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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

2,894 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,894
Reviews: 1,237
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 12.53%
Wants: 59
Gots: 123 | 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:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of 1554 Enlightened Black Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 2,894 | Reviews: 1,237 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of nem2006


3.2/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The beer poured a dark brown with a very small head and very little carbonation. What little head it had faded fast.

The smell was toasted, coffee and a little chocolate.

The flavor started a little sweet, followed by a coffee flavor. It finished with a mild bitterness from the hops. I was a little disappointed at how flat the beer was.

I have had this beer before and thought it was not as good as it has been. So for now this is my score, but I will give it another shot later on down the road.

Serving type: bottle

07-20-2008 02:27:28 | More by nem2006
Photo of johnrobe


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

I really enjoyed this one. It pours a deep, clear mahogany with a thin beige head. The smell is primarily grain and toasted bread with molasses in the background. Toasted bready malt and chocolate dominate the taste and it has a pleasant slightly sweet finish without becoming heavy in mouthfeel. I wish more American craft brewers would take up this style...and Dunkels, more Dunkels too.

Serving type: bottle

07-19-2008 00:30:23 | More by johnrobe
Photo of Spidey13


3/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

1554 pours a clear, dark brown with some cola-red highlights when held to the light. A small off-white head rests on top.
The smells consists of sweet malt with hints of roastiness and dark fruit. There is also a hint of banana in there.

The taste is sweet, with a hint of the roastiness in there and some chocolate. A hint of bitterness shows up followed by lingering sweetness that gets a bit cloying. I felt the mouthfeel was a bit thin and oily.

Overall, I really didn't like this beer. It seemed to have a bit of Belgiany-ness but not much. It may be a good gateway to Belgian beers.

Serving type: bottle

07-17-2008 01:56:39 | More by Spidey13
Photo of Contagion


3.28/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This beer has a beautiful dark brown color with a reddish background to it. It poured a thin tan head that dissipated into a film. There was some lacing that stayed on the side of the glass, but not much.

There is a nice roasted malt scent to it. You can also detect a slight a dark dried fruit scent, like raisins and molasses. A slight earthy undertone is also noticed. The taste is a mix of roasted chocolate and coffee malts. There is a hint of nut to the taste. It has a slightly bitter finish and aftertaste.

It is a medium bodied beer. There is some creaminess to it that coats the mouth, but not a lot. The carbonation level is decent.

Serving type: bottle

07-17-2008 01:37:18 | More by Contagion
Photo of mpyle


3.75/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

App - Deep amber color with red highlights, brilliantly clear, and pours a healthy sized pale tan head. Head retention is good.

Aroma - A bit roasty with dark malt character, a bit like a porter. Chocolate. Little to no hop.

Flavor - Slightly chocolately and not quite sweet maltiness, transitions to a slightly earthy finish. A gentle, dirty tasting bitterness in the finish.

MF - Medium body and med-high carbonation. No astringency or problems, but nothing to set it apart positively, either.

D'ability - interesting stuff...like a porter with a Belgian twist. Can't say that I'll seek it out again, but glad that I tried it.

Serving type: bottle

07-16-2008 02:44:43 | More by mpyle
Photo of Zadok


3.73/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A-Dark brown pour with a 1 and a half finger head and nice lacing. Unable to see through but had nice amber highlights when held up to the sun.

S-Nice rich malts upon first sniff, with heavy smoke coming in afterwards.

T-Creamy malts with smoke and dark roasted coffee bean. Smoke possibly being the overwhelming flavor.

M-Thick and creamy, mild carbonation.

D-Nice rich flavor, very smooth. Not really an every day brew, could see having every once in a while.

Serving type: bottle

07-15-2008 15:18:20 | More by Zadok
Photo of Mryup


4.28/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: A stunning deep brown near black with cranberry highlights. A inch of toasted head comes after a medium pour. The head slowly fades to an impressive 1/3 inch. What's this? Lacing on a dark beer? Now it has my full attention. The lacing is out of this world.

S: The malt almost punches you in the face. Hops are there to balance it out but malt is the star. Chocolate dominates with hints of caramel, molasses...no wait... a hint of coffee maybe? Barely some dark fruit...could be cherry. Smells simple with undertones of complexity. Superb.

