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1554 Enlightened Black Ale - New Belgium Brewing

Not Rated.
1554 Enlightened Black Ale1554 Enlightened Black Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

3,114 Ratings

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Ratings: 3,114
Reviews: 1,256
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 12.27%
Wants: 75
Gots: 228 | 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:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 01-02-2002

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,114 | Reviews: 1,256
Photo of Murchmac
3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
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.

Photo of katan
3.3/5  rDev -13.8%
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.

Photo of msubulldog25
3.81/5  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.

Photo of elricorico
4.11/5  rDev +7.3%
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.

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.

Photo of soupyman10
3.65/5  rDev -4.7%
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.

Photo of Chaz
3.85/5  rDev +0.5%
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.]

Photo of Erdinger2003
4.35/5  rDev +13.6%
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.

Photo of dogger6253
4.36/5  rDev +13.8%
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.

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.

Photo of Halcyondays
3.45/5  rDev -9.9%
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.

Photo of genog
3.46/5  rDev -9.7%
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.

Photo of brdc
4.17/5  rDev +8.9%
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.

Photo of kernalklink
3.7/5  rDev -3.4%
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.

Photo of blakesell
4.01/5  rDev +4.7%
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.

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.

Photo of shadow1961
3.68/5  rDev -3.9%
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.

Photo of surlyseth
3.6/5  rDev -6%
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.

Photo of umustdrink
2.09/5  rDev -45.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

A - Deep brown color, ruby red when held to light. Off-white head fades to a thin splotchy film, thicker around the edges. Medium lacing.

S - Very faint yeasty smell with very faint roasted cereal malts.

T/M - Extremely thin with far too much carbonation, taste is faint yeast with dark malts. This has very little taste to it.

D - Very disappointed with this, I will not waste my money on it again and I definitely will not recommend it to anyone.

Why is this rated so high?

Photo of cjhofelt
3.5/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Almost black with a slight copper brown tint when held to the light. 1/2"-3/4" of tan head that fades to a mottled film. Good lace.

Smell is mostly malty with hints of chocolate and caramel.

Taste is much like the smell, malt up front with chocolate and caramel notes. No hop flavors and not much bitterness, either, but there is a smokeyness in the finish that balances the sweetness nicely. There's something else there that I can't identify, something a bit herbal.

The only thing notable in the mouthfeel is the level of carbonation. It seems a bit fizzy on the tongue.

I like this beer and could drink a lot of it. It seems close to a porter in flavor and mouthfeel, but with a hint of something else.

Photo of emerge077
3.71/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Obvious black tone, with deep crimson highlights in the light. Rings of webby lace quickly encircle the glass, later becoming sparse. A strong pour produces 3+ fingers of tan foam. Visually stimulating.

Whiff of sweet phenolics, banana, and roast malt. Thins out after the inital pour, and becomes a little grainy with a Folgers suggestion.

Smooth & creamy mouthfeel lends alot to the overall equation. Light, but not thin. Carob, almond, with a slightly sweet milk chocolate lasting from beginning til end. Mild bitterness, becoming grainy again as the glass is finished. Overall a nice dark ale with some degree of complexity.

Thanks to acme for the bottle!

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

1554 is slightly brown around the edges, but otherwise black just as it advertises with a finger of tan head that fades after a few minutes to a thin cap that laces nicely.

The aroma of this beer that of freshly cut grain and dark fruit.

The taste has more of a note grass than grain with the dark fruit still present. The finish is dry and a note of chocolate shows up for the finish.

Mouthfeel is very good with a nice quality of coating the mouth, not unlike a good stout.

Drinkability of 1554 is excellent. A tasty, deeply-flavored beer with an ABV in a range that would allow you to enjoy more than one without being sloppy. Do yourself a favor and pick this one up when you see it.

Photo of wagenvolks
4.06/5  rDev +6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From the 12 oz. bottle comes a fantastic cascading pour producing a thick, frothy tan head atop a translucent, deep brown body. Hints of crimson creep in around the edges. The well-retained foam leaves some nice lacing as well. A smoked, malty aroma with hints of a roast nuttiness is present in the smell. An appealing boquet, all in all.

Taste has a rich, choco-malty profile and a slight touch of hops. It finishes with some coffee and liquorice notes. Compared to the small town Montana selections, 1554 knocks it out of the park. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, perhaps a bit too light, with a good carbonation level and a nice bitter finish. Overall, this offering from NBB is complex, tastey, and amazingly drinkable. Hard to ask of more from a beer.

Photo of ultralarry2006
4.5/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle. Leaves a two finger biege head that has very good retention and leaves very good lacing. Body is black with purple highlights.

Smell - chocolate, maltbread, plums, dates, and raisins. Mouthwatering.

Taste - exactly as promised by the nose. Chocolate, maltbread, plums, dates, and raisins. Very hearty and delicious.

Mouthfeel - fullbodied, chewy, and smooth.

Drinkability - this is excellent ale and totally sessionable.

Photo of jwilli7122
3.44/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

reddish dark-brown. like a darker "root-beer" color. lots of head, lots of lacing.

smells like...malt. not a whole lot going on, but not bad.

taste: malty... i can barely detect a slight hop presence in the aftertaste. very faint secondary flavors, but again, not bad. ultra-smooth and ultra-creamy texture - fair amount of carbonation. goes down very easy, but is creamy enough where i'll probably switch it up after one 22 oz bottle.

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1554 Enlightened Black Ale from New Belgium Brewing
86 out of 100 based on 3,114 ratings.