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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.

1,855 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,855
Reviews: 649
rAvg: 3.69
pDev: 13.55%
Wants: 42
Gots: 133 | 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: 1,855 | Reviews: 649 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of cindyjeffsmith
3.13/5  rDev -15.2%

appearance: Well, it's not pale and not quite black.
smell: Hops and malt yes. Fairly well balanced.
taste: Again hops and malt and fairly well balanced. Almost like an IPA and a brown were mixed in the same glass. Not better than the sum of it's parts but not bad either.
average: Love trying new brews and bravo for the creative spirit. Won't be going back for seconds.

cindyjeffsmith, Apr 23, 2011
Photo of Hoptometrist
3.53/5  rDev -4.3%

Served from the can into a nonic glass.

A-Pours a very dark brown with ruby undertones and three-finger frothy latte colored head that leaves incredible sticky lacing.

S- Piney and citrus hops, woody aroma, and roasted malt

T-Not a strong hop bitterness, but it is there and complements the roasted malt flavor well. Taste is of piney hop, roasted malt, and some woodiness but I am not picking up on much more. Kind of a strange aftertaste

M- A little watery on the finish, but otherwise a fairly smooth beer.

O- This is not a bad beer, but nothing really popped for me with this one. I tasted a woodlike or sawdust kind of flavor and aroma that was a little unique and overall it is a solid beer with balance.

Hoptometrist, Apr 21, 2011
Photo of beergod1
4.1/5  rDev +11.1%

The Pour is black with one finger of beige head, lasting through out. Light lacing. Nose is floral hops, pine, roasted malt, and light caramel. Taste is very similar to the nose. A nice Balance of roasted malt with the mild hop finish. Light to Medium body, makes this a beer I can drink often. And from a can, Amazing.
I had the Oscar Blues Ten Fidy from the can, and I am starting to be a believer.

beergod1, Apr 17, 2011
Photo of BeerBelcher
4.1/5  rDev +11.1%

Thrilled to find this in Ohio; further thrilled that it is in cans! For some reason craft beer in the Columbus area seems old or abused by the time it makes its way into my hands. I had recently made a Black IPA of my own, and had heard a lot about this and wanted to see how my mine stacked up.

And they are quite different! This beer differs from other IPAs in more ways than just color. It is (of course) dark and nearly opaque, but the dark color betrays a ton of dark roast chocolate-y aroma and flavor. It is far more chocolate-y and deeply malty-sweet (like a malted milkball) than my beer turned out. This chocolate and maltiness was balanced out by a slammin' amount of citrus-y hop character. The beer is plenty hoppy, but I'd say it is skewed more towards the chocolate/malt end of the spectrum than the hoppy side of things.

Mouthfeel is pretty good...a touch thick and chalky feeling. Until I can make another BIPA, I'd buy this again.

I bought this 6-pack at Blacklick Liquor in Columbus, OH.

BeerBelcher, Apr 14, 2011
Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.45/5  rDev +20.6%

Poured from a 12oz can into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep dark brown color with a large off-white head that fades very slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains floral hops, coffee, dark roasted malts and some citrus.

T: The taste starts with a strong but not over-powering burst of hops bitterness that is quickly followed by flavors of black coffee and a little bit of citrus fruit. The roasted malt character is hearty but not too heavy and brings a very good balance. The after-taste is slightly hoppy and slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is dry and slightly sticky.

D: Very tasty, goes down quite easily, not too filling, decent kick, very good representation of style, this is a very nice beer worth drinking for a long time.

TheManiacalOne, Apr 14, 2011
Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.58/5  rDev -3%

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 JayQue
3.53/5  rDev -4.3%

Goes down easy but there are better American Black Ales. Looks good. Pours a dark brown/black color with ruby highlights showing through the sides and bottom of the glass. Big frothy tan head with good retention and thick bands of lacing.

Mild sweet malty aroma, nothing special. Tastes ok, sweet malts, a little hops bitterness in the finish and some mild hint of winter warmer/Christmas beer type spices. None of the toasted malts and more robust hoppy balance that I enjoyed with other Black Ales.

