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Back In Black - 21st Amendment Brewery

Not Rated.
Back In BlackBack In Black

Educational use only; do not reuse.

677 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 677
Hads: 2,212
Avg: 3.67
pDev: 24.25%
Wants: 51
Gots: 307 | 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:
Beer added by: tpd975 on 11-23-2008

ABV varies around 7%.
65 IBU
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Back In Black Alström Bros
Reviews: 677 | Hads: 2,212
Photo of chinchill
3.4/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the can into 16 oz clear plastic cup.

A - Pours opaque black/brown with brown edges were a little bit of light passes thru when backlit. Towering frothing head, light caramel color, with godd retention.

S - Hop aroma is evident right opening popping the can open. Plenty of citrus and earthy hops. Very promising.

... but it is downhill from here.

T - Very limited hop flavor compared ot the aroma, with more earthy dark roasted malt coming thru. These are a bit out of balance and do not blend so well IMO. The dark malts really dominate even in the finish but do leave a bitter, coffee-tinted aftertaste. The worse part is a rather sour an metallic component mid-taste.

M - Nice carbonation, although a bit much for an easy pour. Medium, but not quite satisfying, body.

O - Overall a disappointing beer. The aroma and look were not followed by excellent flavor or mouthfeel. I've been to the brewpub and enjoyed their beers on tap. Too bad this one doesn't fare so well in canning.

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Photo of tkelley
3.4/5  rDev -7.4%
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.

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Photo of mdwalsh
3.4/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Well, if there was ever a beer that looked like Coca Cola, this was it. The beer is dark brown (NOT black) with a decent to small beige head. A little active carbonation, but overall, not a very inspiring beer. From the looks it should have been a brown ale.

S: There's hops here, mildly spicy but also a little citrusy. But the roasted malt is really strong as well. There's a lot going on here and the aromas are fighting it out, not to the pleasure of my nose. I get a little burnt coffee, but then a wife of orange peel followed by a lingering, very light pine smell.

T: The taste leaves a lot to be desired, but not so much as the aroma. The hops take a back seat to the roast, but they linger much longer and the balance works better. Still, not anywhere near an IPA in my book.

M: Light, very appropriate for an IPA type beer.

D: I'm not a fan at all, if this were my beer I would tweak a little bit and make something more like a Schwarzbier out of it.

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Photo of pburland23
3.4/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

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.

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Photo of dubinsky
3.4/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Mostly black, but when help up to the light i see red. Poured it rather aggressively and had a nice foamy 3 finger than head. Good retention and lacing.

S- Malts, caramel, spices and a faint hop aroma. Smells rather fruity for an IPA, honestly not what i like to smell when drinking a hop forward beer, but its not bad.

T- I hate to say it, but the first sip of the beer was tinny. Tasted like aluminum, but as the time went on, that went away. The beer is awfully malty for an IPA, and thats whats killing me. I would like it more if it was marketed as something else than an IPA, but if i'm comparing it to others IPA's, something doesn't quite work form me. The roast and caramel malt flavors just don't mesh well with the hops here. Feels a bit all over the place, kind of like this review, yet somehow i am still drinking it and secretly enjoying it.

M- Initial tastes were a bit harsh. Fuzzy feel on my teeth. Fairly thin with low carbonation.

DB- Like others mention, there doesn't seem to be a good balance here between the malt and hop profiles. The weak mouthfeel certainly doesn't help either. Why fix something that isn't broken, Black IPA's just dont really do it for me. That being said, i think this is a good effort from a brewery that i usually really love. Stick to what you guys to best!

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Photo of kiddynamite920
3.4/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Falls into the American IPA style for now. Not really that style so I suppose I shouldn't judge it as so. Very dark brown.

S: Sweet malts and some bread, not getting a big hit of hops here. Smells a bit watered down.

T: Hops come forward on the palate. Definitely a good hit of roasty malts though. Some fruity hops, but this one really doesn't have any hop bite. Strange style.

M: A bit chalky and dry. Carbonation is moderate. Certainly not worth the money.

D: Actually drinks well, a new style that certainly needs to be refined. Malty IPA's won't work for me.

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Photo of number1bum
3.39/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

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.

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Photo of OldIronLungs
3.38/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass a dark black with a smooth pancake of dark cream head that sticks well.

Nose is light chocolate and pine hops.

A sip starts watery but fills to well-bodied with good medium-to-prickly carbonation. Some moderate roast is tempered with a good earthy pine hop hit; one that's quick to dissipate, making this pretty drinkable - though overall it seems too light. Good dry finish.

Didn't like it at first but it proved a worthwhile drink. Maybe it's balance is it's strong suit -- I'm too used to drinking aggressive beers...

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Photo of slash196
3.38/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance - Pitch black, two-finger head with good staying power. Lovely lacing as the head settles.

Smell - Heavy caramel and candy, almost no hops are evident at the pour. Smells much more like a porter than an IPA.

Taste - The malt is the star here, rich coffee mixes with a smooth creamy caramel. Hop bitterness balances the palate, but no citrus or pine really pops out; it's possible my can was a bit old. Finish is clean, though, unlike a porter, which counters the heaviness of the malt somewhat.

Mouthfeel - Clean and carbonated, this is the only sign that I'm drinking an IPA hybrid.

Overall - Not what I expected at all. It is much more reminiscent of an English Old Ale (say, Theakston Old Peculiar). Not a bad beer at all, but strays quite far from style. I may give this a second go if I can find a fresher can, but I still prefer the Otter Creek interpretation of the Black IPA.

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Photo of avalon07
3.38/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured from a can to a pint glass. Had a dark brown color and a murky consistency. There was an inch of foamy, fairly long-lasting head. Excellent lacing.

