Dismiss Notice
Sneak peek! BeerAdvocate magazine #104 (September 2015) featuring Leah & Oscar from Highland Brewing in Asheville, North Carolina. Learn more ...

1554 Enlightened Black Ale - New Belgium Brewing

Not Rated.
1554 Enlightened Black Ale1554 Enlightened Black Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
87
very good

1,249 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 1,249
Hads: 3,157
rAvg: 3.86
pDev: 10.36%
Wants: 84
Gots: 260 | 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
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 1,249 | Hads: 3,157
Photo of Sammy
3.95/5  rDev +2.3%
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. (251 characters)

Photo of UCLABrewN84
4/5  rDev +3.6%
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. (385 characters)

Photo of kylehay2004
4.16/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: 3 finger tan head with excellent lacing on a black body with quite a bit of light passing through.

S: roasted malt with mocha and coffee notes.

T: nice mild roasted malt, coffee notes but without the coffee bitterness. Not too sweet but a subtle dark fruit note, mostly strawberry and cherry, in the finish.

M: medium to full body and moderate carbonation with a wet finish.

Overall: Very drinkable and lighter than I was expecting. The complexity in the taste is subtle but its there. (492 characters)

Photo of metter98
3.86/5  rDev 0%
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. (917 characters)

Photo of Thorpe429
3.8/5  rDev -1.6%
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. (337 characters)

Photo of StonedTrippin
3.86/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

one of the best new belgium beers i've had, poured into a frosted pint glass with a vigorous cream colored head. smell is roasty and boozy a bit, unique to some degree. flavor is great wow, really different that anticipated. hard to describe in a way, very unconventional black ale, missing the heavy filling dimension. really super sessionable. mouthfeel is soundly medium bodied with a lot of carbonation. really nice with spicy food as well (443 characters)

Photo of brentk56
4.03/5  rDev +4.4%
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 (603 characters)

Photo of BEERchitect
4.35/5  rDev +12.7%
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. (758 characters)

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.67/5  rDev -4.9%
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. (472 characters)

Photo of biboergosum
3.77/5  rDev -2.3%
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"... (698 characters)

Photo of emerge077
3.71/5  rDev -3.9%
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! (670 characters)

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.85/5  rDev -0.3%
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. (1,106 characters)

Photo of zeff80
4.3/5  rDev +11.4%
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. (297 characters)

Photo of mikesgroove
4.1/5  rDev +6.2%
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.
  (1,133 characters)

Photo of oberon
4.21/5  rDev +9.1%
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. (578 characters)

Photo of womencantsail
4.2/5  rDev +8.8%
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. (590 characters)

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.75/5  rDev -2.8%
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%. (775 characters)

Photo of nickfl
3.83/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Two fingers of light caramel colored foam top a deep amber-brown body with ruby highlights and excellent clarity. Head retention is reasonable and the lace is quite good.

S - Caramel aroma complimented by subtle spiciness with notes of clove, dates, and some vanilla.

T - Dark, syrupy flavor of caramel, raisins and some chocolate malt. Dark fruit and spice come in the middle with nutmeg, clove and banana flavors. The finish consists of lingering dark caramel with a little bit of roast grain and a warming alcohol note.

M - Silky smooth, medium body with moderately high carbonation and a fairly sweet finish.

D - Goes down fairly easy despite some flavors that could easily become overbearing. The yeast notes interact with the malt flavors in a pleasant way, but by the end of the glass the syrupy caramel flavors begin to become cloying. (851 characters)

Photo of TMoney2591
3.88/5  rDev +0.5%
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. (524 characters)

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.32/5  rDev +11.9%
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! (726 characters)

Photo of jlindros
4.08/5  rDev +5.7%
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. (1,171 characters)

Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.98/5  rDev +3.1%
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. (1,114 characters)

Photo of mactrail
3.46/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Soft and dark, a nice touch of sweetness. Watery body with plenty of foamy mouthfeel. Looks nice in the glass with the dark mahogany color. A perky touch of roast flavors and chocolate malt give it some dark zing. A little sweetness. Faint hops, more of a cooked cereal flavor.

Clean and well made, but pretty plain. A nice alternative to the dull porters. I would have called it a Schwarzbier for the light body and subdued flavors. I don't get any flavors that I'd call Belgian, but maybe it's a very self-effacing yeast. (524 characters)

Photo of Slatetank
4.38/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - an enchanting black with a 2.5 finger head of compact bubbles that produces a light tan head of microfoam. A decent amount of thin lace remains.

S - Bready, nutty and toasty with a gentle biscuit aroma and a compliment of spice.

M - Nutty Roasted and moderately carbonated with a clean finish and refreshing deep roasted coffee after taste.

T - Sweet at first, almost immediately replacing the chocolate malt taste with toasted and refined biscuity flavors. A gentle berry and coffee taste emerges as it warms with a mellow caramelized sugar flavor. Cardamom and clove flavors round out the spice element of this tasty brew.

D - A great dark ale with none of the cloying heavy trappings. This is a quaffable, sessionable brew along the lines of a schwarzbier, but with Belgian character. An ale that is easy to drink and worth having as a compliment to sushi grade tuna, shellfish or by itself. (911 characters)

Photo of RblWthACoz
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Ballewblake for bringing this to Brooklyn for Biscodoll and thanks to Biscodoll for providing a few as a delivery gratuity.

I never thought I'd be reviewing a New Belgium beer while I lived in Brooklyn.

Pours a dark brown that is clear with a thin creme/tannish head that falls to nothing. Nose is supremely odd. Very much like a porter with the roasted and coffee tones. Flavor is nice and robust, though not overly complex in nature. Again, it hits me like a porter. Roasted and vaguely like a schwarzbier (yes I have had a few different ones recently to compare to). The area it sways towards Belgian is in the feel and the slightly different sweet tone. Overall this is a very nice beer. Definitely worth trying and definitely one of New Belgiums better offerings. (780 characters)

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
1554 Enlightened Black Ale from New Belgium Brewing
87 out of 100 based on 1,249 ratings.