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Back In Black - 21st Amendment Brewery

Back In BlackBack In Black

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,637 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1637
Reviews: 635
rAvg: 3.68
pDev: 13.86%

Brewed by:
21st Amendment Brewery visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Black Ale |  6.80% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
ABV varies around 7%.
65 IBU

(Beer added by: tpd975 on 11-23-2008)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Reviewers | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Back In Black Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,637 | Reviews: 635 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Brenden


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

This is my very first crack at this new style, so I was pretty excited to try it. Notes are recent.

Black it is, with just a hint of brown around the edges when held up to the light. A light colored head forms about one finger high and manages good retention and lacing.
This is quite fragrant, pretty much as I expect an IPA sort of aroma but strongly backed by dark chocolate, caramel, coffee, and roasted malts notes. This is very interesting wrapped up in citrus and light pine resin hops aromas. There's an earthiness from hops and an earthiness from malts that compound the earthy aroma.
The taste follows suit, and as this style develops I think it'll be interesting to pick out the particularities of the different flavors that can be detected from both the malts and the hops. As it is, this may be the opposite of something like a well-hopped stout: a strongly-malted IPA. I think it works well, but if done wrong I could see a Black IPA being extremely discordant. In my opinion, 21st Amendment struck a nice balance.
The body is medium-full with moderate carbonation. It starts off crisp and ends with a moderate smoothness, with a semi-dry finish lingering for a short time.
I think this beer is a great effort from 21st Amendment and I look forward to seeing how this style continues to develop. This one can be enjoyed as a sessional and equally as much in almost any climate/temperature situation.

Serving type: can

11-05-2010 15:25:20 | More by Brenden
Photo of tdm168

North Carolina

3.98/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep, dark brownish black with cascading cappuccino colored head similar to the way Guinness pours. Great head retention. Smells of roasted malt, citrusy hops, and faint alcohol esters. In the taste, citrus and piny hops battle the roasted and chocolate malts. Well balanced. Well hopped. Nice malt character. Rich, smooth, drinkable. A little thin, but refreshing.

A very drinkable, rich, dark beer. Very good take on the style.

Serving type: can

09-10-2011 21:49:52 | More by tdm168
Photo of ArrogantB


3.35/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz can purchased at Beverage World in Ft. Oglethorpe, GA $2. Dark black color, decent lace, short head. Smells roasty, like a porter. Tastes very much like a porter and nothing like an IPA, it wasn't even hoppy. I have no idea how old this was but I am really starting to doubt the whole black IPA phenomenon. Its like most of them are just porters and the really hoppy ones still don't make me think IPA. Hoppy black ale would be a better moniker for these shits.

Serving type: can

09-24-2010 03:24:25 | More by ArrogantB
Photo of JoeyBeerBelly

New York

3.43/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz can served in a standard pint glass.

L - black with a beige colored head that thinned to a ring but still left a sheet of lacing.

S - more of a roasted malt aroma than hops, the hops were there but they were faint.

T - following the nose the taste is also that of roasted malt and coffee beans with light bittering on the finish.

F - light/medium bodied with a slick feel.

D - it was ok but I'm glad I only got a single.

Serving type: can

11-15-2010 00:14:08 | More by JoeyBeerBelly
Photo of laituegonflable


3.53/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a gloomy dark red colour, the colour of Satan's blood. Head is small, more of a film than a head, but lacing is something else. A cradle of delicious beige foam. It looks as enticing as Shakespeare's dark lady, and just as intoxicating.

Smells smokey and woody, but lovely and sweet as well. Lots of chocolate, sweet, with rich berry notes, blackberry and cranberry and some oaky characters, plus fresh cut pine. Wonderfully idiosyncratic, rich, tart, beautiful and sweet. Yes, yes, yes!

Taste is intriguing, but definitely feels lacking in complexity compared to the nose. Has a darkness at first, chocolatey with an odd metallic tinge that descends into weird sourness. Quite coppery with a tinge of orange, melon and a lot of oak wood. Very oaky on the back in particular but it kind of falls short, finish-wise. Definitely deficient on the back, where it's clipped nicely but far too early. Simple and a bit odd at times; a disappointment after that delicious nose.

Not a bad texture, good and filling, could use more body here as well though.

It's a pretty good beer, but that nose set me up just for the palate to completely miss the mark. A shame.

Serving type: can

12-17-2010 04:05:37 | More by laituegonflable
Photo of ffejherb


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

On tap at 21st Amendment on 7/13/09.

