1554 Enlightened Black Ale | New Belgium Brewing

very good
1,254 Reviews
no score
Send samples
1554 Enlightened Black Ale1554 Enlightened Black Ale

Brewed by:
New Belgium Brewing
Colorado, United States

Style: Belgian Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.60%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 01-02-2002

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 1,254 | Ratings: 3,206
Photo of donscott
5/5  rDev +30.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

1554 has become a regular staple in my house. I am a huge Fat tire fan and figured I would try some of New Belgium's other beers. They are quickly becoming my favorite brewery and is always in my house. They have a great variety pack at Costco. unfortunately 1554 is not apart of that pack. Good stuff.

 302 characters

Photo of BeerDrinkerDave
5/5  rDev +30.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Great tasting beer all around. Great head, great lacing, it is real smooth to drink. I would definitely recommend this beer to everyone. I was reluctant to try this beer after tasting the "Mother Ship" from New Belgium. I do love their "Fat Tire" beer. I finally tried the "1554", it is great, definitely on my list of must-haves when I have a little extra cash.

One thing I wish New Belgium would do, reduce the price of their 6/12 pack bottles by a few dollars, they would sell non-stop.

Love New Belgium beers!

 515 characters

Photo of kdawg105
5/5  rDev +30.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

TIZ THA SEASON! This beer is great for the winter. Not to dark in color when poured out light heat that hangs an min or so any way the smell is great. When you smell this beer you think it will be light in hops and high in malts. It is a very good brew! It has a sweet nutty finish with a nicely balanced hops behind it. PICK 6 At Kroger people this is the best way to find these great craft beers. Cheers!

 406 characters

Photo of bencowgill
5/5  rDev +30.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

this is one of my favorite beers, it sucks it's not in jersey. in the military, had some great beers, and this is one of them. it is outstanding, great flavor, nice and thick. i had it a few weeks ago in TX, one thing good about Wichita falls. looking forward to when it makes it's way to NJ.

 292 characters

Photo of EarthRocker
5/5  rDev +30.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I really don't want to seem cliche giving this beer a perfect score, but quite honestly I had absolutely zero gripes with it. I'm a big fan of New Belgium's beers, and I'm a dark ale guy. And this stuff is honestly the most appealing beer I've ever tasted. When you smell it, the sweet caramel / chocolate aroma hits hard, giving you a good sign of what you're in for - the head on this stuff is gorgeous, although not the world's thickest. It's a true beauty to look at once you've poured it into a glass. I'm really glad to see so many positive reviews on this beer, because in all honesty, it's my new favorite. I'll definately be buying it again, and probably many more times to come.

 688 characters

Photo of CU570M
4.92/5  rDev +28.1%
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.

 295 characters

Photo of BobJustBob
4.92/5  rDev +28.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into a globe goblet from a bottle.

The head was small, but something told me to inhale a bit of it. Whatever that something was, it was right. It tasted just like the sprinkles on top of a chocolate doughnut. Despite the non-aggressive head it laced nicely
Color was a deep root beer like brown.
To be honest, it's hard to compare 1554 to any recognized style as it's based on Beers that are now basically extinct, or so you would believe, reading New Belgium's description of the brew.
It has much in common with Stout, but with a much lighter character.
Strong chocolate-like malts dominate, with only the slightest coffee notes.
I detect a minimal amount of hops, but they could be slightly masked by the roasty cocoa flavors.
The drinkability of this one is horrendously seductive. Definitely what Brits refer to as "more-ish".
For those times I can't get Mogollon Apache Trout Stout (which is most of the time) 1554 is unbeatable.
I'm not always in the mood for this type of Beer, but when I am, this stuff is unbelievably good.

 1,041 characters

Photo of Badgersno1
4.88/5  rDev +27.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle to a pint glass

Appearance: Dark brown almost black, the head has a cream look in the beginning and settle to an off white

Smell: Roasty, coffee

Taste: This is where the beer sucked me in, great taste, not really what I expected, Roasted Coffee, little bit chocolaty, slight malt bitterness

Mouthfeel: Smooth, creamy, perfectly carbonated, a lot lighter then what I thought

Drinkability: I could drink it all night, great session beer, clean finish

This is a great beer, very refreshing, I'll be getting this one again

 564 characters

Photo of twitchr
4.87/5  rDev +26.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

One of my favorites. I came across 1554 in a pick six. Instantly loved it and usually have a few in my fridge at all times.

Best way to describe the flavor is roast malt with a hint of chocolate. It's got robust flavor without being too heavy. Perfect beer for winding down in the evening. I enjoy having a small piece of dark chocolate with it.

