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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

2,346 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,346
Reviews: 944
rAvg: 3.78
pDev: 13.76%
Wants: 49
Gots: 209 | 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
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Ratings: 2,346 | Reviews: 944 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of largadeer
2.85/5  rDev -24.6%
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
Photo of kgullatt
2.8/5  rDev -25.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Was ok. I was excited about trying it but a bit let down. Didn't have quite the flavor I was expecting. Not bad, just nothing to write home about. Everything was average, shared it on Christmas with my uncle and we both had the same reaction to it. I won't buy it again because I'll be trying to find another Belgian SDA I like better

kgullatt, Dec 28, 2010
Photo of Fatehunter
3.13/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - 750mL bottle poured into a snifter. Copper, almost opaque, almost an inch of dirty white head.

S - Rich smell of wet malt.

T - Malty, sort of sweet at first. Alcohol, slight bitterness. Very sweet ending. The taste is one dimensional unfortunately.

M - Light body, moderate carbonation.

D - Drinkable, but lacking the complexity and head that an abbey ale ought to have.

Fatehunter, Dec 25, 2010
Photo of schoolboy
3.53/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I am a big fan both of Thelonious Monk and dark Belgians. That would seem to make this a natural. For whatever reason, I don't think I ever bought these before this week.

The packaging is wonderful, and for the first one, I listened to my favorite jazz bootleg, Monk in Bremen, 1965. I think that recording has the sublime versions of a bunch of Monk classics because it was a perfect combo.

I am not commenting much about the beer because it needs aged. It's rough and not ready. I opened a second one and it is just like the first I had a couple days ago. Overpoweringly belgian. It needs to mellow out in my aging area for a year or so. It is a waste to drink it as is. In a year I will find out if it is any good.

6 months later: ditto. Hmmm. It may be a little mellower. But it's not much better. Still a bit too yeast dominated a Belgian. Stong Belgian. I think I have one left. I'll let it sit longer.

schoolboy, Dec 23, 2010
Photo of GLM0011
3.15/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Chocolate imperial flavor,malty. Good beer when your getting close to the end of your beer session. Strong,creeps up on you. Good beer. The color and smell are the best parts of this beer. Similar to the rasputin but sweeter. Worthy for a repeat on a cold day...

GLM0011, Dec 19, 2010
Photo of LacquerHead
4.28/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured this into a wine glass

It poured a light brown color with a faint rust hue. Little head formation. a weak lace formed.

This had a candy malt aroma.

The sweetness was the first thing I tasted. It had a candy-like taste mixed with with dark fruits - prunes perhaps. Some spice flavors came up now and then. There was a very faint floral and yeast taste.

M/F: sweet. A tad carbonated bite at the start.

D: the ABV was well masked for the most part. The alcohol began to creep up was it warmed. Still, it was very drinkable.

Conclusion: I liked this one. My only real complaint was the M/F. I would have liked a more softer carbonation. Nonetheless, I liked the dark fruit sweetness.

LacquerHead, Dec 19, 2010
Photo of LeftyEtc
3.75/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Blood orange in color with a thick half inch kaki head. Slightly cloudy composition.

Smells of cherries, orange peel and a hint of anise and wonderful toasted malts.

Initially sweet packed with several excellent layers of malts. To me, anise and allspice are the first spices come to mind when tasting this awesome medley of many complex flavors.

This beer is somewhat thick and chewy, moderately carbonated and warming with a very slight alcohol burn at the end.

This beer drinkable and delicious.

LeftyEtc, Dec 13, 2010
Photo of musicman575
4.97/5  rDev +31.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

How would one explain a beer like this to a person who only drinks Bud Light? Seriously, I feel like all my old college bros need to wake up and smell the craft brew, but they'd surely call me a p***y for what I am about to write.

