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Le Merle - North Coast Brewing Co.

Le MerleLe Merle

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

878 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 878
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: 878 | Reviews: 451 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Badger6


3.91/5  rDev +0.3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

04-16-2014 01:23:20 | More by Badger6
Photo of Flounder57


4.01/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle was poured into a tulip.

Appearance: A one finger head was poured that reduced to a thin layer. It is a pale yellow with great clarity and vision of bubbles coming up through the glass. Spotty lacing on the glass as the beer was drank.

Smell: Bready, vanilla, yeasty esters, spices, pepper, floral, and apple.

Taste: Pepper, citrus, bitterness, bready, vanilla, apple, yeasty, and a little booze. Nice stuff

Mouthfeel: Light bodied, a little dry, medium to high carbonation, a little chewy, and mild bitterness in the rear.

Overall: The warm weather is headed to Boston. So happy to be enjoying this beer as the weather gets warmer. Many more if these as the weather gets better.

Serving type: bottle

04-06-2014 01:00:24 | More by Flounder57
Photo of CowsandBeer


4.05/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle with cool holographic label poured into a Tallgrass Brewing Co tulip.

Appearance: Pours a clear golden body with three big fingers of thick white head. Persistent head and nice lacing.

Aroma: Peppery yeast, grassy hops, damp cellar, lemon tartness, orange sweetness. The pepper notes meld really well with the tartness and hops. I could smell this forever.

Taste: Upfront is all white pepper, hay and spicy yeast. Middle is taken by the citrus fruits and the grassy hops. Finishes with a nice biscuit malt backbone.

Mouthfeel: Prickly carbonation, slightly drying, warming.

Overall: A refreshing, easy drinking saison which I can see myself drinking in the summer. Peppery, grassy, and nicely tart. Worth a try at least once.

Serving type: bottle

04-04-2014 01:21:54 | More by CowsandBeer
Photo of brureview


4.2/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

The beer was a clear golden color with a 1/2 finger head poured into a tulip.

Carbonation bubbles from the bottom of the glass.

The aroma was excellent: light clove and spice. Most Saisons have spice and/or clove; this aroma delicately worked well into the balance of the beer. The aroma transitions well into the taste.

Mouth feel: carbonated- not overdone as in many other Saisons.

Taste : excellent. Fruity, spice, clove. Sometimes the taste in a Saison is not fruity enough or is dwarfed by the spice. In this beer, there is delicacy and nice balance of fruit and spice in the taste.

Finish- spicy- works well in the aroma/taste character of the beer.

Overall: one of the better Saisons I have tasted in a while. Well balanced, fruity, spicy, not too carbonated, and well balanced.

Serving type: bottle

03-26-2014 01:52:26 | More by brureview
Photo of mactrail


3.94/5  rDev +1%
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
Photo of superspak


4.33/5  rDev +11%
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
Photo of vfgccp

New York

4.2/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A - Nice, towering white head with ok retention and low lace. Massive amounts of carbonation in the class. Straw yellow body.

S - Lemongrass, fresh celery, peaches, earthy hay. Nice fruit sweetness.

T - Bright lemon and parsley right up front into an orange zest, yeast, and dry grass center. Delicious peach chutney backend finishes dry.

M - Medium frame with great carbonation.

O - A really nice saison on the fruity side of the style.

Serving type: bottle

01-05-2014 01:57:33 | More by vfgccp
Photo of HoppyBastard


4.26/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 1 pint 9.4 ounce corked bottle into a Shaker pint glass.

APPEARANCE: A beautiful hazy golden color, highly carbonated with a three finger head even after a careful pour, excellent retention with significant lacing.

SMELL: Somewhat assertive, pears, white grapes, apples, some farmhouse funk, a little spice.

TASTE: The taste follows the nose, initially sweet malt almost like a pilsner, pears, white grapes, apples, not as funky as some farmhouse ales but it's there, the alcohol 7.9% is perceptible but fairly well hidden, finishes dry, almost effervescent with all the carbonation, reminds me of Champagne.

PALATE: Highly carbonated and finishes dry, very drinkable.

OVERALL: I will but this again. Very good and reasonably priced. I would say this beer is not unlike Duvel, costs less and is made in America.

Serving type: bottle

12-28-2013 04:26:23 | More by HoppyBastard
Photo of eric5bellies


3.73/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

Drank from my Mane Liquor Tulip

A - Pours a cloudy copper colour with a small with head that retains well and laces.

S - Yeast and lemon citrus

T - Up front some nice yeast flavours followed by lemon citrus. The finish is a little sweet and sticky

M - Medium body and low carbonation just the way it should be.

O - I really liked this beer, although it is let down by the residual sweetness. Recommended

Serving type: bottle

12-13-2013 11:19:28 | More by eric5bellies
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 TownDunkel


4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

this is my true for saison and it is delicious beer I must say anyways there's no more of you your parents is looks like a normal amber but without clear white head that dissipates quickly the smell reminds me of fruits maybe even a slight acidic taste and then finally the taste delicious! Farmhouse funk in the beginning which Melos to tropical and normal fruits the mouth feels were really stands out here at last with you for several minutes why you can still enjoy the flavors overall I would say this is one of the best beers I've had in awhile maybe not a daily drinker though due to the complexity

Serving type: bottle

09-27-2013 19:13:00 | More by TownDunkel
Photo of jlindros


3.86/5  rDev -1%
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.

Serving type: bottle

09-14-2013 22:00:50 | More by jlindros
Photo of artdob


4.11/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This yellow golden pour is topped with a head reminiscent of the suds left from receding waves on the California coast. The nose is robust. Like stepping into a bakery. Yeasty esters in abundance. Light fruitiness of apricot. Scones anyone?

The palate is greeted with strong citrus tones that were mostly hidden on the nose. Warm roasted grapefruit.

