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1554 Enlightened Black Ale - New Belgium Brewing

Not Rated.
1554 Enlightened Black Ale1554 Enlightened Black Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
86
very good

3,105 Ratings
THE BROS
82
good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,105
Reviews: 1,254
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 12.27%
Wants: 73
Gots: 221 | 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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,105 | Reviews: 1,254 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of jwc215
3.95/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to russpowell for this one!

Best before 24 Oct 08:

Pours mahogany/brown with ruby highlights. A thin off-white head almost immediately becomes a few, lasting, thin wisps. Some vanishing lacing slides down the glass.

The smell is of molasses, bread (pumpernickel?), slightly smokey, some over-ripe cherries. Interesting.

The taste is of cherry fruitiness, some fresh-baked dark bread, smoked (slightly charred edged) wood. Sweet with just a touch of spicy, bitterish, balance in the candy-ish finish.

Medium-bodied. Very smooth.

Different/unique. Quite a bit of subtle complexities, very easy to drink.

Thanks again, Russ!

Photo of kojevergas
3.05/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Served from a bottle in high altitude Denver, CO.

A: Pours a dark brown, nontransparent creamy tan head of mild thickness. Appealing.

Sm: Very light roast. Some hops. Pleasant but musty.

T: Slick open to light roast. A bit one-note actually. Crisp but unbalanced finish. I'd like to see them do this with bolder flavours. Plays it too safe, though this might be expected from a brewery like New Belgium.

Mf: Far too smooth and wet for the style.

Dr: For the price and 5.6% ABV, it's alright. Don't expect anything incredible. It won't lift your kilt up, anyway.

Photo of WesWes
4.23/5  rDev +10.4%
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.

Photo of InspectorBob
3.75/5  rDev -2.1%

Photo of Rochefort10nh
4/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of Mora2000
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.

Photo of Gueuzedude
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.

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

12/01/04- Purchased at a wine store in Sonoma, CA

Appearance- Pours into my Duvel glass a lucid balck with a tinge of red coloring. Huge fluffy white head and excellent lacing.

Smell- I sense sweetness and roasted nuts. Maybe a tad medicinal.

Taste- Kinda like a combo of a porter, a brown ale and maybe a rauchbier. I taste the nutty roasted flavor of a porter and sometimes brown ale and a bit of smokyness like a rauchbier. A nice sweetness to it.

Mouthfeel- Very smooth drinking beer. Low level of carbonation makes it slide down your throat.

Drinkability- My fourth or fifth New Belgium beer I believe. All have turned out at least decent. Another impressive brew. Props to New Belgium.

Photo of wrightst
4.5/5  rDev +17.5%

Photo of duceswild
3.5/5  rDev -8.6%

Photo of orangesol
3.75/5  rDev -2.1%

Photo of Halcyondays
3.45/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle, with a cool picture of a goblet of black ale, overlooking a historic tome,

A: Pours a dark hardwood brown, with a tan to beige head, with some lacing, though minimal.

S: Roasted malts predominately, a swirl reveals some coffee notes with a bit of charcoal.

T: A bit of chocolate and a good malt backbone start off the flavour, with a light finish, which leaves an aftertaste of earth in the mouth.

M: A tad too watery, dry and smooth overall, though, sort of like a weak stout.

D: An interesting style, would describe it as an intermediary between a stout and a schwarzbier, its light flavour makes it easily drinkable, not a great beer, but I enjoyed trying a historical Belgian style.

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

12 ounce bottle into pint glass, best by Feb 19, 2012. Pours crystal clear dark reddish brown color with a nice 2 finger dense khaki head with great retention that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Some decent lacing clings to the glass as well. Aromas of big caramel, toasted malt, chocolate, light coffee, spicy hops, and light biscuit. Some nice and well balanced aromas with good strength. Taste of caramel, biscuit, toasted malt, light chocolate, spicy hops, and malty sweetness. No bitterness; with lingering notes of light chocolate, caramel, and toasted malts on the finish for a bit. Finish is a lot drier than I was expecting it to be, and the flavors aren’t very robust. Medium carbonation and body; with a lightly creamy and very smooth mouthfeel. No alcohol noticed other than a slight warming after the finish. This is extremely drinkable. Overall a nice beer, but pretty lack luster in my opinion. When I read it was a black ale, I was expecting a much more robust flavor and body.

