New Belgium Brewing Company

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New Belgium Brewing Company
Colorado, United States
European Dark Lager
Ranked #5
Ranked #19,849
3.83 | pDev: 12.01%
Jul 15, 2022
Jan 02, 2002
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
Recent ratings and reviews. | Log in to view more ratings + sorting options.
Ratings by RamseyHeadrick:
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Reviewed by RamseyHeadrick from Canada (QC)

4.38/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
Really nice beer. Like a coffee/chocolaty stout but light and easy. Dark amber color, soft head that quickly dissipates. I love a creamier stout, but this is good for the unique style it fits into.
Jun 26, 2022
More User Ratings:
Rated: 3.81 by Pro_Magnon from Texas

Jul 15, 2022
Rated: 3.5 by Fettpopps from Massachusetts

Jun 27, 2022
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Reviewed by Perioddicals from Texas

4.01/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4
L - Poured from a bottle into a Sam Adams Perfect Glass. Pours very dark brown with a nice red color in direct sunlight. One finger light brown head that dissipates to a film with a constant ring through the drink. Half finger head returns with agitation half-way through the drink. Minor-to-medium lacing.

S - Wonderful bread and caramel malt scents. Dark fruits scents appear part way through. Light toasty scents as well.

T - Taste presents a solid chocolate bitterness up front. Nice nutty flavors too. Dark fruits in there as well. Some smokiness comes up as it warms up. No bitterness at all.

F - Medium-to-full mouthfeel with decent carbonation. Smooth drinking all the way through.

O - This was a very enjoyable beer. I drank in the hot summer in 99 degree weather, but this would be fantastic in the winter months. It might not beat my favored winter beers at higher ABV than this, but I have thoroughly enjoyed the handful of beers I’ve tried from New Belgium Brewing Co. I’d recommend you try this one if you like the sound of the flavor profile. As a fan of malt-forward beers, this beer was a joy to drink.
Jun 24, 2022
Rated: 3.79 by buzzedup from Pennsylvania

Jun 13, 2022
Rated: 3.66 by vickersspitfire from Texas

Jun 04, 2022
Rated: 3.77 by Mcb99d from Massachusetts

May 22, 2022
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Reviewed by Whyteboar from Michigan

3.94/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
Poured dark mahogany with a light brown head that dissipated but left lots of lacing.
The aroma was very mild for me, damaged sniffer, but I did get some coffee, both rich and bitter. Good, perplexed but impressed.
The taste was really different. Gruit makes a noticeable difference in the dark lager genre. Almost nutty along with the chocolate and coffee centric malts.
The feel is ideal for the style, and the carbonation never quite ends.
Good beer!
May 16, 2022
Rated: 3.15 by alexvhrk from Wisconsin

May 10, 2022
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Reviewed by Bluerabbitbell from Pennsylvania

3.79/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75
4/25/22 On tap at New Belgium, Asheville. The brewer notes on the history beyond this offering is really cool.

Color is dark mahogany, lacy.

Smell is malty and stoney at the same time.

Low carbonation. Smooth. Nice offering!
Apr 25, 2022
Rated: 3.66 by blissfulNemo from Michigan

Apr 17, 2022
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Reviewed by Sigmund from Norway

3.18/5  rDev -17%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25
355 ml bottle, from Vinmonopolet, Nettbutikken. ABV is 6%. Very dark ruby to mahogany colour, nearly black. Small and shortlived beige head. Weak and uninteresting aroma, a little malts, a hint of chocolate and dust. The dry flavour is not very exciting either, but fairly refreshing. Moderate malts, a hint of chocolate again, also a hint of prunes and liquorice, very mild spices.
Apr 16, 2022
Rated: 4 by Beecham from California

Apr 09, 2022
Rated: 3.59 by benjaminsa from Vermont

Mar 30, 2022
Rated: 1.41 by thehermgod

Mar 25, 2022
Rated: 3.83 by EdFed from Illinois

Mar 23, 2022
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Reviewed by JZH1000 from Colorado

3.58/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5
Poured from a 12oz bottle.

On the pour it's dark but not black indoor lighting reveals a dark brown that let's a small amount of light through, held up to light it's a dark reddish brown with no haze. Less than one finger head that dissipates immediately to a ring around the glass.

Aroma is definitely influenced by licorice but very subtly and it blends into the dark malt sweetness quite well. The new Belgium website says there is in fact some nugget hops but they aren't very present in the aroma. Beyond the licorice it's similar to a belgian trippel/Dunkel in aroma if you were to combine the two traditional styles.

