Monday, February 1, 2010

216. North Coast Brother Thelonious Belgian Style Abbey Ale

Brother Thelonius is our fifth beer from North Coast; our run thus far includes Old No. 38 Stout, Red Seal Ale, Cru d’Or Organic Belgian Style Ale and Old Rasputin XII. And by the way, the piano halo around Monk’s head is a very nice touch.

Brother Thelonious has a dark fruit and sweet malt nose with hints of grape, plum, and raisin. The clear dark brown color has red and orange highlights, and the head is a creamy tan that slowly reduces to a ring around the edge of the glass. Starting richly sweet and fruity, Brother Thelonious moves into a wide array of fruit flavor in the middle, characterized by black cherry, plum, prune, and raisin. The finish dries out slightly, and the dark fruits shift to fig flavors as the beer closes out on the palate, along with some lingering candied fruit accents. Medium to heavy bodied, Brother Thelonious is rich and thick with decent carbonation, but only a minimal bite. The fruit complexity is one of the strengths of the beer, but the sweetness is a bit cloying, especially as it warms. Elli had a harder time with this beer than I did—the sweetness was too much for her across the palate, and impeded her enjoyment—she referred to the sweetness as both sticky and cloying. Both of us did like the Crudor quite a bit, but the sweetness of the malt profile was more toned down in that beer. Nonetheless, good drinking, but be prepared to take you time with this one.

From the bottle: “North Coast Brewing is proud to be associated with the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz ( and is pleased to contribute $2 to the Institute for every case of Brother Thelonious Belgian Style Abbey Ale sold.”

From the North Coast website: “Like a Belgian Dark Strong Ale, the beer is rich and robust with an ABV of 9.3%. The package is a 750 ml bottle with a traditional cork and wire finish or 12oz 4 packs and features a label picturing the jazz master himself.”

ABV: 9.4%
IBU: 32


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