Brother Thelonious | North Coast Brewing Co.

very good
1,053 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: 1,053 | Ratings: 3,003
Photo of Mindcrime1000
3.53/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A fine-looking strong-dark. Good carbonation provides plenty of head, while the brew is a classic opaque brown, though lacking the ruby or garnet colors of the best-lookers. Very sweet, fruity, and malty on the nose, with apple and brown sugar notes. Toasted malt-bomby and brown-sugary on the palate, followed by fruit notes. Not unpleasant, but the booze and malt are both pretty heavy-handed, with some heavy solvent notes. The mouthfeel is somewhat thin and lacking in carbonation. Overall, this isn't terrible, but there are better examples out there.

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Photo of TrojanRB
4.02/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a deep, rich brown. Two fingers of head that quickly settled

Malty nose...toast, clove, cinnamon

Pleasant taste, but not particularly "deep". Bread again, some molasses, prune and raisin

Medium body with a fair amount of sweetness.

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Photo of crisis1290
3.75/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I am always looking to try new Belgian styles and Brother Thelonious from North Coast Brewing was on my list. Dark brown off the pour. Super nice foam head to say the least. A great balance of hops and malt . Very much malt driven and fruity with some spices like clove. Medium body. Moderately carbonated. Overall, Brother Thelonious has a nice balance of different types of flavors. The alcohol is 9.4% and could sneak up on you !

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

If we are rating this according to style; I agree with some other reviewers here, this cant really stand up to or hang with the best of a lot of other dark belgian strong ales, but for what it's worth it's not a bad beer.

L: Pours a dark brown color thats almost ruby red around the edges with a three finger khaki head that retains for quite a while.

S: Dark fruits and yeast. Currants, red apples, raisins, yeasty notes of clove, bubblegum, banana and rye bread.

T: Very nice. Follows the nose. Dry and sweet. Quite hoppy and floral. I'm getting mild chocolate, classic belgian yeast and tons of dark red fruits like tamarind, sugarplums, red apples, and raisins. Caramel malt and mild vanilla. Hints of pumpernickel bread. Things get a little muddy at times, and what I mean by that is that the flavors don't really shine in their own right, they're almost competing against one another.

F: Silky smooth, mid heavy feel. Moderately carbonated. Boozy at times.

O: Not fantastic, but not bad at all. Would have rated this higher but I grade according to style and as previously mentioned, this is sort of lackluster for a dark belgian strong ale, although I certainly would never turn this down if offered or if nothing else is available.

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Photo of sokol_1993
3.75/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

An okay BSDA, some dark fruitiness but not much, and a little bit too much hoppiness. Cannot stand up to the great Belgian ones. Taste was not as deep.

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Photo of GuyFawkes
4.19/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Unknown vintage; drank 3/10/16 @ the Yarchives.

Poured from the bottle into a glass.

Purple/red appearance.

A rough pour yielded a nice khaki head; decent lace.

Banana, plum & mild clove nose.

Medium thick mouthfeel.

Pear flavor up front; apple cider notes on the finish. Plum, banana & mild booze heat emerged as this warmed. Flavorful & quite enjoyable.

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

35cl bottle. Dark caramel pour with a medium height tan head and visible carbonation. Notes of caramel, dried fruit, figs, red grapes, a bit of rosemary, prunes, subtle chocolate and a metallic bitterness. Medium body and carbonation and a bitter-sweet finish.

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Photo of Pundit_of_Potability
4.25/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A nice two finger head, the lacing was okay, but the FLAVOR was fantastic, with malty and caramel and chocolate tones...Some sweet fig undertones and a tart but fizzing finish (the carbonation on this one is spot on!)... The yeast strain on this one is much better than some other American based breweries making dubbles and quads and brings a wonderful fruitiness to the palate (--nothing to do with the yeast, but a hint of spice clove, pepper and not sure what, at the finish as well). Only thing I am not so sure about is the slightly bitter tart finish. The other thing that lingers is a "sameness" you get from a lot of indie breweries in the water. There is just something off.

