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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

2,252 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,252
Reviews: 937
rAvg: 3.78
pDev: 13.76%
Wants: 46
Gots: 178 | 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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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,252 | Reviews: 937 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Minkybut


3.2/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

After wrestling the cork out for 10 minutes, poured into a tumbler at 48 degrees. beer was auburne colored with a good head that had fine little bubbles. Beer smelled like fresh bread with a fruity apricote kinda taste. Beer would have been better tasting but strong alcohole afterburn was overpowering.

Serving type: bottle

01-31-2007 22:06:05 | More by Minkybut
Photo of BEERchitect


3.73/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A really good attempt at packaging of this product. The cork and tie-down, the label, and 750 mil bottle all make a convencing Belgian look; even with a bit of sarcasm in the image. Pours a rich, rust color with a 50% haze and good head retention. Very sweet in the nose--some of malts, some of complimentary grains, sugars, and fruity esters. Tastes very sweet with barley malts, candy sugars, wheat malt, and an underlying confectionate sugar flavor. Balanced with a mild hop bitterness, alcoholic bite, and fruitcake variety. Still, lacking the complexity and true Belgian yeast characters. Not as tart or pepery as I like in true Belgian varieties. Just not funky enough. The feel is nearly sticky-sweet, rich, and full; helped out with some alcohol thinning, but remains very sweet well into the aftertaste. Overall, a fine brew, but cannot compete with the Belgian greats, especially for the price.

Serving type: bottle

01-28-2007 22:04:02 | More by BEERchitect
Photo of paulthebeerguru


4.18/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I poured the first glass of the 750ml Brother Thelonius into a Caracole snifter. The beer poured a mahogany color and left a very thin layer of amber head atop a rather fragrant brew. The aromas are of citrus and carmel/toffee, this beer has that distinctive Belgian abbey ale fragrance. After the first sip, I could not help to say “WOW!” The glass has a very light layer of lacing. Brother Thelonius has a very distinct bing cherry overtones followed by the typical sweetness found in most dark Belgian ales. The 9% alcohol content is masked temporarily by the cherry flavors, but it is definitely present. My over all opinion of the North Coast Brewery is that they are amazing for an American brewery. I have been an avid fan of Red Seal Ale and Pranqster for several years, but this beer just put North Coast into my top ten favorite breweries. This beer comes highly recommended from me.

Serving type: bottle

01-23-2007 22:16:46 | More by paulthebeerguru
Photo of rkuhnel


3.78/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I think North Coast or at least my local Coop is getting rich off of this one. I paid $6.35 for a 750 corked and caged bottle of this while a four pack of the same breweries North Coast PranQster Belgian was only $6.85. They tasted very similar, the biggest difference being the higher alcohol content of Brother Thelonious. Poured a rich ruby red color and left a nice tan head and nice rings of lacing as it slowly settled. Nose is of yeast, flowers, malts, and hops, with banana.. Palate is of alcohol, and flavor is sweet and light hops which makes it really clean tasting and easy to drink. Finish is stongly of alcohol with a slight bitterness in the finish. Good brew and while I like it I can suggest saving a bunch of money like I said in the beginning of this review . Buy a botte of each and blind taste them as I did and you willl see what I mean.

Serving type: bottle

01-22-2007 00:58:41 | More by rkuhnel
Photo of wavz


4.3/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Dark rose chocolate color with a nice but not overwhelming head. Sticks around for a bit but not as much as many other beers in the same style.

S- Chocolate, coffee, strawberries and hints of spices.

T- Chocolate has to be the defining character of this abby style beer. There are other flavors at work here, strawberries spices, coffee, a slight bit of orange, and malts.

M- much smoother then most beers of this style. Carbonation is not as heavy as most of this style, and this is great for this beer. You could almost describe this as creamy.

D- If I could find this beer in my neck of the woods more often I would gladly pick it up weekly. Get on it distributors!


Serving type: bottle

01-22-2007 00:43:16 | More by wavz
Photo of bjoyce12


2.85/5  rDev -24.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Serving: 750ML bottle. Poured a very dark amber with a thin, wispy head than quickly dissipated. Not a good sign; my preference is for belgian style ales to have good carbonation. The aroma is very strong with fermented fruits prominent, especially fig and date. Undertones of molasses and brown sugar. My first impression upon tasting was one of cough syrup. Overwhelming sweetness accompanied by a syrupy aftertaste. Very thick with a heavy-handed syrupiness. The 9% ABV contributes to my(not so fond)memories of taking Robitussin as a kid.

The thick sweetness detracts from the mouthfeel and drinkability. This is an ale that you almost have to pair with strongly seasoned food, or as an after-dinner in lieu of dessert. Not what I was looking for, but it may have its place.

