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

2,550 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,550
Reviews: 967
rAvg: 3.79
pDev: 13.46%
Wants: 61
Gots: 314 | 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
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Brother Thelonious Alström Bros
Ratings: 2,550 | Reviews: 967 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of TheJollyHop
4.22/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Mahogany with a petite tan head. Many shades of red.

Smells of chocolate, honey raisins, toast, spice, and Belgian yeast. Very complex sweet malt nose that demands contemplation.

Semi-sweet chocolate upfront, very smooth. Toast and caramel, sweet grain, very distinctive mix. A burst of hop bitterness that escapes like a jail-break. Reminiscent of chocolate raspberry flourless cake. Bitterness feels like hundreds of bubbles bursting on the tongue. Some very light Belgian spiciness and some nice alcohol heat at the end. Sweet finish. Any less bitterness and this brew would be borderline cloyingly sweet.

Velvety smooth medium carbonated and medium body. Good weight that accentuates the taste. Overall a complex and distinctive sipper that while tasty, is too rich/sweet to be highly drinkable.

Photo of bonkers
4.12/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a snifter. It pours honey brown with amber highlights. It has a strong aroma of sweet dark fruit. The taste follows the nose. Everything is in a nice balance, the high ABV is not noticeable. It is full/medium in body with moderate carbonation. A great sipper, I could sip on this all night.

Photo of Thorpe429
4.05/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Rustico in Alexandria, VA.

Pours a deep brown with a little bit of a head, which sticks for some nice lacing. Smell is mostly dark fruit--cherries and dates--with some caramel and malt sweetness. Taste is mostly dark fruit, residual sweetness, and some Belgian yeast. Very nice mouthfeel with good carbonation. Drinkability is very nice and smooth.

Photo of ugaterrapin
3.1/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured into a chalice with very little head present after pour. It has a deep brown color with a deep red tone when held up to the light. The smell is of dark fruits. The main thing I smell is cherry, but although I don't know what prunes smell like I imagine they smell like this beer. The taste has a definite fruit taste which encompasses the entire flavor. The sweetness is somewhat subdued. Overall a very clean taste, but just not up my alley.

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

Poured from 12oz bottle into a tulip. My bottle reads 9.4% ABV rather than the above-indicated 9%.

Appearance: rich, cloudy amber color with a finger of nice tan head. Looks strong.

Smell: nice malty aroma with hints of cherry and plum. I'm also getting a slightly woody aroma; not sure if this is just tannins in the mix or what but it's not bad.

Taste: quite similar to the aroma but with a little more emphasis on the plum portion of the malt. There's also a little astringency toward the end. The taste seems stronger but a little less complex than the aroma. Alcohol is there but is well-mitigated by other flavors. Good.

Mouthfeel: medium body with a pretty good level of carbonation. I like my Belgians to pop a little more with creaminess than this one, though this is not bad.

Drinkability: quite drinkable. Dubbels don't tend to be my favorite but Brother Thelonious is not bad. It's got a little more alcohol than most dubbels but it's still a highly quaffable beverage.

Photo of Vancoubeer
2.22/5  rDev -41.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

I love dark beer. I try to buy one everytime I am at the local beer store. This beer really let me down. It had the smell of motor oil. It looked great. Dark beer with brownish head. But the taste was lame. It tasted almost as it smelled. It was like nothing I have had before. I had a hard time tasting the normal ingredients found in beer. It was more like a syrup. I will stay away from this. I am mad because North Coasts Old Rasputin is one of my favs on nitro. But this was a disappointment. IF you like abbey ales, try it but beware.

Photo of n00tz
4.15/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - dark muck brown body, active carbonation as spotted from the top of the glass, thin tan head.

S - Sweet fruits, dark sugary malts.

T - Very true to style if the description BeerAdvocate gives is any indicator. Carmel malts are strong, with distinct fruit backing. Delicious balance. I sense a trend coming on in my buying patterns.

M - Medium bodied, delectable carbonation character - adds a bit of froth when it sets on your tongue, soft sweet creamy aftertaste.

D - This is dangerously drinkable at 9.4%.

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

Serving type - 12 oz. bottle into goblet.

