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RATINGS: 1879   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.52/5   IBU: 21   EST. CALORIES: 168   ABV: 5.6%
Born of a flood and centuries-old Belgian text, 1554 Black Lager uses a 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 Their first challenge was deciphering antiquated script and outdated units of measurement, but trial and error (and many months of in-house sampling) culminated in 1554, a highly quaffable dark beer with a moderate body and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.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
ivancherdalsky (9) - USA - JAN 22, 2006 does not count
Hey now for a beer from the 16th century....wow...good. It was a very good beer. i throughly enjoyed it.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
TheEnemy (564) - Chicago, USA - JAN 21, 2006
12oz bottle.
Pours dark reddish brown, fizzy with little head or lacing. Aroma is an even mix of malt sweetness and toasty dried rain with some hop spice. All three aspects make appearances in the flavor but the dry toasted grain far outweighs the sweetness to become the dominant flavor characteristic. Fizzy palate with a long, dry aftertaste. Almost reminiscent of an English brown; not what I would have expected of a Belgian-style ale but pretty nice.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
OldMrCrow (2305) - Seattle, Washington, USA - JAN 21, 2006
UPDATED: DEC 16, 2007 From a bottle

Pours a very dark cola brown with a small and quickly dissapating head.

The aroma is dominated by the fresh-baking bread yeasts, with some pumpernickel rye, vinegar, and green apple and a hint of lightly-toasted almonds. The flavor is pleasingly balanced and intriguingly different, acidic with distinct but not overpowering dark-roasted coffee malts, tones of warm nuts and wood. There’s not much sweetness here, with a pleasing dry smoke-toned finish.

Mouthfeel is a bit thin, but refreshing; this is not a heavy beer at all despite its dark color.

Overall, I’m quite favorably impressed, much more than I expected to be. [Until I tried Eric’s ale] this [was] the best of the of New Belgium offerings that [I’d] tasted, and it makes a nice lunchtime beer, delicious with cheese and crackers. Well worth another visit.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
KUEric (922) - Scottsdale, Arizona, USA - JAN 20, 2006
UPDATED: MAY 30, 2006 12 oz. Bottle: It pours a nice deep blackish porter look to it. A nice carbonated head, oughly two-fingers tall that quickly fades into a sudy carbonation layer on top. The aroma is nutty, woody, malty, coffee, figs, cardboard. The taste is of prunes, coffe, malts and something roasted mainly with some hints of nuts, wood (in particular the bark-not that I’ve tasted bark, but somehow that deScriptions seems right to me?). A beer that is quite nice. I really enjoyed it. The mouthfeel has some signifigant carbonation and isnt quite as smooth as I would have expected (my mind maybe cant wrap around the fact that its not a creamy porter, but an ale). Update: There is a new label on this guy and the taste is more coffee than I remembered.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
peter (445) - Normal, Illinois, USA - JAN 18, 2006
Thin disappearing brown head. nice dark color, good fruit aromas and flavour. Creamy over the tounge.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
Sincere (145) - wichita, Kansas, USA - JAN 11, 2006
UPDATED: APR 3, 2007 Light brown head, dissapates quickly, leaves small lacing. I taste suprised me due to the fact that I couldn’t catch much of an aroma after frest pour. The body is very dark and medium-heavy, with medium carbonation as well. I taste mostly pecan/walnut taste with a hint of chocolate. Very smooth and silky mouthfeel with an excellent tongue coating.

   AROMA 4/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 12/20
unibaren (157) - 8000 Århus C, DENMARK - JAN 11, 2006
(GABF2005, so kind of hard to judge with only a 1 ounze sampling) Dark, fruity and creamy. A bit og a hybrid.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
zombywoof (460) - Overland Park, Kansas, USA - JAN 10, 2006
UPDATED: NOV 26, 2008 Kenny likes it but doesn’t want to drink 4 in a row. "Beer is yummy for your tummy". Andy says" It has a complex aroma ". I says " Fig and coffee notes but not especially pronounced notes. The finish has llively carbonation and a medium body".

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
hippie4beer (162) - Indianapolis, Indiana, USA - JAN 7, 2006
Bottle. Pours a deep dark chocolate brown, almost black if not in the light. This has a thin slighlty off white head that lingers and leaves good lacing. Aroma of fresh ground coffee beans with nutty notes. Flavor is much like the nose, with hints of figs, hickory bark, and a bubble gum finish. Medium bodied with a lingering finish. Not too bad...

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 17/20
GarrettB (1365) - San Diego, California, USA - JAN 2, 2006
UPDATED: SEP 17, 2007 As an ill trained amateur historian, I would love to know why New Belgium chose 1554 to title their darker, heartier and more savory beer. The Ft. Collins emblem of consumer quality, well-styled beers looks to have taken a darker bent on brewing, and if they were trying to make an affordable beer that’s easy to drink they succeeded. The upstanding posture of the 1554 is simple, dark and thick. It envelopes a similarly simple smell of smoke that portends the masculinity of the taste. By the flavor I’d say 1554 is a collection of low and bass flavors that belong at the bottom of any good stout. Imagine a blend of maple syrup, steak sauce, hickory smoke and brown sugar with a good, solid texture raveled around it. My only complaint is that the 1554, while a good beer, has to butt heads with many more well crafted and complex dark beers for my precious shelf space. Maybe it’s only my loyalty to New Belgium, or my insatiable curiosity about the name that compels me to pick up a bottle when I can, but whatever the cause I’m always happy to have it in hand.

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