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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

3,037 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,037
Reviews: 1,245
rAvg: 3.84
pDev: 12.5%
Wants: 70
Gots: 184 | 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:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of 1554 Enlightened Black Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 3,037 | Reviews: 1,245 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Oatsoda
3.83/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Very Dark, nearly Black with a very thin head that dissipates quickly into thin ribbons of bubbles.

It seemed to me to be not very aromatic.

Smoky, malt and chocolate flavor initially. Very little aftertaste. Slightest bit of bitterness at the end.

Very smooth, with little carbonation. Feels light in body, in contrast to its dark color.

Easy to drink beer with chocolatey flavor. Not too sweet, not too sour, not too bitter. Very balanced.

Oatsoda, Mar 06, 2009
Photo of oberon
4.25/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Nice to see New Belgium stuff in the supermarkets aroung Greensboro.Poured into an overiseized wine glass a deep brown like cola color with a great one finger off white head,just creamy looking with great definition,nearly a five.Aromas were a little light but pleasant,bitter chocolate,clove,and black licorice were what I picked up most.Highly drinkable with subtle complexity on the palate,bitter chocolate and dry earthy tones with some licorice-like flavors,the sweetness is kept in check well but lends good balance.A damn fine brew,I liked it more than I thought I would.

oberon, Mar 05, 2009
Photo of jkbusman
3.45/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - pours a somewhat cloudy cola brown with a fizzy head that quickly disappears

S - an earthy malt aroma with a distinct nuttiness and notes of chocolate

T - rich malty sweetness with a heavy bittersweet chocolate note and a bit of hoppy earthiness

M - a solid medium bodied ale with relatively crisp carbonation

D - a decent sessionable black ale, although the chocolate note was somewhat overwhelming for me at times; a decent offering from new belgium

jkbusman, Feb 25, 2009
Photo of biggred1
3.53/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Clear dark amber with a fluffy tan head that leaves fine lacing on the glass. Mollasses, oatmeal, toffee and raisins in the nose along with some fresh yeastiness. Tastes of brown sugar and gingerbread,yeast fruitiness like an overripe banana and vanilla. Light and smooth on the palate. Good quaffer.

biggred1, Feb 24, 2009
Photo of GJ40
3.55/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Sampled on tap at the New Belgium Hub in Denver International Airport.

A - Brown with some light coming through. Seems to have good clarity (other than the color). Not much head at all but some lacing.

S - Brown sugar.

T - A pretty unique beer with some molasses and a faint smoky BBQ flavor. A bit earthy and peaty as well. Not dry but not sweet. Could use more flavor but interesting enough.

M - Good consistency and a nice low carbonation.

D - An easy beer to drink. Not especially compelling but pleasant enough.

GJ40, Feb 23, 2009
Photo of beertunes
2.73/5  rDev -28.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Served on-tap in a straight pint glass. Poured on the still side, not much head or carbonation, minimal lacing. A shade of black that is just shy of being black, while being too dark to be any shade of brown. Nothing noticeable in the aroma. Slight roasted flavors in taste, but nothing that stands out. The body is light for an ale, but would be fulfilling if considered a lager.

beertunes, Feb 23, 2009
Photo of spointon
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I poured this one from a 12oz skinny brown bottle into a shaker pint glass.

A= This ale poured a mildly hazy dark cola-brown color with a 3/4" tan head. The head dropped fast and left just a bit of stickage on my glass.

S= Smell was moderately soft, with dark chocolatey malts, some nutty character, and earthy hops in the nose.

T= Mostly a carbon copy of the aroma. Solid dark malt sweetness up front with just the tiniest flash of fruitiness followed by toasted nuts and a rich chocolate note. Faint bitterness in the chocolate and the earthy hop quality took the edge away from the sweetness. Finish dried a bit with no detectable alcohol.

MF= Medium bodied with a moderately crisp carbonation level.

D= A good solid drinkable, and sessionable, beer. Not the greatest thing out there but it is unique and well worth a try every now and then. Paired well with shepherd's pie for dinner.

spointon, Feb 20, 2009
Photo of jujubeast6000
2.58/5  rDev -32.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Reviewed 10/23/2007 (bottle BB 22Feb08):

Pours a dark brown colored body, with reddish fringes, and a dull white head, diminishing. Has a chocolaty roasted aroma, along with some malts. Has a dry taste, a dusty chocolaty taste. Watery palate, with a dull taste. Some malts.

jujubeast6000, Feb 20, 2009
Photo of geoffsaidso
3.68/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured from a 12oz bottle to tulip.

