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Bitter American | 21st Amendment Brewery

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very good
357 Reviews
Bitter AmericanBitter American

Brewed by:
21st Amendment Brewery
California, United States

Style: American Pale Ale (APA)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.40%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
This American session ale packs a lot of hop and malt flavor into a refreshingly lower-alcohol brew, making it the perfect beer to have on hand when you have a little history to make.

42 IBU

Added by BeerAdvocate on 01-16-2007

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 357 | Ratings: 1,265
Photo of veinless
3.75/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Jesse13713 for sending me this all the way from Ohio; oddly enough I didn't see this in California all winter - weird.

Pours a deep orange, darker than some DIPAs I've had recently. Very clear, and topped by a foamy white head that retains extremely well. Looks like fizz from the side and icing from the top. Lace is sporadic and uneven.

Smells faintly tropical, with mango and a touch of pine making up the hop body. Malt sweetness takes up the rest of the aroma, offering a fair amount of caramel nature. Pretty simple aroma, but it's good.

Taste is quite sweet and malty right from the start. Get some caramel, toffee, and overripe mango from this. Citrus and pine are follow-ups and lead to a chalky, slightly bitter finish. I can appreciate the crisp, easy to taste flavors in this, especially for the abv, but rating to the style of APA this lacks the strength of flavor of some other brews. A bit of metallic character near the tail-end of the beer is present and unwelcome.

Mouthfeel is very full for the abv - but that's not to say it isn't crisp or slick. Chalky bitterness is nice and the dryness aids the drinkability as well. This is a great example of a flavorful, low abv session beer. Seek this out in bulk if you like drinking beer all day.

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Photo of Beejay
3.45/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Medium light brown in color with brilliant clarity. The head is creamy and just slightly tan, though it does dissipate fairly quickly.

S: Grapefruit and resiny pine come out right away. Slightly sweet with a nice caramel note in there. Smells very nice, though closer to an IPA in hoppyness.

T: Good bitterness, a touch of pine and grapefruit, and a burnt caramel flavor. Perhaps a bit tinny. There is a touch of something I am not wild about in the finish.. But I can't seem to put my finger on it.

M: Medium bodied, and the carbonation seems about right, but perhaps a touch high.

O: Overall this is a pretty good beer. I was picking something up right at first, but whatever it was has faded into this pretty solid APA.

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Photo of tewaris
4.08/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

42 IBUs

12 oz can, about a month old, poured into a Saison Dupont stange.

Appearance 5/5
Brightly clear, deep golden-amber colored, with a good off white head, good head retention and lacing.

Aroma 4.5/5
Tropical fruit dominates -- mangoes and pineapples, but there's the minty freshness of sharper smelling hops too lurking somewhere. Sweet malts come up eventually, and hint at a present malt base.

Taste 3.5/5
Some esters and malt sweetness that play well with the fruity hop flavors. Easy drinking, and the bitterness is really not all that high. The finish is dry, which is fine, but the aftertaste has some inexplicable astringency to it that is unexpected and not welcome!

Mouthfeel 4/5
The body and carbonation are okay at first but the body seems a tad thin as the beer warms up.

Overall 4.5/5
A good tasting beer, and great for its ABV. One of the best lower alcohol options, but I doubt if it will hold up for 2 months after its canning date.

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Photo of clickpush
4.08/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pour: 12oz can to tulip glass. Pours w/ a big fat white head over a clear, copper body. Sticky lacing all over the glass. Plenty of carbonation floating up through the body of the beer. Head reduces to a healthy cap.

Nose: Nice, floral hoppy aroma followed by plenty of earthy, caramel type malt.

Mouth: Simple combination of gentle yet sturdy hops and mineral malts. Smooth yet finely carbonated. Hints of bitter citrus pith.

Simple and sessionable. I can drink this all day long.

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Photo of Murchmac
3.5/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Frankenstein review I thought was accurate.

An off-white 1.5 finger head rests on a clear amber body. A steady stream of bubbles quickly rise to the quickly thinning head. Light lacing along the rim.

The aroma is very hoppy...strong citrus and sweet fruit in the nose. Pine, rosemary, and pepper spice there, too.