T: Strong strong chocolate malt dominates with dark cherry bolstering it. Caramel and sweeter notes surprisingly take a big back seat here. Not what I expected considering the smell. Hops? What hops? The alcohol doesn't even whisper. Its a ghost.

M: A little thick with slightly high CO2.

D: This is not a session beer. Its like a rich chocolate cake. One piece will do.

One damn fine beer. I've always had a certain respect for New Belgium and they are quickly becoming one of my favorite breweries. Period. This beer also goes awesomly well with any chocolate involved ice cream.

Serving type: bottle

07-15-2008 03:11:37 | More by Mryup
Photo of Goliath


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

Pours a dark brown color with some red hues in the light. A half inch of light tan head with decent retention.

Aroma is great. A good maltiness showing loads of caramel and a dose of chocolate.

Taste is just as great. Again, loads of caramel and a nice shot of chocolate.

Mouthfeel is full bodied and gently carbonated.

Drinkability is fairly high. Great flavor and low alcohol make this beer quite easy to consume.

Serving type: on-tap

07-12-2008 03:39:37 | More by Goliath
Photo of Tilley4


4.5/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

New Belgium has just recently made its way to Tn and I picked this along with a couple of other NB offerings up today. Can't wait to get into this..

Poured into a Duvel tulip.

This is almost black but not quite. More like a very dark brown with some ruby highlighting to it. It forms an awesome head of tan coloration that is thick, creamy, and persistent.

Very rich dark roasted malt aroma coming off of this...very rich malt aroma with the merest hint of chocolate. Damn, this is very impressive so far.

Mmmmm..smooth rich dark roasted maltiness laced with chocolate and a bit of coffee that has me excited as hell these guys are here now. It reminds me of a Guinness Extra Stout a little except I think its even richer and maltier.. I'm very impressed with this brew, I'll have to say. I wasn't exactly sure what to expect with this and I am very pleasantly surprised.

I'm going to make this one a regular in my fridge, no doubt. Its extremely sessionable, won't put you out of commission after a few, and taste delicious. At $2.99 a bomber, its an absolute steal. I'm a happy 1554 fan!

Serving type: bottle

07-11-2008 00:57:38 | More by Tilley4
Photo of Cyberkedi


4.55/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

It comes out of the bottle a deep, semi-transparent brown with a thick, fluffy, persistent beige head. Aroma is strong and mainly smoky, with hints of chocolate and coffee. Flavor is like liquid smoke, with touches of malt, coffee, chocolate and caramel. Texture is smooth, and the smoky aftertaste has just a whisper of sweetness. Well worth transporting all the way from Denver to Atlanta!

Serving type: bottle

07-10-2008 02:34:51 | More by Cyberkedi
Photo of FSUmac


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


Pours out a dark brown with a frothy white head. Nice lacing forms as well.


Almost guinness-like on the initial smell. Very malty with some hops in the background.


Roasted malts with a biscuity taste. A hint of coffee bitterness.


Pretty good. Not too thick on the tongue and I like the balance of carbonation. Nice aftertaste.

Overall, I like this beer. I could definitely see myself drinking 5 or 6 in a night. Brings good flavor without being too heavy.

Serving type: bottle

07-09-2008 02:11:20 | More by FSUmac
Photo of ectomorph


3.58/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I'm on New Belgium kick, what can I say?

A - Very dark with burgundy undertones. Head thins down but good lacing.

S - Nice and grassy with a little bread on the back. Makes you take deeeep breaths.

T - Very clean and well balanced. Nice bread and grass undertones (smell) .A great example of why you don't judge beers by their color.

M - Much lighter than the appearance would let on.

D - Falling just below the 6% mark, these are good for 3 after work.

Serving type: bottle

07-08-2008 01:52:47 | More by ectomorph
Photo of Tolann


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

A - Very dark velvety color. small bit of head a bit off white. more ruby red when held up to the light.

S - sweet roasted and a little smoky.

T - sweetness gets you right at the back of your tongue. Nothing too huge

M - good mouthfeel and not too much carbonation. Not a big aftertaste. Light to medium in body. A little bit of roast after the sip.

D - goes down real easy and not a hard alcohol. One you could enjoy all night.

