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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

3,107 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,107
Reviews: 1,255
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 12.27%
Wants: 74
Gots: 223 | 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: 3,107 | Reviews: 1,255 | Display Reviews Only:
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.

Photo of SuperSpy
3.96/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Black on first appearance, but brown with ruby hues when held to the light. A wonderful 1-inch, off-white head. Plenty of lave as this dies down.

S - Sweet roasted malts, dark chocolate, molasses.

T/M - A nice medium body. The flavor is cocoa, coffee and biscuit. Sweet and malty with a nice dry finish. Overall this is complex enough to stay interesting throughout the session but surprisingly the flavor does not change much as the beer warms.

D - A very nice beer overall. Beautiful and great flavor in one package.

Photo of Vidav
4.51/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A: Dark color, reminded me of a cherry stain on a desk. Got about 1/4 inch head.

S: Nutty.

T: A lot going on here. Two strongest flavors were coffee and chocolate. Very rich.

M: Kind of sharp on the tongue. Not too sharp though.

D: This was really good.

Notes: Very nice dark ale, I enjoyed it a lot. The richness means it is something I wouldn't want more than one of in a session though.

Photo of jbphoto88
4.17/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark brown with garnet highlights and enough of them to give it a deep ruby hue. It doesn't appear to be opaque. I can see through it on the edges but the beer is dark enough to give that illusion through the bulk of the liquid. The cap is off white and flimsy in fact all that's left is a thin collar and a spit looking island floating around the beer.

The smell is quite intoxicating for a beer lover such as myself. Deep malts with hints of chocolate, bready yeast and raw un-roasted coffee beans.

Taste is very well done. The only other belgian dark ale I've had is the leffe brune and this blows it out of the water. It's basically a bold brown ale with nice Belgian characteristics. The flavors range from bittersweet chocolate to strong malts and a nice biscuit dipped in thin coffee. A Belgian yeast characteristic shines through and adds to the flavor profile.

This brew is a pleasure to drink and part of that is due to the excellent mouthfeel. Smooth and creamy but not overly bodied. This beer coats your mouth nicely but then subsides to a rich coffee chocolate malt aftertaste and a subtle dryness. Damn fine beer and damn easy to drink.

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

Draft in a wheat beer glass, thin head when served, not much lace at all.

I first had this brew in the bottle and really liked the dark offering from New Belgium, but was hoping for more from the draft version. It's about the same.

Color is dark, very ruby red when held up to the light, little to no effervescence.

Taste was good, slight roastiness, hints of vanilla, but having a more noticeable boozey, alcohol taste I would rather not have. Not heavy, rather light bodied and very drinkable, a good dark beer for the summer.

Photo of CHSLBrew
3.46/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Bomber poured into a pint glass.

A-Very dark brown beer (some may call it black), but it appears quite clear. Darker tan head rose nicely off the pour, sustained ok.

S-Earthy, slightly toasty.

T-Slight roasty flavor and a prominent chocolate malty character. Toasty malt, as well. Hop presence is hard to define, perhaps a bit of earthy, with a bitterness that adds just enough of a balance, maybe a bit more.

M-Unoffensive body, neither added to nor detracted from the flavor of the beer.

D-Good. Easy to drink with a lighter feel. A prime example to show that dark color does not equate to full bodied.

Photo of cdizinno
3.8/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

presentation: 22oz. brown bottle with best before date of 30 Oct. '09, poured into a chalice.

A: Dark mahogany with deep red tones. Light tan head with minimal lacing.

S: Mainly malty with slight hop overtones. Some sweet aromas of molasses with some roastiness.

T&M: Very bland compared to the smell. Simple malty flavor, but very smooth and slight dry aftertaste. Heavy bodied, but smooth and better tasting as I get to the bottom of the bottle (maybe I should've shaken it first)

Definitely okay and I love this brewer. Less than $3 a bottle at Total Wine & More. I like the Witbier the best though!

Photo of Florida9
3.91/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured in a tulip glass. Presents with a deep, alluring mahogany color and a massive, barely tan, head that quickly reduces to a surface coating, leaving some minimal lacing in the process.

