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Back In Black - 21st Amendment Brewery

Not Rated.
Back In BlackBack In Black

Educational use only; do not reuse.

684 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 684
Hads: 2,238
Avg: 3.68
pDev: 24.18%
Wants: 55
Gots: 321 | 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:
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: 684 | Hads: 2,238
Photo of atomicbeer
2.18/5  rDev -40.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Pours cola brown (without the carbonation) with a big taupe head that diminishes in a few minutes. Aroma is of grapefruit plus floral plus a bit of a sharp metallic tang. Tastes a nice dark roast malt and chocolate up front fading to grapefruit then burnt grapefruit rind. Combined taste is a bit nasty for me. One is plenty. Not something to impress friends with.

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Photo of CaptainTripps
2.83/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

On tap at the Cheerful Tortoise in portland. Poured into a pint glass.

A- Pours a very dark brown, almost black but not quite. Finger worth of a tan creamy head, fair amount of lacing left on glass.

S- Pretty sweet, light roasted malts are present, hops are plentiful. Citrus and pine play around a little bit with the nose.

T- A fairly sweet IPA. Has that IPA bitterness along with a coffee bitterness which are kind of an odd pairing. Small roastedness to the beer, some what of a smokey flavor.

M- Very thin, dry and crisp finish. Good amount of carbonation.

D- Fairly good drinkable beer, something I could see myself buying a sixer here and there.

Pretty average beer overall. Nothing spectacular but nothing really wrong with it either. Just average.

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Photo of jmarklan
3.1/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a can into a pint glass.

A: Pours a thin black that shines red when held up to the light. Very dense head, excellent retention and lacing.

S: Grapefruit and slight pineapple from the hops are well balanced by cocoa malts.

T: Very slight citric hoppiness up front leads into roasty but mellow dark malts, chocolate and grain. Slight hop bitterness in the finish. Neither the hops or the malts assert themselves very much at all.

M: Very smooth, not very much carbonation. Light/ medium body, slightly watery.

Overall: Not nearly as hop-forward as a black ale should be. It seems more like a watered down version of a russian imperial stout. Not a bad brew but not one i would try again.

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Photo of mikechance
3.66/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Nice dark color with the right amount of foamy head. I could smell the delicious malts, but no citrus or hops (or any other IPA characteristics). It has a nice roasty, bitter taste --- heavy malts, chocolate, and caramel flavors, but I couldn't pick up much hops. It’s creamy and goes down nice and easy. This beer has plenty of body and depth and is closer to a porter than a schwarzbier to me.

I enjoyed the beer and will have it again (hopefully on tap). I just didn’t think it had enough characteristics to be called a Black IPA. It’s more of a creamy porter to me.

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Photo of alk3kenny
4.97/5  rDev +35.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Got this in a 6pk of 12oz cans poured into my Sam Adams 20oz glass... Pours a decent 1/2 in head great dark black color... Smell is of bitter hops love it... hop bitterness is present followed by roast dark malt flavor exactly what I'm looking for in this style of beer... leaves just a little bitterness on the tongue aftertaste of hops sticks with you which is a plus in my book... mouthfeel is smooth, easily drinkable goes down again and again... I will buy this beer any time I'm looking for a black IPA

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Photo of drinkiusmaximus
3.68/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- pours black with a chocolatey tint around the edges, three fingers head with nice retention.

S- something spiritous can smell the hops and roasted malts but there is something vaguely woody about this.

T-Nice hop bite with sweet malts that fade soon and are replaced by a roastiness.

M- nice and creamy medium bodied and a slightly drying effect.

D- Meh as I do love ABA this is nowhere near my favorite.


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Photo of kevinv
2.61/5  rDev -29.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured from the can into a pint glass.

A: Opaque dark brown. Ruby hues when held to the light. Large retaining tan head. Prolonged lacing throughout.

S: Light piney hops. Sweet malts.

T: Sweet and roasted malts. Light hop presence. Slight bitterness and an off-taste that I can't put my finger on in the finish. It kind of tastes like...soap? The 'roasty-ness' is nice. There's a little bit of an unpleasant sweetness that lingers. Other than that, there's not much going on.

M: Light, thin feel. Medium carbonation. It could use a bigger body.

D: Drinkability is alright. The alcohol is hidden well. It's just a little too sweet for me, so I don't think I'd want more than one.

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Photo of HitokiriNate85
4.05/5  rDev +10.1%
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).

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Photo of WOTO97
3.72/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Just popped a can of this the other night; also had the pleasure of tasting it on tap at CBS. The nose is full of bright citrus hop qualities with lingering charcoal and cocoa bitterness in the background. This beer drink very well at cooler temps: the bright citrus hop flavors are there in the front to welcome you in while the roasted malts bring you home on the back of the palate, along with hints of caramel. Could use for a bit extra punch in the way of bittering hops. A bit thin in the body despite a nice initial creaminess. As the beer warms the big hop presence fades and gives way to burned coffee and roasted malts. All-in-all a very tasty drop and decent example of style (if you can call it that).

