Le Merle - North Coast Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Le MerleLe Merle

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
88
very good

1,181 Ratings
THE BROS
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Ratings: 1,181
Reviews: 486
rAvg: 3.9
pDev: 10%
Wants: 34
Gots: 109 | FT: 4
Brewed by:
North Coast Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Saison / Farmhouse Ale |  7.90% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerBeing on 06-03-2007

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (19) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,181 | Reviews: 486
Photo of timontheroad
4.05/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hazylight golden color, big billowy head. Aroma was citrusy, spicy and funky. The taste was big belgian yeast up front, with some nice orange and pepper notes. The mouthfeel was light, dry with some nice prickly carbonation. Overall, this was a pretty good representation of the style, but for my money, I'm gonna stick with Tank 7 in the future.

Photo of badgustav
4.09/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A good example of a saison, but nothing astounding here. At Northern seldom does this style, I'll cut them some slack

Photo of ShamasUVA
4.43/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

In a 12 oz bottle, the new capped version. Excellent saison in all aspects, except could use a little more carbonation.

Excellent dryness. Yeast esters are super interesting!

Photo of JFrank78
4.48/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

From the bottle. It's a hazy golden pour, good head and an inviting smell. I've been going back to Le Merle for a good while. Subtle citrus and frisky hops. Yum, yum. It tastes like late summer at the ballpark.

Photo of leaddog
3.71/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Appearance - Pours a hazy gold colour with four fingers of overflowing foamy white head.

Smell - Hints of Belgian yeast, orange peel, spicy hops, and a touch of pepper. Aromas are fairly subdued.

Taste - A punch of orange peel and Belgian yeast, along with the spicy hops. Quite a lot of zing due to the citrusy orange peel.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Finishes dry with a lingering zing from the orange peel.

Overall - An interesting twist to the saison style from North Coast. The orange peel definitely takes charge and the the traditional saison elements act as a supporting cast.

Photo of utopiajane
3.92/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours milky with golden yellow , apricot and orange hues. Fat head of cream colored foam that falls slowly and leaves lace. Nose is delicate but vibrant fruit. Tropical pineapple and pear nectar. Light crisp malt sweetness, bright floral. Peppery and grassy. A more neutral than funky yeast with a slight tart twang.

Taste is light refreshing and fruity. A touch of pepper and hop bitter finish this one dry. Active carbonation accents a light breadiness. Yeast is earthy. The beer has a tartness to the overall drink that keeps the palate engaged. The only noticeable alcohol in the beer is a a sweet almost syrupy element in the finish. More peppery as it warms.

Complex and delightful with a pleasant bit of strength from abv.

Photo of Ian_B
4.11/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Hazy yellow with a tinge of orange. Billowing foamy head with good retention.

Peppercorn and herbal spices on the nose, with quite a bit of dry-hopped tropical citrus and a doughy yeast with complex esters and phenols (though these may get lost only slightly behind the tropical hops).

Taste of light peppercorn and lots of tropical juice along the lines of guava. Lots of juicy herbal flavours as well, with earthy phenols.

Quite smooth, medium body, but with a lot of carbonation and dryness from the yeast. Very well balanced.

Tropical and herbal juice, with a fantastic peppery crisp carb.

Photo of CycleHops
4.02/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Best tasting Saison I've ever tried.

Photo of MNJR
3.47/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Fruity, yeasty, a little too pungent for my tastes, but for the style it is very enjoyable.

Photo of Huhzubendah
3.43/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Hazy orange body with a thick, off-white head. Aromas include stone fruits, yeast, a touch of fruity hops. Apple, pear, melon, Belgian yeast strain. Moderate sweetness. More akin to a tripel than a saison. Decent, but one pour is plenty. Sweet + alcohol = limited drinkability.

Photo of Lard_City
4.12/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

I always have trouble with analyzing saisons but this one is pretty simple. Very mild malt and hoppiness with a decent carbonation burn and a bit of sweetness. Very little aftertaste. Quite refreshing.

Photo of ClavisAurea
4.34/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle served in a wine glass

Appearance: hazy gold and very bubbly

Nose: fresh fruit, yeast, classic Belgian yeast, coriander, tropical fruit

Taste: tropical fruit, yeast, bready and fresh, the ample bubbles lift all the flavors off the tongue and make for a great mouth feel. Slight hops bitterness in the finish but not enough to distract from the greatness of this beer.

