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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

2,949 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,949
Reviews: 1,238
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 12.53%
Wants: 69
Gots: 152 | 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: 2,949 | Reviews: 1,238 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of atsprings

North Carolina

3.88/5  rDev +1.3%

On-tap at Flying Saucer served in a standard pint-glass a crisp dark brown with a thin diminishing head that leaves slight lacing. Aroma is a slight amount of fruit and yeast. The taste is a complex blend of fruits, dark malts and slight yeast. The taste is light and crisp, especially for a dark ale. This one was quite enjoyable.

05-17-2009 01:46:31 | More by atsprings
Photo of uwmgdman


4.08/5  rDev +6.5%

The bomber pours brilliantly clear very dark brown with garnet highlights. The head is pronounced, off-white and leaves a nice lacing. The aroma is moderate-high chocolate malt, as well as a bit of roast and some sweetness. The flavor is highly chocolate malt and slightly bittersweet. The finish is on the dry side with a nice lingering malt flavor. Carbonation and body are both moderate. Overall a very enjoyable brew, quite drinkable and great chocolate malt flavor.

05-16-2009 03:36:55 | More by uwmgdman
Photo of bluejacket74


4.13/5  rDev +7.8%

22 ounce bottle, best before 9/18/2009. Served in a tulip glass, the beer pours dark brown/black with an inch and a half tan frothy tan head. Head retention and lacing are both pretty good. It smells like dark fruit, roasted malt, bittersweet chocolate, pears, and bananas. It's a very fruity and malty aroma. The taste is similar to the aroma, it tastes like green apple, bready malt, smoke, earth, yeast, coffee, chocolate, dark fruit and a bit of spice. Mouthfeel/body is medium, with good but smooth carbonation. Also feels a bit creamy and coating. Drinkability is good, it's smooth and goes down easy. Not a bad choice as a session beer either. I think this is a good overall brew. Give me a 1554 instead of a Fat Tire any day!

05-16-2009 01:19:46 | More by bluejacket74
Photo of wheatyweiss


3.55/5  rDev -7.3%

Poured from a bomber into a nonic.

Pours a light chocolate with ruby edges. Inch and a half head sticks well, leaving thick sliding veils of foam that drop to sustain the cap.

Aroma is of dark roasted malt, day old, semi burnt road coffee, light cocoa powder and very light dark fruit. The aroma doesn't jump out at me, and seems quite muted. I'll see what the remainder of the bomber does in a chalice.

Flavor and mouthfeel are dusty yeast up front, huge dusty yeast with a cocoa powder flavor. Cocoa yeild to spicy pepper and chile flavors giving way to the finish which is sweet and creamy, with a dusty, dusty edge. The yeast is high here and gives an old, dirty, earthy and sawdust or just dust type flavor.

So far this is pretty good. Unfortunately, even switching glasses didn't help the weak aroma.

05-15-2009 23:51:00 | More by wheatyweiss
Photo of vacax


4.13/5  rDev +7.8%

A: Black but not completely opaque, light shines through revealing deep reds and browns. Head develops nicely and is off-white, fair retention and lacing.

S: Caramel malts with some dark fruit and very pleasant yeastiness.

T: Caramel maltiness goes well with fruity slightly spicy yeast. A bit of black coffee adds bitterness on the tongue, especially during the finish, which really rounds out the beer nicely. A very well done dark ale. On the sweet side overall.

M: Medium mouthfeel with smooth carbonation, not too prickly--well done. Great mouthfeel for a sessionable ale.

D: Well balanced, sessionable, full of pleasant flavor. This deserves the mainstream recognotion that Fat Tire has gotten. A much better beer and very nice. A great choice for an everyday brew.

05-15-2009 23:41:15 | More by vacax
Photo of EagleTalon


3.9/5  rDev +1.8%

Pours to the thin off-white head and no lacing (might be the glass). Color is dark red-brown and clear. Aroma is a complex mixture of sweet malt, chocolate, banana, pear and plum. Flavor starts with a rich chocolatey ,malt and fruity sweetness that gives way to an almond-like nuttiness and bitterness. Mouthfeel OK. Easy to drink. This is a unique dark ale from a unique US brewer. Good stuff.