Serving type: bottle

07-07-2008 00:05:01 | More by Tolann
Photo of BucBasil

South Carolina

3.78/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Poured from the 12oz bottle into an imperial pint glass. The beer is a dark brown at first glance, and when held to light it is a very dark ruby red. Head was 3 fingers thick and light tan with good retention.

Smell: Big smoky character in the first whiff with hints of semisweet choclates and meat.

Taste: Malty and thick with an intriguing smoky finish. Big roasted and almost burnt flavors throughout.

Mouthfeel: Not as smooth as I was expecting. Carbonation is moderate, and the body is medium.

Drink/Notes: This was an interesting beer that borders on being a rauchbier due to its dark smoky nature. I don't think it's one that I would come back to regularly, but it was a good experience.

Serving type: bottle

07-06-2008 07:16:38 | More by BucBasil
Photo of Clockwork420


4.2/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a glass.

A- Poured a black amber hue. 2 finger head. Very pretty darkest New belgium.

S- Only could smell sweet and smoke.

T- Not as sweet as I thought it was by the smell. The taste of smoke is apparent. Atleast to my tongue. Earthy and smokey. This was a very good.

M- Perfect carbonation. No hiccups. Overall this was a good beer. Not super thin but It could be thicker but I wouldnt take point off of this area just for that. It was great.

D- High.

The only off area was the smell which is usually the area that lacks in most of my reviews. Overall this was a great beer. Highly passes my expectations. Possibly the highest beer in the New Belgium brewing co.


Serving type: bottle

07-05-2008 06:29:32 | More by Clockwork420
Photo of IPABrewer


3.6/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This sample has a best by date of Dec 5th 2008

Appearance: Pores a dark brown color with a tan head that lingers slightly.

Smell: Smells of fresh roasted coffee.

Taste: It has the flavors of chocolate & coffee with a definite sweetness that is characteristic of most Belgian style beers.

Mouthfeel: Creamy

Drinkability: This is a good session beer in my opinion as the drinkability was really good.

Overall a good beer. I was really glad to see this beer finally in TN. I had a friend bring back a sample the last time he visited CO but it didn't exactly survive the trip back. Glad we can finally get fresh samples in TN & at $2.99 a bomber it makes it even better.

Serving type: bottle

07-03-2008 23:36:28 | More by IPABrewer
Photo of RblWthACoz


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

Thanks to Ballewblake for bringing this to Brooklyn for Biscodoll and thanks to Biscodoll for providing a few as a delivery gratuity.

I never thought I'd be reviewing a New Belgium beer while I lived in Brooklyn.

Pours a dark brown that is clear with a thin creme/tannish head that falls to nothing. Nose is supremely odd. Very much like a porter with the roasted and coffee tones. Flavor is nice and robust, though not overly complex in nature. Again, it hits me like a porter. Roasted and vaguely like a schwarzbier (yes I have had a few different ones recently to compare to). The area it sways towards Belgian is in the feel and the slightly different sweet tone. Overall this is a very nice beer. Definitely worth trying and definitely one of New Belgiums better offerings.

Serving type: bottle

06-27-2008 05:39:43 | More by RblWthACoz
Photo of PiecefulToker


3.83/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz bomber.

A: Black, but clear dark burgundy when held up to light. Pours with a thick foamy head that quickly dissipated to a thin layer that sustained leaving thick lace.

S: Not much here... roasted malt and some hop put resence.

T&M: Not as bitter or roasty as I expected, but has a nice presence of roasted malt with a good hop bitterness. There is some residual sweetness that balances the bitterness well and gives it good body.

D: Pretty high. It is smooth and well balanced, I could drink a lot of these, but might prefer a few before switching to a lighter session beer.

Serving type: bottle

06-27-2008 02:49:59 | More by PiecefulToker
Photo of IPAcraig


3.85/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a duvel tulip. Massive creamy head atop a black licorice ruby body.

Nice aroma of roasted chocolate with a tint of astringency.

This taste like a schwarzbier fermented with ale yeast. Roasty but not as much as a stout. Chocolaty but not as much as a porter. Not much Belgian character, but tasty.

I liked the mouthfeel. Very creamy and thick, but I was expecting a brightly carbonated beer with this being a self proclaimed Belgian style ale.

This is my second New Belgium brew in two days, and I like this one better than Fat Tire despite this one not tasting Belgin imo. A fairly unique and flavorful offering for sure.

