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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

2,952 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,952
Reviews: 1,238
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 12.53%
Wants: 69
Gots: 153 | 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: 2,952 | Reviews: 1,238 | Display Reviews Only:
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
Photo of roadhouse


3.9/5  rDev +1.8%

22 oz. bomber into a tulip glass

Pours a deep mahogany color with some nice ruby coloring behind a light. A one inch cream colored head forms on top and is retained as a skim throughout. Moderate lacing left on the glass.

Aroma is very mild but there are some light caramel notes, a bit of a fruit character that doesn't say much, and a slight vinous note.

Taste is sweet and caramelly up front with a mild fruit character in the middle with some lighter roasty notes of chocolate and very lightly roasted coffee into the finish.

Mouthfeel is meidum bodied, quite smooth and creamy with a good amount of carbonation.

I thought this brew was quite good. I didn't expect much after the weak aroma so the taste kind of blew me away at first. Very nice session beer and I await the arrival of New Belgium in Indiana.

04-22-2009 22:28:08 | More by roadhouse
Photo of Getinthevan


3.63/5  rDev -5.2%

I picked up a batch of this here in Chicago, as a lot of these New Belgium brews have been coming in as of late.

Appearance is incredibly dark drown/black with a good amount of lacing and head. It has a lot of porter-esque type of qualities without being a porter which is interesting.

Smell is very chocolate and sweet smelling for an ale. There's also a hint of some roasted malts too. Not a bad beer.

Taste was strong. While it smelled sweet, it definitely carried more on the bitter side. Although not a bad thing, it was least expected. Not too bad.

Mouthfeel started off strong with flavor intact but then gradually wined down pretty quickly. While it is a good beer to drink. the flavor goes rather quick.

It's a good beer to drink if you're up for a new type of ale to drink, but it's a bit on the expensive side. Buy it if you're curious but that's only for the hardcore beer connoisseur.

04-21-2009 14:39:14 | More by Getinthevan
Photo of daliandragon

North Carolina

3.65/5  rDev -4.7%

This is one of the three New Belgian brews that recently appeared on our shelves here in the Tarheel State. Color is a medium brown with a maroon head and little head or lace. Caramel dosed malt heads up the nose, with bits of banana, biscuit, and clove.

The taste is initially simple but switches to complex as the aftertaste sets in. Initially full of wheat and barley malt, the spice and hops drift in to varying degrees once the pig is in the pen, so to speak. Although well carbonated, a light, almost fluffy texture allows for easy drinking. Definitely portrays some typical dark Belgian spice (coriander?).

Overall, drinkable, in a decent schwarzbeir kind of way but doesn't present the flavor or intensity of a great Belgian dark ale.

04-19-2009 04:40:29 | More by daliandragon
Photo of atpben


3.63/5  rDev -5.2%

Had this on tap at the Houston Flying Sucer. Pours a nice dark brown color with half inch thick creamy head. Aroma is full of oats and chocolate. Nice malty flavor with choclate, caramel, and very light coffee. Very well balanced and easy to drink. Another good beer from a good brewery. Will try again.

04-17-2009 11:45:40 | More by atpben
Photo of thryn


4.05/5  rDev +5.7%

Dark reddish brown with a fair bit of clarity to it. Good looking creamy off-white one finger head with a rough pour into my St. Bernardus goblet. Head does not linger, though.

The nose is redolent of banana, clove, chocolate and toast. Nutella comes to mind.

The taste is very toasty chocolate malt, but it's a light flavor all the same. Some spiciness follows. It's sweet but still nicely balanced. No hop profile that I can detect, but there is some bitterness to it.

The mouthfeel is very thin, which works well. Carbonation is noticable but not overwhelming.

Wonderfully drinkable. New Belgium, please hurry up and come to Florida.

04-14-2009 07:37:29 | More by thryn
Photo of SFBeerGuy


4/5  rDev +4.4%

Served from a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass

A- Deep dark brown color with a pleasant glow. Fleeting 1/4 inch head which quickly disappeared leaving almost no lace.

S- Subdued bready yeast and banana aromas accented by mild bubble gum and sweet caramel notes. Slight clove spice.

T- Toasted malt hiding a surprisingly bright fruit carbonation. A bit empty on the pallet but finishes with plenty of complex subtleties of toast, banana, clove spice and perhaps chocolate.

