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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
88
very good

989 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 989
Reviews: 464
rAvg: 3.9
pDev: 10.26%
Wants: 29
Gots: 57 | 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: 989 | Reviews: 464 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by pmcadamis:
Photo of pmcadamis
pmcadamis

Illinois

4.18/5  rDev +7.2%
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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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

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Le Merle from North Coast Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 989 ratings.