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Le Merle - North Coast Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Le MerleLe Merle

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

1,172 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,172
Reviews: 484
rAvg: 3.9
pDev: 10%
Wants: 34
Gots: 99 | 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 (20) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,172 | Reviews: 484
Reviews by artdob:
Photo of artdob
4.12/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This yellow golden pour is topped with a head reminiscent of the suds left from receding waves on the California coast. The nose is robust. Like stepping into a bakery. Yeasty esters in abundance. Light fruitiness of apricot. Scones anyone?

The palate is greeted with strong citrus tones that were mostly hidden on the nose. Warm roasted grapefruit.

Mouthfeel has a zinginess with much warmth coming from this beer. This is to be savored, and enjoyed slowly.

Beautifully presented in a corked bottle with the champagne like wire trap over the top. A nice offering from the brewmasters at North Coast.

More User Reviews:
Photo of Thorpe429
3.56/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle from Rick's in Alexandria, Served in a Mikasa tulip.

Pours a slightly-hazy golden color with a HUGE rocky white head. Retention is phenomenal. There's a thick sheet of lacing as it goes down. Really impressive-looking beer.

The nose starts off with some peppery phenols plus some herbal spice. Light pilsner malt behind that. Muted nose, but pretty nice. The flavor is heavy on the yeast, with just a touch of malt and hops as background. Pretty good amount of spice being carried through by heavy carbonation.

The body is light-medium. Dry and smooth through the finish with a bitterness level that is a bit above average for the style. No noticeable alcohol until the final portion of the finish.

Overall, pretty good. This has a nice yeast profile but gets the alcohol level a bit too high. I think taking this down to 6-6.5% would lead to a more crisp and drinkable beer.

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 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 oberon
4.07/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into an oversized wine glass a sort of hazed milky peach-like color with a thick blooming white head,complex aromas of yeasty clove spice,lemon pith,and overripe pineapple mainly,the funk is there but not overly so.A somewhat sharp mouthfeel is somewhat of an annoyance at first but it mellows after a bit,flavors start out citric and green from the abundance of hops used,it then shows off its funk and yeast elements wich kept the beer from being off the charts for me.Its alot better than some Belgian counterparts,its complex and enjoyable.

Photo of DaPeculierDane
2.93/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Le Merle from North Coast pours a hazed orange-amber into a large snifter with aggressive carbonation and a nice thick white foam. Musty aroma of lemon pepper and bananas. Flavor includes hay, banana, grassy hops, and spice. Some alchol warming is present. No sourness or funk to be found and the bitterness is high for style. The bitterness becomes more balanced by yeast fruit flavors as the beer warms, however, at that point the particulate yeast begins to present some off (and not in a good funky way) flavors. Not my kind of saison.

Photo of wesbrownyeah
3.8/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

North Coast Brewing Le Merle Farmhouse Ale 7.9% alcohol, poured into pint glass from corked and caged 750ml bottle.

A- Pours a hazed golden fluid that radiates in the light causing the inside of the glass to be slightly orange. Huge foamy white head rises as the beer is first poured taking a few minutes to settle into a nice half inch head that stays for the remainder of the brew.

S- Musky yeasty spice upfront remind me of a dusty cellar. Light scents of lemongrass and lemon rine are noted.

T-M- Fresh flavors of lemongrass, allspice, lemon rine, and dusty yeast upfront. Secondly I note s smooth sting of citrus hops underneath the musky yeast. Carbonation is bountiful with more than enough to tingle the tongue and slickly roll over the palete.

Overall a very drinkable and enjoyable beer in the aspects of a sunny day or just to quinch any thirst for a good user friendly Farmhouse that doesn't push to much funk... Cheers!

Photo of weatherdog
3.52/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

75cL bottle poured into a Duvel tulip

It pours a golden hazy orange with an off-white head that doesn't quit; helped on by the Duvel etching. Minimal lacing down the side of the glass.

The smell is huge pepper and some lemon to me. Classic saison smell. The back end has just a whiff of alcohol.

The taste mirrors a lot of the smell with a huge pepper bite followed by some lemon and maybe some orange. At the end there seems to be something just a little off putting. I don't know if its the yeast or what but the best i can describe it a little oily-tasting. It detracts from the initial good flavor. At the very end there is some Belgian yeast esters with some alcohol as well.

