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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
84
good

1,991 Ratings
THE BROS
72
okay

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,991
Reviews: 658
rAvg: 3.68
pDev: 13.59%
Wants: 45
Gots: 160 | 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:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Back In Black Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,991 | Reviews: 658 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of samie85
2.93/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A-Pours a pitch black color two and a half fingers of thick, stout-like head that leaves thick, sticky lacing behind.

S-The nose is very fragrant and floral with some tropical pineapple with some pine and grapefruit.

T-Slightly bitter pineapple and pine with a little orange, some chocolate and a tiny bit of roast.

M-The body is pretty light with low amounts of carbonation and a slightly sticky feel.

D-Drinkabiity is high but the mouth is a little watery and the falvor profile is a little underwhelming.

Photo of movingtrain
3.93/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Sample size: 12 ounce can.

Pours a nice black with brown accents on the edges of the glass. Less than a finger tan head on top with decent carbonation.

The nose is quite citrusy, obviously different than the appearance would indicate (the interesting black IPA). Quite citrusy hop aroma coming off the top of the glass.

Flavor is sweet up front, with hints of chocolate and vanilla. This gives way to bitter hops, ending on a burnt graham cracker flavor that lingers on the tongue.

There is nice balance in this beer. I like the mix of chocolate malts and lots of hops. The style is interesting, visually ironic. Back in Black is a good, drinkable beer that has some interesting characteristics within the can.

Photo of Duhast500
4.33/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The Christmas Eve night review.

Poured from a 12oz. can into a Narragansett pint glass.

The color is a dark black with little highlights and two fingers of foamy brownish head and some thick lacing left on the glass.

The smell is pretty hoppy at first. Some floral hops come right out and announce themselves as a piney flavor hits right after. There is a slight malt flavor on the back-end but seems to be all hops.

The taste is a bit sweet with some malty flavor that was expected from the color and delivered here. Some bitterness is there and will be heard from. The pine flavor mixes well with a sweetness that is pretty interesting. This beer seems to go to other places with the mixing of resiny hops and sweet dark malt.

The feel of this beer is pretty easy and it goes down with a bitterenss that is not too crazy. There is a nice drinkable feel since there is a leash on the IBUs.

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

Had this beer 100 times before on tap at the brewery. Glad they're expanding and people like it.

Black with brown highlights

Roasty IPA smell, earthy.

Roasty, piney, bitter, sweet, chocolate notes.

A great representation of this style. A hoppy porter/black ipa.

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.1/5  rDev +11.4%
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.

Photo of bsp77
3.6/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into tall glass.

Appearance: Very dark reddish-brown with thick tan head and great lacing.

Smell: Orange & grapefruit citrus hops, with light toasted, caramel and roasted malts. Smells much more sugary and bitter than anything.

Taste: Citrus and pine-like hops take center stage. The malts are relegated to the background, reminiscent of coffee, caramel and biscuit. Ends very bitter.

Feel: Moderate carbonation, medium body that is somewhat smooth, extremely dry finish.

Drinkability: If I was blindfolded, I might just think this was a standard IPA, and might fool myself into thinking the light coffee and roasted profile wasn't really there. A pretty good beer overall, but too bitter considering the lack of roasted flavor. Even the actual hop flavor seems secondary to the bitterness.

Photo of Arithmeticus
3.15/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: whoa! more head than beer; as advertised, it's black
S: pleasant quaff of hops with a strange overtone of something, almost like palatable burned rubber
T: as one other reviewer noted, there is a tinny taste; perhaps it's of the can and perhaps something else; at any rate, if that overtone were not present, this would be a stellar beer, with subdued but complex hop profile and a citrus sweetness
M: about as good as any craft beer

21st A: please check out that strange taste; drinkers: enjoy with the above proviso

Photo of dciBA
3.23/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a deep dark black into my snifter. A fingers worth of off white head forms and quickly fades to a solid skimming which lingers for a while.

Smell is nice and complex, albeit a little weak. Chocolate, coffee, hops, dark fruit, but also a metallic smell of some sort. I'm trying to convince myself its not there and it's just the can playing tricks on me. I can't get over it though, it's definitely there, but also doesn't smell like a beer can. hhhmmmm, moving on...