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Photo of MacMalt
3.83/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle not dated. Poured into tulip glass. It pours a deep ruby-cola color with one finger of foamy, beige head and lacing with excellent retention. It smells strongly of fig with sweet malt, brown sugar, and a whiff of clove. The taste follows the nose but everything is rather subdued and there is a decidedly sour finish. I also don't taste the caramel that other reviewers mention. This Quad is medium-bodied, pleasantly carbonated and it packs a punch with its 9.4% ABV. Overall, found that the taste didn't measure up to the promise of the nose. There is no date on the bottle and the taste profile may have deteriorated. I'd like to try a bottle that I know to be fresh.

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Photo of mklmcgrew
3.79/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

25 oz. bomber poured into a pint glass

L: Pours a cloudy brown color, with a 2-finger off-white head which dissipated to a small ring and not much lacing.

S: Light nose with some caramel and malt.

T/F: Fruit forward, with that Belgian yeast in the middle and a little acidic at the end. Overall a nice balance of flavors. The alcohol is a bit hidden, which can sneak up on you at 9.4% ABV.

O: Nice belgian style ale. I would get this again.

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Photo of JColin
4.13/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12oz. bottled 4/23/13
Duvel Tulip

A - Dark brown with little carbonation

S - A great balance of hops and malt

T - Floral and piney with a kick

F - Mouthfeel is full and pleasant

O - Well balanced enjoyable sipper. Would buy again

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Photo of jmdrpi
3.95/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle, dated 6/09/16

pours a clear dark amber brown color, thick cream colored head. Aroma of dark fruit, caramel, and Belgian yeast. taste is well balanced with those flavors. mildly sweet. medium bodied.

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

Appearance: Deep brown. Mine had a foamy 3-inch head. I had to pour slow to keep it from spilling.

Smell: Caramel, brown sugar, and fig with some clove spice.

Taste: Malt-driven and fruity, a little acidic with a little bit of booziness though less than it's 9.4% ABV would suggest.

Mouthfeel: Medium to thin body, good carbonation. A little bit of booze bite at the finish.

Overall: This beer was pretty good but I can't say great. It had all the components of a great abbey ale just... muted. Hard to say if I'd buy again at this price point ($10 for 25.4 oz) but I'd grab more if it was on sale for $8 or I could get it in 4- or 6-packs in my area.

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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.

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Photo of HipCzech
3.92/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Serving: 12 fl oz bottle ("PKGD 06092016") poured into a Speigelau beer tulip.

Appearance: Clear mahogany brown with a brief head of khaki foam that leaves whispy streaks.

Smell: Dates, molasses, banana bread and warm spice (clove, cinnamon; as much curry as pie).

Taste: Malt-driven and fruity, warm and spicy. Balancing tart and bitter finish - mulled wine.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, sticky with lively carbonation. Subtle alcohol warmth.

Overall: Not as deep and complex as its Belgian peers, but still full flavored and tasty - always enjoy this one more than expected.

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Photo of anon
3.19/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Always up to try a new Belgian brew and the cool weather called for one. Looked at this for a while, decided to give it a go. Pours a deep Ruby hue, finger-width khaki colour head, fizzling down to a small pool of foam, nearly flat with not a trace of lace in the aftermath.

Smell is pretty dark fruit forward, sweet, with notes of caramel and malt. Taste is all dark fruit up front, heavy plum, fig, raisin, nectarine, peaches, red grape juice? Almost artificial flavours, brash sweetness takes over the malts and anything else in this brew. Quite unbalanced.

Surprisingly light bodied, booze isn't quite as strong to me as other reviews seem to pick up, but I really wanted to like this more. Oh well, always worth a shot. Cheers!

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Photo of fission523
3.46/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours dark amber with a thick tan head.

Nose is nutty, malty, and sweet.

Taste follows the nose and adds some sweet fruit. Flavors don't all quite come together.

Overall, enjoyable but forgettable.

