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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.

1,852 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,852
Reviews: 649
rAvg: 3.69
pDev: 13.55%
Wants: 41
Gots: 132 | 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
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Ratings: 1,852 | Reviews: 649 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of dgilks
3.53/5  rDev -4.3%

Dark black colour with a decent little tan head. A touch average as an appearance. The aroma is mildly roasted with some acrid malt and some decent hopping. Balanced and dry. A medium-light body with moderately-high carbonation which worked reasonably well with the beer. On the whole, this was a solid Black IPA with a decent hop character and no over the top malt other than a touch of roast. Good.

dgilks, Aug 08, 2011
Photo of jealousmonk
2/5  rDev -45.8%

Poured from a can into a pint glass.

A -- Looks fairly typical for a black IPA. Maybe a bit on the dark and syrupy side, but that might be bias from drinking it.

S -- Smells malty and sweet, without a lot of hop odor.

T -- Taste is similar. Too thick and sweet, not enough happiness.

M -- Not good. Thick, cloying, not enough carbonation (maybe not canned well). Does not drink like a black IPA.

This is definitely my least favorite black IPA so far. From some of the other comments, it seems like maybe the can is the problem. Unfortunately, this beer is sold in a can, so that's how I drank it. I've had plenty of good canned beers, so if that's the problem, I suppose the canning of this beer was just not handled properly.

jealousmonk, Aug 08, 2011
Photo of chinchill
3.35/5  rDev -9.2%

Poured from the can into 16 oz clear plastic cup.

A - Pours opaque black/brown with brown edges were a little bit of light passes thru when backlit. Towering frothing head, light caramel color, with godd retention.

S - Hop aroma is evident right opening popping the can open. Plenty of citrus and earthy hops. Very promising.

... but it is downhill from here.

T - Very limited hop flavor compared ot the aroma, with more earthy dark roasted malt coming thru. These are a bit out of balance and do not blend so well IMO. The dark malts really dominate even in the finish but do leave a bitter, coffee-tinted aftertaste. The worse part is a rather sour an metallic component mid-taste.

M - Nice carbonation, although a bit much for an easy pour. Medium, but not quite satisfying, body.

O - Overall a disappointing beer. The aroma and look were not followed by excellent flavor or mouthfeel. I've been to the brewpub and enjoyed their beers on tap. Too bad this one doesn't fare so well in canning.

chinchill, Aug 07, 2011
Photo of bjoyce12
2.7/5  rDev -26.8%

DO NOT DRINK this issue in a can. For whatever the reason, metallic taste leeches into the contents of the can. Beer has aluminum-metallic aftertaste.

DO DRINK this if it's on tap. One of the best black IPA's I've tried. I don't understand the problems with the cans, led to major disappointment, but I will continue to look for this on tap.

bjoyce12, Aug 05, 2011
Photo of MarkIntihar
3.65/5  rDev -1.1%

Poured from the can into a small taster glass. Life on the road without my glassware *sigh*

A - Pours opaque brown with a little bit of light coming through around the edges. Nice finger's worth of light tan head coats the top of the beer all the way around. Retention is solid.

S - Haven't even brought it up to my nose and I can already smell the hoppy goodness! Very strong citrus aroma with the ever so faintest hint of dark malts in the background. Smells extra hoppy and delicious!

T - Not the hop-bomb I was hoping for, but instead a very balanced profile with the hops providing more of a bite than anything else. The dark malts really dominate the flavor, despite not being as heavily present on the nose. Almost a bitter coffee-esque aftertaste that I can't quite wrap my head around. Definitely a disappointment from the smell.

M - Perhaps a touch over carbonated as it does slightly burn on the way down, but overall pleasant enough on the tongue.

O - Overall a bit of a letdown after the initial burst of hoppy citrus attacking my nose. Still a solid offering from 21st Amendment though!

MarkIntihar, Aug 05, 2011
Photo of Paincane
3.9/5  rDev +5.7%

Dark brown pour from can into pint glass. Two inch creamy tan head with moderate lacing. Roasted malt aroma and hops in surprisingly medium-bodied beer (for its color). I certainly expected it to be heavier and bit on the head fake thrown by its appearance. Ver nice mouthfeel with little if any aftertaste. A clean finish. Moderate carbonation. Overall, a very tasty brew.