05-15-2009 23:37:14 | More by EagleTalon
Photo of Phelps


3.93/5  rDev +2.6%

A: 1554 definitely looks like a beer should, with gorgeous layered lacing, a huge foamy tan head, and a gorgeous nearly opaque dark reddish brown with notes of crimson when held to the light.

S: Sweet and fruity with roasted malt and dark chocolate.

T: Smoky roasted malt and tobacco, with a bit of dark chocolate and nuttiness. Also a little bit of bitter hops and a light but noticeable alcohol warmth.

M: Sparkly, moderate carbonation; a pleasant light and creamy mouthfeel.

D: Easily, EASILY my favorite year-round offering from New Belgium. When it's on tap, I just can't say no.

05-15-2009 05:25:13 | More by Phelps
Photo of cktison


3.83/5  rDev 0%

A: 22oz bomber into Duvel glass. Dark mahogany brown with off white head, minimal lacing.
S: Malts, sweet fruit and esters, some chocolate as it warms. Honestly, not as strong or powerful as expected from other reviews of this beer.
T: Malty, sweet, chocolatey with that belgian yeast fruitiness. Very mild and approachable. Delicious.
M: Sweet with nice carbonation, not too thick. Nice dry finish.

Great New Belgium brew and glad to have it in Georgia. Nice taste, complex, lots of flavors but enjoyable to drink - this bomber is a nice size and great deal at $2.99.

05-14-2009 19:38:27 | More by cktison
Photo of VitaEBella87


3.9/5  rDev +1.8%

Poured from a bottle into a snifter...

A: Poured a nice dark amber, red-brown color with an off-white head
S: Dark malts and slight oak aroma
T: Dark malt backbone with traces of grapefruit coming through and a smoky finish that sticks with you after each sip
M: Smooth and balanced mouth-feel that's not too heavy and fades away nicely after each sip
D: Enjoyable beer, especially for a bomber costing $4. Nice profile of flavors that present themselves without assaulting your tastebuds. Was able to lounge around while slowly enjoying this beer.

05-12-2009 14:46:03 | More by VitaEBella87
Photo of BoitSansSoif


3.85/5  rDev +0.5%

A-Best by date: 18Sep09. Poured a dark, clear ruby-brown w/thick two-finger head on gentle pour, and leaving some lacing.

S-Roast malt w/fruit esters, raisin, apple-both green and red, bread, yeast, and light chocolate emerges more and more as the temperature rises.

T-Slightly sweet w/blend of malt and fruit esters, toasted bread, raisins, and a dry finish w/a hint of cocoa.

M-Light bodied and moderately carbonated w/nice balance initially--the dry finish cleanses the palate, but shortly after, the sweetness returns and dwells on the back of the tongue.

D-Had marked this higher, since it's an enjoyable brew, but halfway through the bottle it started to lose it's appeal a bit...the sweetness grew more pronounced between sips, and I'd stop short of calling it cloying, but it starts to unbalance an otherwise awesome drinking experience. Still, this is a complex brew worth trying, although it is a tad overpriced.

05-12-2009 14:27:02 | More by BoitSansSoif
Photo of Dodo2step


3.85/5  rDev +0.5%

thanks skeeordye

A- a 22 oz bomber poured into a weizen glass. Nice deep dark ruby red color that is crystal clear. A huge three finger mountainous head that is quite astounding.

S- dark candied fruit and caramel roasted malts. I also get some hints of chocolate. The fruit is plums and raisins i believe. quite potent as well.

T- huge chocolate burst at first. taste is like chocolate covered raisins and fruit. a unique sour carbonated taste like squirt.

M-sour carbonation is the end feel but it is smooth and crisp as well.

D- a nice session beer but is filling. this 22 was enough for me.

05-11-2009 23:16:30 | More by Dodo2step
Photo of paco1029384756


4.03/5  rDev +5.2%

Pours a dark brown color with three fingers of creamy off white head.

Scent of caramel, chocolate, roasted malts and some dark fruit.

Taste of roasted malts, chocolate, some dark fruit and a hint of smoke.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and smooth with good carbonation.

