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1554 Enlightened Black Ale - New Belgium Brewing

Not Rated.
1554 Enlightened Black Ale1554 Enlightened Black Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

2,986 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,986
Reviews: 1,243
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 12.53%
Wants: 68
Gots: 170 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
New Belgium Brewing visit their website
Colorado, United States

Style | ABV
Belgian Dark Ale |  5.60% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 01-02-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of 1554 Enlightened Black Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 2,986 | Reviews: 1,243 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Shumista
3.53/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle into a beer mug.

Dark brown with a small off white head. Smell is roasty malts and dark fruit. Taste starts off with a subtle dark fruitiness, followed by coffee and bitter chocolate. Finish is a bit metallic. An interesting brew that is unique and drinkable enough to have a few in one sitting.

Shumista, Feb 18, 2010
Photo of KOPBeerDrinker
3.53/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into pint glass. Not much of a head. Deep reddish brown in color.

Smells of burnt malt and maybe some chocolate.

Tastes of the same. Chocolate up front, dry finish.

Mouthfeel is rather light, with prickly carbonation. Easy to drink.

KOPBeerDrinker, Jan 18, 2010
Photo of nimrod979
3.53/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle into a tulip. Best by Apr-08-12. Whoops, I'm a few days late.

Appearance - Poured a deep and somewhat murky brown. Some amber/orange highlights when held in the light. Small and short lasting off white creamy head. A thin ring settles around the edges.

Aroma - I like the nose on this one. Chocholate malts, roasted coffee, yeast, some spice and hint of earthy floral hops.

Taste - Semi-sweet dark chocolate malts, Belgian spice and yeast, before a slightly more bitter coffee finish and a touch of floral hops.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied. Dry. A little too high on the carbonation than I would have expected. Bitter earthy coffee finish. But it has a depth of flavor and aromas that make it an alright beer to try. Although I doubt I'd ever really seek it out again.

nimrod979, Apr 24, 2012
Photo of SiriusBock
3.53/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: as promised, black with a nice cream colored head. I expected thy to be darker
S: roasted grains. I tried to pick out more, but all I it was boiling wort
T: roasty, not bitter, with chocolate notes. After it warmed up, I got a little toffee at the finish.
M: I will agree that it was thin, however I didn't expect anything too heavy, like a porter or stout. I was considering it as thin as a cascadian dark ale
O: not too bad, not spectacular. It didn't have the depth I was hoping for. It's at least worth a try, and the historical aspect is cool

SiriusBock, May 29, 2012
Photo of ommegoose
3.53/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Best before 10/24/08.

Pours out black with some clarity and no cloudiness. Garnet color when held to the light. Head retention is uninspiring. Falls to a cap after a few sips. Makes up for it with a full sheet of lacing.

Aroma of black malts, like a schwarzbier. Coffee and chocolate aromas are present but void of any sweetness. For a beer that bills itself as Belgian, there's a real lack of fruitiness in the nose. Dry red wine character is interesting. Slightly sour notes come out later, as does more sweetness.

Flavor is rather like a schwarzbier as well. Not much in the way of sweetness, or yeastiness, or hops, leaving you to try and dig as much as you can out of the black malt. Has some of that cracker/biscuit flavor like other NB beers. Chalky baker's chocolate. Grape or dark cherry, if any fruitiness. Acidic and a touch of sour. Burnt and roasted flavors are buried. Finishes with a mild espresso bitterness.

The body is nice. Smooth, with unobtrusive carbonation.

This beer goes down well enough, but seriously leaves something to be desired in terms of complexity. I did not get what I thought I was with this beer. I would not expect this to match the best Belgian brews, but it doesn't even really compete with Unibroue or Ommegang. A lighter, less boozy, more drinkable Trois Pistoles in a six-pack would have been great. But alas. Plenty of people seem to like this beer well enough, so go out and try it, but I think I've had my fill for now. Might be miscategorized. I have a hard time believing Rare Vos and 1554 are the same style.

ommegoose, Sep 09, 2008
Photo of biggred1
3.53/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Clear dark amber with a fluffy tan head that leaves fine lacing on the glass. Mollasses, oatmeal, toffee and raisins in the nose along with some fresh yeastiness. Tastes of brown sugar and gingerbread,yeast fruitiness like an overripe banana and vanilla. Light and smooth on the palate. Good quaffer.

biggred1, Feb 24, 2009
Photo of spinrsx
3.53/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz Bottle from Whole Foods Las Vegas NV for 1.99$

Appearance - Clear brown colour with a large size frothy beige coloured head. I can't make out the amount of carbonation showing and there is some decent lacing. The head lasted for 5 minutes.

