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1554 Enlightened Black Ale | New Belgium Brewing

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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:
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Reviews: 1,253 | Ratings: 3,204
Photo of WVbeergeek
4.13/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Deep dark ruby brown, black ale indeed forms quite nicely with a big creamy bubbly tan head leaves behind thick broad scattered patches of lacing. Aroma: Full aromatic robust notes of chocolate and dough very nice with the bread notes coming from the yeast addition to the bottle, fruit notes also are detectable beneath the lucious layers of chocolate very enjoyable. This was the first New Belgium brew I ever had earlier on in my advocacy and it's still just as impressive. Taste: Creamy milk chocolate waves with lucious yeast ripples very nice overall flavor goes very smooth hints of coffee mainly dark chocolate notes touch of fruitiness, highly enjoyable. Mouthfeel: Medium bodied creamy textured good stuff even soft carbonation very Belgian like. Drinkability: Incredible all around dark ale I like the history behind this brew and I wish I were able to more readily enjoy this as a go to, thanks to Marc77 for the sample.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.67/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a dark colored beer with a medium head with good retention. Aroma is comprised mostly of roasted malts with some subtle spice mix. Taste is quite different from what I expected and I would described as a mix between a dry stout and a Belgian ale. Roastiness is prevalent but you can still see the Belgian inspiration in this beer. Body is above average. Overall, this is a fine drink and I applaud the fact that the brewer tried to brew something different.

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Photo of TastyTaste
4.25/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Written From Notes Compiled 6/04-8/04:
2" of creamy tan head, lots of sticky lace that caps a nearly black body. Chocolatey nose, slight hops. Taste is nearly porter/stout. Very chocolatey flavor, a very good beer. The hops finish is a perfect compliment to the carbonation levels.

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Photo of HardTarget
3.87/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle: Best by date (Feb 05) suggested serving temperature and abv listed.
Aroma: Roasted malts, mostly a chocolate malt with a hint of alcohol.
Appearance: Black body, ruby edges, tan head collapsed into a very modest collar with mild carbonation streams.
Flavor: Easy going taste, some hops and citric acid flavors come through. The roasted malt is rather subdued and an overall balance shows in the beer. A sweet burnt sugar advance quickly brought back by a mild hop slap. A very mild spicy note is deep in there as well, but I can’t pull out which spice, maybe a dash of coriander because I get a slight cola taste. A woody note as well, and a little sour twist. A complex beer.
Mouthfeel: Light body, a bit thin, with a minor oily coat. Some numbing of the lips.
Overall Impression: A mild black beer, true to the Schwarzbier style. A nice summer change of pace that lends some of the darker aspects to a lighter beer. Quite drinkable. The beer grew on me as I got deeper in the glass. First blush was a bit underwhelming, but the complexity began to win me over. I’m glad I got the 6 pack!

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

This is a really impressive beer. It is just so easy to drink and six packs of it simply disappear from my refridgerator.

It pours a dark brown/auburn color with a nice thin head on top. Smell has notes of caramel, dark malts, and coffee.

The beer definately has a buttery, caramel flavor. Toffee maybe. It sits on the tongue just long enough to make sure you taste the whole flavor, then leaves so as to not weigh you down.

This 'low weight' allows you to drink it a little faster and not feel overfull.

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Photo of BrewMaster
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours with a caramel and brownish head. Velvet bubbles sit well on the top of the head with smaller bubbles sitting delicately on top of larger bubbles. The aroma is sweet with notes of caramel and flowers. Taste is of a dark roasted malt like a stout with the balance of a porter. Chestnut flavors hidden in there too. It's not overpowering and it leaves you hanging at the end.

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Photo of Rio
4.23/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a beautiful, rich brown color, nearly black, from a 12 oz. brown bottle with freshness dating. Decent head, faded rather quickly to a ring around the edge. Roasted nutty aroma rises to the nose, with smells of maybe chocolate and caramel around the edges.

Very nice roasted flavor starts this beer off, roasted malts that fade a bit into a dark/bakers chocolate type flavor, coming back to the roasted malt and smokey flavor towards the end. Not quite chewy in the mouth, but a bit thicker feel to it. Nice carbonation.

A very, very good beer. One of my all time favorites.

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Photo of bigbeerdrinka
4.15/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark brown, with light ruby hues. Firm bubbly offwhite head about an inch and a half high. Nice lace

Smell: Sweet notes of chocolate and caramel. Also a little nutty aroma and some carob.

Taste: This beer starts initially with a nice roasted malt flavor, followed by some bittersweet chocolate and a little carob. A little smoke flavor is noticeable afterwards following with a light hop bitterness and yet more roasted malts. Finishes with a nice final sweetness

Mouthfeel: Light carbonation with a good body and well rounded flavors.

