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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

1,989 Ratings
THE BROS
72
okay

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,989
Reviews: 658
rAvg: 3.68
pDev: 13.59%
Wants: 44
Gots: 159 | 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: 1,989 | Reviews: 658 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Brenden
4/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 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.

Photo of jera1350
3.4/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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.

Photo of Bighuge
4.13/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of xcrunner78
4.13/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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!

Photo of soze47
3.35/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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

Photo of tugdriver7
3.58/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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.

Photo of MCDuhamel
3.88/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of BeerCon5
3.88/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of u2carew
3.25/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

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.

Photo of CaptainTripps
2.85/5  rDev -22.6%
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.

Photo of DefenCorps
3.78/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I grabbed a can of this at Chevy Chase the other day.

Dark brown with reddish highlights, there's a dense, light brown head with excellent retention and lacing. The head sticks around as a thick disk, this is particularly impressive. The nose has a moderate hop bite with pine and a rather strange soapy character. The hop character is surprisingly muted here, allowing the roasted malt to really come through. The way the flavors are balanced, this is more of a hoppy stout than black IPA. There's bitter chocolate and a mild coffee grounds character here. A touch fruity too, especially as it warms up. Once the soap character dissipates, this is solid stuff.

The palate opens with a rather big roasted malt bitterness with char, bitter chocolate and then followed by some simpler sweetness, almost like caramel and sugar. The hops are secondary here, a little pine and some bitterness, both of which are overshadowed by the malt character. A little fruity in the mid-palate before a long finish with a roasted bitterness and a mild creaminess. Medium in body, the mid-palate is rather watery, and the creaminess makes this feel like it's on nitro. Solid stuff, this really is more of a stout than a black IPA, the big difference is the sweetness that's mildly pale malt -like

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

A gift from Dennis. Thanks bro!

A: This beer appears an opaque shade of the darkest brown, bordering on black. The head is over an inch tall and looks like a chocolate milkshake. As it fades, it coats the glass in lacing.

S: Roasted malt and hops. I'm just not entirely sure about the black IPA style in general. The aromas seem to conflict with one another, creating an overall odd scent.

T: Decent tasting, and happily, it's better than the aroma would indicate. It's rich and smooth, with a noticeable hop bitterness in the finish. I suppose one could label this a "balanced" version of the style, as the roast aspect is quite prevalent, as well.

M: Good feel. Fairly thick, with a creamy smooth feel reminiscent of a stout.

D: Pretty interesting beer. I would drink it again, but it's not something I would seek out, or even choose at a store.

Photo of beertunes
2.93/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Served in straight pint glass. Poured pure black, no translucence, with about a 1/2 inch of dark tan head that had good retention and moderate lacing.

The aroma had light roast and light hops, but otherwise wise fairly benign. The taste was fairly similar, some roast and hops, neither dominating, and was pretty well balanced. I don't think they were trying for balance.

The body was typical for this new style, Cascadia Dark Ale(Black IPA), not really thin or full and much like most IPA's. Drinkability was OK but not special. Overall, a decent but not noticeable take on the style. Worth trying if you see it.

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

Black with two fingers of tan head. At more than half way gone still has a bit of head. Well laced. Aroma is a bit of pine. Taste is fruity piney hops with plenty of malt backing. There is a slight hint of coffee or roasted malts but not a lot. Mouthfeel is right on the money for an IPA. Nice dry bitter finish. Falls toward the middle of the Cascadian IPA spectrum. Awesome for a canned beer.

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

Appearance: Dark caramel color with flashes of garnet red, with half inch creamy tan head.

Aroma: Sweet, with a little coffee and some floral notes as well.

Taste: Some hop bitterness comes through, along with roasted barley malt, coffee, cacao and some residual sweetness.

Mouthfeel: Good carbonation and full bodied.

Drinkability: A well balanced dark IPA.

Photo of herman77
3.1/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Near black, about a shade away, with a moderate light tan, foamy head. Good retention and good wispy lacing.

S: Lightly roasted and pale malts. Some breadiness. Hops are barely detectable, what is there is a little pine and a little citrus. I do get a little bit of putty like smell. Silly putty like?

T: Light roasted malts, pale malts again, like in a pale ale. Grapefruit and earthy pine hops come after the maltiness to provide a nice balance. Its pretty much backwards from traditional balanced IPAs, malty to hoppy. Finishes with some roasted acidic malt qualities and coffee bitterness. Something about it is a little off in the malt profile, I pick up that odd putty/plastic again, just like in the nose.

M: Medium to light body. Moderate carbonation. Feels a little smooth, more like a porter.

D: Not bad, but not good, just... average.

Not feeling any of the 21st Amendment beers I've had so far.

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

Poured from 12oz can into a 16oz Samuel Adams Perfect Pint glass.

Appearance: Not quite black, but more of a darker coloa color. Large, foamy off-white, slightly tanned head dissipates very slowly and leaves behind a thick ring of lace.

Smell: Prevalent cascade hops backed up by buttery and roasty malts.

Taste: Begins with a buttery sweetness and a light hop flavor, finishing with intense (though not overly bitter) resiny hop flavors.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied with light carbonation and a dry finish.

