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Brother Thelonious - North Coast Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Brother TheloniousBrother Thelonious

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

998 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 998
Hads: 2,797
Avg: 3.78
pDev: 22.49%
Wants: 75
Gots: 491 | 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 (29) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Brother Thelonious Alström Bros
Reviews: 998 | Hads: 2,797
Photo of wavz
4.27/5  rDev +13%
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!


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Photo of bjoyce12
2.92/5  rDev -22.8%
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.

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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.

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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.

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Photo of bradford
2.61/5  rDev -31%
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.

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Photo of bort11
4.02/5  rDev +6.3%
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.

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Photo of cabsandking
4.27/5  rDev +13%
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.

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Photo of Fugazme
4.23/5  rDev +11.9%
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.

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Photo of jaluria
3.97/5  rDev +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.

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Photo of ChillMike
4.14/5  rDev +9.5%
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.

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Photo of BeerManDan
4.12/5  rDev +9%
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!

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Photo of Hibernator
3.97/5  rDev +5%
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.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
3.82/5  rDev +1.1%
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.

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Photo of Risser09
4.12/5  rDev +9%
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!

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Photo of dherling
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.

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Photo of Mebuzzard
4.2/5  rDev +11.1%
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.

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Photo of socalde
4.6/5  rDev +21.7%
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.

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Photo of dhchatfield
4.42/5  rDev +16.9%
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.


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Photo of RockyTopHeel
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.

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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).

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Photo of foureyedgeek
3.7/5  rDev -2.1%
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.

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Photo of bruachan
3.58/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

mahogany red. the head seems like it might stick around (or at least in film form)

very darkfruity aroma. cherries

slightly rough fruity flavor with a bitterness that makes itself known. light chocolatey and caramelly flavors with raisin and some hop character


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Photo of assurbanipaul
3.61/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep mahogany with a firm inch-thick beige head. Aroma is lots of dark malts and candi sugar with just a hint of flowery hops and faint fruit. The alcohol in the nose becomes more apparent as it warms. Thick legs appear on the sides as it is swirled and the head is easily reconstituted throughout the drink.

Taste is rich and luxurious. Tons of roasted malt, dark sugars, raisins, figs jump out at me immediately. Dark caramel, some chocolate malt and maple syrup follow along with some light and familiar yeasty Belgian esters and a barest hint of green apple. No real distinct alcohol flavors or heat at first but they both arise uncomfortably as it warms in the glass.

Mouthfeel is medium, full-bodied with enough carbonation that it does not become heavy on the palate. A bit cleaner than native Belgian beers but approaches cloying to me after 10-12 ounces. This one is a real mixed bag for me.

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3.28/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

violant pour yields a blackish brown body with 2 fingers of tan fuzzy head. Nose is softly sweet and nicely spicey with hints of ginger and cinamon with earthy malt. Very syrupy sweet up front when you first sip, really wakes up the buds. Syrupy malt dominates the palate. You really get almost a raw molasses feel. Finishes with this same long earthy sweet mouth feeling. It does mellow and smooth out a bit as it warms. Not bad but not one of my favorite American made Belgium styles.

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Photo of Fuller
3.23/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

pours a deep ruby colored body with a small creamy tan head which dissipates quickly down to a skim. Nose is of sweet, dark fruity (plums) malt and chocolate. Smell of alcohol becomes more prominent as it warms. Initial taste is of bready and fruity malts and is followed up by some spicy alcohol. Body is big, full and chewy with very low carbonation. Overall a decent brew.

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Brother Thelonious from North Coast Brewing Co.
85 out of 100 based on 998 ratings.