Back In Black - 21st Amendment Brewery

Not Rated.
Back In BlackBack In Black

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BA SCORE
83
good

2,168 Ratings
THE BROS
72
okay

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,168
Reviews: 693
rAvg: 3.69
pDev: 13.28%
Wants: 51
Gots: 283 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
21st Amendment Brewery visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Black Ale |  6.80% ABV

Availability: Rotating

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

ABV varies around 7%.
65 IBU
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,168 | Reviews: 693
Photo of AgentMunky
4/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 ounce can into a pilsner glass. Stamped 1192 1122 on the bottom.

A: Convincingly dark. Dark cola hints in the light, but only at the slenderest part of an admittedly thin glass. Topped with a couple fingers of almost-tan head; decent retention. Some bubbles visible at the edges of the glass. Comprehensive, scattered lace. Nice.

S: Roasted malts. The can reads 'rich dark malts,' but there is a definite porter-ish quality here, almost smoky. On smell alone, it could pass for a rauchbier. Interesting.

T/M: Also intriguing. I am unsure why this is classified as a Black IPA. It tastes mellow and roasted, with hops emerging only on the endtaste. Creamy, supported, and substantial mouthfeel. Again, more like a porter than an IPA. I suppose the bitterness on the aftertaste is more hoppy than roasty, but still...anyways, good beer.

O: Interesting, recommended, and more worth your time than the Brew Free or Die IPA. Would drink again.

Photo of cbutova
3.26/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A- Black with a huge tan head that has a nice creamy texture to it. Great head retention and some spotty of lace.

S- Light caramel and roasty malt. Hops lend a bit of fruit and earthy notes. Surprisingly a bit of alcohol too. Not much strength at all.

T- The roast and caramel malt flavors just don't work with the hops here. The hops seem out of place from the malt profile. Hops lend big pine/earthy flavor and some fruit notes. Feels a bit all over the place but still decent.

MF- Fairly thin, even for an IPA. The body doesn't work with the roast flavors very well. Somewhat watery with low-ish carbonation. Fair amount of bitters.

DB- I just don't think there is a good balance between the decent malt and hop profiles. The weak mouthfeel certainly doesn't help either. Seems like the Black IPA is one of the new trends that might not make it very far, just feels a bit... off.

Photo of popery
4.12/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on tap at City Beer Store in San Francisco.

It's not on the 21st Amendment website and I trust my fellow BAs, but I thought that I should mention that the abv was listed as 7.2% at the store, which would make sense as Back in Black is brewed along the same lines as the IPA (who cares, really). Anyway, the beer pours an opaque dark brown with purplish highlights and a good creamy mocha head that leaves excellent lacing. I'm not really sure how to rate the appearance of an intentionally dark IPA, which was certainly not to style, but I like how it looked. The aroma was very close to the IPA, strong, rich hop aromas of pine and spruce with a tinge of citrus and herbs. The flavor brings the dark malt into play with subtle roasted notes underlying the strong hop flavors. I've only had one other dark IPA that I can think of, Stone's 11th/Sublimely Self Righteous, and while they have different hop bills, they're similarly delicious. It's a great variant on the style but oddly rare among commercial brewers, although the homebrew community seems to have embraced it.

Photo of Immortale25
4.24/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Had at Bar of Soap Asheville. Served in a pint glass

A- Pours a mostly opaque dark brown color with a 1/2 inch light tan head that retains well before diminishing to a...whoops.

S- Semi-pungent piney hops break out of the glass against a mildly roasty backdrop.

T- Quite bitter with the dark roast accentuating the bitterness and leaving a chocolate aftertaste. Alcohol is certainly present but works well within the construct of the overall flavor profile. Bitterness lingers after a few sips.

M- Oily, thick and somewhat sharp. Medium carbonation and a fullish body.

O- This is probably one of my favorite 21st Amendment beers. A no-nonsense black IPA that brings the hops and roast right into the forefront but, even on a hot day, it goes down nicely.

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

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

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

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

A reasonably well made black IPA.

Photo of DmanGTR
4.03/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A big thanks to BJ for the hookup!

Poured from a can into my Duvel tulip at 45°F.

