1554 Black Lager | New Belgium Brewing

very good
1,373 Reviews
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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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Reviews: 1,373 | Ratings: 4,037
Photo of Pnotuner
4.87/5  rDev +26.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

What I have been searching for. I started with IPAs but they were to hoppy for me. I kept going darker and darker until I found the Porters and Black Lagers. This is just a little smoother than Founders or Brewhouse. I just bought a single so I have to go back for a six pack. I only drink one occasionally as a treat.

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Photo of Squire123
4.06/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Dark mahogany brown with gold highlights around the edges. Good tan cap and decent lacing.

Herbal, spicy, slightly coffeeish, toffeeish aroma with something like dark figs in the background. Not really catching any hops but these heavy flavors usually cover that up anyway.

Taste on entry is dark toffee quickly followed by the herbal element. Don't know exactly what that element is, perhaps a lager yeast at warmer temperature fermentation has created that but it's in there and it taste good. Mid palate I'm getting more of the plummy, ripe fig influence which is just adding layers to the first impression flavors. Spicy, clove like threads weave in by the finish and linger in the aftertaste along with a touch of coffee but no roast bitterness.

Full texture with balancing carbonation.

Sometimes a dark brew based on roasted malt can throw off some bitterness along with the rich flavors. Not here, the elements I'm describing work together nicely. I don't quite know what kind of animal this is, an ale influenced lager or a lagered ale, but the jammy, figgy, roasty, toasty, clove stuff shout Belgian while it drinks like a strong lager and a good one at that. Complex yet restrained, flavorful yet sophisticated, a whole lotta shakin going on.

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
3.59/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Victoire in Rochester, NY.

This one pours a dark brown (not black), with a small white head, and a good amount of lacing.

Smells like dark fruit, dark breadiness, chocolate, caramel, and prune.

This kind of feels like a Belgian scotch ale or something, maybe. It's quite surprisingly fruity, and low on roasted malt character, unfortunately, with a strong fruity yeast character, and light chocolate and caramel. This isn't exactly what I expected it to be.

This is light bodied, with a normal level of carbonation for the style.

This is interesting, and certainly drinkable, but I'd definitely wish for a bit more crispness.

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

A rich, dark almost black appearance with some reddish hues. Head was a thin, frothy beige color. It smelled like roasted malt, chocolate, bread, and caramel. The taste was similar to the aroma. It had notes of sweetness, but the finish and aftertaste were bitter--reminded me of a fine dark chocolate. The mouth feel was creamy and pleasant, not too heavy or light. It has been a number of years since I've tried this brew, but I remember liking it then and I still do now.

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Photo of bbtkd
4.09/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

New Belgium 1554, 5.6% ABV, 21 IBU. Pours medium viscosity and light black, with a one finger off-white head that left decent lacing. Nose is malty, bready, slightly nutty, taste follows, with very little bitterness. Excellent mouthfeel, overall excellent.

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Photo of citizencane
3.88/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours translucent red-black with decent head and leaves abundant lacing. Smell is faint or roasted malts and dark chocolateZ. Taste is same, with a marked toastyness. Feel is thick and slightly creamy, but definite carbonation. Overall, not bad. Have had a few times.

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Photo of atr2605
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A-pours a coca cola color with an off white head with average retention
S-lots of roasted coffee, nutty, biscuit
T-more roasted coffee, nutty, unsweetened cocoa, biscuit
M-medium bodied with average carbonation
O-pretty dark dark lager, definitely would have again

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Photo of xDrVillarreal
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Like a Dark Chocolate Champagne. Love the robust caramel smell. One of the best room-temp beers you'll ever have. If my word means anything of course. Drank out of the bottle, but probably would have enjoyed in a glass , cold.

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Photo of andrewh995
3.78/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tons of carbonation, beautiful roasted malt flavors, as well as some dark chocolate, esters, and slight hop bitterness. Wasn't expecting much but it was definitely a treat.

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Photo of vainosuomi
3.16/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Look: Deep, very dark brown, minimal tan head
Smell: Caramel, licorice, light toasted malt
Taste: Sweet toasted malts, hints of chocolate and dark fruit.
Feel: moderate carbonation, light to medium body, fairly dry finish

Overall a relatively light and easy drinking dark malt lager. Unobtrusive and not particularly noteworthy, but not bad.

