1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Back In Black - 21st Amendment Brewery

Not Rated.
Back In BlackBack In Black

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
83
good

1,908 Ratings
THE BROS
72
okay

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,908
Reviews: 653
rAvg: 3.69
pDev: 13.55%
Wants: 44
Gots: 143 | 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:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Back In Black Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,908 | Reviews: 653 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Gouxman
2.8/5  rDev -24.1%
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.

Gouxman, Dec 05, 2010
Photo of jujigatame
2.8/5  rDev -24.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Can into a nonic pint.

Pretty black with a little light peeking through at the bottom. Almost 3 fingers worth of light tan head that starts to dissipate after a few minutes and get pillowy. Looks pretty inviting.

Smells more of malt that hops. The hops are there with a fresh presence but it’s rather faint in the overall picture. A little soapy smell here too.

The hops take the same backseat in the taste as they did in the smell. I know that they’re in there but they don’t seem to punch through enough. Perhaps I am expecting too much in this regard. The malt provides a nice backbone. Chocolate flavor comes around but I felt like it was in and out, not consistent.

Good mouthfeel. Smooth with a solid body to it. Drying on the tongue but not too much. Sticky on the lips.

I am somewhat conflicted on this one. The flavor was okay but I expected more. It just didn’t ring out in any way to me. I had no problem drinking it all but when it was over I didn’t have much in the way of strong impressions. What I have to balance that against is the fact that the last black IPA I had was Stone’s 2011 SSR a few weeks ago and I really enjoyed it. I think the fact that SSR really sang made Back in Black’s lack of wow stand out more. I can’t know what my thoughts on Back in Black would be had I not tried SSR beforehand. Since black IPAs are a style where my samples have been pretty limited it’s hard to get around the fact that SSR is a home run and everything else I’ve tried so far just…isn’t. I feel like I should come back to this beer again sometime for another go and see if it strikes me the same way or not.

jujigatame, Feb 03, 2012
Photo of goblue3509
2.8/5  rDev -24.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a black cola like color with a tan two finger head which gives way to some okay lace. The aroma is of coffee and chocolate with a very faint whiff of hops. The taste is of a coffee and chocolate malt, there is a very slight earthy hop bite which is only at the very end. The mouthfeel is creamy and moderately carbonated. The drinkability is okay the taste and aroma is a little flat and leaves you wanting more flavor.

goblue3509, Mar 20, 2011
Photo of harryhood1
2.8/5  rDev -24.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I was really excited to try this because I'm a fan of 21st's beers for the most part. I have to say that this one was a disappointment for sure.

Aroma was kind of like tobacco and not appealing. Too malty to be a Black IPA and I have no idea where the 65 IBUs are? Nothing IPA about this beer. Mouthfeel to me was undercarbed and slick.

Would not go for this one again. Just not impressed and not what I expected. Had many better examples of this evolving style.

harryhood1, Mar 16, 2011
Photo of philbertk
2.8/5  rDev -24.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

21st Amendment Brewery BACK in BLACK Black IPA--American IPA Brewed With Rich Dark Malts--2010 12 oz. MicroCan. 6.80% ABV. 65 IBU's. (2.5 / 5.0) Cascadian Dark Ale. Thickish pour. Big dense thick tan head with mild lace. Dark ruby edged black color. Fruity herbal mild floral hop front. Minimal black malt toast notes. Mild sweet toasted dry textured slightly fruity roasted black cherry body. Dry mild hop spice end. Confused Brew!! Hops there but not. Dark malts taste fruity without roastiness. Easy to drink with clean crisp mild citrus hop end. Sampled 2/7/2011. 6-Pack purchased for $9.00 at PCC--Fremont, Seattle on 7/29/2010.

philbertk, Feb 08, 2011
Photo of rlphilli
2.8/5  rDev -24.1%

rlphilli, Aug 16, 2014
Photo of Gregorious
2.83/5  rDev -23.3%
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.

Gregorious, Dec 05, 2010
Photo of caseyscarb
2.83/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Back in Black - 21st Amendment Brewery

I grabbed a growlette of this tonight- being an IPA lover this beer sounded pretty intriguing, it is however my 1st "Black IPA".

In to a pint glass it goes.

It is a dark hazel brown color, though fairly clarified, and a decent amount of carbonation producing slightly more head then I was expecting.

On the nose I initially get a piney hop and semi sweetness followed by a light roasted malt and coffee. As I continue to smell I even get some cocoa nibs.

While I'm pleased with the smell, it does not carry through very well to the taste-
It's a bit watery, and an initial sweetness is then bombarded by carbonation in the mid and finishes very bitter.

There are some really nice nuances in the flavors, but it doesn't tie together well as a whole.

When I envisioned a Black IPA, this is nowhere near what came to mind.

