Back In Black | 21st Amendment Brewery

BA SCORE
83
good
708 Reviews
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
Reviews:
708
Ratings:
2,388
Avg:
3.68
pDev:
13.32%
 
 
Wants:
54
Gots:
392
For Trade:
0
User Reviews
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Reviews: 708 | Ratings: 2,388
Photo of RblWthACoz
3.48/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I think the thing that really strikes me on this beer is that there is so much caramel and maltyness to it. If this is a black ale, I would think there would be much more hop presence. There is a spice tone from hops, but I think the issue is that the caramel malt character is equal or greater to it, which doesn't work so well. And that sums it up for the beer: doesn't work so well.

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Photo of AriRock
3.68/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer has a darkly toasted rye bread backbone with grapefruit zest and grassy hops that give way to a dry, bitter finish. I enjoyed the first few sips, but this beer is not very drinkable, nor exceptionally complex. I find the hop flavor here is noticeable but a bit overwhelmed by the tobacco and burnt toast flavors of the malt, and overall it just does not deliver the type of tropical or resinous hoppy aromas that would make it brighter or deeper. I would not buy it again.

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Photo of IllNate
3.45/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark brown with dark amber highlights, generous light tan head, great retention. Generous hopping in the nose, citrus, with resin and pine, with some dark roasted malt in the backseat. Taste follows with malts moving taking a step towards the front seat. Hops are still mainly citrus, resin and pine. Mouthfeel is a bit harsh, but nice bitterness. Overall a fine cascadian dark ale, but not my favorite exable of the style.

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Photo of tony223366
3.7/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is a brown that's as dark as night. Nice tan head that's about three fingers. Really attractive ABA. Nice lacing and good head retention.

S: Aroma is mostly fresh piney hops with some smokiness and rich caramel. Almost smells a little funky as well, a bit musty.

T: I think the flavors are good. The hops aren't overpowering but combined with the charred/smokey bitterness strike a nice balance with the rich, somewhat sweet caramel malt flavors. The hops taste mostly of pine and maybe a little grape fruit in my opinion. It's certainly very sweet though. The beer surprisingly is malt centric.

M: Nice, smooth medium body with good carbonation.

O: A malt forward ABA... not exactly what I was expecting but generally I like it. Far from the best of the style in my opinion but I do enjoy it.

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Photo of kemoarps
3.41/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep dark cola, with a tan head that lingers, lacing the glass as I drink.

The nose is... difficult to pin down. There's some round maltiness to it, and maaaaybe a hint of hops, but I'm not getting much I can put my finger on.

It tastes better than it smells, but it's not blowing me away. There's an almost creamy caramel/biscuity malt backbone to it topped off with some nice floral hops, and a little bit of citrus on the finish. Decent, but not spectacular.

Carbonation seems appropriate, and it goes down smoothe enough. A decent brew, I'd definitely drink it again if offered, but not one you need to go out of you way to find right away.

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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.

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

A: Pours a super deep brown, verging on black, with a full finger of khaki colored head. The foam takes forever to settle. Decent lacing as it drinks.

S: The nose is dark chocolate, caramel, citrus, pine, and roasted nuts. There isn't one standout scent, it's a pure blend of all of those things.

T: Starts out sweet like caramel, mixed with some burnt toast. Citrus hops shine through right after. The middle is mainly malt. The finish is a blend of char and bright citrus.

M: Medium bodied beer. Tons of flavor, nice malt and hop play. Nothing lingers for too long.

O: Solid. I'd drink this again if I saw it.

