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1554 Enlightened Black Ale - New Belgium Brewing

Not Rated.
1554 Enlightened Black Ale1554 Enlightened Black Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

3,102 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,102
Reviews: 1,253
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 12.27%
Wants: 73
Gots: 219 | 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:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 01-02-2002

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,102 | Reviews: 1,253 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of tjd112
4.13/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Presentation - Poured into wine glass

Appearance - Dark cola colour with small white head and negligible lacing

Smell - Chocolate forward

Taste - A mix of chocolate and malts, a little bit of booziness for good measure

Mouthfeel - Sticky, medium to full body, with a dry yet sweet finish

Drinkability - More for cold weather

Overall - A superb brew

Photo of csmiley
3.97/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another bottle courtesy of colts9016

A - Pours dark brown with hints of cola and a touch of red in the light. The off white head comes to about a one finger depth and then fades after a couple minutes. Lacing is spotty.

S- Starts out with nuts and maple syrup. A somewhat dry and roasted aroma show up about midway. Some charcoal is mixed in as well. Bready on the end and reminds me of slightly charred toast. Not bad at all.

T - Flavor is mild compared to the aroma. Caramel and roasted nuts really stand out at first. Alcohol is noticeable but mainly as an afterthought. Bread comes through nicely in the flavor which adds quite a bit to this one. Again with the charred toast but it works. As it warms the nuts start to fade and more of the "black" beer characteristics come forward.

M - Lighter bodied with a fairly light carbonation level that keeps it smooth overall. It's a little creamy. Finish is on the sweet side and doesn't stick around for long at all.

D - Drinkability is good. This is probably my favorite category on this beer. I would have no problems having this over the course of an entire session. Granted, there is nothing really outstanding here and it probably doesn't fit the style too well but I would say it's a solid brew that is put together well.

Photo of bruachan
3.89/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

where'd the head go? really nothing going up there, and no lacing. nice looking deeep chestnut brown. gotta deduct points for the head dearth. sorry

lovely dark mild brown aroma, as well as some more deeply kilned malts

cool, malt flavoring dominates the tasteful landscape...i can't imagine it was fermented very warm; in fact, there's very little belgian character from the yeast as well (very lagery, actually). cola and a brief hop vignette

you know, it's funny...this is one of those brews that may not stand up to detailed criticism YET it's a great drinking beer.

strange sensation late...chalky. reminds me of something i felt in a smoked beer recently (seemed metallic in that instance but less so now)

Photo of gruberbeer
4.31/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This black beer had a nice soft fluffy head that tapered down into the glass slowly like a Guinness can do. Then the head dispersed leaving a sticky film on the sides of the glass that looked unappealing. However, the rich taste was fantastic. I was happily surprised by the strong chocolate malt hinted with smoke. This black beer did not disappoint and made me smile. Any fan of a black Russian Imperial Stout should try this on for size.

My wife felt that the malt flavor was a bit strong and too much like those chocolate malt candies, but I enjoyed it.

Will definitely have this beer again.

Photo of Kelp
3.85/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Nice Dark pour into my glass, tannish head raises from the beer. Truthfully I am a bit stuffed to pick out anything still smell nice though. Taste is thoroughly enjoyable one of the best belgian dark beers i have had. So far I have thoroughly enjoyed new Belgiums beers. A bit thin feeling to me but nice and creamy none the less. I would have loved to have had another one but alas it was my only one.

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

A - Poured a clear dark amber color with ruby highlights and a nice fluffy off white head. Head retention was excellent and left a nice sticky coating of lacing down the inside of my pint glass.

S - Very aromatic mixture of sweet malt and dark fruits.

T & M - Sweet malt backbone with a bit of a cocoa hint in the middle and a slight tinge of bitterness on the back end. The low bitterness is a key quality of this beer style. Light to medium body, the body seems to be a little light to me though.

D - A decent representation of the Belgian Dark Ale brewing style. I could drink several of these before wanting to move onto something else. Props to New Belgium for a good brew...I look forward to sampling your other offerings.

Photo of CRichardsMN
3.86/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark brown with ruby highlights. Has a creamy tan head of 1/4 inch that falls to a ring and leaves only mild lacing.

Very mild nose - nice roasting and slightly sweet.

