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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

2,351 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,351
Reviews: 944
rAvg: 3.78
pDev: 13.76%
Wants: 49
Gots: 211 | 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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Brother Thelonious Alström Bros
Ratings: 2,351 | Reviews: 944 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of tedsox31
3.88/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a Duvel goblet. Color is a dark red with a beige-ish head that dissipated quicker than I thought it would. There is some lacing on the glass.

Smell is of dark fruits, sugar, and molasses. Not much of an alcoholic presence.

This tastes to me of raisins and molasses. There is some sugar in there as well, and a small bite of alcohol at the back of the taste.

A syrupy mouthfeel, with a slight bit of carbonation. Pretty smooth, but a bit heavy for my tastes.

A drinkable beer. I like it, but I think this is a beer for sipping slowly throughout an evening. The mouthfeel is just too thick for me to fully enjoy this beer.

tedsox31, Sep 14, 2008
Photo of bunnyhustle
3.53/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into Chimay chalice. Pours mahogany brown but when held to some lighyt there are brilliant ruby highlights. Thick off-white head with good retention and lacing. Smell is off raisin and other dark fruits, perhaps some dark tart cherries with a little alcohol and sweetness. Taste is on par with smell. A Belgian candi sugar malt backing with some dark fruits and bit of earthiness, if thats a word, to it. Mouthfeel was a little thicker than expected. Overall not bad, the high ABV is well hidden and it was a nice slow sipper.

bunnyhustle, Sep 10, 2008
Photo of GlassCityBrewer
4.25/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I just enjoyed this beer for the first time in a year and it's still just as good as I remember it.

With an even balanced taste, this is definitely one of the best efforts from North America to brew the style and doesn't disappoint.

This is a very good representation and I enjoyed it enough to make it one of my picks at the Andersons.

GlassCityBrewer, Sep 09, 2008
Photo of PerzentRizen
3.75/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

The Brother's Thelonious is really similar in aroma and drinkability with the Chimay line although its quality is not.

I poured mine a bit cold at around 50 Degrees Fahrenheit. This cuts the alcohol down a bit and as it warms it will definately show through more. I poured from a 750mL bottle into a Duvel glass - I have a trappist, but I decided that since I will be drinking this, a Duvel later, and a few IPA's and I am away from my house so Duvel glass it is. The head was light and foamy then reduced to a fine lace that seems to cling to the sides rather nicely.

The aroma is estery. I can definately tell the yeast is the same used for Belgium trappist/abbey ales. This beer is a convincing copy so far.

The first taste and immediately I find myself transported to a familiar feely of drinking a belgium sour red (rodenbach anyone?). I like the taste, but I think the sour is a little unexpected and this might be what is throwing some off.

The finish is woodsy, almost like fresh wild mushrooms. The hop is the final note and it seems to slither down the throat and I can seemingly taste the hops all the way down to the stomach - its not overpowering just different and again unexpected.

This beer has a lot hidden. I would say that it is good if not great. I will have to buy my buddy and fellow BA something special on my next run. He brought this to my house and had to leave before drinking it 2 weeks ago. I saw it every morning and every afternoon and every night in my refrigerator for 2 weeks - sorry buddy a man can only take so much. I will buy you something good willst in Cincinnatti this November or in Florida this spring or why not both.

Enjoy this one without food - but if you must perhaps a soft goatsmilk cheese and water crackers. PROST!

PerzentRizen, Sep 06, 2008
Photo of philipquarles
4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark mahogany brown; pretty much opaque with a small, tan head that disappears quickly.

Smells of dark fruits, candied sugars, malt, and a bit of caramel.
Tastes like roasted malt predominantly, with earthy tones, caramelized sugars, dark fruit esters, and metallic phenols.

