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Brother Thelonious - North Coast Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Brother TheloniousBrother Thelonious

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

2,613 Ratings

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Ratings: 2,613
Reviews: 982
rAvg: 3.79
pDev: 13.46%
Wants: 62
Gots: 362 | 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 (20) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,613 | Reviews: 982
3.93/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle to wine glass. No date on a label, but I'm digging the artwork.

A: The head is average in size, 1 1/2 finger and light brown, but fizzes out fast! Lacing is doubtful. The crimson/cranberry colored body is semi clear when held in front of light, but 85% opaque otherwise. No lacing to speak of but it never stood a chance.

S: Malts are heavy. Toasted caramel and grain stand out. Semi sweet with dark candi sugar. Low levels of herbal grassy hops.

T: The flavor is full of alcohol soaked dark fruits: quince, raisin, cherry and prune. Alcohol on the palate starts out light but becomes borderline heavy as the beer warms. Average flavor duration with light to moderate sweetness.

M: How a dubbel should be. Medium body with a slick sticky mouthcoating texture. The carbonation is fine and fizzy but it is a touch on the soft side.

D: This beer needs a lot of time to open up. Best enjoyed, in my opinion, at room temperature or slightly colder. Carpe diem!

Photo of MrDanno96
4.12/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a really dark brown with ruby hues when held to light. A thin ring of off-white head circles the rim of the glass. Very little lacing.

S: Lots of sweeter dark fruit - plums, raisins, and lots of grape. Hints of caramel/molasses and booze, but mostly the aromatic fruit.

T: Not nearly as sweet as the fruit nose suggests, but getting there. A good amount of earthy malt mixes with some molasses sweetness up front. The back end transitions to some darker fruits like plums, figs, and dark cherries. Just a little bitterness in the finish.

M: Full bodied with a subtle amount of carbonation. Just a little bit of alcohol warmth.

D: A nice sipping Belgian "Dubbel" - I thought it was a Quad before I looked it up on here. It drinks more like a Belgian Dark or a Quad IMO. Not as good as Rochefort 10 or St. Bernardus, but definitely cheaper and still pretty tasty.

Photo of trevorjn06
3.76/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Unibroue tulip glass.
Pours a dark brown/mahogany with a thick head that takes a few minutes to settle. It's fairly cold at the moment and the smell is pretty mild, a bit of dark fruit and malt. As it warms the aroma is a bit stronger and a distinct nuttiness comes forward, as well as a bit of alcohol. Overall the aroma is quite mild.

Taste is full bodied, but not overpowering. There is a burnt caramel taste but the dark and ripe fruit flavors dominate, prune, dark cherry, perhaps a hint of orange and raisin. There is a mild hop bitterness that comes out toward the finish but overall this is a sweet beer. I find the taste a bit hard to describe, it's complex with a few flavors that are hard to place.

This beer is honestly not quite as good as I had remembered. It is rich, fruity, complex and delicious but I have tried many Belgian and Trappist beers since I had this last and it's quite difficult to compare to those. This one just didn't quite add up and is lacking some of the character that the genuine Belgians have.

Photo of chaz01
3.95/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Tasting portion at a North Coast beer tasting event at a local grocery store. 12 ounce bottle poured into a champagne flute glass. The beer rep from North Coast shared the little joke relating to the name of the beer. As this beer is molded in the tradition of Belgian ales sometimes made by Trappist monks, they were looking for the American equivalent of a "monk" on the label -- and the closest they came to was jazz legend Thelonious Monk, thus the name of the beer and his image on the label. A portion of the proceeds of the sales for this beer go to the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz to help promote promising young musicians.

A: Amber brown in color, clear with a nice sized foamy head.

S: Rich dark fruit aromas like prunes and plums.

T: More ripe dark fruity flavors in the taste -- prunes, plums and even cherries. Lots of sweet malt with a litle bit of hoppy bitterness in the finish along with some some orange peel flavor.

M: Medium bodied with low carbonation.

D: I thought the alcohol was well-hidden for 9.4% ABV. Nice beer to pair with a rich desert or on it's own as a nice sipping beer.

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

A- Deep, clear mahogany color with shades of reddish brown. One finger tan head, that slowly dissapated into an very think, swirly, lasting lace that was amazing long lingering.

S- Malty, brown sugar- hints of raisin bread.

T- Caramel, Malts, Dry Cocoa, with a slight bite of alcohol. The nose presents more smells than the taste ends up revealing.

M- Mild carbonation, but a little on the flat side (less exciting than expected).

