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Brother Thelonious | North Coast Brewing Co.

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very good
1,031 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: 1,031 | Ratings: 2,950
Photo of hopphead31415
4.39/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Wow! This beer is the first that I have tried by the North Coast Brewing Company. And I’m off to a good start with this brewery. Additionally, this variety is akin to a unicorn, being very hard to find. A Belgian Style Abbey Ale is hard to find, but especially one that has such an amount of intensity and awesomeness and has a robust 9.4% ABV.

Look-I must say that with almost 120 reviews, I haven’t seen a beer that has this color and quality. It pours a clear amber color that is such a deep mahogany with intense hues of red that are beautiful to behold. The head is a tan off-white and is silky and foamy. The lacing, like its namesake, is as soft as silk.

Smell-I smell figs, caramel, toffee, raisins, plums, banana, cinnamon, Belgian yeast, bread, and nutmeg. With a list like that, imagine what I’ll TASTE!

Taste-The taste is reliable, because it follows the nose and is so perfectly executed. I taste banana first (which I didn’t expect, because banana is weak on the nose). I then get raisins, plum, figs, sugar-dusted cherries, vanilla, nutmeg, bread pudding, some slight grassy hops, and then a noticeable bite from the augmented alcohol which cuts the sweetness and tampers the palate.

Mouthfeel-The mouthfeel is silky smooth, with tiny effervescence from the mild carbonation, and is medium to full-bodied. The alcohol warms up as the traditional abbey ale flavors ebb and flow on the tongue. It has a slightly dry finish with a lingering alcohol bite that complements the dark fruity esters and aromas.

Overall-I was absolutely blown away by this elixir and I fear that I’ll over rate it due to its soothing effects as the warmth spreads throughout my limbs with each satisfying gulp. However, rest assured that if you were to drink a bottle of this beauty poured into a nice glass, you would come to the same conclusion. I’m not sure what the “Bros” were smoking when they gave this one a ridiculously low review. Nobody is perfect, but this beer is. Cheers!

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Photo of Tripel_Threat
3.68/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Smooth and oily, the good Brother gives off an immediate aroma of slightly underbaked banana bread, dark dried fruits and booze. The taste is more fruity with candi sugar on top, with Belgian yeast flavors (banana, spice) underneath, and below everything a tingle of booze. Not too shabby, but not worth the price point.

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Photo of drmeto
3.95/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

-pours a clear ruby with a small to medium,quickly dissipating,foamy,beige head
-low to medium carbonation visible
-plums,raisins,figs,caramel,toffee,spicy,slight banana
-medium to high carbonation
-light to medium body
-alcohol warmth
I was surprised at how close this comes to Belgian Dark strong ales.
Comparetively this lacked a bit of body

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Photo of Catracho5
4.16/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle poured into a tulip glass

A: Mahogany, no head after a few minutes, but was tan when there, no lacing, no carbonation, looks really good when held up to the light, has some nice dark red hues around the edges.

A: Belgian yeast, brown sugar, bananas, dark fruits, smells pretty good, alcohol is slightly noticeable.

T: Belgian yeast, spice, brown sugar, dark fruits, finishes dry, slight bitter at the end, has some decent depth to it.

M: Spice, balanced carbonation, medium mouthfeel.

O: This is good, great Belgian yeast flavors and aromas, some complexity and depth, nice balanced carbonation on the mouthfeel, a sipping beer, it is a little hot as it warms, but overall an outstanding beer.

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Photo of oceanman907
3.29/5  rDev -13%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

This beer has a fantastic look; a ruddy dark Amber with a frothy tan head, smell is dominated by strong spicy barley, brown sugar and some faint traces applesauce and spice. The flavor follows along the same lines but with a bit more spice and roasted malt. The beer follows the look and feel of a classic Belgian dubbel, but the flavor lacks a strong yeast components. Alcohol is well hidden though, not my favorite from north coast even though I have let is cellar for 12 months or so.

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Photo of The-Adjunct-Hippie
3.94/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A : Pours a beautiful cranberry coffee red color, with a giant 3-finger beige head. It leaves whisps and licks of lacing as it recedes. The body is about 80% opaque.

