Brother Thelonious | North Coast Brewing Co.

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Brother TheloniousBrother Thelonious
Very Good
Brother TheloniousBrother Thelonious

Brewed by:
North Coast Brewing Co.
California, United States

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.40%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
"Vital Statistics

Style: Belgian Style Strong Dark
Color: Dark mahogany
ABV: 9.4%
Bitterness: 32 IBU's"

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User Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 1,083 | Ratings: 3,146
Photo of wpqx
5/5  rDev +31.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Ok I'm going to start by saying this might be my favorite beer ever. So the rest of what I say should be taken with a grain of salt.

I originally tried this beer simply because it was named after Thelonious Monk. After one sip I was immediately hooked, and several bottles later it only reaffirms my love of this beverage.

A pronounced and bold flavor that has hints of caramel, figs, and toffee with a large alcohol bite. To me this beer has layers of flavor and each sip seems to reveal another depth to the beer. I wouldn't just put this above all other Belgian style beers, but all beers period. This is not a mellow beer by any means, it is a reach out and grab you by the jugular beverage.

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Photo of mrcarterxxl
4.97/5  rDev +30.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

North Coast Brewing Brother Thelonious !!!

This is my favorite of all time and i cant believe that i never reviewed it.

A= a ruby brown hue

S= heavenly, hazle nuts, coffee, toffee, malty

MF= medium bodied



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Photo of musicman575
4.97/5  rDev +30.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

How would one explain a beer like this to a person who only drinks Bud Light? Seriously, I feel like all my old college bros need to wake up and smell the craft brew, but they'd surely call me a p***y for what I am about to write.

Brother Theolonius is comparable to the same brewer's Pranqster as New Belgium's 2 Below is to Fat Tire - it is mostly just a stronger version with more of the good stuff. The malts have a honey-like quality and are quite aromatic. The alcohol content will surely give you a warm feeling. This is one of the best beers I have ever enjoyed.

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Photo of blackjack000
4.94/5  rDev +29.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Pours as a beautiful, dark overripe apricot color. Sits in the glass like a radiant chocolate brown wit fieriness at the edges. The head is a creamy milk and coffee color, with fine bubbles, and leaves thick lacing on the glass.

Smell: Ripe peaches and apricot bathed in melted sugar immediately comes forward. A bit of spiciness lingers up on a trail of sweet alcohol.

Taste/Feel: Soft and sweet apricot on the verge of rotting. The alcohol content gives it a zesty and spicy kick and complements the heavy fruit and thick, sweet malt. The sugariness and fruitiness give the feeling of candied yams. Well balanced with a sour grassiness and young pine needles.

Aftertaste: The sweet maltiness lingers and coats the tongue in a heavy and sticky way. The fruitiness sits and becomes a sour pine woodiness.

Drinkability: Warming and sweet. Heavy hitting and sticky. This is beer is incredibly enjoyable. An excellent beer, because every sip is vibrant and full of taste.

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Photo of teamhex
4.92/5  rDev +29.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into a chilled Glass
Pours a dark ruby color
Tiny head that goes away quickly and leaves a nice lacing around the glass
Smells wonderful and of dark fruits
Strong fig taste and slightly hoppy near the end.
Great beer, drinkabliity is exceptional.
I recommend picking one up if you can find it.

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Photo of Kacid
4.87/5  rDev +27.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Appearance: translucent brown red with a persistent residual head and beautiful lacing
Nose: dark fruits, notes of chocolate, rum and whisky, raisins, molasses, brown sugar, burnt toast and light smoke

Taste: sweet dark fruits, alcohol and caramel, with a strong bitter finish

Overall: super impressed, this beer is greatly under rated for how unique its flavors are; would pair perfectly with a soft pretzel and a variety of mustards

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Photo of dogger6253
4.85/5  rDev +27.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours out of the bottle a dark, muddy brown with a huge, mocha head. The head explodes with bubbles constantly as it falls, taking its sweet time down. It hangs to the side of the glass, refusing to ever let go.

Big cherry and cedar scents in this. Pears, grapes, raisins, dates and almonds come through. A nice, fruity tone with bits of earthiness rounding out the aroma.

Everything in the taste comes out just as fresh as in the nose with a little bit of hops and alcohol adding any missing pieces you may have thought were there. Perfect taste.

The body is smooth with a little bit of a carbonation kicking its way to your brain. It really sits well in your mouth as you let the flavors develop and surface. This really is so tasty, so crisp and refreshing. You must take your time with one of these. So much goodness.

