1554 Black Lager - New Belgium Brewing

Not Rated.
1554 Black Lager1554 Black Lager

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
85
very good

59 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 59
Hads: 658
rAvg: 3.8
pDev: 9.47%
Wants: 15
Gots: 220 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
New Belgium Brewing visit their website
Colorado, United States

Style | ABV
Euro Dark Lager |  5.60% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeersIsTheName on 02-02-2014

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 59 | Hads: 658
Photo of Swettenham_Shire
4.25/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

New Belgium always catches me off guard. They have another winner here. Smooth roasted chocolate taste similar to a porter. Easy drinking lager. Pairs well with dessert. (169 characters)

Photo of hopphead31415
4.17/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

I love New Belgium and I was excited to pick up this slightly more rare breed known as a Black Lager. This variety has a cool 5.6% ABV and promises to be the crazy uncle to a porter. Let’s take a gulp!

Look-It pours an almost opaque dark color, but you can pierce through this cola-tuxedo hybrid with a strong back light. The hues come out with a reddish copper color. The head is thick, but dissipates quickly into a thin film. The head has a slightly off white color. The lacing is watery and delicate often drooping down and merging with the layers below.

Smell-I get pumpernickel bread and dark chocolate aromas as well as a subtle spiciness that is composed of nutmeg and coriander, I think.

Taste-It has an immediate cola characteristic lending to the chalky and high carbonation content. The taste is definitely malt-forward with less dark chocolate than the smell indicated. It has a noble hop, toasted grain, toffee, a tinge of caramel, a touch of cocoa, and the lightest hoppy dry finish composed of dark roast coffee beans. It is absolutely brilliant!

Mouthfeel-The feel was quite light for such a dark beer and was very similar to a cola with large carbonation bubbles dominating the mouthfeel. The malts produce a very silky smooth and drinkable feel that makes this beer go down very quickly. It doesn’t have a thick syrupy feel that you might expect from something this dark which only adds to the mystery of the brew. It finishes moist and slightly dry with a pleasant coating on the tongue.

Overall-I found this beer to be much more refreshing than I thought. With such a dark variety, I was dreading an overwhelming and thick sweetness that overpowers anything that the beer could offer. Instead I was treated to a moist, accessible, cola-like brew with more smoky and dark fruit flavors that one might expect. And lastly, the rather low alcohol content is a non-issue here, because of all the flavors and also the carbonation gives it a little bite at the end that is almost indistinguishable from alcohol. You must try this beer for yourself! New Belgium never ceases to amaze me! (2,110 characters)

Photo of Lucular
4.28/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I've never had a Euro dark lager before so I don't have anything to compare it to but from looking at other beers in the style it's safe to say it wouldn't be one of my favorites. However, this is a really tasty and easy-drinking beer. I wouldn't have guessed I'd be a fan but I could drink several of these if someone put them in front of me... (345 characters)

Photo of bwood06
3.98/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A - Off white, almost khaki colored creamy head that dissipates moderately quickly but not overly so. Beer is a very deep mahogany in color. Dark enough to not be able to see carbonation. 4/5

S - Dark chocolate, dark stone fruit, dark malt. Pumpernickel bread. 4/5

T - Not getting as much dark chocolate as with the nose. Main tasting notes are dark roasted malt, slight caramelized sweetness, and a hint of dark stone fruit. Dark chocolate bitterness comes in at the back. 4/5

M - Very dry. Smooth, almost no carbonation. Dries out the back of the mouth. 3.75/5

O - Very good dark beer. Nice complexity to the flavor and aroma profiles. Much lighter on the mouthfeel than expected. 4/5 (705 characters)

Photo of tillmac62
3.73/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

EBD 8/9/15. Pours an almost pitch black. Outstanding head volume, lacing and retention.

Mild nose of roast, chocolate and herbal hops.

Light medium body with a smooth texture. Normal carbonation with a bit of effervescence in the middle and a finish that attempts to be prickly.

Very good flavor profile that is medium in intensity, not complex but is well balanced. It begins with a mild blend of roast and chocolate. The middle brings a bit of hop flavor (herbal) and mild bitterness. As the bitterness fades, a biscuit sweetness emerges to balance. The slow fade finish yields a bakers chocolate note. (614 characters)

Photo of Stevedore
3.66/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Pours a dark black-cola brown body, one finger offwhite head, great retention and nice lacing. Smells of roasted malt, chocolate, mild breadiness, a bit of dark fruit, mild noble hop aromas. Flavour is similarly heavy on the dark malt; a mild bread, dark chocolate, roasted grains, slight earthy bitterness on the finish. It's mildly roasty with a touch of cocoa, which is nice. Slight smokiness, but maybe I'm imagining things. Mouthfeel is thinner bodied, good carbonation, slightly slick with a thirst-quenching finish. Overall, a pretty good black lager with a nice roastiness to it without too much bitterness. (615 characters)