S : Pumpernickel, rye bread, with toasted and baked crusts. Fig, plum, raisin. A little bit of spiced bubblegum and clove. A decadent aroma.

T : Hop and alcohol burn right at the front. But shortly after there is bubblegum, yeast, pumpkin pie. Dark rye bread, some clove and plant. Burnt flavors and hop trump over everything at the finish. Alcohol burn as well.

F : Buzzing and electric carbonation, mildly creamy, and sticky. Ends semi-dry.

O : I'd have this again, but it's not better than New Belgium's Abbey. It has a substantial alcohol presence that sort of steamrolls the whole thing, but the flavors are present and they are good.

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Photo of lakemarkham
3.52/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle.

Pours a dark brown that turns into a good-looking ruby red against the light. Mine didn't pour with much head, but what I got lingered. The legs were spare.

Hit my nose with a strong nutty aroma, and a little bit of caramel. Not a super dark taste: flavors mostly agreed with the scent, plus a bit of medium fruit--not quite as dark as prunes or fig, but maybe banana--and strong enough of an alcohol bite on the end to mention.

The feel was fine for an ale, but nothing to write home about. In fact, that's a good way to describe the beer as a whole. Wouldn't turn it down, but wouldn't fight over it either.

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Photo of lwillitz
3.58/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12-oz bottle into Belgian ale glass

A - 3 fingers medium tan head over a transparent body of ruby/mahogany high in visible carbonation

S - cloves, banana/tropical fruit, touch of funk, caramel sweetness, cinnamon, light grains

T - cloves, tropical fruit, caramel sweetness, peppery spice, metallic and earthy notes in the finish

M - slick medium body, medium carbonation

O - An OK Belgian.

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Photo of Gajo74
3.91/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a dark and nearly opaque mahogany/brown that becomes clearer towards the end of the drink. A moderate head quickly dissipates into an ultra thin broken ring like lace that bubbles quietly over spots of the glasses' circumference. Milky and creamy aroma, mild phenols, dark slightly tart fruit and mild phenols are apparent in both aroma and taste. The alcohol content is masked well but clearly there. Low hop content; there is very little bitterness in this one. Creamy feel, wet finish, medium bodied and almost full. The carbonation tingles in the cheeks but is moderate to low and practically disappears towards the end.
Overall, I enjoyed it although it was not the best of the style. I meant to drink it while listening to Thelonious Monk, however, I was so digging the Ahmad Jamal album I was listening to before, that I forgot to switch.

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Photo of DaveBar
3.86/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Purchased at The World Store outside of Birmingham Alabama for $4.00 for a 12oz bottle. Served at 4deg C in a tulip. Taken from the cellar with 18mths on it.

A- Opens well and pours next to no head that is gone in seconds. Super dark brown color and unfiltered

S- Clove, cinnamon and caramel. Very nice

T- A bit light considering the smell. Almost a dubell which is a nice style by my book. Just a hint of sour off this girl.

O- Pretty good blend but light and a bit lacking of body. Nice to try but will not again as there are some better brews out there in this style but California is coming along in this department

Food Pairing

This nice brew went well with...... BBQ'd hamburgers. Top 'em how you like 'em!


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Photo of Ernie_The_Dude
3.5/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A consistent beer that you can find in most stores. I expected a little more from North Coast but, maybe my taste buds were expecting something different. I would pick up another bottle if it was my only alternative.

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Photo of DrPyser
4.2/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A very interesting beer unlike the ales I usually enjoy. I'm a fan of Thelonious Monk as well as Belgian-style beers so even though it's not from a local brewery I picked it up. Very thick flavor, rich and malty, great mouth feel. Not a casual quaffing beer but more like a cognac - best when enjoyed slowly.

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Photo of Briscoe88
4.63/5  rDev +22.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Very nice color. Smooth velvety feel as hits the tongue with a nice Belgium finish. Very enjoyable beer with a deceptively strong content. Taste like more!

