Brother Thelonious | North Coast Brewing Co.

very good
1,050 Reviews
Read the review
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

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 1,050 | Ratings: 2,997
Photo of chinchill
3.53/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle.

Pours a clear, dark and reddish, with a smallish but durable tan head. It has a very fruity and somewhat yeasty aroma that would let it pass as a true Belgian beer. There is plenty of fruit in the flavor as well, and this trait extends into the finish and aftertaste. Both dark fruits (dates, raisins) and a slight bit of banana make an appearance. The taste seems less than perfectly balanced, with too much sweetness up front despite a bit of sour and bitter in the finish. The alcohol is fairly well hidden if cold enough, but becomes more and more evident with warming, especially in the nose. The aroma and, more so, the flavor, reflects some spicing; although these have been added in pretty good moderation, the beer is still a tad spicier than I prefer.

M: medium+ body; some smooth feel, yet with a bit of a tongue bite ... partly from the high ABV, no doubt.

O: A respectable U.S. version of the style, but far short of the best Belgians. More similar to a barleywine than your typical Belgian strong dark ale.

 1,040 characters

Photo of Kegatron
3.95/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

500 ml corked & caged bottle into a tulip glass.

Pours a beautiful looking DEEP clear ruby, with a finger of foamy light tan colored head. This retains with a frothy looking 1/3 of a finger, leaving back a robust cascade of lace that quickly slides down the sides of the glass yet still hang in some thick swathes. The aroma smells of a sweet mélange of dark fruit, chocolate, and toffee, which is in turn followed by notes of spice, heat, and some light roast that helps cut some of the sugars here a bit.

The taste is similar, being rich with dark cherries, brown sugar, a splash of caramel flavor, and then some light roasted cocoa notes across the back. A dry and spicy finish really hangs some sharpness on the tongue. I’m really enjoying the combo of cocoa and brown sugar in this. The mouthfeel is fuller bodied, with a lively creamy feel that fills the mouth. It’s not too sharp but does toe the line some. There is some light warmth in each sip but be careful with that 9%+ ABV here. It’s catches up to you quickly!

It had been a while since I’ve had this and I must say that I really enjoyed it much more this time around. There’s lots of rich sweetness and fruit flavor to this, yet it possesses just enough assertiveness from the yeast and malt as well to help keep things balanced on the platate. My only complaint here is the overall heft of this, as it just got to be a bit taxing to finish this bottle by myself. I could have easily split this 16.9 oz bottle with another. Anyway,this is a good one to help take the winter chill of with!

 1,570 characters

Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.87/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a coppery brown color, with a short off-white head that fades quickly and leaves a decent lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of apples, caramel, brown sugar, some chocolate, Belgian yeast and some hops.

T: The taste is sweet up front with flavors of brown sugar, caramel and a little chocolate that are quickly followed a mild flavor of tart fruit. There's a nice Belgian yeast backbone and a heart malt character. The hops presence is mild but complementary. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, strong kick, good representation of style, this might not be the best Belgian-style beer I've had but it's a solid beer overall that is worth drinking for a while.

 861 characters

Photo of mactrail
2.19/5  rDev -42.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

This is a surprise. I remember this as being rich and a little sweet, but this batch seems to be rather thin and definitely on the acidic side. Looks well enough, more red than coppery in the Duvel tulip. Nice head but coarse bubbles. The nose is a little vinegary.

Sharp and hints of some kind of bacteria like a Grand Cru, only much drier. Where did all the sugar go? Tart, rather bitter, quite earthy. Body is thin. Flavor makes me think of shellac. Aftertaste is very bitter and dirty.

From the 12 oz bottle from the cooler at Olive Tree in OB. I'll give this a taste if I see it on tap, but I'm leery of the bottles now. It was quite tasty in the big bottles but it has been three or four years since I've tried it.

