1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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

2,919 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,919
Reviews: 1,237
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 12.53%
Wants: 65
Gots: 135 | 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: 2,919 | Reviews: 1,237 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of jbull


4.6/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is a great black ale. The color is very dark amber. Aroma is nut and malty and sweet. Head is lightly colored for such a dark beer. Very full malt flavor with a bit too much carbonation in the taste. Finish is smooth with no bitterness (which I like). Similar to Newcastle Brown but fuller in flavor. This would be a perfect brew if not for the slightly excessive carbonation taste. One of my favorites.

Serving type: bottle

05-25-2005 23:51:48 | More by jbull
Photo of NeroFiddled


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

New Belgium's 1554 pours a black body with gleaming mahogany and ruby highlights beneath an average-sized head of creamy light tan foam that holds well and leaves some very nice lace about the glass. The nose is roasty with chocolate and coffee-beans (not brewed coffee...). It's smooth across the palate with a moderate carbonation and medium body. The flavor is exactly as the nose suggests with the addition of some rich caramel notes and a very delicate touch of grassy hops in the background. It's just slightly spicy, and a touch acidic from the dark malts; and these combine with its sublime bitterness to balance it very nicely. It finishes with a lingering note of roasty, dark-chocolate accented caramel. Quite nice!

Serving type: bottle

05-18-2005 23:04:33 | More by NeroFiddled
Photo of mgdeth


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

Appearance - Deep brown, almost black. It resembles cola, but head retention and lace are better.

Smell - Mild malt roastines, with no real hint of hops. It also has the biscuit flavor that many us us know so well from Fat Tire.

Taste - Biscuity, much like Fat Tire. Some darker malts add a raosted, toffee flavor, and more depth overall. There is sort of a background twang to the beer, which seems to come from a blend of biscuit malt with darker malts.

Mouthfeel - This beer is unique because it looks imposing, but it is really quite mellow. Often my senses want to tell me "Dark beer, big beer," but this beer is just the opposite.

Drinkability - This beer is actually pretty easy to drink. It seems a little lighter bodied than Fat Tire, but is otherwise similar.

Comments - If asked to describe this beer, I would say it is a cross between Fat Tire (bready tasting amber ale) and a diet porter. It's pretty good stuff.

Serving type: bottle

05-14-2005 03:14:06 | More by mgdeth
Photo of goodbyeohio


3.35/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

appearance: black. in the light it's more of a dark crimson. barely carbonated with a clean, crisp clarity.

aroma: chocolatey malt and dark roasted nut notes. not overpowering but still substantial.

taste: baltic portery. coffee finish. more sweet than bitter, which is a surprise to me considering all its other characteristics. chocolate covered cherries is my first sense memory here. depressingly light mouthfeel though.. still pretty drinkable. never had a 'belgian' like this.

Serving type: bottle

04-23-2005 18:28:36 | More by goodbyeohio
Photo of dungaree


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

Poured a dark black color which appeared copper around the edges. Lots of wonderful little bubbles in the brew. The thin head dissipated quickly leaving little patches of head floating on the top. The appearance alone signals this is no porter or stout as you would think from the color, because this pours like an ale.

Presents a spicy, malty sweet, enticing smell with a touch of caramel, hint of chocolate, toasted malts all the way around, and yeast. Nice lacing.

The taste begins very malty (wonderful malts!!), nice yeast flavor, lots of different flavors blending very well. Hints of oakiness suggest an old ale thus living up to its 1554 name. It finishes with lots of toasted maltiness. Very good brew and very interesting.

Serving type: bottle

04-23-2005 05:08:20 | More by dungaree
Photo of OStrungT


4.55/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This beer pours a mahogany color with a tan head. The head fades somewhat quickly, leaving very few laces. It smells malty. There is a caramel aroma to it. It has a slight yeasty smell. It also has another aroma that I cant put my finger on. It has a sweet taste to it. It has a fruity taste to it. There are very subtle hints of chocolate. This beer is carbonated just right. This is a full bodied ale. It leaves a malty aftertaste on the palate. This beer would make an excelent session beer because it has a low alcohol content. Also, the flavor is not aggressive or strong. It is a well balanced ale that is definately worth a try or two. If this beer was more readily available, I would probably have a stock pile of it.

