1554 Enlightened Black Ale - New Belgium Brewing

Not Rated.
1554 Enlightened Black Ale1554 Enlightened Black Ale

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very good

3,066 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,066
Reviews: 1,246
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 12.53%
Wants: 70
Gots: 199 | 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: 3,066 | Reviews: 1,246 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of champ103
3.9/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a very dark brown with some ruby highlights around the edges. A two finger head forms and leaves a bit of sticky lace behind.
S: Kind of musky. Some old coffee and burnt wood. A touch of roasted malt and chocolate.
T: Very malty. The signature New Belgium biscuit flavor is present. A nice dark roasted coffee and chocolate flavor as well.
M/D: A medium body that is rich and creamy. Carbonate to my liking. So smooth and easy to drink. I quaffed a few of these during a session.

A unique beer. Kind of a cross between a stout and a brown. It has the flavor of a stout, but the creaminess and drinkability of a good brown ale. Something I would recommend.

Photo of jamiejohnson
4.2/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I had one of these when it first came out (as a seasonal?) years ago. I remember it as a pleasant experience but somehow managed to avoid it for the next decade. What a waste, this is an excellent beer, sorta like a German black lager twisted together with a stout. It's not heavy despite its dark color, but it ain't no lightweight either. This one's perfect for a long evening where you want to down a few without excessive alcohol, but you want to keep that good taste a'rollin all night long.

It's not heavy,
It's not light.
Tween the two
Makes it right.

Photo of Onibubba
3.68/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

My first beer from New Belgium. Pours a nice dark black with a tight beige receding head - Very stout like. Nice roasty, chocolatey stout smells...Know what this reminds me of? a Belgian Stout. Seen a lot of these lately, but not a big fan. I hate to say, this follows suite. The appearance is there, the smell is there, the taste is there. What's missing is the body and the alcohol. The former is the issue I have had with every Belgian styled stout I have sampled. Too thin, not enough body to support the tastes. The later is actually a positive. It is a welcome departure to be able to enjoy these tastes without the alcohol kick of a big stout.

This is a mixed bag for me. Nice taste, lackluster body, yet sessionable. A nice option to have when craving something dark and roasty without the heat.

Photo of rshwayder
4.35/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is one of my all-time favorite beers. Dark and delicious, this is an easy-to-drink beer any time of year. 1554 has a smooth, creamy, and sweet feel to it. It's also one that I truly miss out here in Massachusetts, so every time I head back to Colorado I pick up a 6-pack or so of 1554.

Photo of cjgator3
3.9/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours a dark brownish black color with a thick creamy light tan head that leaves a good amount of lacing.

S- The aroma is definitely on the malty side and very pleasant. Along with the malt, there is some chocolate and hints of coffee.

T- The taste follows the aroma with dark roasted malts, along with some chocolate and coffee flavors with a dry finish.

M- The mouthfeel is smooth and creamy with a perfect amount of carbonation.

D- Not bad, not bad at all. Not something I would want to drink every night, but a good change-up beer.

Overall, this is a pretty solid beer from New Belgium that is definitely worth a shot.

Photo of orcasteve
4.03/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

carmal and coffiee are the flavors that jump out at me, the malt is nice, light carbonation and the ballance is almost purfict, this is a easy drinking beer that i would buy on a reagulsr baseous if it were avalable neer me, if you find this one get it.

Photo of ClavisAurea
4.4/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle served in a tulip glass.

Appearance: poured a very dark mahogany with a thin head than vanished within a few minutes, very little lace on the side of the tulip glass

Smell: chocolate, malt, raisins

Taste/Mouthfeel: hops bite and spice, chocolate, malty sweet, creamy and luxurious mouthfeel

This is a weird one. It is more like a smooth stout than a Belgian Dark Ale. There is something about the way New Belgium brews beer that imparts a chocolate flavor to their beers. I'm by no means complaining, I really like the cut of their jib.

Photo of nrbw23
3.8/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours a dark brown color with a creamish colored head that leaves a fair amount of lacing.

S- Some roasted malts and a touch of chocolate but overall a lot lighter than I expected.

T- Taste is of roasted malts, with chocolate like tones. Earthy and a little grainy. Overall pretty solid.

M- Medium to full in body, light carbonation.

D- Pretty easy to drink.

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

The big 22 oz. bomber poured three healthy fingers of slightly tan head on a black cherry body; good retention. Fine aroma of coffee and vanilla bean, mild chocolate smell, and a hint of berry. The taste is subtly complex as a nice spiciness (mostly pepper and coriander) emerges slowly but surely, characteristic of a Belgian. Coffee is most prominent, followed by a bit of chocolate. Smooth and delicious with a bit of spicy bite, the mouthfeel is solid. 1554 is easy to drink and quite enjoyable, an unusual but enjoyable Belgian Dark Ale. I'm not sure what Black Ale is, which is what 1554 is advertised as, but this will be something I revisit.

