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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

2,482 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,482
Reviews: 956
rAvg: 3.79
pDev: 13.72%
Wants: 56
Gots: 261 | 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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Brother Thelonious Alström Bros
Ratings: 2,482 | Reviews: 956 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of kevd193213
3.65/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 mL bottle. Brownish amber pour with a medium tan head. Aroma of caramel and raisins. Nice lacing, even taste of raisins, caramel, bread and malt. Aftertaste has a nice warming alcohol flavoring but not too much that gets in the way of an even finish.

kevd193213, Nov 30, 2008
Photo of BWH3
4.2/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Clear, red brown ale with beige bubbly head which falls to a gentle still lace rather quickly. The color is very red for a dubbel. The beer is also very viscous when agitated and has a fair amount of legs.

S: Cherry, raisin, sherry, caramel. The yeast give off a fruity and spicy scent. Minor notes of banana and clove and cinnamon can be stirred into the vapors with a quick swirl.

T: A light vanilla and carmel open to a richer raisin flavor. A warm alcoholic heat comes on before a moderate hops bitterness quenches those flames. The hop bitterness is dull and somewhat bland but serves its duty. The whole thing ends with a bit of spicy phenol to round things out. Quite impressive but the alcohol and hop bitterness are a bit out of bounds for the style.

M: Slight creaminess, still, less than ideal head retention.

D: Excellent beverage. Not quite a dubbel. I think works better as a Belgian Specialty Ale such as Artisanal Amber or brown.

BWH3, Nov 29, 2008
Photo of corby112
4.43/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Serving type: 750 ml. bottle.

Pours a dark, cloudy brown color with a thick foamy beige head. Nice aroma of chocolate, raisin, plum, cinnamon, brown sugar and spice. Flavor: Chocolate, dark fruit, toffee, roasted malts, caramel with slight bitter finish.

corby112, Nov 28, 2008
Photo of NittanyBeerFan
3.6/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours into a tulip glass with a little bit of head. No lacing down the sides of the glass and the head dissipates to almost nothing very quickly. The color is a deep reddish brown, almost a ruby-like hue.

S: Dark fruits like plums and raisins come to the forefront of the smell. I can also make out yeast, some bready malts and a good amount of booze.

T: Warming alcohol is definitely evident. The raisins and plums hide a bit behind the alcohol and malts. There is a bit of a clove-ish taste with some brown sugary sweetness. I would have liked the fruits to come out a bit more, as it does in other belgian dubbels.

M/D: A bit over-carbonated for this style for me. But the texture was lighter than I expected. ABV makes it kinda hard for me to give it a higher rating here because the alcohol was so evident.

NittanyBeerFan, Nov 24, 2008
Photo of GreenCard
3.6/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: reddish/ruby-brown, slight haze, layer of tan foam that compacts to a thin crown

Aroma: biscuity malt, caramel, stewed prunes, dark brown sugar, hint of clove

Flavor: medium malt sweetness balanced by a peppery alcohol zing in a mild herbal hop flavor/bitterness; hints of rum-raisin, sherry, and a lingering bitterness in the semisweet finish

Mouthfeel: medium-full body, prickly carbonation, alcohol warmth, slight thin-ness in the finish

Other comments: A decent "Belgo-American" beer, though there is something vaguely missing in the background. Something to round it out a bit more, but I can't really put my finger on it.

GreenCard, Nov 23, 2008
Photo of Guzzler78
3.98/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Purchased and consumed a 750 ml bottle

Love the cover art and Thelonious Monk's music. I don't know if the beer is quite as genius as his music though.

This beer was a deep amber color with an off-white head. Not much lacing. It had aromas of roasted malts, chocolate and fruit. it tasted somewhat sweet and nice and malty. Also tasted some chocolate and fruits like plum and raisin.

Nice smooth feel. Body was lighter than the appearance and color might indicate.

It was enjoyable.

