1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Brother Thelonious - North Coast Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Brother TheloniousBrother Thelonious

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

2,511 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,511
Reviews: 959
rAvg: 3.79
pDev: 13.72%
Wants: 57
Gots: 276 | 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)
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: 2,511 | Reviews: 959 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of cleeze
4.1/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured a dark ruby color with a perfect head. Nice and foamy then disappearing to show some great lacing.

Smell is fruity;cherries on the nose. Yeast and alcohol evident in the aroma.

Loads of dark fruit. Maybe plum and cherries. Candy sweetness upfront then well balanced with some great malty goodness.

Photo of Magpie14
4.2/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: jeweled crimson color with a touch of brown and purple. Lacing is minimal...much as the head. What exists is a thin brown ring of foam hugging tight. As my drinking continued a few speckles of foam managed to stick to the glass. Otherwise, most of the points fall within the bodies pleasing hue...good marks

S: the nose is full of character. Brown sugared candies, some caramel, malts, dark fruits (mostly figs), and some noticeable spices. What is great is that nothing is overbearing, it smells very friendly

T: what hits first are the caramelized raisins, figs, and wedge of orange peel. This is followed by heavy cloves and a pinch of nutmeg and the sweetly laced leafy hops. In addition it has some yeast and malt characters holding fast. What has really got me intrigued is the overall sweet demeanor, it reminds me of traditional dutch babbelaars, without being over the top sweet. Things meld very well

M: this Dubbel comes across somewhat softer than you think, very nice. The body has a medium feel and carbonation is spot on and the finish gathers just a light slap of tartness
If any faults are present, it has some alcohol flavors pushing through as it warms

D: great stuff. I was glad to finally get a chance to drink this. I have picked up the bottle numerous times and pondered...put back...and pondered. What a bit of luck to have it on draft at a great local restaurant and bar. Overall one of the better Dubbels I have had
Thanks midnite2sixman for being a chronicler of beer and a true patriot

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

I drank this one a couple of weeks ago, but I take excessively thorough notes.

This brew is the deeply red-hued brown of cherry wood. The head pours fairly thick, though very small, and dissipates to a very light foam that floats in a thick patch or two atop the beer beneath. Lacing is minimal. This isn't anything unusual for a beer close to 10 % ABV, but there are brews that produce more of a head at higher ABVs.
The nose is heady, clean and pretty big. Like most Belgians of any style, there's a particularity to this one. Alcohol is straight up in here, with the particular note of Belgian yeast strain evident. The dark fruits appropriate (and necessary) for the style are here, aromas of raisin, currants and /or plum. Cloves and other gentle spices are evident in the foreground. Everything's up front in this one.
This beer has the typical boozy flavor profile of others of its like, whether you call it a BSDA or a dubbel. It's a lot like a brandy or a cognac, with perhaps some characteristics of a good scotch. Otherwise, the flavor follows the aroma profile almost exactly. Everything from the aroma is here in a sturdy malt back with a candied sugar sweetness that isn't overdone. Perhaps the malt could be stronger in the profile, and perhaps there could be more complexity or a stronger feel, but this is a great beer.
There may be something just lacking in the mouthfeel; nothing that keeps this from being a great beer, but less than world class. It's heavy and thick in the feel, though the crisp bite is just enough and the smoothness isn't quite enough to balance. This shouldn't be hugely carbonated, but it's only just a bit more than flat. All in all it's not a bad feel, but it's not spectacular.
Obviously a high ABV prevents an exceedingly high drinkability, but I still want more than one. This is a great beer from a brewery that's never let me down.

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

Consumed 12/1

A: THis beer pours a ruby chestnut color with a once finger of creamy khaki head to it. Head recedes somewhat quickly and leaves spotty lacing on the glass.

S: Nose is of belgian yeast, banana, and clove.

T: Taste starts with a nice dose of belgian yeasts up front mingled with a hint of sweetness (some caramel and toffee). Middle is filled with banana, raisins and clove spices. Finish has hints of hop bitterness and a nice apple flavoring to the finish.

M: Lighter side of medium body, medium carbonation, creamy body with a sticky finish.

D: Goes down easily, not very filling, definitely a beer that I would pick up again.

Photo of BedetheVenerable
3.93/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: 750 ml, corked and caged, nice label...no date that I saw, but Sycamore's pretty dark inside

Appearance: Attractive, but surprisingly bright dark amber/garnet brew with a big ivory cap which soon fades to a thick ring and medium film with decent retention

Smell: One of the fruiter Dubbels I've smelled...this is FULL of plum, with some big hints of apple as well, and a bit of burnt sugar

Taste: In keeping with the aromas...big plum, apple, sweet burnt caramel...a little earthiness in the background as well, not quite tart, but just a hint of sharpness, keeps it from becoming cloying

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied, a bit less CO2 than I'd like...