 722 characters

Photo of dbrauneis
3.78/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

A: Pours a clear, almost opaque deep mahogany in color with light to moderate amounts of active visible carbonation rising from the bottom of the glass and moderate garnet red highlights. The beer has a half finger tall fizzy foamy beige head that quickly reduces to a medium sized patch of extremely thin film and a thin ring at the edges of the glass. Light amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate to strong aromas of dark fruits (cherries and plum) and caramel. Moderate aromas of Belgian yeast with a freshly cracked black pepper notes and hints of banana + bubblegum.

T: Upfront there is a moderate flavor of caramel + dark malts with a slightly heavier than moderate amount of sweetness with distinctive flavors from dark candi sugar. That is followed by strong flavors of dark fruits - initially cherries followed by plum, fig, and raisin. There is a moderate flavor of Belgian yeast with light notes of freshly cracked black pepper and banana. The finish is light to moderate lingering sweetness but not cloying.

M: Light to medium bodied with moderate to heavy amounts of carbonation. Smooth.

O: Interesting and a bit thin in the mouthfeel for the BSDA but the alcohol is well hidden and it is fairly easy to drink. Enjoyable with nice complexity to the aroma and flavor.

 1,288 characters

Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.08/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

(On-tap at the Brick Store Pub).

Appearance: What a beaut! Crimson red hue capped with a rather sturdy tan-colored head.

Smell: Suitably rich, yeasty aroma consisting of bananas, cherries, and spice layered with a pleasing malt presence.

Taste: Hefty malt sweetness upfront with notes of chocolate, brown sugar, almonds, and more cherries (providing just a tinge of tartness). Ends with just a soft touch of pepper in the otherwise sweet, lingering finish. Never really delivers any substantial hop bitterness or flavors.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied, and surpassingly soft on the palate.

Drinkability: Are you up for a decent American attempt at a Belgium style? This can be that beer. It will be that beer.

 719 characters

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.12/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

"If your middle name is Sphere, you're much more likely to become a jazz pianist than...say... an accountant or a dentist."


Darkest honey with a generous infusion of cranberry and orange. I love the color of the beer, and I don't mind the golden ecru color of the cap, but the texture of the foam leaves quite a lot to be desired. It's harsh and unsticky, nothing like the majestic, creamy, rocky caps on Belgian beer. As far as lace, two words come to mind: diddly squat. The score will be a combination of the good and the bad.

The brewery calls Brother Thelonious a Belgian 'Dark Strong Ale', which should correspond to a BSDA on this site. No matter, I've always had trouble telling Belgian dubbels and BSDAs apart. The nose is a wonderful melange of semi-dark fruit (figs and dates), along with dark caramel, spicy clove and an appealing phenolic character that doesn't go overboard. Looks like this one might have the chops to hang with some of the big boys.

This is good stuff that only lacks the dizzingly complexity of the world's best versions. The flavor profile follows the nose, more or less: pureed dates, a hint of raisin paste, a dram of Islay Scotch, sweetened tobacco, a twist of orange peel and a sprinkling of ground clove. The beer is broad rather than deep, but I'm not about to hold that against it because I'm enjoying it so much.

I like the amount of dark candi sugar that has been used because Bro Thel is sweet without being cloyingly sweet. The minor amount of mouthcoating is just right in one sense, but a little more clinginess might result in more flavor linger and a deeper appreciation of what this big brew has to offer. The alcohol has been masked to perfection.

The thing that keeps this offering from the big leagues is the mouthfeel. The body is fine and dandy. The feel of the carbonation is not. Like the head, the mouthfeel is too harsh. A large part of what makes Belgian beer so good is a perfect amount of creamy expansiveness. North Coast would do well to send someone across the pond to learn from the masters before they create their next batch of Belgian-style ale.

I like what Brother Thelonious has to offer. At the risk of beating a dead horse, it does most everything right... except carbonation. Otherwise, it's a jazzy little number that is making my taste buds dance with joy. I consider the $7.59 money well spent and will gladly buy a few more bottles the next time I have the opportunity.