Mouthfeel is crisp and smooth. Overall a pretty good experience. If I was looking to bring canned beer to an event, my 21st Amendment choice would be Bitter American, but I still think this beer is ok.

JayQue, Apr 14, 2011
Photo of Teleweizen2
3.1/5  rDev -16%

A - lives up to its style. Black in color, completely opaque. Big three fingers worth of very light tan head that looks like dirty snow.

S - hops and malt seem balanced. Overall aroma is slightly dank. Citrus resiny hops. Bitter sweet dark chocolate and a roasty coffee undertone.

T - slight malty sweetness. Piney hops in the middle along with some coffee roastyness. Dry finish.

M - thin. A little watery. Mild carbonation.

D - decent ale. Black IPA, American black ale, whatever you want to call it, it fit its style guidelines and was easy drinking but not something I'd probably seek out again.

Teleweizen2, Apr 10, 2011
Photo of pburland23
3.4/5  rDev -7.9%

Poured from a 12 ounce can into a shaker pint glass.

Pours a dark black with some mahogany tinting around the edge when held to the light. A little over a finger of heading with good retention and nice lacing.

Smell is of roasted malts, some dark chocolate and perhaps a touch of coffee. Taste is similar. The roasted malts shine but there isn't enough hops bitterness to balance out the malt.

The beer is medium bodied and the carbonation is sufficient.

Overall, Back in Black is not the best representation of the style. I wish I hadn't drank Sublimely Self-Righteous prior to trying to drinking Back in Black. There's no comparison between the two.

pburland23, Apr 08, 2011
Photo of CuriousMonk
3/5  rDev -18.7%

Poured into a sampler glass at a beer festival. From notes: Aroma: Very interesting--roasted chocolate and caramel malts, but with floral hops underneath. Lots of things happening in the nose of this one. Appearance: Clear black with a thick tan head that dissipated too quickly. Taste: Medium-heavy sweetness with a light bitterness in the finish. Palate: Medium body, slick texture, average carbonation, with a decent finish. Overall: It's drinkable, and it's not something I'd snub my noise at were it served to me at a party, but I'm not overly blown away by this beer.

CuriousMonk, Apr 08, 2011
Photo of busterthecat
1.65/5  rDev -55.3%

Poured from can into pint glass. 0222 0225 stamped on bottom.

A- Pours a nice brown that sits pretty dark in glass. A nice rocky khaki head forms. decent lacing.

S- A light smooth roasted cocoa aroma, hops seem to be absent.

T- A bold metallic tang that lingers. A slight roasted malt but very weak. Hops are absent. I'm really confused. It is not simply my perception of the alum can. Taste is like chewing on a paper clip.

M- Thin, watery. The after taste that lingers is bad. No real body.

O- Completely surprised in a bad way. It actually got worse as it warmed. A def drain pour. I had really hoped for at least good, but this was unbearable. More like old radiator water then beer. Maybe this had gone bad some how. I would like to give it another try on tap though.

busterthecat, Apr 05, 2011
Photo of HattedClassic
3.63/5  rDev -1.6%

I was listening to Back in Black by AC/DC, which made this beer more awesome than it really was.

Appearance: One and a half fingers of head during the pour and leaves a nice lacing on the glass while it dissipates. The foam stays on the top during the drink. The beer's color is a dark black with a slight brownish tinge to it.

Smell: I can smell the sweet malts and the roasted malts on top of pine hops. I swear that I even detect a hint of dark chocolate and some coffee.

Taste: Piney hops covered with roasted malts, some coffee and hints of dark chocolate. I taste hop through the entire drink while the dark chocolate and malts hit me at the end.

Mouthfeel: Light carbonation and smooth texture but it feels a little watery. Nothing impressive either way if you ask me.

