Le Merle - North Coast Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Le MerleLe Merle

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very good

1,117 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,117
Reviews: 474
rAvg: 3.89
pDev: 10.28%
Wants: 31
Gots: 77 | 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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerBeing on 06-03-2007)
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Ratings: 1,117 | Reviews: 474 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of beertunes
3.93/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into tulip. This is one of the prettiest beers I've seen lately. A light orange (bordering on deep yellow), with almost 2 inches of fluffy, white head that had good retention but no lacing.

A nice yeasty aroma greets the nose, with some fruit tones and spiceyness added in. The flavors are in solid agreement with the aromas, spicy, yeasty, fruity and a sharp, dry finish are the highlights.

The body is good, full, well-rounded and supple without being heavy. Drinkability is very good, I could easily have several of these beauties.

Overall, another fine beer from a brewery who, perhaps, doesn't get all the love they deserve. You should try this ASAP.

Photo of siradmiralnelson
3.93/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 750 ml caged and corked into New Belgium Globe Glass.

A. Opened with a loud Pop. 3 finger head with large bubbles. Nice golden color. Not much lacing left on glass. Decent head retention. Lots of bubbles rising up. Lots of carbonation.

S. Yeast, malt, sourness, spices, a little funk, citrus. Definitely has the Saison smell to it.

T. The funk hits you up front from the yeast. Tropical fruit, malt, sourness, citrus, spices, touch of sweetness at the end. Taste improved as it went down. Spices come out a bit as it warms.

M. Light/medium bodied. Crisp and dry. Lots of carbonation. Selzer like.

D. Very drinkable. Not the best I have had, but still pretty damng good beer. I must be a sucker for Saisons.

Photo of hosehead83
3.93/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a corked and "caged" 350ml bottle into a wine goblet.
Orange-gold in color, with a rather moderate head of white foam.
Aroma-Spicy Belgian yeast, fruity.
Taste-Tangy, spicy, spiced pears, refreshing and quaffable for the strength. Mouthfeel and character fade a bit as it warms, leaving a low carbonated muddle. Doesn't have the high carbonated staying power of a lot of other Saisons. That being said, Le Merle is a pretty good American offering of a farmhouse ale.

Photo of kalebharris
3.92/5  rDev +0.8%

Photo of BeerForMuscle
3.92/5  rDev +0.8%

Photo of Badger6
3.91/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured out of a bomber into a tulip.

A: Pale coppery yellow body, with a nice bubbly head that recedes to a retained layer of head on the surface of the beer. Lots of lacing.

S: Bready and yeasty, Peppery spice notes and tree fruits.

T: Yeasty phenols with pepper and citrus. Bready and sweet. A little bit of funk in the finish, with some booziness. Very nice to drink.

M: Light with a medium carbonation, mild bitterness.

O: Huge fan of the North Coast brewery, and finding this was a real treat. Did not disappoint. Very good quality, and a nice rendering of the saison style. Only complaint would be the amount of the sweetness, just a little too much.

Photo of HalfFull
3.9/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I pour the La Merle into a wine glass. Like many a saison I've tried in the past, I wait for the bottle to get it's true nature vs. a draft version. Poured from a corked 750 ml., I struggle to remove the cork yet get a welcome POP when I find success. Golden straw on the pour and nicely clear, with a cap that settles slowly amidst a volcanic boil of carbonation from below. Great retention overall.

Touch of noble hops on the nose and a bit of spice and a nice lemony yeast character. Slight alcohol presence but well within expectations.

Flavor follows with a subtle spice character. Nice but not overwhelming on the senses. Finish is pleasant and of moderate depth. An enjoyable saison that doesn't offer the depth of a great Belgian Saison but is nonetheless a beer worth seeking out. A rather dry saison that I hope to see more of, and better than the tap version.

Photo of wethorseblanket
3.9/5  rDev +0.3%

Photo of jdhilt
3.9/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a five+ finger thick, off-white head that takes forever to fade, leaving some lace. Hazy amber color. Good carbonation and medium bodied. Light peach nose. Flavor is sweet peach and yeast. Imagine that a sweet saison! $9.20 for a 750ml caged & corked bottle from Colonial Spirits Acton, Ma.

