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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

2,217 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,217
Reviews: 934
rAvg: 3.78
pDev: 13.76%
Wants: 45
Gots: 163 | 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: 2,217 | Reviews: 934 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Bootscraper


3.98/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

To be completely honest, I picked up a 4 pack of this at my local super market completely on a whim, simply because it had Thelonious Monk on it. It looked tasty though, so I thought "why not?". I was also pleased to discover that each purchase of this brew yielded a donation to the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Education. cool.
Served between 45 and 50 degrees F in pint glass (so I don't have a "chalice" yet, leave me alone) listening, of course, to Thelonious Monk's "Monk's Blues" album.
It sat in my glass as a near-opaque tea-colored shade of reddish brown. An all but vigorous pour only resulted in about 1cm bubbly off-white to tan head that started disappearing right away. I mean, by the time I got down to the bottom half of my glass, it looked like whatever was in my glass was not even carbonated.The lacing was also quite minimal, dissipating, and went completely away with the head, but fell slowly like a snowfall when present.
Please forgive my off-kilter notes here, but the smell at first honestly reminded me of a savory smoked barbecue. A more "professional" evaluation told my nose that the smell was both malty and fruity, and also working together in a great combination (barbecue? who knows). These aromas were invitingly strong, but subtle as a whole so as not to be too overpowering.
The taste is where I certainly unlocked the fruitiness... dark, sweet fruit... particularly raisins is what I found on my limited pallet. After the finish, it glides into a brief aftertaste composed of an alcoholic warmth and a sharp caramel or brown-sugar sweet. Each sip from lips to finish was slightly bitter, but I will assume that is quite natural, given the higher ABV content of this style beer.
This was a very full-bodied beer, and I can't emphasize enough how good at coating your mouth the flavor was. The mouth-feel also was quite sticky, and resulted in very lubricated sips (combined with the fullness of the beer, you can lick your lips and you are still finding deliciousness), as well as a motor-oil feeling after the finish that makes you want to hunt down some munchies. What I mean by that is that the finish in specific could have been just tiny bit more dry. But I for one don't mind the inert desire of hawking a humongous "lugee", because i feel like I just ate some succulent fruit up to a couple minutes after each sip. It was also enjoyably smooth, but I don't think it was as smooth as it could be, probably due to the very "upfront characteristics of the flavors working with that high alcohol content.

Overall, I recommend this beer if you are looking for something malty, full-bodied, and strong. Personally though, I won't be bending over backwards to try this particular style (if they all are like this, anyway) in the very immediate future.

Serving type: bottle

01-08-2009 03:18:38 | More by Bootscraper
Photo of BWMKappaSig


4.1/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Clear amber-brown with a thin almond-colored head. Very little lacing left on the glass.

Smell: Sweet carmel malts with a little fruitiness to it. Hints of raisin and spices. Very pleasant, with an almost sour note to it.

Taste: Very typical to style, it has a fruitiness and sweet roasted note to the malts, with a little bit of hop bitterness and some nice spice to balance.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, it coats the mouth very slightly. Generally smooth.

Drinkability: It is what it is, at 9.4 ABV. Drinks very well with a rich meal.

I love this style and this certainly is true to style.

Serving type: bottle

01-07-2009 22:27:30 | More by BWMKappaSig
Photo of KeefD


3.98/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A Belgian style dubbel at 9.4% ABV? Gimme some of that! Poured into a Westmalle chalice, dark red, nearly brown, cloudy, no head, no lacing. Very sweet aroma up front. I immediately thought of bubblegum upon the first smell. As I delve further into the nose, I'm picking some brown sugar, dark fruits and raisins with just a hint of sourness in the background. Nice and complex. Taste is also sweet upfront - a candy sweetness -hints of licorice, rum soaked raisins, and the bubblegum that came through on the nose also makes it's way to the tongue. Body is medium and the high ABV is well hidden, but becomes slightly more pronounced as it warms. I can't believe this is 9.4%! Very smooth and easy to drink. Tasty stuff, here.

Serving type: bottle

01-07-2009 01:02:54 | More by KeefD
Photo of ncstateplaya

North Carolina

3.55/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: It poured a stained brown color, similar to sweet tea with a thick bountiful nut colored head that eventually receeded to a sheet over the surface. IMHO the lacing was minimal, disappointing after seeing the abundant head.

Smell: The beer smelled strong of alcohol esters and belgium malts. Sweet like and slightly hoppy in the nose.

Taste: Sweet and tasty with yeasty notes. Loads of caramel and brown sugars and hints of raisins.

