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.
BA SCORE
83
good
706 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:
706
Ratings:
2,367
Avg:
3.68
pDev:
24.18%
 
 
Wants:
54
Gots:
383
For Trade:
0
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 706 | Ratings: 2,367
Photo of IronLover
3.93/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Nearly black in color with a deep brown hue around the edge of the glass. Pours with a thick beige head that leaves lots of wet sticky lacings on the glass. Looks like it would be thick and chewy, but is surprisingly medium bodied with lively carbonation. Roasted malt and coffee aromas with a faint hint of citrus and dark fruit. Flavors are similar to aromas, with roasted malt and coffee flavors in the front, a bit of tangy citrus in the middle, and a dry finish with a slight piney hop finish. Pretty unique combination of flavors. Although I enjoyed it, I probably wouldn't be having 3 or 4 of these at one sitting.

 621 characters

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

12oz can that states it is an American IPA brewed with rich dark malts, so I'm expecting some roasty/chocolate and not an IPA colored with sinimar... Served in a tulip.

A - Very dark, almost completely black except for ruby on the edges when held up to the light. Standard light tan head retains well with decent lacing.

S - Citrus and floral hops with a slight hint of sweet chocolate and caramel. Very pleasant.

T - Ok there is a LOT going on here. Moderate initial bitterness with a fair roasted presence. Big citrus hop flavors of orange rind and pine are battling with caramel and chocolate sweetness. While I was expecting the roasted aspect, this seems muddled to me.

M - Medium boded, big carbonation (almost too much), with a tart aftertaste/bite.

D - Medium to low. The ABV coupled with the palate confusion makes me think again.

 844 characters

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

Appearance: Dark brown/black with translucent ruby highlights.

Smell: Mildly roasted malt, citrus-lemony hop and earth.

Taste: Roasted malt and citrus hops. Subtle coffee and chocolate. Decent balance.

Mouthfeel: Thin bodied, smooth.

Drinkability: A mild black IPA that's unassuming, finishes clean, and is easy to drink.

 325 characters

Photo of zoso1967
4.11/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

As one might expect, Back in Black pours a slightly transparent black. When I say slightly transparent, I pretty much mean only when held up to a bright light source does it show some clean motor oil like hues around the edges. The head is a surprisingly dark tan color, creamy, and stubborn in its staying power. It leaves some pretty serious lace on the sides of my glass. This is a beautiful looking beer.

It has a pretty powerful aroma full of slightly charred roasty malts and juicy citrus hops. There is also a fair amount of chocolate, and some pleasant bready malt sweetness. Everything is well integrated, and if you smell it without concentrating hard it adds up to just one singular and tasty aroma.

The flavor strikes me as much more complex. Right off the bat it is slightly smoky and leathery. Astringent charred malt comes in next, with roasty coffee and some bitter cocoa also making an appearance. Grapfruity citrus and pine are also there. If I was to describe the hop flavor in a picture I would draw a nice juicy ruby red grapefruit hanging from a pine branch. There is also a nice biscuity malt sweetness that combats most of the bitterness of this brew.

The mouthfeel is on the fuller side of medium. This is a smooth drinking beer that has a well crafted finish. This beer is neither too dry nor sweet and the slightly sticky aftertaste is chameleon like in its nature, vacillating between roasty, malty and hoppy.

This beer is fairly drinkable, but is one of those beers that I drink slowly just to appreciate all that is going on. The India black ale is still a young style, and the different interpretations I have had are all quite different, but one thing is for sure, this is one of the better examples I have tried thus far.

 1,758 characters

Photo of Metalmonk
4.06/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very thick head of rocky light tan foam, like that you'd see atop a root beer float. And the liquid is definitely black in the glass, after having poured out in a stream that was more like a glassy, oily dark brown. Some dark reddish tones are pulled out in the light. Immense lace stick, like webs of styrofoam. My god what a ridiculously good looking beer!

Nose is a roasty, toasty, even slightly burnt bit of malt. Like burnt popcorn and charred toast, with a coffee-like edge and a hint of steamed milk. Hops shine through all that darkness with a citrus-like brightness. What a contrast.

