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Back In Black - 21st Amendment Brewery

Not Rated.
Back In BlackBack In Black

Educational use only; do not reuse.

684 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 684
Hads: 2,238
Avg: 3.68
pDev: 24.18%
Wants: 55
Gots: 321 | 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: 684 | Hads: 2,238
Photo of Arbadarchi
3.13/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

A- Great artwork on the can. Very black, minimal light finding its way through. I got a 2 finger head that lingered for a few minutes before fading to a thin cap on top. Some lacing on the glass.

S- Smells like the cross between an IPA and a stout. I got some citrusy hops and dark malts. Not the kind of aroma that jumps out at you

T- Hop forward that is blurred together with the darker malts. I got some of the citrus from the smell but I feel like the darker malts and some chocolate take priority. Good bitterness that stays with the taste the whole time. Some metallic flavors detract from the other flavors.

M- Not too thin, but not as full as most other dark beers. Moderate carbonation.

O- Not great, but not bad by any means. It's a satisfying beer if you come across some, however there are many other beers I'd rather buy than this.

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Photo of Suds
3.55/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Utterly black, this beer is presented in an artistically motifedd black can. The aroma is grainy and a little smokey. Charcoal and a touch of wood and background hops. The taste is dry, with a heavily roasted, and almost char quality. Full in body. Easy to drink and moderately full of flavor. Like a highly hopped dry stout. Nice.

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Photo of cavedave
3.9/5  rDev +6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks for yet another great beer to drop on my sobriety courtesy of beertunes :-))

Pours a dark and thick black, as advertised. A finger of tan foam bites the dust pretty quick and leaves a permaring and oily legs.

Full aroma of chocolate and coffee, toffee a bit lighter note, some citrus and herbal bitter, even a hint of pine lightly behind it all. Yes!

Taste doesn't cash the aroma's check, but still a great taste. Starts with the bitter hitting into coffee and citrus, staying prominent as it peaks into a blast of bitter herbosity and roasty collosity. It is less balanced than the nose, designed to assault the palate with the range of hop high artillery and still be drinkable. As it warms it really starts to shine, moreso at room temp.

Highly viscous, full bodied, full of resin, intense finish, low carb., all spot on, but the negative is the cling couid be a bit cleaner.

Overall a beer that tries to do the impossible. Heavy roast and lotta hop attack. succeeds better than most, and gotta give em credit. Like strong flavors and a strong herbal dry finish? This is your brew.

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Photo of Hopheadjeffery
3.5/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Tasted in a pint glass from draft at Emil's on August 11, 2015. Look is dark brown, with medium head and lingering lacing. Smell is malt forward with chocolate, coffee, a hint of smoke and piney hops. Taste is reflective of the aroma with the addition of some caramel notes. Feel is medium in body with a smooth finish.

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Photo of dwren89
4/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: dark brown with ruby highlights, creamy puffy light tan head

Aroma: roasty but not overly so, very piney, definite bitterness

Taste: roasty and piney, with a smooth but noticeably bitter finish (65 IBUs), a nice balance overall

Mouthfeel: creamy and rich, coats the mouth for a long finish, the creaminess also helps curb some of the bitterness, medium-full body

Overall: Very piney with dark roastiness to balance. A creamy mouthfeel gives this beer a nice texture that helps to curb some of the bitterness. Strong flavor with a long finish that leave you feeling quite satisfied. This beer would be great with smoked pork or beef.

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Photo of KVNBGRY
3.99/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

I'm surprised this rating is so "low". Maybe it's because it was my first 21A beer, but I thought it was great. I rarely write full reviews, but I felt compelled to say something. Appearance/aroma/taste were what I have come to expect from a cascadian dark ale. It was a little too "smooth" but that's not a bad thing... Notes of pine, oak, and grapefruit all came out in the nose and taste. As its not the best CDA I've ever had, it's far from the worst. Keep up the good work 21A!

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Photo of papat444
3.62/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz. can, canned 04/22/13.

Appearance: Very bubbly head, firmly latched on to the glass. Deep dark brown body with blood red tinges and thick rings left behind.

Smell: Resiny, creamy coffee, pine needles, some roasted aromas.

Taste: Pine, oatmeal, mix of sweet & bitter, roasted coffee, bit of grapefruit.

Mouthfeel: Good full body, stick, lip smacking, rolling bitterness.

Overall: Decent stab at the style.

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Photo of Act25
3.98/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Alstrom's, I always read them, but every now and then, they need to re-review a beer to do it justice. Back in Black is such a case, it's a delightful 4.0 beer.

