21st Amendment’s Back in Black: Now, That’s What I’m Talkin’ ‘Bout Willis!

You know Gary Coleman really had it great in the 70s sitcom Diff’rent Strokes.  He had his older brother Willis to run interference for him and a new kinda hot sister that was rich, and a new dad that was a disciplinarian, but loose with the purse strings.  “OK, Dad…I’ll take my grounding like a man, do you think we could go out afterwards and get those new Converse sneakers all the kids have.”  Yeah he had it pretty good.  It was a blended family that really worked in the land of TV.  Of course their real lives were train wrecks, but I choose to suspend disbelief and think happy thoughts when I see a picture of the Gary in his quintessential role.

The TV makes things simple that are not, and makes sure that troubles and strife are wrapped up neat as a pin in 22 minutes with commercials.  We all know life is not that way.  That goes for lots of other things as well, not just families, whenever you try to blend things together it is often an exercise in contrast and complexity.  Take for example the mash ups of beers that are out there.  There are dozens if not hundreds of collaboration brews that take two distinct beers, or styles of beers and put them together in some sort of odd way.  Some times it works remarkably well, and others it is abject failure (lookin at you Stone Cali-Belgique).  21st Amendment has put together a Black IPA that is as well blended and harmonious as the 70’s sitcom…

Back in Black is 21st Amendment Brewery’s take on the Black IPA, and to my way of thinking it is everything the style should be in a well balanced and integrated flavorful brew.  The pour has a generous 3 finger cappuccino colored head, that I actually did try to keep from going that high.  It had a nose that had a good dose of both malt and hops.  It was balanced, but extreme at the same time.  You would get a big blast of maltiness followed by an equally big blast of hops. I knew I was going to dig this beer.

I took a sip through the foam and my head exploded.  It was the flavor I knew I had been missing from every other Black IPA I had tried.  Big malty character is up front with a nicely integrated and big hop balance on the back side that also integrates the flavors together as neatly as a new girlfriend for Willis.  It also does a great job with the 6.8% alcohol, you can taste it, but it blends perfectly.

When I took the first sip, I immediately went out to the beer fridge in the garage and got my other can  so I could turn the experience into a bomber!  Get this brew and drink it.  Its amazing.


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11 Comments on “21st Amendment’s Back in Black: Now, That’s What I’m Talkin’ ‘Bout Willis!”

  1. August 30, 2010 at 3:23 pm #

    I don’t think I “get” the whole Black IPA thing, but I know it has taken off. Maybe I need to investigate further…oh a beer nerd’s research is never done!!

    • Evan
      August 30, 2010 at 3:46 pm #

      The style can actually be quite good if done right. Most commercial examples usually turn out to just be porters and stouts with a bit more hops. I’ve heard the Back in Black is tops, but I bought two cans that were infected/sour.

      I quite like my homebrew one though. Still haven’t found a commercial example that tops it yet 🙂

      • Don
        August 30, 2010 at 4:34 pm #

        You need to give it another try Evan. It truly was an outstanding brew. Lots of robust malts and a hop bang at the end that keeps things interesting. The best I’ve had to date.

    • Don
      August 30, 2010 at 4:32 pm #

      I like them a lot. It is just a challenge to get all those flavors to behave themselves and go where they are supposed to be. Back in Black is the super Nanny of Black IPAs.

    • Bill Bennett
      August 31, 2010 at 2:02 pm #

      Jim, I agree there is no such thing as a Black IPA. It is an oxymoron. There is however such a thing as an IBA (India Black Ale) or a BIA (Black India Ale). You may be familiar with it as our signature beer, also known as the reserve.

      • Don
        August 31, 2010 at 2:05 pm #

        I think people are just lazy and call it Black IPA because it is easy. Also I have never seen such disagreement un the craft beer community over a naming convention as there is for this style of beer.

  2. August 30, 2010 at 7:52 pm #

    Have yet to try this style. The thought that its like a hoppier stout is interesting but it’s not supposed to come out like that, right? Any other BIPAs worth trying?

    • Don
      August 31, 2010 at 10:36 am #

      I’ve heard a lot of good things about Hop in the Dark by Deschutes, and I like the Dogzilla BIPA from Laughing Dog. One I would avoid is Stone’s Sublimely Self Righteous, because it just tastes like an IPA that has black food coloring put in it.

  3. August 31, 2010 at 12:55 pm #

    Cool Don, thanks. I’ve seen the Laughing Dog locally.

    • Don
      August 31, 2010 at 1:10 pm #

      Yeah Scott, try the Dogzilla. It was my favorite until I tried the Back in Black. Its good stuff.


  1. Bomber CANS! « Beer & Whiskey Brothers - August 31, 2010

    […] may recall that in my last post I had a sip of the “Back in Black” from 21st amendment and immediately ran to the beer […]

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