1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. 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.
BA SCORE
86
very good

2,919 Ratings
THE BROS
82
good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,919
Reviews: 1,237
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 12.53%
Wants: 65
Gots: 135 | 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:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of 1554 Enlightened Black Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 2,919 | Reviews: 1,237 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of GreatWeisseHope
GreatWeisseHope

Oregon

3.68/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Reddish brown with an off-white head. Retention rather poor. Brilliantly filtered.

S: Low malt aroma, mild chocolate/munich aroma, not roasty or burnt. No esters or diacetyl.

T: Neutral malt flavor, mildly sweet, not burnt or roasty, hint of toffee. Smooth with no hop presence. No DMS.

M: Medium-light. Smooth with no astringency. Medium carbonation.

D: OK beer, just a bit underwhelming.

Serving type: bottle

12-30-2009 20:34:28 | More by GreatWeisseHope
Photo of Durge
Durge

Connecticut

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

This Colorado brew is a very dark mahogany brown color with a fair off-white head and very good lacing. The aroma offers solid malt, raisin and wheat, maybe some chocolate. Pretty nice. The flavor brings out smokey malt with a touch of licorice. Smooth and less than medium bodied, quite drinkable. Light, tingly carbonation. Malt is king here, very tasty, along the lines of a strong brown ale. Good stuff.

Serving type: bottle

12-30-2009 07:02:25 | More by Durge
Photo of mikesgroove
mikesgroove

South Carolina

4.1/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Grabbed this one at Mellow Mushroom with lunch. Really the only thing on the menu I felt like having, but oh well. 22oz bottle was served to me with a pint glass, consumed on 12/23/2009.
 
The pour was decent enough, rich looking dark brown with a small amount of light peaking in on the sides and the bottom of the glass. Nice head of tan came up to about an inch before dropping off the side of the glass and coating the sides for a good little bit. Aroma is nice roasted malts with a touch of light dark fruit notes at first. Very rich as well with a big malt bill. First sip goes down nice and smooth, rich dark malts again are dominant here with a light bit of chocolate coating the tongue at first. Following it is a light dryness and a bi of a hop kick that gives it just that slight bit of bitterness in the finish. Final taste is of toasted malts and dry hints of chocolate that last on the tongue long into the final sip.
 
Overall it was very solid from beginning to end. Nothing really bad I can say about this one. It really seemed to hold its own quite nicely. I would have no issue with trying the one again.
 

Serving type: bottle

12-24-2009 15:35:35 | More by mikesgroove
Photo of sevopie
sevopie

Colorado

4.03/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This one pours a dark mahogany with ruby hints, and a light tan head.

Very light on the smell, hints of chocolate and roasted malt.

Creamy cocoa and coffee are at the front of the flavor. Roasted grain and a mellow nut flavor back it up, with a hint of hop on the finish.

Somewhat light, but creamy at the same time, this is a difficult one to try to describe. Carbonation is fairly robust.

Overall this is one of my favorite brews from New Belgium. I'm not a fan of quite a few of their beers, but this one is always a pleasant drinker.

Serving type: bottle

12-24-2009 09:56:51 | More by sevopie
Photo of woodychandler
woodychandler

Pennsylvania

4.28/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

My pour created a thick, mocha-brown head that would make any self-respecting root beer float envious and it had good retention for its two fingers. Nose was very cocoa-chocolaty. Color was deep-brown with ruby highlights. Mouthfeel was medium with a taste like a chocolate milkshake. Finish was dry and chocolaty, like a malted milk ball. Chocolate lovers, rejoice!

Serving type: bottle

12-22-2009 21:17:17 | More by woodychandler
Photo of beerwolf77
beerwolf77

Wisconsin

3.68/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into my pint glass the beer is a dark brown almost black color. The beige head lifts to almost an inch the nsettles leaving a decent amount of lace.

The aroma is mostly roasted malt. With hints of chocolate and coffee. Maybe a touch of dark fruit.

The flavor is similar to the aroma. Roasted malt with a little more chocolate/coffee then in the nose. Light spices and a hint of bitterness. I can't pick out much else. None of the flavors are that strong. Yet there is just enough there to keep me sipping on this beer.