Serving type: bottle

06-25-2008 22:04:59 | More by IPAcraig
Photo of mikejk305


4.43/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark opaque brown with a little head that doesn't stay long. The smell is great, roasted and chocolate. The taste doesn't lack, very malty and very crisp. Great mouthfeel, not heavy at all for what you might expect. Very drinkable, a great fall beer but drinkable any time.

Serving type: bottle

06-25-2008 02:44:37 | More by mikejk305
Photo of elniko


4.13/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into pint glass

A: Dark, opaque brew. Light colored head, nice looking brew.

S: Roasted, chocolatey, coffee smell on the nose.

T & M: I really enjoyed the taste of this brew despite the fact that I typically do not enjoy dark ales. Toasty, malty with a crisp aftertaste. What surprised me was the lightness in the mouthfeel of the beer.

D: Definitely a drinkable brew, I was quite pleasantly surprised and will surely be having again.

Serving type: bottle

06-25-2008 02:01:09 | More by elniko
Photo of Ben4881


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

1554 Brussels Style Black Ale
New Belgium Brewing Inc.

Wouldn't say this beer is black necessarily, but a very dark, deep brown. When held to the light, hints of red shine through the glass. The short tan head fades quickly with spotty lacing that also falls fast.

The scent of this brew is not very strong. The smooth faint aroma is of nuts and coffee. A sweet malt fragrance takes center stage, although not very convincingly.

As with the smell, the taste is not very strong, it is subtle. The flavor of burnt nuts and coffee are detectable. A wet finish with slight bitterness and a hint of alcohol fade to an almost nonexistent aftertaste.

This beer has a rather light body, but more so than a light beer. There is not a lot of carbonation, however, the beer foams up nicely when agitated.

A combination of a low ABV and a subtle flavor make this a decent session beer. Excellent work on 100% wind energy.

Serving type: bottle

06-22-2008 19:00:01 | More by Ben4881
Photo of witster18


3.15/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Pours black with hints of red towards the outer rim of the glass.
This one smells of Biscuts and Cherry.
Taste is kinda like throwing some chocolate in Sherry. Esters making things very interesting here. This brew is quite unlike anything I've had so I'm giving it some points for originality. Some of the alcohol notes here remind me of a good milk stout. For 5.5 this beer is LOADED with flavor....you'd think the ABV would be much higher with the first sip. It's not necessarily bad but it does take away a bit from the sessionability of this brew. IT has tons of earthiness to it... Some other berry-like flavors in there and it finishes dry with the dark chocolate on the back-end. APpearance and Mouthfeel are big plus's. May be an acquired taste though.

Serving type: bottle

06-21-2008 17:42:03 | More by witster18
Photo of hwwty4


4.38/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a 12oz bottle into my Boulevard Smokestack goblet. This bottle was part of the Folly Pack that is currently sitting on the shelves of my local beer store. This beer pours a dark mahogany and shows deep ruby tones when held up to the light. A big frothy beige head ensues after a vigorous pour and dark beige lacing is left on the glass after the beer recedes. The aroma is bitter chocolate and just a hint of java and cream. The taste is a blast of dark chocolate and espresso beans. The mouthfeel is full and crisp, with a drying finish. Makes the mouth beg for more. This is probably my favorite year round, if not any brew that is produced by New Belgium.

Serving type: bottle

06-18-2008 03:34:46 | More by hwwty4
Photo of orangemoustache


3.53/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark brown until being held to a light it reveals lots of reds,the head is a fluffy tan four fingers on a heavy pour,some thin lace clings on for dear life as it falls to its death(ok i'm being a little dramatic,it looks pretty nice).I had a hard time getting much good from the nose maybe some slight caramel and slightly burnt malts.The taste was big chocolate up front(dark and bitter) with some coffee flavors and some soft sweet vinilla on the finish.A medium body and moderate carbonation are suitable and encourage drinkability,slightly dry finish.New Belgium offerings were just recently made avalible in Springfield,Illinois and so far they have been above average and better than I had expected.

Serving type: bottle

06-14-2008 18:11:52 | More by orangemoustache
1554 Enlightened Black Ale from New Belgium Brewing
86 out of 100 based on 2,894 ratings.