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Le Merle - North Coast Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Le MerleLe Merle

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

977 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 977
Reviews: 463
rAvg: 3.89
pDev: 10.28%
Wants: 28
Gots: 58 | FT: 2
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: 977 | Reviews: 463 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of WVbeergeek

West Virginia

4.22/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a glowing orange body with a bright white head forming thick and flowing with a dimpled head. Fine bands of chunky lacing layer in this head, very nice look to it. Aroma has big ripe layers of tropical fruit flowing throughout each sniff, spicy black pepper in the background gets dusted on. I'm getting mango, pineapple, with a mild citrus note flowing pretty amazing levels of fruit move into my senses. Spicy Belgian yeast notes adds another layer, I've never seen this beer in person only on the internet, a case as recently landed in Steubenville, OH and I'm jumpin' on it. Flavor has tropical fruit bursts with a layer of spicy dry yeast cakes, this is an amazingly big juicy fruit spiked with mango pineapple and other tropical fruits. Spicy Belgian yeast flares it's flavor with hints of black pepper spiciness, pretty intense and complex Saison a bit bigger than traditional versions almost 8%. Really coats the palate and the carbonation level is kicking quite nicely, what a robust Saison, usually when brewed in a more Belgian style the effervescence is incredible and the body is rather light or airy compared to this. I'm not going down a cloying road just a more rounded malt body with less airy carbonation with a bit more alcohol involvement than I'm used to within this style It mirrors as a light triple versus a big saison. Overall quality and enjoyment level is high I'm glad I randomly ran into this beer close to home.

Serving type: bottle

07-16-2011 23:37:10 | More by WVbeergeek
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.


Serving type: bottle

07-09-2011 23:28:07 | More by chocosushi
Photo of ManuelHerrera


3.58/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Murky golden orange that's hazy with a foamy head. Light lacing makes for an attractive saison.

S - Heavy lemon and citrus peel notes sting into the aroma with mild notes of soap sud and sourness. Yeast notes tie the whole aroma together.

T & M - Flavor is quite sour with heavy lemon-lime flavor with hints of herb and floral notes blossom as the flavor lingers However that vanishes quickly as the sourness begins to overpower the overall palate. The beer feels light and heavily carbonated, and the sourness cuts into the finish of the beer.

O - Light and relatively easy to drink, although it's a bit dry and sour for my taste.

Serving type: bottle

07-09-2011 03:46:01 | More by ManuelHerrera
Photo of gatornation


3.68/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

on tap in a 12 oz pour

A- a cloudy light gold pour ,with a fluffy white head

S- was light lemon grass with with some pepper and spice some hops with bread and leather

T- was a tart lemon with some wet hay and leather funk,baked bread malts with some hops

m was crisp and carbonated with a refreshing lemon tartness

O-good saison a little overpriced and not a top tier saison especially at the price point wont buy this in the bottle but will have it on tap again when i see it..its worth a try as it is a goos saison

Serving type: on-tap

07-05-2011 21:51:41 | More by gatornation
Photo of SesideMarketBuyr


3.7/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Cracked a 750ml of this guy on a friday afternoon, great weather accompanied by some really tasty brew. Right off the bat it had a nice rich golden yellow color and a nose full of orange rind. I enjoyed the beer, great summer brew, but the finish was a little and I do mean a little unsatisfying for me. The second time I tasted Le merle, (which has an awesome story and bottle art), just wasn't as memorable as the first time. Definitely worth purchasing though, a really tasty and well crafted take on a saison.

Serving type: bottle

07-03-2011 00:31:43 | More by SesideMarketBuyr
Photo of codfeast


3.73/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

bottle to tulip.

A: A hazy, light orange color, thin head gone in a flash.

S: Lots to smell here. yeast, orange rind, apple now and later, damp wood or hay.

T: Sweet start bubble gum, peach and apricot. then the spicy yeast kicks in. followed by a very tart, finish.

M: tingles the tounge. Finish is almost tannic, sucks the saliva from my mouth.

O: Maybe because it's pissing rain and cold at the end of June, but the beer just is not doing it for me today. certainly not without it's merit, but perhaps if going with North Coast today should of had an Rasputin.

