Brother Thelonious - North Coast Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Brother TheloniousBrother Thelonious

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very good

2,518 Ratings

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Ratings: 2,518
Reviews: 959
rAvg: 3.79
pDev: 13.72%
Wants: 58
Gots: 288 | 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)
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Ratings: 2,518 | Reviews: 959 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Kendo
3.9/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured into a Chimay chalice, the body is as advertized: dark mahogany. A quite small off-white head settles on top, the dissipates quickly. No lace left behind.

S: In the nose I get some fruit - cherries and berries and grapes. Not terribly strong, however, though I may be drinking this one a tad bit too cold. Let's see how it develops as it warms. . . .

T: Fruity malt, some bready malt & vinuous. Dark fruit (black cherries, perhaps) and candied sugar. Alcohol is definitely noticed, leaving heat down the gulley and a touch of spice. Clean. Finishes with a touch of bitterness or spice that offsets an otherwise sweet experience. Alcohol helps in that regard as well.

M: Feel is OK - nowhere near as good as the true Belgians, however. Call it medium in heft, with some prickly carbonation at the back of the mouth - not fizzy, but slightly prickly.

O: Solid. Not world-class, but solid, and a decent drinker.

Photo of andrecrompton
4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I am a Belgian Ale fan and this was a pleasant surprise. From the pour and the smell you can tell you are in for a treat. Deep dark mahogany body with a smooth belgian finish. It has some sweet notes in the middle of the taste. Strong finish.


Photo of Meerkey
3.63/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Cloudy dark red, ruby red when held up to the light. Bubbly, no real head. Very attractive against the light.

S: Fruits, malts, a little smoky, some alcohol, honey

T: Bready sweet malts and dark fruits. Smoky and a bit bitter. Slightest metallic hint?

M: Great. Burst of full, lingering flavor. Refreshing and finishes clean. Delightful carbonation.

O: A pretty good beer. The mouthfeel is the best part of it. Worthwhile to have one.

Photo of bpw28
4.38/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Apppearance:Small White Head, Color is beautiful, deep amber, like mahogany wood, Nice Lacing.

Nose: Granny Smith Apples, Light Roast, Smells Sweet Like Light Molasses

Taste: Very smooth, Sweet, Light Roast, Clove, A little odd twang (a good one), Fig, Spicy, vanilla on the end with an apple like after taste.

Final Thoughts: Wow. This bad boy needs to warm up a bit, but when it does, it blooms. I look at people's reviews after the beer and my notes and some of them say they didn't get much taste or smell. It's a shame, because I started out just like that for me, then it warmed up a good lot and it blew me away. I love this beer. Not overly complex, but enough for you to sip and savor instead of gulping down. Nice solid body. You're almost sad to see the bottom of the glass. This would be a great one to cook with if you can part with some of it.

Food Pairing: Grilled Pork, Roasted Pork, Goat Cheese, Chedder, Fresh Mozz, Roasted Chicken, Vinegary Items, Ham, Chutneys, Medium Spicy Foods.

Photo of alex667gbg
3.38/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A very sweet Belgian style strong ale.

The added sugar really effects the overall taste, in a bad way.

A beautiful colour and a burned smell and taste together with the sweet sums up a strong beer that would benefit greatly with less sugar, both in taste and in alcohol percentage.

Added plus is that a small portion of every sold bottle goes to Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, through North Coast Brewing.

Avarage beer.

Photo of BucBasil
3.35/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured on tap at The Federal in North Hollywood, CA.

A: The beer is a dark and cloudy reddish brown with an offwhite head that was about 1.5 fingers.

S: Subtle. Slightly fruity with light hints of dark bread. Slightly spicy. Fairly typical representation of the style.

T: Very spicy and malty with some funk in there as well. Unexpected roasted note comes into play and there are dark fruit undertones. Smooth going down with spiced characteristics in the finish.

Overall a good beer but a bit much - somewhat cloying. There are a lot of way better dubbels to be had, although it was ok once the food came.

Photo of OttoPeeWee
4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I think sometimes people just pick styles of beer because they want to brew in a certain style or the ingredients they used says it's that style. This is one of them. If it were called a doppelbock it would be fantastic, but because it is a Belgium beer then we are talking a different language. "Well You Needn't"!

So, onto the beer. Pours a golden brown with a thin head. The smell is of fig or prunes-good with a candyness to it. The taste is caramel, sweet husk, pepper, and yes a bit of mettalica (or it could be the rim of my Maredsous challis??).

Simply, I like the beer and I like the cause. Whatever the style he's playing, it tastes like the brewer loved it! Cheers, jazz and beer fans!

Photo of Pahn
4.1/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle into a wine glass. Bears mentioning that some of the proceeds of Brother Thelonious sales go to the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz.

Appearance: Free pour yields a one and a half inch offwhite head that dissipates slowly leaving behind some thin, bubbly lace. Pours a hazy dark ruby and leaves thin arcs of lacing.

