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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

2,889 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,889
Reviews: 1,236
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 12.53%
Wants: 59
Gots: 123 | 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:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of 1554 Enlightened Black Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 2,889 | Reviews: 1,236 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of tronester


3.55/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very dark brown, with a medium tan head. Smells strongly of roasted malts. Taste is very sweet up front, chocolaty, a hint of coffee as well. There is a bit of artificial sweetener sweetness that is a bit odd in the finish. Mouthfeel is smooth, nice low carbonation. Pretty drinkable, this is a good beer from NB that is a unique style. I would drink this again, though it is not my favorite from them.

Serving type: bottle

09-06-2009 01:06:22 | More by tronester
Photo of frequentgear


3.9/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

twelve ounce bottle into a pint glass.

pours a dark looking ale with an inviting fluffy head. light reveals it to be an auburn blood shade. good lace and good head retention. smells like chocolate and roasted malts. tastes like a milder smoked porter, coffee like and cocoa, finishes sticky. aftertaste gets a little to smokey too. good carbonation mix, pretty easy to drink save the finish. not bad!

Serving type: bottle

09-04-2009 07:25:20 | More by frequentgear
Photo of youngleo


3.9/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured to a nice caramel colored head. Had some very nice lacing that left rings with every swallow. Brew itself was very dark brown to almost black in color. Had a slightly sweet caramel smell also of roasted malt and coffee. Tasted like it smelled. Had that roasted malt, slightly sweet caramel, and a little of that coffee flavor. Had a dry aftertaste. All tastes were mild and not overpowering. I think it was pretty well balanced. Felt good in the mouth. Carbonation was right. This Ale reminded me more of a Porter. That wasnt a bad thing. I wouldnt want to make this a session beer. But a few would sure taste good now and then.

Serving type: bottle

09-03-2009 20:10:52 | More by youngleo
Photo of Foxtrot


4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz. bottle in to Chimay chalice. This is my very first Belgian Dark Ale.

Pour produced a very dark brown body, accompanied by a small white head with little retention. Some light lacing is all that is left.

Aroma is huge on the malts. Smell is of bitter chocolate espresso and mocha, and some yeast to pan the sweet notes out.

This beer was a pleasant surprise. The aroma had led me to believe that this would be a chocolate intense beer, but on the contrary it is quite balanced with roasted and chocolate character a nice hop presence, and belgian yeast to pull it all together. This is a very good beer. Tastes like a Brown Ale and Porter with a good yeast spike. Superb.

Mouthfeel is medium body, and slightly creamy.

I'm very impressed with 1554. Great taste, mouthfeel, and decent carbonation makes this a great session choice. Cheers!

Serving type: bottle

09-01-2009 06:54:40 | More by Foxtrot
Photo of flagmantho


3.5/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from 22 oz bomber into a wine goblet.

Appearance: very dark ruby brown, nearly black, with a very thin light head.

Smell: dark roasted malt with a distinct coffee aroma with notes of chocolate. Reminds me of a mocha espresso. There is also a bit of a "watered-down" characteristic in the aroma, however, of which I'm not a fan.

Taste: earth, chocolate, coffee, but again a bit watered-down. There's also a particular quality of the malt which I cannot describe but which I do not like; Fat Tire has this similar unfortunate characteristic but in greater abundance.

Mouthfeel: medium-bodied with relatively little carbonation.

Drinkability: it's drinkable to a certain extent but because of the flavor issues I can't rate it very high.

Serving type: bottle

08-31-2009 02:51:07 | More by flagmantho
Photo of Zebus0


3.7/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I have to be honest I really enjoy 1554, and I'm not even an ale fan. Trying to be pretty fair here though.

Appearance: Doesn't really keep the head long, granted this is out of the bottle but it's kind of a downer. However, the dark brown color it pours is great, very rich.

Smell: Malt with a sweet finish, good combo.

Taste: The balance is something, it is pretty smooth, has a really subtle bite on the end, almost tart.

Mouthfeel: Really smooth, well balanced.

Drinkability: One of those beers I can go round after round, a good standby since the price doesn't hurt much and it is drinkable, it's a top contender for my go-to.

Serving type: bottle

08-30-2009 01:34:18 | More by Zebus0
Photo of nsmartell


3.68/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I enjoyed this beer from the comfort of my own living room. From the bomber bottle with a best by date of October 9, 2009 to a snifter glass.

Appearance: Pours a dark brown color with a thick off-white head that sticks around for a while. The color is much redder when held to a light.

Smell: Caramel malts dominate, but there is some fruitiness and sweet chocolate in there.

Taste: Just as the smell suggests, this a malty beer but ends slightly bitter. An interesting balance of flavors.

Mouthfeel: Light to medium-bodied and goes down smooth with a nice dry, crisp finish.

