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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

2,409 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,409
Reviews: 951
rAvg: 3.78
pDev: 13.76%
Wants: 50
Gots: 232 | 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: 2,409 | Reviews: 951 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of claytri
4.28/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The beer poured a dark amber with an off white head. The aroma was of malt and raisins. The taste was of sweet malt mixed with raisins, and some medicinal undertones. The feel was heavy and wet. This was a very nice beer on a cold winters evening. Just what I'm normally looking for in a dubbel.

claytri, Apr 12, 2009
Photo of bitterthebetter
4.38/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

pour into orval chalice, pours a deep regal brown with sublte amber undertones and a slightly off-white head

subtle malty aromas of caramel, spices, roasted malt, slight breadiness and a dash of fruit

smooth sweet malt upfront with caramel and roasted notes dominating, slight fruitiness with cherry and raspberry and slight raisins on the finish. subtle spice throughout similar to cloves or nutmeg.

medium bodied without the sugary notes overpowering, just right mixing in with the subtle and light fruit and spice notes. solid finish with a bit more sweetness and a dash of hop notes

a very smooth and delicious beer. the malt body is medium body yet not overpowering or too sugary and very smooth for the alcohol. very enjoyable to drink

bitterthebetter, Apr 11, 2009
Photo of Frosty80
4.25/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Color: pours med brown. sits clear, dark copper/amber-brown

Smell: dark fruit. caramelized sugar. alcohol obvious but hides behind sweetness. has a spiciness to it - almost like a beef bouillon smell

Taste: mirrors the bouqet for the most part. alcohol is more obvious. spicy, slightly alcoholic finish with just a hint of yeast. finish eventually offers a fruity, sweet presence

Mouthfeel: med body. moderate carbonation

Notes: not too familiar with abbeys yet, but if they are anything liek this ill be happy. very flavorful and unique. i like NC. delicious.

Frosty80, Apr 09, 2009
Photo of wiseguy142
3.9/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I always saw this in the beer store and was like "Wow, that label is awesome." Then I got jonesin for some strong, Belgian goodness and I couldn't resist.

Poured into a Duvel tulip. Pours a medium muddy brown with an off-white head that fizzles down a little too soon. I think I served it too cold so it's probably my fault.

Aroma is a bit sour and grainy.. very unique. A slight amount of fruit and wood. The yeast aroma is actually very subdued- it actually adds to the aroma instead of overwhelming it.

First thing I notice is the mouthfeel. Carbonation hits me almost immediately and persists throughout the sip. Medium to light bodied... actually surprising light for the amount of stuff that's going on in there.

Just a very slight hint of chocolate malt and a delicate yeast contribution to the flavor. Really almost no alcohol taste even though it's 9%. A little fruity tartness towards the end. Very cleanly fermented and unimposing.

I was initially going to give the taste a 3.5, but as it warms up I'm picking up a lot more honey/licorice. Makes it a little less drinkable, but in a good way in that it's a lot more complex beer that comes together very well.

Overall, a very nice beer. Unfortunately for me it doesn't stand out really enough to warrant me buying more.. I like a little more hazelnut or cherry in this style and this just seems a little neutral... I think maybe buying the 750 would help entice me to have more. But Three Philosophers beats this hands down.

wiseguy142, Apr 09, 2009
Photo of CHickman
4.3/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The Good Brother starts out with a reddish brown color and follows with a sweet bready smell that has a touch a caramel; right off the bat you can sense the alcohol strength. Only slight carbonation with a sweet malty taste mixed with some spice; there is a fruity taste that I couldn't distinguish, and it finishes very dry which I liked.

It is a very good impression of a Belgian Style Abbey Ale, but the yeast funk had slight metallic taste (like a fishing lure) towards the end of each sip which was strong. Glad to read other reviewers experienced the strange slight metallic taste, but overall this was a very good and well balanced strong beer that has a nice kick to it.

CHickman, Apr 06, 2009
Photo of amneziak
3.48/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Brother Thelonious pours a murky brownish orange color with a small amount of light tan head. There is a moderate amount of lacing with pretty good head retention. Probably one of the least pleasing looking beers I've seen, though. Let's hope things improve.

Smell: Somewhat pungent upfront with dried brown fruit components like raisins, figs, and chewy dates. In addition to having a somewhat strange coffee-like presence, there is also a pretty good amount of alcohol on the nose. Way off in the back room I also get a bit of funk that comes out of this - not like brettanomyces funky, but just a little baby funk.

Taste: Lip-smacking! First impressions are important, and I like the first drink. This is a lot better than I had expected, however the malt makes this one a bit sweeter than maybe it should be. It also takes it a bit too close to taking on some coffee components. All this may sound weird, but it's not as bad as it sounds. In fact, I'm digging this one quite a bit.