Serving type: bottle

04-08-2005 00:04:57 | More by OStrungT
Photo of neonbrown82


4.43/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I didn't quite know if I would like this at first, but I wanted to try it anyway. It was actually very good. It filled the role of several different types of beers. It had the aged earthy roastiness of a porter with the fruity sweetness usually expected of a belgian style.

The appearance is dark with a light ruby tint and a small off-white ringed head. Smells of berries. The aroma is one of the most stunning scents I've experienced from any beer. The taste shows hints of gently roasted barley malt, kind of like a very light porter, combined with a berry sweetness. The brew has a thin kind of body to it and seems to finish somewhat wet. A very interesting beer.

Serving type: bottle

03-21-2005 02:26:56 | More by neonbrown82
Photo of Padron4KM


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

12oz bottle best before 07jun05. Pous a deep rich mohogany with a thic dark brown head.
Aroma is musty, caramel, roasty, sugary malt.
Flavor is smokey, roasty, maybe burnt coffee,toffee with some caramel thrown in. finish is short and roasty coffee like.

Serving type: bottle

02-27-2005 09:00:25 | More by Padron4KM
Photo of rajendra82


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

Another purchase from a recent trip to Arkansas, this beer intrigued me with the unusual style moniker. When poured into a standard pint glass, this did not look black, but rather dark brownish red. The head was uneven and foamy off-white. The aroma was grainy and grassy, with some sweet corn syrup like smell.

The taste was closest to an English brown ale, with some burnt characteristics of a porter creeping in. Lot of nutty malt sweetness, tempered only slightly by the aromatic hops. The mouthfeel was slick and oily. An easy drinking beer for sure.

Serving type: bottle

02-20-2005 04:06:32 | More by rajendra82
Photo of ColoradoBobs


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

Really roasty, malty, but smoooth. I don't know what the International Bitterness Units for this brew are, but it's gotta be in the low teens.

Smooth dark dark dark amber, with a fine tan head that thins then leaves a clingy lacing.

Smell of smooth toasted rye bread. Mmmmm.

Taste is just so smoothly dark, hints of chocolate and baked plums, a bit of clove. Really warming. Don't drink this cold -- just cool, and you'll notice the depth of flavor. Melt-in-your-mouth smoothness and blend of the flavors, so there's not one dominant highnote -- just a kind of smooth harmony of rich dark tastes.

Very smooth and drinkable for a Belgian Dark Ale, and oh, so available here in Colorado. If you haven't had some, pick up a case next time you're through the prettiest state in the USA, which happens to have a lot of really great beers.

By the way, though not significant, the bottle I poured tonight read ABV of 5.6%. And . . . did I mention it's smooth?

Serving type: bottle

02-19-2005 05:30:40 | More by ColoradoBobs
Photo of Vancer


4.13/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1554 – Musta been a good year, cause this frosty is damn good! Pours just like a porter (dark brown w/ruby sides, frothy brown head, nice lacing), but a really different aroma and taste to it. Doesn’t have much of a hop or malt backbone, but an earthy, grainy, grassy aspect to it – almost woody. Still very smooth with a lite to medium body. Good winter or summer beer.

Serving type: bottle

02-10-2005 14:13:30 | More by Vancer
Photo of cncbofh


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

One of the few Belgian Dark ales that I can truly call a session beer.

Popped open a bottle and poured a very dark ale into a pint glass. A decent half-finger head stayed around for quite a while.

Smells of roasted malts, marshmallow, and peat. The taste was slightly above average - vanilla flavors that were slightly artificial, sugary dark malts and a slightly spicy and tart finish.

This beer survived two scrabble matches and an Illinois / Michigan State basketball game. Drinkability - definitely a 5.