Serving type: bottle

01-16-2007 17:21:41 | More by bjoyce12
Photo of HardTarget


4.1/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle Inspection: Bottle lists 9% abv., the art work suggests a chalice, and a note that $2 of the sale goes to the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz.

Aroma: Some rum, figs, brown sugar, cotton candy, and mild spices that might be peppery hops or yeast driven.

Appearance: Dark ruby brown glass that shows clarity when backlit. Thin cover lasted the night, but little lace to show for it.

Flavor: Mirrors the aroma. A Belgian yeast characteristic is a bit more prominent, especially after it warms. While there are a lot of flavors, they all blend very nicely into a complete package of dark fruit, very mild spices, and a little alcohol warmth.

Mouthfeel: Low carbonation but not flat. Medium body and a slight slickness.

Overall Impression: A perfect way to spend MLK day frozen into my house by an ice storm. A fire, some smooth R&B, and a banned and misunderstood beer (beer currently banned for sale by the TABC due to some label issue, I believe the abv tested out slightly differently). A toast to Dr. King and our continued struggle to the promised land.

Serving type: bottle

01-16-2007 03:52:06 | More by HardTarget
Photo of MaltyGoodness


3.43/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

750ml bottle

Pours a hazed chestnut brown with a thick & creamy tan head that maintains. Nice lacing on the glass.

Aroma is sweet an malty upfront leading into a nice breadiness and a distinct fruity raisin smell.

Sweet and malty upfront with mild bready and yeaty tones. Nice dark fruity flavors before it finishes sweet and malty as it started. Very flavorful, but sweetness is borderline cloying.

Full body, a little syrupy. Ample carbonation.

A decent Belgian strong ale, but the sweetness hinders the drinkability. Good one to try, but not a regular in the rotation.

Serving type: bottle

01-13-2007 02:01:47 | More by MaltyGoodness
Photo of bradford


2.58/5  rDev -31.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

This beer looked really good coming out of the bottle into my La Fin Du Monde tulip. Nice head retention, solid lacing and a real nice brown copper hue. The smell was quite pungent with a lot of alcohol in the nose. Taste left a bit to be desired. I liked the initial taste, and then the alcohol hit. The burn was a bit too much for my liking and the mouthfeel was too strong with alcohol. I let the beer warm up a bit thinking I could get more of the underlying taste, but to no avail. I am a huge fan of North Coast, but this beer was just too abrasive for me. I took my time with this beer and eventually had to give the rest to my roommate. A decent beer, but not up to par from what I expected from North Coast. Although I don't feel bad paying 8 bucks for since partial proceeds from this beer go to charity. Worth a try but nothing worthy of seeking out.

Serving type: bottle

01-11-2007 19:16:22 | More by bradford
Photo of bort11


4.05/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750 ml corked bottle poured into a tulip glass. The first pour had a large tan head that receded to a mild cap and lace. The second poured did not have much of a head to it. The color was a hazy ruddy brown, with a polished mahogany notes when held to the light.
Smell is also warm with muted spices and a bit of an alcohol burn in the back of the nose. Taste is very complex and well blended. It's hard to pick out a dominant flavor because everything is so well blended. There is some mulled spice, hardwood resins, dried fruit, and a pleasant alcohol warmth.
Mouthfeel is medium to light with mild carbonation. Still pretty smooth. Due to the complexity of the flavor, I wouldn't want too much at once. It would be a sensory overload. Still very good. I think I would want to stash a few away for later. Plus the label is absolutely gorgeous.

Serving type: bottle

01-05-2007 15:48:12 | More by bort11
Photo of cabsandking


4.3/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a good looking dark brown and hazy with some garnet hue when held to light. Thin tan head and nothing mentionable. Aromas of raisons, dark fruits, and sour cherries mingle with some faint marshmallow like sweetness between whiffs of alcohol and phenolic esters. The taste starts off general with roasted malts, medium tart dark fruits, and some character, but soon moves into deeper complexities. Emerging are notes of raisons, plums, soft spice, smooth nutty malts, and the background buttery and toffeish. Increasing towards the end are spicy hop characters. Very even, syrupy mouthfeel and little carbonation. The finish has residual hop characters with some sweet malty plum and raison. Nice complexities here and am looking forward to finding another.

Serving type: bottle

01-04-2007 05:08:47 | More by cabsandking
Photo of Fugazme


4.25/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Looking out at the Chicago skyline at night...

Pours a slight hazy dark brown... Nice 1/2", off-white head... good lacing.

Aroma is quite good... bready, fig, molasses, smoke and tobacco... a touch of Turkish apricot? Berry...

Whisky/toffee/yeasty flavors on the tongue... bready... fennel... very sweet. Complex, but not exceptionally so... a touch cloying.

