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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

2,915 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,915
Reviews: 1,237
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 12.53%
Wants: 65
Gots: 134 | 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: 2,915 | Reviews: 1,237 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of dedalus


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

excellent brew ... black with minimal head and lacing. a nose full of coffee, chocolate, and pears, reflected in the taste. heavier coffee and chocolate in the taste than in the nose, with the pear presence subdued but still assertive. delicately hoppy, yeasty, floral, fruity finish, with the coffee and chocolate giving way to a darkish caramel aftertaste. rich mouthfeel. could drink these all night.



Serving type: on-tap

03-24-2004 01:39:30 | More by dedalus
Photo of filabrazilia


4.18/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear dark amber with a nice tan head. Great lace cings to the glass.

There is a spicy and fruity aroma that mingles with a touch a toasted malt.

The malt is full and complex with hints of coffee, carmel and other subtle sweetness that jopins with a spicy and hoppy mix. Very unique and flavorful.

This is a medium bodied ale that is crisp and dry in the finish. Very smooth and easy to drink. Nice texture and balance.

An enigmatic offering from New Belgium that is both complex and simple, a beer that can be sipped or gulped.

Serving type: bottle

03-21-2004 17:04:45 | More by filabrazilia
Photo of BuckeyeNation


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

Two parts dark brown to one part dark red. This beer looks almost identical to a brown ale that I just had; certainly no darker. The lid is light brown and softly sticky. Glass coverage is adequate. A few small splotches of lace appear, no more than that. The aroma (which could stand to be stronger) is of roasted malt with spicy and earthy accents.

1554 Enlightened Black Ale tastes like a brown ale with some Belgian character. I've never had a black ale, so I'm not sure if this is what the brewers were shooting for or not. The flavor profile includes caramel malt with a small amount of roastiness and a little coffee. The beer is sweet and fruity early, becoming drier on the finish.

A subtle spiciness is evident as well and is most likely due to Belgian yeast esters. Flavor wasn't overly impressive in the top half of the bottle, but I'm enjoying it quite a bit in the bottom half. The body is medium in heft, decently creamy and slightly overbubbled.

Thanks to New Belgium for brewing something different. I haven't seen too many black ales. 1554 is pretty good beer, all things considered.

Serving type: bottle

03-12-2004 21:05:44 | More by BuckeyeNation
Photo of arizcards


3.93/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This dark red-brown ale poured a head that dissapated pretty quickly. Amongst the malt I detect a fruity undertone, pretty interesting for a dark beer. Upon first taste one gets hit with a heavy dose of roasted malts balanced in with a sweet hint of spice and a dry finish. This would fit right in with all the other holiday brews. Not an overally heavy mouthfeel, kind of thin, this beer offers a little bit different twist to the old palate, a nice little brew.

Serving type: bottle

03-09-2004 01:04:41 | More by arizcards
Photo of TheLongBeachBum


3.5/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: 12 ouncer picked up in Phoenix on a recent beer trip. A Belgium-esque looking drawn label set against a black label. Best before 1st May 2004, with no strength listed. Recommended to be served at 45°F.

Appearance: Dark and deep mahogany color, clear and brooding. In low light and a thick glass it does have a ‘black’ look, whilst in stronger light in has ruby red twinkle. The head was a pillowy 1” deep affair at first, light brown in color with a pitted surface, but it soon rescinds to a very thin collar, broken at times. Light lacing and minimal carbonation levels.

Nose: A very grainy, lightly roasted aroma that is difficult to pin point. Schwarzbier like is about as close as I can get.

Taste: Sweet start with some very light roasted chocolate malt in the middle mixed with caramel. Finishes with some astringency and a sharp edge.

Mouthfeel: Pretty average, creamy and grainy with a dark, but relatively light feel - all at the same time.

Drinkability: Easily drinkable but rather thin at times.

Overall: I tried this for the first time on draft during a recent trip to the Papago Brewing Co. with the legendary Gusler. I enjoyed in that format, as well as this. Difficult to say whether I really enjoyed it or not, it’s different and decent, and kind of reminds me of a simple Dark UK Mild with some dark sharp roasted hints.

