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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

2,896 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,896
Reviews: 1,237
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 12.53%
Wants: 59
Gots: 123 | 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: 2,896 | Reviews: 1,237 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of parkeak0

District of Columbia

3.25/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I had wanted to taste this beer for some time. Finally found it at a gas station in town. I have to say... I was a bit disappointed. While this pours a pretty dark brown, it really falls short on nose and flavor. Sure, there is enough roasty malt and coffee to keep me interested, but quite honestly, I was expecting something a bit more out-of-the-ordinary. This is, most unfortunately, quite ordinary. Drinkability is high due to the low ABV, thus making the brew quite sessionable. Worth trying? Sure. Will I buy it again? Probably not.

Serving type: bottle

09-16-2009 03:54:37 | More by parkeak0
Photo of ClockworkOrange


3.85/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to fretlessman over at realbeer for this one. Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into my nonic pint glass. 1554 appears a dark chestnut color with about an inch of creamy tan foam. Nose and flavor are of rich roasted and toasted grains, bittersweet chocolate, lightly roasted coffee notes, slight hints of smoke, caramel. A tad better than medium bodied with adequate carbonation for the style. Quite nice.

Serving type: bottle

09-14-2009 05:13:18 | More by ClockworkOrange
Photo of kels


3.68/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance: Poured from a bomber into a pint glass. Liquid is a dark reddish brown, slightly opaque, with a 2 finger off-white, fluffy head. The head fades pretty quickly to a thick skim. Slippery spots of lace slide off the walls of the glass back into the brew.

Smell: The smell of this beer is surprisingly complex and hard to describe. The first aroma is of chocolate - not sweet, milk or dark chocolate, but more like the dry, rich aroma of cocoa powder or baking chocolate. There's a lot of caramelized malt and a deep, yeasty breadiness. There's also an indescribable brightness to the scent, which I assume is from the hops, but I can't really describe not place it.

Taste/Mouthfeel: The taste and feel provide an odd combination of full, rich taste and bright, thin feel. The flavors represent a lot that's in the smell. There's a slightly bitter cocoa note, dry roasted and slightly caramelized malt and some dark fruitiness kind of like prunes or cherries. Not particularly thrilling - all the flavors seem muted. The hops are slightly citrusy - not terribly bitter, but somewhat bright. The feel is bright yet thin - the carbonation that shows so well in the head is present, but leaves the beer more quickly than it leaves my mouth. The feel on the palate is somewhat clean while leaving distinct stickiness on the lips.

Drinkability: Pretty high due to the low ABV, but I'm slowed a little by the moderate mouthfeel. Good beer, but not amazingly so.

Serving type: bottle

09-14-2009 00:50:44 | More by kels
Photo of gabemasiulis


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

Pours a clear tobacco color with a light tan head with fine bubbles. Medium retention
Ripe fruits, currants, sweet with a tinge of spices, probably from the yeast. A slight alcoholic scent, with some roasted (but not burnt) malts.
Fairly malty up front, an interesting fruity tang, Counterposed by a bit of choclatey malts.
Crisp, light, a medium gravity level of slightly syrupy viscosity.
I'd have another. definitely drinkable, I can remember more than one party where I swigged down one after another of these (the New Belgium UAR) My new belgium of choice.

Serving type: bottle

09-13-2009 03:23:45 | More by gabemasiulis
Photo of jacobseyb


4.43/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A=Deep, deep, dark amber/black colors with a one fat finger of head, tan/khaki in color

S=some spiciness, with some intriguing smokey notes. Malts and yeast prevalent

T=smokey, banana, with the yeastiness and maltiness expected.

M=great carbonation and light bodied feel, refreshing.

D=extremely sessionable and enjoyable.

Serving type: bottle

09-10-2009 03:11:16 | More by jacobseyb
Photo of burnerfinger


4.33/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: poured from the 12oz bottle into my goblet. Tan head of one finger dissipated quickly.

S: very light aroma - but pleasant stout - style smell

T: oooh. nice. Choclate - malt - coffee. I cant find the hops at all but I dont mind. finishes right along the same lines. leaves a slightly bitter aftertaste.

M: carbonation seems to add to the appropriatley heavy body.

D: not too heavy for the style - alcohol is well hidden (5.5) could go for another easily.
This Beer Is One Of My Favorites.

Serving type: bottle

09-08-2009 22:07:13 | More by burnerfinger
Photo of bsp77


3.85/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Flat Earth Pint glass.

Appearance: Dark brownish-red with very thin head that leaves bubbly receding lacing.

Smell: Light roasted malts, dark fruit and earthy spiciness.

Taste: A lot flavors going on here. Tastes almost like a cross between a Schwarzbier, an English Brown Ale and a Belgian Ale. Roasted malt character (with a hint of coffee) competes with sweet fruit and an earthy yeast character. Overall I like it, but it is a little bit of a mess.

