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Brother Thelonious - North Coast Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Brother TheloniousBrother Thelonious

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

988 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 988
Hads: 2,735
rAvg: 3.78
pDev: 12.17%
Wants: 70
Gots: 447 | 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 (25) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 988 | Hads: 2,735
Photo of Brent
4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Started at first with just a hint of pear funkyness, calling to mind Orval, then blossomed with a broad caramel malt, retaining some of the yeasty Belgian nontes. Moderately sweet, with a full finish. The name is a great play on words, and the beer matches the innovative nature. (279 characters)

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

A: Dark amber with an offwhite head with yellow tones. Head dissappears quite fast, no lacing.
S: Yeast, pears, caramel, malt, figs, dark berries, dried fruits, toffee, sweet dark bread.
T: Dark chocolate, charcoal, figs, dried fruits, raisins, bitterness, caramel, sweet grapes.
M: Medium body, moderate carboration.
D: Yum! I really like it. This one goes down really easy. The alcohol stays in the background despite the 9%. A beer to sip slowly. (453 characters)

Photo of jj21
3.35/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

On tap in Horse & Plow
Pours Clear, dark amber with a good long-lasting tan head. Malty aromas with some banana and bubblegum. Slight touch of alcohol on the nose and flavor. Nice hop finish but light for a Dubbel. Not a bad beer but it could use a little more Umph to it. (273 characters)

Photo of rm0312
3.88/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From the 750ml bottle to a Trappist glass - a rich ruby color with a marginal head. A malty citrus aroma as well as some caramel. The caramel came out in the flavor as well along with some vanilla and some fruitiness. I picked up the hoppiness at the end. Smooth and chewable. This is a very good beer - maybe a step below Chimay Blue. (335 characters)

Photo of jbsteiny
4.07/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Deep dark brown with ruby highlights. Offwhite head dissipated quickly with no retention. Smelled lovely -- stewed fruit (like tsimis, for my jewish bretheren) with a heavy hand of cocoa. Tasted wonderful - not like any other dubbel that I'd ever had -- prunes up front to be sure, and a bit of a yeasty spice, but pure cocoa and alcohol on the finish, like drinking chocolate milk with a shot of jameson. Glad I found this on tap, though seeing the label on the site makes me want to buy a bottle and stick the label on my board. (530 characters)

Photo of notoriousdav
3.72/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a rootbeer brown. Tan head dissapates quickly with some lacing. Smells like gingerbread and fermenting dough, very nice on the nose. Tastes of some Belgium sugars, and bread. Phenols come out fast but fade nicely at the end. It really has a typical dubbel taste profile, but for some reason it deosn't seem as balanced as some better examples. I can't put my finger on it, but this beer just doesn't quite live up to it's namesake. Mouthfeel is a little light, which I think contributes to the unbalance. Drinkinbility is fine. (533 characters)

Photo of beerphilosopher
3.92/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep, rich burgundy tone, with a bubbly off-white head that dissipates quickly to a thin layer. Appears very effervescent. Spotty lacing in the goblet. The nose is of dark roasted malts, stewed fruits, sweet caramel, and some spice thrown in. Some alcohol in the nose. The palate is what you'd expect from the nose, and carries a very sweet, cloying flavor up front. A combination of the (very) active carbonation, high ABV, and a good, solid hop backbone, turn this brew quite a bit drier quickly, however. The palate is left somewhat decently balanced, but definitely leaning heavily toward the sweet side of things. Not unexpected for a dubbel, but maybe a bit too cloying. Mouthfeel is a tad sharp and biting, with an abundance of carbonation creating a froth in the mouth and revealing an aggressive alcohol burn. This aspect calms down as the beer warms from cellar temperature to ambient a bit. Finish is only semi-dry, with some sweetness lingering too long. Over all, not a bad dubbel, especially considering this is a domestic abbey-style ale. At 9% ABV, this one is no session beer. Worth a try, however, especially if you like the dubbel style. It's no Trappist ...but what else is? (1,202 characters)

