Brother Thelonious | North Coast Brewing Co.

BA SCORE
85
very good
3,021 Ratings
THE BROS
70
okay
Read the review
Brother TheloniousBrother Thelonious
BEER INFO

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

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

BEER STATS
Ratings:
3,021
Reviews:
1,057
Avg:
3.79
pDev:
13.19%
 
 
Wants:
90
Gots:
633
For Trade:
8
View: Beers | Events
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 3,021 |  Reviews: 1,057
Photo of SocalKicks
3.5/5  rDev -7.7%

Photo of emerge077
3.63/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Thanks to Mary for this one!
Dark reddish brown, tan foam, long lasting billowing head.
Aromas of dried fruit, nutty malt, Belgian yeast.
Taste is largely the same, dominant yeast with dried fruit esters, nutty malty middle, yeasty aftertaste.
Medium to full bodied, sticky on the lips but not overly sweet.
Overall a good BSDA for the price, though there are better ones out there.

 384 characters

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.9/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of Bu11zeye: Poured a deep mahogany color ale with a medium size dirty brown head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of sweet malt with a small touch of dry fruits is quite interesting. Taste of sweet malt is offset by some light dry fruits. Body is quite full with some adequate carbonation and no alcohol was noticeable. I thought it lack some complexities for the style but still very enjoyable nonetheless.

 434 characters

Photo of WillieThreebiers
3.75/5  rDev -1.1%

Photo of zeff80
3.97/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a semi-opaque, deep mahogany color with a small, tan head. It ledt a soapy lace/residue.

S - It smelled sweet and of fruits (pear and apple). Some spicy notes, too.

T - This is a very complex dubbel. Lots of fruit flavors, sweet caramel malt, spices, and a subtle hop bitterness.

M - It was soft and smooth. A medium to heavy-bodied beer.

D - This is an excellent North Coast beer. It belongs up there with Old Rasputin and Praqster.

 452 characters

Photo of dmorgan310
4/5  rDev +5.5%

Photo of LXIXME
3.99/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Small light brown head settles into a nice lacing above a clear reddish amber colored beer.

Dark fruits like apricots, light spices, roasted molasses?, and hints of alcohol, dark malts, and black licorice are present in the aroma of this abbey ale.

Dark fruits and an alcohol taste outweigh any other tastes that might be hiding in this beer.

A slightly wet aftertaste with some of the alcohol taste hanging on. This medium bodied beer is fairly well carbonated.

An amazing nose on this beer, I wish the alcohol content was less so some of the wonderful things going on in the aroma could have been tasted as well.

 618 characters

Photo of largadeer
2.86/5  rDev -24.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

750ml bottle. It's a dark but beautifully clear crimson red. The head is off-white, fairly lasting. It smells like fried bananas, raisins, bubblegum and licorice candy.

Flavors are similar, banana especially, sweet and overripe. There's a bit of cocoa that only enhances the sweetness, along with raisin, date, iron - the dried, concentrated fruit flavors are intense. It's not a terribly rich beer, but it is overly sweet, and the yeast strain fails to impress.

I've had this beer several times over the years, and it's never made a strong impression on me. Merely an OK example of the style.

 595 characters

Photo of zestar
3.75/5  rDev -1.1%

Photo of superspak
4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle into tulip glass, bottled on 1/22/2015. Pours clear dark reddish brown color with 2 finger dense khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Nice spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass. Aromas of big raisin, prune, fig, cherry, date, banana, pepper, clove, caramel, toffee, brown sugar, molasses, toasted dark bread, light nuttiness, and yeast/toasted earthiness. Damn nice aromas with great complexity and balance of fruity/spicy yeast and dark/bready malt notes; with great strength. Taste of big raisin, prune, fig, cherry, date, banana, pepper, clove, caramel, toffee, brown sugar, molasses, toasted dark bread, light nuttiness, and yeast/toasted earthiness. Fair amount of yeast spiciness and light tartness on the finish; with lingering notes of raisin, prune, fig, cherry, date, banana, pepper, clove, caramel, toffee, brown sugar, molasses, toasted dark bread, light nuttiness, and yeast/toasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Damn nice complexity, robustness, and balance of fruity/spicy yeast and dark/bready malt flavors; with a great malt/yeast balance and zero cloying sweetness after the finish. Light-moderate dryness from yeast spice as well. Medium carbonation and medium-full body; with a very smooth, moderately creamy/bready, and lightly slick/sticky mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a light warmth lingering after the finish. Overall this is a damn nice Belgian strong dark ale. All around great complexity, robustness, and balance of fruity/spicy yeast and dark/bready malt flavors; and very smooth and easy to sip on for the big ABV. A very enjoyable offering.

