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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

1,855 Ratings
THE BROS
72
okay

(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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Back In Black Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,855 | Reviews: 649 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of AndyAvalanche
3.83/5  rDev +3.8%

12 oz. can poured into a Sam Adams Perfect Pint Glass. I couldn't believe the head one this beer. It's a cross between off-white and light brown in color, it's like a volcano and it produces excellent lacing. I would have rated the appearance higher except it really wasn't that dark. It's more like a cola colored brown except you can tell it's looks thicker.

The smell is pretty good, very earthy though. Pine hops with maybe some very slight citrus zest to it. A few hints of caramel and chocolate burned malts and a slight smokiness to it.

The taste is a very slight step up. The earthy flavor is maintained. Again with the pine hops, citrus slightly stronger in the taste than smell. Malts are slightly tasted providing balance to the beer. Smokiness towards the end possibly some pete.

The mouthfeel is very good. Well balanced, and certainly full bodied. This is the best part of the beer in my opinion. What these beers are supposed to consist of. A full well balanced flavor that maintains strong aspects of both the hop and malts. This beer equally has very good drinkability. Could easily be a year round beer for all occasions.

AndyAvalanche, Nov 18, 2010
Photo of aerozeppl
3.45/5  rDev -6.5%

A: Black with only some brown when held up to the light. Fairly typical for the style. A finger of coffee tinted head with some lacing.

S: The nose is kind of tight. You really do not get any real hop aroma which is kind of the point. Little bit of wet blanket in there as well. Not a pleasant nose. The worst part of this beer.

T: The hops are bright in the taste though. It comes across as mostly tangerine and orange which was a really nice surprise.

M: Light bodied. The carbonation is fairly low.

D: A decent enough beer but the nose was a mess. The taste was decent and the citrus in it was nice. Better examples of the style out there though.

aerozeppl, Nov 17, 2010
Photo of jlandis
4.1/5  rDev +11.1%

Deep rich black with huge tan head that grabs the edges of the glass. I haven't had many Black IPAs, so it is still odd to see something this color and think about hops.

Fresh citrus hops right up front with a nice roasty malt background. The citrus and the roast seem to fight back and forth in my brain as I try to figure out what I'm about to drink.

OK, I'm sold. This beer is fantastic! Mild hop bitterness up front with huge citrus and grapefruit flavor and just a bit of roast in the finish. The intermingling of roasty chocolate malt and light pale malt; bitter grapefruit hops and a coca molasses all dance around together creating an amazing blended style.

Moderate creamy body with subtle carbonation.

I have only had a few Black IPAs before, but I think this one really nails the style. A perfect balance of roasted malt and bitter American citrus hops. I'm still thrown back and forth since this is a new style, but I can dig it (a reference to that fact that I'm watching "The Warriors" right now).

jlandis, Nov 16, 2010
Photo of DmanGTR
4.03/5  rDev +9.2%

A big thanks to BJ for the hookup!

Poured from a can into my Duvel tulip at 45°F.

Pours a dark shade of crimson, probably closer to dark brown but has glimpses of deep red in the light. A nicely formed off white/beige head that left massive mounds of froth all over the place. It's a bubble bath here! Aroma is very interesting. I gather lots of citrus aspects: grapefruit, tangerine peels, hint of lemon. Follow this with a nice honey/caramel sweetness and a touch of roasted coffee and that's your lovely bouquet right there. I must emphasize that the roastiness is just EVER so slight, you might think it's an off-aroma at first but give it a little bit to warm and let your olfaction adjust to it. Very balanced between bitter, toasty, and caramel sweetness. I was actually expecting less roast and more hops but this is quite pleasant. Much more of that coffee taste is apparent, but it works well with the citrus and honey. No alcohol heat detected at all. Moderate, yet appropriate, carbonation, touch of dryness in the finish. Medium bodied. Quite drinkable, in fact I wouldn't mind another at all! Or another after that...

Overall, I find this to be a most enjoyable beer. It brings a new perspective to how widely variable a style of beer can be and offers to blur the stylistic lines even more. If I were to describe this in terms of style, I would say that it's 80% citrusy IPA blended with 20% English porter. Thanks again, BJ!

DmanGTR, Nov 16, 2010
Photo of buns
4.1/5  rDev +11.1%

12 oz can from D's six pax and dogz $2.00. Pours extremely dark brown. Healthy white brown head, but quickly dissipating. Coffee toffee and american hop smell. Roasted malt taste balanced well by those wonderful citrusy hops. Neither the hops nor the roast of the malt is too bitter. It's made even more drinkable by a slight appealing sourness . Definitely true to its label. Good job.

buns, Nov 16, 2010
Photo of VoiceOfTheSoul
4/5  rDev +8.4%

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.

