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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

2,208 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,208
Reviews: 934
rAvg: 3.78
pDev: 13.76%
Wants: 45
Gots: 162 | 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: 2,208 | Reviews: 934 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of bagpiper2005


4.25/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pour: Deep, clear reddish-brown color, and just as red as can be when held to the light. A finger and a half of reddish-brown head that dissipates quickly and doesn't lace the glass.

Smell: Malts are the star here. Hints of sweet caramel, toffee, brown sugar. Hints of raisin and apple, and a touch of chocolate.

Taste: The front end is deliciously fruity sporting notes of sweet raisins and tart green apples, which then gives way to a caramel and brown sugar taste. The middle of the palate is nice and yeasty and the back end finishes up with a touch of chocolate and alcohol warmth.

Mouthfeel: Rather light for the style and ABV (closer to a medium body), though a bit chewy. Pretty high carbonation.

Drinkability: A lovely warming sipping beer. Smooth drinking and delicious.

Final Notes: Yet another solid (albeit high-octane) offering from North Coast. Makes a great dessert or winter beer. Highly recommended.

Serving type: bottle

09-20-2010 22:37:23 | More by bagpiper2005
Photo of Vixie


3.48/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours very dark, not quite black, reminds me a lot of the color of a cola drink. Not a lot of head, maybe a half inch of a tan head.

This smells sweet, a lot of malt, a lot of yeast. Also has a bit of a hint of citrus in it.

Tastes similar to the smell, a bit on the sweet side. I can also detect hints of coffee and chocolate in there. Finishes dry, with a hint of hops and Belgian candy sugar.

Seemed a bit on the thin side to me, a bit more body wouldn't hurt here.

While not a great beer, very much not a bad one either. The sweetness reminded me a bit of a fruit beer. Definitely worth a try, but won't become one of my regular beers either.

Serving type: bottle

09-18-2010 00:09:36 | More by Vixie
Photo of morebeergood


3.3/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Purchased a single small bottle at Whole Foods for $3.49. Poured into my Ommegang chalice. Dark color of faded ruby. Had a moderate sized head, but it faded rather quickly. Minimal lacing on the glass. Smell was very ripe with notes cherry and prunes, but also hot with booze. Taste was flavorful but unbalanced. Had a nice fruit flavor like figs and rye bread, but then it had a medicinal quality to it like cough syrup. Mouthfeel was very sticky, the body was thin, and the high abv was right up front. This beer does not feel good in your mouth. Does not remind me of other well-made dubbels I have had. Perhaps this beer could use a bit of age in the cellar to mellow out. But to drink one right now was not a great pleasure. Worth a try, but not worth buying again on my part.

Serving type: bottle

09-17-2010 18:06:48 | More by morebeergood
Photo of twelvsies


2/5  rDev -47.1%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

I had this beer probably five years ago when I first saw it. Wasn't impressed, but I figured it was worth another try at least so I can put the awesome Monk bottle next to the DFH Bitches Brew bottle I have. Anyway, on to the beer...
Actually, one interesting side note - I've opened probably hundred's of thousands of corked bottles (6 years of bartending, several beer bars) and this was the hardest bottle to open.
OK, now on to the beer. Dark brown color, odd colored brownish head, dissipates quickly. Man, the nose on this is quite funky, not in a good way. Definite whiff of soy sauce, not a good sign, and cardboard. Unfortunate. It really is an alright tasting beer, but if I catch that whiff before a sip it kind of ruins the whole thing for me. Sticky mouthfeel... Too bad - I really wanted to like this beer. I am a jazz musician myself and Thelonious Monk is one of my idols. Too bad the beer does not represent. Awesome label, great brewery (otherwise), yet a terrible beer. It's ok, it was worth the $9 to have the bottle on my shelf.

Serving type: bottle

09-09-2010 01:16:18 | More by twelvsies
Photo of dgilks


3.55/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Deep mahogany colour with a red tinge. Small tan head with poor head retention.

Rich sweet bready melanoidins with noticeable alcohol. Not as fruity as many dubbels.

Very sweet, thick bready malt character with a mild fruit character. More doppelbock than Dubbel.

Medium-full body with moderately-high carbonation.

Good flavour but not really Belgian in my book.

Serving type: bottle

09-06-2010 08:56:19 | More by dgilks
Photo of comfortablynumb1


3.95/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750ml into a Ballast Point pint glass...