Overall: A decent beer and worth your time but not something I'd put in my rotation or buy more than a six-pack. I liked the picture of Paul Revere on a Harley but the beer was just average if you ask me. I think that 21st Amendment could have been a little bit bolder in the hops. Rather, Back in Black tastes like a slightly watered down stout. Although, I am in favor in rewriting the history books saying that Paul Revere rode on a Harley instead of a horse.

HattedClassic, Apr 05, 2011
Photo of philbe311
3.65/5  rDev -1.1%

A - About a fingers worth of audibly fizzy non-descript light tan colored head... Slight retention gives way to a splotchy lacing... The color is a very dark brown that allows some light to leak in around the edges of the glass... Mostly still though some moderate paced carbonation bubbles can be seen streaking at the very top of the glass... A bit of lacing clings to the sides of the glass...

S - Weak coffee... Some faint chocolate notes... Some roasted malts... A very subtle hop component... A very nice aroma that is a bit too timid...

T - A touch of caramely sweetness at the very start... Roasted malts... Hint of weak coffee and chocolate... A slight layer of piney hops linger beneath...

M - On slightly lesser side of medium bodied... A touch of creaminess... Smooth... Satisfying... A bit of a dry finish... Very nice...

D - Not a bad offering, though it may miss the mark for the style by just a bit... A solid offering in a very cool-ly designed can... Overly bland in terms of appearance, smell, and taste... Redeems itself with very solid mouthfeel and overall drinkability...

philbe311, Apr 01, 2011
Photo of number1bum
3.4/5  rDev -7.9%

Pours a dark brown, not quite black color, with a creamy two inches of beige head. Head coats the glass very nicely and keeps well too.

Smell is surprisingly bland and somewhat soapy. Just not much going on here at all. Some roasted malt and a bit of sweetness. Digging deeper gets me some nutty aromas and chocolate. Not much in the way of hops.

Taste is more flavorful than the nose let suggested it might be. Some sweet dark caramel and chocolate, plus a bit of roasted malt form the base. This is probably the least hoppy 'American Black Ales' I've yet had. There is some earthy hop flavor and a touch of citrus, but not much. Doesn't deliver a whole lot of flavor; pretty boring to be frank, although pretty easy drinking.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and does have a nice creaminess to it. It's soft and smooth. Mouthfeel is probably the highlight of the beer.

This is not a particularly memorable beer, nor a very good one. Mediocre in just about every regard. Bland on the nose, bland on the palate. Only plus is that it comes in a can.

number1bum, Mar 31, 2011
Photo of msubulldog25
3.5/5  rDev -5.1%

A 12 oz. can, poured to a pint glass. Label is heavy on the black and, therefore, tough to make out; looks like a Revolutionary War-era minuteman riding a motorcycle - am I close?

'American IPA brewed with
rich dark malts
6.8% Alc./Vol.
65 IBUs'

A: Very dark, pretty well impenetrable until held to a strong light - then richer mahogany shows (not quite 'black', but close enough). Ridiculously gargantuan head, nearly 4 fingers of pillowy khaki creampuff that falls steadily but stays lumpy; terrific lace in jigsawed fragments.

S: Allowed to sit for many minutes out of the fridge, aroma never really develops. A dusky sort of toasted malt, dark rye and some muddled spice. Pine, too, but really subtle. Not much to get excited about.

T: A fair amount of wood char and spicy dark malt, all with a reasonable citrus/pine hoppiness. Something like burnt caramel before mineral drying and a gluey stickiness.

M: Not exciting at all, a muted carbonation and general mellowness that's kinda boring... then gets more boring. Thinner than a beer that nears 7% probably should be. The plus side is 'creaminess' - no complaints there.