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Photo of superspak
3.56/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce can into tulip glass, canned on 8/15/2011(oh well, lets give it a shot). Pours a clear extremely dark brown color with a nice 2 finger dense khaki head with great retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lasts. Some good spotty lacing clings to the glass. Aromas of orange, grapefruit, caramel, roasted malt, toast, pine, herbal, floral, and light chocolate. Aromas are pretty malty sweet smelling, with moderate roast character. Taste of grapefruit, pine, roasted malt, caramel, toast, chocolate, floral, and herbal spiciness. Fair amount of bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of citrus, roasted malt, toast, pine, and herbal spiciness on the finish for a good bit. Pretty nice balance flavors; with a good hop/roasted character balance. Medium carbonation and body; with a fairly creamy and sticky mouthfeel. Alcohol is well hidden with hardly any warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is a good black IPA. Nice roasted character to hop balance, and very smooth to drink. No idea what to expect from a fresher can, perhaps better aromas.

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Photo of hopsolutely
4.15/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Although this specific can is not exemplary, perhaps the best "Cascadian" black IPA I have ever encountered. A perfect mix of "stout" roasted malts with west-coast citrus hoppy undertones.

Can pours a dark burgundy colour, a beautiful amber when held up to the light, with decent head and lacing. Mouthfeel is pleasantly carbonated without being too slick, and the 6.8% ABV is terrifyingly well hidden. Aroma of dark roasted malts, albeit a subtle metallic twang in this can that hasn't been present in previous ones. Taste is well balanced with the dark chocolate and coffee roasted malt flavours, finishing with delightful citrus and tropical fruit hop notes. A pleasant bitterness lingers with the mango...

All in all, I consider this a benchmark beer. Thank-you 21st Amendment!

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Photo of beerluvr
3.85/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a Duvel tulip with a nice long-lasting light tan head that leaves a nice pattern on the sides of the glass as it settles out. Very dark damn near black liquid goodness in the glass, fresh hoppy and bitter aromas with subtle roasted malts. Good mouthfeel and wonderful hop bitterness mingles with that roasted malt, giving a touch of bitterness as well. Finishes long and bitter with again that little roasted malt snap. Interesting and quite drinkable twist on 'ye olde I.P.A.'. Not too strong yet makes a nice 'gonna have a few of these'-type beers.

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Photo of NoLeafClover44
3.8/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. can poured into goblet.

A - Pours black with a half finger of mocha head. Carbonation dies to a thin wisp on the surface. Paints the glass with a lacing of bubbles.

S - Roasted malt, pine hops, toffee, char. All the components of a good Black Ale.

T - Resinous pine hops, chocolate, and toasted malt. Doesn't have amazing complexity, but very well balanced.

M - Plentiful micro-carbonation and a medium body make for a creamy mouthfeel. The hops offer a dry finish.

O - I consider this one "old reliable" for the style. Has enough hops to keep me satisfied combined with mellow malt. Makes for a very drinkable, tasty, canned brew.

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Photo of GalenAnderson
4.5/5  rDev +22.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had this beer on draft at the Armsby Abbey in Worcester MA. It was poured into a standard tumbler pint glass with a one finger head.

The appearance was a deep brown, not quite black and not fully opaque. The hoppy and malty aroma is nice but not as strong as the taste of the beer itself.

The taste of the beer is thankfully its best attribute. It was really wonderful and full of complexity. It is neither particularly hoppy nor bitter, but these flavors are present and balanced. The roasted malt flavors that held hints of chocolate and currents provide most of the taste. The beer is just a little sweet which balances with the bitterness perfectly.

Mouthfeel was nice, lightly carbonated, maybe a little bit lighter than expected.

Very drinkable and also very easy to enjoy with food.

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Photo of TheEarl
2.26/5  rDev -38.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I had Back in Black poured from a can into a standard pint glass on the evening of May 23, 2012.

Appearance: As the name suggests, Back in Black is…black. Beyond the color, there is a quickly dissipating off-white head with medium bubbles and some decent lacing.

Smell: Back in Black’s aroma is as roasty and bready as the dark color suggests but I found the hop notes seem a bit inorganic—less like a pine trees and tropical fruit and more like pine air freshener and Capri Sun.

Taste: The taste is dry with roasted malt as the overwhelming flavor.