Serving type: bottle

01-03-2007 04:29:29 | More by Fugazme
Photo of jaluria


3.95/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a dark amber/ruby brown color and somewhat murky. A fluffy, cream colored head dissipates quickly. A touch of lacing is left behind. The surface is covered in semi-large bubbles and a thin film. Aromas of bread, honey, cream, plums, and dates. The taste follows the nose with a creamy and smooth texture. Subtle hops with a strong malt presence. Candy and juicy fruit dominated flavors. Warming alcohol sensation rounds out session.

Serving type: bottle

01-03-2007 01:03:03 | More by jaluria
Photo of ChillMike


4.13/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a opaque reddish brown color with a medium sized off white head that recedes quickly and doesn't leave much of hint it was ever there. Wonderful smell of chocolaty malts, brown sugar, and a mix of spices. Very chocolaty flavor, with a strong presents of malts, a hint of hops however it seems to be just a background flavor. There is also hints of plum/raisins and nice spices to help with this one. Carbonation and the such are quite right and it feels nice and warm headed down. Overall a very drinkable beer my only real complaint is an aesthetic one and even then it isn't that bad.

Serving type: bottle

01-02-2007 05:10:19 | More by ChillMike
Photo of BeerManDan


4.1/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

When poured it was a medium dark brown with a reddish hue. Very little foam and no lace after pouring into the glass. The smell of roasted malts and hints of fruit and spices filled the nose. The taste was of roasted malts and spices, with a hint of prunes. Not really an overpowering Strong Ale, but strong enough to really enjoy this beer!

Serving type: bottle

01-02-2007 03:10:55 | More by BeerManDan
Photo of Hibernator


3.98/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Brother Thelonious
750 ML brown bottle
Served in a Chouffe Houblon goblet

* New Year's Eve 2006 *

Pours a deep and rustic shade of brown.

The nose is spicy with whiffs of cinnamon, cherries soaked in brandy and milk chocolate.

Syrupy mouthfeel with molasses notes and prune juice sweetness. Hints of raisins, brown sugar and sweet cherries. A tad boozy, but interesting flavors emerge as it warms. Nicely complex.

A difficult style for most american craft breweries, but North Coast pulls it off well. I love the acknowledgement and recognition for the great Thelonious Monk.

Serving type: bottle

01-01-2007 03:23:33 | More by Hibernator
Photo of Georgiabeer


3.83/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a rich brown with a small head and little lacing. Smells of bubblegum and prunes. The flavor is meaty, pruney, and with stewed fruit. The finish is malty and smokey. The mouthfeel is only medium bodied, but also a little sticky. Drinkability is not bad, but overall is a little simplistic in the overall effect.

Serving type: bottle

12-28-2006 05:01:55 | More by Georgiabeer
Photo of Risser09


4.1/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

tapped into a pint glass at Delahanty's in Philipsburg, NJ

Appearance: Nice thick off-white head whith adeqaute retention. I didn't wait for it to subside before indulging. Mahogany in color with no sign of cloudiness.

Smell: Wow. Rasins, plums, figs and spice. Smells strong with alcohol aroma.

Taste: Excellent. As expected a lot of malty fruit flavors. Dark, deep wrinkled fruit. Alcohol burn is sort of overwhleming in the midtones and the finish gives off a spicy burning sensation.

Mouthfeel: Mild effervescence. Lots of burn. Nice warming sensation in my belly as I overlook the river and onto Easton, PA on Christmas Eve.

Drinkability: Great here, provided you don't mind the alcohol burn. Sometimes it is appropriate and other times not. Try one next time you see it!

Serving type: on-tap

12-27-2006 15:01:56 | More by Risser09
Photo of dherling

New Jersey

3.88/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured out a somewhat dark murky brown with a tight bubbly tan head. The nose had some alcohol, sherry, and moderate spice. The taste offered some alcohol, sour cherry, spice, and a slight medicinal note. The mouthfeel was rather creamy, long finish.

Serving type: bottle

12-24-2006 03:59:57 | More by dherling
Photo of Mebuzzard


4.22/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a glossy brown, amber color with a soft tan/brown head that kept climbing.
Smell of a bunch of yeast, biscuit, nut, roasted malt, and some hops.
Taste is complex. A lot going on. A small bite at first, then sinks into a Belgian mixutre of yeast, some nut and herbs, then a small amount of hops to quell the sweetness a bit. Alcohol is noticeable.
The richness is a bit overpowering, for me anyway. however this is a nice beer. I should have bought another bottle.

Serving type: bottle

12-22-2006 19:02:14 | More by Mebuzzard
Photo of socalde


4.58/5  rDev +21.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in an attractive musical monk inspired 25.4oz bottle.