Guzzler78, Nov 22, 2008
Photo of LilBeerDoctor
3.68/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed 2/14/08. Bottle. Poured a dark reddish brown. Aroma of dark fruits, Belgian goodness. Taste was similar (reminded me of a Chimay Bleu or a Kwak), also got some wheat at the end. Very smooth and easy to drink. Classic Belgian. I liked it a lot but it wasn't as complex as some of the fruitier belgian strong ales or quads.
Aroma: 7/10
Appearance: 4/5
Flavor: 7/10
Palate: 4/5
Overall: 16/20

LilBeerDoctor, Nov 19, 2008
Photo of bark
4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The colour is deep brown, the liquid is clear. The low head disappears quickly, no lacing.

The complex smell got notes of hazelnuts, dark bread, toffee, yeast, some alcohol, dried fruits, and brown sugar. Hints of red wine and Christmas spices.

The taste is very elegant and highly balanced: Sweet notes of brown sugar and dried fruits are balanced by a dry fruity bitterness. Some sour notes and mild spices in the background. The aftertaste is quite mild with warming alcohol, strong red wine, pastry dough and hints of cinnamon and cloves.

The carbonation is medium, yet the very small bubbles are many and very fresh. The liquid is a little thin, but it is not a bad thing; a heavier liquid would have made this beer much less drinkable.

An elegant and well crafted dubbel. Lots of alcohol, still almost gulpable.

bark, Nov 16, 2008
Photo of beerthulhu
3.98/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a dark mahogany red with an off tan head.

S: Fruity dried fruit aroma, lots of raisins and plums.

T: Deep burnt caramel sweetness with hints of vannila. Rich velvet like lacing. Big raisin sweetness with a fruity ending. Alcohol is moderate at first but is very noticeable upon warming with lots of dried fruit dominating the palate. Belgian body with a bock flavor. Some bread notes and rich caramel. Dry palate.

M: smooth, with a good amount of carbonation. Nice feel on the tongue with toasted malt and fruit lingering behind.

D: Very good drinkability, very smooth and solid in most aspects (nose, flavor, mouthful).

beerthulhu, Nov 09, 2008
Photo of chaz410
4.13/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A great dubbel. Smooth smell, hinting at raisons, dates, cherry, malty sweetness, typical belgian hop notes.
This little beer was unbeliveably sweet without any notes of bitter. I liked it a lot but I can see how those used to having some bitterness wouldn't love it. The fruit notes ring out from the typical belgian dubble profile.
Very good!

chaz410, Nov 06, 2008
Photo of easement
4.05/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance - Deep Amber. Moderate Head with little retention.

Aroma- Metallic, Citrus, slightly floral.

Mouthfeel - Syrupy.very nice for the taste. it was different than I expected.

Flavor- Spicy Herbs. Bitter malt aftertaste that lingers.

Overall- Pretty Good. I would drink this again. Not my favorite, but good.

serving style: bottle

easement, Nov 06, 2008
Photo of Ljunkan
3.98/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark amber color.

Smell is of malt, dried fruits, plums, caramel and american hops.

Taste is first sweet, malty with notes of dried fruits and caramel. It ends with some american hops and notes of citrus.

Quite filling and nice mouthfeel. A very nice sipper, for sure. Maybe not extremely drinkable, but I think the alcohol is well hidden.

Ljunkan, Nov 05, 2008
Photo of whiteskittlz
3.48/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bought from North Coast Brewery in Fort Bragg. Hibernated in my fridge for 4 months. Poured into goblets on Election Night '08...so I guess it was policitally motivated.

appearance - deep mahogany colour, unfiltered. my only complaint is how quickly the head dies down (which the label depicts as a nice stouty head) - I would guess this is because of its 9.4% ABV.

smell: sweet maltiness, slightly yeasty, typical of Belgian brews + dark chocolate

taste: dark chocolate, woodsy (cedar, oak), swwet malt. keeping the temperature cool enough, the abv has not gotten in the way

mouthfeel; alcohol was felt going down, but again not overpowering.

drinkability: with temperature kept in check, it was easy enough to put down for the style

