El Camino (un)Real
21st Amendment Brewery

El Camino (un)RealEl Camino (un)Real
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Herb and Spice Beer
Ranked #18
Ranked #16,673
3.94 | pDev: 9.64%
21st Amendment Brewery
California, United States
Very Good
El Camino (un)RealEl Camino (un)Real
Notes: Brewed in collaboration with Firestone-Walker Brewing Company and Stone Brewing Company. At 9.5% ABV, El Camino (Un)Real is a dark strong ale that drinks like an Imperial Stout with a hook – it has a firm bitterness and malt complexity with licorice, vanilla and higher alcohol esters. The incorporation of indigenous ingredients includes the addition of dried mission figs, pink peppercorns, fennel and chia seeds that together add a slight herbal, fruit and spice note built to pair with the malt and hop complexity. This beer is big, drinks well and will age quite nicely. El Camino (Un)Real is available in 4-pack cans and on draft starting this week in all 25 of 21st Amendment’s current distribution territories. Channeling their mythical road trip, all three brewers have put together a Spotify playlist that you can enjoy on your next highway adventure or while kicking back and savoring this rich beer with friends and family.
Reviews: 17 | Ratings: 49 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
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GuyFawkes from Illinois

3.5/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Canned 10/10/16; drank 1/9/17 @ the Yarchives.

Black/brown appearance.

A violent pour yielded a big, noisy dark khaki head; nice lace.

Marshmallow, fresh earth, raspberry & mild booze heat notes in the nose.

Medium thick, sticky mouthfeel.

Fresh earth & raspberry flavors up front; bakers chocolate & dry bark notes on the finish. Booze heat emerged as this warmed.

Flavorful but a bit punishing; not sure I'd have this again.

Mar 11, 2019
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Cylinsier from Pennsylvania

4.02/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz can

Pours nearly opaque black, brownish around the edge. Head is tan and retains well as a film.

Smells of biscuit, toast, licorice, and vanilla.

Tastes of anise, mesquite, charcoal, cocoa, vanilla, coffee and smoke.

Full viscous body, carbonation is soft. Warms going down.

Rich, potent, slow drinking. Velvety smooth but threatens to be overwhelming, requires time to get down. Unique and worth trying.

Sep 04, 2018
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cyclonece09 from Wisconsin

3.73/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a can into a pint glass. Pours pitch black with a fluffy light brown head. Smells of chocolate and slight spiciness. Tastes of chocolate and slight coffee, with very slight citrus. Beer is medium to full bodied, and while a sipper, definitely goes down smooth with good carbonation. Overall, a very good beer.

Mar 30, 2018
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woodychandler from Pennsylvania

3.91/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

The CANQuest (tm) just keeps rolling along! I know that there was some CANcern when I spent a lot of CANcerted time & effort in reducing The Bottle Backlog here at Chez Woody, but things have reached an even keel. I am now able to dedicate time to both endeavors without any CANpunction.

From the CAN: "Dark Ale Brewed with Fennel Seeds, Chia Seeds, and Peppercorns with Figs Added".

Having Crack!ed the CAN open, I began a slow, gentle Glug into the awaiting glass since it was the wee hours of the morning & I did not feel like dealing with a potential mess. Color was Black/Opaque (SRM = 44), allowing light penetration only at the edges to reveal garnet highlights. Nose was definitely herbal & spicy with licorice & fennel as the primary players, but there was also a dark, dried fruitiness which I could not identify. Mouthfeel was big, thick, creamy & I allowed it to just roll around on my tongue to warm. The licorice flavor was close to overwhelming, but I was still getting dried dark fruits as well as a slight alcohol burn. Phew! This was definitely a sipper to be savored. Warming, the vanilla became a bit more assertive & noticeable, but licorice was still carrying the day. Finish was dry, as one might expect when so many spices were included in quantity. My CAN now had ten months aging & it was still plenty big & spicy. I kind of wish that I had bought another to age, but I just wonder whether the licorice flavor will ever die down to a reasonable level.

Aug 10, 2017
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BEERchitect from Kentucky

4.23/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bridging the gap between stout and Belgian ale, this imperial, larger than life beer is the brainchild of the threesome that transpired between 21st Amendment, Stone Brewing and Firestone Walker.

