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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

2,976 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,976
Reviews: 1,242
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 12.53%
Wants: 67
Gots: 165 | 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
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Ratings: 2,976 | Reviews: 1,242 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Fatduck
3.8/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Deep black with amber highlights and a foamy tan head. The last time I had this beer was about a year ago and I hated it. Now it smells malty and sweet and complex. It tastes just as good. It is a little bubbly for me, but its a belgian so that is to be expected. I love this beer, it's my favorite from New Belgium.

Fatduck, Dec 21, 2008
Photo of smanders
3.5/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Purchased at Tipsey's Liquor World - Littleton, CO

Appearance - cola black w/ mocha head.

Smell - malted barley (chocolate, sugar beets).

Taste - tobacco, chocolate.

Mouthfeel - Thick!

Drinkability - After a light dinner, in lieu of dessert, I would/could enjoy a 1554. When the temperatures dip into the negatives, pull out a couple 1554s to provide warmth.

smanders, Dec 15, 2008
Photo of Colt4540
4.3/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Not real sure if this is the same beer but I'm gonna go for it anyway.

A- Really dark about the color of a Coke. Has a nice head a darker shade of tan that leaves after a while but leaves very nice lacing.

S- Smells heavily of toasted malt and hops. There is a bit of chocolaty smell but over all its awesome.

T- At first you get the chocolaty taste but its quickly replaced with the toasted malts and hoppy bitterness. The balance is really good reminds me alot of some winter warmer beers that are out there.

M- Fairly light for a black ale with little carbonation and is very smooth.

D- It is very smooth with little carbonation which makes it very easy to drink without missing out on the full bodied flavorness of a great beer.

Colt4540, Dec 15, 2008
Photo of bag057
4.53/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a deep red/brown with a creamy tan head that lasts for two good drafts leaving a nice lacing. Fruity sweet scent with a chocolatey roasted malt taste finishing slighty sweet and nutty. Very smooth and easy to drink brew. A dark ale I would definitely recommend to fans of this style.

bag057, Dec 14, 2008
Photo of colts9016
3.8/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pour: A deep mahogany with red hues. Two finger tan head with Belgium lacing on the
Nose: Chocolate, roasted malt, hints of pine and hops
Taste: A complex, chocolate, toasted malt, hints of wheat, wheat, citrus, the finish is a bit acidic and dry.
body Medium
Overall: a very good beer with a good balance and character. Enjoyed

colts9016, Dec 11, 2008
Photo of drlumps62
3.6/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I drank this out of a 22 oz. bottle poured into a large mug at O'Mannions Pub on State Street in Tennessee.
A: Very dark oily looking. Thin dark tan head that didn't last long.
There was sip line stickage.
S: Not much there. Slight fruitiness.
T: Heavy coffee, smokey, slight chocolatey flavror. Finishes with a slight fruitiness. Dates?
M: Syrupy yet light. Threw me off.
D: I had more than a few that night. And like I said. The mouthfeel told me that this was something I could drink all night.
My head and stomach told me something else the next day. Drink this as an after dinner treat. I think that this is New Belgiums best.

drlumps62, Dec 11, 2008
Photo of magictrokini
3.15/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Tap @ Fox. Pours dark, dark brown with a thick brown head. Aroma is bitter; coffee, baker's chocolate, and smoke. Taste is questionable. Some pulls were good, others seemed sour. I think the yeast is to blame. It seemed to be fighting the hops and malt for dominance. Needs more balance.

magictrokini, Dec 10, 2008
Photo of promethias405
3.95/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass giving off a beautiful cream colored head, that left a nice lacey lining on the glass walls. Showed a very dark ruby black color, similar to that of Coca Cola. Dark chocolate malts with a roasted smelling nose...very roasty actually. Dark bitter baking chocolate with very faint hints of toffee. Almost get a burnt/dark roast coffee. The taste was what expected from the smell with dark roasty coffee overtones that lingered in my mouth. Roasted malted sweetness prevails over the hoppy bitterness. I'm not a big hophead, so this aspect was pleasing. Mouthful entailed a medium to full body with a smooth velvety feel as I consumed this dark beverage. One would be enough for now, but I would definitely consider buying this again. It very much reminds me of this underhouse smoked porter I had back in college.

