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Back In Black | 21st Amendment Brewery

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705 Reviews
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Back In BlackBack In Black

Brewed by:
21st Amendment Brewery
California, United States

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

For Trade:
User Reviews
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Reviews: 705 | Ratings: 2,360
Photo of surprenant1138
3.21/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a can into a pint glass, resulting in a large amount of slowly fading creamy tan head. I had to pause my pour in order for it to settle. This beer is a deep mohogany/black brew. Decent lacing. Aroma is light on the hops, slightly peppery. Somehow there seems to be a slight scent of citrus. Tastes malty, slightly spicy, lightly hoppy. Hints of caramel are detected. There is a slight metallic taste. Mouthfeel is of a medium body. This is not a great black IPA, but pretty decent.

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Photo of Libationguy
4.31/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Dark brown with an off-white head. Carbonation is fine and there is a moderate head retention.

Citrus, resin, pine, white flowers, roasted malt, pumpernickel bread and a light coffee note. The aromatics hold a medium intensity and while the hop notes are fresh, they are not overly aggressive.

Really picks up on the palate. Resin, hop bitterness, espresso. Rich, roasted malt flavors.

Nice full mouthfeel, with the hops well balanced but notable.

Bold in style and really well made.

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Photo of Snamnoum
3.2/5  rDev -13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Dark brown color near but not quite black with two fingers of tan head. Hop aroma is resigny and the malt smells nutty, toasted, and caramel. Overall though the nose is more subdued than I expected.
The beer starts off promising with some roasted malty sweetness and the first kick of oily resigny hops but the malt dies about mid way through and you're left wanting more. The finish is dry and thin. It begins round and balanced but ends acrid with the strong taste of charcoal and soot. Not very pleasant. The mouthfeel isn't remarkable either and falls somewhere between watery and oily. Also I thinks its slightly over-carbonated for the style. Overall not terrible beer but would I buy it again? No.

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Photo of jabergess
3.66/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured in a 20 oz Taco Mac mug at Mall of GA.

This beer is interesting. Upfront it tastes like a porter. I get the coffee, bittersweet chocolate and a slight burnt toast flavor. The back is a slight bitter finish. I suppose that's the IPA finish. I think I would not call this a black IPA. The hops, besides the bitter finish, just aren't there for me. The grade is probably too high for thus style, but I happen to like porters so it was still ok with me.

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Photo of Fubar1453
4/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Canned 10.25.11
My first craft brew in a can and my first black IPA.

A: Black with red hues, nice creamy head with good lacing.

S: Hops and chocolate, strange mixture but appealing.

T: Hops on the front, coffee in the middle and chocolate mixed with hops on the end. Nice balance very drinkable.

M: Creamy and wet, almost watery at times, medium carbonation.

O: I really liked this beer. I love stouts and IPAs so this was right in my ballpark. A really great combo and a good beer, will definitely pick up again.


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Photo of dciBA
3.35/5  rDev -9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a deep dark black into my snifter. A fingers worth of off white head forms and quickly fades to a solid skimming which lingers for a while.

Smell is nice and complex, albeit a little weak. Chocolate, coffee, hops, dark fruit, but also a metallic smell of some sort. I'm trying to convince myself its not there and it's just the can playing tricks on me. I can't get over it though, it's definitely there, but also doesn't smell like a beer can. hhhmmmm, moving on...

Taste is similar to smell, just not quite as complex. I'm not really picking up on much in the way of hops. Mostly just a nice roastiness and a little chocolate. There's that metallic again coming through in the finish for a second before fading away. Overall taste is ok, just doesn't have a whole lot of impact and the metallic twang is really a downer.

Perfect amount of carbonation, and a smooth mouthfeel. This goes down easy with no hint of the higher than average %ABV which keeps the drinkability high.

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Photo of THORN
3.48/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 Fl. Oz. can poured into pint glass. Served about 45 F.
A: Black with red around the edges. Retains a quarter inch of bubbly tan head.
S: Dark toasted malts.
T: toasted dark malts and bitter hops. A ferric after taste is very apparent.
M: Very light on tongue.
D: After taste ruins any flavor that comes before.

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

For some reason I was expecting more from the IPA side of things. Pours a fantastic brown foamy head that dwindled into a nice layer of foam to the bottom of the glass. The taste is like a smoky, chocolate and roasted malt flavor -- like a true porter actually. Where's the hop burst of an IPA? Overall though, not that bad.

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

Poured from a can into a pint glass at fridge temperature. Formed a very thick and dense, lasting head, lightly tan and meringue like in texture. Nose is resin, a little tar and roast barley. The flavor starts out very much like a dry stout, showing mostly roasted barley, but then is followed by a definite American hops presence; some pine, some grass, and a little citrus. The finish is dry and nicely bitter, but not astringent. Fairly light on the mouth, again more like a stout than an IPA. I could, and will, drink several of these in a session.

Overall I find this to be a very nice beer, and I find that I am enjoying this emerging style. This is a very good example. It is great to see the packaging; cans make more sense than bottles.

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Photo of jujigatame
2.83/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Can into a nonic pint.

