1. American Craft Beer Fest returns to Boston on May 29 & 30, featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers. Tickets are on sale now.

1554 Enlightened Black Ale - New Belgium Brewing

Not Rated.
1554 Enlightened Black Ale1554 Enlightened Black Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

3,117 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,117
Reviews: 1,256
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 12.27%
Wants: 75
Gots: 229 | FT: 2
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:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 01-02-2002

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
to view all ratings, reviews and sorting options.
Ratings: 3,117 | Reviews: 1,256
Photo of Getinthevan
3.65/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I picked up a batch of this here in Chicago, as a lot of these New Belgium brews have been coming in as of late.

Appearance is incredibly dark drown/black with a good amount of lacing and head. It has a lot of porter-esque type of qualities without being a porter which is interesting.

Smell is very chocolate and sweet smelling for an ale. There's also a hint of some roasted malts too. Not a bad beer.

Taste was strong. While it smelled sweet, it definitely carried more on the bitter side. Although not a bad thing, it was least expected. Not too bad.

Mouthfeel started off strong with flavor intact but then gradually wined down pretty quickly. While it is a good beer to drink. the flavor goes rather quick.

It's a good beer to drink if you're up for a new type of ale to drink, but it's a bit on the expensive side. Buy it if you're curious but that's only for the hardcore beer connoisseur.

Photo of BeerBear80
3.65/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Old Chicago - Boise Town Square

A - Dark with a caramel appearance when held up to the light, resembles a dark coffee. About one finger of head with excellent lacing.

S - Sweet flowery aroma with a hit of a pleasing citrus

T - A smooth balance of sweet and hoppy flavors.

M - Smooth bodied with a buttery feel on the tounge.

D - Good to average drinkability. This was not excellent making me beg for more but it was not bad either. I probably have to be in the right mood to drink more than two of these in a sitting.

Photo of cavedave
3.65/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Jeff! Live review.

Pours a thick and opaque darkest brown nearly black with a finger of dark beige lather that only gradually settles into a lasting, thick cap.

Some fruit in the nose for sure, ripe plums, raisins, also fig, candi, lightly tart yeast, and hints of spice and root herb bitter.

Not a bright taste for sure, also less sweet and fruity than expected. It starts with spicy plum, a bit of tart, some jam like sweet, and root herbal bitter comes along to end the sip like root beer. As it opens I realize it is not so thick as it looked.

Quite light in the mouth, not as viscous as I would have hoped, even, yet refreshing.

Not impressed, not recommended.

Photo of BigPlay1824
3.65/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Enjoyed in a tulip glass

A: Pours a deep deep brown that is clear when held up to the light, pours with a finger of tan colored head that is quite fine and dissipates rapidly, has no carbonation bubbles and leaves spotty lacing on the glass
S: coffee, dark chocolate, sweet with depth
T: begins with really not much of a taste but then it his in the middle with purely mocha with a bit of sweetness and hops to back it up and smooth it out, leaves a coffee taste on the palate
M: intense carbonation initially, leaves a bit of a silky feeling on the palate
O: a nice brew, smooth with nice flavors but is a bit heavy on the carbonation and would have like more head retention, overall enjoyable

Photo of Toddv29424
3.65/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Exciting find from a very unsuspecting source. The smell is very faint, but is reminicent of toasted malts and grains. The taste starts out just like a mexican malt beverage, with not a hint of alcohol and a syrup-like finish. The toasted malts and grains are very apparent in the second taste, and it comes across much like a stout with a light body. There is also a nutty presence that comes from the specialty grains and serves as a wonderful finish to the taste. A good beer, although nothing that you should go out of your way to find.

Photo of beersarang
3.65/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a soda like brown with a head much the same color. Retention is only mildly better than that of soda.

Faint malty roasted aroma, extremely faint. Not over the top like a stout.

Belgian aromatic malts show up in this beer, slight honey from the malt, with little to no discernable hop character. Bitterness is only there to balance. Not necessarily sweet but definitely malty. Roasted character is there in the finish in a pleasant and smooth way.

Medium to light bodied with light carbonation.

I would drink this again as a session beer but the reality is that it does not really meet my expectations of a Belgian dark ale. It is like the Belgian dark ale "light" in reality, toned down for the wimpy American palate. Nevertheless, it is good and pleasant, and a fantastic transition beer, much like fat tire. New Belgium is seemingly the middleman for stone, alesmith, and rogue brewing companies, grabbing the swill drinkers and bringing them closer to the good side.

Photo of Hunter
3.65/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Intrigued by the idea of a dark ale that's not a porter or stout.

Beer pours a dark russet, letting just enough light in to let you know you're not in stout country. Tall head of light brown foam drops quickly with moderate lacing.

Smell is wonderfully complex. Smoky, nutty, and malty. Not much by way of hops but that's ok. There's promise in the nose here.

