New Belgium Brewing Company

Rate It
Beer Geek Stats | Print Shelf Talker
Lager - European Dark
Ranked #14
Ranked #23,114
3.84 | pDev: 11.98%
New Belgium Brewing Company
Colorado, United States
Very Good
Notes: With a surprisingly bright taste and dry, chocolatey finish, it's not a porter, not a stout—it's 1554.

1554 defies the style guidelines of modern beer. Although dark in color, 1554 is not a porter, stout, schwarzbier or bock. Rather, it is a rebirth of a lost beer style called zwert (Flemish for black), which uses gruit for bittering. The oldest reference to zwert beer comes from 1285. However, our brewing inspiration came from a book published in 1554, which was the height of popularity for zwertbeer. First released in 1998, our whimsical improvisation includes a variety of specialty dark malts, a dash of licorice root, and a European lager yeast that's fermented at ale temperatures.

21 IBU
Reviews: 1,446 | Ratings: 4,300 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Gordono
Gordono from Nevada

3.86/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I like this beer, it’s subtly different.
Dark yet transparent brownish red. Medium bodied. Nice lacy tan head that clings to the glass. A funky, but not off putting aroma, I find common in some sour beers. And an unusual, yet approachable flavor, where the licorice root flavor is present but not over stated.

Mar 23, 2021
Photo of IPAs_for_days_13
IPAs_for_days_13 from Texas

3.68/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

L: Pours a very dark ruby in color with a tan head that leaves the glass fairly quickly.
S: Malts, spice notes, faint amount of chocolate, earthy hops.
T: Follows the nose, mainly just roasted & malty with just enough hops to balance it out.
F: Medium-Full bodied, dry, soft, somewhat thin, crisp.
O: Could be a bit thicker, other than that it's a good brew to at least try.

Feb 07, 2021
Photo of BNSlums
BNSlums from Washington

4.32/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

L: Holy cow. Darkest black imaginable, 40+. A fluffy, creamy light tan head well retained. Appears very thin.

S: A milky chocolate, almost as light as white chocolate upfront, followed by light hints of coffee. Gummy candy like black liquorice. Perhaps notes of caramel slightly. All subtle and malted around.

T: The first sip was phenomenal. SO complex it is hard to point to any one flavor. Earthy, yet not like a barnyard, more of a fecund field about to be seeded. Light roasted malt and coriander sweeten up to milk chocolate tones, that gives way to a biscuity, buttery finish. Lager yeast taste, most akin to a schwarzbier but with more to contemplate.

F: Pleasantly lightweight and clean. Lowly carbonated and hopped.

There was nothing in this beer that was added to distract from the beer, it was a full and honest experience. The midnight black color with a viscosity as low as water allows it to go down super smooth and quenching. The nose is deep and warm, long drawnout and on the palate there is a barrage of flavor. Sweet chocolate and malt, ever slightly dank by the classic lager crispness. For those who love the smells and tastes of heavy dark warmers, but enjoy the clean, straightforward feel of lagers.

Jan 16, 2021
Photo of Truegent2004
Truegent2004 from Minnesota

3.51/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Nice foamy head,, good lacing, can definitely taste the malt and the spice. Goes down a little thin. Spice on the after taste. Could use a little more carbonation. Not a bad beer but nothing exciting.

Jan 01, 2021
Photo of Mindcrime1000
Mindcrime1000 from South Dakota

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

Poured from a 12 ozer into a tulip. Can't believe I've not reviewed it.

Pours dark brownish/black and nearly opaque. A nice foamy tan head gives way to decent off-white lacing.

Very mild roasted malt and chocolate aromas along with a touch of earthy hop.

The brew is deceptively malty/sweet on the front end. Good herbal and roasted notes in midstream help offset it, giving way to mild berry notes before the finish. The finish is a bit woody and delivers just a touch of bittering.

The feel is excellent. Medium bodied, well carbonated, and very smooth.

One of my favorite New Belgium brews, and a great dark lager.

Dec 20, 2020
Photo of Nass
Nass from Florida

3.98/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

The pour is mocha colored with a beige head that is not as thick & frothy as I expected a beer of this style should be. The taste is mild roasted malt, whole wheat crackers, & a mild dark chocolate note that appears more towards the finish. This was a very good offering from New Belgium brewing which happens to be my favorite brewery out of Colorado. Cheers! B

Oct 25, 2020
Photo of jkblr
jkblr from Indiana

3.89/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle ENJOY BY 13DEC20 poured into a shaker pint at fridge temp 6% ABV. The beer pours medium brown in color with ruby highlights and light khaki head. The head recedes slowly to a fluffy cap and leaves plenty of lacing. The aroma is mild with cocoa powder being the most prominent. The taste follows with semisweet cocoa and nutty / earthy notes and little finishing bitterness. The mouthfeel is medium to thin bodied with just less than medium carbonation and a dry finish. Overall, good.