Feel: Moderate carbonation, medium body, strange finish. Slightly thin but not as bad as many other New Belgium brews.

Drinkability: Quite nice unique beer. Very much worth trying and would have again every once in a while. Probably the best of New Belgium's normal line-up, which, unfortunately, isn't saying much.

Serving type: bottle

09-08-2009 01:35:19 | More by bsp77
Photo of tronester


3.55/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very dark brown, with a medium tan head. Smells strongly of roasted malts. Taste is very sweet up front, chocolaty, a hint of coffee as well. There is a bit of artificial sweetener sweetness that is a bit odd in the finish. Mouthfeel is smooth, nice low carbonation. Pretty drinkable, this is a good beer from NB that is a unique style. I would drink this again, though it is not my favorite from them.

Serving type: bottle

09-06-2009 01:06:22 | More by tronester
Photo of frequentgear


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

twelve ounce bottle into a pint glass.

pours a dark looking ale with an inviting fluffy head. light reveals it to be an auburn blood shade. good lace and good head retention. smells like chocolate and roasted malts. tastes like a milder smoked porter, coffee like and cocoa, finishes sticky. aftertaste gets a little to smokey too. good carbonation mix, pretty easy to drink save the finish. not bad!

Serving type: bottle

09-04-2009 07:25:20 | More by frequentgear
Photo of youngleo


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

Poured to a nice caramel colored head. Had some very nice lacing that left rings with every swallow. Brew itself was very dark brown to almost black in color. Had a slightly sweet caramel smell also of roasted malt and coffee. Tasted like it smelled. Had that roasted malt, slightly sweet caramel, and a little of that coffee flavor. Had a dry aftertaste. All tastes were mild and not overpowering. I think it was pretty well balanced. Felt good in the mouth. Carbonation was right. This Ale reminded me more of a Porter. That wasnt a bad thing. I wouldnt want to make this a session beer. But a few would sure taste good now and then.

Serving type: bottle

09-03-2009 20:10:52 | More by youngleo
Photo of Foxtrot


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

Poured from 12oz. bottle in to Chimay chalice. This is my very first Belgian Dark Ale.

Pour produced a very dark brown body, accompanied by a small white head with little retention. Some light lacing is all that is left.

Aroma is huge on the malts. Smell is of bitter chocolate espresso and mocha, and some yeast to pan the sweet notes out.

This beer was a pleasant surprise. The aroma had led me to believe that this would be a chocolate intense beer, but on the contrary it is quite balanced with roasted and chocolate character a nice hop presence, and belgian yeast to pull it all together. This is a very good beer. Tastes like a Brown Ale and Porter with a good yeast spike. Superb.

Mouthfeel is medium body, and slightly creamy.

I'm very impressed with 1554. Great taste, mouthfeel, and decent carbonation makes this a great session choice. Cheers!

Serving type: bottle

09-01-2009 06:54:40 | More by Foxtrot
Photo of flagmantho


3.5/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from 22 oz bomber into a wine goblet.

Appearance: very dark ruby brown, nearly black, with a very thin light head.

Smell: dark roasted malt with a distinct coffee aroma with notes of chocolate. Reminds me of a mocha espresso. There is also a bit of a "watered-down" characteristic in the aroma, however, of which I'm not a fan.

Taste: earth, chocolate, coffee, but again a bit watered-down. There's also a particular quality of the malt which I cannot describe but which I do not like; Fat Tire has this similar unfortunate characteristic but in greater abundance.

Mouthfeel: medium-bodied with relatively little carbonation.

Drinkability: it's drinkable to a certain extent but because of the flavor issues I can't rate it very high.

Serving type: bottle

08-31-2009 02:51:07 | More by flagmantho
Photo of Zebus0


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

I have to be honest I really enjoy 1554, and I'm not even an ale fan. Trying to be pretty fair here though.

Appearance: Doesn't really keep the head long, granted this is out of the bottle but it's kind of a downer. However, the dark brown color it pours is great, very rich.

Smell: Malt with a sweet finish, good combo.

Taste: The balance is something, it is pretty smooth, has a really subtle bite on the end, almost tart.

Mouthfeel: Really smooth, well balanced.

Drinkability: One of those beers I can go round after round, a good standby since the price doesn't hurt much and it is drinkable, it's a top contender for my go-to.

Serving type: bottle

08-30-2009 01:34:18 | More by Zebus0
Photo of nsmartell


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

I enjoyed this beer from the comfort of my own living room. From the bomber bottle with a best by date of October 9, 2009 to a snifter glass.

Appearance: Pours a dark brown color with a thick off-white head that sticks around for a while. The color is much redder when held to a light.

