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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

2,896 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,896
Reviews: 1,237
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 12.53%
Wants: 59
Gots: 123 | 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: 2,896 | Reviews: 1,237 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of buffettfan


4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Nice looking beer, dark dark brown, with some kaki tan head. THis is a nice easy to drink dark beer. This is a good intro for someone wanted to get to know dark beers. One of my favorites from New Belgium. A good after dinner beer, with come chocolate.

Serving type: bottle

10-11-2007 17:49:12 | More by buffettfan
Photo of BeerTruth


4.05/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to genog for this one.

12 oz. bottle poured into a tulip glass.

Pours a super dark molasses with a nice 1.5 finger light khaki head that slowly dies down to a nice layer. Stickiness is pretty good, spotty here and there. Smell is roasted barley, smoked nuts, french roast coffee, and a tiny bit of caramel malt. Taste has some dark chocolate with mostly smoked malt. Aftertaste is woody with some espresso flavors. Mouthfeel is a smooth creamy medium body with just the right amount of carbonation. I really didn't think I'd like this beer, but I was quite surprised. To me, this was very similar to an oatmeal stout, just smokier. Definitely an enjoyable beer, pick this one up for sure if you get the chance.

Serving type: bottle

10-09-2007 00:11:15 | More by BeerTruth
Photo of rhoadsrage


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

(Served in a chalice)

A- This beer has a dark chocolate brown body that is a bit dense but glows with a reddish hue in the sun. There is a sea of tiny bubbles that glide up the side of the glass. Thick creamy layers of sticky foam of light tan that last and last.

S- The smooth roasted notes of dark malt with a slight sweetness with a note of minerals and cream.

T- This beer has a smooth creamy chocolate malt flavor but there isn’t any bitterness to the soft roasted qualities. The finish has a nice smooth coffee malt flavor and a light chalk taste along with the dark fruit notes in the finish.

M- This beer has a medium-light mouthfeel with a creamy texture and a tight fizz finish.

D- This beer is a nice dark mysterious ale that went excellent with fresh baked chocolate chip walnut cookies. There were nice dark malt flavors but they were not the bitter stout qualities instead there were some nice dark Belgian yeast qualities.

Serving type: bottle

10-07-2007 03:14:47 | More by rhoadsrage
Photo of OKCNittany


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

12 oz bottle - pint glass - Denver airport

A: Deep mahogany body. 1/2" tan head that fell to a cloud w/ little lacing.

S: A light aroma with some toasted malt. It wasn't strong enough to pick up much else.

T: Not a lot up front - mostly toasted malt. Simple, but good. Then a nice chocolaty finish.

M: Medium body & carbonation with a dry tasty finish.

D: Interesting style, with nothing to keep me from drinking a bunch of these.

Serving type: bottle

10-06-2007 15:52:47 | More by OKCNittany
Photo of shererjt


3.6/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a clear, deep ruby red color 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; could have used a bit more prickle but I liked it. Drinkability was quite good.

An interesting beer. I think it would be better with a touch of Belgian character, but it is what it is. Nice brew.

Serving type: bottle

09-25-2007 19:14:02 | More by shererjt
Photo of dnichols


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

I poured a 12 ounce bottle into a cooled challis. This was among my first purchases from a nice micro and import beer store in Yakima, Washington.

A: It poured a deep dark brown with a shimmer of amber. There was a dense sticky dark tan head that disappeared somewhat quickly leaving a thin layer of foam on the surface and ringing the glass. There was a thin but well distributed lacing that followed the receding brew as I emptied my challis.

S: There was a light sweet and roasted malty aroma with hints of coffee, plums and smoked nuts. The aroma was well balanced with no smell overpowering and all providing a pleasant tickle to my nose.

T: It had a sweet roasted malt flavor that included a gentle coffee flavor. There was a bit of zip from the hops but there was no bitter aftertaste.

M: It was a smooth medium bodied brew. There was a decent zing from the hops and carbonation that receded from the smooth and creamy sensation resulting from the sweetness of the roasted malts and earthiness of the fresh brewed coffee.

D: I was pleasantly surprised. I could easily enjoy several in one sitting and soon I will (as soon as I can drag myself to Yakima to restock).

Comment: I like several of the products from this brewery but did not expect to enjoy this one nearly as much as I did.

Serving type: bottle

09-25-2007 01:12:11 | More by dnichols
Photo of Ungespundet


4.53/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

One of the best Biers brewed in the United States of America! I haven’t been the biggest fan of the other offerings from this brewery other than their sour beer, although the others are solid offerings in their own right,. Man did they hit the nail on the head here. This brewery is starting to hit a stride. With more offerings like this and them continually refining their processes(it takes time people…look at Saint Arnold) they are moving well beyond the initial hype of a well orchestrated advertising push not all so long ago. I love this Bier and while Fat Tire is their flagship, this Bier is where their history just might begin. There’s no other Bier like this in the US. I would buy this one on a regular basis and drink it gladly although I have to rely on my brother to bring a few over to me here in München. So here’s what I discovered in a little bottled called 1554……..

