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Back In Black - 21st Amendment Brewery

Not Rated.
Back In BlackBack In Black

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

689 Reviews
THE BROS
72
okay

(Read More)
Reviews: 689
Hads: 2,279
Avg: 3.68
pDev: 24.18%
Wants: 55
Gots: 339 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
21st Amendment Brewery
California, United States | website

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: 689 | Hads: 2,279
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 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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Photo of sjverla
2.91/5  rDev -20.9%
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.

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Photo of ABOWMan
3.26/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

My curiosity got the better of me and I decided to give this "interesting" take on an IPA, at try.

A: Poured a deep "cola" brown color with perfect clarity (once I held it up to a strong enough light to see through it) and my pour generated two fingers of caramel colored fine foam head. Lacing was evident and the head had great retention.

S: Roasted malt, caramel, maybe some floral hop in the background, but if so, it is very faint.

T: The flavor is mostly reminiscent of a porter. Roasted malt and caramel, but as I took a sip, I got a nasally blast of piny hops in my olfactory cavity.Really quite interesting. Not much else in the way of flavor profile, just a nicely roasted malty beer with a touch of hop.

M: Somewhat coating on your tongue from the roasted malt, not enough floral hop to create a cleansing crispness.

D: If your in the mood for a porter, this would be very drinkable. If you looking to enjoy a hoppy IPA then this ale probably won't cut it for you.

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Photo of Bogforce
3.97/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: BLACK. Two finger head that goes away slowly after the first drink. Decent amount of lacing.

S: Smells like an IPA mainly, can tell it has the dark malts in it.

T: Pretty decent mix between an ipa and dark beer at first. Finishing taste is an ipa

D: Probably wouldn't drink this a ton but it's a pretty good beer

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Photo of Mancer
4.36/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer poured a fantastic deep dark brown/jet black with an excellent two finger high, light brown head. The lacing was thick and clung nicely to the glass. The head receded slowly and remained for most of the beer. The initial smell of the beer is citrus with light pine. The smell was not overwhelming but was instead quite nice on the nose. The initial taste of the beer was that of the smell, citrus and pine flavors with a light bitter bite on the tongue. Additionally, the lightly roasted malts were a wonderful addition and complimented the beer perfectly. The beer had a medium body with medium carbonation.

Overall, this has got to be one of my favorite IPA's yet. I am absolutely blown away by the appearance and flavors of this beer. Additionally, this is the first canned beer that I have been drawn to and I have to say that I am impressed. I definitely need to seek out more beers by this brewery. I would also like to add that this brewery is wonderfully creative with their can designs, as well as the box that this 6er came in.

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

black. opaque and black. dark tan head.

smell is overwhelmingly hops. if im not mistaken there is a slight aroma of roasted barley. but lots of hops, mostly floral aromas. i would guess cascade and centennial.

slightly sweet taste, then huge hop flavor, and aggressive hop bitterness. sort of a piney hoppiness. the hop bitterness lingers, and as it does the roasted malts seem to become apparent slightly.

big mouthfeel, and the carbonation is pretty soft.

its a pretty hoppy beer. guessing blind it seems like about 80 IBUs, the the alcohol is not really apparent at all, you just kind of know that a beer the big has to have a high ABV.

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

Deep rich black with huge tan head that grabs the edges of the glass. I haven't had many Black IPAs, so it is still odd to see something this color and think about hops.

Fresh citrus hops right up front with a nice roasty malt background. The citrus and the roast seem to fight back and forth in my brain as I try to figure out what I'm about to drink.

OK, I'm sold. This beer is fantastic! Mild hop bitterness up front with huge citrus and grapefruit flavor and just a bit of roast in the finish. The intermingling of roasty chocolate malt and light pale malt; bitter grapefruit hops and a coca molasses all dance around together creating an amazing blended style.

Moderate creamy body with subtle carbonation.

I have only had a few Black IPAs before, but I think this one really nails the style. A perfect balance of roasted malt and bitter American citrus hops. I'm still thrown back and forth since this is a new style, but I can dig it (a reference to that fact that I'm watching "The Warriors" right now).

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Photo of Kelly88
3.5/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the coolest can into my Kentucky ale pint glass. The can has Paul revere on a motorcycle with his lantern.

A- has a very dark shoe Polish brown. Very nice bubbly beige head that is sticking around nicely. Web lacing is clinging after every sip.

S- I know its an ipa But it is so weird to be getting this much hop aroma from such a dark brew. Grapefruit is mingling with a sort of toffee.

T- first the hops hit you with a caramelized grapefruit taste. Some alcohol is there along with a sort of an iron taste, I guess this is the hops and malts trying to coexist

M- pretty light bodied with light carbonation. Nothing wrong here except for a weird after taste, not really a mouthfeel problem.

D- pretty good beer just the taste is a little off. If it wasn't for that this would go down real smooth

Thanks to uclabrewN84 for the nice extra

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Photo of surprenant1138
3.21/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a can into a pint glass, resulting in a large amount of slowly fading creamy tan head. I had to pause my pour in order for it to settle. This beer is a deep mohogany/black brew. Decent lacing. Aroma is light on the hops, slightly peppery. Somehow there seems to be a slight scent of citrus. Tastes malty, slightly spicy, lightly hoppy. Hints of caramel are detected. There is a slight metallic taste. Mouthfeel is of a medium body. This is not a great black IPA, but pretty decent.