Smell: Caramel malts dominate, but there is some fruitiness and sweet chocolate in there.

Taste: Just as the smell suggests, this a malty beer but ends slightly bitter. An interesting balance of flavors.

Mouthfeel: Light to medium-bodied and goes down smooth with a nice dry, crisp finish.

Drinkability: Very drinkable brew. Would seem to pair well many different foods. Not a bad beer to have on hand for any type of beer drinker. Not sure if I will have many more, but still good to have around.

Serving type: bottle

08-27-2009 02:15:09 | More by nsmartell
Photo of jdg204


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

When my buddy and I were out on the town in Buckhead GA, I was pleasantly surprised to find our bar had a nice selection from New Belgium. I'd heard good things about 1554 and was excited to give it a shot.

A: Dark brown color with a modest white head that leaves some lacing.

S: Dark fruit and a bit of chocolate

T: Starts with sweet dark fruits followed by hints of coffee and chocolate and a well balanced, lightly roasted finish.

M: Medium body with moderate carbonation.

D: Very nice brew overall which met my expectations. I really enjoyed the balance and the subtlety of the flavors, a very nice sipping beer. Haven't tried too many New Belgiums at this point and I know they've got a mixed opinion, but I was impressed they got a Belgian Dark in wide distribution. A rock solid brew with good distribution, a sanctuary beer in scarce places.

Serving type: bottle

08-22-2009 19:56:29 | More by jdg204
Photo of BacklitAvenger


4.38/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - This beer appears black at first glance, though once held to the light it is revealed to be a ruby hue. Eggshell colored head tops the brew off with somewhat fizzy looking carbonation.

Smell - Interesting for sure. The aroma is muted, but I can definitely tell there's interesting things here. There's toasted grains and perhaps some roast, but also definite hints of belgian fruitiness.

Taste - This is a really interesting beer. It's no powerhouse of flavor, I admit, but I catch myself straining to pick up all of the subtleties so as not to miss anything. First sip is mostly grainy and some toast, but then comes a mild belgian 'Chimay fruit' flavor along to liven thins up. Finally there's an unmistakeable roast and chocolate finish followed by a serious dryness that leaves the mouth wanting more. Fascinating sensation really, the intense almost puckering dryness combined with flavors we normally associate with sugar like fruit and chocolate. No bitterness really detected, hop or otherwise.

Mouthfeel - Another interesting side of this beer is its mouthfeel. It's creamy, but dry, and lively with carbonation but even somewhat tannic to my tastes. It's like someone poured tea in my belgian, and then topped it off with a splash of stout. the tannic astringency and the dryness conspire to insist that you drink more.

Drinkability - High. This stuff is low enough in alcohol to be a sure session beer and is dry enough to encourage drinking in larger gulps. The tug of war between the dryness and the fruity and roasty flavors and tea-like tannic finish encourages quick drinking.

Very interesting beer. As homebrewer I would increase the roast and chocolate to a level equal of the fruit and grain toast rather than just elusive hints hiding amongst the tannic finish. Also perhaps increase the body with some maltodextrins without increasing sweetness? Anyway, it's delicious. It's really subtle with its flavors but they are there for the enjoying if you care to look.

Serving type: bottle

08-21-2009 15:29:05 | More by BacklitAvenger
Photo of bamadog


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

Poured from the bottle into a tulip.

Appearance: Pours a deep dark black/brown like a cola and has nice amber highlights when held to the light; comes with a 1 and 1/2 finger head that is a light tan and fades quickly to an uneven skim and leaves a pretty full layer of a dry looking lacing down the sides of the glass.

Smell: Mostly deep toasted malts that have an earthy bitterness.

Taste: Much like the smell, there is some nice bready and toasty malts that really dominate the palate - not much else beyond this but the flavor is definitely pleasant enough.

Mouthfeel: A little on the creamy side, actually; leaves with a pretty clean finish overall and just a bit of stickiness on the roof of the mouth; the carbonation is definitely present but not overpowering and really is just enough to keep it lively.

Drinkability: You know what? I really like this beer. It's not especially big or big with crazy robust flavors, but just a simple toasty and bready maltiness -- the smell is solid enough and lets you know what you will be drinking and the mouthfeel is fairly light. A mild ABV allows one to get through a couple with really no issues whatsoever.

Serving type: bottle

08-20-2009 00:57:53 | More by bamadog
Photo of huguey


4.13/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle.

A: 2-3 finger head, dark brown with some red, mahogany.

S: Roasted Malt prevails

T: Tastes like a lighter, slightly less roasted porter to me... I know that this is a unique style, however, my poor tastebuds equated this with a traditional porter... the undertones were chocolate and coffee.

M: Oily, not very crisp. Good dessert beer.

