1. Rating beers by attributes (look, smell, taste, feel, overall) is back! Read the latest update ...
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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

2,973 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,973
Reviews: 1,242
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 12.53%
Wants: 66
Gots: 164 | 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: 2,973 | Reviews: 1,242 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of harrymel
2.48/5  rDev -35.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Reviewed 06/27/10

Poured from bottle to New Belgium tulip.

A: Deep cherry red/mahogany ale with excellent clarity. few thin ribbons ascend to replenish glossy, light tan sheet over top ale.

S: nutty, roasted barley nose. Very slight earthy hop.

T: tastes a hint astringent. Reminds me of a burnt, sour porter.

M: Med body, low carb. Slightly sticky.

D: I have no desire to drink this beer again. I can, however, see why it appeals to a larger micro drinking market. Falls into the 'dark' beer category for many folks.

harrymel, Dec 20, 2010
Photo of bound4er
3.48/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A. Dark brown with a fast breaking tan head. Minimal lacing.

S. Some dark roasted malt aromas along with baking spice aromas of brown sugar and cinnamon. Nice but not very strong.

T. On the simple side with bready malt leading the way. I assume this beer is made with hops but I can't really taste them.

M. Medium bodied with adequate carbonation.

D. There is nice drinkability here - I like this a lot more than Fat Tire. That said, it is nothing to get excited about either.

bound4er, Dec 17, 2010
Photo of Scotchboy
3.58/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle.

A: Very dark brown but not opaque; caramel colored head recedes and leaves some wisps of lacing. Carbonation is visible throughout the glass.

S: Muted; roasted malt characteristics, caramel, and some spicy/fruity sweetness. There is a decent amount of chocolate on the nose for a Belgian.

T & MF: The yeast and the malts work together very well...light medium mouthfeel and a wet, refreshing body...slightly creamy. Hits of chocolate, some darker fruits, a touch of tart sweetness, and (surprisingly) peanut butter...which gets even more dominant the more I drink and the more the beer warms.

O: A good stand by and a beer that serves a purpose, especially as the weather cools...as someone who prefers American stouts/porters, I can see the merit of this beer.

Scotchboy, Dec 14, 2010
Photo of lstokes
3.85/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark pour with foamy tan head, this smells like spicy roast malt with a touch of soap. I found the taste pleasant--sweet, fruity malt with some roast character and some cocoa at the end--but also curiously flat-tasting, although the carbonation is creamy and it's very drinkable. A nice beer but nothing extremely memorable.

lstokes, Dec 14, 2010
Photo of ScorpyX
4.28/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A very dark pour with a small, tan head. The light allows a dark amber color through.

S: A toasted and smokey smell. Some sweetness.

T: Smokiness dominates, though hints of sweeter flavors and alcohol are apparent.

M: Rather light bodied and smooth, hence the name I suppose. There is something of a creamy finish, but it still goes down well.

D: Quite drinkable, more than one might expect. It goes down rather well. There is some lingering taste, but it's light enough for multiple. Certainly one of New Belgium's better brews, in my eyes.

ScorpyX, Dec 10, 2010
Photo of yaegerje
4.33/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark brown, very little head that dissipates quickly. Nice smell, slightly hoppy with some caramel smell. Tastes pretty darn good, nice and malty, can't taste any hops. Really smooth, no bite with appropriate levels of carbonation. Totally drinkable, a little pricey for what you get, but it's the first black ale I've ever had so I think it's pretty good.

yaegerje, Dec 08, 2010
Photo of mikeg67
3.7/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12oz bottle at Shellfish in Port Lavaca, TX. Pours dark brown with a thin, short lasting tanned head. Aroma is light of brown sugar, dark fruits and some nuts. Medium body with dark fruit and espresso coffee fill the mouth. Finish is medium. Taste like a good porter to me.

mikeg67, Dec 08, 2010
Photo of TMoney2591
3.9/5  rDev +1.8%
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.

TMoney2591, Dec 03, 2010
Photo of jlandis
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Rich deep brown black with thin tan head that slowly fades. The aroma is nice and roasty with a bit of chocolate and molasses. The flavor reminds me of a nice roasty stout. Slightly bitter with a hint of sweet dark fruits. The body is light to moderate with solid carbonation.

I'm struggling with why this is called a Belgian Dark Ale - reminds me more of a stout, but whatever you want to call it I find it tasty.

jlandis, Nov 29, 2010
Photo of Brent
4.22/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Not what I would consider a classic example of the style, but an enjoyable beer, nonetheless. Poured a dark chestnut. Some moderate caramel and brown sugar sweetness, that went a bit dry with creeping astringency. Finish was a distinctive unsweetened cocoa powder note that was quite interesting.

