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Brother Thelonious - North Coast Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Brother TheloniousBrother Thelonious

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
86
very good

2,472 Ratings
THE BROS
75
okay

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,472
Reviews: 955
rAvg: 3.79
pDev: 13.72%
Wants: 54
Gots: 258 | 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
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Ratings: 2,472 | Reviews: 955 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Sammy
3.38/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

amber with soapy big head, lace. Watery, sweet and orange peel, which makes it easy to drink, herbal tea spicey which turns it off for me. A tad toasted malt. Thanks Derek.Big alcohol, not noticeable, but inefficient to the taste. Serviceable beer, not quite up to its style. So passable.

Sammy, Feb 23, 2007
Photo of t0rin0
3.75/5  rDev -1.1%

t0rin0, Dec 01, 2012
Photo of spycow
3.75/5  rDev -1.1%

spycow, Mar 11, 2013
Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.98/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap for the 4th Annual LA Beer Week Beer Festival at Union Station in Los Angeles, CA.

Pours a slightly murky honey brown with a foamy khaki head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, grain, brown sugar, caramel, yeast, and spices. Taste is much the same with a mild spice bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer that is tasty and easy to drink.

UCLABrewN84, Oct 03, 2012
Photo of djrn2
4/5  rDev +5.5%

djrn2, Dec 17, 2011
Photo of zestar
3.75/5  rDev -1.1%

zestar, Aug 01, 2014
Photo of acurtis
3/5  rDev -20.8%

acurtis, Jan 08, 2012
Photo of Thorpe429
4.05/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Rustico in Alexandria, VA.

Pours a deep brown with a little bit of a head, which sticks for some nice lacing. Smell is mostly dark fruit--cherries and dates--with some caramel and malt sweetness. Taste is mostly dark fruit, residual sweetness, and some Belgian yeast. Very nice mouthfeel with good carbonation. Drinkability is very nice and smooth.

Thorpe429, Feb 18, 2010
Photo of nmann08
4/5  rDev +5.5%

nmann08, Nov 28, 2011
Photo of Texasfan549
3.5/5  rDev -7.7%

Texasfan549, Nov 22, 2013
Photo of metter98
3.95/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: The beer poured rather dark amber in color with a thin beige head that quickly dissipated into just a few bubbles around the edge of the goblet. A light amount of carbonation is visible.
S: The aroma is rather complex and the nose has notes of caramel, cherries and plums.
T: The overall taste is relatively sweet and has flavors of cherries, raisins and malty sweetness.
M: It feels light- to medium-bodied and very smooth on the palate.
D: The beer is very easy to drink and the alcohol is well hidden.

metter98, Jun 19, 2010
Photo of GRG1313
3.9/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Found in 12oz bottles and gave it a try having passed by, for some reason, the larger bottles.

Pours a dark copper red/brown with a lovely thick off white head.

Nice nose of malted fruit-cooked bananas and hints of tangerine peel and gives way to smells of big, rich cherries.

Flavors are a bit short and quick but nice. Flavors of roasted grain, cooked fruit, malt and bananas with some carmel and toffee and with an overwhelming cherry back palate and character.
Has a nice acidic character or bright fruit, almost more like wine than beer.

Sweet fruity finish that is not unpleasant but a bit of a "soda pop" character all around; perhaps too much of a cherry character; may not be all that food friendly. Just my opinion, as always.

GRG1313, Jun 10, 2009
Photo of kjkinsey
4/5  rDev +5.5%

kjkinsey, Dec 04, 2011
Photo of brentk56
3.98/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a dark mahogany color with a decent head that disappears way too quickly and leaves a few spots of lacing

Smell: Various fruity esters, including prunes, apricots, dates and applesauce along with some distinct fusel alcohol aromas

Taste: Starts with a rather fruity element that mirrors the aroma, along with some maple and spice cake flavors; following the swallow, a harsh, woody element takes over (perhaps this will subside with age)

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied and surprisingly effervescent

Drinkability: This beer has a fair amount going for it and is a good effort on the part of a US brewer to create a dubbel; it could use a bit more depth of flavor and a less harsh finish

brentk56, Jul 22, 2006
Photo of BEERchitect
3.73/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A really good attempt at packaging of this product. The cork and tie-down, the label, and 750 mil bottle all make a convencing Belgian look; even with a bit of sarcasm in the image. Pours a rich, rust color with a 50% haze and good head retention. Very sweet in the nose--some of malts, some of complimentary grains, sugars, and fruity esters. Tastes very sweet with barley malts, candy sugars, wheat malt, and an underlying confectionate sugar flavor. Balanced with a mild hop bitterness, alcoholic bite, and fruitcake variety. Still, lacking the complexity and true Belgian yeast characters. Not as tart or pepery as I like in true Belgian varieties. Just not funky enough. The feel is nearly sticky-sweet, rich, and full; helped out with some alcohol thinning, but remains very sweet well into the aftertaste. Overall, a fine brew, but cannot compete with the Belgian greats, especially for the price.

BEERchitect, Jan 28, 2007
Photo of Phyl21ca
3.9/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of Bu11zeye: Poured a deep mahogany color ale with a medium size dirty brown head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of sweet malt with a small touch of dry fruits is quite interesting. Taste of sweet malt is offset by some light dry fruits. Body is quite full with some adequate carbonation and no alcohol was noticeable. I thought it lack some complexities for the style but still very enjoyable nonetheless.

Phyl21ca, Jun 13, 2007
Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.15/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

"If your middle name is Sphere, you're much more likely to become a jazz pianist than...say... an accountant or a dentist."

