Dismiss Notice
Save $5 when you subscribe to 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine and select auto-renew.

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join Our Email List →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.
Dismiss Notice

Pre-order your Respect Beer "Hipster" Hoodie today!

Plus: Free shipping (US only) on orders of $25 or more until 12/18/15. Just select "Free Shipping" at checkout.

Shop now →

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 notsoprobeer
3.97/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Color was dark brown--not quite black. It had a tan colored head with good retention. Aroma was mostly hops, along the lines of grapefruit. After it warmed up, I could smell the malts. The first flavors I noticed were some roasted malts and coffee. Then the taste of the hops came through and left a slightly bitter aftertaste, which was pleasant. There was a touch of sweetness, that I could have done without. Body was light. Carbonation level was nice. Very drinkable.

 471 characters

Photo of ajaxivan
4.18/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Great black color with massive light brown head

S: Citrus/piney with roasted malt.

T: I will differ with some reviews i have read, this beer is well balanced for me. I think some arent sure what to make of the style(to each his own) Citrus with a nice roasted flavor

M: Medium and carbonation is spot on

O: Slowly trying Amer. Black Ales and this is a good one. Probably not a beer id want to drink often but is a good change of pace.

 442 characters

Photo of cdbooth219
3.68/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Can poured into pint glass

A: Pours a reddish-black with ruby red highlights and 2 and a half fingers of tan head that dissipates slowly leaving some nice lacing

S: Pine and grapefruit hops, with roasted malt background and a bit of a mineral smell as well.

T: Starts off with pine and grapefruit, followed by molasses, toffee and a bit of burnt chocolate. Somewhere in there a creaminess sneaks in as well. A bit of metallic aftertaste, with a lingering bitterness. Its very tasty except for that metallic mineral aftertaste.

M: Medium-bodied with a good bit of carbonation. Goes down very smooth

D: I could definitely drink these all night, after a few sips that aftertaste starts to fade and it becomes very enjoyable

Overall, this is not exactly an amazing black ipa, but definitely a drinkable brew.

 810 characters

Photo of gmoneyproductions
3.38/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

12oz can poured into a pint glass
pours copper brown to black decent tan to off white head
smell initially nothing at all, then as it warmed slightly sweet and floral
taste again muted but slightly fruity
very drinkable and smooth
overall not terribly distinctive

 264 characters

Photo of qthompso
4.03/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Nearly pitch black. Darker than I was expecting for a black IPA. Good pour, thin tan head with good lacing.

S: Smells like a citrusy IPA. Orange, grapefruit, grassy with roasted malts and almost a touch of something spicy.

T: Good bitterness. Smoke comes across at first. The malts are definitely well roasted with this guy. The finish is almost a sharp mild chocolate. It's probably mental but I think I can almost pick up some of the metal from the can.

M: Medium mouthfeel. Surprisingly smooth at first but it feels pretty heavily carbonated towards the finish.

D: I never would've guessed this was right around 7%. Pretty good beer. I could probably have a second one of these but might stop there. The roastiness is a bit much for a few IPAs.

 755 characters

Photo of phideltashaggy
3.55/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Pored from the can into a standard pint glass.

A-The body is opaque black, with a little bit of dark-brown along the edges when held up to light. There's a nice tan head that quickly dissipates but leaves some nice lacing along the glass.

S- Smells like a standard lighter IPA. Some citrus-hops notes.

T- The citrus hops isn't as noticeable in the taste, but it is there. More bitter taste than hops. The dark malts come through in the middle of the taste, then fade away as the aftertaste comes in with a clean bitter.

MF- Somewhat thin, but not in a bad way. But the carbonation feels fairly flat, not what I was expecting.

Overall, this is a nice beer that I would drink again, but I'm not going to seek it out.

 720 characters

Photo of Torps
3.68/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Grower fill from our friends at DeCicco's..

I have to say this tastes more like a stout with a hop backbone.. compared to Deschutes Hop in the Dark and Stone's black IPA(no clue was it's called as I got it on tap mysteriously @ a buffalo wild wings and the waitress was clueless other than that it was from Stone) which tasted more like a good, solid IPA with a heavy malt backbone. I'd liken this to Troegs Dead Reckoning Porter! Some sawdust aroma but predominately malt.. Heavy lacing. This is an alright IPA I guess but where are the hops?

 544 characters

Photo of JMforman
2.97/5  rDev -19.3%
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.

 369 characters

Photo of dtreindl
4.63/5  rDev +25.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Surprisingly creamy smooth mouthfeel on this black IPA. Not too bitter. Nice roasted malt flavor is not overwhelmed by the hops. So well-balanced hops and malt, which I think is essential for a good black IPA. Easy drinking...I could drink several of these, despite the 6.8abv. Black IPAs seem to be trendy now and this example is a good one. I'll be drinking this long after any trend fades as long as 21st A is willing to brew it!

