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Le Merle - North Coast Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Le MerleLe Merle

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

490 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 490
Hads: 1,235
Avg: 3.91
pDev: 16.11%
Wants: 35
Gots: 124 | FT: 3
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 (27) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 490 | Hads: 1,235
Photo of xmorgan
5/5  rDev +27.9%
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...

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Photo of Ninjakillzu
4.98/5  rDev +27.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

L: A one finger length creamy white head that slowly dissipated. The body was a golden bright yellow that was slightly cloudy, but turned clear after sitting a bit. Plenty of carbonation.

S: Apple and pear, which is typical of Belgian yeast. I also detected notes of honey and tropical fruit/flowers.

T: This was unexpected and amazing. The last Saison I had tasted like citrus and straw, while this tasted like a Tripel. The flavors were bright and fruity, consisting of apple, pear, citrus, spices, and vanilla. It was very refreshing!

F: Light bodied, fizzy, and prickly with carbonation, but not too exciting. It was pretty good otherwise.

O: It tasted like a Tripel and was quite delicious. I'll have to buy more next time.

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Photo of Rudgers73
4.92/5  rDev +25.8%
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.

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Photo of unclejimbay
4.83/5  rDev +23.5%
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.

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Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
4.8/5  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.

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Photo of detlefchef
4.7/5  rDev +20.2%
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

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Photo of BeerlyLegal
4.65/5  rDev +18.9%
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.

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Photo of alamere
4.64/5  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.

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Photo of Franchise
4.62/5  rDev +18.2%
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.

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Photo of allengarvin
4.58/5  rDev +17.1%
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.]

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Photo of dbONE
4.55/5  rDev +16.4%
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.

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Photo of rkuhnel
4.54/5  rDev +16.1%
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.

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Photo of Meldrick
4.52/5  rDev +15.6%
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!

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Photo of Tone
4.52/5  rDev +15.6%
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.

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Photo of pat61
4.5/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

L: Pours hazy gold under a rocky, turbulent 3” light cream colored foam collar that grips the side of the glass.
S: A slight tuch of toast in the nose with fruit and saison earthiness.
T: Orange, light mango, touch of papaya, apricot, peach or marmalade, definitely a little baguette. Light tartness and bitter in the aftertaste.
F: Medium body, highly effervescent, creamy.
O: A full flavored, easy to drink saison.

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Photo of jwc215
4.5/5  rDev +15.1%
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.

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Photo of goatgoat
4.5/5  rDev +15.1%
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.

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Photo of gregk
4.5/5  rDev +15.1%
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!

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Photo of Blakaeris
4.5/5  rDev +15.1%
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.

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Photo of Gehrig
4.5/5  rDev +15.1%
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.

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Photo of Hesscabob
4.49/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Tried about 3 years ago and realized I did not do a review. A golden, hazy, bubbly saison with tons of fruity and spicy aroma leaving the glass. My first saison and I was so intrigued by Le Merle that I named my dog after it. Truly a great saison for warm, cold or whatever weather/ time of the year.

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Photo of JFrank78
4.48/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

From the bottle. It's a hazy golden pour, good head and an inviting smell. I've been going back to Le Merle for a good while. Subtle citrus and frisky hops. Yum, yum. It tastes like late summer at the ballpark.

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Photo of beerman21
4.48/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Not my first review of this beer nor the last time I taste it. I've become a huge fan of farmhouse ales and this really was the one that broke me in to them.

Appearance... Pours a golden unfiltered heavenly inviting sunshine concoction. White four finger head explodes upwards almost spilling over my glass, mind you this is me pouring very consciously... The white soapy sticky head takes minutes to subside... I'll be honest I’m no writer this is just one gorgeous looking beer. If there was a death row brew this might be my choice not for the taste but just to visually admire.

Smell.. Sour green apples, apricots, tangerines, raspberries, passion fruit, guava, yeasty animalistic barn yard funk. The smell is so complex and a little all over the place but in a good way.

Taste.. more of the same from the smell but more intense. Alot of tropical fruit belgiany yeast funk. Very very good stuff.

Overall one of my all time favorites creamy mouthful, complex and highly drinkable! Love it.

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Photo of Hunter
4.48/5  rDev +14.6%
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.

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Photo of MMAJYK
4.47/5  rDev +14.3%
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.

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Le Merle from North Coast Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 490 ratings.