Dark, dark brown, opaque and with a tinge of dark bronze, the beer's generous froth carries a sandy stained hue en route to rich aroma of molasses, coffee, chocolate, spice and earth. Robust, sweet and rich flavors slather the front of the tongue with the hearty taste of blackstrap molasses, moderate coffee, moderate cocoa, charred toast, walnut, honey and toffee.

As the sweetness rolls across the middle palate, it lays sweet and persistent tracks of malt that are slow to dissolve. Bready like spicecake, the ale soon releases a plethora of spices that range from cinnamon, nutmeg, peppercorn and clove to hints of rye, whisky and wood. Savory fruitiness comes alive as the alcohol rounds the finish and delivers one more wallop of fig, date, raisin, plum and blackcurrant before a slight sherry-like savoriness woos the senses once more.

Full bodied and pleasantly decadent, El Camino (Un)real isn't a drinkable beer. Rather, its a slow and sipping ale that's sweeter and roastier than the standard darker, stronger ale of Belgium, but not quite as luscious as imperial stout as well. Its spicy and fruity counter play is suggestive of bold winter warmers or holiday ales.

Jul 18, 2017
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stortore from Illinois

4.25/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12 ounce can into a tulip glass. Canned 10/10/16, had 1/23/17.

Pours dark, near black. Opaque, with a big two inch head and some soapy lacing. Smells of figs, malt,
fennel seeds, yeast, some molasses, light chocolate, light coffee, peppercorns when fully warmed. A little earthy- maybe the chia seeds? The taste mostly follows the nose- figs, malt, fennel, caramel, cocoa, some peppercorns, light chocolate and coffee, less molasses than the aroma. A decent amount of bitterness throughout. Smooth, fairly full bodied, well carbonated, a little dry on the finish.

Really interesting, there's a whole lot going on here. The strong figs and malt are a great combination, the peppercorns and fennel seeds are subtle, but effective. Great balance overall. I like this a bunch. Well worth a purchase.

Jun 20, 2017
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MaltsOfGlory from Oregon

4.25/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

12 oz can

They call this is dark ale, which is kinda a fictional style, but I tend to like it. We’ll see how this is.

An irritating pour yields only about a finger of brown head into my can-style glass. The head is pretty pillowy. Body is Pretty much completely black. Looks ok so far.

The nose is spicy up front, reminds me of cinnamon, cardamom – which is probably largely the peppercorn that is giving that kinda effect. Underneath that is a very rich, sweet, malt character, accompanied by the figs which impart a dark fruity sweetness. Now that I’ve noticed the sweet aromas, it’s mostly all I can smell now. The sweetness is borderline over the top and extract-like, but it just barely passes as an acceptable level. I get a decent amount of molasses, and maybe even vanilla as well. Maybe just a hair of roasted malt in here too. The beer teases at having a boozy nose, but at the end of the day, it’s really hidden quite well. Overall this nose has SO much going on, it’s really awesome. The sweetness is almost too much, but it’s a small problem here. Overall this smells really great.

Upon reading further, I notice there is dark candi sugar in here, so that would help explain the sweet nose.

Wow, the flavor is quite interesting. Hits the palate with a huge molasses, malt, fig sweetness, with some booze flavors definitely here as well. Not getting too much in the way of spices on the flavor. Finishes with vanilla, and long lingering flavors of wood, chocolate, and a touch of bitterness. Somewhat of a roasty undertone exists throughout the whole sip. As with the aroma, the flavor has a lot going on. Unfortunately, I think the sweetness (which does come across as a bit extract-like) is a little too much. I will revisit the flavor at the end, because this is a tough beer to grade.

The mouthfeel is just as complex as everything else. Light carbonation is accompanied by a medium-light body. Very sticky from the sweetness, as well as a somewhat noticeable bitterness that lingers, as mentioned in the flavor. I never like it when a beer is too sticky in my mouth, but I do have to give some points for how much this has going on, even in an area as simple as the mouthfeel.

The drinkability is high considering you do get a little booze flavor. There isn’t really any booze heat though. The stickiness doesn’t help the drinkability. Overall though, this is tasty enough to make it relatively easy to drink.