Drinkability: Medium-high

Conclusion: Good stab at the Dubbel style by an American brewery; for the same price, I prefer Ommegang's Abbey for its slightly heavier malt and rum-raisin overtones

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

Reviewed from notes

Dubbels are probably my least favorite Belgian style. This one starts out very promising. Cola brown pour with a finger of head, making way for a luscious caramel nose with a great blend of spices and dark fruits that makes for a complex and inviting aroma.

The taste is a bit of a letdown...that balanced complexity in the nose doesn't translate the same on the tongue. The malt profile still dominates, but it doesn't have the caramel flavor I was expecting. The spices are subdued which I am OK with. The dark fruits are in good harmony. Really, the malt profile is the only thing holding this back from true greatness. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with tons of effervescent carbonation but just a small sting. This is definitely a good dubbel, but already being from a handicapped style (to my palate) it takes something really special to stand out and I'm not sure that this is special.

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

Cellared a bomber of BroT for about a year. Opened it over the weekend and oh my was it good.

This was the sexiest beer I have ever poured, and I was not expecting it at all. Poured a brown with rubyred. The head was amazing. Nice towering ivory head that retained and laced throughout. Nice active carbonation. Great looking beer. Smelled malts, hops, barley, and dark fruits. Taste was capped off with good caramel malts, barley, and the dark fruits with some alcohol bite. Mouthfeel was nice and warming, good mouth coating. I will be buying more and drinking it more frequently.

Photo of theboozecruise
3.4/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a 750ml bottle into a Chimay goblet... no head at all. Zero. That was really odd. The color is a dark ruby red, almost brown.

There's a good smell to it, herbal, a little pear and apple scents.

The taste isn't much like the smell upfront... hints of malts, then the fruit flavors come through and on the back end more malts with some hops as well. Pretty good, considering this one has almost no carbonation.

I'm sure I just got a bad bottle... the flavor is still there but it's just obviously gone flat. Unfortunate.

Photo of davidw987
4.4/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle, not the 22 oz bottle. Fresh batch from BevMo November 2009.

Deep ruby-brown color, translucent with a nice compact head. I tasted more of a molasses taste in the malt profile than I remember. Very rich. I drank this the other night. Maybe I'll update this review after I have another bottle tonight.

Photo of mrmanning
3.35/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle courtesy of HogtownHarry. Deep mahogany pour unleashed a beige foam that left minute lacing. Nose was bready, had pit fruits and tobacco with essences of yeast and caramel malts. Slightly smokey flavour profile was elevated with sweet molasses and caramel, tobacco and yeasty, bready crust like earthy flavours. Good beer. Thanks Harry!

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

In a goblet the beer was a red/orange color with a very tiny head. Wisps of lace. Brown sugar and dark fruit aroma. Taste followed form: brown sugar, dates, raisins, apple. A little yeasty. Medium bodied and smooth. A bit on the filling side; one was plenty for me.

Photo of robobor
3.48/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This is my first review for this site and my first try of this style of beer, so please take this review with those factors in mind. I would have rather had my first foray into this style been an authentic Belgian product, but I found a 750 ml. bottle at Binny's for a more than reasonable price.
Appearnace: Reddish brown, mostly transparent. Thin light tan head, which settled to just the edge.
Smell: Dried fruit and sweet, warm spice.
Taste: Very sweet. Not much alcohol noticeable considering the ABV.
Mouthfeel: Syrupy, but not in a thick, cloying way.
Drinkability: Definitely not the most drinkable in high quantities, but getting through this beer was not a chore at all.

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

Lightly chilled and poured into a Duvel glass. A glass of cold water on the side to sip from periodically.

Appearance: The beer pours out a clear rich reddish light mahogany color with a ½" light tan head that recedes quickly to a ring of foam with a patch on the surface. Sipping leaves some sparse leggy and speckled lacing. A small ring of foam persists for most of the beer and sipping continues to leave sparse, speckled lacing.

Smell: The aroma is soft and contains dark fruits, such as dates, raisins, and dark cherries, mingled with hints of brown sugar and some molasses.

Taste: As predicted by the nose, the flavor is sweet, fruity and complex. The sweetness is like brown sugar mixed with a touch of molasses. The dark fruit is in the background here and seems to be dates, plums, raisins, and dark cherries. It is hard to spot any alcohol at all.

Mouthfeel: The mouth feel is medium-bodied and smooth with moderate, lightly prickly carbonation. The finish is fairly long, eventually ends dry in the back of the mouth, and is just a wee bit hot from a touch of the alcohol.

Drinkability: This is nicely drinkable as a beer for sipping, both because of the sweetness and because of the the ABV. Definitely a one a night beer. However, its also worth having again and seeking out if you have not tried it. I'm not sure, however, this should be categorized as a Dubbel rather than as a Belgian Strong Dark Ale.