- ajh

whiteskittlz, Nov 05, 2008
Photo of DrJay
3.28/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A bit murky, tawny brown in colour with a thin beige cap when poured into a chalice. A little bit of stickage and the head settled into a collar with a clump of bubbles floating in the middle of the glass. When the cork popped there was a flash of bready yeast and wine in the aroma. Once in the glass it was a little less yeasty, but still very vinous. Plenty of toffee too, plus some plum and raisin notes. Pretty much the same in the flavour. There was a bitter edge that became more pronounced in the finish along with some alcohol flavour and warmth. Quite fruity overall. Light spice in the finish. Medium bodied with moderate carbonation, decent texture, slightly dry in the finish. Not a bad drinker for the abv, but a fairly mediocre dubbel.

DrJay, Nov 05, 2008
Photo of BigFrank71
4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

got this on tap at my local beer bar served in a 12oz tulip. appearence darkbrown with a mocha thick head, i did enjoy the aroma smelled a little of carmel and spice. Taste and mouth feel better then i expected for a belgian copy dubble. over all i would order this beer again and actually bought a bomber of this at a beer store for future drink.

BigFrank71, Nov 04, 2008
Photo of Bananaman
3.63/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

North Coast is a incredibly good brewery in my opinion, but this one is not one of their best ones'.

Looks really nice though! Deep brown/reddish color with a nice big beige head which soon settles to a nice lid of foam.

Aroma is good of gingersnaps, rosted malts and some fruitiness.

The taste though is a bit overwhelmed by alcoholish-taste, which is a bit sad. But there are some really nice and exciting flavours going on in there of gingersnaps, rosted malts and some toffee. Another "bad thing" about this one is that I think it's a bit "over-hopped" for the style.

All and all, a good beer. I think a couple of years in the beer-cellar might round this one of and make it a wonderful beer.

Bananaman, Nov 04, 2008
Photo of Ch1mpy
4.1/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark brown with a thick light brown head. No lacing.

Sharp malty smell with apricot and a strong presence of burnt sugar.

At first the taste reminds me of Glühwein. It stings of alcohol but there is also a pleasant taste of dried fruit. There is also some smoke and malt flavours in the taste.

The aftertaste is long and surprisingly sweet with lots of dried fruits and a nice malty finish.

Ch1mpy, Nov 02, 2008
Photo of Seanibus
3.63/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours deep coffeelike amber with a decent head, but with no lacing. The smell is roasted, with a soysauce like character - much like a dry porter. The flavor is roasty, cherrylike, with a little woodiness on the back end. There is a nice burn of malt spiciness down the throat. The mouthfeel is medium, with a little woody cling on the back of the mouth and a nice sting of carbonation. Not bad, probably be better with food.

Seanibus, Nov 01, 2008
Photo of yelterdow
3.88/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

750ml corked and caged bottle, cellared for about one year. Served at between fridge and cellar temperature in a Chimay goblet. I'm noticing the 9% ABV on the label... a strong dubbel compared to most in the 7-8.5% range. Let's drink!

Appearance- Gentle foam eases up the neck of the bottle upon corking. On the pour, the color is a caramel brownish red with a two-finger light tan head that pops away to an o-ring around the perimeter. Lacing is moderate and spotty.

Smell- There's a tartness that bites the nose initially, then a wonderfully creamy nose of prunes and figs settles in. It's a luscous, malty aroma that continues to carry an almost lemony breeze even afterwards.

Taste- An evolution of flavors develop on the tongue, beginning with a surprising tartness at the sides. The big malts and dark fruits arrive shortly, delivering full-on rich flavors of plum and figs. There is a subtle hop bitterness in the finish, but it is cloaked in vanilla and booze-drenched fruit.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- The texture here is simply put, perfect. Slick and frothy going in, it remains impeccably sublime through the swallow. Considering the richness in flavor here, this mouthfeel couldn't possibly be better. This is a big beer, one best savored with a hearty meat or cheese dish. Well worth the money spent.

yelterdow, Oct 24, 2008
Photo of bifrostguard
3.6/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Hazy orange with a quickly disappearing head.