Mouthfeel has a zinginess with much warmth coming from this beer. This is to be savored, and enjoyed slowly.

Beautifully presented in a corked bottle with the champagne like wire trap over the top. A nice offering from the brewmasters at North Coast.

Serving type: bottle

09-07-2013 03:16:25 | More by artdob
Photo of Drewfer


4.15/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the 750mL bottle into a tulip glass

Appearance: Golden, close to the color of apple juice, with a lemony white head.

Smell: Hint of citrus with a bit of spice to it, very pleasant

Taste: Begins tart, but finishes with a nice but brief sweetness. Citrus very present throughout.

Overal: A beer I keep going back to, especially in the summer months. It has complex flavor that can repeatedly be enjoyed. Highly recommended for a refreshing beer before or during dinner.

Serving type: bottle

08-11-2013 04:28:21 | More by Drewfer
Photo of JMScowcroft


3.74/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

North Coast Brewing Co. - Le Merle, poured into a Lawson's tulip.

Look - Pours a hazy golden orange with a thin bubbly head that runs away quickly and leaves brief bubbly sliding lacing.

Smell - Aroma is fruity white grapes, very wine-like with a slight hint of brett.

Taste - Carbonated champagne-like bite with a sugary sweet after affect of Belgian sour yeast. Definite sweet caramel sugar.

Mouthfeel - Sticky and sweet, medium to heavy bodied. Not boozy and good drinkability.

Overall - Not bad, but a bit bland overall. More like a just OK Belgian Tripel and along those lines it is a little one-dimensional. It's not terrible, but it's barely above average.

Serving type: bottle

08-07-2013 00:41:18 | More by JMScowcroft
Photo of SanDNigel


3.46/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

375ml into chubby tulip
A- Hazy golden yellow. Big-bubble white head that runs away as fast as it can (you can hear it..)
S- Raunchy bread dough is the first thing I can think of. I guess a touch of anise. Pretty funky
T- Like it smells. That super caramelly heavy tripel kinda thing. Its good but doesn't make me wanna jump up n down
M- The big bubbles help whisk away the heaviness of the beer body. Bubbles feel huge
I don't know if I would buy this beer again, but I am enjoying what I have in front of me.

Serving type: bottle

07-28-2013 04:12:46 | More by SanDNigel
Photo of Brew_42


3.36/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

They were handing out samples of this and I was pleasantly surprised. Took home a bottle myself..

Pours hazy yellow

Smells citrusy

Taste citrusy up front with a hint of spices on the end. The after taste is pleasant and fruity

Palate- Very crisp and refreshing

OVerall- I thought it was a great saison. Definitely worth trying.

Serving type: bottle

07-23-2013 05:25:59 | More by Brew_42
Photo of jamiecoppin

North Dakota

3.61/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured from 375 bottle into a New Belgium Tulip

Appearance: hazy dark yellow. Initially a very frothy, impressive head that dissipates rather quickly.

Smell: not overly aromatic. Slightly grassy. Lemons.

Taste: Dry. Wow. That yeast really kicked up some phenols. Slightly bitter but mostly spicy. Kind of peppery. Lemons up front with a slight tropical fruit aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: This beer would be great with food. The palate scrubbing capability of this beer is very high. Holding this beer in your mouth is equivalent to having pop rocks in your mouth.

Overall: Not a bad Saison. I will visit this again in the future.

Serving type: bottle

06-27-2013 02:36:54 | More by jamiecoppin
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 rangerred


4.14/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

375ml bottle into a tulip.

Pours a nearly clear medium gold with a huge billowy white head. The head sticks around seemingly forever leaving huge globs of lacing on the sides of the glass.

Spicy aroma with pear, orange, and lemon that is very typical of a Saison. Nothing off at all that I can detect.

Flavor is more pear and lemon with a little bit of orange. There is some bready malt detectable in the background. While bitterness leans towards the light side the mouthfeel is very dry as any good saison should be leaving some lingering spice on the palate.

Overall, a really good example of the style although there is nothing that really stands out as unique. Nonetheless it is one that I would drink on a regular basis if it was cheaper.

Serving type: bottle

05-18-2013 01:43:17 | More by rangerred
Photo of heygeebee


3.6/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

From Platinum.

Appearance - hazy light gold, less head than expected. Little lace or film.

Smell - yeast, orange peel, lemon zest.

Taste - funk, lemons, yeast, orange peel.

Mouthfeel. - light and zesty.

Overall - a flavoursome Saison.... Many underlying flavours in the base beer. Not as easy drinking as some... Is that a good or a bad thing ? :-)

Serving type: bottle

05-17-2013 12:50:55 | More by heygeebee
Photo of fatmusic14


3.86/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

At first, I thought it looked like a substandard pilsner. I looked closer and noticed the waves upon waves of bubbles floating to the surface like Charlie. Its neverending, really. Decent head, thin but plentiful. Dissipates quickly but leaves about a quarter inch. No lacing.

Smells like the springtime. Herbal, earthy, citrusy with hints of other fruits.

Tastes almost exactly like it smells. Very subtle tones of lemongrass, banana. Not so subtle tones of grapefruit and small malty aftertaste.

M - Top Notch

O - Sure. Go ahead. Grab a few.

Serving type: bottle

05-15-2013 00:23:31 | More by fatmusic14
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 Jree261


4.16/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Pours cloudy golden out of the bottle with off white foam

S: Straw, stone, red fruit, citrus

T: Cherry, citrus, tastes like the beach on a summer day

M: Good medium full mouthfeel with round fruit.

O: Excellently balanced with a good finish. Makes me excited for summer.

Serving type: bottle

05-01-2013 00:38:05 | More by Jree261
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
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Le Merle from North Coast Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 878 ratings.