This beer is very carbonated and practically foams in my mouth. I'm glad i choose to use the Duvel tulip to knock some of it out of solution as it's sitting here. Besides that it's pretty light on the tongue and good drinkability. I haven't had that many examples of the style but this one just had something a little off in the taste.

Photo of steelerguy
3.58/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Deep gold with a touch of amber, nice frothy head that hangs around for awhile thanks to the high carbonation.

S - Earthy aroma with some spice and old fruit.

T - Much like the aroma, lots of fruit flavors, but with a sour tang as if they have just turned. There is also a good bit of spice, perhaps a touch too much.

M - Dry finish although not as much as most Saisons, a little more body than usual. Carbonation and alcohol keep the finish dry even if it does have more body than your typical Saison.

D - Nice Saison, complex flavors, but a little too much sour for me to keep it nice and refreshing.

Photo of SanDNigel
3.46/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

375ml into chubby tulip
A- Hazy golden yellow. Big-bubble white head that runs away as fast as it can (you can hear it..)
S- Raunchy bread dough is the first thing I can think of. I guess a touch of anise. Pretty funky
T- Like it smells. That super caramelly heavy tripel kinda thing. Its good but doesn't make me wanna jump up n down
M- The big bubbles help whisk away the heaviness of the beer body. Bubbles feel huge
I don't know if I would buy this beer again, but I am enjoying what I have in front of me.

Photo of andyfrancis
3.91/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

bubbles on top of bubbles with more bubbles. Almost violently carbonated, with the head growing from the bottom as fast as it reduces on the top. Cloudy yellow pour, but it could be some chill haze, almost white head. Looks pretty great in a wine glass

Just getting some sourish yeast on the nose. This thick head may be acting as a bit of an aroma barrier. Aroma growing in complexity as it warms.

Bitter up front, quickly overwhelmed by cascades of spice and fruit esters. Yummy.

Crisp, fairly clean finish, faint lingering hints of the spice and fruit.

Could and will drink all 750ml easily, and will be feeling just fine afterwards. Alcohol is very well hidden.

Overall...pretty, pretty good. On par with any of the other american attempts at the belgian farmhouse style.

Photo of warnerry
3.53/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours mostly clear straw color with massive four finger creamy white head. Head has excellent retention. Leaves a nice lacing.

S - Quite a bit of yeast in the aroma. Also some decent spice and a lot of semi-tart fruit, apples and a bit of lemon, and a noticeable sweetness.

T - Tart fruit up front, again apples and lemon. Here is also a layer if sweetness on top of the tart. Certainly unique among the saisons I've had. Yeast funk comes in the middle with more tartness on the finish.

M - medium mouthfeel with a semi-dry finish

O - Definitely stands out. Doesn't seem like a very traditional representation if the style. A bit too fruity to be great, but still enjoyable.

Photo of dill
3.75/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

served on tap in a North Coast snifter.

A: highly carbonated, deep gold in color with a thin, white head.

S: very earthy aromas with a bit of maltiness.

T: citrus flavors with a bit of spice. a bit sweet with a bitter finish.

M: crisp with a medium, tight carbonation.

D: I enjoyed this one slowly and wasn't eager to go back to it. I really like the tanginess and appreciate that it's not too strong, but it's not my favorite in this style.

Photo of Billolick
4.25/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Large bottle, caged and corked, no freshness nor bottling info offered. Pours light apricot amber, semi cloudy and initially shooting up a HUGE eggshell head, it slowly becomes a puffy and long lasting meringue. Leaving gobs of thick sheeting and ringed lace. Plenty of micro bubbles continuing to rise. Nice looking glass of beer. Nose is multifaceted with whiffs of soap, perfume and light pepper. Love the style and this is a worthy take on it. More perfume, plenty of pepper, spiced tropical fruit such as bananas, melon, mango. Moderate, subtle drying hops late. Complex, interesting beer. Well worth a try.

Photo of Hoops4life511
3.97/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

750 mL corked and caged bottle poured into pint glass.

