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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

2,947 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,947
Reviews: 1,238
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 12.53%
Wants: 68
Gots: 150 | 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: 2,947 | Reviews: 1,238 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Bubba83


3.95/5  rDev +3.1%

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.

03-20-2008 09:27:01 | More by Bubba83
Photo of psinderson


3.75/5  rDev -2.1%

12oz bottle poured into wine glass.

Appearance: Dark brown/red color with a thin, caramel-colored head. Clear.

Smell: Slight roastiness in the nose with a mild maltiness...molasses?

Taste: Lots of complex flavors - Sweetness up front, mostly fruit. Nice roasty finish, much like burnt pretzels. There's a lot of brown ale characteristics here. There's also a resinous feel, probably hops. Not much other hop presence.

Mouthfeel: Nice fuller bodied feel. Low carbonation and smooth feel.

Drinkability: Decent drinkability. The complex roastiness may inhibit some people.

03-19-2008 02:37:02 | More by psinderson
Photo of ColForbinBC

New Jersey

4/5  rDev +4.4%

12oz bottle poured into a pint

Poured a murky deep brown with a light reddish hue. Had a nice tan head that bubbled up and faded rather quickly and left a small sheet of lacing.

The nose is rather subdued. Hints of cocoa powder, roasted caramel malt, and coffee.

Pretty well-balanced. Has a brown ale with a belgian quality kinda feel that earns it some extra points. The taste is similar to the nose, but with an added floral, sweet component that is a nice surprise. The finish is of cocoa powder and roasted malt.

Very smooth and creamy, possibly too much carbonation, but not a real big deal.

Drinkability is pretty nice, I could have a few of these in a sitting.

03-15-2008 18:39:42 | More by ColForbinBC
Photo of zdk9


3.9/5  rDev +1.8%

A- Pours a dark, dark shade of brown, just this side of the black horizon, with some dark ruby highlights. The head is about half a finger and gives some anticipation of the creaminess to come. Just some slight fingers of lacing grasping towards the top.

S- Very roasty toasty aroma- like pumpernickel bread toasted even blacker. And then there's this slight fruitiness like it's peaking from behind the closet door at my nostrils.

T- Again very roasty and malty. There's some huskiness to the taste. The aftertaste leaves my with some pineyness, which is interesting and faint until the end. Good and fairly complex.

M- Creamy and quite good.

D- Overall a great beer. Decent complexity to the flavor, nice creaminess, and not too alcoholic. I could definitely drink so more of these.

03-14-2008 06:04:34 | More by zdk9
Photo of drumrboy22


3.68/5  rDev -3.9%

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a New Belgium globe glass. Beer was a dark brown color with a one finger, off-white, creamy head. Moderate carbonation and very minor lacing around the glass.

Aroma was malt, caramel, toffee, nuts and a touch of coffee.

Taste was roasted nuts, malt, grains, dark fruits and maybe a touch of coffee in the back.

Mouthfeel was pretty carbonated, but went down smooth and was medium bodied.

This is an all around nice session beer. It's not overly complex, but is pretty enjoyable and I think they did a good job with this one.

03-14-2008 00:26:44 | More by drumrboy22
Photo of DrJay


4.4/5  rDev +14.9%

Oxymoron sent this along in a recent trade. Thanks!
Quite dark, nearly opaque, very clear, mahogany with ruby highlights. A stiff pour produced a fluffy tan head that left chunky lacing stuck to the glass as it slowly settled to a thin, solid cap. Cocoa and toasted bread crust in the aroma, a little yeasty and roasty, nuts, earthy. Malty up front, dry cocoa and roast, giving way to a fruitier finish that leaves a lingering bitterness on the palate. Just a bit spicy and grassy in the middle
Smooth texture, feels light and airy. Lightish bodied with lively carbonation. Seems like it just melts off my tongue. This has great character and is a very pleasant drink. Quite enjoyable.

03-08-2008 22:16:42 | More by DrJay
Photo of mattster


4.33/5  rDev +13.1%

Opened 12 oz bottle, poured into snifter glass.

Pours nice dark opaque ale with very little head. Some lacing and bubbles across the top of glass.

