Brother Thelonious | North Coast Brewing Co.

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Brother TheloniousBrother Thelonious
Very Good
3,051 Ratings
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

Bros Score:
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Ratings: 3,051 |  Reviews: 1,066
Photo of ej285701
4/5  rDev +5.3%

Photo of depechemode1983
3.57/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours dark brown with medium red hues. Head is khaki color and lasting. No lacing.

S - The nose is mostly of sweet caramel and dark fruits. Getting lots of candy sugar along with caramel, berries, bread and yeast. Picking up a slight hint of alcohol at the end.

T - Sweet caramel again. Sweet raisins and prunes are present. Still getting that bread quality. Finish is very warm.

M - Medium bodied, somewhat slick and medium to high carbonation.

O - Not a bad American representation. Still can't compete with a true Belgium Strong Dark Ale, but worthy none the less.

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Photo of bpfrush
4/5  rDev +5.3%

Photo of AndresR
4/5  rDev +5.3%

Photo of sjstraub
4/5  rDev +5.3%

Photo of lucasdave
5/5  rDev +31.6%

Photo of Jspriest
4.5/5  rDev +18.4%

Photo of BJA
3.5/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into Duvel glass

A: Dark amber/brown; when held up to significant light. ¾ inch head on hard pour. Head dissipated in one minute. No cap remained. No lacing left.

S: dried fruit, sweet ever so slightly toasted malt, molasses, a little hazelnut, esters, all combined with alcohol.

T: Dried fruit (raisens and prune?), sweet toasty malt and caramelized sugar apples.

M: about a medium mouthfeel. Well carbonated for style.

O: This is the fourth beer in the four pack, but I let it hang out in the fridge for 6 months. From what I can recall about the first three, the aging did it some good in terms of blending the flavors. It is definitely on the sugary molasses side, but it remains rather drinkable right up to the end. The alcohol scent doesn’t translate into the taste, which I find to be a good thing. The alcohol and sugar does start to dominate the nose after the first half of the beer is down. I think this beer is much better with some age on it. I will consider putting some away again as I enjoyed the aged bottle more than the fresh.

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Photo of brewskifan55
3.92/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter

Appearance: cloudy, ice tea brown; half finger head that goes fast. Decent lacing

Smell: chocolate, malts, barley; bring on the funk.

Taste: follows smell with toffee notes and alcohol. Rich, hearty

Mouthfeel: medium; really coats the tongue. Great carbonation.

Overall: A great dessert beer. Chocolatey goodness in a bottle. Nice and heavy. Drink slowly and enjoy the buzz.

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Photo of taigor
3.56/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into snifter glass.

A - Poured dark amber cloudy color with medium head that slowly dissipated leaving average lacing around the glass.

S - Alcohol smell upfront with malts, yeast, raisins, figs, plums and other dark fruits.

T - Very sweet with malts, brown sugar, honey and raisins. Alcohol's presence is very strong. Slight flavor of nutmeg and spices.

M - Medium bodied with medium carbonation.

O - Average dark ale with alcohol not masked at all.

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Photo of dorianmarley
4.02/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance is dark brown with a beige head that fades quickly; virtually no lacing.

Nose is sweet malt, caramel, and sour candy.

Taste is sweet malt, oats, caramel corn, subtle sourness and a smoked, oaky finish.

Mouthfeel is refreshing; unique for a Belgian. Smooth with mild carbonation and an interesting alcohol sizzle.

Overall, a clean and refreshing Belgian, with a subtly distinct flavor.

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Photo of biboergosum
3.32/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle, saved from a trip through the beervana of Seattle, Portland, and yes, Boise, earlier this year. While jazz totally isn't my thing, I'll still entertain any offering from this brewery.

This beer pours a cloudy, dank, brick-tinged brown hue, with an emaciated finger's worth of fizzy beige head, which doesn't stick around long enough to suffer questioning. It smells of sweet caramel malt, dotted and blotted with figs and dates, some prominent dusty vinous notes, and mildly acrid alcohol. The taste is dark, muddled earthy fruit, understated caramel/toffee malt, a soft leafy hoppiness, and some mild booze warming. The carbonation is on the down low, brutha, the body a solid medium weight, and agreeably smooth (not that I'm saying anything further). It finishes sweet, fruity, and warm - see the prior liner notes...

While I don't particularly care for the eponymous artist's musical style, I do quite like BSDAs. So, it somewhat irks me, that this offering is so, well, simple. Drinkable, I suppose, but lacking that usual dense, complex oomph that usually pulls me in, and convinces me to stay.

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Photo of TobiasGoth
3.89/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance The beverage’s an auburn color. The beer is opaque. A tan head about a finger tall sits on the beer for a full minute. I see loads of bubbles bursting around in it.

Smell Primarily lots and lots of heavy roasted malt. This followed by a string of smells including vanilla, fudge, chocolate and coffee. It’s also extremely sweet, it’s a vanilla type of sweetness on this one. Can’t see myself handling a bottle on my own with this intensity of sugar.