Serving type: bottle

03-05-2004 04:20:36 | More by TheLongBeachBum
Photo of Lupe

New York

4.03/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Deep garnet-brown in color with ruby highlughts when held up to the light. A tan, creamy, two-inch head sits atop the dark liquid but quickly dissapates. Although the head disappears, there is very nice wispy rings of lace left behind. Toasty malt aroma with dark fruit and a hint of chocolate. Nothing grabs the front seat, but the flavor is a harmonious blend of roasted grain, chocolate,brown sugar, coffee, and vanilla. A mild hop bitterness keeps the sweetness in check. Medium in body, smooth and refreshing. It is like a brown ale, but lighter.

Serving type: bottle

03-02-2004 23:40:39 | More by Lupe
Photo of ark57


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

This is an interesting beer. They call it an ale, though I believe they use a lager yeast and then ferment it at ale temperatures. It almost reminds me of a schwarzbier with some fruit overtones to it. It is ruby-black with tastes of bitter chocolate and some licorice. It is somewhat sweet in the body, but it finishes clean.

Serving type: bottle

03-01-2004 13:32:14 | More by ark57
Photo of tavernjef


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

Deep and very dark brown, I want to say its black but its not, oh so close though, thin tannish head, diminsihed softly, some ink blot strings of lace stick. Aroma is mildly roasty with black malts, slight over tone of belgian yeast adding a bit of clove and dry spice, touches of cocoa underneath, mildly dry overall and quite nice. Taste is favorably mild with a great dryish mixture of black malts and chocolate with just a hint of dried floral spices and yeast. Just barely sweet within and has a bit of roastyness to it but its very tame, leaving a nice rounded character to flourish in texture and body, which is medium to full and the smooth carbonation helps this slide right down with amazing ease. Nice stuff indeed, recommended.

Serving type: bottle

03-01-2004 02:00:42 | More by tavernjef
Photo of DESTRO


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

this pours what looks to be black but has ruby highlights when held to light. nice lacing on the head as well. the smell? toasted malts, a bit fruity....mild. one person described it as being like fat tire but with a coffee taste. i guess i can see that. biscuit like malt that has a roasted edge to it. slightly fruity and yeasty as well. good. nice in the mouth, medium bodied and slightly creamy, a very drinkable dark ale that is mellow but still has enough flavor to keep it interesting.

$6.99 for a 6.

Serving type: bottle

02-26-2004 06:51:41 | More by DESTRO
Photo of RasputinsRevenge


4.03/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I have had this before in the bottle, but just had some on tap this past weekend. I have mixed feelings about the beers that come out of New Belgium's brewery, but this one gets good marks in my book. In terms of appearance, this was a good looking beer with a dark color (though not totally opaque) and a modest head. As for taste, this is a very flavourful black ale that frankly stunned me at first. For some reason I think I had a preconceived notion that dark beers were generally bland. After trying this (the first time), though, I was almost instantly converted, and I honeslty prefer anything dark nowadays. My first impressions on the aroma and taste were that it seemed very "earthy" - fruity might be one way to describe it, but not "citrus-y" or acidic. Hard to describe, maybe vegetable-like would be more appropriate. I remember the head dissipated fairly quick, but it wasn't flat. The aftertaste was well balanced, it seemed to linger just long enough that I knew I had something, but not annoyingly long.

The bottled version seems to be readily available, at least in the Dallas market, but if you can find it on tap, I would highly recommend you try this one.

Serving type: on-tap

02-23-2004 20:59:13 | More by RasputinsRevenge
Photo of WesWes

New York

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

The beer pours a very dark brown color with a thick tan head. The aroma is good. It boasts of mostly pale, chocolate, and roasted malts. It has the traditional Belgian style fruity kick to it; very nice. The taste is great. This is a very tastey dark ale with lots of dark malts and Belgian yeast. It goes down smooth with a creamy finish and a fruity aftertaste. The mouthfeel is good. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a good sessions ale; a real pleasure to drink; another winner from New Belgium.

