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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.
BA SCORE
86
very good

3,006 Ratings
THE BROS
82
good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,006
Reviews: 1,243
rAvg: 3.84
pDev: 12.5%
Wants: 70
Gots: 177 | 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: 3,006 | Reviews: 1,243 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of secondtooth
4.1/5  rDev +6.8%
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 -1.6%
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 +1.6%
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 -7.6%
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 +4.2%
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 +4.2%
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 -2.9%
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 +2.9%
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
Photo of revolt914
4.38/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked this up at Kroger thinking maybe it'll be better than Fat tire.

A- Dark brown with a good creamy head which dissipates to a thin head nicely laced brim.

S- Nice smell to it, I get traces of fruit and cream, end of the inhale and start of exhale I get the chocolate.

T- Very chocolate taste and extremely creamy but thin and tasty beer.

M- Very silky smooth mouth feel amongst one of the best I've had!

D- Very very drinkable, must say this beer surprised me cause I didn't enjoy Fat Tire hardly at all. I think the 1554 might be a beer I start going to get at the local Kroger due to price and over all taste! Will continue to drink over and over!

revolt914, Oct 31, 2010
Photo of Adamthome1
4.28/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, BB 3/11/11

Pours a very nice 2 finger head that just keeps rising

Aroma is very roasty, like a porter or stout, at this point carbonation on side of the bottle looks massive.

Indeed it tastes like a nice porter, with a nice robust roasty taste, chcolate and caramel and some coffe, very roasty...The head that remains makes the beer very creamy as you drink...Dark chocolate in the aftertaste

Nice lacing down the bottle. The balance is about perfect, no unexpected, unwelcomed flavors to speak of. This is a very easy drinking beer, will recommend to some of my Stout and Porter drinker friends.

Adamthome1, Oct 31, 2010
Photo of Thorpe429
3.78/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the brewery. August 2009. Reviewed from notes.

Pours a deep dark brown with an off white head that has some pretty good retention. The nose brings forward some light chocolate and dark fruits. The taste is slightly roasty with some dates, plum, and chocolate. Good mouthfeel with nice carbonation levels. Drinks nice and easy.

Thorpe429, Oct 29, 2010
Photo of CheckmateBrew
3.9/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Poured a dark brown with a one finger head which dissipates quickly. Nice lacing.

S- Smelled some dark fruit, Coffee, maybe chocolate, I like a stronger smell to the beer....still this was good.

T- Tasted very nice, hops blended with full flavor. Coffee, chocolate

M- nice carbonation

D- I enjoyed drinking this one. Makes a very good dinner beer, might even consider this a porter. Will have to sample this one again.

CheckmateBrew, Oct 29, 2010
Photo of TheSeeker61
4.22/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Poured a dark brown with a one inch head which dissipates to a thin head. Nice lacing.

S- Smelled some dark fruit, chicolate

T- Tasted some chocolate notes, citrus fruit.

M- nice silky medium mouthfeel.

D- really enjoyed drinking this one. Will drink this one again.

TheSeeker61, Oct 24, 2010
Photo of bigrzman
3.43/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Not so black as so much deep mohogany. Very clear, tight bubbles, and whispy of white head. Holy roasted malts batman! Roasted notes assault the nose with some herbal hops. Very toasty, bready and sweet. Very tangy and it has a citrusy note. Mouthfeel is light and not too drying. I could have a few but it is for taste only.

bigrzman, Oct 23, 2010
Photo of isualum12
4.58/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

poured in a classic belgium glass from NB. This beer was served to me last night at the New Belgium beer dinner last night. It was the 3rd course of 5 courses and was served with a roasted asperigus. The beer alone was great but took on a different and better taste with the asperigus. It really raised the level of this beer up (but don't get me wrong it was already high).

It was really cool meeting Jaime (one of the orginial brewers for NB, Mo and Kris. All three of them from NB were really cool. Oh and the front door in boise is amazing for throwing these beer events.

Yeah yeah roast me for not leaving the classic review. If you need the classic review on this beer please read on to the other 900+ reviews.

isualum12, Oct 23, 2010
Photo of jmdrpi
4.28/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

had on tap at the New Belgium bar at the Denver airport. in a 14oz shaker "pint" glass.

the color is dark brown, almost black. nice lacing. aroma is malt heavy. notes of chocolate, roasty.
taste is very smooth, balanced. mouthfeel is medium, with lower carbonation.

good drinkability, I would seek this out again. Not sure about the classification on this beer, I thought kinda of a cross between brown ale and porter. tasty none the less

jmdrpi, Oct 19, 2010
Photo of Elimination
3.68/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Used to be sort of an old standbye for when I wanted something out of the norm

Pours a considerably black/brown, a good proportion of head that reminds me of the top of a mocha.

Smell is very faint malt, small amount of chocolate, and a bit of a certain fart smell that is usually associated with a lot of new belgium beers.

Taste is slight chocolate, coffee notes, a bit of malt, brown sugar, really not bad, but doesnt stand out strong

Mouthfeel is a silky thickness that disapates quickly leaving a bit of filminess.