Pours up what can’t be improved and can only make other Biers envious, a very creamy and thick, tan colored, very fine bubbled, Schaumkrone(only Bier from the US that gets this distinction from me). Under this masterpiece you’ll find a brilliantly clear deep brown elixir with hints of a mahogany reddish hue I know only from a Les Paul that hangs on a wall in Queen Creek, Arizona. The aroma boasts big thick deep coco malts, followed by sweet toasted malts and caramel. The coffee roast aroma comes on next and is silky and sexy and it finishes with a hint of herbal hops. Reminiscent of smelling a 80-90% coco bar. Easing into this Bier I found it something like an Edel Chocolate, from a store you can’t afford, hitting the tongue. This Bier is beautifully balanced although hints of sweetness and the bitterness smoothes everything out. Only a slight roast/chocolate bitterness is noticeable on the end. The silky malts expressed in this Bier are in a league of their own. In fact this Bier is in a league of it’s own. Hey..It’s okay to drink American Bier again…..This is a dark Bier that doesn’t compromise. One could say…”A dark light in Americas brewing history”.

Zum Wohl!!!

Serving type: bottle

09-24-2007 15:51:17 | More by Ungespundet
Photo of Murchmac


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

Looks a dark cherry wood color in the light, dark brown in the pint glass.

Smells at first of roasted malt chocolate, but cant smell anything on it now.

I love the taste of this beer! I love dark ales, dark lagers, etc, and this one is like tony the tiger, grrrreat! Big mouthfeel, deep roasted grainy malt taste. Better then the other malts they use in there other beers. Like a chocolate coffee after taste that permeates your mouth.

Try this beer. Great session beer even. Like someone said, it would pair well with food.

Serving type: bottle

09-24-2007 01:20:38 | More by Murchmac
Photo of katan


3.28/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottled dated as good until Jan 2008.

A - Pours as though its name woudl suggest: a dark black color. Has a light 2-3 mm head on it.

S - A nice smooth malt smell to it - not much of any hops aroma on the nose. I would say its a roasted carmel flavor of some kind

T - Very interesting - it doesn't have much of a strong initial flavor to it. It hits my lips somewhat flat. But, it recovers nicely with a smooth malt aftertaste. Even then, its not incredibly overpowering. Not at all bitter.

M - Its a smooth beer - not crisp whatsoever.

D - I could drink a few of these. They are a nice flavor with a food pairing such as beer.

All and all, a good beer. Very pleased to see NB in Iowa. I would rank it similar to Fat Tire, that its a good beer but not outstanding overall.

Serving type: bottle

09-21-2007 05:49:02 | More by katan
Photo of msubulldog25


3.85/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I'm a little surprised that I've never reviewed this one before. This poured a draught pint at Kelly's Olympian, Portland, Or. Have enjoyed before on several occasions at festivals and from the bottle.

A: Deep mahogany brown pour, quite clear with a ruby tint. Topped with a dense and creamy light tan head about 1/2-finger high at best. Very nice sheeting lace clings on the glass.

S: Subtle toasted malts, light nuttiness, with a bit of sweet toffee. Pretty bland for this style.

T: Malts upfront, slightly charred. Sweet nuts that are a touch burnt with a hint of cocoa. A dash of brown sugar and maybe maple. Enough bittering hops to prevent this from being overly sweet. Still a pleasing, roasted malt treat.

M: Velvety smooth, though a little thin. Carbonation is hardly felt, a little burnt/bitter in the finish. Medium-light body.

D: No raves in any category, but very easy to drink. Smooth flowing with a cleanness and soft carbonation that keep it quite quaffable. A tasty beer, worth a try.

Serving type: on-tap

09-19-2007 00:13:06 | More by msubulldog25
Photo of elricorico

Alberta (Canada)

4.15/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A very deep brown colour that looks black in the glass. A good sized tan head that leaves plenty of lacing and lasts well.

The smell is smoky roasted malt, a bit of coffee and a faint dry wine aroma. Nice.

Roasted malt is also dominant in the taste, but is a bit sweeter than it smells. There is also a fruity flavour in the middle of the tongue, suggesting cherries. The finish is dry and slightly bitter. A nice and complex taste.

Medium bodied, with just enough carbonation to cut through. Faintly astringent in the finish. Good here too.

This is a very good beer, and I can't say I've tasted anything quite like it. Glad I picked it up.