S: A very mild aroma of hops, malt, and some coffee.

T: Tasted of hops, sweet malt, coffee, and what seemed to be a little chocolate. The problem here is that the flavor is very thin in the finish. Could have been stronger.

M: A well-carbonated beer with a dry finish. Medium-bodied.

O: While this is isn't a terrible beer, it is a wildly uneven one. Not one of the best examples of the style.

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Photo of fauxpunker
3.38/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Can. Pours near black with off-white head. Clean and bright. First experience with a black IPA. Not sure what to think. It’s not bad, but not what I was expecting either. Hops and malt both strong in the aroma, but the malt wins (a bit roasty) out in the flavor. Easy to drink, slightly bitter finish. Glad for the experience and likely to give 21st Amendment another look.

Review posted at Ratebeer originally.

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Photo of soze47
3.38/5  rDev -7.9%
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

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Photo of SunDevilBeer
3.37/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Seen this alot at ;my local, finally decided to pick up a 6-er @ $10.99.

Not as dark as I expected it to look.

Smells more like a porter to the nose. Upon 1st sip...yup, this is a porter, not really an IPA. A hoppy porter at that, tho.

A bit of smokey bitterness that lingers after the sip. At 6.8%, a bit more boozy (& boozy tasting) than expected too.

A disappointment if you expecting a dark IPA, but not bad if you think of it as a hoppy porter.

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Photo of donniecuffs
3.37/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Sampled this one not too long ago at The Blind Tiger, NYC. Poured black, with less than a finger of off-white head; average retention and lacing, and modestly visible carbonation. Smelled of citrus hops; piney and bitter peel, though not overly pungent. The taste was surprisingly thin in flavor, starting on a citrus note, and then devolving to a thin, modestly dry finish. Very thin texture in general too, with a hint of carbonation. Aside from the well-hidden nature of the alcohol content, I found this to be a lackluster example of the style.

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Photo of aerozeppl
3.37/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

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Photo of jera1350
3.37/5  rDev -8.2%
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.

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Photo of Arenbeer
3.36/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz can thanks to UncleJimbo for throwing it in as an extra!

A- Pours a really nice dark dark brown that appears black out of the light. On top is a decent 1 finger off white head that doesn't stick around.

S- Dark roasted malts with some coffee and maybe some sweet chocolate. Slight hop presence but not to much. Definitely some fruitiness in there as well.

T- Strong roasted malts and coffee, take the flavor with a decent hop bitterness and fruitiness in the background.

M- Medium body with a lot of carbonation and a decent bitter finish.


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Photo of ArrogantB
3.36/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz can purchased at Beverage World in Ft. Oglethorpe, GA $2. Dark black color, decent lace, short head. Smells roasty, like a porter. Tastes very much like a porter and nothing like an IPA, it wasn't even hoppy. I have no idea how old this was but I am really starting to doubt the whole black IPA phenomenon. Its like most of them are just porters and the really hoppy ones still don't make me think IPA. Hoppy black ale would be a better moniker for these shits.

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Photo of pvsob
3.36/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A- Cola colored with a two finger head (tan) that has excellent staying power and leaves great lacing.

S- Citrus hops, roasted malt, and some pine.

T- Chocolate, caramel, citrus and pine bitterness, and a flavor that reminds me of blood.

M- Very smooth and silky. The best part of this beer.

D/O- Standard American IPA, but wait, this one's black. It looks great and feel great, but other than that, this one's not worth seeking out. Get in your car/truck/bike, pick a direction, drive 45-60 minutes, and there's a good chance you'll find a better IPA at one of your local breweries/brewpubs. Cheers.

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Photo of dtivp
3.36/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

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.

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Photo of RonfromJersey
3.36/5  rDev -8.4%
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".

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Photo of TheFightfan1
3.35/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured a semi translucent brown with a tremendous looking off white thick heading. Lacing all throughout the tasting.

Smell has a slight metallic aroma from the start,many different aroma's ranging from citrus to leafy,some dark chocolate and subtle detection of bubblegum.

This is were it went wrong for me. Mostly I got a burnt tobacco flavor,extremely heavy linger of burnt caramel malts in the finish along with some hoppy notes. Like drinking a homebrew (diacytel in the mouth)

Mouth is medium bodied, good carbonation,decent smoothness with nice consistency not to watery not to thick.

This did seem like a solid beer from the start,the look,the aroma it was all there but just lost something in the taste for me.

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Photo of dciBA
3.35/5  rDev -8.7%
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.

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Photo of MistahBeah
3.35/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Appearance: Black or a very dark brown. Khaki head with good lacing. Lots of carbonation

Aroma: Roasty chocolate and toffee notes. Earthy hops. Caramel

Taste: Chewy roasted chocolate and some bitter coffee flavor. Resiny earthen hop bitterness. A little citrus. Bitter but not overly so. Ironically this was more bitter than their IPA. A tad salty in the finish as well

Mouthfeel: Creamy and chewy. Lingering bitter finish

Overall: Not bad by any stretch but nothing I would strongly recommend. Decent

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Photo of BigMike
3.35/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Very dark ruby red. Barely see through when held up to the light. A thin tan head of maybe 1/4 inch.

S: Lots of citrus and a strange nuttiness in the background.

T: lots of bitter citrus notes up front with a roasted coffee/nuttiness on the finish.

M: Medium bodied with a touch much carbonation. A little less would have helped smooth things out a bit.

Overall: An ok "black" ipa. A better mouthfeel and replacing the nuttiness with some chocolate and more roasted coffee would have helped things a lot.

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Back In Black from 21st Amendment Brewery
83 out of 100 based on 677 ratings.