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Brother Thelonious - North Coast Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Brother TheloniousBrother Thelonious

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

2,550 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,550
Reviews: 967
rAvg: 3.79
pDev: 13.46%
Wants: 61
Gots: 312 | FT: 5
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:
Beer added by: sloejams on 05-04-2006

"Vital Statistics

Style: Belgian Style Strong Dark
Color: Dark mahogany
ABV: 9.4%
Bitterness: 32 IBU's"
View: Beers (22) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,550 | Reviews: 967 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of deltatauhobbit
3.56/5  rDev -6.1%
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
4.43/5  rDev +16.9%
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
3.73/5  rDev -1.6%
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
4.3/5  rDev +13.5%
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
4.38/5  rDev +15.6%
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

Photo of SkipWeathers
3.77/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I retired this after several years...still did not quite impress me. A little messy.

A - Nice brown cola color with spotted head, intermittent.

S - best feature. Aroma of bananas, clove and bubble gum

T - caramelized sugar, sour mash, banana

M - a bit sour as you drink through the bottle, like an underripe banana, cloying sweetness

D - Becomes monotonous the more you drink of it. I would recommend splitting with a friend. Alcohol not high enough to really give you a kick. Just a little too sweet/sour for my liking.

Photo of maxwellboh
3.64/5  rDev -4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: Maple syrup color, head disappears quickly. Lacey bubbles are small and form a very thin line at the top of the beer.

S: Brown sugar and raisins. Absolutely love the smell.

T: Very sugary. Very sweet taste.

M: The IBUs have removed the hot alcohol feel. The carbonation leaves a good aftertaste and wipes the mouth clean.

For a beer that costs twice as much as the other five beers I bought tonite, I was not entirely impressed. Easy to drink for the high alcohol volume

Photo of hiku7
3.78/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Appealing brown with a hint of burgundy. 1 finger tan head, light lacing, dissipates fairly quickly.

S - Not much at first, but as it warmed the aroma became sugary sweet.

T - Sweet flavor of molasses, caramel and brown sugar. Alcohol comes through at the end of each taste. The tiniest hint of lingering very mild bitterness in the finish. Just enough to remind you you're drinking beer and not something else.

M - Smooth and sticky creating a dessert-like creaminess, somewhat low carbonation.

D - Fairly solid for the high ABV and style, but one was enough to move on.

I don't have much experience with the style, but overall I really enjoyed this brew. Gotta love the name and bottle and cause too.

Photo of claspada
3.92/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Aromas of rich and dense maple syrup and raisins with a mellow amount of hop and yeast spicing. Very pleasant and distinct scents here to entice your nose.

The tastes follow the nose, definitely a dark fruitiness coming through, raisins, plums and figs; maybe some dark cherry. This is combined with a sweet malty flavor of maple and brown sugar which is balanced just enough by a mild spiciness, nutmeg, cinnamon and a little clove.

The mouthfeel is lightened by the carbonation to keep the dense malt from weighing you down, but less carbonated than traditional styles, could maybe use a little more.

Overall this is a really really good beer, which I had no expectations of as it was a gift, but it was a joyous surprise. Well balanced and I think a solid brew; it's just what I look for in a Belgian abbey/dubbel.

Photo of coastiefish
3.88/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into tulip, split a bottle with katelovesbeer.

A - Pretty mahogany. Thin foamy layer of head. Holds a milky looking texture

S - Fruity with a touch of floral bouquet and spices. Phenols a bit medicine like.

T - Maple, toasty, sweet, raisin, boozy. Linger leaves a sharp taste in the mouth. Bit of sticky on the lips.

M - Creamy, carbonated, medium body

D - 9.4%, its drinkable! Brings a warming sensation down and into the belly. Enjoyable, especially the mouth feel.

Photo of katelovesbeer
4.05/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle (shared with coastiefish) into a tulip glass

A= rich mahogany color with very thin off-white head

S= Sweet, tiny bit fruity (fig), a little biscuity, alcoholic

T= Round fig/raisin at the front of the mouth, quickly tapers off to thin, alcoholic sweet malts

M= Complex (see 'round' and 'thin' comment above), very tightly carbonated and dry

D= Very drinkable as it well balanced and not too "extreme". While there is an alcoholic "bite", it does not come across as 9.4% abv.

