Brother Thelonious | North Coast Brewing Co.

very good
1,050 Reviews
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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"

Added by sloejams on 05-04-2006

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Reviews: 1,050 | Ratings: 2,997
Photo of champ103
4.64/5  rDev +22.4%
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 +22.4%
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 +22.2%
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 +21.9%
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 +21.6%
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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Photo of socalde
4.6/5  rDev +21.4%
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 beveritt
4.58/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: Poured from a stubby 12 oz brown bottle into a Duvel chalice. I have been looking for this one for awhile and couldn't seem to find it easily. Managed to pick it up at a recent trip to Indiana. Label depicts a profile of Thelonious Monk holding a chalice of beer a sporting a piano keyboard halo. No freshness date.

Appearance: Pours with 2 fingers of medium tan head. This settles slowly, eventually collapsing to a large island of foam in the middle of the glass and wisps here and there. Nice, thick lacing coverage remains. The beer itself is dark brown with shades of burnished copper and just on the verge of being opaque. No sediment in the bottle.

Smell: Strong aroma of tart cherries, lemon zest, and a candy apple sweetness.

Taste: Nutty flavor upfront with bready/yeasty malt undertones. Hints of cherries and figs in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Average to a little higher than average carbonation level, perfect for the style. Body is incredibly thick and mouthcoating.

Drinkability: A truly classic example of the style. Rich and complex; displays incredible depth. I wish it were more easily available.

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Photo of ahemahem
4.58/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is my type: Strong, dark, fizzy and Belgian-style. If those are not your preferred descriptors then you may not go for this, but I love it. At the end of the week I will sometimes knock down the big one, during the week, the small one.

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Photo of kkleu357
4.58/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Beautiful ruby red pour. Small big bubble head. Semi sweet bread yeast aroma. Very tasty. Tastes like a real Belgian beer. I usually get this fake taste in American Belgian style beers, but this one tastes authentic. Sweet thick, but not that sticky, malty taste. Similar to a caramel banana dessert. Mild fruit raisin taste. Really enjoy it.

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Photo of andrewh995
4.56/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Despite some negativity towards this beer, it's easily one of my favorites. I have no other BSDAs to compare it to which may be why, but man I love this beer.

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

If you're looking for a straightforward Belgian, this is a fine choice. Nothing too complex here, but you get loads of the sweet and estery goodness that make for an enjoyable dubbel.

Pours a rusty tan color with moderate head and lacing. Fruity, sweet nose, silky mouthfeel, and very drinkable. The beer's 9% ABV is hidden pretty well under a cloak of traditional Belgian flavors. A very nice beer, indeed.

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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.

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Photo of TheIronHammer
4.54/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured out of the bottle and into a glass.

A: Dark color. Pretty large head that dissipates slowly leaving fine lacing on the side.

S: Strong spicy notes with dark fruits in the immediate background.

T: The spices come through more on the palate than the dark fruit. It is very good but would be a bit better if balanced more delicately like the smell.

MF: It has a medium mouthfeel. A heavier mouthfeel would probably help support the beer a bit better.

O: Overall all a very good beer. It has a few areas where it could improve but has many things to offer.

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Photo of Arithmeticus
4.53/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured chilled in tall tulip water glass.

A: caramel color, robust carbonation, 2-finger head that dissipates quickly
S: brooding caramel, yeast, malt, smells toasted
t: dark Belgian--like an imperial dark bock. Heavy ABV comes through; semisweet; bitter bottle conditioning; medium hopped


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Photo of damienblack
4.52/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a medium brown that is almost amber, standard tan head, decent lacing left. Smell is nice rich candi sugar, raisiiny fruit. Taste is much of the same. Sweet belgian sugars, a bit of hearty yeastiness, and a deep dark-fruit raisiny-ness. It's a lot heartier than most of the other dubbel's I've tried, it is almost what you see from Strong Dark Ales in terms of substance. Bold belgian flavours, buoyed by just the right levels of carbonation and stickiness. Drinks absolutely exceptionally and easily, to the point of being dangerously so. Despite the short reviews, this is probably the best American dubbel's I've experienced so far, and it definitely holds its own with the Belgians.

