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

For Trade:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 4,064 |  Reviews: 1,380
Photo of russpowell
4.35/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured with a rocky tan head (retention could've been better) with varying sized bubbles. Body was more mahogany than black, when expsed to adequate light, other wise light black...Great clarity

Nose: Fruit, breadiness, leather, nuts & spices (pepper)

Tastes of Sour mash maltiness, licorice, coffee, hops lingering at the edge with plenty of fruitcake-like goodness/malt

Mouthfeel: Carbination & maltiness slightly out of balance.

Drinkability: Just a little too complex to enjoy more than a few a session.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.75/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. single picked up at Riverside Wine and Spirits in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Best Before: 01MAY09.

Appearance: Pours out a clear, dark chestnut brown body with a smallish, off-white head.

Smell: Sweetish, fruity nose with light notes of caramel, roasted malt, and coffee. A pleasant chocolate scent grows and swarms the nose upon warming.

Taste: Light tastes of roast, caramel, coffee, and even semisweet chocolate with a moderate amount of malty sweetness. Plenty of fig and Bing cherry fruit character. Dash of cola. Very minor hop character and bitterness. Hint of yeast. Lingering tastes of chocolate and roast on the drying finish.

Mouthfeel: Makes me think of blend of a dark Belgian ale with a schwarzbier. Pleasant and highly drinkable with a reasonable ABV%.

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Photo of mdaschaf
3.78/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a dark reddish/brown, reminds me of cola in appearance. Has a chunky one finger head. There is a release of a lot of bubbles in the center, forming a little patch in middle of the top.

S: A lot of roasted malts and barley. Also some dark chocolate on the back.

T: Tasted a dark fruit up front, especially dark cherries followed up by the dark chocolate and a little coffee. Finishes rather dry.

M/D: It is thicker than expected and very creamy. A pretty tasty brew that I would drink again, probably 1-2 max per night though.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.85/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Two parts dark brown to one part dark red. This beer looks almost identical to a brown ale that I just had; certainly no darker. The lid is light brown and softly sticky. Glass coverage is adequate. A few small splotches of lace appear, no more than that. The aroma (which could stand to be stronger) is of roasted malt with spicy and earthy accents.

1554 Enlightened Black Ale tastes like a brown ale with some Belgian character. I've never had a black ale, so I'm not sure if this is what the brewers were shooting for or not. The flavor profile includes caramel malt with a small amount of roastiness and a little coffee. The beer is sweet and fruity early, becoming drier on the finish.

A subtle spiciness is evident as well and is most likely due to Belgian yeast esters. Flavor wasn't overly impressive in the top half of the bottle, but I'm enjoying it quite a bit in the bottom half. The body is medium in heft, decently creamy and slightly overbubbled.

Thanks to New Belgium for brewing something different. I haven't seen too many black ales. 1554 is pretty good beer, all things considered.

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Photo of duceswild
3.5/5  rDev -9.1%

Photo of Jason
3.75/5  rDev -2.6%

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

Photo of woodychandler
4.27/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

My pour created a thick, mocha-brown head that would make any self-respecting root beer float envious and it had good retention for its two fingers. Nose was very cocoa-chocolaty. Color was deep-brown with ruby highlights. Mouthfeel was medium with a taste like a chocolate milkshake. Finish was dry and chocolaty, like a malted milk ball. Chocolate lovers, rejoice!

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.1/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Grabbed this one at Mellow Mushroom with lunch. Really the only thing on the menu I felt like having, but oh well. 22oz bottle was served to me with a pint glass, consumed on 12/23/2009.
The pour was decent enough, rich looking dark brown with a small amount of light peaking in on the sides and the bottom of the glass. Nice head of tan came up to about an inch before dropping off the side of the glass and coating the sides for a good little bit. Aroma is nice roasted malts with a touch of light dark fruit notes at first. Very rich as well with a big malt bill. First sip goes down nice and smooth, rich dark malts again are dominant here with a light bit of chocolate coating the tongue at first. Following it is a light dryness and a bi of a hop kick that gives it just that slight bit of bitterness in the finish. Final taste is of toasted malts and dry hints of chocolate that last on the tongue long into the final sip.
Overall it was very solid from beginning to end. Nothing really bad I can say about this one. It really seemed to hold its own quite nicely. I would have no issue with trying the one again.

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Photo of ZEB89
3.5/5  rDev -9.1%

Photo of Slatetank
4.38/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - an enchanting black with a 2.5 finger head of compact bubbles that produces a light tan head of microfoam. A decent amount of thin lace remains.

S - Bready, nutty and toasty with a gentle biscuit aroma and a compliment of spice.

M - Nutty Roasted and moderately carbonated with a clean finish and refreshing deep roasted coffee after taste.

T - Sweet at first, almost immediately replacing the chocolate malt taste with toasted and refined biscuity flavors. A gentle berry and coffee taste emerges as it warms with a mellow caramelized sugar flavor. Cardamom and clove flavors round out the spice element of this tasty brew.

