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RATINGS: 1595   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 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
illinismitty (2270) - Nashville, Tennessee, USA - SEP 2, 2006
Sampled at Rivers Bend in Cincinnati. Pours a reddish brown with a diminishing off white head. Plummy and yeasty aroma. Mouthfeel is slightly syrupy. Flavor of vanilla, dark fruits, and some slight peat. Lots of residual sweetness. Spicy finsih with a tad amount of alcohol. Not bad.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
Metalhead (633) - Lake Zurich, Illinois, USA - SEP 2, 2006
Pours a reddish brown in my St. Bernardus goblet. Modest head. Almost no lacing.Mild aroma of semi sweet malts,some dark fruit and a bit earthy. Semi sweet malt,dark fruit,almonds,hints of vanilla with a slightly spicey finish. Easy to drink and at $6.49 a cork top a decent value. ABV nicely hidden. Just which it had a little more "oomph" to it.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
omhper (20606) - Tyresö, SWEDEN - SEP 2, 2006
[Bottled at Oliver Twist, Stockholm] Deep ruby, brief head. No sediment. Evidently Belgian style aroma of almond, caramel and a surprising whiff of smoke. Sweet and solidly malty with fairly clean mouthfeel. Almond gets ever more evident, and woody smoke lingers throughout. Packed with interesting flavours, but the mouthfeel leaves something to be desired.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
beertime (23) - Minnesota, USA - AUG 31, 2006
Bottle- Redish brown in colour with rapidly diminishing beige head. Aroma of dried plums and raisins with a little alcohol. Taste is very malty and has a sweet creamy mouthfeel. A lttile too sweet for me. I expexted more to this beer due to the fact North Coast is a solid brewery. Not very complex IMHO.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Svesse (6757) - Hässelby, SWEDEN - AUG 30, 2006
(Bottle, Oliver Twist, Stockholm) Colour is dark brown, almost mahogany, with beige head. Nose is malty with dried fruit, prunes and raisins, slightly wineous alcohol notes. Taste is malty and nutty with marzipan, bitter orange marmalade and dried fruit, slightly wineous alcohol character, nice finish with notes of spicey hops. Some sweetness lingering in the alcohol, but actually drier than expected. Not really ingratiating, but it definitely grows on you. Complex and very well balanced.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 19/20
nhlbeerstud (1) - acworth, Georgia, USA - AUG 30, 2006 does not count
One of the best belgina style abbeys I have had. Nice dark-burnt amber color, light tan head. Very slight yeast taste, also not overly sweet like some abbeys. Alcohol comes through about halfway through the bottle. Great beer from an already great brewery!!!!!

   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 (4003) - 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 (2654) - 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 (3359) - 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.

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