S: Roasted malts, molasses.

T: Begins moderately sweet, but mellows over the course of the beer. There is a noticeable maltiness, but it is not cloying or thick. Finishes with light chocolate and an ever so slight "twanginess." Actually somewhat refreshing.

M: Medium in body and carbonation. Light malty mouth coating, but thinner than expected.

D: A very nice beer. The thinner viscosity increases the drinkability and it paired very nicely with a grilled Appenzeller and arugula sandwich. Surprisingly easy drinking.

Photo of meyerds
4.5/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured into a widemouth half-pint glass. Not ideal for a dark ale perhaps, but even so, provided an acceptable head (about one finger). Color very dark, sort of a burnt orange when held to the light. Head diminished rapidly, but to a very long-lasting (and very appealing) ring around the edges and thin film on the surface.

Simple, pleasing aroma of chocolate and coffee, with a hint of vanilla.

Initial taste very smooth, almost sweet. During - the coffe and chocolate flavors came out as I had smelled them. Very much present, but subtle at first. After - the coffe came out much stronger, and the vanilla I smelled before also was noticed, if only slightly. Almost more enjoyable for the minute or so after the drink. Excellent.

Unobtrusive texture - the carbonation is not immediately apparent, but will lightly sparkle on the end of the tongue for a second or two. Liquid is thin, easy to drink. For the style and flavors present in the ale, the carbonation is dead on. Exceptional.

Surprising, and exceptional dark ale from new belgium. Not necessarily intruiging, but a very repeatedly enjoyable beer. This is going on my list of favorites.

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

The nose is very rich here...heavy malt notes, largely chocolate in nature. I could be sniffing a great dark chocolate bar here with a hint of coffee. Yum.

The taste is overwhelmingly malty....roasted chocolate malt (with perhaps a tad bit of coffee) is dominant here. Very rich! The finish only has a slight bit of hops but in no way come close to the maltiness of this brew. The aftertaste is of the chocolate, roasted malts somewhat lingering but not cloying. Mouthfeel is not thin, yet not heavy.

All around, I really like this beer. I'm a fan of beers with wonderful malt character, and this fits the bill.

Photo of ImusBeer
3.91/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I bought this 22oz bottle along with Fat Tire.

A: poured into a 16oz glass, head died quickly and was a medium tan color. Very dark brown in color.

S: Smelled of charcoal and roasted malt.

T&M: roasted flavor with a chocolate and charcoal flavor after. warm mouthfeel, almost creamy.

D: This is one to savour, it may be better to share this with a friend since it's so rich.

Photo of wyattshotmaker
3.41/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

poured into an orval chalice with a nice head.nice dark brown,smell is coffee and bitter chocolate.

the beer is somewhat thin,kinda reminds me of a thin porter.mostly picking up burnt bitter chocolate and coffee.pretty dry.i was expecting a bit more in terms of complexity.

this isn't a bad beer,i think it pales in comparison to chambly noire and rare vos.i could drink a few of these,they are reasonably priced.

Photo of Anthony1
3.97/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

bottle poured into goblet

pours a dark, almost black color with a very thin tan head. the head almost all but vanished quickly, leaving just a ring around the edge that seemed to last. it smells roasted with a bit of chocolate. tastes a bit like coffee. med feel that drinks smooth, well carbonated.

Photo of Riptides
4.5/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Got this one on a blind, never seen a review of it or heard of it before.

Not what I expected in a dark beer, but then again with this that's a good thing.

A - Pours easy, dark dark to black, with no head to speak of in a dry pint glass.

S - Smells fudgey, like a fresh batch of grandma's fudge.

T - Strong toffee and fudge flavors. Overpowering at the start but takes on a mellowness once the taste is expected.

M - Watery and wet, almost slick feeling, little to no mouth foaming/carbonation. I really like this beer.

D - I could see myself drinking these as a pair, back to back, just to have something different during a session. But dunno how well I'd want to make this a full part of my session beer, but I'll be damned if I'm not currently enjoying this one.

Photo of brewcrew76
4.13/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Deep brown with amber hues and 2 fingers of thick creamy tan head that leaves sticky lacing.