Taste - piney hops and refreshing citrus and a thin but discernable malt. Very complex for 4.4%.

Mouth feel is a bit light but makes sense for this 4.4% abv session beer. Just a spritz of carbonation.

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Photo of tigg924
4.1/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Sam Adams perfect pint glass

Appearance: 1 inch head, gold in color, clear, high carbonation

Smell: pine and grapefruit hops and some caramel

Taste: a sweet bready and caramel start that goes quickly to sharp pine and floral hops with a bit of melon. Grapefruit and caramel come back at the end.

Mouthfeel: light bodied, sweet start with a bitter middle and a less bitter end, high carbonation

Drinkability: It is amazing to find this many complex hops in such a low abv beer. One of the better beers I have had lately, I could easily session this. Very much a California IPA that is nice and layered. A treat.

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Photo of output01x
3.83/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz. can into a pint glass.

An off-white 1.5 finger head rests on a clear amber body. A steady stream of bubbles quickly rise to the quickly thinning head. Light lacing along the rim.

Standard hoppy smell. Floral, pine, and citrus aromas are strongly emitted.

Slightly piny and almost a little minty. Some bitterness finishes the experience but does not linger too long.

Light bodied and very refreshing. Not an overpowering beer at all. It glides over the tongue in a refreshing wash.

I could easily have a 6-pack of this in a sitting. The light body and crisp taste makes this great for a warm summer day.

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Photo of movingtrain
3.85/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce can sampled from a 14 ounce glass.

Pours a golden amber with a strong head at first, quickly fading to a light film...pretty good lacing on the sides of the glass, though.

The aroma is very hoppy...strong citrus and sweet fruit in the nose. Pine, rosemary, and pepper spice there, too.

The flavor has a good amount of bitter to it. Nice and light. The malt backbone is present, but the hops take the front seat and linger for some time after each sip. Actually, the dominant flavor here is that grapefruit bitterness. The malts give a bit of biscuit flavor on the tongue, and are a good counter-balance to the hops.

Overall, this is an extremely drinkable beer. It is nice and low in ABV, and presents a very flavorful palate. And, the beer being in cans makes this a fine beer to tote around this summer. Hopefully it's still around.

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Photo of woodychandler
4.08/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Another CAN from Sean O' and the rest of the 21st Amendment crowd! I CAN't wait to get started on this one, plus I have some for all of my usual CANTrade partners.

The Crack revealed another CAN filled nearly to the brim with beer. The Glug resulted in a finger-and-a-half of rocky tawny head with moderate retention. Color was a deep coppery-amber with NE-quality clarity. BUPGOO! Nose was rich with pine hops and my mouth began to water. Mouthfeel was slightly thin but it had a nice admixture of pine hops and caramel malt on the tongue. Finish was lightly bitter initially with a wash of malt on the extreme finish. I really liked this and I agree with earlier reviewers that it should either be brewed year-'round or made for the summer instead. This is definitely cooler-space worthy, especially given its low ABV.

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Photo of tjwarren
4.4/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

First of all, I think we should petition 21st Amendment to make this a year roud beer.

Poured from the can in a pint glass and got more of an amber ale color and a 1 inch or so white foamy head.

I thought the smell was very good. Pine hops and a lot of citrus. I am usually weak on the smell but had no trouble with this one.

Taste - piney hops and refreshing citrus and a thin but discernable malt. Very complex for 4.4%.

Mouthfeel - nothing unusual but it went with a slickness. I want this beer in the summer. Cannot understand the winter seasonal offering. It is not a winter beer.

Drinkability - perfection. Taste and complexity at 4.4%. What a campfire beer this would be. A Saturday afternoon lunch beer.

21st Amendment - if you are readind this, you have a winner. A unique offering. Make it available all year. Please.

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Photo of Reagan1984
4.02/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours with a fingert & half of white fluffy foam that settles pretty quickly. A light amber colored beer with excellent clarity. Very light lacing remains.

Aroma is fairly muted and also balanced. Light fruit, some citrus hop and a toasted malt scent. A tad light for the style.

Decent flavor but you can tell it's lighter in body, abv and a little flavor as soon as it hits your tongue. Nicely balanced with almost a minty nature to the hop bitterness. A light toast on the malt profile with a slight cracker flavor. I like the finish on this..

