Back In Black | 21st Amendment Brewery

BA SCORE
83
good
2,403 Ratings
THE BROS
72
okay
Read the review
Back In BlackBack In Black
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
21st Amendment Brewery
California, United States
21st-amendment.com

Style: American Black Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.80%

Availability: Rotating

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

Added by tpd975 on 11-23-2008

BEER STATS
Ratings:
2,403
Reviews:
716
Avg:
3.69
pDev:
13.28%
 
 
Wants:
56
Gots:
400
For Trade:
0
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,403 |  Reviews: 716
Photo of olradetbalder
3.5/5  rDev -5.1%

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.1/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Rich and smooth, 21st Amendment packs the strength of an IPA (6.8% alc./vol.), all of the bitterness (65 IBU's), and quite a bit of hop flavor and aroma (65 IBU's) into one really nicely balanced, chocolatey/roasty ale.

It displays a deep mahogany brown body that appears almost black in the glass beneath a creamy head of khaki. The head holds quite well, and it leaves sheets of spotted and craggy splashed walls of lace behind.

The aroma is leafy, citrusy, and floral over a base malt of dark caramel and chocolate.

In the mouth it's medium bodied and creamy with a zest of carbonation on the tongue.

The flavor delivers a combination of citrusy, floral, grassy, and leafy hops upfront atop a gently roasty and darkly caramelish malt that warms to become more chocolatey across the middle. The hops also become a bit more spicy. It finishes with a drop of dark milk chocolate rising, but that's then quickly dried as the hops become more spicy and piney.

As to drinkability, I think it's quite accessible. If you've enjoyed a strong porter and you enjoy hops, this has got you covered. It could probably be more focused, but it's still very nicely done.

 1,161 characters

Photo of chinchill
3.4/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the can into 16 oz clear plastic cup.

A - Pours opaque black/brown with brown edges were a little bit of light passes thru when backlit. Towering frothing head, light caramel color, with good retention.

S - Hop aroma is evident right opening popping the can open. Plenty of citrus and earthy hops. Very promising.

... but it is downhill from here.

T - Very limited hop flavor compared to the aroma, with more earthy dark roasted malt coming thru. These are a bit out of balance and do not blend so well IMO. The dark malts really dominate even in the finish but do leave a bitter, coffee-tinted aftertaste. The worse part is a rather sour and metallic component mid-taste.

M - Nice carbonation, although a bit much for an easy pour. Medium, but not quite satisfying, body.

O - Overall a disappointing beer. The aroma and look were not followed by excellent flavor or mouthfeel. I've been to the brewpub and enjoyed their beers on tap. Too bad this one doesn't fare so well in canning.

 1,006 characters

Photo of jlindros
3.98/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

"Because eveyone likes it in the can. Tasty cracked cans." as Niko likes to say. Another one from 21st A, which I've loved most of their beers so far. Here's another in the pipeline.

A: Wow, with a can I'm forced to pour somewhat aggressively and it comes out with a huge head that forces me to stop pouring, with a 50% head to beer ratio, which is fluffy and bubbly and fades semi slowly with a lot of lacing. The beer is a very dark brown, dark raisin brown with hints of light coming through around the edges showing that is it potentially clear.

N: An interesting blend of malts and hops. It has an earthy bitter hop aroma, more like an English bitter almost but adds the American spicy and piny hop aromas with that. There is also a darker malty aroma, with some crystal malts and slight chewy malt aspect.

T: Taste comes on just as strong, with lots of varying flavors. It actually starts with a slight citrus flavor, juicy hops and even juicy malts. Some darker malts and chewy malts line the backbone, with a slight sweetness and even a little sugary flavor. There is a nice bitterness that doesn't overpower, just adds the nice hit. Some spicy and earthy hops make their presence known, but not as much as the aroma. A slight caramel malt flavor starts to shine through later on the taste.

M: Medium body, slightly creamy too (creamy, really?), with tons of carbonation.

F: Still pretty bitter as it finishes. Some grassy hops come out at this point, and bring more slight citrus and pine but very light. A slight sticky syrupy finish but no real sweetness as it dries to a somewhat dry finish. Some lingering earthy and spicy hop pellet flavors, with late hop addition flavors. Not bad for a black IPA, doesn't go overboard in any category, and is pretty clean and tasty. Going on trips with this would be great, cause taking it in the can always works better.

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Photo of nickfl
3.79/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - pours with a one finger head of light tan foam on top of a black body with a little but of amber light showing through at the bottom of the glass. The hwad settles slowly and leaves thick lace.