S - Nutty with toffee, caramel and molasses. Hints of chocolate and a touch of roasty malt.

T - Grainy malt, nutty with caramel and chocolate. Earthy with some roasty malt.

M - Somewhat light and sweet with a good amount of carbonation making this a refreshing dark beer.

D - Easy drinker and nice to see a bomber for under $4.

Photo of drunkboxer1
4.12/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep dark brown with a tan head that goes away rapidly. The glass I poured it into was wet so I'm not gonna blame the beer for bad head retention. Smells like chocolate, coffee, and toasted bread. Tastes kind of "crunchy." A lot of the same flavors found in the nose are there, particularly the roasted malt characteristics. Not much hop presence to speak of. I've had this many times before and don't remember it being as sweet as I think it is in this tasting, maybe I'm just comparing it to the Pacifico I just drank. Either way, I like this one.

Photo of donmonkey1
3.1/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Apperance: Black with a light tan head. The head has mostly large bubbles that pop and the entire head recedes too quickly. Good lacing though.

Smell: Nutty caramel molasses.

Taste: Nutty molasses water.

drinkability: I like that it has real character, but it doesn't taste particularly good.

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

Poured into a Duvel tulip glass.

A: Pours dark brown, almost black. I could only barely see through it when putting it up to the light. There was about 3 fingers of light brown head. Very nice lacing.

S: I pick up big roasted, chocolaty malt notes. I also get a little bit of a alcohol smell.

T: It is certainly different. I get a really strong chocolate explosion with a little bit of coffee. It reminds me of Imperial Stout, but it drinks a lot lighter and it is quite a bit more toned down. I get a very slight bready and boozy aftertaste. To me, it's as if a Impy Stout and a Belguim Trappist had a delicious 22oz baby.

Overall: I really like this beer and at 4 bucks a bomber I foresee several bottles will find a new home in my fridge.

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

A: I poured this into a pint glass. Very dark with some hints of brown. Good head.

S: Dark chocolate in the nose.

T: This is a hard one to describe mainly because I haven't had a lot like it. I've had some brown ales but this is much darker and has a deeper flavor. It's very good and perhaps that is the best way to describe it right now :)

M: The first sip of this and I thought of cola. The carbonation is what does it I think. Overall the carbonation, though, works well in this beer.

D: This is one of my favorites from New Belgium. I'll be picking up one or two of these to keep on hand, especially at $2.99 for a 22oz bomber.

Photo of tjwarren
4.4/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from bottle into a chalice. Almost opaque with little to no head. Just what a dark beer drinker wants/expects. I may have had it a bit too cold.

I got coffee/chocolate and grains. No hops knew it would be smooth but I would have liked a little more nose to it.

Taste - I would not really call this a belgian ale. It is very good but it is sort of a hybrid between a belgian and a stout. Coffee/chocolate, dark fruit very good, very unique. I really enjoyed it.

Mouthfeel - again I believe a Belgian is a little more carbonated and more yeasty than this but I cannot complain even though it was a little plain it was still very good.

Drinkability - I thought this was going to be a one and done since it was so dark. I also thought it would be a cold weather warmer. It was neither. I could see a 6 pack disappearing very quickly.

Overall - my first New Belgium and I can see what the hype is about. I cannot get this in Ohio but will look for it when I visit NC again.

Photo of jbhuxley
3.08/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Poured out of a 22oz bottle into a large wine glass.

Appearance: Pours with a two finger head. Almost black in color, when held to light, slight caramel color shows. Thick lacing, doesn't stick around.

Smell: Toasty and grainy.

Taste: Starts out very sweet. Finishes toasty and chocolaty. The flavor, along with the intense carbonation, gives it a cola characteristic.

Mouthfeel: The carbonation is a bit much. Body is a bit lighter than I expected.

Drinkability: Too sweet. I didn't care for the odd carbonation.
I poured the beer at around 45 degrees. The balance improved immensely as the it warmed up 5-10 degrees.

1554 Enlightened Black Ale from New Belgium Brewing
86 out of 100 based on 3,107 ratings.