1554 Enlightened Black Ale - New Belgium Brewing

Not Rated.
1554 Enlightened Black Ale1554 Enlightened Black Ale

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BA SCORE
87
very good

1,249 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

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Reviews: 1,249
Hads: 3,146
rAvg: 3.86
pDev: 10.36%
Wants: 84
Gots: 253 | 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:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 01-02-2002

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 1,249 | Hads: 3,146
Photo of BeerManDan
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It poured a nice medium brown with very little foam, but did so lace retention while drinking. The smell was of roasted malts. The taste was very pleasant with the roasted malts with out the bitterness, it was very pleasant. This is there best beer that I've tasted so far. I would by this beer again for the summer. (316 characters)

Photo of MJR
3.28/5  rDev -15%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a clear, but dark, mahogany with brown and garnet highlights. It starts with a small head, but quickly and loudly fizzles away to nothing but a tiny ring of bubbles around the edge of the glass.

Smell: The aroma is very malty with suggestions of toasted and roasted malts. A bit one-dimensional...

Taste: Like the small, the flavor is quite malty with a touch of toasted and roasted malts. Slightest hint of toffee. There's a slight acidity, as well as a touch of spiciness that shows up towards the end. I detect a touch of roasted coffee in the aftertaste. Hops are all but non-existent. Again, it's a bit one-dimensional...there's simply not much going on in this brew.

Mouthfeel: Highly carbonated with a crisp mouthfeel. Fairly thin in body. Dry and acidic finish.

Drinkability: Average...like a lot of their offerings, I find this beer to be bland and uninteresting. I'll pass next time. (923 characters)

Photo of freed
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The label was peeling of this bottle, but I don't blame New Belgium for this.

The beer is a deep brown with a halo of amber. The head wisped away quickly, but left a ring around the surface. The smell was of a superior maltiness. The first taste really agreed. There is a nice mix of carmels, grains, sugars. There's little if any hop to it, which is a style/time thing I'm sure. Its a malty treat though. (409 characters)

Photo of Reidrover
4.02/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bought in the 12 oz New Belgium brown bottle.
Apparentlly according to the label this is a revival from an old brewing book hence the 1554 thing.
This is an exquisite beer to behold..dark ruby red and topped with a luscious coffee and creme coloured head..beautiful!!
Oddly after the gorgeous appearance the aroma was pretty pedestrian , maybe my nose is blocked..i dunno its distinctlly average..some malts and a little fruits, thats about it.
Then the taste is excellent ..nice balance of burnt malts and good hops a well balanced brew, I get some toffeeish hints, dark turkish coffee tastes..very nice
Very good in the mouth so very smooth yet so tongue tingling!!
Over all a good drinkable ale well worth waiting 449 years !!!! (737 characters)

Photo of Quaffer
3.98/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: This was a nice, deep brown beer that almost looked ruby at times. It had a dense, creamy tan head that dissipated quickly, leaving a thin layer floating on top for the duration of the drink. It had some great sheeting action, freckling the side of the goblet with lace.

Smell: A mixture of raisins, coffee, sweet malt, dark roasted malt, bananas, nuts, burnt caramel, smoke, and a hint of cinnamon. Damn, that's a lot of stuff for one beer!

Mouthfeel: It felt creamy up front on the tip of the tongue, but it thinned out after that. Not nearly as full-bodied as I would have liked it to be. It was very smooth, though.

Taste: The taste was kind of mild and not really what I expected. The main component of the flavor was deep roasted malt and coffee, combined with a light sweetness. This faded to raisins and cloves. Finally in the finish, a slight bitterness arose to mingle with the spiciness.

This was an interesting, almost strange, brew. It reminded me of a porter, but with Belgian characteristics. (1,031 characters)

Photo of Bierman9
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1554 has a very luscious, dark chestnut color. It is clear throughout, yet still lets little light pass through. Head was quite minimal, simply a fine, off-white ring around the perimeter of the glass, with little lacing.
The nose was Dubbel-like in quality, with slight malty sweetness, candi-sugar, and fruitiness showing through.
Body was pleasantly in the medium range, and it passed over the tongue with little effort, being fairly smooth.
There is a very nice sweetness to the 1554, with some suggestions of dark fruit, as well as a hint of chocolate. Again, I find it similar to a Dubbel. Flavors linger for a healthy amount of time on the palate, too.
Quite the enjoyable bier, with kudos being sent Guslers way for the sample! Prosit!!

overall: 4
appearance: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | mouthfeel: 4 | drinkability: 4

506 (838 characters)

Photo of Dogbrick
3.51/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Acquired via trade. I have been looking forward to trying this one. Pours a very dark brown with significnt carbonation and a medium thin beige head. Aroma of burnt malt and coffee. Flavor was a lively mix of malt, roasted nuts, coffee, and caramel. Despite the nice flavor, it could stand to be a little richer. The finish is dry and retains the carbonated feel. Good, but not great. (384 characters)

Photo of feloniousmonk
4.57/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Black ale? A new appellation for me, but after tasting, it's more accurately a brown ale painted up in blackface, ...not that there's anything wrong with that.

