Dismiss Notice
We're celebrating 10 years of BeerAdvocate magazine with $10 print subscriptions for US residents.

Subscribe now!

Back In Black | 21st Amendment Brewery

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
704 Reviews
Read the review
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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 704 | Ratings: 2,359
Photo of anon
3.31/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very deep Ruby/dark brown. Not as dark as expected for the style. Creamy, thick finger-width head sits atop and attains it's retention quite well. Spotty lace.

Very subdued aroma, only picking up the faintest roast, malt, cacao and hop characteristics. Juicy hops up front on taste; pine, grass and earth. Malts take over the show with some decent roastiness; notes of coffee, grains, grass, milk chocolate and light toasted bread.

Finishes quite smooth and a bit creamy. Lingering of roast and light bitterness. This was the high point of this brew for me. Really not too bad, but for the style it sets out to be, falls short.

 639 characters

Photo of rodbeermunch
3.52/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Black beer pours black, not overly viscous, looks more like schwarzbier than a stout, so we're doing good in going after the oxymoron black india pale ale. . . Head was tan, 1/2". Aroma hit big time C hop bitterness and roasted malt notes.

Taste is bitter as well, not a lot of hop flavor, more roast than that. Strong abv, strong ibu. If you want something strong and substantial this is it, but it doesn't display a lot of nuance.

 438 characters

Photo of Ciocanelu
4/5  rDev +8.7%
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 dacrza1
4.17/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

DATE: June 3, 2016... GLASSWARE: Barley Creek pint... OCCASION: Relaxing after a nice coach pitch win....pours a powerful three-finger brown head that is creamy, rocky, foamlike lacing... the black body akin to cola... aroma has the strength of punchy citrus--lemon, watermelon--with the malt-forward spiciness, especially pepper and toasted bread.... the palate is warming, slightly crunchy, dry at the finish, and nicely textured for a beer at 6.8% ABV... medium-bodied and, as the write-up suggests, quite mellow.... the flavor is malty, spicy and hoppy in balance... enough citrus exists to evoke an IPA, while the low end bakes nicely in the taste buds... another quality offering from 21st Amendment, and a beer that dangerously entices the drinker to session...

 768 characters

Photo of LF_Evan
3.87/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from can

L: Looks a lot like coffee. Even the head has a creamy, bone-like tone to it.
S: Chocolate orange
T: Significantly more hop-forward than roasty. The Centennial hops are showcased well, bringing a bright tangerine quality to the flavor profile. The supporting dark malts are pleasantly mild and add some depth to the finish with notes of chocolate brownie and black tea.
F: Velvety carbonation and resinous hop oils coat every inch of the palate, letting the hops and following roasted malts cling long after the last sip.
O: On the drinkable side of black IPAs, but not sacrificing any complexity.

Pair with chocolate ice cream, crab rangoon, sweet potato fries.

 680 characters

Photo of TX-Badger
3.5/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark brown color with dark ivory almost tan colored head. Pine, roasted malt, bread, and some grass on the nose; follows onto the palate. Medium to full bodied. Finishes with pine and roast.

 198 characters

Photo of fitzy84
3.9/5  rDev +6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Bought a can at the Beer Shop in East Longmeadow. The beer poured with a large, creamy, slightly-brown head that eventually shrank, but still left some big patchy lacing on the sides. Thick black color to the beer, but there is some dark clear red when you put the glass to the light. Aromas include a medium spiced hops smell mixed with a somewhat sugary smell, like chocolate. The taste is more explicit with that sweetness with some caramel, chocolate, malt wrapped around a hop-crispness. This is where the carbonation from the mouthfeel really helps to balance this dual hopiness with sweetness; generally light body, slightly creamy, and crisp, carbonated refreshment. Overall, I thought the balance of flavors that were helped from the mouthfeel really made this a good ale.

 781 characters

Photo of Tone
3.97/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear, dark brown color. 1/3 inch head of an off-white color. Good retention and great lacing. Smells of piney hops, sweet malt, hint of alcohol, hint of roasted malt, hint of yeast, and a hint of chocolate. Fits the style of an American Black Ale. Mouth feel is sharp and crisp, with an average carbonation level. Tastes of roasted malt, piney hops, sweet malt, slight alcohol, and a hint of chocolate. Overall, good appearance, fresh body and aroma, good blend, and decent complexity.

