1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Brother Thelonious - North Coast Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Brother TheloniousBrother Thelonious

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

2,323 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,323
Reviews: 942
rAvg: 3.78
pDev: 13.76%
Wants: 48
Gots: 202 | FT: 4
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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Brother Thelonious Alström Bros
Ratings: 2,323 | Reviews: 942 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Ebf


2/5  rDev -47.1%

05-18-2013 00:03:15 | More by Ebf
Photo of Paige


2/5  rDev -47.1%

06-03-2012 04:33:18 | More by Paige
Photo of Chrysostom


2/5  rDev -47.1%

03-06-2013 03:04:36 | More by Chrysostom
Photo of Billington


2/5  rDev -47.1%

01-17-2013 22:03:22 | More by Billington
Photo of msromberg


2/5  rDev -47.1%

04-14-2012 23:39:38 | More by msromberg
Photo of jophish17


2/5  rDev -47.1%

12-24-2011 00:15:25 | More by jophish17
Photo of bubseymour


2.1/5  rDev -44.4%

Appearance - Very scary looking dark and murky with 1 finger large bubbled head that isn't that impressive.

Smell - whole lotta sweet spice. Scary again.

Taste - Horrendous. But then again, Belgian Strong Ales don't work for my palet at all. No hop notes, spicy and boozy. Warming to the belly.

Mouthfeel - The 1 decent point of this beer is that its smooth and creamy.

Overall- This is a very love/hate beer and style I suppose. This isn't a drinkable liquid to me however.

10-27-2011 00:28:39 | More by bubseymour
Photo of Lucular


2.15/5  rDev -43.1%

Appearance: Poured into a tulip glass. 1/2 inch head disappeared within a couple of minutes. Not bad but still disappointing for the style.

Smell: Bottle said to enjoy at 55 degrees. It was definitely colder than this when I poured, so given the 9.4% abv I was not surprised that the smell of alcohol predominated at first. No matter, I didn't want to drink it quickly so I had no trouble sipping slowly to allow it to warm up a bit. It was around 60 degrees by the time I was done. But it didn't help much--even at warmer temperatures all I could smell was alcohol and some coffee.

Taste: Not surprisingly, my first sips were all alcohol and burnt coffee. As the glass warmed up a bit it improved marginally. Overly sweet with some burnt toffee. Some spices that were overwhelmed by the alcohol. The lack of complexity is hard to believe until you've tasted it for yourself. I could barely detect some dark fruits--figs, raisins maybe?--struggling to come through without much success. This is such a fantastic style and this beer fails completely.

Mouthfeel: Carbonation was about right and at least the alcohol didn't give a burning sensation.

Overall: I'm not sure how I could enjoy this at any temperature.

The worst part is that I didn't even mean to purchase this beer. I bought a four-pack of Three Philosophers--at least that's what the carrier packaging said. I didn't look at the actual bottles at the store, and when I got home, lo and behold I was stuck with four of these. And now I have three more of them to suffer through. I'll update this review if the boozy Brother Thelonious somehow grows on me.

07-26-2014 15:30:28 | More by Lucular
Photo of rembrant


2.17/5  rDev -42.6%

Pours a medium red brown with a 1/2" head that's gone quick. A more down the middle pour can form head but it still fades. Not much lace but a pretty color

Aroma Not much. Seems a touch of malt and something yeasty-tangy.

Flavor Well, there's a moderate malt,some yeasty old wood thing that's hard to figure. Second swig I get some trace of fruit-herbal hops and a metallic aftertaste. Progressively, barnwood and scrap iron tastes grow. Reminds me of an old wood box full of bits of old hardware, copper,steel,aluminum and old musty wood.
Mouth Body and carbonation about medium, aftertaste lasted awhile...but in this case,that's not very pleasant.

Drinkability. Well, impulsively I added this to some other singles on the spur of the moment. I had confused it with an IPA I wanted to try,and also had no idea it was over $3 a bottle.

I'd never cared for Belgian. Some years ago I went way over budget on one supposed to be good stuff...and found it almost too abrasive and rank to finish. Deja Vu

I can't see that dank wood and assorted metal as a taste I'd acquire. Worse yet, it STAYS on the palate. Easily the least drinkable brew I've had in some time.

That I could have indulged in a Bell's Expedition at about that price makes me very sad.

09-04-2010 01:21:13 | More by rembrant
Photo of mactrail


2.18/5  rDev -42.3%

This is a surprise. I remember this as being rich and a little sweet, but this batch seems to be rather thin and definitely on the acidic side. Looks well enough, more red than coppery in the Duvel tulip. Nice head but coarse bubbles. The nose is a little vinegary.