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Photo of ordybill
4.6/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. The appearance is a dark brown to almost black with a medium sized tan head. The aroma has a great malt smell. The flavor is malt, with some coffee, chocolate and bread. This is an outstanding beer.

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Photo of 88caprice
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Overall: Wonderful. A little heavier than some lagers, but still light. Not as charred as most schwartz biers. More complex than most english brown ales. Yum.

A rich dark brown with some red highlights. Thin, creamy head til the end.
Smells sweet and malty with a hint of dried cherries or maybe almonds. A cola-like spiciness.
Such a taste mash-up of sweet dark-roasted malts, dried fruits, and a light chocolate/coffee presence.
A heavier lager body, but still lager like. A little heavier than a German Schwartz, but not enough to be mistaken as a member of the ale family.

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Photo of GuyFawkes
4.17/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

"Best by 11/9/14"; drank 9/17/14 @ the Yarchives.

Poured from the bottle into a glass.

Brown/purple hue.

Tan head; thick lace.

Plum, mocha & fresh earth nose.

Medium thin mouthfeel.

Mild chocolate & plum flavors. A dry but not overly bitter finish. As this warms, fresh earth notes emerge.

Not super flavorful but enjoyable as a session brew.

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Photo of lwcreasy
3.81/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Half an inch of a light tan head capping a deep red-brown body. Head is simmering down to a nice film with some gargling, rocky bubbles. Garnet highlights are attractive.

Subtle, but complex malt on the nose. Chocolate, nuts, cola. Not too intense, but very amiable. Light dark fruit is nice when you find it; light floral hop notes add a delicate balance. Chocolate rising with the temp. Tootsie roll and more dark fruit. Very good smelling brew that rewards the active nose.

First to the palate is the impression of cola and nutty malt. This glides into a nice and dry, chocolate finish. This finish is very chocolatey, and very nice. Aftertaste is slightly tart, with perhaps some dried fruit qualities (raisin is what I get the most). A nice and low hop bitterness swells a bit in the finish. The slight roastiness and bitterness that this beer takes on leaves a little to be desired, but that baker's choc. finish never disappoints.

Medium body and drinkable. Relatively dry finish is nice on the tongue, and lets the aforementioned cocoa impression (let me hammer this home) really shine. The highlight, for sure.

One of my favorite beers from New Belgium. If the aftertaste from this beer was a little more spectacular, I'd be in the streets raving.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
3.4/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Has a dark colored look without going thick or stout like in appearance. Aroma didn't give off roast or much else.

Taste was black and tan like, but again without the stout body. Nutty, roasty, chocolate and coffee feels from the malt. Mouthfeel though is a light body still. Some aspects of similar styles in here. Its not bad stuff.

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Photo of FriedSlug
3.95/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A clear very dark brown beer that lets a little light through. A foamy, light tan head that leaves a sheet of lacing. Aroma is sweet malt with a hint of chocolate and bitter hops. The taste is malty sweet with cocoa powder and a mild bitter finish. This is a very Porter like beer and quite tasty.

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Photo of JoLight
3.85/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Dark, dark brown in color with a khaki and frothy head that leaves nice lacing.

Aroma: on the mild side; roasted malt; sweetness; cream; a little char; yeast.

Flavor: light; roasted malt; a little earthy/metallic hop bitterness at the end; some light tang; a super light, overlookable dark chocolate note at the end, as the beer warms.

Mouthfeel: light side of medium, carbonated.

Finish: dry, crisp.

I think it's a solid beer, but it's way overpriced.

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Photo of Fear4Beer
3.87/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Let me first get this out of the way and say that this 1554 Black lager is the same as this beer:

Here's an interesting article talking about why they changed the name: (mainly because in Texas you need to classify a beer as either an ale or malt liqueur if your beer is above 5% ABV. The beer law was changed a few years ago in Texas negating that strange designation). They named it "1554 Enlightened Black Ale" so that they could sell it legally in Texas.