Appearance: This beer is simply beautiful. From the cream colored head to the rich, thick hazelnut body; I am tempted to ask this bottle to marry me after drinking it. Though there is a dearth of lasting lace, you cannot subtract from it's overall poise.

Smell: The instant I popped the cork, I was overwhelmed by the full bodied aroma of this beer. When confronted by this beer, I submit to the nostril intoxicating pervasiveness of it. It's not just malty, not just hoppy... It encompasses a spectrum of scents that are found in all varieties of beers.

Taste: You couldn't ask more from an ale of this calibur. This Belgian style abby ale exists comfortably in a dicotomy between refreshing and enrapturing. There is a noticeable alocohol warmth, but not enough to discourage the adventurous beer drinker.

Mouthfeel: This is one category where I must subtract from this beer's overall excellence. The mouthfeel is good, but somewhat alcoholic and unfulfilling. A mildy enjoyable carbonation graces your palate followed by rapid recedation.

Drinkability: Not quite deserving as a 5.0 when contrasted with high quality beers of the same alcohol content. Though extremely drinkable, there is room for improvement in this area.

Overall, this ale is deserving of high 80's to low 90's and I would personally recommend it to any avid beer drinker.

Serving type: bottle

12-22-2006 09:53:50 | More by socalde
Photo of dhchatfield


4.43/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Okay...let's start over. I like the smell of this beer so much, I spilled it all over my keyboard. In the process of cleaning it up, I deleted my half-finished review.

Poured into my La Chouffe mini-tulip at cellar temp. Has since warmed to about 65ish.

A - Fairly clear mahagony. Tan head, comprised of very tiny bubbles, rises and falls quickly. Little or no lacing.

S - See above. Very Belgian to the nose. Candi, yeast, faint chocolate, cola..there's a lot going on here. I better stop before I have another spill.

T - Very nice. Lot's of the same character as the smell(s). Alcohol is with this one throughout, but not in an unpleasant way. Not as earthy as say, Chimay Blue. Reminds me quite a bit of Brasserie de Rocs Triple Imperiale.

M - About the only place where this one reminds me that it is made in the States. Hits the tongue with a blast of flavor, then an alcohol warmth, then....it's over. Still very nice. A full yeasty aftertaste coats the tongue, but leaves a flat cola reminder.

D - Excellent. It's hard for me to find fault in any beer of this style when it comes to drinkability. I loves me some Belgian Dark. This one is without a doubt, the best domestic offering I've sampled.


Serving type: bottle

12-22-2006 03:58:18 | More by dhchatfield
Photo of RockyTopHeel

North Carolina

4.47/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. corked and caged bottle.

Poured chestnut-brown into a Burgundy wine glass, where a small layer of light brown bubbles top the brew. A warm, rich aroma of yeast and caramelized fruits bubbles up, preceding a taste of toffee, baked plums, and that telling Belgian je ne sais quoi that unites all of the country's brews and their derivatives. Supremely smooth, just like it's namesake on the piano. A top-shelf American version of a Belgian style.

Serving type: bottle

12-21-2006 03:30:30 | More by RockyTopHeel
Photo of phisig137


3.78/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Nicely designed label, and a title full of good puns. Pours a bright ruby red almost mahogany color, with a one finger head. Little retention, but decent lacing and a blanket of foam on top.

Aroma is full or ripe fruits, figs, a slight touch of alcohol, and oddly a little banana that seems to fit well.

Flavor is full of fruity yeast esters, with a bit of malt complexity. Some caramel notes are present. Not overly sweet, as many strong darks can be, but not dry either. The yeast really makes this beer. Mouthfeel is creamy and full. Drinkability is great.

This is a good beer all around, and a good American attempt at a fairly difficult Belgian style. It is good, and I will buy it again, but it just lacks that "WOW" factor that many of the North Coast beers have. Overall I think it's quite a nice beer, but not the "hallmark of a style" that some North Coast beers have (like Old Rasputin).

Serving type: bottle

12-21-2006 00:52:57 | More by phisig137
Photo of foureyedgeek


3.73/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 'big' bottle, with a clear dark red color, the color of red wine or cherries. Pours with a decent finger or two of head, this beer is not befitting the pint glass I'm stuck with. The head fades to a small cap with little lacing. This beer shared with a friend.

Smells of dark fruits and a hint of alcohol.

Taste is full of dark fruit, raisins, its sweet and full, a hint of cherries as well as a strong sense of the alcohol present.

Mouthfeel is crisp yet creamy and quite drying, though a tad light.

Drinkability is a tough one, the alcohol is very obvious in this beer, which sort of overwhelms the senses, this is a tasty beer thats a tad heavy-handed.

Serving type: bottle

12-19-2006 02:22:52 | More by foureyedgeek
Brother Thelonious from North Coast Brewing Co.
85 out of 100 based on 2,252 ratings.