Back In Black - 21st Amendment Brewery

Not Rated.
Back In BlackBack In Black

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BA SCORE
83
good

2,165 Ratings
THE BROS
72
okay

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,165
Reviews: 692
rAvg: 3.69
pDev: 13.55%
Wants: 51
Gots: 283 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
21st Amendment Brewery visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Black Ale |  6.80% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: tpd975 on 11-23-2008

ABV varies around 7%.
65 IBU
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,165 | Reviews: 692
Photo of BEERchitect
3.75/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Sinister in its darkness, there's really no telling to its hoppy secrets within. Porterlike to the eye, its not until the nose gets close that the senses are taken back by the IPA that lurks beneath.

21st Amendment's "black" IPA engulfs the olfactory senses with resinous notes of spruce, torn pinecone, and sharply aromatic grasses. As the mocha malt flavors attempt to balance the beer, early taste of burnt citrus come to rescue the early palate.

As the tandem of piquant citrus and herbal, earthen bouquet remain front and center, the malt doesn't give up so easy. Those toasty, chocolaty, coffee flavors carry enough sweetness to suggest porter. And the body does similar with a velvety center that attempts to seduce the palate. Yet those dominant hops win out as the ale trends drier and drier heading into finish.

Its deeply resinous bittering closes out the session with a sticky dryness that only highly hopped ale can give. It easily out-duels the malt sweetness and relies on its persistent char to not only meet the intensity of bitterness but intensifies it with its own coffeelike bitterness and roast-derived astringency.

The fear for any brewer with this up-and-coming style to to make an IPA first and allow the dark grain to complement. But most attempts carelessly revert to simply a hoppy porter. Riding that line dangerously close, Back In Black edges out the porter and sides with IPA, but only slightly.

Photo of utopiajane
3.84/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours very dark like black walnut with a crimson hue deep within the beer. A fat khaki head of foam falls slowly and leaves lace. The nose is bright with grapefruit. Really tart smelling and earthy with a bit of the peel. Some toasted sugar comes forward as it warms and a bit of dark malt scent like coffee. The taste is excellent. The mouthfeel is thin and has the quality of a good light IPA. The malt takes center stage in the drink as it comes forward with a touch of bitter roast and some weak coffee. A light caramel and some citrus take up the mid palate where the grapefruit has been tamed but still very much present. Finishes dry and roasty with a bit of the malt sweetness and a hint of char to linger at the back of the throat with a bit of the bright citrus peel. What it does not do is blast away at the finish with hop bitterness and that lets those roasted malts linger a touch with the citrus as a gentle compliment.

I really liked this one and this style can be somewhat elusive for me. I usually find that the stout like qualities of the malt clash and are too heavy alongside the citrusy IPA flavors. Not so in this beer. The malt is as light as it could possibly be and still be roasted almost black. Light and drinks lightly I love it!

Photo of dar482
3.57/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

The beer comes in a dark brown with a light brown head.

The aroma has grapefruit, pine, and some sweet roasted malt.

The flavor has lots of pine and herbal with a rounding roasted malt. The beer has a substantial malt backbone for a hoppy brew with a touch of roasted malt quality in there.

A reasonably well made black IPA.

Photo of stephens101
3.88/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

First beer I can recall having from this brewery, which is always a fun thing and foments a sense of adventure.

Dark brown with dark red edges. The tan head settles gently, leaving a swaths of lace behind.

Deep roasted malts mingle with some piney hops, and generally get along all the way to the nose.

More roasted goodness floats across the tongue, followed by a lingering, earthy bitterness, a hint of grain and caramel and a slight dark fruitiness.

A medium-bodied and quite flavorable ABA

Photo of WesMantooth
3.69/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Smells of hops and slight roasted malt. Tastes pretty much like the aroma. A little bit of hops up front with some nice balance from the roasted malt. It is pretty thin and easy drinking. Not real hoppy and not a ton of flavor, but nicely balanced and well done. I would call it a slightly hoppy, light bodied Schwartz. At 6.8%, you could get in trouble with these! Overall, a good beer that I would buy again and would be a nice offering for non IPA people.

Photo of Scrapss
3.42/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a Duvel Tulip at cellar temps.

A: Black, pitch black. Nice rocky head dissipates ultimately to a 1 mm solid disk. No lacing to speak of, wispy at best.

S: Weakly malty with a hint of hops. Neutral yeast indicators, not pronounced. Mild.

T: A kiss of hops up front, slightly bitter and very mild. The malt is definitely roasty and good. Just wish the hops were a little more pronounced. This reminds me of a slightly hoppier Schwarzbier, too. Lemony finish so there's some hops doing something kinda back-sliding in at the finish.

M: Thin. Very poundable and dangerous given the ABV. Light on the palate. Chocolatey finish. Like bitter, ephemeral chocolates.

O: I like it for what it is, a very smooth, quaffable brew that is kind of true to the style, which I consider an ANTI IPA style. Like "hey, we're calling this IPA but really is a hoppy Schwarz". Regardless I like it.

