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
Reviews: 1,254 | Ratings: 3,206
Photo of dataskatt
4.5/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a mug. Gorgeous black beer with over an inch high head that lingers. Lots of creamy sticky lacing on the sides of the glass. Smell is malty and toasty with hints of coffee and chocolate. Taste is wonderful! Roasted malt with coffee accents, and just a touch of chocolate...not too much. Very drinkable beer. Not heavy and chewy like a stout. Surprisingly light for such a dark beer. You could enjoy several of these easily. If you like a stout, especially a chocolate or cream, you have got to try this. It is similar, but without the heaviness. Definitely recommend!

 579 characters

Photo of ajmoody76
4.5/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

for the holidays my sis and bro-in-law brought me a case of this from somewhere in the chicago burbs. 12 oz. bottle to tulip glass. deep amber brown with some red in there. very clear. thick head that thins out to a fine layer. looks good.

floral aroma. really smells good. no off odors.

somewhat dry, but in a good way. caramel sweet with a little spicyness in the aftertaste.

good carbonation. full bodied. leaves a little lace. folows style. i really dig this beer. my favorite from this brewery. good session beer. will drink again.

 539 characters

Photo of ultralarry2006
4.5/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle. Leaves a two finger biege head that has very good retention and leaves very good lacing. Body is black with purple highlights.

Smell - chocolate, maltbread, plums, dates, and raisins. Mouthwatering.

Taste - exactly as promised by the nose. Chocolate, maltbread, plums, dates, and raisins. Very hearty and delicious.

Mouthfeel - fullbodied, chewy, and smooth.

Drinkability - this is excellent ale and totally sessionable.

 461 characters

Photo of Tilley4
4.5/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

New Belgium has just recently made its way to Tn and I picked this along with a couple of other NB offerings up today. Can't wait to get into this..

Poured into a Duvel tulip.

This is almost black but not quite. More like a very dark brown with some ruby highlighting to it. It forms an awesome head of tan coloration that is thick, creamy, and persistent.

Very rich dark roasted malt aroma coming off of this...very rich malt aroma with the merest hint of chocolate. Damn, this is very impressive so far.

Mmmmm..smooth rich dark roasted maltiness laced with chocolate and a bit of coffee that has me excited as hell these guys are here now. It reminds me of a Guinness Extra Stout a little except I think its even richer and maltier.. I'm very impressed with this brew, I'll have to say. I wasn't exactly sure what to expect with this and I am very pleasantly surprised.

I'm going to make this one a regular in my fridge, no doubt. Its extremely sessionable, won't put you out of commission after a few, and taste delicious. At $2.99 a bomber, its an absolute steal. I'm a happy 1554 fan!

 1,095 characters

Photo of duhbled
4.49/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

After having the pleasure of tasting this at the New Belgium Brewery in Colorado, this soon became my favorite beer. Preferring dark ales, I was pleasantly surprised when the bottle was much like the draft.
The pour is dark and slightly reddish with a nice 1/4 head and left some lacing.
The smell is intoxicating to me. Slight coffee scent with the hops chiming in too.
The taste is what I love about this dark ale. It's not overly complex with a slightly sweet and chocolately start that melds into a nice dry, hoppy ending.
The mouthfeel isn't overwhelming, which is a good thing. Makes you want another one immediately.
Pure drinkablity from ever bottle. I like to serve this slightly warm as the flavors are more pronounced.
Overall this is in my opinion the best drinkable beer that New Belgium has put out thus far. It's a beautiful thing.

 849 characters

Photo of jngrizzaffi
4.49/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a pitch black color with a 2 finger width brown foamy head. Head retention and lacing are both good. Has a roasted malt and dark chocolate aroma. Kind of a sweet floral scent mixed in. Very good roasted malt taste with silky chocolate at the end. Little bit of a hoppy burst at the end, but quickly dissipates and leaves a more refreshing aftertaste. Very good beer. Kind of goes more into the porter territory.

 424 characters

Photo of hodgsongreg
4.47/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle to into a pilsner glass.

1554 pours dark with a thick head, not thick like you'd find from a stout, but more like Robin Thicke, Alan's son. The first smell is roasted oat with sweetness. The roasted malt is the dominant taste, touches of chocolate and lingering taste of alcohol. There is enough carbonation to make a good beer burp, but not enough that you would blow down the neighbor's tool shed. This could easily be a session beer for me and I will very likely buy more.