Brent, Nov 29, 2010
Photo of beerdown77
3.78/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First of all, I am convinced that all New Belgium Brewery's beers have a "tastes like sticks" taste. I believe it is commonly referred to as...earthy. To continue my rant, I think this beer actually has a campfire taste. I suppose I appreciated the smoky aspect for something different. Half way through I had a buckeye (chocolate and peanut butter candy), which was a nice compliment. It poured black with one finger of head. It smelled and tasted like chocolate, coffee, caramel and smoke. It was a little sweeter than I typically prefer, so I don't know if I would drink more than one of these in a row. I only bought two of these in a mix-six, but I can see myself buying a six pack of these in the future.

beerdown77, Nov 29, 2010
Photo of herman77
3.7/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Black with a dark brown hues. Thick light tan head. Tons of lacing and the head lasts and lasts.

S: Toasted malt, chocolate. A slight fruity and caramelized yeasty smell.

T: Toasted malt, bittersweet chocolate, caramelized brown sugar. You can just barely tell its got that fruity, ever so spicy belgium yeast. Finishes a little bitter from the roasted malt and a bit dry.

M: Medium to fuller body. Moderate carbonation. Feels a bit creamy. Nice.

D: Pretty good drinkability. Its not quite a 4 for me, there is something about it where I can't have multiples, but one is pretty tasty and goes down well. It just seems like something is missing.

herman77, Nov 29, 2010
Photo of AlCaponeJunior
3.8/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark red, almost black, with perfect clarity and just a few rising bubbles. Nice two finger head that lasts quite a bit and tapers off into a thin film. Good lacing.

Malty smelling with a bit of coffee and chocolate, dark fruits and hops. Aroma is pleasant, but weak.

Nice tasting. Chocolate and coffee accent a nice roasted malt backbone, along with some dark fruity flavors, caramel, and mild hop bitterness.

Feels pretty thick and rich, pleasant aftertaste, slight lingering bitterness, low carbonation. Very porter-like.

Drinks well. Easy to down and not overpowering. Will have several today and will surely buy again.

Revisited 8-25-11. Ratings unchanged. Remains a good value and a very tasty beer. One of NB's better regular offerings.

AlCaponeJunior, Nov 27, 2010
Photo of fourplayed
4.1/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Very clear and dark red amber with thin lite brown head.

smells of sweet chocolate with bitter notes.

taste is mildly sweet chocolate, some chalkiness, hop bitter and bite, some milkiness and mild alcohol presense.

Solid medium body, good zesty carbonation, medium dry hop finish. mild alcohol warmth.

Easy to drink. Felt like a lite-porter. chocolate stands out, the hops and carbonation give it a decent balance.

fourplayed, Nov 22, 2010
Photo of BMoney575
3.55/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Sampled on 11-18-10
Best before 2-13-11

Pours a deep, dark brown color, almost black, with lots of deep red around the edges. A filmy tan head leaves a single wide ring of lacing.

Smell is malty, deep but delicate fruity aromas, with a kick of hop bitterness. Slightly beery and astringent on the finish.

Taste is malty, with dark fruit flavors, but very tame. The hops come through at the end, adding a decent balance. Not bad, just not much.

Mouthfeel is good, a nice thickness to go with the malty flavors but good carbonation to keep it light.

Drinkability is decent, but the beery aftertaste starts to become annoying.

Overall, nothing special, but worth a try.

BMoney575, Nov 19, 2010
Photo of Winter
4.03/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1554 is black with mahogany highlights and sports a khaki head. Malty aroma from this dark beer is no surprise, but there's also chocolate, caramel, cocoa and it's a touch vinous. Full bodied mouthfeel that's pretty smooth with carbonation along the edges. The taste has a delicious chocolate maltiness to it along with hints of tobacco. Hops are pretty light. I really enjoyed this and can't wait to try it again with food. It would make a great dinner beer.

Winter, Nov 18, 2010
Photo of JayS2629
4.33/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap from brewery.

A- Deep, dark brown/black ale with creamy beige medium head with nice lacing.

S- Roasted malts, hints of chocolate and mild spice. Nutty with hints of coffee and a note of vanilla.

T- Robust and full of subtle flavors. Like a ligter version of a porter. Hints of coffee, chocolate, and vanilla with a banana finish in the aftertaste. Nice mild caramel notes throughout.

M- Smooth, clean and creamy. Medium body.

D- Very drinkable. Light but full of flavor.

JayS2629, Nov 17, 2010
Photo of secondtooth
4.1/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This deep, dark black ale is supposedly based on a 500 year old Belgian recipe, and it's an unusual and tasty ale that doesn't easily fit into a category. I get a roasty chocolate scent, which gives way to a burnt chocolate palate -- not as spicy as a traditional Belgian abbey ale, and more akin to a softer, gentler stout. It's not snappy or hoppy, but subtle, smooth, and quite tasty. This one's a delightful brew with a unique personality.

secondtooth, Nov 15, 2010
Photo of tetonka4kzoo
3.78/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark black color, some head that recedes and becomes lacey.

