1. American Craft Beer Fest returns to Boston on May 29 & 30, featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers. Tickets are on sale now.

Brother Thelonious - North Coast Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Brother TheloniousBrother Thelonious

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

2,584 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,584
Reviews: 973
rAvg: 3.79
pDev: 13.46%
Wants: 61
Gots: 335 | FT: 6
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 (21) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Brother Thelonious Alström Bros
Ratings: 2,584 | Reviews: 973 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of SubpoenaDeuces
3.92/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Brother Thelonius North Coast Brewing

A: Deep hues of amber and light brown with a nice khaki colored head, full carbonation and frothy big bubbles just like mom used to make.

S: A slightly hoppy smell with a bouquet of brown sugar sweetness and molasses

T: The smell lines up with the taste and it provides a malty base to support a sweet edifice. Notes of caramel and fig. It isn't the best belgium in the world but it may appear as a dark horse in some places that might only offer run of the mill provisions, and in that league it is a man among children.

M: Good malty chewiness with a full body. The beer seems to expand with its dark fruit bouquet, making itself at home amongst your back molars, settling in for the long haul.

D: this is a very drinkable beer, particularly for the style which sometimes can be standoffish, but this old chestnut warms you up and makes you feel at home in most circumstances.

Narrative: Waylon Brannings ate the same tuna fish sandwich for lunch, wore the same mauve suit on Thursdays, and was the paradigm of predictability. However, he was the best analyst at Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Gas. Some would say that he is forgettable, he would sharply reply that ASPOG is the most influential organization supporting the "peak oil" theory, meaning that future oil supply will be much less than commonly expected, and he will make sure that you know all about it. Specialized to a fault and forgettable at worst, his mahongany shoes click the floor metronomically while he works at the whiteboard. It is always interesting to meet someone new, however, most people forget old Waylon after he leaves the room. That doesn't make his mission any less important: To study depletion, taking due account of economics, demand, technology and politics of natural gas. Most people wont dislike him, they simply wont remember him.

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

750ml corked and caged bottle served in a snifter.

pours a deep, dark amber amber tone - almost chestnut - with ruby highlights and yields a 1" beige-shaded head that dissipates with haste into a thin cap, collar around the glass. minimal lacing.

first thought from the nose is 'sweet'... caramel malty with notes of dark fruits and molasses. solid aroma.

taste slides in nicely behind the nose. sweet, caramel malt, candied sugar, dark fruits, and molasses round out the flavor profile. nothing extraordinary here, but pretty tasty.

medium bodied with some lively carbonation.

overall i like it. again, nothing here that will be in any 'world class' conversations, but a more than passable american take on a belgian dark; certainly holds its own.

Photo of Leviathan
3.23/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Not a bad Dubbel, but nothing special.

Pours a deep mahogany with a nice smell of molasses and caramel. The rich "Belgian" style flavor you would expect is surprisingly muted and hidden behind the sweet malt base. This beer is definitely sweet and tastes of vanilla, fig, and raisin. Good foundation, just not particularly well balanced. Kinda feels like I need to brush my teeth after drinking a few.

This beer is certainly worth a try and is a decent representation of the style. I would by a pint or a single bottle once and a while. Unfortunately there are far better versions of this style at the same price point. I'd rather grab a Brooklyn Local #2 or Chimay (Blue).

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

enjoyed a bottle of this in La Trappe chalice and served with some dry aged porterhouse and grilled bacon.

Pours with some heavy head, lingers briefly, but settles into a nice finger on top of the glass. Looks like a belgian - deep brown and ruby color. Strong nose includes a good deal of caramel and maybe chocolate.

Taste has quite a bit dates in it, chocolate, and maybe fig. Overall a nice dubbel style ale, maybe a little sweet, but pairs nicely with some good meat. Medium body, light carbonation. Overall a good American version of my favorite style beer.

Photo of tomfneph
3.71/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I enjoyed this beer on tap at The Beer Trappe in Lexington Ky. It poured a deep ruby red with a large cream colored head. It smells of yeast and figs. The initial taste is sweet almonds almost like a cognac that fades to dates and raisins. The mouthfeel is slightly thin with minimal astringency. Overall I prefer Ommegang Abbey or Chimay Red.