D- Good! Depsite the taste not being up to the same level as the smell (which I found myself enjoying through each sip), I would enjoy this brew again.

Photo of oglmcdgl
2.73/5  rDev -28%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12 oz bottle split with sourbatchkid.

A- a good finger of tan head from a hard pour. Chestnut brown in color with a deep orange glow.

S- big sweet malts and a spiced fruit cake.

T- sweet for sure with the spices right on its tail. A slight bitter hit with some fruit.

M- medium to light body with a above average carb.

D- well there are a lot of dubbels out there and this one kinda misses the mark. Not bad but not great.

Photo of rarbring
2.55/5  rDev -32.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

A dark brown beverage with a ruby red tone, a beige head, leaving some curtains and a few spots as lacing.

The smell is sweet, dried fruits, figs, dates and raisins, some alcohol, sherry and yeast.

The taste is sweet, sweet, sweet, like liquid Christmas pudding. One with a bitter tang at the end, like from raw flour.

Medium carbonation, soft and like thin maple syrup.

This is really too sweet, I can't enjoy it even as dessert. Sorry!

Photo of BeerLover729
4.61/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours dark, just less than opaque, brown beer with less head then analogous Belgian imports. Dark cherries, chocolate, clove like spices, and Belgian yeast dark fruit esters fill the noes. Ahhh...No Chaser...Thelonious joke. Rich chocolate with just the right balance of bitter and sweet are the first big tastes. Mild phenols and a very slight flavor of ethanol spill into the finish, which fades all to quick leaving no real residual cloyingness. The mouthfeel is light and bubbly. Obviously some adjuncts are used to cut down on the body and/or bump up the abv. Great example of proper use of adjunct. Excellent drinkablity. A dangerous 9.5% abv beer. Watch out brother.

Photo of speter
3.5/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: Pours a dark translucent brown with a small tan one-finger head that quickly fades leaving essentially no lacing.

S: Belgian candi sugar and Belgian yeast. With imagination, I can get some fruity notes, but they aren't too forward.

T: The fruity esters are more present in the flavor than in the smell. The Belgian elements (candi and yeast) still predominate, but there's more of the typical raisin, fig, prune, etc. in the taste. Sweet from start to finish.

M: Fairly full bodied. The first sips are nicely warming. (I'll have to seek this out again come winter.)

D: A nice example of the style and one well worth seeking out.

Photo of Bfarr
4.1/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A nice mahogany with an unattractive thin brown foam that recedes very quickly. Aromas are nice sweet and spicy although a bit subdued. The taste is initially a syrupy sweet taste but a certain spiciness envelops the mouth. There is a caramel flavor and also, a prune feel and sweetness mixed with paprika and a little cayenne. There is a slight fuzzy feeling to the beer but it's muted and quite enjoyable.

I must say there is something elusive in this beer as well, funky if you will. An improvisation on the tastebuds that's hard to determine where the next flavor chord comes from. An interpretation that's bold and yet recognizeable. Okay, that's my last jazz metaphor, this really is an enjoyable beer.

Photo of ToasterChef
4.22/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from my notes. The beer has a deep ruby color and is opaque. A huge tan head settled slowly but did not leave much lace behind. It does leave behind a film that is slow to recede. It has a slightly spiced plum aroma with a hint of sweetness. It reminds me of a dubbel. It isn't overly complex, but good. The flavor is very malty. I can taste caramel, plum, and toffee. There is a tart fruitiness in the finish and a mild chalkiness in the aftertaste. I'm unable to taste any of the alcohol. It has a medium body and a lot of carbonation. It leaves behind a full coating of my mouth. This feels like a big beer. There is some stickiness in my mouth but not on my lips. This beer is very drinkable. I'd like to keep a few bottles of this on hand. I wouldn't drink too many in any one sitting (due to the ABV), but it would be a good beer to have to share when friends visit. This is another great beer from North Coast.

Photo of Agold
4.08/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer is a dark dark brown with red hints that come out when held up to the light. It smells malty and sweet, maybe a bit fruity. The taste is surprisingly smooth for a 9.4% beer. As the beer warms, some of the fruity flavors that were present in the smell emerge along with a bit of the alcohol. Really good drinkability to this despite the high ABV. I bought this beer because i am a huge thelonious monk fan, and am really glad i did.

Photo of Shaw
3.79/5  rDev 0%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A deep ruby in color without any head to speak of.

The aroma is very complex. I note dried fruit, soy sauce(!) and molasses, among other aromas.