Nicely sweet toasted nuts and grains, slightly caramelized with roughly no hops. Finishes with a mild toastiness and warm aftertaste.

Medium bodied, smooth and mild-medium carbonated. Finishes cleanly.

I really like this one, probably my favorite from New Belgium. I seek this one out in 6 packs.

First found in the Folly Pack and now seek this out out on it's own (don't like the lighter varieties as much).

Photo of GreatJob
3.61/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The beer pours a thin dark brown with ruby tints and a light tan head that dissipates quickly. It pours very "fizzy" with large bubbles seen rising to the surface from the side of the glass. The aroma isn't very strong, but it is very buscuity with some roasted/chocolate notes and a taste to match. The flavor is dominated by the malt and yeast with with almost no hop presence as others have stated. The beer is rather thin, but the mouthfeel is surprisingly smooth and creamy considering my first impressions of the fizzyness during the pour. Overall it's a pretty solid, enjoyable beer.

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

A: Reddish brown with an off-white head. Retention rather poor. Brilliantly filtered.

S: Low malt aroma, mild chocolate/munich aroma, not roasty or burnt. No esters or diacetyl.

T: Neutral malt flavor, mildly sweet, not burnt or roasty, hint of toffee. Smooth with no hop presence. No DMS.

M: Medium-light. Smooth with no astringency. Medium carbonation.

D: OK beer, just a bit underwhelming.

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

This Colorado brew is a very dark mahogany brown color with a fair off-white head and very good lacing. The aroma offers solid malt, raisin and wheat, maybe some chocolate. Pretty nice. The flavor brings out smokey malt with a touch of licorice. Smooth and less than medium bodied, quite drinkable. Light, tingly carbonation. Malt is king here, very tasty, along the lines of a strong brown ale. Good stuff.

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

Grabbed this one at Mellow Mushroom with lunch. Really the only thing on the menu I felt like having, but oh well. 22oz bottle was served to me with a pint glass, consumed on 12/23/2009.
The pour was decent enough, rich looking dark brown with a small amount of light peaking in on the sides and the bottom of the glass. Nice head of tan came up to about an inch before dropping off the side of the glass and coating the sides for a good little bit. Aroma is nice roasted malts with a touch of light dark fruit notes at first. Very rich as well with a big malt bill. First sip goes down nice and smooth, rich dark malts again are dominant here with a light bit of chocolate coating the tongue at first. Following it is a light dryness and a bi of a hop kick that gives it just that slight bit of bitterness in the finish. Final taste is of toasted malts and dry hints of chocolate that last on the tongue long into the final sip.
Overall it was very solid from beginning to end. Nothing really bad I can say about this one. It really seemed to hold its own quite nicely. I would have no issue with trying the one again.

Photo of sevopie
3.94/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This one pours a dark mahogany with ruby hints, and a light tan head.

Very light on the smell, hints of chocolate and roasted malt.

Creamy cocoa and coffee are at the front of the flavor. Roasted grain and a mellow nut flavor back it up, with a hint of hop on the finish.

Somewhat light, but creamy at the same time, this is a difficult one to try to describe. Carbonation is fairly robust.

Overall this is one of my favorite brews from New Belgium. I'm not a fan of quite a few of their beers, but this one is always a pleasant drinker.

Photo of woodychandler
4.27/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

My pour created a thick, mocha-brown head that would make any self-respecting root beer float envious and it had good retention for its two fingers. Nose was very cocoa-chocolaty. Color was deep-brown with ruby highlights. Mouthfeel was medium with a taste like a chocolate milkshake. Finish was dry and chocolaty, like a malted milk ball. Chocolate lovers, rejoice!

Photo of beerwolf77
3.68/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into my pint glass the beer is a dark brown almost black color. The beige head lifts to almost an inch the nsettles leaving a decent amount of lace.

The aroma is mostly roasted malt. With hints of chocolate and coffee. Maybe a touch of dark fruit.

The flavor is similar to the aroma. Roasted malt with a little more chocolate/coffee then in the nose. Light spices and a hint of bitterness. I can't pick out much else. None of the flavors are that strong. Yet there is just enough there to keep me sipping on this beer.

Medium body with a just enough carbonation.

