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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: 2,235
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: 2,235
Photo of Hefe
4.2/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Great brew in a can from 21st Amendment. Dark brown to black color with a ruddy tan head. Subtly malty aroma with a titch of herbal hoppiness. Medium body, almost light but with a good presence of flavor, nothing sticks out or overwhelms. Well balanced and eminently drinkable!

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Photo of racer2k
3.75/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into my favorite pint glass

A- Beer pours black like a porter style with a large tan colored head which is quite creamy. Heavy head retention with some light lacing around the glass.

S- An aroma of sweet toasted malt is the dominating aroma with a touch of fruity hops but pretty light for an IPA style.

T- A sweet caramel toasted malt flavor hits your tongue first followed by a moderate layer of fruity hops. There is also a grassy earthy tone to this beer

M- Thin texture to the beer with a lack of hop presence for the classic IPA beer style. Light to moderate carbonation.

D- A drinkable beer yes. A new innovative black IPA novelty beer style yes. This beer falls short on balance. The hops in this beer were just not a big player in the flavor. More hops please!

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Photo of pvsob
3.36/5  rDev -8.7%
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 birderbeerer
2.99/5  rDev -18.8%
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.

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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 ArrogantDeadGuy
3.06/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Jet black pour into a Brooklyn Pils glass with a slight fizzy cap that quickly deteriorates. Sweet malt aroma, a surprise after having read the label "Black IPA". Bitter first sip. Not citrusy, not piney, more astringent than anything else. I cannot get a bead on any hop character, just a bitter flavor. The bitterness dissipates and gets overwhelmed by candy sweetness, which is just inconsistent with the style attempt. The fizzy thin mouth feel finishes a pretty unpleasant drinking experience. Good thing that I bought the can as a single. Don't think I'll be going back for this one. I have not had great experience with 21st Amend. but I really enjoyed their Fire Side Chat and Monks Blood. Those two successes will keep me trying their new projects in the future; this effort was simply not their finest effort.

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Photo of busterthecat
1.72/5  rDev -53.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Poured from can into pint glass. 0222 0225 stamped on bottom.

A- Pours a nice brown that sits pretty dark in glass. A nice rocky khaki head forms. decent lacing.

S- A light smooth roasted cocoa aroma, hops seem to be absent.

T- A bold metallic tang that lingers. A slight roasted malt but very weak. Hops are absent. I'm really confused. It is not simply my perception of the alum can. Taste is like chewing on a paper clip.

M- Thin, watery. The after taste that lingers is bad. No real body.

O- Completely surprised in a bad way. It actually got worse as it warmed. A def drain pour. I had really hoped for at least good, but this was unbearable. More like old radiator water then beer. Maybe this had gone bad some how. I would like to give it another try on tap though.

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Photo of tkelley
3.4/5  rDev -7.6%
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 tweeder263
3.15/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured out from a can a dark brown beer with a fluffy 2 finger head. Has a light cascade hop smell, some malt is evident. Taste is also fairly subdued, hops are fairly noticeable, some slight roasted notes show themselves towards the end. Mouthfeel is nothing special. Overall a drinkable brew,nothing special.

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Photo of JerseyKirk
3.06/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours pitch black with a 2 finger slightly darker white head. Looks like a stout. Surprising and interesting. Lacing is excellent.

S: Pine, cat pee with a little bit of citrus, coffee and chocolate.

T: Super piney hop flavor. Odd after taste that I can't place a flavor on.

M: Nicely carbonated and full bodied.

O: It's not a good ipa. I don't know if black ipa's are supposed to have a slight roastiness or not but I so get a little bit of a coffeeish vibe. IDK it's something different just not all that great. Everything seems forced and unbalanced.

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Photo of JoePat
4.22/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer pours a dark brown with a thick kaki head. Not sure if that can be considered a black IPA but it is definately a dark brown IPA.

Very intriguing aroma. Chocolate and roasted malts and maybe some smoke. I don't get a lot of hops but the malts are so aromatic I'm not sure I want to. Once I drink it I get some hop citrusy hop aroma.

The flavor is chocolaty, caramel, some piney hops but not much. I am not sure I can put this up there with IPAs. That is a shame because I really like this beer for a porter and I am getting something like a chili pepper flavor that I am loving. For a Black IPA not so good for a chili pepper infused porter...great.

The mouthfeel is spot on. Creamy, smooth and just the right consistancy.

I am reviewing this beer as a porter because I really like it but just don't see the black IPA it is suposed to be.