Medium body with a just enough carbonation.

Overall I managed to drink several of these. Not the most flavorful beer but good enough to keep me interested. A session beer for sure.

Serving type: bottle

12-21-2009 12:55:22 | More by beerwolf77
Photo of likethetaste
likethetaste

Virginia

4.75/5  rDev +24%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Wow another winner from New Belgium! This is even better than their Fat Tire amber ale! Wow, when will this be availavle in Virginia!! Amazing.

This is a very drinkable beer that has amazing taste and mouthfeel! If you get a chance to get this Do!!!

Serving type: bottle

12-21-2009 00:48:57 | More by likethetaste
Photo of dpasotti
dpasotti

Indiana

3.5/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Deep mahogany color with a thin layer of beige head. Very little lacing sticks around. Smells like lightly roasted malt, specifically non-aggressive coffee/chocolate, with not much else.

Taste follows the nose, but the malt shows some sweetness. Nutty chocolate with slight bitterness on the back end. The dark fruit character usually requisite of this style is nonexistent. Not a whole lot happening here either.

1554's body is on the lighter side, with medium carbonation. Not a spectacular beer by any means, but its simplicity and balance render it a highly-drinkable, inexpensive offering.

Serving type: bottle

12-19-2009 00:38:21 | More by dpasotti
Photo of gabe23
gabe23

North Carolina

3.53/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Very dark brown that looks black unless held up to a bright light. Foamy white head that hangs around for a while.

S - Coffee, dark chocolate, and a bit of raisin or date sweetness.

T - A little bit of malty sweetness up front that quickly leads to a espresso and dark chocolate bitterness. Maybe a bit of earthiness in the finish, but to real hops presence to speak of.

M - Not as heavy as expected. Much like a schwartzbier but with less carbonation.

D - Interesting beer, I suppose, but I kept wishing it was a dark lager or stout. The flavor wasn't the best, but I like the idea behind the beer and I applaud New Belgium for making it.

Serving type: bottle

12-14-2009 03:07:45 | More by gabe23
Photo of CampusCrew
CampusCrew

Florida

3.68/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

appearance: very dark brown ale. suprised. I was thinking it would have sme reddish, but more stout looking.

smell: nutty, dark fruits, but mostly coffee aroma

taste: smooth, easy to drink belgian. coffee dominated beer. not what i expected. I liek it though.

mouthfeel: medium and on the light side for the style. expected from NB though

drinkability: sessionable belgian indeed and a nice overall selecion. not a bad gateway for newbees to get into darks and belgians.

Serving type: bottle

12-09-2009 00:26:51 | More by CampusCrew
Photo of lisaode
lisaode

Colorado

4.18/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 5

I have had this before from the bottle, but it was a different experience when I brought it back from New Belgium Brewery in a growler. I poured it into a snifter glass.

Color was a little red, mainly dark brown. Not opaque.

The aroma was not strong at all and did not inspire any fall-out-of-my-chair moments. Sweet smell with toffee and nut.

Feeling was creamy and smoothy. Liked the carbonation, but didn't pop to make it spicy. Again, very smooth and easy to drink.

Serving type: growler

12-06-2009 22:35:08 | More by lisaode
Photo of zebulon
zebulon

Illinois

3.33/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle a nice redish brown clear look. Two fingers of tan head which dropped to about a quarter inch fast. Minimal lacing.

Slight sweet smell molasses or honey.

Taste mirrored smell. Light, sweet, malty, molasses, honey. As I progressed through the glass some slight pine bitterness came through.

Light on the tongue with a small bubble feel. Kind of frizzy.

A light drink, nothing special but could be an all day drink if you need it.

Serving type: bottle

12-06-2009 17:27:49 | More by zebulon
Photo of MurphyMacManus
MurphyMacManus

Pennsylvania

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

12oz. longneck into stemless snifter.

A: deep chocolate brown color with nice clarity. Not opaque like a stout, but can appear black in sub-standard lighting. Very red when held up to light. Head is on the darker side of cream-colored and doesn't stick around long but does leave impressive lace on the surface of the beer and the sides of my glass.

S: Dark fruit, sweetness along the lines of brown sugar, and a little alcohol. Spices. Reminds me of the bread pudding a friend of mine makes with rum-soaked raisins.