Serving type: bottle

02-17-2004 23:33:46 | More by WesWes
Photo of watermelonman


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

This is definitely a good beer. I didn't find it as exciting or as appealing as certain other styles, but it does have a good flavor and it both looks and smells very nice. One of my friends loves this stuff and gets 6 packs fairly frequently, so I'll probably pick up some more singles by way of barter.

Serving type: bottle

02-13-2004 21:57:58 | More by watermelonman
Photo of ADR


4.2/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Certainly a dark pour, very dark brown with minimal light transmission. Big head to start, settles to a skim in about a minute. Good belgian lace. Aroma of suede, prickly with some musty yeast. Very floral flavor impression, crocus and lilac oil distilled for the taste buds. Light and effervescent, slight sense of black malt density and aridity close to the finish. The end is best, a swapping of the subtle malts with a noticeable but restrained bittering. Not at all a big beer, but emphasizing unique and pleasant malt properties.

Source: Liquid Solutions

Serving type: bottle

02-13-2004 17:03:03 | More by ADR
Photo of Thrasher


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

This is a distinctive and excellent beer. It does resemble a porter more than anything else but with a less oppressive flavor. It initally looks black but is a deep amber. Head rises well, but then diminishes to a small ring and minimal lacing. Aroma of sweetish malts, caramel, candy, as well as a light fruity yeastiness. The flavor is full, crisp and malty, with the roastiness that goes along with porters but mellowed and more buttery. Mouthfeel thinnish, kind of like black coffee. A surprisingly drinkable beer, one that would make an interesting session since putting back more than one is no problem. This beer would probably be a perfect match for a particular kind of food but I wonder which dish?

Serving type: bottle

02-09-2004 03:27:17 | More by Thrasher
Photo of elmocoso


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

Pours a real dark ruby that shows its true color when held to the light.

No head, but a ring and some lace floating across the top.

malty smell with a little smoke? and some spice.

I like the smell of this one. Very drinkable and a nice, slightly complex flavor. Malt. Smoke. Malt. Spice.

This beer doesnt knock you out, but it has just enough of character to be an interesting session beer.

Serving type: bottle

01-14-2004 00:53:20 | More by elmocoso
Photo of BierReise


3.73/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a Coca-Cola black with a thick head which died quickly leaving some scattered lacing. Has a nutty grainy malt aroma that is quite interesting. Some yeast is also detected in the aroma. Medium body is crisp with a smooth finish. Flavor is malty and nutty with an almost peanut like flavor to it. Reminds me a bit like Koestritzer Schwarzbier with its pronounced lager yeast. Overall a nice brew.

Serving type: bottle

01-09-2004 20:35:33 | More by BierReise
Photo of paganbeast


3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A beautiful color when poured, very dark with hints of red. The carbonation and head is minimal, so there's nothing extremely interesting about the texture. With the nicely roasted malt, this beer has a nice smooth caramel flavor to it. One of New Belgium's finest beers, as I tend to like the darker ones.

Serving type: bottle

01-04-2004 22:44:30 | More by paganbeast
Photo of Boilermaker88


4.2/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle with a "best before" date of 12-11-03 on it. Well, so I missed the deadline by a few days; I don't think it made much difference. This brew had a clear dark reddish-brown hue and a very resilient and creamy off-white head that peaked at about 1½" and never truly faded away. Vibrant carbonation kept the head alive and nice sheet lace was deposited as the beer disappeared.
The smell was an all-malt affair with lots of roasted malt, some mild dark fruit, a light nutty aroma and a whiff of smoke. The taste continued the malt dominance. A fine roasted malt presence followed by a almond flavor and that light smokey taste. The finish had the flavor of some plums and lacked any appreciable hops profile. The feel was medium-bodied, smooth and dry.
This beer from New Belgium Brewing was really easy to drink. I was surprised at how fast it went down. It's not a porter or a stout but almost like a schwarzbier, just not as dark. Definitely worth a try. Quite unique.

