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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

2,951 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,951
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
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: 2,951 | Reviews: 1,238 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Hojaminbag


4/5  rDev +4.4%

A body that is black at first look reveals some pretty deep ruby notes. About a finger and a half of tan head that doesn't have a ton of retention, but does leave behind some pretty good lacing.

Smells predominantly of roasted malt with notes of coffee and chocolate.

This doesn't really strike me as a belgian dark, but it is a pretty good beer. Chocolate, coffee and roasted malts are all in there. The belgian yeast comes through with some dark fruit flavors.

Medium bodied and carbonated.

Pretty drinkable beer, better than I had expected.

02-05-2009 03:16:56 | More by Hojaminbag
Photo of Jayli


3.9/5  rDev +1.8%

During a trip to Denver this past weekend, I had a chance to grab this on tap at Hard Rock Denver.
This beer was served in a pilsner glass - a beer that was dark brown with ruby highlights. About an inch head to it with sticky lacing throughout. Nose was of smokiness, caramel, roasted and sweet malts. Taste is well balanced between the sweet and bitterness. The carbonation is actually extremely visible. I was also surprised by the light body on this beer. Overall, quite pleasant and the lighter body to it makes it a beer that I could sit with for a session and not feel full.

02-02-2009 15:28:57 | More by Jayli
Photo of Beefeater57


4.15/5  rDev +8.4%

A: Dark auburn color that isn't quite black. Nice head, doesn't retain long.

S: Semi-sweet chocolate, very much like chocolate chips. Some roasted malt- nice smell.

T: Sweet, hints of chocolate. Has a dry finish that compliments it pretty well. Almost drinks like a cola..

M: Medium body, but borderline thin

D: Very easy to drink, definitely could drink a few of these and would buy a six pack of this stuff.

02-01-2009 21:35:43 | More by Beefeater57
Photo of jdklks


1.78/5  rDev -53.5%

ill just write a short paragraph about this one. NOT GOOD. i actually went into this beer thinking "you know what? this might be the first new belgium beer i actually like". boy was i wrong. its see-through dark brown body and tan head were the most impressive (though still not very impressive) aspects of this one. it smells sweet as hell with noticable malts. the taste is sweet fruit and black licorice, and ever-so bland. all i have to say about drinkability is that i knew i had made a mistake with the first sip, and i wanted so badly to pour it out.

01-27-2009 06:29:46 | More by jdklks
Photo of ChainGangGuy


3.73/5  rDev -2.6%

12 oz. single picked up at Riverside Wine and Spirits in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Best Before: 01MAY09.

Appearance: Pours out a clear, dark chestnut brown body with a smallish, off-white head.

Smell: Sweetish, fruity nose with light notes of caramel, roasted malt, and coffee. A pleasant chocolate scent grows and swarms the nose upon warming.

Taste: Light tastes of roast, caramel, coffee, and even semisweet chocolate with a moderate amount of malty sweetness. Plenty of fig and Bing cherry fruit character. Dash of cola. Very minor hop character and bitterness. Hint of yeast. Lingering tastes of chocolate and roast on the drying finish.

Mouthfeel: Makes me think of blend of a dark Belgian ale with a schwarzbier. Pleasant and highly drinkable with a reasonable ABV%.

01-26-2009 02:44:50 | More by ChainGangGuy
Photo of showell


4.2/5  rDev +9.7%

I really like this one. It's one of the first beers I branched out into after I discovered that fat tire wasn't the only drinkable beer out there. I was really pleasantly surprised, and drank this one quite a lot for a while. A nice dark color with a hint of chocolate in the smell and taste. I could actually drink this one all evening very happily, and when I'm at the grocery store, if there's nothing new to try, this one is often the one I'll fall back onto.

01-26-2009 00:37:24 | More by showell
Photo of naterock


3.75/5  rDev -2.1%

poured into a snifter with a decent one finger head, Black in color but not completely opaque with a reddish hue when held to a light.

smells of rich dark roasted malt and a estery yeast character with some grassy/bittering hops in the back of the nose.

taste is rich at first with a swarming chocolate on the palate. I get a lot of yeast in the flavor that finishes slightly funky as a belgian should.

mouth is crisp but rich in quality light carbonation and drinks fairly easy. A black ale to cherish for sure but I would have to be in just the right mood again to really enjoy this one.

