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Brother Thelonious - North Coast Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Brother TheloniousBrother Thelonious

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

2,259 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,259
Reviews: 938
rAvg: 3.78
pDev: 13.76%
Wants: 47
Gots: 181 | 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)
View: Beers (23) |  Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,259 | Reviews: 938 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of jmerloni


1.48/5  rDev -60.8%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

A - Dark walnut brown, moderate head that doesn't lace real well and has zero retention. Dull looking, though.

S - Almost nothing here, some grape, cherry, raisin, and other dark fruits. Little maltiness to speak of on the nose. Kinda just smells like rum. And vinegar.

T - Ew. Dark fruits that taste molded. No hops to be spoken of and nothing but nasty white sugar. Wow. I didn't expect this beer to be the disaster that it is.

M - Terrible mouthfeel. Light to medium bodied. Tastes like a skunked beer that's thinned out from a decade of sitting there. I feel like I should stir this shit every time I take a sip because it's so out of whack. The flavors are entirely disparate and not together. The alcohol comes through entirely, and the only thing I can taste on the swallow is vinegar and it stays there.

D - Atrocious beer. Worse than anything I've ever tried. This is a pathetic attempt at the style and a pathetic attempt at a beer. This should be used as a salad dressing or something. I've grown to know and love beer, and this beer is a disaster at its fullest. Worst I've tried to date in a list that includes "Cave Creek Chili Beer" - whatever that is. Don't ever buy this beer - this is awful and I feel insulted that a respected brewery would put this out on the market.

PS: I should note that Ruedrich's Red Seal amber ale is one of the three beers I've ever rated as 5 stars - right next to Pliny The Elder - so it's not like this brewery can't do better than this crap. This is fucking terrible and they should be ashamed of themselves for thinking they can swindle people into buying this just because they price it at 11 dollars a four pack and think they can convince people it's good via the price they set. Pathetic.

PSS: Fuck - I can't believe I have to finish this. Picture the worst wine you've ever drank and imagine drinking a 3 liter bottle in one sitting.

This is embarrassing for this brewery - I can't believe they put this crap out on the market. They should be ashamed of themselves. I don't care if I never taste Ruedrich's Red Seal ever again - this brewery deserves not a cent of my money for putting this beer out. They will never get a cent of my money again. This beer is shameful. I don't support the idea of good breweries putting out shit beers and thinking they can make money off of them just because they have a good reputation and because THEY THINK THEY CAN FOOL PEOPLE BY CHARGING AN INORDINATE AMOUNT FOR IT. Beer drinkers are not fools, North Coast - I'm sorry. I will have no part of giving you another cent. What a joke.

Serving type: bottle

09-29-2011 23:50:50 | More by jmerloni
Photo of 2xHops


3.68/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I'd like to preface this review with a disclaimer. I have had some belgian ales, but I am trying to think if I have drank any comparables that I can compare this beer to. I can't at this moment, so I realize this may be the first beer in this style I've had.

Let's talk about my first impression, then?

It's certainly dark, and it was served to me in a Chimay glass. Is that good? I don't know. It did smell somewhat sweet to my unrefined nose. The taste was good, but I have to agree with some of other reviewers who said it seems to be quite too sweet. It's the dominant flavor profile: sweet, sweet, and quite malty. It certainly did mask the alcohol fairly well, but it did make me wonder if there should have been a bit more of something else to help counter the sweetness?

Overall, it was a fun beer to try, and if anyone want a strong one, they should try it. Although, I'd have to say, if there was a bomber of this beer, I don't think I can finish a bottle on my own without becoming a bit out of it! 9.4% ABV will do that to you, and if that's your cup of tea, go for it!

Serving type: on-tap

09-24-2011 05:12:50 | More by 2xHops
Photo of puboflyons

New Hampshire

3.38/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Sampled on September 22, 2011. When the caged, corked top is removed there is an abundance of smoky carbonation. The pour is a decent looking reddish-brown but the head dissolves quickly. The aroma tends to remind me more of wine than beer but it has an inviting character with its toast and apricot fruit. The body is around medium. The 9.4% ABV is noticed in the flavor right off and it certainly smacks me across the face with its potentcy. It tends to take over the taste. Complex but dry at the end.

Serving type: bottle

09-23-2011 02:02:19 | More by puboflyons
Photo of agomega


3.73/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle served in a goblet.

Appearance: Pours an amber brown color with a large foamy white head. The head evaporates into a thin creamy layer floating on top of the beer. Good lacing.

Smell: The smell is primarily fruity with a strong malt backbone. There is also some faint bready yeast small and slight hints of plums and bananas.