Pours a dark shade of crimson, probably closer to dark brown but has glimpses of deep red in the light. A nicely formed off white/beige head that left massive mounds of froth all over the place. It's a bubble bath here! Aroma is very interesting. I gather lots of citrus aspects: grapefruit, tangerine peels, hint of lemon. Follow this with a nice honey/caramel sweetness and a touch of roasted coffee and that's your lovely bouquet right there. I must emphasize that the roastiness is just EVER so slight, you might think it's an off-aroma at first but give it a little bit to warm and let your olfaction adjust to it. Very balanced between bitter, toasty, and caramel sweetness. I was actually expecting less roast and more hops but this is quite pleasant. Much more of that coffee taste is apparent, but it works well with the citrus and honey. No alcohol heat detected at all. Moderate, yet appropriate, carbonation, touch of dryness in the finish. Medium bodied. Quite drinkable, in fact I wouldn't mind another at all! Or another after that...

Overall, I find this to be a most enjoyable beer. It brings a new perspective to how widely variable a style of beer can be and offers to blur the stylistic lines even more. If I were to describe this in terms of style, I would say that it's 80% citrusy IPA blended with 20% English porter. Thanks again, BJ!

Photo of KarlHungus
4.33/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a black color. The head is a mammoth two inches in height, and recedes slowly into a thick cap of foam. The aroma is of grapefruit, pine resin and citrus. It is completely dominated by hops without even a trace of darker malt aromas. The taste is still very hoppy, but there is a solid malt profile too. The grapefruit, pine, and citrus from the aroma are still present with the addition of of nice roasted malt notes. The malt and the hops are well integrated within this beers taste. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Overall, this is a very good beer that I will certainly drink again.

Photo of blackie
3.68/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a: schlitz chalice, deep brown in color with a frothy head that retains a nice layer

s: pale and caramel malt base with a moderate but still somewhat understated woody roast aroma, lightly sweet toffee, sappy green pine hops, simple

m: carbonation light-medium, body on the low end of the medium range, seems thin at times but that's more likely attributable to the dryness of the beer

t: the evident pale malt base belies the dark color of the beer, as a woody roast runs throughout showing glimpses of dry cocoa and coffee in succession, earthy toffee, mostly dry, full hop flavors - mostly dark green pine, and a balancing bitterness

d: no problem, a decent ipa variant, but the roast and hops don't really seem to jive

single from River City Cellars, Richmond, VA

Photo of Bung
3.53/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz. Black pour, quite a bit of red and brown around the edges. Off white head, retained on, laced a bit.

Aroma, pine and roast malt. Some anise.

Taste, pretty well integrated roast, pine/ herbal hops.
There is just a slight phenolic note. Faint cocoa and coffee.

Just to the right of light, enough carbonation. A little watery, the balanced flavors don't help that. Could be a session ale, but at 6.8? Worth trying though.

Photo of FosterJM
3.53/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

1541st Review on BA
Can to FW Snifter
12oz

Canned 5/07/12
Purchased from Total Wine & More, Sacramento, CA for $1.99

App- This was a very dark brown. Had a very good density in the glass. With the head it had a creamy looking guinness appeal to it. A semi decent amount of cling.

Smell- Wasnt a whole lot of aromatics on this one. What I did pick up on though was a small bit of a flat cola, dense malts, old coffee & citrusy grassy hops. While these are nice aromatics, they didnt really mesh well

Taste- Its a semi good Black IPA. Had all the requisite flavors but just didnt wow me. Lacking a bit of balance and pop. Was really only about a middle tier beer. Most of the flavors came from the malty chocolate powder.

Mouth- A lighter medium body almost a light body. Didnt fit the profile really but was still quite pleasant. The carbonation was pretty spot on and retained a medium carbonation. A bit smooth vs. prickly as well

Drink- Tasty, but not in the top tier yet of the black IPAs. Glad I got a single can because I dont think I want 6 cans and because I cant get this in So. Cal.

Photo of Suds
3.55/5  rDev -3.8%
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.

Photo of StJamesGate
4.07/5  rDev +10.3%
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.

Photo of EgadBananas
3.68/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nearly black, but really just realllly dark brown. Big, puffy tan head. nice lacing, good retention.

Smell is not hugely aromatic, but a nice little assortment of malts, a little bittersweet chocolate, and a bit of grassy, woodsy tones.
Distant hops.

Taste is very woodsy at first; the hops are a bit more forward in the taste. Stark bitterness is there. Not as roasted with the malts as with the smell.

Feel is slightly creamy, light-medium in body, low end on the carbonation.

Good and tasty, pretty easy to drink.

Overall, a rather good IBA!

Photo of tpd975
4.33/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a nice shade of brown with a nice solid tan colored head. The head dies down but nice sheet lace is left behind.

S: Nice citrus aromas with hints of pine. A nice roasty maltiness is there to provide a bit of balance.