A - Poures a reddish brown color with a one finger tan head that dissipates fairly quick. Not much head retention or lacing with this one...

S - Pick up notes of dark fruits, raisins, and something sweeter. Maybe caramel or brown sugar...

T - Plums, raisins, apricot, and various other fruits followed by a smooth alcohol warmth. This is one tasty beer...

M - Medium bodied with a decent amount of carbonation...

D - Bought this one on a whim, and I wasn't disappointed. Another solid brew by North Coast. Definitely something that I will be picking up again...


Serving type: bottle

09-04-2010 23:20:12 | More by comfortablynumb1
Photo of rembrant


2.17/5  rDev -42.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

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.

Serving type: bottle

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


3.65/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a syrupy blackish-brown into a Duvel tulip with a minimal film of head. Sweet Belgian yeast aroma of peppery banana and clove.

Slightly high carbonation and a full mouthfeel. Sweet up front with plenty of fruit and spice followed by a very nice chocolate malt creaminess. Finish is oddly metallic.

Pleasant enough but not a stellar example of the dubbel style. I found the initial flavors excessively sweet and the finish to be a bit "off".

Serving type: bottle

08-30-2010 04:53:54 | More by grittybrews
Photo of bmwats


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

Poured from a 750 ml. bottle into a tulip.

A: Dark brown. Pours about a 1 finger, foamy, brown-white head. Settles fairly quickly leaving a thin layer of foam and a slight buildup around the sides of the glass.

S: A little oak and some nice bittersweet chocolaty, fruity goodness.

T: Sweet malty goodness. Nice and nutty.

M: Light finish, but full and robust body.

D: Uhhh.... it's great.

Atmosphere is really solid here. Very strong, dark, and regal appearance. Nose is a nice balance of earthy and sweet components. Flavor is beautiful. Full and robust. Overall, this is a very good quaff.

Serving type: bottle

08-28-2010 07:46:19 | More by bmwats
Photo of tempest


3.75/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I think this beer might need a style change as it tastes and feels a lot more like a Belgian Style Strong Dark (as North Coast calls it). The beer reminded me of Unibroue's stronger, dark offerings. The malt is a bit syrupy with a mix of caramel and dried berries. Otherwise there's a bit of spice, but this beer needs a bit more complexity to stand up to the leaders in the style. Still, I think this could make a great beer to age for a couple years.

Serving type: bottle

08-26-2010 02:01:33 | More by tempest
Photo of Mosstrooper


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

Poured from 750mL bottle into 16oz Samuel Adams Perfect Pint glass.

Appearance: Ruby-caramel in color with a large, yet quickly dissipating tan head that leaves no lace, but leaves a layer of foam floating on top of the beer. Many, many bubbles inside around the sides of the glass.

Smell: Sweet dark fruit aromas backed up by touches of caramel, chocolate, and yeast.

Taste: Begins with apple and red grape sweetness, rounding out to a chocolatey finish that also holds some plum notes. The finish also reveals slight yeast and a touch of bittersweet alcohol. As the beer warms, some spicy, almost cinnamon-like flavors come through.

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with a somewhat sticky finish that ends up drying out as the alcohol takes over and warms some.

Drinkability: This is a very good dubbel, and a very good representation of the style. Definitely a nice sipping beer, and definitely one I would like to drink again- certainly worth a try.

Serving type: bottle

08-21-2010 19:04:56 | More by Mosstrooper
Photo of thagr81us

South Carolina

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

Served from tap into a tulip. Pours a nice deep red-brown with a two finger off-white to light tan head that subsided to a minimal amount slowly. It maintained nice lacing throughout. The aroma was comprised of malt, fruit, and a subtle hint of alcohol. The flavor followed the nose with malt, fruit (mostly bananas), and a slight alcohol burn upon swallowing. It was light on the palate with medium carbonation. Overall this was not that bad. I really like the fruit flavor to it as it was not overpowering and made the brew quite smooth. I would definitely drink this one again for sure.

Serving type: on-tap

08-20-2010 14:36:27 | More by thagr81us
Photo of Naugros

New Jersey

3.48/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Brewing a beer in honor of Thelonious Monk deserves credit right there. The word play between his last name and a holy man being attached to an abbey style ale is sweet. But then giving him a piano keyboard halo is genius.