Paincane, Aug 03, 2011
Photo of vande
3.53/5  rDev -4.3%

A: a deeper, darker brown...nearly on the verge of blackness, yet not quite...almost reminds me of the Stone Collaboration EL CAMINO or Hop Juice Black...with just a few shades lighter here..

S: Hops have a pine quality to them, mixed nicely with some lightly roasted grain...Bit of citrusy-grapefruit in the beer. Not dank, but nice hop tone here.

T: Expecting something similar to other Black Ales, my palate was initially thrown off here... Recently having tasted the Hop Juice Black and remembering fondly the El Camino I had to adjust... While nothing jumped out and hit my palate in the 'face,' it seemed as though there were several attempts at connecting my olfactory senses with my taste buds...but, at the same time, nothing dominated the taste here...

M: Light-medium body.. some what crisp, but nothing crazy..

O: Pretty good, but I think there are a few other black ales out there I've enjoyed a touch more. I'm glad I was able to drink one...

vande, Aug 01, 2011
Photo of drinkiusmaximus
3.68/5  rDev -0.3%

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.


drinkiusmaximus, Jul 31, 2011
Photo of Snamnoum
3.18/5  rDev -13.8%

Dark brown color near but not quite black with two fingers of tan head. Hop aroma is resigny and the malt smells nutty, toasted, and caramel. Overall though the nose is more subdued than I expected.
The beer starts off promising with some roasted malty sweetness and the first kick of oily resigny hops but the malt dies about mid way through and you're left wanting more. The finish is dry and thin. It begins round and balanced but ends acrid with the strong taste of charcoal and soot. Not very pleasant. The mouthfeel isn't remarkable either and falls somewhere between watery and oily. Also I thinks its slightly over-carbonated for the style. Overall not terrible beer but would I buy it again? No.

Snamnoum, Jul 22, 2011
Photo of brewdlyhooked13
3.55/5  rDev -3.8%

Appearance - pretty dark, I see some burgundy hues in the thinner portion of the glass. Strong two fingers of espresso colored foam. Thick cresty ropes of lace are sticking at the high water mark and in a ragged fashion below that. Great start!

Aroma - very light roast grain, much stronger whiff of piney hops. Good grain/hoppy blend on setup.

Taste - roasted grain up front, with some snappy, spicy hoppage following right on its heels. Bitter stuff, pushing the medicinal edge a bit. Piny, almost no citrus, maybe some extra malt would bring some of that out? Pretty bitter stuff, whew. Lots of good flavor here, if that bitter side had some citrus to it, I would like this more. More to the hopheads tastes. Shows some alcohol heat on the swallow, and finally some mild citrus at the finish to go with some roast.

Mouthfeel - nicely crisp yet with notable hint of smoothness. Medium-bodied, proper for style I'd imagine.

Drinkability - a workable aba, I like the can format for this tasty brew. Not the session brew for me, but worth a try.

brewdlyhooked13, Jul 19, 2011
Photo of Sky2625
3.98/5  rDev +7.9%

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.

Sky2625, Jul 18, 2011
Photo of jkdrummer
4/5  rDev +8.4%

For some reason I was expecting more from the IPA side of things. Pours a fantastic brown foamy head that dwindled into a nice layer of foam to the bottom of the glass. The taste is like a smoky, chocolate and roasted malt flavor -- like a true porter actually. Where's the hop burst of an IPA? Overall though, not that bad.

jkdrummer, Jul 17, 2011
Photo of mvanaskie13
3.43/5  rDev -7%

Poured into a standard pint glass, nice thick tan head that clings as it dissipates; color is dark brown, no reddish hues.

Smell is very light malt flavors, hints of chocalate and coffee but very feint, slight hints of citrusy piney hops but it faded.

Taste somewhat subdued, just slight hints of chocalate malt compared to an ipa, bitterness comes on but fades, notes of citrus and pine. Somewhat dry finish, with hints of caramel and chocolate malt.

Mouthfeel is slightly strong on the tongue upfront but a very dry finish, with only a slight bittersweet lingering flavor.