Mouthfeel: Is very nice, the body is accentuated by just enough carbonation. It is not as chewy as some belgiums I have had, but definitely pleasing with substance.

Drinkability: Highly drinkable, nothing overly impressive or overwhelming...but extremely easy drinking and smooth. A solid beer that supports a good cause, I look forward to drinking this beer again.

Serving type: bottle

01-06-2009 23:33:55 | More by ncstateplaya
Photo of IronDjinn

Alberta (Canada)

4.1/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours out a cloudy garnet/almond hue, tight fizzy cream coloured head that recedes to a thin frothy cap.

Aroma of carmelized malt and brown sugar, rum and raisins, dates, and some light perfume-y spice.

Flavour is more alcohol-infused than carmelized, dried dates and figs, more brown sugar rummy raisins, finishing with a mild yeasty spice. Burnt and carmelized notes linger in the aftertaste.

Velvety, creamy smooth mouthfeel, with a bit of carbonation spritz on the finish.

A straight forward dubbel with big flavour, and although a bit rough around the edges, it delivers goodness. I'd pick up more. A fine homage to Thelonious Monk as well.

Serving type: bottle

01-05-2009 23:19:00 | More by IronDjinn
Photo of praufs01


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

Appearance - Murky dark amber color with a head frothy light tan head.

Aroma - aromas of rum soaked raisins.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied brew that finishes clean.

Taste - Dark fruits, plums and raisins, on a light molasses backbone.

Overall - Pleasant but nothing special.

Serving type: bottle

12-29-2008 03:44:16 | More by praufs01
Photo of HeyItsChili


3.58/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured into a Chimay goblet. Pours hazy red-amber with a thin tan head.

S - Roasted malt, brown sugar, wheat.

T - Maple syrupy sweet roasted malts, spices, brown sugar.

M - full bodied, medium carbonation.

D - Tasty, strong, maybe a tad too sweet for some.

Serving type: bottle

12-23-2008 03:14:53 | More by HeyItsChili
Photo of magictrokini


3.33/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Did not live up to expectations. Mahogany pour with a bubbly off-white head. Solid aroma or malts, alcohol, and smoke. The peat, yeast, caramel, and nutty flavors are good, but really washed out. This came so close to greatness. Instead, good, but not memorable.

Serving type: bottle

12-10-2008 22:41:20 | More by magictrokini
Photo of Pencible


4.1/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This poured an opaque mahogany with tan head. It smelled like earthy wheat with some wild honey and caramel malt and wild yeast, with a bit of lemon hops and alcohol. It tasted like earthy barley and brown malts, with some lemon hops and wild yeast, and a bit of oak and alcohol. It gained a much more prominent creamy caramel malt flavor as it warmed. It was somewhat thick with some carbonation, and had a lasting bittersweet aftertaste. Overall this didn't have the best flavor cold, but it becomes great as it warms. It had good body, and a clean character that hid the alcohol decently. This is enjoyable fresh, but I could see it improving even more with age. The best feature is the more subtle yeast, as compared with the overpowering wild yeast most Belgian ales have.

Serving type: bottle

11-30-2008 23:25:26 | More by Pencible
Photo of kevd193213

Rhode Island

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

750 mL bottle. Brownish amber pour with a medium tan head. Aroma of caramel and raisins. Nice lacing, even taste of raisins, caramel, bread and malt. Aftertaste has a nice warming alcohol flavoring but not too much that gets in the way of an even finish.

Serving type: bottle

11-30-2008 14:37:36 | More by kevd193213
Photo of BWH3


4.2/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Clear, red brown ale with beige bubbly head which falls to a gentle still lace rather quickly. The color is very red for a dubbel. The beer is also very viscous when agitated and has a fair amount of legs.

S: Cherry, raisin, sherry, caramel. The yeast give off a fruity and spicy scent. Minor notes of banana and clove and cinnamon can be stirred into the vapors with a quick swirl.

T: A light vanilla and carmel open to a richer raisin flavor. A warm alcoholic heat comes on before a moderate hops bitterness quenches those flames. The hop bitterness is dull and somewhat bland but serves its duty. The whole thing ends with a bit of spicy phenol to round things out. Quite impressive but the alcohol and hop bitterness are a bit out of bounds for the style.

M: Slight creaminess, still, less than ideal head retention.

D: Excellent beverage. Not quite a dubbel. I think works better as a Belgian Specialty Ale such as Artisanal Amber or brown.