A - Deep brown hue, with very little head upon with the pour. Leaves little to no lacing around the glass.

S - Dark fruit (cherries, raisins), caramel, sugar, belgian candi

T - Very good taste! The appearance had me a bit worried at first, but this is indeed good. The flavors essentially mimic the smell, but the cherries, caramel, and belgian candi/sugar come through the most. Quite true to style.

M - Could use slightly more body and slightly less carbonation IMO, but still very decent overall.

D - Way smooth. 9%, but it drinks like a 6.5-7% beer. Easy drinking.

Overall - One of the best American examples of a Belgian style I've come across. This one is indeed worthy of your time.

Photo of olympuszymurgus
4.47/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

a wonderful sendoff beer hitting the dusty trail down to cali. year old thelonious. time to kick back, i know it's been a long day, but the dragon whale is ready to roll and this nectar has been aging for just this moment. you pop the top with a noisy motion and pour the heavenly brown liquid. follows the chocolate dipped blue cheese filled dates like magic, replicating some of those fine dark fruit flavors and aromas. its a sensual lover, massaging your feet if you ask. this is a damn smooth ride, the year has given this time to gel and drink magically, nothing indicative of 9%, just a slightly sweet deliciousness. i will sleep tonight peacefully, knowing that the road awaits.

Photo of DmanGTR
3.67/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Big thanks to my buddy Kyle for this lovely present!

No freshness date, but something like this can definitely last a while in the cellar. Been aging for at least 1 year.

A - Poured a brilliant garnet red, quite clear but has lots of tiny suspended particles. A short lived 1" off-white head that left a ring in my St. Bernardus goblet. No lacing. 3.5

S - Deep, rich, dark fruits reminiscent of dates and prunes. Perhaps a hint of sherry-like oxidation, which works well for this beer. Caramel is also present in the nose and mild alcohol as well. A very sweet bouquet. 4.0

T - The caramel of the nose is most definitely carried over to the taste. Rich prunes and currants cover the palate and finishes semi-dry with a lingering warmth. 4.0

M - Medium bodied. Carbonation is a bit much. Very prickly on the palate. Alcohol warmth is definitely not well hidden. 3.0

D - Decent. The flavor and aroma is quite good. I only have an issue with the carbonation and the very warm alcohol. 3.0

Photo of WYVYRN527
3.39/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle, the beer paurs with very little head that disappears to a thin line around the edges of the glass. Mahogany in color. There is little carbonation here. Smell is decent. Caramel and some some spice, with raisin and brown sugar. Hops are faint in the back. Taste is sweet and a bit cloying at first. That blows off though and reveals some toffee, nutmeg, cinnamon, and candied fruits. Hops dry out the finish, but ever so slightly. Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied, but is a bit much. The booziness is also a bit high, and a bit much for this style. It's a decent brew, but may need some age to come around.

Photo of dciBA
2.89/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

pours a dark reddish brown with no head into my snifter. smells surprisingly fruity for the style, almost weizenish. a little alcohol in the nose as well. taste is pretty plain, some dried fruit, and malt but mostly an overpowering sweetness. really too sweet, regardless of style. The alcohol in the smell doesn't come through in the flavor at which keeps the taste rating from falling too low. Mouthfeel is odd for this one. too much carbonation combined with the sweetness makes for a root beer like feel.

Photo of brdc
3.62/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Small capped bottle, poured into a tulip.

Nice looking, deep red on its way to burgundy color, average tan head with good retention. It should be mentioned this is not the rich, fluffy head commonly seem for the style, hence the lower note.
Brewery calls it strong dark ale, not a dubbel, and as such, grades inch lower.
Nose is a nice blend of sweetish malts, lots of caramel, and some dark fruits.
The body is thinner than expected, and the aroma does not translate all that well into the flavor, which is pleasant but rather simple.
Pleasant, but far from great.

Photo of goldbot
3.94/5  rDev +4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle, undated.

Dark brown in color with reddish mahogany tinges. Thin, bubbly, off-white head which dissipates in no time. Nice carbonation, with a bit of haziness.