M- Very light. Overwhelming carbonation cuts through initial malt goodness, temporarily undermining a tasty complex malt profile. Finishes very pleasantly.

D- Due to its light bodied structure this ale is very drinkable and in no way undesirable.

04-14-2009 07:16:01 | More by SFBeerGuy
Photo of Psilo707


4.33/5  rDev +13.1%

Eager to try the 2009 Enlightened Ale from New Belgium, I picked it up and hurried home to pour it in my clear Rieder mug. A frothy head formed and lacing was present and thick but dissipated down the sides after a few minutes. The color was very dark red, almost a deep fuschia color inside the glass. Small dark bubbles could be seen rising to the surface. A very nice scent rose from the top of the liquid; one of chocolate/cocoa and nutty sweetness.

Taste is extremely pleasant. A malty and thick, almost buttery semi-chocolate taste, backed with a piney aftertaste. Stays left on the tongue for minutes after taking a sip.

Mouthfeel is creamy and thick, and drinkability remains high as the rest of the New Belgium ales do.

Overall I'd say this is my favorite choice from the entire brewery - and that's saying a LOT!

04-14-2009 02:03:44 | More by Psilo707
Photo of nms1987

North Carolina

3.5/5  rDev -8.6%

More of a dark brown beer than black, some ruby Coca-Cola like coloring in there too.

Not a real intense nose but it is pleasant enough. Somewhat sweet aroma, not any hops to be detected smell-wise.

Tastes like a really malty brown ale with some Belgian flair in there. I'm not well versed enough in Belgian beers to say what exactly it is, but I'm getting some of the sweetness that many Belgian beers have.
It is rich and sweet tasting, veering ever-so-close to cloying without ever actually being cloying.
It is a very nice beer, I'm just not sure if it is my style.

Fairly thick bodied and full mouthfeel.

Too thick and sweet to be especially sessionable, but it is certainly enjoyable to drink,

04-13-2009 21:41:29 | More by nms1987
Photo of SFLpunk


4.22/5  rDev +10.2%

22oz brown glass pry-top. BB 24JUL09. Thanks to Val for this one!

Appearance: A thick (1.5 inch) creamy tan head atop a deep mahogany , clear body.

Nose: Dry toasty dark malt, but there's something light and airy about it, like forest breeze on a dry autumn day.

Palate: Medium-bodied and somewhat bright. High notes from a moderate hop bitterness balance a slightly creamy texture. Nice "edges" from the bitterness. Flavors of bitter chocolate, roasted malt, black malt, and something a little like burnt wood.

Notes: A really drinkable dark ale. Reminds me of the better Schwarzbiers. Lighter in body, but huge on taste. Incredible for the price!

04-09-2009 00:52:44 | More by SFLpunk
Photo of coasterfreak75

North Carolina

4.4/5  rDev +14.9%

The pour from a 22oz bomber into a stem glass was pitch black with a nice one finger head that quickly dissapated and left little or no lace on the glass.

The smell was heavy with burnt caramel and light floral hops in the background.

The drink starts with a sweet malt kick followed quickly by a fast hit of light hops. The finish was lingering sweet caramel.

I am a fan of Fat Tire so I was really looking forward to trying this one. It didn't let me down. Quite drinkable.

04-09-2009 00:45:35 | More by coasterfreak75
Photo of dustinTN


3.75/5  rDev -2.1%

I like this beer. Fat Tire (being the most popular New Belgium brew) does nothing for me, so I came to this beer with low expectations. An aggressive pour from a 22 oz. bottle into a pint glass resulted in a quickly disappearing one finger head. The color is a gorgeous burnt molasses dark brown. The smell was a very pleasant malty chocolate with a little coffee in the mix. The taste was pleasant and very in line with the aroma (sweet malt with some chocolate) but was a little more subtle than I hoped for. Still very good, though. Very, very drinkable and a great session candidate.

04-08-2009 05:04:22 | More by dustinTN
Photo of Proteus93


4.08/5  rDev +6.5%

A: Not quite literally black, but it's getting close! Very deep with a lot of deep ruby red highlights. A short white head sticks around briefly, but leaves a little trim and some sparse lacing.

S: Softer chocolate scents - almost like a milk chocolate, in some ways. Pleasant toasted malt aromas and something slightly sweet - sugary, are even a little fruity.

