

S: I’m really struggling to get much of an aroma at all from this beer. There’s a very subtle smell of the roasted malts, but not much else. If you really concentrate, you might observe a light pine scent from the hops.

T: The initial taste smoothly brings the darker malts of this medium-bodied ale to the front, leaving the bitterness for later. Said bitterness strongly makes its appearance upon the finish. There the hops emerge with high potency, mixing with the roasted malts for a sharp but delicious relish.

M: The roastiness of the malt and the light flower of the hops linger on the palate well after the sip as the mouthfeel becomes a tad sticky, but in a good way that brings to mind sweet pine resin.

O: For people who tend not to go for full IPAs, Back in Black offers a good sharp drinking experience with a bit more depth to balance out the bitterness. The roasted malts still make this a powerful beer in terms of flavor, and the extra richness they provide will satisfy those who don’t like drinking a glass of hops. Overall, Back in Black is nothing to write home about, but if you’re new to this hybrid style, this is a very good representative.

Serving type: can

05-23-2012 20:24:27 | More by Eddxii
Photo of Samp01
Samp01

New Jersey

3.75/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz can. Pours a rich deep black with a lasting tan head, good lacing. Aroma and Taste of rich lightly roasted dark malts, yeast, with some floral piney hops bitterness. Palate is a medium to full body with mild carbonation. Finish is sweet roasted dark chocolate malts, some light dark fruity notes ending is a sweet malty floral piney hops flavor. This brew was not overly hopped ( bitter ) but more dark malts. Overall it was a good drinking and tasty brew, enjoyable to drink.

Serving type: can

05-23-2012 19:58:16 | More by Samp01
Photo of tobelerone
tobelerone

Connecticut

3.85/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A high quality black IPA with a smoother, softer overall feel on draft than in the can. Carbonation is rounded off a bit, there’s some stickiness, and the body is very much right down the middle. Black and opaque with a small tan head that settles down slowly, leaving nice lacing. Aroma is lightly roasty but led by grapefruit hop notes. The flavor is a bit more balanced and less aggressively citrusy than I remember the can being. Definite grapefruit hoppiness with some piney notes but there is a higher degree of roastiness here than in many other black IPAs or “Cascadian Ales” or what-have-you. Finishes fairly dry with a bit of lingering bitterness in the aftertaste. If you like this style this is a solid example.

Serving type: on-tap

05-23-2012 13:43:05 | More by tobelerone
Photo of jpro
jpro

South Carolina

3.78/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz can from Total Wine Park Road in Charlotte. Into a DFH shaped pint...

A: Dark brown; light khaki, one-finger head; leaves some lace; a ton of sediment is floating around.

S: Grapefruit with some pretty rich breadiness; mint.

T: Grapefruit citrus hops; soapy bitterness; some alcohol / pine on the finish; not much malt.

M: Medium body; high carbonation; prickly.

O: A decent black IPA; A LOT of sediment in the glass though - not appealing especially for a black beer - kind of a turn off.

Serving type: can

05-21-2012 03:01:12 | More by jpro
Back In Black from 21st Amendment Brewery
83 out of 100 based on 1,635 ratings.