Sharp and hints of some kind of bacteria like a Grand Cru, only much drier. Where did all the sugar go? Tart, rather bitter, quite earthy. Body is thin. Flavor makes me think of shellac. Aftertaste is very bitter and dirty.

From the 12 oz bottle from the cooler at Olive Tree in OB. I'll give this a taste if I see it on tap, but I'm leery of the bottles now. It was quite tasty in the big bottles but it has been three or four years since I've tried it.

04-09-2012 06:10:19 | More by mactrail
Photo of Vancoubeer


2.2/5  rDev -41.8%

I love dark beer. I try to buy one everytime I am at the local beer store. This beer really let me down. It had the smell of motor oil. It looked great. Dark beer with brownish head. But the taste was lame. It tasted almost as it smelled. It was like nothing I have had before. I had a hard time tasting the normal ingredients found in beer. It was more like a syrup. I will stay away from this. I am mad because North Coasts Old Rasputin is one of my favs on nitro. But this was a disappointment. IF you like abbey ales, try it but beware.

02-14-2010 04:22:04 | More by Vancoubeer
Photo of beernazismustdie

2.21/5  rDev -41.5%

It looks picture perfect when you pour it: thick, rich, and smooth with a small head. However, it's all downhill from there. It's like taking a beautiful girl home only to find out she's a bizarre headcase.

"Complexity" is a common word used to describe the taste of this beer. "Complexity" is evidently nice beer-snob word that's synonymous with "vomit inducing." This stuff is nearly the strength of barley wine and does not hide the alcohol well, as others have noted. Frankly, it tastes like a porter with cough syrup and molasses mixed in.

This was by far the most disappointing beer I've tried, and I've spent the last several years developing a taste for "finer beers." I would rather drink your typical mid-grade macro brew yellow water than this crap again.

02-05-2013 02:12:53 | More by beernazismustdie
Photo of Kudashov


2.25/5  rDev -40.5%

25 .oz bottle poured into a clean chalice . With a very aggressive pour there is little head , none . Not like the the chalice on the label . The head faded so quick , very disappointing . Smells of chocolate and fruit. Brown clear hue with no lacing as head reduced to nothing . Taste is spicy like BBQ sauce but also very watery . This not the worst brew I have had during my new hobby but this is bland , boring , brown water . Bleak . When this quest of finding " new beer " was started there have been some lousy beers but this is very disappointing . The 9 abv is well hidden , hidden behind a boring lousy brew for 9+ bucks a bomber . First time , last time .

03-11-2007 21:01:50 | More by Kudashov
Photo of jk3

New York

2.25/5  rDev -40.5%

05-17-2012 01:53:49 | More by jk3
Photo of albern


2.25/5  rDev -40.5%

I'm giving this one the thumbs down. I was sorely disappointed and was hoping for so much more. The beer pours a nice cloudy, tawny brown, with a caramel consistency, and a smallish head. The head dissipated quickly, no lacing either. The smell is caramelized, yeasty, perhaps a tinge of some fruits, such as apple, rind, and lemon. The beer is medium bodied and then it goes down hill fast. This beer does a terrible number in terms of masking its robust ABV, in fact, I got nothing but harsh, throaty alcoholish burn. The beer had none of the candied sugar fermentation, the sweet yeasty malts of a Belgian, or the complex fruity carbonation and warming notes. This beer just hit all the wrong notes. I drank a small glass and got rid of the rest. What a disappointement. It seemed that they just let this one ferment too long until it carmelized what should have been warming notes, and lost its redeeming Belgian character.

01-04-2008 23:45:57 | More by albern
Photo of BasterdInABasket


2.28/5  rDev -39.7%

12 oz bottle poured into tulip
A- hazy brown/red with 2 finger off white head slowly dissipates into thin layer after couple of minutes
S- Raisin, lots of sugary sweet raisin, can smell it immediately as the bottle is opened, very strong and distinct
T- Same as smell- Lots of sugary raisin sweetness, not my thing, trying to get over it but really can't
M- Medium-Full Bodied, Good amount of carbonation. The flavor reeally lingers on the tongue
O- I dont see myself revisiting this one again, My taste buds just don't agree with this one.

09-22-2012 05:41:23 | More by BasterdInABasket
Photo of bobhits


2.3/5  rDev -39.2%

deep amber 2 finger head. Tones of bubbles racing to the top.

Belgium yeast and malt...wow...how new. Touch of alcohol.