Photo of Yooperduder
3.35/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a twelve ounce bottle into a Northern Brewer pub glass, purchased as part of a 4 pack at Sav-Mor in Escanaba.

A - Mahogany brown, dark in the center with hints of amber on the outside edge. Not much head at all, a slight bit when poured that disappeared into nothingness. After 30 seconds no a single bubble remains.

S - Sweetness, malt, some caramel a touch of raisin and that abbey yeast smell. A bit below what I'd expect though.

T - Sweet caramel with some dried fruit, some raisins and a hint of fruitcake (the good kind). Finishes with no bitterness but an unexpected but pleasant effervescence on the tongue. Slight ethanol hint at the finish.

M - Smooth in the beginning but as you swallow the effervescence pops in the back of your mouth. Really helps to distribute that flavor at the end of the drink.

D - Not too shabby! Seems ot be missing some of the depth that I've seen in some other dubbels. Drinkable without a doubt, but not at the level of some of the Trappists, but for half the money I won't complain too much.

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

Poured into chalice a hazy reddish brown that produces a nice creamy brownish mother of pearl colored head. As it settles it leaves a thin layer of foam that blankets the surface. Looks just like Chimay Premiere. This American Dubbel from North Coast smells of sweet dark fruit, alcohol and a bit of sweet malt. The fruits are the expected raisin and fig, with some brown sugar and vinous notes. The taste is an amplification of the smell, with certain elements becoming more prevalent, The raisin comes forth as well as molasses, with some sweet malt coming through towards the end and a hot alcoholic finish. This beer has a slick mouthfeel with some sweet malt chewiness. I think this is a very good Dubbel, American brewery North Coast did an awesome job on this Belgian style.

Photo of adamette
3.93/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the 12 oz. bottle that bought at Rozi's in Lakewood, Ohio as a part of a 4 pack. I cannot recall the price. Poured into my Brewery Ommegang gold rimmed trappist style goblet.

A Pours a nice, pleasing dark caramel brown opaque body with a thin light brown head that is fluffy like a classic Belgian Dubbel. North Coast Brewing Company really impresses with their apparent understanding (and in some cases mastery) of such a wide range of different styles. Nice lacing on my goblet raises the bar even further for the look of this beer. 4.5

S Just a great Belgian yeast and beautiful sweet malt smell, a classic Dubbel smell. 4.0

T Nice caramel, dark fruit, fig malt sweetness with Belgian yeast in the background, an expertly made dubbel. There is a bitter taste on the back of my tongue that lingers longer than I recall the on tap version doing and there is a bit of a lingering alcohol taste as well. I believe that I recall the on tap version was nearly without an alcohol burn at all. This remains a great American Dubbel. 4.0

M As stated, a bit of a bitter sting and the lingering alcohol along with the more apparent big malt, Belgian yeast tastes really beef up the feel of this beer which also features a degree of syrupy stickiness. There is a lot going on in the feel of this beer. 4.0

D Well this is a sipper for me. I prefer to savor every drop rather than have more than one. That being said, there is much to taste and enjoy and so within one serving, it is very drinkable. 3.5

Notes: Yep, another great beer from North Coast which I believe that I preferred on tap a while back. I recall that the on tap version (could it have been more fresh?) was more like candy in its malty goodness and I did not recall the bitterness or the burn of alcohol as much. This might be one of the great North American Belgian Dubbels out there (I'm looking in your general direction Unibroue!).

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

Poured into a Duvel Tulip.

Coloring is a nice reddish brown, small head that lingers on for the duration of the glass. Smell was dark fruit and sugar, perhaps a bit of yeast. The beer itself was sweeter then I had expected, almost cloyingly so. While there were some delightful fruity flavors which popped out, the depth that I've come to expect from abbey ales wasn't present. The mouthfeel was quite thick, almost syrupy. The drinkability was certainly good, but I expected more from this beer overall.

Photo of bcm119
3.63/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark reddish brown, minimal tan head.

Slightly toasty caramel and dark fruit (cherries?) in the aroma. Similar flavors-- currants, black cherry, slightly burnt caramel. Fairly dry, slightly astringent. Alcohol comes through a little bit.`Mouthfeel is a tad thin and lacks the creaminess one expects. Finishes with a little musty yeast. Pretty decent but something was missing for me, possibly a bit more yeasty complexity and/or creamy texture.

Photo of mulder1010
3.35/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

750 ML Bottle

A-- A very dark cherry color, thought brandy at first. Got a 1 finger off tan head with no lacing at all. Did not think a lot of carbonation until I to got the taste.

S-- Heavy candied sugar, dark fruits, carmel, roasted malts. Smell is very nice.

T-- Got an immediate warming in first sip. Lots of sugar and carmel in this. Get the figs in the background.