Photo of delta490
3.84/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark clear brown with a light tan head. The head has moderate retention but leaves some soapy lacing on the glass. The aroma is very roasted, much more reminiscent of a schwarzbier, with only a hint of hops. Its a nice aroma, but not very IPA-ish. The taste is equally close to a schwarzbier. Delicious, but not really an IPA. There's a nice feel to the body and it's nice a smooth. If this weren't billed as an IPA, I think it would get a much higher rating. It has a great flavor but it doesn't even closely resemble one.

Photo of tkelley
3.4/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz can poured into a Perfect Pint.

A - kind of a murky sludgy brown. Light tan billowy head with very good lacing. Lighter highlights around the edges.

N - super resiny.

T - much maltier than the smell... roastier. Obvious pinkeye's hops too. Little bit of citrus.

M - cold... it was in the fridge.

D - not the best one ive had but its a pretty good beer.

Photo of Zach136
3.71/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12 oz can, enjoy by 7/17/14 poured into an IPA glass.

A - Deep mahogany and crystal clear body with a pinky sized beige head, OK lacing.

S - Burnt charcoal, tree bark and pine needles.

T - Roast and pine bitterness. Accelerated astringency with little to no balancing sweetness.

M - Dry, lingering burnt finish.

O - I don't like this style of beer in most situations, this brew is no exception. I feel that it brings out the least pleasant characteristics of stouts and IPAs without show casing either's redeeming qualities.

Photo of iheartmyTHO
3.63/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

First off, I'm loving this trend of craft beers being available in cans. But as for this Black IPA, it's pretty darn tasty. It's not as bitter or hoppy as other IPA's I have had, but still has good flavor. There's a nice malt and heaviness to the beer without being cloying or filling.

Photo of vkv822
3.5/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz : tulip
canned on: 12/16/13

Black, with deep espresso edges when held to light with a craggy, foamy tan head.

Roasty malts upfront with citric, spicy hop highlights in both the nose and taste.

Medium+ body, foamy carbonation.

Nothing particularly outstanding, but tasty nonetheless. Overall a well done, solid example of the Black Ale style.

Photo of BMMillsy
3.52/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Can poured to tall glass at Mustard's in Napa Valley. Noticed the beer was canned on May 20, 2013 and I had it March 5, 2014. Nice restaurants really need to start figuring this beer things out, not really acceptable for an IPA, black or not. Anyway, pours dark brown to black with a little purple hue, small off white head. Smells like lemon pinesol and some sweet chocolate in the background. The flavor follows the aroma rather closely, with much more malt sweetness. Chocolate, lemon, pine, old hops I guess. Medium mouthfeel, a bit creamy, with medium level carbonation. Would like to try fresh but as is it wasn't bad. With that said, plenty of better things to reach for.

Photo of MarkQ617
2.96/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I had this on tap at Taco Mac, my first offering from these guys. Stronger roasted malt flavor than I'm accustomed to for black IPAs, could've used a bit more hops. Definitely more black than IPA. Deep brownish black color as you'd expect, lighter head than I'd have expected give the flavor. Somewhat flat aroma.

Photo of stevoj
3.44/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Malty and hoppy, near black body with creamy. silky beige head. Nice dark roast grain flavor comes through to accent the hops, elements of burnt toast, wood. Hops add more bitterness to the roast flavor, but still smooth on the finish. Some lingering bitterness on the palate.

Photo of FLima
3.85/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Black ruby color with a thick beige head with great retention and leaving a wall of laces.
Light aroma of sweet caramels, coffee at some point and pineapples.
Flavor of papaya, coffee, resin, roasted malts, grapefruits, American yeast and also earthy and floral hops. Dry aftertaste with its lingering flavors.
Medium body with low carbonation and a creamy sensation. Alcohol of 6.8% abv is well hidden.
Good malty and balanced black IPA, probably hoppier than it feels.

Photo of qchic
3.13/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Back in...not quite black. Dark red highlights around the edges, decent head retention with larger air bubbles suspended. Some roast, some hop citrus in the aroma, but not much else. Kinda generic. The flavor is more lively, but still muddled. Again, the citrus/roast thing with bitterness. The aftertaste is kinda nice...

Photo of BierJager89
4.09/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A: Pours translucent brown into black in the glass with a short, almost creamy, brown head.

S: Nutty dark malts, roasted malt, earthy coffee, sweet mango, and orange in the nose.

T: Malty, fading to floral hoppiness in the middle, finishing roasty, dark and dry.

M: Medium bodied and quite smooth.

O: Not the best of the style and, given how good the brewery is, a bit of a disappointment for someone like me (who loves the style). Recommended.

Photo of dbrauneis
3.71/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: Pours a clear very dark reddish brown (approaching but not quite black) in color with light to moderate amounts of gentle visible carbonation near the surface of the beer and some garnet red + crimson red highlights. The beer has a two finger tall sudsy foamy light tan head that reduces to a thick film covering the majority of the surface of the beer and a thick ring at the edges of the glass. Significant amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate aromas of roasted malts and coffee along with slightly stronger aromas of pine hops.

T: Upfront there are light to moderate flavors of roasted malts and lighter flavors of roasted coffee. Moderate flavors of pine hops with just a hint of citrus/grapefruit pith hops. Light to moderate amounts of bitterness in the finish which lasts for a moderate amount of time.

