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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

3,117 Ratings

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Ratings: 3,117
Reviews: 1,256
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 12.27%
Wants: 75
Gots: 229 | FT: 2
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: 3,117 | Reviews: 1,256
Photo of flexabull
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep dark brown, with a nice looking white fluffy head.

Smells of chocolate, mints, dark sweet roasted malts... actually nice aromas on this one.

Beer tastes of semi sweet chocolate, roasted dark malts, and with a nutty biscuit like quality on the finish.

Mouthfeel is pretty good. Well rounded, with a nice long finish.

This is a nice drinkable dark ale. Not really that heavy, but still with some nice tastes and aromas. This could be a good session brew.

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

Very dark brown mahogany color, clear. Nice foamy creamy head.

Malt, sweet and nectar-like, mild roasted. Floral hop bouquet.

Roasted and chocolate in the beginning. Sweet nectar. Nice bitter edge and floral hop vibe. Mild ripe dark fruit.

Pretty smooth and uncarbonated. Moderate foamation.

Not bad, but could be better. Complex array of flavors, but overall fairly light. The taste is very nice upfront, but soon quells. Most the sips I took were too watery. It doesn’t assert its malt and hop presence strong enough for such complex flavors. Could have more of a carbonation bite to it, it goes down too fast. Incredibly similar malt characteristics to Fat Tire and 2 Below.

Photo of JudgeRoughneck
4.23/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

This is a black to dull maple to ruby colored beer with a thin layer of malted-milk head that leaves spider-webs of lace on the sides of the glass. The smells are cherry skin, a tickle of acrid burnt grain, light brown sugar, slight yeastiness, and earthy hops. It reminded of scotch ale on a sniff or two and the entire bouquet had a kind of fresh-baked quality.

The taste starts with tounge-bracing burnt grain and then coffee and milk chocolate smooth things over, blending with a pronounced nutt flavor and well-played hop bitter. Once again that baked feeling comes out in the aftertaste, on the heels on New Belgium's signature toasted character. Mouthfeel starts light but fluffs up in the mouth with a burst of carbonation. Kinda cool. This is a must-try for any fan of schwarzbier. It isn't nearly so mellow, but you'll love the flavor.

Photo of biergeniesser
3.46/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This bottle of New Belgium 1554 (best by 2/16/07) poured a deep ruby-red brown… quite nearly black. A fluffy tan head dissipated slowly lacing itself nicely on the glass.

The aroma is dominated by roasted malt. A burnt caramelized aroma is evident.

As with the aroma, the flavor is also dominated by the roasted malt, hop character is nearly undetectable. Toffee, coffee and caramel notes are evident along with a latent sweet malt character. Hop bitterness is moderate to low.

Although deceptively light in body, 1554 has a full mouth feel and a nice mouthcoat. Carbonation is low-moderate.

Photo of Toddv29424
3.65/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Exciting find from a very unsuspecting source. The smell is very faint, but is reminicent of toasted malts and grains. The taste starts out just like a mexican malt beverage, with not a hint of alcohol and a syrup-like finish. The toasted malts and grains are very apparent in the second taste, and it comes across much like a stout with a light body. There is also a nutty presence that comes from the specialty grains and serves as a wonderful finish to the taste. A good beer, although nothing that you should go out of your way to find.

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

Pours a deep brown with ruby hues along with a thin, frothed milk khaki head that settles to a ring. Smells of black malts, dark roast coffee, with an overall clean and faintly fruity body. Basically a schwarzbier with faint fruitiness. Taste is a good representation of what is present in the nose. Roasted flavors with a bit of chocolate thrown in. Overall very clean. Slight hints of fruit. Mouthfeel is medium in body, with a creaminess to it. Carbonation faintly pricks. All around, a solid beer from New Belgium.

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

Virtually black with a cream colored head. Head shows decent lacing. Nice malt aroma with a touch of roasted notes. Flavor has a nice malt profile with smooth roastiness and a touch of hop bitterness. Mouthfeel is full without being thick. Nice presence on the palate but then it finishes rather clean with a touch of malt flavor. Dinkability is fantastic. Such a well-balanced beer; it goes well with food or just for having several in an evening. Great beer. This is what I expected quality-wise from New Belgium when i first tried fat tire.

Photo of hckyfn9999
4.05/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark brown color with ruby hues when held to light. There is a one finger cream colored head that lasts a decent amount of time and leaves some thin lacing.

Smell is roasted and toasted malt. A little smokey as well.

Taste is a little sweet initially followed up by some roasted malt bitterness, and a little hops in the end.

Mouthfeel is very good and drinkablility is good as well.

In my opinion the best of new belgium's offerings.

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

My first-ever New Belgium brew, thanks to msubulldog25. Thanks Brian!