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Photo of billybob
4.82/5  rDev +26.5%
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.

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Photo of Nolo
4.81/5  rDev +26.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Ill just say this. Really awesome and complex beer. Really tasty, really fruity, really malty. Raisins, sugar, hops, grapes!! Beer Advocate people, this is an awesome beer!!!

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Photo of Libeertarian
4.79/5  rDev +25.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

From notes taken 02/14/17:

I meant to check at the time, but this was probably at least a year old, so aging might have significantly impacted my tasting.

Deep caramel brown appearance. Orange tinted ruby, spiced bourbon. Fine chunks but these seem to stay close to the head. Creamy, fine-bubbled head of light golden brown, no more than a finger with weak but retention but lingering as a film. Extreme plum, booze, and paint thinner, a little bit of berry in my nostrils. Exquisite palate of dark chocolate, plums, rye bread, toffee, ferrous tartness, and brown spirits. All of this lingers in the finish but faint peppercorn and other non distinct herbs and spices rear their heads. Full in body, medium levels of small velvety prickles. Heat hides itself well, but at almost 10% you can still find it, primarily in the throat.

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Photo of BillBabbitt
4.79/5  rDev +25.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Wow. I don't normally drink this style of beer. It is pricy at $5 for a bottle at retail, but worth it. An amazing aroma and mouthfeel. A full, rich head and a beautiful clear bronze color. Great balance. Definitely much better than the BA rating of 85.

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Photo of BeerYain
4.75/5  rDev +24.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This excellent BSDA pours a deep brown with a hint of red, offering a decent, tan, creamy head. Lots of fig, carmel, dark fruit and alcohol all mingle in perfect harmony with this beer. Go easy, it's almost 10%. The overall taste/flavor is of carmel, fig, sugar, alcohol, malt and mellow "un"hoppy hops (if that's possible). Brother T is a smoother, deeper, sweeter and more 3-dimensional inviting drink than Chimay Blue, which I felt was good, but more one-dimensional and less "crafted" tasting. Brother T is a great beer for those looking to begin experiencing the Abbey style beers. I will buy this beer for years to come.

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Photo of gbarbee
4.75/5  rDev +24.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

I first drank this beer in a steakhouse in Augusta, Georgia. I had a steak dinner that was called "Neptune's Cow" (a filet topped with sauteed shrimp and blue crab sauce). The pairing was perfect.

Appearance: Dark brown
Smell: Hoppy and full-bodied with a hint of honey
Taste: Dark bread like pumpernickel but smooth
Mouthfeel: Smooth
Drinkability: Great beer brewed in the Belgian style.

Serving type: bottle

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Photo of Bugsey
4.7/5  rDev +23.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer was huge surprise for me. I just bought one to try it, but couldn't stop thinking about all night long.

The flavor lingers, as does the warmth from the alcohol. Tastes are clean and balanced, yet there is rich maltyness, perfectly sweetened with brown sugar and carmel. Dark fruits, prunes and dates, are also there.

Going to try this one again.

And the label is pretty cool too.

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Photo of Zombiedust66
4.7/5  rDev +23.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

I was very impressed with this one. Plus, being a jazz guy, I was into it just from the label. It poured easy, showing a dark amber color with a slight head to top it off. Right off, you can smell the fruit (banana). The taste isn't too heavy and actually quite enjoyable with the alcohol hidden in the background. No strong bite, just great flavors (dark malts, fruit and slight floral). The feel was smooth and easy. Sitting at a 9.4%, this is a great sipping beer. I had it with a vegan pizza. Went well together.

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Photo of thebeerdoctor
4.7/5  rDev +23.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

As a fan of jazz, aka American Creative Music, Brother Thelonious is a masterpiece. Purchased in a four pack of 12 ounce bottles, this deep colored dubbel style ale should be approached with respect. To drink more than one of these at a time just means you are seeking inebriation using, or should I say misusing, a very carefully and lovingly created ale, that is indeed a fitting tribute to the musical composer genius who was known as Thelonious Sphere Monk. There is big time complexity here: spicy with dark fruit notes, chocolate, vanilla and plum, to name just a few. Although I did not have a goblet present when I sampled this. I would recommend it as the glassware of choice. An ale to be savored... peacefully.

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Photo of AmbsterSchrier
4.7/5  rDev +23.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Rich, dark...caramel colored head (thought short head retention). Slight reddish tint in certain light.

S- Toasty and slightly spicy sweet.

T- Brown sugar sweet, slightly spiced with a drier finish. Complex flavor, much like Monk's playing.