Nice, thick mouthfeel. Pretty decent beer, but I'd rather stick to real Belgians.

philipquarles, Sep 06, 2008
Photo of drpimento
3.95/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

this is one the beer closest to a belgian from us of a that I've ever encountered. Bravo! Big foamy frothy textured head and plenty of lace. Soft texture, slightly perfumey. Clear dark rich amber with red highlights. Not too sweet. Great balance. Almost a session considering what it is.

drpimento, Sep 05, 2008
Photo of johnnnniee
3.93/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy dark amber with a minimal head that dissipates quickly. Aroma is dark fruits, some Belgian inspired spice and a bit of sweetness. Smells like its going to be a sweet beer. Tastes of sweet dried fruits, a bit of pepper, and a touch of alcohol especially as it warms. Full body, sweet sticky mouthfeel, and a bunch of carbonation. Could use some more yeast character imho. Decent brew, not the best dubbel I've ever had, but nice to drink just the same.

johnnnniee, Sep 05, 2008
Photo of Gehrig
4.05/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Rich dark raspberry color with a finger of off-white head that fades fast, leaving little lacing. The score is primarily based on a great color and a tolerable head. Excellent nose filled with sweet fruit (cherry, plum), dried fruit (fig, raisin), and spice (pepper, ginger). This smells like Dubbel all the way.

I like the taste, very fruity, rather spicy, a bit peppery as it proceeds, a hint of dark chocolate--good stuff. But a couple things need work. Unlike lots of top-flight Belgians, this lacks effervescence in the second half, conveyed amply and early with the flattening head. This causes problems later. Top shelf Belgians have a rich effervescence that gets the flavors dancing in harmony, that doesn't quit. This fades sooner than it should, resulting in somewhat compromised flavor. I attribute a good deal of this to mouthfeel, which for the good Brother Thelonious is a bit thin, lacking effervescence, and isn't nearly as creamy as Ommegang, the standard bearer for the Dubbel in my humble opinion.

On the whole, definitely quality stuff, well done, and flavorful. A better mouthfeel from more effervescence would do wonders for BT, already a fine representative of the style.

Gehrig, Sep 05, 2008
Photo of Jyubei
4.3/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A. Pours a 1 finger off white head on a brown body that appears reddish, like a well aged wine, when it catches the light.

S. Roasted malt and hops, a hint of honey and a slight flowery aroma.

T. Strong roasted malt and hops flavor with almonds and a dessert bread taste ( coffee cake or spiced bread?). Mild alcohol.

M. Sticky and syrupy felling that hangs around the sides of the mouth for a bit.

D. Very pleasant all through and a fine meal beer.

Jyubei, Aug 29, 2008
Photo of IronCitySteve
3.78/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

750ml bottle uncorked at the table.

A: It was dark in the bar, so I will give it my best guess. Looked a dark brown, which was probably copper. Some lacing and a decent off white head.

S: Lots of fruits, bread and alcohol initially hit you. Some spice as well, but only once it warms up a bit.

T: A extremely sweet and fruity dubbel. The alcohol is also present, but not overpowering the other flavors.

M: A rather smooth and sweet presence on the mouth.

D: A very nice dubbel, I could not have had more than 2 in one sitting.

IronCitySteve, Aug 25, 2008
Photo of cvstrickland
4.22/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml cork-in-cage bottle opened with a healthy pop!, poured into a chalice yields a deep reddish-brown body crowned with a finger of fine-bubbled ecru foam. The head recedes to a bubbly ring and leaves swatches of lacing on the glass.

The smell of the drink is fruity, bready, and sweet, with notes of pineapple, banana and orange riding a malty backbone.

The taste of the drink is malty, fruity, and nutty, but distinct flavors I recognize from the real world are hard to come by. I understand that it is simply not an adequate description to write, "It tastes like a nice Dubbel.", but it does. If pressed for details of this fine brew's flavor profile, I can offer that a touch of smoky caramel and cocoa roll around in a mélange of dry banana, juicy orange, and toasty grain-flavored brown sugary candy infused with a hint of pineapple. Oxymoronically, there's plenty of sweetness and a persistent dryness. That makes no sense, but it's true. The taste of Brother Thelonious ™ is much more involved and melded together than my paltry oversimplifications, but I'm just working with the tools at hand. It "tastes great". It is not at all "less filling".

Superb feel and drinkability. This is a very nice dubbel I'll be sure to buy again. A quote I liked from the label, "Carpe diem vita brevis"!

cvstrickland, Aug 23, 2008
Photo of ClavisAurea
4.22/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle consumed from a wine glass.

First off, when I opened the bottle, the cork almost shot me in the face. I'm by no means a novice with opening bottles with corks, but this particular one was explosively carbonated.