VoiceOfTheSoul, Nov 15, 2010
Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
3.43/5  rDev -7%

12oz can served in a standard pint glass.

L - black with a beige colored head that thinned to a ring but still left a sheet of lacing.

S - more of a roasted malt aroma than hops, the hops were there but they were faint.

T - following the nose the taste is also that of roasted malt and coffee beans with light bittering on the finish.

F - light/medium bodied with a slick feel.

D - it was ok but I'm glad I only got a single.

JoeyBeerBelly, Nov 15, 2010
Photo of dtivp
3.38/5  rDev -8.4%

Poured black with a small dark tan head with little retention and some lacing, very porter like.
Aroma of a burnt or dark roasted malt with a hint of hops.
Taste followed the nose with the burnt malt or gain, mild hop flavor with a hint of dark chocolate.
Medium body with moderate carbonation, smooth with a light to moderate bitterness.
I haven't tasted very many black IPA's, this seemed a little lite on the hops and a would almost classif this beer as a weak stout.

dtivp, Nov 14, 2010
Photo of smcolw
3.88/5  rDev +5.1%

Great rocky/dome-like head that leaves lots of chunky ring lace. Deep ruby color where muted light shines through.

Smell: More hoppy than dark malts. Pretty standard stuff for modified classic.

Tastes darker than the smell. The hop is milder than most IPA's, but the combination is appealing. The body is thinnish, the carbonation is good.

smcolw, Nov 13, 2010
Photo of Bouleboubier
3.9/5  rDev +5.7%

Interesting thing, this Black IPA. This is my second tasting of one and I think I get what it's all about. Cool little novelty - who knows how long it'll stay hot.

This ale, at first, drank like a mix between a porter and an IPA - or a hoppy porter. I'd say this one worked. I enjoyed it for what I suppose it is. The pour left a rather magnanimous 2+ inch head, khaki-colored, breaking up in a most unique way - from within - leaving a dense, spider-web formation and somewhat generous lacing. The liquid shows dark brown initially but later reveals a deep ruby color. Very porteresque qualities burst forth in the aroma - mild sourness, light acidic pungency. The hops start to come through after a minute or so - piney and flowery - a strange contrast against the slowly increasing rounded bitter roast aromas emanating with time. That not-quite-sharp sour bite maintains a lead role in the taste throughout, poking out through a thin, depth-deprived porter flavor (a porter profile which reminded me of Yuengling Porter - which I dig). An intriguing fruitiness and Belgian dubbel characteristics show up after about 5 minutes and fill in nicely what starts off as a fairly tasty yet somewhat two-dimensional beer. It drinks equal parts light/smooth and biting and the fruitiness lingers for quite sometime. Overall, worth trying. Not sure if I'd session this, however.

Bouleboubier, Nov 12, 2010
Photo of TheSeeker61
4.38/5  rDev +18.7%

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.

TheSeeker61, Nov 11, 2010
Photo of WanderingFool
3.65/5  rDev -1.1%

Back in Black pours a clear dark brown/nearly black color into the glass. On top a frothy head forms which dissolves slowly down to a thick ring around the surface. Lots of lines and spots of lace remain behind has the foam dissolves.

The aroma is an interesting combination of hops and malt. It's mostly orange and lemon citrus hop notes, but there's a touch of dark malt mixed in.

Each sip of this medium bodied beer is smooth and soft on the palate. Light to moderate carbonation. The flavor is similar to the aroma with orange citrus notes, but the dark malt flavor is more noticeable. Chocolate notes make themselves known. Towards the end the flavor gets slightly tart. Once gone the orange citrus and chocolate notes linger on the palate.

This is an interesting version of a black IPA. Lots of hops that are balanced by a fair amount of malt. It's quite drinkable and refreshing.

WanderingFool, Nov 11, 2010
Photo of tavernjef
3.75/5  rDev +1.6%

Browned black core of dense opaqueness. Dark beige crown lifts tall and lean with a creamy puffed thickness. Lots of thickly placed lacing in cob webbed frosting.

Aroma is quite the intriguing mix of dry cocoa, dry tea leaves, bittered with a twist of pine, tangerine, berries, dark orange, heavy roasted malt, and a low ended hint to coffee.

Taste brings in some low tangy roasted malt layers that has a bit of berryness, orange marmalade, and old tangerine. Bitterness is there among the roasted parts, mostly showing towards the back end with a rounded orangey tang. Mellow pineyness and chocolateyness flows lightly underneath with bits of burnt coffee and roast.

Body is about medium with a loosened roundness as it rolls into the finish. The roasted parts do mix well with the hoppy bitterness, but its missing the mark some in its smoothness due its burntish side.