Sweet, yeasty, amber, caramel malt covered in yeast...simply boring as hell. If you like this style be default enjoy...otherwise avoid like the plague.

Lots of carbonation, medium body...very drinkable very nice mouth feeling.

Abby ale is another word for crappy yeasty mess more often than not. I have had so many beers of this style and I keep being left baffled how people enjoy it. Candy and sweetness are not positive unless balanced by a bitter flavor. These beers lack that and ultimately suck as a result. Factor in this isn't an overly well done one for the style and things just get worse. It's odd I can love a beer of this style if they get it right...and i mean RIGHT, but even the slightest failure and it's crap. This sadly is crap.

If you like the style give it a try but for me and at 9.4% it's just a keep away.

09-27-2010 08:50:05 | More by bobhits
Photo of capeannbass36


2.33/5  rDev -38.4%

Cork was a pain to open...then just a pffft....no pop.

A- Pours a dark ruby mahogony with a one finger tan head that fades quickly....although the lacing hangs around for awhile.

S- Sweet malt, almost too sweet.

T- Oh my god....this is too sicky sweet. Feel like a little kid rejecting some nasty childhood medicine. Horrid. Forced two more sips down, for a total of 3. Dumped this one.

M- Somewhat slick and oily.

O- Perhaps this was a bad bottle?? I tried tweaking my review...can't....I am shocked at how bad this was.

07-24-2011 16:11:51 | More by capeannbass36
Photo of Yojimbo1941


2.35/5  rDev -37.8%

Poured from a 1pt 9.4 fl oz bottle into a tuilp glass

A - Dark brown with reddish hues, slightly off-white head which quickly dissipated

S - Dark plums, raisins, a bit of cherry, brown sugar, cinnamon, some dark bread, dates, gingerbread

T - A weird sushi flavor is the first thing I noticed. Odd. Soy sauce? Overripe plums, vinegar, rotten fruit

M - Medium

D - At 9.4% this is not one to session, but relax with, which makes it all the more frustrating that the flavors are off. Maybe I got a bad bottle so I'll hold off posting this review until I've finished my first glass.

Post-first glass:

Gets a bit better taste-wise but I'm still confused by the first impressions. Again, maybe I bought an off-bottle. I'll try it again some time but until then I can't really recommend this beer. I am disappoint.

01-28-2010 22:23:14 | More by Yojimbo1941
Photo of MrGroovy

2.43/5  rDev -35.7%

I signed up with Beeradvocate to review this beer. I agree with one reviewer who said it has a delicious, rich, complex initial flavor.... quite appealing... That reviewer mentioned the flavor of figs.... Yes, a fruity, complex and delicious FIRST flavor was evident and appealing....

But in the bottles I had it went downhill FAST after a nice beginning. Some kind of sweet and awful taste rises up as it stays in your mouth and as you swallow -- I wouldn't call it an "after" taste because it starts BEFORE you actually swallow the beer!!!

This is sad because the first flavors in the beer are great but it quickly takes on a strangely rich fruity awfulness.

Maybe it had gone bad and skunky in its own way? I bought it chilled at an upscale market... so I assume it wasn't THAT old....

Having read another reviewer who noted the same problem, I wonder if the brewery knows about it? Someone should tell them -- Great beer at first, strange and awful secondary flavor / aftertaste....

01-30-2013 17:53:39 | More by MrGroovy
Photo of tonistruth


2.45/5  rDev -35.2%

A- 2 finger off white head with good retent, dark bronzed amber, lacking lace

S- fruity, sweet & spicy alcohol, sweet

T- alcohol present throughout, sweetness rather tame, fruity, dried fruit, hints of cardboard, sugary, simple, alcohol can get harsh awith warmth

M- medium body, but very light on palatte, hagher carbonation barely felt, alcohol burn (especially with warmth)

D- simple for a belgian, bland at times, nothing worthwhile, at least its for a charity

06-02-2007 18:05:01 | More by tonistruth
Photo of kwkdmk


2.5/5  rDev -33.9%

11-09-2013 21:53:38 | More by kwkdmk
Photo of alomo


2.5/5  rDev -33.9%

03-18-2013 02:34:20 | More by alomo
Photo of Daniel101


2.5/5  rDev -33.9%

05-31-2013 21:26:50 | More by Daniel101
Photo of ktanner99


2.5/5  rDev -33.9%

08-29-2013 02:54:21 | More by ktanner99
Brother Thelonious from North Coast Brewing Co.
85 out of 100 based on 2,323 ratings.