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Photo of longbongsilver
4.5/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a few random new things to try recently. Went to grab one as a post-steak nitecap & pulled out this.

Pours a burnt orange-to-red, about 2 inches of white head come up then go away quickly. Faint molasses type smell, plus a bit of apple in behind the hops. Taste follows the smell, albeit less sweet than would think (a good thing, IMO) at first. Goes down with a slight fizz, with which the flavor actually gets more detailed (some grape actually comes up later, and even a note that reminds me of whiskey) as it goes. Oh yeah, then there's the warming from the 9%...

It's fitting that it's named for a jazz legend, as "smooth, yet complex" describes it to a T. What I get from one bottle feels almost like I'm cheating somebody, definitely picking up more.

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

Brother Thelonious has a medium, beige, creamy head and a dark, murkey brown appearance, with essentially no lacing left on the glass. The aroma is of rich, strong, fruity malts (think dates and figs) and fruit cake. The flavor is the same, with an alcohol and brandy pick-up, raisin, sugar, and a slight hop bitterness. The mouthfeel is thick, but not too thick, and North Coast Brother Thelonious finishes heavy, wet, cloying, and smooth. Drinkability is limited. Overall, this is an outstanding beer!


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

Big ol 750 mL bottle. I can't find any kind of bottled date but I'm not too concerned.

In the chalice it's a mostly opaque brown with ruby and caramel highlights when held to the light. Nice head, about as thick as my thumb, and laced pretty well.

The nose has some cherry, bread (banana bread, actually) chocolate, and a bit of a spice to it, like nutmeg. I absolutely love it.

Chocolate first on the tongue, then banana bread, then some more chocolate with cherry hints. It's like a dessert but its not too heavy.

It's a good medium body, not too heavy; I'm actually quite refreshed by it.

This one may have helped sway my choice of favorite style. I'll have to move one into my beginner cellar.

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

pours a dark, murky ruby mahogany with a medium head. nose; banana bread, raisin, and caramel. taste; hard to pin down, but plenty - toasted malt, light bitter hop, toffee, plum, fig, brown sugar, belgian yeast, light banana, and a spicy, boozy nip on the end. medium carbonation and a slightly thin mouthfeel. not sure what's up with the middling disdain for this brew is here on beeradvocate, but i've had plenty of dubbels and abbeys straight from belgium that aren't this good. aside from the slightly light body, this is very much a great example of the style. the 9.4% abv is tucked in nicely, and the nose & taste profile roam nicely over the expected areas. i like it! kudos to north coast for such a great and diverse line-up.

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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.

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Photo of leffebrown84th
4.5/5  rDev +18.7%

Fruity. I tasted plums and fig and maybe other dark fruits. I thought I was drinking a quadrupel. Very good flavor. As for look and smell and color I couldnt care less. Its all about taste.

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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.

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Photo of mhatters
4.5/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on-tap at TDR Exton in a tulip 10z glass

Pours a deep oak brown, with beautiful amber highlights. A quickly dissipating inch of off-white head

Lots of dark fruit - plums, raisin, tropical notes. A sweet malt backing.

The flavor follows the nose perfectly. The fruit and malt play off one another very well.

A big beer - the alcohol is there, the beer is rich, sweet and deep. A few at a time, no more - but do not get me wrong - a fantastic beer

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Photo of HighDesertWalrus
4.5/5  rDev +18.7%

Pours dark brown developing a thin caramel colored head. The aroma is of malt and brown sugar. The flavor is malty, yeasty, a little sweet, but smooth. The alcohol is present but not forward. The finish is slightly dry.
Overall I found this to be a most enjoyable brew.

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

Brother Thelonious begins with the familiar champagne ritual - untwisting the wire bail, edging the cork out a millimeter at a time until it comes free with a pop. The head is voluminous and creamy, but quickly subsides into a narrow, persistent band. The scent and flavor are matched. There is a touch of an alcohol bite, but not much considering the ABV. Then, a flood of raisin and prune, sweet and malty. I am very much reminded of the Corsendonk Christmas Ale. Since I haven't been able to find that around here the past few years, Brother Thelonius is a welcome addition!

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Brother Thelonious from North Coast Brewing Co.
3.79 out of 5 based on 2,997 ratings.
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