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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 SkeeterHawk


3.95/5  rDev +3.1%

Appearance: Very clear deep garnet color with a small ¼” head at first pour. The head was only around for 20-30 seconds. There was a bit of a ring that was maintained by the numerous bubbles rising.

Aroma: My allergies are not my friend. I get a bit of toasty malt like Munich. There is a bit of plum or other dark fruit here. As it warms, you can pick out a whole lot more fruity esters coming out.

Taste: The flavor is also pretty toasty. This beer has a significant portion of Munich in the malt bill. There are also some pleasant caramel notes in here. It is very palatable, and not roasty at all. The finish is balanced toward the sweet, but there is not a lot of residual sugar left in this beer, so it leaves your palate a little dry among the sweet malt. There is some hops present, but they support the entire profile rather than being a big player in it.

Opinion: This is no doubt one of the better beers to come from New Belgium. I am at a bit of a disadvantage as I have never had a Black Beer in Brussels, so I don’t know if this beer is to style. It is malty like a schwarzbier, but has a lot more fruitiness than the German styles. This is a pretty good beer nonetheless.

12-01-2005 04:58:07 | More by SkeeterHawk
Photo of charlatan

United Kingdom (Scotland)

3.43/5  rDev -10.4%

Bottle has freshness date 14 April 2006.

Beer pours a dark peaty brown colour with very little head. It smells rather smoky, presumably indicating roasted malt, and slightly creamy, yet a tad stale (think of the difference between nasty fresh cigarette smoke and even nastier stale cigarette smoke!).

Carbonation feels wonderful on the tongue, but presumably takes a little away from the taste. The tingling sensation seems to lessen the performace of my taste buds. Despite this compromised ability they do notice a pleasant smoky malt flavour, then the creaminess and finally a very faint hoppy edge to it which rounds it off very nicely. It leaves the mouth a little dry, but still creamy and perhaps with a hint of sweet dried fruit.

This is a very pleasant beer for winter evenings and gains my hearty recommendation.

11-17-2005 04:53:32 | More by charlatan
Photo of mynie


4/5  rDev +4.4%

Nice burnt nothing red, black in low light. Soapy, foamy, cleansing brown head sticking for two inches above the beer's top.

Fruit in the nose. Fruity fruit fruit. Very sweet black licorice plums and alcohol.

Burny ashen smoke flavor fading to sweet fruit in the back and ending with a zip of alcohol. Coffee and cigarettes. Those fancy Camel smokes they make for kids that taste like passion fruit. Dirty in a clean way.

Exceptionally solid beer. This was my first Belgian Dark and honestly I can't tell it from a Schwarz.

11-12-2005 02:56:31 | More by mynie
Photo of garymuchow


3.6/5  rDev -6%

Aroma presents with a sweet roast and dark malt. Pretty simple and straight forward. Coffee like.
Head left immediately. Black with garnet hues.
Taste is similar to aroma, but not as intense. Sweeter up front with nice sweet fruit quality. Roast in middle that moves to a nice lingering dry finish.
Excessive carbonation takes away from flavor and makes it too filling. Lightish body.
This is fine. Give it a go, as I'd not discourage it's comsumption. I didn't like the balance.
Thanks to John B. for bringing me the bottle.

11-05-2005 16:14:19 | More by garymuchow
Photo of russpowell


4.35/5  rDev +13.6%

Poured with a rocky tan head (retention could've been better) with varying sized bubbles. Body was more mahogany than black, when expsed to adequate light, other wise light black...Great clarity

Nose: Fruit, breadiness, leather, nuts & spices (pepper)

Tastes of Sour mash maltiness, licorice, coffee, hops lingering at the edge with plenty of fruitcake-like goodness/malt

Mouthfeel: Carbination & maltiness slightly out of balance.

Drinkability: Just a little too complex to enjoy more than a few a session.

10-29-2005 04:18:18 | More by russpowell
Photo of edmundfitzoil


4.22/5  rDev +10.2%

Had this one on-tap at Venti's Cafe in downtown Salem. It was poured into a standard pint glass.

A: This is a gorgeous looking brew: black colored beer that lightens at the edges of the glass and bottom. The head retained very well, and left fine lacing down the side of the glass.
S: The nose was malts with some honey sweetness.
T: The taste was roasted malts with a very nice hop finish. A medium mouthfeel and body, and a very drinkable beer. A surprising find and a beer that I would return to the next time I'm lucky enough to find it on-tap.

