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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

3,102 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,102
Reviews: 1,253
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 12.27%
Wants: 73
Gots: 219 | 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: 3,102 | Reviews: 1,253 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of thegodfather1076
4.3/5  rDev +12.3%
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.

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.

Photo of jimbus
2.94/5  rDev -23.2%
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.

Photo of Kkottonmouthkngz
4.14/5  rDev +8.1%
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.

Photo of stakem
3.83/5  rDev 0%
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.

Photo of Erish
2.82/5  rDev -26.4%
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."

Photo of mattsdenney
3.97/5  rDev +3.7%
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.

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.

Photo of Axe12001
4.17/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured into my New Belgium globe. Has a black color but light compared to stouts. A fizzy head. The aroma has a light smell, but some coco and coffee notes. Some aromatic notes and a light licorice/rosy nose. The taste is better with more bready and coco notes. Some roast notes. A bit more malty as it warms. Easy drinking nice finish.

Photo of donkeyrunner
3.7/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a dark hazelnut with auburn edges but settles black into my glass. A strong pour yielded a bubble tower head that decayed into a rocky foam archipelago. Sufficing lace and retention.

Aroma is dark bread, baker's cocoa powder, coffee, licorice and subtle leafy hop. Progressively aromatic as it warms.

Taste is more dark bread, coffee, roast malt with a woody hop tea in back. Taste doesn't catch up to the aroma until it warms sufficiently so I left the second half of the 22oz bottle out while I finished the first half. That second half was much better.

Doesn't particularly stand out in anyway but it's good, I like it, and I'm going to drink it.

Photo of Mosley1212
4.05/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into my Dogfish head snifter.

A--It pours dark and opaque. It looked almost like a stout. Had a very smell head but that dissipated rather quickly.

S--Honestly, this smells like a scotch ale. Heavy malt scent up front. Caramel notes come through next, followed by vanilla and a coffee-like scent at the end.

T--Very nutty. It almost reminds me of what I would deem an "imperial nut brown." It has a very strong nut taste up front, followed by an alcohol tang. It does have a weak flavor to it, a little weaker than I would like, but over all it's pretty good.

M--Weak on the tongue. Not a lot of carbonation. Honestly, it's pretty refreshing.

D--It's not a heavy beer. At 5.6%, it's pretty drinkable to begin with. Throw in the fact that it's a very likable beer, I could see me drinking a few of these a night.

Photo of thedoubler55
4.12/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A Dark in color, almost black, slight tan head and almost no lacing.

S: Smokey hickory smell, and roasted malts. Some sweetness at the end.

T: The taste was very subtle, taste of smokeyness up front and little booze at the end.

M: Very light for a belgian dark, but some creamyness.

D: Very drinkable for the type of beer it is, would definitely enjoy this one again especially for the price.

Photo of Duxx
3.9/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a standard pint glass.

A: Dark brownish black with at least a 2 finger tan head that left great Belgium lace on the glass.

S: Toffee and dark malt predominate. No real evidence of hop aroma.

T: Kind of like a milder version of a stout or porter. Not sure what separates this beer style from an English stout. Unless it is the yeast...there is a little more and buttery notes than with a stout or porter. Not at all estery or fruity. Mostly just the dark malt.

M: Medium

D: No alcohol warming so I guess you could drink several. Generally one black beer is enough for me.

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

This has been one of my favorites for a while. Inexpensive, widely available (in Chattanooga), and quite tasty.

A- Dark brown and translucent. Decent white head with good lacing.

S- Chocolate, toasted malt, bread

T- Toasted malt, chocolate, toffee. Pretty earthy. A bit more watery than I've noticed in the past. Still tasty though.

M- Medium and a bit over-carbonated (probably just this bottle).

D- Very drinkable. Good with rich desserts.

Photo of Irishtexan
4.8/5  rDev +25.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

At the first sip all I could think was...SMOOTH...and then the nice chocolate malt kicked in. A VERY nice drinkable blacl lager that looks as dark as a robust porter but without the overwhelming burnt/roast aroma and taste.This beer is a party in a six pack for the discriminating drinker. I'd love to try in on tap.

Photo of CooperEllis
3.91/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz into a small chalice

This ale is always good drinking. I can name fewer that I'd be happy to walk into anyplace, at anytime, and see waiting for me.

I also really enjoy the Flavor Attribute Flower on the New Belgium page for this as it highlights 'clear' and 'malty'. Yes. Yes it is. As clear as brown liquid can be. And it had certainly better be malty because the FAF doesn't seem to have a 'hoppy' score at all, which probably makes the Target Hops a little sad.

This is a nice, light, balanced ale that has a lighter body and fewer yeast notes than the roasted malt notes. The pour is bright, with a soft billowy head that leaves lacing thin across the top.

It tastes better than it smells, with a more intricate set of flavors within the roasted maltyness that makes up the smell.

Mouthfeel and drinkability are what this experience is about, for me. I enjoy the feel of this brew to such an extent that I presume it may subtly raise my taste score.


Photo of wmtxbb
3.92/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into chalice

Appearance: Dark brew with lacing on top.

Smell: Crunchy dark malt akin to popcorn.

Taste: dark burnt malt, like a stout, but with amber malts. Not a ton of hop character, but the hops present add a little spiciness.

Drinkability: This is my favorite New Belgium brews. Some small things need to be modified to enhance the drinking experience, though. New Belgium might want to consider bottle conditioning for this beer to enhance it's head and maybe adding more malt to 1554 more mouthfeel. Overall, not a bad beer.

