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Le Merle - North Coast Brewing Co.

Le MerleLe Merle

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

879 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 879
Reviews: 451
rAvg: 3.9
pDev: 10.26%

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: 879 | Reviews: 451 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of xmorgan


5/5  rDev +28.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

First things first. Saison is a cool concept, but originally this beer should be low alcohol, it's meant to be a potable beverage right?

That said this is a beer for the working class, and after a hard days labor in the field of carpet covered squares, I needed some potable refreshment, for re-hydrating my mind, and body.

The Bistro in Hayward CA. is the place, the atmosphere to accomplish such tasks.

I dig saisons and this beer from North Coast was an awesome interpretation. The bouquet was of flowers and fruits, the taste had a bit of spice, but it had a pleasing evervesance that I really dug. It at almost 8% did not have an alchool prescence that lesser beers at such percentage may have.

Overall, I dig this beer. Drinking a 750ml bottle on my own, gave me time to appreciate it, as it warmed it got better, more drinkable. It reminded me of Pure Mead, at the first taste, and later as my palate dried. This is excellent with strong cheese and fruit. A white wine alternative...

Serving type: bottle

05-13-2009 04:51:33 | More by xmorgan
Photo of Rudgers73

New York

4.93/5  rDev +26.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

The beer pours a bright orange-juice like color with a decent cloudiness to it out of the 750 mL corked and caged bottle. The head is a solid inch and slowly settles down to a retentive 1/4 inch thick foam. Lots of aroma in this one. Very fruity, mainly citrus and banana. There is a definite tart grapefruit aroma in there too. The beer itself is relatively mild in flavor. A surprise much like my first try of Saison DuPont. There is a nice prickly CO2 body that gives a lot of pepper notes to the semi-sweet, semi-bitter beer. The aftertaste is strong metallic hops and oily at the end. A very good example of an authentic belgian style saison IMO. This is similar to the Jolly Pumpkin's Bam Bière, but has more of that undetectable alcohol than the sessionable JP, again a bit more true to the style. This is a great example of an American brewer that really captivated this delicate and unique Belgian style.

Serving type: bottle

04-08-2008 00:14:07 | More by Rudgers73
Photo of unclejimbay


4.85/5  rDev +24.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Le Merle
North Coast Brewing Co.
Style: Saison / Farmhouse Ale
ABV: 7.90 %
reviewed 11/25/09, 750ml > snifter


Appearance looks like cloudy witbier in appearnace, light hazy golden color with fluffy 2 finger head. Excellent head retention and lace.

Smell reminds me a of a clove/tart/wheat aroma with some other mild spce notes mixed in.

Tastes as it smells. Creamy. Tart. Pils & Wheat Malts. Spicey. Dry. Crisp. Very appropriatte for a Saison IMHO.

Drinkable is a 5.0. Right on according to style in my opinion. The most enjoyable Saion I have had to date IMHO since I first tried a Hennepin. In one word....
Impressive. Very impressive NCBC. You surpassed my expectations on this one indeed. Thanks to "kstrickler" for an excellent trade and the higlight of our trade to date. I have been wanting to try this one for awhile now. I do have NCBC in my area, but have never seen La Merle.

Serving type: bottle

11-30-2009 21:23:23 | More by unclejimbay
Photo of GratefulBeerGuy

New Hampshire

4.79/5  rDev +22.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

12.7 oz bottle with cork

A pale gold and super hazy, rushing and flowing look, a gyser of bubbles creates a 2" tower of foam, clumpy, fizzy and well retained.

A zingy, zesty, sour earthy yeast upfront, tangy and citric with lemmon but hearty with a touch of honey and wheat. Inviting and very complex smell!

Oh, Damn. That is one easy sip , super complex feel and flavor with huge sour fruits, dry earthiness with wheat. Zippy, light and smooth, did i mention how complex it is?!? Seems to evaporate with a dry bite right before the finish. Clean, clean, like sparkling water, the yeast is just delightful, this one gives just about any Belgian/French saison a run for it's money in all aspects. I think I'm in love.

Serving type: bottle

11-20-2013 02:42:54 | More by GratefulBeerGuy
Photo of detlefchef

North Carolina

4.68/5  rDev +20%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Looks so, so pretty. Brilliant golden color with a delicate head that reforms with each swirl.

Deep, abundant pear and spice aromas and more pear on the palate with a vibrant heat on the finish. Somehow both lingering and clean, which makes this such a regal beer.

