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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

2,921 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,921
Reviews: 1,238
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 12.53%
Wants: 66
Gots: 136 | 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: 2,921 | Reviews: 1,238 | Display Reviews Only:
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
Photo of aerozeppl

New York

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

A: Deep ruby red. A finger of head with decent retention.

S: Cherries. Lots of cherries. Did not really get much else.

T: Sweetness then caramel. Molasses and dark fruit.

M: Medium body good amount of carbonation.

D: Great session beer. Big flavor low ABV.

Serving type: bottle

06-08-2008 19:32:34 | More by aerozeppl
Photo of happygnome


3.63/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

a: pours a dark brown color, when held to the light ruby hues there is about a half inch of head that dissapears fast leaving minimal lacing
s: cocoa, toasted nuts, fruits all wrapped in a bready aroma
t: cocoa, toasted nuttiness, bready flavor
m: medium bodied beer with a good amount of carbonation

overall, this was a fairly goodbrew that i do believe ill get again

Serving type: bottle

06-02-2008 18:12:30 | More by happygnome
Photo of tgbljb


4.33/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a very deep copper color with massive off-white head.

Smell has nice characteristics of yeast, fruity malt and a touch of spice.

Taste expands on the smell with the spiciness becoming more prominent. There are some nut-like flavors, with a touch of bubblegum. Very complex and very tasty.

Left a good strong apicy flavor in the mouth.

An extremely enjoyable Beer. Lots of flavor at a decent alcohol content.

Serving type: bottle

06-01-2008 19:17:32 | More by tgbljb
Photo of HalfFull


3.33/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a bomber into a pilsner glass. Pours a rather deep mahogany brown with a thick tan head with a lot of holes. Not much retention yet offers decent lacing throughout.

Smells of roasted malts and coffee.

T/M - Coffee flavors persist throughout with woody esters. Nice feel with decent carbonation. Though I would expect less carbonation given the structure of the beer, I find it just about right in this case, balancing coffee flavors and a sweet malt close.

A bit too malty in the finish for me to have more than a sample. May balance well with a moderately sweet desert or BBQ sauce.

Serving type: bottle

05-29-2008 04:17:31 | More by HalfFull
Photo of far333


4.2/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Interesting history behind this one. Pours chestnut brown, nearly opaque, minimal beige head.

aroma of brown sugar and molasses.

Flavors of dark roasted malt, some hop bitters, mild smoke and charred bark, leather and cocoa in the finish and linger.

Mouthfeel is full upfront, moving to bubbly, finishes tingly from the carbonation, but is also mildly powdery and tannic.

Tasty beer, pretty drinkable for me.

Serving type: bottle

05-27-2008 13:18:26 | More by far333


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

Dark brown with good clarity. 1" beige head that retains well at 1/2" and plenty of lace. Tons of chocolate and cocoa powder in the nose along with coffee and earthy malt tones. Roasted malt and chocolate (dry powdery chocolate) dominate the flavor. Some dark fruit. Leafy hop flavor towards the finish. Medium body. Low to mid carb. Dry finish. Lighter body than what the appearance indicates. High drinkability. Mich like a dunkel in the fact that it is dark, highly sessionable, and full of flavor.

Serving type: bottle

05-17-2008 04:16:49 | More by MUSHROOMCLOUD
Photo of jjayjaye

New York

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

Pours a clear dark brown color with less than a finger foamy light tan head that fades slowly leaving a nice amount of Belgian lacing in its wake. Smells like a malty chocolate ice cream float with a mild nutty roasted character. The mouth feel is medium bodied with a significant tingle of hopped effervescence. The taste follows close to the nose. A semi-sweet nutty chocolate with a maltiness that lingers nicely. An easy drinker, so far my favorite New Belgium product.

