Back In Black | 21st Amendment Brewery

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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

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Reviews: 704 | Ratings: 2,359
Photo of McNealc31
4/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The pour is, indeed, black. The nose is mostly citrusy hops. Thankfully, the roasted
characteristics come through in the taste and the finish. It's almost like both the roast and the hops get their own part of the show in the finish. Flavor is full of roasted malt, some sweet caramel, and more citrus and pine hops.

Tasty, but the hops are definitely more powerful than the "black". Not particularly complex.

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

Black with two fingers of tan head. At more than half way gone still has a bit of head. Well laced. Aroma is a bit of pine. Taste is fruity piney hops with plenty of malt backing. There is a slight hint of coffee or roasted malts but not a lot. Mouthfeel is right on the money for an IPA. Nice dry bitter finish. Falls toward the middle of the Cascadian IPA spectrum. Awesome for a canned beer.

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Photo of Bierguy5
4/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz can, 6.8% abv. Pours a very dark chestnut color, coming close to black. Thick tan rocky head. Very nice retention. Nice patches of lace as well.

Roasted malts, almost a shot of espresso comes in the front. A big blast of citrusy and piney hops in the nose. Maybe some chocolate to go with the roasty flavors as well.

Roasty and sharp up front. Slight bittersweet chocolate and coffee notes. Bitterness comes in next, citrusy. Both sides are very sharp.

Medium body, slightly creamy. Alcohol is hidden well. I'm not a huge fan of the style, but this is good.

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

Poured can into red hook pint glass. Pours what else but black. Nice little head that sticks around with some lacing.

Smells of pine citrus and dark malts in the back ground.

Taste is hops right up front with roasted malts balancing the taste out. The bitterness does stick around longer but not bad at all.

Mouth feel is nice. Actually smother than expected from the color and initial smell. Expected a little more hop hit from this but over all a good beer.

Over all a good beer to try. Right in the middle of hoppiness. It's there but your not chewing your beer, not that it's a bad thing.

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Photo of plaid75
4/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On draft at The Lark, East Northport, NY.

Poured a deep black hue with a one finger foamy white head. There was decent retention and lacing.

The smell featured a resinous hop and roasted malt.

The taste consisted of a moderate hop spice with a residual roasted barley.

The mouthfeel was typical of the style.

Overall a nice black IPA. Could use a bit more hop presence.

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

Appearance 4.0: Pours out an opaque black. Nice 1/2" head. Excellent lacing.

Smell 4.0: Good bouquet. If someone put this under my nose and I was blindfolded, I could tell that this is a dark beer. I have had very few "black IPAs" that I could say that about. Smoky, chocolaty, but balanced with a very nice hop blend.

Taste 4.0: Front is somewhat sweet, but already at this level there is a hop bite. Middle is very nice, with a big wave of smoky, semi-sweet malt and high-palate hop bitterness. Finish is smooth as silk with a slight chocolate taste, but light; high in the palate, not middle like you would get from a stout. Aftertaste is long, clean and smoky.

Mouthfeel 4.0: Great balance. Light in the mouth, but creamy. Again, not what one would expect from a stout or a porter.

Overall 4.0: One of the best "black IPAs" I have tried. Smoky, chocolaty but light and hoppy. Great hop blending makes this a refreshing beer that is a good sessioner. How many "boutique" beers of this style can you say that about? Definitely worth a try for fans of dark beers and fans of IPAs alike.

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

Had this beer 100 times before on tap at the brewery. Glad they're expanding and people like it.

Black with brown highlights

Roasty IPA smell, earthy.

Roasty, piney, bitter, sweet, chocolate notes.

A great representation of this style. A hoppy porter/black ipa.

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

Can into nonic pint glass.

A: Pours a very dark ruby brown with a one finger tan head that leaves good webbing but shrinks to a ring in a decent amount of time.

S: It has a sharp hop smell, citrus and pine (mostly pine), with undertones of roasted and chocolate malt. These come through more as it warms.

T: Sharp piney hops balanced with chocolate roasty malts. A great marriage. As it warms, both more roasty-ness and hop profile come through more, so it became more intense without one side winning over the other.

M: It's up front. Thin yet smooth.

D: It's really nice and easy. The hops and roasted malt are both great for the cooler temperatures as we head into fall/winter.

Notes: A really solid brew. It's got a great balance between the hops and the roasted malts that shows they really know what they're doing. Nothing was ever over-powering.

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

Pours a black, deep drown with red when held to light. Head is tan two fingers that falls slow and laces well.

Aroma is roasted malt with nice piny hops thrown in to balance it out. Roasted some what weak coffee notes with hints of coco and pine.