A - Deep brown with burgundy highlights and half a finger of creamy beige head that settled to a thin ring and patchy film, leaving some thin lace around the glass. This is one dark-ass IPA!

S - Hint of grainy and chocolate malts amidst a hop bouquet suggesting piney and citrusy hops. Some sugary caramel sweetness also emerges.

T - Opens with a citrus hop character suggesting grapefruit with contrasting sticky piney notes. Malt is grainy with a subtle chocolate presence, albeit very nonchalant. Subtle hints of alcohol also creep into the mix.

M - Medium bodied with a syrupy texture and moderate, somewhat bristly carbonation. Finishes with a touch of metallic bitterness on the palate.

D - Very good dark IPA overall. Surprisingly, there's not a whole lot of malt character. The hops definitely dominate this IPA, though not in an overwhelming fashion. Good stuff!

Brewslut's Quote of the Day:
"... kind of a sinkwater smell."

Serving type: on-tap

07-30-2009 22:31:07 | More by ffejherb
Photo of clayrock81


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

Pours a blackish body with good head that receeds on the quick and leaves lace patches down glass. A mix of citric hops and some roasted malts, hint of sweetness...nothing stands out. A little sticky w/ a medium-to-heavy body and the roasted malts are prevelant as beer has a dryish edge. Soapy, citric hops w/ a little spice perk up and poke on the tongue for some good ol' IPA hops taste. The balance is OK but not perfect as I find the hops are muddled and not much sweet malt...just dry and touch of blandness as I drink. This is a good beer but a tad funky aftertaste and overall w/ beer I'm just left with an alright feeling.

Serving type: can

11-20-2010 23:04:07 | More by clayrock81
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.

Serving type: can

08-30-2013 23:36:31 | More by Suds
Photo of Durge


4.05/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A thick black-ish brown color with a healthy light brown head and a nice network of lacing. The aroma is a dark molasses malt and creamy nut with just a hint of can in there. Decent. The flavor is charcoal licorice malt with a bright herbal hop. It's very smooth, almost creamy with light carbonation, medium bodied and very drinkable. Lots of near chocolate malt and a pleasant hop overtone. At first I thought I detected some metal but that disappears quickly. I enjoyed this. Could drink quite a few and quite flavorful with stout and ipa ideas nicely blended.

Serving type: can

02-26-2011 06:48:06 | More by Durge
Photo of merlin48


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

Can pours a dark mahogany body that has some nice clarity when held to light. Large creamy tan head retains well and leaves patches and a collar of lacing.

Aroma is pine hops, milk chocolate, and coffee.

Medium body and carbonation with a soft creaminess.

Taste has solid dark roasty malt notes of bittersweet chocolate and coffee, balanced by a grapefruity and pine resin hop bitterness. Clean finish.

A pleasant surprise. Tasty and highly drinkable.

Serving type: can

12-12-2010 16:07:12 | More by merlin48
Photo of canucklehead

British Columbia (Canada)

3.9/5  rDev +6%
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

Serving type: can

06-08-2011 16:32:29 | More by canucklehead
Photo of DavoleBomb


3.6/5  rDev -2.2%
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.

Serving type: can

11-02-2011 21:09:26 | More by DavoleBomb
Photo of Reidrover


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

6 pack cans from Roth’s Sunnyside Store.S.Salem. $7.99. Very dark mahogany almost black ale with a tremendous frothy billowy tan head. Suprising ly hoppy i dunno why i was but it surprised me more than any other CDA i have had,]floral.citrisy style hops.,slight malty nuttiness in the back. The taste swings back to the malts..were dark coffee, roasted barley malts predeminate..the citric hops come back at the end. I liked the feel of this in the mouth..not thin but substantial while still very quaffable. Overall a good enjoyable beer..cans tilt the balance in its favor.

Serving type: can

06-18-2011 16:52:34 | More by Reidrover
Photo of BARFLYB


4.03/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz CAN into a Lancaster Brewing pint glass late at night.

Back in Black pretty much sums up the color on this 21ster, a black body with some dark reds along the edges. A gorgeous light tan headf came up and stayed forever leaving nice sheets of lace.

A good balance of dark malts mixed in with citrus goodness from the hopping, pretty much even. A nice citrus blast of grapefruit and the like. Roasted malts and a semi storm kingish hop smell from the freshness.