Drink is high, this is something I give to friends whos craft beer of choice is fat tire. Its my thought that this is the bridge to porters/stouts.

Elimination, Oct 19, 2010
Photo of mmmbeer
4.03/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. bottle, brewed with a light lager yeast, as per the website. Pours quite near black, with lightish carbonation, a half-inch tan head and nice lacing. Smells chocolatey and roasty with a faint note of hops. Pretty much the same on the palate, but with a light earthiness and some green noble hops that emerge as it warms. Light and smooth, with a dry finish. I thought this was rather more like a porter than a Belgian ale, but then again, they aren't aiming for a modern-day Belgian anyway. I judged this one as a porter and found it to be a very pleasing ale.

mmmbeer, Oct 17, 2010
Photo of Ryan011235
3.28/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a snifter on 10/13/10

Best before 14 November 2010

Pours a mid-range cola brown, settles dark & has subtle ruby highlights. The head rose to one & a half fingers before dropping by an easy 50%, leaving decent lace.

Nice, malty aroma of bittersweet chocolate, dry roast & dark fruit tones. Seems to be a spot of toffee or some other sugar in there, too. Floral wisps. There's a liveliness to it that I'm attributing to the yeast. I really like it.

Hmm...I don't like the taste so much. Juicy, floral notes upfront with this, dark fruit ethers coming next. The pairing of the two has an unpleasant medicinal flavor. Moving to the back there's a bit of sugary sweetness but the roasted notes trump it. While the dry, chocolate note is nice, I'd prefer it be more pronounced.

Medium bodied with reasonably low carbonation. Kind of thin around the edges. Finishes with a vague floral hint & a lingering dryness.

New Belgium 1554 is something of an odd brew. It strikes me as a cross between a porter & Scottish ale with notions of a barleywine. Not bad but their other beers I've tried have impressed me more.

Ryan011235, Oct 15, 2010
Photo of nickhiller
3/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A: molasses colored, one finger head reduces to a cream colored ring of head with good lacing.

S: sweet and roasted malt, juicy juice (of course), a little sour yeast funk.

T: smoke, char and a hint of coffee mixed with sweet molasses and malt, followed by a bitter dry finish.

M: medium to light-bodied, light carbonation, dry. Far too light for this style in my opinion.

D: Ok. I'm not all that impressed, the flavors are very subdued and muddled, you could tell me this was a (poor) attempt at smoked porter or a coffee stout and I would believe you. Aside from the funk in the nose and the faintest hint of it in the taste, it's hard to tell that there is anything recognizably Belgian in there.

nickhiller, Oct 11, 2010
Photo of chinchill
3.65/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This lager (yes, that is correct; cf. Texas beer laws) is an extremely dark brown color. Poured with 1 finger of light tan head that was short-lived, but with a long-lasting outer ring of bubbles. Amply carbonated, although not quite fizzy.

S - light

T - balanced flavor but with no strong flavor elements. Does finish strong.

chinchill, Oct 10, 2010
Photo of albertjr21
3.9/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Into a pint glass, this poured a clear dark red and garnet highlighted color.

S: A mild, restrained, dark roasted and lightly sweet malt nose...but pleasant...

M/T: A lightly carbonated intro feel that really allowed for a dark cocoa malt backbone center to take the spotlight before leading to a crisp but smooth and sweet dark cappuccino like finish.

D: Nice and smooth sailing for the Dark Ale lover...

albertjr21, Oct 10, 2010
Photo of scarfield
3.58/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown with red tones into my glass. Rocky Half inch head finally settles out. Spotty lacing.

Has a very prominent roasted barley smell with a bit of nuts added to the mix.

taste is first a mellow nutty taste, roasted barley also in the mix. very crisp for a dark beer. A bit of chocolate in the finish. no real hop character.

Easy to drink, easy to swallow. Wouldnt be a problem drinking more than one in an evening.

scarfield, Oct 10, 2010
Photo of StlHopHead77
2.8/5  rDev -27.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A-Pours out a coca-cola,blackish brown with some hints of crimson and a 2 finger,rapidly depleting,tannish head that left good sudsy lacing.

S-Very stout-like but muted.Soft sweet chocolate,weak coffee and dark roasted malt.

T-Nothing too assertive here.Toned-down American stout flavors.Nothing too bitter and nothing too bold.Bittersweet chocolate,sweet malt and coffee with cream.Slight dark roasted quality on the finish.

M-Thin and timid.

D-I can't see myself drinking more than one of these.There's just nothing there.

StlHopHead77, Oct 07, 2010
Photo of LacquerHead
3.88/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It poured a very dark brown color with a bubbly head that dissipated to a medium lacing.
The smell reminded me of spent coffee grounds. The taste was similar to the aroma but on the thin side. It had an earthy coffee quality mixed with a slight pale aftertaste. Overall, I think the taste did not live up to its aroma. It was good and I'll probably still drink this at bars as an alternative to the other overly mainstream beers.

LacquerHead, Oct 06, 2010
1554 Enlightened Black Ale from New Belgium Brewing
86 out of 100 based on 3,006 ratings.