01-25-2009 01:38:25 | More by naterock
Photo of AdmiralDiaz


3.8/5  rDev -0.8%

A: Pours very dark brown with a small off white head with no lacing.

S: Very faint roasted malts with a bit of coffee

T: Sweetness mixed with roasted malts and a strong coffee finish.

M: Very carbonated and thin

D: Being that it's a thinner beer it's very drinkable and doesn't get old, very easy to drink a bomber

01-23-2009 01:49:45 | More by AdmiralDiaz
Photo of PEBKAC

New York

3.55/5  rDev -7.3%

Vintage notes.

Best Before: 06Jun08, consumed 5-23

Anxious pour into my Ommegang anniversary glass that I just love so much. Nearly two inches of frothy French-vanilla head over a black tea saturated body. Drippy, even spaced lace.

Nesquik powder, banana & melon esters, & what seems like black patent. Slight richness to the smell. A definite Belgian essence to it.

Toffee, vanilla creamer, bitter melon rind, odd plastic phenols, & very little roast. Weird artificial cotton candy/confection sugar-like sweetness(& feel). Some clove bitterness at the end. Awesome burps.

Flavor/texture combination is just so different. A Belgian-style schwarzbier, cool. Tasty enough that I should want another, but I felt a little mentally fatigued figuring out what was in front of me.

Thanks to artisanbrew for the hookup, wherever you are. :)

01-22-2009 08:29:31 | More by PEBKAC
Photo of twiggamortis420


3.65/5  rDev -4.7%

Figured a Chimay chalice would be appropriate here. Pours a dark brown color with some red highlights. Has good clarity. Tan head at first looks fine and frothy like it would stay around awhile, but it fades to a collar too quickly.

Smell is mostly malts and chocolate. It is nutty without being toasty, kinda like a hershey's bar with almonds. Has a touch of banana and coconut aroma in there as well. It is a pleasant smelling beer, but a bit faint.

Very nutty flavor, brazil nuts and almonds. Surprisingly light bodied, bordering on being too thin, but a slight creamy texture saves it from being watery. A minor touch of dry, hoppy bitterness on the finish appears to be the only detectable presence of lupulin.

A good beer that needs to be drank with a clean palate in order to detect much of the subtle flavors. A good starter beer and most certainly qualifies as sessionable.

01-20-2009 22:38:16 | More by twiggamortis420
Photo of washburnkid

New York

3.88/5  rDev +1.3%

Small head that disappears quickly; deep brown and red hues (not incredibly dark, which was slightly disappointing) with limited lace down sides of glass. Smells of sweet malts, particularly chocolate. Tastes of coffee, caramel and dark chocolate. Hops apparent in moments, enough to call this beer well-balanced. Light mouthfeel with enough carbonation and memorable malts makes this ale easy and pleasant to drink, though I'm a little disappointed that it lacks a bigger flavor and body considering the name and classification. This wouldn't stop me from having another or recommending it to folks. I'd just change some things on the label.

01-20-2009 22:35:30 | More by washburnkid
Photo of hiikeeba


3.98/5  rDev +3.9%

A - pours up a dark brown, nearly black, with truby highlights and an off white head that lasts for quite a while.

S - Coffee-like roasted malts come through clearly, though the over all aroma is faint

T - There's a little sweet malt in the flavor, but it is quickly overwhelmed by the roasted malt. Otherwise, very clean and refreshing.

M - A little thin and watery, with moderate carbonation

D - Two or three of these would be pretty good right now. Very drinkable.

01-12-2009 22:17:29 | More by hiikeeba
Photo of angelmonster


3.73/5  rDev -2.6%

Pours a small 1/4 inch off white head that quickly fades. Black body with dark brown hue when held up to light, average lacing through out.

Smells of roasted malts, some chocolate, tiny bit of alcohol, almost no hop smell at all. Aroma was somewhat subtle, wish it was more upfront

First taste of oaky, roasted malt. Small amount of chocolate with slight bitterness and alcohol. Roasted malts and smokiness dominated the beer. Beer leaves a chalky aftertaste

Mouth feel is a little over carbonated yet smooth. Not thick but has a nice consistency

Over all good beer, a little over carbonated but not too much. Similar to new belgiums abbey beer but more smoky and not as great in my opinion.