Much more hoppy than I was expecting, again it reminds me of drinking a very lightly hopped storm king, or maybe an aged bottle of that. The roasted quality comes out as well as some sweetness. Pineapple and grapefruit and other citrus tastes. Looking at this beer, I was not expecting such a hop bite, quite nice.

Feel is mediumish and amply carbed up, the head last forever and this is some active beer here. Goes down smooth and citrusy and not very bitter as the darks really take away from that aspect. Very drinkable beer here and I would go for another in a second.

Serving type: can

09-13-2010 22:09:45 | More by BARFLYB
Photo of brewdlyhooked13


3.55/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance - pretty dark, I see some burgundy hues in the thinner portion of the glass. Strong two fingers of espresso colored foam. Thick cresty ropes of lace are sticking at the high water mark and in a ragged fashion below that. Great start!

Aroma - very light roast grain, much stronger whiff of piney hops. Good grain/hoppy blend on setup.

Taste - roasted grain up front, with some snappy, spicy hoppage following right on its heels. Bitter stuff, pushing the medicinal edge a bit. Piny, almost no citrus, maybe some extra malt would bring some of that out? Pretty bitter stuff, whew. Lots of good flavor here, if that bitter side had some citrus to it, I would like this more. More to the hopheads tastes. Shows some alcohol heat on the swallow, and finally some mild citrus at the finish to go with some roast.

Mouthfeel - nicely crisp yet with notable hint of smoothness. Medium-bodied, proper for style I'd imagine.

Drinkability - a workable aba, I like the can format for this tasty brew. Not the session brew for me, but worth a try.

Serving type: can

07-19-2011 03:57:30 | More by brewdlyhooked13
Photo of tigg924


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

Appearance: 1 inch head, dark brown in color, clear

Smell: toasted malt and chocolate

Taste: burnt malt, chocolate, nut, and citrus hops

Mouthfeel: medium carbonation, light body, sweet with a bitter backbone.

Drinkability: Delicious. One of my favorites from the brewery. There is a nice mix of malts and hops in this one. I am glad I picked up a six.

Serving type: can

09-13-2010 16:10:48 | More by tigg924
Photo of KarlHungus


4.35/5  rDev +18.2%
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.

Serving type: bottle

08-01-2010 00:48:19 | More by KarlHungus
Photo of ngeunit1


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

A - Pours a fairly dark brown-black color with just a bit of light creeping in around the edges. A thick covering of creamy tan-brown head forms atop and fades slowly leaving behind some nice lacing.

S - Aroma is full of a mix of roasted chocolate and caramel malts with some pine hops mixed in as well. Nice balance.

T - Starts off a bit weak with some growing roasted chocolate malt flavor. The flavor kicks in a bit more soon after with the addition of some pine hops flavor. Through the middle, a bit of sweeter caramel malt flavor mixes in with some hop bitterness. The finish is a mix of roasted chocolate and bitterness that lingers for a bit.

M - Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. The beer feels fairly smooth with a bit of a syrupy feel. The roasted and bitter flavors really make for a nice dry mouthfeel.

D - Very drinkable. Well balanced overall. Could have used just a bit more punch in the flavor somewhere.

Serving type: can

08-11-2011 05:15:56 | More by ngeunit1
Photo of Metalmonk

North Carolina

4.05/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very thick head of rocky light tan foam, like that you'd see atop a root beer float. And the liquid is definitely black in the glass, after having poured out in a stream that was more like a glassy, oily dark brown. Some dark reddish tones are pulled out in the light. Immense lace stick, like webs of styrofoam. My god what a ridiculously good looking beer!

Nose is a roasty, toasty, even slightly burnt bit of malt. Like burnt popcorn and charred toast, with a coffee-like edge and a hint of steamed milk. Hops shine through all that darkness with a citrus-like brightness. What a contrast.

Taste: Charred/burnt malts are in control and not overpowering the palate, while a fruity, bright citrus spark flashes by, over and around the burnt stuff. It's a flavor that takes awhile to get the taste buds around, but here, in Back In Black, it very much works. It exhibits a healthy balance between two seemingly opposite poles. Dark, rough and dirty versus bright, tart and sweet.

Neither watery nor at all thick, the mouthfeel is one that is slick and slippery; round and present although subtle enough to let the delicate balance of the flavors take most of the attention. Almost reaches the creamy heights of the mighty Iniquity, but only almost. Very much does the job, is what it does.

This is my third can of this in as many days, and the first time I wasn't totally feeling it...the second go-around I started feeling more clued in to its secrets...and this third time I just totally get it. It helps that I really like this emerging style, and while this is no Iniquity, it can definitely stand as a good representation of the style.

