1554 Enlightened Black Ale - New Belgium Brewing
Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
Ratings: 2,947 | Reviews: 1,238 | Display Reviews Only:
4.43/5 rDev +15.7%
12 oz bottle poured into a New Belgium globe.
Serve at 7°C (45°F), 5.6% ABV, Best Before: 23SEPT12
A - Despite the dark nature of the beer, a deep cherry mahogany color can be seen when holding it up to light. A tall khaki head forms over the beer, decorating the glass in thick Swiss cheese-like lace as it descends.
S - With subtle undertones of Belgian yeast, this "enlightened" black ale is different right from the first whiff. Roasted malts impart a soft Mr. Goodbar aroma of chocolate-covered nuts and a pinch of cocoa. Mildly acrid, a pinch of bitterness pokes fourth.
T - Roasted malt pushes fourth, offering a heftier sample of characteristics than the more subtle aroma. Coffee grounds are gently sprinkled, with cocoa, over bittersweet chocolate and soft wood attributes. Yeast remains in the background, barely suggesting some sweet dark fruit nuances to offset the roasted bitterness of the malt.
M - Crisp yet smooth, 1554's medium body and moderate carbonation level keep this dark beer from feeling to heavy or overbearing, a treat when you're looking to have more than one. The balanced finish is compliments of the mildly acrid bitterness of roasted malts with some sweeter aspects of yeast integration.
O - A subtle nod to Belgian yeast throughout the beer is a brilliant touch to differentiate this dark ale from either a stout or porter, something that carefully pushes boundaries. The real shining point, though, is the balance of malt, suggesting some of the darker qualities without being aggressive or overpowering, leaving 1554 a quite drinkable dark beer!
07-31-2012 22:29:35 | More by BeerFMAndy
3.85/5 rDev +0.5%
Review from 10/2010 notes. Poured into a Nostradamus flute glass. Pours a dark, rich red brown with a thin head that leaves light lacing. Malty, dark fruit aroma. Tastes malty and nutty with dark fruit, some roasted malt. This is much closer to a brown ale that leans towards a Porter. Medium bodied. There is no Belgian character that I can detect. Worth revisiting as a brown ale.
07-31-2012 19:11:44 | More by LiquidAmber
3.8/5 rDev -0.8%
1554 so far stands alone in my history of beer drinking. It's too smooth to be a black ale and I don't really get anything particularly Belgian out of it either. To be fair, this is the only beer I've had under this "Belgian dark ale" category. Based on this one, I'm certainly curious to try some others if I can find them.
It's not heavy like a porter or stout, but it's still slightly thick with a creamy head and everything. Enlightened, I guess. It's definitely a maltier beer and a great choice on a cool evening any time of year.
07-31-2012 18:26:46 | More by TheRealBigC
2.63/5 rDev -31.3%
Served in a chilled tulip glass.
-Appearance 3.0: Pours out a slightly opaque, ebony brown-black. Slight head and I really cranked the pour. Large carbonation bubbles. Head is white and, sitting in my glass, it really looks like a Coke.
-Smell 3.0: I had to stick my nose almost in the beer to make out a bouquet. What I did smell was not that fabulous: just subdued toasted barley notes with a little chocolate in there, too.
-Taste 2.5: Front is flat, but a certain low-level chocolate flavor comes through. Middle is non-existent. Nothing there. Finish is a washed-out barley flavor; imagine what you would get if you used a grain-bag filled with stout grains for 50 brews and then bottled the liquid from that 50th dunking. Yep. Not good. Finish hit me in the top of the palate with this artificial-tasting, cocoa-powder flavor that stands out like a sore thumb.
-Mouthfeel 2.5: A higher level of carbonation could have really elevated the taste of this beer.
-Overall 2.5: This is one of the most schizoid brews I have ever had the displeasure of tasting. It's all over the place. There's some story on the bottle about the "intrepid researchers" of the brewery finding a recipe in Belgium from the year 1554 for this beer and how this beer is different than modern beers. Well, if that is true, perhaps history was trying to teach us something and there's a reason this poorly evolved ancestor of modern beers is extinct.
07-29-2012 03:17:56 | More by BeerDocT
4.45/5 rDev +16.2%
Just an outstanding Belgian-version of a Schwarzbier, or black beer. One of my favorite styles is Schwarzbier, of which Köstritzer brand (of Köstritz, Germany) http://beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/648/1774 is the best of the German versions.
For a Belgian take of dark malty beer--but not too heavy (like a porter or stout) this is IT. I haven't found any belgian-made beers of this style--that are as good. I'm sure they exist (probably) but, where?
If you are a Maltster (NOT a Hophead...) you will love this beer, period.
07-28-2012 20:43:13 | More by AnalogReigns
3.53/5 rDev -7.8%
a nice dark reddish/brown pour with 2 fingers of tan head.. nice lacing too!
smells of nuts, dates, raisins, caramel. bitter, roastiness up front, followed by a sweet finish. roasted grains, sweet malts, cereal, toast, tobacco, nutty, slightly fruity.
light +, slightly creamy, mild carbonation.
overall good for a light black ale.. as far as belgian dark/strong ales go, this shit's weal. sorry. it's tasty and all, but it will never be up there with the big boys.
07-21-2012 07:34:32 | More by facundoCNB
1554 Enlightened Black Ale from New Belgium Brewing
86 out of 100 based on 2,947 ratings.