Brother Thelonious | North Coast Brewing Co.

very good
3,020 Ratings
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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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Ratings: 3,020 |  Reviews: 1,057
Photo of match1112
3.65/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

a:pours a dark caramel color with dark red highlights and little head that doesnt stick around long.

s: malts and dark fruits.

t: more malts dark fruit and caramel.

m: filling with a creamy malty feel.

o: worth the try, wouldnt turn down a free one but probably wont buy again anytime soon.

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Photo of jbphoto88
2.74/5  rDev -27.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a giant bottle, corked and caged. The brother flows quite nicely with a thick yellow khaki head and a clear dark red. The beer is a rich deep color and is quite the looker but the head settles very fast and stunts the overall look.

The nose is slightly deceptive and not great for the style. It has a fruity cherry scent and a pineapple IPA-ish bouquet. There isn't much of a malt base and it mostly smells too sweet. Kind of disappointing.

The taste rebounds with hints of the elusive grain but still has a dominate tart fruit flavor. Think a light booze soaked cherry with a musty yeast flavor. The flavor isn't really offensive but it's dull, boring and redundant.

The mouthfeel is by far the best part with a fine champaign like carbonation and a great dry finish. However the mouthfeel being great doesn't make up for a lackluster taste. This beer is a solid pass if you ever see it. A shame because I love the rest of north coast's lineup that I've tried.

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Photo of scottfrie
4.2/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap in Lodi. This would have been served in a frozen pint glass but I asked the bartender if I could have two half-full pours in one of their snifters, and he obliged.

A: Served a very dark mahogany red with a thin light tan head that faded into a thin collar leaving a few wisps of lacing down the glass.
S: Very fruity with notes of dark cherries, raisins and other dark fruits, and a bit of caramel.
T: Follows the nose with syrupy flavors of dark fruits, cherry juice, sweet caramel, toffee, rum soaked raisin bread, a hint of cinnamon and cocoa, and maybe a touch of nutmeg. I get a faint hint of tobacco in the finish.
M: Medium-thick body, soft carbonation with a bit of warming alcohol in the finish that’s really pleasant and works well with the rich flavors of this beer.
O: Maybe not a benchmark of the style but this beer is a real pleasure to drink, and I’ve enjoyed it every time I’ve had it.

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Photo of MEsoJD
2.65/5  rDev -30.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

A: Dark brown with a slight red tint. Head dissipated fast.

S: Dark fruits and sweet malt.

T: Noticeably sweet and clear alcohol presence. Aftertaste is peculiar, tart, and not satisfying.

M: Medium body and carbonation. fizzy....

O: Very disappointed with this one. I can't find anything satisfying with this beer. It's too sweet, tart, and intruding carbonation. I will defiantly wouldn't recommend and won't be buying another bottle. Rather go for a chimay [blue].

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Photo of Nerudamann
3.5/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a snifter glass.

Look - a deep brown color with about half a finger's worth of medium tan-colored foam that dissipates somewhat quickly.

Smell - sweet, a bit biscuity maybe, and malty with a hint of a spice maybe.

Taste and Mouthfeel - indeed malty, but also definitely with a warming mouthfeel and spiciness. Finishes with a slight musky feeling toward the back of the throat. Texture is pretty well balanced, although maybe a very slight bit more toward the watery side.

Overall - pretty decent brew, and fairly interesting in taste. Not the most interesting that I've tasted or that you'll find, but still captivating enough.

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Photo of DaftCaskBC
3.83/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the Alibi Room in Vancouver.

A: 1/4" mocha head that left a nice lacing over inviting cola coloured liquid.

S: Sweet, malts, yeast, and fruit.

T: Boozy with a malty and fruit finish.

M: Thick viscosity with a medium level of fine carbonation

O: Not as drinkable as it could be as it doesn't hide the alcohol very well.

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Photo of capeannbass36
2.42/5  rDev -36.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Cork was a pain to open...then just a pop.

A- Pours a dark ruby mahogony with a one finger tan head that fades quickly....although the lacing hangs around for awhile.

S- Sweet malt, almost too sweet.

T- Oh my god....this is too sicky sweet. Feel like a little kid rejecting some nasty childhood medicine. Horrid. Forced two more sips down, for a total of 3. Dumped this one.

M- Somewhat slick and oily.

O- Perhaps this was a bad bottle?? I tried tweaking my review...can't....I am shocked at how bad this was.

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Photo of CrazyDavros
3.69/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours dark copper with a large, fading head.
Nose shows rich sweet malt by the truckload: caramel, golden syrup, milk chocolate, raisins and prunes are all quite noticeable. The hops are also rather potent (for the style) with resinous pine and soft tropical fruit apparent. Nice stuff.
In the way of flavours similar malty characters are first up, with lots of brown sugar and dried fruit at the forefront. However, soon after this is trampled by piney hops and strong, hot alcohol. Quite a dissapointing finish.
Carbonation could be higher, body thicker.

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Photo of justintcoons
3.87/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: Pours a cloudy dark brown that's almost opaque. Some light passes through creating copper highlights. Thin head that dissipates quickly with somewhat poor lacing.