T + M + D: Lots of mild chocolate flavours. I seemed to pick up on a little touch of smokiness in the beginning, but that appears to have gone away so it may have been in my head. Some light, almost fruity flavours adding a little tang. The body is a little lighter, and does well with the taste. It's very flavourful, but nothing is explosive, nor is the body extreme or lacking. It's simply a nice, delicately balanced brew. This could even be a fantastic session candidate... it drinks incredibly smoothly - and, in my case, quickly!

04-08-2009 02:52:10 | More by Proteus93
Photo of charlesw

New York

4.18/5  rDev +9.1%

First off... Let me just say that I'm pretty impressed that NB has made a beer that I like. I mean... I've had a lot of their beers and I was SO not impressed. This one... This one I like. A lot. I am impressed. They can make good beer! It's reassuring to know that a highly rated brewery isn't highly rated for nothing!

Ahem. I guess that already tells you where this review is going. So why even bother to finish it? I wonder... Oh, yeah, well, ok, I will. It's not like anyone will read it, anyway. Unless I run for president or something and then I'll have all of my reviews deleted anyway but, alas, the Internet has a long memory and I'll probably be screwed anyway!

Dang. What a way to start a beer review!

It's beer. Looks nice. Dark ruby/brown. Not as dark as my english barleywine but, duh. Smells earthy and chocolate malts. Drinks earthy and chocolate malts. Maybe a little coffee. It's a pretty good beer. Great body for the small alcohol - you'd never guess it was so low in ABV. Nicely balanced. A good beer.

04-06-2009 23:14:55 | More by charlesw
Photo of cnjohn19

North Carolina

4.13/5  rDev +7.8%

so glad new belgium decided to venture to the carolinas...love the bombers, but ready for some of these great brews on tap...

pours a dark brown/almost black...looks heavy with a contrasting off white head...a constant lace to the new belgium goblet given to me upon purchase (big ups to Hope Valley Bottle Shop: http://www.hvbottleshop.com/index.html)...

smells toasty with an espresso touch...sort of what i'd expect from my experience with new belgium...

strong malts with a touch of distinct yeast dominate...bold and rich in toasted malt flavors...in short, this beer is absolutely delicious...in my opinion just a tad tastier than fat tire (i can't help but compare)...just a bit of an undesireable aftertaste tough to describe...

all in all, i highly recommend this beer for the dark belgium lovers...cheers

04-05-2009 02:51:22 | More by cnjohn19
Photo of Kromes


3.98/5  rDev +3.9%

Pours a clear dark brown with reddish fringes. Small head that disappeared to a thin line. There was lots of lacing down the glass. Aromas of sweet coffee malts, smells a little fruity and tangy. Sweet coffee, chocolate, and black licorice flavors. There is also a fruity or hoppy background behind the strong coffee flavors. A bitterness shows up in the middle and end. There is also a nice chocolate coffee flavor that lingers in the dry finish. Good mouthfeel and carbonation. Good taste.

04-03-2009 03:28:54 | More by Kromes
Photo of Offa


4.22/5  rDev +10.2%

This is a smooth and balanced, yet fairly rich, tasty ale.

Deep, dark red brown, it has a big, long-lasting light tan head that leaves good, lasting lace.

The aroma is sweetly earthy, like rich, damp soil and leaves, with a fruity element.

The taste is also mostly a sweet, full earthiness with a hint of chocolate and toastiness that fades to leave a pleasant, mild earthy aftertaste. The palate is thick and full.

04-01-2009 23:55:46 | More by Offa
Photo of rtratzlaff

North Carolina

3.88/5  rDev +1.3%

1554 pours a translucent ruby brown body with carbonation bubbles steadily rising to the top to creat an almond colored head that leaves sheets of lacing down the tulip glass.

The aroma is exactly what I imagine it would be. A slight caramel malt aroma that is nutty as well as slightly fruity.

The flavor is a bit sharper than expected with a Belgian spice kick mid way. There is also a slight acidity or perhaps sourness in there as well. There is enough hops in the finish to keep the malt at bay but not really anything to add flavor.

The mouthfeel is that signature fluffiness of Belgians.

Although this isn't the type of beer I would typically go for, the low abv makes it a Belgian style that you can enjoy in larger amounts.