Photo of breakingbland
3.9/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a snifter. The beer is a cloudy orange/gold with a slightly off-white head that dissipates quickly.

The aroma is of funk and sweet candy.

The taste follows the aroma but with the funk slightly underplayed. The aftertaste lingers as leather and a slight astringency.

The carbonation is a bit coarser than expected. The beer itself has a good body.

I like this beer quite a bit and hope to be able to find it locally.

Photo of iZuby
3.9/5  rDev +0.3%

Photo of Jwale73
3.9/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml corked & caged. Served in my Maudite tulip. Poured a hazy orange-gold. Tight, two and one half inch off-white. Head was refreshed with each pour but eventually settled into a thin consistent skim. Some lacing, but very little adhered during the tasting. Scent of belgian yeast, citrus, and perhaps candi sugar, but fairly subdued overall. Taste consistent with nose. Some tartness attributable to the citrus quality, but very clean and crisp, also some wheat and perhaps green apple. Spiciness was very subdued for the style. Mouthfeel is light, effervescent, as well as tart. Somewhat lacking in terms of the qualities that are characteristic of a farmhouse (e.g. spicy character and farmhouse funk), but very drinkable and a solid tribute to the style.

Photo of Gueuzedude
3.9/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Two Finger thick, frothy, fairly large bubbled, off white colored head that sits atop a lightly hazy, lightly amber tinged, copper colored beer. Quite dry smelling, with dusty, freshly crushed malt, soda crackers and grassy grain aromatics. Lightly tart smelling, which accentuates some notes of green apples and even something like kiwi. Fairly hoppy, with a nice grassy, fresh mown hay sort of thing as well as some herbal notes going on. And now that I dig around here, it is actually quite fruity as well, with a nicely done, sweet flower nectar-like thing (honeysuckly, orange blossom and peach like aromatics come to mind.

Fairly well carbonated, yet still manages to feel creamy on the tongue. Fairly dry, yet it does have some clean, lightly sweet, pale malt notes to it. This finishes with a solid bitterness, which mixes with touches of tartness and an astringent herbal quality. The hops also seem to lend some fruit notes here (or at least the combination of hop and malts does) which definitely remind me of apricots and peaches. Dusty malt flavors of biscuits and crushed soda crackers are noticeable in the last half of a sip.

This is quite a bit nicer than I was expecting. I am really digging the how quaffable this is; it is only lightly sweet, but the hop-fruit character adds another dimension without adding any cloyingness. At first the fruit notes in both the aroma and flavor were hard to pick out, but once I stumbled upon them they became quite distinct and a major contributor to the overall character of the beer. Especially as the beer warms, it becomes much more fruity, with a amplified peach note becoming quite noticeable.

Purchased: Plaza Liquors, Tucson AZ

Photo of JoEBoBpr
3.9/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a tulip glass from a 750ml bottle.

A - Poured a bit more oily than expected with a nice bright but hazy orange color and a nice off0white head about ,25 inches tall that receded fairly quickly.

S - Aroma starts off with some nice tart fruit hints. Some lemon peel as well as oranges and some grapefruit notes. Some nice hop hints can be noted in the nose as well as some good funk.

T & M - Flavor starts off with a nice refreshing citrus notes and a slight tartness. The orange and lemon from the aroma are quite present and very nice and refreshing. Then the nice yeast flavors come in, slight phenols as well as nice interesting funk. There is some nice hop flavor in this one as well with some slight peach notes and vinous qualities. Nice and crisp with clean flavor and a semi-dry finish.

D - I am loving this style more and more each time I try different kinds. This one is up there as a good sure thing Saison. Refreshing, crisp and clean.

Photo of pershan
3.9/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on-tap at Frisco Grille in Columbia, MD.

The beer poured a cloudy, dark straw color with a thin white head into a chalice. The aroma had that distinctive Belgian yeast profile, with sweet and sour components. The flavor was more of the same, with bubble-gum sweetness and sour apple tartness both fairly prevalent. The sweet/sour flavor lasted long after the last swallow - an interesting style. A fairly fizzy mouthfeel. All in all, a very refreshing and drinkable beer for those hot summer days that will surely be showing up here in the Baltimore area fairly soon.