The taste is equally complex and fruity and sweet. I taste figs, raisins and cherries, along with a bit of earthy funk. I don't notice the high alcohol level at all.

Body is smooth, but a little light.

Overall a fine Dubbel, and well worth seeking out.

Photo of beersheppard
4.11/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: dark mahogany, thin fleeting tan head, not much lacing.

Smell: very pleasant- molasses, dark fruit, brown sugar, maple syrup, malt, burnt caramel.

Taste: pretty much the same-molasses, dark fruit, brown sugar, maple syrup, malt, burnt caramel, a little booze burn, long finish.

Mouthfeel: substantial great coating, full.

Drinkability: a very pleasnt Dubbel, I would buy again.

Photo of chumba526
1.93/5  rDev -49.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Beer appears a dark brown color, thin light brown foam. It doesn't look much different from coke.

The smell is very sweet there is a strong overtone of prunes dates and a noticeable metallic smell.

The taste is overly sweet: there are tones of dark fruit like raisons and prunes but it's as if they were coated in a crazy amount of sugar. Kind of tastes like a fermented dr. pepper. There is also a very unpleasant metallic taste to the beer. The high carbonation makes the rough on my palate: it is not smooth. If you like Dubbels to have a huge amount of sweetness with no balance and if you like your beer to have the carbonation of soda you might like this. For me though, it was a drain pour.

Photo of TommyW
4.3/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Crystal, clear, dark-ruby body with a thin tan head.

S- Caramel malt, prune and banana, some spice and a whiff of alcohol.

T- Big caramel malt backbone, large spice profile with dark fruit (prune and dark cherry). Pretty sweet finish.

M- Medium/full feel with an aggressive carbonation over the tongue.

D- A really nice dubbel; nice sipping beer.

Photo of cindyjeffsmith
4.42/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Gonna be touch to be objective here...a beer tribute to Monk...2 of my favorite things in one.
Gotta have the right accompaniment here. Start with the master and Trane on Monk's mood, then my buddy Robert Orr's solo guitar version of Blue Monk...er I digress.
appearance: Dark mahogany. Tan head.
smell: Nice. Malty, spicy, some dark fruitiness.
Just in time. Mike Stern's version of Straight No Chaser.
taste: Sweet start and a spicy finish. This is classified as a Dubbel but reminds me of Gulden Draak.
Great beer...great musician.

Photo of daledeee
4.04/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer comes in a four pack and is quite reasonably priced.

Poured into a large wine glass and noticed a nice clear dark reddish brown. The head went away quickly and left a ring around the glass.

Nose is very good with plums and bananas. Very fresh and fruity smelling.

Taste is dark fruit with caramel malt. Plums and prunes are the most apparent; also some dark cherry. The finish is heavy caramel malt. Mouth feel was a little flat for me but overall a sweet beer. Quite drinkable and Belgian-like.

Photo of dqrull
4.32/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep brownred with a fizzling tan head that dies down rather quilckly, a beautiful colour.

Smells lovely, sweet syrupy dark fruits, even though there are plums and fresh figs up front, there are green apples and a hinto f ripe red berries in the back, alcohol shines through a bit and gives the nose an air of red dessert-wine.

Taste is initially full of fruits (dried peaches, fresh plums, apples and red berries, maybe cranberries?) carramellized with flavourful brown sugar. After a slight vanilla note mid palate, the yeast esters take over and add a touch of almond paste and cookie dough which grows as the experience nears it end and the fruits receeds a bit. Finishes with a light bitterness and a light, light tartness from the yeast esters. All the way through this is sweeter than your average dubbel, even though it has some of the dry qualities as well, expecially towards the end.

Mid body with small fizzly carbonation bubbles, great.

A really great beer that I have really come to appreciate lately, happy its available all the time here in Sweden :)

Photo of markb33
3.74/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From a 750ml bottle poured into a goblet.

A--Pours a dark mahogany color. The thin tan head quickly dissipates leaving almost no lacing. Halfway down the glass it almost looks like flat Dr. Pepper.

S--Sweet at the nose with hints of cherry and dried fruit esters. Alcohol through the finish.

T--Tart prune or cherry taste to start. Not much in the way of hops. Balanced with a dose of bitterness from the alcohol and very mild carbonation. Finish is smooth with return to fruity notes. Overall quite good but not particularly unique or interesting.

M--A little slick on the tongue. Very little carbonation. Nice not to have a drying effect at the finish.

D--Definitely a solid beer. I enjoy the tartness and fruity esters. I think the dried fruit may make this a better fall or winter beer for me and I'll give it another shot then.

