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1554 Enlightened Black Ale - New Belgium Brewing

Not Rated.
1554 Enlightened Black Ale1554 Enlightened Black Ale

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

3,013 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,013
Reviews: 1,244
rAvg: 3.84
pDev: 12.5%
Wants: 69
Gots: 182 | 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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 01-02-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of 1554 Enlightened Black Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 3,013 | Reviews: 1,244 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of miket163
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I poured this into a pint glass: It was a lovely dark mahogany colour with a fluffy tan head that was slow to dissipate; great lacing.

The nose smelled of sweet breads and port wine. The taste was very nice: rich malts, raisins, dried cherries, burnt sugar, and a touch of hops.

Overall this was a very nice beer, though I don't think I will revisit it until late Fall or winter.

miket163, Jun 06, 2011
Photo of ChopperSmith
3.9/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from tap at Pizza Luce in Minneapolis into a New Belgium tulip glass.

Appearance: Hazy deep dark brown, nearly black, with a one finger tan foam head. Left good sticky lacing as it recedes.

Smell: Sweet yeast and roasted malts, with slight chocolate and dark cherry aromas. Nice.

Taste: Very sweet and malty, good yeast profile with flavors of spice and clove. Some vanilla and cherry flavors as well. A really nice tasting Belgian style black ale.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied with medium carbonation. Feels crisp and clean on the tongue.

Drinkability: It's a fairly hearty beer, with a very fall/winter style. I like this and would drink it again, but probably during the cooler months. A very good Belgian style black ale.

ChopperSmith, Jun 05, 2011
Photo of Duff27
3.73/5  rDev -2.9%
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.

Duff27, Jun 04, 2011
Photo of ColdPoncho
3.5/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Best before July 31 2011

A - Pours a very deep Brown/red that is quite hazy. Nice taupe head lingers and leaves a heavy lace.

S - Biscuity toffee malts, banana, peanuts. Not a bad smell at all, but it doesn't strike me as being very Belgian, nor what this style should be (expecting more spice and dark fruit)

T - Nutty, touch of dry wood. Some buttery feelings/flavors. Touch of Belgian spice on the back as it warms.

M - Decent body, smooth, light but big.

O (D) - an OK beer, don't think it's a great belgian. Nice warming on the finish.

ColdPoncho, Jun 02, 2011
Photo of theboozecruise
3.95/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Okay, I fucked up and saw black ale and went with a pint glass thinking a friend brought me a black IPA. Oops.

It's a dark brown color with a creamy off-white head. Good retention and great lacing.

Yup, the aroma is distinctively Belgian. Smells like dark fruit and chocolate, quite sweet and tasty.

The taste is more of the same, the roasted chocolate notes come through a lot.

It's a little thin, but not bad, very drinkable.

Good beer, very well done.

theboozecruise, Jun 01, 2011
Photo of xybreeder
3.4/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Beautiful head & lacing, dark dark brown, probably one step above black. Head retention was excellent.
S: Chocolate, caramel, & coffee are prominent in the nose, but not in large amounts, very subtle.
T: I was expecting a little more on the taste, did receive chocolate & coffee overtones, but ended a little watery (like a really good beer that's been watered down by some greedy bar owner ha).
M: Very smooth yet carbonated mouth feel, a little bit of a bite of carbonation on first contact, but turns smooth very quickly.
O: A good beer worth having around, but I wouldn't go out of my way for it. Eliminating some of the watered down flavor would make this an exceptional beer.

xybreeder, May 30, 2011
Photo of claytong
3.55/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

a good but not great is a good simple explanation.
banana, bread, malt on the nose about the same for taste, less banana thats for sure. a bit light for my liking and for a belgian dark especially
new belgium makes a lot of good beers but it doesnt seem like they make anything bold or strong

claytong, May 25, 2011
Photo of chickenflea
3.88/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Bottle. Poured dark brown with tall still head. Nutty aroma with a hint of apple spices and cloves. Sweet bready taste. Slight bitterness keeps it light tasting. Medium dry finish. Light body and texture. Med/low carbonation. An enjoyable and different brown ale.

chickenflea, May 24, 2011
Photo of Jishguy
3.33/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I tried this with New Belgium's sample 12 pack.