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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 Snamnoum
3.2/5  rDev -13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Dark brown color near but not quite black with two fingers of tan head. Hop aroma is resigny and the malt smells nutty, toasted, and caramel. Overall though the nose is more subdued than I expected.
The beer starts off promising with some roasted malty sweetness and the first kick of oily resigny hops but the malt dies about mid way through and you're left wanting more. The finish is dry and thin. It begins round and balanced but ends acrid with the strong taste of charcoal and soot. Not very pleasant. The mouthfeel isn't remarkable either and falls somewhere between watery and oily. Also I thinks its slightly over-carbonated for the style. Overall not terrible beer but would I buy it again? No.

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Photo of Fubar1453
4/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Canned 10.25.11
My first craft brew in a can and my first black IPA.

A: Black with red hues, nice creamy head with good lacing.

S: Hops and chocolate, strange mixture but appealing.

T: Hops on the front, coffee in the middle and chocolate mixed with hops on the end. Nice balance very drinkable.

M: Creamy and wet, almost watery at times, medium carbonation.

O: I really liked this beer. I love stouts and IPAs so this was right in my ballpark. A really great combo and a good beer, will definitely pick up again.

RVII

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Photo of jabergess
3.66/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured in a 20 oz Taco Mac mug at Mall of GA.

This beer is interesting. Upfront it tastes like a porter. I get the coffee, bittersweet chocolate and a slight burnt toast flavor. The back is a slight bitter finish. I suppose that's the IPA finish. I think I would not call this a black IPA. The hops, besides the bitter finish, just aren't there for me. The grade is probably too high for thus style, but I happen to like porters so it was still ok with me.

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Photo of 4thFloyd
3.88/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear dark brown beer with a little red observed during the pour. Big tan head which breaks down quickly. Mild sweet aroma with dark malts and subtle earthy hops. The flavor is very similar and predominantly dark malty sweetness. Subtle dark fruity and earthy hops. Mild bitterness for an IPA that lingers only a little. Full flavor and pretty smooth.

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Photo of dciBA
3.35/5  rDev -9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a deep dark black into my snifter. A fingers worth of off white head forms and quickly fades to a solid skimming which lingers for a while.

Smell is nice and complex, albeit a little weak. Chocolate, coffee, hops, dark fruit, but also a metallic smell of some sort. I'm trying to convince myself its not there and it's just the can playing tricks on me. I can't get over it though, it's definitely there, but also doesn't smell like a beer can. hhhmmmm, moving on...

Taste is similar to smell, just not quite as complex. I'm not really picking up on much in the way of hops. Mostly just a nice roastiness and a little chocolate. There's that metallic again coming through in the finish for a second before fading away. Overall taste is ok, just doesn't have a whole lot of impact and the metallic twang is really a downer.

Perfect amount of carbonation, and a smooth mouthfeel. This goes down easy with no hint of the higher than average %ABV which keeps the drinkability high.

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Photo of THORN
3.48/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 Fl. Oz. can poured into pint glass. Served about 45 F.
A: Black with red around the edges. Retains a quarter inch of bubbly tan head.
S: Dark toasted malts.
T: toasted dark malts and bitter hops. A ferric after taste is very apparent.
M: Very light on tongue.
D: After taste ruins any flavor that comes before.

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Photo of MCDuhamel
3.86/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a can into a pint glass at fridge temperature. Formed a very thick and dense, lasting head, lightly tan and meringue like in texture. Nose is resin, a little tar and roast barley. The flavor starts out very much like a dry stout, showing mostly roasted barley, but then is followed by a definite American hops presence; some pine, some grass, and a little citrus. The finish is dry and nicely bitter, but not astringent. Fairly light on the mouth, again more like a stout than an IPA. I could, and will, drink several of these in a session.

Overall I find this to be a very nice beer, and I find that I am enjoying this emerging style. This is a very good example. It is great to see the packaging; cans make more sense than bottles.

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Photo of jujigatame
2.83/5  rDev -23.1%
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.

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

For some reason I was expecting more from the IPA side of things. Pours a fantastic brown foamy head that dwindled into a nice layer of foam to the bottom of the glass. The taste is like a smoky, chocolate and roasted malt flavor -- like a true porter actually. Where's the hop burst of an IPA? Overall though, not that bad.

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

Snagged a single can at The Andersons in Toledo, OH!

Appearance- Deep brown with garnet highlights and a tall creamy, linger-n-lace beige head.

Aroma- Big, sticky grapefruit citrus nose with some grassy, herbal, and floral hop notes. Dusting of black malt hidden well below the blanket of hops with some biscuit-like maltiness also present. Very hop forward!

Flavor- Starts with nice bright citrusy hop kick that leads into a nicely balanced middle that mingles the big hops with a slightly sweet, fresh malt flavor. Finishes with a bit more malt complexity including the faint dusty black, almost chocolaty malt notes and a healthy dose of hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel- Medium bodied, low-moderate CO2, nice balance but big hop presence. Low residual sugars and assertive hop bitterness makes this quite drinkable and almost refreshing, but the slightly bigger body might make this brew a bit filling after a full pint or two.

Overall- Mind bender of a beer because it feels like an IPA, with little other than color contribution from the dark specialty malt. I expected a lot more malt complexity/body out of this just eyeing it up! Well done black IPA and quite fun to drink!

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Back In Black from 21st Amendment Brewery
83 out of 100 based on 689 ratings.