Pretty black with a little light peeking through at the bottom. Almost 3 fingers worth of light tan head that starts to dissipate after a few minutes and get pillowy. Looks pretty inviting.

Smells more of malt that hops. The hops are there with a fresh presence but it’s rather faint in the overall picture. A little soapy smell here too.

The hops take the same backseat in the taste as they did in the smell. I know that they’re in there but they don’t seem to punch through enough. Perhaps I am expecting too much in this regard. The malt provides a nice backbone. Chocolate flavor comes around but I felt like it was in and out, not consistent.

Good mouthfeel. Smooth with a solid body to it. Drying on the tongue but not too much. Sticky on the lips.

I am somewhat conflicted on this one. The flavor was okay but I expected more. It just didn’t ring out in any way to me. I had no problem drinking it all but when it was over I didn’t have much in the way of strong impressions. What I have to balance that against is the fact that the last black IPA I had was Stone’s 2011 SSR a few weeks ago and I really enjoyed it. I think the fact that SSR really sang made Back in Black’s lack of wow stand out more. I can’t know what my thoughts on Back in Black would be had I not tried SSR beforehand. Since black IPAs are a style where my samples have been pretty limited it’s hard to get around the fact that SSR is a home run and everything else I’ve tried so far just…isn’t. I feel like I should come back to this beer again sometime for another go and see if it strikes me the same way or not.

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Photo of atomicbeer
2.18/5  rDev -40.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Pours cola brown (without the carbonation) with a big taupe head that diminishes in a few minutes. Aroma is of grapefruit plus floral plus a bit of a sharp metallic tang. Tastes a nice dark roast malt and chocolate up front fading to grapefruit then burnt grapefruit rind. Combined taste is a bit nasty for me. One is plenty. Not something to impress friends with.

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

Snagged a single can at The Andersons in Toledo, OH!

Appearance- Deep brown with garnet highlights and a tall creamy, linger-n-lace beige head.

Aroma- Big, sticky grapefruit citrus nose with some grassy, herbal, and floral hop notes. Dusting of black malt hidden well below the blanket of hops with some biscuit-like maltiness also present. Very hop forward!

Flavor- Starts with nice bright citrusy hop kick that leads into a nicely balanced middle that mingles the big hops with a slightly sweet, fresh malt flavor. Finishes with a bit more malt complexity including the faint dusty black, almost chocolaty malt notes and a healthy dose of hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel- Medium bodied, low-moderate CO2, nice balance but big hop presence. Low residual sugars and assertive hop bitterness makes this quite drinkable and almost refreshing, but the slightly bigger body might make this brew a bit filling after a full pint or two.

Overall- Mind bender of a beer because it feels like an IPA, with little other than color contribution from the dark specialty malt. I expected a lot more malt complexity/body out of this just eyeing it up! Well done black IPA and quite fun to drink!

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Photo of bjoyce12
2.74/5  rDev -25.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 3

DO NOT DRINK this issue in a can. For whatever the reason, metallic taste leeches into the contents of the can. Beer has aluminum-metallic aftertaste.

DO DRINK this if it's on tap. One of the best black IPA's I've tried. I don't understand the problems with the cans, led to major disappointment, but I will continue to look for this on tap.

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Photo of cbak999
4.45/5  rDev +20.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - pours a dark brown, almost black, but with a light, almost white head. Awesome lacing on the glass...this beer sticks to the inside of the glass.

S - caramel, chocolate, burnt brown sugar.

T - this drinks like a roasty porter. A bit hop forward, with a coffee finish that lingers. Finishes with a butter, creamy taste - dare I say butterscotch?

D - For almost 7% and dark, this beer drinks extremely well. It goes down easy due to the coffee/buttery finish. I like.

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Photo of afdempse
3.88/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very dark brown with a coffee colored head.

Aroma of roasted barley, floral hops

Smooth flavor profile. Hops are nicely balanced with the dark malts and roast flavors.

Medium body, with a dry finish. High drinkability and very sessionable.

Overall, I thought this was a great example of the style. Will definitely buy again.

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Photo of Glennlawless
3.83/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a 16oz.

A - Spotty lacing and Just a deep burgundy blackish dark purple color with an off white slightly light, very light hint of purple frothy inch head. this beers beautiful!

S - Roasty right off the bat. Bready,coffee....mild floral hops and some grapefruit off in the background maybe. A ton of malt happening.

T - getting lots of malt and coffee in the beginning then leaves mellow with the slightest earthy and floral hop bitterness.

M - very creamy, low carbonation.

Overall, I never was a fan of black IPA's until this one.... Had almost the body of a porter, and was so drinkable. its just a big malt like coffee bomb and then hops slide by in the end for a mildly bitter and smooth finish. This beer is sessionable to me. Very drinkable. I loved this.

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Photo of CaptainTripps
2.83/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

On tap at the Cheerful Tortoise in portland. Poured into a pint glass.

A- Pours a very dark brown, almost black but not quite. Finger worth of a tan creamy head, fair amount of lacing left on glass.