Pretty darn good.

Serving type: bottle

02-02-2005 04:57:40 | More by cncbofh
Photo of CVC


3.78/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Came in a dark 12 oz. bottle; served in a pint glass.

Pours a deep black with slight reddish hues. Has a one-finger, tannish-white head which leaves a good amount of lacing. Smells of plums and malts. Tastes thick and syrupy, plummy, and a little spicy. Not much carbonation. Has a thick syrupy mouthfeel, too.

This is a decent offering by New Belgium. It has that syrupy/plummy smell and taste like many dark Belgian-style ales seem to have. I'd buy it again.

Serving type: bottle

01-21-2005 07:15:14 | More by CVC
Photo of mentor


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

12 oz bottle obtained from Westminster Liquor (Colorado) in Jan 2005 and consumed that same evening. Review from notes. Poured a 2-finger tan head over a dark brown clear liquid. It was dark mohogany when held to light. Smells caramel and roast grains...coffeeish and toffeeish. Sweet and enticing. Tastes roast to start then chocolate and toffee. Very sweet and wet. Hopping is minimal. Medium body and fine carbonation on the front flat and sides of my tongue. Freshness date was 18 May 05.

Serving type: bottle

01-21-2005 02:46:35 | More by mentor
Photo of beerluvr

Ontario (Canada)

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

Pours a light brown foamy head over clear very dark red liquid. The nose is roasted barley and light coffee. The coffee also carries thru on the taste, nice roasty notes and subtle hoppiness blend together well although I'm hard pressed to see any Belgian connection here. Still a nice beer nonetheless. Finishes up with a touch of chocolate, sorta sweet, nice carbonation. Well done.

Serving type: bottle

01-14-2005 01:13:18 | More by beerluvr
Photo of counselor


3.55/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My first New Belgium thanks to bif 14 and ninjaworm. Pours a mahogony glossy color with a creamy head that dissipated quickly. There were nice malty, roasted, spicey aromas. There was good solid malt profile and soft toasted, woodsy flavors with plum and raisin flavors. Slight noble hop finish, rather dry on the pallate. A nie beer that I would enjoy regularly and use to advance quality beers to non ba's

Serving type: bottle

12-30-2004 02:18:05 | More by counselor
Photo of Gagnonsux


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

I wasn't sure if I was going to like this since I'm usually not a fan of Belgian styles, however this tasted unlike the few Belgian dark ales I have tried. 1554's appearance is dark black with ruby highlights. Head size is about average. The aroma isn't very strong and consists mainly of light malt smells. 1554 is primarily a malty beer, hops provide only a balance. The present flavors are primarily light chocolate and maybe dark fruit taste. This is very refreshing for a darker beer, something that I could easily drink in summer sessions.

Serving type: bottle

12-17-2004 16:21:46 | More by Gagnonsux
Photo of MobBarley


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

Pours a ruby-black huw with a little bit of a cocao head that is fleeting. Smells of roasted grain and chocolate. Taste is similar but with a bittersweet finish and citrus aftertaste. Mouthfeel is decent..slightly thick ut not syrupy. Only slightly effervescent. Drinkability is good but drops sharply as the temperature rises and more burnt/sweet notes come out. Nice,though.

Serving type: bottle

12-17-2004 05:32:31 | More by MobBarley
Photo of clvand0


3.33/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

This one pours a brown color with a small head that dies off quickly and doesn't leave much lacing on the glass. The aroma is only roasted malts. Really nothing else here. The flavor has the roasted malts but they are much subdued. Maybe a little chocolate in there. It's like a watered down porter. Odd. Not bad, but I won't go out of my way for it.