Taste is similar to smell, just not quite as complex. I'm not really picking up on much in the way of hops. Mostly just a nice roastiness and a little chocolate. There's that metallic again coming through in the finish for a second before fading away. Overall taste is ok, just doesn't have a whole lot of impact and the metallic twang is really a downer.

Perfect amount of carbonation, and a smooth mouthfeel. This goes down easy with no hint of the higher than average %ABV which keeps the drinkability high.

Photo of BB1313
3.8/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Can poured into a standard pint glass. Looks nice, pours a nice black w/ brown hues. Huge foamy head, I barely poured it; thick sticky lacing. Smells great, distinct fruity hop aroma. Very tropical! Tastes pretty good, but something's missing. The hops hit you, but fade quickly, being taken over by dark malts and slight hints of chocolate; roasty and bittersweet. Mouthfeel is almost perfect, very smooth and creamy, which makes for good drinkability. Well balanced brew.

Finally a beer from 21st Amendment I'd come back to! Pretty good example of the style. This beer isn't too far off from being something really special.

Photo of laituegonflable
3.53/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a gloomy dark red colour, the colour of Satan's blood. Head is small, more of a film than a head, but lacing is something else. A cradle of delicious beige foam. It looks as enticing as Shakespeare's dark lady, and just as intoxicating.

Smells smokey and woody, but lovely and sweet as well. Lots of chocolate, sweet, with rich berry notes, blackberry and cranberry and some oaky characters, plus fresh cut pine. Wonderfully idiosyncratic, rich, tart, beautiful and sweet. Yes, yes, yes!

Taste is intriguing, but definitely feels lacking in complexity compared to the nose. Has a darkness at first, chocolatey with an odd metallic tinge that descends into weird sourness. Quite coppery with a tinge of orange, melon and a lot of oak wood. Very oaky on the back in particular but it kind of falls short, finish-wise. Definitely deficient on the back, where it's clipped nicely but far too early. Simple and a bit odd at times; a disappointment after that delicious nose.

Not a bad texture, good and filling, could use more body here as well though.

It's a pretty good beer, but that nose set me up just for the palate to completely miss the mark. A shame.

Photo of merlin48
4/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Can pours a dark mahogany body that has some nice clarity when held to light. Large creamy tan head retains well and leaves patches and a collar of lacing.

Aroma is pine hops, milk chocolate, and coffee.

Medium body and carbonation with a soft creaminess.

Taste has solid dark roasty malt notes of bittersweet chocolate and coffee, balanced by a grapefruity and pine resin hop bitterness. Clean finish.

A pleasant surprise. Tasty and highly drinkable.

Photo of pokesbeerdude
3.58/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks goes out to jyoungsbcp for this. 12oz can into a Sam Adams Perfect Pint. Really like the can art on this one!

A: Pours a deep brown, that is almost black, lots of garnet highlights when held up to the light, cream colored head about an inch worth that is sticking around nicely. Lots of lacing left behind.

S: A fair amount of citrusy hops really dominate the nose, not blatantly in your face but definitely there. Kind of a strange soapy like smell as well, not really liking that.

T: Has a pretty nice balance of citrusy hops and roasted malts, not as intensely bitter as some of these can be with roast and hops compounding the bittering effect. Some pretty nice flavors, but it seems a bit mellow. Slightly bitter finish.

M: Medium bodied with decent carbonation, pretty dry finish which helps it go down. Can feel just a touch of booze heat as it goes down.

D: Pretty easy to drink really, I could definitely have a few of these in a night. Nothing extraordinary, just a well made beer that is fairly easy to drink. Very enjoyable. If the nose didn't have the soapy smell I think it would work a lot better for me.

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

A- Poured into standard pint glass from can, Pours a dark brown with reddish tints. Tan color head with good retention & decent lacing.

S- Fresh smell of earthy hops & Roasted malts.

T- Piney hops & chocolate malty flavor.Bitter Finish. Honestly tastes a bit better as it warms a bit & both profiles come through a bit more..

M- Upfront and smooth.

D-Goes down good. Good Beer and could totally see myself drinking several during a session.

