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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

2,944 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,944
Reviews: 1,238
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 12.53%
Wants: 68
Gots: 149 | 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
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Ratings: 2,944 | Reviews: 1,238 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of david18

New York

3.28/5  rDev -14.4%

I wanted to like this beer more than I did. I had only had Fat Tire before, which i know is not considered the best beer from this brewery so I was excited to see it. It was not, however, all that interesting. Great black color but overall not much in the way of belgian character.

10-31-2009 01:57:28 | More by david18
Photo of rhollman


4.25/5  rDev +11%

Appearance - Dark brown

Smell - Roasted aroma

Taste - Mild, roasted flavor, very slight bitter finish

Mouth Feel - Smooth

Drinkability - Awesome beer - very mild, slightly roasted, light bitters on the finish which is a very enjoyable direction away from hop bitterness - Very enjoyable!

10-30-2009 22:32:30 | More by rhollman
Photo of Ek0nomik


4.15/5  rDev +8.4%

Poured In: Snifter
Purchased At: Copp's (Middleton, WI)

Another beer that I've been meaning to have for a few months now. I just put this in my crate today, but I've been wanting to try this for awhile.

Appearance: Pours a dark brown color, border-line black, with a red tint. Not very much head on the pour, less than a finger's worth. The head didn't last very long, and there are only a few minuscule circles of lace on my snifter.

Smell: The nose unfolds a nice roasted espresso, chocolate, caramel and fruit aroma. The fruit is hard to pinpoint. I'm picking up a blend of raspberries and raisins. A very nice aroma.

Taste: The palate follows suite with the nose. A blend of espresso, bitter dark chocolate, a touch of caramel from the malts and a little bit of fruit. A little bit of bitterness on the back-end, but not unexpected. A beer with a lot of flavor and complex enough to make me want it again.

Mouthfeel: As the beer warmed up it got a bit dry. The dryness really seems to be sticking too. Besides that, the carbonation is fine, and this comes in as a medium to full bodied beer. It goes down easy.

Drinkability: Sitting at only 5.5% ABV, this is a session beer for sure. Not something I'd want on a warm day, or maybe that's just the bowl of potato leek soup that I made talking. Regardless, I think this is more of an Autumn or Winter beer for me, but it's a damn fine one.

10-22-2009 01:39:06 | More by Ek0nomik
Photo of MrStark

North Carolina

4.22/5  rDev +10.2%

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a snifter glass.

Appearance is a dark brown with hints of red trough the light. A nice two-finger off white head with small amounts of lacing.

Smell is of a slightly sweet roasted malts and coffee with perhaps a hint of dark fruits and chocolate.

Taste is sweet roasted malts up front followed by some coffee and finishes with a nice dark chocolate. A hint of fruits and spices with a very mild bitterness.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and goes down smooth. A fairly light amount of carbonation.

Drinkablilty is quite good to me. This is my first time trying this style and I found it quite delicious. I wouldn't mind this as session beer. Nice pleasing flavors.

10-18-2009 23:05:50 | More by MrStark
Photo of bsherb


3.63/5  rDev -5.2%

Not bad really, I would have given higher marks if I didn't know that there are much better out there. The flavors are on the weak side, mouth is somewhat lacking despite decent carbonation, overall appeal is less than it was when I first encountered it. Once a six pack standby, now it's one of those I'd prefer to buy on sale.

10-18-2009 07:10:48 | More by bsherb
Photo of nerow


3.8/5  rDev -0.8%

Poured on-tap, about a finger of head. Beautiful deep rich black color. It doesn't smell nearly as good as it tastes. There are hints of dark coffee and rich chocolate with some toffee. This is a much richer beer then I would normally expect from a 5.5%, I could certainly drink this one all day.

10-16-2009 00:19:28 | More by nerow
Photo of apbarwood


3.75/5  rDev -2.1%

Kind of looks like a glass of coke with a decent cap of off-white foam coating the top. I have to try really hard to get anything from the aroma. Mostly I notice the roasted grain smells with a little caramel sweetness in the background. Tastes of cocoa powder, bittersweet chocolate, caramel and roasted coffee. A nice bitterness from the roast flavors couple with a mild hop quality. It coats the mouth in a satisfactory way. A bit sticky and cloying on the finish but not horrible and something that could certainly be fixed with a decent food pairing. Of the NB beers I've had so far (Mothership Wit and Fat Tire being the other two) this one is certainly the better of the three in my opinion and the one I'm drinking has actually reached it's drink by date so I'm guessing it's even better when fresh, at least I hope so. At any rate, I'd give it another try and would recommend it to others.