Overall this is a solid beer, but I'd given what I've come to expect from North Coast I'm a little disappointed. I really enjoy the Old Rasputin Stout and I expected to be blown away. I'm pleased with Brother Thelonious, but not awed.

Photo of wcuberos
3.54/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle to glass

After a pour there was no visible head in the glass. Has a slight aroma but nothing that really stood out.

The flavor seems typical for a brown ale, some chocolate/malt flavors that linger on the tongue. The flavor seemed to die quickly and left me expect more from a North Coast brew. The alcohol level is 9 so I thought there would be a little more bite to this but it didn't seem to have it.

It was easy to drink but not inspiring and I had high hopes. Over all it's a good beer but not great, I'd try it again but I'm not going to search it out any time soon.

Photo of BARFLYB
3.8/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a tulip glass late at night looking up at the stars.

"Bad Mother Fucker" wallet brown with some faint spots of plum juice and red spots intertwined. Using a tulip I was trying to geta nice Belgian head and with a hard pour I was unsuccessful. A cinnamon tannish head rose up about an 1 1/2 inches with some fullness, but it just seemed to die leaving faint traces of foam.

On first sniffs I really dont get anything, it smells like a simple brown ale, but with significant warming it comes out in spurts. Brown sugar, biscuit from the malts and a slight dark fruit thing going that ain't all that big. A few drops of chocolate syrup if you sniff for it. I thought the yeast would be more noticable, but it's quite muted.

This is a good simple dubble without all the bells and whistles. Tastes of apple skins and plum with caramel and biscuit from the malting. In the middle I get a small amount of chocolate and a even smaller amount of roasted coffee, it's almost a mute point at the level it's at. I just think more yeast could of been used to bring the fruit component out a bit fuller.

At 9.4% I was expecting a little bit of booze and maybe some heat, but I did not get any of that, none at all, it's masked extremely well. That's the good. The bad is that the carb could stand to be boosted a notch or two to liven it up a bit, the mouth on this was practically dead. Thelonious is above medium bodied with low carb, a few things could be worked on here, or perhaps I need to try a caged and corked bottle of this.

With the absense of a boatload of flavor and a kind of dead feel, Brother just hit the mark on being acceptable. This is good beer but it's not a game changer. I drank it with ease, there's no problems there, I was just left wanting more flavor and fruit and malt now that I think of it. This is good for a go andI think im going to try it again in the bigger version.

Photo of AgentMunky
4.17/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a beer goblet.

A: Imposing. It's a bit hard to judge, as the beer is so dark. But held up to the light, one sees a gradient of colour running from opaque brown to winedark red. Light head leaves heavy lacing, and some tracing stays on the surface.

S: Alcoholic esters dominant the smell. Dark fruit and sugars, with coffee lurking in the background.

T: Sweet caramels and fruits with a bit more carbonation than I anticipated. The alcohol is well-concealed and overall Brother Thelonious is lighter than it looks. It also avoids being overly sweet. Ever-so-slightly bitter aftertaste.

M: The carbonation does a good job of preventing the beer from coating the mouth and throat, but it somehow feels out of place. A bit awkward, but mostly successful.

D: This beer is perhaps perilously drinkable. It looks and hits harder than it tastes. Still, with fruit, coffee, and an excellent nose, I would drink this beer often. A little overcarbonated, but otherwise excellent.

Photo of krs0123
3.83/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - dark red/brown. agressive pour yields one finger thin tan head.

S - fruity, brown sugar.

T - caramel malts up front with strong plum on the back end.

M - tiny bubbles, strange carbination...not my favorite.

D - i like it, but can't love it....carbination is off, fruitiness is there but not overwhelming (or is it). alcohol is there, but hidden by sweetness.

Photo of homebrew311
4.2/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: pours a deep mahogany/purple with an initial white head that disintegrates to a thin coating of dense white bubbles, some haziness

S: fruity raisins, grapes, spicy yeast, cloves, a hint of banana, this beer runs the full gamut of what I expect in a nice Belgian style ale, smells well balanced

T: sweet malts on the front with hints of red grapes and bananas, this melds into a spicy profile with a notable zing from typical Belgian yeast, lots of sweetness undercut by bready yeast notes, very nice balance, 9% is nearly non existant

MF: high carbonation, effervescent, medium to thick body

D: very nice Belgian style ale with an assertive and bold malt profile, lots of nice spicy and yeasty notes that meld well with the fruity esters

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Brother Thelonious from North Coast Brewing Co.
85 out of 100 based on 2,613 ratings.