Smell is of nice caramel malts, some mocha, hits of chocolate. Taste follows through with the aroma. It is a nice rich beer with taste that are followed by a clean finish. Bubbles are just right making this beer pleasant on the palate. Very drinkable.

03-08-2008 06:06:51 | More by mattster
Photo of SurlyDuff


4.35/5  rDev +13.6%

Deep brown with reddish highlights when I hold it up to light. Tan head with fairly open/large bubbles and lacing.

Rich coffee and chocolate notes, with a good amount of sweetness.

Clean and bright flavors. A mild tart fruit flavor in the middle, with a lingering coffee bitterness with hops at the end.

Mouthfeel is silky, but not creamy like a stout. Very drinkable. Is not as 'belgian' as many dark ales that i've had, but it is a surperb introduction to the style.

1554 is a great fallback beer, has neve rlet me down. I really enjoy taking it on camping trips when it's a bit chilly out. A session beer with a nice full body and warming feeling that a winter warmer or a porter gives.
This is my favorite New Belgium brew, maybe second only to their springboard seasonal.

03-08-2008 03:36:25 | More by SurlyDuff
Photo of Mudpuppet


3.7/5  rDev -3.4%

Thanks to drumrboy22 for the chance to try this brew.

A- Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Perfect Pint glass. Pours a dark brown with ruby highlights. Very little head to speak of.

S- This beer smells like a homebrew primary fermenter after being racking into a secondary. I do make a dark ale with an American yeast so maybe that is why I am reminded of it. Mostly dark malts and yeast on the nose. I get straight malted chocolate malts. As if I stuck my head in a barley bin.

T- You know what?? As I am drinking this it is reminding me of my smoked porter we make. Some definite smoke notes with a lot of dark malts. This isn't quiet as malty as a porter but there are similarities.

M- Good carbonation. Nice feeling on the tongue.

D- Nice session beer. Certainly makes me feel good about my homebrew that tastes very similar.

03-07-2008 21:57:34 | More by Mudpuppet
Photo of bunnyhustle


3.58/5  rDev -6.5%

Pours virtually black but when held to light has a brilliant clear ruby color to it. Two finger head with good retention and some lacing. Smell is a bit bland. Has a wheat and yeast smell to it, some roasted grain. Taste is pretty good. Some chocolate, almost like bakers chocolate, a touch of caramel and some grassy hops. Pretty light feeling and medium carbonation leaves a somewhat crisp feeling. Overall a pretty drinkable beer, easy on the ABV and not terrible in the mouth.

03-07-2008 04:23:50 | More by bunnyhustle
Photo of NatetheGreat


4.05/5  rDev +5.7%

A: Jet black with nice head. Moderate lacing.

S: High point of the experience. Aroma is spicy, fruity, and also like a mocha.

T: Interseting flavor, good, but not great. Actually, different each time I've tried it. First bottle was much like a mocha: chocolate, coffee, and some fruitiness. Other tastings were much fruitier, with dark fruit and dark sugar. However, there's some sort of spiciness that gets in the way of the other flavors. Finish is dry as advertized, with some chocolate notes.

M: Smooth, not thick, but not too watery. Pleasant.

D: Easy to drink and interesting flavor, if not especially tasty. I enjoyed it, but probably won't seek it out much.

03-01-2008 16:56:09 | More by NatetheGreat
Photo of trackstar1043


4.22/5  rDev +10.2%

A - Pours deep brown with a finger of thick light carmel colored head that has great retention.

S - Rich aromas of malts, coca beans, carmels, roasted nuts very hearty.

T - Just a deep and complex with sweetness of carmels and molasses, has a hearty flavoring of nuts and grains.

M - Heavier brew with its mix of malts and sweetness and moderate carbonation gives a smooth and pleasant drink.

D - Very much so.

02-28-2008 16:56:29 | More by trackstar1043
Photo of nickfl


3.85/5  rDev +0.5%

A - Two fingers of light caramel colored foam top a deep amber-brown body with ruby highlights and excellent clarity. Head retention is reasonable and the lace is quite good.

S - Caramel aroma complimented by subtle spiciness with notes of clove, dates, and some vanilla.