Serving type: bottle

05-13-2008 23:54:08 | More by jjayjaye
Photo of AZTEX


3.93/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another great beer from New Belgium. I poured from a bottle into a glass. The beer had a good 3 finger foam that quickly collapsed into a creamy froth and gradually fell down to a thin line. The color was a clear, reddish, coffee color. The beer had a malty, roasted smell with traces of bitter chocolate and coffee. It also had a rich, malty taste with a hint of espresso and finished with a mild hoppiness that was clean and refreshing. The mouthfeel was creamy and rich. A very drinkable beer that I will definitely buy again....but then, I am partial New Belgium's products.

Serving type: bottle

05-13-2008 04:12:48 | More by AZTEX
Photo of rye726


3.68/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is one of my favorites from New Belgium. A good black colored beer with a thick tan head. A very roasty nose with lots of black and chocolate malts. Some fruity hops as well. The taste is similar with a big dark malt profile. Faint hops keep the barley from dominating. Crisp medium body aids in the drinkablity. I'm not sure if its a true Belgian dark, but it is quite good.

Serving type: bottle

05-08-2008 06:43:25 | More by rye726
Photo of Atlas1


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

Belgian dark ale by New Belgium. This might just work.

Pours a fine looking dark-brown/black hue with a full, two-finger tan head that sticks around a while. Good looking lace after it eventually recedes. The beer is a beautiful crimson/mahogany color when held up to the light. Great looking brew. The nose is pleasant. Roasted coffee notes, dark cherry, plum, baker's chocolate (or maybe just some cocoa), light smokiness. Really nice aroma all around. Tastes very similar to the way it smells. Fruity (dark fruit) sweet up front, followed by a bittersweet dryness that lingers through to the finish. Not so hoppy, but the dry, coffee-like finish lets you know they're there. Smooth mouthfeel; a bit tangy but with a dry finish.

This is a fine beer. Probably my favorite of the New Belgium brews I've had. And at 5.5% ABV, a totally approachable and sessionable beer. I could easily put back several of these in a sitting. It's great because this is the kind of beer that could easily attract craft beer neophytes and satisfy the experienced palate of a BeerAdvocate at the same time. Well done.

Serving type: bottle

05-08-2008 00:48:58 | More by Atlas1
Photo of ALESwhatCURESya


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

22oz Bomber

A-Nice deep coffee brown with garnet highlights. Body seems to have very nice clarity. Head is light airy beige with ever so slight lacing. Head retention is not all that great.

S-A sweet twist between a Belgian dubbel and an english brown. Rich dark fruits are quickly followed by nutty, roasted malts. A touch of cocoa comes and goes.

T-Same as the aroma in terms of a hybrid of english brown and abbey dubbel although the roasted malts are more predominant in the taste than the fruitier Belgian yeast and sugar.

M-A very nice and enjoyable chewiness subsides in the mouthfeel but the body is light enough to keep it from being filling. Carbonation is damn near perfect and leaves a slightly dry finish.

D-A simple yet complex beer that is sadly missed from the normal offerings. This makes for a GREAT session beer and wakes up the tastebuds and reminds you that these hybrid styles can create wonderful changes from the everyday IPA or Stout.

Serving type: bottle

04-30-2008 00:37:03 | More by ALESwhatCURESya
Photo of lordofthewiens


3.9/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A very good beer. Poured from a bottle with Best By 11/08 on the label, the beer was a very dark brown with red highlights. The head was off-white and thick, and dissipated fairly quickly. I wasn't too impressed with the aroma, sweet chocolate, not much else. The taste, though, made up for the relatively mild aroma. Fruit, chocolate, a little coffee and roasted malt. Easy drinking, and at 5.5% ABV, one could put a few of these away.

