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1554 Enlightened Black Ale - New Belgium Brewing

1554 Enlightened Black Ale1554 Enlightened Black Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
86
very good

2,817 Ratings
THE BROS
82
good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2817
Reviews: 1235
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 12.53%


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: 2,817 | Reviews: 1,235 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Sammy
Sammy

Ontario (Canada)

3.95/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Nice aroma, dark appearance, dry, yeast, aggressive carbonation. Roast, chewy, malty. Thanks Tim (IPFreely) for sharing. Quite good and drinkable,cocoa, mult-dimensional and it all comes together in satisfying drink and aftertaste. Nice Belgian style.

Serving type: bottle

07-04-2005 23:47:56 | More by Sammy
Photo of UCLABrewN84
UCLABrewN84

California

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

A - Pours a opaque dark brown/black color with a 1 inch beige head. Light ring lacing happens.

S - Smells of roasted coffee, bittersweet chocolate, and sweet malts.

T - Bittersweet chocolate, roasted coffee, with a slight herb taste (licorice perhaps).

M - Good carbonation. Dry yet creamy.

D - Very good dark ale that is easy to drink. It is not as heavy as I thought it might be.

Serving type: bottle

06-26-2010 06:07:42 | More by UCLABrewN84
Photo of BuckeyeNation
BuckeyeNation

Iowa

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

Two parts dark brown to one part dark red. This beer looks almost identical to a brown ale that I just had; certainly no darker. The lid is light brown and softly sticky. Glass coverage is adequate. A few small splotches of lace appear, no more than that. The aroma (which could stand to be stronger) is of roasted malt with spicy and earthy accents.

1554 Enlightened Black Ale tastes like a brown ale with some Belgian character. I've never had a black ale, so I'm not sure if this is what the brewers were shooting for or not. The flavor profile includes caramel malt with a small amount of roastiness and a little coffee. The beer is sweet and fruity early, becoming drier on the finish.

A subtle spiciness is evident as well and is most likely due to Belgian yeast esters. Flavor wasn't overly impressive in the top half of the bottle, but I'm enjoying it quite a bit in the bottom half. The body is medium in heft, decently creamy and slightly overbubbled.

Thanks to New Belgium for brewing something different. I haven't seen too many black ales. 1554 is pretty good beer, all things considered.

Serving type: bottle

03-12-2004 21:05:44 | More by BuckeyeNation
Photo of mikesgroove
mikesgroove

South Carolina

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

Grabbed this one at Mellow Mushroom with lunch. Really the only thing on the menu I felt like having, but oh well. 22oz bottle was served to me with a pint glass, consumed on 12/23/2009.
 
The pour was decent enough, rich looking dark brown with a small amount of light peaking in on the sides and the bottom of the glass. Nice head of tan came up to about an inch before dropping off the side of the glass and coating the sides for a good little bit. Aroma is nice roasted malts with a touch of light dark fruit notes at first. Very rich as well with a big malt bill. First sip goes down nice and smooth, rich dark malts again are dominant here with a light bit of chocolate coating the tongue at first. Following it is a light dryness and a bi of a hop kick that gives it just that slight bit of bitterness in the finish. Final taste is of toasted malts and dry hints of chocolate that last on the tongue long into the final sip.
 
Overall it was very solid from beginning to end. Nothing really bad I can say about this one. It really seemed to hold its own quite nicely. I would have no issue with trying the one again.
 

Serving type: bottle

12-24-2009 15:35:35 | More by mikesgroove
Photo of womencantsail
womencantsail

California

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

A: The beer pours a very dark brown color with some reddish highlights and a khaki head.

S: A nice balance of roasted malts and sweet, caramel ones. There is a nice creamy caramel note all the way through. A nuttiness, almost like peanut butter, is also present. Just a little earthy hops.

T: Slightly fruity, but otherwise, same story as the nose. Nice light roast, toast, and caramel balance to this one. A mild nuttiness, a hint of yeast, and some perfectly sweet toffee.

M: Medium bodied with a smooth carbonation.

O: One of New Belgium's better beers, actually. Really solid stuff.