Photo of gurpapete
4.52/5  rDev +18%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Dabbling this beer at my desk in Santa cruz California the first this I notice is the sweetness I wouldn't normally expect from a dark ale (not quite as sweet as guinness but something comperable). I really enjoy this beer. The flavors are a little watered but this makes for an extremely drinkable beer and at 5.60 ABV it's an easy going drinking beer or could easily complement a marinara sauce or sausage though this is definately an ale taste. I'm peeved when a dark ale or stout beer is too bitter and not malty enough. This beer has exceeded my expectations.

Photo of GBB
4.15/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

One Thousand Five Hundred Fifty Four. This beer is fun. A dark larger brewed at warmer temperatures. Pours a close to black but more of a really dark brownish color with red highlights. A soft pour with good head retention and lacing to the glass.

The smell is sweet with a nice blend of malt with chocolate. Similar to a swartzbier but with more esters and phenols. A hint of rose peddles and herbal flowers. A minor toasty note almost bready and biscuit. Some minor metallic but I think this comes from the malts. Not overly yeasty but good.

The taste is unique as well. Nice malty undertones with hints of coco-coffee. There is a slight toffee taste to it on the back end. Very clean and smooth but noticeable yeast notes. A light ester that gives more of a flowery herbal note. The hops come out with a noticeable bitterness, but not over the top. Some yeasty notes but mostly clean.

The body is moderate. Some hints of astringency but no where near what should be with this dark of a beer. Some lingering yeasty notes but overall very clean. Good beer.

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

Poured into a 16oz pint glass. Almost pitch black with a nice dark golden brown shine at the bottom of the glass.

The head as a rich cream color. Not to thick and it dissipated quickly.

It has a nutty smell with hints of chocolate and a little smoky.

The taste is fantastic...especially for an ale of this variety, which are normally not favorites. It has that familiar tinge that you taste in other New Belgium brews. Lots and lots of flavor and pretty easy to drink. Certainly not something to drink rapidly, but I could see myself having a few of these in succession. It has a very slightly bitter finish.

Mouthfeel is thick and heavy. It feels like you're drinking a beer much stronger than it is. Not sure if that's good or bad, but it feels more filling than it really is.

Photo of jsdunlop
3.63/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pitch black with a slight amber hue that shines through lightly. Nice looking white head that recedes to a minimal covering and manages to leave some decent lacing. Some roasted malt in the nose with some slight sweetness as well. Bakers chocolate and roasted malt come through in the taste, along with a peculiar nuttiness that seems common in new belgium's ales, followed by a slight hoppy bitterness that quickly retreats. Mouthfeel is a bit watered down,carbonation is on the low end, while the beer itself is extremely smooth, creamy, and refreshing.

Photo of augustgarage
3.38/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Best before April 10th, 2011. Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Bruery tulip.

Auburn and bole body, very dark yet clear with glimmering cardinal highlights. Dark beige creamy half finger of lasting foam creates a multi-layered head. Thin dense lacing adheres like a paste.

The nose suggests a fairly complex malt bill - mixing pale and a variety of specialties (e.g. chocolate, black, etc) - some crisp while others are darkly toasted. Toffee, vague esters, and river stones are suggested as well.

Bitter chocolate, ovaltine, faintly tart, becoming mildly bitter, earthy, and spicy (Target hops have a unique English flavor - which hints at a Dark Mild or a Porter further conflating styles). The lager style yeast isn't doing this beer any favors though - the flavor seems watered down and flacid.

Light bodied, moderately carbonated, but not effervescent. Rather thin for the style.

As drinkable as this is, I'm happy that Belgian ales evolved since the age of Spanish rule in Flanders.

Photo of metter98
3.86/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: The beer is very dark amber in color (close to near black) and poured with a two finger high off white head that slowly died down and left a tick ring of bubbles around the edge of the glass as well as lacing down the edges. No carbonation is evident in the form of rising bubbles.
S: There are light aromas of chocolaty malts in the nose. The smell isn't very strong, even after the beer warms up.
T: Moderate flavors of chocolate malts dominate the overall taste, although it's somewhat one dimensional because no traces of bitterness from the hops are perceptible. The chocolate flavors intensify as the beer warms up, but never become very strong.
M: It feels light- to medium-bodied, silky smooth and quite creamy on the palate. There is a light to moderate amount of carbonation. The finish has a hint of dryness.
D: The beer is very drinkable because it has a low amount of alcohol and isn't filling at all.

Photo of Transatlantic
2.77/5  rDev -27.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Nice clear chocolate dark brownish red color. Nice fluffy head with great retention and lacing.

S - ...something must be wrong here. Either my nose is broken or there is literally no scent to this beer. I've tried about 10 times to smell SOMETHING in this, but i'm smelling absolutely nothing.

T - Okay, well at least there's some taste. Definitely a dark sweetness there, like caramel, brown sugar, or molasses. There's also the taste of chocolate present.

M - A slick light bodied beer. Goes down very well with perfect carbonation.

D - This is definitely a session beer but with some class. You can down plenty of these and feel better than the rest of the crowd, who might be drinking down PBR.

Photo of plfahey
3.91/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a shaker pint.

Appearance-Dark Brown, slight reddish highlights. Very clear. Moderately large, somewhat moussy, very light tan head with moderate retention and some lacing.

Aroma-Malty upfront-lightly roasty and coffeelike, with background notes of chocolate. Very light hop aroma. Aroma is good, but a little bit weak.

Flavor-Similar to the aroma, but much fuller. Roasty, coffee, chocolate malt flavors take the forefront. Low initial earthy, piney hop flavors grow in the finish as the malt flavors fade. Moderately low hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel-Medium body, medium high carbonation. Not astringent, but a little bit drying, probably from the dark malts. Relatively smooth.

While I wouldn't necessarily want to knock back a bunch of these, it is a tasty brew, and I definitely enjoyed it.

1554 Enlightened Black Ale from New Belgium Brewing
86 out of 100 based on 3,102 ratings.