 1,670 characters

Photo of mothman
4.07/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into one of my goblets.
Pours ½ finger of creamy tan head. Decent head retention around the outside of the glass, but hardly any lace left. Color is a dark hazed murky brown.

Aroma: I didn't check the style on this, but I am pretty sure this is a quad, based on the smell. Big dark fruit aroma, raisins, cherries, bready malts, sugar, hints of vanilla. Wow, the aroma is very pleasing.

Taste: A very sweet and almost tart beer. Sour cherries, raisins and other dark dried fruits, vanilla, bready malts, apples, and a little alcohol. This has got to be a quad.

Mouthfeel: rich, smooth, and a little boozy. Full bodied with a medium level of carbonation. Ends with a dry fruit flavored aftertaste. A little too hot for me.

Overall, not a bad beer. I had no idea what I was getting into when I opened, but I did like it. This will be a one and one for me, as it very filling and has a decently high abv. I'd recommend the 12 oz bottle for a single person.

EDIT: Now I see the style is a dubbel, but I am really not seeing how this beer can be a double. I have had a few quads and dubbels and this tastes way more like a quad than a dubbel.

 1,153 characters

Photo of Boone757
3.75/5  rDev -1.1%

Photo of olradetbalder
3.25/5  rDev -14.2%

Photo of Thorpe429
4.05/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Rustico in Alexandria, VA.

Pours a deep brown with a little bit of a head, which sticks for some nice lacing. Smell is mostly dark fruit--cherries and dates--with some caramel and malt sweetness. Taste is mostly dark fruit, residual sweetness, and some Belgian yeast. Very nice mouthfeel with good carbonation. Drinkability is very nice and smooth.

 359 characters

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 NeroFiddled
3.62/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Hazy Burgundy accented dark mahogany. Antique white head dissipates shortly (bar glassware perhaps...). Glowing ruby highlights and a rim of gold.

The nose expresses deep caramel with fruit pulp (plum) and a vinous accent. Background spice.

Effervescent. Foams in the mouth.

Flavor: malty, bready, sweet, vinous, fruity, dark skinned fruit, sugary candy... the alcohol is obvious and lends some spice. Otherwise clean. Not particularly phenolic, but present (mild suggestion of bubblegum/banana).

Finishes dry and bitter with a wash of alcohol.

A bit hot, a bit sweet. ....out of round.

 602 characters

Photo of jlindros
4.02/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Tap at Armsby Abbey, 2009 vintage.

Creamy 1 finger head fades slowly over dark mahogany brown beer.

Nose brings plenty of dark malts, light sweet syrupy, bit of dark fruit, aged malt aromas, light caramel and toffee.

Taste starts with a nice aged malt flavor, lots of med to dark malts, light caramel and molasses, bit fluffy, some dark fruits raisin and plum, bit of Belgian fruity yeast and malts, touch of booze. Finishes bit drier but little sticky with lingering dark fruits and touch off booze and but of aged malts.

Mouth is soft med bodied with decent carb.

Drink is decent, some booze, drier but little sticky finish.

 631 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 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 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 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 nathanmiller
4.5/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of mendvicdog
4/5  rDev +5.5%

Photo of Ciocanelu
3.75/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of dcmchew
3.9/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Brother Thelonious from North Coast Brewing Co.
3.79 out of 5 based on 3,021 ratings.
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

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