Taste Extremely sweet, very little bitterness/hoppiness. The end of the flavor is on the sour tip. Sweetness reminiscent of dextrose. Warming alcohol through out taste. Flavors include fudge, vanilla, coconut, the type of caramel coconut found in a candy bar like Marabou Co-Co, internationally comparable to the milk chocolate version of Bounty/Mounds.

Mouthfeel Medium body with a surupy viscosity due to all that sugar. Heavily carbed with an extremely fizzy feel. The liquid is enfolding like a blanket yet has a certain lightness to it.

In conclusion This is something you share, not only because it’s a tasty one but because it’s just a bit over the top on the sugary side. A solid psuedo-Abbey that obviously doesn’t play in the major leagues but is on occasion called for a try out batting session.

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Photo of stormywaters
4.27/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

picked up a bottle of this from a recommendation.

Poured a dark brown with a bit of head.

This beer has a sweet smell, and the taste definitely goes along with it. Not for those who do not like their beers to be sweet.

The taste is what you smell. Very sweet, but not overpowering. The alchohol is hidden within the sweetness of it.

Overall, its a beer that wins a spot in my fridge any day of the week. Its not a special occation beer, but it is worthy of a once a weeker.

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Photo of bubseymour
2.17/5  rDev -42.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 1.5

Appearance - Very scary looking dark and murky with 1 finger large bubbled head that isn't that impressive.

Smell - whole lotta sweet spice. Scary again.

Taste - Horrendous. But then again, Belgian Strong Ales don't work for my palet at all. No hop notes, spicy and boozy. Warming to the belly.

Mouthfeel - The 1 decent point of this beer is that its smooth and creamy.

Overall- This is a very love/hate beer and style I suppose. This isn't a drinkable liquid to me however.

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Photo of mcslain
3.88/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber bottle. Pours a gorgeous dark red-brown w a decent head that is gone in a minute. No lacing to speak of.

Aroma of dark fruits and sweetness. Some alcohol on the nose.

Tastes like dark fruits and brown sugar. Some alcohol is clearly present in the taste. Light to medium carbonation w a medium body and slick mouth feel. The candied sugar presence is there but not overwhelming as with some of the style. Some spice and pepper but light to moderate there.

I've read some reviews that refer to this as a dubbel, but is is a Belgian strong dark ale. A good one by my standards. I find this beer to be tasty and highly quaff-able. It is a smooth drinker w a nice kick.

As for its namesake, Thelonius Monk, try 'Alone in San Francisco.' One of my favorite jazz cds. Of course either of the Monk w Coltrane cds is a winner as well. Thanks to North Coast for honoring this great musician.

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Photo of micromaniac129
3.82/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a chestnut brown color with hightlights of ruby.
A tan foamy cap that is quite tall is produced but retention is terrible and the foam fades just as fast as it came. Not even a collar. Not even lacing.

Aroma is of dark fruits sweet candied sugar and some phenolic aromatics.

Flavors run similar to the nose with candied sugar dark sweeten fruits, and cloves.

A smooth dry finish with some warming alcohol.

I like this beer it has broad appeal but lacks depth or richness like the top shelve versions.

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Photo of jmerloni
1.5/5  rDev -60.5%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

A - Dark walnut brown, moderate head that doesn't lace real well and has zero retention. Dull looking, though.

S - Almost nothing here, some grape, cherry, raisin, and other dark fruits. Little maltiness to speak of on the nose. Kinda just smells like rum. And vinegar.

T - Ew. Dark fruits that taste molded. No hops to be spoken of and nothing but nasty white sugar. Wow. I didn't expect this beer to be the disaster that it is.

M - Terrible mouthfeel. Light to medium bodied. Tastes like a skunked beer that's thinned out from a decade of sitting there. I feel like I should stir this shit every time I take a sip because it's so out of whack. The flavors are entirely disparate and not together. The alcohol comes through entirely, and the only thing I can taste on the swallow is vinegar and it stays there.

D - Atrocious beer. Worse than anything I've ever tried. This is a pathetic attempt at the style and a pathetic attempt at a beer. This should be used as a salad dressing or something. I've grown to know and love beer, and this beer is a disaster at its fullest. Worst I've tried to date in a list that includes "Cave Creek Chili Beer" - whatever that is. Don't ever buy this beer - this is awful and I feel insulted that a respected brewery would put this out on the market.

PS: I should note that Ruedrich's Red Seal amber ale is one of the three beers I've ever rated as 5 stars - right next to Pliny The Elder - so it's not like this brewery can't do better than this crap. This is fucking terrible and they should be ashamed of themselves for thinking they can swindle people into buying this just because they price it at 11 dollars a four pack and think they can convince people it's good via the price they set. Pathetic.

PSS: Fuck - I can't believe I have to finish this. Picture the worst wine you've ever drank and imagine drinking a 3 liter bottle in one sitting.