Smell: Belgian yeast, grape/prune/plum; lots of bright, wine-like aromas, with sugary pastry underneath. Not too complex, but the aroma has great... refinement, I guess is the best way I can think to put it. I mean that there's this bold, deep clarity to the blend of Belgian yeast and dark fruit present in the aroma (it's almost leathery, but not funky). It's very nice.

Taste: Sugary and fruity up front, almost funky Belgian yeast in the middle, with a surprising coffee/chocolate like note going into the finish. Despite the sugar and somewhat heavy feel, the flavor has that same clarity from the aroma.

Is there roasted malt in this? The smokey, chocolaty, coffee-like notes in this seem inappropriate for the style, but they work so well with that main flavor of Belgian yeast and dark fruity esters. It tastes like a convincing rendition of a Belgian dubbel with some added roasted/chocolate flourishes.

As BSDAs go, this is pretty shallow, but the flavor is also very refined and very delicious. Its 4.0 is more of a "score low here, score really, really high there," 4.0, but the overall impression is "really good flavor."

Mouthfeel: Full side of medium bodied. A bit sugary, but not overboard. Low carbonation.

Overall: I like this beer quite a bit. For some reason, I refrained from trying it for a very long time. I should have known from Old Rasputin and Old Stock that this beer would be high quality.

I think you can sum up this beer pretty succinctly by just saying: It's a very well done Belgian dubbel/BSDA, with some unexpected roasted malt character. Will definitely buy again.

Photo of chefelf
4.22/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I enjoy Belgian beer. I enjoy the music of Thelonious Monk. Therefore I had convinced myself that I would enjoy this beer. I was happy to learn that I enjoyed it very much! It had a sweeter flavor than I expected but it was quite tasty.

I would have liked to listen to some Thelonious Monk while I drank it but my wife hates Thelonious Monk so I spared her that hardship.

Photo of Glibber
3.63/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a dark amber red, with minimal white head, not much of a smell and minimal carbination. Could not identify many flavors other than pepper, and even a smokiness. No dark fruits, but perhaps a light citrus that was more near the back end of the taste. Some alcohol taste, but not overwhelming. A decent beer, but I was expecting a little more.

Photo of mryuk
4.22/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours a dark amber brown with a half inch of head.

smell is malty and sweet with a bit of caramel and molasses.

taste starts off sweet, smooth and caramel with some smoke. finishes with slight hops.

mouth is medium bodied but probably too carbonated.

drinkability is good but for me it had way too much carbonation. flavors are very nice though.

Photo of DoktorZee
3.85/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a schooner. No obvious best before date.

A - deep brown, clear ale with a small tan head. Leaves behind moderate lacing.

S - sour malt notes with ripe apple/dried fruit.

T - hint of hops with some light yeasty notes shifting to a dried fruit (apple?) note at the end mixed with caramel.

M - sharp carbonation with moderate booziness.

D - moderately drinkable, but definitely has a serious kick.

Good beer, but there definitely are better examples of the style out there.

Photo of Chickenhawk9932
4.1/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep mahogany with a tan creamy head.

Smells of raisin, licorice, sour malt, and molasses.

Tastes of cherry, raisin, plum, and a bitter slightly licorice taste - very nice. Mouthfeel is beautiful with sweetness up front followed by a sting from carbonation and finishing with a crisp dry bitterness.

Photo of justiceavocado
3.7/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

L - Medium-dark honey-brown. Dark orange highlights around the edge of the glass. Not much head, just enough to say there was some. Slippery lacing of tiny bubbles disappears as quickly as it forms.

A - Floral and fruity up front, alcohol supporting the sweetness. Apricots and banana muffins.

T - Yeasty nose, like bread dough. Any bitterness it may have is in the middle of the taste, with a long, sweet, honey finish as you feel the alcohol dissipate.

M - Medium-to-thick body, noticeable carbonation. Fizzy.

D - Not shabby. Good, even. The mouthfeel kind of distracts from the taste, which makes me wish the latter were stronger.

Photo of VMWhelan
3.38/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Stella Artois chalice.

Pours a dark ruby/brown with one finger of creamy tan head.

Smells sweet and funky/fruity. Mostly getting dark fruits and sweet malt and maybe some vanilla and cinnamon. Definite alcohol notes.

Taste is sweet and fruity as well. Sweet caramel malt hits first, follow by a slight tartiness from the fruit. Ends with some spiciness- cinnamon and nutmeg mostly.

Mouthfeel is full, highly carbonated, and slightly dry.

Drinkability is ok. Although the alcohol comes through in the nose, it's not really there in the taste, though the mouthfeel does take some points from the drinkability.

Photo of JMad
3.78/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I poured a 12 oz bottle into my tulip glass...

The beer is dark brown color with reddish highlights and a thin, bubbly, tan colored head. The smell is mainly coloa, molasses, fig and spice. It tastes of dates and smokey caramel, there is a bit of peppery spiciness to it and an earthy aftertaste. It feels light, the carbonation is perfect, the abv is hidden well and it has a nice dry finish. This is a quality brew but it's not outstanding. I wouldn't seek it out but would definitely drink it.