The initial punch of sweetness did smooth out. I also did start to taste some of that cinnamon I was getting on the nose, adding to the slough of flavors. Figs definitely came through in a more authentic fashion. This is a good flavor in pretty much every category. Even the way the beer shifted flavors as it warmed was a fun experience. I definitely stand by what I initially said about it being too sweet, it is, but it has so much else going on, and it’s such a well crafted beer that I can’t really give this anything below a 4.25, it’s a great beer.

The appearance turned out decent. Lacing was good, but somewhat patchy from top to bottom. The head was ok, nothing special. Overall good, nothing great.

May 02, 2017
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daliandragon from Maryland

4.22/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Really big head for a twelve ounce pour. Dark and long lasting, aboard a murky dark brown body. Nose is the promised dark fruit, chocolate, licorice, and molasses, and a hint of hoppy bite. Not sure what to expect from this one. Definitely a bit trippy with all the possibility here.

This is mellow and low on the carbonation, which really helps the melange of flavors meld meaningfully. Definitely some dark fruit and sour notes reminiscent of a barleywine but also some solid oily resin and pine more towards a juiced RIS or a black IPA. The pine carries the day in the finish although lingering chocolate and coffee remain in the aftertaste. This is a really nice beer, although I never detected the peppercorns, chia, or fennel.

Apr 18, 2017
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buschbeer from Ohio

3.92/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 FL. OZ can
Served in a perfect pint glass

This beer pours black and is topped with 3-4 inches of mocha head that leaves a little lacing.

I get some fig, roasted malt and spice, reminiscent of rye.

The taste starts out with roasted malt. Then I get that spiciness that, once again comes across as rye, to my unsophisticated palate. The finish is bitter and roasty, similar to that of a black IPA.

Medium to full mouthfeel

It is a bitter black ale. It is not bad for a change of pace. I don't think that I would drink a lot of them.

Apr 15, 2017
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Tucquan from Pennsylvania

4.06/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on 2017-04-01 in Columbia, PA from a 12oz can with a 2016-10-10 bottled on date.

A - Opaque dark brown with a 3-finger light brown head and good lace.

S - Chocolate milk, light-medium roasted grain, light earthy spice. Sweet. Not real strong.

T - Flavor is bolder than the aroma for sure. Roasted grain with some char, semi-sweet chocolate, light fig sweetness, pepper. Finish is acerbic, roasty and bitter with light, lingering sweetness for some balance. The alcohol is subdued. I like the flavors.

M - Medium body and light-medium carbonation yield a smooth feel.

O - Considering the ingredients, you might expect something on the strange side; but this is quite tasty. It's categorized as a spiced beer but this belies the flavor. To me, it sits between a Black IPA and an Imperial Stout.

Apr 01, 2017
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smcolw from Massachusetts

4/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I was very surprised by how dark this beer is--it's dark brown where little light shines through. Poured from a can. Moderate to expansive head which provides a predictable level of spotty lace.

Chalky cocoa aroma with a touch of floral hop nose.

Very much like a cross between an IPA and a Porter. Lots of semisweet chocolate, subtle alcohol and spicy hop. Leans full on the body with a very low carbonation level. Dry cocoa finish and aftertaste. Overall, this is interesting mashup of two styles.

Mar 30, 2017
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dbrauneis from North Carolina

3.88/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: Pours an opaque yet still clear jet black in color with moderate amounts of active visible carbonation along the edges of the glass and moderate dark cola brown highlights. The beer has a three finger tall dense sudsy foamy mocha colored head that reduces to a large patch of mottled thick film covering the entire surface of the beer and a thick ring at the edges of the glass. Significant amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate aromas of licorice, herbs/spices (fennel and peppercorns), dark fruit (fig), and roasted malts.

T: Upfront there are moderate flavors of roasted malts and a hint of charred malts with light to moderate amounts of dark fruit (fig) sweetness. That is followed by light to moderate flavors of licorice with moderate amounts of herbs/spices (fennel and peppercorns). Light to moderate amounts of roasty bitterness in the finish which lingers for a while.

M: Medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Light amounts of dryness in the finish.