Serving type: bottle

04-29-2008 22:44:48 | More by lordofthewiens
Photo of Rzzzzz


4.25/5  rDev +11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into Chimay glass. Not quite black but dark brown, with a creamy but short lived tan head. Very light lacework. Aroma is a blast of fruit and chocolate, plus coffee and nearly burnt toast, lightly buttered. Taste is a delicious blend of chocolate, coffee, toasted grains...sweet with a very light bitterness, just enough to balance it out. Nice, easy mouthful, medium to light bodied with smooth carbonation. In my opinion this beer is as good or better than a lot of pricier ones out there.

Serving type: bottle

04-28-2008 16:38:01 | More by Rzzzzz
Photo of demcorhip

Ontario (Canada)

3.9/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A nice looking brew. Black translucent body with garnet highlights. Nice two finger pale tan coloured head with ok retention. Sticky clumps of lace already present.

Aroma is pretty mellow, some nuttiness, suspect more from the yeast than the malt, although they do contribute some creamy hazelnut, a touch of grain husk, and hints of espresso. A touch of herbal bitterness appears with hints of autumn leaves.

Taste is quite similar to the nose, although some cocao appears in the middle before slightly roastier elements of dark roast coffee show up. In some ways quite similar to a schwarzbier, as this is slightly mellower than a mild porter. A mellow yet tasty brew.

Smooth and slightly creamy in feel, giving some substance to this light bodied brew. Quite mellow with the chocolate malts with only the slightest hints of roasted malts. Nice touch of hops to round things out here.

A very drinkable brew. Also a great beer for introducing newbies to the darker styles with its mellow creamy qualities versus more in your face roasted qualities. Also sessionable, and would be well suited to quaffing with friends on a warm summer's eve. While not particularly challenging, this is one tasty mellow brew that is easy to drink.

Serving type: bottle

04-27-2008 01:42:01 | More by demcorhip
Photo of IBUnit63


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

On tap 4/24 @ Ginger Man Austin

Thick, chewy oatmeal-colored head for tap. Deep, chocolate licorice body. Very nice lacing.

Solid chocolate malt backbone-a little cinnamon sugar, maybe some molasses and root beer/sarsaparilla.

Light-almost drinks like a robust Schwarzbier as expected. Heavy malt, grass and slate for hop profile. A bit of low-powered alcohol shows up.

Heavy up front but finishes light. Good carbonation cleans this up.

Very solid effort-sessionable but flavorful.

Serving type: on-tap

04-26-2008 14:05:43 | More by IBUnit63
Photo of johnnnniee

New Hampshire

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

Received in a trade with sfromdawes, thanks for the opportunity.

Pours a dark brown, with ruby highlights. Two finger off white head dissipates quickly, but laces all the way down. Aroma hits with chocolate, coffee, some dried fruit and a little barnyard funk in the background. Taste is creamy chocolate, some fruit and some caramel. Full body, creamy mouthfeel, just enough carbonation the tease the tongue. Great tasting brew, not sure I'd call it a Belgian Dark, but tasty just the same.

Serving type: bottle

04-23-2008 23:09:40 | More by johnnnniee
Photo of Greggy


4.08/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance- Nice ruby/black body and nice 2 finger head that very slowly recedes to a nice cap.

Smell- Malted milk balls, dry dark chocolate,

Taste- Nice smooth malts, dry chocolate, hints of cherries, very nice and smooth!

Mouthfeel- A little bit to much carbonation that is a bit cloying, but otherwise smooth.

Drinkability- Great beer, very sessionable.

Serving type: bottle

04-22-2008 01:46:23 | More by Greggy
Photo of babyhobbes


3.23/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to Jhammerly for this one via BeerPowerball!!

Pours a deep chocolately red-brown with a decent half-inch beige head. Head dissipated before I got a chance to take a sip but there is a ring of lacing.

Smells rathery beery, with some malty sweetness. Taste is good, malty with a sort of fruity taste, that I can't describe, maybe plums? It's good, though.

Mouthfeel is bubbly and warm. This is reasonably drinkable, I don't really want to have another. This is something to try, maybe a single or two.

Thanks again, Jhammerly.

