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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

2,511 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,511
Reviews: 958
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
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Ratings: 2,511 | Reviews: 958 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of jujubeast6000
3.43/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Reviewed 6/14/2007 (750mL bottle):

Pours a dark brown color, some head but diminishing. Light tannish head, fine bubbles. Strong Belgian alcoholy aroma, dark fruit, sweet smelling. Some earthy smells. Clean, not too strong a taste surprisingly. Malty sweet with clean finish. Not alcoholy taste. A little tempered on the taste, though. Sweet tasting. Malty aftertaste. Good.

Photo of surfer4life
4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a goblet from a 12oz bottle.

A - Dark brown, think film for a head and minimal lacing.

S - Malty goodness, very bready, lots of caramel and raisin smells.

T - Very smooth, the alcohol has a small twang that adds to the sweet caramel taste. Raisins evident in this one. Throw in a bit of hops and you've got a good dubbel here.

M - As is normal with this styel it's highly carbonated, which leaves the mouth crisp clean and wanting more.

D - Very, I give this beer all 4's pretty damn good and I'd drink it again.

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

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a large wine glass. Pours a clear deep reddish orange amber with a half inch of off white head. Retention is brief and not surprising given the clarity of the beer.

Smell is raisiny fig in nature, some roasted malts and a touch of alcohol. Just a slight yeast presence. Opening up to some cherry and grape as it warms.

Taste is malty but in a simple way, not a lot of depth. Sweet and a bit chewy but no notable flavors linger after the swallow. Again improving with warming. Light in carbonation and assumably not bottle conditioned given the clarity. Decent feel and drink but overall not very impressed, yet compares favorably to many of the style and hides its strength well. Noted as a Belgian Strong Dark Ale on their website. ABV of 9.4%.

Photo of illidurit
2.95/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

On tap at The Red in Santa Cruz. Pours a clear deep reddish amber color with a beige head that leaves some decent lacing. Aroma is peppery alcohol, red and dark fruits, and a hint of mesquite. Light and fruity with not enough body or depth for the style. Astringent and thinnish. A textbook example of a poor American imitation of a Belgian beer.

Photo of teamhex
4.93/5  rDev +30.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into a chilled Glass
Pours a dark ruby color
Tiny head that goes away quickly and leaves a nice lacing around the glass
Smells wonderful and of dark fruits
Strong fig taste and slightly hoppy near the end.
Great beer, drinkabliity is exceptional.
I recommend picking one up if you can find it.

Photo of Psilo707
3.8/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Very purple natured, thick amber ale when poured into a glass. A nicely evaporating head that leaves consistent and intriguing lacing. The smell is one of plums and darkness. The taste is similar - figs, plums, a very distinct aftertaste of both is present.

Mouthfeel is average or less than such - not as solid in the mouth as expected. Drinkability is standard.

Overall a pretty good Belgian Ale. I'd recommend it, but for the price, there are better.

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

Chilled bomber into a glass.

A: Dark mahogany with a purple character. Satisfying 1 finger of head that remained for several minutes. It receded into a ring and left lacing down the glass.

S: Brown sugar, candied raisins, figs, and plums. A dark and sweet bouquet.

T: Sweet, with the raisins, figs, and plums dominating the taste. Some hop character toward the end. The finish is very hot with a noticeable alcohol burn. The overall effect is of an aged Old Stock.

M: Full-bodied, but overcarbonated, giving a lot of foam at the end of a swallow.

D: I wouldn't mind having it again, but its carbonation is a bit of an issue. Goes well with spicy food.

Photo of ATPete
3.65/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

corked/caged 750ml, great label art, im a sucker for beers with good causes.

A- transparent ruby brown color, medium sized tan head

S- Nice nose here, sweet malts, chocolate, mild fruitiness

T/M- Good initially, a little thin in body, and an awkward fruity hop bitterness mid palate other than that, its everything you've come to expect from an American attempt at a traditional Belgian style.

D- Good

Photo of yeastsipper
2.98/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Had on tap at the NC tap room:

Beer poured into a tulip. Nice big head. A bit strange coloring though - the beer looked almost purple.