promethias405, Dec 09, 2008
Photo of Magpie14
3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: not as heavy as a porter, but with porter complexion. Not black by any means but dark browns and reds all about. Two large blobs of lace east and west of each other, with a ring of foam

S: roasted malts, brown sugar, light earthiness to it

T: roasted malts with light toasted feel and chocolates, sweetness is characteristic of brown sugar and caramel. Ever so soft nutty-coffee finish. Very mild bitterness pop through after a few sips

M: satisfying brew, mild feel and body

D: unique brew overall. I can not say that I have had a "Black Ale," as they call it. Good well rounded beer!

Magpie14, Dec 09, 2008
Photo of electricfields
4.22/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Dark dark dark red brown with a creamy head. Good lacing on the glass. Really, really pretty, actually.

S: Coffee and bitter chocolate above all else. A slight fruitiness hiding underneath.

T: Surprisingly smooth balance of bitter coffee and chocolate flavors and a subtle fruity sweetness with the taste of fresh bread holding it all together. There are some grassy hops in there, but they are not at all the emphasis here.

M: A medium body, which for this style, is unexpected. Thankfully, it adds to it with an increased drinkability. The carbonation is sort of creamy, and I really like it.

D: Take your time with this one. It's not much of a session beer. It's just an exceptionally good, unusually rewarding middle-of-the-road ale.

electricfields, Dec 08, 2008
Photo of bluemoonswoon
3.93/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Heard lots of good things about this beer and finally went out and got me a six pack of my own...ahh, the power of suggestion

12oz bottle poured into a tulip glass

Pours a clear, very dark brown with cooked cherry highlights and topped with a two finger thick, sandy brown head. There is a slight crown of lacing that sticks to the top of the glass but is spotty otherwise.

Smooth and sweet toasted malt aromas greet the nose. Not sugary sweet, not husky or grainy. Toffee, light nuttiness, and sweet roasted malts.

Very toasty, little bit nutty with a slight fruit sugar (sucrose? that's the sugars made by fruits right, its not a fruit flavored sugar here, its more of a slight sweetness that comes from bitting into a ripe fruit, now what kind of fruit that is is hard to say. i mean it's easy to say what it's not. it's not grapefruit, orange, mango, guava, pineapple, or all those other fruits associated with hoppier beers. the fruitiness here is that found in Belgian beers, funny right? cos this is a belgian style ale, but I digress...fruitiness is like that found in St. Bernardus, a darker, herbal fruitness, like a date that you might find at the bottom of the bag of trail mix, that date taking on the flavors of all the almonds, cashews, and peanuts ) so yeah that's what that fruitiness is like in this beer. Mouthfeel is a bit thin but the creaminess displayed here is the saving grace for the beer. A very drinkable beer, has a lot to give and asks little. Would probably be a great beer to convert someone who is a little apprehensive about dark beers and is not ready to dive into a full on porter or stout.

bluemoonswoon, Dec 04, 2008
Photo of Franchise
3.63/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This offering from New Belgium I picked up in my last trip to Portland, OR. The best by date on the 22oz bottle is dated 10/28/08. So I am a little late on this one, shouldn't be too much of a problem though.

1554 poured a chocolate brown, leaving a slim tan head that stayed a bit with the beer but not for long. The aroma is sweet, chocolate, candi, earthy grass, sweet ripened fruit, a lot of excellent flavors going on in the nose.

The taste starts malty, very chocolate, almost a powdery chocolate, milky creaminess, very smooth and delightful. The sweetness is balanced by some earthy hops, there presence is there but def more of a "walk through". The finish is again sweet, can get a bit much on the second half of this beer due to the sweetness but solid overall.

A great session ale to go along with Fat Tire, now I just need to get my hands on more of their other offerings.

Franchise, Dec 03, 2008
Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
3.95/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle served in a tulip glass.

L - black color with a thick, creamy, beige-colored head that left lots of lacing behind.

S - musty, chocolate aroma.

T - sweet, chocolatey flavor upfront and then a bit of the funk mustiness comes out finishing dry with a light bitterness.