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Photo of MartyMaltose
4.24/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

If I were rich and having 2-4 pint sessions regularly, this would be on the session about 30% of the time. I've got a 22oz that I'm sipping from a wine glass but honestly this belongs in a pint glass and should push other inferiors off the menu in any place that serves at least 50 beers. Now, I tried this beer about 2 years ago and I thought it sucked. It was like Hibernation Ale with vanilla syrup mixed in back then; barely finishable. Is it possible my tastes have changed that much, or was that just an extreme outlier season? Either way, in 2016 this is malty, sweet, aromatic, and beautiful. And it's pretty hot pint will do you.

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

On draft at local establishment.
Quite a light mouthfeel for such a strong dark ale.
Strong alcohol burn blended with a unique dark fruit sweetness.
I'd be willing to try it again.

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Photo of Parksworker
3.62/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 2 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

L: dark Amber, red look.

S: sweet, strong alcohol smell.

T: strong taste, simi sweet, can taste the alcohol.

F: very light in the mouth, soft, unique beer.

O: not my favorite, feeling a nice buzz, the taste is different, gotta get used to the taste, it's different, but you will feel a nice buzz from this beer!!

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Photo of Big_Neezy
3.78/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I'm new to the Belgian beer scene as I figured I would let the crowds die down first.

Poured right into a mason jar unlike some of you fancy lads. It pours like my old girlfriends hair with those caramel, tan-like colors with an easy two fingers of froth. I immediately took a sip--STOP RIGHT HERE. Let this beer find itself after you pour it--say 3-5 minutes. That first bitter taste evolves into the sweet malt that the makers wanted to you to experience. It's worth the wait for the dried fruit (fig/raisin or date) flavor.

It's hard to go by my review as I went into this blind. New to Belgians. I enjoyed it but just wasn't ready for it. Perhaps a nice evening, after dinner beer.

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Photo of ngusset
4.11/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured into Carolus chalice. Nice walnut color, impressive head for such a high percentage. Smells sweet, winey, tangy and floral, which gets exciting right before the scent vanishes. Very malty taste, with a nice sour bite, a bit buttery, roasted notes, alcohol present, like bourbon even. Has good body, a little buttery, with a thin ending somehow, and slightly funky aftertaste. Better than a corporate dubbel from Belgium.

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Photo of Squire123
4.41/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Lightly golden tinted brown, small tan cap and lace.

Aroma: Beautifully rich melange of dark bread smeared with dark fruit jam.

Taste: I get dark malt rather than roasted malt, again, bread like with raisins, dark plums, figs, dates, walnuts, and some pleasant yeast notes. Not really spicy, full without being heavy, rich without being cloying, little hop presence, clean finish with lingering aftertaste of luscious flavors.

Texture: Medium full.

Overall: If you like strong dark Belgian Abby styles I believe you will like this.

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Photo of KenMiller123
3.87/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

This was my first really dark Belgian Ale. I tried an Imperial Stout a few months back and I'm loving dark beers right now. This one was really good. I'm dying to try some Trappist beers right now (so damn expensive!).

L - Dark mahogany color. You can't really see through the glass.

S - Sweet, alcohol, brown sugar

T - It tastes hella good! It's like brown sugar, dark cherries, and whiskey mashed up in a glass. Very slight bitterness.

F - The mouth feel is thick, like heavy cream. There's always that last little bit that settles into a pool of three delicious little drops at the bottom of your glass. You're feeling tipsy from the 9% alcohol, so you tip your glass up and look cross-eyed at the last few drops as they slide down your glass. As they pass your lips and slide onto your tongue, you mutter to yourself - in your best Homer Simpson voice - "mmm... beer..."

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Photo of jrsqc7
3.97/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I dig this. Fruity and masculine like a candy coloured three pedal hot hatch. Smells like good brown pears and mulch. Not quite balanced but neither is front wheel drive glory. Fun and very reasonably priced.

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Brother Thelonious from North Coast Brewing Co.
3.79 out of 5 based on 3,003 ratings.
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