1554 pours a nice dark nearly black with a slight hue of amber with a light tan head, noticeable legs on the glass as i swirl. there is a slightly alcoholic yet roasty aroma. the taste is a little on the thin side but the roasty flavor does exist in the finish.

overall very drinkable, nice character in subtle application.

geoffsaidso, Feb 18, 2009
Photo of Grizzld
3.4/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Poured this beer into a 20 oz. pint glass. The appearance was a dark amber/brown color with an airy, tan head that dissipated rather quickly. Lacing was decent.

I found the nose to be strong and earthy. Mouthfeel was light and highly carbonated. Too much carbonation in my opinion. Malt and coffee flavors were predominant, with the coffee flavors lingering.

Grizzld, Feb 11, 2009
Photo of gford217
3.73/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle courtesy of lackenhauser poured into a pint glass.

Looks dark, dark brown in the glass with hints of copper around the edges underneath a small, short-lived off-white head which leaves no lacing.

The aroma is full of sweet lightly-toasted caramel malts. There are hints of coffee and chocolate that come out a little more as it warms.

The taste doesn't venture too far from the aroma and has dark sweet malts as the backbone with hints of smoke, coffee and chocolate on top. The finish is slightly dry and toasted.

The mouthfeel is light for a Belgian dark but slightly heavier than a schwarzbier, so it's an interesting mix.

A tasty, if tough to categorize, black beer from New Belgium.

gford217, Feb 06, 2009
Photo of Hojaminbag
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A body that is black at first look reveals some pretty deep ruby notes. About a finger and a half of tan head that doesn't have a ton of retention, but does leave behind some pretty good lacing.

Smells predominantly of roasted malt with notes of coffee and chocolate.

This doesn't really strike me as a belgian dark, but it is a pretty good beer. Chocolate, coffee and roasted malts are all in there. The belgian yeast comes through with some dark fruit flavors.

Medium bodied and carbonated.

Pretty drinkable beer, better than I had expected.

Hojaminbag, Feb 05, 2009
Photo of Jayli
3.9/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

During a trip to Denver this past weekend, I had a chance to grab this on tap at Hard Rock Denver.
This beer was served in a pilsner glass - a beer that was dark brown with ruby highlights. About an inch head to it with sticky lacing throughout. Nose was of smokiness, caramel, roasted and sweet malts. Taste is well balanced between the sweet and bitterness. The carbonation is actually extremely visible. I was also surprised by the light body on this beer. Overall, quite pleasant and the lighter body to it makes it a beer that I could sit with for a session and not feel full.

Jayli, Feb 02, 2009
Photo of Beefeater57
4.15/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Dark auburn color that isn't quite black. Nice head, doesn't retain long.

S: Semi-sweet chocolate, very much like chocolate chips. Some roasted malt- nice smell.

T: Sweet, hints of chocolate. Has a dry finish that compliments it pretty well. Almost drinks like a cola..

M: Medium body, but borderline thin

D: Very easy to drink, definitely could drink a few of these and would buy a six pack of this stuff.

Beefeater57, Feb 01, 2009
Photo of jdklks
1.78/5  rDev -53.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1

ill just write a short paragraph about this one. NOT GOOD. i actually went into this beer thinking "you know what? this might be the first new belgium beer i actually like". boy was i wrong. its see-through dark brown body and tan head were the most impressive (though still not very impressive) aspects of this one. it smells sweet as hell with noticable malts. the taste is sweet fruit and black licorice, and ever-so bland. all i have to say about drinkability is that i knew i had made a mistake with the first sip, and i wanted so badly to pour it out.

jdklks, Jan 27, 2009
Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.73/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. single picked up at Riverside Wine and Spirits in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Best Before: 01MAY09.

Appearance: Pours out a clear, dark chestnut brown body with a smallish, off-white head.

Smell: Sweetish, fruity nose with light notes of caramel, roasted malt, and coffee. A pleasant chocolate scent grows and swarms the nose upon warming.

Taste: Light tastes of roast, caramel, coffee, and even semisweet chocolate with a moderate amount of malty sweetness. Plenty of fig and Bing cherry fruit character. Dash of cola. Very minor hop character and bitterness. Hint of yeast. Lingering tastes of chocolate and roast on the drying finish.

Mouthfeel: Makes me think of blend of a dark Belgian ale with a schwarzbier. Pleasant and highly drinkable with a reasonable ABV%.

ChainGangGuy, Jan 26, 2009
Photo of showell
4.2/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I really like this one. It's one of the first beers I branched out into after I discovered that fat tire wasn't the only drinkable beer out there. I was really pleasantly surprised, and drank this one quite a lot for a while. A nice dark color with a hint of chocolate in the smell and taste. I could actually drink this one all evening very happily, and when I'm at the grocery store, if there's nothing new to try, this one is often the one I'll fall back onto.

showell, Jan 26, 2009
Photo of naterock
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured into a snifter with a decent one finger head, Black in color but not completely opaque with a reddish hue when held to a light.

smells of rich dark roasted malt and a estery yeast character with some grassy/bittering hops in the back of the nose.

taste is rich at first with a swarming chocolate on the palate. I get a lot of yeast in the flavor that finishes slightly funky as a belgian should.

mouth is crisp but rich in quality light carbonation and drinks fairly easy. A black ale to cherish for sure but I would have to be in just the right mood again to really enjoy this one.

naterock, Jan 25, 2009
Photo of AdmiralDiaz
3.8/5  rDev -1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours very dark brown with a small off white head with no lacing.