 346 characters

Photo of HochFliegen
4.87/5  rDev +26.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

The 1554 Brussels Style Black Ale was an amazing beer. This is probably my favorite by New Belgium.
The pour creates a nice thick creamy off white colored head that laced the side of the glass all the way down. The color is a very deep red.
The smell is complex but subtle. Hints of burnt coffee and some chocolate dominate. A second smell and I get a whiff of almonds or some sort of nut. Its a strong malty smell that I find very appealing.
The taste start off with a huge coffee taste. It a very deep malty flavor that sort of turns to cherries and then finishes very smokey in the aftertaste as I exhale.
It has a very creamy and rich feel in the mouth very pleasing.

 678 characters

Photo of klmcmachen
4.82/5  rDev +25.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

New Belgium knows beer. 1554 is no exception. I received this beer at a restaurant. It was presented in a tall thin glass. It was very dark and only semi-transparent. It had a 3/4" head which it sustained for about ten minutes. The smell was earthy and sweet. The mouthfeel was nice. It had a heavy feel but really smooth, like silk. The taste was earthy and fruity with a hint of something sweet, perhaps chocolate. As with most of New Belgium beers, I give 1554 two-thumbs-up!!

 479 characters

Photo of CouchCobra
4.8/5  rDev +25%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bomber to snifter

A: Chocolate tar. It looks rich, and creamy. Head is not long lasting, (I drank it too fast to find out)

S: Malty, nutty

T: Wonderful. Makes me want to cry since I cannot get it in NY.

M: Almost warming to the tongue and throat. Not much, but enough to let you know its there.

D: Love love love. If one is good and two is better, 20 ought to do.

 369 characters

Photo of Irishtexan
4.8/5  rDev +25%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

At the first sip all I could think was...SMOOTH...and then the nice chocolate malt kicked in. A VERY nice drinkable blacl lager that looks as dark as a robust porter but without the overwhelming burnt/roast aroma and taste.This beer is a party in a six pack for the discriminating drinker. I'd love to try in on tap.

 316 characters

Photo of Beejay
4.75/5  rDev +23.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark Brown with a tan head..

S: Malty, and delicious.

T: Malty, with chocolate and fruit notes.

M: Ggggreat!

D: This is great for Drinkablility ( I still think this word is BS...) This beer is great for a one off, or for a night of drinking.

Serving type: bottle

This is one of my favorite beers. Growing up 45 minutes away from the brewery it is one of my 'home grown favorites.' Trust me, you haven't had it until you have had it from the brewery.

 460 characters

Photo of stlsportster
4.75/5  rDev +23.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Perhaps my favorite beer of all time, other than I wish the ABV was a little higher than the 5.6%.

Great smell, caramel and coffee. Dark black pour with a decent head. Love the mouthfeel, smooth, lots of flavor and not even a hint of bite.

I could drink this as a session beer for sure.

 289 characters

Photo of yuenglingfan101
4.75/5  rDev +23.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

a very good beer. Nice beer with a little extra head to it, but that isn't bad at all. Taste of hops is wonderful, but at the very end a tad bitter. Smells crisp. Drinkability is good, but after a couple one will probably get tired of it. I do recommend this beer to the average beer drinker

 291 characters

Photo of JamesS
4.74/5  rDev +23.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured a very nice dark brown with copper tinges, a nice bit of initial, if rapidly fading, head, and just a wee bit of lacing. Great scent, a subtle mixture of great sweet malt, chocolate flavors, floral hints, and a nice orange/banana aroma. Great taste, starts strong with chocolate and then goes into an excellent banana/citrus flavor, giving it a nice mixture. Ends with a huge sweetness on the tongue, but with enough hops to keep it grounded. Very smooth. I was very impressed with this brew.

 499 characters

Photo of Garanova
4.73/5  rDev +23.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

Like it because of dark, malty flavor. Balanced.
Look: Dark brown.
Smell: Malty, roast
Taste: Malty, roast, subdued (balanced) hops.
Overall: One of my favorite types of beer. Dark, roast, strong malt without being too sweet. Seems almost like a Porter, to me.

 267 characters

Photo of likethetaste
4.7/5  rDev +22.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Wow another winner from New Belgium! This is even better than their Fat Tire amber ale! Wow, when will this be availavle in Virginia!! Amazing.

This is a very drinkable beer that has amazing taste and mouthfeel! If you get a chance to get this Do!!!

 250 characters

Photo of msolar
4.7/5  rDev +22.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Update: There's a label update, and it's titled "1554: Enlightened Black Ale".