Taste is roasted malt with more coffee thens present in the nose. Malt is not overly strong but then neither are the hops, Seems like a nice balanced brew. Hops are piny and leave a lingering bitterness in the finish but there not over powering. Nice crisp, dry brew with lots of flavor.

Mouthfeel is medium with carbonation thats not fizzy but pretty peppy.

Drinkability is good and enjoyable black IPA, perfect balance going on with out either side dominating.

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Photo of david18
4/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had a couple of these the other night and really enjoyed it. Not too hoppy, like many west coast ipas, and it was quite drinkable. Dark in color, very smooth drinker, easy to drink a lot of. I suspect it won't be here on the east coast enough to be a great bar favorite but if you can get this on a regular basis you should.

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

Poured a dark reddish brown, almost opaque. Two finger light tan head with clingy lace.

The smell was heavy with citrus rind hop oils and smokey malts

Taste was full of roasted malts followed up by resinous hops and citrus grapefruit rind flavors.

Mouthfeel was very good. Started with a nice creamy head and finished with slightly slick hop oils on the tongue.

Overall a very good black IPA. Not overly malty, nor sweet. The roasted malt compliments the hops quite well. I'd even say well balanced.

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Photo of thebrood1987
4/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours pretty black and I get some really rich caramel chocolate roasted malt smells that even reminds me of a scotch ale with some citrus and earthy hop undertones. Its a very smooth and rich beer with the chocolate and caramel tastes up front and then the dark roasted malt bitterness blends in well with the earthy pine slight citrus hop finish.

This comes from a can? That's awesome especially when you realize how good this beer is. As it warms the earthy roasted bitterness comes out more and it ends dry as well. Get this if you want a perfect combination of hops and rich stout like malts. My first 21st Amendment beer and definitely not my last by any means.

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Photo of projectflam86
4/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours a black (go figure) color with a thick off-white foam head that leaves some decent lacing.

S- Scents of citrus hops and pine with a nice roasted flavor coming through as well. This one should be interesting.

T- Big assertive hop bitterness initially. The finish is quite roasted with a light burnt flavor and some sweetness.

M- Medium bodied with medium carbonation. Smooth even with the bitterness.

D- Interesting brew. I like the hops upfront with a nice sweet finish.

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

CANquest part 6!

Appearance: Dark brown, not black. Good tan head that dissipates at a moderate pace, leaving significant lacing

Smell: Mild piney hops and roasty malts

Taste: Good roasted malts with lots of piney hops.

Mouthfeel: Suprisingly light body, smooth and creamy texture, decent carbonation

Overall: Good for something different in a can, and good overall, but nothing compells me to buy it again. Which isn't a problem because the CANquest seems like a losing battle (a delicious one though!) Not as good as Southern Tier Iniquity or Stone Sublimely Self Righteous Ale, but those are hard to compete with.

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Photo of zeff80
4/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out an opaque, jet black color with a one finger, tan head of foam. It left sticky rings of lace on the glass.

S - It smelled of citrus, pine and roasted malts.

T - It tasted of citrus, pine and strong roasted malt with some sweet toffee and chocolate.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium bodied ale with a dry finish.

O - This is a very good black ale. 21st Amendment continues to make great canned beer.

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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 thain709
4/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Served with a darker shade of brown body and some lighter ruby highlights...a one finger head stayed around for a little and showed some nice lacing

S - The nose is very hop forward...lots of citrusy hops...they are bold and juicy...some earthy tones but not a lot of roasted malt

T - The flavors turn around from the nose...the malts jump out first and present a pleasant roastiness across the palate...there is a brief bitter chocolate flavor that crosses in the middle of the beer...that bitter chocolate leads nicely into the bitter finish that the hops provide

M - Medium bodied...nice real complaints

D - This was a nice black IPA...the nose was very hop forward, but the flavors were malt forward with a nice hop finish...I would drink this again

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

A: poured a dark brown in color with brown highlights and had a finger of head leaving lots of lacing sticking to the glass.

S: I could definitely smell the hops on the first whiff but had a nice sweet malty aroma along with citrusy character. I did however spot out a little nuttiness in the aroma as well.

T: The sweet malts were more apparent on the taste with caramel, nutty, and hoppy flavors but did have a touch of roasty coffee on the back end.

M: the brew was medium in body with a good amount of carbonation which had a sweet, roasty, hoppy, and creamy finish.

D: a really pleasent black IPA that was really easy to drink and was more on the sweet side but I didn't mind it at all.

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

Poured from a 12 ounce can into a pilsner glass. Stamped 1192 1122 on the bottom.