Mouth feel is a bit light but makes sense for this 4.4% abv session beer. Just a spritz of carbonation.

Very drinkable and not a bad beer at all. For what it aims to be I think it hits the mark. Have to admit it grew on me as I made my way through the glass.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a can fresh sixer from Giant Eagle Market district, pours a brilliant clear copper pale color with a nicely formed thicket of off white head...fine lacing spread sporadiacally with each sip. Smells great citrus/pine smells hoppier than their IPA. In the background I detect some caramel biscuit malts kicking around but the start of the show are the hops in this conveniently low alcohol format canned at that. Hops are blended with a nice caramel/semi glazed caramel popcorn flavor. The hops have mild pine, mainly citric notes with a bit of straight up herbal green. Mouthfeel is light to medium bodied with slick hop oils coating the palate, carbonation is mellow and even. Drinkability overall solid, one of best low alcohol options with some actual hop flavor great idea more people take note out there.

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Photo of Brad007
3.88/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark golden color with a fluffy white head into my glass. Nice color. What else?

Aroma is full of grassy, slightly citrusy hops with some buttered toast.

Wow. Mouthfeel is full of flavor with just the right amount of buttered toast and grassy hops.

Mouthfeel has lingering buttery toast and only a slight hop imprint.

An excellent take on the bitter? You decide!

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Photo of Mosstrooper
4.34/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into an imperial nonic pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a clear caramel color with a medium-sized white head that dissipates quickly and leaves behind a thick ring of foam.

Smell: Sweet caramel alongside piney and earthy hop aromas with a slight nuttiness. Extremely inviting.

Taste: Begins sweet, rounding out to nuttiness before finishing with a toasty flavor and a pronounced hop profile.

Mouthfeel: Light to medium body with sharp carbonation and a slightly dry finish.

Drinkability: A very pleasant, well-balanced, and, above all, easy drinking ale. This beer proves that you don't have to push the limits of ABV to make a complex beer. This beer is extremely sessionable and very tasty. It doesn't make too much sense, though as a winter seasonal- I wish this were a year-round offering.

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Photo of DerekP
4.1/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

4 sentences for a 4.4% ABV pale ale from 21st Amendment Brewery...

Slightly hazy amber-orange appearance, with a slim, but sustained, head.
Cinnamon-butter and pineapple found happily in the nose.
Carried by dry hops in the taste, with a near-balancing amount of toasty malts.
Feels and finishes dry; exceptionally approachable and impressive.

...One of the best session beers I've had yet.

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Photo of hoser
4.26/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

It is so nice to see beers of lower abvs that are tasty, I do wish there we more of these. I will save my tirade for a forum someday.
Everything with this beer is balance with some late hop spiciness. This really reminds me of Alley Kat's Full Moon or Landlord Bitter.
As nice beer that I wish was in our market. Bought at Bottlework's in Seattle.

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Photo of BARFLYB
3.85/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz CAN into a pint glass watching some TV.

A- Bitter American comes out a medium bronze with some faded penny shades as well. A stealth pour produced little more than a half inch of loose white foam, no lacing.

S- A small amount of smell for a small beer. Some bittering aroma type blends of hop variety with a light biscuit malt base in the back. Some piney scent with pale malt with warming.

T- A very simple beer with hops on top of malt, that's what counts!! Both are fairly light with everything pretty even. Some piney bits towards the end. I love getting this stuff fresh, it's going to be toast in a month..

M- Very light, crisp and somewhat bitter, in fact this is more bitter than alot of so called bitters out there. Carbed up very nice and not too much for the light body.

D- I could drink a six of this real quick, but would bore of it rather quick. The amount of bitterness is light enough that drinking six would not burn out the palate though. A great session beer.

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Photo of eagles22
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Nice clear amber body with a huge white foamy head.

Smell: Floral hops and some citrus hops also, but floral hops dominate the nose also toffee and caramel coming through at the end

Taste: This beer packs a punch for just 4.4%, citrus and floral hops with nice malt backbone. Very impressive for the low ABV.