The smell is of candy sugar, raisins, plums and stone fruit. The sweetness dominates the nose.

The taste is one of sweetness and raisins followed by a slight vinegar like flavor. Acidic, but not sour. The sweetness up front is too much for me. Not bad, but not great either.

I didn not care for the mouthfeel. There was not much carbonation and overall the mouthfeel was very week. Drinkability is low due to the mouthfeel and excessive sweetness.

I did not care much for this beer. The second half of the beer I enjoyed much morel. Drinking the beer with my meal, the spicyness of the garlic from the garlic fries served to balance out the sweetness of the BT. Pretty good with spicy food, not so good alone.

Photo of david131
4.03/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Absolutely clear deep ruby red with a bubbly off white head and some nice lacing and some pretty nice retention.

S- Dark fruits, brown sugar, honey, some spiciness, and a nice bit of Belgian yeast. There is a definite vegetable aroma to this. The slightest hint of swiss cheese and some floral notes. Complex and appealing.

T- Sweeter than the aroma would lead you to believe. A nice grape juice aspect and all the things I picked up in the aroma. The alcohol is pretty apparent, but only as a warming sense. I don't taste the vegetables nearly as strongly as I smell them.

M- Creamy with some nice carbonation level. Dry on the end, but this is what I expect from a Dubbel.

D- A tasty beverage, but this is just not everything I had hoped. A good American take on a seldom seen Belgian style.

Photo of bigkahunas4
3.88/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip glass from the stubby 12 oz bottle. Came out of the bottle an earthy brown, becoming much darker in the glass. Pancake colored head, has okay retention. Lacing is standard. Nose is a bit funky, picking up some brett. Fruit flavors like white grape and apple emerge.

Flavors start sweet, sweet bread moves to some grape undertones. Bitterness then emerges, and becomes the prominent trait. Bitter profile is alcohol and resiny hops. Brew is medium bodied with a dry finish.

Overall I liked this beer. It's different than any dubbel I've had before - though I'm beginning to notice that dubbels are quite diverse. Certainly not may favorite (love Ommegang's Abbey), but it's different and one I wouldn't turn down.

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

A) Health, lively head. Larger Bubbles. Foamy texture. Thick, deep red and copper around the edges. Deep Dark Brown in the heart. Slight lacing/clinging. Head sticks around enough for coverage.

S) Big, Malty nose. Sugary, crusty, ripe, dark-fruits. Not Candy Sugar.

T) Plums and raisins but not syrupy sweet ones like I taste in Barley Wines. Certainly more sweet than bitter but certainly bitter. This is the first time I've really enjoyed plums and raisins, except the ones I pick-up in stouts. Drier, Flat bitterness in the finish.

M) The carbonation is noticeable. Nearly Room Temp 1/2 way through. Sticky-lips but didn't notice till now. Med-Full mouthfeel.

D) High, considering

Photo of Jmoore50
3.58/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The look of this bottle is exceptional. Cool lookin' monk with some shades. Bottle is caged and corked, bad ass.

I hate brews from Belgium but I promised myself that I would explore this region again. The appearance of this brew is a darker red or light amber. I poured this and it came to a really crazy two finger fizz head, dissapeared quickly.

In this you can smell a spicy bread? I dont know because I was pretty nervous with drinking this. On my first sip I was so-so. It was drinkable but the malt soapiness was just a little akward. The more I drank of this brew I started to like this brew. I thought that maybe I will be liking this style.

Overall I will be getting a brew from Belgium or Germany with every beer haul. I feel like I will find the beer that I like from this style. I will not buy this again, mostly because it's $8.50. Also the brew itself is only so-so.


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

Light brown and mahogany hues with an off-white head that dissipates quickly with minimal lacing. Sweet, malty aromas with mostly toffee and caramel notes. Tastes of toffee, coffee, and oatmeal with the smallest trace of alcohol. A medium body of a slightly syrupy consistency makes sure the flavors stick to the palate for a while. This pleasurable, malty brew is very easy and fun to drink. I'd only have one, but I can see how the drinkability would make it easy to keep going!