T: This one is mostly about the hops, but the malt is there. Hints of roasted malt and darkened brown sugar stand out. The hops do push thru the malt though with grapefruit being the most dominate. A touch of piney sweetness can be detected though.

M: Medium in body, smooth and creamy with great carbonation.

D: Very, I really like the dark IPA's and this one is one of the better examples.

Photo of morimech
3.78/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Not quite black in color so the name is misleading. Dark brown with a large tan head that had good retention before settling to a thin cap. Heavy lacing is left on the glass. The aroma is really weak. I just pick up some citrus hops. Sufficiently hoppy flavor giving citrus hints. The dark malt is used more than just color. I do get some roasted malt in the flavor. Bitterness is moderate and at 65 IBUs, well represented. The body is a little more thick and chewy than most IPAs and I credit that to the dark malts. Nice carbonation. Available in cans so the drinkability automatically goes up. Has a couple of weaknesses but otherwise a solid IPA.

Photo of jera1350
3.37/5  rDev -8.7%
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.

Photo of canucklehead
3.88/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Not the most hoppy of the CDAs but rather a beer that tastes a little like the Session Dark Lager but with an ale base rather than a lager. The finish is not harsh but rather nicely melds the hops with the dark malts. Very drinkable though I have had better more complex examples of the style

Photo of LilBeerDoctor
3.73/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed on 11/21/2009. Growler from Big Z Beverage. Pours a dark dark brown with a thick tan head. Aroma of citrus, roasted malt.. Flavor is sweet initiaaly with orangey, citrus notes and a crackery malt finish. Very enjoyable! Not as roasty as some of the other black IPAs with a prominent hop presence. Well done!

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

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

Photo of trxxpaxxs
3.95/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a super deep brown, verging on black, with a full finger of khaki colored head. The foam takes forever to settle. Decent lacing as it drinks.

S: The nose is dark chocolate, caramel, citrus, pine, and roasted nuts. There isn't one standout scent, it's a pure blend of all of those things.

T: Starts out sweet like caramel, mixed with some burnt toast. Citrus hops shine through right after. The middle is mainly malt. The finish is a blend of char and bright citrus.

M: Medium bodied beer. Tons of flavor, nice malt and hop play. Nothing lingers for too long.

O: Solid. I'd drink this again if I saw it.

Photo of jzlyo
3.45/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Aroma is piney hops, mild grain sweetness and a hint of dark malts. The flavor is citrus hops, dark malts and some fruit/tartness/acidity in the finish.

Photo of Brent
3.58/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pour was deep brown and porter-like, with a moderate mocha head. Up front well-roasted malt notes are prominent, with malt caramelization and some background grain flavor. Hopping is substantial, and moves in quickly with an overall blunt bittering note. Finish picks up some roasted grain sweetness. Not sure what to make of this one, a bit heavy on the roasted malt aspect and not well balanced with the hops.

Photo of DavoleBomb
3.62/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a snifter.

3.5 A: Black color. Just under two fingers of tan, dense frothy head. Retention is about average and a small ring of lacing is left. Some sediment at the bottom of glass.

4.0 S: Good mix of hops and dark malts. Hops are floral and citrusy with some earthy notes and pine. The malts offer a good bit of chocolate, a touch of roast, and some sweet molasses.

3.5 T: This is the first black IPA that I've had in a long time that has a well balanced taste. The hops do not make the beer overly bitter and for that I'm quite happy. Earth and citrus from the hops. The malts aren't as strong as I'd like, but there still is some chocolate and molasses to go along with the soft roastiness. Despite being balanced, it's still not much better than average.

3.5 M: Medium body. Good moderate carbonation. Reasonably creamy, but I'd prefer a thicker body.

3.5 D: Not bad for the style, but not that great overall.

Photo of BeerAdvocate
3.1/5  rDev -16%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Review from BeerAdvocate Magazine Issue #43 (Aug 2010):

You know a beer style has made it when it has been canned. This beer has excellent lacing but is not as black as expected. It has a sweet, hoppy resin and malt sweetness in the nose. It's very smooth, with a faint roasted maltiness and some char when the beer lingers on the palate. The hops are doing their job, but the malt just lets go. This brew has a semidry finish with some faint roast and hop bitterness flavors to deal with. It seems a bit confused. Perhaps the contract brewer lost touch with the end goal here? It's decent at best, though a good pick if cans are your only option.

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

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

Back In Black from 21st Amendment Brewery
83 out of 100 based on 2,168 ratings.