O: I'm no big fan of 'Black Ales' [see previous], but I try to never let that bias enter into my reviews. I've had some of the style that I thought were pretty good, and this is among them. Not too burnt/roasted, nor too bitter/hoppy - both of which are reasons to NOT dismiss this entirely. Alcohol level seems pretty well enveloped, which helps overall likability.

msubulldog25, Mar 30, 2011
Photo of surprenant1138
3.18/5  rDev -13.8%

Poured from a can into a pint glass, resulting in a large amount of slowly fading creamy tan head. I had to pause my pour in order for it to settle. This beer is a deep mohogany/black brew. Decent lacing. Aroma is light on the hops, slightly peppery. Somehow there seems to be a slight scent of citrus. Tastes malty, slightly spicy, lightly hoppy. Hints of caramel are detected. There is a slight metallic taste. Mouthfeel is of a medium body. This is not a great black IPA, but pretty decent.

surprenant1138, Mar 28, 2011
Photo of ColdPoncho
3.73/5  rDev +1.1%

From notes, 7-24-2010

A - deep mahogany/black body, thick tan head with good retention

S - spicy hops and a hint of toasted malt

T - mild malts, light on the hops. Supposed to be an IPA?

M - dry, medium-full body

O (D) - not that great, but still very enjoyable.

ColdPoncho, Mar 27, 2011
Photo of nickfl
3.83/5  rDev +3.8%

A - pours with a one finger head of light tan foam on top of a black body with a little but of amber light showing through at the bottom of the glass. The hwad settles slowly and leaves thick lace.

S - Rich caramel malt with a spicy, perfumw like note that reminds me of apples and cinnamon. Minor fruit and pine hops in the background.

T - Dark carmel and toffee malt at first with some light pine hops. Darker roast character comes in towards the middle and there is a bit more licorice here as well. The beer finishes with lots of red apple yeast and some pine and orange hops as well as moderate bitterness to balance all the sugary character.

M - Medium body, moderate carbonation, and a slightly sweet finish.

D - it is a pretty nice beer overall, right the aroma seems a but off. I get some strange fruit amf spice notes in the aroma that just seem out of place. This throws off the flavor at first as well, but it recovers in the middle and develops into a nice example of the style. Definitely a drinkable beer, this seems like one of the ones that is a but better when you don't think about it too much.

nickfl, Mar 25, 2011
Photo of BerkeleyBeerMan
3.68/5  rDev -0.3%

Appearance: Opaque brown to black with a nice creamy light brown latte style head with good retention and average lacing. Looks somewhat like a Guinness.

Smell: Strong hop presence that gets lost in the mix of overpowering malts. I don't think this is necessarily a bad thing if this was marketed as a Hopped Porter or Stout. But it isn't really close to an IPA in aroma. Back in Black begins with a blast of lemon citrus zest. There is also a fair portion of astringent piney bitterness. Malt profile is reminiscent of Murphy's Irish Stout. The malts smell strongly of cocoa powder and coffee. Faint aromas of peach and banana esters are also present. There is a detectable black licorice smell.

Taste: Massive malt flavors. The coffee taste is earthy and dry. It leaves a chalky like residue on my tongue. The cocoa is not as strong in taste as it was in smell. The hops are sour and taste like grapefruits and lemons. The blend is very good. No feature of this beer dominates which is why this beer is somewhat weak overall. I don't get enough of the Hop to consider this an excellent IPA. This is my first Black IPA. I hope to try more beer's in the style to get a better idea of how this category is developing.

Mouthfeel: Not bad at all. This beer has a good full taste. The malts are enjoyable to swish around. The hops aren't strong enough to burn the tongue. It is easy to drink for having such a huge IPA. The finish is unremarkable. No aftertaste lingers. I hardly remember drinking the beer after I take a sip.

Drinkability: Easy to drink and a good beer but not an excellent beer. There is a lot of room for improvement from this beer. I hope the brewery will pay more attention to the hops and the aroma of the beer.