Serving type: bottle

12-17-2003 16:58:13 | More by Boilermaker88
Photo of RBorsato


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

Dark brown with a full light brown/tan head, decent carbonation, and good lace. Nutty and roasty malt aroma. Spicy malt character dominates... Vienna or Munich malts, maybe ? Tastes a good bit different than it smells. Medium bodied with a dry malty finish.

Per N.B website: Other than being dark in color, 1554 has little in common with Porter or Stouts. The beer is fermented at relatively high temperatures using a European lager yeast that imparts a refreshing, zesty acidity.

Best Before: 11/28/03
Tasted: 11/23/03

Serving type: bottle

11-26-2003 17:48:12 | More by RBorsato
Photo of SheepNutz


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

12oz. bottle poured into a tulip-style glass. It pours a deep black color that is really deep red when held up to light. There is two fingers of off-white head that quickly reduces to a small collar, but there is good lacing left. The smell is full of roasted malt and caramel, very sweet. There is a tiny hint of chocolate aroma as well. The taste has a good amount of burnt malt and sweetness. A good caramel taste at the finish with just a tiny dose of hops. The mouthfeel is just a little light and watery. The drinkability is really good though. A very unique beer, and a good offering from New Belgium.

Serving type: bottle

11-20-2003 04:14:55 | More by SheepNutz
Photo of Beaver13


3.6/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle. Pours a dark ruby brown with a thick creamy off white head that retains well and laces the glass.

The aroma is nutty, lactic roasted chocolate and some medicinal notes.

The flavor is sweet nutty toffee and chocolate malts with a roasted, lightly bitter finish. It is a bit sharp and acidic. The mouthfeel is medium bodied and fairly creamy.

Overall, an enjoyable malt-driven beer. It's not too exciting for me, but makes for a nice fall-back beer.

Serving type: bottle

11-11-2003 05:39:47 | More by Beaver13
Photo of BeerResearcher


4.1/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Nytmare for this one!
It pours a dark cordovan with a thin beige head and some wisps of lace. The aroma is a nutty malt with a light smokiness. This is mostly a malty brew with lots of caramel notes, nuts and a distant toasty crème brulee. A light taste of pears, mild limes and spices round out this very quaffable ale.

Serving type: bottle

10-29-2003 00:06:13 | More by BeerResearcher
Photo of ManekiNeko


3.65/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottled served chilled in a Delirium Noel glass. Best by date of 11/14/2003.

Appearance: Beautiful brown/ruby colored liquid with a nice sized tan head of tiny bubbles. Head settles down to a small layer of bubbles after a few minutes. Little bits of lacing left on the glass.

Smell: Well balanced chocolate and caramel malt aromas with faint coffee notes. Lightly yeasty. Quite intriguing.

Taste: Slightly bittersweet toffee flavor. Yeasty. Hints of chocolate and coffee.

Mouthfeel: Remarkably light given the tastes. Quite crisp.

Drinkability: A nice quaint beer. Perfect for the fall or early spring. Overtones of stouts and porters but with a Belgian twist. I'll gladly have the other two sent to me, but I'd probably not go out of my way for more.

Thanks to prAna for the trade.

Serving type: bottle

10-22-2003 04:08:47 | More by ManekiNeko
Photo of RenoZymurgist


3.08/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured a deep red with a slight head that subsided quickly. I could not detect any perceptible aroma. The flavor was sweet with a dark malt character that hinted at coffee and chocolate with a dry flavorful finish. The body was medium yet somehow i though it would be lighter. A good beer to try if you have never had it.

Serving type: bottle

10-21-2003 06:00:25 | More by RenoZymurgist
Photo of woemad


3.13/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle purchased at Huckleberry's in Spokane. Poured a very dark brown with minimal off-white head that ceased to exist within a minute. Very mild, malty aroma of dark chocolate. Taste was equally mild. No hop presence whatsoever. This isn't a bad tasting beer. There's just not a whole lot going on with this one. The mouthfeel is rather thin. I think this would be good for someone who is terrified of the notion of a dark beer, as it is very easy to consume.

Serving type: bottle

10-20-2003 22:22:51 | More by woemad
1554 Enlightened Black Ale from New Belgium Brewing
86 out of 100 based on 2,915 ratings.