Jul 20, 2020
Photo of just1cho
just1cho from California

4.2/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

*Poured into a Teku glass from a 12oz bottle*

This beer poured a coffee dark brown, it almost looked like a stout but it wasn't as dark. There were a lot of fast rising bubbles, making this look almost like a coke. This also had a nice khaki colored half finger thick head, but it was relatively weak, having a low retention to it.

Upfront, the aroma on this gave me rich notes of chocolate, biscuit, and caramel. Kind of reminded me of a milk chocolate covered biscuit.

The taste on this consisted of roasty sweet malts upfront with notes of mellow chocolate and biscuits. In the middle and end, the beer tasted of cold brew coffee which lingered for a bit in the aftertaste. I thought that this was fairly clean tasting and had no notable bitterness while there was also a bit of an ethanol note in the back-end, but it wasn't super noticeable. This was just a nice and mellow tasting beer balanced out with notes of chocolate, dark coffee, and bread.

I thought that this felt very soft, clean and crisp, ticking all the marks on a really good lager. This felt pretty medium bodied and had a medium to high amount of carbonation to it. I thought this was very easy, super smooth, and mellow, contributing to its overall drink-ability.

I love both stouts and lagers. So I just knew that I would love this style of beer. I can confidently say that this now goes on my list of one of the better lagers I've had.

Jul 17, 2020
Photo of milkshakebeersucks
milkshakebeersucks from Maryland

3.88/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Dark brown appearance with a large, off white head and good lacing. Toasted malt aroma of nuts, licorice and toffee. Smooth, earthy flavors duplicated the aroma, maybe a little heavier with the caramel malts and the nuttiness more evident in the aftertaste. Affable offering from a reliable brewery.

Jul 03, 2020
Photo of Ernald_Elbertson
Ernald_Elbertson from Delaware

3.85/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

This one is pretty decent for a dark lager. It's not too complex, but is a nice dark beer to finish off the evening.

Look: Dark ruby red in color. Light tan head that dissipates pretty quickly. Typical of a dark lager.

Smell: Pretty much all malt here. A bit roasty and bready, and the lager yeast comes through just a bit.

Taste: Similar to the smell, bready, and roasty. Just bitter enough to compliment the sweetness, but it isn't offensive in any way. The lager yeast works pretty well with the flavors in this beer and doesn't stand out so much, so even if you don't like lagers you might consider giving this one a try. A simple taste, but compliments sweets very well.

Feel: Despite the low ABV and dark color, it actually doesn't taste completely watery as I was afraid it would. It's no stout or porter, but it's full bodied enough to match the color. It still could be a bit thicker, but it gets the job done.

Overall: This beer is pretty solid. While it won't wow or amaze you, it's better than most other light brown ales/dark lagers I've had. Definitely would consider buying again!

May 26, 2020
Photo of rapayn01
rapayn01 from Kentucky

3.75/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I had this twice in December 2016 when a guest left a couple of bottles after a party (poker probably). On Untappd at the time, I wrote that it featured "roasted malt" and was "slightly sweet." In another checkin, I claimed that it was more stout than lager, which is a good thing if you ask me. I'd drink it again.

May 04, 2020
Photo of Singlefinpin
Singlefinpin from North Carolina

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

Appears almost black, dark brown, with a nice foamy tan head that dropped quickly.
Smells malty, chocolatey caramel.
Taste follows the nose.
Mouth feel is medium for the style.
Overall, not a stout or a porter, but a very drinkable lager, with a nice chocolatey finish.
I would definitely order again.

Apr 19, 2020
Photo of hottenot
hottenot from North Carolina

3.81/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Black as a moonless night.
Dark Chocolate abounds.
Slight Bitterness.
Raisins, dried fruit.
A lot thinner than a Stout.
Also a Porter .
Perfect Dark Lager.

Apr 19, 2020
Photo of ASKasten

3.89/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark chocolate taste is very prominent. Robust with sweet pungent aroma. Slight bitter aftertaste that doesn’t linger. Isn’t a stout or porter, but does look like a stout and taste like a porter.

Apr 04, 2020
Photo of unlikelyspiderperson
unlikelyspiderperson from California

3.66/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Lovely deep brown/amber liquid capped by a prominent off white head of lovely and persistent foam.
Soft and sweet aromas. the roastiness of dark malts is present but subdued and there is a general holiday sweetness.
Taste follows with softly sweet flavors, what little bitterness shows up accents the sweetness and creates a mildly cola like experience.
Mouthfeel is mellow and clean, has a full character but keeps an appropriate lightness.
Overall I'm pretty 'meh' on the whole thing. It's nothing offensive but also doesn't really inspire me to reach for another. It's a fair beer

Mar 29, 2020
Photo of Paul_Blanco

4.18/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I have always been a fan of dark lagers. I recently drank 1554 at Z.....y's Pizza in Berkeley, CA and became an immediate fan. Was so happy to find this in my local B.vM.. This is my current #1 beer.