Overall, it could use a punch of bitterness or a touch more malt flavor, a somewhat mild rendition of this style.

mvanaskie13, Jul 08, 2011
Photo of peacebone116
4.43/5  rDev +20.1%

Poured from can into tulip glass on 6/28/2011. Not sure when this was canned, but I picked up a sixer of this the day it came into Bobby's Liquors in Santa Clara.

A: Dark brown with red highlights. Coffee froth head that sticks around for a while before slowly retreating toward the side. There is good lace throughout the enjoyment.

N: Coffee and fruitiness are evident while this beer is cold. It is not until this beer warms up to just below room temp that it really gets good (both in the nose and the taste!); burned chocolate & oak notes become prominent.

T/M: As stated above, this beer really hits its stride when it gets a bit warmer. Chocolate and coffee notes blend with an oak-like bourbon sweetness. This is all complimented by a flash of citric bitterness. The beer has a slightly dry mouthfeel.

I am really falling in love with the American Black Ale style...and this beer seems to be helping me get there. I have had this beer several times in the past, and never felt that impressed by it. However, recently (maybe they tweaked the recipe), I have been picking up on the bourbon/oak notes and found myself loving this beer and the great complexity complexity it has to offer! It is a bit more malt forward than most Black IPA, but it does it right, so that is all I am concerned with.

peacebone116, Jul 05, 2011
Photo of Hotspur2001
1.6/5  rDev -56.6%

First time I've had this in a can, and it tastes nothing like when I've had this on draft. Sadly, quite the opposite. Looked good when I poured it, smelled okay, but there's some off taste that I can't put my finger on - a chemical. It's not as hoppy as the draft version - I smell or taste almost no hops. I'm wondering if this was packaged in the wrong can.

If I'd reviewed this on draft a few months ago, I'd have given it great reviews - probably an 'A'

Hotspur2001, Jul 05, 2011
Photo of AdamBear
3.2/5  rDev -13.3%

A-dark brown with a thick dark tan head

S-smells fairly hoppy with some dark roasted malts. the hops are fairly citrusy. smells more IPA than stout

T-hits the tongue with bitter hops. it slowly transitions in to dark malts of mocha and some coffee flavor. there's a matching after-taste with some hops. the flavors are there but not of high quality.

M-good creamy carbonation with a very dry finsih

O-this is almost an even mix of IPA and porter, but i find it leans more towards the more bitter porters that i've had.the flavors themselves are of medium quality. this really isn't all that enjoyable.

AdamBear, Jul 04, 2011
Photo of scinerd3000
3.53/5  rDev -4.3%

Pourd into a traditional pint glass. Review is from notes.

A: Poured too hard and raided a 5 finger head. Oops. Nice andtam thopugh with the best retention i have ever seen. Came back to this 20 minutes later and it still held a head. Lacing was also top notch. Ruby highlights when held up to the light.

S: Lots of fruit from the yeast, esters- pineapple, figs, English esters....not much malt at all.

T: wow- complex. Chocolate, coffee, American citrus right up at the front. Floral and piney. Some biscuit quality and slightly spicy from the alcohol.

M: Hops help to thin this out on the pallet. Very pleasing lingering of pine and malt. Very well carbonated with a low-medium body. Leaves pallet fairly clean with lingering acidity.

O: Rockin- another fine brew from 21st...


scinerd3000, Jul 04, 2011
Photo of ajaxivan
4.15/5  rDev +12.5%

A: Great black color with massive light brown head

S: Citrus/piney with roasted malt.

T: I will differ with some reviews i have read, this beer is well balanced for me. I think some arent sure what to make of the style(to each his own) Citrus with a nice roasted flavor

M: Medium and carbonation is spot on

O: Slowly trying Amer. Black Ales and this is a good one. Probably not a beer id want to drink often but is a good change of pace.

ajaxivan, Jul 01, 2011
Photo of JerseyKirk
3.03/5  rDev -17.9%

A: Pours pitch black with a 2 finger slightly darker white head. Looks like a stout. Surprising and interesting. Lacing is excellent.

S: Pine, cat pee with a little bit of citrus, coffee and chocolate.

T: Super piney hop flavor. Odd after taste that I can't place a flavor on.

M: Nicely carbonated and full bodied.

