1554 Enlightened Black Ale - New Belgium Brewing

Not Rated.
1554 Enlightened Black Ale1554 Enlightened Black Ale

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very good

3,068 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,068
Reviews: 1,246
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 12.53%
Wants: 70
Gots: 199 | 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
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Ratings: 3,068 | Reviews: 1,246 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of bigrzman
3.43/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Not so black as so much deep mohogany. Very clear, tight bubbles, and whispy of white head. Holy roasted malts batman! Roasted notes assault the nose with some herbal hops. Very toasty, bready and sweet. Very tangy and it has a citrusy note. Mouthfeel is light and not too drying. I could have a few but it is for taste only.

Photo of isualum12
4.58/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

poured in a classic belgium glass from NB. This beer was served to me last night at the New Belgium beer dinner last night. It was the 3rd course of 5 courses and was served with a roasted asperigus. The beer alone was great but took on a different and better taste with the asperigus. It really raised the level of this beer up (but don't get me wrong it was already high).

It was really cool meeting Jaime (one of the orginial brewers for NB, Mo and Kris. All three of them from NB were really cool. Oh and the front door in boise is amazing for throwing these beer events.

Yeah yeah roast me for not leaving the classic review. If you need the classic review on this beer please read on to the other 900+ reviews.

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

had on tap at the New Belgium bar at the Denver airport. in a 14oz shaker "pint" glass.

the color is dark brown, almost black. nice lacing. aroma is malt heavy. notes of chocolate, roasty.
taste is very smooth, balanced. mouthfeel is medium, with lower carbonation.

good drinkability, I would seek this out again. Not sure about the classification on this beer, I thought kinda of a cross between brown ale and porter. tasty none the less

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

Used to be sort of an old standbye for when I wanted something out of the norm

Pours a considerably black/brown, a good proportion of head that reminds me of the top of a mocha.

Smell is very faint malt, small amount of chocolate, and a bit of a certain fart smell that is usually associated with a lot of new belgium beers.

Taste is slight chocolate, coffee notes, a bit of malt, brown sugar, really not bad, but doesnt stand out strong

Mouthfeel is a silky thickness that disapates quickly leaving a bit of filminess.

Drink is high, this is something I give to friends whos craft beer of choice is fat tire. Its my thought that this is the bridge to porters/stouts.

Photo of mmmbeer
4.03/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. bottle, brewed with a light lager yeast, as per the website. Pours quite near black, with lightish carbonation, a half-inch tan head and nice lacing. Smells chocolatey and roasty with a faint note of hops. Pretty much the same on the palate, but with a light earthiness and some green noble hops that emerge as it warms. Light and smooth, with a dry finish. I thought this was rather more like a porter than a Belgian ale, but then again, they aren't aiming for a modern-day Belgian anyway. I judged this one as a porter and found it to be a very pleasing ale.

Photo of Ryan011235
3.28/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a snifter on 10/13/10

Best before 14 November 2010

Pours a mid-range cola brown, settles dark & has subtle ruby highlights. The head rose to one & a half fingers before dropping by an easy 50%, leaving decent lace.

Nice, malty aroma of bittersweet chocolate, dry roast & dark fruit tones. Seems to be a spot of toffee or some other sugar in there, too. Floral wisps. There's a liveliness to it that I'm attributing to the yeast. I really like it.

Hmm...I don't like the taste so much. Juicy, floral notes upfront with this, dark fruit ethers coming next. The pairing of the two has an unpleasant medicinal flavor. Moving to the back there's a bit of sugary sweetness but the roasted notes trump it. While the dry, chocolate note is nice, I'd prefer it be more pronounced.

Medium bodied with reasonably low carbonation. Kind of thin around the edges. Finishes with a vague floral hint & a lingering dryness.

New Belgium 1554 is something of an odd brew. It strikes me as a cross between a porter & Scottish ale with notions of a barleywine. Not bad but their other beers I've tried have impressed me more.

Photo of nickhiller
3/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A: molasses colored, one finger head reduces to a cream colored ring of head with good lacing.

S: sweet and roasted malt, juicy juice (of course), a little sour yeast funk.

T: smoke, char and a hint of coffee mixed with sweet molasses and malt, followed by a bitter dry finish.

M: medium to light-bodied, light carbonation, dry. Far too light for this style in my opinion.

D: Ok. I'm not all that impressed, the flavors are very subdued and muddled, you could tell me this was a (poor) attempt at smoked porter or a coffee stout and I would believe you. Aside from the funk in the nose and the faintest hint of it in the taste, it's hard to tell that there is anything recognizably Belgian in there.