 2,470 characters

Photo of russpowell
3.88/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours deep ruby red/chestnut with a 3 fingers+ tan head into my Vondel glass. Near zero head retention & lacing

S: Chocolate& fruittyness, then alcohol as it warms

T: Chocolate & fruittyness (plums & cherries) up front along some biscuitty notes. Raisin hints follow along with cherry notes & dryness. Warming alcohol slowly creeps in along with vanilla & caramel. Finishes dry, fruitty & warming with hints of chocolate

MF: Chewy with low carbonation

Drinks alright for the abv, says it's an abbey-style ale. This works for me a slightly amped up dubbel

 566 characters

Photo of mikesgroove
4.33/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Huge tan colored head reached skyward to a eight that easily surpassed the top of the glass. Good thing this pour was into a 24oz glass. Nice, opaque brown color was evident from the start with a rich looking hazelnut tone to it. The head finally calmed down after about twenty minutes but still dropped tons of foam and lace along the glass.

The aroma was very nice, a little bit ruddy at first. Hints of chcoalte and caramel, rich belgian spice and a wonderful bit of dark fruit all dancing around wonderfully inside of it. But it was once I took a sip that everything really came together for me. A wave of cascading brown sugar and tart apples just rolled across the tongue. Enormously rich and vigorous, this was just a wonderful thing to behold. Nice touches of chocolate and rich toffee like notes were all balanced well in advance of a lovely dark fruit tone that led the charge once the yeast kicked in. Nice notes of prunes and rasins, hints of plums and dark cherries were all very much evident in the profile. The carbonation was spot on, as the rich, velvet like bubbles converged on the tongue and added to the prickly pepper like spices that lasted long into the finish. Smooth as silk with almost all the alcohol very well hidden, this was certainly a gem.

 1,273 characters

Photo of smcolw
3.88/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

More red than amber with a slight cloudiness to the brew; impressive continual carbonation that keeps the head solid and slightly rocky. Extensive lace on the glass.

Creamy and sweet malt sugar aroma.

Slight metalic flavor that detracts from an otherwise quality brew. Smooth, creamy body helps. The other flavors include the traditional sweet malty flavor with the Belgian yeast remnants that make the brew distinctive. The aftertaste has a mild sourness to it.

Other than the slight aluminum flavor, this would be a winner. Similar to the traditional Abbeys but just misses.

 579 characters

Photo of TMoney2591
3.43/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served in a snifter at ChurchKey.

Another one of those constantly passed beers that I've always wanted to try. Finally! It pours a deep dark brown (borderline hazy), with a finger-and-a-half of ecru micro-foam on top, which quickly fades into nothingness. The nose comprises soap, bubblegum, raisins, banana, and pepper. The taste runs along somewhat similar, though darker, lines: notes of figs, raisins, cinnamon, sharp bitterness, cracked pepper, and light vinegar pervade the tongue. Something seems off...I can't put my finger on it, but the combination just leaves a bad taste in my mouth (literally). Well, not bad, but definitely not good either. The body is a surprising light medium, with light carbonation and a very fluid feel. Overall, I've gotta say that I'm pretty disappointed in this brew. I've had many that are worse, but this one was hyped-up a decent amount, and it just couldn't live up. If it weren't for that off-taste...

 946 characters

Photo of WVbeergeek
2.56/5  rDev -32.5%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

I was under impressed by the bottled version so I decided to give it another go on draft at Mad Mex Robinson during happy hora I figured $2.50 it can't hurt me this time unlike buying the 750ml portion. Appears with no head whatsoever light cream collar of lace is left with each sip though dark ruby brown body. Aroma has light chocolate, raisin, and apple tones with alcohol evident with other over ripened fruits. Taste has a slightly spicy character with a touch of herbal hops, let me say though the flavor is so weak overall diminished by all standards trace of fruit and alcohol very watery presence espeically on draft in bottle I didn't like the way the flavors melded on tap I don't think it's flavorful enough. Mouthfeel is light to medium bodied texture is way too light give me something I can bite into like Thelonious's music. Drinkability...I'm not going to bother again support his foundation I guess but this beer doesn't represent the artist or the music very well. Not too many clunkers from North Coast but this one's weak.