Appearance: deep copper with a thick head; ample lace on the glass

Smell: caramel and raisins, brown sugar and alcohol

Taste/Mouthfeel: stewed ripe fruit, caramel, plums and brandy, alcoholic finish

More like a fine wine than a beer. Still one of my favorites.

ClavisAurea, Aug 18, 2008
Photo of zeff80
3.98/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a semi-opaque, deep mahogany color with a small, tan head. It ledt a soapy lace/residue.

S - It smelled sweet and of fruits (pear and apple). Some spicy notes, too.

T - This is a very complex dubbel. Lots of fruit flavors, sweet caramel malt, spices, and a subtle hop bitterness.

M - It was soft and smooth. A medium to heavy-bodied beer.

D - This is an excellent North Coast beer. It belongs up there with Old Rasputin and Praqster.

zeff80, Aug 17, 2008
Photo of irishking1977
3.58/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bought this beer on a whim based on the fact that I really enjoyed North Coast Pranqster.

The appearance of the beer took me forever to get to because the cork on the 750ml bottle was of such poor quality and impossible to get off. It ended up in pieces twenty minutes later! The good news is that once I was able to do so, (extremely frustrated by now) I was surprised at the appearance. Dark, black and ruby color with a decent sized head that leaves copious lacing around my Duvel glass. The taste was pretty good, considering I consider Dubbels and darker styles of beers to be less appealing to my palate in comparision to tripels and pale ales. Overall, an above average dubbel. Next time, Ill look for it in either a four pack or on tap. Nothing is more frustrating that to NOT be able to open a beer.

irishking1977, Aug 17, 2008
Photo of Thunderball
4.38/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I chose a Chimay vessel to pour this beautiful ruby red delight. Poured a thin tanish head that did not linger very long. The smell was the familiar bread, yeast, biscuit, up front. The taste is oh so good, some malts with the combination of some candy apple type flavor, mixed in with the slight hint of banana. The mouth feel is full, with a lot of fizz-to-the-tongue. I will be purchasing this quality brew again for sure, in the very near future!

Thunderball, Aug 16, 2008
Photo of Boto
4.28/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750ml bottle: First off, I love the name. It is a great play on words. This one pours an opaque reddish-brown color. Mine had a large, fizzy tan head on it that went away almost immediately. It has a very nice aroma. Somewhat candy sweetness, along with cherries, plums and yeast. A touch of effervescence on the tongue. The taste is quite good also. The taste is good. Somewhat sweet, caramel, raisins and dark cherries to the taste. Finishes a bit lighter than expected. I would definitely buy another.

Boto, Aug 10, 2008
Photo of Zadok
4.22/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on tap at the Flying Saucer in KC.

Poured a dark brown with a two finger head of the off-white variety.

Very pleasant fruity fragrance. Mainly light fruits such as apple, pear, and maybe a peach or two.

A quite unexpected taste. Very flavorful with a fruity and light fluffy malt presence. Light fruits turn into a deep mild cherry and a smidge of raisins and dates.

Has a champagne feel to it, slightly high carbonation but yet very smooth.

Delicious, North coast took several steps in the upward direction (as if they needed it) imo. Will look forward to having again for sure.

Zadok, Aug 10, 2008
Photo of Stinkypuss
4.18/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A. A vibrant ruby red with a nice off white head.

S. Malts and distant fruit.

T. Mysterious dark fruit. Malt. A bit of alcohal makes itself known, but it is distant. Maybe a bit of chocolate malt as well? Complex.

M. Fairly vicious with a high level of carbonation. Would be a good amount for a pilsner but a bit strong for a dub.

D. A sipper for sure. Good to let it warm up and mellow out. The complexities come out more.

Stinkypuss, Aug 08, 2008
Photo of TasteTester
3.63/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle picked up a few weeks ago.

A-Pours a reddish brown. Small head that doesn't last. No visible lacing.

S-Nothing very discernable here, smells like a dubbel.

T-Somewhat weak for a dubbel, almost doesn't taste like a belgian. Slightly sweet.

M-Crisp and sticky on the downswing.

D-Probably won't try this one again.

TasteTester, Aug 07, 2008
Photo of Brad007
4.5/5  rDev +19%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark reddish-brown color with a decent one-finger head into my Hopfenstark glass.

The aroma is nutty with a hint of raisin and spice in the nose. A tad bit fruity as well.