Serving type: bottle

09-18-2007 04:29:33 | More by elricorico
Photo of afinepilsner


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

22oz brown bottle

New Belgium 1554 was a dark red-brown color with a nice light tan head. The head had good retention and left some nice lacing behind. The aroma was toasty dark malt and chocolate. The taste was about the same with a little sweetness upfront and a dry finish. It was medium-full in body with good carbonation. Drinkability was good. This is a good ale and I'm very happy to finally find it in Iowa.

Serving type: bottle

09-18-2007 00:56:04 | More by afinepilsner
Photo of soupyman10

District of Columbia

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

Got a sixer from some friends who were rolling through Colorado. Pours a mahogany color with two fingers of tan head on top. Looks solid. Coffee, roasted malt, and light astringency are the nose. Roasted malt, some sweet chocolate too. Flavor is very mild - light roasted malt, spices, molasses, and some light hops at the back end. Body is medium with solid carbonation. This one's a solid, tasty American version of a Belgian dark, but not really exceptional. I do like it more than the other more popular New Belgium, Fat Tire.

Serving type: bottle

09-17-2007 17:31:58 | More by soupyman10
Photo of Chaz


3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep ruby-amber in color, nearly black to the casual observer. A two-fingered, rocky off white head tops this, and there's good lacing throughout. Nose is sweet/sour (tangy) up front, with notes of plum and light raisin. Sweet and almost rich on the first sip, with notes of roasted and black malts bringing up the rear. Light alcohol and lightly metallic notes co-mingle in the aromatic portion of the mid-palate, and light biscuit malt notes are cast adrift on a deep sea of sweeter, chocolate malt notes. Bitterness is minimal to the point of being an afterthought, and here it reminds me of a few of the Schwarzbiers I've enjoyed, although being a bit fruitier. On the palate there are notes of ripe red apple, sweet and tangy cherry, and light espresso. The yeast here is restrained for a Belgian style, fairly clean and unobtrusive. A fine beer overall, albeit just a bit sweet for my tastes at the moment. Might it appeal to Sweet Stout fans?

[Served lightly chilled, in a tulip.]

Serving type: bottle

09-15-2007 03:34:39 | More by Chaz
Photo of Erdinger2003


4.38/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Sara tulip.

Pours a light brown head with a good strong lacing. The color is dark, but when held up to the light you can see through it has a purple-ish brown color. The head went down fast into almost nothing. Smell has chocolate, licorice, and roastiness. It reminds me of a spicy schwarzbier. Taste is soft and nice, like licorice with the roasty backround that's easy to drink. Mouthfeel is very nice, very smooth and enjoyable. Overall, this is a very good beer that I would love to have again.

Serving type: bottle

09-15-2007 01:19:26 | More by Erdinger2003
Photo of dogger6253


4.38/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer is black, nothing else. It is completely opaque. Has a big, fluffy head, sort of a light tan color. Retention holds and gobs of lace stick to the glass. I love when a beer looks like this.

Dark fruit aromas dominate the nose. There is a hint of alcohol that maintains balance, but a bit on the mellow side.

Roasted, toasted malts and hops right up front in the flavor. Can taste the alcohol, a little raisin, a little fig, dates come through in the finish as does a note of chocolate.

Medium bodied and slightly dry, couldn't really notice any carbonation until the finish. This beer tasted great and was pretty refreshing.

Serving type: bottle

09-08-2007 15:44:42 | More by dogger6253
Photo of Tballz420


4.05/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Big creamy tan head produced by a cascade effect. Black bodied with reddish-brown light hues. Head leaves a big trail of lace on the glass. Caramel and chocolate on the nose. Somewhat roasted malt, mostly chocolate with caramel in the backround. Some bitter hop in the back, but the malt dominates this one. Full, creamy mouthfeel. Chewy. Quite wet. Not a bad brew.

Serving type: bottle

08-31-2007 01:16:48 | More by Tballz420
Photo of Halcyondays


3.43/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle, with a cool picture of a goblet of black ale, overlooking a historic tome,

A: Pours a dark hardwood brown, with a tan to beige head, with some lacing, though minimal.

S: Roasted malts predominately, a swirl reveals some coffee notes with a bit of charcoal.

T: A bit of chocolate and a good malt backbone start off the flavour, with a light finish, which leaves an aftertaste of earth in the mouth.

M: A tad too watery, dry and smooth overall, though, sort of like a weak stout.

D: An interesting style, would describe it as an intermediary between a stout and a schwarzbier, its light flavour makes it easily drinkable, not a great beer, but I enjoyed trying a historical Belgian style.

Serving type: bottle

08-27-2007 01:24:37 | More by Halcyondays
Photo of genog


3.48/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours from a bottle that looks to be from belgium, a nice touch. Pours a rich brown color with a 2 inch head that quickly fades away to a thin layer of light khaki color brown. Smell is of a nutty, and cocoa flavor. Smooth malt taste with again the nuttiness. Decent carbonation make this an enjoyable smooth drink.