01-10-2009 01:03:17 | More by angelmonster
Photo of nick76


3.28/5  rDev -14.4%

The aroma is odd with both roasted malt and hops but also a yeast smell that is unique as well as some chocolate and earthiness. The appearance is brown with an average head. The flavor is like the aroma. The palate is smooth but a tad thin. Overall I like it but its not a favorite.

01-09-2009 08:55:57 | More by nick76
Photo of ghebel


4/5  rDev +4.4%

A - Deep brown color, clear. Light brown moderate head that laces down upon recession.

S - Malty: biscuit, chocolate, roasted. Hint of alcohol. Fruity esters.

T - Roasted, chocolate, coffee. Biscuit malt. Dry.

M - Nothing good or bad here. Fairly smooth, low viscosity. Good carbonation.

D - Goes down smooth. Tastes good to the end.

Overall - I like this beer. It is sort of hard to come by in Iowa, but when I find it, I buy it. It does not stand out as a favorite, but definitely a good staple.

01-05-2009 00:24:40 | More by ghebel
Photo of hoegaardenhero


3.98/5  rDev +3.9%

a: deep black/brown opaque body w/ light columns of teeny tan bubbles rising up to a solid 1/2" light fluffy head with sticky foam left on the inside of the glass

s: coffee; chocolate; buttery shortbread; light dry wheat; light acidic taste; very crisp

t: dry cocoa nibs with dry toasted wheat biscuit; very simple and clean malty flavors along whole malt flavor spectrum

m: smooth medium body that is maybe a little watery and a lightly carbed

d: i think this beer has solid darker malt flavors with a lot of wheatiness; if anything is weak it is the mouthfeel but still a really good beer

01-04-2009 20:56:36 | More by hoegaardenhero
Photo of Beejay


4.78/5  rDev +24.8%

A: Dark Brown with a tan head..

S: Malty, and delicious.

T: Malty, with chocolate and fruit notes.

M: Ggggreat!

D: This is great for Drinkablility ( I still think this word is BS...) This beer is great for a one off, or for a night of drinking.

Serving type: bottle

This is one of my favorite beers. Growing up 45 minutes away from the brewery it is one of my 'home grown favorites.' Trust me, you haven't had it until you have had it from the brewery.

01-04-2009 03:19:25 | More by Beejay
Photo of BDIMike


3.78/5  rDev -1.3%

Pours a very dark oil-looking color. There was a thin khaki colored head that had a slight bit of retetntion.
Smell had slight bits of plum dark fruit flavors along with a bit of smokey, roasted malts.
Taste has a lot more of the smokiness to it. There is good roasted malts that are followed by a bit of a fruitiness and coffee.
Mouthfeel has a bit of a syrupy feel to it, but it is lighter than one would think.
Drinkability is very nice on this beer. The syrupy, yet smooth mouthfeel lends this beer to be drank very quickly. It has good taste and goes down so nicely. I wish this beer had better taste, but its a good solid beer to take down a six-pack of.

01-04-2009 01:25:12 | More by BDIMike
Photo of Bagman007


2.6/5  rDev -32.1%

Served in a bottle poured into a pint glass.

A- Dark brown coloring with a couple of finger widths of head.

S- Nutty caramel and chocolate scent.

T- Strong chocolate caramel taste, not much as far as hops go.

M- Smooth and creamy feel. Not very bitter at all.

D- Very smooth, very drinkable.

Overall a decent beer. Not a big fan of this type, but this beer is one of the better I have had.

01-03-2009 04:31:20 | More by Bagman007
Photo of BeanBone


3.93/5  rDev +2.6%

Appearance: Dark reddish-brown body with ruby highlights. The head is a couple of fingers high, tan colored, tightly-packed, and sticky. Lacing is good.

Aroma: Dark roasted malt, cocoa powder, and fresh coffee with a slight bitterness. In the nose, this beer reminds me of a Porter.

Taste: Very much the same as the aroma: dark malt, dark fruit, and cocoa powder tempered with a decent amount of malt acidity and hop bitterness. There's a little bit of spice mixed in, giving the beer a little Belgian flair. Despite only clocking in at 5.5% ABV, every now and then you get a pop of booze. Aftertaste is of roasty cereal and cocoa (but not Cocoa Puffs...).

