Brother Thelonious | North Coast Brewing Co.

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Brother TheloniousBrother Thelonious

Brewed by:
North Coast Brewing Co.
California, United States | website

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: 1,028 | Ratings: 2,941
Photo of BeerSox
4.3/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle into snifter.

Deep and clear ruby red color with a thick tan colored head that slowly settles to a thick fizzy cap. Solid lacing coats the glass.

Sweet fruit flavors mixed with a strong caramel aroma, and a little bit of roasty coffee.

Toasty malts lend flavors such as caramel and toffee, along with roasted coffee bean. A little bit of cherry accentuates the malt character. A tiny hint of hops is in the background. Full bodied with slightly higher than average carbonation giving a thick feel with a little bit of fizz. A light creaminess flows over the other flavors.

A very complex interpretation of a Belgian Ale by North Coast Brewing. I feel they did a pretty good job. Recommended.

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Photo of Kudashov
2.27/5  rDev -39.9%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

25 .oz bottle poured into a clean chalice . With a very aggressive pour there is little head , none . Not like the the chalice on the label . The head faded so quick , very disappointing . Smells of chocolate and fruit. Brown clear hue with no lacing as head reduced to nothing . Taste is spicy like BBQ sauce but also very watery . This not the worst brew I have had during my new hobby but this is bland , boring , brown water . Bleak . When this quest of finding " new beer " was started there have been some lousy beers but this is very disappointing . The 9 abv is well hidden , hidden behind a boring lousy brew for 9+ bucks a bomber . First time , last time .

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Photo of vickersspitfire
3.73/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

It poured out with a nice thick, tan head that was really fluffy and slowly dissipated into a thin layer that gathered around the edge of the glass and created a nice medium lacing. It has a nice dark reddish/brown color and is really beautiful when held up to the light. Its aroma is not as strong as I thought it would be; its mild with sweet undertones and it has a bitter taste that seems to over power the sweetness in it. It also has a mild cry aftertaste that has a hint of alcohol to it.

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

I suppose that we are lucky to get this one time brew in Sweden. Good old Systemet hit us with two beers from NCBC in February, 2007. The other was Rasputin. Brother Thelonius poured in a brown color with lots of thick late-colored foam but settling down to a finger. The smell slowly filled the room- apricot, yeast, caramel and licorice. The taste had an initial metallic feature followed by sweet fruits, some yeast, and licorice and alcohol in the end. The head was almost gone at this time. All and all I found it rather restrained, bordering on watery.

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Photo of beertastegood
4.09/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark red-brown, clear with a medium size head that fades leaving lace on the chalice.

Aroma: cherry, plum, brown sugar, hint of clove, spicy pepper. The fruitiness really stands out - this aroma is frickin' amazing. Alcohol is noticeable, but not up front.

More phenolic than fruity, spiciness dominates with a pleasant raisin and apple character behind it. Slightly toasty malt, Moderate hop flavor, fades into a sweet but not slick finish. Aftertaste is of spiced apples (not acetaldehyde...). Not as complex as the nose, but very well orchestrated flavors.

Mouthfeel: smooth, medium body and carbonation. I like strong darks, but some of them seem to be way too carbonated. Not so with this beer.

Drinkability: Good. Not too overwhelming on the palate or the stomach.

All in all, a well above average strong dark. Great sipping beer. North Coast gets a thumbs up for this one.

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Photo of guinnessfan
3.79/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750 mL bottle, from State Line, poured into oversized wine glass.

A: Cloudy brown/dark caramel color with no head, even with an aggressive pour, and no lacing.

S: Sweet molasses and alcohol sting.

T: Boozy, dark, surgary fruit/molasses, carmelized malt? Possible yeasty flavor.

M: Medium body and carbonation. Alcohol leaves a warming sensation all the way down.

D: Too high ABV and slightly boozy, but nonetheless, a decent offering. Strong alcohol flavor as expected from North Coast.

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Photo of ppoitras
3.08/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

750ml bottle purchased at Julio's, Westboro, MA. Corked and caged.

