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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

2,973 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,973
Reviews: 1,242
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 12.53%
Wants: 67
Gots: 165 | 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: 2,973 | Reviews: 1,242 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Sammy
3.95/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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.

Sammy, Jul 04, 2005
Photo of soper2000
3.9/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

It's nice to be in a state where New Belgium is distributed.

Pours a very rich dark brown with a small creamy white head. Holding the beer up to a narrow source of light (like a distant light bulb) yields a sunburnst like effect, very cool. Aroma is interesting. I pick up a slight coffee like scent in the roasted malts. Taste is very earthy and grainy. The roastiness melds nicely with the yeasty undertones of this beer. I also picked up a little bit of woodiness which I thought was funny. Mouthfeel suffers a little bit as I feel a higher abv would've left this coating the tongue a little better. It seemed a little too thin to match its flavor profile.

All and all this is a rather good and interesting beer that I'm glad to have daily access too. I will be getting this again.

soper2000, Jun 19, 2005
Photo of OatherS
4.58/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottle has a black label with a picture of an European town with a New Belgium sign. I have had this beer MULTIPLE times before, but this is my first time writing up a review.

A: Very dark color, not much of a head.

S: A roasted malty/chocolaty aroma, very nice.

T: Almost like a chocolate mocha with a beer flavor combined. I have always liked the flavor of this beer. I do not believe that it is a Belgian Dark though, more like a German Schwarzbier.

M: Smooth.

D: This is one of my go to beers when I need to bring a six pack of something to a party.

OatherS, Jun 15, 2005
Photo of palliko
4.33/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a thick, black, chewy beer! I first tried it on tap at Chili's, where it is on tap (see my review) - and had to try it in the bottle to see if it was as good. It was! Poured nice and black with good beige foam, lacing that never went away, roasted chocolate malt, medium carbonation, and thick mouthfeel. Minimum hops. Hint of spice. Similar to Young's Double Chocolate. Great with food, with a nice malty, bitter finish. I was amazed to find it was as good in the bottle as on tap!

palliko, Jun 10, 2005
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.

jbull, May 25, 2005
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!

NeroFiddled, May 18, 2005
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.

mgdeth, May 14, 2005
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.

goodbyeohio, Apr 23, 2005
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.

dungaree, Apr 23, 2005
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.

OStrungT, Apr 08, 2005
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.

neonbrown82, Mar 21, 2005
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.

Padron4KM, Feb 27, 2005
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.

rajendra82, Feb 20, 2005
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?

ColoradoBobs, Feb 19, 2005
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.

Vancer, Feb 10, 2005
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.

cncbofh, Feb 02, 2005
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.

CVC, Jan 21, 2005
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.

mentor, Jan 21, 2005
Photo of beerluvr
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.

beerluvr, Jan 14, 2005
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

counselor, Dec 30, 2004
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.

Gagnonsux, Dec 17, 2004
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.

MobBarley, Dec 17, 2004
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.

clvand0, Dec 07, 2004
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.

Troyone, Dec 02, 2004
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.

kmpitz2, Dec 02, 2004
1554 Enlightened Black Ale from New Belgium Brewing
86 out of 100 based on 2,973 ratings.