1. Don't miss our 7th annual American Craft Beer Fest featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers this May 30 & 31 in Boston, MA! Buy your tickets now!
  2. BeerAdvocate on your phone?! True story. Try the beta now.

Brother Thelonious - North Coast Brewing Co.

Brother TheloniousBrother Thelonious

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

2,092 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2092
Reviews: 928
rAvg: 3.78
pDev: 13.76%

Brewed by:
North Coast Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Belgian Strong Dark Ale |  9.40% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
"Vital Statistics

Style: Belgian Style Strong Dark
Color: Dark mahogany
ABV: 9.4%
Bitterness: 32 IBU's"

(Beer added by: sloejams on 05-04-2006)
View: Beers (23) |  Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Reviewers | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Brother Thelonious Alström Bros
Ratings: 2,092 | Reviews: 928 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of beveritt


4.58/5  rDev +21.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: Poured from a stubby 12 oz brown bottle into a Duvel chalice. I have been looking for this one for awhile and couldn't seem to find it easily. Managed to pick it up at a recent trip to Indiana. Label depicts a profile of Thelonious Monk holding a chalice of beer a sporting a piano keyboard halo. No freshness date.

Appearance: Pours with 2 fingers of medium tan head. This settles slowly, eventually collapsing to a large island of foam in the middle of the glass and wisps here and there. Nice, thick lacing coverage remains. The beer itself is dark brown with shades of burnished copper and just on the verge of being opaque. No sediment in the bottle.

Smell: Strong aroma of tart cherries, lemon zest, and a candy apple sweetness.

Taste: Nutty flavor upfront with bready/yeasty malt undertones. Hints of cherries and figs in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Average to a little higher than average carbonation level, perfect for the style. Body is incredibly thick and mouthcoating.

Drinkability: A truly classic example of the style. Rich and complex; displays incredible depth. I wish it were more easily available.

Serving type: bottle

05-29-2009 23:51:51 | More by beveritt
Photo of MrBen


4.55/5  rDev +20.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

If you're looking for a straightforward Belgian, this is a fine choice. Nothing too complex here, but you get loads of the sweet and estery goodness that make for an enjoyable dubbel.

Pours a rusty tan color with moderate head and lacing. Fruity, sweet nose, silky mouthfeel, and very drinkable. The beer's 9% ABV is hidden pretty well under a cloak of traditional Belgian flavors. A very nice beer, indeed.

Serving type: bottle

08-27-2007 13:12:13 | More by MrBen
Photo of Cyberkedi


4.55/5  rDev +20.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Aroma is very enticing, more fruity than malty; I get hints of both apple and banana, as well as a touch of yeast. It pours a rich, clear, dark chocolaty brown with a thick beige head that persists. Flavor is fruity with some malt and a fair amount of hop bitterness, as well as a hint of burnt caramel. Texture is smooth and lively, and this dubbel goes down very pleasantly. This is a brew for sipping slowly and appreciating.

Serving type: bottle

08-02-2008 00:49:06 | More by Cyberkedi
Photo of longbongsilver


4.55/5  rDev +20.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a few random new things to try recently. Went to grab one as a post-steak nitecap & pulled out this.

Pours a burnt orange-to-red, about 2 inches of white head come up then go away quickly. Faint molasses type smell, plus a bit of apple in behind the hops. Taste follows the smell, albeit less sweet than would think (a good thing, IMO) at first. Goes down with a slight fizz, with which the flavor actually gets more detailed (some grape actually comes up later, and even a note that reminds me of whiskey) as it goes. Oh yeah, then there's the warming from the 9%...

It's fitting that it's named for a jazz legend, as "smooth, yet complex" describes it to a T. What I get from one bottle feels almost like I'm cheating somebody, definitely picking up more.

Serving type: bottle

10-15-2009 03:51:36 | More by longbongsilver
Photo of damienblack


4.53/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a medium brown that is almost amber, standard tan head, decent lacing left. Smell is nice rich candi sugar, raisiiny fruit. Taste is much of the same. Sweet belgian sugars, a bit of hearty yeastiness, and a deep dark-fruit raisiny-ness. It's a lot heartier than most of the other dubbel's I've tried, it is almost what you see from Strong Dark Ales in terms of substance. Bold belgian flavours, buoyed by just the right levels of carbonation and stickiness. Drinks absolutely exceptionally and easily, to the point of being dangerously so. Despite the short reviews, this is probably the best American dubbel's I've experienced so far, and it definitely holds its own with the Belgians.

