Dismiss Notice
Save $5 when you subscribe to 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine by selecting auto-renew.

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join Our Email List →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.
Dismiss Notice

Pre-order your Respect Beer "Hipster" Hoodie today!

Plus: Free shipping (US only) on orders of $25 or more until 12/18/15. Just select "Free Shipping" at checkout.

Shop 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

1,248 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 1,248
Hads: 3,172
Avg: 3.84
pDev: 19.53%
Wants: 86
Gots: 280 | 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:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 01-02-2002

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 1,248 | Hads: 3,172
Photo of Kraken
3.11/5  rDev -19%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Reviewed from notes. Consumed 08/5/09

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a standard water glass. Firm pour yields a 1/4 inch of slightly off white head. Nice lacing. Color is a dark ruby brown, almost black.

Nose- Mild roasted grain, caramel.

Pallate- Somewhat stoutish, I guess I should have expected as much. Lighter than a stout. Nice chocolate/coco presence. Some molasses and dark fruit. Not heavy or boozy as it would appear. Some caramel sweetness underneath. Finishes a bit dry.

Mouthfeel- Nice carbonation.

Drinkability- moderate.

 541 characters

Photo of rundocrun
3.11/5  rDev -19%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12-oz bottle into a snifter.

A - A rough pour elicits 1-2 fingers of beige head that fades to a thin film within a few minutes. Color is at first pitch black, but when held to a light, it proves to be a deep and brilliant ruby. Beautiful.

S - Smells of sweet, grainy pale malt with a healthy dose of dark burnt grain aroma lurking in the background--almost lends a coffee-like smell to the beer. Hop aroma comes through as an earthy, herbal smell. Almost smells like a roasty version of Stella Artois.

T - Tastes exactly like it smells. Big pale malt body leading to a bready, biscuity flavor up front. The dollop of dark kilned malt (or black barley) they used comes in toward the middle and lasts through the finish as a dark roast coffee essence. Hops provide balanced bitterness, but don't do anything too special for this beer.

M - Quite a thin body. Very prominent carbonation. Finishes fairly dry. Very drinkable for a dark beer.

Overall - This is a decent beer. I still can't get over its similarity to Stella--not that there's anything intrinsically wrong with Stella, i just would expect something a little more complex from New Belgium.

 1,166 characters

Photo of DocJitsu
3.11/5  rDev -19%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a dark brown that glints red in the light. A foamy cream/tan head that attenuates to lacing around the glass. A dark roasted malt aroma with notes of Belgian yeast. The first pull into the mouth promises mild creaminess. Pleasant smooth creaminess over the entire tongue with a mild bite of coffee acidity on the back of the tongue. Fireplace or BBQ smoke throughout. Nothing special, but quite drinkable.

 411 characters

Photo of SiphonKing
3.13/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle.

Found this beer to be quite quaffable. Pours with a tannish head atop a...well, black/brown beer (hence the name). Malty with a slight hop presence but not overpowering. I found it drinkable and a good choice for those friends who have experienced Fat Tire and are willing to move on to bigger, bolder territory.

 328 characters

Photo of woemad
3.13/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle purchased at Huckleberry's in Spokane. Poured a very dark brown with minimal off-white head that ceased to exist within a minute. Very mild, malty aroma of dark chocolate. Taste was equally mild. No hop presence whatsoever. This isn't a bad tasting beer. There's just not a whole lot going on with this one. The mouthfeel is rather thin. I think this would be good for someone who is terrified of the notion of a dark beer, as it is very easy to consume.

 461 characters

Photo of magictrokini
3.14/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Tap @ Fox. Pours dark, dark brown with a thick brown head. Aroma is bitter; coffee, baker's chocolate, and smoke. Taste is questionable. Some pulls were good, others seemed sour. I think the yeast is to blame. It seemed to be fighting the hops and malt for dominance. Needs more balance.

 287 characters

Photo of ReDave
3.16/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Very Dark! Nice creamy slightly tan head that left a nice lace all the way down. Smell... slightly sweetish malt smell. Tast.. Had a very slight sour tast to it. After taste was a little off as well.. I'm guessing that i am a dyed in the wool hop Head, and need to stick to IPA's

 279 characters

Photo of jjanega08
3.16/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A= After a somewhat vigorous pour I yield just a small wisp of a head that falls quickly to a layer on top followed by just a small ring around the glass. Dark dark brown color venturing on black Actually for some reason, it's been a while since I had a coke but, it looks like a flat coca cola a little bit.
S= Malty and bready. It smells very doughy and a little toffee on it.
T= Sweet malt flavor. A small amount of yeasty doughy flavor comes through on the back of the tongue but it really is quite sugary on the tip. Like a chocolate and caramel mix almost.
M= Finishes a little dry but still very good. Not enough carbonation in my opinion
D= Pretty decent. I've heard a lot of ppl say they like this over fat tire but I would disagree. Fat Tire I think tops this one. Granted I haven't had too many Belgian Dark's but I think this is a little quiet for a belgian.

