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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 projectflam86
3.56/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours a deep copper brown color with a thick off-white foam head that leaves tons of sticky lacing all the way down.

S- Hints of sweet dark malt, chocolate, coffee, and caramel.

T- A bit of earthy roasted malt flavor with a slightly bitter cocoa finish. A bit lacking overall in strength of flavor.

M- Slightly thinner than expected with low carbonation. Dry and meek.

D- Not a bad brew, but certainly not one that will knock you off of your feet with flavor.

Photo of storksonm
3.8/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Drew a nice head and as with the quality brews it kept on keepin on. It was black/amber and smelled great nice and hoppy with a chocolate malt smell. It tasted very light I was suprised since it was so light. The aftertaste is the nice thing about this beer the caramel and chocolate/coffee tones come out after a min. It was a nice smooth drink on a nice hot day. I would prob drink it frequently if I could get more than 22 oz bottles but I guess its at a good price and who doesn't like to down a whold 22 oz bottle all at once.

Photo of soupermirl
4.2/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark amber, very nice scent. Yummy. Looked great when poured with some residual head. Swirled and smelled. Very nice. Malty pleasents. Taste was complex and simple and the same time. Meaning... You could taste the different ingredients well but without taking over the beer. Simple to drink without different flavors... Mixed well. mouthfeel was pleasent. and this beer was easy to drink. again. Yummy.

Photo of joshuadlight
3.95/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap in some chain Denver restaurant.
Served in a chilled glass, which makes appearance a little more difficult to evaluate. It was dark brown with a small but fluffy cap of foam. Straight forward malty brew through and through. Roasty, chocolately, bready. No bitterness from hops, no burn from alcohol. It was nice paired with my meal, but couple with the food to be quite filling. Decent offering from NB.

Photo of tai4ji2x
4.13/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

thanks go to either the threewisemen or rsquared618. i forgot. sorry.

12oz (?) bottle with "best by" dating of 24Jul09. tasted in mid-may 2009. poured into tulip.

dark black/brown, red tint under the light. clear, no sediment (filtered?). 1.5-finger light beige head, fades to wispy layer and ring. nice rings of webby lace.

aroma: caramel and vanilla upfront, with fruity tones of figs and dates. nutmeg? grassy, herbal hop hint, into trace coffee/chocolate note.

taste: malty caramel again, with that trademark NB toffee/biscuit character, although a hint watered down, plus a lighter vanilla note. fruit is lighter too, but leans more toward raisin. grassy herbal hops have mild to moderate bitterness. coffee finish plus trace acidity. faint licorice/spice note and very gentle phenols in back.

light to medium body, but pretty smooth. flash of astringency in the finish. gentle to moderate carbonation gives tingle, helps body and gives flavor lift.

Photo of Newmerator
4.17/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle

after a long hike and a shower i went to the store to pick up some brews. I managed to finagle a mixed 6 pack of some new New Belgium brews i haven't tried. Man did this one hit the spot

pours a very dark black with hints of deep burnt chocolate.
hazelnut foam, decent lace.

smells a nice roasted and chocolate notes. slightly phenolic flavors also.

tastes much the same. roasted, oakie, and choc flavors dominate my palate here.

MF is soft but full bodied.

great broo. highly recommended. great drinkability imo also.


Photo of KI9A
4.15/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Solid, dark black, Huge, creamy, puffy, tan head. seems to hang around a long time, wonderful lace rings, and windows.

S: Big roasty caramel malts. Candy. Pepper.

T: Chocolate dominates. BIG malt. Big wheat. Followed up by a bananna ester. Like a Porter/Hefe hybrid. A light citrusy hop bite at the rear. Very nice.

M: Extremely creamy, medium body. Smooth as anything I have ever had...plus.

D: So very quaffable. Satisfying. I dunno why I have drug my feet on trying this beer. It's just awesome.

Photo of JamesS
4.74/5  rDev +23.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured a very nice dark brown with copper tinges, a nice bit of initial, if rapidly fading, head, and just a wee bit of lacing. Great scent, a subtle mixture of great sweet malt, chocolate flavors, floral hints, and a nice orange/banana aroma. Great taste, starts strong with chocolate and then goes into an excellent banana/citrus flavor, giving it a nice mixture. Ends with a huge sweetness on the tongue, but with enough hops to keep it grounded. Very smooth. I was very impressed with this brew.

Photo of cnally
2.84/5  rDev -25.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

the pour is dark brown, and a fluffy, laced head sticks well.

mildly sour aroma, hints of malt, but slightly nutty.

the flavor is very nutty, malty and woodsy flavored.

very creamy texture. filling and decently carbonated.

well, ok but not spec. drinkable but not delicious.

