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RATINGS: 1601   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.65   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 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 8/20
GadgetGeek (36) - Snellville, Georgia, USA - SEP 17, 2006
Good first taste of this beer. I drank it while it was too cold but as the beer started to warm it developed some chocolate and fig tastes. Almost no head on this beer and little or no lacing.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
Cornfield (5570) - Oak Forest, Illinois, USA - SEP 17, 2006
This has a deep brown body with red highlights and a slender tan head. No lacing. It’s got a sweet, yeasty aroma with dried fruits (raisin, date, prune), dark brown sugar, sweet toffee, and a daub of chocolate. Lively carbonation in the mouth. The flavor is sweet and malty, now caramel, with all of the fruit, the sugar, some root beer, suggestions of milk chocolate, and a hint of alcohol. A good salute to Thelonius Monk.

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   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
jmuhops (669) - Winchester, Virginia, USA - SEP 17, 2006
Pours deep brown with orange highlights. Very fruity aroma--raisin and grape, fig, and a touch of something lighter and sweeter--with some underlying chocolate and toffee. A fair amount of yeast and a hint of alcohol, as well. The flavor is a big hit of brown sugar with some vinous notes and a jaunting caramel sweetness that speaks of cola. Thick mouthfeel, medium carbonation. Good effort.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
MartinT (8396) - Montreal, Quebec, CANADA - SEP 15, 2006
Any first impressions?
-A ring of foam circles the burgundy-brown gown.
-Delicate chocolate emanates from the cold coffee, as roastiness whispers nearby.
-Vanilla and chocolate sweetness offering sufficient malty pleasures to keep the tastebuds interested.
-The expansive effervescence can’t overthrow the lusty maltiness.

What if you dig deeper?
-A vinous fruitiness swims underneath it all.
-A leveled sweetness smoothly finishes the sip, evoking caramel-covered raisins.
-A genuine Belgian Strong which could substitute a St.Bernardus Abt once in a while, but which simply isn’t jazzy enough to be considered as ingenious.

Bottle; no date.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
StewardofGondor (1934) - Washington Heights - Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA - SEP 14, 2006
Translucent and fiery amber with blatant filtration and force carbonation. A brief, fuzzy, grayish tan head recedes to distant galaxy dust. Aroma is laden with brandied prunes, maple sugar and a touch of bubblegum. Some caramelized golden raisins, chestnuts basking in brandy Manhattan matter, and rummy apple butter over caramel laden grahams join sequential wafts as well. Large scale flavor profile hammers out honey coated hazelnuts and heavily caramelized golden raisins. Nutmeg, ginger and allspice droll up the spice patrol. Candied, light fruited figs and drippy, gooey grahams. Brown sugar bake casserole over a brandy figgy pudding. If coriander could be caramelized, North Coast did it. Tasty and amiable, with and escalating effervescence that keeps the stickiness and syrupy nature back. Honeycomb, apple butter, golden raisins and fig juice drip down the lane, eventually succumbing to a thicker caramel tract, which in turn creates a fruity-graham-toffee bark character in its stead. A touch of dry, candied cigar wrappers sees us out.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
Lubiere (10846) - Ottawa, Ontario, CANADA - SEP 13, 2006
Reddish brown ale with a thin moka head. Sweet licorice malt, vanilla beans with molasse and vinous notes, and warming alcohol. In mouth, a sweet brown sugar with vinous notes, light belgian hops, and anis seed. Medium bodied and interesting. Enjoyed with the Mtl Crew Sept. 9, 2006.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
Jokes (1453) - Chicago, Illinois, USA - SEP 12, 2006
Clear, brilliant ruby red with a thin, instantly dissipating brown head leaving a thin ring at the edge of the glass. Fruity, lightly malty aroma that remains interesting without being too sweet. Chocolate, toffee, cherries, raisins, spiced rum, toasted bread, tropical fruit esters, vanilla, cinnamon, clove, plum and perhaps a touch of banana bread. The body is on the bigger side, but not outrageous. The carbonation is on the lower side, approaching non-existent. The flavor is mostly sweet with fairly obvious alcohol and mild spice character. This is a big beer with loads of residual sweetness. Due to the elevated alcohol, the beer doesn’t seem as sweet as it could, but there is definitely little that can be characterized as dry. This is pretty tasty, but not as interesting as I had hoped. Maybe a little time will help, I’m just not sure I’m ready to make that investment yet.

   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 13/20
argo0 (11972) - Washington DC, USA - SEP 9, 2006
(750ml bottle) Minimal beige head that vanishes quickly, atop clear ruby body. Aroma is medium sweet, plum, some perfume, alcohol astringency. Taste is moderately sweet, plum, light caramel, vinous, some alcohol. Soft, medium-full body, some stickiness.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
shigadeyo (3190) - Harrison, Ohio, USA - SEP 8, 2006
UPDATED: AUG 5, 2008
Sampled from bottle at River’s Bend on 9/1/2006 - Thanks Matt! This one was sweet and thick. Amber color, mostly clear. Moderate carbonation. Also had some bitterness to it that was okay, but not great. Not nearly as well balanced and interesting as the Victory V12! Rating: 7 3 7 4 15 = 3.6

8/05/2008: According to the label, Brother Thelonious is a "Belgian Style Abbey Ale". Yep, it sure looks (dark amber-brown color with a frothy dark beige head), smells (strong and fruity with dark/dried fruit, sweet caramelized malt, banana, and more), and tastes (good presence of caramelized and slightly roasted malts, aged dark fruits such as dates and berries/cherries, hints of banana and subtle smokiness, candi sugar, and a strong but tasty alcohol presence) like it! It starts on the sweet side and moves through the main flavors toward a strong, slightly dry finish. This beer is strong, yet intriguingly complex and tasty brew! It has a medium to medium-full body and a smooth mouthfeel. Actually, this beer reminds me of a good Scotch Ale in a number of ways...

12 fl. oz. bottle (Alc/Vol. 9.4%) from tish. Thanks again Tish! Rating: 7 4 8 3 16 = 3.8

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
RollinHard (1024) - Fort Worth, Texas, USA - SEP 7, 2006
This beer poured with a nice initial fizzy head, but it dissipated quickly to a trace amount of bubbles in the very center. Aroma is yeasty and spicy, with occasional hints of a smokey malt flavor. Very nice and ever-present. Taste continues those flavors, with a bit of nuttiness, and mellow roasty bitterness in the finish. Sounds very well and good, but the beer should be a bit thicker. This way all of the flavors can fully coat your mouth. Towards the end, I think the yeast flavors became a little strong for me, but overall I still found this beer enjoyable and worth trying. North Coast did a good job making a genuine abbey style ale, even if there’s room for improvement.

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