Brother Thelonious | North Coast Brewing Co.

very good
1,045 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: 1,045 | Ratings: 2,984
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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Photo of dedevajinasi
4.44/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

pours a midnight velvety molten lava, smells of triple hops, black currant, little fig, caramelized citrus, thicker than the average beer, a great choice for someone that is looking to slow it down while enjoying a very tasty beer.


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

Tap to glass @ North Coast Brewing tap room@ Fort Bragg,CA
Appearance brown, clear, minimal head, tan foam-quickly goes away
Aroma: fruity, strong scent of alcohol
Taste:medium sweetness, medium bitterness,
Palate: full body, thick feel, long finish, lively,average carbonation
Overall: Very good beer, ok to repeat, buy
Drank: April 13, 2016

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Photo of vainosuomi
4.06/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Look: deep, dark reddish brown color. Creamy brown head that dissipates quickly. plenty of sediment.
Smell: Alcohol, brown sugar, dark fruits, hint of some spice, yeast
Taste: Sweet brown sugar and caramel up front, plum and banana, bready malts, alcohol, and a faint hop bitterness.
Feel: Decently carbonated, medium/heavy bodied, alcohol warmth, clean and somewhat astringent finish.

Overall an excellent beer. The sweet malt and sugar flavors seem to dominate; it's not as full and balanced as others in the style.

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

Poured into tulip. Two finger head that dissipated to one finger quickly. Smells of dried fruit, raisins, dates. Caramel. Alcohol is very well hidden. Very good for once in awhile.

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Photo of marieli
3.56/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Draft. Poured medium to dark brown amber. Smelled a bit on the neutral side, a little sweet, but not sticky. Very smooth, a bit silky, medium texture. The biggest issue for me is that both the smell and the taste were on the neutral side, not a lot going on. Reminded me a little of North Coast's Old Stock, which I also find to be a bit neutral in flavor, but Brother is at least a step down. Not a bad ale at all, but I prefer more character.

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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.

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Photo of Lingenbrau
4.18/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Beautiful clear deep red with a big rocky tan head. Raisin, prune, and banana dominate aroma as well as flavor with a nice bready sweetness, and a well masked 9.0% alcohol. I'm surprised this doesn't have better reviews. Perhaps because it is not a true Belgian? Cheers!

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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.

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Photo of CheddyChopper
3.63/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Look - Crepuscular rays in west facing rear view mirrors color this mahogany with tinges of iron. Smell - The copper residue of subway handles left on your bare hand on a humid New York afternoon in May, and toasted marshmallows soaked for a short time in grain alcohol. Taste - overripe plum and golden grahams, cascading across the palate like Monk's whole tone runs at the end of "Ruby, My Dear" from Thelonious in San Francisco 1957. Feel - Like Monk's pocket: dark, mysterious and swingin' kind of like his dance moves. Overall - Hail Monk! Death to the Non-believers! A highly drinkable abbey ale.

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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.

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Photo of LennyOvies
3.33/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

L- Bright dark brown amber. Frothy tan head with very low retention, fades out quiet fast.
S- Bready, sugar, sweet caramel, ripe banana, dark fruits and licorice.
T- Alcohol upfront, overpowers the other notes. Raisins, brown sugar, yeast, banana and some pumpkin.
F- Light, smooth, slick.
O- Decent brew, the alcohol steps over the rest of the notes which is not a good thing. This even feels more like drinking a strong wine than a beer.

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Photo of DesMoinesMike
3.7/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

I see this at the beer store all the time and I wonder if it's the same bottles. It looks good but the soda-like head disappears in seconds. Smells of plumb and some spice. Taste has notes of plumb, black courant, and banana. The body seems thin and the finish has an oiliness to it. I've had plenty on Belgians and this one just seems off.

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Photo of matcris
4.26/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bottled on 6/5/15.
LOOKS: Poured into a snifter. The beer is rustic mahogany, looks filtered, no sediment in glass or bottle. Half inch tan head, gone almost instantly. Great looking carbonation when rocking the glass back and forth. Very slight lacing, gone quickly.
AROMA: Big floral note right away, it has a Familiar 'Dirty Bastard' dried fruit/cherry aroma. Port, sherry, very sweet smelling. Get some yeast, with just a tiny bit of farm-funk-like smell. Raisins, dark candied fruits and sugar. If the alcohol is present it is blended so well with the other flavors that it just works.
TASTE: Wow, first thing that came to mind is cherry cheesecake! Very sweet, but not cloyingly so, dark dried fruit, lots of cherry. Just a slight bit of tartness. Alcohol masked nicely.
MOUTHFEEL: The carbonation is just perfect on this. It really hits you the second you drink it, not overkill, imo. Pretty dry beer all the way through the finish.
OVERALL: It's familiar in mouth feel to other strong dark ales like Chimay Blue. But that big cherry quality makes it a bit different. Very enjoyable beer. Will buy again.