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

Poured a crisp brown that shows a dark ruby when held to light. The aroma is of dried fruits with maple and caramel. The taste is very complex with caramel, dried fruits, some coffee, and a nice slight spiciness to round it out. There is a slight yeast bite and the alcohol is somewhat present. This is a decent beer for the style. (331 characters)

Photo of Gmann
3.82/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured out of a 750ml corked and caged bottle. The beer is a dark ruby color that poured an average tan head that dissipated fairly quick leaving no lacing. The smell is prunes, carob, and a whiff of alcohol. The taste is similar but has more of a roasted backbone to it. The feel is tightly carbonated and a bit watery, finishes a tad bitter and dry. A decent example of a dubbel and worth a try but it doesn't excite. (419 characters)

Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
3.84/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into an oversize goblet.

AP: Deep amber tinged with a rusty brown hue and a rather thin and scattered head with only low to medium carbonation for the style. The Head retention qualities is not up to par for this brew.

Nose: Very sweet malts, big yeast profile, zesty and herbal hop, alcohol, maple syrup. Nicely aromatic.

Flavor: Herbal, Zesty hop and an agressive yeast flavor bust out first and then mellowed by a maple syrup-like malt sweetness; all evened out by a medium alcohol heat and a mildly bitter fin.

Feel: Full bodied, thick and syruppy. But the low carbonation leaves it hanging in limbo without the bite and or clean feel that most brews of this style posses.

DA: This was very enjoyable; although certainly not my favorite of it's kind. This beer was the last to be enjoyed out of my favorite beer vessel, my big oversize goblet...at least it went out in a blaze of glory as I listened to Thelonious and Coltrane on my record player. (973 characters)

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

750ml bottle into snifter.

Deep and clear ruby red color with a thick tan colored head that slowly settles to a thick fizzy cap. Solid lacing coats the glass.

Sweet fruit flavors mixed with a strong caramel aroma, and a little bit of roasty coffee.

Toasty malts lend flavors such as caramel and toffee, along with roasted coffee bean. A little bit of cherry accentuates the malt character. A tiny hint of hops is in the background. Full bodied with slightly higher than average carbonation giving a thick feel with a little bit of fizz. A light creaminess flows over the other flavors.

A very complex interpretation of a Belgian Ale by North Coast Brewing. I feel they did a pretty good job. Recommended. (717 characters)

Photo of Kudashov
2.27/5  rDev -39.9%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

25 .oz bottle poured into a clean chalice . With a very aggressive pour there is little head , none . Not like the the chalice on the label . The head faded so quick , very disappointing . Smells of chocolate and fruit. Brown clear hue with no lacing as head reduced to nothing . Taste is spicy like BBQ sauce but also very watery . This not the worst brew I have had during my new hobby but this is bland , boring , brown water . Bleak . When this quest of finding " new beer " was started there have been some lousy beers but this is very disappointing . The 9 abv is well hidden , hidden behind a boring lousy brew for 9+ bucks a bomber . First time , last time . (666 characters)

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

It poured out with a nice thick, tan head that was really fluffy and slowly dissipated into a thin layer that gathered around the edge of the glass and created a nice medium lacing. It has a nice dark reddish/brown color and is really beautiful when held up to the light. Its aroma is not as strong as I thought it would be; its mild with sweet undertones and it has a bitter taste that seems to over power the sweetness in it. It also has a mild cry aftertaste that has a hint of alcohol to it. (495 characters)

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

I suppose that we are lucky to get this one time brew in Sweden. Good old Systemet hit us with two beers from NCBC in February, 2007. The other was Rasputin. Brother Thelonius poured in a brown color with lots of thick late-colored foam but settling down to a finger. The smell slowly filled the room- apricot, yeast, caramel and licorice. The taste had an initial metallic feature followed by sweet fruits, some yeast, and licorice and alcohol in the end. The head was almost gone at this time. All and all I found it rather restrained, bordering on watery. (558 characters)

Photo of beertastegood
4.09/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark red-brown, clear with a medium size head that fades leaving lace on the chalice.

