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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

2,517 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,517
Reviews: 959
rAvg: 3.79
pDev: 13.72%
Wants: 57
Gots: 282 | 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
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Ratings: 2,517 | Reviews: 959 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of DoubleJ
3.6/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

O Brother, Where Art Thou? Cool bottle label! 12 ounce bottle, and listed at 9.4% ABV, on to the beer:

Poured straight down a Stella Artois chalice, that head is going down slowly...a big bubbly sudsy head on top a body of dark red with hues of violet and orange. Spiced alcohol pokes throuhg in the aroma, where dark fruits, yeast, and pears make it mouthwatering before I sip it.

There is a moderate alcohol poking through the flavor as well, but it is a spicy booze. Fortunately, it doesn't ruin the overall taste. Faint eclairs at the begining....unsweetened powdered cocoa, echoes of yeast. Dry powedery roasted malt lingering in the aftertaste. A bit more buzzy in the mouth than other dubbels.

It's a pretty good dubbel, though the alcohol is washing against the top of the levees. Still....cool bottle label!

Photo of hosehead83
3.88/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a goblet wineglass
Ruby-brown in color, almost like an iced tea, with about a one-inch head
Aroma-Dark fruits, plums and raisins
Taste-Rich malt and definite plumminess,some Belgian sourness leading to a dry, almost winelike finish.
Overall, very pleasant and drinkable for its strength, but this one is a definite sipper, preferably on a cool night with some cool jazz(Thelonious Monk, anyone?)

Photo of drabmuh
3.98/5  rDev +5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Brother Thelonious. Apparently a purchase of this beer benefits a Jazz organization out in California, good to know. This was a standard fair, American made Belgian style ale. It was darker than I expected but it turned out to be about a strong brown ale. The mouthfeel was sweet and full. Dark brown, almost no head or carbonation but you wouldn't especially expect a beer like this to have either of those. Nearly 9% ABV and this was a big bottle, it packed a wallop. It wasn't the easiest beer to drink. The sweetness of the malt and the sweetness of the high alcohol were not as balanced as I would have liked. There is definetly a market for this beer though, it just may not be me. I have seen this beer (and maybe you have too) and have been curious for a while. I am glad I drank one and it is a good beer for me to start out my new journey on. If you like brown ales or porters and are looking for a serious one, or if you are into Belgian style ales (especially dark ales), you should check this out.

Photo of myost88
3.43/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from 750 ml bottle into Duvel Tulip glass.

Appearance: Pours a very deep dark Amber color with Ruby highlights. Very small head that fades almost instantly. Very little lacing. Not impressive.

Smell: Fruity aroma is the most prominent feature. Smells vinuous if you get my meaning.

Taste: Once again red wine features show through. Dark fruity taste at first like grapes or raisins. Finish is all yeast. No hops to be found, typical of the style. Has a little vinegar like pucker.

Mouthfeel: Lightly carbonated, very dry. Light bodied A little watery if you ask me.

Drinkability: It's easy to drink, especially if you like red wine. The alcohol isn't really prominent.

Overall: Something about this beer just didn't do it for me. It's a fair example of the style, though a bit simple. I'd much prefer an Ommegang Abbey to this. Likely won't be purchasing again.

Photo of Vengeance526
3.68/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark brown color with ruby highlights and a very light tan head that almost completely disappears in a few minutes leaving only light traces of lacing.

Sweet aroma of dark fruit, brown sugar and yeast.

Taste starts off sweet with notes of plum, raisin and brown sugar. Finish is slightly spicy with just a touch of yeast.

Medium bodied and goes down smooth. Not quite as satisfying as a true Belgian, but still has its place. Simply by virtue of there being better takes on this style out there, this isn't something I'll likely be coming back to very often...but still I'd be lying if I said I didn't enjoy it.

Photo of PeterLemonjello
3.8/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Admittedly, dubbels are not my favorite styles, but this is a a very good interpretation of the style and a fine beer.