M-- A lot more carbonation than I thought at first. not keen on that. Got more syrupy as it got warmer and it left a bit of a tart taste in my mouth from the cherries.

D-- Interesting Dubbel. Not my style though. Was way too syrupy/ sugary for me. ABV at 9.4 is not a big deal but could use a bit less carmel, sugar and carbonation. Take your time and sip this.

Photo of BevMoAndrew
4.2/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served from a 12oz. bottle at about 35 degrees - Allowed to warm.
Appearance - a clear brown with a ruby tint. The creamy froth shows a light tan.
Smell - Pronounced and elegant. Initially I get the belgian yeast with some caramel/molasses malt, some definite spiciness, a subtle red fruit (Cherry?), and a little bit of raisin/fig. The more that I let this beer warm, the better.
Taste - Great mouthfeel, complex flavor, smooth, and a long finish. There is a little bit of alcohol that is detectible on the back of the throat, but not that bad for a 9.4% abv brew.
Drinkability - Great beer!

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

Appearance was different than most Dubbel's. Huge bubbles due to strong carbonation and no lacing.

Aroma is of caramel malts, dates, figs, brown sugar, molasses and all things nice. The aroma is of a textbook Dubbel.

Starts out with peppery yeast accompanied by dark fruits that are the hallmark of all Dubbels, with a nice western touch of light citrus to liven up this dark brew. Brother Thelonious is different than its Belgian counterpart, but has much to offer.

Mouthfeel is good, but a tad less carbonation could do this beer wonders.

Drinkability is decent. I found this beer easy to get into while still being enjoyable.

Photo of longbongsilver
4.55/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a few random new things to try recently. Went to grab one as a post-steak nitecap & pulled out this.

Pours a burnt orange-to-red, about 2 inches of white head come up then go away quickly. Faint molasses type smell, plus a bit of apple in behind the hops. Taste follows the smell, albeit less sweet than would think (a good thing, IMO) at first. Goes down with a slight fizz, with which the flavor actually gets more detailed (some grape actually comes up later, and even a note that reminds me of whiskey) as it goes. Oh yeah, then there's the warming from the 9%...

It's fitting that it's named for a jazz legend, as "smooth, yet complex" describes it to a T. What I get from one bottle feels almost like I'm cheating somebody, definitely picking up more.

Photo of Lunch
4.2/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on tap at Victoria Gastro Pub in Columbia, Maryland as part of Baltimore Beer Week (10/08/2009). Served rather cold in a snifter, but I allowed it to warm slightly.

Appearance: Deep mahogany with a garnet hue that was capped with a slightly off-white one finger head that quickly dissipated.

Smell: Dark fruit consisting of raisins, plums, berries, and candied apples accompanied by molasses and brown sugar.

Taste: Raisins, plums, brown sugar and molasses are all up front with an estery Belgian yeast bringing up the rear. Alcohol is hidden quite well by a moderate sweetness and a faint hint of chocolate. This is one of my favorite American Dubbels.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate to low carbonation with a slightly hot alcohol finish.

Drinkability: Quite good for the style, along the lines of similar quality American Dubbels such as Ommegang Abbey Ale.

Overall this is a well-crafted American Dubbel that captures many of the finer points contained in its Belgian style. Recommended.

Photo of Rayek
3.95/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a chalice.

A: Deep garnet with nice clarity for a bottle conditioned beer. A fizzy cream cap comes and goes quickly as it retreats to a ring at the edge of the beer. Leaves no lace.

S: Fruity and vinous. Dark fruits dominate. There's a little pepper in the background plus a hint of bubblegum. Alcohol adds a light tingle to the nose.

T: Rather sweet out front. Cherry and red grape are joined by bit of pear and green apple. Bitterness is low and contributes a mild flavor of clove and pepper. Alcohol adds a touch of warmth. Finishes with lingering cherry and clove flavors.

M: The body is light and dry. Carbonation is just about right for this style.

D: This is a nice dubbel overall. My sample was only a year old and felt like it would benefit from a little time in the cellar. A nice nightcap beer.

Photo of scottbrew4u
3.78/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a hazy brown color with a tan head that settles rather quickly. Not much lacing on this one.

S: Molasses and brown sugar sweetness with ripe figs, raisins, and a bready toasted malt aroma. Slight burnt tinge. Faint hop spiciness.

T: Brown sugar and raisins up front with a brown bread and molasses malt assault. More complexity comes from the estery yeast. Alcohol is hidden pretty well for it's strength.

M: Medium to full body and almost syrupy with some crisp carbonation.

D: A decent abbey ale from an American brewery. I would not rank it as my favorite though. It is worth trying but I would say it is too strong to be a session ale.

Brother Thelonious from North Coast Brewing Co.
86 out of 100 based on 2,511 ratings.