A: Can poured into a .5l cylinder named Spaten. Results in dark walnut clear brew with large tan head, and tons of retention and lacing. A sticky cola like pour. A beauty.

S: aroma is nicely balanced between citrus, hoppy, leafy, and floral set against a malty base malt of dark caramel, chocolate and black bread.

T: Like it smells but better. Well balanced, slightly sweet, plenty hoppy, never over done. Definitely want another, definitely want to find a case.

Paired with garden tomatoes, cukes, peppers, mozz, with truffle oil and balsamic, multi grain toast points. - Perfect August dinner!

M: medium bodied, creamy with a zesty finale of carbonation and bitter on the tongue.

Overall: accessible. If you love porter and you enjoy hops, try this. Love the depth, sweetness, and originality. I don't feel this beer has lost it's way, it's just a "good herb" like its namesake home.

I 100% agree with the reviewer NeroFiddled (PA) who wrote:
"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."

When in SF, try visiting 21st Amendment!

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Photo of richj1970
3.74/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured from 12 oz can into snifter.

A: Very dark brown almost lack with very nice 3-4 finger head. Nice retention and fairly consistent lacing.

S: Resin, pines, dark malts.

T: Nice roasty flavors from the malts with a bit of fruity undertones. Hops come through in the back with some nice bitterness.

M: A fair amount of carbonation, and comes off a bit dry. Perhaps a bit thin.

O: Enjoyable Black IPA. Still trying to get my mind around a dark beer that isn't a stout... I can see myself picking up some more of these soon.

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Photo of gcamparone
3.55/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 12 oz can into a snifter. Acquired in a trade with gwdavis.

A- Pours a deep brown body with cherry highlights. The head is 2 fingers and off white, leaving some uniform lacing.

S- Not very potent.. the hops are resinous and piney, some dark malt in there. Very subtle. Had to strain.

T- Upfront I get some sweet dark malt, particularly toffee and caramel. This develops into subtle piney, resinous hops. The finish is slightly roasty with some vanilla.

M- Easy drinker, slightly watery though. Medium-low carbonation.

A fairly executed black IPA. Not awesome but not bad. I could throw a few of these back.

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Photo of ksimons
3.63/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A-pours chestnut brown with three fingers worth of light tan head

S-citrus and piney hops with a bit of caramel malt

T-taste is somewhat sweeter than I expected from the smell with a heavy backbone of caramel malt and a mild amount of citrus hops

M-medium body, very smooth, mild carbonation

Overall not the most exciting beer, but still good tasting and easy to drink

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Photo of Libationguy
4.31/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Dark brown with an off-white head. Carbonation is fine and there is a moderate head retention.

Citrus, resin, pine, white flowers, roasted malt, pumpernickel bread and a light coffee note. The aromatics hold a medium intensity and while the hop notes are fresh, they are not overly aggressive.

Really picks up on the palate. Resin, hop bitterness, espresso. Rich, roasted malt flavors.

Nice full mouthfeel, with the hops well balanced but notable.

Bold in style and really well made.

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Photo of SerialHiker
3.98/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a very dark brown, not porter dark brown, but close…head is minimal, just off white and thins rather quickly…I could use a touch more that’s for sure…easily the least satisfactory part of this brew…(3/5)

Smell: Roasted malts up front, but they are light and fresh smelling…an airy, citrus hops quality is also readily apparent…I’m catching whiffs of oatmeal, dark fruit sweetness, very light milkiness and a subtle hint of coffee bitterness…a nice smelling brew that’s watering my mouth…(3.75/5)

Taste: Yum! Roasted malts and piney hops collide creating a fantastic flavor in my mouth…very fresh and vibrant…malts are strong but not over powering, balancing the strong IPA flavor that exists within…subtle flavors of oatmeal, citrus hops, coffee bitterness and touch of toastiness also picked up…a very balanced brew, that’s for sure…roasted malts and piney hops are a hell of a combo! (4.25/5)

Mouthfeel: A light medium body…the carbonation is medium to lots, bringing a nice tasting cloud of roasted malts to the palate…everything is balanced well, after malts fade, I get a hoppy/coffee bitterness lingering well after I swallow…slightly robust, mildly chewing and easy drinking, this is a strong point for this brew…(4/5)

Overall: Fantastic! I’ve been digging the black ales lately and this is one of the better ones I’ve tried…while the malts are strong in flavor, they don’t overpower the hops and work well in complimenting one another…it’s maltiness doesn’t stop its drinkability as I surely could have a few of these while hanging out and be very happy…I’ve heard of 21st Amendment before, but this is my first sampling of what they produce and I have to say I’m impressed…it’s no wonder they are distributed widely…easy to recommend, this brew would do well on the disc golf course, at the poker table, around a camp fire or while watching your favorite local sports franchise…scoop up a sixer of this and you won’t be disappointed…be warned, others will like this as well, so sharing is done at your own risk! (4/5)


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Photo of MistahBeah
3.35/5  rDev -9%
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 MacQ32
3.68/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A - Pours damn near black with about a half finger of light chocolate/dark tan colored head. Retention is so-so the lacing is strong.