M- Pleasant and rich. Feels like it has some "consistency" to it.

D- Nice for slow sipping. Goes down smooth, but not a light beer by any means.

Brings to mind the song, "Straight, No Chaser"
I've heard it is better in smaller bottles v. the 750 ml bottles.

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Photo of IPAcraig
4.69/5  rDev +23.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 750ml bottle into an oversized wine glass.

This beer pours a woody, murky brown with a cream colored head that faded fairly quickly.

A very rich smelling brew. A big of aroma of tart cherries and sweet fruit burst from the body of this beer. Absolutely brilliant.

A lot going on here. The massive flavor of tart cherries and figs is still present. However, the beer has a bit of a chocolate center. The front end fruity sweetness is complimented by a nice dry finish.

A medium bodied beer. Perhaps a bit too big for a Belgian, but I like it.

Perfect drinkability. Full flavored, complex, quaffable all with a good price. Brilliant.

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Photo of mexikrainian
4.67/5  rDev +22.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. poured into a Duvel tulip.

Aroma: raisin, brown sugar, cherry, malty and spicy.

Appearance: rich, hazy dark amber with thick off-white head and lace.

Taste: crisp, clean, and malty goodness. Smooth acidity with slight note of molasses at the finish.

Mouthfeel: medium-full body with perfect carbonation.

Overall impression: delicious, malty Belgian dubbel. The best American Belgian-style by far.

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Photo of Pullen
4.66/5  rDev +22.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Gentle sweet malt aroma. Light caramel, raisin with a caramel sugar finish. The great taste took my friends and I by surprise. Unfortunately we ran out.

My first abbey style beer. If Abbey's are this good, I want more!

The flavor get better as the beer becomes warmer. I highly recommend this beer!

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Photo of champ103
4.64/5  rDev +21.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: A deep cherry red with a good sized head (almost tan in color) that stays all the way down the glass. A little lace as well.
S: Wow! This is great. Complex with ton's of dark fruit (plumbs, raisins). Roasted malt and a hint of dark chocolate. There is also a smoky earthiness in the nose.
T: Again, great. Very similar to the nose, but with more malt. Since I am a malt head I love that. Wonderful.
D: Not bad at all for 9% ABV. A great sipping beer.

I love this beer. North Coast does a great job with this Belgian Dubble. Goes great with some Thelonious Monk music. I recommend "Monks Music", or At Carnegie Hall (with John Coltrane), or Underground, or... well you get the picture. If it has Monks name on it pick it up, including this beer.

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Photo of RockAZ
4.64/5  rDev +21.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Beautiful appearance and great smell of yeast, bread, malt sweetness. Warming beer alcohol-wise, excellent for pairing with foods like steak, mushrooms and potatoes or good bread. Other reviewers mentioned it is a bit thin or as having a one note of sweetness, and I get that too especially cold. Some better Belgian brewed examples of the style are available but I do like this one along with those. This does warm up nicely imho overcoming some of the one note sweetness with vanilla, figs and caramel scents.

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Photo of Briscoe88
4.63/5  rDev +21.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Very nice color. Smooth velvety feel as hits the tongue with a nice Belgium finish. Very enjoyable beer with a deceptively strong content. Taste like more!

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Photo of MI_gal616
4.62/5  rDev +21.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A dark orange/amber color with a good 1" head
The smell is sooo good. Yeasty, with a bit of wheat. Smells sweet.
Flavor is full of sugary malts. It's creamy in the mouth with hings of banana, clove spice, and biscuits. Yup, like the flaky Pillsbury doughboy. There is a light bitterness, especially on the finish, which I like because it keeps the beer from being too sweet.

Overall, it's a delightfully rich Belgian amber, very smooth, and almost syrupy.

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Photo of BeerLover729
4.61/5  rDev +21%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours dark, just less than opaque, brown beer with less head then analogous Belgian imports. Dark cherries, chocolate, clove like spices, and Belgian yeast dark fruit esters fill the noes. Ahhh...No Chaser...Thelonious joke. Rich chocolate with just the right balance of bitter and sweet are the first big tastes. Mild phenols and a very slight flavor of ethanol spill into the finish, which fades all to quick leaving no real residual cloyingness. The mouthfeel is light and bubbly. Obviously some adjuncts are used to cut down on the body and/or bump up the abv. Great example of proper use of adjunct. Excellent drinkablity. A dangerous 9.5% abv beer. Watch out brother.

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Brother Thelonious from North Coast Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 3.81 out of 5 with 3,146 ratings