N: Concord grapes, dark Belgian candy sugar, plum, cherry candy and caramel.

T: Ripe plum, fig, hints of Concord grapes and medicinal cherry. This is followed by some nice Belgian funk, bready malts, toffee, dark Belgian candy sugar and clove. Finishes with a sort of black licorice/cocoa kind of taste along with the clove.

M: Medium bodied, creamy, spritzy and burns the tongue a bit with carbonation.

O: This is a pretty good Belgian Dark Strong Ale. It's complex but the more I drink the more the flavors become muddled together. Not necessarily a bad thing, just not as exciting as the first few sips. There is no sign of the 9.4% abv and the flavors are rather pleasant. Give it a try to taste it for yourself.

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Photo of shanblur
3.82/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a snifter. Date on the bottle is 2/1/10.

A - Pour yielded little to no head which quickly faded to a ring of foam. Dark brown opaque color.

S - Caramel malt and figs on the nose with a definite alcohol presence.

T - Sweet malt flavor with a warming alcohol feel. Some funkiness on the finish.

M - Medium bodied and oily with a light carbonation

Overall a nice beer. Very sweet, but a nice accompaniment with the strong alcohol presence.

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Photo of Brunite
4.35/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A-Pours a dark ruby color that is deep and rich. The head is small, fizzy, tan.

S-Dark fruits such as raisin, dates, and figs, with a rich wheat bread scent.

T-Dark fruits along with hearty bread notes. Strong dark fruity note of dates and figs are present.

M-Smooth with a sweet feel. Medium bodied with a clean, dry, crisp, finish.

O-This is as good as an dubbel I've ever had. Very tasty...very drinkable. Will be getting more to try again and solidify my feelings. But...I like this!

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Photo of litheum94
4.17/5  rDev +10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pour: Deep garnet color, clear when held to the light. A decent tan head that evaporates, leaving no cover or lace.

Aromas: Sweet caramel malts. Dates. Belgian yeast. Some figs. Apples. Little touch of spice and booze, like a spiced rum. No discernable hop aromas.

Taste: A veritable potpourri of flavors. Cinnamon, fig, orange rind and Belgian yeast lead the way. Sweet malts and an earthy flavor build the middle, followed by a sherry like booziness. Bing cherry flavors arrive as the beer warms, as well as apple flavors.

Complex, easy drinking, SBDA. This is one of my favorites from North Coast, and it never disappoints.

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Photo of eric5bellies
3.47/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Drank from my St Bernardus chalice.

A - Pours a dark clear Mahogany colour with an off White head that dies immediately.\

S - Slight aromas odf spice and dark fruit.

T - Up front some nice spices but fails from then on. The end has some cherries present but its a long way from the real thing.

M - The carbonation if medium and the the body is medium.

O - Too sickly sweet for me and not really authentic enough.

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Photo of brouwer
3.83/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Brother Thelonius is an American Belgian "style" abbey ale. I appreciate the attempt since I am a fan of Belgian Beer.

It appears dark with opaque brown coloration.

It formed a nice 2 inch head which did not last long - minimal lacing.

Smell was weak with definite citrus overtones.

Taste was sweet with no bitterness. Fruity taste with moderate carbonation. Mild sweet aftertaste.

Satisfying, easy to drink but not as much depth as other fine Belgian Abbey ales.

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Photo of CaptDavyJones
3.7/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a dark ruby red color from a 12 oz bottle, with ABV on the label.
One finger head that dissipated fairly quickly.
Aroma is predominantly sweet, with fruity esters, licorice and dark fruit coming through.
This felt like an almost medium bodied ale, something that I am not too big a fan of in an abbey ale. A fuller body would make this an excellent abbey ale.
Highly drinkable, and an ale worth trying. However, it is not an ale I would go out of my way to get.

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

A-nice deep amber tone body with decent light brown foamy head

S-Hints of roasted malt, caramel and candied sugar

T-fairly strong caramel sweetness and roasted nut taste. Nice balance

M-Sits not so heavy with mild carbonation

O-Decent beer, definitely not the best of the style but it is a valid interpenetration of the style.

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Photo of theJollySin
3.36/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - A dark, rich color, from nut brown to a redish honey color at the bottom of the glass.

S - A malty scent, without strong hops or fruit overtones. It's a simple, basic smell. But pleasing.

T - It's got a decent malty flavor. It's not strong, and it's not complicated. For a beer billing itself as a Belgium style abbey ale, it's flavor is particularly simple.

M - It is extra fizzy on the tongue, especially for a dark ale.

O - I don't dislike it, but I don't taste any of the refinement of all of the abbey ales I like so much. It might just be a marketing gimmick to call it a Belgium style abbey ale. It is a fine beer, and better than most mass-manufactured American tripe. But in the end, it has no real personality or uniqueness at all.

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Photo of jwinship83
3.18/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

750ml corked and caged bottle drank from my duvel tulip.

A- this one pours out avery dark and murky brown colored body with a tall khaki colored head on top. the head is long lasting and leaves behind small rings of lacing.