S - Slightly roasty malts and a very earthy hop presence. Roasty chocolates/toasted caramel malts , minimally grassy and resinous hop qualities.

T - Roasty malts and citrusy/earthy hops are definitely at the forefront initially. Roastyness really lingers and along with the hoppy astringency (quite astringent) blocks out any sweetness from malts. Astringent hoppy flavors definitely linger and there's a hint of malty and citrusy sweetness for a split second at the finish. 3

With time and warmth the astrigency is much less devastating and much better balanced - although roasty and earthy hops w/ mildly sweet finish is really all im getting out of this. Simple but much better than initially thought. Aftertaste doesnt linger too much bit is bitter earthy hops. 3.75

M - Medium bodied, very smooth, but somehow very carbonated (for the style). I kind of dig it but the overpowering astringency makes it difficult to gauge anything else. I don't think it's the fault of the mouthfeel, and I rather like it - although it does seem a little confused as do the flavors. 3.5

Over time, like taste, the mouthfeel becomes a bit less confused and better gauged as the astrigency has died down. Still pretty well carbonated, although not as much so as initially thought, still very smooth, medium bodied. 3.75

O - Not awful, but as others have said, and i believe it described it perfectly - This seems to be a very confused beer (especially in regards to taste and mouthfeel). A lot going on at once, seemingly blocking everything else. 3.25

Over time my opinion of this brew has definitely improved, im about half way through as I re-review parts of this and the beer is probably around 55 degrees 3.75

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Photo of alaimoa
3.18/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Pours a nice black with lots if brown head that lingers with nice lacing. Smells a bit of burnt chocolate, burnt caramel and hop resin. Taste isn't bad but thin and not too compkex, slightly too malty with a bitterness that hangs around for too long.

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Photo of angrybabboon
3.65/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Consumed 6/15/13

Cheers to magictacosinus for sending this as an extra. I've been sitting on this can for about two months, not out of disinterest, but because I've had so many other beers to drink! Plus, I've already had this in the past, and I know I like it, so...

Appearance: Dark brown, almost black - holding it up to direct light reveals that this beer is actually really clear, and has some serious garnet tones - pours with a big, creamy, beige head, retains a nice cap, leaves above-average lacing

Smell: Roasty chocolate malts and some hops - nicely roasty, without being particularly aggressive - some nice coffee-like notes - lightly burnt chocolate malts - lightly hoppy, with some citrus and some grassy tones - some pale and caramel grainy sweetness in the background

Taste: Subdued chocolate malts and some hops - a uniquely mellow take on the style - roasty coffee notes - lightly burnt, dry chocolate malts, and some dark chocolate flavors - a nice level of hoppiness with some fleshy grapefruit, and some vague citrus peel - some nice sweetness, from caramel malts - somewhat bready

Mouthfeel: Medium body, smooth, nice carbonation, clean finish

Overall: Won't rock you all night long, but will make other AC/DC references

This is a uniquely mellow, unexpectedly drinkable black IPA. Balancing the bitter, burnt flavors with bitter, fruity hop flavors is always a challenge. This beer isn't aggressive in either regard, which is not particularly exciting, but it is nicely charming.

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Photo of ChuckHackett
4.05/5  rDev +10.1%
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?

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

Enjoyed this 12oz can out of a Belgian Tulip glass.

A: Pours a dark brown- black with a mild amber highlights with a thick light brown 2-finger head that slowly dissipates and leaves a solid lace.

S: Great tart hoppy aroma.

T: Smooth tart and bitter hoppy IPA flavor. Slight citrus background and finishes tart and dry.

M: Medium body and medium carbonation.

O: This was a really good black ipa. Nice and hoppy but balanced nicely by the malt.

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Photo of ianjsullivan
3.5/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

ST: 12oz can poured into a pint glass.

A: Dark black with a half-a-finger nail off-white head.

S: Grapefruit, burnt malt, smoke, coffee, pine, oil.

T: Smoke, grapefruit, gum, coffee beans, dark fruit cake.

M: Medium and dry

O: A pleasant beer, nothing wrong or great. It has a nice aroma and the flavor is a good combination of some grapefruit hops quickly overshadowed by malt. The finish is bitter and dry like espresso beans. It works well with a beef stock based soup.