Drinkability: Very drinkable brew. Would seem to pair well many different foods. Not a bad beer to have on hand for any type of beer drinker. Not sure if I will have many more, but still good to have around.

Serving type: bottle

08-27-2009 02:15:09 | More by nsmartell
Photo of jdg204


3.9/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

When my buddy and I were out on the town in Buckhead GA, I was pleasantly surprised to find our bar had a nice selection from New Belgium. I'd heard good things about 1554 and was excited to give it a shot.

A: Dark brown color with a modest white head that leaves some lacing.

S: Dark fruit and a bit of chocolate

T: Starts with sweet dark fruits followed by hints of coffee and chocolate and a well balanced, lightly roasted finish.

M: Medium body with moderate carbonation.

D: Very nice brew overall which met my expectations. I really enjoyed the balance and the subtlety of the flavors, a very nice sipping beer. Haven't tried too many New Belgiums at this point and I know they've got a mixed opinion, but I was impressed they got a Belgian Dark in wide distribution. A rock solid brew with good distribution, a sanctuary beer in scarce places.

Serving type: bottle

08-22-2009 19:56:29 | More by jdg204
Photo of BacklitAvenger


4.38/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - This beer appears black at first glance, though once held to the light it is revealed to be a ruby hue. Eggshell colored head tops the brew off with somewhat fizzy looking carbonation.

Smell - Interesting for sure. The aroma is muted, but I can definitely tell there's interesting things here. There's toasted grains and perhaps some roast, but also definite hints of belgian fruitiness.

Taste - This is a really interesting beer. It's no powerhouse of flavor, I admit, but I catch myself straining to pick up all of the subtleties so as not to miss anything. First sip is mostly grainy and some toast, but then comes a mild belgian 'Chimay fruit' flavor along to liven thins up. Finally there's an unmistakeable roast and chocolate finish followed by a serious dryness that leaves the mouth wanting more. Fascinating sensation really, the intense almost puckering dryness combined with flavors we normally associate with sugar like fruit and chocolate. No bitterness really detected, hop or otherwise.

Mouthfeel - Another interesting side of this beer is its mouthfeel. It's creamy, but dry, and lively with carbonation but even somewhat tannic to my tastes. It's like someone poured tea in my belgian, and then topped it off with a splash of stout. the tannic astringency and the dryness conspire to insist that you drink more.

Drinkability - High. This stuff is low enough in alcohol to be a sure session beer and is dry enough to encourage drinking in larger gulps. The tug of war between the dryness and the fruity and roasty flavors and tea-like tannic finish encourages quick drinking.

Very interesting beer. As homebrewer I would increase the roast and chocolate to a level equal of the fruit and grain toast rather than just elusive hints hiding amongst the tannic finish. Also perhaps increase the body with some maltodextrins without increasing sweetness? Anyway, it's delicious. It's really subtle with its flavors but they are there for the enjoying if you care to look.

Serving type: bottle

08-21-2009 15:29:05 | More by BacklitAvenger
Photo of bamadog


4.1/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle into a tulip.

Appearance: Pours a deep dark black/brown like a cola and has nice amber highlights when held to the light; comes with a 1 and 1/2 finger head that is a light tan and fades quickly to an uneven skim and leaves a pretty full layer of a dry looking lacing down the sides of the glass.

Smell: Mostly deep toasted malts that have an earthy bitterness.

Taste: Much like the smell, there is some nice bready and toasty malts that really dominate the palate - not much else beyond this but the flavor is definitely pleasant enough.

Mouthfeel: A little on the creamy side, actually; leaves with a pretty clean finish overall and just a bit of stickiness on the roof of the mouth; the carbonation is definitely present but not overpowering and really is just enough to keep it lively.

Drinkability: You know what? I really like this beer. It's not especially big or big with crazy robust flavors, but just a simple toasty and bready maltiness -- the smell is solid enough and lets you know what you will be drinking and the mouthfeel is fairly light. A mild ABV allows one to get through a couple with really no issues whatsoever.

Serving type: bottle

08-20-2009 00:57:53 | More by bamadog
Photo of huguey


4.13/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle.

A: 2-3 finger head, dark brown with some red, mahogany.

S: Roasted Malt prevails

T: Tastes like a lighter, slightly less roasted porter to me... I know that this is a unique style, however, my poor tastebuds equated this with a traditional porter... the undertones were chocolate and coffee.

M: Oily, not very crisp. Good dessert beer.

D: It was delicious, not very alcoholic, but the only deterrent is it's heaviness, slightly less than a stout, but I don't see myself having more than 3 in a sitting, still scoring high for me.

Notes: delicious, had it local, recommended for people who like roasted malts.