Brother Theolonius is comparable to the same brewer's Pranqster as New Belgium's 2 Below is to Fat Tire - it is mostly just a stronger version with more of the good stuff. The malts have a honey-like quality and are quite aromatic. The alcohol content will surely give you a warm feeling. This is one of the best beers I have ever enjoyed.

musicman575, Dec 12, 2010
Photo of jsh420
2.58/5  rDev -31.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

pours cloudy dark amber orange with a 1+ figner head that left no lacing

smells of dark fruit and the strangest thing hot sauce??

taste is a little better then the nose - brown sugar dark fruit malts but there is still some flavor that is way off and i cant put a finger on it - not a good example of the style

mouthfeel is right - medium body with good carb

drinkability is not good - off flavors - maybe a got a bad bottle but it will be a while before i buy another

jsh420, Dec 10, 2010
Photo of dwilson01
4.1/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured from a bomber into my new belgium tulip glass, the body is a very dark brown which turns dark ember red when held up to the light. The head is a tan mocha coloring which dissipates quickly with nice lacy fingers trailing down the glass.

The smell is rich and dense which I like a lot. I get maple syrup and raisins with a mellow amount of hoppy spicing. good distinct scents here to entice your nose.

The flavor follows directly from the nose, definitely a dark fruityness coming through, raisins, plums, and black cherry in my mind. This is combined with a sweet malty flavor of maple and brown sugar which is balanced just enough by a mild spiciness, nutmeg and cinnamon is what I taste from those.

The mouthfeel is lightened by the carbonation to keep the dense malt from weighing you down all but isn't as much as you would get from a chimay.

Overall this is a must try, I had it a long time ago and forgot how great it is. Well balanced and I think a solid dessert brew it's just what I look for in a belgian abbey ale.

dwilson01, Dec 05, 2010
Photo of tchenery
3.95/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz. stumpy. Has a great thick tan head on top of a hazy amber color. Head is already lacing the entire glass.

Smells of rich dark fruits. Plums, raisins, the whole lot. It is very effervescent and almost wine like with it's vinuous characteristics.

Very full of flavors similar to the aroma. Dark fruit, a bit of chocolate, tobacco, somewhat smoky, with cherry and spice on the end. The alcohol warmth is almost a bit too warm and the body of the beer doesn't cover it up very well, it's very apparent.

Very full bodied dark ale, but almost thin tasting. It kind of coats your mouth for a second and then the Belgian champagne bubbles lift it off, leaving a slightly sweet and dry feel.

A 750 of this would be perfect for sharing with a partner.

tchenery, Dec 04, 2010
Photo of bishopgary
3.9/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A:Poured dark amber, pretty clear. Short foamy head that dissipated fairly quick, leaving slight lacing.

S: Dried fruits, especially plum and raisin. Hints of Candi sugar as well. Also pretty strong malt aromas.

T: Excellent. Starts out port-like with hints of fruit and alcohol. Complexity with a bit of bitterness and spice. Finishes with a nice round malt flavor and some sweetness. Not overpowering, well balanced.

M: Nice Heavy body, I wonder if those who say this is light/watery are mainly commenting about bottle servings. Carbonation was nice, could have been a bit more, especially with the alcohol content.

D: Drinks like a 7% or so. Definitely one to purchase now and again. Definitely a great beer to have with a selection of cheeses or other sharp appetizer. Could also take the place of desert.

bishopgary, Nov 30, 2010
Photo of despainmakesbeer
3.33/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Dark mahogany with some brown. Very clear, 1/4" head at pour, dissapates to thin ring around edge, and some smoke on face. Maltiness in aroma, candied sweetess, dark raisiny fruit. Dark fruit also found in flavor. Alcohol burn, high carbonation. Not a lot to flavor in end, lots of sweetness up front, light caramel, almost an apply character in middle. Not much in aftertaste, slightly mediciny finish, not as dry as I would expect for style. Decent, not as good as I remembered havin the first time.

despainmakesbeer, Nov 29, 2010
Photo of davesway10
3.75/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Another fine offering from north coast, really i love what these guys are doing. Nice Dark, fruity, Carmelley intense beer. just what i am looking for from an american-belgium beer. I'll pick this one up whenever i see it on the shelves. Excellent beer here.

davesway10, Nov 28, 2010
Photo of mltobin
3.63/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A friend of mine picked up a bottle of this, finally got to try it !

