New Belgium 1554 Enlightened Black Ale

For this blog, I've had a black lager and a black IPA, but this is the first black ale I'll be trying. The previous New Belgium ale was not spectacular, and my fear is that this one might follow suit. I don't ant to judge a book by its cover, but the bottle art on both is pretty terrible. It looks like they are trying to go for the stodgy cigar smokers who may want to drift away from their Scotch for the night, but it's not particularly confidence inspiring.

I'll admit - I bought this early last week, and I forgot what kind of beer it was. The label is so complicated and difficult to read that I didn't even bother when I poured it. As a result, I was taken aback by the very, very dark brown color. I mean, it is a lot darker than I expected, but it makes sense now that I read that it is a black ale.

The head is kind of thin, but the bubbles stick around on the edges of the glass. The aroma is a bit nutty. You have to really put your nose in it to get the hops. Generally, the aroma isn't strong. You may recall that I like to sit in my chair with the beer about two and a half feet away from my nose to let the head settle a bit. When I do this, I can't smell this beer at all.

So, it's time to taste it. And... it's a bit flat. Not the carbonation; that works just fine, but the taste is really not inspiring. The bottle says it has a, "surprisingly bright taste and a dry, chocolaty finish." And I don't think the guy who wrote that was drinking the same beer I am.

The nuttiness that I smelled just isn't in the taste at all. Maybe it was a trick of the nose. Instead, there was a hoppyness that went away pretty quickly. It was replaced by almost a coffee taste. I, for the record, do not like coffee. The only reason I ever even endorsed any coffee to friends was because my brother in law worked for Green Mountain Coffee, and I'm told the coffee is really good.

Wait. Something is happening. Yes, as the beer warms, it gets MUCH better. It still has that coffee stank to it, but it is way better now. I'm thinking I might have to move the rest of the six pack from the fridge to let it warm up before I drink any more.



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