Serving type: can

Photo of OBeerMeGreatOne
4.08/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

From notes.
Look: Pours black with deep brown around the edges. Thick tan head with huge gobs of lace.
Smell:Citrus and pine with some nice roasted malts.
Taste:Bittersweet chocolate and hops, tons of hops. Has a metallic/mineral taste in the finish that might be from the can, it isn't strong enough to be that off-putting.
Mouth: Seems to be about right for the style, maybe a little thin.
Drink: I've gone back for seconds and thirds since the review. I recommend grabbing a sixer, they'll disappear.

Photo of nrbw23
3.73/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Pours a dark reddish brown color with a cremay brown head. Head has pretty good retention and leaves some nice lacing.

S- The smell is floral and citrus hops. Along with some roasted malts and a bit of chocolate.

T- A bit of piney hops followed up with some roasted malts with a coffee and chocolate. The hops are there but not quite as hoppy as I'd like. A bit sweeter than I'd hope.

M- A bit on the thinner side of medium and in carbonation. Almost had a watery fell to it.

D- Not too bad just a bit more hops and it would be much better. I could drink this one again with no problems.

Photo of bobsy
3.38/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Very dark brown pour with a finger of tan head that shows good retention and lace. Expected combo of coffee roast and grapefruit materialises in both the aroma and the flavour. Some bittersweet chocolate too, as well as a slight lactic sourness, which I'm not sure is from the roast or a problem in the beer (the hops still bring a good bitterness so it should be fresh). Medium body and carbonation.

Cheers Shawn!

Photo of VaTechHopHead
3.03/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A - Very rich dark chocolate brown with a one-finger tan head that last and deposits a fair amount of lacing. Just a hint of light transmission through the bottom of the glass.

S - Wonderful balance of toasted malts and earth-tone hops. Not much past that.

T - Starts out promising but then develops a tinny/sour flavor rather quickly. From what I can tell the beer has a nice malty flavor but not a very good hop presence due to the sour off-taste.

M/D - Medium to light body with a semi-sweet aftertaste. Low ABV not present. Smooth/creamy on the palate but the drinkability is low due to the strange sour off-flavor.

Beer had promise coming out of the can but fell on it's face when it hit the palate.

Photo of RonfromJersey
3.35/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

$2.29 per can at Oak Tree.

Black body with large red highlights, topped by three fingers of rocky beige froth.

Roast coffee aroma, with a touch of milk to it. Backed by earthy hop note. Not very assertive.

Roast coffee foundation. Not heavily roasted though, slightly wimpy. Earthy hop finish. Not a big IPA type hop burst though.

Bubbly mouthfeel with some body. Good drinkability.

A lot more black than ipa, as much hoppy porter as black ipa. Worth a try, but not a "big wow".

Photo of Gregorious
2.83/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Dark as dark can be. But not thick at all, which is kind of weird since dark/opaque tend to follow with a thick mouthfeel. Had some nice lacing around the sides of the glass.

S - Deep dry roasting aromas, hops weren't in my business.

T - This is disappointing. Not only am I not getting the hoppiness I was looking for, but this beer has a very nasty sharp metallic aftertaste. I've heard that the flavor is actually not from the cans that they are stored in, but that the cans are brewed in a different brewery and it's there that that aftertaste is created.

M - Light, watery. Dry at the end.

D - Meh, this beer didn't go over so well.

UPDATE: I had this on tap and is MUCH better. Just stay clear of the cans.

Photo of projectflam86
4/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours a black (go figure) color with a thick off-white foam head that leaves some decent lacing.

S- Scents of citrus hops and pine with a nice roasted flavor coming through as well. This one should be interesting.

T- Big assertive hop bitterness initially. The finish is quite roasted with a light burnt flavor and some sweetness.

M- Medium bodied with medium carbonation. Smooth even with the bitterness.

D- Interesting brew. I like the hops upfront with a nice sweet finish.

Photo of Gouxman
2.8/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a dark brown, not quite as dark as I would expect from a "Black IPA" with a tan head

Aroma: A nice malty sweetness balanced by a subtle earthy hop aroma. Was actually expecting more of a hop presence.

Taste: Semi-sweet malt flavor with a rather low hop bitterness. I don't know if the 6pk I bought from Jungle Jim's was a bit out dated, but I do not detect any hop bitterness at all. Instead a slight diacetyl flavor takes me away from this beer. For having 65 IBUs, I don't taste a single BU.