Taste: Strong malty caramel flavor with hints of bread and fruit. Definitely on the sweet side without much bitterness for balance.

Mouthfeel: Creamy smooth mouthfeel with medium carbonation.

Overall: A good beer, especially if you enjoy sweeter beers. My favorite aspect was the mouthfeel which was very creamy and enjoyable. I would be happy to drink more of it, but I'm not sure I would buy it again since it is priced similarly to many other higher caliber Belgian ales.

Serving type: bottle

09-22-2011 22:02:19 | More by agomega
Photo of EricMichael

North Carolina

2.9/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2.5

Normally, when I review a brew, I do so in a manner that is very professional and structured. This brew makes me feel like it isn't worth the little bit of extra effort, but I feel it's still important to speak my piece.

The appearance was the best part of this brew. A nice copper with an excellent sized head, however one that almost immediately vanishes.

The scent wasn't too bad and maybe because it was on the weaker side. Smelled of toast with a hint of fruit.

First taste, I cringed with how it felt in my mouth. Crazy after-taste and feel in the back of my throat and on my tongue. Very sweet malts. Toast with an apple spread and a whole lot of metal-something that makes my mouth feel like I need to brush my teeth. Unbalanced. The Belgium-style aspects of this beer are what redeem it enough to be worth of a 3.0 for taste, but the feel in my mouth was just bad. I was tempted not to finish it.

Serving type: bottle

09-20-2011 02:47:03 | More by EricMichael
Photo of TheBeerAlmanac


3.9/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into a snifter

A: Pours a copper, caramel color with a foamy, creme colored head, not really what you'd expect from a traditional abbey ale.

S: Aroma is sweet, very pleasant but very deep with peaches, apricot, pumpkin, maple syrup and a touch of nutmeg. Not quite pungent, but on its way there.

T/M: Tastes as dark as it appears with raisins, plums, dried apricots, pumpkin spice, candy sweetness, even a bit of smoke in the finish. It has a thicker mouthfeel than a lot of Belgians along with a medium amount of carbonation.

It's a great beer, a little heavier than expected, but still very good. And sweet, very sweet.


Serving type: bottle

09-13-2011 00:54:39 | More by TheBeerAlmanac
Photo of ikantspel


3.95/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

poured from 12oz bottle into chalice. chilled to 61°

pours a solid dark brown. good carbonation catches up and creates a wonderful head

cant really pinpoint a smell. cocoa/molasses with a hint of plum

pleasing taste and aftertaste. malt and toffee

pretty good for a belgian style abbey ale. although i haven't tried to many at this point in my drinking days i can only hope they're all this good

Serving type: bottle

09-09-2011 02:55:01 | More by ikantspel
Photo of Knapp85


3.53/5  rDev -6.6%
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.

Serving type: bottle

09-07-2011 02:34:54 | More by Knapp85
Photo of Chaney

District of Columbia

2.65/5  rDev -29.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Since I'm a working professional musician, I have a lot of fondness for the idea of this beer. "Supporting Jazz Education." Awesome!

A: Maybe a slight bit of red through the dark brown madness, but not a helluva lot. A slight, semi-dangerous, solid white head (maybe a 1/4 finger or so) that clung to the glass in a ridiculous way.

S: Tons of banana upfront. I always seem to get that in the center of Belgium funk for some reason. Brown sugar, a hint of butterscotch, and quite a bit of malt.... ala Scotch Ale.

T: Pretty sugary and Belgian-y... sipper for sure! Lots of brown sugar, toffee candy lingering on the front, middle, and back ends. There is nothing really refreshing about this one on any level.

M: Certainly not very drinkable IMO. The carbonation was low, yet appropriate and the lacing was moderate. The sugar content, however, was off the charts!

O: Sort of a blah Belgian, with a very saturated sugar content. I liken this to eating a mallow creme dessert during the fall season. I friggin hate those things! However, this is slightly better.

Serving type: bottle

09-03-2011 01:21:29 | More by Chaney
Photo of birdypowder


3.73/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark amber with some reds mixed in, attractive to look at. Lacing was lacking as was head retention. Clarity was fine.

Aromas of dark fruits particularly raisons. There was also some phenolic spiciness, slightly earthy.

The sweetness is enjoyable with the dark fruits coming through nicely. Some roast pops through and the alcohol is hidden well.

The beer seems to lack a "middle", it rushes to the dry finish which is a bit astringent.

Serving type: bottle

08-29-2011 00:59:04 | More by birdypowder
Photo of DarthKostrizer


4.15/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Look: Dark mahogany in color with traces of lighter reds around the edges. 1/4 tan head and ok retention

Smell: Bready yeast and some dark fruits

Taste: Very plum and raisin forward and very heavy on the malt profile which I like. Very light bready notes and traces of caramel on the backend

Mouthfeel: Medium body and medium carbonation and leaves a sticky feeling in your mouth

Overall: This is one of my favorite American Belgian strong ale's. It's solid in all the areas that it needs to be.