Smell - Malts, dark fruits, chocolate

Taste & Mouth - There is an average amount of carbonation and I can taste dark fruits mixed with malts and a bit of chocolate. There is also a bit of a smokey taste. It ends with a malty dark fruit aftertaste with a hint of lingering smoke bitterness.

Overall - Just a little too watery for me. The taste is decent but this isn't something that stood as a beer I need to revisit.

spinrsx, May 04, 2012
Photo of Cormier29
3.53/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured out of a 12-ounce bottle into my Duvel tulip glass. Dark brown/light black color, that is transluscent. 2 Fingers of head or so, with nice lacing and a aroma ofdark dried fruit, with the hint of the bready Belgian yeast. Taste is what is expected a dark candy flavor, malty with no real hop bitterness. Overall a good beer for first time drinkers of a dark Belgian ale.

Cormier29, Apr 27, 2011
Photo of goblue3509
3.53/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark cola like color which shows no light except around the edges when held up to lightm. The was a skim off white head which left a little lace on the glass. The aroma was of roasted malts and chocolate. The taste follows the nose big toasted malt backbone with chocolate and coffee coming in in the middle. The mouthfeel was well it wacarbonated. Overall I thought it was closer to a porter. It was a decent beer but not a favorite for the style.

goblue3509, Aug 14, 2011
Photo of gabe23
3.53/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Very dark brown that looks black unless held up to a bright light. Foamy white head that hangs around for a while.

S - Coffee, dark chocolate, and a bit of raisin or date sweetness.

T - A little bit of malty sweetness up front that quickly leads to a espresso and dark chocolate bitterness. Maybe a bit of earthiness in the finish, but to real hops presence to speak of.

M - Not as heavy as expected. Much like a schwartzbier but with less carbonation.

D - Interesting beer, I suppose, but I kept wishing it was a dark lager or stout. The flavor wasn't the best, but I like the idea behind the beer and I applaud New Belgium for making it.

gabe23, Dec 14, 2009
Photo of JohnboyE
3.53/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- its a black ale so it pours dark. Thin head hung on for about half the way down the pint glass

S- hints of chocolate.

T- pleasant fruitiness like fig or raisin underneath a roasted malt flavor

M- I think this is where this beer really excels in its style class. Many black beers are too watery or too earthy. This has a nice full mouthfeel but without the lingering muddy after affect. They really found a nice balance. If you written off black ales as a style give this one a try.

O- not a style that is ever going to blow you away with complexity but this beer is satisfying without being too heavy and I could enjoy it year round

JohnboyE, May 15, 2012
Photo of Wheelinb
3.53/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had on tap at The Stable in St Louis.

Medium brown color with a slight brown head. It had a distinct caramel aroma which made me think it was going to be overly sweet. It was not. It did have a sweetness but was balanced out by the hops. I got a strong alcohol aftertaste as well.

Wheelinb, Apr 25, 2009
Photo of jifigz
3.53/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Bottle poured into a pint glass.

This beer pours a deep, dark brown color with a small fluffy white head that lingers for a short amount of time. When held up to the light it looks very similar to an American Porter. The aroma is slightly malty with hints of some chocolate malt. The taste starts off chocolatey and rich and ends with just a touch of bitterness for balance. It is overall a rather sweet beer that is heavy on the chocolate flavor. There is also a level of alcohol present in the flavor which is quite surprising since it is only coming in at 5.6%. The MF is medium to light bodied and easy to quaff.

This beer is okay, but how is this really different than an American Porter? It tastes like one, feels like one, and appears like one. Sometimes I feel that the lines of "beer styles" is heavily blurred. Overall not a bad brew though. A decent easy drinking dark beer with a minimal, but good, flavor.

jifigz, Sep 16, 2013
Photo of mphopkins99
3.53/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Another nice beer from New Belgium. Pours a dark brown, a little bit of head and lacing. Has a real nice carmel, doughy smell to it, but the taste isn't as sweet as the smell led me to believe it was.

Nice mouthfeel to it, and very drinkable. Very smooth, the taste definitely had some coffee/chocolate tones to it. I've not had a Belgian Dark Ale before, but this beer reminded me of kind of a light porter.