10-09-2009 21:24:35 | More by apbarwood
Photo of therica


4.1/5  rDev +7%

Similar to but less bitter than comparable-ingredient Porters and Stouts.

A= nice dark mahogany-brown, little head with some lacing.

S= a lot to ponder; caramel or maybe toffee as someone else suggests; light traits of chocolate; mild hops florals; mild burnt toast.

T= slightly smoky start; far more challenging and diverse than the similar-flavored Fosters London Porter that I had earlier this evening. Light sweetness of caramel or toffee; medium-dark chocolate but not the uber-black Swiss variety; mild hints of spices, dried fruits; nice bitters from the hops and not from dry coffee or uber-black-chocolate. Can seem a bit watery if you've had a stronger dark beer before it.

M= very pleasant; light bitters, sweetness and chocolate.

D= session if you're in the darker ale mood, nothing offensive, blends well with most meats light or dark, or chocolate dessert.

10-07-2009 04:12:58 | More by therica
Photo of thecarster1


4.33/5  rDev +13.1%

recieved as an extra in a trade with briarscratch, thanks brad!

a- bottle poured into a snifter, deep brown almost mahogany color that looks almost ruby red when held up to the light, slight head that leaves a faint wispy lace with a ring around the glass.

s- toffee, coffee, dark chocolate, slight raisin, really nice.

t- roasted caramel malt upfront, hints of fresh brewed coffee with a toffee like sweetness coming through, the finish is all dark chocolate, the roasty flavors linger deliciously.

m- solid medium body, silky smooth in the mouth.

d- very drinkable, didn't know what i was to expect with this style, but it's delicious. the flavors are complex and interesting, but none of them overpower the others, damn i wish i had another.

10-06-2009 01:16:19 | More by thecarster1
Photo of jnezda


3.43/5  rDev -10.4%

Tried this beer number of times and rarely pour it into a glass. The colour is nice and dark with an off white to tan head, Smell is light with some hints of malt and a little sweetness. This is a highly drinkable beer being very light for the style. The lack strong carbonation and mild flavours make this a beer that can be enjoyed in many settings from a cold day with comfort food, to a warm spring day by the grill.

10-04-2009 16:21:09 | More by jnezda
Photo of juhl31


4/5  rDev +4.4%

-a good dark black color with a tan head

-some good chocolate in there but not too much else

-roasty, a bit nutty, some chocolate. good amount of taste with a lot going on

-some carb in there and light like it should be

-liked it. not too hard which makes sense for a stout lover and my capability to drink it so easily

10-03-2009 02:03:16 | More by juhl31
Photo of sprucetip


3.53/5  rDev -7.8%

From notes. Served pretty cold. Deep amber with ruby, very clear. Not much head, fades to film and ring, good lacing. SMELL not too much. Grainy, malty sweet, tame. TASTE is mild, grainy/malty, touch of sweetness. Clean finish. FEEL is thin, benighn, clean finish. Easy drinking but not memorably.

10-01-2009 22:35:10 | More by sprucetip
Photo of jmalex


3.83/5  rDev 0%

Thanks to Tim for bringing this up from North Carolina. I've actually never had this before.

APPEARANCE: Pours into an English tulip a deep crimson brown with good transparency. A light tan head forms on top and soon drops to a hazy covering on the surface of the beer with a medium-sized collar.

SMELL: Lightly roasty with some mild esters lurking in the background. It almost takes on a spicy floral quality though in ways completely unlike those aromas traditionally found in hops. This is much more of a yeast-based quality. Other than that, it's very clean and very tame. The understatedness is actually quite nice.

TASTE: The flavor starts out with some light caramels and bready toasted malt. The dark flavors then start to come on, but in the form of dark fruit rather than coffee and chocolate. Belgian yeast is quite apparent but still seems way too clean to really give it an authentic Belgian character. The finish is completely fleeting, disappearing so much as to do a complete 180 and take the form of a lager-like crispness.