Serving type: bottle

08-19-2009 23:19:34 | More by huguey
Photo of webbcreative


3.75/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured dark ruby-red brown, like mahogany wood, with white 3 finger head. A= faint roasted barley smell. T= roasted malt, leaves slight coffee aftertaste, touch sweet from the Caramel malt(?) has a slight sweet flavor in the finish, but I would say the finish is dry. M= smooth, creamy, med mouthfeel.

Overall, I had no idea what to expect but I was pleasently suprised. I really like the somewhat subtle mellow coffe flavor from the roasted malt. I would probably get this again...if I could get it here.

Serving type: bottle

08-19-2009 21:16:12 | More by webbcreative
Photo of projectflam86


3.55/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours a deep copper brown color with a thick off-white foam head that leaves tons of sticky lacing all the way down.

S- Hints of sweet dark malt, chocolate, coffee, and caramel.

T- A bit of earthy roasted malt flavor with a slightly bitter cocoa finish. A bit lacking overall in strength of flavor.

M- Slightly thinner than expected with low carbonation. Dry and meek.

D- Not a bad brew, but certainly not one that will knock you off of your feet with flavor.

Serving type: bottle

08-18-2009 02:43:42 | More by projectflam86
Photo of storksonm


3.78/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Drew a nice head and as with the quality brews it kept on keepin on. It was black/amber and smelled great nice and hoppy with a chocolate malt smell. It tasted very light I was suprised since it was so light. The aftertaste is the nice thing about this beer the caramel and chocolate/coffee tones come out after a min. It was a nice smooth drink on a nice hot day. I would prob drink it frequently if I could get more than 22 oz bottles but I guess its at a good price and who doesn't like to down a whold 22 oz bottle all at once.

Serving type: bottle

08-15-2009 20:36:11 | More by storksonm
Photo of soupermirl


4.22/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark amber, very nice scent. Yummy. Looked great when poured with some residual head. Swirled and smelled. Very nice. Malty pleasents. Taste was complex and simple and the same time. Meaning... You could taste the different ingredients well but without taking over the beer. Simple to drink without different flavors... Mixed well. mouthfeel was pleasent. and this beer was easy to drink. again. Yummy.

Serving type: on-tap

08-14-2009 15:20:45 | More by soupermirl
Photo of joshuadlight


3.98/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap in some chain Denver restaurant.
Served in a chilled glass, which makes appearance a little more difficult to evaluate. It was dark brown with a small but fluffy cap of foam. Straight forward malty brew through and through. Roasty, chocolately, bready. No bitterness from hops, no burn from alcohol. It was nice paired with my meal, but couple with the food to be quite filling. Decent offering from NB.

Serving type: on-tap

08-11-2009 18:08:48 | More by joshuadlight
Photo of tai4ji2x


4.13/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

thanks go to either the threewisemen or rsquared618. i forgot. sorry.

12oz (?) bottle with "best by" dating of 24Jul09. tasted in mid-may 2009. poured into tulip.

dark black/brown, red tint under the light. clear, no sediment (filtered?). 1.5-finger light beige head, fades to wispy layer and ring. nice rings of webby lace.

aroma: caramel and vanilla upfront, with fruity tones of figs and dates. nutmeg? grassy, herbal hop hint, into trace coffee/chocolate note.

taste: malty caramel again, with that trademark NB toffee/biscuit character, although a hint watered down, plus a lighter vanilla note. fruit is lighter too, but leans more toward raisin. grassy herbal hops have mild to moderate bitterness. coffee finish plus trace acidity. faint licorice/spice note and very gentle phenols in back.

light to medium body, but pretty smooth. flash of astringency in the finish. gentle to moderate carbonation gives tingle, helps body and gives flavor lift.

Serving type: bottle

08-10-2009 20:48:45 | More by tai4ji2x
Photo of Newmerator


4.2/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle

after a long hike and a shower i went to the store to pick up some brews. I managed to finagle a mixed 6 pack of some new New Belgium brews i haven't tried. Man did this one hit the spot

pours a very dark black with hints of deep burnt chocolate.
hazelnut foam, decent lace.

smells a nice roasted and chocolate notes. slightly phenolic flavors also.

tastes much the same. roasted, oakie, and choc flavors dominate my palate here.

MF is soft but full bodied.

great broo. highly recommended. great drinkability imo also.


Serving type: bottle

08-02-2009 03:37:31 | More by Newmerator
Photo of KI9A


4.15/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Solid, dark black, Huge, creamy, puffy, tan head. seems to hang around a long time, wonderful lace rings, and windows.

S: Big roasty caramel malts. Candy. Pepper.

T: Chocolate dominates. BIG malt. Big wheat. Followed up by a bananna ester. Like a Porter/Hefe hybrid. A light citrusy hop bite at the rear. Very nice.

M: Extremely creamy, medium body. Smooth as anything I have ever had...plus.