Photo of Marraybay
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was really a nice lighter alternative to a darker/heartier beer, without giving up everything that goes along with the style. Not much head or lacing with this one, but a decent roast/sweetness in the front and smooth slightly bitter finish. Could definitely see this as being the "house" lager. (302 characters)

Photo of Ri0
3.66/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

I was pleasantly surprised by this beer after giving it a chance. A good amount of sweet roasted malts and a very smooth feel make it easy to drink and enjoy. (158 characters)

Photo of Caj1
4.18/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I needed a change from strong hoppy beers and since it isn't porter season yet I thought I'd get the next best thing.

12 oz. glass bottle, expiration date 8/29/15. Poured into a mug. Nice caramel-colored head with excellent carbonation from what I can see. Moderate head retention but not a great deal of lacing. Color is deep copper/ruby, black when not backlit.

Smell is pretty deep and fruity with dark roasted notes, sweet bready malt, a touch of hops for earthiness. Caramel and chocolate predominate.

Taste is quite nice and better than expected since some dark lagers can be extremely underwhelming. Chocolate and some fruity esters from malt are noticeable first. A gentle hops bitterness comes up next which helps balance the more cloying fruit notes. I also notice some caramel, and roasted barley flavors round the beer out, and it finished with a rounded sweetness. It does have a coffee note but it isn't overwhelming. Big points for unexpected complexity.

Mouthfeel is very smooth and the beer has a medium body which it maintains through the finish. Not a great deal like a lager in my experience.

I so-far have not been grearly impressed by New Belgium, but this beer is actually not too bad at all for supermarket fare. I enjoyed it quite a bit and was pleasantly surprised that it had a rounded flavor profile, instead of just "light feel with brown flavor." I will pick it up again.

To good health and good beer. (1,440 characters)

Photo of KLHBB
3.42/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Nearly black with a tiny tan head. The coffee taste dominates. Good, but I'd rather drink something else. I really like New Belgium, I guess you can't please everyone all the time. Nor should you try! (211 characters)

Photo of Gote
3.24/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

It may be my fault for having a Yeungling Black & Tan before this one but it just seems to be a little lackluster compared to the rest of the fine New Belgium lineup. Don't get me wrong, it's not an awful beer but I guess I expected a little more flavor with something called a Black Lager. I wouldn't turn it down if offered one. (330 characters)

Photo of jasonpeckins32
3.67/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours faintly close to black in color. Slight khaki colored head retention. It appears to be thin-ish.

Smells simple. Very malted (and not much else). This beer also tastes very simple. Malty, roasty, and not much else. A surprising, yet firm, smokey note in the aftertaste gives this beer a bit more character.

Resembles a stout. (338 characters)

Photo of Myotus
3.84/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours with a small, light brown head. Has a very dark brown color. Has aromas of malts, hops, and chocolate. Hops and malts are also present in taste with a slight chocolate finish. (181 characters)

Photo of timontheroad
3.65/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Dark brown, nearly black minimal head, little lacing. Aroma was pretty much only dark roasty malts. Taste was a bit of dark roast malt, a slight touch of chocolate. Mouthfeel was pretty light for a darker beer, didn't linger on the tongue much. Not at all a bad beer, but not great either. (289 characters)

Photo of eddiefontaine13
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

nice lager, medium dark, smooth coffee, and semi sweet chocolate flavor, clean smooth flavor, little after taste, relax and enjoy a few on a cold day with a close friend, (171 characters)

Photo of zacharrry
4.26/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I've had a strong craving for dark lagers after returning from the Czech Republic, so I was happy to see this on the shelves of my local Whole Foods. It's a light-body beer with notes of toffee, caramel, and roasted coffee. Perhaps sweeter than I'm familiar with, but very pleasant for stout-lovers stuck in summer weather. (323 characters)

Photo of Caveworm
4.25/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

1554 Black Lager - New Belgium Brewing, as part of the Folly pack. Poured from the bottle into a pint glass, its got a two finger thick light than head with web like lacing, and a black translucent body.

Smells like more savory of malts, perhaps a spot of caramel from the roasting process.

I can taste roasted, nearly chocolate-y malts, and that bit of caramel I'd mentioned above. Nothing really going on with the hops, but this is a very well balanced brew. Its not as if all of the elements I've described are the only taste you'll get with this beverage, but they are the most prevalent tasting notes I personally am picking up.

The mouthfeel here is clean and smooth. This beer doesn't linger whatsoever, surprisingly.