Very drinkable!

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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.

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Photo of bionerd
4.18/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the tap at Woody's in Fort Collins, Colorado. Dark brown in a monster-sized mug with a very thin, light brown head. Toasted malt taste with faint chocolate notes finished crisply. Hops were faint to almost absent. I am unfamiliar with the "Belgian Black Style Ale" but was quite impressed with this selection. If you have a friend that you are trying to introduce to stouts and porters, this may be an excellent intermediate. Even if they never find the pleasure of a well-crafted stout, they will never forget their first 1554.

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Photo of UncleJimbo
3.88/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle, stamped with "best by" date on the label.

This dark ale poured a clear, very dark chestnut color with creamy, tan foam that clung to the glass and left some lace. The smell was malty with some caramel and cocoa, but no sweetness. The taste was malty with notes of cocoa and hints of caramel. There were elements of roasted malt and mild hops with a touch of sweetness and a hint of smokiness. The mouthfeel was creamy and smooth with medium body and medium-low carbonation. There was a light, lingering malty taste. This was a decent beer and was very easy to drink.

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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.

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Photo of UnionMade
4.26/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a deep, deep garnet, shining a gorgeous, crystal clear cherry color when held to a light. Streams of bubbles snake up rapidly, chasing each other to feed the generous ivory froth that builds upon pouring. The head settles into a thick filmy coating, speckled with several large, open bubbles. Excellent retention, the filmy coating piling in the middle, surrounded by a thick collar. Lace sheets the glass all the way down. Poured into a tulip glass.
The aroma is richly malty, with a generous dark roasted coffee quality. A swell of burnt, charred notes, with a slight belgian-esque spiciness. Slight caramel and toasty hints, the malt altogether soft and inviting, containing a bit of prune fruitiness. No real hop aroma, save a whisper of woody undertone. Initially very meek, the aroma blooms, given some warmth.
The flavor starts with an elegant charred, coffee-like maltiness, carrying through the entire sip. A touch of powdery carob towards the middle, soft prune softening the malt somewhat. Slightly tart raspberry notes into the finish, along with a dash of clove and spicy yeast. Some warmth picks up a hint of sourish black cherry. The malt provides most of the bitterness, an almost nonpresent woody, earthy hopping lending an organic touch to the finish. A lingering charred malt flavor in the aftertaste, sticking to the tongue fervently. Nice and dry in the finish. Enthusiastic carbonation easily props up the lightish medium body. A smooth drinking mouthfeel, the carbonation and a touch of graininess adding a slight rough-hewn feel that keeps me interested.
Somewhere between a porter, stout, and some kind of hybrid belgian style schwarzbier. I really enjoyed this stuff, and would definitely get it again, if only New Belgium would distribute it somewhere near the tri-state area. Pretty much a roasted malt beer, but containing enough complexity to make this an interesting quaff even after a couple pints. Thanks to BDitty for the bottle!

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Photo of DPMomutant
4.1/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The body of this beer is an almost opaque very dark ruby red color. The head is medium-sized and creamy with decent retention and some clinging.

Looks like a dark beer, doesn't smell like one. Mostly smells of slightly roasted malt with some hints of fruit in there.

The taste is very nice. Fruity, but not too much, some dark chocolate and malty as well.

A very nice moderate thickness in the mouth. Minimal bitterness in the end. This goes down very well.

I probably had this beer about a year ago and wasn't impressed. Some maturation in my palate (or maybe more awareness of freshness dates, I'm not sure) has changed my tune. I'd have no problem sharing a 6er with a friend, but I don't have any friends who would like this (oh well, more for me)

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Photo of PSUDREW
3.72/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a nice dark brown, with ruby highlight when put op to my lamp. It has little head tat dissapates rather quicly, and, leave even less lace.

It has a sweet, earthy, coco smell to it, with a malty hint

It hasan interesting taste to it. A matly, roasted, sweet taste, but not the standard sweetness you would assume form a belgian. A fruity spice mix follows, with a nice aftertase filled with a roasted sweetness on the end, that also mixes well with the occasional fizziness form the bottle. Very susinct, crips finish, all in all.

This is a very enjoyable beer. If you get the chance, get this beer. Thanks Brian (nvsblman)

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Photo of PhantomVodoo
3.88/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark tan head that laced. Dark brown brew with ruby highlights.
Spicey aroma of lightly roasty malt, chocolate, and a bit of yeastiness. Tad earthy as well.

Taste shows a lightly roasty malt backbone. Chocolate, dark fruit and a hint of spiciness. Decent balance. Pleasing malty sweetness lingers a bit at the finish.

Good mouthfeel is just slightly creamy.
Good drinkability.
Overall a good beer. A lightly roasty dark ale with a bit of Belgian flair. Big thanks to bditty187 for the bottle!