Dark brown in color, more reddish when seen through light. A full, frothy, creamy off-white head towers on top. Powerful aromatics waft out, fruity and floral, soft, sweet notes of toffee, cream, and nuts. Bold brace of hops jump on board the palate and carry through the finish. Excellent texture, chewy and substantial. Hops start to bow out, as they are muted by the full feeling of the powerful malt presence. Very satisfying, and a superior choice for a session ale. I have to wonder if they didn't blacken this brew, which otherwise tastes like an excellent example of brown ale, to avoid comparison to the inferior Newcastle.

They do everything well at New Belgium. Thanks to Marc77 for sending this sample! (880 characters)

Photo of AtrumAnimus
3.97/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is different style of beer from the New Belgium Brewery. Very likeable though. There is a bitterness there that is not overpowering and is enjoyable. A very unique blend of complex even smokey flavors. This is a stand up beer with its complex flavors. The history of this recipe is interesting and is even reflected in it's name. This one is worth trying for sure. (369 characters)

Photo of Bruiser81
4.15/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First tried on tap very dark color almost black with a little almond coloring. A creamy head that lasted through the whole brew. Had a very nice aroma with almost a nutty chocolate smell. This brew was very smooth with a nutty taste. The aftertaste was kind of like unsweetened chocolate. This beer is very easy to drink. This is my favorite beer from New Belgium. (364 characters)

Photo of Zraly
3.92/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The color of this ale is not quite black. It appears to be more of a dark brown with a undertone of a deep, ruby red. The head poured okay, nothing above and beyond the call of beer-head duty.

The smell is that, as my better half pointed out, of a sweet, cherry pipe tobacco. The flavor is not strong, not weak...it is rather inviting. The malt is predominant. The only thing I was hoping for was a bit more of a substantial hopness to help accentuate the malt. However, this is a recommendable ale.

Give this a try with grilled chicken or pork, perhaps with cajun seasonings. (583 characters)

Photo of Morris729
3.5/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours an almost black color with a thick cream colored head that gives way to some nice lacing. The aroma is of roasted malts and grains, bitter chocolate, and caramel. The flavor is dominated by a taste of dark coffee with notes of toffee and with some hop bitterness in the background. Not my favorite New Belgium brew but still pretty tasty. (344 characters)

Photo of mjohn27603
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottled marked best before 28Dec02. First of the New Belgium products that overflowed in my glass, poured with a big head. Ruby red to dark brown in color. Roasted flavors with a bit of chocolate. Reminded me of a stout or porter. A little bitterness remains lingering on the tongue. (295 characters)

Photo of mzwolinski
4.35/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Despite the name, this beer isn't actually black. It's more of a deep ruby, with a thinnish head that leaves a nice lacing down the side of your glass.

The aroma is quite terrific. Smells just like fresh grains, very rich and heady.

The grain flavor comes through in the taste too, with chocolate and roasty notes, and a very slightly spicy undertone. Medium to medium-light body, with a dry finish. Very drinkable and quite unusual. (443 characters)

Photo of hyuga
4.18/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Black color (obviously) with some amber around the edges where light is allowed to squeeze through. Nice and neat light tan head that stays pretty well and leaves a bit of lace as you drink. A rush of toasted malt aroma hits you when you agitate the beer, along with some bready sourness, a unique aroma. Just a touch of citrus hop character. Toasted and bread-like malt characters rule the palate as well, but with more citrus hop presence that shows up in the middle. Adds a nice little acidic twang. Underneath all of this, a bit of spicy hop flavor. A medium body and very creamy mouthfeel make it quite drinkable, but it's still nice and complex. Very tasty. This is an interpretation of an interesting Belgian style similar to a schwarzbier, which, according to the bottle, New Belgium's researchers discovered in an "ancient brewing book". It seems to have been lost in time until now. I'd like to see other breweries do research like this, there could be quite a few lost beer styles that we don't know about. Way to go, New Belgium! (1,053 characters)