Serving type: on-tap

08-27-2011 17:36:44 | More by DarthKostrizer
Photo of Rickythejeweler


3.4/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Deep ruby/garnet, one finger white head, little lacing, carbonation bubbles.

S - Raisons, light brown sugar, plums, mild fruits, little spice in the back.

T - Grapes/raisons, belgian yeast, thats about all I get.

M - Moderate carbonation, dry finish.

O - I was excited about this beer, but unfortunately it did not meet my expectations.

Serving type: bottle

08-26-2011 16:27:22 | More by Rickythejeweler
Photo of mostpoetsdo

Rhode Island

3.5/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark mahogany, red hues poke through in the light. Thin head dissipates quickly.

S: Lots of tart cherries, sweet raisins, and a raspberry preserves scent. Some spice in there.

T: Jam-like sweetness through dark fruits. A bit hot; spicy alcohol in the aftertaste. Molasses finish, a bit funky. Tart plums.

M: Medium to full body, a bit syrupy; and rough around the edges due to alcohol.

O/D: Maybe this beer needs some time to rest. It was tasty, but not all that enjoyable, if that makes sense.

Serving type: bottle

08-25-2011 15:25:51 | More by mostpoetsdo
Photo of Haybeerman


2.98/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Deep chestnut color. Poured a 2 finger light tan head that dissipated quickly to a broken skim and eventually disappeared. Lace washed down the glass.

S: Candied black cherries and pineapple. Very sweet, almost sugary, malt. Very strange.

T: Wet grain flavor, but tart, sweet fruit still very prominent. Bourbon-soaked black cherries. Sweet and warm, finishes dry. Taste tires quickly.

M: Light body. Moderate carbonation. Carbonation fits the beer well and finish is nice and dry, but it can't compensate the sweet, dull taste.

O: More like a malt liquor with residual sweetness and big alcohol burn.

Serving type: bottle

08-21-2011 19:54:56 | More by Haybeerman
Photo of match1112


3.63/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

a:pours a dark caramel color with dark red highlights and little head that doesnt stick around long.

s: malts and dark fruits.

t: more malts dark fruit and caramel.

m: filling with a creamy malty feel.

o: worth the try, wouldnt turn down a free one but probably wont buy again anytime soon.

Serving type: bottle

08-15-2011 01:31:22 | More by match1112
Photo of jbphoto88


2.78/5  rDev -26.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a giant bottle, corked and caged. The brother flows quite nicely with a thick yellow khaki head and a clear dark red. The beer is a rich deep color and is quite the looker but the head settles very fast and stunts the overall look.

The nose is slightly deceptive and not great for the style. It has a fruity cherry scent and a pineapple IPA-ish bouquet. There isn't much of a malt base and it mostly smells too sweet. Kind of disappointing.

The taste rebounds with hints of the elusive grain but still has a dominate tart fruit flavor. Think a light booze soaked cherry with a musty yeast flavor. The flavor isn't really offensive but it's dull, boring and redundant.

The mouthfeel is by far the best part with a fine champaign like carbonation and a great dry finish. However the mouthfeel being great doesn't make up for a lackluster taste. This beer is a solid pass if you ever see it. A shame because I love the rest of north coast's lineup that I've tried.

Serving type: bottle

08-13-2011 22:27:39 | More by jbphoto88
Photo of scottfrie


4.22/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap in Lodi. This would have been served in a frozen pint glass but I asked the bartender if I could have two half-full pours in one of their snifters, and he obliged.

A: Served a very dark mahogany red with a thin light tan head that faded into a thin collar leaving a few wisps of lacing down the glass.
S: Very fruity with notes of dark cherries, raisins and other dark fruits, and a bit of caramel.
T: Follows the nose with syrupy flavors of dark fruits, cherry juice, sweet caramel, toffee, rum soaked raisin bread, a hint of cinnamon and cocoa, and maybe a touch of nutmeg. I get a faint hint of tobacco in the finish.
M: Medium-thick body, soft carbonation with a bit of warming alcohol in the finish that’s really pleasant and works well with the rich flavors of this beer.
O: Maybe not a benchmark of the style but this beer is a real pleasure to drink, and I’ve enjoyed it every time I’ve had it.

Serving type: on-tap

08-13-2011 16:10:18 | More by scottfrie
Photo of MEsoJD


2.58/5  rDev -31.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

A: Dark brown with a slight red tint. Head dissipated fast.