Taste is equally mysterious. Smoke, earthy/woody undertones and a nice bite in the aftertaste. None of the chocolate you'd find in many stouts and porters. Mouthfeel is slightly oily, definitely thicker than your basic ale but not overpowering. Aftertaste of smoke lingers.

Overall, very interesting. Would accompany sharp cheeses, dark breads, and rare meats well. Although it's not a stout by any stretch if you don't like the style you might not care for this either.

Photo of tlazaroff
3.65/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark dark red beer with a bubbly, frothy head of light-tan foam. Lacing is generous, and when held to the light, you can see (barely) ruby highlights. Looks a lot like Snow Day.

S: There is a nice sweetness coming off of this one, an almost fruity kind of the berry variety. It's less harsh than a bowl of berries though, and finishes with a caramel-like smoothness.

T: The flavor is interesting, it tastes burnt - but not in a bad way. If I had to put it to words, I'd say it tastes like eating a liquid version of gristle, without the meatiness. A bit of caramel on the backend. Don't let my description deter you, it is quite tasty, though, I think some later addition hops would have done wonders here.

M: Medium body and a bit light on the carbonation, but overall it is a job well done.

D: It's actually quite easy drinking. There is nothing wrong with this beer, but it doesn't jive for me on the level that others have before it.

Photo of Mudpuppet
3.64/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to drumrboy22 for the chance to try this brew.

A- Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Perfect Pint glass. Pours a dark brown with ruby highlights. Very little head to speak of.

S- This beer smells like a homebrew primary fermenter after being racking into a secondary. I do make a dark ale with an American yeast so maybe that is why I am reminded of it. Mostly dark malts and yeast on the nose. I get straight malted chocolate malts. As if I stuck my head in a barley bin.

T- You know what?? As I am drinking this it is reminding me of my smoked porter we make. Some definite smoke notes with a lot of dark malts. This isn't quiet as malty as a porter but there are similarities.

M- Good carbonation. Nice feeling on the tongue.

D- Nice session beer. Certainly makes me feel good about my homebrew that tastes very similar.

Photo of Drown
3.64/5  rDev -5%

Photo of h8r
3.64/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Nice look and smell. very thin in the mouth. good with a burger

Photo of Jasonm2
3.64/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

A good beer reminiscent of the olden dark-ale days, 1554 will make any night into a classic. Not too strong in terms of ABV, you could drink 1554 through a night, guilt-free. This Belgian style dark ale provides a classic European taste with fine malt and a toned-down presence of hops. Creamy, smooth, and more dulled than its hoppy neighbours, 1554 is the social drinker's answer to one well planned night. Bringing in the expert craft of New Belgian brewers, this beer offers a night full of relaxation and comfort with its earthier tones and inviting warmth, and is well worth the adventure.

Photo of jhoban19
3.63/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a Sam Adams Perfect pint glass.

A: dark brown with ruby hues. 2 fingers of foamy off-white head with good retention. Strong lacing forms at every level of the glass as I drink and holds it place throughout.

S: strong aromas of roasted coffee and dark chocolate, with hints of earthiness and rye bread. Even more subtle floral, somewhat grassy hops pop up from time to time. As it warms I detect some dark fruit, mostly cherries.

T: taste is mostly of roasted coffee and dark chocolate, with an emphasis on the coffee. As with the aroma, subtle cherry flavors come and go with each sip and become more consistent as the beer warms.

M: medium bodied, smooth with a bit too much carbonation at the outset, though about midway through the pint the carbonation settles down to appropriate levels. 1554 kind of flattens out on the finish- not really dry, bitter, sweet or anything- it is really leaving me hanging. I was expecting some bitterness and perhaps a longer finish, but I'm not getting much. It's as if all those flavors exhaust themselves between the lips and the back of the throat- 1554 needs to start a regimen of endurance training.

D: Despite the somewhat disappointing mouthfeel, 1554 is a drinkable brew. You could definitely throw back with a few of these without being overwhelmed.

Photo of u2carew
3.63/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz longneck.
A) Pours with a finger thick head. Settles some leaving a nice lacing at the edge of the glass. Dark mahogany when held to the light. Lacing is thin and sticky as I drink it down.
S) Bready. Notes of chocolate. Roasted malts.
T) Chocolate. Milky flavors. Hints of smokiness and vanilla. Just a nip of bitterness in the finish.
M) Full body. Crisp. Fairly smooth. Dry in the finish.
D) A nice brew. I'd definitely have another.

Photo of peabody
3.63/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours out dark brown with clarity. Not much suds to speak of.
Lacing is adequate.
Smell is roasted malts, burnt coffee and a little alcohol.
First taste is coffee and sugar. The hops are way in the back.
No Chocloate to speak of here , just a caramel coffee.
Mouthfeel is like a strong drink of coffee, the hops are really active here.
I couldn't drink much of this at one sitting. Still, it is a pretty nice brew. I am with delima.