Poured in a heavy glass chalice, formed a 1/4" tan head over the totally murky reddish brown brew. Head slowly fades to an uneven layer of bubbles, with quick-falling lacing that rathers be in contact with the liquid. Aroma is hearty malt sweetness and alcohol. Taste is moderate grain upfront, quickly overpowered by some fruit tartness and drying alcohol, which warms the gullet as well. Mouthfeel seems a bit thin for such a substantial brew, and drinkability is really not that great. I'm looking for more malt character and depth of overall flavor, don't need to be wowed by alcohol vapors.

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Photo of younger35
3.85/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Drank from a simple ol pint glass. Bought this on a whim along with 4 other North Coast goodies.

Appearence- Pours a murky light brown/dark reddish. Almost orange in it's haze. Lots of fine carbonation bubbles gather to form a thin but consistant head. No Discernable lacing.
Smell- Nice sweet yeasty tones. Almost earthy smelling malty goodness with big wiffs of dark citrusy fruits. Cherry, blackberry spiceyness really makes for a enjoyable smelling experience.
Taste- Fruity, candy sweet taste. Nice darker roasted malts hit the tongue with a spicy cherry/berry start. The very noticable familar yeast taste adds to the complexity. Finishes with a medium dryness and a bitterness on that back of the tongue. Very subtle alcohol undertone that is covered nicely by the big sweetness.
Mouthfeel- Maybe a touch overcarbonated but not bad. Leaves a very sticky bitter taste in mouth from the medium body. Hints of warming alcohol loiters for a few moments.
Drinkability- A very nice brew that has some very tasty characteristics. Definitely a nice tasty treat every-once-in-a-while but not more than one bottle type beer. An excellent cheese and cracker beer.

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Photo of kelticblood
3.39/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Very nice dark brown color with a small beige head. Aside from a great looking color the head was unimpressive and was only worth a 3.0. The aroma is very complex and smells of very sweet malts, hops, coffee, expresso, and roasted grains. The taste is very very sweet and almost too much for me. I am not into very sweet food or drink. Moderate bitterness with an extremely dry coffee-like finish. The mouthfeel lacks carbonation and is a touch watery. The high ABV is very evident and felt after about five sips. Lacks the typical Belgian Yeast aroma and taste I've come to expect and love with just a tiny showing in the taste. I think U.S brewers should leave Belgian Strong Ale's up to the Belgians. The is a feeble attempt to perfect greatness. After about five minutes the head completely dissapeared and gave it a look of flat cola. The cork gave a loud pop when opened so I know there was no leak that might lose carbonation. I wouldnt reccomend this and wouldn't try it again. Stick with real Belgian products.

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Photo of crwills
3.78/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Part of a tasting with northyorksammy, biegaman, grub, and derek. Thanks guys!

Great colour, mostly clear medium brown pour with no head. Chocolate and toffee aroma. Strong alcohol roaming right up front, with fruity and floral hops and bready yeast notes. Bit of a watery mouthfeel and a fakey coke or candy floss aftertaste.

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Photo of MrHungryMonkey
4.05/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The big 100’th review here… Whoop! I saved Thelonious for this for a few weeks.

Ready, set, POP!

Dark dark ruby/brown, almost black. Mild-to-moderate head that doesn’t stick around. Brilliant Colors, wink wink.

Tart spicy hops with underlying floral bouquet. Sweet malt base: roasted and candy sugar. Plum/cherry vibe. Nicely balanced. Mild warmth and phenol.

Smooth and thick tart fruit brew. Medium-to-full bodied. First taste I note is tart fruit flavor: grape/plum/cherry with dark ripeness afoot. Hops are floral with mild spicy and citric tones. Malt base is deeply sweet with: roasted malt, Belgian candy sugar, light bread/biscuit, and very light caramel/toffee notes. Mildly warm, alcohol is impressively subdued. Mildly carbonated throughout. Finishes tart and mostly dry.