F - medium bodied with a crisp carbonation feel.

D - quite tasty and easy to drink.

JoeyBeerBelly, Dec 03, 2008
Photo of thekevlarkid
3.95/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Out of a bottle this beer was a very dark brown color with some ruby hues visible when held to light. The head was tan, one finger thick, retained fairly well and left broken sheets of sticky lacing .The aroma was were malty, roasted, toasty and earthy with some hints of spice. The flavors were similar, rich cocoa, hints of coffee, lots of roasted malt and very chewy in general .The finish was smooth. Mouthfeel was pretty good though the carbonation a touch high for a medium/full body. Very enjoyable and quite wintery.

thekevlarkid, Dec 01, 2008
Photo of skeetermoses
3.85/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

All in all a good dark beer. I am typically not a huge fan of the dark beers. I think of dark beers as too heavy but this one went down smooth with almost a chocolate feel to it, it was almost like drinking a milkshake. Overall this one was suprisingly good compared to the 2 below beer that new belgium offers. I will be reviewing that one in due time.

skeetermoses, Dec 01, 2008
Photo of EnojysAnyBeer
4.13/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A-Huge pillowy head on a dark red/brown translucent body. Nice retension and lacing on head

S- Smells like roasted caramel malt, and chocolate

T- Great balance of hops and malts. Good semi-sweet chocolate taste

M- Moderate body that goes down like water

D- Very good for a dark beer

EnojysAnyBeer, Nov 27, 2008
Photo of seedsofchaos
4.18/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Bought a 6-pack of "1554 Enlightened Black Ale" from a local liquor store in Southern Illinois. I believe this to be the same as this beer even though there is a slight name difference... By the read reviews, everyone seems to be talking about the same thing. I'm a newbie though, so if anyone wants to correct me, I'd be glad to contribute a +Beer.

A: Dark brown... not quite black. Similar in color to a cup of "black coffee". Pours with a one-finger head that quickly disappears. Lacing is decent but the head just sits around the edges for the rest of the tasting.

S: Sweet and malty with slight touches of burnt chocolate.

T: Great taste! The aftertaste is of burnt chocolate just like the smell, except a bit stronger. I detect just a hint of caramel too.

MF: Average. Carbonation is pretty good. Doesn't sit too heavy or too light in the mouth.

D: Great drink. I seriously sat one night and had three of these in a row despite having plenty of other offerings to partake of. I could drink these all day. More of a winter drink though: The slight chocolatey taste fits perfectly with the current holiday season.

seedsofchaos, Nov 23, 2008
Photo of MTNboy
4.43/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

It has a crazy amount of brown/tan head with some really nice lacing. It has an opaque black color that is true to the name. It has an aroma that is a lot like a porter. It has a deep roasted malt smell it very sweet and not much for hops. It has a roasted malt caramel chocolate taste. It has a wood and nut like aftertaste. Medium almost full bodied.

MTNboy, Nov 22, 2008
Photo of wcudwight
4.08/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark brown in color with some ruby highlights when held up to the light. Nice tan head with a good thick texture. Good head retention.
Heavy aroma of whole grain muffins. Not much else though.
Wonderful malt profile for this beer. Whole grain muffins or bagel taste. With some lightly blackened toast. Some caramel and just a touch of strong black coffee. Hops hide in the background and only present themselves in the finish. Hops add an earthy character. This is an excellent tasting beer.
Mouthfeel is medium. At first I thought it to be a bit light. But on further reflection I think if the mouthfeel were fuller this beer would become a light stout. I don't think that was the brewers intention. This is a delicious beer but a light stout it is not.
Wonderful drinkability. Great beer to have at the local pub with some good conversation.
Thanks to mugglesandhops for the beer. This had been on my wants for sometime.

wcudwight, Nov 20, 2008
Photo of sd42790
3.2/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured into mug. Consume by date 12/26/08

A- Nearly opaque black with a decent 1.5-finger off-white head. Moderate lacing.

S- coffee and chocolate roasted malt predominately, a touch of that biscuity malt, the same that you get in Fat Tire. Could be allergies, but the whole aroma seems relatively subdued.