The taste is strong and pleasant with a hint of cherry, raisin and spice upfront. Finishes dry with only a bit of alcohol warmth. Very smooth.

The mouthfeel is flavorful but the raisin and spice flavors linger with the alcohol warmth. Pleasant and somewhat chewy.

Very drinkable for a dubbel. The alcohol is well hidden so you barely notice it. It's flavorful and worth the effort to try. I would recommend it if you enjoy the dubbel style.

Brad007, Aug 02, 2008
Photo of Cyberkedi
4.55/5  rDev +20.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Aroma is very enticing, more fruity than malty; I get hints of both apple and banana, as well as a touch of yeast. It pours a rich, clear, dark chocolaty brown with a thick beige head that persists. Flavor is fruity with some malt and a fair amount of hop bitterness, as well as a hint of burnt caramel. Texture is smooth and lively, and this dubbel goes down very pleasantly. This is a brew for sipping slowly and appreciating.

Cyberkedi, Aug 02, 2008
Photo of TheRogue
4.38/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served in a pint, ale was slightly chilled in the fridge.

Appearance - Dark oak and non opaque, very nice color. A thick head but not very creamy. Head lasted around 3-4 minutes.

Smell - A mixture of bitter and sweet. Caught hints of spices and a bit herbal.

Taste - Very well built. Nice and roasty, a touch of sweetness as it rolls over the tongue followed by a light bitter after taste.

Mouthfeel - Very smooth and creamy, has a nice feel.

Drinkability - I wanted another right away just for the mouthfeel followed by the taste. Very enjoyable beer. I wish I bought more than one at the packie!

TheRogue, Jul 25, 2008
Photo of BrewerB
4.15/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Aroma was rich and malty - Toasty, caramel, munich malt-like flavors were all present. A faint spiciness was also detected but quickly disappeared. Some presence of herbal hop character lying in the background but this is heavily malt focused. Very light presence of chocolate. Raisiny esters. Would like a bit more complexity from the esters but otherwise excellent.

Deep amber color. Formed a thick, dense light tan head which collapsed down and retained well.

Flavor mirrors the aroma in the sense of rich and malty. Toasty/caramel flavors come first along with some munich malt. Moderate level of bitterness seemed out of place for a Dubbel but provided a nice contrast to the rich malt character. Bitterness lingered on into a medium-dry finish. Low earthy hop flavors. Raisiny esters. More dried fruits in the ester department would create additional complexity.

Medium-full bodied with a pleasing light creaminess. Carbonation level was moderate and a tad low for this style. Smooth.

Despite a few stylistic flaws and in spite of a 9.4% ABV, this is one heck of a beer. Malt complexity is rich and varied. A little too bitter for a Dubbel. Slight increase to the ester complexity would help too. In spite of this, I'd easily drink a few pints - it's that good.

BrewerB, Jul 18, 2008
Photo of billybob
4.85/5  rDev +28.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

deep dark and amber in color with a short light tan head with some lacing. fruity, sweet smelling, with earthy and alcohol aromas, very pleasant. cherries, raisins, dates, nuts, brown sugar, strong sweet tea all can be picked out in the taste. mouthfeel is thick, creamy smooth.

a little expensive at 16.95 a four pack but a good beer to sip and enjoy with friends at a holiday or special time.

billybob, Jul 13, 2008
Photo of Douglas14
4.33/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours into my Brother Thelonious goblet a deep, dark mahogany color with a mildly disappointing head. The color of the head is great but it is not full and sticky like those of the the Belgian beers. The aroma is wonderful: candy, brown sugar, malt, cherries, lots of biscuit, and maybe a little banana. The taste is also splendid but the flavors are more central: brown sugar, dark sugary dough - lots of dark sugary bread-type qualities, actually - malt, dark fruit, bananas, a little oak, candy, spices, and alcohol, which tends to add a little spice itself. Also, I feel like there is a little bit of a tobacco character, but in a good way...kinda weird...but good. It has a full body, but I wish it were a little heavier in the mouth. Either way, North Coast has hit a home run again with Brother Thelonious. Make sure you give it a little more time than usual to warm up...it'll definitely help.

Douglas14, Jul 11, 2008
Brother Thelonious from North Coast Brewing Co.
85 out of 100 based on 2,351 ratings.