D - A great dark ale with none of the cloying heavy trappings. This is a quaffable, sessionable brew along the lines of a schwarzbier, but with Belgian character. An ale that is easy to drink and worth having as a compliment to sushi grade tuna, shellfish or by itself.

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Photo of mdfb79
3.7/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From 04/29/11 notes. Had on tap at the Map Room in Chicago.

a - Pours a dark brown color with an inch of light tan head and moderate carbonation evident.

s - Smells of chocolate, roasted malts, and bready malts.

t - Tastes of roasted malts, chocolate, toasted malts, and bready malts.

m - Medium body and moderate carbonation. Smooth body.

o - Overall I thought this was a pretty good beer, heavy on the roasted malts. Some nice chocolate too, a beer I would have again.

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Photo of womencantsail
4.2/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The beer pours a very dark brown color with some reddish highlights and a khaki head.

S: A nice balance of roasted malts and sweet, caramel ones. There is a nice creamy caramel note all the way through. A nuttiness, almost like peanut butter, is also present. Just a little earthy hops.

T: Slightly fruity, but otherwise, same story as the nose. Nice light roast, toast, and caramel balance to this one. A mild nuttiness, a hint of yeast, and some perfectly sweet toffee.

M: Medium bodied with a smooth carbonation.

O: One of New Belgium's better beers, actually. Really solid stuff.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.62/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a chalice.

Appearance - Deep brown body with little to no head or lacing.

Smell - Roasty malts and a coffee-like aroma. Some chocolatey smells too. Smells nice.

Taste - Like a very weak stout. Roasted malt character at first. Develops a slight chocolate coffee flavor, but it fades quickly. The finish has a nuttiness to it and just a hint of hops.

Mouthfeel - The finish is off. I don't know what it is, but that final flavor is odd. Very light and super easy to drink, though.

Overall - Nice flavors, except for that finish. Just not a lot going on to distinguish itself.

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Photo of orangesol
3.75/5  rDev -2.6%

Photo of MarkyMOD
3.5/5  rDev -9.1%

Photo of atlbravsrno1
3.25/5  rDev -15.6%

Photo of TMoney2591
3.88/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a Gale Sayers shaker pint glass.

I figured this was worth a return visit after a few years. It pours a clear garnet-brown topped by a finger of ecru foam. The nose comprises figs, brown sugar, nutmeg, Belgian yeast, and rye bread. The taste brings more of the same, along with an underlying flavor of cocoa. The body is a light-ish medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a slightly grainy feel. Overall, a nice little Belgian Dark, a decent inexpensive alternative to more impressive and involved Belgians.

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Photo of thatoneguymike
3.75/5  rDev -2.6%

Photo of johnnnniee
4.12/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Received in a trade with sfromdawes, thanks for the opportunity.

Pours a dark brown, with ruby highlights. Two finger off white head dissipates quickly, but laces all the way down. Aroma hits with chocolate, coffee, some dried fruit and a little barnyard funk in the background. Taste is creamy chocolate, some fruit and some caramel. Full body, creamy mouthfeel, just enough carbonation the tease the tongue. Great tasting brew, not sure I'd call it a Belgian Dark, but tasty just the same.

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

Pours a dark ruby brown with a thick creamy off white head that retains well and laces the glass. The aroma is nutty, lactic roasted chocolate.Taste is favorably mild with a great dryish mixture of black malts and chocolate with just a hint of dried floral spices and yeast. Just barely sweet within and has a bit of roastyness.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
3.58/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On draft at Buffalo Wild Wings.

The beer is dark brown, approaching black, with a quarter inch of beige head. The aroma brings some Belgian style malts, chocolate, a touch of grain. The flavor brings some sweet milk chocolates and some bready malts. Not the most refined flavor, but easy enough to throw back a pint of this. Light to medium in body and fairly creamy on the palate. I drank a lot of this beer in college, so it was nostalgic to return to it after a long hiatus.

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Photo of BMart
3/5  rDev -22.1%

Photo of InspectorBob
3.75/5  rDev -2.6%

Photo of stakem
3.83/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Pete and Mike for the chance to try this one. Poured from a brown bottle (with a best by date of April) into a pub glass. This brew appears a dark brown color with a finger and a half of tanned frothy head. As the head slowly recedes it leaves a wall of lace upon the glassware. When held to the light, this brew display some deep ruby clarity.

The aroma of this offering is dark and sweet a bit like toffee. It has a light citrus hop influence before returning to the dark maltiness that is lightly roasty and very much candy-like to the nose. As it warms, it picks up some more dark fruit-like character.

The taste of this brew has a combination of dark fruity flavoring and candy sweetness upfront. It blends into a dark maltiness that is countered by a slight hopped bitterness that is earthy mid palate. It lingers in the mouth with a musty grain flavor complimented by alcohol esters. This is a perplexing combination of toffee, fruit, must and earthy components.

This is a medium bodied brew with a moderate amount of carbonation. Overall it is well balanced and quite drinkable. For less than 6% abv this brew has a slight warming effect to it which is unexpected and welcomed. Overall this was an enjoyable experience however the lingering mustiness of this brew did not pair well with the other flavorings that were included. Still worth giving a try if you get a chance.

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