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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: 176 | 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 jampics2
3.6/5  rDev -6.3%
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!

jampics2, Nov 28, 2009
Photo of JTahoe
3.95/5  rDev +2.9%
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.

JTahoe, Nov 28, 2009
Photo of thedrewski86
3.8/5  rDev -1%
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!

thedrewski86, Nov 27, 2009
Photo of david131
3.68/5  rDev -4.2%
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.

david131, Nov 24, 2009
Photo of Arnie2709
3.9/5  rDev +1.6%
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.

Arnie2709, Nov 23, 2009
Photo of CHILLINDYLAN
3.88/5  rDev +1%
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.

CHILLINDYLAN, Nov 19, 2009
Photo of rfabian
4.22/5  rDev +9.9%
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.

rfabian, Nov 13, 2009
Photo of ballz50401
3.88/5  rDev +1%
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.

ballz50401, Nov 08, 2009
Photo of homebrew311
3.73/5  rDev -2.9%
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.

homebrew311, Nov 07, 2009
Photo of dpnelson1978
4.22/5  rDev +9.9%
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.

dpnelson1978, Nov 04, 2009
Photo of Flightoficarus
4/5  rDev +4.2%
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.

Flightoficarus, Nov 02, 2009
Photo of snaotheus
3.15/5  rDev -18%
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.

snaotheus, Nov 01, 2009
Photo of david18
3.28/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

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.

david18, Oct 31, 2009
Photo of rhollman
4.25/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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!

rhollman, Oct 30, 2009
Photo of Ek0nomik
4.15/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

Ek0nomik, Oct 22, 2009
Photo of MrStark
4.22/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

MrStark, Oct 19, 2009
Photo of bsherb
3.63/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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.

bsherb, Oct 18, 2009
Photo of nerow
3.8/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

nerow, Oct 16, 2009
Photo of apbarwood
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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.

apbarwood, Oct 09, 2009
Photo of therica
4.1/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

therica, Oct 07, 2009
Photo of thecarster1
4.33/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

thecarster1, Oct 06, 2009
Photo of jnezda
3.43/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

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.

jnezda, Oct 04, 2009
Photo of juhl31
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 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

juhl31, Oct 03, 2009
Photo of sprucetip
3.53/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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.

sprucetip, Oct 01, 2009
Photo of jmalex
3.83/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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.

jmalex, Oct 01, 2009
1554 Enlightened Black Ale from New Belgium Brewing
86 out of 100 based on 3,006 ratings.