BerkeleyBeerMan, Mar 21, 2011
Photo of colforbin73
3.25/5  rDev -11.9%

regarding the notion that a 3.0 is "average" -- well there is nothing average about this beer. but on a relative grading scale it falls somewhere to the back of middle -- scoring merit points for being an unusual brew, the seemingly up&coming "Black IPA." and while i am not entirely sure what a great black ipa would be, i am sure this brew is not it.

the first warning sign is the aroma -- which is "interesting," with a definite herb character (almost a juniper)... slightly medicinal. it is not really a hoppy aroma. pours a nice black with a hint of brown, a tan head foams up to about 1.5 fingers but dissipates quickly, leaving no lacing whatsoever as you drink it down.

the taste is somewhat resinous... maybe slightly burnt tasting. there is really no sweetness... i was expecting something richer and sweeter.... and the 65 IBUs, where are they? it has bitterness but it's not what you would expect. i don't hate this beer, but i find it confusing.... i "kind of" like it. (LOL -- enough to finish the 6 cans!)

when i think BLACK IPA -- i think an IPA that is richer in mouthfeel with more malt presence and earthiness. maybe... a black lager with extra hop bite. regardless, this was disappointing.

colforbin73, Mar 21, 2011
Photo of goblue3509
2.8/5  rDev -24.1%

Pours a black cola like color with a tan two finger head which gives way to some okay lace. The aroma is of coffee and chocolate with a very faint whiff of hops. The taste is of a coffee and chocolate malt, there is a very slight earthy hop bite which is only at the very end. The mouthfeel is creamy and moderately carbonated. The drinkability is okay the taste and aroma is a little flat and leaves you wanting more flavor.

goblue3509, Mar 20, 2011
Photo of skinnymcgruder
4.33/5  rDev +17.3%

It is my firm belief that packaging beer in a can protects its flavor better than a bottle. That being said, this is a great example of a black IPA. The smell is of coffee and caramel. It is an extremely drinkable beer that doesn't overload you with hops.

skinnymcgruder, Mar 19, 2011
Photo of happy4hoppybeer
3.73/5  rDev +1.1%

From can(though I swore to never patronize cans, but the bartender praised this so much, so I caved):

A=Beautiful pitch-black,with thick creamy tan head, with heavy lacing. Guinness??Guinness is mainstream crap.

S=Malts,chocolate,coffee, faint hops.

Upon sip, I can detect a fairly thin to medium body of same, with the can maybe getting in the way. I know there's a reason I avoid cans, and recommend that all self-respecting brewers avoid cans. This is it. Light carbonation. Overall, decent, but the label says IPA, when it's anything but.

A decent brew,but nothing I would purchase again.

happy4hoppybeer, Mar 17, 2011
Photo of alleykatking
4.3/5  rDev +16.5%

Poured from 12oz can...

A- Pours a deep dark brown almost black color. When held to the light there was some light reddish hues. Two finger brown head shows good retention. Long streaks of lace on the sides of the glass.

S- Grapefruit aroma in the front with a big roasted malt scent as well. Light toffee in the middle with the grapefruit aroma starting to die down. Light coffee in the background with piney hops that take hold in the final part of the nose.

T- Roasted malts in the front with citrus hops blasting right next to the roasted malts. Middle of the beer is lighter for a second with a hint of toffee. Backend of the beer has a strong black coffee flavor that has piney hops keep it in line for balance. Alcohol does show up in the ending but nothing overpowering.

M- Medium mouthfeel. Carbonation is good for the style. Roasted malts and light citrus hops left on the palate. Aftertaste is mostly alcohol, piney bitter hops, and roasted malts with hints of coffee. Flavors for the style for me were actually well balanced. No off flavors in this beer...rad. Medium high alcohol drying on the palate.

O- Overall this beer drinks well. I was more than happy with it. The alcohol after a little while might take a zapping out of my palate so I would take it easy on this. Flavors seemed to be balanced overall more so than other Black IPA's I have had.

alleykatking, Mar 17, 2011
Photo of beermanbrian
3.08/5  rDev -16.5%

Nice black color with some faint brown hues around the edge. Big frothy root beer float looking head that leaves sticky lace. Smell of toasty black malt. Taste is sweet up front with a font smoothness to the finish. Sweetness is somewhat unbalanced and overpowering. Overall an ok brew and the cans are convienent but lacks much of a punch. Somewhat dissapointing.

beermanbrian, Mar 17, 2011
Back In Black from 21st Amendment Brewery
83 out of 100 based on 1,855 ratings.