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Brother Thelonious - North Coast Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Brother TheloniousBrother Thelonious

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

2,585 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,585
Reviews: 973
rAvg: 3.79
pDev: 13.46%
Wants: 61
Gots: 339 | 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: 2,585 | Reviews: 973 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Zadok
4.2/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on tap at the Flying Saucer in KC.

Poured a dark brown with a two finger head of the off-white variety.

Very pleasant fruity fragrance. Mainly light fruits such as apple, pear, and maybe a peach or two.

A quite unexpected taste. Very flavorful with a fruity and light fluffy malt presence. Light fruits turn into a deep mild cherry and a smidge of raisins and dates.

Has a champagne feel to it, slightly high carbonation but yet very smooth.

Delicious, North coast took several steps in the upward direction (as if they needed it) imo. Will look forward to having again for sure.

Photo of Stinkypuss
4.16/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A. A vibrant ruby red with a nice off white head.

S. Malts and distant fruit.

T. Mysterious dark fruit. Malt. A bit of alcohal makes itself known, but it is distant. Maybe a bit of chocolate malt as well? Complex.

M. Fairly vicious with a high level of carbonation. Would be a good amount for a pilsner but a bit strong for a dub.

D. A sipper for sure. Good to let it warm up and mellow out. The complexities come out more.

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

Poured from a bottle picked up a few weeks ago.

A-Pours a reddish brown. Small head that doesn't last. No visible lacing.

S-Nothing very discernable here, smells like a dubbel.

T-Somewhat weak for a dubbel, almost doesn't taste like a belgian. Slightly sweet.

M-Crisp and sticky on the downswing.

D-Probably won't try this one again.

Photo of Brad007
4.5/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark reddish-brown color with a decent one-finger head into my Hopfenstark glass.

The aroma is nutty with a hint of raisin and spice in the nose. A tad bit fruity as well.

The taste is strong and pleasant with a hint of cherry, raisin and spice upfront. Finishes dry with only a bit of alcohol warmth. Very smooth.

The mouthfeel is flavorful but the raisin and spice flavors linger with the alcohol warmth. Pleasant and somewhat chewy.

Very drinkable for a dubbel. The alcohol is well hidden so you barely notice it. It's flavorful and worth the effort to try. I would recommend it if you enjoy the dubbel style.

Photo of Cyberkedi
4.55/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Aroma is very enticing, more fruity than malty; I get hints of both apple and banana, as well as a touch of yeast. It pours a rich, clear, dark chocolaty brown with a thick beige head that persists. Flavor is fruity with some malt and a fair amount of hop bitterness, as well as a hint of burnt caramel. Texture is smooth and lively, and this dubbel goes down very pleasantly. This is a brew for sipping slowly and appreciating.

Photo of TheRogue
4.35/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served in a pint, ale was slightly chilled in the fridge.

Appearance - Dark oak and non opaque, very nice color. A thick head but not very creamy. Head lasted around 3-4 minutes.

Smell - A mixture of bitter and sweet. Caught hints of spices and a bit herbal.

Taste - Very well built. Nice and roasty, a touch of sweetness as it rolls over the tongue followed by a light bitter after taste.

Mouthfeel - Very smooth and creamy, has a nice feel.

Drinkability - I wanted another right away just for the mouthfeel followed by the taste. Very enjoyable beer. I wish I bought more than one at the packie!

Photo of BrewerB
4.16/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Aroma was rich and malty - Toasty, caramel, munich malt-like flavors were all present. A faint spiciness was also detected but quickly disappeared. Some presence of herbal hop character lying in the background but this is heavily malt focused. Very light presence of chocolate. Raisiny esters. Would like a bit more complexity from the esters but otherwise excellent.

Deep amber color. Formed a thick, dense light tan head which collapsed down and retained well.

Flavor mirrors the aroma in the sense of rich and malty. Toasty/caramel flavors come first along with some munich malt. Moderate level of bitterness seemed out of place for a Dubbel but provided a nice contrast to the rich malt character. Bitterness lingered on into a medium-dry finish. Low earthy hop flavors. Raisiny esters. More dried fruits in the ester department would create additional complexity.

Medium-full bodied with a pleasing light creaminess. Carbonation level was moderate and a tad low for this style. Smooth.