S - Dark fruits, spice, a little alcohol.

T - Same as the smell except a little less potent as one would expect.

M - Medium bodied. Nothing particularly notable.

D - Not bad, but I think a couple would be enough as the flavor is not a full as I would like it for having a higher alcohol content.

bifrostguard, Oct 15, 2008
Photo of marcellaproust
4.28/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Very nice foamy head, ambitious bubbles here and there, and head lasted a nice bit. Pretty amber-brown cloudy color. Aroma perfectly matched the taste: whiff of nuttiness (macademia? pecan? yes, pecan) up front then move to creamy caramel and baked, slightly burnt figs. Carbonation very nice: pleasant fizziness that lasted throughout the whole beer tasting. This beer is remarkable. After tasting this and moving to the Bernardus Abt 12, the Bernardus tasted very (though pleasantly) apple cidery. A palate cleanser after the Thelonious.

marcellaproust, Oct 15, 2008
Photo of FtownThrowDown
4.13/5  rDev +9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours brown with ruby highlights. About a half inch of head on the pour, but it is quickly gone afterwards. Smell is very nice. Very plump, juicy dark fruit. Some ripe dark grapes, plum. There is a lot of yeast flavor in the first sip. Dominates most of the promising notes that are in the smell. Good amount of carbonation and lively bite in the mouthfeel. Easy drinking, but unfortunately more complex in the nose than in the taste.

FtownThrowDown, Oct 14, 2008
Photo of Bugsey
4.72/5  rDev +24.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer was huge surprise for me. I just bought one to try it, but couldn't stop thinking about all night long.

The flavor lingers, as does the warmth from the alcohol. Tastes are clean and balanced, yet there is rich maltyness, perfectly sweetened with brown sugar and carmel. Dark fruits, prunes and dates, are also there.

Going to try this one again.

And the label is pretty cool too.

Bugsey, Oct 07, 2008
Photo of BretSikkink
4.13/5  rDev +9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Brown with some lighter, reddish-orange highlights. The head jumps up nicely right away, but I'm afraid is hugely lacking in retention and lacing. I think that this is a big part of being called a Dubbel, so I'm a little mean on the score.

The nose is redolent of dark fruits with caramel and yeast phenolics as well. Pretty good.

Great in the mouth as well, with lots of fig and date sweetness, with some caramel malt for good measure. Slightly smoky, and phenolic clove in the finish.

Pretty damn sweet I have to say, a little too much for me to love. This should translate to a creamy, chewy mouthfeel that I'm just not getting here. It's almost harsh in its carbonation, ripping the flavors away rather than gently scrubbing.

Close but no cigar.

BretSikkink, Oct 06, 2008
Photo of popery
4.28/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This isn't a bad beer by any stretch of the imagination, but I didn't particularly enjoy it either. It pours hazy and darkly golden with a light head. It smells ok, fairly fruity with some spiciness. The taste was a bit too sweet for me and there was some sort of off note present. It reminded me of soy sauce in a somewhat unpleasant way. I've never quite had that from a beer, but once I started thinking about soy sauce, it was pretty much all I could taste. Alcohol was definitely present and a bit too strong, so actually it was more like soy sauce that has gone bad and fermented some. That probably sounds worse than I mean, but I didn't enjoy it. I like North Coast's Old Stock Ale, which seems a bit funny with my opinion of this one but it's probably a completely different brewing process. I know very little about brewing. Anyway, the mouthfeel wasn't all that great. The flavor lingered a bit too much and I would've preferred more carbonation. Ultimately, it was not a very drinkable beer due to taste, but it's not a bad beer either. Dubbels and BSD's just aren't really my thing, so far anyway.

Edit: Tried it again on tap at North Coast's taproom. The flavor was much better and lacked any of the bizarre soy sauce notes from my first review. There's complexity in the taste with a lot of fruit and a well-balanced sweetness.

popery, Oct 02, 2008
Brother Thelonious from North Coast Brewing Co.
86 out of 100 based on 2,482 ratings.