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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.
very good

1,248 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 1,248
Hads: 3,171
Avg: 3.84
pDev: 19.53%
Wants: 87
Gots: 281 | 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
Reviews: 1,248 | Hads: 3,171
Photo of kmpitz2
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer pours deep amber brown color with a finger of head that falls to a quarter inch. The nose is full on roasty malts. Some coffee, some chocolate, but all roasted. It smells nice. The flavor is too grainey for my liking. I would expect more roasted coffee and dark chocolate. There is a hint of the roasted character in the finish, but not as much as I want. The feel is a little thin, without much carbonation going on in there. Overall, the beer is just a bit lacking, but its not to bad. I don't think I would have it again, as there are other dark beers that are better.

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Photo of SeanChouffe
3.88/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A deep mahogany/red color with low co2, and a light brown rocky head. Lacing is sticky and head retention is low. Aroma is acerbic and malty with a metallic background. Tastes lightly sweet at the start, with dark fruits, caramel with a metallic dry finish. Palate is medium bodied, creamy and lightly effervescent. An enjoyable Belgian style ale. One of the better New Belgium brews.

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Photo of GClarkage
4.03/5  rDev +4.9%
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.

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Photo of Mitchster
3.62/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Made with Pale, Carapils, Black, Munich, and Chocolate malts. Hopped with Magnum.

Pours to a sparkingly clear very dark amber with ruby edges, forming a modest light-tan head with ok retention and sparse lacing. Carbonation is moderate. The aroma is interesting, like a cleanly fermented lager with milk chocolate overtones, and when swirled, produces toasty notes akin to Fat Tire, subtle black walnut, vanilla and alcohol. Mouthfeel is smooth at first and ends with a little bit of stinging alcohol despite only being 5.4% ABV. Medium bodied. Taste starts with some spicy herbal hops, followed by a toasty and woody roasted malt middle. There is a mellow, woody maltiness here with touches of toasted marshmallows. The bitterness is mild to moderate and there are some scant but noticeable higher alcohols which tarnsihes the finish. The aftertaste is rounded woody sweetness.

Probably my least favorite of NBBC's brews. While good, it doesn't hold up to the other excellent brews in the lineup, and the warm ferment imparts some off-flavors.

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Photo of Southernbrew
3.95/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Brought back by a friend from Texas.

Pours a dark brown with nice crimson hues.

Dark roasted malt aromas, Belgian-like sweetness blended with dark fruits.

Medium bodied and pretty smooth. Strong brown-sugar sweetness up front that moves into a dubbel like flavor mixed with a light cherry flavor. Some sourness as well.

A nice Belgian ale, I would be hard pressed to categorize this, but it is quite enjoyable.

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Photo of beerceller99
3.7/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle. Pours a garnet hue with a fleeting tan head. Roasted nut and chocolate malt smell. Light to medium bodied. Has a semi sweet chocolate flavor with roasted malts. Finishes with a wheat toast taste on the tongue. A pretty tasty brew whatever the style. My favorite of all the New Belgium brews.

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Photo of Hunter
3.65/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Intrigued by the idea of a dark ale that's not a porter or stout.

Beer pours a dark russet, letting just enough light in to let you know you're not in stout country. Tall head of light brown foam drops quickly with moderate lacing.

Smell is wonderfully complex. Smoky, nutty, and malty. Not much by way of hops but that's ok. There's promise in the nose here.

Taste is equally mysterious. Smoke, earthy/woody undertones and a nice bite in the aftertaste. None of the chocolate you'd find in many stouts and porters. Mouthfeel is slightly oily, definitely thicker than your basic ale but not overpowering. Aftertaste of smoke lingers.

Overall, very interesting. Would accompany sharp cheeses, dark breads, and rare meats well. Although it's not a stout by any stretch if you don't like the style you might not care for this either.

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Photo of ViveLaChouffe
4.12/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep rich brown with tinges of auburn. Thin tan head with almost a reddish tinge. A roasted, fruity nose. Light burnt malt and an odd fruity smell, almost like kiwi fruit. Spicy.

Taste is all over the place. Spicy like cloves or nutmeg. Roasted smokiness in the malt. A tropical fruity flavor, like kiwi or mango more so than apple or citrus. Also a crisp bitter hoppiness through out, especially in the finish. Medium bodied and crisp with smoky chocolate bitterness that lingers and turns into a sticky maltiness. I enjoy this beer alot, lots of different tastes happening here. Good show.

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Photo of ncbrewerbun
3.86/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Brown bottle with "Best Before" date of Feb. 15, 2005.

Great looking beer. Pours a crystal clear mahogony; hold it up to the light and you get ruby red tints. Topped with a light tan head.

Aroma is fruity (raisin) with some maltiness; you can also pick up some of the roast.