Photo of jwc215
3.98/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to russpowell for this one!

Best before 24 Oct 08:

Pours mahogany/brown with ruby highlights. A thin off-white head almost immediately becomes a few, lasting, thin wisps. Some vanishing lacing slides down the glass.

The smell is of molasses, bread (pumpernickel?), slightly smokey, some over-ripe cherries. Interesting.

The taste is of cherry fruitiness, some fresh-baked dark bread, smoked (slightly charred edged) wood. Sweet with just a touch of spicy, bitterish, balance in the candy-ish finish.

Medium-bodied. Very smooth.

Different/unique. Quite a bit of subtle complexities, very easy to drink.

Thanks again, Russ!

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

Appearance: almost-black-dark-brown, with a foamy tan head that held its own and some nice lacing.

Smell: brown sugar and toasty malts.

Taste: more of those toasty malts, chocolate, and a little coffee.

Mouthfeel: smooth for a dark beer and adaquately carbonated.

Drinkability: A well crafted beer. Delicious, NB has done it again. I haven't sampled a beer of theirs that didn't like. A nice dark ale, when you want something robust, but not too heavy. A nargain Belgian-style beer.

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

Three fingers of two toned rocky tan head leaves scattered lace as it fades. Body is what the mame claims = black. Nose is invigorating and zesty laced with lots of dusty, peppery spices and some cinnamon topped pie crust. There is a whole lot going on with this beer right from first sip. Dry attractive spices like paprika, cinnamon, and toasted rye are up front. The body yield biscuity malt that is even and nicely rich. Complex and super well balanced. Sessionable from start right through to the mouthfeel. Very drinkable, I would love to have a six pack of this on hand at all times.

Photo of drxandy
4.05/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Got in trade thanks to Ben4881, and after trying a good number of NB stuff, I only continue to wish we could get it here, thanks again man!!

12oz to goblet, pours a deep dark brown with hints of red, creamy eggshell colored head retains nicely but fades eventually into nice lacing.

smells of roasty chocolate malts, heavy on the malt scent, smells good

tastes of smooth, dry roasty malts, chocolate, nice yeastiness, light on the palate but still deep with loads of flavor, sweetness plays out with a slight appley crispness, light lingering bitterness at the finish, probably hops just saying goodbye, very sessionable due to low abv, easy drinking, i would love to pair this with a meal.

mouthfeel is nice and smooth, creamy almost, light, a nice low carbonation that just adds to it, very nice!

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

Got this at the New Belgium place in the Denver Airport. Thank goodness for that place...kept me entertained during a long delay.

A: Dark reddish brown and fairly opaque. Good one finger whitish-tan head and decent lacing.

S: Roasted malt and perhaps a touch of coffee.

T: Opening is strong roasted malt, followed by a mild coffee/chocolate sweetness. Finish is just a tiny touch of bitterness.

MF: Thin bodied but very smooth and the carbonation complements it well. Moderate alcohol makes this an easy to drink beer.

D: Nice sessionable beer, but the flavor is pretty basic. Not the best NB brew, but certainly worth a try and usually pretty easy to find (at least on the west coast).

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

pours brown with a ruby tint, medium foamy light tan head, excellent lacing.

smell is cocoa, slight smoke, dark fruit, caramel, some sour, earthy, some malt.

taste is thick, sour malt, some chocolate, roasted nuts, some fruit, some spice, touch of caramel, end is slightly bitter and dry.

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

A very nice beer, and one of New Belgium's best offerings that is readily obtainable. Pours a very dark garnet color, which appears close to black. Relatively decent head, but it settles pretty quickly. Nice aromas. This is an unusual style, and I believe I've only had one other- Rare Vos. There is a nuttiness in the aroma, almost like wild rice, as well as a chalky smell. This is followed by cocoa notes and a touch of black pepper and a deep roastiness. The taste is similar, with some very dry malt up front, followed by an earthy bitterness, a dry nuttiness, and a chalky cocoa taste at the finish. A deep roastiness is throughout, and everything is well integrated. The mouthfeel is a bit prickly, even spicy, and bone dry. There is a nice lingering bitterness, but none of that sourness you sometimes get from deeply roasted grains. The whole package is quite intriguing. Some of the chocolate tastes in the beer dry out and become more bitter and dry as you keep drinking. Really a marvel- very different than almost anything else out there. I like it both for its unusual nature and for its simple directness.

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

From Notes:

A: Poured an almost black dark brown with a light tan head, very filtered and clear.