Photo of theghost3
3.75/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Brother Thelonious pours a medium, cloudy brown-tea-like color with a one-finger beige head. Lots of lacing. Smell is strong of molasses, honey, raisins, and maybe Syrah. The taste is strong of dried fruits, roasted malts, spices, & the alcohol is rather apparent. Mouthfeel is acidic, thick. Overall, a drinkable beer, however, the alcohol is quite prevalent (9.4 percent ABV).

Photo of argock
3.7/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 12oz brown bottle into a clear oversized wine glass. No freshness date. Single purchased from Wine Warehouse (Charlottesville, VA) for $3.20.

A: Inviting ruby-mahogany with respectable 1-finger foamy beige head with decent retention but only scattered clumps of lace.

S: Mainly honey and prunes with some cinnamon, clove, and leafy, tobacco-like hops

T: Initially very sweet with brown sugar, maple, honey, fig, plum, and peach flavors followed by yeast and clove and finished with leafy, woody, earthy hops and a dash of alcohol heat.

M: Feel is a bit too rough with heavy carbonation and not quite enough body to battle with the Belgians. Aftertaste is long with cardboard and wood tones.

D: A decent stab at a dubbel but there are both Belgian (St. Bernardus) and American (Ommegang) versions with greater depth and better feel.

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

Poured into a goblet.

4.0 A: Dark orange brown color and very clear. One finger of thick, frothy head with average retention and good lacing.

3.5 S: Carmel maltiness. Dark fruits and some spice. Molasses/rum and raisins.

3.5 T: Big hit of raisin and peppery spice. Carmel and molasses. A bit of bitterness than makes a good balance.

3.5 M: Heavy medium body. Lots of carbonation, maybe a bit too much. Otherwise smooth and creamy.

4.0 D: Only second beer of this style and I think I could get used to drinking a lot more.

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

Sampled on-tap at the Elephant Room in Austin. Poured a very deep red from the pitcher with a full two fingers of thick head. I came away mainly with aromas of dark fruit and toasty bread; nothing extraordinary. I found Brother Thelonious tasty, but not overly complex, though I may have drank my pint a bit cold (frosted glasses--seriously???). Most clearly present was the same sweet fruit, particularly cherry and raisin, as in the smell, with some maltiness. The stickiness and dry finish of the beer also brought to mind licorice flavors. The 9% ABV was nowhere to be found in the taste, though its strength made a pint and a half more than enough for me. A solid Belgian offering, in any case.

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

Nice golden brown appearance, a bit murky.

Sweet nutty refreshing scent.

Good flavor, it diminishes quickly, but the initial bite on the tongue is nice and smooth. It does have a bit more bitterness/ hoppy taste than expected, and not as rich as some other dubbels I've drank, but definitely solid. I probably started drinking this a little too cold because the richness comes out a bit more as a swish it around in my mouth a bit. Another nice beer by the North Coast, but I wouldn't offer it their flagship tag.

Photo of Bootscraper
3.98/5  rDev +5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

To be completely honest, I picked up a 4 pack of this at my local super market completely on a whim, simply because it had Thelonious Monk on it. It looked tasty though, so I thought "why not?". I was also pleased to discover that each purchase of this brew yielded a donation to the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Education. cool.
Served between 45 and 50 degrees F in pint glass (so I don't have a "chalice" yet, leave me alone) listening, of course, to Thelonious Monk's "Monk's Blues" album.
It sat in my glass as a near-opaque tea-colored shade of reddish brown. An all but vigorous pour only resulted in about 1cm bubbly off-white to tan head that started disappearing right away. I mean, by the time I got down to the bottom half of my glass, it looked like whatever was in my glass was not even carbonated.The lacing was also quite minimal, dissipating, and went completely away with the head, but fell slowly like a snowfall when present.
Please forgive my off-kilter notes here, but the smell at first honestly reminded me of a savory smoked barbecue. A more "professional" evaluation told my nose that the smell was both malty and fruity, and also working together in a great combination (barbecue? who knows). These aromas were invitingly strong, but subtle as a whole so as not to be too overpowering.
The taste is where I certainly unlocked the fruitiness... dark, sweet fruit... particularly raisins is what I found on my limited pallet. After the finish, it glides into a brief aftertaste composed of an alcoholic warmth and a sharp caramel or brown-sugar sweet. Each sip from lips to finish was slightly bitter, but I will assume that is quite natural, given the higher ABV content of this style beer.
This was a very full-bodied beer, and I can't emphasize enough how good at coating your mouth the flavor was. The mouth-feel also was quite sticky, and resulted in very lubricated sips (combined with the fullness of the beer, you can lick your lips and you are still finding deliciousness), as well as a motor-oil feeling after the finish that makes you want to hunt down some munchies. What I mean by that is that the finish in specific could have been just tiny bit more dry. But I for one don't mind the inert desire of hawking a humongous "lugee", because i feel like I just ate some succulent fruit up to a couple minutes after each sip. It was also enjoyably smooth, but I don't think it was as smooth as it could be, probably due to the very "upfront characteristics of the flavors working with that high alcohol content.

