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RATINGS: 1695   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.65/5   SEASONAL: Special   IBU: 32   EST. CALORIES: 282   ABV: 9.4%
With the developing interest in Belgian abbey ales and the monasteries that brew them, itís 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 Brewingís 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 ďDark Strong AleĒ, 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 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 15/20
Suttree (5882) - Knoxville, Tennessee, USA - DEC 3, 2006
Clear brownish mahogany, thin head. Spicy, cinnamon aroma. Bready, toasty flavor. Subtle fruity noes - rasisna nd prune, crisp woodsy hop bite at the end. Nice earthy flavors as it warms, perhpas a hint of ginger, too. Body seems a bit on the thin side.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
sayravai (4706) - Helsinki, FINLAND - DEC 3, 2006
(Bottled, 0.75l, thanks, Markku!) Dark ruby color wiith a medium-large, foamy head. Caramely-syrupy aroma with red currant and some wineous oakiness. Rye-pudding is also present, slightly Samichlaus-style. Grainy, sugary-syrupy, berry jelly flavor with some alcohol in the finish. Vinous, medium to full-bodied, very syrupy, sweet and thick palate with medium carbonation. An extremely sweet, quite straightforward and not very balanced dessert brew. Somewhat reminds me of the German "Stšrktes bier der Welt", although itís not nearly as thick.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
fly (1454) - austin, Tejas, Texas, USA - NOV 27, 2006
Alcohol abounds. Little other than the usual suspects arise. To become jaded with a style has great drawbacks and being presented with a cool bottle festooned with the likeness of a jazz great, then not to care al too much for it is a shame. I like North Coast and feel they could have done this one justice. Itís not a complete failure. Itís not BAD, I just donít care that much for a beer screamiomg alcohol and sweetness. Tone it down or amp it in a different direction. Monk was a powerful player but he didnít hit me over the head.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
TomDecapolis (4618) - Milton, Delaware, USA - NOV 27, 2006
On tap at Ortinos Northside. Pours a darker brown/amber with a smaller off white creamy head. Aroma of dark fruits, molasses, caramel and candi sugars. Flavors of dark fruits, vineous, some caramel/toffee and alcohol. I have a bottle of this around as well and I will revisit my notes when I crack open that 750.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
Brigadier (3475) - Chagrin Falls, Ohio, USA - NOV 26, 2006
750 ml bottle

I picked this gem up at Binnyís in Schaumburg for only $6.00. Iíd seen it before in Madison, so thought I would give it a try. After all, if North Coast can do such a good job with Old Rasputin, they should be able to make a decent Belgian strong ale. I was not disappointed at all. In fact, Iím glad I picked up two so now I have another to pop open in a few months time.

Aroma / Appearance - A huge two-finger bubbly head soon settled to about one finger. The body underneath was a dark amber color, close to the shade of melted dark chocolate. The nose was an interesting juxtoposition of caramel, chocolate, truffles, canddy sugar, oak and bananas.

Flavor / Palate - A smoky mouthfeel takes about two seconds to unfurl from the start of the first sip. Once it does, a pleasant combination of rich dark chocolate, yeast and cherries fills the mouth. The chocolate texture lingers long after the rest fades away. The finish was a little too yeasty (like liquid rye bread) but on the whole this struck a nice balance between maltiness and yeast. While not the best Belgian strong ale, this would make a great standby if I could get it in the Madison area. Send me your extras and Iíll make sure they get disposed of.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
JoeMcPhee (9169) - Toronto, ON, Ontario, CANADA - NOV 26, 2006
750 ml corked and caged. Clear, dark brown beer with aroma of dried fruit, plums, prunes and raisins. Floral/herbal hops with a light mintiness as well. There is a bit of breadiness in the aroma as well. Flavour shows nice balance. Fruity sweetness, but it isnít cloying or sugary like many american examples in this style. Flavour os sweet bread and dried fruit with floral hop flavour backing it up. Lingering flowery and minty finish. As it warms a faint smokiness emerges against the other sweet dark malts. Great brew.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
erway (1004) - Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA - NOV 25, 2006
Pours a deep brown with a very quickly dissipating head. Aroma is spicy; cinnamon, anise, vanilla, quite sweet smelling, caramel and chocolate with a touch of banana. Body is med. and sweet with ls CO2 than I would expect. The flavor is enjoyable but singular. Caramel and belgian esters; mainly banana. The finish, while fairly dry is overpowered by a lingering sweetness. They do a good job of hiding the alohl but man this is sweet and it does lak the complexity of the great Belgians.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
jpm30 (1587) - East Central, Georgia, USA - NOV 23, 2006
From a 750 ml. caged corked bottle with a short blurb along the left side of the label, the Man in a belgian monk outfit, no bottling/freshness date. Sampled at cellar temperature in a chalice. Poured a rich looking Belgian ale brown with a frothy, foamy pale tan/beige head that settled into a thin lacing. Nutty aroma (this is Monk after all) with coffee and candied sugar, raisins mingled with pears fruitiness, spices and cocoa, and small whiffs of straight with no chaser alcohol. Good, even, slightly out of time carbonation and a crisp, velvety smooth medium-light bodied mouthfeel, almost perfect for the style. Spicy, nutty, just delicious taste, a toasted nuttiness, caramel and coffee, again the raisin and pears fruitiness with a touch of apple, a light sugariness, just a enough spiciness to tame the nutty flavors, hints of cocoa towards the end, the alcohol mixes the spices and malts and provides a warming presence in the palate, and a toasted nutty grain, cocoa finish. Right now, my favorite brew from North Coast, easy to see the inspiration from an American musical giant, if you donít know Monk, you know nothing. (Music: Thelonious Monk Quartet with John Coltrane at Carnegie Hall, November 29, 1957)

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
BeerandBlues2 (11732) - Escondido, California, USA - NOV 21, 2006
750 mL caged and corked bottle. Pours a lightly cloudy reddish brown with an average frothy light brown head, somewhat diminishing. Aroma is heavy malt (cookie, caramel, roasted), average hops (perfume, flowers, grass), light yeast (dough) with notes of banana, dates and vanilla. Long duration, heavy sweetness, harsh bitterness and acidity. Full bodied, alcoholic texture, lively carbonation and bitter finish. I suspect that this beer will benefit greatly from sitting in the cellar for a few years.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
nimbleprop (6996) - SouthWest, Washington, Washington DC, USA - NOV 21, 2006
Poured a ruby near brown amber with a frothy tan head. Smells of yeast, berries, alcohol and fruit. Nice flavor, sugary and malty. Thankfully the flavor isnít dominated by yeast. Alcohol hits on the end and warms the mouth.

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