S: Rich and very malty, faint hops as well, faint chocolate smells as well, they become very apparent as the beer warms:

T: Very chocolatey up front, nice hops at end to balance the sweetness with a hint of bitter. Very balanced beer. Nothing seems out of place.

M: Thin, smooth, and crisp. This is a black ale, not a stout, and very perfect in the mouth.

D: Very drinkable for the flavors, lots of different things going on, but it isn't very heavy at all. Great session beer. One of my favorites from New Belgium.

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

Black Beer. Like a Schwarzbier. There are similarities and those boys in Colorado can brew.

Appearance: Looks quite nice a but with more garnet tones than perhaps a true "Black Beer". Fair head.

Flavor: I've been sipping on these for a few weeks now and the brew is growing on me. Not a big time favorite but it seems to get better.

Mouthfeel: Nothing special, but nicely balanced.

Overall: Give it a try, its definitely worth it.


Photo of diabecktic
3.85/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Great head formation with moderate retention and excellent lacing. It's hard to see any carbonation since the color is so dark; the beer is a very dark shade of brown/red (it's almost black). It's really quite a sight.

The scent is kind of a mix between roasted barley and chocolate. Even though it's a black ale, it reminds me of a stout. It's a very inticing aroma that's quite clean.

Chocolate seems to be the main flavor, though there seem to be hints of roasted barley and a subtle sweetness that remains after a long sip. The aftertaste is mainly remniscent of the roasted barley flavor; the mouth is slightly dried after sipping. Pretty good.

Unlike a stout, this beer isn't too creamy and it's suprisingly light for how dark it is. It feels great on the tongue even though the beer dries the mouth a bit.

This beer goes down very smooth. Finishes clean and leaves me wanting more. Since it doesn't fill me up as much as a stout, I could easily have several of these.

It basically resembles a stout in both flavor and appearance, but goes down more smoothly and isn't nearly as filling. Since I've never had one like this, I didn't know what to expect in the way of "identity." However, it's a very good beer for what it is.

Photo of Kyle987
4.25/5  rDev +11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Small head goes fast, but leaves good lacing. Very, very dark bron body, but clear for what little light does get through (not hazy). Very strong, mocha-like aroma, but with more coffee than chocolate. Semi-smooth, fairly light mouthfeel, with a little tingly bite with the carbonation. Light flavor at the front, but stronger coffee flavor in the finish. Excellent overall. Extremely drinkable, enjoyable, and very interesting beer.

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

A - Poured a dark brown that shows ruby when held to the light with a tan head that leaves lacing

S - Is of roasted malt and dark fruit with some sweetness to it

T - Starts off with some roasted malt and dark fruit finishes slightly bitter

M - This is a medium bodied beer with medium carbonation to it

D - Overall I think this is a good beer smells and tastes good and its easy to drink definitely a step up from Fat Tire worth trying

Photo of BigJTrucker
3.9/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter, deep clear ruby in color, light tan head settled fairly slowly leaving some fine lace in its wake. Aroma has some nice notes of toasted malt & faint coffee. Somewhat earthy flavor, along with a faint chocolate note. Mouthfeel is fairly faint, a bit fizzy. A very drinkable, fairly available brew.

Photo of nem2006
3.2/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The beer poured a dark brown with a very small head and very little carbonation. What little head it had faded fast.

The smell was toasted, coffee and a little chocolate.

The flavor started a little sweet, followed by a coffee flavor. It finished with a mild bitterness from the hops. I was a little disappointed at how flat the beer was.

I have had this beer before and thought it was not as good as it has been. So for now this is my score, but I will give it another shot later on down the road.

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

I really enjoyed this one. It pours a deep, clear mahogany with a thin beige head. The smell is primarily grain and toasted bread with molasses in the background. Toasted bready malt and chocolate dominate the taste and it has a pleasant slightly sweet finish without becoming heavy in mouthfeel. I wish more American craft brewers would take up this style...and Dunkels, more Dunkels too.

Photo of Spidey13
3/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

1554 pours a clear, dark brown with some cola-red highlights when held to the light. A small off-white head rests on top.
The smells consists of sweet malt with hints of roastiness and dark fruit. There is also a hint of banana in there.

The taste is sweet, with a hint of the roastiness in there and some chocolate. A hint of bitterness shows up followed by lingering sweetness that gets a bit cloying. I felt the mouthfeel was a bit thin and oily.

Overall, I really didn't like this beer. It seemed to have a bit of Belgiany-ness but not much. It may be a good gateway to Belgian beers.

1554 Enlightened Black Ale from New Belgium Brewing
86 out of 100 based on 3,066 ratings.