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Photo of Strike00
3.85/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

L: pours dark ruby with a darker head
S: the smell is of dark fruit, Belgian yeast and alcohol. With the fruit being the most prominent
T: Prune and raisin are very evident. The Belgian yeast is underneath but not that strong. Warm Alcohol rounds it out. Very tasty.
F: medium bodied with solid consistent carbonation.

O: Very good. Falls a bit short of some other Belgians but still well worth the drink and at a couple bucks cheaper per bottle than most other Belgian style ales with this strength. Is missing a lot of the Belgian Yeast Flavor.

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Photo of EMH73
3.83/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours dark brown with a two finger head. Tastes of dark malts and fruits, not overly complex. I really don't see this as a Belgian style Ale, but it is a good beer.

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Photo of flyingpig
3.85/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

355ml Bottle from Good Spirits Wine & Beer (£3.50):
This one was quite a nice Belgian style beer that was quite sweet with plenty dark fruits & malts coming through on top of a smooth, medium body. It went down a lot easier than one might expect & was very enjoyable with a rich, complex taste & warming feel to it but it falls short of some of the better Belgian brewed beers of the style if I'm honest.

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Photo of kalosjakar
3.09/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25

Dark amber with a tight bubbled head. Cellar temperature.

Smells of figs, raisins, plums?, malt, alcohol.

Taste is heavy malt, plums, not as much complexity as I hoped. If its there, im not picking up on it.

Was expecting more. The look of the beer in the glass is the best part. And it does look purty.

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Photo of joeseppy
3.97/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice garnet pour with a generous fluffy merengue head. Aroma of prune/date. Banana and apricot emerge. Flavour of deep malt and scant cider vinegar. Prune and spice. Charred oak. Medium body with residual sugars. Lasting flavor with steady carbonation. Mild bitterness. Been seeing this for years and I've been in a Belgium mood so I pulled the trigger. Nice quaff to spend time with. This drinks very easy, abv is not in your face. Would buy agin.

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Photo of Motleydrunk56
3.81/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12 oz bottle poured into a firestone glass. Pour is a brownish color. Kind of a fruity smell with maybe a touch of cinnamon. Taste is a lot like the smell. Fruit maybe raisons mixed with cinnamon. All in all it`s not a bad beer. Don't know if I would buy it again because nothing jumps out at me.Middle of the road brew.

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Photo of JackieKu
3.74/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

750ml bottle.

A: Dark brown. Poured with 2 fingers high of head.
S: Slightly caramel. Slightly grapefruit.
T: Toffee. Biscuits. Moderate malty, sweetness, and bitterness. Dry and medium finish.
M: Full bodied. Very creamy.
O: Not quite similar to Belgian Trappist samples, the fruity and spices are almost not found. It's flavorful and delicious however.

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Photo of FriedSlug
3.52/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a clear deep amber color with an off-white head that clung to the edges. Left a decent amount of lacing. The aroma is yeasty and smells of molasses, brown sugar, raisins and booze. The taste is completely molasses and brown sugar with yeast, spices and breadiness. As a Belgian ale I just felt that the flavor was just off from other beers of this style.

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Photo of Zombiedust66
4.7/5  rDev +24%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

I was very impressed with this one. Plus, being a jazz guy, I was into it just from the label. It poured easy, showing a dark amber color with a slight head to top it off. Right off, you can smell the fruit (banana). The taste isn't too heavy and actually quite enjoyable with the alcohol hidden in the background. No strong bite, just great flavors (dark malts, fruit and slight floral). The feel was smooth and easy. Sitting at a 9.4%, this is a great sipping beer. I had it with a vegan pizza. Went well together.

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Photo of jeffm13
4.33/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A reddish amber in color, with a good Belgian (nutty, banana) flavor. In my opinion, Brother Thelonius is one of the better domestic Belgian ales. Recommended.

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Brother Thelonious from North Coast Brewing Co.
3.79 out of 5 based on 2,984 ratings.
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