Le Merle - North Coast Brewing Co.
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Ratings: 853 | Reviews: 447 | Show All Ratings:
Reviews by pmcadamis:
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
More User Reviews:
3.94/5 rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4
Fruity and moderately sweet with the usual Belgian drying finish. Hazy golden color with just beautiful piles of foam. Not a gusher, but the lacing and clouds of bubbles after each sip are as lovely as I've seen.
Aroma is spicy with the fermenting pineapple smell. Flavor is rich with that funky tang that counteracts the malty sweetness. Pear fruitiness and apple skin tannins. A bold amount of clove-like spiciness emerges after some sipping, though that maybe that's the sediment talking.
This is in many ways a model Saison. It's on the strong side, but with enough flavor to drink well. It also doesn't have that overdose of yeasty craziness that I find too often in clumsier examples. Also this is the best I've had from a brewery that does not do much for me otherwise. From the 12 oz bottle purchased at Bine & Vine in San Diego.
Serving type: bottle
03-15-2014 05:35:26 | More by mactrail
4.33/5 rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
12 ounce bottle into tulip glass, bottled on 1/17/2014. Pours slightly cloudy golden amber color with a 1-2 finger dense white head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Spotty foamy lacing clings on the glass, with a moderate amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of huge lemon zest, peach, apricot, pear, apple, orange peel, straw, grass, pepper, clove, wheat, bread, light honey, herbal, and yeast earthiness. Fantastic aromas with great complexity of fruity/spicy yeast ester and moderate malt presence; and great strength. Taste of big lemon zest, peach, apricot, apple, pear, orange peel, clove, pepper, straw, grass, wheat, bread, light honey, herbal, and yeast earthiness. Lingering notes of lemon zest, peach, apricot, apple, pear, orange peel, clove, pepper, straw, grass, wheat, bread, light honey, herbal, and yeast earthiness on the finish for a while. Incredible complexity of fruity/spicy yeast ester flavors with moderate malt sweetness; with an awesome malt/yeast flavor balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium-high carbonation and medium bodied; with smooth, crisp, and slightly slick mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a slight warming present after the finish. Overall this is a fantastic saison! All around awesome complexity and balance of fruity/spicy yeast ester and malt flavors; and very smooth and crisp to sip on for the ABV. A highly enjoyable offering.
Serving type: bottle
03-08-2014 06:58:37 | More by superspak
Le Merle from North Coast Brewing Co.
87 out of 100 based on 853 ratings.