 871 characters

Photo of snaotheus
3.16/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into a goblet

Pours a dark brown with small, slow carbonation, little pale head and surprising lacing. Smell is open, tiny bit of coffee, dark fruit, definitely malty.

Taste is slight toffee, slight molasses, more dark fruit with a little coffe.

Mouthfeel is fairly light and thin, feels dry. Drinkable. Not a favorite, but not bad.

 355 characters

Photo of usafboy
3.17/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

I've drank this beer before but never got around to reviewing it. So here I am with beer in hand, ready to review.

Appearance: A drink by date reveals Feb 4th 2014 and today is January 22. Poured from a bottle into a no-nic glass and it was by no means a delicate pour so I was fairly surprised at the lack of big beautiful suds considering this beer is classified as a Belgian dark ale.

Smell: I have somewhat of a stuffy nose so the fact I can smell a faint coffee and chocolate aroma is impressive.

Taste: An "instant coffee" flavor is at the forefront. If you know the flavor of instant coffee you know what I mean: almost like you pop a coffee bean in your mouth and swallow it. Just as fast as it arrives, its gone. Tiny amount of chocolate with a vanishing finish that leaves you wanting more in order to feel that fleeting moment where the palate says oh hey this is good but is gone in a nanosecond.

Mouthfeel: I mentioned the drink by date in the appearance due to the mouth feel. Its slick and tastes a bit flat. Maybe something happened during transportation. I don't like it.

Overall I feel like its unimpressive. I go to my local grocery store when I want something dark but not salty like Guinness. (all they have is 1554 and Guinness) Sure it hits the spot when you need a satisfying dinner beer but this is nothing to write home about.

 1,359 characters

Photo of witster18
3.18/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Pours black with hints of red towards the outer rim of the glass.
This one smells of Biscuts and Cherry.
Taste is kinda like throwing some chocolate in Sherry. Esters making things very interesting here. This brew is quite unlike anything I've had so I'm giving it some points for originality. Some of the alcohol notes here remind me of a good milk stout. For 5.5 this beer is LOADED with flavor....you'd think the ABV would be much higher with the first sip. It's not necessarily bad but it does take away a bit from the sessionability of this brew. IT has tons of earthiness to it... Some other berry-like flavors in there and it finishes dry with the dark chocolate on the back-end. APpearance and Mouthfeel are big plus's. May be an acquired taste though.

 760 characters

Photo of mryuk
3.18/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

pours a deep dark reddish brown. good thick 2 finger creamy head.

smell is malty and sweet. woody and coffee undertones.

taste is smooth and surprisingly light. there are some sweet malts there but not too much more. poor aftertaste.

mouth is light with good carbonation.

there is just not much there in this beer. it reminds me why I don't drink new belgium beers very often. the highlight of this beer is its smoothness for how dark it is but overall it is not interesting. this is a beer for someone who wants to pretend they are drinking a good beer but don't actually like beer.

 587 characters

Photo of illidurit
3.19/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into an Ommegang goblet. Dark brown with clear ruby highlights. Big, fluffy, tan, three finger head. Thick lacing on the glass.

A little bit of roasty malt on the aroma, as well as a sourish fruitiness.

Flavor is of peanut skins with a little bit of classic Belgian dark fruit. Some cocoa powder comes out but on the whole this beer is kind of watery and stale.

Mouthfeel is thin, finish isn't very dry for an unsweet beer. Carbonation is a touch heavy. Pretty decent drinkability.

 491 characters

Photo of Vierenner
3.19/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A beer without real identity. Low in hop bite, slightly sweet, and with a fairly substantial roasted flavor ... but nothing to distinguish it from the pack. The roasted, almost smokey flavor is the most pronounced attribute. It lacks something ... just can't specify what.

 272 characters

Photo of babyhobbes
3.2/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to Jhammerly for this one via BeerPowerball!!

Pours a deep chocolately red-brown with a decent half-inch beige head. Head dissipated before I got a chance to take a sip but there is a ring of lacing.

Smells rathery beery, with some malty sweetness. Taste is good, malty with a sort of fruity taste, that I can't describe, maybe plums? It's good, though.

Mouthfeel is bubbly and warm. This is reasonably drinkable, I don't really want to have another. This is something to try, maybe a single or two.

Thanks again, Jhammerly.

 536 characters

Photo of keithmurray
3.21/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Color - Deep, dark brown color with tan head

aroma - plums, raisins, cocoa, malt

taste - notes of roasted coffee, malt, cocoa

mouthfeel - a bit thin for the style, bitter upfront and well as a bitter, almost sour aftertaste, high amount of carbonation, this is closer to a stout or a schwartzbier than a BDA for my tastes

Drinkability - average, nothing too special about this beverage, probably won't revisit but I'm glad I tried it

 437 characters

Photo of mrfrancis
3.21/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a near black with subtle amber highlights and a creamy, smooth tan head. Looks good in the glass.

S: Nothing really stands out on the nose. Aromas of coffee, cream, dark chocolate, and earthy hops are just barely noticeable after several sniffs.

T: Opens creamy and smooth with notes of earthy hops, dark chocolate, coffee, heavy cream, and roasted grain. The finish is very short and very smooth with notes of chocolate and coffee being most noticeable.