Serving type: bottle

11-29-2008 20:47:29 | More by BWH3
Photo of corby112


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

Serving type: 750 ml. bottle.

Pours a dark, cloudy brown color with a thick foamy beige head. Nice aroma of chocolate, raisin, plum, cinnamon, brown sugar and spice. Flavor: Chocolate, dark fruit, toffee, roasted malts, caramel with slight bitter finish.

Serving type: bottle

11-28-2008 07:59:48 | More by corby112
Photo of NittanyBeerFan


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

A: Pours into a tulip glass with a little bit of head. No lacing down the sides of the glass and the head dissipates to almost nothing very quickly. The color is a deep reddish brown, almost a ruby-like hue.

S: Dark fruits like plums and raisins come to the forefront of the smell. I can also make out yeast, some bready malts and a good amount of booze.

T: Warming alcohol is definitely evident. The raisins and plums hide a bit behind the alcohol and malts. There is a bit of a clove-ish taste with some brown sugary sweetness. I would have liked the fruits to come out a bit more, as it does in other belgian dubbels.

M/D: A bit over-carbonated for this style for me. But the texture was lighter than I expected. ABV makes it kinda hard for me to give it a higher rating here because the alcohol was so evident.

Serving type: bottle

11-24-2008 01:59:29 | More by NittanyBeerFan
Photo of GreenCard


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

Appearance: reddish/ruby-brown, slight haze, layer of tan foam that compacts to a thin crown

Aroma: biscuity malt, caramel, stewed prunes, dark brown sugar, hint of clove

Flavor: medium malt sweetness balanced by a peppery alcohol zing in a mild herbal hop flavor/bitterness; hints of rum-raisin, sherry, and a lingering bitterness in the semisweet finish

Mouthfeel: medium-full body, prickly carbonation, alcohol warmth, slight thin-ness in the finish

Other comments: A decent "Belgo-American" beer, though there is something vaguely missing in the background. Something to round it out a bit more, but I can't really put my finger on it.

Serving type: bottle

11-23-2008 18:05:23 | More by GreenCard
Photo of Guzzler78


3.98/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Purchased and consumed a 750 ml bottle

Love the cover art and Thelonious Monk's music. I don't know if the beer is quite as genius as his music though.

This beer was a deep amber color with an off-white head. Not much lacing. It had aromas of roasted malts, chocolate and fruit. it tasted somewhat sweet and nice and malty. Also tasted some chocolate and fruits like plum and raisin.

Nice smooth feel. Body was lighter than the appearance and color might indicate.

It was enjoyable.

Serving type: bottle

11-22-2008 19:17:30 | More by Guzzler78
Photo of LilBeerDoctor

New York

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

Reviewed 2/14/08. Bottle. Poured a dark reddish brown. Aroma of dark fruits, Belgian goodness. Taste was similar (reminded me of a Chimay Bleu or a Kwak), also got some wheat at the end. Very smooth and easy to drink. Classic Belgian. I liked it a lot but it wasn't as complex as some of the fruitier belgian strong ales or quads.
Aroma: 7/10
Appearance: 4/5
Flavor: 7/10
Palate: 4/5
Overall: 16/20

Serving type: bottle

11-19-2008 13:25:48 | More by LilBeerDoctor
Photo of bark


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

The colour is deep brown, the liquid is clear. The low head disappears quickly, no lacing.

The complex smell got notes of hazelnuts, dark bread, toffee, yeast, some alcohol, dried fruits, and brown sugar. Hints of red wine and Christmas spices.

The taste is very elegant and highly balanced: Sweet notes of brown sugar and dried fruits are balanced by a dry fruity bitterness. Some sour notes and mild spices in the background. The aftertaste is quite mild with warming alcohol, strong red wine, pastry dough and hints of cinnamon and cloves.

The carbonation is medium, yet the very small bubbles are many and very fresh. The liquid is a little thin, but it is not a bad thing; a heavier liquid would have made this beer much less drinkable.

An elegant and well crafted dubbel. Lots of alcohol, still almost gulpable.

Serving type: bottle

11-16-2008 18:45:58 | More by bark
Photo of beerthulhu

New Jersey

3.98/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a dark mahogany red with an off tan head.

S: Fruity dried fruit aroma, lots of raisins and plums.

T: Deep burnt caramel sweetness with hints of vannila. Rich velvet like lacing. Big raisin sweetness with a fruity ending. Alcohol is moderate at first but is very noticeable upon warming with lots of dried fruit dominating the palate. Belgian body with a bock flavor. Some bread notes and rich caramel. Dry palate.