Photo of csiewert
3.53/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer enjoyed at the Abner pub in Norman, OK in an Orval chalice. The beer pours a deep red color with a trace of off white head that doesn't leave much lacing. The aroma is string with caramel and fig notes. The taste is similar but very sweet. The mouthfeel is fairly empty and doesn't finish clean. Overall worth a try.

Photo of whatthehull
3.46/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Tasted on May 1rst 2011 (from notes)

Poured into a La Chouffe Tulip

A - blood colored, tan one and a half finger head and some lacing

S - very sweet. Yeast, fresh fruit, vanilla, chocolate, molasses, wine soaked oak barrels and all kinds of toasty

T - wine soaked oak barrels, molasses, toasted malt and grains, bitter chocolate, sweet yeast, earthy and some hop I can't put my finger on

M - slightly chewy, medium acidity, long finish and very sticky

D - for being 9.4 % ABV, you cant really tell

Final thought - $13 for 4 bottles is high. If you like abbey style ales, gotta get this one for sure

Photo of TheSupremeAJ
3.92/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer has a decent appearance.... dark amber with a nice head. No carbonation issues as noted by previous reviewers. Honestly this is a fairly heavy beer, and it taste quite better as it warms up/as i get buzzed. @ 9.4% it is no joke. This beer is not deceptive or afraid to show it's face. Aroma like candy, caramel, and sour apple fruit. Taste is fairly bitter.. but not hops or alcohol. A little rough around the edges.

Photo of ummswimmin
3.2/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I poured this from from a 25.4 ounce corked bottle into a Belgian glass to be sympatico with the label.

From a proper pour, I saw no carbonation with no head. I look back and the label and see a substantial head. I re-pour at half the glass with a vertical pour to encourage any head... and get none.

I checked the label to ensure that the beer is past date, but there is no date on the bottle.

Keeping all that in mind:

The body was heavy... not what I intended on this warm day. The mouthfeel was a little too heavy accordingly.

The aroma smells of belgian malts, and there is a note of wine-smell. This was almost like a barley-wine. I confirmed that this was not the intention according to the label.

The flavor is decent, but not mind-blowing.

I wouldn't suggest picking up this premium beer, unless you want to take gain from the donation made by purchasing each bottle.

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

Huge tan colored head reached skyward to a eight that easily surpassed the top of the glass. Good thing this pour was into a 24oz glass. Nice, opaque brown color was evident from the start with a rich looking hazelnut tone to it. The head finally calmed down after about twenty minutes but still dropped tons of foam and lace along the glass.

The aroma was very nice, a little bit ruddy at first. Hints of chcoalte and caramel, rich belgian spice and a wonderful bit of dark fruit all dancing around wonderfully inside of it. But it was once I took a sip that everything really came together for me. A wave of cascading brown sugar and tart apples just rolled across the tongue. Enormously rich and vigorous, this was just a wonderful thing to behold. Nice touches of chocolate and rich toffee like notes were all balanced well in advance of a lovely dark fruit tone that led the charge once the yeast kicked in. Nice notes of prunes and rasins, hints of plums and dark cherries were all very much evident in the profile. The carbonation was spot on, as the rich, velvet like bubbles converged on the tongue and added to the prickly pepper like spices that lasted long into the finish. Smooth as silk with almost all the alcohol very well hidden, this was certainly a gem.

Photo of alexhahn82
3.92/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: A beautiful almost red wine and grape juice like appearance in color, huge head, but as I state in all of my reviews I am an aggressive pourer.

Smell: Incredible. Smells like Red and Green apples mixed together!

Taste: Fruit like tastes, and again I am leaning towards an apple like flavor to accompany the apple like taste, mildly sweet.

Mouthfeel: Very smooth, soft and neutral, but not in a non flavorous way, complex yet subtle, a nice mid range flavor, overall impressed. No heat and its hard to believe its a 9+ ABV beer.