Serving type: bottle

06-02-2009 04:52:50 | More by damienblack
Photo of Arithmeticus


4.53/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured chilled in tall tulip water glass.

A: caramel color, robust carbonation, 2-finger head that dissipates quickly
S: brooding caramel, yeast, malt, smells toasted
t: dark Belgian--like an imperial dark bock. Heavy ABV comes through; semisweet; bitter bottle conditioning; medium hopped


Serving type: bottle

04-19-2012 21:37:07 | More by Arithmeticus
Photo of TheIronHammer


4.53/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured out of the bottle and into a glass.

A: Dark color. Pretty large head that dissipates slowly leaving fine lacing on the side.

S: Strong spicy notes with dark fruits in the immediate background.

T: The spices come through more on the palate than the dark fruit. It is very good but would be a bit better if balanced more delicately like the smell.

MF: It has a medium mouthfeel. A heavier mouthfeel would probably help support the beer a bit better.

O: Overall all a very good beer. It has a few areas where it could improve but has many things to offer.

Serving type: bottle

07-30-2012 18:07:13 | More by TheIronHammer
Photo of tjsdomer2


4.51/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Ruby-brown-maroon..almost purple in a way. Full-bodied. Very unique.

Smell: Plums, raisins, and licorice. Fairly sweet, but some pine as well.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Incredible flavor. Tons of licorice...not a flavor I particularly love, which makes this even more incredible. Thick body, but goes down smoothly with great yeasty carbonation.

Overall Drinkability: I loved this beer. Really surprised it isn't rated higher.

Serving type: bottle

05-13-2013 03:45:20 | More by tjsdomer2
Photo of joeskirkie

New Jersey

4.5/5  rDev +19%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Big ol 750 mL bottle. I can't find any kind of bottled date but I'm not too concerned.

In the chalice it's a mostly opaque brown with ruby and caramel highlights when held to the light. Nice head, about as thick as my thumb, and laced pretty well.

The nose has some cherry, bread (banana bread, actually) chocolate, and a bit of a spice to it, like nutmeg. I absolutely love it.

Chocolate first on the tongue, then banana bread, then some more chocolate with cherry hints. It's like a dessert but its not too heavy.

It's a good medium body, not too heavy; I'm actually quite refreshed by it.

This one may have helped sway my choice of favorite style. I'll have to move one into my beginner cellar.

Serving type: bottle

08-12-2007 23:55:57 | More by joeskirkie
Photo of MisterClean


4.5/5  rDev +19%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

out of a 750 at Santa rosa

A - Pours a dark brown with moderate chocolate foam, and a nice bit of lacing

S - Brown candi sugar, plums, and cinnamon.

T - Brown candi sugar, plums, and raisins.

M - Surprisingly, not much alc feel, very creamy, and refreshing on this hot day.

D - Very excellent. Great dessert beer.

Serving type: bottle

06-08-2008 21:17:29 | More by MisterClean
Photo of Brad007


4.5/5  rDev +19%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark reddish-brown color with a decent one-finger head into my Hopfenstark glass.

The aroma is nutty with a hint of raisin and spice in the nose. A tad bit fruity as well.

The taste is strong and pleasant with a hint of cherry, raisin and spice upfront. Finishes dry with only a bit of alcohol warmth. Very smooth.

The mouthfeel is flavorful but the raisin and spice flavors linger with the alcohol warmth. Pleasant and somewhat chewy.

Very drinkable for a dubbel. The alcohol is well hidden so you barely notice it. It's flavorful and worth the effort to try. I would recommend it if you enjoy the dubbel style.

Serving type: bottle

08-02-2008 02:06:28 | More by Brad007
Photo of TheFishmonger


4.5/5  rDev +19%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Brother Thelonious begins with the familiar champagne ritual - untwisting the wire bail, edging the cork out a millimeter at a time until it comes free with a pop. The head is voluminous and creamy, but quickly subsides into a narrow, persistent band. The scent and flavor are matched. There is a touch of an alcohol bite, but not much considering the ABV. Then, a flood of raisin and prune, sweet and malty. I am very much reminded of the Corsendonk Christmas Ale. Since I haven't been able to find that around here the past few years, Brother Thelonius is a welcome addition!