God I love this beer. Hands down my favorite foray into Belgian styled beers made by a brewery that doesn't specifically specialize in them.
Pairing: Herb-roasted quail with pear and caramelized onion

Serving type: bottle

08-03-2010 13:33:34 | More by detlefchef
Photo of BeerlyLegal


4.65/5  rDev +19.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Le Merle is a smooth brew for any celebratory occasion or summer evening. Hints of champagne and lady juices along with apples and natural herbs. Sourish with little aftertaste, this brew has pale/light characteristics and with a 7.9% ABV this makes it a perfect way to start or end the night.

Overall, this is as light of a Belgian I'll ever enjoy and would consider this to be the real champagne of beer.

Serving type: bottle

05-02-2013 04:58:28 | More by BeerlyLegal
Photo of alamere


4.63/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a stemless wine glass..

A - A bit of a hazy, golden yellow orange, with a tight, champaigne-esque head. This is a beer that would pour a massive head into an ale glass..

S - Really smells amazing, some pear notes, some citrus.. you can almost smell the sparkling wine spritziness of it.

T - Doesn't get much better than this for this style... I've been sampling Saison all week and this is as good as they taste to me. You can still taste the grain, the herbal hop notes, a grassiness.. and this beer is light enough to drink for a long time. I'm surprised at the stated ABV because it really just doesn't feel like it at all. The perfect hot summer day Belgian beer. It doesn't have that soapiness that some Pilsner beers have.. but that certainly isn't my favorite part of many Saisons.

M - It's crisp, light and airy, and at the same time it's got a smoothness to it... a

Overall - I must be drinking the North Coast cool-aid, but I can't imagine someone not liking this beer. I suppose if you aren't a fan of the style.. but this is an exceptional belgian style beer in my opinion. This is EXACTLY what I think of when I think of Saison.. might be better to say, this is what I dream about when I think of Saison.

Serving type: bottle

04-28-2011 02:06:18 | More by alamere
Photo of Franchise


4.6/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This offering from North Coast pours a foggy orange leaving a very carbonated body and a thick 3in head. The nose is fantastic, lemon, orange, wheat, honey, musty, grass, earthy spicy hops with a sour citrus, candi sugar, ending.

The taste is dry, crisp, salty, sweet carbonation in this fruity mouthfeel. Spicy, delicious clove honey, ripened fruit, plums, pears, peaches, wheat, syrupy coating the back of the tongue with a sweet earthy bitterness in the finish.

Serving type: bottle

06-04-2008 15:28:13 | More by Franchise
Photo of allengarvin


4.58/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured into a Chimay glass, this beer leaves an enormous head, of Duvel proportions. Excellent retention, solid and frothy. The is a slightly hazy orange, with fine bubbles streaming up. Yeasty aroma full of spicy phenols, a delicate fruitiness, and some nice herbal hoppiness. Excellent flavor, with a light sweetness, honey vanilla fruitiness, dry grassy hops, plenty of yeasty spiciness. There might be a trace of brett funk--I'm uncertain, though. Finish is nice and dry.
The body is perhaps a tad watery--too much carbonation released in the pour?

Excellent saison.

[On edit: 2 months later, and I've enjoyed about one of these a week. Bumped the drinkability to 5. This is at least the equal of Dupont, possibly better.]

Serving type: bottle

05-03-2008 15:34:18 | More by allengarvin
Photo of dbONE


4.55/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This was given to me in corked belgian bottles from the folk at NC. I went home after the event and poured the 2008 batch in a clean belgian glass.
As the fog emerging from the freshly corked bottle settles it pours nicley into a large belgian glass. The carbonation takes over as the bright golden color appears under the bright whit head.
Citrus and tropical flavors land on the tongue with an explosion of carbonation. Some hints of Brett and spice drop from the sides as the glass tips to lace the glass like, well lace.
The mouthfeel is light and it stickes to a touch of sourness that plays into the aftertaste.
An easy drink that will find yourself opening the other bottle you were gonna cellar.

Serving type: bottle

08-05-2008 04:06:09 | More by dbONE
Photo of Tone


4.55/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy, golden color. 1/3 inch head of a white color. Great retention and decent lacing. Smells of tart malt, yeast, citrus, acid, and sweet spice. Fits the style of a Saison / Farmhouse Ale. Mouth feel is crisp and sharp with a high carbonation level. Tastes of tart malt, yeast, citrus (banana), slight sweet malt, slight hop, and slight alcohol (which becomes stronger as it warms). Overall, this is exactly what I think of when I think Saison - I highly recommend.