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Photo of RockyTopHeel
4.05/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Coca-cola colored with a thin trace of brown foam, even after a semi-aggressive pour (but, the beer was also very cold). Soft, dark aromas of coffee grounds and unsweetened cocoa. Clean, hoppy, and malty, with the same flavors present in the nose. Surprising crispness for a dark beer, followed by a soft, wet, malty finish. Bubbly on the tongue, and very light/easy drinking to be dark.

Reminds me of a crisp Kostritzer. Pretty good.

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

Pours a clear deep, deep amber color and is topped by a light brown head that starts out a good 3 inches thick. The dominant aroma is of toasted malt, it is joined by perhaps a hint of caramel sweetness, and lots of biscuit type aromatics. This beer has quite a smooth body that goes down quite well. It is lightly sweet. The finish laden with notes of toasted malt, that is not quite approaching a roast character. This beer is quite malty overall, though it is balanced by a dark fruitiness that reminds me of cherries, raisins, and perhaps a bit of fig.. This beer could definitely use a bit more Belgian yeast character, but that is perhaps a wee bit of a shallow complaint, as this is a great session beer as is.

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Photo of gueuzegeek
3.95/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer was poured for me, and was not poured with much of a head (maybe it really doesn't have much?). It had a rather sweet smelling aroma, and initially, I really didn't get much flavor from this beer. It was served rather cold, and just seemed very average. The color was a semi-dark brown, and clear. As I always try to do, I let it warm up. BOY was that a GREAT thing to do. Please do yourself a favor and let it warm up. Some wonderful freshly roasted barley flavors came out and it became really quite interesting and tasty. It really almost tasted like food, and in this case, that was a good thing. I rated the drinkability higher than anything, because that was a huge part of this beer.

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

excellent brew ... black with minimal head and lacing. a nose full of coffee, chocolate, and pears, reflected in the taste. heavier coffee and chocolate in the taste than in the nose, with the pear presence subdued but still assertive. delicately hoppy, yeasty, floral, fruity finish, with the coffee and chocolate giving way to a darkish caramel aftertaste. rich mouthfeel. could drink these all night.



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Photo of filabrazilia
4.18/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear dark amber with a nice tan head. Great lace cings to the glass.

There is a spicy and fruity aroma that mingles with a touch a toasted malt.

The malt is full and complex with hints of coffee, carmel and other subtle sweetness that jopins with a spicy and hoppy mix. Very unique and flavorful.

This is a medium bodied ale that is crisp and dry in the finish. Very smooth and easy to drink. Nice texture and balance.

An enigmatic offering from New Belgium that is both complex and simple, a beer that can be sipped or gulped.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.85/5  rDev +0.3%
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 arizcards
3.92/5  rDev +2.1%
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.

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Photo of TheLongBeachBum
3.5/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: 12 ouncer picked up in Phoenix on a recent beer trip. A Belgium-esque looking drawn label set against a black label. Best before 1st May 2004, with no strength listed. Recommended to be served at 45°F.

Appearance: Dark and deep mahogany color, clear and brooding. In low light and a thick glass it does have a ‘black’ look, whilst in stronger light in has ruby red twinkle. The head was a pillowy 1” deep affair at first, light brown in color with a pitted surface, but it soon rescinds to a very thin collar, broken at times. Light lacing and minimal carbonation levels.

Nose: A very grainy, lightly roasted aroma that is difficult to pin point. Schwarzbier like is about as close as I can get.

Taste: Sweet start with some very light roasted chocolate malt in the middle mixed with caramel. Finishes with some astringency and a sharp edge.

Mouthfeel: Pretty average, creamy and grainy with a dark, but relatively light feel - all at the same time.

Drinkability: Easily drinkable but rather thin at times.

Overall: I tried this for the first time on draft during a recent trip to the Papago Brewing Co. with the legendary Gusler. I enjoyed in that format, as well as this. Difficult to say whether I really enjoyed it or not, it’s different and decent, and kind of reminds me of a simple Dark UK Mild with some dark sharp roasted hints.

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Photo of Lupe
4.04/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Deep garnet-brown in color with ruby highlughts when held up to the light. A tan, creamy, two-inch head sits atop the dark liquid but quickly dissapates. Although the head disappears, there is very nice wispy rings of lace left behind. Toasty malt aroma with dark fruit and a hint of chocolate. Nothing grabs the front seat, but the flavor is a harmonious blend of roasted grain, chocolate,brown sugar, coffee, and vanilla. A mild hop bitterness keeps the sweetness in check. Medium in body, smooth and refreshing. It is like a brown ale, but lighter.

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1554 Enlightened Black Ale from New Belgium Brewing
3.84 out of 5 based on 3,204 ratings.
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