S: Very faint roasted malts with a bit of coffee

T: Sweetness mixed with roasted malts and a strong coffee finish.

M: Very carbonated and thin

D: Being that it's a thinner beer it's very drinkable and doesn't get old, very easy to drink a bomber

AdmiralDiaz, Jan 23, 2009
Photo of PEBKAC
3.55/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Vintage notes.

Best Before: 06Jun08, consumed 5-23

Anxious pour into my Ommegang anniversary glass that I just love so much. Nearly two inches of frothy French-vanilla head over a black tea saturated body. Drippy, even spaced lace.

Nesquik powder, banana & melon esters, & what seems like black patent. Slight richness to the smell. A definite Belgian essence to it.

Toffee, vanilla creamer, bitter melon rind, odd plastic phenols, & very little roast. Weird artificial cotton candy/confection sugar-like sweetness(& feel). Some clove bitterness at the end. Awesome burps.

Flavor/texture combination is just so different. A Belgian-style schwarzbier, cool. Tasty enough that I should want another, but I felt a little mentally fatigued figuring out what was in front of me.

Thanks to artisanbrew for the hookup, wherever you are. :)

PEBKAC, Jan 22, 2009
Photo of twiggamortis420
3.65/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Figured a Chimay chalice would be appropriate here. Pours a dark brown color with some red highlights. Has good clarity. Tan head at first looks fine and frothy like it would stay around awhile, but it fades to a collar too quickly.

Smell is mostly malts and chocolate. It is nutty without being toasty, kinda like a hershey's bar with almonds. Has a touch of banana and coconut aroma in there as well. It is a pleasant smelling beer, but a bit faint.

Very nutty flavor, brazil nuts and almonds. Surprisingly light bodied, bordering on being too thin, but a slight creamy texture saves it from being watery. A minor touch of dry, hoppy bitterness on the finish appears to be the only detectable presence of lupulin.

A good beer that needs to be drank with a clean palate in order to detect much of the subtle flavors. A good starter beer and most certainly qualifies as sessionable.

twiggamortis420, Jan 20, 2009
Photo of washburnkid
3.88/5  rDev +1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Small head that disappears quickly; deep brown and red hues (not incredibly dark, which was slightly disappointing) with limited lace down sides of glass. Smells of sweet malts, particularly chocolate. Tastes of coffee, caramel and dark chocolate. Hops apparent in moments, enough to call this beer well-balanced. Light mouthfeel with enough carbonation and memorable malts makes this ale easy and pleasant to drink, though I'm a little disappointed that it lacks a bigger flavor and body considering the name and classification. This wouldn't stop me from having another or recommending it to folks. I'd just change some things on the label.

washburnkid, Jan 20, 2009
Photo of hiikeeba
3.98/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - pours up a dark brown, nearly black, with truby highlights and an off white head that lasts for quite a while.

S - Coffee-like roasted malts come through clearly, though the over all aroma is faint

T - There's a little sweet malt in the flavor, but it is quickly overwhelmed by the roasted malt. Otherwise, very clean and refreshing.

M - A little thin and watery, with moderate carbonation

D - Two or three of these would be pretty good right now. Very drinkable.

hiikeeba, Jan 12, 2009
Photo of angelmonster
3.73/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a small 1/4 inch off white head that quickly fades. Black body with dark brown hue when held up to light, average lacing through out.

Smells of roasted malts, some chocolate, tiny bit of alcohol, almost no hop smell at all. Aroma was somewhat subtle, wish it was more upfront

First taste of oaky, roasted malt. Small amount of chocolate with slight bitterness and alcohol. Roasted malts and smokiness dominated the beer. Beer leaves a chalky aftertaste

Mouth feel is a little over carbonated yet smooth. Not thick but has a nice consistency

Over all good beer, a little over carbonated but not too much. Similar to new belgiums abbey beer but more smoky and not as great in my opinion.

angelmonster, Jan 10, 2009
Photo of nick76
3.28/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

The aroma is odd with both roasted malt and hops but also a yeast smell that is unique as well as some chocolate and earthiness. The appearance is brown with an average head. The flavor is like the aroma. The palate is smooth but a tad thin. Overall I like it but its not a favorite.

nick76, Jan 09, 2009
1554 Enlightened Black Ale from New Belgium Brewing
87 out of 100 based on 3,037 ratings.