Serving type: bottle

09-14-2011 05:56:31 | More by womencantsail
Photo of brentk56
brentk56

North Carolina

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

Appearance: Pours a burnt caramel color with a magnificent head that leaves an impressive amount of lacing

Smell: Dark fruit and a touch of coffee

Taste: Starts with a dark fruit flavor profile that has a vague hints of caramel, coffee and chocolate; after the swallow, the flavor becomes a bit sweeter, almost like a bit of spice cake, though there is a detectable level of earthy hop bitterness; kind of a Belgian Dark "light"

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Easy to drink with just enough complexity to make it interesting but low enough in alcohol to drink a few

Serving type: bottle

09-28-2006 03:00:08 | More by brentk56
Photo of Phyl21ca
Phyl21ca

Quebec (Canada)

3.7/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a dark colored beer with a medium head with good retention. Aroma is comprised mostly of roasted malts with some subtle spice mix. Taste is quite different from what I expected and I would described as a mix between a dry stout and a Belgian ale. Roastiness is prevalent but you can still see the Belgian inspiration in this beer. Body is above average. Overall, this is a fine drink and I applaud the fact that the brewer tried to brew something different.

Serving type: bottle

09-03-2004 16:03:37 | More by Phyl21ca
Photo of BEERchitect
BEERchitect

Kentucky

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

I guess that I expected something along the lines of a Schwartzbier, but got something richer, more complex, and nicely intriguing. Aromas begin with a mild roast character woven around caramel, toffee, and lactose sweetness. Mild tartness, earthy / peaty, nutty notes round out the scent. The beer looks dark brown with a mild murky look, well headed, and overall rich looking. Tastes are big on the caramel / toffee / praline sweetness, but the added complexity of berries, chocolate, wood, and must make the beer decidedly better. The mouthfeel seems full because of the varying flavors and creamy carbonation, but the beer finishes quite light and drinkable. Simply a nice beer with tons of complexity and not a gravity bomb -- good to see. Thanks BMock.

Serving type: bottle

10-23-2007 18:51:51 | More by BEERchitect
Photo of Thorpe429
Thorpe429

Illinois

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

On tap at the brewery. August 2009. Reviewed from notes.

Pours a deep dark brown with an off white head that has some pretty good retention. The nose brings forward some light chocolate and dark fruits. The taste is slightly roasty with some dates, plum, and chocolate. Good mouthfeel with nice carbonation levels. Drinks nice and easy.

Serving type: on-tap

10-29-2010 01:33:59 | More by Thorpe429
Photo of metter98
metter98

New York

3.9/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: The beer is very dark amber in color (close to near black) and poured with a two finger high off white head that slowly died down and left a tick ring of bubbles around the edge of the glass as well as lacing down the edges. No carbonation is evident in the form of rising bubbles.
S: There are light aromas of chocolaty malts in the nose. The smell isn't very strong, even after the beer warms up.
T: Moderate flavors of chocolate malts dominate the overall taste, although it's somewhat one dimensional because no traces of bitterness from the hops are perceptible. The chocolate flavors intensify as the beer warms up, but never become very strong.
M: It feels light- to medium-bodied, silky smooth and quite creamy on the palate. There is a light to moderate amount of carbonation. The finish has a hint of dryness.
D: The beer is very drinkable because it has a low amount of alcohol and isn't filling at all.

Serving type: bottle

12-27-2010 03:38:04 | More by metter98
Photo of ChainGangGuy
ChainGangGuy

Georgia

3.73/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. single picked up at Riverside Wine and Spirits in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Best Before: 01MAY09.

Appearance: Pours out a clear, dark chestnut brown body with a smallish, off-white head.

Smell: Sweetish, fruity nose with light notes of caramel, roasted malt, and coffee. A pleasant chocolate scent grows and swarms the nose upon warming.

Taste: Light tastes of roast, caramel, coffee, and even semisweet chocolate with a moderate amount of malty sweetness. Plenty of fig and Bing cherry fruit character. Dash of cola. Very minor hop character and bitterness. Hint of yeast. Lingering tastes of chocolate and roast on the drying finish.

Mouthfeel: Makes me think of blend of a dark Belgian ale with a schwarzbier. Pleasant and highly drinkable with a reasonable ABV%.

Serving type: bottle

01-26-2009 02:44:50 | More by ChainGangGuy
Photo of oberon
oberon

North Carolina

4.25/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Nice to see New Belgium stuff in the supermarkets aroung Greensboro.Poured into an overiseized wine glass a deep brown like cola color with a great one finger off white head,just creamy looking with great definition,nearly a five.Aromas were a little light but pleasant,bitter chocolate,clove,and black licorice were what I picked up most.Highly drinkable with subtle complexity on the palate,bitter chocolate and dry earthy tones with some licorice-like flavors,the sweetness is kept in check well but lends good balance.A damn fine brew,I liked it more than I thought I would.

Serving type: bottle

03-05-2009 20:27:14 | More by oberon
Photo of TMoney2591
TMoney2591

Illinois

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

Served in a Gale Sayers shaker pint glass.