Photo of tang214
4.21/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Another great brew by New Belgium. This one has a beautiful dark brown-reddish, ruby-like color. You can defiently smell the slighty hoppy aroma after one whiff. The taste is richly malty and smooth. It was very drinkable, although the mouthfeel was a bit lacking. Overall i loved this beer and surely will be getting it often in the future. I might even go as far to say that i like it better than Fat Tire. (408 characters)

Photo of Bighuge
4.45/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

The beer is a dark ruby in appearance. A slight creamy brown head sits on top and recedes to an edging within a minute. Lacing is fairly effective. Roasted tones, carmelized sugar and toffee on the nose. The body of this beer is about medium. Texture is creamy and silky. The different aspects of the taste of this beer are very mellow and subdued, but blended together, they make for a very tasty beer. Milk chocolate, roasted tones, slight vanilla bean, wood and java. This is a highly drinkable, higly tasty beer.

This is the closest Schwarzbier I've had to the Sprecher Black Bavarian, but it falls just short. Definitely my #2 schwarzbier.

A bighuge thanks to marc77 for shipping this brew to me (in addition to his fabulous homebrews). (761 characters)

Photo of beernut7
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This interesting unique brew from NB pours with a nice dark color and foamy head that dissipates into a gentle lace. The aroma is of sweet dark malt with hints of chocolate. The medium body supports a nice clean chocolate sweet malt flavor with enough hopping to keep the malts from taking complete control. (309 characters)

Photo of bditty187
3.4/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

The more I drink this beer the more confused I get. I am not sure how much I like it? The smell is muted chocolate and roasted malt. Sometimes it smells stronger (and better) than the next. Sometimes you get a nice tan head and sometimes it looks like cola.

The flavor matches what the aroma gives you, roasted malt, chocolate hints, and a good sweetness. 1554 is a fairly smooth drink. This is a fair beer to enjoy at your leisure, once in awhile.

A New Belgium product that doesn't blow the roof off? What the hell? (534 characters)

Photo of usualpulp
4.32/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I have never had a beer quite like this. The name says it all about the color, this beer is very dark, almost black. One of the first things I noticed about this brew was a very sweet malty smell. This was also the most noticeable flavor of this beer. This is very easy to drink and finish's quite nice. I only wish the tan head lasted longer. Overall a very nice beer that i could drink daily. (395 characters)

Photo of Pegasus
4.03/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep sable color, pours a massive head, such that a pint glass can scarcely contain the billowing cream colored head. Very thick sticky lace that rings the glass. Spicy aroma with prominent roasted malt and chocolate. Very smooth taste; begins with lots of dark malt and caramel, finishes with a slightly sweet spicyness. A remarkable memory from a bygone age. (364 characters)

Photo of pbrian
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I'll back everyone else up here by saying this is a solid dark beer that is hard to classify. Like a light porter with a slightly present yeast bite that I wish wasn't so restrained. A BIG version of this would make it exceptional. (233 characters)

Photo of proc
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

As the label states, its neither a stout, nor a porter. A medium-bodied black ale that is very drinakable. For some reason, I was reminded of the old Michelob Dark commercial that used to say "Don't be afraid of the dark." As with the other New Belgium products I've tried, it has a very distinct spice to it and an enjoyable one at that. Very, and I do mean very, slight sweetness to it that gives way to the spice on the finish. I could see this being nice off the tap, but the bottle was very good. A hearty "thank you" to jaybeerman for sending this my way! (567 characters)

Photo of marc77
3.95/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This brew has the appearance of a porter, but any resemblance ends there. Toasty munich malt is discernible in the aroma, with a very subtle chocolate note. Quite similar in aroma profile to a real Schwarz, but there's much more fruitiness from the yeast. Apparently a lager strain is fermented warm. A steam Schwarz? Smooth mouthfeel with a light to medium body. It definitely seems alelike and lacks the crispness that a true lager possesses. The malt flavor is dominated by smooth, tasty and toasty Munich malt, and some residual sweetness, yet manages to remain light enough to keep this brew quite drinkable. The hop bitterness is very mild, but prevents this beer from being overly sweet. Hop flavor is negligible. The color of 1554 is deceiving, considering roasted malt flavors are secondary to the toasty Munich notes. 1554 is certainly an interesting and drinkable brew... don't know what exactly to make from it. I don't think I would classify it as a Schwarzbier, however. (994 characters)

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1554 Enlightened Black Ale from New Belgium Brewing
87 out of 100 based on 1,249 ratings.