Taste is quite dry and yeasty but with some chocolate roasty malt notes. Some herbal bitterness but this beer is quite easy to drink and not the heaviest in flavor. I'd say this is pretty similar to the Baltic porter style. Lagery porter like beer but they don't call it either of those things. Some bitterness does creep up as you drink, dissimilar to hops, that seem to get less bitter as you drink. Definitely a dark malty beer

Feel is creamy but drinkable. Similar to a Baltic porter once again. Not light but not too heavy either. Big beer relative to a lot of what's out there but smaller than the trippel by these guys.

Overall an interesting beer that's not super traditional to any style it seems other than dark lager inspired by a mideavil beer recipe. It's good, not necessarily something that's sticking out to me though.
Mar 19, 2022
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Reviewed by shu from Georgia

4.42/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5
Very crisp and light. Initial taste borders on sweet with bitter aftertaste. But that's good! Carbonation is disappointing but overall excellent dark brew.
Feb 26, 2022
Rated: 3.77 by mothmanscott from Georgia

Jan 23, 2022
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Reviewed by NCBrewstreamer from North Carolina

4.31/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25
Great appearance
Caramel and malt flavor with chocolate
Mouthfeel was nothing like I expected, instead it was very drinkable and crisp for such a dark lager
Light finish that leaves you wanting more
Jan 15, 2022
Rated: 3.98 by Highlonesome1 from Texas

Jan 13, 2022
Rated: 4.03 by Zigzach from Florida

Jan 08, 2022
Rated: 3.89 by Viaduck from California

Jan 08, 2022
Photo of KT3418
Reviewed by KT3418 from Colorado

3.78/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75
I actually like this a good bit based on one bottle, body is good even with no glass and out of the bottle, does have lager vibes but it seems like it needs to be a smidge warmer like other dark brews to be enjoyed. Relatively impressed and glad cuz for some reason I don't have a great liking for a lot of their beer
Jan 08, 2022
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Reviewed by Bouleboubier from New Jersey

4.09/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4
(12 oz bottle, 68799 06MAR22; purchased single off shelf at Total Wine, Tucson... poured into a stemless wine glass)

L: clear, ruby-garnet liquid; fleeting, flimsy, tanned khaki-colored foam... about what one would expect from a non-bottle condition rendering of this derivative style... keeps a thin yet tight collar; little lacing

S: old upholstery, dry port, desiccating plum, hint of red cough medicine... overall weak(ened) intensity but inviting expression

T: up front: curiously roasty, oxidized dark sherry overtones; bit of a prune color to its dry aftertaste.... second sip reveals more depth: fruitcake, berry jelly, hints of toasty dark crystal malt... ehhh, I could see a justifiable (doppel)bock comparison... overall: dry, malty, mulled wine

F: velvety carbonation softening the edges of its whispery-plush body; calm caress of residual warmth... maybe this is a lager... too suave

O: low-key high quality, but I'll take Ommegang Abbey Ale any day over this... this was the last of 4 consecutive reviews this morning of brands I can't readily procure out east... I love the 'Euro dark lager' label for this, because it's sort of appropriate, despite this being an undeniably familiar relic of early craft beer Dubbel knock-offs... as a 'lager', it's great, but c'mon, don't corrupt my to-style ratings bro; their zwert story is romantically compelling but bs - doesn't result in a distinctive brew... arguably slightly higher marks than it deserves (bland, rough edges), but I'd have this again (1849)
Jan 02, 2022
Rated: 4.3 by Skyseeker from New York

Dec 30, 2021
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Reviewed by TheBricenator from Oregon

4.03/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4
Look: Dark brown to black on the pour and deep ruby-red when held to light with a short-lasting head that settles to a film and leaves good lacing behind
Aroma: Warm brown bread, light chocolate notes, wafts of licorice, a little toffee, and mild earthy notes
Taste: Rich bready malt, toffee, and chocolate are the initial notes and after they settle, some nice light licorice appears along with some earthiness. The flavors all meld well before brown bread and chocolate take hold and close it out
Mouthfeel: Full but light, very clean, medium-high carbonation, and a soft and clean finish
Overall: I dig it. I love these folks’ Belgian offerings so scoring this as part of their mix 12-pack was a fun and tasty chance to revisit. The licorice notes make it unique tasting and smelling and they work well here in my opinion plus help set this apart from other Euro Dark Lagers (which although this is an ale, feels/tastes like a lager). Unique, well-made, and tasty
Dec 27, 2021
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Reviewed by Dr_Gonzo from Kentucky

4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
Poured into a tall clear pint glass. The appearance of the beer resembles a sort of cola/mahogany color, with more than a finger's worth of fluffy tan head with good retention and lacing.