Mouthfeel: The mouthfeel with Black IPAs or, as we like to call them in Seattle, CDAs, is always a bit jarring. Simply put, the appearance primes you for a more substantial texture than these beers tend to offer and Back in Black is no exception. The mouthfeel is pretty thin, which is fine, but, I also found the beer lacked in terms of slickness or viscosity—it just felt rough.

Overall: I didn’t like Back in Black and I wouldn’t buy it again. BIPA/CDAs seem like a very “hit or miss” style and, for me, HUB’s Secession or Firestone Walker’s Wookey Jack are significantly better ales.

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Photo of BuxMontBeerLover
3.85/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Revivals Restaurant in Perkasie, PA

Served in a standard pint glass

A - The beer is a very dark brown color (not quite black but pretty close). Mostly opaque. Was poured in front of me with a one finger, beige colored head. Low lacing.

S - Rather underwhelming aroma but a faint malty, hoppy smell.

T - This is a really easy drinking hybrid beer. It has the piney, hoppy, slightly bitter taste of an IPA with a backbone of roasted malts. As it warms up, more of the flavors (chocolate, perhaps) come through. The alcohol is well hidden.

M - A moderate consistency, moderate carbonation.

O - I enjoy this style of beer. It's a decent tasting brew that goes down easy with a nice flavor. If you're into this style, I'd recommend giving it a try.

Cheers!

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

A: Back in Black does not pour a full black color. It has more of a dark root-beer hue, though in the low lighting of a bar it might as well be absent of color. A medium two-finger head of light tan bubbles appears initially, slowly dissipating to a thin but consistent layer atop the beer that nicely laces the sides of the glass.

S: I’m really struggling to get much of an aroma at all from this beer. There’s a very subtle smell of the roasted malts, but not much else. If you really concentrate, you might observe a light pine scent from the hops.

T: The initial taste smoothly brings the darker malts of this medium-bodied ale to the front, leaving the bitterness for later. Said bitterness strongly makes its appearance upon the finish. There the hops emerge with high potency, mixing with the roasted malts for a sharp but delicious relish.

M: The roastiness of the malt and the light flower of the hops linger on the palate well after the sip as the mouthfeel becomes a tad sticky, but in a good way that brings to mind sweet pine resin.

O: For people who tend not to go for full IPAs, Back in Black offers a good sharp drinking experience with a bit more depth to balance out the bitterness. The roasted malts still make this a powerful beer in terms of flavor, and the extra richness they provide will satisfy those who don’t like drinking a glass of hops. Overall, Back in Black is nothing to write home about, but if you’re new to this hybrid style, this is a very good representative.

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Photo of Samp01
3.73/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz can. Pours a rich deep black with a lasting tan head, good lacing. Aroma and Taste of rich lightly roasted dark malts, yeast, with some floral piney hops bitterness. Palate is a medium to full body with mild carbonation. Finish is sweet roasted dark chocolate malts, some light dark fruity notes ending is a sweet malty floral piney hops flavor. This brew was not overly hopped ( bitter ) but more dark malts. Overall it was a good drinking and tasty brew, enjoyable to drink.

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

A high quality black IPA with a smoother, softer overall feel on draft than in the can. Carbonation is rounded off a bit, there’s some stickiness, and the body is very much right down the middle. Black and opaque with a small tan head that settles down slowly, leaving nice lacing. Aroma is lightly roasty but led by grapefruit hop notes. The flavor is a bit more balanced and less aggressively citrusy than I remember the can being. Definite grapefruit hoppiness with some piney notes but there is a higher degree of roastiness here than in many other black IPAs or “Cascadian Ales” or what-have-you. Finishes fairly dry with a bit of lingering bitterness in the aftertaste. If you like this style this is a solid example.

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Photo of jpro
3.75/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz can from Total Wine Park Road in Charlotte. Into a DFH shaped pint...

A: Dark brown; light khaki, one-finger head; leaves some lace; a ton of sediment is floating around.

S: Grapefruit with some pretty rich breadiness; mint.