M: smooth, with a good amount of carbonation. Nice feel on the tongue with toasted malt and fruit lingering behind.

D: Very good drinkability, very smooth and solid in most aspects (nose, flavor, mouthful).

Serving type: bottle

11-09-2008 12:57:59 | More by beerthulhu
Photo of chaz410

North Carolina

4.13/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A great dubbel. Smooth smell, hinting at raisons, dates, cherry, malty sweetness, typical belgian hop notes.
This little beer was unbeliveably sweet without any notes of bitter. I liked it a lot but I can see how those used to having some bitterness wouldn't love it. The fruit notes ring out from the typical belgian dubble profile.
Very good!

Serving type: bottle

11-06-2008 05:10:59 | More by chaz410
Photo of easement


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

Appearance - Deep Amber. Moderate Head with little retention.

Aroma- Metallic, Citrus, slightly floral.

Mouthfeel - Syrupy.very nice for the taste. it was different than I expected.

Flavor- Spicy Herbs. Bitter malt aftertaste that lingers.

Overall- Pretty Good. I would drink this again. Not my favorite, but good.

serving style: bottle

Serving type: bottle

11-06-2008 02:56:49 | More by easement
Photo of Ljunkan


3.98/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark amber color.

Smell is of malt, dried fruits, plums, caramel and american hops.

Taste is first sweet, malty with notes of dried fruits and caramel. It ends with some american hops and notes of citrus.

Quite filling and nice mouthfeel. A very nice sipper, for sure. Maybe not extremely drinkable, but I think the alcohol is well hidden.

Serving type: bottle

11-05-2008 10:28:43 | More by Ljunkan
Photo of whiteskittlz


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

Bought from North Coast Brewery in Fort Bragg. Hibernated in my fridge for 4 months. Poured into goblets on Election Night '08...so I guess it was policitally motivated.

appearance - deep mahogany colour, unfiltered. my only complaint is how quickly the head dies down (which the label depicts as a nice stouty head) - I would guess this is because of its 9.4% ABV.

smell: sweet maltiness, slightly yeasty, typical of Belgian brews + dark chocolate

taste: dark chocolate, woodsy (cedar, oak), swwet malt. keeping the temperature cool enough, the abv has not gotten in the way

mouthfeel; alcohol was felt going down, but again not overpowering.

drinkability: with temperature kept in check, it was easy enough to put down for the style

- ajh

Serving type: bottle

11-05-2008 04:36:40 | More by whiteskittlz
Photo of DrJay


3.28/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A bit murky, tawny brown in colour with a thin beige cap when poured into a chalice. A little bit of stickage and the head settled into a collar with a clump of bubbles floating in the middle of the glass. When the cork popped there was a flash of bready yeast and wine in the aroma. Once in the glass it was a little less yeasty, but still very vinous. Plenty of toffee too, plus some plum and raisin notes. Pretty much the same in the flavour. There was a bitter edge that became more pronounced in the finish along with some alcohol flavour and warmth. Quite fruity overall. Light spice in the finish. Medium bodied with moderate carbonation, decent texture, slightly dry in the finish. Not a bad drinker for the abv, but a fairly mediocre dubbel.

Serving type: bottle

11-05-2008 01:18:50 | More by DrJay
Photo of BigFrank71


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

got this on tap at my local beer bar served in a 12oz tulip. appearence darkbrown with a mocha thick head, i did enjoy the aroma smelled a little of carmel and spice. Taste and mouth feel better then i expected for a belgian copy dubble. over all i would order this beer again and actually bought a bomber of this at a beer store for future drink.

Serving type: on-tap

11-04-2008 18:07:31 | More by BigFrank71
Photo of Bananaman


3.63/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

North Coast is a incredibly good brewery in my opinion, but this one is not one of their best ones'.

Looks really nice though! Deep brown/reddish color with a nice big beige head which soon settles to a nice lid of foam.

Aroma is good of gingersnaps, rosted malts and some fruitiness.

The taste though is a bit overwhelmed by alcoholish-taste, which is a bit sad. But there are some really nice and exciting flavours going on in there of gingersnaps, rosted malts and some toffee. Another "bad thing" about this one is that I think it's a bit "over-hopped" for the style.

All and all, a good beer. I think a couple of years in the beer-cellar might round this one of and make it a wonderful beer.

Serving type: bottle

11-04-2008 17:35:42 | More by Bananaman
Brother Thelonious from North Coast Brewing Co.
85 out of 100 based on 2,217 ratings.