Despite a few stylistic flaws and in spite of a 9.4% ABV, this is one heck of a beer. Malt complexity is rich and varied. A little too bitter for a Dubbel. Slight increase to the ester complexity would help too. In spite of this, I'd easily drink a few pints - it's that good.

Photo of billybob
4.82/5  rDev +27.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

deep dark and amber in color with a short light tan head with some lacing. fruity, sweet smelling, with earthy and alcohol aromas, very pleasant. cherries, raisins, dates, nuts, brown sugar, strong sweet tea all can be picked out in the taste. mouthfeel is thick, creamy smooth.

a little expensive at 16.95 a four pack but a good beer to sip and enjoy with friends at a holiday or special time.

Photo of Douglas14
4.32/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours into my Brother Thelonious goblet a deep, dark mahogany color with a mildly disappointing head. The color of the head is great but it is not full and sticky like those of the the Belgian beers. The aroma is wonderful: candy, brown sugar, malt, cherries, lots of biscuit, and maybe a little banana. The taste is also splendid but the flavors are more central: brown sugar, dark sugary dough - lots of dark sugary bread-type qualities, actually - malt, dark fruit, bananas, a little oak, candy, spices, and alcohol, which tends to add a little spice itself. Also, I feel like there is a little bit of a tobacco character, but in a good way...kinda weird...but good. It has a full body, but I wish it were a little heavier in the mouth. Either way, North Coast has hit a home run again with Brother Thelonious. Make sure you give it a little more time than usual to warm up...it'll definitely help.

Photo of WeeObese
3.6/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

The beer pours dark amber almost ruby in color with a thick tan colored head that dissipates quickly.

The smell is dominated by dark carmel malts, fruity spicy phenols, and slight alcohol.

Taste is sweet malt followed by strong alcohol, and finishes with a nice Belgian yeast aftertaste.

The mouthfeel is warming and full.

The beer is pretty big so, although tasty, more than one could be a little too much.

Photo of asabreed
3.35/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle into a Delirium Tremens tulip.

Appearance: Dark amber body, scant lacing. Color saves it, as its deep and nice to look at. Slightly soapy head for how minimally it appears.

Smell: Sour apples initially, with some cherries, peppery spice, nice earthiness, mild alcohol whiffs. Mostly fruit esters and a bit of citrus from the hops, and as it warms it has a kind of granny smith apples dipped in Nutella kind of aroma. Still, there's not much Belgian flavor. Not much yeast, no signs of candi sugar commingling with other flavors, and there's some earthiness, but hardly a semblance of any kind of funk.

Taste: Mostly a mix between bitter chocolate earthiness and sour fruits and berries. No heavy signs of yeast flavors of phenolic activity. Semi-dry finish, fairly long, with a nice balance between the malt and fruit flavors and bitter citrus and earthy hops. Still wish there was more going on, especially for a brewery that I hold very highly in my book.

Mouthfeel: More watery and slick than it probably should be, as there's not nearly enough carbonation for the style. Doesn't really feel like a Belgian at all.

Drinkability: $4 for a short bottle? Glad I didn't get the corked and caged variety. There's some interesting things going on, but enough to keep me going back. And though I didn't expect it to taste like an exact non-domestic mimic of the style, they have a long way to go to impress me with this. I'm glad I tried it, especially for Thelonious, but man, I'm not sure he'd be too thrilled if he were to see this in his name.

Photo of paco1029384756
3.66/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours brown/red with small tan head and a thin ring of lacing.

Scent of Belgian yeast, brown sugar, roasted malts and foliage.

Taste is a bit sweet and a bit earthy with some sweetened tea, Belgian yeast, and slight roasted malts.

Mouthfeel is a little uneven, viscous.

Photo of elricorico
3.53/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Very red in colour, looks quite dark in the glass. Thick creamy beige head that takes its time in receding.

Aromas of cherries, musty yeast and a bit of liquor. Some impression of red licorice whips.

Cherries again in the flavour, a little bit tart and musty. Vinous at times in the finish. Sweet but not overly so. Some spice impression mixed in, pepper or clove. Good, but it just feels like its lacking something.

Medium bodied and a little sticky. Carbonation is a bit coarse. Not bad altogether.

I like it, but certainly there are better examples out there.

Photo of Crosling
3.06/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Brick colored autumn color with a small, well layered hour. Bubble gum and dark fruit in the nose, fairly nice, but could have more depth. Flavor has hints of honey covered fruits, decent belgian character and a decent finish. It's an ok Belgian style beer, better than most American interpretations.

