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RATINGS: 1549   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.64   SEASONAL: Special   IBU: 32   EST. CALORIES: 282   ABV: 9.4%
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With the developing interest in Belgian abbey ales and the monasteries that brew them, it’s time to remind the world that here in the U.S., we have a Monk of our own. Jazz icon Thelonious Monk is the inspiration for North Coast Brewing’s new Belgian-style abbey ale called, appropriately enough, Brother Thelonious. The beer is being released in conjunction with the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz (www.monkinstitute.org), and the brewery will make a contribution to the Institute for every case sold to support jazz education.
2013 vintage - 9.4% abv Like a Belgian “Dark Strong Ale”, the beer is rich and robust with an ABV of 9%. The package is a 750 ml bottle with a traditional cork and wire finish and features a label picturing the jazz master himself.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
joebrew (608) - Farewell Minny; Hello Puyallup, Washington, USA - AUG 28, 2006
Pours a nice burnt amber color, with a small brown-white head and little lacing to speak of. Slight nuttiness on the nose, with a little of the banana esters aroma usually found w/ Belgians. A good dose of malty sweetnessalso lingers. The flavor up front is a little bittersweet with a creamy mouthfeel. The mouthfeel is less than impressive with very little lasting power. I do pick up a strong sweet flavor I can’t quite place almost like a Werthers candy. It is like a sugary Caramel/Toffee flavor. All in all a good beer, but at 7.99 I can think of much better decisions w/in the N.C. family.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 10/20
ClarkVV (3892) - Allston, Massachusetts, USA - AUG 28, 2006
Draught chalice at Redbones on 8/23/06.
Strawberry-raspberry red body has some darker chestnut tints, while the creamy, beige head atop is mostly well-retained, providing moderate lacing. Plentiful carbonation at first, but the bubbles subside quickly. Clarity is medium-high.
Very sweet nose has light breadiness on the back, with a candy-sweet aroma up-front. Multiple flavors of hard candy, pale malt sugars and lighter cherry notes are all rather dainty, with a moderate amount of yeast presence, and light peppery phenols. Kind of smells like a cleaner, lighter version of Unibroue 15. Alcohol is present on the finish, however, after warming. Strength of the aroma is medium to medium-high.
The aroma dosent prepare for the flavor, which in my opinion is radically underattenuated. I appreciate a fair amount of residual sugar in strong Belgian ales as much as the next guy, but here, the flavors become monotonous, merging quickly in to a cherry-flavored iced cream sweetness, accentuated with caramel/toffee on the finish. Lacking the drying phenols and alcohol that would, perhaps, lend balance, and certainly lacking a more lively, engaging carbonation that would help clear the palate. Not really much of a bright fruitiness either, just sort of a dull, sweet cherry ester note, with some bready/grainy malts. Yeast is extremely clean, too much so (or perhaps, just gets overwhelmed in the sugar?). Might as well get some better character from the yeast (which seems pseudo-Belgian, precisely as ChrisQ says) if you’re going to brew a Belgian style. I’d rather have a light vegetal character, as from the Unibroue yeast, than this soul-lacking and cloying beer. Couldn’t finish my glass.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
willblake (2653) - Bel Air, Maryland, USA - AUG 27, 2006
24.07.06 750ml bottle at BCTC, again at NYRBG, Belgian Room, and another waiting in the wings. I keep trying this stuff and for some reason am expecting much more out of it than I’m getting. Cursory notes here, more to follow as I explore this beer with an entire 750ml bottle. Sweet, spicy, and ester-rich, this teak colored beer invites another sip with each swallow. Somehow I was hoping that there would be greater complexity, but this beer seems to be relying mostly on its yeasts for flavor and aroma. Quite drinkable with nicely hidden alcohol.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
WeeHeavySD (3360) - San Diego (Hillcrest), Oregon, USA - AUG 26, 2006
UPDATED: FEB 27, 2008 Bottle on 8/26/06 purchased at Bev Mo in Mission Valley San Diego. Pours a rich deep dark slightly cloudy amber. With a large head that dissipates to a thin layer. The aroma is sweet and malty. The taste is also sweet and very tasty, with hints of fruit and a lingering sweetness in the aftertaste. As a fan of Monk and North Coast I’m happy to rate this wonderful Belgian styled ale as delicious.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
holdenn (2080) - Chicago, Illinois, USA - AUG 25, 2006
On tap @ Maproom: Pours a rasin amber color with a thin off white head. Red grapes dominate the aroma with raisins, plums, and some belgian spices. The flavors follow suit of the aromas with some a little bit of cherries and vanilla. Overall a pretty good beer, but not quite great.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Palidor19 (2970) - Brandon, Florida, USA - AUG 24, 2006
I did enjoy this one very much, but it fails at at a certian level that gives a great "WOW" factor. still its got an intial taste of cherries and raision with a storng Alcohol punch. Make sure you give this one a try

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 18/20
joshwilfong (1200) - Cleveland, Ohio, USA - AUG 24, 2006
very nice red mohaghany appearance, scent of figs, nice sweet malty taste. very good double.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
hopscotch (9242) - Vero Beach, Florida, USA - AUG 24, 2006
Bottle... Clear, very dark ruby ale with a small, fizzy, beige head. Raisin, banana, clove and bubblegum esters and phenols escape the glass and find shelter in the happy confines of my nose. Well balanced flavor with lots of sweet chocolate/tobacco maltiness up front followed by just enough hop and alcohol bitterness to level the playing field. Full-bodied and oily with lively carbonation. Finishes bittersweet. Too good to put the glass down… which is unfortunate since I ended up falling asleep on the couch while holding it. Woke up soaked. Battle scars all over the couch and my clothes. Nothing new here.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 14/20
lagermonkey (725) - Marietta, Georgia, USA - AUG 23, 2006
Pours a deep reddish brown with a 1/4 inch tan head. Head dissipates to a wisp and leaves no lacing on the goblet. Cherry and rich malty aromatics eminate from the glass. Hints of oaky vanilla. Taste is the same rich tones as the smell. Hint of alcohol, a bit of port. Lots of sour cherry and rich malt. A bit less body than you would expect. More medium bodied than heavy. The flavors don’t quite mesh. Maybe with age? Mixed feelings on this one but not a bad Belgian-style American ale.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
TerryR (384) - Oswego, Illinois, USA - AUG 22, 2006
Deep amber with a tan head that quickly disappears. Aroma of dark fruit, candy sugar, spice and alcohol. Flavor follows the aromas as spiciness is more noticeable followed by a fairly alcoholic finish. A very nice beer, but it did not meet my expectations from a brewery that produces some great beers.

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