Appearance - Almost couldn't fill this one out because the cork tried to take my eye out. Pours a slightly hazy pale burnt orange with a white frothy head that retained for a little white. Patches are left around the top of the glass, but eventually dissipate. Carbonation coming from the bottom faster than a glass of champagne.

Smell - Grain, Belgian yeast, touch of lemon, earthy. Aroma really jumps out at you and is pleasant.

Taste/Mouth/Drink - Very bold continuation of the nose, the earthy notes take over your mouth. Some fruity sweetness comes through with an estery Belgian finish. Carbonation is a bit off putting and is very noticeable. Very full body for a saison and not as refreshing as I would have hoped for from this style.

Overall, a tasty beer worth the try. I was looking for refreshment with this one though and didn't quite find it. I would love another with a full flavored meal, I bet it would really pop.

Photo of magictrokini
3.42/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours yellow with a puffy white head. Orange peel, lemon, wheat, pepper, and earthy yeast. Grassy, fruity taste with some spice, particularly the white pepper. The yeast was nice, not overpoweing, but enough to give you some funk while keeping the beer light.

Photo of Kraken
4.05/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from corked and caged 750ml into over sized wine glasses . Split with my brother while waiting for a pizza. Pours with a nice 2 finger off white head. Mild lacing billowy fine head like drifted snow. Smell is fantastic belgain yeast slight candy sugar and a spiceiness. Taste is very nice a slight bit of citris, very rich very smooth and creamy. Very tasty, as it warms you begin to a get a hint of grapefruit, light hop bitterness ,alcohol becomes apparent as it warms. Long finish Mouth feel is complex. Moderate drinkability. Very nice beer true to style

Photo of Meldrick
4.52/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

I poured from a 750 ml cork and bale bottle into a large tulip glass. The first thing I observed was the brilliant orange color and the billowing off-white head. The aroma was citrusy and bready, reminiscent of a piece of toast with marmalade. The flavors were bright with the initial impact of fruitiness followed by the malts. The overall mouthfeel is average. Le Merle maintains a perfect balance of hoppy bitterness and sweetness of the malts. It finishes crisp and dry.

Le Merle is absolutely my favorite beer and my home is never without a bottle!

Photo of highTempo
4.02/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Serving: 12 oz bottle poured into a goblet.

The color is a warm amber, with an orange undertone and a bit of cloudiness/haziness. I've seen others describe this as 'straw' but this glass is definitely darker and more red than that. The red tones and richness of the color is unusual for a saison and really nice.

It pours with a foamy, clear white head but it dissipates quickly. I would like a little bit more retention in the head but all that's left is a little lacing after less than a minute. Still, the color is great.

The smell is definitely like a cider. Other folks that have said that up here are spot on. It's a bit sharp and crisp - hits the back of the nose. There's some citrus and just a little bit of malt and yeast. The carbonation already comes through in the nose.

The flavor really picks up for me. It's definitely still fruity. There's some herbal quality, maybe grassy, with just a bit of bitterness at the end. The finish is really rapid which matches the 'sparkling' quality of this beer. There's not much alcohol presence and what is there hits and evaporates quickly. It's only a little bit sweet to me. The citrus quality counters that nicely and the finish is dry.

Overall the carbonation is what I would call 'sharp' and 'small'. The body is thin and sparkling. it's light for a saison. This is a good beer for people who like 'crisp' beers.

I would recommend this for people who like hard ciders, traditional Hefes, or who want a drinkable beer that has a remarkably high alcohol content relative to the body and 'drinkability'. It's not my favorite saison ever but it's very good and I'd definitely grab a bottle if I saw it available again.

Photo of MattyG85
4.37/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a Duvel tulip glass.

Appearance: Pours a very hazy straw golden orange with a moderate amount of bubbles. Big two finger white head that slowly fades into a thin film. Leaves a decent amount of lacing.

Smell: A yeasty, fruity, and fairly spicy Belgian style aroma with a good presence of Belgian yeast and fruit hints. Upfront Belgian yeast with hints of farmhouse funk along with some clove, pepper, and coriander spicing. Sweet hints of Belgian candied sugar. Pale malt with hints of wheat, straw, grains, and cracker. Fruit hints of banana, apple, pear, white grape, lemon, and orange. Some bubblegum hints as well. Subtle earthy hop background with hints of grass. A very good Saison aroma.