I wish I could say I enjoyed the beer as much as the label. It's got a beautiful deep ruby color, but little head retention. The nose is all dark fruit and Belgian yeast with a little bit of spice. All pretty standard so far.

I struggle to find anything special about the taste. It's also pretty standard for an abbey ale: dark fruit (fig and/or raisin) mitigating the alcohol with the yeast adding a little spice (coriander and pepper). That spice brings some acridness to the back of the throat. That last, to me, is not a favorable experience and really detracts from a beer that starts off with a nice medium body. Another reviewer referred to is a metallic taste. I sense it as acrid, but it could be taken that way as well.

Perhaps I have had way too many dubbels at this point and have spoiled myself with some great ones out of Belgium as well as from Unibroue, Allagash and Ommegang. This doesn't really measure up to those. However, it is the best Belgian style brew I've had from the West Coast.

Serving type: bottle

08-18-2010 02:14:35 | More by Naugros
Photo of mexikrainian


4.7/5  rDev +24.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. poured into a Duvel tulip.

Aroma: raisin, brown sugar, cherry, malty and spicy.

Appearance: rich, hazy dark amber with thick off-white head and lace.

Taste: crisp, clean, and malty goodness. Smooth acidity with slight note of molasses at the finish.

Mouthfeel: medium-full body with perfect carbonation.

Overall impression: delicious, malty Belgian dubbel. The best American Belgian-style by far.

Serving type: bottle

08-12-2010 00:17:50 | More by mexikrainian
Photo of cheftasia28


4.43/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a Chimay goblet.

A: Surprisingly dark coming from AgentMunky's recommendation for a finale beer ending a night of beer reviewing. I very dark golden brown with red tones. When held up to the light it shines a brilliant ruby red.

S: Very fruity and sweet! TO me, it smells like heaven! Almost has a candiness to it. There is a very mild alcohol aroma under the fruit and brown sugar.

T: DAMN DELICIOUS! Berry and fruit tones sing a beautiful melody. A banana end taste is undeniable. Not a strong after taste which is short lived which only forces me to take another sip!

M: It is light with a refreshingly crisp carbonation. Very clean and very good.

D: Of all the beer I have tasted, which has not been that many, this is hands down the best! This will soon become a constantly stocked beer in my fridge. Highly recommend.

Serving type: bottle

08-08-2010 22:01:37 | More by cheftasia28
Photo of detlefchef

North Carolina

4.35/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Chestnut reddish-brown, very brilliant color. Like others in the portfolio, it has the look of someone who knows how to finish beers. Cocoa and fried raisins on the nose. Smooth, deep, and succulent flavors of spice and dried fruit confiteure. Great texture and very drinkable for the style.

Pairing: Mole Poblano deconstructed. I'm typically averse to "un-making" a classic dish like Mole Poblano, but the beer seemed to release each of it's classic mole flavors one at a time and I think it would be an interesting pairing (even if a lesser dish than a well-made mole) to feature the elements taken apart on the plate.

Serving type: bottle

08-03-2010 19:56:52 | More by detlefchef
Photo of kwjd

Ontario (Canada)

3.6/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a reddish-brown that starts with a huge tan head. As the head settles down, has nice retention and lacing most of the way down. Smells of the Belgian yeast and sweet fruit. Taste is quite sweet, with minimal bitterness. Flavour has cherry and raisin, with lots of sugar. Good carbonation level. Just a bit too sweet for me, but overall a good beer.

Serving type: bottle

08-03-2010 00:07:57 | More by kwjd
Photo of thekanna


3.08/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Had at Kramerbooks and Afterwords Cafe in Washington, DC.

A: Poured into a stein; relatively thin with a ruddy copper hue and half a glass of off-white head.

S: Malty sweetness, a bit of metal, dried cherries, and spices... I detect peppercorns and coriander.

T/M: Spices... some nutmeg and pepper, a bit of caramel, sweet malts, cherries and other dark fruits (maybe fig?), rounded out by an overarching iron-like metallic taste, kind of like blood. Much thinner than I would've liked the style to be.

D: Not bad, not great... the iron-like taste kind of destroyed it for me.

Serving type: bottle

08-01-2010 15:03:28 | More by thekanna
Photo of Ghenna


3.9/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a corked and caged bottle into a SN hop glass. red/brown pour with 2 fingers of well lingering tightly bubbled off white head.

A little bit of candy sweet in the nose, along with a big Belgian spiced malt smell. Appetizing.