D: It was delicious, not very alcoholic, but the only deterrent is it's heaviness, slightly less than a stout, but I don't see myself having more than 3 in a sitting, still scoring high for me.

Notes: delicious, had it local, recommended for people who like roasted malts.

Serving type: bottle

08-19-2009 23:19:34 | More by huguey
Photo of webbcreative


3.75/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured dark ruby-red brown, like mahogany wood, with white 3 finger head. A= faint roasted barley smell. T= roasted malt, leaves slight coffee aftertaste, touch sweet from the Caramel malt(?) has a slight sweet flavor in the finish, but I would say the finish is dry. M= smooth, creamy, med mouthfeel.

Overall, I had no idea what to expect but I was pleasently suprised. I really like the somewhat subtle mellow coffe flavor from the roasted malt. I would probably get this again...if I could get it here.

Serving type: bottle

08-19-2009 21:16:12 | More by webbcreative
Photo of projectflam86


3.55/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours a deep copper brown color with a thick off-white foam head that leaves tons of sticky lacing all the way down.

S- Hints of sweet dark malt, chocolate, coffee, and caramel.

T- A bit of earthy roasted malt flavor with a slightly bitter cocoa finish. A bit lacking overall in strength of flavor.

M- Slightly thinner than expected with low carbonation. Dry and meek.

D- Not a bad brew, but certainly not one that will knock you off of your feet with flavor.

Serving type: bottle

08-18-2009 02:43:42 | More by projectflam86
Photo of storksonm


3.78/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Drew a nice head and as with the quality brews it kept on keepin on. It was black/amber and smelled great nice and hoppy with a chocolate malt smell. It tasted very light I was suprised since it was so light. The aftertaste is the nice thing about this beer the caramel and chocolate/coffee tones come out after a min. It was a nice smooth drink on a nice hot day. I would prob drink it frequently if I could get more than 22 oz bottles but I guess its at a good price and who doesn't like to down a whold 22 oz bottle all at once.

Serving type: bottle

08-15-2009 20:36:11 | More by storksonm
Photo of soupermirl


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

Dark amber, very nice scent. Yummy. Looked great when poured with some residual head. Swirled and smelled. Very nice. Malty pleasents. Taste was complex and simple and the same time. Meaning... You could taste the different ingredients well but without taking over the beer. Simple to drink without different flavors... Mixed well. mouthfeel was pleasent. and this beer was easy to drink. again. Yummy.

Serving type: on-tap

08-14-2009 15:20:45 | More by soupermirl
Photo of joshuadlight


3.98/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap in some chain Denver restaurant.
Served in a chilled glass, which makes appearance a little more difficult to evaluate. It was dark brown with a small but fluffy cap of foam. Straight forward malty brew through and through. Roasty, chocolately, bready. No bitterness from hops, no burn from alcohol. It was nice paired with my meal, but couple with the food to be quite filling. Decent offering from NB.

Serving type: on-tap

08-11-2009 18:08:48 | More by joshuadlight
Photo of tai4ji2x


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

thanks go to either the threewisemen or rsquared618. i forgot. sorry.

12oz (?) bottle with "best by" dating of 24Jul09. tasted in mid-may 2009. poured into tulip.

dark black/brown, red tint under the light. clear, no sediment (filtered?). 1.5-finger light beige head, fades to wispy layer and ring. nice rings of webby lace.

aroma: caramel and vanilla upfront, with fruity tones of figs and dates. nutmeg? grassy, herbal hop hint, into trace coffee/chocolate note.

taste: malty caramel again, with that trademark NB toffee/biscuit character, although a hint watered down, plus a lighter vanilla note. fruit is lighter too, but leans more toward raisin. grassy herbal hops have mild to moderate bitterness. coffee finish plus trace acidity. faint licorice/spice note and very gentle phenols in back.

light to medium body, but pretty smooth. flash of astringency in the finish. gentle to moderate carbonation gives tingle, helps body and gives flavor lift.

Serving type: bottle

08-10-2009 20:48:45 | More by tai4ji2x
Photo of Newmerator


4.2/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle

after a long hike and a shower i went to the store to pick up some brews. I managed to finagle a mixed 6 pack of some new New Belgium brews i haven't tried. Man did this one hit the spot

pours a very dark black with hints of deep burnt chocolate.
hazelnut foam, decent lace.

smells a nice roasted and chocolate notes. slightly phenolic flavors also.

tastes much the same. roasted, oakie, and choc flavors dominate my palate here.

MF is soft but full bodied.

great broo. highly recommended. great drinkability imo also.


Serving type: bottle

08-02-2009 03:37:31 | More by Newmerator
1554 Enlightened Black Ale from New Belgium Brewing
86 out of 100 based on 2,896 ratings.