S - Rich caramel malt with a spicy, perfumw like note that reminds me of apples and cinnamon. Minor fruit and pine hops in the background.

T - Dark carmel and toffee malt at first with some light pine hops. Darker roast character comes in towards the middle and there is a bit more licorice here as well. The beer finishes with lots of red apple yeast and some pine and orange hops as well as moderate bitterness to balance all the sugary character.

M - Medium body, moderate carbonation, and a slightly sweet finish.

D - it is a pretty nice beer overall, right the aroma seems a but off. I get some strange fruit amf spice notes in the aroma that just seem out of place. This throws off the flavor at first as well, but it recovers in the middle and develops into a nice example of the style. Definitely a drinkable beer, this seems like one of the ones that is a but better when you don't think about it too much.

 1,117 characters

Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.45/5  rDev +20.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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

A: The beer is a deep dark brown color with a large off-white head that fades very slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains floral hops, coffee, dark roasted malts and some citrus.

T: The taste starts with a strong but not over-powering burst of hops bitterness that is quickly followed by flavors of black coffee and a little bit of citrus fruit. The roasted malt character is hearty but not too heavy and brings a very good balance. The after-taste is slightly hoppy and slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is dry and slightly sticky.

D: Very tasty, goes down quite easily, not too filling, decent kick, very good representation of style, this is a very nice beer worth drinking for a long time.

 825 characters

Photo of dbrauneis
3.71/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: Pours a clear very dark reddish brown (approaching but not quite black) in color with light to moderate amounts of gentle visible carbonation near the surface of the beer and some garnet red + crimson red highlights. The beer has a two finger tall sudsy foamy light tan head that reduces to a thick film covering the majority of the surface of the beer and a thick ring at the edges of the glass. Significant amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate aromas of roasted malts and coffee along with slightly stronger aromas of pine hops.

T: Upfront there are light to moderate flavors of roasted malts and lighter flavors of roasted coffee. Moderate flavors of pine hops with just a hint of citrus/grapefruit pith hops. Light to moderate amounts of bitterness in the finish which lasts for a moderate amount of time.

M: Medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Smooth, almost creamy with a light to moderate amount of dryness in the finish

O: This beer has a nice balance between the roasty malts and hoppy flavors as well as well hidden alcohol. Another nice brew from 21st Amendment and available in a can!

 1,126 characters

Photo of ygtbsm94
3/5  rDev -18.7%

Photo of Kegatron
3.53/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz can into a tulip glass.

Pours black with 2 fingers of stiff lighter mocha colored head. Swirling gets this up to a rich frothy near finger that leaves a sticky latticework of lace back. Hops mostly control the aroma, being floral and a bit dank, with some peppery spice and green citrus coming out. There is an underlying layer of smokey roast present as well, which has a touch of an acrid tinge to it that is bordering on metallic smelling at times. Hmmm...

The taste is chocolate and some sweeter caramel up front, with bitter fruit and earth filling out the middle portion of the profile, while some deeply lingering roast pulls up the back. I'm once again picking up just the tiniest bit of a sour acrid bite in the finish that has some metallic tasting elements to it. Not necessarily horrible or anything but it is noticable. The mouthfeel is medium bodied, with an overall creamy and bubbly feel to the carbonation. This is maybe a bit too creamy though, as it feels pretty light in the body in spots. I will say that the alcohol is deceptively hid though which helps out with the drinkable nature of this.

This was decent enough I guess but I've certainly had better Black IPAs recently. Probably the lack of body hurt this the most but a little more depth to the flavors would have been welcome as well. I think one can here was good enough for me.

 1,369 characters

Photo of wethorseblanket
3.69/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Rifugium
3.53/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

First had: on tap at Pinocchio's, Media, PA

One of my first Cascadian dark ales aka American black ales. Great "new" style. All the hoppiness of an IPA, but in a beer that could--colorwise--pass off as a porter or schwarzbier. Aroma is full of resinous hops and dark roasty malts. The taste follows the aroma well, with a definite roasty malt base that is dominated by a storm of piney hops. Medium mouthfeel, resinous, strong in flavor, a good introduction to the style.

 472 characters

Photo of nathanmiller
4/5  rDev +8.4%

Photo of Ciocanelu
4/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark brown color with tan head. Aroma has some grassy hops and roasted malt but I doesn't go into stout territory. Taste is quite good and really balanced. There are grassy/resiny hops but also a good amount of roasted malt. There is a nice bitterness on the finish, roasty but also hoppy. Light to medium body with medium to low carbonation. Overall it's a quite good BIPA.