Taste: Charred/burnt malts are in control and not overpowering the palate, while a fruity, bright citrus spark flashes by, over and around the burnt stuff. It's a flavor that takes awhile to get the taste buds around, but here, in Back In Black, it very much works. It exhibits a healthy balance between two seemingly opposite poles. Dark, rough and dirty versus bright, tart and sweet.

Neither watery nor at all thick, the mouthfeel is one that is slick and slippery; round and present although subtle enough to let the delicate balance of the flavors take most of the attention. Almost reaches the creamy heights of the mighty Iniquity, but only almost. Very much does the job, is what it does.

This is my third can of this in as many days, and the first time I wasn't totally feeling it...the second go-around I started feeling more clued in to its secrets...and this third time I just totally get it. It helps that I really like this emerging style, and while this is no Iniquity, it can definitely stand as a good representation of the style.

 1,653 characters

Photo of robwestcott
2.75/5  rDev -25.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

poured from the can to a sun king shaped pint glass a dark cola color with a full finger loose bubbly mocha head leaving lace up the side of the glass.

strong aroma of floral hops and sweet candy.

sweet, tart and tangy, a very strange tasting brew. pungent floral, not at all agreeable.

thin, highly carbonated.

drinkable ?

 327 characters

Photo of BrewCrew2010
4.46/5  rDev +21.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A: As it pours into the glass it's a brown color. However it sits in the glass opaque black with only brown highlights. A billowing and rocky head, light khaki color, sits on top that last forever leaving an amazing amount of lace.

S: A strong floral and citrus hop aroma balanced with sweet roasted malts. Very earthy smell.

T: A crisp flavor of floral hops with a citrus bitterness. Light chocolate malts are evident with hints of espresso.

M: A medium body beer with light carbonation. Creamy texture, yet dry finish.

D: Love this beer. Easy to drink, good price, great taste... all around- a must try.

 609 characters

Photo of hosehead83
3.92/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz. can into a standard pint glass
Black in color with garnet highlights, and a moderate head of off-white foam.
Aroma-Faint roasted malt, citrus hop notes
Taste-Roasted malt, faint coffe and chocolate notes, a nice citric hop bite for balance.
Overall, pretty flavorful, if a bit thin-bodied, but not bad at all, especially out of a can.

 354 characters

Photo of biggerboat88
3.92/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a glass, this is a very dark IPA with a thick topping of light brown head. You get mostly sweet malts with some slight roasted aromas on the nose. The sweet malts come through first, I noticed some earthy undertones before the hops come through. There is a lingering bitterness that interplays with the malts as you continue to drink this one. The head faded rather quickly but left some considerable lacing on the glass. Another decent addition to the "Black IPA" family that seems to be quite popular right now. Very smooth and drinkable with an enjoyable little hop-bite.

 586 characters

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

the pour of a nice porter without any cloudy body. Nice mocha head. Simple lemon zest nose and floral soapiness. Brisk feel but rather simple but mild malt notes. Seems like color and not reinforcing the bright hop. Very subtle earth bitter and a hope for dimension. Simplistic jean backbone.

 292 characters

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

Dark brown with little light passing through with off white head. It resembles a cola.

Smell is citrus hops with a light roasted malt. Not very aromatic.

Taste is citrus and floral hop profile with an addition of burnt malt.

Mouthfeel is thin and crisp. Slightly bitter.

Good drinkability. A decent black ipa.

 317 characters

Photo of Tucquan
3.25/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Had this on 2010-10-02 in Columbia, PA. This is my 200th review.

A - Dark brown with a two-finger, tan head

S - Dried plums, mild roasted grain and mild licorice.

T - Not my cup of tea. Initial sour mash followed by sour rotted fruit, metallic, meat, then dried plum sweetness and significant bitterness.

M - Light body and medium carbonation

D - I'll pass on this one.

 375 characters

Photo of Risser09
2.78/5  rDev -24.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

12 oz can into a tall pilsner - fridge - 2010

Appearance: Pours a dark brown, but not quite black color with orange highlights. The head is a towering 3.5" in my glass and shows great retention. Tons of sticky lace on the glass.

Smell: Citrus, probably from centennial is strong and clinging. A nice, toasted malt backbone of chocolate and sweet molasses. A nice balance.