Smells of sweet caramel malts with a fruity character as well. Ample spice notes. Tastes of malty sweetness and some more fruit - apples and raisins. No hop presence to speak of. Finishes sweet still but a little less so, and leaves a lingering fruit flavor. A slight alcohol warmth left over at the end.

A medium body, bubbly and a somewhat creamy mouthfeel. A good beer, but rather plain and unspectacular mostly.

Photo of CHADMC3
3.75/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep walnut brown body with a thin light tan head that quickly disappears leaving only faint traces of lacing sitting atop the beer and its still vigorous carbonation.

Aroma consists of caramel malt, dark fruit, and yeast.

Flavor mirrors the aroma consisting of caramel malt and dark fruit primarily. There is also just a touch of pepper towards the back of the palate.

Rather thin body with medium carbonation, also very smooth.

Pretty tasty brew, nice character, nothing to wear down the senses. One I will certainly revisit.

Photo of BearsOnAcid
2.82/5  rDev -25.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

So I laid this down in my cellar in '08 and kept meaning to get to it. Today I finally opened it. I have heard it doesn't age well though.

Pours out a nice dull brown. Small head. Pretty ordinary.

The smell was nice. Tobacco, chocolate, caramel, molasses, dried plums, brown sugar, and a hint of soy sauce. I would say this should taste pretty good.

The taste is not as sweet as I expected it to be. There quite a bit of tobacco flavor and some sort of bitter sensation on the back of my tongue. I've had plenty of beers that had harsh flavors and were still good to me, but this one is a little strange. The aftertaste is like I smoked a Marlboro or something.

Mouthfeel is a little watery. Nothing spectacular.

It's okay. I would say never age this though.

Photo of Yojimbo1941
2.55/5  rDev -32.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 1 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1.5

Poured from a 1pt 9.4 fl oz bottle into a tuilp glass

A - Dark brown with reddish hues, slightly off-white head which quickly dissipated

S - Dark plums, raisins, a bit of cherry, brown sugar, cinnamon, some dark bread, dates, gingerbread

T - A weird sushi flavor is the first thing I noticed. Odd. Soy sauce? Overripe plums, vinegar, rotten fruit

M - Medium

D - At 9.4% this is not one to session, but relax with, which makes it all the more frustrating that the flavors are off. Maybe I got a bad bottle so I'll hold off posting this review until I've finished my first glass.

Post-first glass:

Gets a bit better taste-wise but I'm still confused by the first impressions. Again, maybe I bought an off-bottle. I'll try it again some time but until then I can't really recommend this beer. I am disappoint.

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

While rather unremarkable next to Monk´s figure, it remains a decent US Belgium style brew.

Presentation: 12 oz bottle. Reverential tongue in cheek illustration of Thelonious Monk as a monk, with a keyboard halo, memento mori and holding a cup of the brew. Notes main style and that an unspecified part of the benefits goes to Monk´s Jazz Institute. Lacks date of bottling, and shows Alc. by Vol (9.4%). Poured into a tulip glass.

A - Dark brown pour with a frothy head that shows little retention and lacing.

S - Malty caramel with a spice touch.

T - Sweet malt range, dark fruits, a touch of orange peel, and a faint and characteristic Belgium tone, including a dark soy like memory.

M - Medium body with generous but appropriate carbonation.

D - It a nicely drinkable brew, alcohol is not too prominent, and there is not much to stop its quick enjoyment by way of complexities or richness, which also stop it form being really memorable.

Notes: Great to have a brew named after Monk, and in its design and eccentric imagery resides quite a bit of its attractive. It makes for a good conversation, in particular good to hook up jazz lovers that are not too aware of the diversity of craft brews. Then the brew itself is good enough to provide an enjoyable drinking experience, albeit not too remarkable.

Photo of Zaplt
3.87/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

After work early afternoon poured into a tulip from bottle

Appearance - head very light and non existent in second glass. Beautiful deep dark red.

Smell - dark malts - cherry, sweetness, syrup,

Taste - Dark maltiness - a wee bit roasty, fruitiness that's not too overwhelming - definitely a cherry aspect. Dark fruits - a light spiciness as well.