10-26-2005 15:57:24 | More by edmundfitzoil
Photo of xoqx


4.33/5  rDev +13.1%

Appearance – This pours a nearly black, deep brown with a very creamy tan head with average retention and significant wispy sheeting lacing.

Smell – The nose is malty and sweet with some licorice, anise hints.

Taste – This is a very robustly malty beer, yet crisp with a subtle hop finish at the end. There is more fruitiness that would be expected from a beer this dark.

Mouthfeel – On the whole, the brew is surprisingly medium-bodied considering the depth of malt roasting. Creamy crispness.

Drinkability – This is an exceptionally drinkable beer. I highly recommend it. Don’t let the color fool you into thinking you can’t have several of these in a night.

10-23-2005 20:55:03 | More by xoqx
Photo of mntlover


3.63/5  rDev -5.2%

Pours a deep peat brown almost black some deep red shows thru when held to the light. Sports a nice fluffy tan head that leaves a good coat of lace.

Aroma is nice roasted malts coffee and fruit some hints of chocolate and underlying caramel noted.

Taste is well carbonated roasted malt light coffee flavorsmoving to dark fruits finishes with caramel sweetness and lingering spice. Overall a decent Schwarzbier but there are better ones out there.

Mouthfeel is a little to carbonated for my senses but decent body.

Drinkability is ok a decent little brew want to thank the fine ba's who sent this to me and B&G BIF.

10-21-2005 18:22:21 | More by mntlover
Photo of Silenus


4/5  rDev +4.4%

This ales pours a beautiful black with a very fine carbonation and a caramel head. It has strong coffee and caramel flavors and a mouthfeel that liberally coats the tongue. It also has a surprisingly refreshing taste. From the look, you’d think it would have a strong alcohol bite but it has a very balanced flavor. I also love the story behind its creation. Definitely one of the collection.

10-20-2005 19:08:10 | More by Silenus
Photo of swid


3.9/5  rDev +1.8%

New Belgium 1554 pours a black color into my tulip glass. A deep reddish-brown color is visible around the edges when the beer is held up to the light; not quite entirely opaque. A 1/2", brown head forms, then slowly dissipates into a soapy ring. Moderate carbonation and lacing. The aroma is a mild mixture of alcohol sweetness, caramel malts, and small hints of citrus and "funk".

The taste is sweet and malty on the whole. The first impression is of caramel malts, a slight alcohol sweetness, and a little bit of chocolate and roasted flavors. After a second or so, the citrus flavor from the hops kicks in, adding to an overall slight sour tone. The mouthfeel is light, being slightly more sweet than dry. Finishes crisp, with a mild roasted yet sweet aftertaste.

Overall, this beer has combination of tastes not found in an ordinary beer. It's nothing exceptional, and probably not for eveyone, but it's tasty enough in its own right. It's a great beer for a crisp October night.

10-18-2005 03:31:39 | More by swid
Photo of jwff


3.88/5  rDev +1.3%

As the only black ale I've tried I really have no reference to the style. New Belgium seems to have thought ahead and the label is quick to remind that this is neither a stout nor a porter.

No real complaints about this beer. There is an overwhelming flavour of burnt chocolate present in the smell. Pours a dark ruby, almost black with low carbonation. This beer reminds me of a rich brown ale before the mouthfeel thins to make way for the brunt of the burnt chocolate -- which sounds amazing, but the transition is not very smooth. Blunt, even.

Solid brew. There is a bit of sweetness which might turn some away as far as sessioning goes, but the sweetness could also interest those who consider themselves non-beer drinkers. Also, this beer comes highly recommended on tap as it thickens up and smooths out the mouthfeel.

10-08-2005 18:02:45 | More by jwff
Photo of paterlodie


3.6/5  rDev -6%

Not much head and a black coffee like beercolor. Nose is lots of black candy, chocolate, oxidated sweet but good maltyness overal more sweet then burnt nose impression. Taste is full, tasty and sweetish but not overdone. Lots of cacao powder, burnt but not overdone and a good "black"taste overal. Aftertaste stays long and is slightly burnt and gets backing from some bitterhops. Mouthfeel is missing some freshness but low carbonisation and good taste make a quiet good overal impression. Drinkability is though it's not my favorite beerstyle good. The beer is easy drinkable and enjoyable to me.