--BuckeyeNation

Darkest honey with a generous infusion of cranberry and orange. I love the color of the beer, and I don't mind the golden ecru color of the cap, but the texture of the foam leaves quite a lot to be desired. It's harsh and unsticky, nothing like the majestic, creamy, rocky caps on Belgian beer. As far as lace, two words come to mind: diddly squat. The score will be a combination of the good and the bad.

The brewery calls Brother Thelonious a Belgian 'Dark Strong Ale', which should correspond to a BSDA on this site. No matter, I've always had trouble telling Belgian dubbels and BSDAs apart. The nose is a wonderful melange of semi-dark fruit (figs and dates), along with dark caramel, spicy clove and an appealing phenolic character that doesn't go overboard. Looks like this one might have the chops to hang with some of the big boys.

This is good stuff that only lacks the dizzingly complexity of the world's best versions. The flavor profile follows the nose, more or less: pureed dates, a hint of raisin paste, a dram of Islay Scotch, sweetened tobacco, a twist of orange peel and a sprinkling of ground clove. The beer is broad rather than deep, but I'm not about to hold that against it because I'm enjoying it so much.

I like the amount of dark candi sugar that has been used because Bro Thel is sweet without being cloyingly sweet. The minor amount of mouthcoating is just right in one sense, but a little more clinginess might result in more flavor linger and a deeper appreciation of what this big brew has to offer. The alcohol has been masked to perfection.

The thing that keeps this offering from the big leagues is the mouthfeel. The body is fine and dandy. The feel of the carbonation is not. Like the head, the mouthfeel is too harsh. A large part of what makes Belgian beer so good is a perfect amount of creamy expansiveness. North Coast would do well to send someone across the pond to learn from the masters before they create their next batch of Belgian-style ale.

I like what Brother Thelonious has to offer. At the risk of beating a dead horse, it does most everything right... except carbonation. Otherwise, it's a jazzy little number that is making my taste buds dance with joy. I consider the $7.59 money well spent and will gladly buy a few more bottles the next time I have the opportunity.

BuckeyeNation, Oct 23, 2007
Photo of jaydoc
3/5  rDev -20.8%

jaydoc, Aug 31, 2013
Photo of mikesgroove
4.35/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Huge tan colored head reached skyward to a eight that easily surpassed the top of the glass. Good thing this pour was into a 24oz glass. Nice, opaque brown color was evident from the start with a rich looking hazelnut tone to it. The head finally calmed down after about twenty minutes but still dropped tons of foam and lace along the glass.

The aroma was very nice, a little bit ruddy at first. Hints of chcoalte and caramel, rich belgian spice and a wonderful bit of dark fruit all dancing around wonderfully inside of it. But it was once I took a sip that everything really came together for me. A wave of cascading brown sugar and tart apples just rolled across the tongue. Enormously rich and vigorous, this was just a wonderful thing to behold. Nice touches of chocolate and rich toffee like notes were all balanced well in advance of a lovely dark fruit tone that led the charge once the yeast kicked in. Nice notes of prunes and rasins, hints of plums and dark cherries were all very much evident in the profile. The carbonation was spot on, as the rich, velvet like bubbles converged on the tongue and added to the prickly pepper like spices that lasted long into the finish. Smooth as silk with almost all the alcohol very well hidden, this was certainly a gem.

mikesgroove, Apr 30, 2011
Photo of kylehay2004
3.5/5  rDev -7.7%

kylehay2004, Feb 16, 2014
Photo of Knapp85
3.53/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This brew poured out as a dark reddish brown color, the head was a cream color and looked pretty fluffy. The smell of the beer had some dark malt aromas giving off a little sweetness and some bready Belgian yeast as well. The taste of the beer has a little bit of dark fruit in the mix along with some earthy notes. The mouthfeel was about average for me on this one, it's smooth but just doesn't wow me. Overall this beer isn't bad, I know a lot of people who love it but I've had it a few times and I still haven't been overly impressed by it.

Knapp85, Sep 07, 2011
Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
3.5/5  rDev -7.7%

westcoastbeerlvr, Nov 15, 2011
Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.08/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

(On-tap at the Brick Store Pub).

Appearance: What a beaut! Crimson red hue capped with a rather sturdy tan-colored head.

Smell: Suitably rich, yeasty aroma consisting of bananas, cherries, and spice layered with a pleasing malt presence.

Taste: Hefty malt sweetness upfront with notes of chocolate, brown sugar, almonds, and more cherries (providing just a tinge of tartness). Ends with just a soft touch of pepper in the otherwise sweet, lingering finish. Never really delivers any substantial hop bitterness or flavors.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied, and surpassingly soft on the palate.

Drinkability: Are you up for a decent American attempt at a Belgium style? This can be that beer. It will be that beer.

ChainGangGuy, Aug 09, 2006
Photo of SocalKicks
3.5/5  rDev -7.7%

SocalKicks, Mar 14, 2012
Photo of largadeer
2.85/5  rDev -24.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

750ml bottle. It's a dark but beautifully clear crimson red. The head is off-white, fairly lasting. It smells like fried bananas, raisins, bubblegum and licorice candy.

Flavors are similar, banana especially, sweet and overripe. There's a bit of cocoa that only enhances the sweetness, along with raisin, date, iron - the dried, concentrated fruit flavors are intense. It's not a terribly rich beer, but it is overly sweet, and the yeast strain fails to impress.

I've had this beer several times over the years, and it's never made a strong impression on me. Merely an OK example of the style.

largadeer, Jan 04, 2011
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Brother Thelonious from North Coast Brewing Co.
86 out of 100 based on 2,472 ratings.