Serving type: can

10-06-2010 21:50:23 | More by Metalmonk
Photo of morimech


3.83/5  rDev +4.1%
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.

Serving type: can

07-24-2010 18:26:23 | More by morimech
Photo of argock


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

Poured from 12oz can into an oversized clear wine glass. No freshness date. Purchased as 6-pack at Wine Warehouse (Charlottesville, VA) for $9.99.

A: Very dark brown with nice light-beige, 2-finger head with good retention and a short line of lace around the top of the glass.

S: Roasted malts are most prominent with chocolate and char mixed with orange citrus hops. More roasty and less hoppy with warming.

T: Good not great flavor as the roasted maltiness overwhelms the light orange citrus hoppiness and leaves this too much on the maltbomb side of the spectrum. There is char without astringency and a more earthy hops contribution as well.

M: Medium-bodied with clean roasty maltiness in the finish. Carbonation is medium.

D: A good black IPA with a more heavy hand with the hops needed mainly to better balance the roasted malty char flavor that pervades this brew. A slight change to the recipe to put a more citrus hoppy signature on this brew will push this beer higher and make it a big winner I think.

Serving type: can

08-02-2010 03:28:32 | More by argock
Photo of Pencible


3.95/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: This poured a clear black ruby, with moderate tan head.
S: It smelled like dry milk chocolate and oranges, with some earthy roasted coffee and copper hops.
T: It tasted like creamy milk chocolate and sweet oranges, with some coffee and copper. It had a very clean, bittersweet aftertaste.
M: It was watery with moderate carbonation. Decent body.
D: This was a very nice black IPA, almost bordering porter with more prominent roast character. Still very nice scent and taste, with ok body. Finish was so smooth it was tough not to chug. Not the best of the style, but very enjoyable and session-able.

Serving type: can

02-01-2012 21:59:53 | More by Pencible
Photo of billab914


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

12oz can poured into my Ithaca glass. It poured dark brown in color with a half inch of foam covering the top of the beer. Decent head retention and lacing on the glass as I drank it.

The aroma has a noticeable juicy hoppiness mixing with some roasted darker malts. Coffee and some dark chocolate flavors come out and blend in relatively well with the citrus and pine hop flavors.

The taste shows off a little more of the darker malts. Coffee, dark chocolate and some burnt flavors are all present. The hops have a little more of a bitter grapefruit profile towards the finish. I get a little juicy hoppiness out of it, but it seems a little overshadowed by the darker malts.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied for the style with carbonation being moderate. Overall, it's a decent beer for the style but the darker, roasted malts overshadowed the hops a little too much for me. The flavors are bold, but also pretty good.

Serving type: can

07-06-2012 21:52:52 | More by billab914
Photo of Darkmagus82


3.8/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from can into pint glass

Appearance -A nice dark brew, deep brown toward nearly black. Some sediment is seen floating about the brew which sinks to the the bottom of the glass. Looks of hop pellet. A nice tan head forms with big bubbles entrapped within. The head fades with a bit of lacing.

Smell - Initially pick up the slighted roasty coffee and malt notes. This however is soon is lost to a nice moderate piney hop aroma.

Taste - Coffee and a bit of chocolate are the first to be experienced in the taste. the hop then starts to work its way in around the middle of the taste experience. Not as potent as a traditional IPA of ~ this abv, but definitely miles above the standard stout or porter. A nice blend of flavors with noting too overpowering.

Mouthfeel - More in line with the traditional IPA then a stout or porter. A little thinner then I was original expecting. Thinner, but not anything bad, just sorta average.

Overall - Its not quite a IPA and not quite a darker beer. Its good, but I think if the hoppiness was bolstered a bit it would possibly be great.

Serving type: can

01-27-2012 00:59:47 | More by Darkmagus82
Photo of bobsy

Ontario (Canada)

3.38/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Very dark brown pour with a finger of tan head that shows good retention and lace. Expected combo of coffee roast and grapefruit materialises in both the aroma and the flavour. Some bittersweet chocolate too, as well as a slight lactic sourness, which I'm not sure is from the roast or a problem in the beer (the hops still bring a good bitterness so it should be fresh). Medium body and carbonation.

Cheers Shawn!

Serving type: can

12-08-2010 15:15:58 | More by bobsy
Back In Black from 21st Amendment Brewery
83 out of 100 based on 1,637 ratings.