MOUTHFEEL: It finishes reasonably dry but still carries a bit of body and robustness to it, which is nice. I don't really have any complaints here.

DRINKABILITY: The ABV is reasonable. The finish is dry. The flavors are okay. I could do a bomber of this which is what I have tonight.

This makes for a decent beer to usher in autumn with. Try it if you see it. It's a unique beer that'll be a nice change up to your daily rotation.

10-01-2009 22:19:33 | More by jmalex
Photo of lolki


4.2/5  rDev +9.7%

A - Nice pour, reddish black color with two fingers of rich, creamy foam. Foam disappeared nicely -- not too quickly, but enough to not coat the first taste.

S - Molasses, although clean and not too thick, hints of caramel and overripe fruit. A very crispy odor.

T - Strong and heavy on the tip of the tongue, though lightening to a nice sweetness at the back of the tongue. Just enough bitter flavor to wake you up, but not enough to hide the sweetness underneath. Smoky flavor of dark cherry chocolate throughout; the beginning of this beer is bold, but ends very subtle.

M - Creamy and soft without being too thick. Again, the feel on the front of the tongue is a bit deceptive to as how this beer goes down -- it spreads on the tongue to stimulate.

D - Not a beer I would drink for an entire night, but certainly a good rich addition to any night of tasting.

10-01-2009 01:57:07 | More by lolki
Photo of scottyshades


3.98/5  rDev +3.9%

A: Pours a rich deep mahogany color that produces a small coarse looking head that retains pretty poorly. The color is very nice though. Lacing is decent as well.

S: Very interesting aroma, not exactly indicative of a Belgian brew, but hell. Raisins are pretty predominant as well as a heavy molasses and malt backbone. Alcohol is somewhat apparent. I'm also picking up a slight chocolate and coffee note...its almost like a mild spicy porter or stout.

T: Similar to the nose. All the notes are dark, but light in flavor if that makes sense. Chocolate, raisins (a lot of them), caramel, figs, prunes, toffee, molasses, and coffee. All of these are stout characteristics, but the spiciness of the yeast really adds a new level of complexity. At the end, you get the classic New Belgium breadiness and biscuit goodness to balance the spices.

MF/D: Medium in body, smooth carbonation, alcohol is a little prickly, but other than that, smooth and creamy!

I believe that this beer is misclassified because it is obvious that NB was trying to brew an oldschool black ale...Nicely done...really mild, but there is a great deal of complexity under all of the dark fruit.

10-01-2009 00:14:33 | More by scottyshades
Photo of jadpsu


3.85/5  rDev +0.5%

Poured from a bottle that had best before date of 03/??/10. At least 6 weeks past the date.
Pours a slightly less than black and has a red hue that peaks through.
Pours a tan head that renders excellent side lacing and decently solid retention.
Aroma: Leads with burnt malts. Aroma also includes some molassses, licorice, cocoa beans and some distant spicy (pepper) hops.
Taste is smooth, on the sweet side and has a dry finish.

Mouthfeel is a little on the thin side. Expected more body. All in all a very good beer that I enjoyed.
This actually an edit of a prvious review. First time I rated it at 3.7. It also was my 100th beer review.

09-30-2009 01:51:10 | More by jadpsu
Photo of Mavajo


4.1/5  rDev +7%

Pours a dark amber color - hues of red when held up to light. Thin off-white head - less than a finger thick. Faded almost immediately to a thin crown around the glass.

Smell yielded a nutty scent. Taste reflected that smell, but also added a roasted malty/biscuity flavor. Very tasty. Medium mouthfeel - a bit watery. Sessionable, but I think it's best when allowed to stand on its own.

09-29-2009 23:56:11 | More by Mavajo
Photo of techtatu


3.93/5  rDev +2.6%

It poured a nice amber color with a cream colored head. I kinda expected it to be as dark as Guinness or darker. Taste was unique, it had a blend of spices with a walnut and coffee background.

I would definitely drink it again, and I may try it over a cigar this time around rather than a steak. In addition, this would be a good starter beer for those who are looking to try darker beers.