Overall: I really enjoyed this Saison. It's part of a 4 pack so I'm cellaring the rest to see what changes.

Photo of breakingbland
3.89/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a snifter. The beer is a cloudy orange/gold with a slightly off-white head that dissipates quickly.

The aroma is of funk and sweet candy.

The taste follows the aroma but with the funk slightly underplayed. The aftertaste lingers as leather and a slight astringency.

The carbonation is a bit coarser than expected. The beer itself has a good body.

I like this beer quite a bit and hope to be able to find it locally.

Photo of wedge
3.56/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Solid orange, fairly hazy, with an expansive puffy head that deflates to a lumpy froth. Smell is yeasty...peppery oranges, dried flowers, spicy phenolics, and crackers. Peppercorns, apple, lemon, honey, coriander, bubblegum, and a powdery sort of sweetness. Fluffy bodied, crisp, and just a little tart. Not bad, but not quite coming together for me.

Photo of moundbz
4.4/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Nice dry semi-bitter taste. Feel it after a few sips too.

Photo of The-Adjunct-Hippie
3.98/5  rDev +2.1%

Singles cooler, y'all.

Appearance (4.75) : Gigantic head about four fingers/five inches tall, very creamy, dense, and full of life. The body is ginger-honey-blonde color and is mostly transparent, I'd say about 10% or 20% opacity. Head stays and leaves generous lacing on the glass. North Coast seems to do their appearances right. Their caps always stay long and have such a good view to them.

Aroma (4.25) : Sheesh. It's almost like an Oktoberfest. Or a Wit. Or both. Wheat, orange peel, vanilla, cinnamon, spices, some faint maple syrup, some crisp lemon lime soda. Regardless the aroma is just fantastic. And it's loud, too.

Taste (3.75) : Complex is the word. And metamorphosis. Kids, learn your spelling words.

I will break it down as pertaining to different parts of the tongue because really, it is that complex.

1) Tip - Starts off tasting like an average wheat beer or american lager. A light blonde flavor with lots of pop.

2) Middle of the tongue - and as you move it to the middle, there's a slight sourness, trademark of a Flanders' style ale. There's some Bubble Tape going on there, too.

3) Back of tongue - ...and as it hits the back of the tongue towards the swallow, a heavy alcoholic paint-like taste comes in like a wrecking ball but thankfully leaves soon after you swallow.

The taste overall is something to be reckoned with. Goosebump-prone, even. It's not bad, per se, but man that alcohol kick really blows everything else away. As I said though, it disappears rather fast once it's down the hatch.

Mouthfeel (4) : Medium bodied, creamy, fluffy, ending crisp.

Overall (3.98) : I've only had two other Flanders' style ales, and this one takes the cake for character and flavor. I find it hard to believe it's only a 7.0% ABV, because that alcohol taste really kicks hard at the end. I am glad I picked up two, and not only one, but if I had picked up three, I may have regretted it. Okay in small doses.

Photo of TBoneJones
3.56/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Poured this into a chalice, and it's a very hazy orange-copper, with barely a head at all.
It smells like antique funk, with some peppermint. Basic, but quite nice.
Tastes like a funky citrus/ wheaty version of the beer's scent. There's some bubblegum leading up to its tart, medicinal finish, yet this remains more sweet than dry and an underlying peppercorn dominates the aftertaste.
Feel is medium and crisp.
Overall,this was okay. Impression left was of a somewhat harsh Belgian saison as far as the peppercorn aspect, which is a less desirable departure from the more refreshing balance I've experienced in such styles.

Photo of DoubleJ
4.15/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

How did it take me this long to sample Le Merle? With a single corked and caged 375 ml bottle, I had a great compliment to dinner. On to the beer:

This is a darker blonde beer with a big frothy head which retains well. The aroma is appetizing with a dry, cidery/ sour apple note and a pinch of vague spice true to the saison style. With its alcohol nearly hitting 8% ABV, perhaps it's no surprise that a note of booze is tasted. Still, this is one fun saison that goes sweet, tart, and bitter in one session. It starts sweet and dry, then a wave of apple tartness dominates. A rush of bitterness finishes it, and overall this mélange of senses work well together. The beer gets more interesting when its fun, champagne-like bubbly carbonation massages the inside of the mouth.