T: Grapefruit citrus hops; soapy bitterness; some alcohol / pine on the finish; not much malt.

M: Medium body; high carbonation; prickly.

O: A decent black IPA; A LOT of sediment in the glass though - not appealing especially for a black beer - kind of a turn off.

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Photo of match1112
3.58/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

a: dark coffee colored body with half a finger of tan creamy head.

s: roasted malts, citrus, pine.

t: starts out roasted then quickly turns to a citrusy hop presence and finishes with a some what dry and bitter finish.

m: seems kinda thin, but that could be because my eyes are telling me this is a stout and it should be thicker. good carbonation with a touch of resin on the finish.

o: very drinkable. wouldnt mind having another. thanks laxer8811!

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

12oz can served in a standard pint glass.

pours a dark, cola-like brown with 2 fingers of head... some decent lacing left behind. once settled in the glass it has a look reminiscent of a stout, so it's funny to take in the citrus and pine evident in the nose.

taste is, as you would expect, more malty than a traditional IPA with some roasty elements common of a stout or porter, but the citrus and pine notes are certainly present as well. not bad, actually. medium to highly carbonated with a velvety sort of mouthfeel. mid-range 6.8 ABV is not much of a player, as i could see having a few of these without much trouble. not un upper eschelon beer, and while typically i prefer keeping my roastiness et al confined to my stouts and porters while the big hoppy notes stay in my PAs, IPAs, DIPAs, etc, i'd still say that this one's worth keeping around.

original review on: 07-27-2010

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

A - Pours a dark, nearly opaque brown with puffy 2 finger head.

S - Some bright hoppiness, grapefruit and pine. Good amount of malt in the background.

T - Much more malty in the taste. Almost drinks like a porter, some rich toasted malt, caramel, and a hint of chocolate. A little bit of hop kick on the end.

M - Smooth, good amount of carbonation present.

Overall - Not a bad beverage at all. Definitely more malty than an IPA (even a black IPA) would suggest, but I found the flavors present good.

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Photo of tweeder263
3.15/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured out from a can a dark brown beer with a fluffy 2 finger head. Has a light cascade hop smell, some malt is evident. Taste is also fairly subdued, hops are fairly noticeable, some slight roasted notes show themselves towards the end. Mouthfeel is nothing special. Overall a drinkable brew,nothing special.

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Photo of TheHopHeadGirl
3.65/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

For a black hops, this is my fav so far. They call this a hybrid of beers (subtle chocolate, coffee and hops). It's hoppy but a little thicker, deeper, darker and richer than the usual hop beers. Reminds me of a Guinness but you'll be surprised after the hops hit you. 6.8 etoh and 65 IBU's. Good job on diversifying the hop beers, 21st Amend!

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

EDIT: On a second pass at this I found it way too rich. Not sure what makes it an IPA, downgraded to OK.
Original: I liked this better than any of the other Black IPAs I’ve had lately. Very session-able, balanced, roasty and toasty. Med bodied, carmel malty, good hops (but not really IPA level) and a cleanish bitter finish. Check it!

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Photo of Auracom
3.33/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Gotta love shit in a can. Not literally, of course. 12 oz. can from Primanti Bros., poured into a pint glass on April 14th, 2012.

A - Dark semi-clear brown coloring. Huge, 4-finger soapy, whipped tan head. Decent retention, good lacing. Not truly black but close enough.

S - East coast hop profile. Sweet, strong malt backbone adds in a stout-like quality of roasted coffee beans and grains.

T - More of the same really. Blending of light cocktail fruit, sweeter hops, and heavily roasted grains.

M - Light body, medium-high carbonation, semi-sweet finish.

D - Peculiar. Very malt-forward for the black IPA designation but decent contrasting notes of a more mild, sweeter IPA and a lighter, coffee-highlighted stout. Props for creativity.

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Back In Black from 21st Amendment Brewery
3.68 out of 5 based on 2,388 ratings.
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