Overall, I'll give 1554 Black Lager - New Belgium Brewing a 4.25. If it were just a hair more savory, I would have rated this higher. It could certainly have a little more to it; then this would be phenomenal. I may or may not pick this brew up again. It was part of the Folly variety pack recently released around here (Stark County, OH) , so I honestly don't know if its available for individual sale. (1,146 characters)

Photo of TheStepChild
4.33/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Aroma: Toffe or Caramel with Cofee and roasted barley aroma with a very light hop aroma if any.

Appearance: Pours a very clear dark brown with a light tan head. Small bubbles.

Flavor: Toffe and Chocolate and a light roast profile dominates followed by a balanced light bitterness. Chocolate and roast linger in the aftertaste and don't disappear. Finishes sweet with a medium dryness.

Mouthfeel: Medium light body with a light carbonation bite.

Overall: A very nice black lager. The roast is pleasing and balances well with the other malts. Would recommend trying if your looking for a fresh Schwarzbier in the US and you can get it just about anywhere. (660 characters)

Photo of VashonGuy
3.23/5  rDev -15%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

A few years ago, I thought of 1554 as a real "go to" dark beer. Well, that was before I had had a lot more dark beers, and well before I ever started keeping track of what I was drinking or rating and reviewing beers.

Now, 1554 seems like nothing special. It's certainly OK. and I'm drinking all of the 6 pack I bought. But it's not as tasty as a really good lager, and not as interesting as a dark beer as any of the porters I can think of. Neither fish nor fowl. Just kind of bleh. (489 characters)

Photo of Dr_Farts
3.65/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I was pleasantly surprised with this beer. Pours thick and dark brown with minimal tan head. Not strong on the nose, but there is a slight dark malt scent. Medium to heavy body. Very light on the lager taste, comes off like a light porter. Very drinkable, and I could see drinking plenty by a campfire. (305 characters)

Photo of mblakesley
2.75/5  rDev -27.6%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

I'm just starting to dabble in dark beers and 1554 here is okay but lacks some body and flavor, imo. Now maybe that's part of the "dark lager" style; I don't know. But I'm not a fan of it. It's not bad, but I'd definitely prefer a good porter.

Completely agree with Arch578's review. (a few reviews below this one) (315 characters)

Photo of CIBoy10
4.01/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Look- pours a dark, nearly opaque brown. Looks black with low light. Head is frothy and slightly off-white. Great lacing.
Smell - Sour, Chocolate, Grain
Taste - Chocalate gives way to very toasty malt with slight bitterness. Gets quite better the further into the beer.
Feel - Very creamy and very drinkable. I love beer that feels like this (think Guinness). Is very smooth without sacrificing taste.
Overall - very nice. I'd say quite comparable to Guinness with a different taste. 1554 contains much more toasty flavor. (523 characters)

Photo of Bunman3
3.65/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12 oz bottle poured into an undersized hotel glass on a Montana ski trip. I love black lagers, so was excited to find this NB take on the style. It is sweeter than I usually prefer, with plenty of chocolate, a hint of coffee, and a very dry finish. In some ways, this seems like a beer that forgets to be a beer, if that makes sense. (333 characters)

Photo of Arch578
2.72/5  rDev -28.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

Really not impressed with this beer. Nothing special about its appearance or aroma, and the taste just reminded me of a cheap porter. I understand that lagers are usually meant to be more drinkable, but I feel this one went beyond drinkability to the point of lacking body and depth. I'm not particularly fond of the style to begin with, but I don't think this beer lived up to what a schwarzbier can and should be. (415 characters)

Photo of Tsar_Riga
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Dark brown, almost black, but transparent, with nice head of light tan. Persistent, with extravagant lacing that coats the glass.

S - This is perhaps the only misfire, in that the nose is out of character. It is harsh, with sour grain elements, like a strong sourbread starter. There is a bit of roast character, smokiness, slight cracker elements, but mostly acidic sour notes. It had me worried.

T - The sourness backgrounds, and becomes a fairly typical dark beer element, with strong roast grains, caramel and dark breads that are hidden in the nose. What you might expect from a dark Euro lager. The close is slightly bitter, with subtle hop notes of grass, that fade out to a slightly sweet grain finish.

M - This has a light feeling on the tongue and is easy to drink. The very subtle drying does not linger or fatigue.

O - This will be jumping into my main beer rotation, even though the nose is less than ideal. The taste and drinkability are a great combination, and the flavors offer sufficient variety and depth to offer different aspects to focus upon with each drink. So it will be something I'll grab. (1,133 characters)

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
1554 Black Lager from New Belgium Brewing
85 out of 100 based on 59 ratings.