Back In Black - 21st Amendment Brewery

Not Rated.
Back In BlackBack In Black

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
83
good

672 Reviews
THE BROS
72
okay

(Read More)
Reviews: 672
Hads: 2,184
rAvg: 3.67
pDev: 13.08%
Wants: 52
Gots: 290 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 672 | Hads: 2,184
Photo of BostonTriggs
4.05/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from, awesome, 12oz can to pint glass.

Dark brown in color, around 25 or 26 SRM. Has nice amber hues in the light. Head is a light tan color. It appears to be clear, but hard to tell because of color.

The smell of this has a lot of dark malt. I also pick up orange, biscuit (a little yeasty) and some chocolate. The nicest part is the floral hops I pick up every couple of smells. It's well hidden behind the malt, but somehow balances things out nicely. There's a little bit of a smoked quality to this one.

I'm not sure why I like this beer. There's no particular flavor that wow's me with each sip, but I immediately want another one. The floral hops are hard to find in the taste, but there is a nice little bitter pop to counteract the malty sweetness and acidity. The acidity is kind of milky (not sure if that makes sense to anyone but me) and clings to the palate after each sip. It's very malty, sweet, and buttery. Oddly, it's very IPA-like at the same time. It goes from very sweet, to a big burst of acidity, and then a slightly sharp bitterness blends in with this.

The texture is rough and chalky. However, it's not viscous like I expected it to be. It's thin, just a bit thicker than an IPA. The carbonation is at about a medium level; I only really noticed it at the beginning of a sip.

I found this very drinkable for a beer with such assertive malt flavor. I found it refreshing, and I don't understand how that works. I could probably have 2 or 3 before I wanted to move on.

Overall, not too shabby. I enjoyed it both cold and warm. My big complaint is the lingering flavors it leaves on your palate. It tastes like the bitterness and acidity have mixed together and glued themselves to my palate. (1,734 characters)

Photo of ChuckHackett
4.05/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Smooth,Malt, earthy. Slightly hopped. Very Easy Beer to drink. Even though the IBU's were at 65, it didn't taste that hoppy. I think it's a unique beer. I didn't feel like it was 6.8%ABV. It was very smooth and would think it was more in the 6.2%. It was like having a Nitro Milk Stout and a Alaskan IPA having a child.
I think there is room for the creation of the Dark IPA market. It's nice to have those earthy, full-mouthed IPA with some stout notes.
I would think that this would be at least scored in the 80's. I think there are better IPA's, but then again. Is this just an IPA? (585 characters)

Photo of HitokiriNate85
4.05/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Entirely black except for the slightest dark red tinge around the bottom of the glass. Frothy tan head that's breaking apart and starting to lace from the start.

S - Pithy herbal, orangey, citrus hop aroma with undertones of bread and chocolate. It's a really nice smell that's only lacking a bit in power. After taking a sip the smell reminds almost exactly of orange chocolates. Also, about halfway through the glass, it smells just like black patent grains.

T - Strong citrus rind, orangey, pithy hops lead the charge, but there's plenty of malt backbone to match. There's a breadiness to it, but chocolate really dominates. The finish is slightly roasty, but it doesn't dominate anything else. I thought bitterness might seem a little low at 65, but I think it hits the mark really well.

MF - Pretty standard for the style, leaning towards a lighter body.

D - I'm really enjoying this so far. I had sort of gotten the notion that black IPAs(or IBAs, whatever) weren't my favorite, as the grain bill and hops always seemed to clash. I love this combination, though, which is probably because it uses two of my absolute favorite hops(Columbus and Centennial). (1,169 characters)

Photo of GarrettMD
4.05/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a deep red, almost black, not completely opaque. 2 finger off white fluffy head with great retention. Lacing is great.

S - All hops, mostly citrus, some pine comes through.

T - Nice chocolate and coffee malty taste up front, roasted malts work perfectly with the bitter hops. Slight citrus flavor, but the piney hops are the ones that come through in the taste.

M - Light bodied for the style. Good carbonation. Finish is much the same as the taste the whole way through, just slightly more bitter hops.

D - Very good drinkability. I would have probably liked a little more bitterness in the taste, but that's just me, overall a very good Black IPA, or CDA, whichever you choose to call it. Will definitely be getting again. (738 characters)

Photo of SMcGuire33
4.05/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I absolutely love IPA's, drink them whenever I can, but Back in Black was my first Black IPA.