Overall, I recommend this beer if you are looking for something malty, full-bodied, and strong. Personally though, I won't be bending over backwards to try this particular style (if they all are like this, anyway) in the very immediate future.

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

Appearance: Clear amber-brown with a thin almond-colored head. Very little lacing left on the glass.

Smell: Sweet carmel malts with a little fruitiness to it. Hints of raisin and spices. Very pleasant, with an almost sour note to it.

Taste: Very typical to style, it has a fruitiness and sweet roasted note to the malts, with a little bit of hop bitterness and some nice spice to balance.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, it coats the mouth very slightly. Generally smooth.

Drinkability: It is what it is, at 9.4 ABV. Drinks very well with a rich meal.

I love this style and this certainly is true to style.

Photo of KeefD
3.98/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A Belgian style dubbel at 9.4% ABV? Gimme some of that! Poured into a Westmalle chalice, dark red, nearly brown, cloudy, no head, no lacing. Very sweet aroma up front. I immediately thought of bubblegum upon the first smell. As I delve further into the nose, I'm picking some brown sugar, dark fruits and raisins with just a hint of sourness in the background. Nice and complex. Taste is also sweet upfront - a candy sweetness -hints of licorice, rum soaked raisins, and the bubblegum that came through on the nose also makes it's way to the tongue. Body is medium and the high ABV is well hidden, but becomes slightly more pronounced as it warms. I can't believe this is 9.4%! Very smooth and easy to drink. Tasty stuff, here.

Photo of ncstateplaya
3.55/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: It poured a stained brown color, similar to sweet tea with a thick bountiful nut colored head that eventually receeded to a sheet over the surface. IMHO the lacing was minimal, disappointing after seeing the abundant head.

Smell: The beer smelled strong of alcohol esters and belgium malts. Sweet like and slightly hoppy in the nose.

Taste: Sweet and tasty with yeasty notes. Loads of caramel and brown sugars and hints of raisins.

Mouthfeel: Is very nice, the body is accentuated by just enough carbonation. It is not as chewy as some belgiums I have had, but definitely pleasing with substance.

Drinkability: Highly drinkable, nothing overly impressive or overwhelming...but extremely easy drinking and smooth. A solid beer that supports a good cause, I look forward to drinking this beer again.

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

Pours out a cloudy garnet/almond hue, tight fizzy cream coloured head that recedes to a thin frothy cap.

Aroma of carmelized malt and brown sugar, rum and raisins, dates, and some light perfume-y spice.

Flavour is more alcohol-infused than carmelized, dried dates and figs, more brown sugar rummy raisins, finishing with a mild yeasty spice. Burnt and carmelized notes linger in the aftertaste.

Velvety, creamy smooth mouthfeel, with a bit of carbonation spritz on the finish.

A straight forward dubbel with big flavour, and although a bit rough around the edges, it delivers goodness. I'd pick up more. A fine homage to Thelonious Monk as well.

Photo of praufs01
3.4/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance - Murky dark amber color with a head frothy light tan head.

Aroma - aromas of rum soaked raisins.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied brew that finishes clean.

Taste - Dark fruits, plums and raisins, on a light molasses backbone.

Overall - Pleasant but nothing special.

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