Appearance is dark brown with a small head, a thin ring sits atop this beer from North Coast soon after pouring.

Smell contains dates, sugar and just a hint of vanilla.
Its taste has some of the aforementioned notes, along with molasses and is warming with the alcohol. MF has a good texture. Drinkability is about average with the sweetness and alcohol in the beer. It is a good beer, but not a great beer for this style.

mltobin, Nov 24, 2010
Photo of boss302
4.33/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Brother thelonius. 

A Dark brown, in a tulip glass, not see through. 4

S Caramel, chocolate, sweet plum, candy sugar aroma. Some anise.  4.5

T Chocolate with a nice roasty finish. There is some sweetness from the high alcohol, but expected. There are other flavors here, like candied fruit and anise, but the roasted malt finish is really the main event. 4.5

M Heavy body, good thick mouthfeel. Carbonation is good, but could use a little more. 4

D Yes. Good beer, but the high alcohol keeps It from being a quaffer. 4 

boss302, Nov 23, 2010
Photo of mariposafan
3.7/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Pours with a short loose head over a dark amber, crystal clear body.

The aroma is somewhat muted but what's there is sweet dried fruits and some spiciness - mostly clove.

The taste is definitely not muted! A little tart, a little light bitterness, some clove character and some red wine - almost port like. There's also some minerality that brings a little saltiness to the tongue. Some alcohol but it's not overpowering.

The mouthfeel is watery with too much prickly carbonation. A definite letdown given the richness of the taste.

Drinkability is very good for one, but the alcohol is strong enough to keep me from even thinking about another. Still, it's not like I can taste the full 9.4% - it's much more like 7% to the taste.

mariposafan, Nov 20, 2010
Photo of megahurts4
3.98/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Brother Thelonious

Appearance: brown, small head, and some lacing.

Smell: caramel, malts, and some dark fruits.

Taste: roasted malts, malty thickness, and very subtle dark fruits.

Mouthfeel: medium-heavy.

This is a good brew. I didn't detect roasted malts in the nose, but they are prevailent in the taste. It does well to mask the alcohol.

megahurts4, Nov 17, 2010
Photo of wahhmaster
3.98/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a Duvel tulip.

Appearance: The website calls this beer "dark mahogany" which sums it up pretty well. Dark brown with rich reddish hues. Has a large, foamy head which dissipates down to a foamy cap and leaves impressive lacing.

Smell: Has that yeasty smell common to most Belgian or Belgian-style beers. Besides that, it has a rich malty nose with hints of alcohol and spices.

Taste: It starts fairly bitter but is quickly overcome by a rich, sweet maltiness. Hints of yeast and caramel coupled with a slight alcoholic bite also come out.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied and crisply carbonated.

Drinkability: A drinkable and accessible Belgian dark ale. It certainly doesn't match up to its Belgian counterparts but it is a decent interpretation of the style. I could see it being used to introduce people to the taste and flavor of Belgian beers. All in all, it's quite tasty and I'm happy to have it knowing the money goes to a good cause.

wahhmaster, Nov 15, 2010
Photo of DelMontiac
3.23/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured a deep mahogany red - very nice color. Sparse short-lived off white head - flash in the pan.

S: Simmered dates, raisins, and cherries on the backside. A red table wine comes to mind here.

T: First sip is a bit surprising as I didn't expect a sourness like that - it's straight up front too. Hmm, still...red wine, with some peppery spice which it probably the only interesting part, ethanol bleeding through slowly, but without burning. Slightly metallic aftertaste.

M: Slightly reduced in carbonation as predicted by the thin short-lived head. Medium-thin body with dry finish. Nothing special.

