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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

3,080 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,080
Reviews: 1,249
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 12.27%
Wants: 73
Gots: 206 | 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: 3,080 | Reviews: 1,249 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of alexkeil
4.35/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

My first beer from New Belgium in Fort Collins, CO...and my first beer enjoyed right here in Colorado - I have never had a beer so smooth and so creamy. The whole beer is so delicate and light on the mouth...big tan head that lingers and lingers and lingers. There are hints of chocolate, fig, roasted malts with a bready finish...loses a half a star for a lasting aftertaste - BUT I'm in a hotel and drinking it out of a paper cup, not the way god intended. This beer is like silk!

Photo of jkrich
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

As with all New Belgium products, excellent packaging with 12 oz. bottle label clearly indicating freshness date and proper serving temperature. There is a blurb about discovering this recipe from an ancient Belgian library....Poured a very deep, clear brown to black with some orangy-reddish highlights. A creamy, off-white head slowly dissipated leaving some intricate lacing on the glass.

The aroma had a very fresh, tangy odor with earthy, almost sour-like hop aromas. I know I have smelled this in another style of ale - a nice porter, to be exact.

Very drinkable and refreshing, this flavor begins fruity with a very soft malt profile and ends with a rather lush, semi-sweet chocolate flavor. Despite the dark appearance, the roatiness is very mild.

This light to medium bodied ale has a very creamy, inviting mouthfeel. The clean aftertaste leaves a slight cocoa flavor on the palate.

Another good offering from New Belgium - not fantastic but a solid effort. This is my first "Belgian Dark Ale" so I don't know how it compares to others. It tasted a lot like a light porter.

Photo of drowninginhops
4.4/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Dark red, thou you cant tell that unless it is in the light. Light tan head of ~1<

S: Coffee, chocolate, biscuit malt.

T: As before Coffee, chocolate, caramel, a little dry, some malt and hops

M: Creamy, thick w/ medium carbonation

D: High, but the sweetness might make some a little sick after the third or fourth.

Photo of neilgavigan
2.96/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A - Nice copper-black color with a light tan thick rocky 1 inch head. Color reveals more copper and red when held up to the light

S - Biscuit, chocolate, coffee. I little roast. Light esters

T - Bitter and somewhat spicy malt flavor right up front. Alcohol is discernible but at an low level. After taste is medium-dry but somewhat lacking in any flavor. Just a slight toated bread

M - Thick and creamy with nice high carb. Very smooth

O - Decent dark ale, though not as strong as Id expect from a beer of this type dark. Mediocre overall taste and bland finish don't help this beer, but it's a nice mellow dark when you don't want a big stout or a Belgian strong dark.

Photo of fdkayti
3.75/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: Black. Decent light brown head along with decent lacing.

S: Coffee first, then a little dark chocolate. Slightly malt-y, a tiny bit of hops.

T: Not a lot of taste at first until the coffee/chocolate combo hits you. Lots of tasty undertones (Caramel? Is that you?).

MF: Creamy, great for a cold South Dakota night. Light carbonation.

D: Could and did drink another one. It's possible the fact that it was consumed after a 12 hour car ride made it taste better, but I still think I would drink it again.

Photo of rawfish
4.13/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep ruby and brown with a frothy off white 2 finger head and spotty lacing.

Nose of chocolate and light spices anise, cinnamon and roasted malt.

Starts off sweet but mild with some chocolate and a late hit of coffee. Smoke and vanilla on the back with a mild hops to balance it all out.

Medium bodied with a slightly burning fizzy carbonation.

This beer is one of my favorites from NB, supremely drinkable, the flavors are rather mild compared to a porter or other dark beers but it's drawn out, balanced and full throughout the entire experience.

Photo of russwbeck
3.28/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: Pour is black, or an extremely deep red with only faint wisps of light getting through. Resting on top is a decently sized very light brown brown with decent retention and nice lacing.

S: Coffee and roasted malts predominantly. Bit of a musty smell.

T: Very light to start off, followed by a big hit of coffee. Some smokiness, some hops. Not a great flavor, unbalanced.

MF: Medium bodied, some carbonation, dry finish.

D: Not great for only 5.6% ABV. Dry coffee is a little much, needs something to balance it out.

Photo of KajII
3.74/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

[Best served in an English Pint]

The pour was a deep rich black with a reddish hue, it had a small creamy off-white head that dissipated almost fully although it did have some fair lacing.

The aroma was heavy of roasted chocolate malts a light sweet doughy yeast and a touch of resin hops with a hint of caramel and smidgen of coffee.

It tasted slightly sweet with a nice hint of chocolate in the beginning and finished with a nice bitter sweet flavor that had hints of chocolate, caramel and an had an ever so slight presence of dried fruit and hops at the end with the flavor fading quite fast.

Mouthfeel was medium to full in body with the texture being very creamy at first then becoming mildly dry with a flat carbonation.

Overall a very tasty brew, great for sitting around a fire on a cold night or having with dessert after dinner.

Photo of andrewengler
3.8/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Popped the cap and poured it into my designated beer class to reveal a dark brown hue. Upon pouring away from my bartending ways and straight shooting it, I got an inch or two of foamy head that tasted and smelled good. The nose was magnificent with traces of coffee and an oak-ish tint. The drink starts out smooth and ends on a malty note and finishes off delectably.

Overall, it was a delicious beer that had good undertones through my pleasurable 12 oz of this 1554 Black Ale. Its one that I can drink a few in a sitting and not get tired of it. I recommend it for people with acquired taste and understand the marvels of Black Ales.

Photo of AmericanGothic
4.08/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a Unibroue tulip.

A: Deep ruby brown color, one finger head with decent staying power, fine lace.

S: Chocolate, faint anise, roasted malt, light yeast. inviting and enticing, but wouldn't mind some more here.

T: Delicious chocolate, trace of lactose? Anise, background clove and cinnamon. Some vanilla and smoke. More complexity than expected. Toffee emerges in the finish.

M: Great balance of creaminess and carbonation. Memories of childhood sweets, perhaps taffy? Luscious.

D: Can drink one after another, this is very easy going.

Well, wow. Been drinking this for years, never really stopped to analyze it. Good beer. Nice balance between complexity and drinkability. This is the kind of beer where you want to keep a six on hand, just in case. Fine stuff.

Photo of mryuk
3.18/5  rDev -17%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

pours a deep dark reddish brown. good thick 2 finger creamy head.

smell is malty and sweet. woody and coffee undertones.

taste is smooth and surprisingly light. there are some sweet malts there but not too much more. poor aftertaste.

mouth is light with good carbonation.

there is just not much there in this beer. it reminds me why I don't drink new belgium beers very often. the highlight of this beer is its smoothness for how dark it is but overall it is not interesting. this is a beer for someone who wants to pretend they are drinking a good beer but don't actually like beer.

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

Photo of tbern007
3.86/5  rDev +0.8%
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.

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 richkrull
3.78/5  rDev -1.3%
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.

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.

Photo of in780
3.68/5  rDev -3.9%
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.

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.

Photo of tmcelvain
3.91/5  rDev +2.1%
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.

Photo of Misfit138
3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
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.

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.

Photo of airheadmtrcycle
3.91/5  rDev +2.1%
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.

Photo of lespaulrocker
3.61/5  rDev -5.7%
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.

Photo of BrewCrew2010
4.28/5  rDev +11.7%
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.

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.

1554 Enlightened Black Ale from New Belgium Brewing
86 out of 100 based on 3,080 ratings.