Taste: Like it smells, a nicely yeasty, spicy, and fruity Belgian Saison style aroma with good notes of dried fruit and spices. Upfront Belgian yeast with good notes of farmhouse funk, clove, white and black pepper, and coriander. Pale malt with bready notes of wheat, grains, straw, and cracker. Sweet taste of Belgian candied sugar. Big fruit presence with dry notes of banana, apple, lemon, orange, pear, and white grape. Some notes of bubblegum along with some earthy hop notes of grass. A very good taste.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a carbonation level on the higher side. Nicely spicy and drying on the finish.

Overall: A really good American take on a Belgian Saison. Very good mix of yeast, spice, and fruit flavors.

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 Beerandraiderfan
3.91/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap, at the shitty brewpub restaurant. A very attractive beer, bright yellow, tons of cloudiness, pristine white head, about 1.24" in depth. Looks very nice. Good dry aroma from it, mild clove, if at all, nice. Citrus is in the right amount, lemon, ever so slight orange, grains of paradise, mango.

Taste, more of the same, very dry, mildly citrus, plenty enjoyable and easy to drink. Stays away from belgian phenols, banana and bandaids, pretty clean, minimal funk. A tad of pepper to it. Barely perceptible, which is to say its right where it needs to be. Carbonation is high, but appropriate.

Overall, this is one of my favorite saisons out there. Doesn't get a lot of hype for a few reasons, its not Old Rasputin, most of North Coast's other stuff is just mediocre, and its readily available.

Photo of WVbeergeek
4.27/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a glowing orange body with a bright white head forming thick and flowing with a dimpled head. Fine bands of chunky lacing layer in this head, very nice look to it. Aroma has big ripe layers of tropical fruit flowing throughout each sniff, spicy black pepper in the background gets dusted on. I'm getting mango, pineapple, with a mild citrus note flowing pretty amazing levels of fruit move into my senses. Spicy Belgian yeast notes adds another layer, I've never seen this beer in person only on the internet, a case as recently landed in Steubenville, OH and I'm jumpin' on it. Flavor has tropical fruit bursts with a layer of spicy dry yeast cakes, this is an amazingly big juicy fruit spiked with mango pineapple and other tropical fruits. Spicy Belgian yeast flares it's flavor with hints of black pepper spiciness, pretty intense and complex Saison a bit bigger than traditional versions almost 8%. Really coats the palate and the carbonation level is kicking quite nicely, what a robust Saison, usually when brewed in a more Belgian style the effervescence is incredible and the body is rather light or airy compared to this. I'm not going down a cloying road just a more rounded malt body with less airy carbonation with a bit more alcohol involvement than I'm used to within this style It mirrors as a light triple versus a big saison. Overall quality and enjoyment level is high I'm glad I randomly ran into this beer close to home.

Photo of chinchill
3.75/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Shared 750 ml bottle.

A. medium golden color; Slightly cloudy. Rather average head and retention.

Lemony and yeasty aroma with green apple. Slight cloves. Very slight earthy.

T: Fruity flavor. Rather tart. Some white pepper and plenty of cloves.

M. Medium carbonation, perhaps a tad low for style. Near medium body.

O. A nicely drinkable saison.

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

(Served in a tulip glass)

A- This beer has a hazy lemon yellow body with a sea of microbubbles gliding to the surface. There is a thick snow white head that turns rocky but last and last. There is a bit of lacing that breaks up quickly after each sip.

S- This beer has a perfumed floral smell with a note of light fruit flesh and a sweet corn note at the finish.

T- The bright tartness starts off the taste leading to a soft fruity flavor that is not really distinct but a bit like pears or quinces. There is a lemon note with a light soapy yeasty note and some caramel malt sweetness. The finish is a pepper flavor with a light apple tartness that lingers a bit.

M- This beer has a medium mouthfeel with a full fizz at the finish. There is no alcohol heat at all.

D- This beer has a nice depth and some good complexity that has a sort of mystery about it. The flavors are good and they blend together well making a bit difficult to describe.

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Le Merle from North Coast Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 1,172 ratings.