I've yet to have a New Belgium offering that wasn't a good beer.

mphopkins99, Apr 25, 2009
Photo of sprucetip
3.53/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From notes. Served pretty cold. Deep amber with ruby, very clear. Not much head, fades to film and ring, good lacing. SMELL not too much. Grainy, malty sweet, tame. TASTE is mild, grainy/malty, touch of sweetness. Clean finish. FEEL is thin, benighn, clean finish. Easy drinking but not memorably.

sprucetip, Oct 01, 2009
Photo of
3.53/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Overall, not a bad beer at all.
Especially if you like the taste of coffee.
Nice malted/hops balance that I enjoyed that was quickly followed and finished by a solid coffee taste, maybe even a slight hint of chocolate.
Enjoyed once, and would enjoy it again.

, Dec 24, 2011
Photo of mikeborglum
3.53/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured in a weiznen glass clear, dark mahogany with a light brown head and decent lacing. Lightly roasted malt aroma; chocolate and roasty; a bit musty. Light medium body and oily texture . Taste lightly bitter with a very long dry and lightly burned finish.

mikeborglum, Dec 03, 2011
Photo of gabemasiulis
3.53/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a clear tobacco color with a light tan head with fine bubbles. Medium retention
Ripe fruits, currants, sweet with a tinge of spices, probably from the yeast. A slight alcoholic scent, with some roasted (but not burnt) malts.
Fairly malty up front, an interesting fruity tang, Counterposed by a bit of choclatey malts.
Crisp, light, a medium gravity level of slightly syrupy viscosity.
I'd have another. definitely drinkable, I can remember more than one party where I swigged down one after another of these (the New Belgium UAR) My new belgium of choice.

gabemasiulis, Sep 13, 2009
Photo of facundoCNB
3.53/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

a nice dark reddish/brown pour with 2 fingers of tan head.. nice lacing too!
smells of nuts, dates, raisins, caramel. bitter, roastiness up front, followed by a sweet finish. roasted grains, sweet malts, cereal, toast, tobacco, nutty, slightly fruity.
light +, slightly creamy, mild carbonation.
overall good for a light black ale.. as far as belgian dark/strong ales go, this shit's weal. sorry. it's tasty and all, but it will never be up there with the big boys.

facundoCNB, Jul 21, 2012
Photo of bboven
3.53/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Lovely blood-red, crystal clear body with a big head that leaves lots of lacing.

Aroma is huge cherry and yeasty bread.

Flavor is all around a bit weaker than it should be. What's there is good and to style; I just wish there was a bit more.

Mouthfeel is a little thin, but nicely crisp and drying at the end.

All in all, a nice beer if you want an easy-drinking, not very complex Belgian.

bboven, Mar 08, 2009
Photo of orangemoustache
3.53/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark brown until being held to a light it reveals lots of reds,the head is a fluffy tan four fingers on a heavy pour,some thin lace clings on for dear life as it falls to its death(ok i'm being a little dramatic,it looks pretty nice).I had a hard time getting much good from the nose maybe some slight caramel and slightly burnt malts.The taste was big chocolate up front(dark and bitter) with some coffee flavors and some soft sweet vinilla on the finish.A medium body and moderate carbonation are suitable and encourage drinkability,slightly dry finish.New Belgium offerings were just recently made avalible in Springfield,Illinois and so far they have been above average and better than I had expected.

orangemoustache, Jun 14, 2008
Photo of SLeffler27
3.51/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

A clear dark ruby red beer builds a creamy beige head that quickly dissipates to leave spotty lace while occasional fine carbonation percolates from just the other side of the wall of a Blue Point tulip glass.

Spicy figs and caramelized sugar accentuate a light roasted character while little if any yeast impacts the aroma profile.

1554 is earthy with dark fruit, however, it is more bitter than expected with light bitterness lingering well into the finish.

This one has a medium to full body, with high carbonation, no alcohol, and a dry velvety finish.

While enjoyable on its own, this is far from the strong flavor and aromas one typically expects from the style.

SLeffler27, Sep 21, 2013
Photo of danthehopslamman
3.5/5  rDev -8.6%

danthehopslamman, Aug 10, 2013
Photo of Todd
3.5/5  rDev -8.6%

Todd, Dec 26, 2013
Photo of aquazr1
3.5/5  rDev -8.6%

aquazr1, Sep 07, 2013
1554 Enlightened Black Ale from New Belgium Brewing
86 out of 100 based on 2,986 ratings.