Photo of Bierguy5
3.63/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle, 5.6% abv. Deep amber to mahogany color. Eggshell colored head holds for a few minutes, then fades. Nice patches of lace.

Dark chocolate and caramel in the nose. Some fruity notes blend in well.

Dark chocolate up front, without much sweetness. Caramel malt, slightly fruity. Finishes with a bit of an earthy, yeasty feel.

Lighter body, with a good amount of carbonation. Easy to drink with some nice character.

Photo of happygnome
3.63/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

a: pours a dark brown color, when held to the light ruby hues there is about a half inch of head that dissapears fast leaving minimal lacing
s: cocoa, toasted nuts, fruits all wrapped in a bready aroma
t: cocoa, toasted nuttiness, bready flavor
m: medium bodied beer with a good amount of carbonation

overall, this was a fairly goodbrew that i do believe ill get again

Photo of bsherb
3.63/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Not bad really, I would have given higher marks if I didn't know that there are much better out there. The flavors are on the weak side, mouth is somewhat lacking despite decent carbonation, overall appeal is less than it was when I first encountered it. Once a six pack standby, now it's one of those I'd prefer to buy on sale.

Photo of iasanlee
3.63/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Pours a thick dark chocolate brown with 3 fingers of dark tan creamy head. Creamy lacing abundant.

S- Toasted malts, coffee, and chocolate.

T- Bitter sweet chocolate, almost chalky flavor. Carmel and coffee. A faint sweetness. I was hoping for a bit more complexity.

M- Medium in body, with creamy smooth carbonation.

D-I could see myself putting a few of these back. Not as incredibly complex as I had hoped, but very drinkable.

Photo of jsdunlop
3.63/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pitch black with a slight amber hue that shines through lightly. Nice looking white head that recedes to a minimal covering and manages to leave some decent lacing. Some roasted malt in the nose with some slight sweetness as well. Bakers chocolate and roasted malt come through in the taste, along with a peculiar nuttiness that seems common in new belgium's ales, followed by a slight hoppy bitterness that quickly retreats. Mouthfeel is a bit watered down,carbonation is on the low end, while the beer itself is extremely smooth, creamy, and refreshing.

Photo of Yaz8
3.63/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle pours deep blood red/dark brown with a one-finger head that dissipates quickly to a thin ring. Minimal lacing.

Strong roasted, almost burnt, coffee aromas dominate, supported by bicuity malts and toffee.

Taste is similar: complex smoky, sweet malts with coffee, toffee and little in terms of offsetting hops bitterness.

Smooth, slightly thin mouthfeel, with a clean, dry aftertaste.

Photo of atpben
3.63/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at the Houston Flying Sucer. Pours a nice dark brown color with half inch thick creamy head. Aroma is full of oats and chocolate. Nice malty flavor with choclate, caramel, and very light coffee. Very well balanced and easy to drink. Another good beer from a good brewery. Will try again.

Photo of whatthehull
3.63/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a white wine glass (still at work)

A - A deep dark black, one finger dark tan head and a bit of lacing

S - vanilla, bourbon, sweet Hawaiian rolls, cinnamon, sugar, homemade bread, very yeasty and rose/other flower notes

T - toasted dark malts, toasted grains, red wine blend, molasses, light vanilla, fruity/floral hops, dark agave nectar, dry wood, bready yeast, slight musk and tons of soil notes

M - Medium body, well balanced, decent complexity, medium acidity and a long sweet roasted malt finish

D/O - I'll give it to NB, VERY drinkable beers and most of them are more than refreshing. Another one I could suck down all day and be happy about it. Not to much or to little, just right on the flavor side. If you like Guinness draught or stout, you'll enjoy this one. All leveled beer drinkers should enjoy this one

Final thoughts - Another I can't believe I haven't reviewed. A bit on the expensive side $8+ a sixer and a decent 5.6% abv

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.62/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a chalice.

Appearance - Deep brown body with little to no head or lacing.

Smell - Roasty malts and a coffee-like aroma. Some chocolatey smells too. Smells nice.

Taste - Like a very weak stout. Roasted malt character at first. Develops a slight chocolate coffee flavor, but it fades quickly. The finish has a nuttiness to it and just a hint of hops.

Mouthfeel - The finish is off. I don't know what it is, but that final flavor is odd. Very light and super easy to drink, though.

Overall - Nice flavors, except for that finish. Just not a lot going on to distinguish itself.

Photo of C3likesbeer
3.62/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours with a nice head and is ark reddish brown in the glass. Has a thin head that fades quickly.

S- Malty and roasty with chocolate and caramel.

T-- Sweet malty with some caramel and chocolate nice solid beery finish.

O- - Solid Belgian dark ale. Not outstanding but pretty darn good.

to view all ratings, reviews and sorting options.
1554 Enlightened Black Ale from New Belgium Brewing
86 out of 100 based on 3,117 ratings.