04-01-2009 15:44:24 | More by rtratzlaff
Photo of kemoarps


4.25/5  rDev +11%

This is the one. This is the beer that started me on this odyssey; the beer that showed me that beer was more than a consumable beverage, it could be an artform. This is the beer that took me from, 'oh, there's some good beer out there I enjoy,' to, 'oh shit, there is some DELICIOUS beer out there.' This is the beer that got me into craftbrewing. and for that, New Belgium, thank you.

It pours a beautiful dark ruby chestnut, a shorter head to start but solid lacing.

The nose is very clean, a little weak, but toasty. the initial malt is caramel, and the yeast pokes through just a bit.

Once it hits your palate, that's when you really begin to get a treat. Just enough subtle spice to enhance the sweet chocolatey malts. Backed up with caramel some caramel as well, but not overly sweet. A little bit of that doughy yeast comes through on the tail. Almost somewhat earthy as it all comes together. Makes me think of a deep forest as the sun peeks through after a cleansing rain. /end hippie vignette

It dances across the tongue, and does not overwhelm, nor does it expand too heavily to fill the gut, allowing me to do what I'm about to do and reach for another one.

Overall, as you may have gathered, I'm a fan. For a while this was my favourite beer (it has since been usurped, but it will always hold a special place in my heart), and it is one that I try to use to introduce my friends to tasty brews, as opposed to tolerable swig. Please try it.

03-31-2009 05:19:05 | More by kemoarps
Photo of jjanega08


3.13/5  rDev -18.3%

A= After a somewhat vigorous pour I yield just a small wisp of a head that falls quickly to a layer on top followed by just a small ring around the glass. Dark dark brown color venturing on black Actually for some reason, it's been a while since I had a coke but, it looks like a flat coca cola a little bit.
S= Malty and bready. It smells very doughy and a little toffee on it.
T= Sweet malt flavor. A small amount of yeasty doughy flavor comes through on the back of the tongue but it really is quite sugary on the tip. Like a chocolate and caramel mix almost.
M= Finishes a little dry but still very good. Not enough carbonation in my opinion
D= Pretty decent. I've heard a lot of ppl say they like this over fat tire but I would disagree. Fat Tire I think tops this one. Granted I haven't had too many Belgian Dark's but I think this is a little quiet for a belgian.

03-30-2009 03:33:39 | More by jjanega08
Photo of SilentSabre

North Dakota

3/5  rDev -21.7%

I wasn't particularly impressed with this one, not right off the bat, anyway. It poured up a crystal clear, dark red colour with a huge 2 and a half - three finger foamy cap that stayed in place for several minutes. Smell, honestly, reminded me of BMC. Perhaps a notch or two above, but IMO, I couldn't really detect anything of much quality present in the smell. Flavour, luckily, was a bit better. There was a lovely woodiness present here which to me, tasted like freshly sawn, damp timber smells, along with some modest malt flavours. Mouthfeel was okay, I suppose, in regards to weight and carbonation; again, nothing really impressive. Overall, not a terrible concoction, and certainly several notches above Fat Tire. As always, glad I had the opportunity to have a go at this one.

03-28-2009 18:38:57 | More by SilentSabre
Photo of drtth


3.7/5  rDev -3.4%

Lightly chilled and served in a Duvel glass. Glass of cold water on the side to sip from periodically.

Appearance: Deep rich dark reddish brown. Thin off white or light tan head that dissipates quickly. Sipping leaves spots of lacing on the sides.

Smell: The soft mild aroma contains roasted malt, a bit of caramel and hint of yeast.

Taste: Flavors include dark chocolate malt, some caramel sweetness and hints of spice.

Mouthfeel: Medium to full bodied with light creamy carbonation. Finish is long and lightly bitter and dry.

Drinkability: Goes down easily and would work well session beer (but the ABV is a bit high for that).

03-28-2009 00:32:07 | More by drtth
Photo of sillyswa


3.75/5  rDev -2.1%

dark mahogany with reddish hightlights. little head that dissipates quickly, little or no lacing.

nose is moderately light. whiffs of chocalate, rosted nuts and earthy hops.

yummy, smooth rich malty sweetness. i'm getting oatmeal, nutty notes with brown sugar. a tad dry i'm assuming it's from the chocalate notes.

smooth medium body with a dry finish. not too shabby.

overall it's fun to drink, very inviting especially for chocalate lovers. funny i can't taste the alcohol.

03-26-2009 02:54:00 | More by sillyswa
1554 Enlightened Black Ale from New Belgium Brewing
86 out of 100 based on 2,952 ratings.