Serving type: bottle

08-24-2007 22:17:46 | More by genog
Photo of brdc


4.18/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to axelbay for this one.
Best before 10/05/07.
Very dark, almost black with some reddish golden highlights, at times resembling cognac color. Coffee colored head, that although small, leaves some nice lacing all the way down.
Smell is mostly chocolate, actually hot chocolate and/or that smell that leaves the pot when you melt chocolate. Other hints include some caramel and coffee, and sometimes it even taste like the choclate bar Caramello - got try it with it.
Body is light, and taste is very similar to aroma, sometimes a bit too sweet to go more than one cup, and not necessarily very complex, but delicious.
Not something to be had as a session beer, not even a daily thing, but a delicious occasional beer.

Serving type: bottle

08-22-2007 01:39:46 | More by brdc
Photo of kernalklink


3.73/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

What an interesting brew- very complex and a treat for the tastebuds. Pours a dark mahogany with vanishing head and some carbonation. Aromas were of hearty roasted malts, a hint of hps and a yeasty sour note. The flavor was slightly smokey like beechwood, very earthy and it intesifies the roasted malts. Alcohol is there but very slight, and the sweetness of the malts hides it well. Finish is slightly bitter, and clean, probably not even from the hops, but the combination of malty goodness. I wouldnt have guessed it be of belgian origin, but nonetheless its a good historic brew.

Serving type: bottle

08-18-2007 19:52:18 | More by kernalklink
Photo of blakesell


4.03/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the 12oz bottle into a Belgian goblet style glass (Gulden Draak). Thanks to Dennis for bringing these New Belgium beers out from Texas to me.

Appearance- Quite dark, almost black but with reddish hues when held to the light. Large frothy head with small bubbles of carbonation quickly dissapate to a creamy looking ring around the sides.

Smell- Very little in traces of candi sugar. I smell dark roasted malts for the most part. This smells somewhat like a porter, but has some other scents intermingled as well, a hint of fig and pepper linger in the background, but for the most part, chocolate malt, and perhaps some darker roast malt, 60-80L I would guess.

Taste- Sweeter than the smell. More chocolate and fig, perhaps some rasin in this one. Still present is the roasty malt flavors that go down creamy and smooth. Actually, if there was such thing as a Belgian porter, I would call this it.

Mouthfeel- Creamy and smooth. Yet still robust. This is amazing as a porter and still amazing as a beer overall. For a Belgian Dark ale, it seems kind of light, but sometimes we don't need that much alcohol in our beers.

Drinkability- At 5.6%ABV, this is an easy drinking beer of a style I love. It makes those that can get it very fortunate that it comes in 6-pks. Unfortunately, here in Ohio, it can't be obtained. I am a happy camper knowing I still have another 4 for a later date.

Serving type: bottle

08-13-2007 23:35:35 | More by blakesell
Photo of Mdog


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

Appearance: Dark brown, nice sized head.

Smell: Roasted malt, yeasty.

Taste: Sweetness--dark fruit notes, roasted malt flavors, a little coffee bitterness at the end.

Drinkability: Easily sessionable.

This is probably my favorite New Belgium beer (though I haven't had their Tripel in years). I'll get this at Old Chicago, but I think the bottle actually tasted better than on tap. A good variety of tastes in one glass.

Serving type: bottle

08-12-2007 01:22:17 | More by Mdog
Photo of shadow1961


3.7/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

New Belgium 1554 pours a big fluffy tan head over a deep black brew. It's
not opaque- holding the brew in front of a light reveals it's true character-
enough light passes through to reveal a clear, yet dark ruby color. Carbonation
is active and steady, and the nose is toasty with a little yeast funkyness. The
flavor is bakers chocolate with espresso and mollasses notes, and a bit of a
herbal hop in the finish. The mouthfeel is smooth and balanced, yet a bit dry.
It's just what it's supposed to be.

Serving type: bottle

08-10-2007 08:15:54 | More by shadow1961
Photo of surlyseth


3.63/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

22 oz'er in a Pint glass...
Looks black in color, red in the light. Thick lacy head.
Smells like chocolate, bread and raisins. Not usually my thing, but...
Tastes Very mellow. Way more mellow than I was expecting. Subtle chocolate and yeasty, like bread. I like it.
Feels thin, but smooth and silky. Really, not very carbonated at all.
Drinkability is just okay. It leaves a sweet/sour note that does not prompt me to yearn for more.
This is interesting enough. I'm just branching out from my AIPA wheelhouse, so I don't feel like I got burned or anything...Worth a try if you're at all interested.

Serving type: bottle

08-09-2007 04:37:56 | More by surlyseth
1554 Enlightened Black Ale from New Belgium Brewing
86 out of 100 based on 2,896 ratings.