I figured this was worth a return visit after a few years. It pours a clear garnet-brown topped by a finger of ecru foam. The nose comprises figs, brown sugar, nutmeg, Belgian yeast, and rye bread. The taste brings more of the same, along with an underlying flavor of cocoa. The body is a light-ish medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a slightly grainy feel. Overall, a nice little Belgian Dark, a decent inexpensive alternative to more impressive and involved Belgians.

Serving type: bottle

12-03-2010 07:24:04 | More by TMoney2591
Photo of NeroFiddled
NeroFiddled

Pennsylvania

4.33/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

New Belgium's 1554 pours a black body with gleaming mahogany and ruby highlights beneath an average-sized head of creamy light tan foam that holds well and leaves some very nice lace about the glass. The nose is roasty with chocolate and coffee-beans (not brewed coffee...). It's smooth across the palate with a moderate carbonation and medium body. The flavor is exactly as the nose suggests with the addition of some rich caramel notes and a very delicate touch of grassy hops in the background. It's just slightly spicy, and a touch acidic from the dark malts; and these combine with its sublime bitterness to balance it very nicely. It finishes with a lingering note of roasty, dark-chocolate accented caramel. Quite nice!

Serving type: bottle

05-18-2005 23:04:33 | More by NeroFiddled
Photo of biboergosum
biboergosum

Alberta (Canada)

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

Sitting back, enjoying the view from the New Belgium pub in the Denver airport, I ordered a pint of this to while away the layover time...

This beer poured a dark cola hue, with off-white head, and lots of lacing. The aroma contained a slight burnt malt essence, and a little bitter coffee. The taste showed a fair bit of bitter coffee, with a touch of floral hops. The carbonation was moderate, and the beer was a bit thin overall. It reminded me of many a brewpub stout that I've had, due to the light body and choco-coffee flavour. Nonetheless, a decent tipple with which to watch soccer and fill the time and soul gap of an airport layover...and cheers to the friendly bartender, "Meatloaf"...

Serving type: on-tap

11-07-2008 08:14:02 | More by biboergosum
Photo of feloniousmonk
feloniousmonk

Minnesota

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

Black ale? A new appellation for me, but after tasting, it's more accurately a brown ale painted up in blackface, ...not that there's anything wrong with that.

Dark brown in color, more reddish when seen through light. A full, frothy, creamy off-white head towers on top. Powerful aromatics waft out, fruity and floral, soft, sweet notes of toffee, cream, and nuts. Bold brace of hops jump on board the palate and carry through the finish. Excellent texture, chewy and substantial. Hops start to bow out, as they are muted by the full feeling of the powerful malt presence. Very satisfying, and a superior choice for a session ale. I have to wonder if they didn't blacken this brew, which otherwise tastes like an excellent example of brown ale, to avoid comparison to the inferior Newcastle.

They do everything well at New Belgium. Thanks to Marc77 for sending this sample!

Serving type: bottle

02-01-2003 15:16:40 | More by feloniousmonk
Photo of TheManiacalOne
TheManiacalOne

Rhode Island

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

Acquired via trade from Wasatch, so a big “Thank you” goes out to him. Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a dark reddish brown color with a large foamy off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a very thick and even lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of chocolate, dark fruit, some Belgian yeast and a touch of hops.

T: The taste starts out with semi-sweet flavors of dark chocolate and dark fruits (raisins & berries), then a Belgian yeast flavor comes in but it’s much lighter than most Belgian style beers that I’ve had. There’s a mild hops presence and a hearty malt character with a little bit of smokiness.

M: Crisp and very smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, slightly sticky finish.

D: Tasty, goes down easily, slightly filling, I could drink a few of these in an evening, but I think this is a beer that would work better if you were to have two or three after dinner or as a slow evening winds down. It’s not quite a sipper, but I don’t think I could drink enough of them to call it a pounder either. However, it’s still a very good beer.

Serving type: bottle

04-01-2007 03:00:29 | More by TheManiacalOne
Photo of emerge077
emerge077

Illinois

3.7/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Obvious black tone, with deep crimson highlights in the light. Rings of webby lace quickly encircle the glass, later becoming sparse. A strong pour produces 3+ fingers of tan foam. Visually stimulating.

Whiff of sweet phenolics, banana, and roast malt. Thins out after the inital pour, and becomes a little grainy with a Folgers suggestion.

Smooth & creamy mouthfeel lends alot to the overall equation. Light, but not thin. Carob, almond, with a slightly sweet milk chocolate lasting from beginning til end. Mild bitterness, becoming grainy again as the glass is finished. Overall a nice dark ale with some degree of complexity.

