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Le Merle - North Coast Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Le MerleLe Merle

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
87
very good

960 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 960
Reviews: 463
rAvg: 3.89
pDev: 10.28%
Wants: 28
Gots: 54 | FT: 2
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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerBeing on 06-03-2007)
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Ratings: 960 | Reviews: 463 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by pmcadamis:
Photo of pmcadamis
pmcadamis

Illinois

4.18/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Le Merle - or, "The Blackbird" is a hefty 7.9% brew... probably the booziest saison that I've ever encountered, and while I always think of this as a lower ABV style, this is not typically the case. I like the name, and although this moniker might be better suited to a stout, it does bring to mind a certain scarecrow and blackbird farmhouse image. The black and grey image on the bottle reminds me of the Alfred Hitchcock film "The Birds"... which scared the living bejezuz out of me when I fist saw it as a kid (albeit a kid growing up 40 years after the initial release of that venerable film).

A - This brew pours from the corked and caged 750ml bottle a cloudy but luminescent tangerine hue, and is topped with a wonderfully rocky three finger head. The color of this one reminds me of honey-hued candle wax made from tallow in an old cabin. The head takes it's time receding to a nice full finger, and it gets really rocky and pitted on it's way down. Lots of really thick lace graces the oversized wine glass (about 16 oz) that I chose to serve this in, and that full lace slides beautifully down the glass with a genteel and casual speed.

S - Wild yeasty notes jump from the glass and bring to mind hay-filled barns and growing midwest prairie grass. Some hints of citrus break through a green grassy "cornfield just before harvest" aroma that only those of us cursed/blessed to live in the vast cornbelt can appreciate. In retrospect, this nose is not bad, but far to delicate IMO.

T - The combination of ultra-bready yeast and lively bubblegum notes would combine to give one the impression of a hefeweissen, if not for the grassy hay-like notes imparted by what I can only assume is a Belgian yeast strain. There is also the overriding funkiness that gives this away as something not of our continent... a cheesy, 'shroomy, funky note that reminds me of those oddball brews that only a whacked country like Belgium could inspire. There is definitely a huge wheat component to this beer (I may be wrong, but that's what I taste), and some apricot, orange, tangerine, starfruit, and lime flavors give this a summery note that stands in blatant opposition to the autumn darkness imparted by the film-noir art on the bottle.

M - This one is delicately dry, and finishes with a complex hoppy note that is probably way too bitter and hop-laden for the style, but easily wins over a hop-fool like me. Light bodied but for the high ABV (which is honestly well hidden), this one is best enjoyed on its own as I fear that even the most mild of foods could overwhelm its manifold subtleties.

D - An excellently drinkable and complex brew that suffers only at the hands of its own mild and delicate nature. A word of advice: don't attempt to pair this one with a steak, a cigar, or a night of IPA pounding. This one deserves a fresh palate and an open mind, but at the $5 I paid for the 750 ml bottle one could be forgiven for experimenting.

Serving type: bottle

08-07-2009 05:15:51 | More by pmcadamis
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5/5  rDev +28.5%

07-09-2014 13:32:54 | More by LolaLotus
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3.68/5  rDev -5.4%
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.

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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

Serving type: bottle

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3.81/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a modified tulip glass.
A - Color of day lily, beautiful carbonation traces through a field of flower rests against a pillowing white head.
S - French saison yeast base? Modest nose, flowers from the day before, hints of tangerine, blood orange.
T - Aged lemongrass, tangerine skin, grain is tightly wrapped around the fruit esters.
M - Carbonation keeps this in step, body is on the thicker side, oils reside on the mouth for a sweet linger. Not offensive.
O - A fine offering, leans to the meaty side of fence. The beer pours beautifully, glows in the glass and with a slightly lighter body could be spectacular.

Cheers all

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Le Merle from North Coast Brewing Co.
87 out of 100 based on 960 ratings.