Taste: A ton of flavor that results in quite a cacophony. Lots and lots of espresso, chocolate nibs and even a tannic astringency of bitterness. That hops are strong, bitter and lingering. This is too much for me.

Mouthfeel: Sweet, leathery, malty, bitter and lengthy. Medium bodied, ample alcohol and tons of malt.

Drinkability: This beer has it all, but at what cost? It's so confusing and clashing that I don't really enjoy it very much. I understand the attempt being made, but don't agree with the overall result of the flavors. I would leave this one.

 934 characters

Photo of dpnelson1978
3.98/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. can into glass pint.
40°F

$1.75 / ea.

A: Bright deep brown body topped with a tan two finger head of fantastic retention that leaves generous lacing and a thick rocky head. Really nice.

S: Piny hops dominate the aroma with a hint of peach citrus and mild roasted nuts and coffee.

T: Strong coffee flavors blended with a posted deep roasted malt character. The hops are piny, and the beer in general comes off as a bitter porter. The aftertaste is mild, and does not accumulate. The beer is good, but I'm not really sure how to grade it with regard to style.

M: Light body with high carbonation. Very crisp.

D: Very sessionable for me, but it may confuse some. The body is light, the flavor interesting, and finish crisp. If nothing else you will have some fun talking about it!

O: The blend of a stout and IPA will either please people, or offend two different expectations. Interesting beer none-the-less.

 921 characters

Photo of steve8robin
4.03/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Wanted to try this one for a little while. 12oz can...

A: Super dark with very faint ruby highlights around the edges when held up to the light. Super, super thick 2 inch off white head that fades at a slow pace. Very good.

S: Bitter, grassy hop scents upfront with a hint of chocolate and caramel on the backend. I get some breadiness in the middle. Good.

T: Hmm, almost tastes like a porter blended with an IPA. A creamy coffee taste upfront quickly followed by a nice blend of bitter hop, but not super bitter. Very dry brew. I get some booziness on the backend. I get some malts hidden in the back. Good.

M: Medium body with a medium carbonation. Ok.

D: This one goes down a lot easier than expected. Very good.

All in all, this is a solid brew. Glad to get to try it. Definitely good if you're looking for an interesting take on an IPA or if you're a fan of Black & Tan's. If you're looking for the straight and narrow though, don't worry about this one.

 965 characters

Photo of kingcrowing
2.63/5  rDev -28.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

12oz can poured into a Duvel snifter.

Pours a pitch black silky smooth color with a nice solid one finger deep brown head with lots of cratering and sticky lacing. Nose is very sweet, malty and it almost smells a bit like Belgian yeast, interesting. There are some hops but it's not over the top.

Wow, taste is something different, I'm not sure if I like it. It's a bit metallic (I don't attribute that to the can), and has a somewhat sharp tang. It's fairly acidic and harsh, a bit grainy as well. There are some hops because I do get bitterness on this but it seems more like bitterness from roasted malt. Mouthfeel is fairly watery, with very light but sharp carbonation. It's not so easy drinking and it leaves a bit of an off flavor in your mouth. Honestly I'm a bit disappointed in this.

 795 characters

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

12 oz can. My first can of craft beer! The mostly black can has a sweet picture of a patriot on a motorcycle.

Beer pours a very dark, almost opaque brown. A nice billow of tan head sticks to the glass. Smell is unique, high-pitched malts combined with an herbal hops. All-in-all sharp, but very nice. Taste is nicely complex as well. Dark, toasty, campfire malts meld into a pleasantly bitter finish. Feel is nicely carbonated, and deceivingly dry and thin at the end. The only drawback is that this beer is so "varied" that I could only have a few at one sitting. For that though, a good beer, and a great introduction to craft beer in a can.

 644 characters

Photo of beer2day
4.15/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark brown pour with 1-finger tan head. No retention but nice lace.

Cascade weak on the nose. Roast malt comes through a little stronger.

Nice roast flavor up front, with Substantial chocolate malt and coffee. Hop note is milder than expected but still nice.

Medium feel for a beer this rich.

Nice beer. Worth a glass or two.