Photo of chinchill
3.65/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This lager (yes, that is correct; cf. Texas beer laws) is an extremely dark brown color. Poured with 1 finger of light tan head that was short-lived, but with a long-lasting outer ring of bubbles. Amply carbonated, although not quite fizzy.

S - light

T - balanced flavor but with no strong flavor elements. Does finish strong.

Photo of albertjr21
3.9/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Into a pint glass, this poured a clear dark red and garnet highlighted color.

S: A mild, restrained, dark roasted and lightly sweet malt nose...but pleasant...

M/T: A lightly carbonated intro feel that really allowed for a dark cocoa malt backbone center to take the spotlight before leading to a crisp but smooth and sweet dark cappuccino like finish.

D: Nice and smooth sailing for the Dark Ale lover...

Photo of scarfield
3.58/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown with red tones into my glass. Rocky Half inch head finally settles out. Spotty lacing.

Has a very prominent roasted barley smell with a bit of nuts added to the mix.

taste is first a mellow nutty taste, roasted barley also in the mix. very crisp for a dark beer. A bit of chocolate in the finish. no real hop character.

Easy to drink, easy to swallow. Wouldnt be a problem drinking more than one in an evening.

Photo of StlHopHead77
2.8/5  rDev -26.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A-Pours out a coca-cola,blackish brown with some hints of crimson and a 2 finger,rapidly depleting,tannish head that left good sudsy lacing.

S-Very stout-like but muted.Soft sweet chocolate,weak coffee and dark roasted malt.

T-Nothing too assertive here.Toned-down American stout flavors.Nothing too bitter and nothing too bold.Bittersweet chocolate,sweet malt and coffee with cream.Slight dark roasted quality on the finish.

M-Thin and timid.

D-I can't see myself drinking more than one of these.There's just nothing there.

Photo of LacquerHead
3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It poured a very dark brown color with a bubbly head that dissipated to a medium lacing.
The smell reminded me of spent coffee grounds. The taste was similar to the aroma but on the thin side. It had an earthy coffee quality mixed with a slight pale aftertaste. Overall, I think the taste did not live up to its aroma. It was good and I'll probably still drink this at bars as an alternative to the other overly mainstream beers.

Photo of axeman9182
3.98/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle, poured into my Duvel tulip

1554 pours a very dark brown, just a little short of being able to be called black. Plenty of ruby highlights when I hold it up to light. A vigorous pour yields a decent (but not spectacular) beige head. Lacing and retention are serviceable but not noteworthy The nose is pungent of plum, with just a hint of roast/chocolate, pretty intriguing. The taste is just that, but a little bit better. Dark fruit and dark chocolate make a beautiful combination (though it's mostly the former and just a hint of the latter. The roasted character is just barely present, and adds something to the beer, and I'm glad that they managed to keep any coffee notes from creeping in. Strike that, as some coffee starts to come through a little bit once the beer warms. Body is impressively rich for a beer of just 5.6%, but the carbonation is a bit lacking. Overall a solid and unique effort from New Belgium, a pleasure to have in my glass.

Photo of impending
2.6/5  rDev -32.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

12oz into a tulip. Pours dark just shy of midnight black, minimal head yet decent lacing.

Aroma is subdued with faint worcestershire and an oakyness, no sweetness in the nose.

Taste lacks complexity. Peculiar in that the front end is nearly devoid of flavor, middle is nondescript and the finish contains what flavor there is.
does not improve with warmth
but it improves if you don't drink it out of a glass

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

My first Belgian Dark Ale. Tastes like a combination of a slightly sweet Brown Ale and a very mild Porter.

Bought a 12 oz bottle at Chip's in Kill Devil Hills NC, had it previously in a 22 oz bottle purchased in Vegas during the summer but lost the paper review. Poured a clear dark brown with a large amount of reddish highlights when held to the light. Very thick lacing and a good sized light tan head that holds its own.

Good strong malty aroma (like a porter). Taste is very smooth. Mostly bready malts but some roasted malt flavor too, a little cocoa/chocolate, some sweetness and some bitterness in the finish. Very tasty, slightly understated but nice. Mouthfeel is fairly rich, very smooth with a little finishing hoppiness on the tongue.

Drinkability is good. I drank the whole Vegas bottle on vacation at a VA state park cabin. Watching the rain from a dry spot in the woods with a big glass of this beer....very nice!!! This is a staple type of beer to enjoy without getting wasted.