Nicely balanced. A rich and complex array of flavors. Foams up in mouth just about perfectly. The hop flavor jumps right out initially, subsides, and then the malt blooms. The result is a tasty cherry/plum/grape dark fruit brew. Warmth is surprisingly low for a 9.4%. This brew is quite filling, my stomach tells me it is full only 550 ml into BT, silly stomach. Also, I feel thirsty, this brew isn’t much for thirst-quenching. All things considered: the more I have, the more I like it…

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Photo of Stubbie1
3.08/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A light tan head sits upon this mahogany colored brew. First is the alcohol then a touch of spices on the nose, a hint of dark fruit mixes in at the end leaving the lips sticky. Taste is a bit on the fruity side at first then a rush of the alcohol takes over, a bit watery on the finish. Loads of carbonation on the tongue and in the mouth.
Overall an O.K beer, nice looks, a bit weak on the nose and it lost me in the taste. The flavors washed out to fast for me and left a bit of a watery feel on the tongue. With the wash out at the end leaves this brew a bit low on the drinkability.

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Photo of jim102864
3.31/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A somewhat disappointing beer for a beer with a great name and equally creative label. The appearance is a reddish mahogany with a modest head that bubbles away rather quickly in my Chimay goblet. The aroma was minimal at best. Maybe a passing wiff of chocolate, but is that the best this accomplished brewery can do? I expect more for the price. The taste is equally understated and unremarkable. Some maltiness but what is the dominate taste? Chocolate maybe? Nothing more than a hint of brown sugar. The mouthfeel was smooth and void of any hop bitterness. Some carbonation. Yeah, it's a drinkable brew, but somewhat unremarkable for North Coast.

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Photo of Derek
3.8/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I picked this up from The Bottleshoppe in Bellingham, WA.

I definitely agree that it's more of a strong dark than a dubbel. It's got plenty of byproducts from the yeast, but it's lacking the dark (raisin/plum) fruityness.

A: Dark brown with ruby highlights, light tan head, great retention, hints of lace.

S: Fruity, spicy, apple, pineapple, bubblegum.

T: Bready, bubblegum, brown sugar, candyfloss, light caramel, hints of phenolic spicyness, cola. Plenty of Belgian flavours from this American... but it might need a little Belgian malt.

M: Moderate body is nicely attenuated. Moderate carbonation.

D: Good.

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Photo of Sammy
3.38/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

amber with soapy big head, lace. Watery, sweet and orange peel, which makes it easy to drink, herbal tea spicey which turns it off for me. A tad toasted malt. Thanks Derek.Big alcohol, not noticeable, but inefficient to the taste. Serviceable beer, not quite up to its style. So passable.

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Photo of grub
3.9/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

quarterly tasting party feb 21/07 with northyorksammy, Derek, crwills, biegaman and me (grub). everyone threw in a few bottles and we had an interesting mix of beer. Derek contributed this one, so thanks derek!

corked and caged 750ml bottle.

pours a deep red-brown with a thin dark yellow head that drops fast and leaves no lace.

aroma is nice. earthy with a bit of alcohol. bit of dark fruit, cherries in particular. bit of chocolate.

taste is ok. caramel and dark chocolate. fruity. moderate bitterness. alcohol. sweet cola-like character. hint of spice.

mouthfeel is good. nice medium body with a good moderate carbonation level.

drinkability is ok. alcohol is a bit high and a touch too sweet.

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Photo of ericj551
4.18/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Brother Thelonious pours a beautiful deep ruby/crimson with a light off-white head. Smell is a slight sour maltiness with a hint of toasted grains, fruity with some damp and citrusy hops. Taste is rich and malty. Lots of fruity esters with a nice resiny hop bitterness and flavor more than balancing out the malts. Its sweet, but not overly so for 9% abv. Alcohol is apparent but doesn't really detract from the beer overall. Nice hints of darker malts as well. There is a bit of yeasty flavor, as well as the same slight sourness from the aroma. I really enjoyed this beer and I'll be sure to grab it again when I can afford it.

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Photo of allengarvin
4.21/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Duvel glass, this makes an absolutely pour: dark reddish-tinted mahogany with a huge, rocky head head of foam--nearly 3 inches. Nose is a bit light--malty, with fruity esters--but not rich. Delightful flavor, though: toffee, bread-crust malt, with a huge fruitiness (ripe cherries, soaked and cooked raisins). Alcohol is only lightly apparent by the warming at the finish. Good bodied, medium-light for the strength, as appropriate for the style.