S: Dark fruits and sweet malt.

T: Noticeably sweet and clear alcohol presence. Aftertaste is peculiar, tart, and not satisfying.

M: Medium body and carbonation. fizzy....

O: Very disappointed with this one. I can't find anything satisfying with this beer. It's too sweet, tart, and intruding carbonation. I will defiantly wouldn't recommend and won't be buying another bottle. Rather go for a chimay [blue].

Serving type: bottle

08-12-2011 11:46:45 | More by MEsoJD
Photo of Nerudamann


3.5/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a snifter glass.

Look - a deep brown color with about half a finger's worth of medium tan-colored foam that dissipates somewhat quickly.

Smell - sweet, a bit biscuity maybe, and malty with a hint of a spice maybe.

Taste and Mouthfeel - indeed malty, but also definitely with a warming mouthfeel and spiciness. Finishes with a slight musky feeling toward the back of the throat. Texture is pretty well balanced, although maybe a very slight bit more toward the watery side.

Overall - pretty decent brew, and fairly interesting in taste. Not the most interesting that I've tasted or that you'll find, but still captivating enough.

Serving type: bottle

07-31-2011 03:21:54 | More by Nerudamann
Photo of DaftCaskBC

British Columbia (Canada)

3.8/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the Alibi Room in Vancouver.

A: 1/4" mocha head that left a nice lacing over inviting cola coloured liquid.

S: Sweet, malts, yeast, and fruit.

T: Boozy with a malty and fruit finish.

M: Thick viscosity with a medium level of fine carbonation

O: Not as drinkable as it could be as it doesn't hide the alcohol very well.

Serving type: on-tap

07-30-2011 09:53:07 | More by DaftCaskBC
Photo of capeannbass36


2.33/5  rDev -38.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

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.

Serving type: bottle

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


3.68/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours dark copper with a large, fading head.
Nose shows rich sweet malt by the truckload: caramel, golden syrup, milk chocolate, raisins and prunes are all quite noticeable. The hops are also rather potent (for the style) with resinous pine and soft tropical fruit apparent. Nice stuff.
In the way of flavours similar malty characters are first up, with lots of brown sugar and dried fruit at the forefront. However, soon after this is trampled by piney hops and strong, hot alcohol. Quite a dissapointing finish.
Carbonation could be higher, body thicker.

Serving type: bottle

07-24-2011 03:23:26 | More by CrazyDavros
Photo of justintcoons


3.88/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: Pours a cloudy dark brown that's almost opaque. Some light passes through creating copper highlights. Thin head that dissipates quickly with somewhat poor lacing.

N: Concord grapes, dark Belgian candy sugar, plum, cherry candy and caramel.

T: Ripe plum, fig, hints of Concord grapes and medicinal cherry. This is followed by some nice Belgian funk, bready malts, toffee, dark Belgian candy sugar and clove. Finishes with a sort of black licorice/cocoa kind of taste along with the clove.

M: Medium bodied, creamy, spritzy and burns the tongue a bit with carbonation.

O: This is a pretty good Belgian Dark Strong Ale. It's complex but the more I drink the more the flavors become muddled together. Not necessarily a bad thing, just not as exciting as the first few sips. There is no sign of the 9.4% abv and the flavors are rather pleasant. Give it a try to taste it for yourself.

Serving type: bottle

07-22-2011 00:24:11 | More by justintcoons
Photo of shanblur


3.85/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a snifter. Date on the bottle is 2/1/10.

A - Pour yielded little to no head which quickly faded to a ring of foam. Dark brown opaque color.

S - Caramel malt and figs on the nose with a definite alcohol presence.

T - Sweet malt flavor with a warming alcohol feel. Some funkiness on the finish.

M - Medium bodied and oily with a light carbonation

Overall a nice beer. Very sweet, but a nice accompaniment with the strong alcohol presence.

Serving type: bottle

07-15-2011 17:24:55 | More by shanblur
Photo of Brunite


4.38/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A-Pours a dark ruby color that is deep and rich. The head is small, fizzy, tan.

S-Dark fruits such as raisin, dates, and figs, with a rich wheat bread scent.

T-Dark fruits along with hearty bread notes. Strong dark fruity note of dates and figs are present.

M-Smooth with a sweet feel. Medium bodied with a clean, dry, crisp, finish.

O-This is as good as an dubbel I've ever had. Very tasty...very drinkable. Will be getting more to try again and solidify my feelings. But...I like this!

Serving type: bottle

07-12-2011 05:54:14 | More by Brunite
Brother Thelonious from North Coast Brewing Co.
85 out of 100 based on 2,259 ratings.