Aroma: very malty, and rich notes of coffee and chocolate/cocoa. Other notes of toffee, subtle vanilla, licorice, spices, cherries, raisins, bread crust, yeast, and cinnamon.

Really tasting dark chocolate, coffee, and toffee on the palette, along with the spices, licorice, and subtle vanilla most especially. Essentially follows the aroma. Body is medium-light.
Dec 21, 2021
Photo of HorseheadsHophead
Reviewed by HorseheadsHophead from Colorado

4.03/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
Appearance is black, not quite pitch black; ruby red/dark brown highlights. The tan head is absurdly creamy and thick for what appeared to be low carbonation initially. Long-lasting retention and sheets of lacing.

On the nose I get lots of chocolate, a little bit of coffee and vanilla, and a hint of cinnamon or some vague spice note.

Chocolate dominates the palate, hitting upfront with hints of vanilla, dark brown bread in the middle, a touch of plum and balsamic vinegar, and maybe just a vague hint of generic spice. Finishes quick dry with a dusting more of cocoa powder, before finishing more abruptly than expected into cleanness.

The mouthfeel is medium, moderately carbonated, well carbonated and slightly pillow. Finishes crisper and lighter than expected, given the chewiness of the mid-palate.

...Overall, well a solid beer. I had to know idea what style of this beer was going in. I thought it was a Belgian dark ale and reviewed it as such! Surprise, surprise...well, it's pretty solid for a Euro black lager!
Dec 08, 2021
Rated: 4.23 by Mattbrollins22 from South Carolina

Dec 04, 2021
Rated: 3.91 by Curt3 from New Jersey

Nov 28, 2021
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Reviewed by LesDewitt4beer from Minnesota

4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
Very scrappy notes from 2010. 6 pack from Surdyk's in NE Minneapolis.
12 ounce bottles. Poured into a pint glass.
Looks like a nice medium dark lager and has an 'old world' aroma. Smooth, creamy and dry with medium carbonation. Sweet chocolate and fairly malty. Very good tasting beer.
Nov 23, 2021
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Reviewed by ponypunk

4.26/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25
The beer pours dark brown with a creamy tan head. The head has real staying power!!!! Nice lacing. Aroma of chocolate, cherry, malt, and hint of banana. Taste is dark chocolate, cream, and picking up that slight hint of banana again. The mouthfeel is one of the best I have had. The bear is creamy and soft, almost the consistency of a melted milkshake. This is an outstanding beer! Nice job New Belgium!!
Nov 21, 2021
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Reviewed by md3kcn from North Carolina

4.16/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
Purchased as a 12-bottle variety pack from Sam's Club for $15.90. Poured into a nonic pint glass.

L - Dark, molasses brown with a barely one-finger coffee brown head. Laces well.
S - Raisin, cacao, and dark breads. Slight ethanol.
T - Dark chocolate and stone fruit, washed over by pumpernickel and caramel. Light licorice and toffee finish. Not bitter in the slightest.
F - Sticky. Silky. Full-bodied, with light carbonation. Definitely on the heavier side.
O - A fantastic beer on its own, but even better when paired with steak! Great for a colder night. Couldn't drink more than one in one sitting, I'm afraid. Would highly recommend trying at least once. Will purchase again if I see it.
Nov 18, 2021
Rated: 3.93 by DrewTheBrew from Ohio

Oct 24, 2021
Rated: 3.05 by HollandTunnels from Pennsylvania

Oct 17, 2021
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Reviewed by Weisenbeer from Ohio

4.07/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4
This was surprisingly tasty... This came in a New Belgium variety pack... It's on the thin side, which I actually prefer in a darker beer... Nice nose and easy to drink.... Taste good too
Oct 16, 2021
Rated: 3.75 by Danmullens1 from Wisconsin

Oct 13, 2021
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Reviewed by TheOccasionalBeer from Wisconsin

4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
Three fingers of creme brulee-colored foam topped translucent coffee on the pour, and it hung around for a while. Faint but noticeable scent of the cake part of fruitcake (the good kind). However, the taste hinted at vanilla and an astringent fruit, sweet at first and a slight bitterness and carbonation on the finish. The more I drink, the more citrus I pick up.... not an unpleasant amount but also reminiscent of the dried citrus peel in some fruitcakes (yeah, I decided not to start one this year but I can still think about it). I'm not sure that I've had a Euro-style dark lager before, but it feels about right... less satiny than a stout but more substantial than a regular lager. It's going well with pizza on crisp, wet evening so I'll likely give it another try in the future.
Sep 25, 2021
1554 from New Belgium Brewing Company
Beer rating: 86 out of 100 with 4355 ratings