Brother Thelonious - North Coast Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Brother TheloniousBrother Thelonious

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very good

2,518 Ratings

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Ratings: 2,518
Reviews: 959
rAvg: 3.79
pDev: 13.72%
Wants: 58
Gots: 288 | 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)
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Ratings: 2,518 | Reviews: 959 | Display Reviews Only:
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.

Photo of jnezda
3.03/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Tried this beer on a whim since the beer I was looking for was no longer carried at the establishment where I was eating.

Appearance: Disappointed with the lack of head at all. This could have certainly been fault of the establishment. The color was a deep amber/red color that was very pleasant.

Smell: Dark fruits, raisins and berries dominate the smells along with a sweet sugary undertone.

Taste: Also sweet with hints of dark fruits. The abbey ale flavors come through well although a touch too sweet for my taste. The flavor hides the high ABV content well which I find common in the North Coast beers.

Mouthfeel: Along with the lack of head there was a certain lack of carbonation on this beer. The lack of carbonation made the beer more viscus than most and almost a bit slippery. The beer flavors associated with mouthfeel were all in all very good just lacked carbonation.

Drinkablity: I have enjoyed this beer from a large format bottle a couple times to great extent so this draft experience was over all a let down.

Photo of jbone78
3.88/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I finally found a small bottle of this. All the bottles in my area are the big ones. I love the Thelonious Monk label. One of the most cleverly named beers.

A- Poured a beautiful clear Mahogany color with about a fingers worthof head. Not much lace, strange. I bet my chimay glass has some soap residue on it, Damn it!
S- Esters, sugars and candy. Normal Belgian smell.
T- Very sugary, brown/Belgian sugars, chocolate, and alcohol. You can really warm up with this one.
M- Malty. Low carbonation for style that brings out more malt character.
D- I enjoy this one on a now and then basis. i do like it, but there are better American made Dubbels out there.

I still dig the label!

Photo of Diablerie
4.43/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I almost feel bad for saying this, but I had this while at Stone Brewery's bar yesterday. One of my friends bought a round and, knowing that I liked abbey ales, decided that this was what I would get.

Definitely a pleasant surprise. As I mentioned, I do like abbey ales, and this is definitely among the best ones that I've tried. I was surprised that this was a dubbel mainly because it tasted so similar to quadrupels I've had in the past.

As a preface, I thought this tasted very similar to Lost Abbey's "Judgment Day" (which is a quadrupel, incidentally), with prominent raisin overtones (and some other dark fruit tastes that worked well).

Appearance - kind of a dank, dark brown; Unfortunately, I can't really comment on the head, as I wasn't there when the beer was poured. What was left when the glass reached my table was a fairly decent tan head...a bit less than a finger's width, I'd like to say.

Aroma - dark fruit for sure. That's the most prominent smell. Also a heavy dose of Belgian candied sugar and some other pleasant spicy aromas.

Taste - The alcohol is well-hidden (I think it's somewhere around 9%, but the exact number escapes me...and, yes, it's 9% (I just checked the description here)) and masked behind the plum/raisin/cherry taste that the aroma foreshadowed. And the sugar comes through quite powerfully too. In a way, the beer is too sweet, but then again, it's an American take on the Belgian, different approaches are always a plus. By no means was it too sweet to drink. On a few sips though, I just didn't feel like I was drinking a beer. All around though, a pretty solid taste!

Mouthfeel - Pretty light on the palate, not too intense, but pretty much right on point. Not as full-bodied as the Rochefort Trappistes ales, but certainly not unpleasant.

Drinkability - Very drinkable. Definitely a dessert beverage of sorts.

I do highly recommend this beer, in addition to other North Coast brews. I'm happy to say that they've delivered another hit!

Photo of mothman
4.05/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into one of my goblets.
Pours ½ finger of creamy tan head. Decent head retention around the outside of the glass, but hardly any lace left. Color is a dark hazed murky brown.

Aroma: I didn't check the style on this, but I am pretty sure this is a quad, based on the smell. Big dark fruit aroma, raisins, cherries, bready malts, sugar, hints of vanilla. Wow, the aroma is very pleasing.

Taste: A very sweet and almost tart beer. Sour cherries, raisins and other dark dried fruits, vanilla, bready malts, apples, and a little alcohol. This has got to be a quad.

Mouthfeel: rich, smooth, and a little boozy. Full bodied with a medium level of carbonation. Ends with a dry fruit flavored aftertaste. A little too hot for me.

