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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

3,044 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,044
Reviews: 1,245
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 12.53%
Wants: 70
Gots: 188 | 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: 3,044 | Reviews: 1,245 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of zrab11
3.08/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A-Dark chalky brown.. with a finger creamy head

S-light roast smell with maybe a hint of tabacco

T-Starts off with roasted malts and has a unsual unbalanced finish to me

M-medium bodied with ok carbonation

D-This is the 1st black ale ive had. Will give a few more black ales a try but it wasn't my favorite style. Definatly drinkable but the flavor just wasnt there for me

zrab11, Feb 26, 2011
Photo of tbern007
3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz. bottle poured into pint glass.
Dark brown/black. Hold up to light and ruby comes through. Very thick head, lasts a while. Decent lacing.
S - lighter than I would expect after tasting it. Roasted malt, earthy, coffee beans.
T - cocoa/dark bitter chocolate, roasted malt, some yeast flavor, earthy in general, slight bit of pepper.
M & D - dry but a tinge of sweetness there. Slightly creamy. The low ABV and the lack of too much sweetness with the chocolate make for an easy, drinkable beer. Interesting.

tbern007, Feb 25, 2011
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.

kojevergas, Feb 24, 2011
Photo of richkrull
3.8/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark dark brownish black color with quite a bit of quickly dissipating creamy tan head on it.

Smells of roasted malts and grains.

I taste some coffee along with the roasted malt. medium bitter finish.

Feels like a medium bodied beer, relatively smooth though.

Pretty drinkable beer. It grew on me as I made my way through the glass. Not too bad at all.

richkrull, Feb 22, 2011
Photo of camp0474
3.95/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a dark deep burgundy with nice tan head.

S: Roasted malt... Toasty grain with hints of smoke and coffee beans. Touch of sweetness. Trace of hops, but overpowered by the malt.

T: Similar to the smell. Roasted dry malt with a little smokiness and faint coffee. Slight bitterness from hops. Lingering flavor reminds me of milk or lactose?

M: Lighter body than I expected but good. Lots of fine carbonation, tingles the tongue. Thin film remains on the tongue. Works well with the flavors.

D: Pretty easy to drink. Lighter body and good flavor.

Like a mellow porter, pretty light body and dialed down flavors.

camp0474, Feb 21, 2011
Photo of in780
3.73/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle into a standard pint glass. Here we go:

A - Color reminds me of a cola, or dark tea, with an thin off-white head. Surprised at the amount of lacing.

S - Weak yeast smell, some herbal notes. Nothing pronounced.

T - Much better than the smell. I could be crazy, but I'm picking up cola and tea, along with some cocoa. Belgian yeast on the finish.

M - Decent, a little on the thin side

D - The taste is the highlight, which is the most important thing. No off characters, nice balanced brew.

in780, Feb 20, 2011
Photo of jdspears41
3.48/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I prefer dark beers when I am in the mood to have a night of drinking.

A-I poured this into a glass and first thing I noticed was the nice color it showed off.

S-It was nothing special but it was displeasing.

T- I was kind of disappointed with the taste but it was desirable enough to drink a couple of them.

M- It was kind of flat, but it could have been the bottle?

D-I could have a few of these with dinner perhaps, but I wouldnt get them for a night of boozing.

jdspears41, Feb 18, 2011
Photo of tmcelvain
3.95/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Quality beer, but nothing really special. This tastes like what I expected a dark beer from New Belgium would taste. Faint Belgian yeast taste in the background of a drinkable brown ale. Hints of wood, cinnamon, and fig. Smell is a little off out of the bottle - a bit glassy, but the mouthfeel and drinkability are high. I would file this one under a pleasing go-to beer. wouldn't bring it to a tasting, but I'd be happy with it most anytime I wanted to relax with a medium-bodied ale.

tmcelvain, Feb 17, 2011
Photo of Misfit138
3.9/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into pint glass

A- Dark brown, cola color with a frothy head that left lacing

S- Sweet chocolate, toffee malt

T- Upfront its somewhat sweet with a chocolate and toffee taste which lead up to some hop bite

M- Medium bodied with fair carbonation

D- This is a solid beer, reminds me of Turbodog. I don't know if there is anything about it that stands out other than its very smooth and very good overall.

Misfit138, Feb 13, 2011
Photo of notchucknorris
3.58/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle bought at Spirits of St. Germaine

A: Deep chestnut brown color with a pretty sizeable head that faded a little too quickly.

S: The smell of this one was really faint, but I picked up some yeast, hints of dark fruit and a little bit of chocolate.

T: Everything about this beer is really delicate and it was pretty hard to pick out individual elements in the taste. I could definitely detect a lot of bready malts along with yeast, a bit of dark chocolate and some smoke as the beer warmed a bit. The mouthfeel was really light, but I think that helped more than hurt the flavors of the beer. It's not a bad beer, but probably not one I would rush out to pick up again.

notchucknorris, Feb 09, 2011
Photo of airheadmtrcycle
3.93/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured in a Sam Adams Perfect Pint. Nice white head that left tons of sticky, thick lacing. The ale is dark with red highlights.