Serving type: bottle

06-29-2011 03:10:10 | More by codfeast
Photo of beerman21


4.47/5  rDev +14.9%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

06-26-2011 05:00:00 | More by beerman21
Photo of ColForbinBC

New Jersey

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

375mL corked and caged bottle poured into a Duvel tulip

Pours a hazy orange with a huge, fluffy paper white cap that rose to fill the glass quickly. Great retention with minor lacing.

Aroma of horse saddle/leather funk, lemongrass, pepper, undercooked biscuits and a finish of earthy hops. Pleasant and inviting.

Lemon and spice lay it down first with saddle leather coming in through the middle. The finish is of undercooked biscuits and somewhat dry. A faint warming with a touch of spice lingers.

Medium bodied with good carbonation. Fluffy and smooth on the palate. Finish is peppery with a faint warming.

Overall this is a solid saison. It's not overwhelming, but it performs pretty well. A very good example of the style.

Serving type: bottle

06-25-2011 00:33:51 | More by ColForbinBC
Photo of OneDropSoup


3.6/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

On tap at House of 1000 Beers in New Kensington, PA.

Poured into a stemmed tulip: Took a while to pour thanks to the huge, dense, cream white head over a shiny straw body, hazy. Head drops to a finger, leaves meringue lacing.

Sweet smell of ripe banana, a little bubblegum, a little hay-like smell hanging around in the background, lightly herbal.

Taste is sweetly lemony with some sweet, lightly biscuity malts backing it up. Again, a little banana, slightly doughy, with a surprising prick of tartness at first in the finish, but that fades. Not bad, but on the sweet side for my liking. Sharp booze kick after a while.

Feels a little steely at first, moving a flattening kind of sweet feel, ending tart & gushy at first that hangs around into the aftertaste. Doesn't choke me with yeastiness like so many farmhouse ales.

Not bad overall, on the sweet side for my liking, as mentioned before, but doable.

Serving type: on-tap

06-24-2011 00:44:32 | More by OneDropSoup
Photo of rickyleepotts


3/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

How cool… to have a beer named after you. Of course, only if the beer is good. But this beer promises to have some hints of fruit in there. Fruits and spice that is.

The first thing I notice is how big the bottle is. I like it that some of these beers have big bottles. A big bottle, since we are splitting the beers amongst us, provides a full pint a piece. That’s more beer to enjoy, and more time to enjoy the fruits of our labor.

This beer looks like a wheat in the glass… perhaps a thicker, more robust Blue Moon. But smells nothing like a Blue Moon. It has a spicy nose, but a certain sweetness that is some of those fruit notes I keep reading about. The head is quite frothy too, which is unusual for lighter beers. (Yes, I did a proper pour.)

At first you are hit with some subtle carnation, but then you are just covered with utter sweetness. The beer explodes on the back of the palate and settles into a smooth, sweet aftertaste that quickly turns almost warm… those spices that I could smell a few minutes ago. The aftertaste lasts for a LONG time too. It just sits there, making you want to enjoy that rather than another drink. A big bottle could last someone a long time if planned accordingly.

The beer has a pretty high ABV too, nearly reaching 8%. So taking your time with a big bottle might be your best bet. The beer is good… not great, but very good. However I fear a beer like this won’t be very memorable. Taste is too complex to really explain, and since it’s such a new brew not sure I would even remember what it’s called unless staring at the bottle.

Serving type: bottle

06-11-2011 21:27:38 | More by rickyleepotts
Photo of tempest


3.83/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

While drinking this, all I could think about (in terms of reviewing) was how much this tastes like Pranqster. There's a big, spicy phenol note after a lighter barley note. The deeper herbal and earthy flavors are missing, like you might find in something from Fantome. The beer is also force carbonated, which makes the beer feel heavier. It's in line with tasty takes on the style from American brewers, but it can't quite stand up to Belgian saisons.

Serving type: on-tap

06-10-2011 03:19:30 | More by tempest
Photo of brotherloco


4.18/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml C&C Bottle into a tulip.

Pours cloudy pale gold with a thin white ring, minimal lacing.

Fairly rich aroma. Citrusy American hops blend into sour and stinky cheese. You know, the good kind. A salty brine emerges as well.

A lot of these elements follow through into the flavor. There's a real sweet and sour start, with the sour funk winning out in the middle and finish. Complex and multi-layered, refreshing and filling at the same time, I'm loving it.

Crisp and sharp carbonation, medium-low body and a dry finish. Really suits the style well.

