1554 Enlightened Black Ale - New Belgium Brewing

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1554 Enlightened Black Ale1554 Enlightened Black Ale

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very good

1,249 Reviews
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Reviews: 1,249
Hads: 3,146
rAvg: 3.86
pDev: 10.36%
Wants: 84
Gots: 253 | 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
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Reviews: 1,249 | Hads: 3,146
Photo of Alieniloquium
3.62/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a chalice.

Appearance - Deep brown body with little to no head or lacing.

Smell - Roasty malts and a coffee-like aroma. Some chocolatey smells too. Smells nice.

Taste - Like a very weak stout. Roasted malt character at first. Develops a slight chocolate coffee flavor, but it fades quickly. The finish has a nuttiness to it and just a hint of hops.

Mouthfeel - The finish is off. I don't know what it is, but that final flavor is odd. Very light and super easy to drink, though.

Overall - Nice flavors, except for that finish. Just not a lot going on to distinguish itself. (604 characters)

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

A very nice beer, and one of New Belgium's best offerings that is readily obtainable. Pours a very dark garnet color, which appears close to black. Relatively decent head, but it settles pretty quickly. Nice aromas. This is an unusual style, and I believe I've only had one other- Rare Vos. There is a nuttiness in the aroma, almost like wild rice, as well as a chalky smell. This is followed by cocoa notes and a touch of black pepper and a deep roastiness. The taste is similar, with some very dry malt up front, followed by an earthy bitterness, a dry nuttiness, and a chalky cocoa taste at the finish. A deep roastiness is throughout, and everything is well integrated. The mouthfeel is a bit prickly, even spicy, and bone dry. There is a nice lingering bitterness, but none of that sourness you sometimes get from deeply roasted grains. The whole package is quite intriguing. Some of the chocolate tastes in the beer dry out and become more bitter and dry as you keep drinking. Really a marvel- very different than almost anything else out there. I like it both for its unusual nature and for its simple directness. (1,120 characters)

Photo of Kelp
3.85/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Nice Dark pour into my glass, tannish head raises from the beer. Truthfully I am a bit stuffed to pick out anything still smell nice though. Taste is thoroughly enjoyable one of the best belgian dark beers i have had. So far I have thoroughly enjoyed new Belgiums beers. A bit thin feeling to me but nice and creamy none the less. I would have loved to have had another one but alas it was my only one. (402 characters)

Photo of weeare138
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to witbier for this...
Appears a dense black with dark touches of charred oak around the edges when held to the light. A lush, foamy, beige head slowly fades out into a clumpy cap. Tons of scattered lacing is left around the glass.
Smell is of cocoa, molasses, and roasted nuts.
Taste is of the same aromas. Melted caramel, cocoa, molasses, and roasted nuts.
Mouthfeel is smooth, caramel-sweet, mildly bitter with semi-sweet baker's chocolate, and a touch of sourness running along the sides of the tongue.
This one surprised me. Well done! (552 characters)

Photo of johnnnniee
4.12/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Received in a trade with sfromdawes, thanks for the opportunity.

Pours a dark brown, with ruby highlights. Two finger off white head dissipates quickly, but laces all the way down. Aroma hits with chocolate, coffee, some dried fruit and a little barnyard funk in the background. Taste is creamy chocolate, some fruit and some caramel. Full body, creamy mouthfeel, just enough carbonation the tease the tongue. Great tasting brew, not sure I'd call it a Belgian Dark, but tasty just the same. (492 characters)

Photo of lacqueredmouse
4.07/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very deep reddish black, with lots of fine-bubbled carbonation. Creamy head of quite light beige foam leaves some excellent lacing. The carbonation is perhaps a bit worrying, but overall it looks pretty good.

Sweet mocha chocolate notes on the nose. Quite a dry and dusty character to it, with a hint of turned earth and spices. It's quite a mellow nose for a dark ale, certainly not burnt, coffee-like, or even very roasted at all. Still, I like it a fair bit. Very pleasant characters on the nose.

Also slightly subdued on the palate. A very pleasant hazelnut flavour is perhaps predominant. Very sweet, and extremely nutty, there's no hint of burnt or astringent characters. Creamy smooth in the mouth, very good indeed.

What a delicious beer; sweet, but not overdone, just like the Belgians do it. Lacks a bit of the true Belgian yeast character which would add some depth to the beer. But this is a super-drinkable brew, quite delicious - thanks to my tall Texan friend for recommending this one. (1,013 characters)

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

Clear dark brown ale with a tan head.

Smell is dark roasted malt and a whiff of banana. Fairly malty in scent and I can pick out the scent of wheat in it. Faint whiff of smoke is present.

Taste is faint sweetness and smoke from the dark malt. Flavor of chocolate and mild bitterness with a little acid edge in the finish. No way is this a Belgian Dark Ale, this is a schwarzbier.