Serving type: bottle

09-20-2012 20:44:10 | More by TheFishmonger
Photo of RonaldTheriot


4.5/5  rDev +19%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Brother Thelonious has a medium, beige, creamy head and a dark, murkey brown appearance, with essentially no lacing left on the glass. The aroma is of rich, strong, fruity malts (think dates and figs) and fruit cake. The flavor is the same, with an alcohol and brandy pick-up, raisin, sugar, and a slight hop bitterness. The mouthfeel is thick, but not too thick, and North Coast Brother Thelonious finishes heavy, wet, cloying, and smooth. Drinkability is limited. Overall, this is an outstanding beer!


Serving type: bottle

10-30-2012 18:10:47 | More by RonaldTheriot
Photo of RockyTopHeel

North Carolina

4.47/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. corked and caged bottle.

Poured chestnut-brown into a Burgundy wine glass, where a small layer of light brown bubbles top the brew. A warm, rich aroma of yeast and caramelized fruits bubbles up, preceding a taste of toffee, baked plums, and that telling Belgian je ne sais quoi that unites all of the country's brews and their derivatives. Supremely smooth, just like it's namesake on the piano. A top-shelf American version of a Belgian style.

Serving type: bottle

12-21-2006 03:30:30 | More by RockyTopHeel
Photo of Hammarby


4.47/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark amber with an offwhite head with yellow tones. Head dissappears quite fast, no lacing.
S: Yeast, pears, caramel, malt, figs, dark berries, dried fruits, toffee, sweet dark bread.
T: Dark chocolate, charcoal, figs, dried fruits, raisins, bitterness, caramel, sweet grapes.
M: Medium body, moderate carboration.
D: Yum! I really like it. This one goes down really easy. The alcohol stays in the background despite the 9%. A beer to sip slowly.

Serving type: bottle

05-05-2007 13:44:11 | More by Hammarby
Photo of 1759Girl


4.47/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Warm brown hue, like maple syrup. Lively with a light creamy head and a little lacing.
Aroma: Dark chocolate and caramel. Heaven? perhaps.
Taste: tangy start followed by a rush of toasty malt flavor with notes of burnt sugar. The finish goes slightly resiny and then incredibly smooth. Good balance.
Mouthfeel: more effervescent than I expected, but not overly so. Pleasant.
Drinkability: Grab me a four pack and some good jazz and see if I refuse...

Serving type: bottle

12-17-2007 20:29:37 | More by 1759Girl
Photo of jizdepski


4.47/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

i poured this mahogany-red dubbel brew into a room-temperature chimay goblet. it poured nice and heady...with the 3/4 inch-thick head fizzilating away into a wispy, lacy residue. first smells are of dark fruit, with a sweet and crisp dryness to it. i'm also detecting the alcohol. mouthfeel, well, its just a whisker thinner than i expected, though not in a bad way, with notable carbonation and hops and the alcohol mingling nicely. the tastes on the palate are sweet, fruity and maybe caramel because there is a buttery sweet quality present, tempered with bitterness and alcohol. reminded me very much of a unibroue's maudite offering. the finish however was very nice and clean, inviting another sip. i drank the whole bottle, a 750 ml undertaking, in one enjoyable sitting. quite drinkable for its 9.4 ABV...a fine take on the abbey style ale, all the classic characteristics are there.

Serving type: bottle

03-18-2009 16:49:26 | More by jizdepski
Photo of mhatters


4.47/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on-tap at TDR Exton in a tulip 10z glass

Pours a deep oak brown, with beautiful amber highlights. A quickly dissipating inch of off-white head

Lots of dark fruit - plums, raisin, tropical notes. A sweet malt backing.

The flavor follows the nose perfectly. The fruit and malt play off one another very well.

A big beer - the alcohol is there, the beer is rich, sweet and deep. A few at a time, no more - but do not get me wrong - a fantastic beer

Serving type: on-tap

06-06-2009 20:23:00 | More by mhatters
Photo of olympuszymurgus


4.47/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

a wonderful sendoff beer hitting the dusty trail down to cali. year old thelonious. time to kick back, i know it's been a long day, but the dragon whale is ready to roll and this nectar has been aging for just this moment. you pop the top with a noisy motion and pour the heavenly brown liquid. follows the chocolate dipped blue cheese filled dates like magic, replicating some of those fine dark fruit flavors and aromas. its a sensual lover, massaging your feet if you ask. this is a damn smooth ride, the year has given this time to gel and drink magically, nothing indicative of 9%, just a slightly sweet deliciousness. i will sleep tonight peacefully, knowing that the road awaits.