 1,044 characters

Photo of johnnnniee
3.92/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy dark amber with a minimal head that dissipates quickly. Aroma is dark fruits, some Belgian inspired spice and a bit of sweetness. Smells like its going to be a sweet beer. Tastes of sweet dried fruits, a bit of pepper, and a touch of alcohol especially as it warms. Full body, sweet sticky mouthfeel, and a bunch of carbonation. Could use some more yeast character imho. Decent brew, not the best dubbel I've ever had, but nice to drink just the same.

 466 characters

Photo of RblWthACoz
4.33/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I don't know what it is about this beer, but every time I try to review it, I forget myself and end up neglecting to do the work. I suppose that's a sign of how good this beer is. Also, I've had different aged versions of this, so have had different flavor experiences with it. All have been good, of course. But I just want to make the effort to mention it so that it's known that it's a nice beer to age for a while. Overall, this is as close as you're going to get to a true Belgian style ale. Always reliable; always a pleasure to drink.

 541 characters

Photo of tdm168
4.15/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - amber-brown with a big, thick, brown head that has great retention

S - caramel, apples, dark fruit, faint spices

T - caramel, apples, spicy, fruity, faint alcohol

M - warm, smooth, well carbonated, medium to full bodied

This is a delicious offering. It's comes across like an amped up Dubbel. It's complex and flavorful. It's balanced, smooth, and drinkable. I will definitely have this again.

 401 characters

Photo of smakawhat
2.88/5  rDev -24%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured from the bottle straight down the middle into a chalice.

A simple one and a half finger head which is kind of foamy, with pin sized bubbles, sits on a very dark clear amber body. Head doesn't manage to last as long as expected but goes down slowly.

There is almost a faint fruit bouquet on the nose, possibly dark prunes/dates, but the smell is then quickly overtaken by salt. It smells like table salt and doesn't let anything else come out to notice.

Taste is at first somewhat malty but very wet. Body is very much lacking in this beer. I figured the high abv would make the malt more noticeable giving me that sugaryness and fruit but it strangely doesn't even have that punch. This feels and tastes very LOW in abv which I guess is a good thing in one way, but there isn't a lot of flavor I associate with this style going on here in this drink. No bold fruit, sugars, malt nothing really...

I am going to have to give this a complete pass. This beer is just flat our boring.

 992 characters

Photo of jwc215
3.37/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours medium brown with a thin head that soon becomes pond-scummy. Some, but not much, trailing lace slides down the glass.

The smell is of sweet dark malt and prunes with a light peppery spice.

The taste is of sweet malt - caramelish with biscuity/bready yeast as it warms. Sugar candy dominates the dark prune-like fruitiness. Peppery spiciness is in a warming finish.

The body is light-to-medium. Pretty smooth for an aggressive abv.

Too sweet without much else, for me. Worth splitting with a friend, and for a good cause. A decent stab at the style, but put it next to an authentic Belgian dubbel...and, well...

 620 characters

Photo of Billolick
3.92/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Large bottle, caged and corked, picked up @ American Bev in BKLYN, NY, I didnt see any freshness indication. Helps support Jazz Music by brewery making a donation for every case purchased. Pours medium brown, cloudy minor tan head, with so so retention, and just a wisp of lacing left. Nose here is milk chocolate and some raisins. Notes of bananas, chocolate, sweet bready malts. A bit on the sweet side, might benefit from some time in the bottle, still tasty and enjoyable, I'm a bit suprised by the low marks for this one, as somebody else noted, this one will benefit from some time to warm up. I'd like to try it with a chocolate dssert.

 643 characters

Photo of feloniousmonk
4.27/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

For this evenings liturgy, the sacred text we turn to is from Brother Ellington: It Don't Mean A Thing, If It Ain't Got That Swing. Brother Monk swings it in his angular, avuncular way on the 88's, getting us in the groove in his inimitable fashion, we're deep in the pocket, the rhythm's rockin', we're reeling with the feeling...