This is embarrassing for this brewery - I can't believe they put this crap out on the market. They should be ashamed of themselves. I don't care if I never taste Ruedrich's Red Seal ever again - this brewery deserves not a cent of my money for putting this beer out. They will never get a cent of my money again. This beer is shameful. I don't support the idea of good breweries putting out shit beers and thinking they can make money off of them just because they have a good reputation and because THEY THINK THEY CAN FOOL PEOPLE BY CHARGING AN INORDINATE AMOUNT FOR IT. Beer drinkers are not fools, North Coast - I'm sorry. I will have no part of giving you another cent. What a joke.

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Photo of 2xHops
3.68/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I'd like to preface this review with a disclaimer. I have had some belgian ales, but I am trying to think if I have drank any comparables that I can compare this beer to. I can't at this moment, so I realize this may be the first beer in this style I've had.

Let's talk about my first impression, then?

It's certainly dark, and it was served to me in a Chimay glass. Is that good? I don't know. It did smell somewhat sweet to my unrefined nose. The taste was good, but I have to agree with some of other reviewers who said it seems to be quite too sweet. It's the dominant flavor profile: sweet, sweet, and quite malty. It certainly did mask the alcohol fairly well, but it did make me wonder if there should have been a bit more of something else to help counter the sweetness?

Overall, it was a fun beer to try, and if anyone want a strong one, they should try it. Although, I'd have to say, if there was a bomber of this beer, I don't think I can finish a bottle on my own without becoming a bit out of it! 9.4% ABV will do that to you, and if that's your cup of tea, go for it!

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Photo of puboflyons
3.42/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Sampled on September 22, 2011. When the caged, corked top is removed there is an abundance of smoky carbonation. The pour is a decent looking reddish-brown but the head dissolves quickly. The aroma tends to remind me more of wine than beer but it has an inviting character with its toast and apricot fruit. The body is around medium. The 9.4% ABV is noticed in the flavor right off and it certainly smacks me across the face with its potentcy. It tends to take over the taste. Complex but dry at the end.

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Photo of agomega
3.73/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle served in a goblet.

Appearance: Pours an amber brown color with a large foamy white head. The head evaporates into a thin creamy layer floating on top of the beer. Good lacing.

Smell: The smell is primarily fruity with a strong malt backbone. There is also some faint bready yeast small and slight hints of plums and bananas.

Taste: Strong malty caramel flavor with hints of bread and fruit. Definitely on the sweet side without much bitterness for balance.

Mouthfeel: Creamy smooth mouthfeel with medium carbonation.

Overall: A good beer, especially if you enjoy sweeter beers. My favorite aspect was the mouthfeel which was very creamy and enjoyable. I would be happy to drink more of it, but I'm not sure I would buy it again since it is priced similarly to many other higher caliber Belgian ales.

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Photo of EricMichael
2.93/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2.5

Normally, when I review a brew, I do so in a manner that is very professional and structured. This brew makes me feel like it isn't worth the little bit of extra effort, but I feel it's still important to speak my piece.

The appearance was the best part of this brew. A nice copper with an excellent sized head, however one that almost immediately vanishes.

The scent wasn't too bad and maybe because it was on the weaker side. Smelled of toast with a hint of fruit.

First taste, I cringed with how it felt in my mouth. Crazy after-taste and feel in the back of my throat and on my tongue. Very sweet malts. Toast with an apple spread and a whole lot of metal-something that makes my mouth feel like I need to brush my teeth. Unbalanced. The Belgium-style aspects of this beer are what redeem it enough to be worth of a 3.0 for taste, but the feel in my mouth was just bad. I was tempted not to finish it.

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Photo of TheBeerAlmanac
3.88/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into a snifter

A: Pours a copper, caramel color with a foamy, creme colored head, not really what you'd expect from a traditional abbey ale.

S: Aroma is sweet, very pleasant but very deep with peaches, apricot, pumpkin, maple syrup and a touch of nutmeg. Not quite pungent, but on its way there.

T/M: Tastes as dark as it appears with raisins, plums, dried apricots, pumpkin spice, candy sweetness, even a bit of smoke in the finish. It has a thicker mouthfeel than a lot of Belgians along with a medium amount of carbonation.

It's a great beer, a little heavier than expected, but still very good. And sweet, very sweet.

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Photo of ikantspel
3.93/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

poured from 12oz bottle into chalice. chilled to 61°

pours a solid dark brown. good carbonation catches up and creates a wonderful head

cant really pinpoint a smell. cocoa/molasses with a hint of plum

pleasing taste and aftertaste. malt and toffee

pretty good for a belgian style abbey ale. although i haven't tried to many at this point in my drinking days i can only hope they're all this good

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Photo of Knapp85
3.53/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This brew poured out as a dark reddish brown color, the head was a cream color and looked pretty fluffy. The smell of the beer had some dark malt aromas giving off a little sweetness and some bready Belgian yeast as well. The taste of the beer has a little bit of dark fruit in the mix along with some earthy notes. The mouthfeel was about average for me on this one, it's smooth but just doesn't wow me. Overall this beer isn't bad, I know a lot of people who love it but I've had it a few times and I still haven't been overly impressed by it.

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Brother Thelonious from North Coast Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 3.8 out of 5 with 3,051 ratings
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