 432 characters

Photo of dvb
2.41/5  rDev -34.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

A - Black, as the name implies. Pours like a porter, with a tan head to match. Lots of lacing. Great appearance in general.

S - The hops are a little off on this, but maybe that is because of the dark malts. Some floral/fruit character here would not go amiss.

T - There really isn't much here but burnt toast and bitterness.

M - Some imperial stout-like stickiness on the lips. This is good. However, there is some astringency here that I just don't care for.

D - I wouldn't buy it again. On the other hand, if it was present in someone's fridge and the only other offering was Fizzy Yellow, I would choose Black.

 618 characters

Photo of kenpo23
3.86/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

the black packaging made it a bit hard for me to pass by for some reason. glad i grabbed it.

A- poured pretty nice with a good but short lived head. great black coloring which is what i was looking for from this.

S- smelled like malty, caramely fantastic goodness to me.

T- a really nice almost porter taste to it. still has that IPA taste to it to remind you that you are not drinking a porter though.

i loved the smooth taste it had and polished off the 6er pretty quickly. its definitely something i would want to sit and drink on a cool autumn night.

 558 characters

Photo of KM_Seahawk
3.25/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

12oz can - pours a dark caramel/black color similar to cola, with 2 finger beige head with moderate lacing. The smell is roasted malt with slight coffee notes and faint earthy pine hops. The taste is like the nose, roasted malt upfront with small amount of coffee finished with mild bitter pith and semidry. Definitely hides the 6.8% alc well. Light to medium body and low to medium carbonation. Overall not bad but not mind blowing either. Nice to have if you want something a bit different and I like cans.

 508 characters

Photo of ChristianBlack
3.52/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Also received from a friend. Dark but not as dark as I would have imagined. See through when held up to the light. A thin tan head not much lacing.

Pretty citrusy and a little nuttiness in there somewhere.

Has the citrus notes up front and that nuttiness on the finish.

Medium bodied with good carbonation.

Overall, it was an OK "black" ipa. A better mouthfeel and working on that nuttiness with some more chocolate would have helped out a lot.

 449 characters

Photo of tbraun1
3.06/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz can served in pint glass

A - Deep brown color with some ruby hints when brought up to the light. Tan, two fingered head with nice lacing retention.

S - Roasted/smoky malts; Chocolate essence with some hop spice

T - The hops are there but the malts confuse the flavor. I think this one has an identity crisis in terms of the dominant style/flavor. Somewhat bitter.

M - Somewhat watery body with a bitter/dry finish.

D - I went out on a limb when I got this one, and I think one was enough.

 501 characters

Photo of caseyscarb
2.87/5  rDev -22%
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.

 953 characters

Photo of GrizzlyBrew
4.1/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Black is right alright. (well, dark, dark red it seems when held up to the light) Has a beautiful tan, well-supported head that collapsed fairly quickly, but left a thin layer on top.

S - To me, it was nothing but hops, citrus hops to be exact, typical for IPA and a nice level at that. I'm not getting much roast or toast to boast, if any.

T - Hops on the front and back, roast I was expecting in the middle

M - A little light on viscosity, carbonation fairly high (which I like)

D - It's good and if you really like the roast/hops thing of DIPA's or CDA's (take your pick), this one one is definitely a sessionable one

 628 characters

Photo of One_Man_Gang
4.03/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

had this on tap at 2 Stones Pub in Newark, DE. this is a great brew.

the color is black, with a good solid 2 inch head that laces nicely

the smell is somewhat smokey, with chocolate and/or coffee hints, and a nice hop aroma

taste is everything i would want in this style, it starts like a stout and finishes like an IPA. has a chocolate, smokey taste to start as well as a piney, bitter finish.

overall i really enjoy this one. i have since found it in cans, and when poured into a glass, it is very good that way as well.
another solid offering from 21st Amendment!

 571 characters

Photo of jbredbeard
4.08/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Wow. This looks like a stout but is all west coast style IPA. Very piney aroma folllows into the flavor with a medium-strong hippy bitterness that is very refreshing. Pleasantly surprised.

 189 characters

Photo of jealousmonk
2.01/5  rDev -45.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Poured from a can into a pint glass.

A -- Looks fairly typical for a black IPA. Maybe a bit on the dark and syrupy side, but that might be bias from drinking it.

S -- Smells malty and sweet, without a lot of hop odor.

T -- Taste is similar. Too thick and sweet, not enough happiness.

M -- Not good. Thick, cloying, not enough carbonation (maybe not canned well). Does not drink like a black IPA.

This is definitely my least favorite black IPA so far. From some of the other comments, it seems like maybe the can is the problem. Unfortunately, this beer is sold in a can, so that's how I drank it. I've had plenty of good canned beers, so if that's the problem, I suppose the canning of this beer was just not handled properly.

 731 characters

Photo of haywire77
3.97/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Brew poured a dull dark brown with very little light coming through only around the edges. About 1 inch of mocha colored head faded very quickly to a decent cap that left pretty nice lacing down the glass. Yeasty sediment can be seen throughout and in abundance in the bottom of the glass.

