1554 Black Lager | New Belgium Brewing

very good
4,064 Ratings
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1554 Black Lager1554 Black Lager

Brewed by:
New Belgium Brewing
Colorado, United States

Style: Euro Dark Lager

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.60%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 01-02-2002

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Ratings: 4,064 |  Reviews: 1,380
Photo of bluemoonswoon
3.92/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Heard lots of good things about this beer and finally went out and got me a six pack of my own...ahh, the power of suggestion

12oz bottle poured into a tulip glass

Pours a clear, very dark brown with cooked cherry highlights and topped with a two finger thick, sandy brown head. There is a slight crown of lacing that sticks to the top of the glass but is spotty otherwise.

Smooth and sweet toasted malt aromas greet the nose. Not sugary sweet, not husky or grainy. Toffee, light nuttiness, and sweet roasted malts.

Very toasty, little bit nutty with a slight fruit sugar (sucrose? that's the sugars made by fruits right, its not a fruit flavored sugar here, its more of a slight sweetness that comes from bitting into a ripe fruit, now what kind of fruit that is is hard to say. i mean it's easy to say what it's not. it's not grapefruit, orange, mango, guava, pineapple, or all those other fruits associated with hoppier beers. the fruitiness here is that found in Belgian beers, funny right? cos this is a belgian style ale, but I digress...fruitiness is like that found in St. Bernardus, a darker, herbal fruitness, like a date that you might find at the bottom of the bag of trail mix, that date taking on the flavors of all the almonds, cashews, and peanuts ) so yeah that's what that fruitiness is like in this beer. Mouthfeel is a bit thin but the creaminess displayed here is the saving grace for the beer. A very drinkable beer, has a lot to give and asks little. Would probably be a great beer to convert someone who is a little apprehensive about dark beers and is not ready to dive into a full on porter or stout.

 1,631 characters

Photo of avampiremoose
3.92/5  rDev +1.8%

Photo of LacquerHead
3.92/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It poured a very dark brown color with a bubbly head that dissipated to a medium lacing.
The smell reminded me of spent coffee grounds. The taste was similar to the aroma but on the thin side. It had an earthy coffee quality mixed with a slight pale aftertaste. Overall, I think the taste did not live up to its aroma. It was good and I'll probably still drink this at bars as an alternative to the other overly mainstream beers.

 429 characters

Photo of Guppy314
3.92/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a clear mahogany brown. Aroma has a brown sugar quality but it didn't end up tasting sweet. It's quite malt forward with tastes of chocolate and perhaps a bit of root beer. It has a full mouth feel. I might have guessed this was a Porter except that it is light in alcohol and lacks a certain heft.

 308 characters

Photo of ParnellJoseph1138
3.92/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of smokeypeat
3.92/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Finally got to try some New Belgiums while on vacation. Really enjoyed the 1554. Poured from a bottle into a pint glass. Appearance is very very dark brown, practically black except when backlit. Nice aroma, more nutty in both smell and taste than I was expecting. Malt dominant with some nice chocolate and coffee undertones. The nuttiness is present throughout and adds alot. Really enjoyed the alcohol level as I was able to session a few during the evening with no effect. Good mouthfeel helped it go down smooth. Wish I could get this on a regular basis.

 559 characters

Photo of ItsBeer4Me
3.92/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of JMad
3.92/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From a bottle to a pint glass...
Looks black with a red hue, thin off white head with good lacing.
Smells mostly of toffee and roasted grains.
Tastes like caramel malt, toasted biscuits, and is slightly bitter.
Feels very soft and bubbly.
Big flavor and goes down easy.

 269 characters

Photo of Hopswagger
3.92/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

P: Dark cola appearance with thin micro bubble khaki head. Minimal lacing and slowly active carbonation.

S: Coffee, milk chocolate, cocoa powder, fresh baked biscuits, gentle spices and roasted caramel surrounded by an musty earthy base.

T/M: Rich milk chocolate, bittersweet dark chocolate, French roast coffee, sugared dates and an overall rich malty palate. Medium body with soda carbonation. Finishes dry with bitter dark chocolate and a timid chalky aftermath.