Flavor is rather malty with some raisin and some roast...perhaps a very slight touch of vanilla as it warms.

Overall a good clean and enjoyable beer.

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Photo of GreenWBush
4.08/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I find it somewhat amazing that those lucky enough to see New Belgium on the shelf routinely see all of that brewery's offerings at the same price. You can get the pedestrian Fat Tire for about as much as the phenomenal Abbey. The beer god has finally shined on the cause.

This beer is a tasty black ale that I couldn't liken to my idea of a dark ale. I guess my lack of experience outside the realm of stout and porter shows in this review.

On the nose were many hints of roastiness, yet I found this character synergized by the candied sugar to create a wonderfully wild blend of aroma. There's roastiness, nuttiness, slight hints of clove, and even tiny hints of horsebarn. The alcohol content is perfect; attuned well with the noble hops, everything is locked in a dark beautiful package.

The predominance of candied sugar took away slightly from the mouthfeel and drinkability. Overall, a prize.

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Photo of beertaster13
4.08/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice deep dark brown with mocha head. The smell is very rich and caramel and dark ghiradelli chocolate linger, in the distance is a nice floral hop just enough to balance the smell. The taste is dark but not to rich, light but not to light, a nice light caramel and coffee taste with a floral hop present, dark mixed berries linger on the tongue as the malty sugars go through, very nice.

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Photo of BJ1833
3.55/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Presentation: 12 oz bottle with date of 12/1/04

Appearance: Thick light brown two-finger head. Dark brown color that almost appears black until held to the light.

Aroma: Very sweet and malty with faint coffee aroma. Smell of plums is slightly noticable.

Taste: Sweet roasted malt flavor floods the palate. An earthy flavor with a slight coffee finish. A bit of hop bitterness is present in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Good carbonation and medium-full body. Goes down very smoothly.

Overall: This would make a great session beer. Very easy to drink that's full of flavor, but not overly complex.

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Photo of aracauna
3.83/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I really enjoyed this beer. Dark mahogany brown/black with a velvety tan head that lingers in a lacy topping. Rich chocolate notes are contrasted by slightly sharp hops. The flavor is rich chocolate like a chocolate cake or brownies near the edge where it’s almost, but not quite burnt. Very rewarding, but not heavy or overwhelming. Very drinkable.

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Photo of stangbat
3.68/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a strange beer. That being said, I do like it. You'd be tempted to call it a porter if you didn't know otherwise.

Color is a very dark brown, but not as dark as a porter or stout.
Smell is very strong of roasted malts. I really can't detect any hops but can detect the alcohol..
It tastes strongly of roasted malt. Biscuity, somewhat chocolatey, slightly sweet. Finishes smooth with a mild aftertaste.

I first had this at the 2002 Tour de Fat in Lawrence, Kansas. It surprised me, and I've liked it ever since. Unfortunately the Tour didn't come to Lawrence in 2004 as they have streamlined it and there are fewer events. Too bad. It was great to sit outdoors, listen to live music, and enjoy various New Belgium beers on tap.

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Photo of Gump
4.32/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

1554 Brussels Style Black Ale

I can't exactly make out the freshness date. It looks like its 6 months past, but the taste is still fresh. Can Colorado make a dark beligan style beer? I don't know. I don't get this beer locally. My Dad brought some to me from the northwest. (Thanks Dad)

Deep dark brown pour and creamy-brown colored head to match. Sweet dark choclate aroma.
Tremendous malty flavor makes me call this a porter, but the label says I'd be wrong.

Finishes clean, and not bitter.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
4.13/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Deep dark ruby brown, black ale indeed forms quite nicely with a big creamy bubbly tan head leaves behind thick broad scattered patches of lacing. Aroma: Full aromatic robust notes of chocolate and dough very nice with the bread notes coming from the yeast addition to the bottle, fruit notes also are detectable beneath the lucious layers of chocolate very enjoyable. This was the first New Belgium brew I ever had earlier on in my advocacy and it's still just as impressive. Taste: Creamy milk chocolate waves with lucious yeast ripples very nice overall flavor goes very smooth hints of coffee mainly dark chocolate notes touch of fruitiness, highly enjoyable. Mouthfeel: Medium bodied creamy textured good stuff even soft carbonation very Belgian like. Drinkability: Incredible all around dark ale I like the history behind this brew and I wish I were able to more readily enjoy this as a go to, thanks to Marc77 for the sample.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.67/5  rDev -4.4%
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.

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Photo of TastyTaste
4.25/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Written From Notes Compiled 6/04-8/04:
2" of creamy tan head, lots of sticky lace that caps a nearly black body. Chocolatey nose, slight hops. Taste is nearly porter/stout. Very chocolatey flavor, a very good beer. The hops finish is a perfect compliment to the carbonation levels.