A - Beautiful color. Crystal clear and dark ruby red. Lots of carbonation bringing up wonderful smells.

S - Sweet prunes/dates/malts...slight unsweetened chocolate

T - Very sweet, prunes, dates, brown sugar. Not much in the way of belgian yeast flavor. Sweet finish, not a lot of bitterness.

M - Nice texture and carbonation make this a pleasant feeling beer.

D - A tad too sweet for my taste to make it a session beer but a very nice beer.

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

Poured into tulip. Poured a very deep rubyred/brown with just a trace of medium tan head that had no retention or lacing.

Lots of earthy and fruit aromas. Dark cherry, plum and a musky grape flavors were noticeable on the tongue. There is a nice sharp spice finish.

The body is full and smooth, coating the tongue nicely. Smooth also describes the drinkability of this tasty treat. A very nice example of the style, worth seeking out.

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

pour is brick-red with a medium size beige-yellow head that dissipates quickly, good lacing.

smell is sweet, chocolate, brown sugar, pitted dark fruit, some spice, caramel.

taste is strong, smooth, and thick, bakers chocolate, prunes, raisins, grapes, some toffee, background is white pepper, malt, and spice, ends dry, somewhat tart, and somewhat sweet sweet.

Photo of malcontent
4.05/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Cloudy, deep amber liquid emerges without really any trace of head. Uh, oh, what's wrong?

Well, at least the aroma is right on. Rum raisin in a big way with a buttery back waft and plenty of bready aroma to boot.

Lovely malt character leads the way with flavors of dates, raisins, pumpernickel and a deft blend of cardamom and apple skins on the finish (the yeast at work, I think). Better than I remember.

Not thick but a decent degree of chewiness nevertheless. Carbonation is held in check nicely and the finish is almost creamy. Highly drinkable for a dubbel and one I'll have to keep in mind alongside the Chimay Red and Ommegang Abbey for future fixes.

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

Appearance: Pours a pure brown color with head that tended to dissipate quickly. Nonetheless, carbonation remained active.

Smell: Aroma is of caramel malts with a bit of fruit in the background (dark fruits, fig, perhaps even a little apple).

Taste: Taste begins a little sweet, then a blast of malts and candi sugars blow by. Malts have a bit of a roasted character. Essences of pear, fig, and apple also are in there, but faint. An alcohol warmth arrives a little later. Aftertaste is clean.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied and quite smooth, but perhaps not as smooth as its abbey brethren.

Drinakbility: Best enjoyed over a period of time to fully appreciate the taste complexities of this dubbel.

Overall- A good effort in recreating the Belgian dubbel.

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

Pours a dark copper into my pint glass. Has about a finger of off-white head, some carbonation visible, some lacing in the glass. Strong smell of raisins, alcohol, and brown-sugar malts.

Taste is of black cherries, raisins, plums, some roasted caramel notes. Light-bodied and easy to sip. Alcohol is not easily detected in the nose, but you can taste it. Moderate carbonation impacts the mouthfeel nicely.

Hearty, has depth and character. Great brew.

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

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a coppery brown color, with a short off-white head that fades quickly and leaves a decent lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of apples, caramel, brown sugar, some chocolate, Belgian yeast and some hops.

T: The taste is sweet up front with flavors of brown sugar, caramel and a little chocolate that are quickly followed a mild flavor of tart fruit. There's a nice Belgian yeast backbone and a heart malt character. The hops presence is mild but complementary. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, strong kick, good representation of style, this might not be the best Belgian-style beer I've had but it's a solid beer overall that is worth drinking for a while.

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

Poured from 12 ounce capped bottle a dark brown / walnut color.

Smell - Chocolate, fruity.

Good appearance with average head, some lacing in my stein.

Taste - Excellent initial taste, chocolate and coffee flavors. A bit much alcohol/boozy aroma after taste

Drinkability - Starts great with flavor, finish is average and a bit boozy.

