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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

2,977 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,977
Reviews: 1,242
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 12.53%
Wants: 67
Gots: 164 | 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: 2,977 | Reviews: 1,242 | Display Reviews Only:
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.

babyhobbes, Apr 19, 2008
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.

Slynger, Apr 16, 2008
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.

Procrastinator, Apr 11, 2008
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.

illidurit, Apr 06, 2008
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!!

barleywinefiend, Mar 28, 2008
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.

Bubba83, Mar 20, 2008
Photo of psinderson
3.75/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

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.

psinderson, Mar 19, 2008
Photo of ColForbinBC
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 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.

ColForbinBC, Mar 15, 2008
Photo of zdk9
3.9/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

zdk9, Mar 14, 2008
Photo of drumrboy22
3.68/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

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.

drumrboy22, Mar 14, 2008
Photo of DrJay
4.4/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

DrJay, Mar 08, 2008
Photo of mattster
4.33/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

mattster, Mar 08, 2008
Photo of SurlyDuff
4.35/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

SurlyDuff, Mar 08, 2008
Photo of Mudpuppet
3.7/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 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.

Mudpuppet, Mar 07, 2008
Photo of bunnyhustle
3.58/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

bunnyhustle, Mar 07, 2008
Photo of NatetheGreat
4.05/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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.

NatetheGreat, Mar 01, 2008
Photo of trackstar1043
4.22/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

trackstar1043, Feb 28, 2008
Photo of nickfl
3.85/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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.

nickfl, Feb 28, 2008
Photo of mwilbur
3.4/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

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.

mwilbur, Feb 22, 2008
Photo of trentley87
3.9/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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 :)

trentley87, Feb 18, 2008
Photo of SaltyLime
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 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

SaltyLime, Feb 13, 2008
Photo of pijiu
3.58/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

pijiu, Feb 08, 2008
Photo of iasanlee
3.63/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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.

iasanlee, Feb 07, 2008
Photo of cer40
4.18/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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.

cer40, Feb 06, 2008
Photo of BrewmasterNPB
2.78/5  rDev -27.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

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.

BrewmasterNPB, Feb 05, 2008
1554 Enlightened Black Ale from New Belgium Brewing
86 out of 100 based on 2,977 ratings.