Mouthfeel: very smooth and a tad oily, but well carbonated

Drinkability: I hope this becomes year around, because this will be a must in your fridge!

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Photo of gatornation
3.82/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

seasonal release 12 oz can

A-pours a clear light copper color with a very small head with very little lacing..not an inviting look

S- sweet and floral with some citrus and lemon wey grass a little baked bread

T- floral citrus hops are followed some nice malts very tasty

M- crisp and well carbonated..i get a very nice floral hop taste with such a low ABV

D- tasty and very drinkable @< 5%...i like this one

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Photo of harrymel
3.95/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Frank for leaving this on my back step for my wife to trip over. Now SHE's a bitter american!

A: Pours a copper ale with excellent clarity and a two finger head which is hesitant to dissipate. Spidery lacing.

S: Citrusy. Nice grapefruit dominates this beer. Not much grain on the nose. Very nice.

T: Easy drinking! Very, very good beer. Well balanced and not too bitter. Flavor hops add a great tone to the malts. Hints of grapefruit, lemon juice, resin. Good.

M: Lively and medium bodied. Leaves mouth watering.

D: very drinkable. I would drink this all night and not have to worry about the ABV. Totally awesome.

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Photo of SwillBilly
4.62/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from can to nonical pint glass.

A: Pours light copper to amber with a decent white head that fades rather quickly. Carbonation streams to the surface. Nice, sticky lacing clings to the glass.

S: Chock full of big, juicy, citrusy hops with just bit of maltiness sweetness lending to the nose. A mixture of citrus rind and apricots.

T: Wow ! Flavor explodes in the mouth with the 1st sip. Lots of of those big, juicy citrusy, hops. Malt definitely takes a back seat to the hoppiness fo the beer, though its there if you really look for it. Mildly sweet with plays in harmony with the hops. Just a touch of caramel or honey. Hoppy bitterness lingers long on the tongue after the swallow.

M: Nice body for such a low abv beer. Medium, somewhat oily with ample carbonation.

D: One of the better beers I've had in a while. Combination of citrusy hops and low abv makes this a fantastic session beer. Wish this was available year round as it has found a permanent spot in my fridge. Seek and enjoy. Highly recommended.

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Photo of barleywinefiend
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured a pale orange color with good carbonation leaving a nice white cap

S: Mild some citrus, caramel

T: Some caramel, hint of toasted malt, bready at times, citrus

M: Nice body for a 4.4% brew. Plenty of hops, easy to drink. Not a big beer and its not meant to be.

D: This may be SF version of the San Diego Session

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Photo of tempest
3.98/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Why on earth is this classified as an IPA? It's 4.4% and my can calls it an extra pale ale? Moving on...

This is an excellent example of what's becoming the substyle of the American bitter. It has a rich bready biscuit flavor character without being too thick or sweet. The malts are backed by a peppery citrus hop character. There's a satisfying bitter herbal fruit rind finish. And the body is light enough I could easily drink too much. My only complaint is that the aroma is a bit simple with a focus on the malt.

Go buy this by the case or keg.

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Photo of silentjay
3.98/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

clear amber copper with a huge frothy eggshell colored head that retains and laces well.

lots of floral hops on top of biscuity and caramel malts.

tons of floral hop flavors, without too much bitterness, and a good amount of zesty citrus as well. malts provide some balance, but add to a rather flavorful small beer.

a touch light bodied with ample carbonation, and a very clean finish.

drinks very well. good amount of flavor packed into a small package, with a decent balance that makes for a very sessionable beer.

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Photo of KeefD
3.28/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a light amber color with a huge head that stuck around forever, leaving decent lacing on the glass. I could smell the citrusy hops as I was pouring it from the can, but upon closer examination the hops seems much more piney/herbal. Not a lot of sweetness coming through in the nose. Taste is pretty much what the aroma indicates. Nice hoppiness, but not overly bitter. Malts are dry and crisp, with only a hint of breadiness coming through. I actually could go for a little more sweetness/body in this beer to balance out the herbal/piney hops. Not a bad beer, definitely drinkable, but again, needs some more malt/body to even things out.

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Bitter American from 21st Amendment Brewery
3.9 out of 5 based on 1,265 ratings.
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