10-03-2005 09:36:51 | More by paterlodie
Photo of whynot44


4.18/5  rDev +9.1%

Apparently, 1554 Enlightened Black Ale is a relabeling of the 1554 Brussels Black Ale, although maybe with a little refinement since I originally tried it.

It pours a very dark red/black with ruby highlights against a light and a decent but quick disappearing milk chocolate colored head, which does manage to leave some traces of lace.

The aroma is chocolate with hints of coffee and spice.

The taste is smooth roasted malt, chocolate, coffee, pears and a touch of spice. In spite of the dark color, this is only light/medium in body and the flavors, although complex, are mellow and compliment each other without any trace of harshness.

Very clean, smooth, refreshing and very easy to drink. Don't let the color scare you, give it a try.

10-02-2005 05:04:46 | More by whynot44
Photo of Domingo


3.95/5  rDev +3.1%

On tap at the Patriot and Loyalist in Englewood, CO.
(Of note, theis brew is starting to appear on tap all over the Denver area...which is a really good thing)
Pours a dark black color...remniscent of either a Swartz or maybe even a dry stout actually.
The smell is of roasted malt, but with a clear sweetness and a little bit of molasses coming through.
Flavor is excellent. Lots of malty flavors and a hint of hops at the end, although it's not too strong.
A beer I could drink a lot of. A really solid go-to beer if it's available in your area. It's one of those you'll always think "I should get this more often" immediately upon trying it.

09-22-2005 17:21:50 | More by Domingo
Photo of beersarang


3.65/5  rDev -4.7%

Pours a soda like brown with a head much the same color. Retention is only mildly better than that of soda.

Faint malty roasted aroma, extremely faint. Not over the top like a stout.

Belgian aromatic malts show up in this beer, slight honey from the malt, with little to no discernable hop character. Bitterness is only there to balance. Not necessarily sweet but definitely malty. Roasted character is there in the finish in a pleasant and smooth way.

Medium to light bodied with light carbonation.

I would drink this again as a session beer but the reality is that it does not really meet my expectations of a Belgian dark ale. It is like the Belgian dark ale "light" in reality, toned down for the wimpy American palate. Nevertheless, it is good and pleasant, and a fantastic transition beer, much like fat tire. New Belgium is seemingly the middleman for stone, alesmith, and rogue brewing companies, grabbing the swill drinkers and bringing them closer to the good side.

09-22-2005 03:21:15 | More by beersarang
Photo of Zorro


4/5  rDev +4.4%

Clear dark brown ale with a tan head.

Smell is dark roasted malt and a whiff of banana. Fairly malty in scent and I can pick out the scent of wheat in it. Faint whiff of smoke is present.

Taste is faint sweetness and smoke from the dark malt. Flavor of chocolate and mild bitterness with a little acid edge in the finish. No way is this a Belgian Dark Ale, this is a schwarzbier.

Mouthfeel is good.

Schwarzbier here not a Belgian Dark Ale! Not a bad beer at all here but I like the German version better.

09-17-2005 23:24:27 | More by Zorro
Photo of aquatonex

New York

4/5  rDev +4.4%

Pours deep brown, opaque, with a very short brownish head. Good lacing throughout. Lots of chocolates dominate the nose, along with toasty nutty coffee notes. Taste is well balance, good semisweet malts with cocoa and coffee flavors, rounded with bitter hops. Smooth, semisweet, bitter, very nice. If I didn't live clear across the country I'd have a lot more of these.

09-11-2005 03:03:25 | More by aquatonex
Photo of Tang07


3.93/5  rDev +2.6%

Great dark brown color. Great creamy, long lasting tan head.
The beer looks like something that you want to drink.
The smell has hints of malt, coffee and chocolate.
The taste is a great balance of malt and bitter.
The taste is much like the smell, malt, coffee, and chocolate with a nice bitter finish.

The beer has a nice body and slides down the throat well and is an easy drinking yet filling beer.

It is a great beer, but not something that you can drink all night because it is a bit heavy.

09-05-2005 23:43:36 | More by Tang07
Photo of gbontrag


4.22/5  rDev +10.2%

Quite dark, certainly darker then I remember. It's ebony with some transparency. There's a likeable tan froth that sticks and stays.
Aroma of chocolates with a bit of green and black tea.