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Photo of peacebone116
4.37/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from can into tulip glass on 6/28/2011. Not sure when this was canned, but I picked up a sixer of this the day it came into Bobby's Liquors in Santa Clara.

A: Dark brown with red highlights. Coffee froth head that sticks around for a while before slowly retreating toward the side. There is good lace throughout the enjoyment.

N: Coffee and fruitiness are evident while this beer is cold. It is not until this beer warms up to just below room temp that it really gets good (both in the nose and the taste!); burned chocolate & oak notes become prominent.

T/M: As stated above, this beer really hits its stride when it gets a bit warmer. Chocolate and coffee notes blend with an oak-like bourbon sweetness. This is all complimented by a flash of citric bitterness. The beer has a slightly dry mouthfeel.

I am really falling in love with the American Black Ale style...and this beer seems to be helping me get there. I have had this beer several times in the past, and never felt that impressed by it. However, recently (maybe they tweaked the recipe), I have been picking up on the bourbon/oak notes and found myself loving this beer and the great complexity complexity it has to offer! It is a bit more malt forward than most Black IPA, but it does it right, so that is all I am concerned with.

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Photo of BDJake
4.13/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I've tried a number of black IPA's over the last year, but from a can? Here's my take on my first canned one:

A- a nearly perfect pour, deep dark brown that falls just short of black, capped with an inch and a half of tan head that lasted for a long time and laced extremely well.

S- mostly of orange, pine, and of sweetly roasted malts

T- for such a dark version of this style, there was a lot of orange peel, grapefruit, pine, molasses and caramel... in other words, it had very little burnt notes I was expecting but good nonetheless

M- light-medium body, ample carbonation, and a citrusy aftertaste that was not in the least bit harsh or bitter

D- one of the easiest-drinking CDA's I have ever had the pleasure of drinking, and even though some may want more roasted or bitter tones, it was one of the best canned beers I have ever had

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Photo of happy4hoppybeer
3.76/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

From can(though I swore to never patronize cans, but the bartender praised this so much, so I caved):

A=Beautiful pitch-black,with thick creamy tan head, with heavy lacing. Guinness??Guinness is mainstream crap.

S=Malts,chocolate,coffee, faint hops.

Upon sip, I can detect a fairly thin to medium body of same, with the can maybe getting in the way. I know there's a reason I avoid cans, and recommend that all self-respecting brewers avoid cans. This is it. Light carbonation. Overall, decent, but the label says IPA, when it's anything but.

A decent brew,but nothing I would purchase again.

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

Had this on cask at the 2010 Firkin Festival.

This poured a dark chocolate with a slight reddish hue and a frothy oatmeal head.

It smelled of malt, light grapefruit, lemon and pine.

It tasted malty with dry, bitter hops, pine, and a grapefruit skin ending.

Good carbonation. Good malt to hop balance. Wondering if they actually brewed this baby or if they had a guest brewer do it because it's a great beer.

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Photo of troysoy2
3.77/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a can into a pint glass, this beer is pretty black, with a red-brown edge. The light tan head was impressive at first, but had only mediocre retention and a bit of web-like lacing.

The smell is pretty straightforward. To me, the hops and the malt come together quite well, leading to a sort of citrusy chocolate. Decently alluring.

Taste-wise, this brew is well-balanced, not much of a risk taker, but definitely solid. A nice, full-bodied mouthfeel compliments a decent bit of sweet, chocolately malt, while dry, bitter hops are prevalent on the front and rear end of the taste. The mouthfeel leaves you feeling a bit parched, as if inviting you to drink more.

Overall, I'd say this is a fairly solid (if unremarkable) example of a Black IPA. The can is cool, and I'd say that the beer may well be worth revisiting.

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Photo of cottonkoozie
4.1/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A - Nice thick cream colored head, some lacing, good retention. Very dark brown, reddish in light.

S - Roasted malts, toffe sweetness, and hops. Kind of reminds me of a hopped porter smell.

T - Much heavier on the hops than what I could smell. Nice bitter hops up front, and then finished with a roasted malt flavor. Taste like a well balanced apa that has been roasted. There is a slight metallic aftertaste though, other wise very good.

M - pretty heavy, but I think that's appropriate for the beer.

O - Good beer. Like I mentioned before I am getting a slightly metallic aftertaste, but otherwise this is a good beer. I think it is a good alternative for a hop head that likes a little more toasted flavor of a dark malty beer for a change. This offers a good in between balance. I would buy it again.

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Photo of hopphead31415
4.15/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I saw a curious box with some neat illustrations. The box has dark colors to reflect the black IPA hidden inside. It has 65 IBUs and 6.8% ABV.