The aroma is faint. Perhaps chocolate, coffee and roasted malt. The flavor is mostly chocolate with a dollop of coffee. The finish is a mild bitter coffee flavor and maybe slightly on the dry side. There could be some Belgian yeast flavor, but it's fleeting.

The mouth feel is lighter than I would prefer, but there's a nice carbonation that makes up for it. All in all a pretty drinkable beer.

It's not really my type of thing, but I can appreciate the effort it took to make a beer like this. It's lighter and less tasty than a schwarzbier and far lighter than a porter, but it is related to those two in a couple of ways. It will appeal to a lot of people I think. It's definitely worth a try.

airheadmtrcycle, Feb 09, 2011
Photo of lespaulrocker
3.65/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

A: Dark brown, when held up to a light it is a mahogany/deep cherry color. Small brown head, light to moderate lacing.

S: Not too impressed. Malty, nutty, cherry, coffee.

T: Coffee, chocolate, caramel, malts. Very nutty finish. Some cherry shows up at the beer warms. Really a pleasant tasting beer.

M: A little too much carbonation, crisp, smooth.

D: Medium drinkability. It's hard to drink fast because you want to sip and enjoy the flavors.

This is a great beer. I will definitely seek this out again.

lespaulrocker, Feb 09, 2011
Photo of BrewCrew2010
4.33/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A: Pours a dark brown with some garnet highlights. Decent sized head that sicks around and leaves a good amount of lacing.

S: A delicate nose with a nice roasted toffee & chocoalte malt aroma, coffee notes, and a hint of dark fruits. Very simple and very malty.

T: A rich roasted malt flavor which consist of dark chocolate, a bit of coffee, and no hops to speak of. A slight sweet malty bitterness in the finish.

M: Light-medium body & carbonation; Refreshing and crisp mouthfeel.

D: This one is one my favorites from New Belgium. I can typically drink quite a few of these with no problem. Nice flavor, great price, and light mouthfeel make this one extremely drinkable. Don't get me wrong, not the most amazing beer I've had, but highly drinkable.

BrewCrew2010, Feb 08, 2011
Photo of CuriousMonk
3.5/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Chocolate and light roast in the nose, absent mocha, however, with some light grass and pale malts coming in under the intense nuts. Sweetish with a touch of caramel and a slighter hint of smoke. Near-pitch ruby with a creamy, superbly rocky and lasting tan head. Watery body is very creamy, very sweet with medium carbonation. A little stale nuttiness, hints of berry and perhaps star anise, mostly malty under the earthy chocolate. Touch of acidity. Light caramel, some crushed almondy shells and faint cherries, and man, the nuts are all over this thing. Little minty/herbal swipe.

CuriousMonk, Feb 07, 2011
Photo of davidvaz
1.3/5  rDev -66.1%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

Drank straight from the bottle, so I rated the appearance average (don't Really know)

Smell: Malty scent, but no effervescecne of other flavors--except for stale soap water.

Taste: Stale soapy, yet malty, like if the bottle was re-used after washing but not thouroughly rinsing.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, fresh finish, no distinct aftertaste, kind of flat.

Drikability: Just barely finished one bottle. not much carbonation, like a flat beer on the verge of getting skunky.

I would not recommend this beer and I will not buy it again.

davidvaz, Feb 05, 2011
Photo of alli4051
3.65/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a uniquely shaped 12oz bottle into a standard pint.

Pours a deep, dark mahogany with a slightly tanned head. Head is about a finger high with average retention and some nice lacing as it goes. Nose is mostly roasty malts with some coffee notes. Taste is roasty malt again with some chocolate and fruit notes to round things out. Mouthfeel is a bit lighter than I expected; however, I think this speaks more to the impressive appearance than any deficit in mouthfeel. Drinkability is high, again not as cloying, sticky, or boozey as you would expect just looking at this.

alli4051, Feb 05, 2011
Photo of mattkoon
4.35/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I love how this beer combines drinkability with bold taste. It's always a great surprise to find a dark beer that is drinkable and not over powering. There is a smoothness to 1554 and a rich chocolaty finish. 1554 is another dark beer I'll put on my list for a cold evening. Perfect beer for a little football with some brats off the grill.

mattkoon, Feb 04, 2011
Photo of thegodfather1076
4.33/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer was served out of a 12oz. bottle dispensed into a glass....

Presentation - I love the labeling on New Belgium bottles and the artwork on them.

Appearance - Pours out a coffee brown color with a brownish tan 2 finger head that dissapates into a thin lace coating. Leaves a nice lacing on the glass the entire way down.

Smell - This offering had a chocolaty malty smell with hints of coffee as well.