Thanks to acme for the bottle!

Serving type: bottle

08-01-2007 01:34:18 | More by emerge077
Photo of russpowell
russpowell

Oklahoma

4.35/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured with a rocky tan head (retention could've been better) with varying sized bubbles. Body was more mahogany than black, when expsed to adequate light, other wise light black...Great clarity

Nose: Fruit, breadiness, leather, nuts & spices (pepper)

Tastes of Sour mash maltiness, licorice, coffee, hops lingering at the edge with plenty of fruitcake-like goodness/malt

Mouthfeel: Carbination & maltiness slightly out of balance.

Drinkability: Just a little too complex to enjoy more than a few a session.

Serving type: bottle

10-29-2005 04:18:18 | More by russpowell
Photo of WesWes
WesWes

New York

4.25/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a very dark brown color with a thick tan head. The aroma is good. It boasts of mostly pale, chocolate, and roasted malts. It has the traditional Belgian style fruity kick to it; very nice. The taste is great. This is a very tastey dark ale with lots of dark malts and Belgian yeast. It goes down smooth with a creamy finish and a fruity aftertaste. The mouthfeel is good. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a good sessions ale; a real pleasure to drink; another winner from New Belgium.

Serving type: bottle

02-17-2004 23:33:46 | More by WesWes
Photo of drabmuh
drabmuh

Maryland

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.

Serving type: bottle

09-18-2010 04:53:12 | More by drabmuh
Photo of Mora2000
Mora2000

Texas

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

The beer pours a black color with a tan head. The aroma is heavy on the roasted malt and chocolate. An extremely malty beer that smells like a stout. The flavor is a mix of chocolate, ash, roasted malt, coffee and cream. A great mix of flavors that all meld very well together. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation. A very nice Belgian-style stout. One of the better year-round New Belgium beers.

Serving type: bottle

05-07-2011 01:32:40 | More by Mora2000
Photo of zeff80
zeff80

Missouri

4.33/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured a black color with a tan foamy head.

S - Smells a little like toffee.

T - Has some toffee flavors, but also very malty and a sweet chocolate flavor, as well.

M - Soft, medium bodied brew.

D - It is a very drinkable dark ale. I think it is an affordable alternative to Belgian brews.

Serving type: on-tap

07-09-2006 19:57:13 | More by zeff80
Photo of jlindros
jlindros

Massachusetts

4.08/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a huge fluffy 2+ finger head that fades at a med pace over dark almost black beer with hints of ruby light sneaking through on the edges, with notches of sticky lacing.

Nose is like a dark brown ale, light porter malts, hint of roasted malts, some nutty aromas, hint of nutmeg and nutty spices, some molasses, bit of caramel. Then some earthy slight herbal hops but not a lot of hops.

Taste starts creamy with a nice porter like flavor, bit of roasted malts but not heavy roast, some coffee and just the slightest acrid coffee grind roast, some caramel and toffee, hint of warm chocolate milk, slight nutty malts again as well, and quite creamy almost lactose or oatmeal creamy. Then light hops, just hints of earthy hops bring a touch of bitterness. Smooth and somewhat luscious as well. Finishes a bit drier, some lingering luscious dark malts and chocolate milk even, slightly sticky, and a bit of bitterness with earthy hops.

Mouth is med bodied, smooth and almost velvety, decent carb.

Overall pretty good, nice and drinkable, almost like a creamy porter with nice flavors, doesn't get too bitter or acrid burnt flavors, nice smooth and drinkable demeanor.

Serving type: bottle

10-03-2011 01:00:00 | More by jlindros
Photo of Gueuzedude
Gueuzedude

Arizona

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

Pours a clear deep, deep amber color and is topped by a light brown head that starts out a good 3 inches thick. The dominant aroma is of toasted malt, it is joined by perhaps a hint of caramel sweetness, and lots of biscuit type aromatics. This beer has quite a smooth body that goes down quite well. It is lightly sweet. The finish laden with notes of toasted malt, that is not quite approaching a roast character. This beer is quite malty overall, though it is balanced by a dark fruitiness that reminds me of cherries, raisins, and perhaps a bit of fig.. This beer could definitely use a bit more Belgian yeast character, but that is perhaps a wee bit of a shallow complaint, as this is a great session beer as is.

Serving type: bottle

04-20-2004 16:30:49 | More by Gueuzedude
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1554 Enlightened Black Ale from New Belgium Brewing
86 out of 100 based on 2,817 ratings.