 497 characters

Photo of cfspartan
4.47/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Delicious, dark and complex. Amazingly there is not a trace of bitterness, only smooth complexity on the palate from beginning to end. For such a dark beer, the lack of bitterness was as surprising as it was awesome. It is better on tap than in the bottle, but over here on the East Coast, I'd take either!

 306 characters

Photo of jacobseyb
4.45/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A=Deep, deep, dark amber/black colors with a one fat finger of head, tan/khaki in color

S=some spiciness, with some intriguing smokey notes. Malts and yeast prevalent

T=smokey, banana, with the yeastiness and maltiness expected.

M=great carbonation and light bodied feel, refreshing.

D=extremely sessionable and enjoyable.

 326 characters

Photo of Bighuge
4.45/5  rDev +15.9%
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 coasterfreak75
4.44/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

The pour from a 22oz bomber into a stem glass was pitch black with a nice one finger head that quickly dissapated and left little or no lace on the glass.

The smell was heavy with burnt caramel and light floral hops in the background.

The drink starts with a sweet malt kick followed quickly by a fast hit of light hops. The finish was lingering sweet caramel.

I am a fan of Fat Tire so I was really looking forward to trying this one. It didn't let me down. Quite drinkable.

 478 characters

Photo of neonbrown82
4.44/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I didn't quite know if I would like this at first, but I wanted to try it anyway. It was actually very good. It filled the role of several different types of beers. It had the aged earthy roastiness of a porter with the fruity sweetness usually expected of a belgian style.

The appearance is dark with a light ruby tint and a small off-white ringed head. Smells of berries. The aroma is one of the most stunning scents I've experienced from any beer. The taste shows hints of gently roasted barley malt, kind of like a very light porter, combined with a berry sweetness. The brew has a thin kind of body to it and seems to finish somewhat wet. A very interesting beer.

 671 characters

Photo of IntriqKen
4.43/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

ok...this is yummy.
Pours a deep black color with only the slightest hint of amber with a nice full 2 finger tan head that melts ever so slowly to thick lacing.
Aromas of chocolate, coffee,and heavenly toasted sweet malt.
Taste is much like the aroma...initially sweet...then toasted malt...then chocolate and coffee with a nice nutty brown taste....I sense almonds.
Surprisingly full mouthfeel with wonderful carbonation and smooth malt coating but no cloying sweetness.
Aftertaste is slightly sweet and fulfilling....definately a nutty aftertaste that lingers pleasantly..
More like a sweet (not dry) swartzbier.

 620 characters

Photo of moyalva2003
4.43/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

yes, i love this beer. This beer rocketed to #2 on my top 5, yes i'ma young'un so far but this beer is great. I love the darker beers. The barkeep at my pub recommend this beer and i loved it. Smelled like a sweet-raosty-hoppy aroma to it. And the bold flavor went down tasty as hell. This is a very enjoyable beer and i highly recommend it.

 341 characters

Photo of BlindPig
4.43/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Appearance-black when held up to light can see redish color. Light carbonation. Pour with thin off white head which didn’t stay to long. Not much lacing. Cant see though it.
Smell- smokey and chocolaty on malts. citrussy grassy hops
Taste- Light! Roasted taste. Maybe a bit smoky. Taste some kind of hops kind of citrusy, not bitter. Aftertaste not a strong one, maybe sort of malty ….maybe it’s hoppy of the sweetness from hops with light malt. Seems like a good balance between malt and hops not one over dominating
Mouthfeel- med body, maybe little to carbonated (going into personal opion).
Drinkability- very easy to drink. Very good beer I could easily have a few of these.

 687 characters

Photo of ngandhi
4.43/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bitter chocolate, plums, and currants with light bitter hops -- drying, almost tannic with elegant structure. Delicious herbs in the background. Very flavorful but controlled yeast offers a bulk of this beer's character and works with the dark malt and tight hops, never against or above them. Beautiful trappist esters. The body borders on being dextrinous, but calms down before the drink becomes too chewy.

1554 Brussels Style Black Ale is a single, developing flavor -- earth, bruised fruit, cocoa, flint, and a melange of spicy herbs all at once -- that never hones in on any single aspect of its complex profile. Everything in this beer is a suggestion that, before relayed from tongue to brain, morphs into something else. Each sip is consistent. Despite its depth, there is nothing confusing, overwhelming, or alienating about this beer.

New Belgium, though tied to Belgian tradition and spot-on for style here, transcends both tradition and style, allowing the brewer's craft to shine through. I taste knowledge, effort, and respect.

Relax, relax.