O: This is a really interesting beer both conceptually and in execution - has elements that remind me of a number of different styles (aspects remind me of Black IPA, RIS, and Winter Warmer) but does not really to fit into any of them and overall very successful. Enjoyable and hides the 9.5% ABV really well.

Feb 06, 2017
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metter98 from New York

3.87/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: The beer is jet black in color. It poured with a two finger high dark tan head that gradually died down, leaving a short head covering the surface and lots of lacing down the sides of the glass.
S: Moderate aromas of licorice and chia seeds are present in the nose.
T: The taste starts off with some licorice-like flavors, but these much more subdued (compared to a Russian Imperial Stout) but there are also notes of chia seeds and peppercorns (without the spiciness) and figs (without any sweetness). There is a light to moderate amount of bitterness and some hints of charred malts.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This is a very unique beer. It looks very much like a stout, but has lots of unusual flavors. However, everything seems to blend rather well.

Serving type: can

Feb 03, 2017
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Slatetank from Pennsylvania

4.04/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

I tried this from the can in a glass chilled.

The color is black with medium brown head with fine bead and lasting retention. The smell is fragrant with hop aromatics that are pine-scented with a spice-like aroma and slight dark malt char aroma. The feel is decent with moderately high bitterness and carbonation with gentle sweetness and roast with a mild alcohol influence in the finish.

The taste is very good with some burnt malt and piney hop flavors up front with subtle caramel and dark dried fruit like fig and slight spice in the back with a very dry and bitter finish which is pleasant. This is better than I expected it is verging into Imperial Black IPA but the spice is apparent in the taste and the overall enjoyment is high.

Jan 26, 2017
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Lingenbrau from Oregon

2.6/5  rDev -34%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 2.25

A: Pours a smooth, clean dark brown to black with the deepest shade of tan head that is sticky and persists around the perimeter at almost a centimeter high.

A: Smells of dark chocolate, and NyQuil. Yes, NyQuil. I can only assume the fennel, chai, and peppercorns are to blame.

T: Yup. You guessed it! NyQuil. But definitely a more subdued and chocolate infused version. Not quite as intense on the burning disgust front as the affomentioned. I don't like NyQuil, so I'll be interested to see if I finish this.

F: Smooth, coating, medium bodied, pretty bitter.

O: 21st Amendment beers have always been hit or miss for me, and they are all exceptionally bitter. This was a miss, and was surprised to see it pass through the finger tips of Stone and Firestone Walker alike as a sellable beer. No thanks.

Jan 17, 2017
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tone77 from Pennsylvania

3.56/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

A thanks goes out to the founding father of the canquest, woodychandler, for this beer. Poured from a 12 oz. can. Has a black color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is of roasted malts, licorice. Taste is roasted malts, spices, licorice, some figs, light hops, a touch of alcohol. Feels medium/full bodied in the mouth and overall is a unique and enjoyable beer.

Jan 16, 2017
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BB1313 from Ohio

3.4/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

This is a collaboration between 21st Amendment / Stone / Firestone Walker

Canned on 11/10/16. 12oz can poured into a tulip. Pours almost black with a fluffy dark tan head that falls leaving nice retention and sticky lacing. The aromas are earthy and subtle. Hints of flower pedals and fresh dough. Hints of lavender as well. Mild chocolate notes with some cocoa malts in the mix. The flavors are bold and clean. More flower pedals and lavender giving this one a fragrant floral vibe. There's definitely some citrus and pine in the mix. Solid hop bite along with a nice malt backbone. Solid bitterness. The fennel seeds and chai spices are there, but don't dominate or overwhelm. The peppercorns are there giving this one a subtle spiciness in the finish. There's a subtle warmth in the finish, but it's absolutely not hot or boozy at all. Alcohol is well hidden. Mouthfeel is on the lighter side of full-bodied with moderate carbonation. It's slightly thin, but very fluffy and smooth. It's dangerously drinkable.

This is a solid brew. I know they've collaborated on this one before, but I never tried that vintage. I believe it was brewed at Stone, but I could be wrong. Anyways, this is nice and unique without being anything too crazy. Nice blend between stout and IPA characteristics.

Dec 05, 2016
El Camino (un)Real from 21st Amendment Brewery
Beer rating: 86 out of 100 with 49 ratings