Smells of piney resin and malt. Sweet malt, almost like a good piece of hard candy that makes my sweet tooth show itself. Nothing over powering, but very mild in a good way.

Taste is a little off putting at first, but makes it's way in with a bunch of chocolate and/or caramel malts and almost no hops or bitterness at all. A touch of roasted coffee and maybe, just maybe a little hop tingle after you swallow. Not IPAish in my book at all. There is another flavor here that I can't figure out.

Mouthfeel is different also. Not creamy, not dry, maybe it's the carbonation that is dominant here.

Overall this is a beer that I could have a few of in one sitting, but nothing that really jumps out at me. I do like it better than the other offerings that I have tried from this brewery.

 1,079 characters

Photo of hopking311
3.7/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had this one at my favorite craft beer bar of all time.. The distillery in Savannah.

Black slight reddish tint with one finger head.. lacey lacey.. coats glass

smells of rich smokey citrus.

taste slightly smokey with a citrus lemon, lime backbone.. amazing how the hops show thru on this one.

medium bodied.. great carbonation.

Great drinkability.. The quality of this beer upon first impression prompted me to purchase a sixer of this as well as any other first amendment brews I could locate.

Thanks Ben..

 513 characters

Photo of bensbeers
4.13/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on tap at Golden West in Baltimore. Appearance was nothing special. Must not have gotten a good pour out of the tap because I had no head at all. Color was a dark dark brown with hints of red around the edges. Slightest touch of caramel colored suds on the top. Looks like a stout but definitely drinks like an IPA. Lots of rich scents on the nose - coffee, buttercream, chocolate, and a touch of smoke. The taste closely mimics the nose - definitely can taste the hops. Not citrusy but robust which gives me the impression that they are extremely well-balanced with the grains. Malty character but not too sweet - toasty and roasty. Dark flavors - bittersweet chocolate and toast with a hint of strong coffee at the finish. Mouthfeel was extremely pleasant. Not too crisp but not as flat as other dark beers can be. Overall an extemely tasty beer. Great take on the black IPA , but this is certainly open to interpretation - some my call it a stout m, some a brown ale. A great beer to kick off a session and enjoy when the weather is turning from cold to colder. Cheers!

 1,076 characters

Photo of TheEarl
2.26/5  rDev -38.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I had Back in Black poured from a can into a standard pint glass on the evening of May 23, 2012.

Appearance: As the name suggests, Back in Black is…black. Beyond the color, there is a quickly dissipating off-white head with medium bubbles and some decent lacing.

Smell: Back in Black’s aroma is as roasty and bready as the dark color suggests but I found the hop notes seem a bit inorganic—less like a pine trees and tropical fruit and more like pine air freshener and Capri Sun.

Taste: The taste is dry with roasted malt as the overwhelming flavor.

Mouthfeel: The mouthfeel with Black IPAs or, as we like to call them in Seattle, CDAs, is always a bit jarring. Simply put, the appearance primes you for a more substantial texture than these beers tend to offer and Back in Black is no exception. The mouthfeel is pretty thin, which is fine, but, I also found the beer lacked in terms of slickness or viscosity—it just felt rough.

Overall: I didn’t like Back in Black and I wouldn’t buy it again. BIPA/CDAs seem like a very “hit or miss” style and, for me, HUB’s Secession or Firestone Walker’s Wookey Jack are significantly better ales.

 1,167 characters

Photo of JDH2000
4.23/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- pours nearly black with some reddish hues when held to the light. About a finger of creamy tan head that stays through most of the beer. Nice lacing on the glass.

S- Beautiful aroma of roasted malts, coffee, chocolate come first, followed by citrus and some pine hops.

T- The taste is so much more complex than the initial aromas let on. The roasted malts almost have an astringent and bitter flavor about them. The coffee and cocoa flavors come out and then are balanced out with the nice hoppy finish.

M- This is a nice, smooth medium-bodied beer with great complexity and flavors.

D- This was my first Black IPA and I was very impressed. I found it to be quite drinkable. I will definitely have it again and I look forward to exploring others in this style.

 767 characters

Photo of sdsurfer217
4.27/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip glass.

A: Finger and half of cappuccino colored head, that slowly dissipates, lacing the glass nicely. Very dark colored, with some deep brown notes around the edge. A pretty sexy looking beer.

S: Floral notes jump out of the glass, with some tropical fruits. Smells a boozy, but has a good caramel aroma to it. A nice play of sweet and hoppy smells coming from the glass

T: Flavors follow the aromas, but it is dominated more by the roasted coffee flavor than the fruity hops. Finishes with a nice piney hop flavor.

M: A pretty rich feeling beer at the beginning, but it finishes pretty clean. Starts out rather heavy and finishes rather light.

O: A dang good beer. I had never had a Black IPA before, and didn’t have any expectations. A flavorful and balanced beer that appeals to both my hoppy and malty pleasures.

 847 characters

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