Here's a possible drink to wash down dinner. It's not cheap $(4.99 for this 375 ml bottle), so pick a good occasion to celebrate with this liquid.

Photo of Jacobob10
3.34/5  rDev -14.4%

12.9 oz bottle at O'Donnell's Pub in Harrison, NJ.

Poured into a Le Merle chalice. Proper glassware at the bar... nice!

Amber colored with a lot of haze and a thin layer of white foam on top. The head clings to the sides of the glass but leaves no lacing behind. Fruity aroma mainly consisting of apple. Very sweet and not as dry as I prefer saison to be. Overall, this just wasn't very good. It was missing the funk and spice that I love about the style.

Photo of cjgiant
4.15/5  rDev +6.4%

A: nice straw yellow, hazy with a fluffy white head. Visible carbonation sustains this for a while.

S: a light funky smell combined with such fruits as apple, pear, white wine (grape), and perhaps nectarine. The is also a light spice noticeable, which also resembles an alcohol whiff in some smells.

T/M: the initial tastes remind me of white wine with a dull farmhouse undercurrent (hay, tobacco). As the beer warms, there's also a prune/plum taste. The carbonation is quite strong, adding a slight bite to the earthy spices that come along a little after the initial flavors. The lingering taste resembles the fleshy fruit from the smell, but more balanced with the overall farmhouse taste and feel.

O: a more fruity version of a saison, less dry than a bunch I have had. I enjoyed it more than those, as the style is sometimes just a bit earthy and dry for my tastes.

Photo of barnzy78
3.83/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle, 2014, 7.9%
A 3.5 - peachy-golden ale with a thin off-white head that fades fairly quickly to a foam
S 3.5 - fruity, peach, apricot, white wine, apple juice, yeast
T 4 - lots of fruity esters: apple, grape, peach, apricot, papaya; yeast, lighter malt notes as this seems to ride off the yeast and esters for flavor
M 4.25 - fuller body, effervescent, finishes dry and fairly clean with some faint white pepper on the finish
O 3.75 - enjoyable, but not something I'd get again.

Photo of Hesscabob
4.49/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Tried about 3 years ago and realized I did not do a review. A golden, hazy, bubbly saison with tons of fruity and spicy aroma leaving the glass. My first saison and I was so intrigued by Le Merle that I named my dog after it. Truly a great saison for warm, cold or whatever weather/ time of the year.

Photo of ONUMello
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a tulip
A: Golden orange with a 1.5-finger head
S: Light wheat, cereal, a hint of fruit esters and Belgian yeast
T: Matches the nose adding a bit of pronounced citrus and light hop notes
M: Medium-bodied with pleasant carbonation
O: Refreshing, surprisingly light on its feet and with good balance. Fits the style well; enjoyable on a warm summer afternoon

Photo of 57md
3.67/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a light and clear copper color with a finger of head that quickly dissipates down to a film of froth. The nose is classically funky. The funky yeast is also upfront in the flavor profile. There are mild peppery notes in the finish, which is the best part of this drinking experience.

This is a decent example of the style, but “decent” is about the best I can offer for a review.

Photo of neenerzig
4.05/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a one of my glasses out of the 12 oz bottle. This beer pours a clear, light to medium golden color with a nice thick, fluffy white head that is over an inch thick when first poured. Head eventually settles to a nice ring lining the inside of eh glass and some decent lacing. Has some nice fruity aromas of papaya and apricot along with some peppery spices and funkyness. The aforementioned spice is very much upfront tastewise and it gives way to flavors of fruit such as banana, apple, papaya, apricot, and even a bit of grape. Rounded out with a very slight touch of salty vinegarness. Weird and not what I would expect for a finish flavorwise from a beer of this style, but it actually works very well. has a crisp, smooth, medium bodied mouthfeel with moderate carbonation. Easy to drink in the way well crafted beer should be. Dangerously drinkable for its 7.9% ABV I'd say, as the 7.9% ABV is nicely masked.

Eric

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Le Merle from North Coast Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 1,181 ratings.