Aroma: cherry, plum, brown sugar, hint of clove, spicy pepper. The fruitiness really stands out - this aroma is frickin' amazing. Alcohol is noticeable, but not up front.

More phenolic than fruity, spiciness dominates with a pleasant raisin and apple character behind it. Slightly toasty malt, Moderate hop flavor, fades into a sweet but not slick finish. Aftertaste is of spiced apples (not acetaldehyde...). Not as complex as the nose, but very well orchestrated flavors.

Mouthfeel: smooth, medium body and carbonation. I like strong darks, but some of them seem to be way too carbonated. Not so with this beer.

Drinkability: Good. Not too overwhelming on the palate or the stomach.

All in all, a well above average strong dark. Great sipping beer. North Coast gets a thumbs up for this one. (902 characters)

Photo of guinnessfan
3.79/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750 mL bottle, from State Line, poured into oversized wine glass.

A: Cloudy brown/dark caramel color with no head, even with an aggressive pour, and no lacing.

S: Sweet molasses and alcohol sting.

T: Boozy, dark, surgary fruit/molasses, carmelized malt? Possible yeasty flavor.

M: Medium body and carbonation. Alcohol leaves a warming sensation all the way down.

D: Too high ABV and slightly boozy, but nonetheless, a decent offering. Strong alcohol flavor as expected from North Coast. (501 characters)

Photo of ppoitras
3.08/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

750ml bottle purchased at Julio's, Westboro, MA. Corked and caged.

Poured in a heavy glass chalice, formed a 1/4" tan head over the totally murky reddish brown brew. Head slowly fades to an uneven layer of bubbles, with quick-falling lacing that rathers be in contact with the liquid. Aroma is hearty malt sweetness and alcohol. Taste is moderate grain upfront, quickly overpowered by some fruit tartness and drying alcohol, which warms the gullet as well. Mouthfeel seems a bit thin for such a substantial brew, and drinkability is really not that great. I'm looking for more malt character and depth of overall flavor, don't need to be wowed by alcohol vapors. (666 characters)

Photo of younger35
3.85/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Drank from a simple ol pint glass. Bought this on a whim along with 4 other North Coast goodies.

Appearence- Pours a murky light brown/dark reddish. Almost orange in it's haze. Lots of fine carbonation bubbles gather to form a thin but consistant head. No Discernable lacing.
Smell- Nice sweet yeasty tones. Almost earthy smelling malty goodness with big wiffs of dark citrusy fruits. Cherry, blackberry spiceyness really makes for a enjoyable smelling experience.
Taste- Fruity, candy sweet taste. Nice darker roasted malts hit the tongue with a spicy cherry/berry start. The very noticable familar yeast taste adds to the complexity. Finishes with a medium dryness and a bitterness on that back of the tongue. Very subtle alcohol undertone that is covered nicely by the big sweetness.
Mouthfeel- Maybe a touch overcarbonated but not bad. Leaves a very sticky bitter taste in mouth from the medium body. Hints of warming alcohol loiters for a few moments.
Drinkability- A very nice brew that has some very tasty characteristics. Definitely a nice tasty treat every-once-in-a-while but not more than one bottle type beer. An excellent cheese and cracker beer. (1,166 characters)

Photo of kelticblood
3.39/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Very nice dark brown color with a small beige head. Aside from a great looking color the head was unimpressive and was only worth a 3.0. The aroma is very complex and smells of very sweet malts, hops, coffee, expresso, and roasted grains. The taste is very very sweet and almost too much for me. I am not into very sweet food or drink. Moderate bitterness with an extremely dry coffee-like finish. The mouthfeel lacks carbonation and is a touch watery. The high ABV is very evident and felt after about five sips. Lacks the typical Belgian Yeast aroma and taste I've come to expect and love with just a tiny showing in the taste. I think U.S brewers should leave Belgian Strong Ale's up to the Belgians. The is a feeble attempt to perfect greatness. After about five minutes the head completely dissapeared and gave it a look of flat cola. The cork gave a loud pop when opened so I know there was no leak that might lose carbonation. I wouldnt reccomend this and wouldn't try it again. Stick with real Belgian products. (1,019 characters)

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

Part of a tasting with northyorksammy, biegaman, grub, and derek. Thanks guys!