D: So very quaffable. Satisfying. I dunno why I have drug my feet on trying this beer. It's just awesome.

Serving type: bottle

07-31-2009 01:34:58 | More by KI9A
Photo of JamesS


4.78/5  rDev +24.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured a very nice dark brown with copper tinges, a nice bit of initial, if rapidly fading, head, and just a wee bit of lacing. Great scent, a subtle mixture of great sweet malt, chocolate flavors, floral hints, and a nice orange/banana aroma. Great taste, starts strong with chocolate and then goes into an excellent banana/citrus flavor, giving it a nice mixture. Ends with a huge sweetness on the tongue, but with enough hops to keep it grounded. Very smooth. I was very impressed with this brew.

Serving type: bottle

07-26-2009 23:12:36 | More by JamesS
Photo of cnally


2.83/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

the pour is dark brown, and a fluffy, laced head sticks well.

mildly sour aroma, hints of malt, but slightly nutty.

the flavor is very nutty, malty and woodsy flavored.

very creamy texture. filling and decently carbonated.

well, ok but not spec. drinkable but not delicious.

Serving type: bottle

07-26-2009 01:18:14 | More by cnally
Photo of Nesued

South Carolina

3.83/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

650ml bottle

Appearance - Pours a reddish/dark brown color. Nice light head forms upon pour. Ample lacing remains as the head fades to a small ring. Carbonation is light with little seen feeding the tan head. Clearly able to see through the offering with no haze.

Smell - Good malty/bread initial nose. A slight spice as well (perhaps peppery best describes). Big roasty aroma with a clean caramel presence.

Taste - The caramel and roasted malt continues, with a bit of coffee thrown in for good measure. I would have placed this squarely in the brown ale category, if it wasn't for the belgian yeast "fingerprint" that swings it back. Finishes with a tongue-cleaning crispness and mild hop bite. Not too intense.

Mouthfeel - Bigger than I thought it would be, which again makes the case for a Belgian Dark rather than a brown. Mid-density with little carbonation adding to the fray.

Drinkability - This was my second 1554, after having it out one evening when New Belgium first came to SC. Quite drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

07-25-2009 00:28:22 | More by Nesued
Photo of dirtylou


3.9/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle, $4 at the most - purchased a few weeks back and consumed while packing up my apartment

appearance: served in a tyranena imperial pint - dark mahogany-garnet body with a fluffy tan head and patchy lacing

smell: nice aroma of chocolate malts, some light yeast, cocoa powder and dried dark fruits

taste: nice little beer here - i imagine this beer is pretty nice on tap due its smooth body and solid base. chewy chocolate malts set the tone, light nutty character, dry cocoa, dry fruit. nice lower-abv belgian dark

mouthfeel: creamy, not overly filling

drinkability: good

Serving type: bottle

07-24-2009 23:24:40 | More by dirtylou
Photo of LordAdmNelson


3.5/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours an almost black molasses color with ridiculously thick white head. Great retention and lacing.

S- Some toasted malts and toffee and coffee... nothing much else here.

T- Oh. What the hell? Not what I was expecting at all. Some coffee, hazelnuts, toasted malt. Fruit?... Not really. This is more like a brown ale or something than what I know as a Belgian. Tastes kind of old school though, so that's cool. Not a lot of hop bitterness, although there is a touch of it on the finish.

M- Medium bodied, good carbonation, dry finish. Not bad.

D- Not bad, the taste is pretty inoffensive, low ABV, but it's a little lacking IMO. Not really the robust drinker that I was hoping for.

Serving type: bottle

07-24-2009 04:14:15 | More by LordAdmNelson
Photo of SIRIUS2

North Carolina

3.75/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a chalice style glass.

Pours sort of heavy, as black as it's namesake, with practically no head to speak of. There is a thin ring of light brown bubbles that persistently cling to the sides of the glass. No lacing noted.

Aromas are very malty with hints of coffee and dark fruit. Perhaps a little bit of smoke in there too. It just has an implication of "sweet" about it, but this isn't derogatory... rather pleasant in fact.

Heavy on the tongue, sweet and malty, with some complicated darker flavors reminiscent of, say, figs. Chocolate notes are there too, working well with everything else but especially with the complicated sweetness. Honestly, this sort of reminds me of a heavy black lager or lighter milk stout. Interesting. Finish is cleaner than expected with lingering chocolate & coffee.

Smooth texture, very light carbonation, and some weight from the residual sweetness makes the overall mouthfeel rather smooth and 'creamy', if you will. It's a bit heavy, but very pleasant and goes down incredibly easy.

Very nice brew. Recommended. This is a very interesting brew and rather enjoyable.

Serving type: bottle

07-24-2009 01:32:56 | More by SIRIUS2
1554 Enlightened Black Ale from New Belgium Brewing
86 out of 100 based on 2,889 ratings.