Overall: Absolutely a must try, not my everyday beer style, but WOW, North Coast has once again set the bar by not playing it safe and releasing a lame beer, this is a very good beer.

Photo of StaveHooks
3.78/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Dark brown with ruby highlights. A 1 finger tan head that dissipates into ceiling of micro-bubbles that holds together very well.

S - Figs, red delicious apples, currant, vanilla cream, pouched big leaf tobacco, blue/purple grapes, caramel, bready malt, vinous breaths of alcohol.

T - A good dose of fruity malt, hints of bitter cocoa, brown sugar syrup, banana esters, some spice(
allspice?) and hops, along with a tiny bit of vanilla on the finish.

M - Full, low carbonation, a bit cloying, high ABV for the style.

This blurs the lines between a Dubbel and a BSDA. I was reviewing it as a Dubbel at first but I don't know.

Great aromas when allowed to warm up and gets high points for the appearance. The spice was hard to detect. Still don't know what style this is. Try it out for yourself.

Photo of RickS95
3.45/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark brown, with some ruby hues, looks like dark wine. The head is beige, craterous and enormous. An impressive start.

Has a cola-esque smell to it, along with the usual Belgian suspects--pepper, cloves, orange peel, with a hint of alcohol.

Somewhat lacking in tastes. The scent made me believe the taste would pack a punch, but I couldn't distinguish a lot of flavors. I think between the alcohol and the carbonation, everything else is slightly masked.

There's a bit of sweetness early on, but that's soon overtaken by an aggressive bubbly feel the eventually ends with a sourish, alcohol heat.

I could easily enjoy another one of these in the future, but it was a bit of a letdown the beer lacked a bit of character as the pieces were all over the place instead of working well together.

Photo of rundocrun
3.39/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - At first, it appears a simple deep brown color, but when held up to the light it is actually beautiful deep red-amber color. I had to do a VERY rough pour to evoke even a modest head, but it faded almost instantly to nothing. Disappointing.

S - A slightly spicy malty sweetness wafts up at first. Caramely with a hint of hoppy aroma.

T - Big malt body with the typical fruity esters of a belgian-style ale. Noticeable alcohol that warms all the way down. Some hop bitterness hits the tongue next. A tingly spiciness toward the end gives way to a slightly metallic aftertaste.

M - Good carbonation. A little thin for a higher gravity beer (9.4%). If not for the alcohol, this would be very drinkable.

Photo of ForWhatAlesYou
3.65/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle

I didn't take in-depth tasting notes on this one as I normally would but I think this is a respectable brew.

While the flavors weren't mind blowing and the alcohol seemed to carry more of the weight than anything else, I think this is worth a try is you get North Coast, and it is one of their better products.

Some beers are more fun because of the label/marketing and this is one. And that's okay with me.

Photo of tapman
4.44/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I must let you know that I am a big Monk fan and this review may be biased. I'm sorry.

Dark plum in color, when held to light, a deep mahogany. Head is 1 finger and off-yellow in color. Lacing is thin.

Smell is minerals, yeast by-product (vanilla, banana), oak, tangy and tart notes and a natural, leafy mint.

Rich and malty, this brew focuses more on the malt than the abv%. High levels of maltose bring this brew to a caramelized balance and the minty hops interact with the raisin-like malt profile
Not as much dark fruit as I get in something like the Chimay
Blue, but nice and round.

Thick, chewy, viscous and spicy. Even more carbonation?

I think Monk would be proud of this brew. It is not a traditional Belgian Strong Dark, i.e. the head is not humongous, the carbonation is not very bright, and it is not as dry as others I have tasted, but, damn, is it one flavorful, off-beat mutha. Hey man, it don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing...

Photo of Kendo
3.88/5  rDev +2.4%
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
4.36/5  rDev +15%
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
3.36/5  rDev -11.3%
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
3.38/5  rDev -10.8%
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
4.2/5  rDev +10.8%
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.

Brother Thelonious from North Coast Brewing Co.
85 out of 100 based on 2,584 ratings.