Serving type: bottle

02-08-2010 07:44:04 | More by olympuszymurgus
Photo of HombreWing


4.45/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Corked bottle ...Glass Medium sized Chalice/Goblet.

Eyes: Pour Bright as the day is long. Beautiful Chestnut colour. 3 finger head leaves faster than I would have expected.

Nose: Right out of the bottle there is chocolate ...fades into bready grain some hot alcohol...very little yeast spice...no hop

Tongue: Sweet chocolatey caramely malt subtle nuttiness & toastiness that helps balance. Some yeast spice. No hop. Some Hot alcohol

Texture: Medium body helps hide some alcohol

Overall experience: This beer followed up my meal of Organic: Meatloaf, iron skillet roasted potatoes w/ onions, and a crap load of steamed broccoli. Really helps to settle a big helping. Plenty of beef flavor still hanging around that this beer just compliments :)

Serving type: bottle

01-07-2008 00:21:19 | More by HombreWing
Photo of joezak5

New Jersey

4.45/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Poured into a Duvel sniffter; clean and clear ruby with dense and huge tannish white head, good retention and really nice lacing when enjoyed.

Smell: Yeasty and musty caramel soaked hazelnuts... really different and interesting

Mouthfeel: Very welcoming and chewy feel, very subdued carbonation.

Taste: Yeasty and caramelly malty nutty sweet and crisp, just a little peppery... very complex and enjoyable... light dark candy sugar on the finish

Drinkability: Old Rasputin is my favorite but I was disappointed greatly by Praqster... I'm glad I gave North Coast another shot. This one is wonderful; easily enjoyed with alcohol well hidden; a new flavor in very sip.

Serving type: bottle

05-01-2008 01:18:30 | More by joezak5
Photo of alpinebryant


4.45/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark clear chestnut with a healthy tan head that laces around the glass.

Smell of light honey belgian yeast. This is a different belgian flavor than I have had lately and is very tasty. There are biscuit, sweet honey, plum, cherry , and pepper flavors coming first off , then caramel, belgian candy sugar.

Brother Thelonius has a very smooth mouthfeel. This beer is a winner, I had expected Pranqster to be more to my liking of the two of these belgian ales, but I have quickly changed my mind and will be adding this brew to my rotation. While maybe not extremely complex, this is a clean tasty belgian style ale.

Another great brew by North Coast

Serving type: bottle

03-26-2010 23:59:49 | More by alpinebryant
Photo of landoncomer


4.45/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured into a snifter from a bottle. Has 2 fingers of tan head with lacing. Smells of dark malt with some fruity tones. Very drinkable. The alcohol was hidden well. Color was dark color of coffee. As you swirl the volatiles release more fruity and malt. Great beer.

Serving type: bottle

03-11-2011 16:33:05 | More by landoncomer
Photo of tapman


4.45/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I must let you know that I am a big Monk fan and this review may be biased. I'm sorry.

Dark plum in color, when held to light, a deep mahogany. Head is 1 finger and off-yellow in color. Lacing is thin.

Smell is minerals, yeast by-product (vanilla, banana), oak, tangy and tart notes and a natural, leafy mint.

Rich and malty, this brew focuses more on the malt than the abv%. High levels of maltose bring this brew to a caramelized balance and the minty hops interact with the raisin-like malt profile
Not as much dark fruit as I get in something like the Chimay
Blue, but nice and round.

Thick, chewy, viscous and spicy. Even more carbonation?

I think Monk would be proud of this brew. It is not a traditional Belgian Strong Dark, i.e. the head is not humongous, the carbonation is not very bright, and it is not as dry as others I have tasted, but, damn, is it one flavorful, off-beat mutha. Hey man, it don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing...

Serving type: bottle

04-12-2011 04:03:26 | More by tapman
Photo of BierJager89


4.45/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a dark, purplish brown with a mocha head.

S: Grape is the dominant scent in the nose, along with dark fruits.

T: Grape comes up dominant again in the taste, but less so, and more well blended with the dark fruit.

M: Medium-full bodied, fairly smooth.

O: Well worth a try. I love this brewery.

Serving type: bottle

01-18-2014 18:27:33 | More by BierJager89
Brother Thelonious from North Coast Brewing Co.
85 out of 100 based on 2,092 ratings.