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Photo of jdhilt
4.15/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a two-fingered light tan head that fades slowly leaving a good lace. Hazy red/amber color. Light-medium carbonation and medium-heavy bodied. Raisin nose. Starts as sweet raisin/maple, hints of the high ABV with a prickly finish. 750ml bottle gift from Boston, MA area.

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Photo of Morris729
3.9/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazy dark burgundy color with a foamy beige head that recedes into a moderate lace. Nose is fruity cherry and plum along with some brown sugar and spicy alcohol. Taste begins with sweet maple syrup and dark fruit along with some bready yeast. There are more subdued flavors of chocolate and banana towards the middle of the taste. A dry and spicy alcohol flavor comes across towards the finish. Enjoyable enough now, but I’d be curious to see how this develops with a little aging.

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Photo of velo343
4.35/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - A deep mahogany, full white head that disappeared quickly.

Smell - Lots of alcohol and fruity esters, a bit of raisin, pear, and fig. There's a faint smell of phenols, most notably cloves.

Taste - First thing that's apparent is the high carbonation of the beer, which brings out the presence of the alcohol with a pronounced sharpness. A lot of dark fruit taste, like raisins and figs. Also some toasted malts and a hint of chocolate as well.

Drinkability - The high carbonation really gives this a distinct taste unlike every other belgian dark. Has all the typical flavors with very good balance. Really enjoyable.

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Photo of blitheringidiot
3.87/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

$8 from Holling's Head Deli in CA.

Pours a thick cloudy haze of churned mahagony topped with a settled beige frothy cap. Lacks any lace residue left behind in the galss.

Nose is a bright dark fruit of plum, fig and dates with a bit of baked bread. Full aromatic scents roll off the glass followed by a pinch of port wine aromas.

First swigs: Mashed up dark fruits of ripe banana, dates and spice cake. A touch of cocoa, molasses and cola. Interesting flavors open up. Bitter baker's chocolate mingles its way in there. A red wine vinous flavor breaks out in the middle. Minor gripe is that this one falls off fast and leaves a tad bit of a harsh solvent finish with a brash ending. If not for that, this would really shine.

Feel is a full bodied dubbel aspects with a dry dusty finish. Warmth on the palate. As far as a Belgie Strongie, this is a little messy.

Last swigs: 9.0% ABV. Wow! Well hidden until the end. I wish that this finished with a sweeter doughy finish but the harsh finish didn't make the grade.

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Photo of peabody
3.5/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours out a really reddish black opaque liquid with two fingers of tan suds that stay with the chalice leaving lots of lacing around the rim.
Smell is raisin/grapefruit hints and just a little malt and the very present yeast. Sugar and caramel combine to make this almost smell like a root beer.
First taste is sugar and then the alcohol makes it's presence known. Just a hint of coffee and spice but the toasted malt and sweet alcohol burn seem to be the strongest flavors here.
Mouthfeel is pretty clean but the lack of carbonation seems to make this a dull watery experience.
You really wouldn't want this as a session beer. And you might not want it again because there are so many great belgians from belgium, why mess with perfection.

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Photo of jjayjaye
3.5/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured a dark ruby color with orange hue. A tan head fades slowly. It's clear with noticeable effervescent.

An aggressive sweet raisin aroma and the presence of alcohol over malt.

A medium body and lively mouthfeel. Alcohol dominants before the sweet malt flavor and the warmth runs all the way down.

No attempt to hide any of the 9% and the distraction makes it less drinkable to me. Cool label.

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Photo of arizcards
4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a bomber from AJ's in late October for 7.59.

Beer poured a deep mahogany with an off white head that is hanging in well. Nose is sticky sweet malts and candies as well as hints of dark fruits. Taste is of candied sugar, malts, dark fruits. Mouthfeel is nice and smooth. Overall drinkability is good as the brewer did a nice job of masking the abv. This is not far from being an awesome beer but it lacks the true belgian yeast that would make it great. But it is definitely a nice beer and worthy of a try.

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Brother Thelonious from North Coast Brewing Co.
85 out of 100 based on 1,028 ratings.
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