Photo of Nesued
3.82/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

650ml bottle

Appearance - Pours a reddish/dark brown color. Nice light head forms upon pour. Ample lacing remains as the head fades to a small ring. Carbonation is light with little seen feeding the tan head. Clearly able to see through the offering with no haze.

Smell - Good malty/bread initial nose. A slight spice as well (perhaps peppery best describes). Big roasty aroma with a clean caramel presence.

Taste - The caramel and roasted malt continues, with a bit of coffee thrown in for good measure. I would have placed this squarely in the brown ale category, if it wasn't for the belgian yeast "fingerprint" that swings it back. Finishes with a tongue-cleaning crispness and mild hop bite. Not too intense.

Mouthfeel - Bigger than I thought it would be, which again makes the case for a Belgian Dark rather than a brown. Mid-density with little carbonation adding to the fray.

Drinkability - This was my second 1554, after having it out one evening when New Belgium first came to SC. Quite drinkable.

Photo of dirtylou
3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle, $4 at the most - purchased a few weeks back and consumed while packing up my apartment

appearance: served in a tyranena imperial pint - dark mahogany-garnet body with a fluffy tan head and patchy lacing

smell: nice aroma of chocolate malts, some light yeast, cocoa powder and dried dark fruits

taste: nice little beer here - i imagine this beer is pretty nice on tap due its smooth body and solid base. chewy chocolate malts set the tone, light nutty character, dry cocoa, dry fruit. nice lower-abv belgian dark

mouthfeel: creamy, not overly filling

drinkability: good

Photo of LordAdmNelson
3.49/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours an almost black molasses color with ridiculously thick white head. Great retention and lacing.

S- Some toasted malts and toffee and coffee... nothing much else here.

T- Oh. What the hell? Not what I was expecting at all. Some coffee, hazelnuts, toasted malt. Fruit?... Not really. This is more like a brown ale or something than what I know as a Belgian. Tastes kind of old school though, so that's cool. Not a lot of hop bitterness, although there is a touch of it on the finish.

M- Medium bodied, good carbonation, dry finish. Not bad.

D- Not bad, the taste is pretty inoffensive, low ABV, but it's a little lacking IMO. Not really the robust drinker that I was hoping for.

Photo of SIRIUS2
3.72/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a chalice style glass.

Pours sort of heavy, as black as it's namesake, with practically no head to speak of. There is a thin ring of light brown bubbles that persistently cling to the sides of the glass. No lacing noted.

Aromas are very malty with hints of coffee and dark fruit. Perhaps a little bit of smoke in there too. It just has an implication of "sweet" about it, but this isn't derogatory... rather pleasant in fact.

Heavy on the tongue, sweet and malty, with some complicated darker flavors reminiscent of, say, figs. Chocolate notes are there too, working well with everything else but especially with the complicated sweetness. Honestly, this sort of reminds me of a heavy black lager or lighter milk stout. Interesting. Finish is cleaner than expected with lingering chocolate & coffee.

Smooth texture, very light carbonation, and some weight from the residual sweetness makes the overall mouthfeel rather smooth and 'creamy', if you will. It's a bit heavy, but very pleasant and goes down incredibly easy.

Very nice brew. Recommended. This is a very interesting brew and rather enjoyable.

Photo of philbe311
3.71/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Dark dark brown chocolate cocoa color... Light tan colored head is rises to one fingers worth smooth creamy head and fades rapidly... Carbonation throughout...

S - Vague aroma is dominated to lightly roasted malt... Also present are hints of chocolate, caramel, rye, plum, cherries... An intriguing, but not potent enough aroma...

T - The taste follows the nose closely and is equally subdued... The rye taste never materialized... In addition to the other tastes which were foreshadowed by the nose, were some almond extract and an ever so slight smokiness...

M - Highly carbonated with lots of bite throughout the mouth... Slightly on the thin side of medium bodied... Very reminiscent of a Schwarzbier...

D - A tasty and interesting brew, but not overly memorable... Goes down easy and could prove quite sessionable at only 5.5% ABV...

Photo of CaptainIPA
3.85/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a root beer-hued amber with ruby flarings and a one-finger head that fades quickly. Respectable level of lacing on side of glass.

S: Roasted malt with notes of chocolate milk, molasses and aromatic pipe tobacco.

T: Roasted caramel malt with big notes of cocoa powder and hints of licorice and Belgian yeast. Powder dry finish. To me, the taste profile is reminiscent of an American Porter.

M: Creamy mouthfeel with active carbonation throughout.