Mouthfeel: Like most craft beers that have been corked and caged, this one has a good amount of carbonation on the tongue. It's also got a nice amount of bitterness and just the faintest amount of sourness. It's still in the medium-bodied range, but I could see this one going heavy really quickly. Overall, though, it's very balanced with a touch of dryness on the palate.

Overall: If I had to describe this beer in one word it would be unique. A bomber is just too much for one setting. I'd much rather have shared this one and had something else to sample in an evening. North Coast make some really good beers; their Old Rasputin is tops. This one, though, is just okay for me dog (Randy Jackson reference).

amneziak, Apr 04, 2009
Photo of loren01
3.55/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a dark brown cola color. Small white fizzy head. No lace down the glass
S: Smell is sweet and malty, brown sugar as well as slightly fruity
T: Taste is much like the smell, sweet and malty, figs, ETOH is pretty well hidden
M: Mouthfeel is medium to heavy, good amount of carbonation
D: Drinkablity is pretty good, you don't notice the alcohol so much in the taste but it is a nice warming beer that goes down maybe a bit too easy. Would try this again for sure.

loren01, Apr 03, 2009
Photo of bamadog
3.8/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Finally giving a Belgian-style a try, and I'm not disappointed. I think this is a pretty solid one to start with and I hope to try some from the country of origin soon to see what I may have missed with this one. Poured from a 750 mL bottle into a snifter (it's the closest thing to a chalice that I have, sorry!).

Appearance: Poured a very deep ruby/amber; started with a solid, thick and frothy 1 and 1/2 finger head that was off-white (a little tan and a little red in there) that quickly faded to a thin skin with a thicker ring around the surface; moderate carbonation that is interesting to look at on the surface (looks like little geysers bubbling up); the swirl brings gives the head a whole new life and it appears once again -- there is also an oily film that slides smoothly back down the glass.

Smell: Strong scents of fermented deep dark fruits (grapes, dates, prunes?); a sweet malty backing is present as well and there is a pretty significant presence of alcohol creeping up in there as well.

Taste: Wow. For my first Belgian-style, I'm not disappointed. The sweet dark fruits are very present (see above for the potential ones I'm picking up); a nice malty backing; alcohol is definitely present, but masked very well for a 9% ABV; slightly metallic/coppery taste is present as well. Overall pretty solid, I would say.

Mouthfeel: Very smooth (especially for as much carbonation is present - but it's a unique kind of carbonation -- very small bubbles that seems mild), a sticky coating at first that quickly dries; alcohol is more present on the breath and it warms nicely in the chest and stomach.

Drinkability: Moderate; great flavors are present, but the sweetness of the dark fruit is going to take some getting used to on my part; also, it's a little sneaky how that alcohol creeps up on you. Pretty solid overall though and great gateway into what I hope will become a potential favorite style.

bamadog, Apr 02, 2009
Photo of BeerImmediately
3.95/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750 ml at about 50 degrees

Poured with a pretty large, but highly effervescent and quickly fading head, with barely any lacing.

Smell was light, but interesting. Some sweet, ripe fruits, and brown sugar.

Malty taste of molasses, raisins, and English toffee bar.

Slightly metallic twang of a bite in the mouthfeel, but smooth overall.

Drinkability is quite easy - esp given the ABV. Worth a try in my book!

BeerImmediately, Mar 25, 2009
Photo of northaustin
4.38/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

pours a very dark brown almost black with about a finger and a half worth of dark brown head. i liked the bottle alot more after i read the side and found out that the picture was of thelonious monk and that they give a percent of the beer sales to the thelonious monk institute of jazz. the smell was fine but had no obvious distinct characteristics. taste and mouthfeel can only be described as an enjoyable thick. this was my second time to have the brother thelonious and i will definately be getting it again. also my bottle says the abv is 9.4

northaustin, Mar 24, 2009
Photo of Nowhereman529
3.95/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Poured a nice root beer colored brown from the bottle with only a thin, maybe half centimeter of head.

S: Fruit, dark fruit is the first impression that strikes the old olfaction sense, maybe cherry and a bit figgy. Filling the in the rest of the smell is some malt and a bit of alcohol.

T: Taste is upfront tart cherry but there is also clearly an element of smokey malt and scotch involved. Actually, when put that way it sort of sounds like a jazz club - which is what I think it probably is trying to live up to.

M: Mouthfeel is a little better than average, sort of medium bodied and a moderate amount of carbonation, just below the level where I would say maybe too much.

D: Not too bad of a beer overall. It's a little different from the typical abbey style ale I'm used to, and that's not a bad thing. Would recommend.

Nowhereman529, Mar 24, 2009
Photo of nycwinter
4.35/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass (x2) from a 750ml bottle.
A= Pours a golden red-orange, thin light tan head, and minimal lacing.
S= Just sweet. Molasses and raisins.
T= Very flavorful. Not very complex, but pleasant sweetness throughout. Nothing objectionable.
M= Thick with just enough carbonation.
D= Very easy after dinner drinking. 750ml was a good start. I could go for another (maybe), but I only bought one.