Photo of PsychoJedi
3.73/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Normally, I do not drink black beer. But, this beer is not what I would consider normal. It pours a dark beer with little head. The smell it good. A rather fresh smell to a beer I thought would smell bitter. I does not taste bitter either. Has a slight after taste, but nothing a true beer drinker would be upset about. It taste like there is a bitter and a sweet taste are competing for dominance in the beer and it is ruled a tie. For someone that does not usually drink black beer, its pretty good. I guess I could not either recommend or not recommend this beer. One of those things one would have to judge for themselves.

Photo of JoshuaJ
4.33/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep, hazy mahogany with a light head and minimal lacing. It looks delicious.

Smells of fermented berries, hints of raisin and vanilla. Oaky, maybe.

Taste is similar to the nose. Fruity, sweet, the alcohol is definitely present. Notes of vanilla. Fermented grapes, blackberries.

Mouthfeel is good. This goes down smooth, and the alcohol certainly warms the body.

Overall drinkibility is good. I would much rather have sipped this on a cold winter night, rather than a warm spring/summer evening, but that's my own doing. Like a decadent piece of dark chocolate cake, one is enough for me. Definitely a sipper, but definitely worth picking up.

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

A- Pours a very dark red-brown with small head (strange for a Belgian-style brew) with some lacing. Looks like a dubbel except for the head.

S- Definitely not like anything I've smelled. Spicy, boozy, actually really good IMO. Big rum raisin presence. A bit of citrus. Big aroma.

T- More rum raisin, clove, a bit of alcohol. Sweet. Cloves and alcohol combine to give it a spicy kick, with the raisin giving it sweetness and a little depth. Nothing too deep, but tasty.

M- Smooth and creamy. A little over-carbonated, IMO, but pretty good.

D- A bit boozy, but tasty. A good sipper.

Photo of GRG1313
3.9/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Found in 12oz bottles and gave it a try having passed by, for some reason, the larger bottles.

Pours a dark copper red/brown with a lovely thick off white head.

Nice nose of malted fruit-cooked bananas and hints of tangerine peel and gives way to smells of big, rich cherries.

Flavors are a bit short and quick but nice. Flavors of roasted grain, cooked fruit, malt and bananas with some carmel and toffee and with an overwhelming cherry back palate and character.
Has a nice acidic character or bright fruit, almost more like wine than beer.

Sweet fruity finish that is not unpleasant but a bit of a "soda pop" character all around; perhaps too much of a cherry character; may not be all that food friendly. Just my opinion, as always.

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

This beer poured a beautiful ruby red with a small head. The smell is some dark fruitness of some raisins and maybe plums. The taste starts off with some malt that gives way to a lot of different fruits including banana and plums that give away to a little alcohol heat on the back end. The mouthfeel is slightly thick with some pleasant warming from the alcohol. You can tell that there's some punch behind this beer, but it doesn't really hurt the drinkability that much. I'm glad I finally got around to trying it out.

Photo of callmescraps
2.88/5  rDev -24%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Buddy decided to give this a bid. He was buying, so I agreed.

Appearance - Very dark. Almost black. But secretly a very deep ruby red color. Plenty of nice cocoa colored head. Lacing was not very impressive.

Smell - Raisins. Some dark fruits as well. Maybe some plum. A little bit of cherry. Also some bitter chocolate, possibly. Still, lots of raisin.

Taste - Raisin. Seriously. There's some cherry as well, and maybe a little fruit. But mostly it's raisin. My buddy gave up, said it was "raisin juice" which may have been a little harsh, but wasn't terribly far off the mark. Just not balanced enough.

Mouthfeel - A little thin. It sips very easily, not a ton of body or carb. Disappeared.

Drinkability - Split it, didn't want any more. Ended up having some of my buddy's, due to the raisin effect. Quite sweet.