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Photo of bpw28
3.95/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Two finger off white shaving cream thick head, Deep Mahogany (about a 35 SRM), Very Nice Lacing

Nose: Heavy Roast, Big Citrus, Floral, Yeasty, A little funkyness (A very good thing, reminds me of belgian funk), Big Coffee, Fig, Bittersweet Chocolate

Taste: Hm. Well, it seems to hit in this order- Citrus-Floral-Pine ipa, Roasty-Coffee-Caramel-Bready dark malt, Spicy-Floral strong hop bite end. This one comes in layers, which of course is nice. A little light on the mouth fullness though.

Final Thoughts: I really like this one. I don't know if the lack of body is so it's more of a "session" if you so choose to have it that way. There's mouthfeel, but it isn't to what I would expect. It's my only qurk, and its pretty small really. Great beer (had the monk's blood from 21st, amazing.) certainly worth the buy and I'm glad that 21st has been kicking the can phobia alot of people have into to the gutter.

Food Pairing: Meat, Sausage, Grilled Items, Smoked Items, Medium Cheeses, Ham, Lamb.

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Photo of codfeast
3.45/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

can to pint.

A: Very dark brown, thick fluffy 1" tan head.

S: Malt, toffee, caramel, slight floral hops.

T: Sweet malt quickly replaced by a heavily toasted malt, coffee taste. a lingering bitter, burnt finish.

M: Nice carbination, oily, creamy feel.

O: It's not that I dislike it just has to much of the toasted (burnt) taste for me. Not something I would buy at the store, would give it another go on draft however.

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Photo of Dubber55
3.55/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

First black ipa. Here we go:

Dark brown/black. When held up to the light, its looks dark brown. 2 finger mocha head.

Smells hoppy, grassy, and a little metallic.

Flavor is hoppy but not really piney. Not really citrusy either. A little earthy/grassy. I taste some roast as well. Definitly a unique take on the style. I have never had an ipa with a flavor profile like this but, its pretty good. Its a little bitter but not too crazy. I guess I would have liked some more hops. Dry on the finish.

Mouthfeel is solidly medium. Carbonation is medium to high

Drinkability is good. The roasted flavor is bit drying but I think I could drink a few of these.

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Photo of frenchblood21
3.82/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance- Light black with a tan head that quickly fades away.

Smell- Chocolate, orange zest and pine (in a good way)

Taste- Its absolutely an IPA, but Back in Black kicks it up a notch with the chocolate notes. I know its hoppy, but my brain says coffee stout too...I'm pleasantly confused.

Mouthfeel- A bit thin. I know IPAs aren't known for their ability to coat your mouth, but this one is especially thin.

Overall- Bottom line, this beer will not change your life, but for the price tag, you'd be an idiot not to grab a six.

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Photo of rwhitmore
4.22/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Served on tap in a shaker pint at Urban Tavern in San Francisco.

Nice off-white head, that left good lacing. Midnight black that let just a little dark burgundy light through.

Aroma is lot's of coffee roast, with orange and grapefruit peel. This aroma is a big reason I like black IPAs.

Smooth coffee and chocolate roast flavor, with the crisp bright citrus notes are up front. Hop bitterness builds into the pine of a northwest IPA. Again, this is a favorite style, and this beer hit all the marks.

Mouthfeel was caramel-ly in an IPA way, and the roast lingered in the finish.

Paired this with the spicy caggiano beer sausage and pretzel small plate, and it was just great.

I really like most black IPAa, and Black on Black is a great black IPA.

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Photo of BenjieK
3.43/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: dark brown, decent head, black highlights. Left some lacing.

S: Dark bread, coffee, light smell of hops. Not bad.

T: The taste was a let down for me. Have been drinking some great local ABAs. This was lackluster, with not so intense coffee and hops nots, but more sweetness.

M: Kind of light but well carbonated and refreshing.

D: Could definately drink a few of these under the right circumstances.

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Photo of VoiceOfTheSoul
4/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Can into nonic pint glass.

A: Pours a very dark ruby brown with a one finger tan head that leaves good webbing but shrinks to a ring in a decent amount of time.

S: It has a sharp hop smell, citrus and pine (mostly pine), with undertones of roasted and chocolate malt. These come through more as it warms.

T: Sharp piney hops balanced with chocolate roasty malts. A great marriage. As it warms, both more roasty-ness and hop profile come through more, so it became more intense without one side winning over the other.

M: It's up front. Thin yet smooth.

D: It's really nice and easy. The hops and roasted malt are both great for the cooler temperatures as we head into fall/winter.

Notes: A really solid brew. It's got a great balance between the hops and the roasted malts that shows they really know what they're doing. Nothing was ever over-powering.