Enjoyed a pint on tap in Fort Bragg just down the street from the brewery. This beer is great no matter where it is enjoyed.

nycwinter, Mar 22, 2009
Photo of SykDoc
3.7/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass. It pours a deep reddish-brown. A light tan head gets to about an inch and slowly reduces to a healthy lacing. It is translucent when held to the light and carbonation is evident.

The smell was quite good to me. It includes some notes of banana and grass. There are also some spicy notes and a fruity sweetness.

The taste was unusual to me. Up front, it is sweet with a healthy level of dark fruits and caramel. Then it is followed by a slightly metallic taste. The alcohol is noticed but not overwhelming and there is a fair combination of malt and hops.

The mouthfeel is smooth and creamy. There carbonation seems just a bit light and it is full bodied and thick. It leaves a mild bitterness at the finish.

Overall, I think this is a reasonably decent beer. There is room for improvement but worth trying. It is a bit sweet for my palate, given the level of thickness and does not quite have the balance I would like with bitterness.

SykDoc, Mar 19, 2009
Photo of jizdepski
4.47/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

i poured this mahogany-red dubbel brew into a room-temperature chimay goblet. it poured nice and heady...with the 3/4 inch-thick head fizzilating away into a wispy, lacy residue. first smells are of dark fruit, with a sweet and crisp dryness to it. i'm also detecting the alcohol. mouthfeel, well, its just a whisker thinner than i expected, though not in a bad way, with notable carbonation and hops and the alcohol mingling nicely. the tastes on the palate are sweet, fruity and maybe caramel because there is a buttery sweet quality present, tempered with bitterness and alcohol. reminded me very much of a unibroue's maudite offering. the finish however was very nice and clean, inviting another sip. i drank the whole bottle, a 750 ml undertaking, in one enjoyable sitting. quite drinkable for its 9.4 ABV...a fine take on the abbey style ale, all the classic characteristics are there.

jizdepski, Mar 18, 2009
Photo of dotsonjamesg
3.68/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

North Coast: Brother Thelonious

Purchased this at Springhill Liquor in North Little Rock, AR. A few friends had told me to try it, even though it wasn't exactly my style.

Appearance: This fine Dubbel poured a nice one finger off-white head. The brew is clear and deep coppery and amber in color. Little head retention but not much at all. Looks very inviting.

Smell: Lovely scent filled with fig, banana, spices(particularly clove), earthy tones, and a flutter of candied fruit.

Taste: Initially sweet and complex, a little more depth than I expected. The brew has some nice malty and fruity notes with a subtle hop bitterness, coupled with alcohol. The sweetness and the alcohol definitely dominate this brew. The alcohol is very present and takes away from the flavors within.

Mouthfeel: The brew is pretty heavy and smooth. It's a little much on the palate initially but a few servings in and it begins to mellow out.

Drinkability: I think this brew is a pretty good session brew but there is definitely some better stuff out there, especially for a dubbel. I probably would not buy this again, only because it is not my kind of style. Not to say it wasn't good, because it was, I just prefer a nice Imperial Stout instead.



dotsonjamesg, Mar 11, 2009
Photo of Reagan1984
3.35/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Gorgeous looking beer. Pours with a creamy/substantial light tan head that is about 2 fingers thick in my tulip glass. This sits atop a deep amber/mahogany colored beer. The color is very deep and while the beer appears to have nice clarity... it's still a deep color. Almost purple tones.

Aroma, is very enticing. A whiff of alcohol, deep malts, caramel, a touch of yeasty nature.

Raisin, dates, caramel, then a bit of alcohol. Just warming but not too hot. The more you drink it, the more you do sense the alcohol amongst the deep fruits. Then I get some figs later.

Wow, this is fairly full bodied. Just below syrupy.

Definitely a sipper. This is good, but I'm not so sure it's really special.

Reagan1984, Mar 08, 2009
Photo of delmarnate
4.13/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very pricey four pack. Beer pours dark brown with two finger head. Very nice taste with strong characteristic Belgian after taste. the mouthfeel is almost like a cream ale with no alcohol burn, even with the high abv. A very good beer, but at eleven dollars a four pack it is a little to steep to make a regular selection.

delmarnate, Mar 06, 2009
Photo of mjl21
3.7/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle poured into Chimay glass. Not bottling info is given. Comes in at 9.4%.

A-Brown with red hues. Looks like Coca Cola. When poured, a very minimal head turns quickly into a miniscule tan ring.

S-Belgian yeast and raisin/stone fruits; warming alcohol also hits the nose.

T-Rum soaked raisin, some bitterness as it hits the tongue, and alcohol as it goes down. Sweet with some grape taste also.