S- Pretty sweet, light roasted malts are present, hops are plentiful. Citrus and pine play around a little bit with the nose.

T- A fairly sweet IPA. Has that IPA bitterness along with a coffee bitterness which are kind of an odd pairing. Small roastedness to the beer, some what of a smokey flavor.

M- Very thin, dry and crisp finish. Good amount of carbonation.

D- Fairly good drinkable beer, something I could see myself buying a sixer here and there.

Pretty average beer overall. Nothing spectacular but nothing really wrong with it either. Just average.

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Photo of jmarklan
3.1/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a can into a pint glass.

A: Pours a thin black that shines red when held up to the light. Very dense head, excellent retention and lacing.

S: Grapefruit and slight pineapple from the hops are well balanced by cocoa malts.

T: Very slight citric hoppiness up front leads into roasty but mellow dark malts, chocolate and grain. Slight hop bitterness in the finish. Neither the hops or the malts assert themselves very much at all.

M: Very smooth, not very much carbonation. Light/ medium body, slightly watery.

Overall: Not nearly as hop-forward as a black ale should be. It seems more like a watered down version of a russian imperial stout. Not a bad brew but not one i would try again.

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Photo of mikechance
3.66/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Nice dark color with the right amount of foamy head. I could smell the delicious malts, but no citrus or hops (or any other IPA characteristics). It has a nice roasty, bitter taste --- heavy malts, chocolate, and caramel flavors, but I couldn't pick up much hops. It’s creamy and goes down nice and easy. This beer has plenty of body and depth and is closer to a porter than a schwarzbier to me.

I enjoyed the beer and will have it again (hopefully on tap). I just didn’t think it had enough characteristics to be called a Black IPA. It’s more of a creamy porter to me.

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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

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Photo of alk3kenny
4.97/5  rDev +35.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Got this in a 6pk of 12oz cans poured into my Sam Adams 20oz glass... Pours a decent 1/2 in head great dark black color... Smell is of bitter hops love it... hop bitterness is present followed by roast dark malt flavor exactly what I'm looking for in this style of beer... leaves just a little bitterness on the tongue aftertaste of hops sticks with you which is a plus in my book... mouthfeel is smooth, easily drinkable goes down again and again... I will buy this beer any time I'm looking for a black IPA

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

A- pours black with a chocolatey tint around the edges, three fingers head with nice retention.

S- something spiritous can smell the hops and roasted malts but there is something vaguely woody about this.

T-Nice hop bite with sweet malts that fade soon and are replaced by a roastiness.

M- nice and creamy medium bodied and a slightly drying effect.

D- Meh as I do love ABA this is nowhere near my favorite.


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Photo of kevinv
2.61/5  rDev -29.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured from the can into a pint glass.

A: Opaque dark brown. Ruby hues when held to the light. Large retaining tan head. Prolonged lacing throughout.

S: Light piney hops. Sweet malts.

T: Sweet and roasted malts. Light hop presence. Slight bitterness and an off-taste that I can't put my finger on in the finish. It kind of tastes like...soap? The 'roasty-ness' is nice. There's a little bit of an unpleasant sweetness that lingers. Other than that, there's not much going on.

M: Light, thin feel. Medium carbonation. It could use a bigger body.

D: Drinkability is alright. The alcohol is hidden well. It's just a little too sweet for me, so I don't think I'd want more than one.

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Photo of HitokiriNate85
4.05/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Entirely black except for the slightest dark red tinge around the bottom of the glass. Frothy tan head that's breaking apart and starting to lace from the start.

S - Pithy herbal, orangey, citrus hop aroma with undertones of bread and chocolate. It's a really nice smell that's only lacking a bit in power. After taking a sip the smell reminds almost exactly of orange chocolates. Also, about halfway through the glass, it smells just like black patent grains.

T - Strong citrus rind, orangey, pithy hops lead the charge, but there's plenty of malt backbone to match. There's a breadiness to it, but chocolate really dominates. The finish is slightly roasty, but it doesn't dominate anything else. I thought bitterness might seem a little low at 65, but I think it hits the mark really well.

MF - Pretty standard for the style, leaning towards a lighter body.

D - I'm really enjoying this so far. I had sort of gotten the notion that black IPAs(or IBAs, whatever) weren't my favorite, as the grain bill and hops always seemed to clash. I love this combination, though, which is probably because it uses two of my absolute favorite hops(Columbus and Centennial).

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Photo of WOTO97
3.72/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Just popped a can of this the other night; also had the pleasure of tasting it on tap at CBS. The nose is full of bright citrus hop qualities with lingering charcoal and cocoa bitterness in the background. This beer drink very well at cooler temps: the bright citrus hop flavors are there in the front to welcome you in while the roasted malts bring you home on the back of the palate, along with hints of caramel. Could use for a bit extra punch in the way of bittering hops. A bit thin in the body despite a nice initial creaminess. As the beer warms the big hop presence fades and gives way to burned coffee and roasted malts. All-in-all a very tasty drop and decent example of style (if you can call it that).

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Back In Black from 21st Amendment Brewery
3.68 out of 5 based on 2,360 ratings.
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