Photo of BlackHaddock
3.59/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 Fl Oz bottle obtained from a Lee's Discount Store in Las Vegas, poured into goblets in the garden of our B&B just outside Zion National Park after a full day of hiking and staring at rocks!

Dark and moody looking, a thin off-white head sat on top, some to be a wisp and collar, no lacing appeared.

The nose was all chocolate, dark, rich and inviting.

Chocolate dominated the taste, some coffee hints tried to break through, but the dark chocolate beat that back into submission.

Different and enjoyable, not sure I could have drank the whole bottle though.

Photo of stakem
3.83/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Pete and Mike for the chance to try this one. Poured from a brown bottle (with a best by date of April) into a pub glass. This brew appears a dark brown color with a finger and a half of tanned frothy head. As the head slowly recedes it leaves a wall of lace upon the glassware. When held to the light, this brew display some deep ruby clarity.

The aroma of this offering is dark and sweet a bit like toffee. It has a light citrus hop influence before returning to the dark maltiness that is lightly roasty and very much candy-like to the nose. As it warms, it picks up some more dark fruit-like character.

The taste of this brew has a combination of dark fruity flavoring and candy sweetness upfront. It blends into a dark maltiness that is countered by a slight hopped bitterness that is earthy mid palate. It lingers in the mouth with a musty grain flavor complimented by alcohol esters. This is a perplexing combination of toffee, fruit, must and earthy components.

This is a medium bodied brew with a moderate amount of carbonation. Overall it is well balanced and quite drinkable. For less than 6% abv this brew has a slight warming effect to it which is unexpected and welcomed. Overall this was an enjoyable experience however the lingering mustiness of this brew did not pair well with the other flavorings that were included. Still worth giving a try if you get a chance.

Photo of woodychandler
4.27/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

My pour created a thick, mocha-brown head that would make any self-respecting root beer float envious and it had good retention for its two fingers. Nose was very cocoa-chocolaty. Color was deep-brown with ruby highlights. Mouthfeel was medium with a taste like a chocolate milkshake. Finish was dry and chocolaty, like a malted milk ball. Chocolate lovers, rejoice!

Photo of LXIXME
3.75/5  rDev -2.1%

Photo of mothman
3.68/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Freshness date: Best before Feb. 27, 2009

Color is a deep amber, almost like a shade of blood. Pours a nice pillowtop head with great lacing.

Smell is off a smokey flavor and some coffee also. Taste is pretty similiar, something tastes like smoke here. Had a great balance between the malts and hops.

This is a very smooth beer and not and a lot lighter than I had expected. This beer leaves the mouth very, very dry.

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

A: Pours a dark reddish/brown, reminds me of cola in appearance. Has a chunky one finger head. There is a release of a lot of bubbles in the center, forming a little patch in middle of the top.

S: A lot of roasted malts and barley. Also some dark chocolate on the back.

T: Tasted a dark fruit up front, especially dark cherries followed up by the dark chocolate and a little coffee. Finishes rather dry.

M/D: It is thicker than expected and very creamy. A pretty tasty brew that I would drink again, probably 1-2 max per night though.

Photo of weeare138
4/5  rDev +4.4%
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!

Photo of afsdan
4.25/5  rDev +11%

Photo of tempest
4.12/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer almost immediately reminds me of a schwarzbier (German black lager) for its mellow and smooth chocolate character. Incidentally, that also means that when the flavor is nice, it's not terribly big. You just have a sweet chocolate malt flavor with a roasted edge to it. I might suggest this to anyone new to beer and looking to try a tasty dark beer. It seems to have an easy-going mouthfeel and mass-appeal.

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

On draft at Buffalo Wild Wings.

The beer is dark brown, approaching black, with a quarter inch of beige head. The aroma brings some Belgian style malts, chocolate, a touch of grain. The flavor brings some sweet milk chocolates and some bready malts. Not the most refined flavor, but easy enough to throw back a pint of this. Light to medium in body and fairly creamy on the palate. I drank a lot of this beer in college, so it was nostalgic to return to it after a long hiatus.

Photo of Georgiabeer
4/5  rDev +4.4%
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.

1554 Enlightened Black Ale from New Belgium Brewing
86 out of 100 based on 3,105 ratings.