05-09-2009 21:35:02 | More by paco1029384756
Photo of cadenwhitaker


2.83/5  rDev -26.1%

I feel like I'm slamming a perfectly good beer. But to be honest... this doesn't taste like a belgian dark ale. This is more like a porter.

Ok so maybe this is the exact recipie based off of something in 1554, so maybe I'm wrong. But overall I feel as if I"m just getting the same flavor profile that New Belgium ships with all their beers.

It pours a clear dark brown, odd choice of words I know, but with Belgians I expect something heavier in the appearance. This is very clear and very uniform.

The taste has lots of tastes you could pull from a porter; coffee, biscuit, etc. It is a bit watery.

Mouthfeel is also a bit watery.

Overall... is it good? Yep. Would I drink it again? Yep. Do I (in my uneducated opinion) think of it as a Belgian Dark Ale? Nope.

05-09-2009 01:40:27 | More by cadenwhitaker
Photo of degerbah


3/5  rDev -21.7%

Pours a very dark brown with little head. Smells and tastes cleanly of malts. On the brewery website they claim that this is their take on beer from 1554. This has a very smokey malty flavor that reminds me of a stout or almost an RIS, but with much less gravity. No hop taste at all, but considering that, it's not overly sweet. I'd have to say that I enjoy it, although it is a bit pricey for a beer that is neither especially good or alcoholic. I'm glad that I tried it, but I don't think it holds a candle to Fat Tire or Mothership Wit.

05-09-2009 01:30:27 | More by degerbah
Photo of arvjunk


3.8/5  rDev -0.8%

12oz bottle into a standard pint glass

A - dark brown, medium opacity, medium head, little lacing

S - fruity nose with a wheat bread backing

T/M - medium body, easy drinking, drier finish that I was expecting, more fruit, more caramely/wheat bread, light coffee notes

D - very drinkable. good dark session beer for any occasion

05-07-2009 17:56:52 | More by arvjunk
Photo of imagineiii


3.78/5  rDev -1.3%

Got this a while back in a trade, cleaning out the fridge today...

Poured into my Duvel tulip. Appears dark brown to black, deep ruby hues. head is decent 1 finger, dissipates to a thin bubbly coating with good lace.

ALOT of sweet fruity esters. Green apple, raisins, bananas. Bread-like malt behind it gives it a nice well rounded scent reminiscent of a fruitcake or banana bread.

Tastes as it smells for the most part with one exception, the bready malts now taste slightly burnt, like the crust on an overbaked loaf. Slightly tart from the apples. Tastes are a little thin when compared to some of the more complex belgians. Mostly raisin bread in the aftertaste.

Carbonation is fine but ample. Silky.

Drinkable? maybe. not my favorite style, could do without alot of the bread.

05-03-2009 18:47:13 | More by imagineiii
Photo of pwoods


3.95/5  rDev +3.1%

22oz. brown bomber, purchased at Crown in Carmel, poured into a Chimay chalice.

A: Pours a deep brown, burgundy in the light. About a finger worth of light khaki head forms and holds for a bit. Nice lacing.

S: Pretty subtle. Some caramel and toffee notes. A touch of candi sugar and light yeast. A touch of darker malt, very slighty roastiness?

T/M: More caramel and toffee with a darker hint with a touch of light molasses. Is that a hint of coffee? Sweetness is moderate. Yeast is pretty light but there is a touch of some fruity esters and a light spice. Body is medium to medium full and a bit smooth.

D: Pretty damn drinkable. Low alcohol and sessionable.

05-02-2009 23:35:24 | More by pwoods
Photo of Monsteruss


3.25/5  rDev -15.1%

The foam was wheat in color, very thick, foamed alot -kept growin'. and very lacey. The color a very opaque with amber/cherry red highlights. The smell had a wheat/hops overtone with dull fruity undertones. The taste was deep, rich, dull wheatovertone with hints of fruit and a carmel highlight and also a bit of coffee flavour. Mouthfeel - med. to full-bodied and somewhat smooth. Drinkability - it's alright, but the bitter tones seems to dominate, which isn't a personal favorite.