Serving type: bottle

09-18-2009 00:08:22 | More by Tone
Photo of Meldrick


4.55/5  rDev +16.7%
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!

Serving type: bottle

03-24-2013 05:58:55 | More by Meldrick
Photo of rkuhnel


4.53/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

At Hops in Humboldt 2007, this was a cloudy orange with a fat white head and good lacing. Nose is all over the place with orange and grapefruit, peaches, pears, and apricots, and floral hops. A feast for the nose. Mouthfeel creamy and rich. Flavors are like the nose except there are some spices, and the finish is long and slightly sour. Exceptional beer.

Serving type: bottle

09-28-2007 18:18:08 | More by rkuhnel
Photo of nickfl


4.5/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A - A thunderous pop as the cork comes out of the bottle indicates vigorous carbonation. The beer pours hazy and golden with a finger and a half of loose, white foam that leaves behind moderate lace as it settles.

S - Sweet citrus and musky funk. Notes of lemon and orange as well as a bit of coriander and pepper.

T - Very yeasty up front, with a hint of vanilla. Lots of clove, banana, pineapple and pepper. Herbal hops and oranges come in up top. The finish is more yeast and hops with a lingering warmth and citrus pith bite.

M - Full bodied with high carbonation and a reasonably dry finish.

D - This is pretty easy to drink despite being big and flavorful. I have noticed that many North Coast beers have more flavor than aroma and Le Merle follows that trend as well. The nose is pleasant enough, but it fails to fully reflect the depth of the flavor. Overall this is an excellent saison and a wonderful example of the style.

Serving type: bottle

01-12-2008 02:48:36 | More by nickfl
Photo of jwc215


4.5/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours hazed golden with a large fluffy white head that becomes rocky. It leaves plenty of lacing.

The smell is of lemongrass with earthy notes and candy sugar. Peppery, musty, doughy, biscuity, yeasty.

The characteristics in the complex nose are there in the taste - maybe a tad more mellow, but not enough to adjust the scores for. Sweet, spicy and sour. Finishes with a refreshing dryness.

Well-carbonated without being prickly.

This is on-spot for style. Try pairing this with pork chops, red cabbage, saurkraut and mashed potatoes - everything in there will complement the various aspects of this well-made brew.

Serving type: bottle

04-07-2008 01:38:48 | More by jwc215
Photo of Blakaeris


4.5/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours golden yellow with a slight orange hue. Head is initially thick and boisterous but quickly dissipates.

Aroma is full of citrus fruit and peppery yeasty spices. Lemon and pineapple make a strong impression. Abundant hops have a floral character. Alcohol has a strong presence.

Taste is starts off honey sweet with plenty of lemon and tropical fruit. Then the yeasty spices - notably coriander and pepper - take over. Finish is clean and surprisingly bitter with floral hops. Alcohol and mildly tart fruit lingers on the tongue.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied. Not as carbonated as expected, resulting in a slightly syrupy feel.

Overall a pretty good offering. Very accessible and easy to drink, even for the uninitiated. I will drink this again.

Serving type: bottle

07-02-2008 22:06:48 | More by Blakaeris
Photo of Gehrig


4.5/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Orange-apricot colored body supports three fingers of white foam. Ample carbonation and solid duration. Lots of fruity malt emerges in the smell--orange, melon, lemon--with only subtle farmhouse aromas. In fact, were it not advertised as such, locating this as a farmhouse ale would be difficult. Delicious taste, very smooth with decent carbonation, mixing the fruit with modest spiciness. Apricot and lemon blend with faint pepper that, while nice, is one area of clear improvement Le Merle could use--more spice.

Creamy smooth texture is a definite plus, making this even more drinkable. North Coast has a gem in Le Merle, one of my favorite farmhouse ales. Excellent.

Serving type: bottle

08-20-2008 19:41:20 | More by Gehrig
Photo of goatgoat


4.5/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy tangerine orange. A voluminous frothy head falls slowly into large island. Sheets of fine frilly lace coat the glass.
Aroma well poured hits me at with a light citric tartness at arm's length. Closer it reveals a distinct sourness, earthy, floral, spicy and fruity.
Taste starts very earthy. A bright tartness presents with citrus. Finish is slightly musty "dirty socks" and a barely there smooth bitterness. Excellent balance.
Very light body with generous carbonation, moderately dry. Alcohol is well hidden.

I was walking the juniper woods in 80 degrees today. This was a perfect beer to come home to. Light, complex but with an easy drinking dryness. This brew is one of the reasons saison is quickly becoming one of my favorite styles.