New Belgium calls this a black ale, and it is indeed black. As night in hell. Gorgeous opaque darkness, though the frothy tan head un-frothed real quick, leaving nothing but a very thin skim across the top. Ghostly webs of lace surround the walls of the glass.

Smells of cocoa, overripe plum and molasses. A subtle aroma, but a good one.

The overall vibe here is of a porter, with a lactic sweetness that deepens the flavor. Light milk chocolate, coffee beans and molasses all come to mind, but the milky sweetness is what sets this one apart. Slightly sticky in the finish, the mouthfeel has a good bit of weight without being overly thick. And...every now and again, especially as it warms, I'm reminded of good quality root beer, strictly in terms of that unique, earthy, kind of dirty flavor. Maybe it's just me.

Good stuff here. I'm anxious to try more New Belgium stuff, and while this is very good, I have a feeling this brewery has even better to offer...

Photo of geexploitation
4.57/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a luscious dark brown, almost black, with a coffee foam head that lasts. Very fruity in the nose (raspberry, strawberry), with hints of malted chocolate and underlying mocha roasted malts. On the palate, sour fruits come out first, followed by vanillin malts. Robust carbonation, but not overly sharp carbonation. The finish is a touch on the sour side, almost like a Flemish brown. This beer is exceptionally smooth, with some unexpected flavor combos (raspberry/roasted malts), pleasingly sour fruits, and a malt base that makes the whole thing solid. Wonderful beer; easily my favorite from the regular New Belgium lineup.

Photo of Dukeofearl
3.85/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

6 pack purchased at LaBodega in Riverside, CA in Oct. 2006 for $8.99.

Pours a dark brown/black with a nice off-white ehad that reminds me of Samuel Adams Black Lager. Quite Pretty.

Slightly sweet nose of molassas and German black breads. Flavor follows through- slight acid astringency at the end, but mostly a molassas cookie sweetness. Quite tasty, although I don't think the sweetness allows for this to be more than one at a time.

Good stuff, I like it as a once in a while drinker.

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

I bought this at Central Market in Ft. Worth, TX.

Pours a black slightly translucent color with a 3/4" tan head that lingers for a bit then gradually disappears.

Slight inviting roasted malt aroma.

Flavor is hard to describe. Definitely some toasted notes with some slight creaminess. Very smooth with a tinge of crisp bitterness.

Different from both Porters (which it resembles in color) and Bocks (which to me it resembles in color and smoothness), but trying to pin it down is pretty hard. Truly one of a kind. Highly recommended.

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

Appearance: It's, well, black. Really black with a helluva head that sticks to the glass just the way you would want it to if it wasn't already doing it.

Smell: Has that New Belgium biscuit-thing goin' on. Heavy on the espresso. Malty & tempting.

Taste: Getting a bit of the classic belgian yeast strain going on. This is very fruity for it's color. Aside from that, there's a bit of mocha and a healty amount of espresso on the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Sits wonderfully on the palate, just a litte thin at the end.

Drinkability: A superb outing from one of my favorites. New Belgium has a warm place in my heart, because they're the first real micro-brew experience I had about 10 years ago when I had Fat Tire for the first time. If there is a perfect Belgian style session brew, this is it.

Photo of CU570M
4.92/5  rDev +28.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I really enjoyed this beer. It is no surprise that i am going to say that this beer has hints of chocolate and some kind of like espresso bean. Poured our a dark brown, nearly black. The head was a good size not too big, not too small. Just the right amount. One of the best beers i had to date.

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

Pours out dark brown with clarity. Not much suds to speak of.
Lacing is adequate.
Smell is roasted malts, burnt coffee and a little alcohol.
First taste is coffee and sugar. The hops are way in the back.
No Chocloate to speak of here , just a caramel coffee.
Mouthfeel is like a strong drink of coffee, the hops are really active here.
I couldn't drink much of this at one sitting. Still, it is a pretty nice brew. I am with delima.

Photo of brentk56
4.03/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a burnt caramel color with a magnificent head that leaves an impressive amount of lacing

Smell: Dark fruit and a touch of coffee

Taste: Starts with a dark fruit flavor profile that has a vague hints of caramel, coffee and chocolate; after the swallow, the flavor becomes a bit sweeter, almost like a bit of spice cake, though there is a detectable level of earthy hop bitterness; kind of a Belgian Dark "light"

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Easy to drink with just enough complexity to make it interesting but low enough in alcohol to drink a few

Photo of TexIndy
4.63/5  rDev +20.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle wiht best before date. Was an almost black color with mahogany overtones. Had a little head that went away quickly. Good carb. Smell was heavy on chocolate and coffee. The mouthfeel was awesome - nice and chewy. Loved the taste. With the chocolate and coffee, I expected a bitter aftertaste but there wasn't any. Goes down incredible smooth. Could easily turn into a session beer. Highly recommend you try it. Another great beer from a great brewery. (4.5, HR, T,Y)

Photo of chilidog
3.91/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A short but sweet visit out west brought a sixer of 1554 my way. Picked up in New Mexico.