M: Light-bodied, smooth, and a little slick. Dries out a bit on the finish. Very drinkable.

O: This ale is nothing special and really contributes nothing new to this style. It's really quite bland. Not worth going out of one's way to try.

 706 characters

Photo of nem2006
3.22/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The beer poured a dark brown with a very small head and very little carbonation. What little head it had faded fast.

The smell was toasted, coffee and a little chocolate.

The flavor started a little sweet, followed by a coffee flavor. It finished with a mild bitterness from the hops. I was a little disappointed at how flat the beer was.

I have had this beer before and thought it was not as good as it has been. So for now this is my score, but I will give it another shot later on down the road.

 502 characters

Photo of hoppyhampy
3.22/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz. bottle poured into a pint glass. Best before date is October 24th. Pours dark brown with a half inch of light brown head that quickly dissipates. Minimal lacing. Interesting rich malt aroma. Chocolate and toffee with just a hint of coffee. Medium body and low carbonation. Seems a bit heavy for only 5.6% abv but the finish is clean enough to still make it easy to drink. Very smooth texture. The malt lacks some personality on the palate though. A little bit of coffee flavor comes through but other than that its just medium roasted malt taste. I would much rather this were a little lighter. It might make a good session beer then.

 640 characters

Photo of Vixie
3.23/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a very deep red color. Not a huge amount of head, it is white, and leaves a bit of lacing on top and on the sides of the glass.

The main part of the smell is malt. There is a bit of smoke there, a hint of chocolate, and a little fruit.

There is roasted malt in the taste, also picking up some fruit, a bit like raisins to me. Starts malty and fruit, and the hops come in at the finish.

The feel is a bit thin, although helped by a decent amount of carbonation.

Not a bad beer, but lacking the complexity of a true Belgian ale. It does go down nice and easy, and the relatively low ABV means you don't have to be as careful with this one as some others.

 664 characters

Photo of divineaudio
3.23/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

pint glass

a - pours chestnut in color with a thin cap of coarse, tan foam. head dies down to a film and leaves thin, leggy lacing in the glass.

s - carmel, crackers, faint green apple.

t - predominantly carmel malt with spicy notes. peppery, but maybe a with bit of cinnamon as well. has a mild, earthy bitterness and a light, sugary finish. not much going on here.

m - lighter in body with adequate carbonation. co2 profile is on the coarse side though.

o - not black or enlightening, just a decent, easy drinking beer. not likely to be a regular in my fridge, but i wouldn't turn it down either.

 603 characters

Photo of xseanprimex
3.24/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Poured from the bottle into a pint glass.

A: Pours a very dark amber brown. A half inch tan head that recedes after a few moments. Not really dark enough to call it black, but okay.

S: A dark yeasty smell accompanied by a malty sweetness. Definitely has a Belgian aspect to it.

T: The sweet burnt malt flavor is spiced up by the Belgian yeast and poppy carbonation. Has a bit of a metallic aftertaste that makes you want another sip in order to cover it up.

M: Not bad. A really good carbonation for this brew pops as the smoky males coat the tongue.

O: Glad I tried it. Not bad at all, just not special. It honestly reminds me of the Yeungling Porter, which I assume was not the goal of this beer. 7/10 would drink again.

 732 characters

Photo of Hershdawg
3.26/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottle into new belgium glass

A: Black with 1 finger of head. good lacing

S: Chocolate malt, a little toffee. No Belgian yeast character. Fat Tire yeast probably used.

T: Chocolate malt, some special roast and some crystal malt. Pretty bland yeast character. Not really all that belgian.

M: Medium body. This stuff isn't all that thick.

O: An okay beer. Not really that exciting but is a good 6 pack if you like darker beers.

 430 characters

Photo of parkeak0
3.26/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I had wanted to taste this beer for some time. Finally found it at a gas station in town. I have to say... I was a bit disappointed. While this pours a pretty dark brown, it really falls short on nose and flavor. Sure, there is enough roasty malt and coffee to keep me interested, but quite honestly, I was expecting something a bit more out-of-the-ordinary. This is, most unfortunately, quite ordinary. Drinkability is high due to the low ABV, thus making the brew quite sessionable. Worth trying? Sure. Will I buy it again? Probably not.

 539 characters

Photo of
3.26/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Opened a 12 oz. bottle and poured a dark brown with red tints liquid. Head was modest and did not stick around long. Aroma was very earthy (fresh turned soil), mixed with malt sweetness (caramel) and some coffee. Taste was malt, bittersweet chocolate, and coffee. There was a good bit of hop bitterness at the finish and some pepper. I was not crazy about the mouthfeel, body was medium, and it was drying and seemed overly carbonated. I was surprised by the amount of warming I felt given an ABV of 5.5%. I felt that it was fairly drinkable, but not terribly thirst quenching. If I didn't know better, I would have thought this was a schwarzbier.

 647 characters

1554 Enlightened Black Ale from New Belgium Brewing
86 out of 100 based on 1,248 ratings.