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

Since I'm so obsessed with North Coast Brewing Company's Old Rasputin, I decided to try out their Brother Thelonious. I'm not the biggest Belgian fan (depends on the Belgian though) but when I poured Brother Thelonious out I knew I'd like this one.

The head was minimal, bubbly, and fizzed away very quickly. Color is a dark ruby color and a bit brown.

It smells like raisin or plum; dark fruits. It's a bit sugary and the alcohol is present in the aroma as well, but let's not forget about the esters.

It tastes very fruity to me but not too sweet. It's more of a tart, a bit bitter, and smoothness. There is sort of a citrusy tang to it but it doesn't taste like lemon/orange/etc. There is a carbonation bite to it too and at the end it's kind of...smokey or has a dark roasty plummish finish.

This is a good beer but it doesn't stick out to me.

Photo of notchucknorris
3.77/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Dark brown and ruby with almost no head. Maybe it was just a bad pour, but I was expecting at least a little head on this.

S: Malt-dominated with some hints of brown sugar and maple.

T: Yeast and malt sweetness with a creamy mouthfeel. Alcohol was a little too present for me and this one burned going down like something much stronger than 9%. Good, but not North Coast's best.

Photo of jlindros
4.02/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Tap at Armsby Abbey, 2009 vintage.

Creamy 1 finger head fades slowly over dark mahogany brown beer.

Nose brings plenty of dark malts, light sweet syrupy, bit of dark fruit, aged malt aromas, light caramel and toffee.

Taste starts with a nice aged malt flavor, lots of med to dark malts, light caramel and molasses, bit fluffy, some dark fruits raisin and plum, bit of Belgian fruity yeast and malts, touch of booze. Finishes bit drier but little sticky with lingering dark fruits and touch off booze and but of aged malts.

Mouth is soft med bodied with decent carb.

Drink is decent, some booze, drier but little sticky finish.

Photo of ThreeDimesDown
3.82/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a murky caramel-color with a 2 finger tan head that leaves behind some lacing.

Aromas of fruits (cherries, raisins, dates), molasses, dark caramel malts and a hint of vanilla.

Taste of coffee and caramel malts up front give way to a lighter toasted malt and red cherry sweetness. Faint bitter hop finish.

Mouthfeel is medium to full with lots of active carbonation. ABV% is detectable in the nose and in a nice mouth-warmth, but doesn't interfere with the taste.

This is a nice beer, not the best BSDA but very good.

Photo of ajcormier
3.29/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A- Beautiful clear caramel, reddish brown. Started with a 3/4" head that dissipated quickly. Nice lacing on the rim of the bubble glass. Low viscosity on the pour and moderately carbonated.

S- Light raisin and fig notes. Low alcohol effervescence. Small innuendos of vanilla and molasses, malt forward.

T- As smell and taste are innately connected, there are the obvious fig, plum and raisin. Low sugar on the front of the tongue. I hate to say but it's like a really weak barely-wine. The alcohol heat is noticeable on the end of the palate and apres swallow. Not too robust though. Easily drinkable.

M- Low volume and palate. Thin viscosity in the mouth feel and finishes quickly and somewhat dry. Residual alcohol and fruity malt coats the tongue for a few moments after the sip.

D- Easily drinkable as mentioned before, perhaps good or not good based on alcohol and preference. Definitely not a quad but good all in all. Perhaps this is just not my favorite beer style.

Photo of pants678
3.18/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Looks like a glass of soda, really. A dark brown, highlights of amber with an off white head that's temperamental.

Plum, fig and a not so subtle vanilla and molasses.

The darker fruits are much more subtle than most Belgian darks. Chocolate is reaching, but raisin is fitting. Not too far from a quad, imo, likened to Rochefort 10 more so than St Bernardus with a murky sugar. Very subtle, lacking punch.

Tightly carbonated, a 750ml is more than enough.