Serving type: bottle

12-07-2004 18:09:24 | More by clvand0
Photo of Troyone


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

Purchased in a 12 oz. bottle, pours dark (can not see through) with an inch head that dissipates to an eighth of an inch.
The smell is minimally significant with lots of spice, some malt. Taste has a big malt flavor almost to the point of a porter. There are flavors of coffee and maybe chocolate but definately malty.
The mouthfeel is not syrupy but somewhat heavy with lots of carbonation all the way through to the after taste.
Not to far from being a session beer but is to heavy but very drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

12-02-2004 11:05:33 | More by Troyone
Photo of kmpitz2


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

This beer pours deep amber brown color with a finger of head that falls to a quarter inch. The nose is full on roasty malts. Some coffee, some chocolate, but all roasted. It smells nice. The flavor is too grainey for my liking. I would expect more roasted coffee and dark chocolate. There is a hint of the roasted character in the finish, but not as much as I want. The feel is a little thin, without much carbonation going on in there. Overall, the beer is just a bit lacking, but its not to bad. I don't think I would have it again, as there are other dark beers that are better.

Serving type: bottle

12-02-2004 03:03:34 | More by kmpitz2
Photo of SeanChouffe

New Mexico

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

A deep mahogany/red color with low co2, and a light brown rocky head. Lacing is sticky and head retention is low. Aroma is acerbic and malty with a metallic background. Tastes lightly sweet at the start, with dark fruits, caramel with a metallic dry finish. Palate is medium bodied, creamy and lightly effervescent. An enjoyable Belgian style ale. One of the better New Belgium brews.

Serving type: bottle

12-02-2004 02:28:42 | More by SeanChouffe
Photo of GClarkage


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

12/01/04- Purchased at a wine store in Sonoma, CA

Appearance- Pours into my Duvel glass a lucid balck with a tinge of red coloring. Huge fluffy white head and excellent lacing.

Smell- I sense sweetness and roasted nuts. Maybe a tad medicinal.

Taste- Kinda like a combo of a porter, a brown ale and maybe a rauchbier. I taste the nutty roasted flavor of a porter and sometimes brown ale and a bit of smokyness like a rauchbier. A nice sweetness to it.

Mouthfeel- Very smooth drinking beer. Low level of carbonation makes it slide down your throat.

Drinkability- My fourth or fifth New Belgium beer I believe. All have turned out at least decent. Another impressive brew. Props to New Belgium.

Serving type: bottle

12-02-2004 00:03:49 | More by GClarkage
Photo of Mitchster


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

Made with Pale, Carapils, Black, Munich, and Chocolate malts. Hopped with Magnum.

Pours to a sparkingly clear very dark amber with ruby edges, forming a modest light-tan head with ok retention and sparse lacing. Carbonation is moderate. The aroma is interesting, like a cleanly fermented lager with milk chocolate overtones, and when swirled, produces toasty notes akin to Fat Tire, subtle black walnut, vanilla and alcohol. Mouthfeel is smooth at first and ends with a little bit of stinging alcohol despite only being 5.4% ABV. Medium bodied. Taste starts with some spicy herbal hops, followed by a toasty and woody roasted malt middle. There is a mellow, woody maltiness here with touches of toasted marshmallows. The bitterness is mild to moderate and there are some scant but noticeable higher alcohols which tarnsihes the finish. The aftertaste is rounded woody sweetness.

Probably my least favorite of NBBC's brews. While good, it doesn't hold up to the other excellent brews in the lineup, and the warm ferment imparts some off-flavors.

Serving type: bottle

11-30-2004 01:21:34 | More by Mitchster
Photo of Southernbrew


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

Brought back by a friend from Texas.

Pours a dark brown with nice crimson hues.

Dark roasted malt aromas, Belgian-like sweetness blended with dark fruits.

Medium bodied and pretty smooth. Strong brown-sugar sweetness up front that moves into a dubbel like flavor mixed with a light cherry flavor. Some sourness as well.

A nice Belgian ale, I would be hard pressed to categorize this, but it is quite enjoyable.

Serving type: bottle

11-22-2004 18:47:03 | More by Southernbrew
1554 Enlightened Black Ale from New Belgium Brewing
86 out of 100 based on 2,919 ratings.