Serving type: bottle

04-19-2008 00:41:29 | More by babyhobbes
Photo of Slynger


3.93/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

1554 pours quite dark with a large, foamy, light tan lid. Scents of softly sweet chocolate/toffee along with dark fruits and a touch of belgian yeastiness. Much of the same in the flavor along with some nutty earthy overtones. Very nice mouthfeel with lots of soft and creamy carbonation. While I've not had many of these this one seems pretty good. It's quite light but retains a nice flavor and an excellent mouthfeel.

Serving type: bottle

04-16-2008 04:17:52 | More by Slynger
Photo of Procrastinator


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

12 oz. brown bottle poured into Sam Adams "pint" glass. Best before 24 Aug 07 printed on bottle label. Part of a six-pack I purchased some time ago. This one was lost in the bottom of the DBF.

Appearance: dark brown root beer colored body with reddish tinges. Creamy tight bubbles in a beige colored head. Carbonation can barely be seen in this dark beer with nice clingy lacing.

Smell: creamy cocoa and dry roasted fresh coffee beans along with dark bittersweet chocolate. Clean underlying hop presence in the background.

Taste: bittersweet chocolate and malty breadiness are greeted by a mellow hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel: well-balanced with just the right amount of carbonation to deliver scents and flavors. Medium bodied with a dryness.

Drinkability: excellent beer and easy to drink with scents and tastes that are well defined and alcohol that takes a backseat.

Serving type: bottle

04-11-2008 21:34:16 | More by Procrastinator
Photo of illidurit


3.2/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into an Ommegang goblet. Dark brown with clear ruby highlights. Big, fluffy, tan, three finger head. Thick lacing on the glass.

A little bit of roasty malt on the aroma, as well as a sourish fruitiness.

Flavor is of peanut skins with a little bit of classic Belgian dark fruit. Some cocoa powder comes out but on the whole this beer is kind of watery and stale.

Mouthfeel is thin, finish isn't very dry for an unsweet beer. Carbonation is a touch heavy. Pretty decent drinkability.

Serving type: bottle

04-06-2008 01:51:15 | More by illidurit
Photo of barleywinefiend


3.5/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a deep brown with little carbonation or head. Sweet malt and roasted aroma dominates; some fruit there too but it was subdued. Body was medium-to-full, and quite a bit of roasted flavor though it didn't contribute as much to the bitterness as would be expected and had hardly any astringency at all. Leaned to the sweet side but not overwhelmingly so. Mouthfeel was nice. Drinkability is much better on tap!!

Serving type: on-tap

03-28-2008 18:42:10 | More by barleywinefiend
Photo of Bubba83


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

Poured from a bomber at 45 degrees into a snifter.

Appearance: Dark mahogany, can see through to the other side of my glass, so it's not quite black as the title might suggest. Quick dissipating head that was initially 3 finger-widths tall. Head looks offwhite bordering on a light shade of brown.

Smell: A bit subdued perhaps, but what is there is some roasty malts with some faint chocolate and dark fruit character in the background.

Taste: It tastes like it smells, except the fruitness comes first, delivering some raisin, prune and currant flavors, but these are a bit brighter on the tongue than those fruits normally are. Fades beautifully into a nice chocolate flavor and finishes dry without a noticable hop bitterness. The big downside is that it isn't rich, and you have to work at some of the flavors, swirling it around in the mouth.

Mouthfeel: A bit thinner than I like my darker robust beers to be. This is the kind of beer I like to chew, but it's pretty watery in body. The carbonation level was good though.

Drinkability: This is one very quaffable beer. Perhaps the beer I'd pick to chug if I had to pick a darker beer in color. The alcohol is somewhat apparent softly at all times, but in no way gets in the way of the drinkability.

Serving type: bottle

03-20-2008 09:27:01 | More by Bubba83
1554 Enlightened Black Ale from New Belgium Brewing
86 out of 100 based on 2,921 ratings.