A: Convincingly dark. Dark cola hints in the light, but only at the slenderest part of an admittedly thin glass. Topped with a couple fingers of almost-tan head; decent retention. Some bubbles visible at the edges of the glass. Comprehensive, scattered lace. Nice.

S: Roasted malts. The can reads 'rich dark malts,' but there is a definite porter-ish quality here, almost smoky. On smell alone, it could pass for a rauchbier. Interesting.

T/M: Also intriguing. I am unsure why this is classified as a Black IPA. It tastes mellow and roasted, with hops emerging only on the endtaste. Creamy, supported, and substantial mouthfeel. Again, more like a porter than an IPA. I suppose the bitterness on the aftertaste is more hoppy than roasty, but still...anyways, good beer.

O: Interesting, recommended, and more worth your time than the Brew Free or Die IPA. Would drink again.

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Photo of sholland119
4/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Resurrection Ale House, 8/19/10.

A-Pour is dark brown, opaque with hints of amber. A thin white head and some good lacing.

S-Roasty with an undertone of bitter hoppiness.

T-Good roasted malt and medium roasted coffee notes in the front, with earthy, bitter hops in the finish. Some sweet malt is detectable as the beer warms.

M-Medium bodied, dry and crisp.

D-Pleasant and easy drinking, won't blow you away but tasty.


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

It'd be awfully disappointing if Back in Black were actually a dark, opaque brown - as American ales of this sort tend to be - but fortunately it's as black as soot (only against the light is it visible that its trim may actually have a little chestnut colour to it). Although not pristine white, its spongy head is light in colour and the coating provides a good contrast.

The aroma is certainly Pacific North-West caliber and packed with milk chocolate maltiness - in other words, textbook Cascadian Dark Ale. Neither much citrus nor coffee-ish roast registers but the pine-y hops practically seep tree resin into the nostrils while an almost cookie dough-like maltiness triggers the sweet tooth. There's also a chicory root note.

The hops have an acidic zest to them, resembling something like a piquant tomatillo salsa, and without much roast (and no acrid burnt taste) from the malts, that part savory/part spicy note lingers long into the aftertaste. The beer is otherwise milky sweet, however, and almost reminds me of a chocolate maltshake. There's not a hint of alcohol what so ever.

65 IBU isn't too great a bitterness that coffee-and-cream and spruce tip flavours can't be appreciated. Indeed, there is plenty of flavour to this otherwise quenching, easily quaffed beer including cookie dough, pine needles and broiled grapefruit. This thing has been more than adequately hopped: the finish contains chicory and cedar wood notes.

I'm aware that 21st Amendment have had some issues with their canning facilities in the past - that, to me, seems the only thing that might explain why this beer hasn't a higher rating. I may have been more favorable to other CDAs but I struggle to think of many others that I'd rather have locally available to buy frequently. This is one of my favourite 21A brew.

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

Had this on cask at the 2010 Firkin Festival.

This poured a dark chocolate with a slight reddish hue and a frothy oatmeal head.

It smelled of malt, light grapefruit, lemon and pine.

It tasted malty with dry, bitter hops, pine, and a grapefruit skin ending.

Good carbonation. Good malt to hop balance. Wondering if they actually brewed this baby or if they had a guest brewer do it because it's a great beer.

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Photo of mdfb79
4/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From 7/24/10 notes. Had at the cdc release.

a - Pours a dark black color with little to no head or carbonation.

s - Smells of roasted and toasted malts, caramel malts, and fruity hops.

t - Tastes of pine hops, roasted malts, and caramel malts.

m - Light body and moderate carbonation.

d - A pretty good black IPA, but seemed much mroe malty to me than hoppy. Would try again.

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Photo of ngeunit1
4/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a fairly dark brown-black color with just a bit of light creeping in around the edges. A thick covering of creamy tan-brown head forms atop and fades slowly leaving behind some nice lacing.

S - Aroma is full of a mix of roasted chocolate and caramel malts with some pine hops mixed in as well. Nice balance.

T - Starts off a bit weak with some growing roasted chocolate malt flavor. The flavor kicks in a bit more soon after with the addition of some pine hops flavor. Through the middle, a bit of sweeter caramel malt flavor mixes in with some hop bitterness. The finish is a mix of roasted chocolate and bitterness that lingers for a bit.

M - Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. The beer feels fairly smooth with a bit of a syrupy feel. The roasted and bitter flavors really make for a nice dry mouthfeel.

D - Very drinkable. Well balanced overall. Could have used just a bit more punch in the flavor somewhere.

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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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Back In Black from 21st Amendment Brewery
3.68 out of 5 based on 2,359 ratings.
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