First sensation as I drink it is that it is kind of creamy in terms of texture. Initial flavor is hard for me to describe, I guess i would say it goes malt sweet -> spice -> kind of dry finish. Alcohol is obscured until it warms up, then procedes to warm you up nicely as well.

This is actually kind of a neat beer for me to have again. The first time that I tried it, as part of the beer flight at the NC taproom, it was one of the first craft beers that I had ever had. Truthfully I wasn't terribly fond of it. These many (well, ~5) years later my beer palate has changed to where I honestly think this is a really quality brew- and thats not just because it is corked and caged. This is a really good dubbel.

Serving type: bottle

08-01-2010 00:02:51 | More by Ghenna
Photo of StoneBrewFanatic


4.05/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours reddish brown into my pint glass with two fingers of bubbly head that dissipates very quickly, decent lacing.

S - Smells of spices, cherry, yeast, brown sugar and raisins.

T - Up front you get the spice, cherries and yeast then a little alcohol burn then melts into a nice sweet malty molasses finish.

M - Not as smooth and creamy as I would like, carbonation is a little overwhelming in my opinion.

D - I like this beer and I am glad I tried it, however one is probably enough for me.

Serving type: bottle

07-31-2010 18:44:23 | More by StoneBrewFanatic
Photo of silver0rlead

North Carolina

4.18/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep mahogany color with a frothy tan head that retains well for a high ABV beer, one of the better looking dubbels I've come across. The aroma has a lot of dark fruit upfront (notes of date, fig, raisin, and cherry), along with some candy sugar and molasses, toasted bread, yeast slightly floral hops and alcohol. The flavor also starts out with huge fruit notes (blackberry, cherry, raisin, date), along with some burnt bread, candy sugar, molasses, esters, yeastiness, flinty hops and alcohol. The mouthfeel is smooth and rich and drinkability is very good. An excellent dubbel, easily one of my favorites in the style (though it could really be considered more of a BDSA), it's flavorful, balanced and complex.

Serving type: bottle

07-30-2010 03:53:02 | More by silver0rlead
Photo of Tone


3.93/5  rDev +4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear, dark amber. 1/4 inch head of an off-white color. Slight retention and poor lacing. Smells of alcohol, sweet malt, slight dark citrus, and slight yeast. Fits the style of a Dubbel. Mouth feel is smooth and clean with an average carbonation level. Tastes of alcohol, sweet malt, yeast, hint of roasted malt, and slight dark citrus. Overall, poor appearance, but otherwise a good Dubbel.

Serving type: bottle

07-25-2010 17:18:18 | More by Tone
Photo of mithrascruor


3.55/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a chalice.

Appearance: Pours a dark reddish-brown color with a tan head. The head turns quickly to a film.

Smell: Slightly sweet malt flavor with a hint of alcohol.

Taste: Spicy malt flavor with some dark sugar and fruits (fig, plum). More sweetness at the finish, with hints of alcohol in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Light- to medium-bodied with mild carbonation. Pretty smooth.

Drinkability: Alcohol taste stands out a bit too much.

An alright Belgian-styled ale. A bit much alcohol and a tad too thin & sweet.

Serving type: bottle

07-22-2010 21:53:26 | More by mithrascruor
Photo of Amalak

New York

4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had at a nice bar in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Wish I could remember the places name cuz it was sweet.
A- It has a deep black-red cherry color to it with a tan head and lacing.
S- Alcohol scent is strong.
T- As you would expect from the scent, it is a beer that will put hair on your ass. Thick malt alcohol taste. Definitely high quality. Sweet and fruity, it tip toes on port.

Serving type: bottle

07-20-2010 22:13:48 | More by Amalak
Photo of Long813

Ontario (Canada)

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

Dated: NA
From: Premier Wine & Spirits

A: Dark red-brown body and almost no head. Lacing is good.

S: Mixture of dark fruits, spices and sugar. Decent aromas.

T: Same as the aromas, mixture of dark fruit and sugar with a spice finish. No yeast notes at all.

M: Medium bodied and high carbonation. Sweet fruit finish and the alcohol is noticeable.

D: Decent drink over all, but nothing special.

Serving type: bottle

07-18-2010 00:43:08 | More by Long813
Brother Thelonious from North Coast Brewing Co.
85 out of 100 based on 2,208 ratings.