A- Poured a deep brown, hazy body with a very thin white head that stuck around for the duration of the session.

S- Toasted and roasted malts dominate the aroma. Subtle nutty, caramel, chocolate, and honey notes peek through.

T- Identical to smell. Roasted malts up front, followed by a lingering sweetness. A bit too sweet for my taste.

M- Creamy and light at the same time.

Jishguy, May 23, 2011
Photo of dannydetox
3.6/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Transferred a sixer of the 1554 to some diet pepsi plastic bottles to smuggle into a ball game. The dark cola color of the 1554 perfectly matched the displaced soda, though the bubbles were slightly off white. Upon pouring into a plastic cup I was greeted with a small, bone colored head that did not linger too long. Aromas were of roasted malts, a touch of dried fruit, perhaps some brown sugar. Very smooth beer with an easy mouthfeel and a medium body overall. Minimal bitterness with predominantly roasted malt flavor. I would say good, but not a great beer. Great for stadium smuggling in cola bottles, though.

dannydetox, May 21, 2011
Photo of dtivp
3.95/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a deep brown with bronze highlights, with a one finger light tan head, good retention, dissipating into a small ring with light lacing.

Aroma of roasted malt, some chocolate and dark fruits.

Taste of dark roasted malt, hints of dark chocolate and some sweet dark fruits, figs and raisins.

Mouthfeel was medium body with moderated carbonation and very smooth.

Overall this was a very nice good drinking dark ale.

dtivp, May 21, 2011
Photo of HosP
3.63/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours dark, light coming in around the edges. Nice tan head with little retention.

S- A little bit of everything crammed in. Malts up front. Some roasted, burnt aromas to it. Some hop aromas at the end. Smells a little sweet at the end too.

T- Roasted malt taste starts this out. Faint hint of maybe chocolate and some coffee flavors. Slowly gets some bitterness from hop flavors. Gives it a nice finish.

M- Medium body. Moderate carbonation. A little dry.

D- Easy to drink beer. Could have a couple of these easily. Good flavors, wish some were more prominent though. Still good beer.

HosP, May 20, 2011
Photo of MufflnMan
3.85/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured aggressively into a snifter. Black body with a thin tan head.

Smells of cocoa with a bit of fruit. Comes out nicely as it warms up.

Taste is very subtle but nicely balanced. Burnt bittersweet chocolate, fruit, sweet malt, hint of hops.

Mouthfeel is dry with little carbonation and slightly thin.

Overall, this one drinks nice and easy.

MufflnMan, May 20, 2011
Photo of ferrari29
3.7/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Beer poured from bottle into a Tulip style glass

A - Beer poured with a 2 finger beige colored foam; good amount of visible carbonation in the body of the beer; dark-black colored body; head was rocky and held well; some lacing formed on the side of the glass

S - Hazelnut; deep biscuit malt flavors; caramel; chocolate; roasted bean aroma

T - Chocolate; roasted and burnt malt flavors; coffee flavors wash over the tongue and disappear rather quickly

M - Smooth but very light on roasted flavors; little carbonation was felt on the tongue; burnt coffee aftertaste; watery feel

D - Quality and easy drink; unique roasted and burnt flavors; give it a try, you wont be terribly disappointed

ferrari29, May 16, 2011
Photo of angrybabboon
3.95/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Review adapted from notes taken 10/24/10

Appearance: Dark brown with some red around the edges, certainly not black - not much head but some nice lacing

Smell: Gently burnt biscuits with some hints of toffee, vanilla, and nuts - not a particularly strong aroma, but it smells good

Taste: Nicely burnt, with an interesting malt profile that hints at a number of flavors (dark fruit, toffee, vanilla, caramel) - nothing too exciting about the flavors, as everything is very subtle - mostly dry with some sweetness - lacking the Belgian yeast funk that I would have expected from a "Belgian Dark Ale," but the taste really doesn't need it - Much lighter in flavor than some other Belgian Dark Ales I've had

Mouthfeel: Refreshingly thin, nice carbonation

Overall: An extremely drinkable dark ale

Something I find interesting about 1554 is that I find it hard to compare to anything else. It's quite odd for a Belgian Dark Ale, but it's definitely not an American stout or porter. It's just good, simply put.

angrybabboon, May 15, 2011
Photo of Derek
4/5  rDev +4.2%
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.