T: Strong dark malt flavor reminiscent of sweet brown bread. Some dark fruitiness and a vague spicy note.

M: Light, especially for the color. Was expecting something much chewier and was pleasantly surprised by the lightness.

D: Taste-wise, I would definitely session this. But I'm a little guy and anything over about 5% tends to adversely affect me if I session it. So, on those grounds, I'd probably drink this all day but slowly.

Serving type: bottle

12-01-2009 04:17:45 | More by MurphyMacManus
Photo of jampics2
jampics2

Ohio

3.6/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at the Horny Toad in Carefree, Arizona.

Barely any head - what there is quickly dissipates. I know NB's style, and so I know this won't be a yeast-driven beer.

Smells like dark malt, a hint of roast and yeast.

Sweet overall with a little roast aftertaste from what tastes like black patent malt. It's good but not too flavorful. Slight dark fruit (raisin, plum), but, again, nothing too extreme.

Good mouthfeel to balance the taste, but, judging against the style, I'm not sure how to assess.

Very pleasant and well crafted. Certainly a drinkable beer - session is a good possibility!

Nothing extreme, but would make a great intro to darker beers. Glad to have tried it on tap!

Serving type: on-tap

11-28-2009 18:43:11 | More by jampics2
Photo of JTahoe
JTahoe

Oregon

3.95/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Brown bottle with freshness date on label.

A - Pours a very dark brown, nearly black, but is a glowing black English tea color with copper and ruby tones when held to the light. Off white rocky head, not quite a finger thick, dissipates quickly with a bubbly ring at the perimeter and a thin viscous layer across the top. Some light lacing.

S - Nutty with caramel and milk chocolate notes. Rather simple, but not too bad.

T- Roasted malt and grain, milk chocolate, slight smokey flavor (roasted coffee?) and a tinge of bitter baking chocolate, caramel, and even (ever so lightly) fruit. Pretty mellow.

M - Smooth medium-body, quite effervescent which lightens the feel as the bubbles take over the mouth. Finishes on the thin side, slightly dry with lingering subtle bitterness.

D - Very drinkable, sessionable. Would definitely pick this up in the future.

Serving type: bottle

11-28-2009 06:06:34 | More by JTahoe
Photo of thedrewski86
thedrewski86

Indiana

3.8/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter, left 1/2" of head. Very dark with some red when held up to the light. Hardly any lacing. The smell is certainly not over-powering. Kind of sweet and nutty. Tastes woody, kind of like smoked wood chips. There's a little bit of chocolate and coffee. Nice and bitter malt, not much as far as hops. The carbonation was pretty low. I think this beer is best for warm days. It doesn't look like a summer beer but I think I enjoyed it more after coming back from the beach. When it's cold outside, I feel more like a smoky porter with a higher abv!

Serving type: bottle

11-27-2009 15:29:26 | More by thedrewski86
Photo of david131
david131

California

3.68/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- A very dark brown, borderline black liquid with a thin, but creamy light brown head. There is some pretty good retention to the head as well.

S- Nuts, oats, caramel, and milk chocolate. Rather simple, but not too bad.

T- Exactly the same as the aroma, but with a slightly smokey edge to it.

M- Smooth and creamy. Doesn't really have a bite to it like I was expecting, but then again, the alcohol level is relatively low in this one.

D- A decent beer. I kind of enjoyed how low the ABV is on this. This would make for a fine session beer.

Serving type: bottle

11-24-2009 04:32:12 | More by david131
Photo of Arnie2709
Arnie2709

North Dakota

3.9/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

pours a deep brown. with a nice caramelly cream head that dissipates quickly and leaves some lacing but not a lot.
smells of chocolate and toffee. toasty. all mild though.
taste is intrigues the palate as a hole. some sweet some bitter. roasted barley with a medium body.
finish is reasonably clean but a slight roasted flavor lingers afterward.

Serving type: bottle

11-23-2009 18:49:04 | More by Arnie2709
Photo of CHILLINDYLAN
CHILLINDYLAN

Washington

3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark brown with an amber tail. Small tanned head. Small droopy laces.