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Photo of ahemahem
4.58/5  rDev +21.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is my type: Strong, dark, fizzy and Belgian-style. If those are not your preferred descriptors then you may not go for this, but I love it. At the end of the week I will sometimes knock down the big one, during the week, the small one.

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Photo of arvidkoval
3.51/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

L- Deep ruby red, white.

S- banana, booze, a hint of vinegar.

T- bubble gum, booze, kinda winey.

F- kinda watery, yet bubbly.

O- eh. Not very memorable.

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Photo of Brutaltruth
3.94/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed from the 750 ml bottle in a snifter. Named after one of the greats of jazz, and a personal favorite along with Brubeck whom I was fortunate enough to see in concert.
Brother Thelonious pours a deep reddish brown with a moderate off white head of foam that dissipates to a thick ring and light lacing. Nose of raisins, light brown sugar and caramel, earthy ester powered yeasty goodness, some roasted grain notes, and strong alcohol. Flavors are lightly sweet to the front and sides with a spiciness to the rear from mildly bittering hops blending in nicely with the earthy Belgian yeast. Sweet malts, raisins, and brown sugar are lightly overpowered by the spiciness of the yeast and a mild hop bitterness. The ale finishes lightly dry with a muted sweet aftertaste, and lively carbonated mouth feel. Very nice. The Monk would of been impressed.


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Photo of hreb
3.55/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750mL bottle served in a Belgian tulip glass. Beer pours chestnut brown in color with an ample head. Classic, yeasty aroma. Flavor is traditional BSDA: rich, yeasty, Belgian. It's rich but not complex. Dark, but there's no depth of grain flavor. Dry in the finish, hoppy even. Very drinkable, and perhaps a great introduction to the style for novice advocates of high-octane beer. A solidly mediocre offering of a style with great potential.

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Photo of Briancaldel
4.19/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

(Beat it down the line)

Rich dark copper with Amber hues, light creamy head. Smells of hops and spice and everything nice. Lightly carbonated and very smooth you can taste the high Alcohol in the finish.

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Photo of StArnoldFan
4.04/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The guy below me must be delusional. This is a solid american made abbey style ale. The only copper I got was from the beautiful hue of the beer. North Coast makes some really solid brews and I'm not sure what took me so long to finally try this one. Mild spice and dark fruits come through nicely as it warms. I really enjoyed this one.

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Photo of dacoit
3.91/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Lovely chunky mess of a head that sticks around for a bit, dark and warm, boozy smell with a bit of spice. Less complex taste than one would expect, and underwhelming mouthfeel, but a decent yank quad (or dub?). Had this in 12 oz 4 pack. Big bottle might be a bit much with only 1 or 2.

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Photo of Nolo
4.81/5  rDev +27.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Ill just say this. Really awesome and complex beer. Really tasty, really fruity, really malty. Raisins, sugar, hops, grapes!! Beer Advocate people, this is an awesome beer!!!

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Photo of dhfreak
3.71/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Not bad, not bad at all. Seems a little weak in smell, scents don't stick out as much as some others; taste is a little flat, very little depth. Still, for the price, it's a good buy.

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Photo of Mattygross44
4.2/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

No head or what was one dissipates really quick pours dark brown has a pretty fizzy taste once hitting your mouth but the tail end is where its at not as sweet as some other american quads i tasted which is a good thing for me. i like the boozy taste where you can breath it in. Def not a bad buy for a 25oz was $7.89 at bevmo. If youre into quads like me this is just another to try and knock off the check list

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Photo of coltonbrimhall
3.92/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

-head didn't stay very long and dissipated fast
-nice yeast sent but mellow, overall Belgium yeast sent
-taste is pleasant and very balanced strong dark ale
- the feel is smooth and has a very mellow lingering
- overall a very standard strong dark ale, good beer but not a lot stands out as individualistic

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Photo of tekstr1der
4.07/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Deep, dark red-brown pour with off-white head that quickly disappears. Aroma of sweet fruits and malt, translate well into the flavor with some alcohol, and as some have mentioned - a bit of red wine, especially on the finish which is dry. Tasty stuff.

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Brother Thelonious from North Coast Brewing Co.
3.78 out of 5 based on 2,950 ratings.
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