1554 (New Belgium Brewing)

Day two of September’s THEME WEEK is upon us!  This month we’re trying ales from Fort Collins, Colorado’s New Belgium Brewing Company.  Day 2′s brew: 1554 Enlightened Black Ale.

1554 Enlightened Black Ale is a Belgian Dark Ale with a 5.6% ABV.  This ale is part of New Belgium’s year-round selection.

Born of a flood and centuries-old Belgian text, 1554 Enlightened Black Ale uses a light lager yeast strain and dark chocolaty malts to redefine what dark beer can be. In 1997, a Fort Collins flood destroyed the original recipe our researcher, Phil Benstein, found in the library. So Phil and brewmaster, Peter Bouckaert, traveled to Belgium to retrieve this unique style lost to the ages. Their first challenge was deciphering antiquated script and outdated units of measurement, but trial and error (and many months of in-house sampling) culminated in 1554, a highly quaffable dark beer with a moderate body and mouthfeel.

The beer pours a dark, dark brown with ruby highlights. Two inches of cola-covered foam hover above the beer for minutes after it was poured, allowing the floating bubbles a place to go.

I initially thought this was a porter after taking a whiff of this dark ale.  I picked up dark chocolate, burnt toast, cocoa powder with mild smokey notes.  As it warmed up I detected a wine like fruitiness.

The taste is similar to the smell, with a smokey filling the mouth.  It was also quite thin and dry, like a Dry Irish Stout or a Rauchbier.  As the beer washes over you tongue dark chocolate takes over and invades your palette.  Tasty!  A fruity sweetness comes through as it warms (just like in the nose).

Mouthfeel is light to medium with a stickiness that dries out the mouth.  Very reminiscent to a Dry Irish Stout (as I said before).

1554 is a tasty little dark ale.  None of the flavors are too overpowering, with all of them balancing each other out.  A unique grouping of tastes and scents that blur style lines and create a nice drinking experience.

Overall: 8 out of 10

As a BELGIAN DARK ALE:  7.5

FOR FANS OF: Stone 06-06-06 VERTICAL EPIC ALE, Unibroue NOIRE DE CHAMBLY, Ommegang RARE VOS

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