A- Lighter shade of black, maybe molasses, with a thick eggshell head.

S- Smell is of chocolate and coffee aromas. Sweet

T- The taste was actually the best part of this beer. While not as hoppy as regular IPA's, there was a nice balance between hops and malt. Chocolaty throughout with a hint of coffee, but there was also a distinct bitterness to it which was nice. A hint of citrus in the middle.

M- Decent amount of carbonation. More than your average stout which this beer is often compared to, and comparative to your average IPA.

If you're craving an IPA I don't think Back in Black is what you're looking for, but to me it is a must try for any beer enthusiast. I am an IPA diehard and I very much enjoyed it. Yes sir, I will have another. (848 characters)

Photo of Metalmonk
4.06/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very thick head of rocky light tan foam, like that you'd see atop a root beer float. And the liquid is definitely black in the glass, after having poured out in a stream that was more like a glassy, oily dark brown. Some dark reddish tones are pulled out in the light. Immense lace stick, like webs of styrofoam. My god what a ridiculously good looking beer!

Nose is a roasty, toasty, even slightly burnt bit of malt. Like burnt popcorn and charred toast, with a coffee-like edge and a hint of steamed milk. Hops shine through all that darkness with a citrus-like brightness. What a contrast.

Taste: Charred/burnt malts are in control and not overpowering the palate, while a fruity, bright citrus spark flashes by, over and around the burnt stuff. It's a flavor that takes awhile to get the taste buds around, but here, in Back In Black, it very much works. It exhibits a healthy balance between two seemingly opposite poles. Dark, rough and dirty versus bright, tart and sweet.

Neither watery nor at all thick, the mouthfeel is one that is slick and slippery; round and present although subtle enough to let the delicate balance of the flavors take most of the attention. Almost reaches the creamy heights of the mighty Iniquity, but only almost. Very much does the job, is what it does.

This is my third can of this in as many days, and the first time I wasn't totally feeling it...the second go-around I started feeling more clued in to its secrets...and this third time I just totally get it. It helps that I really like this emerging style, and while this is no Iniquity, it can definitely stand as a good representation of the style. (1,653 characters)

Photo of BEERMILER12
4.06/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Enjoy By: 01/22/15

A: Pours a near black color with 2+ fingers of tan head that very slowly fades down to a nice fluffy cap that leaves some nice lacing

S: Nice and hoppy along with a decent amount of roast up front. Hops are lightly citrusy and piney, with a bit of earthiness. Also get some dark chocolate in there, made a little sweeter from the crystal malt

T: Follows the nose. Starts off with the roasted malts and citrus and pine notes. This is followed by some mild sweetness and earthiness. Finishes with a moderate bitterness and more roast

M: Medium-full bodied with low-moderate carbonation. Very smooth, nearing on creamy

O: A very drinkable and enjoyable black IPA. Not over the top with bitterness or hops, it is extremely well balanced and does a great job getting the most out of both malt and hops. A nice surprise (837 characters)

Photo of cynicgiraffe
4.07/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is my first black IPA for what it's worth. Pours opaque black. Overwhelming grapefruit in the aroma. So much so that I can't get anything else. Thin creamy head, disappears quickly but leaves lots of lacing. Taste: lots of grapefruit but some pine. Thick mouthfeel, almost like a Russian imperial. Bizarre (and has some palette dissonance) to have this palette with the hop profile. Back end has a peculiar combo of hop bitterness and stout bitterness. I love this beer. Well balanced. I would drink this any time. Awesome. (528 characters)

Photo of TangTKE402
4.07/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Poured form a 12oz. can into a pint glass. Pitch-black in color with a reddish hue on the outskirts of the glass. A thick, creamy, 1-finger ecru head emerged, lingered for about a minute, then dissolved into a thin veneer left on the surface of the beer. Some thin, wispy lacing.

S: Deep, rich notes of wet wood, toasted caramel malt, rich hops, chocolate, molasses, pine tar, and some slight citrus rind.

T: Dark toasted-malt notes up-front, with a rich, molasses middle, and a bone-dry finish. The flavor profile is consisted throughout, if a touch thin. Notes of grass, chocolate malt, burnt molasses, earth, and pine. A nicely balanced, hoppy-enough winter beer.

M: The mouthfeel comes in slightly lacking, with a silky presence that borders on watery, and a slightly chalky after-feel.