O: I like this for a go to beer when you want an enhanced flavored sessional beer. Nice malt blend with an appropriate amount of bitter dryness to round out the sweetness. I will purchase this again for sure. Cheers!

 688 characters

Photo of depechemode1983
3.92/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours out a very dark maple brown color. The head of the beer is somewhat thin, about 1 finger although it has decent retention.

S - Nose is mostly malty but with citrus undertones. I'm getting a good amount of sweet roasted coffee, maple syrup, dark fruits, chocolate and Belgium spice. Fantastic.

T - Again very malt forward with lots of coffee flavors. Through the middle you get burnt caramel, candy sugar, raisins and dark chocolate. Finish is a tad bitter.

M - Excellent mouth feel. Creamy, very silk like. Washes over the palate nicely.

O - Ive had this one before a long time ago. I don't remember it being this good. Maybe they changed the recipe. This might be one of my go to beers from now on. Really enjoyed this.

 734 characters

Photo of Zraly
3.92/5  rDev +1.8%
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 Dragginballs76
3.92/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours black with caramel colored head fairly thick sticks around about 2 minutes decent lacing.
Smell roasted coffee slight caramel notes little chocolate malt.
Taste slightly smoked flavor chocolate flavors a little coffee taste.
Fairly light smooth dry beer good carbonation.
Overall a very good beer with good flavors i would have this again.

 345 characters

Photo of Phocion
3.92/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It's probably been eight years since I've had this beer, but here goes. 12 oz. can with an EB date of 22 Feb, 2015 left over from a Folly Pack my girlfriend's dad brought over a couple weeks ago. Because this review would be useless without a back-story of how it came into my possession, naturally. Poured into a footed pilsner glass an estremely dark mahogony color with a rocky beige head of about two fingers. Big, sticky lacing. and moderate retention.

Aroma is very porterish. Big, roasty malts with bitter chocolate and coffee. A little bit of toffee and lightly spicy phenols. Nutty and a bit earthy/herbal. Much more complex than I remember in my ~2007 palate.

Flavor follows the nose. A little more dark fruit and a little less bitterness. Roasted chocolate and caramel. Slightly spicy with a dry, herbal finish. Fairly well balanced and no astringency.

Medium bodied and moderate carbonation. Clean, dry mouthfeel.

Overall this is much better than I remember from years ago. Quite complex if not mind-blowing. Interesting hybrid style. Hopefully I won't go as long before drinking my next one.

 1,109 characters

Photo of jennben11
3.92/5  rDev +1.8%

Photo of RJLarse
3.92/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I picked up a six-pack of 1554 Enlightened. Black Ale at a grocery store to taste, review and enjoy. I poured this beer in to a snifter

Pours a black walnut color and is nearly opaque. A one-finger tan head forms, and dissipates quickly to a ring around the side of the glass. The head produces a moderate lacing.

The smell is earthy and sweet. There are roasted grain aromas, and a coffee fragrance.

The taste is of chocolate, coffee and dark sugars, molasses, brown sugar and roasted nuts. There is very little hop presence.

The mouth feel is full-bodied, a bit cloying and dry.

This is a drinkable beer. I think it is better suited for late fall and winter, so I’ll probably cellar three bottles until then. This beer is very much in the style of a porter or a winter warmer.

 799 characters

Photo of willic
3.92/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

This is actually a really good beer! Malty, rich, dark... Very light for a dark lager. I'll do this beer over and over. New Belgium did a great job! A+

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Photo of arizcards
3.92/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This dark red-brown ale poured a head that dissapated pretty quickly. Amongst the malt I detect a fruity undertone, pretty interesting for a dark beer. Upon first taste one gets hit with a heavy dose of roasted malts balanced in with a sweet hint of spice and a dry finish. This would fit right in with all the other holiday brews. Not an overally heavy mouthfeel, kind of thin, this beer offers a little bit different twist to the old palate, a nice little brew.

 463 characters

Photo of srbutler3
3.92/5  rDev +1.8%

Photo of Rayek
3.92/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Deep mahogany color has good clarity. Off-white head starts rocky, but fades fairly quickly. Leaves a complex lace down the glass.