O: It's not a good ipa. I don't know if black ipa's are supposed to have a slight roastiness or not but I so get a little bit of a coffeeish vibe. IDK it's something different just not all that great. Everything seems forced and unbalanced.

JerseyKirk, Jul 01, 2011
Photo of robbrandes
3.28/5  rDev -11.1%

reviewed from notes.

5oz taster, poured @ northern virginia brewfest.

pours nearly black, reasonable off-white head. nose a bit malt-forward, but the hops are at least passable for an IPA. close your eyes and it's a middle-of-the-road IPA. a little more burnt taste/aroma, on par with a middling stout, but nothing too exciting.

robbrandes, Jul 01, 2011
Photo of Matthewislee
2.08/5  rDev -43.6%

I'm amazed by the positive reviews of this beer. Was my first Black IPA and probably my last.

A few other beer friends and I poured it into a pint glass and watched the head dwindle quickly into a somewhat thin bodied beer with lots of little carb.

On the nose it was sweet and somewhat hoppy.

The flavor killed it for me. I've never tasted such an improperly balanced beer in my life and those with me agreed, that while the flavor itself may have been good there was no balance. It was metallic and brittle in mouthfeel.

This was a drainpour after it got passed around 4 people.

Matthewislee, Jun 30, 2011
Photo of avaldivia
4.28/5  rDev +16%

A; Really nice dark brew with a nice head about a finger wide. Lacing is fairly nice.

S: Fruity, citrus tones come though. Does not smell very roasted but I will not complain.

T: A really good hop kick to start, but that gives way to a nice roasted malty flavor. Nicely balanced and very enjoyable.

M: Nice and crisp with what I would consider a medium body.

O: A great brew from 21st Amendment. Very nice hop character with a wonderful maltyness. This is a beer that will be a regular in my fridge.

avaldivia, Jun 29, 2011
Photo of thegodfather1076
3.93/5  rDev +6.5%

This beer was served out of a 12oz. can dispensed into a glass....

Presentation - 21st has some cool modern ideas on the cans and this one is no exception.

Appearance - Poured a dark brown color with a light tan 1 finger head that dissipates quickly into a frothy covering. Nice lacing left on the glass.

Smell - Smells of citrus piney hops. Grapefruit and piney aromas prevalent. Nice nutty matly scent too.

Taste - Tastes of grapefruit and citrusy hops with a nice toasted malt flavor.

Mouthfeel - Medium carbonation lead to a medium bodied feel.

Drinkability - Very drinkable if this is your type of beer. Excellent complex flavors.

I really enjoyed this as it was my first Black IPA. Very different from any IPA that I have ever had. I would recommend trying this.

thegodfather1076, Jun 25, 2011
Photo of Gobzilla
4/5  rDev +8.4%

A: poured a dark brown in color with brown highlights and had a finger of head leaving lots of lacing sticking to the glass.

S: I could definitely smell the hops on the first whiff but had a nice sweet malty aroma along with citrusy character. I did however spot out a little nuttiness in the aroma as well.

T: The sweet malts were more apparent on the taste with caramel, nutty, and hoppy flavors but did have a touch of roasty coffee on the back end.

M: the brew was medium in body with a good amount of carbonation which had a sweet, roasty, hoppy, and creamy finish.

D: a really pleasent black IPA that was really easy to drink and was more on the sweet side but I didn't mind it at all.

Gobzilla, Jun 24, 2011
Photo of Tschnab
3.68/5  rDev -0.3%

Had this one at a Pirates game a few weeks ago, reviewed from notes.

A- dark, dark brown but not quite black. Good tan head, but no lacing and the head fades.

S- really interesting semll, like no other IPA I've tried. Hops and grapefruit of course, but also vanilla, licorice, and chai.

T- Absolutely like the smell, it tastes really interesting. But the glaring problem here is that the carbonation here is quite low, which I do not like in an IPA. It makes this beer taste almost like flat soda. Even though I enjoy the flavor quite a bit, the mouthfeel ruins it.

O- Great flavor here but the mouthfeel really brings down the quality here. Still, if you like BLack IPAs this is a pretty cool one.

Tschnab, Jun 20, 2011
Back In Black from 21st Amendment Brewery
83 out of 100 based on 1,852 ratings.