O: All-in-all this is a fine example of a good black IPA. It doesn't take many risks, but that's ok, as it has some very rewarding flavors, and is pretty much what you would expect. (979 characters)

Photo of mcgwire756
4.07/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From the can into a pint glass

A friend got this from his local place in Boonton and recommended it so I tried one of his. Like it says it is a Black IPA that pours like a normal IPA. Nice lacing on the glass. It has the hoppy notes in the nose and in the taste which was a nice surprise considering the appearance. This beer is extremely drinkable and a highly recommended IPA if you are in the mood for something slightly different and a little harder to find. (463 characters)

Photo of StJamesGate
4.07/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours black with garnet highlights and a loose lumpy cafe latte head that trails and rings. Straight leaf resin fresh hop flower nose - smells like hops straight off the vine. Some tar, cocoa nibs and molasses but big orange is fighting to get through and comes out in a sticky hops finish. No bitterness on the back end (65 IBUs? Where?) and tingly linger. Medium, creamy, clingy, smooth.

Hops forward for a CDA, dark malts really take a back seat. Those malts do more for the body, making this fuller than just about any IPA I've had, though it's coming off a bit thin and one note too.

Easy sipper in cans, and solid addition to the style. (646 characters)

Photo of hreb
4.08/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Refrigerator cold 12oz can poured into pint glass. Beer pours dark cola brown with hints of red and a medium-thick chestnut head. Big, floral, hoppy aroma, all IPA, no dark ale (stout, brown, or porter). Serious dry hops.

Taste is simultaneously sweet, refreshing, and bitter. Subtle toasty notes, but also a solid hop bitterness (along with floral and grapefruit) all the way through. High on alcohol, but in no way out of balance with the malt and (for an American IPA) hops. Bonus: the carbonation is surprisingly light, leaving for a creamy mouthfeel that works really well with the burnt barley. (601 characters)

Photo of xcrunner78
4.08/5  rDev +11.2%
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! (1,180 characters)

Photo of hustlesworth
4.08/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A- head monster. superhead. naturally this thing pours like a porter. it's black with some rosewood colored highs when held up to the light. the foam is amazing- it's big and khaki colored and unsettling an it leaves an unearthly amount of thick sticky lace behind.

S- huge aromas of mandarin orange and grapefruit, pineapple and passion fruit over a mellow smoky malt background. some burnt caramel and burnt chestnut roastiness as well with hints of lemon and lime. columbus/centennial/simcoe always a great combination.

T- tastes like a hugely hopped smoky porter. nutty and earthy, pumpernickel, burnt peanuts, charred wood, burnt grapefruit peel, burnt... everything. very nice. well balanced and well put together. hops definitely stand forward perhaps thanks to the de-bittered black malt? roasted char flavor is everywhere while roasted bitterness is nearly non-existent. some flavors of cocoa and coffee, but not in the usual sense. more of the essence of the two, so to speak. finishes woodsy and hoppy with a long piney burnt citrus and sour malt aftertaste.

MF- slightly juicy, slightly resinous, but overall more of a medicinal oily one-dimensional mediumly carbonated glass of thin hop juice. kinda boring.

D- although it looks and tastes like a hopped up porter, in truth it's more like a hopped up schwarzbier. seriously hopped up to the point where any and all malt sweetness is pretty much eradicated. hoppy and earthy, easily drinkable and handsome. black ipa is an interesting style and i have a feeling that sooner or later most breweries will take a stab at it. (1,589 characters)

Photo of jbredbeard
4.08/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Wow. This looks like a stout but is all west coast style IPA. Very piney aroma folllows into the flavor with a medium-strong hippy bitterness that is very refreshing. Pleasantly surprised. (189 characters)

Photo of Georgiabeer
4.08/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours dark brown with a swirly head. Smells pretty light with some light citrusy hops, some light roastiness, and a touch of sweetness. The taste is a good deal more pronounced- this isn't a blow you away beer, but something about the nicely balanced creaminess, dry stout-like roastiness and gentle citrusy bitterness really works for me. I'm at the end of this six-pack, and this beer has really grown on me. Nicely creamy in the mouth and quite tasty. I like this better than I though I would. (496 characters)

Photo of StoneTSR
4.08/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Thanks to Jrod1969 for this one. What a killer extra he threw in my end of the trade!