Photo of keithmurray
3.18/5  rDev -17%
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

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

A dark beer staple for me.

I poured this into a tulip, color was black in the center fading to black-brown at the edges. The head was 1 finger and dissipated quickly with minimal lacing.

The smell is nice, malt/coffee with hints of chocolate. Like most dark beers the warmer it gets the more developed the taste notes become.

The taste is full flavored; hearty, but not stout-like. Mouthfeel is nice with slight bitterness at the finish rendering this beer very drinkable.

Love the 1554 as an every occasion dark beer.

Photo of bridgetowhophead
3.43/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Part of my continuing better-know-a-brewery series, tackling the New Belgium lineup. No real standouts yet; the search continues.

A: Poured into a tulip. Boring, near-black color, teeny head that quickly disappears to the tiniest of rings.

S: I get roasted malts and a slight undercurrent of that unique Belgian yeast aroma. Really though, if I didn't know better I'd say this was a stout by the smell.

T: Also dominated by pretty one-dimensional roasted malts, although the Belgian yeast profile is stronger here. A nice chocolatey finish that lingers for a while on the palate is the best part about this beer.

M: Poor. Undercarbonated for a Belgian, leaves an undesirable coating on the roof of my mouth. Not the way a Belgian should feel.

D: Not too great. One and done for sure.

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

Dark brown with ruby hues under light and a khaki head.

Aromas of nuts and a little roasted malt.

It has a light toasty/ roasty/ chocolate malt edge with a slight back end note of caramel with some faint dusty earthy hops.

The chocolate notes increase as it warms. Medium body with a relaxed mouth feel and dry finish.

I want to be a fisherman in a colonial N.C. coastal town, and have an old salty tavern by the docks that serves this beer as the house draft amidst the smell of wood, old ropes, and crab traps.

Photo of JMad
3.93/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From a bottle to a pint glass...
Looks black with a red hue, thin off white head with good lacing.
Smells mostly of toffee and roasted grains.
Tastes like caramel malt, toasted biscuits, and is slightly bitter.
Feels very soft and bubbly.
Big flavor and goes down easy.

Photo of Dionysius86
3.38/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A = Nearly opaque, brownish/black. It may have just been my pouring, but it had a rather large head. It faded to just a few suds.

S = Raisin and brain

T = Surprisingly sweet first taste. Leads into a more bitter, fuller taste. Dark fruits and dark chocolate. Smooth finish.

M = Medium body. Not too thick, not to thin. Moderate carbonation.

D = I'm not a huge fan of dark beers, but this pretty drinkable. I'm always impressed with New Belgium. I expected 1554 to be similar to Guinness, but was pleasantly different. Much less bitter, much smoother going down.

Photo of drabmuh
3.85/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is a Belgian stout. Brown to ruby. Soft white head with lacing with some lacing.

Aroma is roasty and mild.

Its a little ashy. Medium body, creamy body. Its just OK. A perfectly fine Belgian stout. Not sweet up front no bitterness. Mild coffee.

Photo of hoppyhampy
3.2/5  rDev -16.4%
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.

Photo of Gambrinus1184
4.15/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12-ounce bottle into a tulip-shaped Duvel glass.

A: Deep, mahogany brown to near black in color with bright, garnet highlights shown in the light. A three-finger head of rocky, tan foam retains nicely and leaves behind a good amount of sticky lace.

S: Very complex, floral and fruity aroma with hints of licorice and a spicy, alcoholic smell. Smells like cherries, brown sugar and a bit of yeast as well.

T: Slightly tart and a sweet, fruity malt flavor up front, with a flash of cherry and currant. Bits of bittersweet cocoa and earthy, roasted barley comes through with a molasses and coal element. Finish is spicy, roasted, floral and bitter with the slightest twang of alcohol.

M: Fairly good and clean all around for such a complex palate. The medium bodied ale finishes with a fair, bitter slickness.

D: Complex enough and quite drinkable as well given its mouthfeel and cleanliness. The 5.6% ABV is a plus as well for those looking to turn the complex enlightenment into a session. A nice beer to sip on a cool, late-summer evening.

Photo of yuenglingfan101
4.75/5  rDev +24%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

a very good beer. Nice beer with a little extra head to it, but that isn't bad at all. Taste of hops is wonderful, but at the very end a tad bitter. Smells crisp. Drinkability is good, but after a couple one will probably get tired of it. I do recommend this beer to the average beer drinker

1554 Enlightened Black Ale from New Belgium Brewing
86 out of 100 based on 3,068 ratings.