 330 characters

Photo of NCSUdo
4.16/5  rDev +13%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz can

A: Black body under a medium sized tan head. Good lace and retention. Good looking beer.

S: Toasted and chocolate malt mixed with some grapefruit/pine hops. Pretty balanced.

T: Some chocolate, toasted, mildy roasted malt mixed with some grapefruit and pine hop. Bitterness is about medium, and balances very well.

M/D: Medium to full bodied, carbonation is a touch high. Drinkability is very good. Overall, a very solid beer.

 440 characters

Photo of magine
4.03/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a nonic glass.

Pours a near black brew, with some ruby shined through on the edges. Tan head with massive chunky head that settles to a lace island and has great lacing throughout. Very good looking brew.

Brew smells of hops, nutty malts. Piney hops, maybe even grapefruit, nutty earth malts. Decent smell.

Brew is smooth and on medium feeling, slightly thin and carbonated. Very good flavor balance; nutty flavors, piney and fruit hops. Brew finishes a tad bit bitter and slightly dry. Has a oily resin noticed as you drink. This is a very good tasting brew.

The brew is thin enough to session like crazy. I bought a case and I am very pleased. This will be gobbled up for a nice session, at 6.8% it will catch up with you. Very good stuff. My first from 21st Amendment, certainly impressed.

 808 characters

Photo of ujsplace
3.93/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into an oversized tulip.

This brew is black with a thick, frothy two-fingered tan head. Nice lacing and a thin, wispy layer is left as the head is reduced to a chunk sitting in the middle of the layer.

Smells of roasted malts and citrus hops with a piney resinous smell in there as well.

Initially tastes of big citrus hops that is balanced nicely with a nice maltiness that is like dark chocolate, coffee and nutty. The finish is an astringent pine-like hoppiness.

Medium bodied, nicely carbonated.

An easy drinking brew that definitely doesn't let you forget that this is an IPA. Would easily buy a case of this stuff. This is a very sessionable brew.

 665 characters

Photo of ArrogantB
3.36/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz can purchased at Beverage World in Ft. Oglethorpe, GA $2. Dark black color, decent lace, short head. Smells roasty, like a porter. Tastes very much like a porter and nothing like an IPA, it wasn't even hoppy. I have no idea how old this was but I am really starting to doubt the whole black IPA phenomenon. Its like most of them are just porters and the really hoppy ones still don't make me think IPA. Hoppy black ale would be a better moniker for these shits.

 466 characters

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

The beer pours a dark brown/black color with a thick frothy tan head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a nice black and roasted malt scent along with a refreshingly bitter, citrus hop aroma. The taste is good. It has a killer, citrus hop bite up front laid over a bed of black and roasted malt flavors. It's dry and roasted with a fresh hop character that resinates in the finish. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a medium bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a good drinking black IPA. The hop character is outstanding; very fresh and flavorful.

 573 characters

Photo of DIM
3.46/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

a: This was pretty far short of black, more of a dark, reddish brown color. It poured with a thick, craggy, and super-sticky head.

s: Kind of an odd nose, but it works well enough. I found some gentle, porter like roast and healthy dose of citrus.

t: Here again, an odd juxtaposition of flavors the works, but I can't say I loved it. I tasted roasty, chalky, porter like cocoa up front. The finish wasn't all that bitter, but the pine/citrus flavors came through.

m: Despite, or possibly because of, the robust head thses feel kind of lifeless and watery.

d: These aren't bad, but I won't in a hurry to buy more without freshness dates.

 640 characters

Photo of Natural510
4.08/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark, dark brown with thick, dense off-white head with a creamy consistency.
Tangy, bitter nose with alternating notes of roasted malt and grapefruit rind.
Dry, roasted malt with charcoal character meets a sour, tart citric hop.
Full in mouthfeel & body, this one is sturdy.
My first of the style, unlike any other "IPA" I've had. This is not only due to the roasted malt character, but the utter lack of sweetness to the ale. I like.

 442 characters

Back In Black from 21st Amendment Brewery
3.68 out of 5 based on 2,367 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
  • 10 Years of BeerAdvocate Magazine

    We're celebrating 10 years of BA mag with $10 print subscriptions for US residents!

    Subscribe