Tastes like chocolate flan! There'e quite the lively carbonation that's not small and fuzzy, it's large and assertive. The beer is surprisingly light for the color helped by the tingly mouthfeel. Not a huge aftertaste, so it's appreciated by the macro crowd I'm hanging with. I really like this for easy drinking. It fits in with brown ales maybe moreso then a Belgian definition.

08-17-2005 21:57:47 | More by gbontrag
Photo of WetCoaster


3.98/5  rDev +3.9%

Appearance: Very nice. Deep rich mahogany to the light; bordering on the advertised black without. Plump, dense, rocky, coffee-and-cream head with great retention. Leaves thin sheets of sticky lace on the glasswall. Very fine active carbonation throughout.

Smell: Chocolate with a spicy, juicy nose of Belgian yeast. A bit musty, and a bit of smokiness from the malt. No real hop profile, but a mighty fine nose nonetheless.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Dense mouthfeel of smoky chocolate up front. Roasty, with the slightly nutty spice of the yeast noticable mid-palette. Finishes bitter, crisp and dry. Mouthfeel is thin and tight, with a slight astringency.

Drinkability: While it's virtually indistinguishable from a number of stouts and porters out there, it's much better than I would have expected. Genuinely good beer, a nice surprise.

08-08-2005 02:47:28 | More by WetCoaster
Photo of brewQ


3.9/5  rDev +1.8%

By the light of day I will call this dark brown with highlights.

The sandy brown head falls but leaves islands atop the brew and lace that outlasts the glass. The aroma is less than I expected- subtle plum backed by earthy grains.

Taste is well balanced and puts me in the mind of Schwarzbier. A nice balance that finishes with a light spice I can't discern.

Good drinking to fit many occasions- with spicy food or solo on a cool day.

Love New Belgium- wish they'd make the date code more readable to my old eyes- the kids said this was 121605, 4 months out.

08-06-2005 20:47:08 | More by brewQ
Photo of Fugazme


3.98/5  rDev +3.9%

There's something that excites me every time I pour a beer like this... I think its the darkness of the head and the opaque nature of this style. I get excited when I can't see through the glass to the other side.
1554 kept a nice head throughout with a pretty strong hint of citrus and spice, but after the second whiff, it vanished. I've noticed this with subsequent bottles, as well. I found the beer moderately heavy yet very smooth. Then again, what beer doesn't go down well being first in line after a hard days work!
I miss the aroma throughout the glass, but overall I enjoyed this beer very much.
Just a note: I drank the second bottle with a bananna/peanut butter/honey/cinnamon sandwich and it rocked!

08-03-2005 14:59:36 | More by Fugazme
Photo of carln26


3.4/5  rDev -11.2%

This poured a deep brown to black with mild orange highlights. It was topped by a 1 inch tan head with decent carbonation. The head left a nice sheet of lace on the side of the glass. The aroma reminds me of many amber or brown ales. Primarily malt up front with toffee and caramel, followed by a bit of roasted malt. No real hop note in the aroma. The flavor comes across with the same mixture of caramel and roast malt. There is a mild nuttiness to the flavor and just a hint of citrus hop on the finish. Slightly more pronounced bitterness than I expected. It has a smooth, slightly oily mouth feel and a good drinkability.

07-27-2005 19:01:55 | More by carln26
Photo of DrunkMcDermott


3.8/5  rDev -0.8%

Finally got to try my first New Belgium at Soulard Ale House in St. Louis, and the choice was this one because they were all out of Fat Tire. But this does not disappoint. A deep brown beer with a stouty head. Very estery like a dunkel weizen. Smoothness almost cancels out roastiness. Despite being average in ABV, it had a good alcohol burn, too. And the lacing leaves nice, regular rings down the entire length of the glass.

07-15-2005 14:49:08 | More by DrunkMcDermott
Photo of Sammy

Ontario (Canada)

3.95/5  rDev +3.1%

Nice aroma, dark appearance, dry, yeast, aggressive carbonation. Roast, chewy, malty. Thanks Tim (IPFreely) for sharing. Quite good and drinkable,cocoa, mult-dimensional and it all comes together in satisfying drink and aftertaste. Nice Belgian style.

07-04-2005 23:47:56 | More by Sammy
1554 Enlightened Black Ale from New Belgium Brewing
86 out of 100 based on 2,947 ratings.