M/D: The mouthfeel and drinkability reflects the flavor. I was expecting much more from this brewery I've heard so much about and a beer with a kick ass name. I hope I either got a bad batch or an old showing because this is one of the least impressive "Black IPAs" I've ever experienced.

Photo of Ego
3.48/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

eyes...
even on a careful pour the head froths forth into the glass, rising nearly three fingers it calms down into a craggy mess of large soap bubbles that are slightly off white, as the name implies this is black (not like steve martin). pretty good lookin' I must say...

nose...
the first sense is some subtle roast aroma, sweet cocoa lurks in the shadows underneath that layer, the hops are hard to detect but are there, a nice subdued bouquet

taste etc...
I wasn't expecting the carbonation as I forgot this is an "IPA"... the roast really threw me off, The carbonation sort of seems out of place but it does carry the bitter hops well... the roast kind of floats over the top of the bitterness. this feels slightly heavier than other IPAs, visually this throws me off but it really does drink like a tamer IPA with a hint of roast. The hops linger and gather as you sip this one down.. something about the carbonation really bothers me though... I really think less carb here would improve this beer.

verdict?
pretty interesting beer, definitely worth a look. I wouldn't turn one down if it was offered.

music: mindfunk - self titled debut

Photo of sjverla
2.88/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Nose: Yeasty and biscuity. Mellow sweetness like molasses laced with grassiness to the back.

Appearance: Nearly opaque black. Sweet ruby on the edges. Big head the color of creamed coffee that sticks around.

Taste & Feel: Weird. Bready and bitter and slightly metallic. Almost soapy. Hops come in at the end, malts stay on the lips. The feel is fairly smooth.

Overall: Swing and a miss. This beer wants to be great, and I like it on uniqueness, it just misses the mark on taste. Something about it just doesn't translate.

Photo of lacqueredmouse
3.83/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Purchased from Jackson Wines & Spirits in Lafayette CA, and brought back in my luggage to Australia to crack open with my bro, and my bro from another mo.

Pours a deep brown, slightly red-tinged, slightly opaque colour, with a fine-bubbled and rather firm head of beige-brown bubbles. Lacing is solid and pretty decent. The colour is nice, but looks a little light for a IBA; it makes me wonder where the roasted characters are going to come from.

On the nose, however, they are there and present. Certainly some dark grain, toasted bread, with a light citric hop acidity and a hint of chemical astringency, that almost certainly comes from the hops as well. More of the roasted character, and less of the hops than I've had from many an IBA, but it's pretty interesting.

Taste is odd, but again, it works. Slight nutty malt character throughout, just punctuated with some light citric hops, and quite a light finish, that doesn't quite have much roasted or hoppy bitterness, although the mingled combination of the two lasts for some time. Feel is thin, but smooth.

It's a nice brew, but I've had better examples of the style. This one falls flat in a number of areas, and while it still yields a nice package, it's far from the pinnacle of the style.

Photo of r0nyn
3.18/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a can into my Otter Creek nonic.

Pours a reddish dark brown hue that is almost opaque, but lets just enough light through to be translucent. There's a quarter-inch tan head that lingers for quite a while and leaves some stringy, soapy lacing. Loose streams of carbonation can be seen rising from the bottom to the top. Smell is full of floral hops with a definite citrus character, but is more subdued than I'm used to from everyday IPAs. There's a malt presence at the end as well.

Some lightish bittering from the hops to start, but like the nose, is pretty subdued. Definitely not as robust as other pale ales I've sampled. The hoppy quality gives way some sweet roasted malts that are also a bit on the toned down side. There's some mild bitterness in the ephemeral aftertaste, but that's about it. Mouthfeel is light and crisp, with a fair bit of carbonation. Finishes dry on the tongue. Bit of a chewy quality to it as well.

I had to review a beer named after my favorite AC/DC album and while it's not a bad beer, it's pretty underwhelming. Taste is a bit on the quiet side and while I'm not a big fan of big hops and bitterness, this definitely could have done well with a bit more character to it.

Back In Black from 21st Amendment Brewery
84 out of 100 based on 1,991 ratings.