Serving type: bottle

03-16-2009 23:35:16 | More by goatgoat
Photo of TTAmod


4.5/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 mL bottle poured into snifter.

A: Typical saison. Cloudy light-gold color with a fluffy, white head.

S: Lots of sweet fruit, some Belgian yeast, and a tad bit of funk

T: This one is a lot sweeter than the nose makes it out to be. Primary fruit flavor is...orange or mango. Hard to tell. There's a lot of yeasty taste and a bit of funk (tastes like wet hay...hard to describe) at the end with a slight alcohol burn.

M: Thin-moderate body. Lots of carbonation, yet somehow silky smooth. Extremely nice.

O: The Saison is one of my favorite types of beer. This particular one is EXTREMELY authentic. This brewery has done the nearly impossible in making an authentic-tasting American Belgian ale. Honestly, this is one of the best saisons I've ever had. It's refreshing, fruity, sweet, yeasty, and funky, just like a sasion should be.

Also, for $7.99 for a 750 mL....it's an unbelievable value.

Serving type: bottle

09-03-2011 06:36:59 | More by TTAmod
Photo of gregk


4.5/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Nice bright appearance with a full head. Very good spice notes. This is one of my favorite examples of a Saison. Very well balanced and lots of character. I only wish I could find it on draft in more places :)

North Coast does a great job again! Cheers!

Serving type: bottle

05-24-2012 16:55:20 | More by gregk
Photo of Hunter


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

Appearance: Golden ale, billowy head, decent lacing.

Smell: Fresh notes of wheat, light malt, grassy tones.

Taste: Light, bubbly, almost champagne-like notes of crisp fruit. Very little by way of alcohol, but it makes for a subtle presence in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Light, bracing.

Overall: This is a lovely beer, worth looking into.

Serving type: bottle

06-01-2013 00:10:37 | More by Hunter
Photo of MMAJYK


4.47/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Bright and golden. Transparent. Head is 1" and lacing is decent with slight patch work on the sides of the glass.

S- Citrusy of lemons and oranges. The candi sugar is present and melds well with the citrus.

T- Very clean and crisp with same citrus notes carrying over from the nose. The candi sugar though is not so strong as in the nose which is nice. That sweetness gets old to me pretty quickly. This is the best tasting Saison I have ever tried.

M- Relatively thin and super clean. Carbonation is high. Very refreshing.

D- Too drinkable. I got a bottle for my g/f while sitting at The Map Room in Chicago. I had to help her drink this. Amazing brew.

Overall- This is the most clean and refreshing Saison I have tried to date. Very true to style and just outstanding.

Serving type: bottle

05-09-2008 17:07:55 | More by MMAJYK
Photo of yemenmocha


4.47/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours golden with large bubbled white head. Appearance is deceiving - looks like any old beer.

Nose is ripe with apples, apricots, and again... very ripe overall in fruitiness. It's quite assertive, and quite welcome. Trace of apple cider and boozy aromas come through also.

On the palate the high carbonation is noted, with an apple cider like sweetness, but with contrasting sour flavors that round it out. This is also a champagne like beer, if there is such a thing.

Very drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

12-25-2008 02:21:11 | More by yemenmocha
Photo of BeerManDan


4.47/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

When poured, the color was a hazy light yellow with nice white foam and medium retention of lace on the side of the glass. The smell had a fruity aroma, with a hint of citrus.

Fruity aroma and a soft, sweet maltiness. Lively mouth feel with a finish reminiscent of brut champagne. Nicely balanced and very pleasant as a sipper on a hot day or anythime!

Serving type: bottle

06-20-2009 21:07:17 | More by BeerManDan
Photo of brewdoc75


4.47/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I had this on tap at a local bar and had to get some in a bottle.

A: Light yellow to gold with strong carbonation and a generous head. The head dwindles after a few minutes to nothingness. It is appetizing nonetheless.

S: Wow! Fruits galore with some apple, banana and even some citrus. Smells "candy-like" at times. The aroma doesn't quit. Some pleasant sourness in the end albiet faint.

T: Lovely fruity esters hit the tongue first and transition to sour apples. Spicy hops tickle the taste buds ib the end. A honey-like sweetness is present throughout. Full of flavor and spot on.

M: Dry, just like it should be. Finishes crisp and light.

D: This is a superb saison! I love dupont, but I'm having an affair with Le Merle. A must try for saison lovers.

Serving type: bottle

08-14-2009 00:52:05 | More by brewdoc75
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Le Merle from North Coast Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 879 ratings.