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Back In Black - 21st Amendment Brewery

Not Rated.
Back In BlackBack In Black

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

1,874 Ratings
THE BROS
72
okay

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,874
Reviews: 650
rAvg: 3.69
pDev: 13.55%
Wants: 44
Gots: 135 | FT: 0
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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Back In Black Alström Bros
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Ratings: 1,874 | Reviews: 650 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of t0rin0
3.75/5  rDev +1.6%

t0rin0, Aug 10, 2012
Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.58/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I love the artwork on this can. A Paul Revere figure in period garb riding a motorcycle instead of a horse.

Pours a semi-opaque dark crimson brown with a 1 inch beige head that lasts. Good distinct rings of lace adorn the glass on the drink down. Smells of dark roasted malts and floral/citrus hops. There is also a very faint smell of watered down coffee. Taste follows the smell and is of roasted malts, slight coffee, and citrus zest hops. Mild hop bitterness on the palate after each sip. The beer is lightly carbonated and goes down smoothly. Overall, a good beer in the black IPA style but nothing mind blowing.

UCLABrewN84, Apr 14, 2011
Photo of djrn2
3.5/5  rDev -5.1%

djrn2, Apr 12, 2012
Photo of zestar
3.75/5  rDev +1.6%

zestar, Aug 04, 2014
Photo of spycow
3.75/5  rDev +1.6%

spycow, Mar 09, 2013
Photo of nmann08
4/5  rDev +8.4%

nmann08, Dec 14, 2011
Photo of metter98
3.75/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: The beer is clear very dark brownish amber in color. It poured with a thin beige head that quickly died down into persistent lacy patterns. There is a light amount of carbonation visible from the rising bubbles.
S: There are aromas of piney hops and roasted malts in the nose along with some hints of coffee.
T: The beer has a very good balance between the flavors of hops and malts and only has a mild amount of bitterness.
M: It feels medium-bodied and crisp on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation. There is a slight amount of dryness.
D: The beer is very easy to drink because the alcohol is well masked.

metter98, Sep 19, 2010
Photo of brentk56
3.28/5  rDev -11.1%
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

brentk56, Aug 30, 2012
Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.63/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

"Inspired by Paul Revere's midnight ride, we rebelled against the British style IPA, embraced the more aggressive American version and then recast it in bold, brave, defiant black."

--21st Amendment website

The hue is more dark walnut with burnt orange edges than bold, brave, defiant black. Almost half the glass is currently filled with a lovely looking crown of caramel nougat colored foam that has an impressively bubbly surface. Lace is both extensive and attractive.

Back In Black smells like a black IPA... or a Cascadian dark ale... or an American black ale... or whatever the hell we're calling them this week. There are equal contributions from medium-dark malts and citrusy American hops: Columbus, Centennial and Simcoe.

The flavor score, although identical to the two above it, is the weakest one yet. The first half of each mouthful is wonderful. It's in the second half that a somewhat puckery lemon juiciness comes out to play. There are enough other flavors to keep it in control, but still.

The malts are mostly dark caramel-like with a contribution from bittersweet chocolate. Top notes include lemon and pink grapefruit with a small splash of pineapple juice. Sorry, but the taste score isn't able to hang in there and the drinkability score follows it right down to 3.5. Time and warming did nothing to help the cause.

The mouthfeel is just big enough and gains an enjoyable smoothness by the middle of the can. The bubbles could be better integrated, but they aren't bad, all things considered.

21st Amendment's Back In Black is not a raucous, rowdy, rock-and-rollin' roof-raiser that would do the AC/DC song of the same name proud. It's a black IPA that is a little bit too fruit juicy to compete with the best versions of this style.

BuckeyeNation, Jan 29, 2011
Photo of Texasfan549
3.5/5  rDev -5.1%

Texasfan549, Jan 06, 2012
Photo of BEERchitect
3.75/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Sinister in its darkness, there's really no telling to its hoppy secrets within. Porterlike to the eye, its not until the nose gets close that the senses are taken back by the IPA that lurks beneath.

21st Amendment's "black" IPA engulfs the olfactory senses with resinous notes of spruce, torn pinecone, and sharply aromatic grasses. As the mocha malt flavors attempt to balance the beer, early taste of burnt citrus come to rescue the early palate.