Feb 28, 2020
Photo of imnodoctorbut
imnodoctorbut from Texas

4.1/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

coffee brown body pours with a toasted cream colored foam head that has moderate retention and leaves very little lacing as it settles to a thin cap with pronounced halo

aroma is roasted malt, earthy bitter hop, chocolate and toffee, licorice. little bit of funk happening with the malt.

taste follows the nose for the most part. complicated layers here that are washed over by the roasted malt.

feel is moderate carbonation and medium-light body. smooth and bright throughout with a pleasant dry finish.

there's a funk going on here that I've long associated with rye, which I dig, no rye used here, though apparently.
really dig this one and always wind up snagging a sixer when I see it out here.

Feb 25, 2020
Photo of johnstonst
johnstonst from Georgia

3.53/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

L: nice head, dark brown/black with red highlights, one finger foam head

S: dark and milk chocolate combination with notes of vanilla, caramel, and smoke

T: Tastes how it smells, no bitterness, peppery on the finish

F: Drinks really smooth, almost like a lager or a golden ale, soft mouth feel for a medium carbonation beer

O: I enjoyed this much more than expected. Not gonna blow your mind but its a really solid rendition of the style. Extremely drinkable. This is the type of dark lager that I wish I had around when introducing my friends to darker beers.

Jan 15, 2020
Photo of wmscottsimpsonjr
wmscottsimpsonjr from Missouri

3.85/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Near black with red highlights. One finger light tan to off white head. Strong toasty malt with cocoa on nose. Flavor is toasty bready malt with chocolate. Medium mouthfeel.

Dec 23, 2019
Photo of hopsputin
hopsputin from New Jersey

3.65/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

A: silky black color with a hint of dark brown. A hint of dark ruby red in the light as well. Thin tan head

S: roasted malts, charred oak, dark chocolate, caramel, molasses, and some grassy hops and brown sugar

T: mild dark chocolate, milk chocolate, and toasted malts. Light grass, and a nice lager spice, along with a hint of pepper

M: medium mouthfeel with high carbonation

O: not bad. It’s a touch heavy in the mouth, but it’s got a nice balance of lager and roast

Dec 08, 2019
Photo of defunksta
defunksta from North Dakota

4.01/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a dark brown, molasses color with a tan head. SRM of 22. (3.75)

Aroma: Strong aromas of primarily malty cocoa and baked caramel. (4.00)

Flavor: Flavors of smokey tobacco, cocoa, chocolate syrup. A smokey chocolate, dry finish. No bitterness or roastiness. Just cocoa and smoke. (4.00)

Feel: Lighter-bodied. Moderate carbonation. Cocoa flavors, but drinks clean like a lager. (4.25)

Overall: A very good drinking dark beer. It's mostly hot chocolate, with hints of dry smoke, which I find tasty. No bitterness. Reminds me of a Shwarzbier. Yet the most pronounced thing about this beer is that it drinks clean like a lager. Definitely a fan of this easy-drinking dark ale. (Final Rating: 4.01)

Dec 08, 2019
Photo of michaelsmith11
michaelsmith11 from Illinois

3.78/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

This was a little different than i expected it to be. I could smell and taste some chocolate and some roasty malts. But he thing that kinda stood out to me was the sweetness. There definitely a fruity sweetness to this. Not bad.

Dec 06, 2019
Photo of woodsman13
woodsman13 from Maine

4.22/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Very unique, excellent dark lager that tastes different than it looks. In the glass it shows a dark translucent brown with beautiful, sticky lacing. Smells like roasted malt, a bit yeasty/bready. Not getting many coffee/chocolate/copper notes like you'd expect from a dark beer, except for some light cocoa maybe. Surprisingly light mouthfeel but with robust carbonation. The taste has the tobacco and coffee notes you'd expect from the looks of it, but also with some fruitiness (fruitcake?) like you'd expect from a Belgian strong ale. Drinkable but complex. A beer of contrasts and juxtapositions.

Nov 23, 2019
Photo of sseisele

4.05/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Goes down smooth. Chocolate and coffee notes on the aftertaste. I drank it straight from the bottle so I can't speak for the look. I am sure with the richness in the mouthfeel that there is a fair amount of lacing. At 6% ABV it does not have an overwhelming boozy taste. This beer was my first and only dark lager but I am a fan of NB overall and definitely of dark lagers now.

Nov 10, 2019
Photo of jmc65267
jmc65267 from Georgia

3.84/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Enjoyable beer that I would buy again. It’s my first time having it and I like it, has a good flavor. Part of a variety pack given the option for it I would get again.

Nov 08, 2019
1554 from New Belgium Brewing Company
Beer rating: 86 out of 100 with 4300 ratings