 1,071 characters

Photo of BostonJohn
4.43/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Appearance - Dark amber to black in color. Develops airy head upon poor but only lasts ~1 minute.

Smell - Chocolaty smell with very slighty smokyness.

Taste - Hints of chocolate and a toasted/smoked malt undertone. Very well balanced and flavor lingers on the tongue for quite some time. Full in flavor without being overpowering.

Mouthfeel - Very light and almost watery, yet full of flavor. Carbonation helps create a light feel.

Drinkability - Very easy to drink. The 1554 is full in flavor yet very light. Definately a good session beer. After my first tastes I was very impressed with the balance and flavor. Definately a beer i'd buy again.

 651 characters

Photo of AnalogReigns
4.43/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

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.

 530 characters

Photo of MTNboy
4.42/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

It has a crazy amount of brown/tan head with some really nice lacing. It has an opaque black color that is true to the name. It has an aroma that is a lot like a porter. It has a deep roasted malt smell it very sweet and not much for hops. It has a roasted malt caramel chocolate taste. It has a wood and nut like aftertaste. Medium almost full bodied.

 352 characters

Photo of mikejk305
4.42/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark opaque brown with a little head that doesn't stay long. The smell is great, roasted and chocolate. The taste doesn't lack, very malty and very crisp. Great mouthfeel, not heavy at all for what you might expect. Very drinkable, a great fall beer but drinkable any time.

 281 characters

Photo of Realale
4.42/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Black, revealing translucent deep burgundy when held up to the light. Creamy extremely fine mocha head settles to a complete cap.

Roasty bitter chocolate leads the nose, supported by a delicate fruitness and some fresh brown bready malt. Lovely and very appetizing.

Thin side of medium in the mouth. The bitter chocolate leads the way with some browned cookie maltiness. Richer malt kicks in on the mid-palate, and gently fades to leave the crisp, roasty goodness to end things on the long finish.

Modest carbonation suits the style well and gives a lovely mouthfeel. Extremely drinkable in quantity and an excellent and flexible companion at the table (another is doing very well with a wild mushroom lasagna as I type). A staple in my DBF. Best before October 6, 2006. Bottle 6 from a 6 pack.

 803 characters

Photo of skywizzard
4.42/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a very dark brown color with about 1 finger of head which last pretty well. Some lacing.

S - Malty with major overtones of chocolate and coffee. Very nice!

T - Malt, coffee and chocolate along with a slightly sweet fruity flavors. Just enough bitterness to be good.

M - Very, very, smooth and creamy.

O - For me, this is an excellent beer. It has everything I would want in a regular brew including price. I will probably be keeping a 6-pak in the frig as one of my regulars.

Serving type: bottle

 511 characters

Photo of NuclearDolphin
4.42/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a 12oz. Tumbler Pint Glass

Appearance - Very Dark with hints of dark amber and crimson when held up to the light. Head is about 2 fingers width with a slighty brown head. Leaves behind some good lacing

Smell - Roasted Malts and Chocolate are present as well as a slight caramel scent. The smells are there, but they're not powerful but rather quite tame yet pleasant!

Taste - Dark Chocolate and Burnt Malt are surprisingly rich and flavorful. The slight coffee flavor I expect from darker beers are absent here, but in it's place is a slight caramel and licorice flavor.

Mouthfeel - Body is pretty light for a Dark Ale, and the carbonation is moderate while adds more to the flavor. It's a pretty smooth beer overall!

Overall - It's a slightly different Dark Ale in terms of flavor, but it tastes great and it's pretty easy to drink! It's good to see New Belgium has put alot of time and effort into creating what is truly an outstanding beer!

 961 characters

Photo of dcscientist
4.42/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

This is probably my favorite New Belgium beer. It's a very unusual style for an American craft brew, and you should make sure to try it. Goes great in the wintertime, but is available year-round. Dark, but not bitter. Flavorful, but not high alcohol. You probably haven't had anything like it in these parts.

 313 characters

Photo of deereless
4.42/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: A little lighter than the color of a black raisin, the head hangs around on this beer, some lacing on the edges - 4.00, S: Lots of roasted and slightly charred grain aromas, some caramel and espresso, a little yeasty, a very enticing smell - 4.50, T: The aftertaste of this beer is heavy on the toasted grains, some chocolate pudding, mild date flavors, faint signs of Belgian yeast - 4.25, M: 4.00, D: A very drinkable and enjoyable beer, not a style with which I am overly familiar but one I would seek out - 4.50

 518 characters

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.