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Photo of kevanb
3.72/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12oz can poured into a snifter.

Pours a cola brown color, noticeable amount of bubbles rising to the top of the glass. A nice off white head, about a finger high rises to the top of the glass, moderate retention with a fair amount of lacing left behind. Aroma is of roasted coffee and piney hops, a bit of citrus is detectable but sweet, rich dark grain is the big finisher here, very simple aroma and not that hop forward. The flavors are of toasted grain, burnt coffee, resinous bitter hop, pine, dirty grass with some sweet alcohol in the finish. The body is a bit thin, and heavily carbonated for the style, could be a bit richer and smoother, nice dry crisp finish.

Verdict: Decent at best. It has all the hallmarks of a good Black IPA, but the balance of flavors really poor and the malt and roast really dominate what could be a nice earthy hop forward beer.

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Photo of magictacosinus
3.86/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a glass from a 12oz can.

The color isn't necessarily what I'd dub as "black," but rather a relatively darkened reddish-brown color overall. Decent amount of carbonation, and a half finger of foam that holds on pretty well throughout its sitting. Good lacing on the glass, and faint streaks of bubbles glide up the glass. Decent alcohol leggings, and despite its murky, off presentation, not a bad looking beer by any means.

Still not sure how close to style this is in terms of being a black IPA on the aroma... There's faint, yet refreshing, floral hops that come in, combined with a light toasted character and a little bit of grains. Somehow the roasted grains aren't playing so much of a part here, but definitely honeysuckle and warm citrus zest permeates, if only so lightly. If I was blindfolded I'd never be able to tell that this used darkened malts. The hops are definitely making themselves noticeable, which is good. It smells pleasing overall, but definitely isn't too complex.

The flavor fortunately reveals a bit more of the beer's intended roasted character, complete with a bready rye darkened nature, and a combination of grassy and floral bitterness at the finish. The hops and dark caramel characteristics of the malts are well balanced here. They're not explosive by any means (although the hops provide pleasant astringency in the aftertaste), but definitely well put together. There's a bit of lingering graininess, but nothing too distracting from the beer's intended flavors. No alcohol can be found here, which makes this easy to drink overall.

Definitely not the best example when rated to style, but this is still a good beer with a decent hop profile, despite muted roasted flavors. I do think it's the most balanced and drinkable offering by 21st Amendment that I've had so far, and would definitely have another if offered one. I'm still on the road to finding the ultimate black IPAs, however, so it may be later than sooner.

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Photo of TheQuietMan22
3.78/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Serving type: 12-ounce can. The “CANNED ON” date printed on the bottom is “08/13/12.” It seems this can is a little ripe.

Appearance: Poured a luscious dark, ruby/caramel brown. There is a ton of sedimentation (perhaps chunks of congealed protein since the beer is so old). Two fingers of medium tan head settled slowly to leave a spotted, buttery lacing and trails of foam along the glass.

Smell: Very sweet and candy-like, much like licorice, though it definitely is beer. Sweet caramel, red and black licorice (the black, I think, is most prominent), molasses, toasted malts, dark and exotic fruits, citrus, and a little pine or spruce.

Taste: The hops have mostly fallen out due to the age of the can, and overall it is a sweet mess. But it is still drinkable. Much like the aroma, it is very sweet and candy-like. Sweet caramel, red and black licorice, molasses, toasted malts, and the remnants of grapefruit citrus and pine. It does have an adequate and bitter aftertaste — where the citrus and pine are most notable — but I am sure it is nothing like it was when the beer was fresh.

Drinkability: It is still a decent brew even after six months. However, I will need to revisit this one.

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Photo of NilocRellim
3.33/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Beer was poured from the can and into a pint glass. Very dark, almost black, in colour. Beer had a roasted, sweet malt nose which carried through into the flavour of the beer; tasting of dark roasted malts. No distinctive aftertastes or flavours.

Would I buy this beer again? Maybe.

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Photo of Cylinsier
3.9/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz can

Pours black, brownish tinge around the edges, with some observable particulate matter. Pillowy light tan head dissipates slowly.

Smalls of molasses, roasted nuts and piney hops.

Mild caramel malt sweetness and piney hop bitterness. Pretty hoppy.

Medium body with a light carbonation on the tongue.

Pretty decent dark ale with a heavy hop punch. Interesting flavor balance. Different but not bad. Not always a big fan of 21st A, but this one is worth trying.

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Back In Black from 21st Amendment Brewery
83 out of 100 based on 684 ratings.