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RATINGS: 1747   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.52   IBU: 21   EST. CALORIES: 168   ABV: 5.6%
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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 Their first challenge was deciphering antiquated script and outdated units of measurement, but trial and error (and many months of in-house sampling) culminated in 1554, a highly quaffable dark beer with a moderate body and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 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 16/20
VENOM (941) - Connecticut, USA - JAN 1, 2002
Luminous dark ruby with a thin head. Black malt aroma all the way. Crisp and medium bodied with a definite black malt bite and some brown sugar or molasses burnt sweetness. A sweeter yet firmer Schwarzbier if you will. Thanks AZ.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
Aubrey (3432) - Bellingham, Washington, USA - DEC 13, 2001
UPDATED: DEC 4, 2003 Dark in color, similar to a porter in appearance, with ruby-red highlights. Tightly packed light tan head is frothy and lasting; nice and sticky lace patterns. Clean and smooth mouthfeel (becomes creamier as it warms). Carbonation level was right about perfect for this beer. Sweet base accented by very aromatic roasted malts. Hops were mild, but zingy and a little grassy; just a mild bitterness. Slight nip of sour/tart to even things out. Notes of raisins, chocolate and dark toast. Finish is roasty, toasty and slightly burnt. Aftertaste is rewarding and long-lasting. Not as sweet as a porter; not as full-bodied as a stout; and much more flavorful than a dunkel. Really good beer.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
Heat99 (56) - Austin, Texas, USA - DEC 9, 2001
This has a black color, with a red hue as you hold it to the light. It definitely is not what I expected. I was expecting more of the sweet porter style flavors, but instead was greeted with a lighter-bodied smooth chocolatey flavor with slight hints of coffee and spice. Very delicious and surprisingly easy to drink considering its dark color. A very interesting and ’different’ brew.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 11/20
TAR (2494) - Lafayette, Colorado, USA - DEC 8, 2001
UPDATED: AUG 1, 2005 Bready/toasty malt with faint texture and taste of raisins and a bit chewy with a long finish as beer is cold, when it warms it becomes creamy, fruity and acidic. An original example of an unheard of style.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
heykevin (1276) - Decorah, Iowa, USA - NOV 8, 2001
Kudos to the New Belgium people for their history lesson. I find this rather inconsistant, even bottle to bottle in a 6 pack. At its best it is light in body with estery belgian notes as well as light toasted notes. At its worst, it tastes like very roasted barley with no body behind it. I’ll rate it at its best, though.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 18/20
Dragon99 (57) - Laramie, Wyoming, USA - NOV 3, 2001
Initial taste is very malty. Definitely uses dark malts, like chocolate and a bit of roasted barley. Aftertaste has just a hint of hops indicating a light hop profile. Overall impression: very smooth and drinkable. Sweet, definitely not bitter. A nice warm-me-up for cold winter nights while still leaving your mouth as pleasant as it entered.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 10/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 19/20
mattcolo99 (27) - USA - OCT 28, 2001
Very nice...It’s fruity and sweet but a beautiful body. New Belgium hits a homer again.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 11/20
K-V-F-L (292) - LaVista, Nebraska, USA - OCT 19, 2001
Black ale, huh? I suppose that is closest to a porter or an old ale, ’cause the black or Schwarzbiers of Germany are lagers. I guess I found it hard to rate, and would have rated it higher if not for the unfortunate skunked aroma wafting in the background. A shame.

   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 4/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 9/20
legion242 (2188) - Richardson, Texas, USA - OCT 10, 2001
I tried to like this. I wanted to like it. Just too thin for my tastes.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
Oakes (12552) - Vancouver, British Columbia, CANADA - AUG 14, 2001
UPDATED: FEB 20, 2003 note of licorice and dried dark fruits in its spritzy body, finishing dry with some malty notes not unlike raisin toast.

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