Drinkability: A highly drinkable and sessionable IPA. Nothing outstanding, but still very solid all-round. This is a beer I would enjoy drinking again and would recommend to others readily.

Photo of JDH2000
4.25/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- pours nearly black with some reddish hues when held to the light. About a finger of creamy tan head that stays through most of the beer. Nice lacing on the glass.

S- Beautiful aroma of roasted malts, coffee, chocolate come first, followed by citrus and some pine hops.

T- The taste is so much more complex than the initial aromas let on. The roasted malts almost have an astringent and bitter flavor about them. The coffee and cocoa flavors come out and then are balanced out with the nice hoppy finish.

M- This is a nice, smooth medium-bodied beer with great complexity and flavors.

D- This was my first Black IPA and I was very impressed. I found it to be quite drinkable. I will definitely have it again and I look forward to exploring others in this style.

Photo of djbreezy
3.43/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - excellent head, good lacing, dark and black

Smell - toasty malts, vegetal hops

Taste - malts dominate, grassy notes, bitter

Mouthfeel - highly carbonated, medium body, dry finish

Drinkability - not too fond of the grass notes or the high carbonation, not a great example of the style

Photo of pzrhsau
4.15/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: A nice rich dark brown color that is opaque with a two finger creamy coffee colored head (yay adjectives)
S: It has a dark roasty aroma coupled with a nice hop bitterness.
T: Its strange because the dark malt actually gives it a sweetness and a depth while still maintaining that bitterness of an ipa. Also some nice roasty notes in an after taste.
D/M: My eyes say porter but my head says IPA. This is just a cool beer style overall. Very innovative and brings some great crisp flavors together that I wouldn't have expected. I highly recommend this for someone who has not tried the style.

Photo of Mora2000
3.9/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Thanks to bman1113vr for sending me this beer.

The beer pours a dark brown to black color with a cream-colored head. The aroma is roasted malt and chocolate, with quite a bit of pine from the hops.

The flavor is bitter pine with some lightly roasted malt. I also get a touch of chocolate and maybe some coffee, but it is fairly faint. Low bitterness and the beer is very dry.

Thin, watery mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

Photo of wagenvolks
3.78/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz can courtesy of xnicknj via the Nice Cans II BIF. Thanks!

Pours a deep, dark coffee color that lets cola leak in at the edges. Atop, a stubborn tuft of custard foam holds court and attaches sticky lacing to the inside of my BlackStar Co-op pint glass. A spicy aroma suggests black pepper and floral perfume. Wooden, musty hops balance well with a hint of chocolate & black patent malts.

Spicy hops continue their theme in the taste. Malts are crisp and lightly chocolate-coated, but the finish has a hint of metallic copper and other mineral notes. Still, the tight carbonation and creamy mouthfeel are a delight as Back in Black tacks on a snappy zest as the hoppiness lingers after each sip. All in all, a very solid Black IPA that drinks easily for the style. The mineral note is a bit of a distraction, but everything else melds harmoniously. Recommended.

Photo of thain709
4/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Served with a darker shade of brown body and some lighter ruby highlights...a one finger head stayed around for a little and showed some nice lacing

S - The nose is very hop forward...lots of citrusy hops...they are bold and juicy...some earthy tones but not a lot of roasted malt

T - The flavors turn around from the nose...the malts jump out first and present a pleasant roastiness across the palate...there is a brief bitter chocolate flavor that crosses in the middle of the beer...that bitter chocolate leads nicely into the bitter finish that the hops provide

M - Medium bodied...nice finish...smooth...no real complaints

D - This was a nice black IPA...the nose was very hop forward, but the flavors were malt forward with a nice hop finish...I would drink this again

Photo of DoctorDog
3.63/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: From a 12 oz. can into a nonic.

A- Brown. Pours with ~1+ fingers of off tan head, which fades gradually to a thin cap. Fair amount of lacing.

S- Piney, slightly herbaceous hopiness, with a roasty, biscuity, malty sweetness coming in behind the hops.

T- Herbaceous, citrus peel. A bit of acrid coffee bitterness. Sharp, fleeting citrusy sweetness. Unusual, hard to pin down flavors going on here...

M- Moderate carbonation and a medium-light feel. Slightly thin feel, and a bit astringent.

D- Decent. Easy drinking and interesting...

Future outlook: An interesting beer....a pretty decent experience, but probably not one that has moved me to buy again.

Photo of ToddT
3.53/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Dark brown almost black topped with a tan head. Head falls slowly to a ring but leaves little bits of lace on the glass.

S- Subtle aroma, some hops, caramel malt, and hints of oak. For suck a formidable looking beer the nose is kind of tame.

T- Sweet malt and some oak notes, big swell of hops in the middle that is subdued in bitterness but still forward on the palate. Finish is a struggle between the sweet malt and the bitterness of the hops with the bitterness and dryness of the hops coming out on top.

M- Medium in body and good carbonation, thinner in body that what I was expecting.

D- Decent drinkability a little sweet for my tastes, but the 7% ABV doesn't show through anywhere. Could be session able if you like sweet.

Not my favorite style of beer but a decent enough effort. Worth checking out.

Back In Black from 21st Amendment Brewery
84 out of 100 based on 1,989 ratings.