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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

3,117 Ratings

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Ratings: 3,117
Reviews: 1,256
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 12.27%
Wants: 75
Gots: 229 | FT: 2
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: 3,117 | Reviews: 1,256
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.

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.

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1554 Enlightened Black Ale from New Belgium Brewing
86 out of 100 based on 3,117 ratings.