Mouthfeel is good.

Schwarzbier here not a Belgian Dark Ale! Not a bad beer at all here but I like the German version better. (516 characters)

Photo of barleywinefiend
3.5/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a deep brown with little carbonation or head. Sweet malt and roasted aroma dominates; some fruit there too but it was subdued. Body was medium-to-full, and quite a bit of roasted flavor though it didn't contribute as much to the bitterness as would be expected and had hardly any astringency at all. Leaned to the sweet side but not overwhelmingly so. Mouthfeel was nice. Drinkability is much better on tap!! (415 characters)

Photo of rhoadsrage
4.3/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

(Served in a chalice)

A- This beer has a dark chocolate brown body that is a bit dense but glows with a reddish hue in the sun. There is a sea of tiny bubbles that glide up the side of the glass. Thick creamy layers of sticky foam of light tan that last and last.

S- The smooth roasted notes of dark malt with a slight sweetness with a note of minerals and cream.

T- This beer has a smooth creamy chocolate malt flavor but there isn’t any bitterness to the soft roasted qualities. The finish has a nice smooth coffee malt flavor and a light chalk taste along with the dark fruit notes in the finish.

M- This beer has a medium-light mouthfeel with a creamy texture and a tight fizz finish.

D- This beer is a nice dark mysterious ale that went excellent with fresh baked chocolate chip walnut cookies. There were nice dark malt flavors but they were not the bitter stout qualities instead there were some nice dark Belgian yeast qualities. (950 characters)

Photo of jdhilt
3.56/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a three finger cream head that fades slowly leaving a good lace. Almost black color. Good carbonation and medium bodied. Slight caramel nose. Starts as sweet/roasted chocolate, Slight bitter finish. Nice dark. Best before 10/2006. $1.69 for a 12oz bottle from Hi-Time Cellars Costa Mesa, Ca. (297 characters)

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

A 12 oz bottle from Liquid Solutions.

A: The ale is dark, dark red, almost black but not quite. Bright ruby red highlights emerge when the beer is held to light. The head was sizeable and retained nicely throughout the glass.

S: The note is caramelized malts, roasted with a sweet baltic porter-like aroma that results from a lager yeast.

T: The ale's flavor is really driven by the lager yeast. The flavor is caramelized, chocolate-like with a sweet roasted undertone. There are no hops to speak of here, but the flavor is sweet enough that they are not missed.

M: The sweet body is very enjoyable, full of flavor without a big malty body.

D: A Belgian beer that is remarkably similar to a baltic porter. The lager yeast really makes this a good beer. (767 characters)

Photo of Wasatch
3.97/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a nice dark brown color, nice carbonation, tiny head which dissapates quickly, not much lacing.

S - Scents of malts, and toffee.

T - The taste is sweet, but with a bitter/dry finish, also a taste of toffee.

M - Light-Medium body, well rounded/carbonated feel.

D - Drinkable. Very tasty, could drink a few of these. A very nice brew from New Belgium. (371 characters)

Photo of JohnGalt1
3.75/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz from the Coop for about $1.40.. shared with Brenda, mine from my New Belgium tulip.

3/4" lite tan head drops leaving some lacing and rings... dark brown..not black.. clear deep chestnut red when held to a light.

Aroma is fruity yeasty notes and chocolate dark roasted malts.. cold instant coffee.. no hops to speak of. As it warms, some earthy hop notes become evident.

Dark malts and dark dried fruit are the main flavor components.. with more coffee at the front.. Chocolate grains and restrained dried cherries and raisins.. Hops are more prevalent than the nose.. earthy hops mix well with the front-side palate.. more yeasty fruitiness .. not Belgian but not necessarily American..not sure.

The 1554 is a brew I pick up a bottle or two probably 10-12 times a year when I am getting a mixed New Belgium 6'er. Does not strike me as a BSDA.. definately on the right track, but there is something European missing. (925 characters)

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

Pours a dark ruby brown with a thick creamy off white head that retains well and laces the glass. The aroma is nutty, lactic roasted chocolate.Taste is favorably mild with a great dryish mixture of black malts and chocolate with just a hint of dried floral spices and yeast. Just barely sweet within and has a bit of roastyness. (328 characters)

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

12oz bottle from nvsblman as part of BIF 19. Thanks for the opportunity. Label says best before 11Nov05. Oops.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 1 1/4" brown head above the clear dark burgundy brew. Head lasts well, with plentiful sticky lacing. Aroma is dark grain with a light hopiness. Taste starts hearty yet sweet, with the taste buds eventually sorting out the roasty dark malts, and ends with a light hop character. Mouthfeel is smooth and soft over the tongue, and drinkability is high, only limited that the sweetness may get overbearing after awhile. But I'd take a few, I would think. I'd like to make certain, if the opportunity came up. (663 characters)