M: Medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Smooth, almost creamy with a light to moderate amount of dryness in the finish

O: This beer has a nice balance between the roasty malts and hoppy flavors as well as well hidden alcohol. Another nice brew from 21st Amendment and available in a can!

Photo of Omnium
3.62/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Can > Mason Pint

A - Dark brown/black with a finger of thick foamy khaki color head, big bubbly lacing.
S - Aroma is very subdued, earthy pine, grapefruit, dank grassy notes, toasted toffee and caramel.
T - Taste is very soapy, but that fades fast, so its not too bad, big grapefruit, some sweet orange, toasted caramel, roasted grains, lots of earthy pine, some spicy hop bite too on the end.
M - Decent feel, bitter and not too chewy, but a good medium texture.
O - Decent Black IPA, could back down from the bitterness and hopefully remove that soapy taste, but I'd have this one again, though there's a plethora of better options.

Photo of 802homebrewer
3.55/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Pours very well with a nice head. Has great lacing on a dry glass.

Certainly can taste the bittering hops, but has a nice malty taste to it. Almost like a chocolate/coffee taste but not quite there. Very easy to drink and I would recommend it. Smooth

Photo of mikeg67
3.85/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

12 oz can. Pours brown with fluffy, beige, never ending head. Aroma is of citrusy hops, toasted malt and some dark fruit. Body is full and tangy. Taste is of citrusy hops, toffee, coffee, vanilla and dark fruit. Finish is medium and not too hoppy. I was not a fan of the style, but after this brew I might start liking it.

Photo of thecheapies
3.93/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Very dark brown beer with a deep purple light passing through. Light beige head formed at a height of over two inches. The foam looks dense and dry. Excellent head retention. Laces in blankets in properly dried glassware.

Earthy and piney hops in the nose exhibit dryness and heartiness with the added char of roasty malts. Some citrus notes include tangerine rind and grapefruit pith. A dry anise-like aroma cuts in from the direction of the malt.

Spicy pine notes with substantial leafiness and copious amounts of floral notes deliver with true whole hop cone flavor. Very bitter and gruff. Lots of intensity driven by the spicy hops. Malts are nicely roasted with an earthy appeal. Lots of herbal flavors going on with rooty vegetable and leafy astringency. Hint of fennel. Good beer.

Dry feel with residue of dried foam carbonation and spiciness from the alcoholic presence. A little frothy. Body is medium. There's some good chewiness.

A solid beer. One of my favorite, easily-accessible black IPAs.

Photo of Ieatlambfries
4/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a dark reddish brown, almost opaque. Two finger light tan head with clingy lace.

The smell was heavy with citrus rind hop oils and smokey malts

Taste was full of roasted malts followed up by resinous hops and citrus grapefruit rind flavors.

Mouthfeel was very good. Started with a nice creamy head and finished with slightly slick hop oils on the tongue.

Overall a very good black IPA. Not overly malty, nor sweet. The roasted malt compliments the hops quite well. I'd even say well balanced.

Photo of Scotchboy
3.77/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12oz can into a Rock Island snifter.

A: Dark brown with tawny edges, with transparent gold and ruby hues. Lots of off-white head and lace.

S: The nose reveals piney hops and pine sap, with plenty of roasted malt character and a good dose of coffee. Orange peel as well.

T: More coffee; dark, roasted malt bordering on burnt...charcoal? Piney, spicy and herbal/earthy hops with a hint of citrus. A pleasant balance is struck between the hop component and the good dose of roasted barley in this brew.

MF: Lighter/moderate bitterness, stand-fare medium mouthfeel, smooth body, appropriate carbonation.

O: I've had this a few times without reviewing and without any memorable moments, but this time revealed a decent roast & malt-heavy black IPA, if you lean that way. Pleasant drinker for me.

Photo of Nugganooch
3.77/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12oz can dated 02/11/13 – purchased at Boynton Liquors San Jose, CA
Hotel tumbler glass – 11/20/13

A: Pours a dark chestnut brown that becomes even darker as it collects in the glass. A thick and stubborn dark khaki head produces over the body leaving behind some streaking ribbons of lace on the glass.

S: Smells of piney hops with a pronounced dark roast barley note. I get loads of fresh roast coffee in the nose which basically makes up the better portion of the aromas. Nice and a bit more roasty than I was expecting for a Black IPA.

T: Highly kilned malts of roast coffee bean and slight charcoal ash noted. Touch of piney earth and light spice. Very smooth with a low amount of bitterness and well integrated alcohol. Lots of dark malt coming through on this one. I like this but it is drinking more like a stout than say a Black IPA.

M: A touch thin and watery but with nice smooth creamy feel across the palate with a moderately low bitterness. Finish has a slight drying effect but it is fairly clean overall.

D: This is one of those Black IPA’s that drinks more like a hoppy stout. A little too heavy on the roast to let the hops play the part. Tasty none the less with good flavor and balance.

Back In Black from 21st Amendment Brewery
83 out of 100 based on 2,165 ratings.