Overall: This beer is one that I'd wanted to try for some time, but always passed it up in the store for other brews that seemed more interesting. Seems I was right most of the time. I may revisit this one at a later date, but not anytime real soon. I feel it falls short of what it aspires to be.

DelMontiac, Nov 11, 2010
Photo of BigMike
3.15/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a deep murky maroon color. Head is very thin and soapy and disappears as quickly as it came.

S: smells mostly of raisins and grape juice.

T: Just like the nose the raisins and dark fruits are in the forefront. A touch of some spicy cloves and a tiny bit of chocolate in the after taste.

M: Light on the tongue with a little stickiness. Pretty sweet with no alcohol presence.

Overall: Pretty much an average dibble at best. Not a ton of mouthfeel or complexity. Drinkable though but I wouldn't really want to.

BigMike, Nov 07, 2010
Photo of slayer3604
4.03/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours with almost TOO Much head that takes its sweet time dying down, to amass upon a bloodorange body. The smell is almost TOO muted for the strength, which is a plus, but its TOOO MUTED. I'm getting some over ripe grapes, fig, and rum raisin but thats taking HUGE sniffs. Tastes really really yummy. Everything is in balance, but its MUTED. I don't know how they made a 9.4%er this smooth. Again, props, NC. Has a slightly spicy medium body with a sticky finish. Could be worse but could be better. This is the most drinkable 9.4%er I've had. People say how Lobotomy Bock is 10.8% and smooth....yeah right that beer is like 4%....I always recommend they try this one and see which one gets them krunk first. haha cheers NC!

slayer3604, Nov 05, 2010
Photo of lacqueredmouse
3.73/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a very thick and rich deep red-brown mahogany. Head is firm and thick, a big dollop of yellow-tan bubbles that dissipate, leaving some ecstatic lacing. Body looks very deep and heavy, but despite this, there's minimal static bubbling as it's swirled. Still, looks a very decent brew. Some hazing would maybe help, but it's good nonetheless.

Nose is quite oaky, with big vinous characters coming through. Sweet hints of molasses and fresher notes of crushed leaves. Slight acidity to it as well, giving a carbonic fizz to the aroma. It's not quite right for a Belgian ale, but there are certainly pleasant characters to it.

Taste is sweet and rich, and again quite oaky, with a finish that stems from melted sugar and roasted grain. Initially, the vinous characters come through with a woody astringency, before this drops out, leaving a sweeter and softer note which extends to the finish, getting thinner and thinner as it goes. Feel is rather light, and the faint seltzer acidity doesn't help this perception, but it fits in with the finish at least.

Yeah, not a bad brew, but nothing that's going to excite you beyond redemption. I'd happily drink it again, and would probably even select it again, but maybe only if there was not a new, and potentially more exciting option available.

lacqueredmouse, Oct 31, 2010
Photo of Nuceman
4.4/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Found this in the back of my girlfriends mother's fridge, didn't know where it came from, or what it would be like, but I love some Thelonious monk, so I gave it a try.

Poured it into to a glass, it came out a brownish red color, and gave about a three finger head that to my delight stuck around for awhile. To me it had more of a homemade wine taste, I don't no why it could have been old, but I throughly enjoyed it. I'm planning to pick up a bottle wherever I can find it. I would suggest this to anyone. Good Job North Coast Brewing.

Nuceman, Oct 28, 2010
Photo of charlzm
4.05/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Consumed October 12th, 2010 at Tony's Darts Away, Burbank, CA.

Clear, deep brown with a one finger head.

Aroma is meaty (?) with sweet malt and a tiny bit of smoke. Some dark pitted fruits as well.

Flavor is malt-forward but not overbearingly so. Hints of chocolate and a red grape flavor. Very low bitterness.

Smooth and a little coating on the finish.

Don't know why it took me so long to have this one, but I'm not afraid of it any more! Smooth and drinkable but deceptively high in ABV.

charlzm, Oct 27, 2010
Brother Thelonious from North Coast Brewing Co.
85 out of 100 based on 2,346 ratings.