T - Dark, syrupy flavor of caramel, raisins and some chocolate malt. Dark fruit and spice come in the middle with nutmeg, clove and banana flavors. The finish consists of lingering dark caramel with a little bit of roast grain and a warming alcohol note.

M - Silky smooth, medium body with moderately high carbonation and a fairly sweet finish.

D - Goes down fairly easy despite some flavors that could easily become overbearing. The yeast notes interact with the malt flavors in a pleasant way, but by the end of the glass the syrupy caramel flavors begin to become cloying.

02-28-2008 01:53:51 | More by nickfl
Photo of mwilbur


3.4/5  rDev -11.2%

Poured from 22 oz bottle into NBB snifter.
A: Dark garnet in color. Nice thick creamy white head.
S: Surprisingly weak aromas...dry hops and chocolate...maybe.
T: Ah, yes...definitely dry hops. Some roasted malt and chocolate. Not as big, dark, or bold a taste as I was expecting.
M: Medium body, fairly light on the tongue. Dry finish.
D: Decently drinkable, but the backstory is more interesting than the beer.

02-22-2008 01:09:48 | More by mwilbur
Photo of trentley87


3.9/5  rDev +1.8%

Tried this on-tap at The 8th Street Grill in Minneapolis.

A: Looks like a stout (I didn't know the style when I ordered it). Nice dark, almost black brown amber with a good looking tan head.

S: I'm still thinking stout as I detect some nice malts dominating the aromas.

T: Wow! This beer really surprised me. Very complex flavors and a great balance of malts, chocolate, bitterness, and a hops kick in th end.

M: This beer caught me off guard with its thinner mouthfeel and its balanced flavors. Reminded me of the first time I tried a Black Lager (not in flavor, just in appearance v. taste differences). Not my favorite mouthfeel but very complimentary to the flavors.

D: This was a very good beer and definitely got me interested in New Belgium again. The first selection I tried (Fat Tire) wasn't the greatest but this was excellent. Now to find it in Michigan :)

02-18-2008 07:03:48 | More by trentley87
Photo of SaltyLime


4/5  rDev +4.4%

Grabbed this bottle in pick-your-sixer deal on base. I am grateful for the opportunity.
Appearance - very dark brew with a tan head, nice lacing on glass
Smell - great malt aromas
Taste - nice collection of malts in this brew, tender on the palate, rich in flavor
Mouthfeel - medium body, smooth feel,
Drinkability - would definitely like to try more, finished the beer before I knew it, pleasant experience

02-13-2008 19:16:14 | More by SaltyLime
Photo of pijiu


3.58/5  rDev -6.5%

Appearance: Very dark, reddish, cola color. Forms a dense and lofty beige head. Maintains a tightly-packed lace on the glass. A column of bubbles rises through the center of the glass.

Smell: Coffee, roasted nuts, malt.

Taste: Dense taste. Chocolate, dark cherry, coffee, and roasted aftertaste. Not very deep, but still appealing.

Mouthfeel: A little thin, but typical for a black ale. Soft in the mouth. Prolific but easy carbonation that hits on the tip of the tongue.

Drinkability: Easily drinkable. Incorporates smooth darkness with a bit of sharp dryness after swallowing.

An enjoyable black ale. I would definitely drink this again. It's not heavy, but at the same time still provides a formidable flavour.

12 oz. bottle poured into a pint glass.

02-08-2008 21:09:28 | More by pijiu
Photo of iasanlee


3.63/5  rDev -5.2%

A- Pours a thick dark chocolate brown with 3 fingers of dark tan creamy head. Creamy lacing abundant.

S- Toasted malts, coffee, and chocolate.

T- Bitter sweet chocolate, almost chalky flavor. Carmel and coffee. A faint sweetness. I was hoping for a bit more complexity.

M- Medium in body, with creamy smooth carbonation.

D-I could see myself putting a few of these back. Not as incredibly complex as I had hoped, but very drinkable.

02-07-2008 05:18:14 | More by iasanlee
Photo of cer40


4.18/5  rDev +9.1%

I samoled this beer out of a 12oz bottle poured into an imperial pint glass. It was dark brown with ruby highlights. small light tan creamy head that dissapates to a small cover patch.