This was an interesting beer. Frankly, not the best. Didn't have good body or enough complex flavor. That sweet raisin taste just won't go away. Even stuck around to mess up the BCS I had afterward.

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

Served on-tap at TDR Exton in a tulip 10z glass

Pours a deep oak brown, with beautiful amber highlights. A quickly dissipating inch of off-white head

Lots of dark fruit - plums, raisin, tropical notes. A sweet malt backing.

The flavor follows the nose perfectly. The fruit and malt play off one another very well.

A big beer - the alcohol is there, the beer is rich, sweet and deep. A few at a time, no more - but do not get me wrong - a fantastic beer

Photo of rapidsequence
4.3/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle, corked and caged

Appearance: Nice dark amber. Nice head forms, then quickly goes away, unfortunately.

Smell: Sweet, brown sugary, and raisins.

Taste: Caramel, dark fruit, definitely "belgiany". Theres a slight bitter cherry tang, almost like cough syrup (I mean that in the best possible way). Can't say I can't taste the booze.

Mouthfeel: Plenty carbonated, a little sharp up front, not at all watery. Nice syrupy feel after.

Drinkability: Probably should share this bomber, but I'm selfish. ABV is not low and not unnoticable at all.

Overall, its quite good. Comparable to Ommengang Abbey Ale in my opinion. A little pricier though.

Photo of damienblack
4.53/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a medium brown that is almost amber, standard tan head, decent lacing left. Smell is nice rich candi sugar, raisiiny fruit. Taste is much of the same. Sweet belgian sugars, a bit of hearty yeastiness, and a deep dark-fruit raisiny-ness. It's a lot heartier than most of the other dubbel's I've tried, it is almost what you see from Strong Dark Ales in terms of substance. Bold belgian flavours, buoyed by just the right levels of carbonation and stickiness. Drinks absolutely exceptionally and easily, to the point of being dangerously so. Despite the short reviews, this is probably the best American dubbel's I've experienced so far, and it definitely holds its own with the Belgians.

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

poured into an ommegang chalice,this beer is a beautiful deep brown with a half inch head that is here to stay apparently.

smell is of belgian candi sugar,dark fruit,slight bit of milk chocolate.slight bit of banana in the finish.

mmmm...dark fruity esters,belgian dark candi sweetness,with a slightly dry finish.at 9%,where's the alcohol?

i'm still amazed by the head on this beer.this head is in it to win it.

pretty effervescent.this beer is very easy to drink.pretty dangerous.

anyways,i also love the name and label of this beer.

Photo of beveritt
4.58/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: Poured from a stubby 12 oz brown bottle into a Duvel chalice. I have been looking for this one for awhile and couldn't seem to find it easily. Managed to pick it up at a recent trip to Indiana. Label depicts a profile of Thelonious Monk holding a chalice of beer a sporting a piano keyboard halo. No freshness date.

Appearance: Pours with 2 fingers of medium tan head. This settles slowly, eventually collapsing to a large island of foam in the middle of the glass and wisps here and there. Nice, thick lacing coverage remains. The beer itself is dark brown with shades of burnished copper and just on the verge of being opaque. No sediment in the bottle.

Smell: Strong aroma of tart cherries, lemon zest, and a candy apple sweetness.

Taste: Nutty flavor upfront with bready/yeasty malt undertones. Hints of cherries and figs in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Average to a little higher than average carbonation level, perfect for the style. Body is incredibly thick and mouthcoating.

Drinkability: A truly classic example of the style. Rich and complex; displays incredible depth. I wish it were more easily available.

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

One of the cooler labels I have seen in awhile. The beer is a Dubbel that is pretty in your face with the dark fruits and yeastiness. A couple years in the cellar might tame the upfront notes but really this is very good US dubbel. The beer is quite drinkable though slightly sweet and the big mouthfeel is part of its over the top charm. I will buy again and put in the cellar for future tastings

Brother Thelonious from North Coast Brewing Co.
86 out of 100 based on 2,517 ratings.