But to be fair, it has a tasty quality to it, but it's definitely nothing too special.

caseyscarb, Jan 07, 2013
Photo of OnThenIn
2.83/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: A finger and a half of darker tan head on top of a black body.

S: The aroma has a little bit of pine as well as that of raisins and for some reason reminds of lychee fruit juice. The aroma severely lacks complexity and is really disappointing.

T: Some roasty flavors are upfront, which then mixes with a fruit like flavor and some sweetness. Bitterness then follows and then everything resolves into a mess with a bit of sweetness and bitterness both lingering.

M: The body was thin to medium with decent carbonation, but the body was really thinner than I would have liked.

D: I really didn't love this beer and feel that 21st amendment is slightly more hit or miss on their beers than I would like. I love the can portability and they are covering some cool styles, like with this beer; however, they have a serious execution problem.

OnThenIn, May 07, 2011
Photo of JizackFH
2.83/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A - This beer pours a very dark brown color, that glows ruby on the edges when held to the light. It has a big 4-finger light tan head on it. The head has great retention, and leaves a nice layer of lace on the glass.

S - It smells of sweet and roasted malts. There is a bit of piney hop character, but I definitely expected more. Also, I am getting some scents of chocolate and a touch of coffee.

T - The taste starts of with some sweet caramel and roasted malts. There is a piney hop presence throughout the drink, but it is quite subdued. I am also getting some notes of chocolate, coffee, and some citrus. The finish leaves some lingering roasted bitterness behind. I really wish there was more hop presence here.

M - It has a lighter body and decent carbonation. It goes down quite easily, but the flavor is sort of bland for an IPA variation. There is some lingering bitterness in the finish.

O - The drinkability was alright, seeing as how its goes down quite easily. Overall though, this beer just doesn't stand out amongst other beers of this style that I've had so far. I would drink it again, but I wouldn't pay for it.

JizackFH, May 22, 2011
Photo of pwoods
2.85/5  rDev -22.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz. can purchased at The Root Cellar, poured into an imperial pint.

A: Pours black with some light around the edges. Moderate head on the pour without much retention but decent lacing.

S: Light American hopping with more of an English side. Nice dehusked black patent aroma.

T/M: Not much bitterness and not a lot of hop flavor. More of the dehusked flavor. Really not a lot going on. Body is medium to medium light with good carbonation.

D: Easy enough drinking but not very interesting.

pwoods, Aug 15, 2010
Photo of CaptainTripps
2.85/5  rDev -22.8%
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.

CaptainTripps, Oct 23, 2010
Photo of sjverla
2.88/5  rDev -22%
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.

sjverla, Dec 04, 2010
Photo of wyattshotmaker
2.88/5  rDev -22%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

poured into a 25 cl snifter.looks pretty good, dark brownish black with a white head. nice lacing.

nose has alot of cocoa/dark chocolate. touch of roasted coffee.

the taste of this beer does more or less nothing for me. it's fairly bitter, not much hop flavor. alot of chocolate/roastiness. more like a watery porter if anything.

mouthfeel is kinda thin. drinkability is average at best. good to try but this isn't something im going back to.

wyattshotmaker, Aug 05, 2010
Photo of CHADMC3
2.88/5  rDev -22%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pours a very dark brown to black, remaining transparent at only the bottom of the glass. The head is fluffy and light tan head leaving a very sticky lacing clinging to the glass and just a thin, creamy layer atop the beer after a few minutes.

There appears to be a very nice hop/malt balance upon first inspection with prevailing hop bitterness, but tough to tell exactly type.

The flavor certainly has a fair amount of roasted malt, bordering on burnt, with some earthy hops and grassy notes. As the beer warms, there even appears to be a touch of sourness.

A bit overly carbonated with a medium body and dry or pungent finish.

This is a newer style, but based on what I have sampled this seems to miss the mark for the style with more roasted malt than I care for, and less of the earthy or floral hops I am accustomed to. Certainly not a bad beer, but there are better examples.

CHADMC3, Jan 12, 2011
Photo of JMforman
2.9/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

A- Jet black with a nice fluffy tan head.

S- Chocolate, grapefruit, toasted malt, very pleasant smell

T- Like grapefruit juice. Weird. Not much in the way of malt. Not very bitter. Very juice-like. I've never had a beer quite like this.

M- Thin and peppery.

D- Drinks like a soda... I guess its very drinkable in that regard, but if you want a beer, look elsewhere.

JMforman, Feb 11, 2011
Photo of CharlatanSin
2.9/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a can into a pint glass. I remember liking this much better on tap than I did this time.

A: The beer pours a dark brown with a bit of coca-cola ruby around the edges. Small, off-white head.

S: Not good. There's tropical fruit, but it's muddled and smells oddly artificial. To me, it smells just like fruit sorbet, which is not a smell I want in an IPA or CDA. Not much roasted malt or chocolate character, either.