Pours very dark - almost pitch black, with just a bit of light coming through the glass. Very even lacing. It smells sweet, with a bit of coffee and chocolate notes. Great flavor - nice bitter flavor with a sweet flavor that lingers. Certainly a medium-Great drinkability, it makes an excellent fall or winter beer.

One of my favorite beers from one of my favorite brewers. I'd certainly consider putting this on tap... if only New Belgium distributed to the east coast.

Disclaimer: I'm bias to New Belgium, due, in part, to their huge support of biking and conservation.

 655 characters

Photo of SamN
4.68/5  rDev +21.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A- Pours a dark, robust brown, almost black.Thick head from a hearty pour, but it has staying power, leaves thick lacing along the side of my NB glass. Up to light it shines a deep ruby red. Interesting dual character of the look, from far away a black and foreboding looking ale, up close it becomes a magnificent ruby red beauty.

S- First is the uplifting Belgian scent-- fresh floral notes, backed up with sweeter malts and bittered hops. Again, the twin nature of this beer-- is it a "dark" beer or a "light" beer? The smell only adds to the mystery...there are a lot of earthen smells here; twangy scents I can't quite place, incense and patchouli perhaps. But they just add to the wonderfully unique smell of this ale.

T- Man, this beer just defies description. Such a intriguing flavor spectrum working in here! First taste brings the slight hops character up, only to be quickly replaced by lightly toasted malts, followed by a mellow coffee flavor and, finally, finishing on just the slightest hops bitterness. Throughout, this beer keeps it's head low, great subtle beer.

This is such a contradictory beer; it's appearance belies it's true, complex nature. The smell leads some people one way, others another way, while the taste brings them all back with such a wide variety of tastes that everyone can find something to enjoy here.Is 1554 a dark, malty ale? Is it a slightly hoppy red? Is it a Belgian-style beer, or an American dark ale? So much going on here and all from a little brown bottle, overflowing with the delicious and thought provoking contents.

M- Excellent; so smooth and with a thicker body than one would expect. Structured and firm, spot on subtle carbonation.

D- Drinkability remains high, despite it's less than sessionable nature. It's so so damn good and multi-faceted, I can't put it down. That's high drinkability in my book!

 1,868 characters

Photo of DeGrog
4.68/5  rDev +21.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is one of the best American Belgians! This beer is welcome in my ice chest three out of seven days of the week. The color, the smell, the drinkability of this brew is top notch. I feel so akin to this brew that on occasion I call it De Grog. But be for warned, it's 5.6% can sneak up on you.

 296 characters

Photo of Shovelbum
4.66/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a thin tan head over a black body. Head rapidly recedes leaving bands of lace. Aromas of roasted malt, vinous fruit, plums and a hint of coffee. Similar flavors fill the mouth with an emphasis on roasted malt, chocolate and vinous fruit. There is also a substantial sweetness that carries the other flavors without being overwhelming. Medium bodied, low carbonation. Very smooth in the mouth with a clean finish.

Incredible complexity in both the nose and flavor of this ale. Almost stout-like, but the lighter body and Belgian candi-sugar sweetness reveal its Belgian sensibilities. With such a low ABV and major flavor and smoothness, this is one drinkable ale.

 672 characters

Photo of c1377
4.65/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottled -
Beer Glass - 07.27.2009

1554 Enlightened Black Ale
"Dark toasted maltiness with a bright lively finish" - bottle blurb

A - Dark w/ amber highlight, 85% clear, just enough head to lace the glass

S - Smells of malt, with a slight hint of chocolate

M - Neither thick, nor thin. Ever so slight chewiness.

T - Roasty malt followed by bisquit. Any flavour of spirit hides behind the carbonation and malt. The bitterness is smooth, sitting evenly and peaking near the sides of my tongue rather than burning the tip of my tongue the way many hoppy beers do. The bitterness lies well within the malt character and lingers softly like a slight aftertaste of dark unsweetened chocolate.
The flavour transitions are quiet, and the flavours themselves are neither delicate nor overbearing. This is a very well balanced beer, so well balanced in fact that it transcends and surpasses the sum of it's elements.


This beer goes down so smoothly, that I had to review this beer over a 2 day stretch--the first bottle was finished way before I finished reviewing it, and alas the second is already gone as well.

By sheer volume, I must say that this is my favorite beer. My on hand selection is rarely without it.

 1,220 characters

Photo of TexIndy
4.63/5  rDev +20.6%
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)

 491 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
1554 Enlightened Black Ale from New Belgium Brewing
3.84 out of 5 based on 3,206 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.