T- Big roasted malt, again with the coffee and chocolate. Can't seem to find much hop in there at all. Tiny hop bite on the end. Again, a bit subdued. I would have been okay with even bigger malt character if there was some hop to balance it out. Granted, it's not my most familiar style, but something is missing. The malt hits, but after that the beer has run its course.

M- Moderate, a bit thin for my tastes, but again... not my most familiar beer style. A little more body would have helped.

D- I could pound a few, but the one-note malt character would get old quick.

Overall- To me, this tastes like a poor stout, minus body and hops. Of the New Belgium's that I have tried, it seems that they are a bit malt crazy.

sd42790, Nov 18, 2008
Photo of Yaz8
3.65/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle pours deep blood red/dark brown with a one-finger head that dissipates quickly to a thin ring. Minimal lacing.

Strong roasted, almost burnt, coffee aromas dominate, supported by bicuity malts and toffee.

Taste is similar: complex smoky, sweet malts with coffee, toffee and little in terms of offsetting hops bitterness.

Smooth, slightly thin mouthfeel, with a clean, dry aftertaste.

Yaz8, Nov 16, 2008
Photo of jhu1995
3.48/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance is black, but to the lighter side, with a thin tan head. Aroma is bready, with hints of toasted grains. Caramel like flavors dominate, with some yeasty/bread-like flavors and smokiness in the finish. Very light-bodied and dry. Easy to drink as should be expected. Overall a decent beer for a change of pace but not one to specifically seek out.

jhu1995, Nov 15, 2008
Photo of deereless
4.43/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: A little lighter than the color of a black raisin, the head hangs around on this beer, some lacing on the edges - 4.00, S: Lots of roasted and slightly charred grain aromas, some caramel and espresso, a little yeasty, a very enticing smell - 4.50, T: The aftertaste of this beer is heavy on the toasted grains, some chocolate pudding, mild date flavors, faint signs of Belgian yeast - 4.25, M: 4.00, D: A very drinkable and enjoyable beer, not a style with which I am overly familiar but one I would seek out - 4.50

deereless, Nov 15, 2008
Photo of tpd975
3.08/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Had on draft at the New Belgium pub in the Denver airport.

A: Pours a nice dark black with rather small head. Little retention and no lace. Must note the pour was way too cold.

S: Light aromas. Hints of roasted chocolate malt with a touch of smoke.

T: Not as good as I had heard. Light chocolate up front with notes of coffee. Dark fruit come in the middle and a touch of over roasted malt in the finish.

M: Medium in body smooth

D: So, so. I had heard great things about this beer. I was not overly impressed.

tpd975, Nov 14, 2008
Photo of kkipple
3.9/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Got this early way before New Belgium hits our fair shores. 12oz bottle.

Going into this I really had no idea what to expect, other than that this is some sort of Belgian... porter? Who knows. But this is a thin, black-brown ale (not really black... go drink a Shakespeare Stout and get back to me...) with a small, spotty head. Clear, too.

Smells pretty good... very "beer like" to me. Getting cocoa and a bit of sweet coffee, a little metallic note (hops?), grain and a touch of dark burnt raisins, like the kind you crunch on in your grandmom's nigh-inedible fruitcake. This is actually reminding me of an English porter. It is a delicious smell; sweet roast and black-bread blend with a sourness that is really appealing.

Flavor is basic, yet good. Think a slightly sour, fruity thin porter and you are nearly there. Layered roasted malts alternate between singed-bitter and sweet and bready. Not as dry as I would have expected, the finish is mildly sweet and malty with a fine cocoa-bitter sour fruit twang. Almost (almost!) refreshing.

Mouthfeel is thin, but sufficiently carbonated to make this anything but a chore to drink. I wish I had more, to be honest. This is a fine brew and rather sessionable; though it would fare better with food... like anything beefy. Mmm.

I'll buy more of this if it makes it to our state. If folks really drank like this in 1554 it couldn't have been all bad.

kkipple, Nov 13, 2008
1554 Enlightened Black Ale from New Belgium Brewing
86 out of 100 based on 2,976 ratings.