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Photo of Thiestru
4.47/5  rDev +21.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12-oz. can into my Terrapin pint glass.

Appearance: A dark, transparent, porter-like color. I poured this too hard, which resulted in a billowy two-finger, creamy head.

Smell: The style is evident in the smell, as both the malt and hop scents are very strong.

Taste: Surprisingly refreshing! This is not very bitter, but the hops are there; the real star is the sweet, pleasant maltiness. It's a little chocolatey, very like a porter.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and creamy. I don't normally pay much attention to this aspect of beer, but here it stands out.

Drinkability: Very easy to drink. This is the kind of beer I find myself gulping, however I try not to. This is the first beer I've had from 21st Amendment, and I'm impressed. Check it out.

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Photo of TheSeeker61
4.35/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this brew @ the Porter beer bar in Atlanta.

Poured jet black into a pint glass. Nice one finger head which mellowed into a ring. Nice lacing.
Nose was kinda interesting. Citrus was noticible along with some hops & malt especially as it warms.

Begins with a citrus bitter, moves into a nice malt & not too hoppy.

The mouthfeel is nice & creamy. Will definitely drink this baby again. Gets better as it warms.

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Photo of Kranders
3.73/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

To go along with some MNF and NBA Jam, my cousin brought over a fantastic beer-in-a-can, Back in Black from 21st Amendment. I love black IPAs for many reasons, and this particular beer is no exception. A quick look and you'll expect a big robust stout, but as soon as you drink it's totally different. This beer has a great sweetness that's cut perfectly with a punch of hops, and it does so in a way where it's not overpowering.

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Photo of feylure
2.06/5  rDev -44%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Oh wow. This one didn't hit me quite so well.

Appearance is great. It pours such a dark brown that it becomes almost pitch black in the glass, and it has a nice amount of carbonation.

Smell is odd. I can sense a light bit of hops, but for the most part it's over-taken by a puckering-bitter smell.

At first taste, it's pretty good with dark notes and malts, then something happens that I don't enjoy. Like the smell, a wave of sweet-bitterness that makes me pucker hits. The tail is very dry and leaves that bitter taste lingering.

Personally I don't find the puckering taste that enjoyable, so I can't say I find this beer all that drinkable. All said and done, I have to give it a try!


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Photo of Sky2625
3.97/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a can into a glass mug/stein (this review is from notes taken 7/11/11).

A - Poured a medium dark brown, clear and with a light body, almost like a cola. 2 finger cream-colored, tiny-to-medium bubble head with good retention and thick lacing.

S - Citrus/pine hop nose for the duration, with a hint of molasses at the end. Easy on the nose, not pungent but pleasant.

T - Coffee note to start, followed by mild pine, underpinned by a hint of molasses. Transitions to simultaneous sweet and bitter with dark roasted malt notes. Finishes with a flush of spicy heat, bitterness, and a note of dark unsweetened chocolate.

M - Light medium body, with a flash of carbonation fizz to aid the transition from coffee to pine flavor, and which sets up the flash of spice.

D - This beer is great. Light enough in body, not too spicy or bitter to be a single-order beer, but flavorful enough to slow you down and make you appreciate it.

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Photo of gc4hokies
2.79/5  rDev -24.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A = pours an "almost" black color. Nice head and lacing.
S = Very malty with a slight dark chocolate and alcohol note
T = Black jelly bean malts is the best I can describe it. I'm not sure where the IPA came from on the can but I wouldn't use IPA in the title. Dark malts, sweet to start, dry finish

Overall, I wouldn't call this a Black IPA at all. The hops are there with some noticeable bitterness, but piney, citrus hop flavor and aromas that are associated with IPAs are nowhere to be found. Not a bad beer, but I wouldn't buy this again.

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Photo of TheAdamConners
5/5  rDev +35.9%

I always liked black IPA's, and this one solidified that. Just a great brew. Straight outta the can is quite nice. Good amount of hop flavor (65ibus) but great balance. This is one of the most drinkable black IPA's you'll find. Sits light on the stomach, and goes great with chicken and spicy peppers.

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Photo of ugaterrapin
3.96/5  rDev +7.6%
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.

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Photo of Norica
1.42/5  rDev -61.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

So excited to try this beer and out of the gate it looks promising with a opaque black appearance and strong head. Aroma is of vending machine hot chocolate, very faint. From here the beer heads down very fast. Taste of sour milk from a metal canteen and virtually no hopfeel on the tongue. My cheapness prevents the drinkability of this one taking a ride out to the town sewer. Can't get over how bad this one is from a brewery that I've had some luck with. It's a huge step forward that craft beer is turning to cans but it's still what is inside that counts and this one fails miserably.

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Back In Black from 21st Amendment Brewery
83 out of 100 based on 684 ratings.