All in all, a pretty good black IPA. Would have liked to see some more chocolate and creamy smoothness out of it though. Or maybe just more hops? This was a tough one to put the numbers to. May need to tweek them if needed as I drink more of it?

tavernjef, Nov 08, 2010
Photo of jabergess
3.7/5  rDev +0.3%

Poured in a 20 oz Taco Mac mug at Mall of GA.

This beer is interesting. Upfront it tastes like a porter. I get the coffee, bittersweet chocolate and a slight burnt toast flavor. The back is a slight bitter finish. I suppose that's the IPA finish. I think I would not call this a black IPA. The hops, besides the bitter finish, just aren't there for me. The grade is probably too high for thus style, but I happen to like porters so it was still ok with me.

jabergess, Nov 06, 2010
Photo of dvb
2.35/5  rDev -36.3%

A - Black, as the name implies. Pours like a porter, with a tan head to match. Lots of lacing. Great appearance in general.

S - The hops are a little off on this, but maybe that is because of the dark malts. Some floral/fruit character here would not go amiss.

T - There really isn't much here but burnt toast and bitterness.

M - Some imperial stout-like stickiness on the lips. This is good. However, there is some astringency here that I just don't care for.

D - I wouldn't buy it again. On the other hand, if it was present in someone's fridge and the only other offering was Fizzy Yellow, I would choose Black.

dvb, Nov 06, 2010
Photo of Brenden
4/5  rDev +8.4%

This is my very first crack at this new style, so I was pretty excited to try it. Notes are recent.

Black it is, with just a hint of brown around the edges when held up to the light. A light colored head forms about one finger high and manages good retention and lacing.
This is quite fragrant, pretty much as I expect an IPA sort of aroma but strongly backed by dark chocolate, caramel, coffee, and roasted malts notes. This is very interesting wrapped up in citrus and light pine resin hops aromas. There's an earthiness from hops and an earthiness from malts that compound the earthy aroma.
The taste follows suit, and as this style develops I think it'll be interesting to pick out the particularities of the different flavors that can be detected from both the malts and the hops. As it is, this may be the opposite of something like a well-hopped stout: a strongly-malted IPA. I think it works well, but if done wrong I could see a Black IPA being extremely discordant. In my opinion, 21st Amendment struck a nice balance.
The body is medium-full with moderate carbonation. It starts off crisp and ends with a moderate smoothness, with a semi-dry finish lingering for a short time.
I think this beer is a great effort from 21st Amendment and I look forward to seeing how this style continues to develop. This one can be enjoyed as a sessional and equally as much in almost any climate/temperature situation.

Brenden, Nov 05, 2010
Photo of jera1350
3.4/5  rDev -7.9%

Solid brownish black with a massive and thick mocha head that has outstanding retention and leaves lots of lacing all around the glass.

Getting a citrus hop scent, but it is overpowered by the strong scent of Dawn dish soap.

Citrusy hops abound and offer a fair bitterness, but their is also a toasty malt presence as well to offer balance in the extreme opposite of the hops. I am still getting some of the dish soap in the taste as well. I like it, but then I get the soap and it lessons the taste for me. Toasty char in the aftertaste.

Smooth and thicker mouthfeel that slides right down. Between full and medium body. Some really good heft.

If they could get rid of the dish soap notes, this beer would be outstanding. Still an enjoyable brew, only the second one that I can say that about for 21st. Something is just off in most of their beers. Not sure if it's because of where it's contract brewed or what. Give this one a shot though.

jera1350, Nov 05, 2010
Photo of Bighuge
4.13/5  rDev +11.9%

Dark chocolate ruby body. Tight froth chocolate brown head. Nice retention and lace properties. Nice mix of chocolate malts and vibrant, citric hops. Very nice aroma. Flavor is solid, but would better with even a bigger hop presence and bite. The chocolate, roasted malt flavor wins the battle in this beer with the piney, citric hops coming in second. Even keeled mouthfeel. Moderately carbonated and medium full body. Enjoyable.

Bighuge, Nov 04, 2010
Photo of xcrunner78
4.13/5  rDev +11.9%

Aroma: Smell of sweet roasted caramels, a coffee bitter from the malts, and a face full of hops. I also smell a dark bitter, sort of like a porter, but with a lot more hops.

Appearance: The pour is black as midnight with a creamy head that dies down to a creamy layer that sits on top of the beer. It almost looks like a nitro-pour off of tap and the head stays in-tack to the glass with each sip.

Flavor: On the tip of the tongue, have this roasted malts, that washes back across the palate. The bitter from the malts becomes a little sour on the back of the palate. Very complex malts characteristics, rich and bready. With each sip, the hops comes out. I can taste a little grapefruit from the Columbus, but very earthy and piney and not floral at all with a dry finish.

Mouthfeel: Very full and creamy. The sour taste sits in the mouth for a while, sort of like a porter, but even better because of all of the hops.