 374 characters

Photo of XmnwildX12
3.75/5  rDev +1.6%

Photo of billab914
3.53/5  rDev -4.3%
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.

 923 characters

Photo of smithj4
3.75/5  rDev +1.6%

Photo of dcmchew
4/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of atrocity
3.75/5  rDev +1.6%

Photo of vfgccp
3.98/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Deep black brown body with red brown highlights. Nice bone white head. Fine bubbles. Nice lace and great retention.

S - Soft pine, light roast, and sweet chocolate.

T - Herbal hops over coffee and a nice roast grain. Slow ramp-up of bitter chocolate before a shock of woody hops in the center. Malty finish.

M - Medium/light body

O - Low end of the hop spectrum for the style, but still a great offering.

 412 characters

Photo of russpowell
4/5  rDev +8.4%

Photo of smcolw
3.86/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Great rocky/dome-like head that leaves lots of chunky ring lace. Deep ruby color where muted light shines through.

Smell: More hoppy than dark malts. Pretty standard stuff for modified classic.

Tastes darker than the smell. The hop is milder than most IPA's, but the combination is appealing. The body is thinnish, the carbonation is good.

 341 characters

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

16 ounce pint - $5.50 at Taco Mac in Kennesaw, Georgia.

Appearance: Slowly served up on a busy Saturday night a clearish, very, very dark brown body with a slim, off-white head.

Smell: Aroma smelling of bitter cocoa bars, Maxwell House ground coffee, grapefruit, yellow pine, and light caramel wrapped up with an earthy character.

Taste: An initial rush of roastiness, followed by an expanse of pale malts, more than anticipated. Of the various malt tastes, bittersweet chocolate leads, with lesser tastes of simple coffee and caramel trailing behind. Blend of citrusy, piney hops deliver a moderate amount of bitterness. Maybe a small hint of herbs lurking in there as well. Then, the taste rolls back towards the dark malts, leaving you with a close tasting of chocolate and coffee.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: It's black, it's bitter, but the hop profile, while certainly present, wasn't (thankfully) abrasive and as such, it kind of reminded me of Avery's New World Porter.

 1,014 characters

Photo of mdaschaf
3.53/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a dark brown, almost black with a chunky one finger head with great retention.

S: I got citrus and pine upfront and then a lot of roasted malts and some coffee on the back end.

T: Typical IPA flavors upfront - citrus and pine, but it quickly transitions into roasted barley and coffee on the back end.

D/M: Medium bodied with good carbonation. Really hard to rate drinkability. I like this beer, but don't know how many I would want to drink. It is really different, and something worth trying, but probably not a beer I am going to stock my fridge with.

 569 characters

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.65/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

"Inspired by Paul Revere's midnight ride, we rebelled against the British style IPA, embraced the more aggressive American version and then recast it in bold, brave, defiant black."

--21st Amendment website

The hue is more dark walnut with burnt orange edges than bold, brave, defiant black. Almost half the glass is currently filled with a lovely looking crown of caramel nougat colored foam that has an impressively bubbly surface. Lace is both extensive and attractive.

Back In Black smells like a black IPA... or a Cascadian dark ale... or an American black ale... or whatever the hell we're calling them this week. There are equal contributions from medium-dark malts and citrusy American hops: Columbus, Centennial and Simcoe.

The flavor score, although identical to the two above it, is the weakest one yet. The first half of each mouthful is wonderful. It's in the second half that a somewhat puckery lemon juiciness comes out to play. There are enough other flavors to keep it in control, but still.

The malts are mostly dark caramel-like with a contribution from bittersweet chocolate. Top notes include lemon and pink grapefruit with a small splash of pineapple juice. Sorry, but the taste score isn't able to hang in there and the drinkability score follows it right down to 3.5. Time and warming did nothing to help the cause.

The mouthfeel is just big enough and gains an enjoyable smoothness by the middle of the can. The bubbles could be better integrated, but they aren't bad, all things considered.

21st Amendment's Back In Black is not a raucous, rowdy, rock-and-rollin' roof-raiser that would do the AC/DC song of the same name proud. It's a black IPA that is a little bit too fruit juicy to compete with the best versions of this style.

 1,764 characters

Photo of duceswild
3.5/5  rDev -5.1%

Back In Black from 21st Amendment Brewery
3.69 out of 5 based on 2,403 ratings.
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