05-01-2009 20:12:08 | More by Monsteruss
Photo of climax


3.75/5  rDev -2.1%

Poured a real dark brown with red highlights. A really nice creamy head foamed easily and had lengthy retention.

Nose seemed a bit lacking but had good flavors. Roasted barley malt with chocolate and a fair amount of astringent bitterness.

Real nice flavors all blended into a sharp and smooth experience. Roasted malt sweetness joined with brown sugar and ripe fruit made up the majority. Some astringency and spicy earth tones followed and led to a sweet dry finish. It was somewhat grape/red wine-like throughout especially in the finish.

Body seemed a bit light, but a nice creaminess and mild crispness from the carbonation kept it in check.

Very easy to drink beer, nose was less than inspiring but the flavor backed it up. Hard to keep this one away from my mouth for long.

05-01-2009 04:19:10 | More by climax
Photo of smibroncos

New York

3.83/5  rDev 0%

A. Poured a dark brown/black, with a nice two finger,creamy beige head. Good lacing on the glass

S. Malt, caramel, semi-sweet chocolate, earthy.

T. Bittersweet chocolate, barley, slightly sweet, light bitterness. Hardly any hops in the nose or on the toungue.

M. Medium bodied lightly carbonated, creamy.

D. This is the first time I tried this style. I though overall the beer was good. Slightly stronger smell than the taste actually was. I would definately try this style again.

04-30-2009 00:09:07 | More by smibroncos
Photo of GonzoPizzaBurger


3.78/5  rDev -1.3%

Poured from a 22 oz brown bomber into a cognac snifter. The image on my bottle differs from the one pictured, mine displays the beer in a snifter type glass on top of a wood barrel. Next to some literature. The right side tells an interesting story of how they came up with the recipe.

A- Beautiful rising 2 finger head with moderate retention. Sticky lacing. Dark brown with a slight burny sienna hue. A dark abyss of greatness.

S- Very sweet malts, not noticeably hoppy. Dry dark chocolate aromas are very apparent. The chocolate aroma really stands out once it warms a little.

T - Sweet and almost sour up front, dry and chocolate on the tail end. Almost like drinking a dry chocolate champagne without the intense carbonation.

M - I wish this one was a little thicker, but over all not bad.

D- An after dinner cordial. Not something I would have a few of. But very good.

04-27-2009 20:46:36 | More by GonzoPizzaBurger
Photo of mphopkins99


3.53/5  rDev -7.8%

Another nice beer from New Belgium. Pours a dark brown, a little bit of head and lacing. Has a real nice carmel, doughy smell to it, but the taste isn't as sweet as the smell led me to believe it was.

Nice mouthfeel to it, and very drinkable. Very smooth, the taste definitely had some coffee/chocolate tones to it. I've not had a Belgian Dark Ale before, but this beer reminded me of kind of a light porter.

I've yet to have a New Belgium offering that wasn't a good beer.

04-25-2009 19:35:59 | More by mphopkins99
Photo of Wheelinb


3.53/5  rDev -7.8%

Had on tap at The Stable in St Louis.

Medium brown color with a slight brown head. It had a distinct caramel aroma which made me think it was going to be overly sweet. It was not. It did have a sweetness but was balanced out by the hops. I got a strong alcohol aftertaste as well.

04-25-2009 13:36:22 | More by Wheelinb
Photo of lilbug09


3.9/5  rDev +1.8%

It poured very dark with a cream colored head. When held to the light you could see some ruby red. The smell was faint with hints of caramel. The taste was crisp and not too sweet. I could taste the chocolate as the beer warmed. It has an average ABV so that makes it a very drinkable beer for me.

04-23-2009 12:39:43 | More by lilbug09
Photo of madtowndmb1


3.78/5  rDev -1.3%

I've had this many times over the years so I figured I'd review it. This has been my favorite N.B. year-round offering for along time. It pours a dark brown if not black with a nice lacy head. The smell is sweet, caramel and chocolate. The taste, like others said, it's more bitter than the smell. Very good drinker!

If your looking to try N.B. for the first time, start here, it's a solid beer!

04-23-2009 02:26:32 | More by madtowndmb1
1554 Enlightened Black Ale from New Belgium Brewing
86 out of 100 based on 2,949 ratings.