Overall Impression: The taste that washes back of the palate lingers and lingers. Very intense hops characteristics and the complex malts will lead me to be intrigued of what else that they have brewed. I can't wait to try what other treats that they have!

xcrunner78, Nov 03, 2010
Photo of soze47
3.35/5  rDev -9.2%

Appearance: Black with almost garnet red streaks when it moves in the light. Quickly dissipating frothy head.

Aroma: Not a huge bouquet here. Spicy mix between herbal hops and roasted malts. Almost nutty.

Taste: The hops are a little MIA on this. The initial flavor is underwhelming as well. There is a rush of roasted nut and malt flavors. The hops don't so much show up with distinct flavors so much as they create an almost coffee-like bitterness. Sure, I get a little pine and floral taste, but it just helps deflect some of the malty nuttiness into secondary flavors. After a few drinks, the hops are a little more present, but it takes a bit.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: Loose and crisp for such a roasty drink. Not sticky and it would be easy to drink a couple of these if you were so inclined.

Overall: Black IPAs frustrate me. Some are like this one. Others steer much closer to a bitter/hop variety. I prefer the latter, but don't think I should hold it against the former when reviewing it. If someone is looking for a nice roasted malt ale that is crisp and clean, I think this is a great candidate. If you want something with a hop bang, don't grab this guy.

33 Beers Wheel Chart (5 high to 1 low):
Alcohol/Solvent: 3
Dark Fruit: 3.5
Citrus Fruit: 2.5
Hoppy (pine): 3
Floral: 3
Herbal: 3
Malty: 4
Toffee: 3
Burnt: 2
Sweet: 2.5
Sour: 1
Bitter: 2.5
Astringent: 2
Body: 3
Linger: 4

soze47, Nov 01, 2010
Photo of tugdriver7
3.58/5  rDev -3%

Earlier this year, I tasted a Caserne 30, a gold-colored smoked ald at Brasserie Dieu Du Ciel in Montreal. It was a sensory mixed message, in terms of what a pale beer should taste like and I found it unpleasant and relatively difficult to drink. Conversely the Black IPA (Penombre) at the same establishment was surprisingly tasty and I had high hopes for this Black IPA from 21st Amendment--in spite of the mixed messages of taste and color. And I figured the can would be a big help for freshness. The beer poured a rich brown to black in the glass with a decent tan head and nice lacing throughout. Initial stout-like roasted malt in the nose, but the hops were immediately evident in the first taste. Unlike the Belgian Penombre and it's distinct hop bitterness, however, the hops here were a tad more fruity and bright. Coupled with the rich roasted flavor of the beer, it tasted a bit sour and a couple of times I checked the can to see if perhaps it was outdated. I definitely see the attraction and I did enjoy the drink, but it wasn't quite up to my expectations. Thus the less than perfect rating.

tugdriver7, Nov 01, 2010
Photo of MCDuhamel
3.88/5  rDev +5.1%

Poured from a can into a pint glass at fridge temperature. Formed a very thick and dense, lasting head, lightly tan and meringue like in texture. Nose is resin, a little tar and roast barley. The flavor starts out very much like a dry stout, showing mostly roasted barley, but then is followed by a definite American hops presence; some pine, some grass, and a little citrus. The finish is dry and nicely bitter, but not astringent. Fairly light on the mouth, again more like a stout than an IPA. I could, and will, drink several of these in a session.

Overall I find this to be a very nice beer, and I find that I am enjoying this emerging style. This is a very good example. It is great to see the packaging; cans make more sense than bottles.

MCDuhamel, Oct 30, 2010
Photo of BeerCon5
3.88/5  rDev +5.1%

Pours almost black in color with 2 fingers of thick foamy off white head that sticks around.

The scent is a little faint, but there is some roasted malts, hops, citrus, and coffee.

The taste is a bit more noticeable with roasted malts and coffee up front, followed by piney hops, some citrus, and notes of cocoa.

Full bodied, very smooth and creamy, moderate carbonation.

This was a pretty good beer, the flavor and scent could have been stronger, but it was well balanced and very drinkable.

BeerCon5, Oct 29, 2010
Photo of u2carew
3.25/5  rDev -11.9%

12oz can!
A) Pours with a tan, two finger head. Nearly opaque. Tight sticky lacing.
S) Grassy. Subtle notes of caramel malt. Hints of citrus spice.
T) A decent balance of malt and hops, although seems a bit watered down. Not real robust, like one would expect from a Cascadian Ale. The malt flavors start to shine towards to finish.
M) Creamy. Medium body.
D) A decent brew, but not a standout for me.

u2carew, Oct 27, 2010
Photo of CaptainTripps
2.85/5  rDev -22.8%

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.

CaptainTripps, Oct 23, 2010
Back In Black from 21st Amendment Brewery
83 out of 100 based on 1,855 ratings.