 501 characters

Photo of q33jeff
4.1/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Very nice and smooth offering. Aroma is a nice mix of toasted barley and hops. Taste is wood and bittersweet chocolate. Dark black (though thin) with a big fat white head. Medium carbonation."
Had it again at the CJ Beer Festival. Still excellent, No Change, Except for some reason their sign said "Back To Black".

 352 characters

Photo of NolaHopHead
3.91/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

12 oz can. Near black with two finger off white head, decent retention , leaves coating lace. Combo of roasted malts and fruity hop aroma. Tasty black IPA here, great balance of chocolate n char with fruity citrusy hops. Very easy drinking. Mouthfeel is a little thin.

 273 characters

Photo of Kinger22
3.76/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours a rich, dark black color with a lasting tan head. Smells rich with hints of malts and hops. The taste is balanced between that of a dark lager and a black IPA. Very drinkable for a darker beer.

 199 characters

Photo of DavidS333
4.4/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Back in Black is a tasty American black ale. The beer pours quite nicely with a small-medium level of "head". The foam is a nice coffee color. The color of the beer/ale its self is quite dark, like a dark brown color per se, and is pretty much opaque. The smell is somewhat hoppy and rich.

The taste is quite good, it has a richness to it and a sort of hoppyness echoing throughout it per se, giving it a nice solid after taste. The main emphasis of the taste seems to be in the front end per se, of the taste. The body is quite interesting it is also smoothe. Instead of the taste sort of vanishing into a sort of solely hoppy taste, there are other tastes in the aftertaste, that perhaps other reviewers have discussed more thoroughly, but there is none the less, quite an interesting mixture of sort of subtle tastes along the edges per se of the aftertaste.

Beers that come to mind in relation to this beer/ale, are perhaps a sort heavier aftertaste in "Palate wrecker" by Green Flash. The two beers/ales are quite different, but both have a sort of very strong sort of hoppy taste to them at different points in the sort of drinking experience albeit.

Overall a great rich beer, it is nice to find a new high IBU high alcohol content beer, and this gem is certainly a sort of horse of a different color, it being an American Black Ale, and that sort of perhaps lends it a sort of uniqueness, that helps make for quite a tasty, flavorful beer. Great beer/ale overall.

 1,484 characters

Photo of ckornmannn
4.22/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

From a can, into a tulip: dark mahogany, almost black color. Rye, leather, smoke on the nose. Taste follows: rye, tobacco, leather, toast, a bit of smoke, with a good hops aftertaste. The right amount of carbonation and a somewhat silky feel. I really enjoyed this one.

 275 characters

Photo of RobertDBrase
4.07/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours an almost black color with ruby hints showing through the light. Has a slightly beige, off white foamy head.

Smells of sweet and piney hops with notes of roasted malts. Almost like hops on toast was the smell I got.

The taste follows the nose with toasted malts and mostly citrus on the hops. Something like a bit of smoke on the flavor. Tastes almost like a good porter and a good IPA collided.

The mouth feel is light and dry with a crisp finish.

The 6.8 ABV does not show at all as this beer drinks so easily. And neither does the 65 IBU's show up for the fight either. I felt the hops and roasted malts were so nicely balanced and played off of each other so well that the balance was spot on. Maybe not enough hops for a true IPA fan but I still liked this one a lot.

 783 characters

Photo of maltman24
4.15/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Nice black color with lasting tan head.
Forward hop presence in the aroma with some sweetness from malts. Flavor is well balanced with forward hop presence and malt backbone. Finishes very clean with a little lingering bitterness. Very smooth finish not harsh at all. I'll have another!

 287 characters

Photo of McFlorida85
3.6/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Nice balance for an IPA. Nice dark color and foam as it pours. Nice lace as you drink. Strong hops smell. I was hoping for a little more Carmel/coffee flavor, but it's still clearly an IPA in taste.