Overall, not a bad beer. I had no idea what I was getting into when I opened, but I did like it. This will be a one and one for me, as it very filling and has a decently high abv. I'd recommend the 12 oz bottle for a single person.

EDIT: Now I see the style is a dubbel, but I am really not seeing how this beer can be a double. I have had a few quads and dubbels and this tastes way more like a quad than a dubbel.

Photo of kingcrowing
3.63/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle poured in a fancy glass.

Pours a deep ruby red color with some dark brown and light amount of head. Smell is very belgian, some raisin and some of your standard Dubbel aromas.

Taste is quite complex. Lots of shit going on here, very typical of a belgian beer. Again this is surprising that this is an American beer. I think it's quite good, and theres not telling it was quite so strong.

Photo of donniecuffs
3.8/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into an American pint glass.

A: Dark brown with a thin head that didn't last or lace that well.

S: Sour fruit/cherry, brown sugar, plum, and some woodiness.

T: The taste was a little too sweet/sour from the getgo, but does dissolve into a nice balanced finish.

M: Barely a medium-bodied beer; surprising for a dubbel.

D: The thinner than expected body helps to make this sessionable, but then again the sourness detracts from it.

Photo of david18
3.3/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

They call it a strong dark which makes me think of quad. As a double this is actully much better. it doesn't have enough character to be a quad. In general and ok beer. Very dark color, a little sweet, good carbonation and not to hot alcohol-wise. Get it if you see it.

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

12 OZ bottle . Slightly cloudy dark brown ale, with a huge tight,bubbles light brown head. Nice deep roasty,smoky,malty aromas with nice spice showing through..almost reminds me of a Belgian themed Scotch ale. Very malty ,slightly dry flavours, soke too, then dark fruits, spices,coriander,black pepper, demerara sugar, raw, unrefined. Thick,full delicious creamy mouthfeel to this beauty. A vertiable meal in a bottle here. Lovelly beer..I stick to my original view this is like a good Scotch Ale done with belgian yeasts. Very nice.

Photo of ritzkiss
3.6/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12oz bottle in a trade from BBrianBoogie - thanks dude!

Pours a deep, rich mahogany with a half-finger of honey head that is creamy and luxurious looking. Leaves nice patches of lacing down the glass.

Nose is dark, rich fruits - almost fruitcake. Plums, raisins. A nice blend of sour cherries, a hint of vinegar (Flanders red-ish?).

A bold beer that's dominant notes are dates, raisins, caramel malts, hints of cherry, lots of candied brown sugar to provide a heavy sweet body, slightly vinous, faint "cola" notes. Faint alcohol warming in finish.

This is not a beer to be trifled with. Heavy, sweet body with 9.4% is not a quick drinker - a hefty sipper. Flavors are rich and deep (though not overly complex), though they seem to stand out individually without blending overly harmoniously. I dig the slight funk and sour cherry but overall too sweet for my liking. It's a nice big brew, but certainly not the best in style.

Photo of vishneda
2.88/5  rDev -24%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle poured into a goblet.

Poured to a dark reddish brown body with a tan head that died on impact and provided little lace.

On the first whiff the aroma was inviting, a mixture of plum, raisin, cinnamon and yeast. Exposes a sweet side on the nose. However, deep sniffs introduce a solvent-like aroma which should not be here.

Sweet malty bomb flavor on the tip of the tongue. Lots of raisin, plum, vanilla, cinnamon, and cane sugar in the flavor. I had a hard time finding balance on this. It is complicated, but I struggled with the overall blend and eventually it became very cloying. I was not impressed with the flavor of this brew.

Feels super slick and creamy with a full body. Drinkability was meh for the style.

Photo of kiddynamite920
4.13/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Not much head on this deep amber beer. I'm starting to think the lovely glasses I use has an effect on the beers appearance. A nice deep amber, no visible carbonation.

S: I dont get to much on the nose except malts and cherry aromas. Some dark fruits, very sweet. Smell is weak but impressive at the same time. No alcohol presence.

T: The taste is what wins this beer for me. Simply delicious. Nice and fruity with very deep and rich malt characters. I get cherries and raisins right off the bat. Tastes similar to Three Philosopher's IMO.

M: Luscious, smooth, creamy. Quite a good mouthfeel.

D: Too drinkable.

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

A: pours a beautiful off white head and a rich burgundy, but head dissipates quickly and leaves not traces.

S: Sweet malts, alcohol, raisin, spices and banana.