Photo of Murrhey
3.89/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750ml cork and cage bottle into a tulip glass in high elevation Libby, Mont. No brewed or best-by date. Reviewed live.

A- Ridiculous fluffy white head, four fingers in thickness with a retention that lasts for days. Fluffy white lacing and thick, hazy orange color.

S- Tropical fruits and interesting yeast character. Bubblegum, and some noble hops make this fairly attractive.

T- Extremely refreshing, strong hop character and a wet fruity smack to it. Really just a well-balanced, well constructed beer. Yeasty and noble hops.

M- Full-bodied and wet, with a little tangy feel as well.

O- Delightful beer in a style I'm growing to appreciate more and more.

Photo of haddon
3.88/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a tumbler with an apricot color & an egg white top

Biscuit & lemon aroma with some spices

Fruity (apple, lemon and pear) with spices arriving by mid-palate. spices linger in the rather dry aftertaste

Medium body with spritzy carbonation

fine representation of the style. when done right, I find Saisons drinkable but never overpowering. dry & refeshing... great drink to have on a warm Spring evening.

Photo of TLove
3.88/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(From Notes)

A strong and complex body. Another solid beer from North Coast.

Above average dark yellowish color and thin, expansive carbonation.

Classic saison smell and taste. Strong alcohol up front and full, yeasty, grainy, gritty body with a sweet, fruity and malty complexity.

Refreshing and a perfect summer beer. A bit hard on the back end, where the hops come out with the alcohol.

Photo of grub
3.88/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

sampled may 24/08 as part of biegaman's annual summer saison tasting, with a mix of BA/RB represented. biegaman shared this one, so thanks jan!

750ml bottle, corked and caged.

pours crystal clear golden yellow with a small fluffy white head. the head drops slowly and leaves a few spots of lace.

aroma is nice. touch of alcohol. bread. cracker. light spice, but i'm not picking out any one in particular. light floral hops.

taste is good. medium bitterness level. nice light citrus character - orange, tangerine, bit of grapefruit. white bread. crackers. alcohol. light floral character again.

mouthfeel is good. medium-high carbonation level. medium-light body with a nice dry finish.

drinkability is good. a little more bitter than i'd expect from a saison, but it works. i also enjoyed the subtle spicing. overall, quite nice.

Photo of chocosushi
3.88/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cellared for a bit.
750 -> 3 White Wine Glasses.

A ~ A hazed gold/pumpkin color with a very bubbly head.
Settles into a sea-foam cap. Good lacing. Light sediment.

S ~ Prickly fresh lemon, white grapes, & Dry hay

T ~ Lemon follows through pretty heavy, at times turning into a candied lemon peel flavor. A good yeast character Moves into dried peaches, faint cranberry, and some stainless chardonnay flavors as well. Nice.
Letting it warm, I pick up a bit of cinnamon & ginger spicyness with a bit of date/raisin flavor as well. Hefty does of carbonation.

M ~ Pretty Dry with spicy, fruit-filled body. Very carbonated but it honestly adds depth to the fruit flavors.

D ~ Very drinkable, very basic Saison. Northcoast does not usually disappoint. Great for the pricetag.


Photo of Arbitrator
3.88/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cooled bomber poured into a glass.

A: Hazy orange with slight yellow tones and active effervescence. Generous head remains for many minutes and leaves lacing as I drink.

S: Yeast, bananas, apple, kiwi, pineapple, and mango. Very much a fruity bouquet and quite pleasing to smell.

T: Parallels the nose with a nice blend of sweet fruits, spiciness, and malt. However, there is a pronounced and imbalanced sourness that brings down the overall blend.

M: Medium-bodied, with good carbonation and a crisp feel.

D: Quite good, although the ABV means I'd probably just have the one. It was an interesting enough flavor that I want to go back and have another to see if my impression of the sourness was just off.

My first saison, and overall quite a good brew.