Look-It pours a nearly opaque black body with a tan head that is rich and foamy.

Smell-It smells of rich coffee beans and chocolate. I get hints of toffee and brown sugar.

Taste-You get a swath of grassy hops right up front that are subtle and delicate. The flavors of dark chocolate, coffee beans, toffee, caramel hints with some brown sugar, come out strong and then it finishes clean.

Mouthfeel-It is smooth and fizzy from the medium strong carbonation. The grassy hops burst forth from the carbonation and the brew overall is about medium-bodied. There is a lingering grassy bitterness that coats the tongue nicely which cuts the sweetness.

Overall-This beer isn’t syrupy or overly sweet at all. It is rather refreshing and enjoyable. It’s very drinkable and delicious. Cheers!

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Photo of burnheartsMKE
3.19/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I know this "Black IPA" has made some best of lists over the last year so I was quite excited to give this can a whirl. I cracked it open and dumped it into my favorite The Bruery tulip glass. Wow! This is a beautiful beer; khaki mousse-head topping a 12oz pitch-black ocean. I love how this looks!

Weak nose gives a trace of a peach cobbler; fruity. Pretty flat for a hopped black ale.

Great mouth-feel gives me hints of the dark malts but only teases. Sharp hop bitterness is the prominent attribute. As it warms I get a touch of dustiness that works well at hiding the bitterness at the finish, but it's the beers strongest (and only) flavor prominence.

For a beer I was so excited to try (and such a beauty to look at!) this beer is pretty disappointing. In comparison to other IBAs I've had I have to rate this at the mid-bottom.

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Photo of JimmyTango
3.53/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

EDIT: On a second pass at this I found it way too rich. Not sure what makes it an IPA, downgraded to OK.
Original: I liked this better than any of the other Black IPAs I’ve had lately. Very session-able, balanced, roasty and toasty. Med bodied, carmel malty, good hops (but not really IPA level) and a cleanish bitter finish. Check it!

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

A: Thick beige head. Dark raw umber with murky muddiness at edges against the light.

S: Smoky and meaty! Surprising. A little chocolately and hoppy as well. Nice.

T: Dark. Mocha. Hoppy. bitter and mellow.

M: Smooth. Nice. Pleasantly heavy on the tongue. Nice finish.

O: I enjoy this more than their IPA. I'd probably pick up another sometime.

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Photo of godlessape
4.45/5  rDev +20.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Looks like a stout until you hold it up to a bright light and then, if you squint hard enough, employ a little imagination, you'll see just a slight hint of ruby highlights. It also has a great creamy tan head to it that lasts throughout.

Smell: It has that sharp IPA grape-fruity nose that I expect from this style, and the earthy dark malt and coffee aroma doesn't even try to hide itself.

Taste: Tastes somewhere in between a stout and a Scotch Ale--and that's a great place to be. This has a perfect balance to it that can't be ignored.

Mouth feel: Perfect carbonation. A little thinner than I expected body wise, but still good.

Overall: This won't be my last one.

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Photo of Norfawkers
3.88/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Black with minimal head; creamy head and lacing down the glass

Smell: Faint hops

Taste: It almost smells like a porter mixed with an IPA; coffee, chocolate, and hops

Mouthfeel: Very smooth and creamy with some hop bitterness

Drinkability: Very drinkable, it goes down smooth

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Photo of mcann2pu
2.61/5  rDev -29.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Appearance: pours a surprisingly dark color, about a finger's worth or so of a fairly thick head, good amount of thick / heavy lacing remained on the glass.

Smell: a little bit of hops, I couldn't smell too much, some malt.

Taste: for an IPA I have to say I was unimpressed by the lack of overall hop taste, there was a good taste of dark malts, but overall it tasted far lighter than expected.

Mouthfeel: seemed a little watery, it was a bit too smooth in my opinion,

Drinkability: it wasn't my favorite but if you like lighter beers maybe it's for you.

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Photo of nitro0292
4.37/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Served in a snifter.

A - Easy pour produced a solid inch head. Aggressive pour overflowed my glass. Wonderful black with a tan head. Looks like Guinness, but no nitro pour.

S - Deeelicious. Coffee, sweetness and citrus hops. So much goodness.

T - See above. Terrific blend of dark and roasted malts and hops. Level of bitterness and hop profile are ideal. Any more would be too hoppy for the style and any less would be too stout like.

M - Medium body. Maybe a touch more carbonation, but I am nitpicking.

D - I honestly could finish the entire 6er in one sitting. Good thing I didn't.

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