Great colour, mostly clear medium brown pour with no head. Chocolate and toffee aroma. Strong alcohol roaming right up front, with fruity and floral hops and bready yeast notes. Bit of a watery mouthfeel and a fakey coke or candy floss aftertaste. (329 characters)

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

The big 100’th review here… Whoop! I saved Thelonious for this for a few weeks.

Ready, set, POP!

Dark dark ruby/brown, almost black. Mild-to-moderate head that doesn’t stick around. Brilliant Colors, wink wink.

Tart spicy hops with underlying floral bouquet. Sweet malt base: roasted and candy sugar. Plum/cherry vibe. Nicely balanced. Mild warmth and phenol.

Smooth and thick tart fruit brew. Medium-to-full bodied. First taste I note is tart fruit flavor: grape/plum/cherry with dark ripeness afoot. Hops are floral with mild spicy and citric tones. Malt base is deeply sweet with: roasted malt, Belgian candy sugar, light bread/biscuit, and very light caramel/toffee notes. Mildly warm, alcohol is impressively subdued. Mildly carbonated throughout. Finishes tart and mostly dry.

Nicely balanced. A rich and complex array of flavors. Foams up in mouth just about perfectly. The hop flavor jumps right out initially, subsides, and then the malt blooms. The result is a tasty cherry/plum/grape dark fruit brew. Warmth is surprisingly low for a 9.4%. This brew is quite filling, my stomach tells me it is full only 550 ml into BT, silly stomach. Also, I feel thirsty, this brew isn’t much for thirst-quenching. All things considered: the more I have, the more I like it… (1,290 characters)

Photo of Stubbie1
3.08/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A light tan head sits upon this mahogany colored brew. First is the alcohol then a touch of spices on the nose, a hint of dark fruit mixes in at the end leaving the lips sticky. Taste is a bit on the fruity side at first then a rush of the alcohol takes over, a bit watery on the finish. Loads of carbonation on the tongue and in the mouth.
Overall an O.K beer, nice looks, a bit weak on the nose and it lost me in the taste. The flavors washed out to fast for me and left a bit of a watery feel on the tongue. With the wash out at the end leaves this brew a bit low on the drinkability. (588 characters)

Photo of jim102864
3.31/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A somewhat disappointing beer for a beer with a great name and equally creative label. The appearance is a reddish mahogany with a modest head that bubbles away rather quickly in my Chimay goblet. The aroma was minimal at best. Maybe a passing wiff of chocolate, but is that the best this accomplished brewery can do? I expect more for the price. The taste is equally understated and unremarkable. Some maltiness but what is the dominate taste? Chocolate maybe? Nothing more than a hint of brown sugar. The mouthfeel was smooth and void of any hop bitterness. Some carbonation. Yeah, it's a drinkable brew, but somewhat unremarkable for North Coast. (649 characters)

Photo of Derek
3.8/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I picked this up from The Bottleshoppe in Bellingham, WA.

I definitely agree that it's more of a strong dark than a dubbel. It's got plenty of byproducts from the yeast, but it's lacking the dark (raisin/plum) fruityness.

A: Dark brown with ruby highlights, light tan head, great retention, hints of lace.

S: Fruity, spicy, apple, pineapple, bubblegum.

T: Bready, bubblegum, brown sugar, candyfloss, light caramel, hints of phenolic spicyness, cola. Plenty of Belgian flavours from this American... but it might need a little Belgian malt.

M: Moderate body is nicely attenuated. Moderate carbonation.

D: Good. (627 characters)

Photo of Sammy
3.38/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

amber with soapy big head, lace. Watery, sweet and orange peel, which makes it easy to drink, herbal tea spicey which turns it off for me. A tad toasted malt. Thanks Derek.Big alcohol, not noticeable, but inefficient to the taste. Serviceable beer, not quite up to its style. So passable. (288 characters)

Brother Thelonious from North Coast Brewing Co.
85 out of 100 based on 988 ratings.