The aroma has roasted malts. It also has rye or barley type grain taste. Very malty.

This ale has a nutty and chocolate taste. Enlightened Ale has a good blend of sweetness with a touch of hops. It seems like a black lager and almost porter-like.

1554 is medium-bodied and has a crisp taste and feel. It's more of a lager so not heavy. It has decent drinkability.

tetonka4kzoo, Nov 14, 2010
Photo of beerprovedwright
3.9/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A light brown, one finger head of thick bubbles came from the pour. Nice lacing on the glass that has good cling. Color is a 33 on the SRM chart. Smells of banana, chocolate, dark coffee, malt, and prunes. Tastes are Black coffee, dark chocolate, black licorice, hint of hops and malt. Good zing in the mouth. Delightful taste that is well balanced and good for another round.

beerprovedwright, Nov 10, 2010
Photo of ibbjamin
3.55/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My buddy left a couple of these in my cooler after a weekend of partying in the city. Poured one into my Lost Abbey Tulip to review.

Half inch beige head consistent of larger sized carbonation bubbles. Dark opaque brown in color. Minimal retention but good lacing.

Certainly on the malty side with some Belgian yeast thrown in for good measure. Malts are sweet and lightly roasted.. All in all, quite mild in the aroma department, but what is there is alright.

Tastes quite a bit like a robust porter to me. Malts are much more roasted than my nose predicted. Some chocolate and coffee notes come into play.

Light to medium in body with good levels of carbonation. I credit New Belgium for making a beer this light and drinkable but still with full flavor. Medium to long finish of aforementioned taste characteristics.

All in all a pretty good beer. Probably not one I would seek or purchase regularly, but one I would gladly accept if offered by a friend.

ibbjamin, Nov 10, 2010
Photo of Andrew644
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- a dark brown to black color with a foaming head that lingers and sticks to the glass.

S- A nice roasted malt smell.

T- good roasted malt flavor that is still refreshing. Little hop flavor but that is expected in this beer style so it doesn't hurt it at all.

M- carbonation is good with one of the best mouthfeels I have had in a dark beer for awhile.

D- A nice dark ale for a winter evening.

Andrew644, Nov 04, 2010
Photo of unknownlamer
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle marked best before 22MAR11, served in a tulip glass

Pours a beautiful black with ruby highlights where light touches it with a light brown moderately dense head that fades to a persistent outer ring with patches of thin foam in near the center. The outer ring left patches of webby lacy.

The aroma is roasty with a bit of alcohol and no discernable hops. A friend drinking from a covered stein insisted it smelled strongly of chocolate; I didn't perceive much, but when I smelled his stein near the end of his bottle he was right... not sure why it didn't smell similar in the tulip glass. The aroma is perhaps the weakest part.

The body is delightfully smooth and lightly carbonated. It is a bit thinner than it looks; not nearly as syrupy as a porter. The taste was incredibly roasty with a slight bit of alcohol and a mild dark berry sweetness.

I've been drinking this regularly since it showed up in the grocery store. The flavor is a bit less complex than I'd hoped for, but quite drinkable.

unknownlamer, Nov 03, 2010
Photo of steve8robin
3.73/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Tried this on a trip to Iowa. Tried some the night before an thought it was ok. Let's make it official. 12oz bottle. Best before 04/10/11...

A: Dark copper black mix with a small tan head that quickly fades to a bubbly lace on the top of the beer. Good.

S: I get some roasty chocolate covered banana upfront quickly followed by some sugary dark fruit and some licorice and molasses. Good.

T: I get some sparkling water roastiness upfront with some quiet chocolate notes on the backend. Faint hints of molasses and vanilla blended in. Decent.

M: Medium bodied with a heavy watery carbonation. Leaves some roasty flavors on the palate. Decent.

D: Once you get past the carbonation wall, this is good. Good.

All in all, this is an ok brew. If you like sparkling water and dark session beers, then this one would be a great one to try. For me it's nothing special, just a good easy drinker.

steve8robin, Nov 03, 2010
Photo of boss302
3.95/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

New Belgian Brewing, 12oz 1554 enlightened black ale

A Black, but red when held to the light. 4

S Chocolate, smells a little sweet, maybe yeasty, not much hop aroma.  There is some roast. 3.5  

T Roasted malt dominates, a little toasty taste. Starts clean and ends clean. Pretty well executed. 4

M Medium-heavy mouthfeel. Good carbonation. 4.5 

D Very drinkable and similar to a stout. 4 

boss302, Nov 01, 2010
1554 Enlightened Black Ale from New Belgium Brewing
86 out of 100 based on 2,973 ratings.