09-29-2009 17:48:33 | More by techtatu
Photo of vdread


4.05/5  rDev +5.7%

1554 Enlightened Black Ale pours a deep reddish brown color with a thick tan foam. looks almost black unless held against the light.

smells of baker's chocolate, roasted malt, sour fruit.

taste is primarily of roasted malts, baker's chocolate, and dark fruit. the taste gets richer as the glass warms up a bit, revealing more caramel and roasted coffee characteristics. hops minimal, only very slightly bitter.

mouthfeel smooth, creamy, lingering. overall very pleasant.

i only got one of these and it's a shame. i would love more. low ABV, great taste and mouthfeel make this a keeper. i would like to try this again in order to do a better review. this one was sort of rushed.

+ one of new belgium's better beers (and it doesn't taste of apricots!)

09-26-2009 21:16:18 | More by vdread
Photo of Kraken


3.15/5  rDev -17.8%

Reviewed from notes. Consumed 08/5/09

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a standard water glass. Firm pour yields a 1/4 inch of slightly off white head. Nice lacing. Color is a dark ruby brown, almost black.

Nose- Mild roasted grain, caramel.

Pallate- Somewhat stoutish, I guess I should have expected as much. Lighter than a stout. Nice chocolate/coco presence. Some molasses and dark fruit. Not heavy or boozy as it would appear. Some caramel sweetness underneath. Finishes a bit dry.

Mouthfeel- Nice carbonation.

Drinkability- moderate.

09-23-2009 01:53:08 | More by Kraken
Photo of hardy008


3.7/5  rDev -3.4%

Pours a dark reddish brown with a one finger off white head. Smells and tastes of chocolate and coffee malt with bananas. The flavor is slightly sweet mixed with slight coffee bitterness. Medium bodied, smooth, creamy, and nicely carbonated. This is a nicely drinkable beer.

09-23-2009 00:03:33 | More by hardy008
Photo of wertperch


4.33/5  rDev +13.1%

Oh, this is a yummy beer. In brief, it's the dark beer lover's dream - scrumptious, versatile and generally a pleasure to drink.

Poured into a fluted glass, it's a rich dark chestnut brown, almost black. The head is a fingers-depth and whilst it fell quickly away into the brew, it's a good colour - tan and creamy.

The nose is wonderful - there's the chocolatey aroma you'd expect, a little espresso and malt, with a very faint hint of banana fruitiness and a whiff of spice. It really whets the appetite for the main event, which is a roasty-toasty malt-and-cocoa extravaganza, which fills the mouth with flavour.

There's a spiciness to balance the sweetness, and just enough hop to make it interesting, but this is a robust beer that is all about delighting the palate without being overly complex.

It's a great beer to enjoy either by itself or with food. I've drunk it with winter stews, strong cheese and also with lighter dishes. Let it warm up a little when you take it out of the fridge - it unleashes a full range of flavours when you do, and will delight even more than served well chilled. Think of it as akin to a robust red wine, that you'd serve at close to room temperature.

Getting to the end of the glass, the rich reddish-brown colour looks warming, and that last swallow stays with you for quite a while.

In all, it's a wonderful brew, one that I could well imagine supping for a long time as a winter beer, but equally refreshing in our early California autumn.

09-17-2009 18:40:00 | More by wertperch
Photo of avalon07

South Carolina

4/5  rDev +4.4%

A: Poured from a bottle to a tulip glass. Had a black color - ruby when held up to the light - and a thick consistency. There was a somewhat small amount of head and good lacing.

S: Smelled of malt, fruit and an almost nutty quality.

T: Tasted of roasted malt, chocolate, a little bit of apples and that nutty quality. A decently done, complex flavor.

M: A well-carbonated beer with a smooth finish. Medium- to heavy-bodied.

D: A drinkable American version of a Belgian Dark Ale.

09-16-2009 12:24:15 | More by avalon07
Photo of parkeak0

District of Columbia

3.25/5  rDev -15.1%

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.

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


3.85/5  rDev +0.5%

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.

09-14-2009 05:13:18 | More by ClockworkOrange
1554 Enlightened Black Ale from New Belgium Brewing
86 out of 100 based on 2,944 ratings.