T/M: Better than the smell, but still not great. It's still got that sorbet-like fruit essence, which comes across as soapy in the flavor. But in the mouth you can at least discern actual hops. There's a bit of chocolate, and some harsh, dry bitterness like burnt coffee. Body's on the thin side with medium carbonation. Dry.

D: Like I said, I remember liking it okay when I had it on tap a while ago. But this was muddled and a mess. Too bad, since I like their IPA a lot.

CharlatanSin, Nov 28, 2010
Photo of Beejay
2.93/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Dark black with nice tan head.

S: A weird mixture of dark malts, and hops. I am picking up a little onion, or cheese. Not sure if I am digging this so far.

T: Not sure how I feel about all this. Starts a little tart, then hop notes come in. It ends nice and malty, with roasted flavors, and a nutty finish. I am still picking up a hint of onion.[-w

M: Fairly highly carbonated. Fairly light in mouthfeel.

D: Meh.. Not amazing, not terrible.

Beejay, Jul 29, 2010
Photo of samie85
2.93/5  rDev -20.6%
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.

samie85, Dec 27, 2010
Photo of wisrarebeer
2.93/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A: deep, deep copper color, clear with nice ruby tan head
S: full nose, good roasted malt with perfumy hops
T: Back in Black has a good roasted malt character but the hops are too medicinal
M: nice roasted up front but too unbalanced with medicinal hops

wisrarebeer, Oct 18, 2011
Photo of beertunes
2.93/5  rDev -20.6%
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.

beertunes, Oct 22, 2010
Photo of coachdonovan
2.95/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Hmmm, is this really black? No, not quite. When I hold it up to the sunlight (yes, I'm drinking this afternoon) it looks more like a reddish brown, but still very dark. Khaki head carries enough weight that this beer actually overflowed my shaker glass. Damn, and I'm usually such a good pourer. The foam is nice and fluffy as pockets settle over the course of a few minutes.

Aroma is cleaner than I'd like. The citrusy and piney hops are there, but they don't exactly punch me in the nose. Taste is dominated by this fruity, soapy flavor that I can't quite nail down. Actually, it is less fruity and more leafy, green, astringent, almost metallic. I don't know that I've tasted it before, and I'm not entirely sure it's supposed to be there. Finish is fairly dry as the roasted dark malts come to the forefront.

I would really like to dry this from the tap in SF to see if those odd flavors are always present. Something tells me this one got a little lost in translation on its way to the contract brewer's cannery.

coachdonovan, Dec 28, 2010
Photo of birderbeerer
2.95/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours dark black with a four finger coffee head.

Aroma is some piney hops with a big cloyingly sweet malt jolt. Interesting.

Multiple tastes come through in phases. The malts overcome the hops with only a slight bitter sharp edge. Flavors resemble stout, brown ale, a low hop ipa, and even lager. Strange. The waves of flavor pass too quickly to hang on or enjoy them. Seems like it was brewed as a crap shoot beer. Throw a bunch of ingredients in and see how they interact.

birderbeerer, Feb 03, 2011
Photo of chumba526
2.95/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Appears ironically a really dark red color. It's almost black but it's not. There is about an inch of tan foam.
Smells sour like, citrusy and herbal. There is a potent orange smell going on. I also smell a bit of caramel as well.
It tastes very citrusy there is also a kind of chalkiness to the beer. It is a little bitter. There is a nice but not overbearing sweetness to the beer. There is a bit of a subdued caramel flavor going on as well. The carbonation is moderate. The drinkability is ok: the chalk like flavor of the beer makes it less appealing to drink.
Overall an ok example of a black IPA but not that impressive.

chumba526, Aug 20, 2010
Photo of MbpBugeye
2.95/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Can into a Perfect Pint.

Appearance
I didn't think I poured too hard, but I guess I was wrong. Most of this beer flashed into a very fine froth as soon as it rolled into the glass. It doesn't strike me as infected or anything, just over carbonated. The beer is a dark root beer color on the pour, collecting near black.

Aroma
For being a 21st Amendment beer there is a surprising lack of aluminum and a hopeful level of hops. Spicy pine and citrus hops. There's not a whole lot of roasted stuff, but there is a lot of black pepper.

Taste
The flavor is actually pretty nice, it just falls very flat, very quickly. Things start with sweet citrus and some spiciness, but suddenly all flavors are gone. Its weird. The finish is sweet and almost grape-like.

Mouthfeel
Carbonation isn't as scary as it was on the pour, which is a relief. Its still prickly, however. The body is about medium.

Overall
I'd say this isn't too bad, especially as compared to the other 12A beers I've had. I'd drink this again in a pinch, I suppose.

MbpBugeye, Oct 06, 2011
Back In Black from 21st Amendment Brewery
83 out of 100 based on 1,908 ratings.