Smell is of malts, some coffee comes through. Taste is the same without much of a hop flavor or bitterness. Tastes of roasted malts and coffee. Slightly sweet.

Mouthfeel is light and bubbly from the carbonation. Very flavorful but light and low abv. Nice session beer for drinkers of stouts and porters that want a lighter feeling beer but seek some of the same flavors.

02-06-2008 22:46:29 | More by cer40
Photo of BrewmasterNPB


2.78/5  rDev -27.4%

I drank 1554 last night and don't remember it being so sweet. This is a unique beer, very complex malt character. It has a very low hop profile, which seems to be appropriate for style. The sweetness was overpowering though and made it somewhat difficult to drink. I do enjoy the malty aroma however.

02-05-2008 03:06:13 | More by BrewmasterNPB
Photo of JDV


4.05/5  rDev +5.7%

Black pour with a cream colored medium head that fades very quickly for a dark beer. Smells of coffee, dark roasted malt, a touch of licorice, and some alcohol. A fairly unique nose out of a blend of seemingly common scents. Taste is very smooth, creamy, rich, dark, and roasty. Very nice taste overall. There is just a touch of bitterness, and I actually wouldn't mind a bit more, which is something I've never said about a dark beer before. A really nice , very easy to drink richer beer and one I would recommend and buy again.

01-31-2008 19:05:07 | More by JDV
Photo of mithrascruor


4/5  rDev +4.4%

22 oz. bottle poured into a mug.

Appearance: Pours a nice black color -- neither too dull nor shiny -- with a solid and dense off-white head which leaves a nice lacing on the glass.

Smell: Heavy and dense aroma of caramel, coffee, cholcolate, and toffee. Not unlike a stout, but more subdued and compressed.

Taste: Not a strong, but a nice taste of creamed coffee and milder caramel and chocolate flavors. Aftertatse is pretty much the same.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied with very light carbonation.

Drinkability: Easy to drink in terms of both alcohol content and flavor. Nothing overwhelming the senses.

This doesn't quite seem to go along with other Belgian dark ales I've had in the past, but it's still an enjoyable beer -- it fits somewhere between a stout and a Schwarzbier. Though it's nothing exceptional, I'll certainly get this again.

01-28-2008 00:39:37 | More by mithrascruor
Photo of KarlHungus


3.45/5  rDev -9.9%

This beer pours a black color. The head is small, and recedes quickly into almost no lacing. The aroma is of smokey caramel, with a hint of dark chocolate. The taste is like the aroma, but not quite as pronounced. The mouthfeel is medium bodied, and mildy watery. The carbonation is high. Overall, this is a decent beer. I would drink this if it were the best thing available.

01-27-2008 23:50:56 | More by KarlHungus
Photo of mrasskicktastic

New Jersey

3.78/5  rDev -1.3%

A - Black as jet with a monster of a head that leaves dense cobwebs of lacing down the sides of the glass.

S - A coffee aroma. There is some fainter cocoa, very mild. Underneath that, there is a very faint hay and white pepper, but entirely dominated by coffee. Mild, but quite nice.

T - Very mild flavor. It tastes mostly like coffee and charred malt. There isn't any sweetness and it is pretty watery. A very faint medicinal flavor meshes with a coffee bitterness in the aftertaste. Pretty good. There might be a hint of metals, nickel to precise, but I could just be imagining it.

M - Smooth, medium body, pretty refreshing.

D - Pretty good. It is a mild and enjoyable coffee porter - not an archetypal Belgian dark ale for sure. Worth a try, and I am likely to enjoy the whole six pack. I recommend.

01-23-2008 07:39:15 | More by mrasskicktastic
Photo of SiphonKing


3.13/5  rDev -18.3%

12 oz. bottle.

Found this beer to be quite quaffable. Pours with a tannish head atop a...well, black/brown beer (hence the name). Malty with a slight hop presence but not overpowering. I found it drinkable and a good choice for those friends who have experienced Fat Tire and are willing to move on to bigger, bolder territory.

01-16-2008 03:39:40 | More by SiphonKing
1554 Enlightened Black Ale from New Belgium Brewing
86 out of 100 based on 2,947 ratings.