Photo of beertunes
2.71/5  rDev -29.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Served on-tap in a straight pint glass. Poured on the still side, not much head or carbonation, minimal lacing. A shade of black that is just shy of being black, while being too dark to be any shade of brown. Nothing noticeable in the aroma. Slight roasted flavors in taste, but nothing that stands out. The body is light for an ale, but would be fulfilling if considered a lager. (380 characters)

Photo of aasher
3.98/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

This beer pours a light to medium in body, a dark, dark chestnut brown in color with ruby highlights and a one finger beige colored creamy head. It smells of lightly roasted dark malts with a light slightly bitter chocolate aroma. I don't get where people are saying that they get any yeast from this. I think this smells more like a porter. The flavors are of slight dark chocolate with a light roastiness and a creamy finish. It has the mouthfeel of french press coffee and cream. It's very flavorful but again, I say this tastes more like a porter. I poured this aggressively so it initially had a pretty large head. I think this sucked some of the carbonation out of it but it made the beer very creamy and soft and exceptionally smooth. Overall I like this beer. Is it a good interpretation of the style? It's debatable. I think this drinks more like a porter than a Belgian dark ale but that's fine with me. (913 characters)

Photo of LiquidAmber
3.85/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Review from 10/2010 notes. Poured into a Nostradamus flute glass. Pours a dark, rich red brown with a thin head that leaves light lacing. Malty, dark fruit aroma. Tastes malty and nutty with dark fruit, some roasted malt. This is much closer to a brown ale that leans towards a Porter. Medium bodied. There is no Belgian character that I can detect. Worth revisiting as a brown ale. (382 characters)

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

Bought this one expecting a typical black Ipa because I didn't read the bottle, just grabbed it from the shelf. Pleasantly surprised to find a tasty, easy drinking beer that's very chocolate malt-forward and has a very restrained bitterness. Mild sweetness and minimally hoppy. Only hint of Belgian style or influence is in a vague fruitiness and a certain dryness of finish reminiscent of a typical belgian dark on the lower end of the Abv scale.

The beer looks good...deep and very dark brown with a big effervescent tan head that has strong retention but not much lace. The aroma is a little weaker than the taste but still exhibits nicely chocolatey malt character. The mouthfeel is likewise well done, with a medium body that's moderately and smoothly carbonated. Not exactly Belgian in feel, aside from the drying finish but that doesn't hurt the beer much if at all in my opinion. Nice, unusual session candidate from New Belgium. (938 characters)

Photo of Duff27
3.67/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Great looking pour of a two inch off white head above a black beer. Wonderful head retention and good drink-by-drink step lacing.

S- Subdued. Bready? Didn't get the distinct "Belgian" whiff that everyone is talking about.

T- Initial taste is of chocolate. Faint dark fruits but hardly noticeable. "Nutty."

M- Creamy, moderate carbonation.

D/O- More akin to a brown ale then a Belgian in my opinion, I enjoyed this one. Easy drinking but flavorful, I'd take multiples of this in one sitting if I wasn't so hellbent to get my taste buds on something new...I'm a beer whore. (579 characters)

Photo of vfgccp
3.44/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Cherry cola brown. Bone white, fine bubbled head. Ok retention and great lace.

S - Light nose. Raisin and cola. Slightly musky.

T - Milk chocolate, medium roast caramel malts, and a light woody hop.

M - Smooth medium/full body with nice carbonation. (256 characters)

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

A: Deep mahogany with an off-white/light-tan head, light retention & lace.

S: Dark fruit & treacle with hints of spicy phenolics.

T: Raisins, figs, dates, light spicing, hints of cocoa and roasted nut, modest bitterness balances the residual sweetness.

M: Body is a little heavier & the carbonation is a little lighter than many modern Belgian-styled brews.

OD: A really good drinker and overall it really works. (416 characters)

Photo of flagmantho
3.52/5  rDev -8.8%
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. (746 characters)

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

Oxymoron sent this along in a recent trade. Thanks!
Quite dark, nearly opaque, very clear, mahogany with ruby highlights. A stiff pour produced a fluffy tan head that left chunky lacing stuck to the glass as it slowly settled to a thin, solid cap. Cocoa and toasted bread crust in the aroma, a little yeasty and roasty, nuts, earthy. Malty up front, dry cocoa and roast, giving way to a fruitier finish that leaves a lingering bitterness on the palate. Just a bit spicy and grassy in the middle
Smooth texture, feels light and airy. Lightish bodied with lively carbonation. Seems like it just melts off my tongue. This has great character and is a very pleasant drink. Quite enjoyable. (685 characters)

Photo of tone77
3.41/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a brown 12 oz. bottle. Has a black color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is mild, some coffee. Taste is different for this style, coffee, a touch of chocolate without being sweet. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and overall is a decent brew. (250 characters)

1554 Enlightened Black Ale from New Belgium Brewing
87 out of 100 based on 1,249 ratings.