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Brother Thelonious - North Coast Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Brother TheloniousBrother Thelonious

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

2,587 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,587
Reviews: 974
rAvg: 3.79
pDev: 13.46%
Wants: 61
Gots: 340 | FT: 6
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 (21) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,587 | Reviews: 974 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of scottbrew4u
3.77/5  rDev -0.5%
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
4.42/5  rDev +16.6%
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 style...so, 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
4.07/5  rDev +7.4%
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
3.58/5  rDev -5.5%
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
3.79/5  rDev 0%
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
3.28/5  rDev -13.5%
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
3.63/5  rDev -4.2%
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
2.92/5  rDev -23%
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
4.08/5  rDev +7.7%
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
3.8/5  rDev +0.3%
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
4.2/5  rDev +10.8%
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
3.66/5  rDev -3.4%
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
3.27/5  rDev -13.7%
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.

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

Wasatch threw this bottle that I have never reviewed into a trade, thanks John.

A pretty dark brown body that becomes a burnt orange color when subjected to the light. About two fingers of tan head that disappears pretty quickly.

Some dark fruit such as dates and figs in the aroma with a bit of chocolate and tofee, and perhaps a touch of tobacco.

Up front the figs and dates meld with the chocolate to make a flavor that is like a chocolate-covered dark fruit medley, which is pretty interesting. The middle has a mix of toffee or caramel with a good biscuity flavor lurking in there also. The finish is slightly warming with a pretty strong fruit presence and maybe just a touch of tobacco. Maybe.

Medium bodied but with fairly lively carbonation. Alcohol related warming in the finish.

Good drinkability, a solid dubbel overall.

Photo of DoubleJ
3.62/5  rDev -4.5%
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
3.85/5  rDev +1.6%
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
3.94/5  rDev +4%
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
3.4/5  rDev -10.3%
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
3.7/5  rDev -2.4%
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.

Brother Thelonious from North Coast Brewing Co.
85 out of 100 based on 2,587 ratings.