The beer is malty, with tastes of chocolate, toffee, and rustic italian bread. The mouthfeel is a bit watery. That's what disappoints me a little is that the beer just needs a LITTLE bit more thickness to it and it would be phenomenal. Its a pleasant beer though and I'd certainly drink this over any crap Macro brewery beer. I think a lot of people who are used to junk BMC beers could transition to this easily. Its just an easy/drinkable beer.

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Photo of DrMullet
3.52/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very dark ruby brown.
The smell is sweet toffee with some roasted malts.
Taste is toasted malts and chocolate. Not too sweet.

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Photo of matcris
3.96/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

APPEARANCE: Black, a little ruby up to the light. Finger + of tan foamy head that lingers and leaves some pretty nice lacing down the glass. Good looking carbonation when rocking the glass.
AROMA: Minor roasted malts, a little chocolate, a little earthy.
TASTE: Just like the aroma.
FEEL: Average carbonation, a little on the watery side, dryer on the finish.
OVERALL: Chuggable, for sure. Very easy drinking, and no off putting flavors. Pretty nice brew,

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Photo of Guppy314
3.92/5  rDev +2.1%
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.

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Photo of dchoover1987
4.46/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

I love this beer. The head isn't always the same. Some times it looks almost "nitro infused", sometimes it's a here and gone. It has a heavy, dry dark chocolate/caramel taste that ends in a roasted dark coffee flavor, but is a little more "punchy" than other stouts I've had (yes, I know this is a "black lager", but it screams "stout"). Very light hops hints...not heavy or overpowering. I love Stouts and dark beers, so this is a favorite of mine. If they ever made a nitro infused batch....I'd lose my mind. Ah, dreams.

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

Nearly 100% opaque black but visibly dark brown under light.

Smooth mouth feel during and after. Light and inviting for another sip or possibly food of any sort. Creamy-ish aftertaste.

A very slight bitterness on initial sip but immediately sweet and malty. Rich crisp taste. Flavors of coffee perhaps. Balanced flavors. Flavors. Can't describe it well but complimentary.

Enjoyable. Light, enough to drink several. And believe me, this is one that I really want another.

I enjoy lagers and dark beers. And this is a great marriage of them for me.

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Photo of superspak
3.9/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle into lager glass, best before 4/3/2016. Pours crystal clear dark reddish brown color with a 2 finger dense and rocky light khaki head with great retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lasts. Nice dense soapy lacing clings down the glass, with a moderate amount of streaming carbonation retaining the head. Fantastic appearance. Aromas of caramel, brown sugar, chocolate, brown bread, toasted biscuit, nuttiness, light cocoa/coffee, and herbal/toasted earthiness. Very nice aromas with good balance and complexity of dark/roast/bready malt and light earthy hop notes; with good strength. Taste of caramel, brown sugar, chocolate, brown bread, toasted biscuit, nuttiness, light cocoa/coffee, and herbal/toasted earthiness. Light herbal/roasted bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of caramel, brown sugar, chocolate, brown bread, toasted biscuit, nuttiness, light cocoa/coffee, and herbal/toasted earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Very nice complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/roast/bready malt and light earthy hop flavors; with a great roasted bitter/sweet balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Light dryness from roasted character as well. Very clean on lager flavors with minimal yeast ester notes present. Medium carbonation and body; with a very smooth, moderately creamy/bready, and slightly chalky mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with zero warming present after the finish. Overall this is a very nice dark lager. All around good complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/roast/bready malt and light earthy hop flavors; and very smooth and easy to drink. This tastes like a cross between schwarzbier and dunkel lager styles. A very enjoyable offering.

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Photo of OldSwampy
4.14/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Not completely black, but very dark brown, with a tan/khaki head. Head was rather firm. A big bready, and almost meaty or mushroomy, smell dominates the nose. Different. Some cola perhaps, as well, and only a hint of hops. Taste was sweeter than I anticipated, but not unpleasant. Hops more obvious later in the taste than the nose suggested. Taste could be more complex but what's prominent is an inviting dark maltiness introduced by a sharpness that is not entirely hop-driven. A clean and almost sharp mouthfeel together with some creaminess that fades gradually. I'm a fan.

Poured from brown bottle into a glass, label dated "ENJOY BY... 24 JULY 16"

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1554 Black Lager from New Belgium Brewing
3.84 out of 5 based on 4,037 ratings.
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