T: Get the malts and pretty much no hops. Fairly sweet beer, not quite balanced but isn't a bad thing necessarily. Sweet and spicy finish.

M: Medium. Somewhat active carbonation on the tongue.

D: Definitely drinkable, but the sweetness and high ABV may take its toll.

Another solid beer in the NC lineup.

Photo of ocelot2500
3.83/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear dark mahogany, with a creamy off white head. Leaves enough lacing on the glass.

Smell is of the dark fruit and raisin variety. Some alcohol can be found along with some spice and molasses type notes.

Tastes of the molasses and dark fruit flavors mostly. This is pretty good, but the flavors seem soft or light. Some alcohol becomes prevalent as it warms.

The mouthfeel is smooth, but I wish it was a little more full.

This is very drinkable.

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

A: Dark mahogany body and near white creamy head with great lacing.
S: Malty and fairly creamy. Some raisins and dark fruits.
T: Burnt and roasted malts, raisins, figs. Finishes with a bit of hop bitterness.
M: Maybe a bit light, but I haven't had a dubbel in a while and can't remember the usual feel. Think I might be thinking of a quad.
D: Hides the 9% well. One of the better dubbels I can remember having. Another great beer from North Coast.

Photo of SurlyDuff
4.22/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Enjoyed this beer on tap at North Coast brewing in Fort Bragg. Fortunatly can get this brew at home at decent bottle stores.

Dark reddish brown, woody or light cocacola colred.

Sweet molassas dark fruit, spicy alcohol burn (some clove and pepper) with some chewy burnt malt.

Taste is sweet and grainy biscuit with brown sugar. High alcohol warming with a bready yeast and rich ripe alcohol. Woody oak in here too. Mouthfeel is very full. It's a slow drinker, and improves as it warms up a bit.

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

12 oz bottle poured in snifter while listening to 'Round Midnight.

Pours a beautiful hazy ruby color. Creamy antiqued white head. Dissipates to leave creamy cap with good while not spectacular lacing.

Aroma leads with dark fruit. Raisin and fig with ever so slight hints of grapes. Faint spiciness to the smell, mainly cinnamon and cloves.

Malty sweetness and candi sugar leads the way. Soon followed by a slight chocolate flavor which is only noticed momentarily until the dark fruit flavors begin to dominate. Slight tart cherry mingles with raisin and fig flavors. Orange zest and some spiciness round out the flavor.

Drinks very smooth and creamy. Carbonation is appropriate. Medium body.

This was a pleasure to drink, Very enjoyable. The sweetness does tend to build as you drink but stops short of being unbearable. Over all an extremely enjoyable beer.

Photo of strangemusic
3.68/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This beer poured a nice reddish-dark brown, almost a winelike colour, with a very robust, 2 finger (or even more!) toasty head. Really nice.

The smell was muted, a bit soapy, brown sugars and light hops with alcohol and ripe red fruit.

The taste was more of the same but expressed a bit better, with strong caramel notes, spiciness and more of that ripe red fruit with a light hoppy balance.

The mouthfeel was alright... thinner and a little bit oilier than I'd expected, and too "hard" in the mouth. Smooth, though.

The drinkability was not great. Lots of alcohol showing through the flavours... a good beer to taste and try, but probably not going to be a go-to brew.

Photo of GRPunk
3.23/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle poured into a tulip glass.

A- A moderate pour left about 1 finger of tan head which quickly dropped to a full lace. The body was a slightly hazy, rich brown with moderate carbonation. There was some decent stick left on the glass.

S- Initially, I picked up a lot of raisin/prune aroma. A second whiff hinted at a pleasant mix of spices (maybe a little nutmeg and ginger).

T- More of the fruity raisin flavors that are suggested in the aroma. The flavor lingered well after the swallow with the alcohol finishing everything off with a real bite. It was a bit more assertive than it had to be. Later on I got some citrus qualities in the background.

M- I found the carbonation to be a bit intense and was expecting a slightly fuller feel. It came off as a little light on the tongue with a little alcoholic bite.

D- Even in a category that lends itself to sippers, this was a bit much. I didn't find the alcohol to be well hidden and it just came off as a bit too aggressive. I somehow prefer the peripheral qualities (appearance and smell) to the more meaningful characteristics (taste and drinkability). Glad I tried it, but I'm not going to seek it out again.

Brother Thelonious from North Coast Brewing Co.
85 out of 100 based on 2,518 ratings.