As the tandem of piquant citrus and herbal, earthen bouquet remain front and center, the malt doesn't give up so easy. Those toasty, chocolaty, coffee flavors carry enough sweetness to suggest porter. And the body does similar with a velvety center that attempts to seduce the palate. Yet those dominant hops win out as the ale trends drier and drier heading into finish.

Its deeply resinous bittering closes out the session with a sticky dryness that only highly hopped ale can give. It easily out-duels the malt sweetness and relies on its persistent char to not only meet the intensity of bitterness but intensifies it with its own coffeelike bitterness and roast-derived astringency.

The fear for any brewer with this up-and-coming style to to make an IPA first and allow the dark grain to complement. But most attempts carelessly revert to simply a hoppy porter. Riding that line dangerously close, Back In Black edges out the porter and sides with IPA, but only slightly.

BEERchitect, Jul 11, 2014
Photo of mikesgroove
3.8/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

black as night opaque liquid. You could tell it was not that thick though as there was some light getting through on the sides and bottom. A nice off white head formed on the top, maybe about two inches in height. Sticky and foamy it gradually relented and rested back down to about a half inch layer across the top and this hung around for the rest of the session.

pine aromas, Almost ripping the nose apart, very good indeed. Now there was some underlying roasted malts in there as well. Now to be honest this was nothing extraordinary, nothing really new, and nothing really absurd Somewhat sweet in the finish at first, but that lasts for all of about two seconds before your lips stick to your teeth and the dry bitterness kicked in. mix of the hops was actually quite nice as it really wasn’t tearing up your mouth as much as one woudld think. There was definitely a touch of malt in there, especially after it warmed up a bit as a subtle sweetness, and earthy type of flavor started to work its way it.
Lots of carbonation which always helps in these situations, now the other side to this was that it was jet black.

mikesgroove, Jun 13, 2011
Photo of kjkinsey
4/5  rDev +8.4%

kjkinsey, Jan 06, 2012
Photo of womencantsail
3.9/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at 21A

A: The pour is reminiscent of cola in terms of the color with a dense off-white head and some spots of lacing.

S: The nose is primarily of roasted malts and bitter-sweet chocolate. A moderate citrus hop aroma of grapefruit and orange peels. Not quite as hoppy as your usual black IPA.

T: The hop character is mild, especially in terms of the bitterness. Fairly sweet and chocolatey with a decent grapefruit flesh and peel flavor, though.

M: The body is medium with a moderate to high level of carbonation.

D: Not exactly what you think of in terms of the black IPA, but still a good beer.

womencantsail, Nov 27, 2010
Photo of ygtbsm94
3/5  rDev -18.7%

ygtbsm94, Feb 03, 2013
Photo of jaydoc
3.25/5  rDev -11.9%

jaydoc, Sep 07, 2013
Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.78/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16 ounce pint - $5.50 at Taco Mac in Kennesaw, Georgia.

Appearance: Slowly served up on a busy Saturday night a clearish, very, very dark brown body with a slim, off-white head.

Smell: Aroma smelling of bitter cocoa bars, Maxwell House ground coffee, grapefruit, yellow pine, and light caramel wrapped up with an earthy character.

Taste: An initial rush of roastiness, followed by an expanse of pale malts, more than anticipated. Of the various malt tastes, bittersweet chocolate leads, with lesser tastes of simple coffee and caramel trailing behind. Blend of citrusy, piney hops deliver a moderate amount of bitterness. Maybe a small hint of herbs lurking in there as well. Then, the taste rolls back towards the dark malts, leaving you with a close tasting of chocolate and coffee.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: It's black, it's bitter, but the hop profile, while certainly present, wasn't (thankfully) abrasive and as such, it kind of reminded me of Avery's New World Porter.

ChainGangGuy, Sep 05, 2010
Photo of Knapp85
3.3/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This poured out as a nice black looking brew, the head was tan in color and leaves a little bit of lacing behind. The smell of the beer was hoppy and had plenty of roasted malt aromas in there too. The taste of the beer kinda of fell off the radar for me... The hops that were used or the malts they used seems to be a little on the gross side in my opinion. Whatever it was, I felt like it just wasn't working for me. The mouthfeel of the beer was pretty good, but still nothing special really. Overall this brew had a good look, but flavor wise it just wasn't for me.