Taste - Coffee and Dark Chocolates are very prevelant in this offering. Has a slightly malty flavor as well. It is coffee bitter not hoppy bitter.

Mouthfeel - A surprisingly lighter but still medium bodied for the appearance with only slight carbonation.

Drinkability - This offering is very smooth and drinkable because of with a great flavor and aroma in addition to having a lighter feel.

Overall I really enjoyed this offering as this was my first Belgium Dark Ale. Great for the dark beer lover and I would definitly recommend it.

thegodfather1076, Feb 04, 2011
Photo of u2carew
3.63/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz longneck.
A) Pours with a finger thick head. Settles some leaving a nice lacing at the edge of the glass. Dark mahogany when held to the light. Lacing is thin and sticky as I drink it down.
S) Bready. Notes of chocolate. Roasted malts.
T) Chocolate. Milky flavors. Hints of smokiness and vanilla. Just a nip of bitterness in the finish.
M) Full body. Crisp. Fairly smooth. Dry in the finish.
D) A nice brew. I'd definitely have another.

u2carew, Feb 03, 2011
Photo of jimbus
2.9/5  rDev -24.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a dark brown-deep red color, just a bit darker yet very similar to the Moose Drool I just drank. This "Black Ale" is not black. Smell is a bit yeasty and malty. Also, hints of spice and fig. First sip is highly carbonated, dark malt flavors...but its almost like a dirty tar taste...in a good way? As it warms, the residual sweetness finishes with a bitter tang that doesn't leave the best after taste. I suppose this is a decently drinkable beer but I'm not sure if I would consider drinking another.

jimbus, Jan 30, 2011
Photo of Kkottonmouthkngz
4.18/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: dark rasin black, very alluring, could kind of see into it if it were just a shade lighter. thin to no head, no lacing. a vigorous swirl provides a half finger tannish head, but again doesnt stick around for very long.
S: very delicious smelling. HUGE amounts of lucious toffee blast through my nostrils. theres some other backnotes of vanilla and raisin but the toffee just kicks me in the face, in a very nice way.
T: the toffee backs off on the palate and makes way for some nice spices, powdery spices like cinnamon and nutmeg, cloves. a few more sips really releases the spice component, and gives it a nice depth.
M: medium mouthfeel. carbonation gives it a nice kick. very pleasant to drink.
D: if i didnt want to just sit and enjoy the flavors id drink it alot quicker. a well rounded beer, worth trying again for sure.

Kkottonmouthkngz, Jan 29, 2011
Photo of stakem
3.8/5  rDev -0.8%
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.

stakem, Jan 27, 2011
Photo of Erish
2.85/5  rDev -25.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I poured this 12 oz. bottle into a Chimay goblet. Bottle was date coded best before May 2011.

A: clear, medium-dark mahogany color, aggressive pour produced a small cream-colored head that quickly fell into a mottled cap with good lacing.

S: first and foremost there is that "Fat Tire" aroma, which I can best describe as a combination of chicory, rubber, and dirt: I am not a fan, underneath that nastiness there is a core of sweet malt, beyond that I am not getting much, as the Fat Tire funk overwhelms all.

T: the maltiness and the woody taste predominate up front, in the middle there is a bit of dried fruit, some nuttiness, and a bit of Belgian-esque yeast funk, the finish is weak, with just a whisper of herbal hops and a tiny bit of lingering milk chocolate.

M: medium-bodied, watery to creamy texture, moderate carbonation.

D: I am a big fan of New Belgium's "Trippel" and "Abbey" beers. I was very disappointed by this beer. It reminded me of a tarted up "Fat Tire."

Erish, Jan 26, 2011
Photo of mattsdenney
3.98/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours black but clear. Little head, dissipates quickly.

S: Charcoal, chocolate malt, smoke, licorice.

T: Toasted Biscuit, Smoky Malts, almost like a smoked Fat Tire. No noticeable hop bitterness. Hints of chocolate and licorice.

M: Dry, higher carbonation.

D: A solid black ale. Not too heavy, not too light. Great for those nights when you're not in the mood for an RIS but still want something dark.

mattsdenney, Jan 25, 2011
Photo of MinnesotaRIS
3.78/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

From bottle. Hearty amt of head with vigorous pour. Exceptional retention with small cells. High SRM, black ale. Thin body, dark plum amber light that breaks through at the bottom. Pleasant aroma, very malty and dark grain aromas come through well. Hops are present but well balanced.

Taste - caramel and chocolate malt. Hints of woodiness. Slight burnt, flat aftertaste. Mouthfeel weak but expected for the taste of this particular beer.

Drinkable but not overly. The bitterness will not lend to extended drinking.

Overly a decent beer.

MinnesotaRIS, Jan 25, 2011
1554 Enlightened Black Ale from New Belgium Brewing
87 out of 100 based on 3,044 ratings.