APPEARANCE: Looks like a porter or a stout, stark black with a generous and foamy white head. As it SLOWLY faded away, the head did change color a little bit and take on a more off-white hue. The head retention was a thing of beauty and there is some lacing forming on the top of the glass already where the head dropped from. UPDATE: As the beer goes down, the lacing does not. It is really clinging to the glass all the way around and from top to bottom. This is an exceptional looking beer.

SMELL: A nice, solid traditional IPA smell - very piney, but bitter as well. It smells like there will be an impressive hop flavor. We shall see. Upon the second sniff, before the first sip and after the head had subsided a bit, a fairly strong, smoky, coffee flavor was present in addition to the hops and pine.

TASTE: The first sip was dominated by coffee. The hops seemed to be there, but only to provide a bitter aftertaste and not to provide the pine from the nose. A brief jolt of grapefruit also hits the palate with each sip. This is certainly a complex and unusual beer - a nice break from the ordinary.

MOUTHFEEL: The feel of this beer is more like that of a porter and not so much like an IPA. Very smooth and oily, but it is also drying on the way down as well. A nice feel, but I would have preferred more carbonation.

OVERALL: A lot of times something as unusual and different as a black IPA is can be too difficult for your palate to understand at first, making it tough to drink. That is not the case with the Back in Black. It is a very drinkable beer that tastes like a nice, bitter IPA and a smooth and smoky porter had a baby. (1,731 characters)

Photo of OBeerMeGreatOne
4.08/5  rDev +11.2%
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. (503 characters)

Photo of Natural510
4.08/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark, dark brown with thick, dense off-white head with a creamy consistency.
Tangy, bitter nose with alternating notes of roasted malt and grapefruit rind.
Dry, roasted malt with charcoal character meets a sour, tart citric hop.
Full in mouthfeel & body, this one is sturdy.
My first of the style, unlike any other "IPA" I've had. This is not only due to the roasted malt character, but the utter lack of sweetness to the ale. I like. (442 characters)

Photo of elNopalero
4.09/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From a can, picked up on a recent trip to San Francisco. As I type this I realize I realize I didn’t make note of a canned on/best by date. But I’ve had it for about three weeks at this point. Doesn’t seem like it’s suffered.

Pours black, like a darker shade of cola. To be honest, the novelty of a canned beer doesn’t hold much effect upon me, typically, but pouring this I got a kick out of it for some reason. Anyways, there’s a pleasing hop aroma that comes through on the nose. Citrus notes, tropical fruit blend, grapefruit zest and a sprinkling of pine. Tastes good, with more of the same coming through in each sip. For 65 IBUs it’s an exceptionally easy sipper. There’s a slim malt but a nice mild roast that complements the hop bitterness. Crisp and refreshing.

When I first tried this a year or so ago I wasn’t impressed but either the recipe or the batch (or my own palate) has changed for the better. Tasty! (942 characters)

Photo of BierJager89
4.09/5  rDev +11.4%
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. (448 characters)

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.1/5  rDev +11.7%
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. (1,161 characters)

Photo of GrizzlyBrew
4.1/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Black is right alright. (well, dark, dark red it seems when held up to the light) Has a beautiful tan, well-supported head that collapsed fairly quickly, but left a thin layer on top.

S - To me, it was nothing but hops, citrus hops to be exact, typical for IPA and a nice level at that. I'm not getting much roast or toast to boast, if any.

T - Hops on the front and back, roast I was expecting in the middle

M - A little light on viscosity, carbonation fairly high (which I like)

D - It's good and if you really like the roast/hops thing of DIPA's or CDA's (take your pick), this one one is definitely a sessionable one (628 characters)

Photo of chodinheaven
4.1/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Looks awesome considering they call it an IPA. Pitch black is a cool color anyway.

S: Smells like a light IPA, which is nice. Enjoyable aroma.

T: Tastes like a weak IPA with a stout or porter mixed in. Not a lot of bitterness, but enough to make hop heads like it. Fairly complex taste between the light bitterness and porter or stout flavor. Good beer.

M: Feels nice. Perfect carbonation level. Feels good in my mouth.

D: About as drinkable as it gets, could put back numerous Back in Black cans in a night.

Good beer thats out of a can. Love that unexpectedness. Love it when craft breweries do that. (613 characters)

Photo of buns
4.1/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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. (386 characters)

Back In Black from 21st Amendment Brewery
83 out of 100 based on 672 ratings.