Knapp85, Oct 06, 2011
Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
3.5/5  rDev -5.1%

westcoastbeerlvr, Nov 15, 2011
Photo of TMoney2591
3.58/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a Dogfish Head shaped pint glass.

Another decision made for me by my boy Mike in IL, with Jethro Tull's "Windup" rockin' in the background. It pours a barely transulcent, very dark ruby brown topped by a steadfast finger of ecru foam. The nose is odd, kinda like a ruby red grapefruit drizzled with lemon juice. Some orange slices and pine sap find their way in there as well, and I assume that's some light caramel that's trying to evade me in the back. Honestly, this smells kinda weird. Hard to explain, just doesn't seem quite right. The taste is pretty hop-forward, with plenty o' citrus hops flying at me, grapefruit, orange, and lime flavors resulting. Instead of straight caramel, though, some light roasted malts make their way into town, blowin' in like the fools who always fuck with Clint Eastwood (much to their ultimate dismay). The two competing sides continue fighting throughout the tasting, making for quite a pleasant feel, all while Chubby Checker's "Limbo Rock" makes me wanna dance a little. Still, something's missing, leaving me ultimately unsatisfied as a whole. The body is a heavy light, with a light moderate carbonation and a slightly creamy feel. Overall, a nice BIPA (or CDA, whichever you prefer), definitely worth a taste.

TMoney2591, Aug 04, 2010
Photo of largadeer
3/5  rDev -18.7%

largadeer, Oct 18, 2013
Photo of emerge077
3.48/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

$1.95 can from Big Sur Deli. Poured into a stemless wine glass on the front porch.

Khaki tan foam, sticky with larger bubbles that are slow to fade. Plenty of lace is left on the glass too. Retention is pretty good, an unbroken skim is still across the surface. Black with chestnut brown edges.

When the can was first cracked there was a whiff of fresh green hop pungency, but after sitting in the glass for five minutes, it seems to have faded, leaving a noseful of earthy roast.

More roasty porter notes in the flavor, a little bit of pine and citrus intertwined in there also. Dry with a moderately bitter finish. Light green hop aftertaste lingers. Pretty easy drinking, not bad.

emerge077, Oct 09, 2011
Photo of zeff80
4/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out an opaque, jet black color with a one finger, tan head of foam. It left sticky rings of lace on the glass.

S - It smelled of citrus, pine and roasted malts.

T - It tasted of citrus, pine and strong roasted malt with some sweet toffee and chocolate.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium bodied ale with a dry finish.

O - This is a very good black ale. 21st Amendment continues to make great canned beer.

zeff80, Jan 01, 2012
Photo of JAHMUR
3.25/5  rDev -11.9%

JAHMUR, Aug 11, 2014
Photo of NeroFiddled
4.1/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Rich and smooth, 21st Amendment packs the strength of an IPA (6.8% alc./vol.), all of the bitterness (65 IBU's), and quite a bit of hop flavor and aroma (65 IBU's) into one really nicely balanced, chocolatey/roasty ale.

It displays a deep mahogany brown body that appears almost black in the glass beneath a creamy head of khaki. The head holds quite well, and it leaves sheets of spotted and craggy splashed walls of lace behind.

The aroma is leafy, citrusy, and floral over a base malt of dark caramel and chocolate.

In the mouth it's medium bodied and creamy with a zest of carbonation on the tongue.

The flavor delivers a combination of citrusy, floral, grassy, and leafy hops upfront atop a gently roasty and darkly caramelish malt that warms to become more chocolatey across the middle. The hops also become a bit more spicy. It finishes with a drop of dark milk chocolate rising, but that's then quickly dried as the hops become more spicy and piney.

As to drinkability, I think it's quite accessible. If you've enjoyed a strong porter and you enjoy hops, this has got you covered. It could probably be more focused, but it's still very nicely done.

NeroFiddled, Dec 23, 2010
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Back In Black from 21st Amendment Brewery
83 out of 100 based on 1,874 ratings.