Photo of GarthDanielson
2.51/5  rDev -33.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass, the beer is a very cloudy, almost murky, reddish-brown coloring. Very translucent around the edges. It had a slight film of head on pour, but was gone by the time I sat down with the glass. The beer has a sweet, toasty smell to it, with bits of toffee and earth. The beer is carbonated and sharp on the front of the tongue, paving the way for a darkly sweet mid-bodied rush over the tongue. Sour notes at the back of the tongue, with caramel, raisin, and apple flavors. The beer feels awkward in mouth, and the flavors don't seem to blend well. The finish is sharp and quick, and the aftertaste is a sour earthy taste that leaves some sense of a film in your mouth. Not one that I would reach for seconds, and I'm glad I only picked up a loose bottle.

Photo of leakyfaucet12
3.57/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

a- ruby red body and an off white head that lasted a good while. The head is about 2 fingers.

s- smells like a typical belgian beer. the boozieness is pretty strong, it really overpowers the other things i am trying to get out of it.

t- boozie, dark fruits and caramely chocolate are really at the forefront. This beer has alot going for it and I would probably recomend some age on it.

m- The beer has a good body feel but it seems to have to much carbonation to it.

d- I thought this was a pretty good solid beer and I will be really interested to see what this one would do with some age on it.

Photo of AleWatcher
3.33/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle into snifter.

A reddish murky brown Cole. Almost white head of 3 fingers settled to a collar of whitish-tan bubbles...

Smells of cherries, plums, and yeast. Big Belgian yeast. Like huuuuge-- spicy crazy yeast.

Taste starts sweet, then the fruit notes hit- plums and raisins and cherries. The yeast comes in and cleans up the finish-- it dries it out, but drowns out everything else.

Body is medium full with lots of carbonation.

I liked this beer a lot a few years ago-- and now, I'm so disappointed. I can't believe this is the same beer. I'm so sad about this. This has either changed, or I have, but in either case, it isn't for the better in terms of this beer.

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

Sampled last night, 12oz bottle in a Sam Adams Perfect Pint glass.

Pours a rich brown with plenty of red showing through. Not much of a head but well carbonated and effervescent. A relatively good-looking beer.

Smell is almost straight-up American Quadrupel: Tons of sweet dark fruit and carmel. I can pick up all of the normal culprits (dates, raisins, plums & prunes) as well as a little green apple/apple cider and some tart cherries. Carmel/carmelized sugar/brown sugar as well, and a little bread mixed in.

Taste is on par with the smell: everything makes it through from the nose to the tongue. The sweetened dates and figs dominate, with a carmel-bread taste as the backbone. This beer is a little too sweet in my opinion.

Carbonation dominates the mouthfeel. A medium-bodied beer.

Drinkability is good for about one 12oz bottle, but like I mentioned, the sweetness is a little overpowering. Taking the rich fuit flavors and mixing in a more balanced dark malt character would make a tremendous beer in my opinion.

Photo of jorg2619
3.85/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bought at Abes Six Pack Bethlehem PA
Poured into Dogfish Head Chalice

This abby ale pours a dark brown with red tones when held up to the light. There is not much head bu the beer is well carbonated. Only a slight ring lingers along the glass. I smell sweet malt funky yeast, some light touches of maybe plum/ booze also penetrate the bouquet of the Brother Thelonious. I have to say the first taste of this beer is sweet sweet malt mixed with some bready yeast flavors. I also get a raisin after taste. The mouthfeel is nice and thin and the just right carbonation does enough to keep the flavors moving across my palate. I think this is a very drinkable beer that I would buy and enjoy again.

Photo of SnowGoon99
3.85/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Serving type: bottle into a Stella Artois glass.

Pours a very dark amber with some brown. Very turbid but i would assume this was intended because they are a commercial brewery. White head forms and then falls fairly quickly. Aromas include dark brown sugar or molasses, caramel with some rum and toffee.

Flavors that come through are dark brown sugar, caramel and toffee. Very sweet and almost too sweet a.k.a. cloying sweetness. This sweetness definitely helps the body but detracts from the drinkability. It's really hard to drink this anything faster than sipping it.

Overall this was a beer with high potential but lacked in a couple areas for mine. Just too sweet and i feel that Belgians should be on the drier side. The flavors are great but are all competing with each other instead of blending together. Maybe it just needed some aging time. I'll have to try that next time.

Brother Thelonious from North Coast Brewing Co.
85 out of 100 based on 2,550 ratings.