It pours a nice dark, very very brown. The tan head was full, frothy and the lace was ring like and thick, very nice!!

The aroma is of unbrewed coffee bean and cocoa.

The taste, very roasted on the malts, coffee, toffee, chocolate and cocoa.

The mouthfeel, though not to thick or full bodied, is crisp, toasty and alittle coco-powder dry at the finish.

A very drinkable beer. I like it as a after-dinner brew or as a nightly by itself brew.
I like to try a new belguim when I get the chance, a good choice indeed.

Photo of RJLarse
3.92/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I picked up a six-pack of 1554 Enlightened. Black Ale at a grocery store to taste, review and enjoy. I poured this beer in to a snifter

Pours a black walnut color and is nearly opaque. A one-finger tan head forms, and dissipates quickly to a ring around the side of the glass. The head produces a moderate lacing.

The smell is earthy and sweet. There are roasted grain aromas, and a coffee fragrance.

The taste is of chocolate, coffee and dark sugars, molasses, brown sugar and roasted nuts. There is very little hop presence.

The mouth feel is full-bodied, a bit cloying and dry.

This is a drinkable beer. I think it is better suited for late fall and winter, so I’ll probably cellar three bottles until then. This beer is very much in the style of a porter or a winter warmer.

Photo of Beerzebub
3.97/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very dark brown (like black coffee). Only a tiny bit of froth around the rim, leaves a little lacing.

Good smell of roastiness, plums, nuts, slight chocolate cake and vanilla.

Tastes mainly of coffeeish roasted grain. Some dark fruit, chocolate, molasses. Good.

Smooth and creamy mouthfeel, the carbonation is very fine. Very drinkable.

Simple, roasty, and good.

Photo of weeare138
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to witbier for this...
Appears a dense black with dark touches of charred oak around the edges when held to the light. A lush, foamy, beige head slowly fades out into a clumpy cap. Tons of scattered lacing is left around the glass.
Smell is of cocoa, molasses, and roasted nuts.
Taste is of the same aromas. Melted caramel, cocoa, molasses, and roasted nuts.
Mouthfeel is smooth, caramel-sweet, mildly bitter with semi-sweet baker's chocolate, and a touch of sourness running along the sides of the tongue.
This one surprised me. Well done!

Photo of scruffwhor
4.16/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A deep brown with dark highlights of a sunset in the center. Too dark to see the bubbling though. A mild film of lacing is left behind in my Leffe chalice. A strong mix of earth and light coffee bean and some intermingling mochas hit the nose. This is the most coffe like Belgian ale I've ever had. Very unique take on this style of beer. Very roasty character. Never confused with smokey or toasty in this beer.

Photo of jokelahoma
3.91/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Lovely deep brownish-black in the glass, with very little head. What head there is dissipates quickly.

The nose is full of bitter roasted malts, a good deal of hop aroma, and a bit of chocolate. Very appealing.

Flavor is dominated by chocolate, caramel, and dark fruits, most notably plums. While the hop aroma is there, the bitterness in the drink itself is rather understated. Not muted, mind you, but not up front either. The beer is much more fruity than you may expect from a black ale. Bitterness serves to balance, but barely. This is a malt driven beer.

The mouthfeel is lighter than many darker ales, yet is still substantial enough that you won't wonder what you're drinking.

Very nicely done. Probably my favorite of all the readily available year-round New Belgium selections. Refreshing, yet full of flavor, and unique. Give it a shot if you haven't already.

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

Appearance: Dark almost black mahogany color with a light brown head.

Smell: Roasty grain almost Shwartzbeir like aroma of dark malts and coffee.

Taste: Roasty sweet malt with toasty caramel notes and a hint of molasses. There is a suggestion of coco and nuts buried in there as well.

Mouthfeel: Medium body pushing full with flavor and texture working well together.

Drinkability: This is a very unique style of beer. I am going to need to seek this out again. Belgian Dark Ale. Who would have thought? The complexities of a Belgian ale meet the burnt malts of the Shwartzbier... I like it, I think.

Hope this is helpful.

Photo of Backer2004
4.08/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I've had this Dark Ale for a few months now in the fridge and opened it up at our Homebrewers meeting tonight. Many enjoyed it, until realizing I did not make it. Anyway, nice dark (but not black) color. I wanted to try more becuase it has some nice spice and caramel flavor and smell. It sucks that I won't get my handson this for a few more months.

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1554 Enlightened Black Ale from New Belgium Brewing
86 out of 100 based on 3,117 ratings.