S- the nose starts off with some fruit and belgian yeast. banana, cherries, raisins, plums, and figs. after that i get some brown sugar and a hint of chocolate. alcohol and earthy hops at the end.

T- the taste starts off sweet with belgian yeast and a plethora of fruits. cherries, figs, dates, raisins, and banana. a little bit of green apple skin adds a slight twang to this. brown sugar and chocolate malt move in to add further sweetness. earthy hops and spiciness at the end along with a hint of alcohol.

M- light bodied. highly carbonated.

O- not the best example of the style. the traditional brewers in belgium have much better examples for the most part. i wouldnt mind picking up another one and sitting on it for a while. it wouldnt exactly be a costly experiment.

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Photo of shangwang
3.38/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

poured from a 12oz bottle.

Deep ruby red / brown appearance with a finger of creamy tan head. Light watery lacing that cascaded quickly down the glass. Smelled of sweet honey and cherries, a bit overwelmingly so. I was expecting it to taste sweeter based on the smell, but the sweetness was pleasantly less pronounced in taste. There was actually a bit of bitterness in the finish, which was pleasant. Medium mouthfeel without much carbonation.

Overall it was ok, but I don't know if I'd seek it out again. Not one of the better Belgian Dark Ales I've had, but wasn't the worst either.

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Photo of Armand
2.6/5  rDev -31.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into a chilled pint from Oggis. One overpriced beers due to the ABV. Big deal. I'd pass on this one.

A: Pours a very dark brown. There is a small light tan head which fades quickly.

S: Smells primarily of caramel malts, raisins, and sweet fruit.

T: Raisin, and caramel, sweet liqour due to the ABV, with a citrus note that I don't car for too much.

M: Syrupy and overall too much to sit back and enjoy. Didn't car for this one too much. Even for the ABV I had to down it quick like you would a BMC

O: Too harsh and strong to enjoy.

Serving type: draft

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Photo of Jwale73
3.72/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750ml bottle. 2006 vintage brought out by jdiddy. Pours a deep mahogany with a swirl of foam comprising the head. Nose expresses candied dark fruits (figs, raisins, prunes) and a boozy quality. Taste is not as sweet as anticipated by the nose; however, the dark fruit still shines through. There's also a trace of oxidation that comes out towards the back. Mouthfeel is medium-light in body with a lively carbonation. A pretty tasty brew that has definitely held up well over time. Might be worth throwing a few in the cellar.

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Photo of n2185
2.58/5  rDev -31.9%
look: 1 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A: Pours a clear mahogany even when the bottle is swirled (no yeast?) with a meager one finger of off-white head that completely vanishes with no lacing.

S: Some spicy notes followed by some bubblegum and banana aromas. There are some slight dark fruit and yeast notes towards the finish along with a bit of an alcohol aroma.

T: Slight spice flavors at first followed by some bubblegum flavors. The finish has a light breadiness with some dark fruit notes and a noticeable alcohol burn.

M: Medium body with low-ish carbonation, this beer isn't too thick and sweet at least, but it needs more carbonation to give it a crisp feel.

O: A pretty unimpressive BSDA. It's all around just bland, ugly, and has very little carbonation for a style that should have a lot.

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

A- Nice 2 finger head. Dark ruby red color. Little patches of lacing.

S- Sweet malts and roasted malts. Some dried dark fruits. Brown sugar and caramel. Smells great.

T- A bit of warming alcohol rushes in the start. Then Figs, prunes, raisins, etc. Brown sugar and caramel for sure. Pretty sweet on the tongue. A tad too sweet for my taste. Finishes a little tart, probably from the prunes.

M- Med-to-light mouthfeel. A bit thin for me. Sticky on the lips with a bit of a dryer finish.

O- If offered, I'd try again. But I don't think I'd seek this one out again. Not one of my fav BSDA's

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

A mahogany color with a creamy fluff of white head that drops down the glass to leave a thick ring. Nose brings a lot of syrupy malt(toffee) complimented by some fig fruitiness. Flavor starts with a roasted malt and molasses sweetness. Shortly after a lot of the darker fruit flavors show through (raisins, figs and sweet plum) The ABV% quickly comes through but doesn't bite. A smooth dry finish similar to Merlot or Pinot.

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Photo of jadpsu
3.05/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Purchased at Nicko's. 12.7 ounce, corked bottle.
Ruby Red pour with a large tan, tight head. Note: first pour in the clean glass showed little head retention. Second pour, in same glass showed good retention.
A: alcohol leads, then I quickly get raisens and or prunes. So there is a fair amount going on here, but the smell of alcohol and prunes are not what I look for in a beer.
Taste: get some roasted malts, raisens and the alcohol. Burnt sugar sweetness in mouthfeel.

Drinkability: Not by itself, and not a session drink due to the high ABV. Where does that leave you?
Expensive, and despite being complex, not anything that I will come back too.

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Brother Thelonious from North Coast Brewing Co.
3.79 out of 5 based on 3,020 ratings.
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