M-Medium bodied with a carbonation level that is a lot nicer than expected.

D-A little sweet for my tastes.

Not too bad of a beer. For a take on the Dubbel style it is not bad. The nice carbonation makes the sweetness level more palatable.

mjl21, Mar 03, 2009
Photo of joshuadlight
3.98/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I really liked this beer. Poured from a 750ml bottle into a snifter. Brown with red around the edges when held to a light. Not much head or lacing, and that was the biggest negative factor for this beer. It smelled and tasted super sweet. Sweet breads and fruit, this a delectable blend of carmel cinnamon rolls with raisins and dates. I enjoyed the carbonation and thought the mouthfeel was good. A little but too alcoholic to be super drinkable, but as long as there was beer in my glass, I couldn't stop.
A great dubbel, I enjoyed this immensely.

joshuadlight, Mar 02, 2009
Photo of Rmarquis
3.78/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had this one on the bottle, 750mL;

Poured a deep brownish red with an inch thick tan head which did not stick around long. Very little lacing.

Strong sweet alcoholic aroma with hints of caramel, toffee, raisins and a little black cherry.

Taste is sweet and slightly astringent. Alcohol flavor with roasted malt and sweet raisin flavor.

Medium bodied, highly carbonated

Overall a good brew. A little bit sweeter than I would like, but it was still enjoyable.

Rmarquis, Mar 01, 2009
Photo of Troyone
4.38/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a mohagony color with an off tan head and lots of action. Could not visualize sediment in the bottle, on the head, and too dark in the beer.

Smokey roasted malt smell with some caramel and molasses.

Has a buttery smooth taste of caramel and molasses within the roasted malt and a sweet tea finish.

Medium to full bodied, buttery and some resin, lively soft almost a light fizzy carbonation, and has an alcohol warming throughout.

Although I could not visualize the sediment the buttery feel and taste probably suggest the sediment was liquified. Very good beer.

Troyone, Feb 24, 2009
Photo of OtherShoe2
4.03/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a slightly murky reddish - uh - red- with the tiniest of fizzy head. No lacing at all.

Tiny whiff of toasted malt, but the rest is a sour fruit aroma, almost a light cider vinegar scent.

Nice smooth brew here. Sour cherry and stone fruit essence, turning to medium bitterness in the finish. Some toasted malt notes and yeasty elements. A fairly clean beer, but the alcohol bite comes right at the end - as it should. I'm getting some yeast in the final finish too. Very enjoyable.

Medium bodied with some carbonation, but the bubbles are few and far in between in the glass.

This is a very good dubbel. Bought a 12 oz. single for $3.79 and it was worth it and then some. This is not what you'd call a session beer, and the alcohol, while warming, makes this a sipper. I could have one a day, but that's about it. If you like Belgians, you have to try this one.

OtherShoe2, Feb 21, 2009
Photo of ThirdLap
4.08/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

On-tap at North Coast Brewing, February 13, 2009. Review from notes taken that day.

A - Pours a dark amber with a creamy-looking medium tan head. Recedes to produce tons of lacing, leaving a chunky film that sticks around.

S - Nutty, sweet, caramel, slight smoky woodsiness

T - Dried dark fruits, nougat, vanilla, brown sugar, and caramel. There's a good balance going on here.

M - Lots of carbonation, smooth and creamy mouthfeel, with a tangy clean finish.

D - Pretty decent. This is a solid beer... worth trying if you come across it on tap.

ThirdLap, Feb 18, 2009
Photo of MAB
3.88/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A thin head and a nice red tint to the color makes this one look good in the glass.
The smell is nice; sugary and not particularly hoppy.
The first thing I noticed in the taste was the alcohol. This is a strong beer. Afterwards, I could taste caramel and something like a crabapple- sour but sweet.
This is a good one to sip and enjoy with a piece of cheese or chocolate. I would call it a "finisher", rather than a "starter".

I bought this in a four pack, as well as a four of their Imperial stout and a large bottle of their Saison-- at the Calgary Co-op liquor store in Forest Lawn. Apparently it's exclusive to Co-op stores, who are doing a nice job of finding and keeping good beer around these days.

MAB, Feb 16, 2009
Photo of jujubeast6000
3.43/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Reviewed 6/14/2007 (750mL bottle):

Pours a dark brown color, some head but diminishing. Light tannish head, fine bubbles. Strong Belgian alcoholy aroma, dark fruit, sweet smelling. Some earthy smells. Clean, not too strong a taste surprisingly. Malty sweet with clean finish. Not alcoholy taste. A little tempered on the taste, though. Sweet tasting. Malty aftertaste. Good.

jujubeast6000, Feb 14, 2009
Brother Thelonious from North Coast Brewing Co.
85 out of 100 based on 2,409 ratings.