Derek, May 10, 2011
Photo of chicagoabbot
3.6/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz into a snifter...great appearance, really a knock out. Big head that retains well on top of a deep black body. I dig it. Smell doesn't impress me that much. Decent malt but not that complex. Good notes of dark malt. Decent balance. No significant yeast character, which is one thing I always expect if a beer is going to have the balls to call itself a "Belgian style" beer. Tastes similar on the tongue to the nose. Doesn't really break any new ground. Clean though with a good malt profile. Mouthfeel is fine, nothing objectionable. Overall, this is a good beer, but I can imagine it being so much better that it's not that impressive. I guess it's ok as far as value.

chicagoabbot, May 09, 2011
Photo of Illtryit
3.73/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a deep bronze with a tan head that clung to the sides of my glass.

Smells not overwhelmingly like smoke and sweet.

Taste of roasted, malty barley. Some chocolate and/or coffee highlights. SMokey aftertaste.

Mildly carbonated, silky smooth. SLightly watery or thin.

Overall, pretty good but nothing great.

Illtryit, May 08, 2011
Photo of mdfb79
3.68/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From 04/29/11 notes. Had on tap at the Map Room in Chicago.

a - Pours a dark brown color with an inch of light tan head and moderate carbonation evident.

s - Smells of chocolate, roasted malts, and bready malts.

t - Tastes of roasted malts, chocolate, toasted malts, and bready malts.

m - Medium body and moderate carbonation. Smooth body.

o - Overall I thought this was a pretty good beer, heavy on the roasted malts. Some nice chocolate too, a beer I would have again.

mdfb79, May 07, 2011
Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev +4.2%
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.

Mora2000, May 07, 2011
Photo of musicforairports
3.9/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours dark brown, not much of a head but some lacing.

Smells roasty and chocolate-y, with some interesting yeast presence.

Taste starts full of malty chocolate flavors that are very reminiscent of a schwarzbier to me. Earthy, yeasty flavors enter in the second half and linger in the finish.

Light-medium mouthfeel, decently carbonated. Easy to put down and feels lighter than it tastes.

This one is a solid beer. Pretty simple, but it adds a dimension not found in a lot of American-made dark malt beers.

musicforairports, May 05, 2011
Photo of mjpolzin
3.38/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I had this at a restaurant on tap in a tulip glass.

The appearance was impressive to me but as has shown in some of my other reviews, I love the look of a good dark beer in a glass. The first thing the taste reminded me of was of Guinness but with a little more of a kick. I tasted a some smokiness, some chocolate and that hard to put my finger on taste that you get in good dark ale, stout etc. (I think I have refered to it as black licorice in other reviews)

The one thing that I didn't like here was the overall mouthfeel wasn't much. Although it was a nice smooth beer, I would have liked a little more something going on when you take the intial drink.

mjpolzin, May 02, 2011
Photo of pi5porter
4.18/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - wonderful black colior with a nice white head that laces the glass.

S - A hint of a roasted smell(i have a bad nose)

T - Nice roasted taste kind of smoking taste, unlike a porter. With a bitter even more roasted aftertaste

M - Thick and full

O - Great Beer, unique taste, I would but again.

pi5porter, Apr 27, 2011
Photo of Cormier29
3.53/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured out of a 12-ounce bottle into my Duvel tulip glass. Dark brown/light black color, that is transluscent. 2 Fingers of head or so, with nice lacing and a aroma ofdark dried fruit, with the hint of the bready Belgian yeast. Taste is what is expected a dark candy flavor, malty with no real hop bitterness. Overall a good beer for first time drinkers of a dark Belgian ale.

Cormier29, Apr 27, 2011
Photo of KTCamm
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

Pours dark brown, thick head of creamy foam and lacing. Fluffy. Malty taste backed by cinammon. Other spices in the blend. Biscuity. Light malt taste with caramel and a firm but buried hop finish. Very nice blend. Tastes light but still much happening. Normal carbonation/mouthfeel.

Overall solid.

KTCamm, Apr 25, 2011
1554 Enlightened Black Ale from New Belgium Brewing
87 out of 100 based on 3,013 ratings.