Sweet and smokey roasted malts. chocolate, german malts. spicy herbal hops.

Surprisingly lively citrus and spicy herbal hops. Semi-sweet dark chocolate and roasted smokey malts. Spicy yeast esters. Nice chocolate herbal bitterness.

Full bodied, dry, smooth, decent carb

Good fall brew, worth a try. Nice kick of hops in a wellbalanced and flavorful black ale.

Serving type: bottle

11-19-2009 23:47:49 | More by CHILLINDYLAN
Photo of rfabian
rfabian

Texas

4.22/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a tumbler it produces a 5 mm head with good retention and lacing. The appearance is very dark, almost black, and a clear dark brown when held up to the light. The aroma is delicious with sweet chocolate, caramel, and a hint of coffee maltiness. The taste is similarly delightful with only a hint of bitterness. The feel is medium bodied with moderate carbonation. The finish is clean and chocolatey. Not quite a session beer but drinkable indeed.

Serving type: bottle

11-13-2009 00:20:43 | More by rfabian
Photo of ballz50401
ballz50401

Iowa

3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very dark black with a nice thick frothy head. Good head retention. Has an aroma of chocolate and roasted malts. Taste some hints of coffee with a smooth chocolatey finish. Meduim bodied and silky smooth. This is a great brew that is very easy to drink.

Serving type: bottle

11-08-2009 22:55:26 | More by ballz50401
Photo of homebrew311
homebrew311

Illinois

3.73/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a very dark mahogany, when held up to the light, you can barely see through. Nice foamy white head.

S: faint toffee, caramel, roasted notes. Heavy on the malts, hops are barely noticeable

T: sweet malts on the front end, some fruity notes like black cherry, followed by a roasted barley. Everything is very mellow, but it is well balanced and has a nice flavor

M: medium body, nice smooth texture

D: this is a very drinkable brew. It has nice flavors, but everything is subtle and mellow. Nothing complex going on here, but certainly is easy drinking.

Serving type: bottle

11-07-2009 05:29:52 | More by homebrew311
Photo of dpnelson1978
dpnelson1978

Minnesota

4.22/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

22 oz. bottle into Duvel tulip.

$3.99 / ea.

S: Chocolate, coffee, and red fruit. The fruit comes out more as it warms up.

A: Dark brown body with a big rocky tan head that laces beautifully.

T: Light coffee overtones with a little Belgian fruitiness. The sweetness and bitterness are just right.

M: Light body with light carbonation and wonderfully smooth. I would prefer if it had a slightly heavier body.

D: Goes down so easy. My 22 oz. vanished in about 15 minutes on a Tuesday night.

O: Terrific beer, and amazingly cheap. I need to remember to always keep this in stock for company.

Serving type: bottle

11-04-2009 00:27:54 | More by dpnelson1978
Photo of Flightoficarus
Flightoficarus

Washington

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

Serving type - 12 oz bottle into Chimay Goblet

A - Pours a deep, dark brown, with little foam, and good lacing.

S - Some cocoa, coffee, and some dark fruit

T - Very smooth and mild. Cocoa and bits of dark fruit make up the majority of the flavor. Biscuit like malts, which seem to be common with other beers from this brewery. Barely any hops present. Overall, it's chocolatey, malty, and smooth.

M - Smooth and velvety. Medium-light-medium bodied.

D - Highly sessionable dark beer here.

Overall - A very solid brew. Not mind-blowing like the true Belgian dark ales, but nonetheless, a good buy, and worth trying at the least. I'd gladly drink it again.

Serving type: bottle

11-02-2009 07:59:36 | More by Flightoficarus
Photo of snaotheus
snaotheus

Washington

3.15/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into a goblet

Pours a dark brown with small, slow carbonation, little pale head and surprising lacing. Smell is open, tiny bit of coffee, dark fruit, definitely malty.

Taste is slight toffee, slight molasses, more dark fruit with a little coffe.

Mouthfeel is fairly light and thin, feels dry. Drinkable. Not a favorite, but not bad.

Serving type: bottle

11-01-2009 00:38:15 | More by snaotheus
1554 Enlightened Black Ale from New Belgium Brewing
86 out of 100 based on 2,919 ratings.