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

Pours a beautiful deep amber with a craggy foam head. Just as a dubbel should be. Nice lacing with solid retention.

The smell is slightly alcoholic and quite spicy. Theres some sweet fruitiness in the background as well.

Flavorwise, Brother Thelonious is fruity and sweet at first, with more spice and warming alcohol in the finish. As per the style, no hop flavor or aroma is noted anywhere. The alcohol may be a little bit too dominant on the finish, but not much. It is 9%, rather high for a dubbel, so I can accept it. Maybe a little age will smooth that out and meld the flavors a little more? It would be a more enjoyable experience with a little less of it.

The mouthfeel is smooth, but not silky smooth like so many of the best Belgians. Carbonation is a little on the low end for a dubbel, at least in my experience.

Overall, the alcohol makes this a true sipping brew. Nobody will be chugging this one any time soon.

I think that this would probably be a better beer after a year or so. It would likely smooth out the alcohol that is rather dominant here. I don't want to see it go away entirely, but less of it would let the virtues of Thelonious shine brighter and overall, bring a dose of balance (to the force).

Photo of Natural510
4.05/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

(100th review)

Pours an amber red with brownish overtones from 750ml bottle with thick, off-white head which dissipates into a creamy layer and laces the glass beautifully.
Yeast & malts hit the nose up-front. There are aromas of caramel, cinnamon and dried fruit such as apricot & plum.
Very sweet maltiness coats the palate. Hops pack a solid kick and the yeast vibrates the mouth with its presence. Caramelised brown sugar, cinnamon, clove, dried fig & dates and black cherries are some of the flavors detected. Alcoholic content & sweetness pack quite a whallop when combined.
Stays creamy in the mouth, hops & yeast kick around to keep things vibrant.
Overall I enjoyed this experience, although the sweetness can be a bit much after awhile. Could've been a more perfect brew if it laid off the sugar/fruit by about 25%. Otherwise, definitely worth a try.

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

Poured into snitfter

A: Awesome looking brew, dark amber color. Half finger head that did not dissipate.

S: Strong alcohol on nose but not overhwhelming

T & M: Solid taste, despite alcohol on the nose does not overwhelm brew. Definite spiciness in a taste. Mouthfeel is excellent, this is a beer that lingers after drinking and stays with you.

D: Drinkable but high alcohol content would limit multiple bottles in one sitting. Look foward to having again. Love the bottle too, Monk is a jazz king.

Photo of ohmybock
2.96/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Corked bottle poured into a Chimay chalice...no apparent bottling/vintage date. The brew looks nice, but the aroma is only OK at best. It has a dark (stewed/fruity?) character in the aroma. Taste further supports the aroma, but it does add a bit more complexity. There's a hint of bock/melanoidan character (different, but OK here) with a healthy dose of aged character too (which I don't necessarily like here.) I wonder how old this brew is, but I have no idea from the bottle. Come on breweries...give the end-user some sort of date! Whatever yeast is used doesn't add much of an abbey/trappist flavor to the brew. That's too bad because certain trappist yeast strains might make this brew better. Still, this isn't a bad brew. Overall, it's drinkable, but not something I will seek out again.

Photo of MisterClean
4.5/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

out of a 750 at Santa rosa

A - Pours a dark brown with moderate chocolate foam, and a nice bit of lacing

S - Brown candi sugar, plums, and cinnamon.

T - Brown candi sugar, plums, and raisins.

M - Surprisingly, not much alc feel, very creamy, and refreshing on this hot day.

D - Very excellent. Great dessert beer.

Photo of WillClark
4.17/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the 750ml bottle. Nice yeasty notes: hints of plum and dried cherries. Nutty and creamy mouth feel. Little toasty malt and a smooth finish. Like most good craft Belgian style ales, the alcohol is well hidden. Would be a nice pairing with game dishes or chocolate desserts. Dig it.

Photo of ibbjamin
4.14/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Paid $7.49 for an Australian Longneck from BevMo in Willow Glen, CA. Poured into a goblet with a few pours.

Two inch darker tan colored head. Lots of carbonation. Dark copper color with a reddish tone when in good light. Minimal lacing.

Smells of a great balance between yeast and sweet malts. Hints of caramel, fig and raisin along with some roasted malts.