D: A tasty and complex sipper that's thoroughly enjoyable. If this enlightened ale is evocative of black brews enjoyed in Belgian taverns 500 years ago, I may have been born five centuries too late.

Photo of nickynick
4.1/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

New Belgium 1554 poured a dark brown/ruby color with large tan head, and good lacing. The smell was of dark fruits and brown sugar. The taste was very sweet, loaded with chocolate flavors. Mouthfeel was good, good carbonation. I found this beer to be a bit filling, and that is why it lost some on the drinkability for me, overall though I found this to be a very nice beer. I enjoy most beers I have had from New Belgium and this was no different.

Photo of bjacobsen
3.9/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz bomber.

A- Pours the darkest shade of brown that you can get before it's actually black. A light tan head that holds very well.

S- Very faint roasted malts, even fainter notes of chocolate.

T- Restrained dark malts and chocolate. Almost, but not quite, smoky. It has a nice bready character to it as well. Smooth and subtle. Although, I can't decide if it is too subtle. Nicely balanced. Pleasant on the palate.

M- This is on the lighter side of a medium bodied beer. Has a bit of a creamy feel to it that is pleasing.

D- Very drinkable, but again I think that is because it is almost too subdued. Quite balanced and smooth to be sure. Doesn't not have you on your knees begging for another, but I certainly wouldn't pass up an offer for a second.

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

Belgian dark ale they say? I am thinking not.
Fairly dark in the glass. Slight red edges noticed when held to the light.
Hints of toasted malts, slight burnt edges and ever slight roastiness.
Taste was pretty nice, more on the lines of a brown ale though, no Belgian characteristics that I could find.
Pretty solid I would say.

Photo of ericalbion
4.3/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Schwarzbier black ales and black lagers are my favorite brews, so this was a must try when I was finally out west enough to get my hands on it.

This scores high, and is a new friend in my book. It pours dark and smooth with a very rich head that can stay almost the duration of the drinking.

The beer drinks smoothly and refreshes the mouth. The flavor is hearty and crisp, with coffee tones as it warms up.

Very tasty, I would like to get it on tap or in a growler some day!

Photo of Soneast
3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours what appears to be a black color, however when held to the light it is more of a dark reddish/brown. The pour produces a 2-finger, light brown colored head, with great retention, and thick pillowy lace.

The aroma consists of chocolatey/toasted grains, with some breadiness, as well a slight burnt sugar aroma.

The flavor is predominated by chocolates and mild roastiness with a hint of sweetness and some earthy background. Leaving a slight coffee flavor on the palate.

This beer has a nice creamy mouthfeel, with a medium-light body. Pretty nice beer overall, and at $3.50/22oz., not a bad deal at all!

Photo of blackearth
3.93/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark, reddish brown with an off white head. Aroma of toasted nuts and milk chocolate. Medium bodied with light carbonation and sweet caramel taste with a light chocolate after taste. Gets a little cloying towards the end, but overall a great beer.

Photo of merryjoulton
3/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a deep rich dark brown with a tan dark brown light head with tight bubbles. Smell is chocolatey, malty, caramely, hoppy, creamy and nutty. Taste is very smooth and nutty, spicy and hoppy a tad floral with caramel and dark chocolate with hazelnut and cream cheese. Mouthfeel is nice and thick with decent drinkability.

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

What a surprise at $3.50ish!

Pours a deep chestnutty brown, some amber to it. Fairly translucent. About two inches of tan foam.

Smells like yeasty, breaded toffee. A hint, just a hint, of earth and fig-iness.

Tastes like sweet, grainy malt with a bit of roasted earthiness. Some dates, raisins, or figs. Decently thick.

Not the greatest EVAH, but solid.

Photo of HeroJH
4.12/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Probably one of my favorites from New Belgian. Consistancy does vary in my opinion. But this bottle was quite good.

A - Dark Brown. Light lacing with sustaining head.
S - Usual New Belgian toasted grainy malt smell. Roasty Deep. Toasted whole grain bread.
T - Nice toastyness. Fairly full and even. nice toasted Bread flavor. Light sweet after taste. Hint of dryness in the finish.
M - nice
D - pretty good. Easy to drink and enough to maintain interest.

Photo of Eldalonde
4.03/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I have to admit that this beer is absolutely beautiful in the glass. It pours a beautiful deep dark red with a full and thick beige head forming. There is Minimal lacing on the glass. Very malty in the aroma, giving off scents of strong chocolate, light toffee, and some earth. A light bodied beer. Tastes of roasted coffee, giving way to some strong earthy notes. Finish was very minimal. Overall, a pretty decent beer.

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