A clear, dusky crimson shade, this, with a slim, cola-toned head...not as impressive as I like a dubbel, but fair, s'okay, s'alright...
("Sophisticated Lady" is next, and I'm set in a proper frame...)

Nose starts with sweet things, dark fruits, mingling with spices, plums and cinnamon, apples and pepper, the dark keys get hit, while the sweet notes linger...
my poor heart is sentimental, not made of wood, ...I got it bad and that ain't good...a sombre timbre is struck, then a thrilling trill is played, a chord set deep in the heart, let loose by a freewheeling arc of high-flung notes...
cola meets coffee, ...Monday, Monday rolls around...
and I end up where I start out, just crying my heart out...Oscar strums, and Kenny kicks it...

We lift glass to lip, ale meets tongue, tastes thrills the buds, it's a sweet, spicy thing. A cola-tinged pepper is the first thought to mind, cocoa and coffee, black and tan finds a fantasy in the senses...deep and dark, pretty and twisted, fine and fancy, sweet and lovely...very evenly played, but you never know what's next...a cadence keeps up, a groove maintains, richness reigns, swing is always king,...big fat chocolate keeps time... ain't been blue,
rolls and rolls around the mouth, a sweet thing, and full of character, plenty of hops to tingle the buds...finish on a beautiful run on the keys, and then start the next one swinging...I let a song go out of my heart, it was the sweetest melody...

another touch of the ale on the lips and the coffee/cola thrill continues...'s not too late, to make amends/ we were meant to be, more than just friends/just friends...

sweet, but expertly balanced by the darker tones, and the hops, well played on all parts of the keyboard, darkness and light get a little shine...

is it Fats Waller, Art Tatum, or Albert Ammons at work here? Or Willie the Lion Smith?...naw, it's another cat purring the keys...and now, Kenny's hitting the trap hard, syncopating like a clockwork kitten...

another drink and I'm liking more, as the spice and the rich, dark fruit rides over the cola-ish feel.
We're on a caravan, searching and wandering, looking for further flavors than the norm, stretching out against the desert of what we're used to...prunes bump against cinnamon, nicely rounded off, an equally met challenge of malt and hop.

Night, night, night, and the stars are shining bright...while the darkness drums away...

Kenny switches kits with Art who swings like a pendulum, and rocks like to be, bringing me, memories of you, as all the clouds roll away...

I like the quote from Monks' son, who goes by T.S., "finally, after all the years of getting a cut from the door, musicians will get a cut of the bar!" A refererence to the the proceeds that will swing their way to the Thelonious Monk Institute for Jazz, which will receive the profits from this particular ale...I wish it were more than $2 a case, though, but as long as folks keep hearing about the man and the music, I'm cool on it.

It's a full-bodied, thing, with a long cola-tinged finish, plenty of sweetness, tempered with spice, rich and chocolate-y. But I forgive some technical flaws by how it swings on the palate and pleases the senses...and it don't mean a thing, if it ain't got that swing...

This review was done to the tune of the classic recording, "Thelonious Monk Plays Duke Ellington", recorded in July, 1955, with Thelonious Monk, piano, Oscar Pettiford, bass, Kenny Clark, drums. Some parts to the almost equally brilliant recording "The Unique Thelonious Monk" which features those same players in March/ April of 1956, but with Art Blakey on drums. To your own peril you go, without hearing these classic recordings. (I even reviewed it on iTunes, check that out!)(Plays Ellington, not The Unique)
and do I need to comment on that label;? Too cool! Brother Monk holding court!