 198 characters

Photo of gonzo000
3.8/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

A very good Black IPA that leans a bit toward a black lager. The look is a nice black color with a one finger head on the pour. The smell was grapefruit. The taste was less IPA like and more lager, but good none the less. Enjoyable smooth feel.

 248 characters

Photo of Ozzylizard
3.74/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

$ 18/12pack ($ 0.125/oz) at Franklin Beer, Franklin, PA
Can BB 1/1/16 at 42 degrees into shaker
Aroma of citrus and malt
Head large (7.5 cm, aggressive pour), light tan, frothy, slooowly diminishing to seven mm frothy layer
Lacing good – complete rings of tiny to medium bubbles
Body dark brown, opaque
Flavor - not much, malty bitterness, weak hops; no alcohol, no diacetyl
Palate medium, watery, lively carbonation

Appearance 4, Aroma 4, Flavor 3.5, Palate 4, Overall 3.75

 477 characters

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.

 1,110 characters

Photo of mothmanscott
3.87/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a clear, very dark brown (bordering on black until you shine a light into it) with ruby hints when held to the light, producing 3+ fingers of frothy. lasting, tan head that recedes to a collar ring, thin island cap & leaves rings & strings of clumpy lacing. Aroma is grapefruit earth, floral & a little pine with roasted nuts & chocolate intermingled with hints of molasses & very faint coffee. Taste is citrus hoppy-roast, semisweet chocolate, toffee, molasses with a little coffee & cherry hint. The finish transitions to more bitter pine dominant hops backed up by citrus, smoke, & burnt malts producing a bitter/burnt, chocolate malt aftertaste. There is a plastic/phenolic presence briefly, but definitely on my palate, in the finish. I have noticed this in other black IPAs. Mouthfeel is medium to heavy with moderate carbonation, silky with a chewy hint & a little prickle in the finish.

 900 characters

Photo of Biggiekrock627
4.35/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from 12 Oz can into a pint glass. Pours a big frothy sea foam looking head and a thick chocolate. A great mix of hops, malts and very balanced flavors

 157 characters

Photo of Wiffler27
4.21/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

pours dark black with a slight ruby tone.

i smell sweet malt. sweet caramel.

taste is roasted malt with some sweet citrus hops. odd combination but for a black IPA it works. goes down smooth, easy to drink.

overall this is a pretty good beer. nothing spectacular but still a good beer. goes down smooth and has a clean taste. would totally drink this again

 360 characters

Photo of The-Adjunct-Hippie
4.05/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Appearance : Cola brown with 100% opacity. Popcorn colored head, 3 fingers tall. Leaves pockets of lace on the sides of the pint glass.

Smell : An exceptional aroma of both pine needles and roasted malts. Rye bread, cocoa, milk, and oat can also be nosed.

Taste : First piney, then malty, then piney again, and a final wash of cocoa malts. A fair bit of cocoa powder, toast malts, lactose, and oatmeal accompany the piney body. Some burnt brown sugar as well.

Feel : Medium bodied, yet still crisp and refreshing. Moderate carbonation props it up and finishes on a semi-dry parch.

Overall : A very nice Black IPA. These are my kinds of IPA’s. I’d gladly have this one again.

 686 characters

Photo of TheElectricOne
3.5/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Ogies Trailer Park:

Pours a rich dark brown, with a small, quickly dissipating head. Looks almost exactly like coca-cola. Not much discernible smell, either in malt or hop aroma. Just a little bit of char from the roasted malt, and that's pretty much it. Taste is decent, solid amount of malt, but not too sweet. Not much in the way of hops from what I got anyway. Feels crisp, with a medium body, and a short finish. Overall, it's a decent beer, but not one I'd go out of my way to find.

 499 characters

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

 264 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Back In Black from 21st Amendment Brewery
3.68 out of 5 based on 2,359 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Extreme Beer Fest® Cometh

    February 3-4, 2017. Boston, Mass. Limited tickets available. Prepare for epicness.

    Learn More
  • Free Trial Subscription

    Reside in the US? Interested in a free 1-month trial subscription to the print edition of BeerAdvocate magazine?

    Yes! Sign Me Up!