Photo of smakawhat
2.88/5  rDev -24%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured from the bottle straight down the middle into a chalice.

A simple one and a half finger head which is kind of foamy, with pin sized bubbles, sits on a very dark clear amber body. Head doesn't manage to last as long as expected but goes down slowly.

There is almost a faint fruit bouquet on the nose, possibly dark prunes/dates, but the smell is then quickly overtaken by salt. It smells like table salt and doesn't let anything else come out to notice.

Taste is at first somewhat malty but very wet. Body is very much lacking in this beer. I figured the high abv would make the malt more noticeable giving me that sugaryness and fruit but it strangely doesn't even have that punch. This feels and tastes very LOW in abv which I guess is a good thing in one way, but there isn't a lot of flavor I associate with this style going on here in this drink. No bold fruit, sugars, malt nothing really...

I am going to have to give this a complete pass. This beer is just flat our boring.

Photo of Cresant
3.9/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served this 12 oz. brown bottle in a New Belgium goblet. No date. A creamy tan head settled to an island and light film. The body was brown leather and slightly hazy.

The smell was prunes and light molasses.

The taste was sweet malts and spicy. A bit jammy. Not too sweet but rather balanced with some smooth bitterness. Not harsh.

The mouthfeel was full/medium and it had plenty of carbonation. Actually better than I was expecting.

Photo of deltatauhobbit
3.55/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark amber color with a very large light tan head, fades at a wicked slow rate, leaves a few spots of lacing along the glass, the cap sticks around for quite awhile as well until it finally fizzes out.

Smell is primarily Belgian candied sugar, subtle hints of dark fruit.

Taste starts out with an aggressive carbonation that tingles the tongue immensely and fills up the mouth like a cola, definitely has that spicy Belgian character to it coupled with a sweetness from dark fruit and a slight banana aftertaste, the alcohol is rather well hidden and I'd believe it to be closer to 6% if the bottle didn't tell me otherwise.

I've seen this bottle in stores for the past couple years and just finally got around to try it. Not bad but I'm not sure I'd make it a regular purchase although the price wasn't too bad for what it is.

Photo of landoncomer
4.45/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured into a snifter from a bottle. Has 2 fingers of tan head with lacing. Smells of dark malt with some fruity tones. Very drinkable. The alcohol was hidden well. Color was dark color of coffee. As you swirl the volatiles release more fruity and malt. Great beer.

Photo of snaotheus
3.93/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

750ml bottle. For this review, I've only poured the top 2/3 of the beer into a big snifter, so sediment shouldn't have a big impact.

Biggish head, beige, fades to a kind of clumpy film with tall edges. Color is a deep ruby-brown, lots of active carbonation. Smell seems to be dominated by dates and/or other dark fruits. Sweetish.

Taste is sweet with a sour aftertaste, maybe a little lemoniness, but still the dark fruitiness is the primary thing. Raisins more than dates in the taste, I think.

Mouthfeel is kind of fluffy, and a strange combination of watery and dry. Sweetness is just a little much for me, but fairly good for the style.

Photo of henryd30
3.75/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark brown with thin head, resilient lacing.

S: Typical dark ale smell, carmelly alcohol scents with a hint of sweet fruits.

T: Very solid, typical of a fine belgian dark.

M: Slightly heavy, but not unappealing.

D: Went down nicely, could feel the ABV, but would definitely order again.

Photo of heebes
3.95/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle.

Pours a deep mahogany with reddish tints. Minimal light tan foam head. Nose is light and dark fruits, biscuity malt, cloves, banana esters and slightly phenol. Taste is what you'd expect but noticeably smooth and all the flavours blend together very well. There's the Belgian flavoured malt character and spices with banana and raison notes. Mouthfeel is heavy. Paired well with a grilled pumpernickle rye turkey sandwhich. If I recall, seemed pricey to merit multiple purchases. Enjoyed nonetheless and sparked reinterest in the style.

Photo of cgmees
4.33/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle, 25.4 oz or 750 ml

Dark caramel color with a small white cola head.

Smell very nice with all kinds of fruit and malts rising from the head.

Flavor was semi sweet with hints of raisins and fruit.

Nice mouth feel with a good lingering follow through.

One I will repeat in the future. Overall a very nice Belgian Strong Dark Ale.

Photo of AWolfAtTheDoor
4.4/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This was my night cap after an epic night of drinking at Pizza Port san clemente.

Dark dark dark with a great 1 finger head of mocha head. Decent lacing throughout the session. Was presented in a nice tulip.

Not a ton on the nose, but I was pretty well satiated as this point. A little dark fruit, a little maltiness.

Taste is fabulous. VERY mellow dark fruits (plums, raisins), with a nice malt backbone.

Nice mouthfell. Carbonation was low, but I felt this suited the style perfectly.

Insanely drinkable. ABV is incredible well hidden. I had this beer AFTER I had the 2010 Jubelale also on tap. This beer is the epitome of a sleeper. Just a great beer

Brother Thelonious from North Coast Brewing Co.
85 out of 100 based on 2,518 ratings.