Overall I managed to drink several of these. Not the most flavorful beer but good enough to keep me interested. A session beer for sure.

Photo of likethetaste
4.7/5  rDev +22.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Wow another winner from New Belgium! This is even better than their Fat Tire amber ale! Wow, when will this be availavle in Virginia!! Amazing.

This is a very drinkable beer that has amazing taste and mouthfeel! If you get a chance to get this Do!!!

Photo of dpasotti
3.46/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Deep mahogany color with a thin layer of beige head. Very little lacing sticks around. Smells like lightly roasted malt, specifically non-aggressive coffee/chocolate, with not much else.

Taste follows the nose, but the malt shows some sweetness. Nutty chocolate with slight bitterness on the back end. The dark fruit character usually requisite of this style is nonexistent. Not a whole lot happening here either.

1554's body is on the lighter side, with medium carbonation. Not a spectacular beer by any means, but its simplicity and balance render it a highly-drinkable, inexpensive offering.

Photo of gabe23
3.52/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Very dark brown that looks black unless held up to a bright light. Foamy white head that hangs around for a while.

S - Coffee, dark chocolate, and a bit of raisin or date sweetness.

T - A little bit of malty sweetness up front that quickly leads to a espresso and dark chocolate bitterness. Maybe a bit of earthiness in the finish, but to real hops presence to speak of.

M - Not as heavy as expected. Much like a schwartzbier but with less carbonation.

D - Interesting beer, I suppose, but I kept wishing it was a dark lager or stout. The flavor wasn't the best, but I like the idea behind the beer and I applaud New Belgium for making it.

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

appearance: very dark brown ale. suprised. I was thinking it would have sme reddish, but more stout looking.

smell: nutty, dark fruits, but mostly coffee aroma

taste: smooth, easy to drink belgian. coffee dominated beer. not what i expected. I liek it though.

mouthfeel: medium and on the light side for the style. expected from NB though

drinkability: sessionable belgian indeed and a nice overall selecion. not a bad gateway for newbees to get into darks and belgians.

Photo of lisaode
4.12/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 5

I have had this before from the bottle, but it was a different experience when I brought it back from New Belgium Brewery in a growler. I poured it into a snifter glass.

Color was a little red, mainly dark brown. Not opaque.

The aroma was not strong at all and did not inspire any fall-out-of-my-chair moments. Sweet smell with toffee and nut.

Feeling was creamy and smoothy. Liked the carbonation, but didn't pop to make it spicy. Again, very smooth and easy to drink.

Photo of zebulon
3.34/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle a nice redish brown clear look. Two fingers of tan head which dropped to about a quarter inch fast. Minimal lacing.

Slight sweet smell molasses or honey.

Taste mirrored smell. Light, sweet, malty, molasses, honey. As I progressed through the glass some slight pine bitterness came through.

Light on the tongue with a small bubble feel. Kind of frizzy.

A light drink, nothing special but could be an all day drink if you need it.

Photo of MurphyMacManus
3.75/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz. longneck into stemless snifter.

A: deep chocolate brown color with nice clarity. Not opaque like a stout, but can appear black in sub-standard lighting. Very red when held up to light. Head is on the darker side of cream-colored and doesn't stick around long but does leave impressive lace on the surface of the beer and the sides of my glass.

S: Dark fruit, sweetness along the lines of brown sugar, and a little alcohol. Spices. Reminds me of the bread pudding a friend of mine makes with rum-soaked raisins.

T: Strong dark malt flavor reminiscent of sweet brown bread. Some dark fruitiness and a vague spicy note.

M: Light, especially for the color. Was expecting something much chewier and was pleasantly surprised by the lightness.

D: Taste-wise, I would definitely session this. But I'm a little guy and anything over about 5% tends to adversely affect me if I session it. So, on those grounds, I'd probably drink this all day but slowly.

Photo of jampics2
3.6/5  rDev -6%
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!

Photo of JTahoe
3.95/5  rDev +3.1%
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.

Photo of thedrewski86
3.76/5  rDev -1.8%
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!

Photo of david131
3.68/5  rDev -3.9%
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.

1554 Enlightened Black Ale from New Belgium Brewing
86 out of 100 based on 3,102 ratings.