Mouthfeel: Silky and creamy medium-body with moderate carbonation.

Drinkability: This is a somewhat slower beer, but is still light enough to allow you to run through a six-pack in an evening if you set your mind to it.

Verdict: Another complex and interesting offering from New Belgium, 1554 is a roasted-malt delight with that little Belgian twist New Belgium is so famous for. If you haven't sampled 1554 yet, put it on your list of beers to try.

12-31-2008 19:02:51 | More by BeanBone
Photo of Mistofminn


4.2/5  rDev +9.7%

Pours a deep mahogany color. Two finger off-white head with minimal lacing.

Aroma is roasty, with chocolate and perhaps a coffee scent here. Dark bakers chocolate. Yum.

Taste is of toasted malts, with a chocolate texture. Also has a citrus or fruity taste to it. Very complex and very enjoyable.

Medium body, and one of the most drinkable beers I've ever had. I was very surprised and taken aback by this. One of my new favorites!

12-30-2008 09:40:41 | More by Mistofminn
Photo of truncatedcone


3.68/5  rDev -3.9%

12 oz. bottle poured into pint glass.

A: Very deep brown, with red highlights when held up to light, reminiscent of Coca-Cola. Very thick, creamy-looking tan head.

S: Not much smell to speak of. Earthy and a little malty.

T: Coffee and hazelnuts up front with a nice transition to mellow hops and a fairly vague stone fruit note. Very well balanced, but not a tremendous amount of flavor overall.

M: Very smooth. Carbonation contributed to a very enjoyable creamy consistency.

D: Very easy to drink, but it wasn't really a special experience. I didn't get tired of it before the end of the glass, but I doubt I would reach for another bottle given other choices.

12-30-2008 05:16:17 | More by truncatedcone
Photo of patobandito

New Mexico

4.03/5  rDev +5.2%

I've always loved this beer. One of the first truly dark beers that I enjoyed.

Pours a lovely dark red, almost black color with a creamy off-white head. Smells of chocolate and roasted malt. Tastes the same, heavy roasted malt flavor with a chocolate tinge. Very very drinkable, nice and full mouthfeel.

12-28-2008 18:50:11 | More by patobandito
Photo of hoplover82


4.4/5  rDev +14.9%

Pours a deep DEEP dark red color with an off white to tan creamy head that dissapates to almost nothing fast that leaves some thick rings of lace.

Aroma is soft with sweet bannana coated dark fruits. Roasty malts, with some yeasty dough.

Flavor has a lot of sweet roasty malts and a good light bitterness to balance. Dark fruits like prunes too. Ends slightly dry.

Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied, and dry in the end. Kinda sticky in my mouth.

Very drinkable.

12-28-2008 06:00:02 | More by hoplover82
Photo of BigBry

Alberta (Canada)

4/5  rDev +4.4%

Picked up a six pack at Brown Derby in Springfield, Mo. New Belgium is not available to me locally and this was the first time I had seen 1554 Enlightened Black Ale. Label shows a glass of ale and an opened book sitting atop a wooden barrel. A picture frame like border is covered in hops.
"1554 Enlightened Black Ale redefines the phrase keeping time in a bottle. From anancient, crumbling Belgian library book, our intrepid researchers found references to this obscure style dating back to the year 1554. Overcoming obsolete script and units oif measurement, our brewers discovered an ale with a suprisingly bright taste and a dry chocolatey finish - one evocative of dark brews enjoyed in Belgian taverns 500 years ago."
Black liquid with ruby red highlights, couple inches of creamy light tan head. Good retention, foam left good looking lace. The smell is roasted malt, with some chocolate and coffee. The flavor is similar to its aroma, toasted caramel malt, cocoa, hint of coffee. Finish of grassy, spicy hops. Smooth, a bit creamy, easy to drink. Not too heavy, very good.
I am just not sure regarding the style - dark lager, schwarzbier, black ale?

Note to Self: Ranked the #4 Belgian Dark Ale when I tried it.

12-23-2008 23:04:20 | More by BigBry
1554 Enlightened Black Ale from New Belgium Brewing
86 out of 100 based on 2,951 ratings.