Mouthfeel - More sweet than dry and carbonation is a bit rough, reasonable alcohol presence. Overall an average mouthfeel.

Overall - Decent beer - may be better aged - I definitely enjoyed it and would drink again but would not search for it. Decent job North Coast, you guys brew some good beer.

Photo of blivingston1985
3.85/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This brew was something I've been looking to try for a while now. Seen it around town, just couldn't bring myself to buy it instead of a Chimay or Abt 12. So one day I decided to buy both. Problem solved.

The Brother Thelonious has a nice spicey, fruity smell to it. I smell figs or dates the most. Poured into a goblet. Right away I could tell the head was not going to last. Lots of big bubbles in the foam, which will never last. The lace is also short lived. Within minutes it is all but gone.

The taste of the brew makes up for the few shortcomings. There is plenty of clove, orange peel, and a tobacco. Very tasty. Not much for mouthfeel, but I don't really mind that with this ale. Makes this very drinkable. And at the price it's a bargain. Certainly cheaper than the more famous abbey ales.

Nice job North Coast Brewing, once again.

Photo of tippebrewcrew2
3.58/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

North coast
Brother Thelonius
Abbey style
9.4 abv

Drank out of a snifter and a tulip. I drank mine at 55 degrees and I think probably right at 50 would be better. It pours a huge frothy/fizzy lively white head. It has a sparkling body with a beautiful tawny ruby. Light flowers and bread on the nose the follows through to the palate. Also, I got a dark cherry towards the middle and end of the taste. Another good beer from north coast!

Photo of SDHoffers
4.35/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Coppery and mahogany colored. There is a touch of citrus to lighten up the 9.4%. Sweet and smooth. Heavy banana aromas coming off the creamy tan head. I think this is a great beer to enjoy slowly. Not a great choice on a hot day but a sure keeper. Wasn't expecting the sweetness of the brew to be so strong given the deep color.

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

this brew is awesome. very dark with hop character n malt character that is balanced.... nice head retention with malty aftertaste.

very pungent from the start and very hopped as well but ther brew is well rounded.

i would recommend this brew on bottle for the price, it is worth every penny.

look out for your local jazz/funk band and support musiq in ur area.

thelonious is a genius... so should ur brew drinking

Photo of butti001
4.08/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: The beer pours a deep and rich ruby red or auburn color with a lacking head.

Smell: Dark fruits, sweet phenolic belgian spices.

Taste/Feel: Thick and sticky, almost clinging to the walls of your mouth. The belgian malt is sweet and breadlike and could really pair well with foods such as strong cheeses. Subtle hop bittering that does not heed to the sweetness of the malt.

Aftertaste: There is a pleasant aftertaste of ripened and dark fruit with mild alcohol bitterness.

Drinkability: For a beer that is relatively high in alcohol, the alcohol is hidden but does make a brief appearance on the roof of the mouth. Carbonation is right on for the style and makes the beer even more drinkable. Not a session beer due to its high ABV, but a great relaxing or after dinner beer.

Bottom Line: This is most certainly an above average dubbel, but not the best I have ever had. However, I would strongly reccomend this to anyone that enjoys Belgians as much as I do.

Photo of blackjack000
4.94/5  rDev +30.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Pours as a beautiful, dark overripe apricot color. Sits in the glass like a radiant chocolate brown wit fieriness at the edges. The head is a creamy milk and coffee color, with fine bubbles, and leaves thick lacing on the glass.

Smell: Ripe peaches and apricot bathed in melted sugar immediately comes forward. A bit of spiciness lingers up on a trail of sweet alcohol.

Taste/Feel: Soft and sweet apricot on the verge of rotting. The alcohol content gives it a zesty and spicy kick and complements the heavy fruit and thick, sweet malt. The sugariness and fruitiness give the feeling of candied yams. Well balanced with a sour grassiness and young pine needles.

Aftertaste: The sweet maltiness lingers and coats the tongue in a heavy and sticky way. The fruitiness sits and becomes a sour pine woodiness.

Drinkability: Warming and sweet. Heavy hitting and sticky. This is beer is incredibly enjoyable. An excellent beer, because every sip is vibrant and full of taste.

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