Photo of TheMistler
3.88/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Lots and lots o' head. Big bubbled, barely off white, it has a pleasing if hardly discernable golden tint. The color of the beer itself reminds me of a mead, deeply golden, hints of amber, and cloudy.

Tangy nose, the slightly sour funky notes hovering over light but sweet malts. Biscuit, and certainly some honey sweetness. Citrus and light fruits. A little bit of a dusty quality from the yeast. Very slight nostril-tingling spice, white pepper. Overall the nose is much more crisp than I feel my description gives it credit for.

Biscuit malt is noticeable right up front, but the taste is much like the nose - tangy (and nice) - and that takes over rather quick, though the tang continues to develop. Honey sweetness is not as noticeable as it was in the nose. Slight bittering, grass notes. Tangy, dusty yeast brings up the rear. Finishes quite dry, possibly aided by the ABV, which is otherwise very well hidden.

Starts very creamy, but with lots and lots of prickly carbonation making itself known. Medium bodied. Overall, smooth, nice. The carbonation put my stomach in knots a bit, but for a sipper this is pretty drinkable.

Photo of BlindPig
3.88/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Pours with a huge off white head on a cloudy darker golden body. Has great head retention and sticks to the side of the glass.
S- Light funk to it with grass and citrus hops. Lemon and pepper come through as well. Sweet caramel laying under it with just a touch of alcohol to the nose.
T- Light grass hops with the citrus ones coming through quite a bit more. The lemon flavors come through the most with some pepper to blend in too. The yeast comes through as a regular yeast flavor, not the "saison" type. Sweet caramel body to let everything stand on it. Pretty big bitterness lingers on the tongue (for this style) and just a hint of alcohol warmth.
M- Medium body with medium/high carbonation.
D- This style is really hard to judge just because the lines are wide open for what can be called a saison. I think it is good but not your classic Fantome Saison or anything. Still a good beer but missing the saison yeast to it which IMO is a big part of the style. I will probably get this again but not running to the store to get it.

Photo of brewskifan55
3.88/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter

A: Golden with a white one finger head that lingers. Good lacing.

S: Citrus, lemons, Belgian yeast.

T: Follows nose. Light pepper in the mix. Smooth, tart and zesty. Dry finish. Very nice.

M: Medium, creamy, chewy. Good carbonation.

O: A great saison. Would drink again. One of my new favorites.

Photo of jlindros
3.86/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

I'm a bit saison fan, and also a North Coast fan, but somehow this never showed up on my queue until I went to a North Coast tasting at Julios and realized how good it was.

Big pop when the cork comes out, and pours a large but fizzy and airy looking almost 2 finger head that fades semi quickly thanks to all the large air pockets and bubbles, but leaves some spotty lacing, mostly clear golden pilsner color.

Nose brings plenty of farmhouse funk, which is why I liked this one, lots of Belgian yeast phenols with even a hint of phenolic booze, some fruity bubblegum esters even, hints of lemon rind and citrus, and a little saison spices, as well as plenty of grainy malts, some wheat, little malty sweetness and bit toasty even, nice aromatics with a bit of straw and wet hay like must.

Taste starts with the sweet malts actually, a little candy like sweet syrupy candi sugar even, bringing a hint of booze as well, booze tingle. Then into the saison characters, a nice farmhouse funk but not as much as I remember from the tasting, into light saison spices like coriander and bit of clove, orange peel, lots of citrus zest with a little lemon too, lemongrass, etc. Nice wheat characters, toasty malt flavors with some straw and a bit of musty wet hay. Fair amount of phenols from the yeast, as well as mild fruity esters and bubblegum, little peppery too. The bitter citrus rind and candy gets a little too much. Finish is still a bit sweet and sticky but dries a bit, more lingering orange peel and bitter zest, light spices, little wheat and grainy malt lingering.

Mouth is med bod, nice effervescent carb.

Overall mixed on this one, I don't remember it being nearly as sweet as this and also more funky, a lot more farmhouse on the samples we had, probably another batch, but this was still pretty decent but hard to drink the whole 750ml by myself.

Le Merle from North Coast Brewing Co.
87 out of 100 based on 1,117 ratings.