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1554 Black Lager | New Belgium Brewing

very good
120 Reviews
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1554 Black Lager1554 Black Lager

Brewed by:
New Belgium Brewing
Colorado, United States | website

Style: Euro Dark Lager

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.60%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeersIsTheName on 02-02-2014

User Reviews
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Reviews: 120 | Ratings: 918
Reviews by MaddDogg84:
Photo of MaddDogg84
4.75/5  rDev +24%

More User Reviews:
Photo of hopphead31415
4.17/5  rDev +8.9%
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 Caj1
4.18/5  rDev +9.1%
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 Caveworm
4.25/5  rDev +11%
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 Pantalones
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Second (and last) bottle from the fall Folly pack; best-by date is January 17th, 2016.

Pours dark brown, almost the same color as a darker soda (like Coca-Cola), but once in the glass it is much darker in appearance -- nearly black, with some dark brown-red around the edges and in thinner parts of the glass. Beer is clear enough that I can see the light from my phone through it, but it only comes through as a red square -- yep, this is pretty dark. Nice head of tan foam on top, which came close to filling my pint glass upon pouring but has settled down to about a third of its original size, leaving nice trails around the side of the glass as it went. Leaves really nice layers of foam on the outside of the glass as I drink more -- it's looking like I may be able to count how many drinks it took me to finish the glass when I'm done, assuming they hold up as well as they are now! XD

Smell is roasty, chocolaty, and "beery." Not incredibly strong, but present enough that you don't need to stick your nose in the glass to pick up some of the aroma here. A bit of a nuttiness seems to come in toward the end of the glass.

As I seem to be saying a lot lately -- the taste is similar to the smell, but stronger and richer. There's definitely a roasty flavor right away, and then that blends into a more chocolaty sort of thing. The chocolatiness fades a bit quicker than the roastiness though, and there's a slight lingering roasty flavor for a while after swallowing. There's also something a little sweet and almost fruity in there along with the roasty/chocolaty flavors, I didn't notice it on the first sip but it was definitely there in the second. Overall it reminds me a bit of a lighter, milder version of the same brewery's Portage porter, but without the "almost charred" sorts of flavors that at times got slightly harsh in that one. I also don't remember getting that sweetish almost-fruity flavor in that beer. I'm not getting anything that stands out as hoppy or bitter in the least, though I suppose that fruitiness could be from hops? Then again, malt, hops, and yeast can all give off fruity flavors sometimes so it's hard to guess.

Feel is pretty nice as well. Feels more substantial and richer than most paler-colored lagers, which is appropriate given the color and flavors involved, but at the same time it's still fairly light in feel for something so dark in color, and very drinkable. Doesn't quite have that same "soft and bubbly" feel as some other beers from the brewery, but it's still nice.

Overall, this is a very good beer -- an interesting combination of stout/porter (dark color, roasty/chocolate malt flavor) and lager (light/medium bodied, very drinkable) characteristics that just WORKS. I'm glad I got to try a couple bottles from the variety pack, and I'll likely have it again in the future (thankfully it's not actually a winter seasonal as this site's entry claims -- it's in the fall variety packs and was on the shelf through summer where I am, anyway.)

 3,021 characters

Photo of Lucular
4.28/5  rDev +11.7%
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 RoyBrentJr
5/5  rDev +30.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

For some reason, I arranged this to follow the Ranger IPA. Needless to say, I took my time—and a large glass of water. xD

Literally everything that Negra Modelo is not, this poured with a two-finger head that hung around for several minutes before virtually disappearing. The color is a deep reddish-brown. The smell may have proven that my nose is wonky; I got black coffee, amaretto and jalapeño, which changed as it warmed to coffee, fudge and roses. Seriously. Taste is black coffee and Kahlua with a finish that's predominantly licorice dipped in saccharine—which is WAY better than it sounds. Creamy, rich mouthfeel. This may be the most complex beer I've ever had and, though I've yet to try a lot of black lagers, this is thus far the gold standard.

(Edit: paired rather unintentionally with what was left of a chili burger; I don't think I'll ever try that again. It was like two comedians at a roast fighting over who gets to tell the darkest joke.)

 966 characters

Photo of EyePeeAyBryan
4.28/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Dark, roasty, coffee, chocolate, crisp and effin delicious! This beer should always be in my fridge and I can't believe it doesn't get more love. Something I can drink all day and not get tired of it.

 200 characters

Photo of BigDaddyWarbuxx
3.93/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A great roast flavor. Obviously it's not as full as you'd find in a stout, but it makes it a more laid-back and drinkable beer. For a black lager this is pretty solid.

 169 characters

Photo of davemarc87
3/5  rDev -21.7%

Photo of mojohawk21
3.25/5  rDev -15.1%

Photo of googs509
3.71/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of SD-Alefan
3.75/5  rDev -2.1%

Photo of ValpoExpo
3.25/5  rDev -15.1%

Photo of dditto2
3.87/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Good beer. I drank straight from the bottle which I usually don't while reviewing. Looks dark in there. Sorry. Smells of chocolately malt. The roasted flavor really comes through with chocolate. Really nice flavor. It is a bit on the light side. My favorite from this folly pack. I will def try again and maybe tidy up this review a bit. Honestly I pounded the beer before I finished the review. Pretty good. New Belgium never dissapoints.

 443 characters

Photo of BeerYo
4.1/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of Beerswag
3.8/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

One of the beat beers out there to have with a good hamburger...!!!

67 characters

Photo of Torey
2.9/5  rDev -24.3%

Photo of Timtastic
4.25/5  rDev +11%

Photo of avitallo
3.75/5  rDev -2.1%

Photo of andrewdanks
3.75/5  rDev -2.1%

Photo of Prospero
4.18/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Franziskaner
3.74/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Black in color,but it does allow some light through when held up to the light. I see a half inch head of khaki colored foam. Brussels lacing. I get caramel and chocolate notes in the aroma. The body is smooth and creamy. I get dark malt and a light bitterness on the front of the palate. The finish brings out the sweet chocolate notes. The flavor seems a bit muted.

 366 characters

Photo of PSU_Mike
3.65/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Photo of moundbz
3.77/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

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1554 Black Lager from New Belgium Brewing
86 out of 100 based on 120 ratings.