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Photo of HardTarget
3.87/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle: Best by date (Feb 05) suggested serving temperature and abv listed.
Aroma: Roasted malts, mostly a chocolate malt with a hint of alcohol.
Appearance: Black body, ruby edges, tan head collapsed into a very modest collar with mild carbonation streams.
Flavor: Easy going taste, some hops and citric acid flavors come through. The roasted malt is rather subdued and an overall balance shows in the beer. A sweet burnt sugar advance quickly brought back by a mild hop slap. A very mild spicy note is deep in there as well, but I can’t pull out which spice, maybe a dash of coriander because I get a slight cola taste. A woody note as well, and a little sour twist. A complex beer.
Mouthfeel: Light body, a bit thin, with a minor oily coat. Some numbing of the lips.
Overall Impression: A mild black beer, true to the Schwarzbier style. A nice summer change of pace that lends some of the darker aspects to a lighter beer. Quite drinkable. The beer grew on me as I got deeper in the glass. First blush was a bit underwhelming, but the complexity began to win me over. I’m glad I got the 6 pack!

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Photo of GuinnessSmurf
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a really impressive beer. It is just so easy to drink and six packs of it simply disappear from my refridgerator.

It pours a dark brown/auburn color with a nice thin head on top. Smell has notes of caramel, dark malts, and coffee.

The beer definately has a buttery, caramel flavor. Toffee maybe. It sits on the tongue just long enough to make sure you taste the whole flavor, then leaves so as to not weigh you down.

This 'low weight' allows you to drink it a little faster and not feel overfull.

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Photo of BrewMaster
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours with a caramel and brownish head. Velvet bubbles sit well on the top of the head with smaller bubbles sitting delicately on top of larger bubbles. The aroma is sweet with notes of caramel and flowers. Taste is of a dark roasted malt like a stout with the balance of a porter. Chestnut flavors hidden in there too. It's not overpowering and it leaves you hanging at the end.

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Photo of Rio
4.23/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a beautiful, rich brown color, nearly black, from a 12 oz. brown bottle with freshness dating. Decent head, faded rather quickly to a ring around the edge. Roasted nutty aroma rises to the nose, with smells of maybe chocolate and caramel around the edges.

Very nice roasted flavor starts this beer off, roasted malts that fade a bit into a dark/bakers chocolate type flavor, coming back to the roasted malt and smokey flavor towards the end. Not quite chewy in the mouth, but a bit thicker feel to it. Nice carbonation.

A very, very good beer. One of my all time favorites.

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Photo of bigbeerdrinka
4.15/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark brown, with light ruby hues. Firm bubbly offwhite head about an inch and a half high. Nice lace

Smell: Sweet notes of chocolate and caramel. Also a little nutty aroma and some carob.

Taste: This beer starts initially with a nice roasted malt flavor, followed by some bittersweet chocolate and a little carob. A little smoke flavor is noticeable afterwards following with a light hop bitterness and yet more roasted malts. Finishes with a nice final sweetness

Mouthfeel: Light carbonation with a good body and well rounded flavors.

Very drinkable!

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Photo of ngandhi
4.43/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bitter chocolate, plums, and currants with light bitter hops -- drying, almost tannic with elegant structure. Delicious herbs in the background. Very flavorful but controlled yeast offers a bulk of this beer's character and works with the dark malt and tight hops, never against or above them. Beautiful trappist esters. The body borders on being dextrinous, but calms down before the drink becomes too chewy.

1554 Brussels Style Black Ale is a single, developing flavor -- earth, bruised fruit, cocoa, flint, and a melange of spicy herbs all at once -- that never hones in on any single aspect of its complex profile. Everything in this beer is a suggestion that, before relayed from tongue to brain, morphs into something else. Each sip is consistent. Despite its depth, there is nothing confusing, overwhelming, or alienating about this beer.

New Belgium, though tied to Belgian tradition and spot-on for style here, transcends both tradition and style, allowing the brewer's craft to shine through. I taste knowledge, effort, and respect.

Relax, relax.

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Photo of bionerd
4.18/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the tap at Woody's in Fort Collins, Colorado. Dark brown in a monster-sized mug with a very thin, light brown head. Toasted malt taste with faint chocolate notes finished crisply. Hops were faint to almost absent. I am unfamiliar with the "Belgian Black Style Ale" but was quite impressed with this selection. If you have a friend that you are trying to introduce to stouts and porters, this may be an excellent intermediate. Even if they never find the pleasure of a well-crafted stout, they will never forget their first 1554.

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1554 Enlightened Black Ale from New Belgium Brewing
86 out of 100 based on 1,248 ratings.