More yeast flavor present in the taste. Again there is the balance with the sweeter malts which lasts nicely into the aftertaste. The carbonation balanced with the yeast and malts creates quite a unique experience. I can't say that I throughly enjoy the taste, but I give them an A for creativity. Nice masking of alcohol for a 9% ABV.

Mildly creamy start, mildly watery finish. Perfect carbonation, nice finish and mouthfeel for a medium to heavy bodied beer.

Very drinkable and highly recommended for a Dubbel. At 9%, this one definitely packs a punch; especially for how easy it is to drink. I'm curious to try others of this style.

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

Poured this into a goblet. Poured a dark amber color with decent head that dissipated rather rapidly. The aroma is malty with a touch of fruit at the end. Flavor is of dark fruit with a bit of alcohol in the taste. Mouthfeel is good. Drinkability is good, but the alcohol is a bit too present in the flavor.

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

I poured this one from a 750ml brown bottle into a St. Bernardus chalice.

A= This ale poured a dark, slightly-reddish brown color with a 1 inch tan head. The head quickly faded and left a sicky lacing down the glass. I was surprised by the clarity of this brew. Carbonation was moderately high.

S= I detected aromas of candied fruit, plums, and raisins. Unfortunately, the aromas were far more muted than similar ales from Belgium. The alcohol was barely noticable in the aroma, which is impressive at this abv.

T= Similar to the aromas, the fruitiness of this ale dominated the taste. The raisin taste really popped initially. There were some spicy notes in the middle among the sweet malty flavors. Again, the yeast and alcohol were a bit too muted.

MF = This brew was surprisingly lighter than I expected. Very soft on the tongue, especially for the medium-high carbonation.

D= A worthy attempt at a classic Belgian dark ale. Not as good as its pedigreed Belgian cousins, but worth a taste anyway!

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

Appearance: I was greeted with a very loud pop as I cracked the cap off. Must have some serious carbonation going. It poured a dark, chestnut brown color. It's very clear and has a slightly orange, two and a half finger head. Carbonation is very active. Retention was very good and a nice sheet of lace remained.

Smell: Heavy scents of dark fruit (mostly raisin), fig, and toasted nut permeate the nose. There's a bit of clove and other spices that clearly play a secondary role. It's has a nice, sweet caramel malt smell. Yeast is noticeable, but appears to be a little lighter than most of its authentic Belgian colleagues. Alcohol is faintly noticeable on the tail end.

Taste: The dark fruit flavors (raisin and plum) really pummel the palate up front and refuse to let up. Fig and date flavors are a little more subdued in taste, but are present. Spicy clove, light corriander, and orange peel make an appearance, but really have a tough time getting off the ground due to the strong dark fruit flavors. It gets better as it warms a little and the spices blossom a little more. It's sugary sweet and has a solid, sweet caramel malt flavor that smoothes it out a little. Yeast and alcohol flavors lighter than expected.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: It's light to medium bodied and has a decent feel. Personally, I'd prefer it just a bit thicker and smoother. But, it goes down easy enough despite its high abv. I could drink a couple of these in a sitting without much trouble.

North Coast did a pretty good job with this one. It could be improved pretty dramatically if the strong dark fruit flavor was scaled back and if the body was thickened a bit. Despite those setbacks, it still proves to be a solid Belgian style release. It's not quite on the level of other authentic Belgians. But, very respectable and worth a try.

Photo of ewpgolf2
4.02/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This would have been even a higher rating if not for the head petering out so quickly into oblivion. I got cooked sugar w/ an alcohol(ly) presence from the bouquet. I wasn't expecting much since the only other North Coast brew I have/tried is Old Rasputin RIS (not for me). HOWEVER, this Abbey caught my attention. The first taste reminded of a Blackened Voodoo, but then, an overture of complexities took over. This is quite the brew! I almost always take 20-30 min. to consume 1 bottle when reviewing...and I'm glad I did. The warmer it got, the better it was. Usually, you get more alcohol forcing through, but not w/ this one. The best taste was at the end and leaving me wanting more. Mouthfeel was smooth w/ no sticky(clear your throat) remnants and I could see myself drinking 1-2 more. This was a surprise and "smoothy drink".

Brother Thelonious from North Coast Brewing Co.
85 out of 100 based on 2,585 ratings.