 4,281 characters

Photo of GarthDanielson
2.51/5  rDev -33.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass, the beer is a very cloudy, almost murky, reddish-brown coloring. Very translucent around the edges. It had a slight film of head on pour, but was gone by the time I sat down with the glass. The beer has a sweet, toasty smell to it, with bits of toffee and earth. The beer is carbonated and sharp on the front of the tongue, paving the way for a darkly sweet mid-bodied rush over the tongue. Sour notes at the back of the tongue, with caramel, raisin, and apple flavors. The beer feels awkward in mouth, and the flavors don't seem to blend well. The finish is sharp and quick, and the aftertaste is a sour earthy taste that leaves some sense of a film in your mouth. Not one that I would reach for seconds, and I'm glad I only picked up a loose bottle.

 791 characters

Photo of GClarkage
3.53/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

06/02/06- Purchased at High-Times Wine Cellar in Costa Mesa, CA.

Presentation- 750ml bottle, bottled in 2006. Poured into my St. Bernardus goblet.

Appearance- Kind of a brandy colored pour. Maybe ruby, but not quite as red. 1/2 inch foamy head which quickly evaporates into nothing. Absolutely no lacing at all. Not a very quality appearance.

Smell- Fortunately it smells much better than it looks. Nice fusel alcohol scent. Dark fruits soaked in alcohol galore, especially as it warms. Prunes, plums, raisins and dates. Smell is pretty impressive.

Taste- This one needs to really warm up. At mid 50's is fairly tasteless, but as it warms up it gets significantly better. Both a sweet and sour flavor at the same time. A decent coffee flavor comes in first, and as it warms a fudgey, grape flavor comes in. Prunes and plums with the nice wine flavor really attack the taste buds when at room temp. Almost a hard liquor like flavor towards the end, especially if you have been sucking down the bottle over two hours.

Mouthfeel- At first overly carbonated, but after resting it becomes much more soothing on the mouthfeel.

Drinkability- After having a Salvation last night I found this one to be another above average example of an american strong dark. Be sure to let it come to room temp first to get the full enjoyment of it. Worth trying. Pretty good job from North Coast.

 1,393 characters

Photo of Tone
3.89/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear, dark amber. 1/4 inch head of an off-white color. Slight retention and poor lacing. Smells of alcohol, sweet malt, slight dark citrus, and slight yeast. Fits the style of a Dubbel. Mouth feel is smooth and clean with an average carbonation level. Tastes of alcohol, sweet malt, yeast, hint of roasted malt, and slight dark citrus. Overall, poor appearance, but otherwise a good Dubbel.

 399 characters

Photo of drabmuh
3.94/5  rDev +4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Brother Thelonious. Apparently a purchase of this beer benefits a Jazz organization out in California, good to know. This was a standard fair, American made Belgian style ale. It was darker than I expected but it turned out to be about a strong brown ale. The mouthfeel was sweet and full. Dark brown, almost no head or carbonation but you wouldn't especially expect a beer like this to have either of those. Nearly 9% ABV and this was a big bottle, it packed a wallop. It wasn't the easiest beer to drink. The sweetness of the malt and the sweetness of the high alcohol were not as balanced as I would have liked. There is definetly a market for this beer though, it just may not be me. I have seen this beer (and maybe you have too) and have been curious for a while. I am glad I drank one and it is a good beer for me to start out my new journey on. If you like brown ales or porters and are looking for a serious one, or if you are into Belgian style ales (especially dark ales), you should check this out.

 1,010 characters

Photo of stevoj
4.34/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Hits the mark perfectly. A true Belgian from a US brewery. Wonderfully sharp and bitter with a nice sour smell. Creamy hea dlingers on the surface with lots of sticky lacing.... A pleasant surprise.

 198 characters

Photo of LiquidAmber
3.92/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Review from 5/2010 notes. Poured into a Gulden Draak tulip. Pours a dark orange brown with a thin light tan head that dissipates quickly, leaving light lacing. Aroma of dark fruit and light caramel malt. Light to medium body. Lightly sour and malty up front with light and dark fruits, boozy. Malty middle. Tart and sweet malt finish. Medium bodied. A different approach to a dubbel. Slightly sour for me, but an overall pleasant experience. Nice warm buzz too.

 461 characters

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

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.