S: Cocoa, cherries, oak and smoke. Very interesting. A little like a good English Porter.

T: More cocoa. Oak and smoky aromas become part of the beer's taste. Bitterness has a clove like spiciness. Slight bread quality. Finishes very dry and with lingering oak flavor.

M: Medium body is dry and a little grainy. Carbonation is just about perfect, if a touch high.

D: A good beer to be enjoyed by itself. Very complex. Might pair well with well cooked meats.

 595 characters

Photo of everetends
3.92/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bottle I picked up at Hop City in ATL during the New Belgium roll out. I have had my share of Fat Tire out west but I haven't really sampled any other NB brews, so I had to pick this one up. Served up in my St. Bernardus Chalice.

A: Pours a seemingly black body. Held to the old bulb, you see that is in fact a very dark brown. Said brown is a very dark body resting on top of a lighter brown base at the bottom of the chalice. Nice look here. Had about half a finger of head off the pour . . . actually a pretty vigorous pour. The head that was built went away with some hast. Barely a ring is left in my glass, and there is no lace on the glass. Its ok, but nothing mind blowing and it leaves me needing more.

S: Smell is a bit on the light side but pleasant all the same. Got a nice base of yeast and grains coming out first. Nice and lightly sweet malt aroma. Then there is a touch of fruit that is barely there, maybe some plum? The aroma that I left with is mostly some nice and light cocoa lingering. Yet again, not blowing any minds but enjoyable.

T: I was not expecting this to taste like it does, but it is a pleasant suprise in this glass. Getting first and foremost a really nice cocoa presence. Its not crazy sweet, but its not too overly dark or bitter. Just right in the middle. Then you get that some of that Belgian yeasty quality with a nice earthiness. Malt is a light caramel and there is possibly a light coffee flavor coming out. Not getting any fruit in the flavor but its not needed, but there is a nice roasty/toasty flavor. The flavors are nice as is.

M: Medium in body with a touch of (good) wateriness to it. The thinness keeps this beer from being too heavy on the palate, or keeping the sweeter flavors from being too creamy on the palate. Carbonation is medium but kept in check. ABV is not even a factor and blends wonderfully. Aftertaste is some of that malt and some lingering cocoa goodness.

D: I am super suprised by this beer even though I didn't know what to expect. It works very nicely. Its light on the palate and the tummy and makes it so you can keep pulling from that glass. It just plain works. This bomber will not be an issue whatsoever and I should have picked up multiple bottles. This is decent one for keeping in the house if you want an easy drinker with some flavor but its not going to break the bank. Good stuff.

 2,381 characters

Photo of Rebisi
3.92/5  rDev +1.8%

Photo of bobsy
3.92/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Found a bottle in the exhibitor's free beer tent at Mondial de la Biere.

Pours a deep oak with ruby highlights and a tan head that left a few touches of lace on the glass. The aroma has an interesting mix of sweet malt, Belgian spicy yeast, roasted malt and earth. Quite unique. 1554 is a malty little beer and tastes very much like an English brown ale with a dose of Belgian yeast. Decent bready malts, some caramel, coffee and nuts, raisins and a sweet spicy finish. Good for what it is, but not really to my liking. Medium-light body with a medium carbonation.

Okay, but not really my cup of tea (or glass of beer). Still very decent for a beer style that often struggles to impress.

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Photo of daledeee
3.92/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is by far the best Fat Tire offering I have had

This beer pours very dark with a small head but the edge and a little head stayed around.

Nose is smoky and roasted with some coffee.

Taste is very much like a porter to me. Very nice dark roasted malt with smokiness and some coffee. Has a nice alcohol level and very easy to drink. Recommended.

 351 characters

Photo of techtatu
3.92/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

It poured a nice amber color with a cream colored head. I kinda expected it to be as dark as Guinness or darker. Taste was unique, it had a blend of spices with a walnut and coffee background.

I would definitely drink it again, and I may try it over a cigar this time around rather than a steak. In addition, this would be a good starter beer for those who are looking to try darker beers.

 391 characters

Photo of Overworkedta
3.92/5  rDev +1.8%

1554 Black Lager from New Belgium Brewing
3.85 out of 5 based on 4,064 ratings.
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