Serving type: bottle

06-08-2011 03:19:24 | More by brotherloco
Photo of dgilks


3.53/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Hazy pale gold colour with a big, fluffy off-white head. Fair head retention.

Spicy, herbal aroma with a touch of lemon. Soft but appropriate to style.

Very soft malt with a peppery, spicy yeast profile. A few, lemony esters come through as well but this is a very spicy saison.

Medium-light body with moderately-high carbonation.

A decent saison with the right flavours but it lacks a bit of X factors with the flavours not quite hitting all the high notes of a Saison Dupont or Bridge Road Chevalier Saison.

Serving type: bottle

06-05-2011 07:32:24 | More by dgilks
Photo of vtfan77


3.58/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A- Corked and caged bottle opens with a very loud pop, propelling the cork some distance. Pours a clear light amber with a very nice head that takes its time going down.

S- Quite cidery, with sweet and tart aromas of apples and pears. There's a touch of barnyard funk and a good dose of caramel malt as well.

T- Applesauce fruitiness upfront segues into a tart cider flavor backed by grainy malt. Hops add a pleasant earthiness and a good dose of bitterness on the end. The overall impression is of a tart, dry beer, but there is an underlying sweetness beneath it all.

M- Medium-bodied and slick with a rather low dose of carbonation.

Decent beer overall and fairly representative of the saison style. It lacks some complexity, but overall it's a pretty good beer. I might drink it again. Not a bad choice for fans of the style.

Serving type: bottle

06-02-2011 21:55:59 | More by vtfan77
Photo of ADZA


3.78/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This brew pours a hazy golden hue with decent carbonation that leaves behind a two finger head and little lacing,the smell is honey,alcohol,fruity bread and raisins soaked in honey,it has a medium bodied well carbonated dry mouthfeel and has tastes of fruity floral esters,bready malts,raisins soaked in honey and finished with a citrus hopppy dryness and overall nice but was expecting more cheers.

Serving type: bottle

06-02-2011 16:46:02 | More by ADZA
Photo of spinrsx

Ontario (Canada)

4.05/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bomber - Thanks to Phyl21ca

Appearance - Hazy gold/amber colour with a very large size fizzy white coloured head. I can't make out much carbonation due to the haziness and there is some good lacing. The head lasted for around 5 minutes before it was gone.

Smell – Breads/grains, cloves, lemons, bananas, coconuts?

Taste & Mouth - The beer has a high amount of carbonation. I can taste lots of lemon and wheat mixed with cloves and yeast. There is also some bananas and a flavour that I couldn't quite put my finger on.. I guessed coconuts. The beer finishes with a grainy and tart aftertaste.

Overall – I really enjoyed this beer and would have it again for sure. The taste was well balanced and I made it though the bomber quicker than I had anticipated.

Serving type: bottle

05-30-2011 16:37:59 | More by spinrsx
Photo of dyoung3


3.5/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Tasted this one as a sample at Cowgirl Creamery in Washington DC's beer tasting. Poured in a small IKEA glass about 2 ounces.

Appearance: Little more orange/copper than I expected for a Saison. Definitely not as carbonated as the Dupont but almost a welcome attribute.

Smell: Belgian presence but not very George Clinton (aka funky)

Taste: Man, this is a tough one. I probably didn't drink enough to give this beer justice but it was a little too cidery for me which in turn translated into a bit of perceived sweetness. Could have been a lack of hop balance but that is what held me back in the Dupont so I'm not sure where I stand on this style I guess. Remnants of the Klokke Roeland were buzzing in my head, a beer I have yet to review. Can't say I didn't enjoy it though.

Mouthfeel: I actually enjoyed the viscous nature of this beer more so than the Dupont's high carbonation. The alcohol was not as evident as you might think for a 7.9% beer but I could absolutely drink an entire bottle of this.

Overall: Would recommend but not necessarily over other Saisons since I don't have that much experience with them. Am definitely eager to explore the style further especially with the Stateside Saison from Stillwater. Next time...

Serving type: bottle

05-28-2011 01:48:38 | More by dyoung3
Photo of brendan13


3.65/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a clear pale orange with a 3cm white head that slowly falls to a thin whisp.
S - Slight pepper spice and peach fruit notes.
T - Pepper and peach also in the taste with a pale malt sweetness.
M - Slightly bitter, lighter side of medium bodied. Quite high carbonation. Slight tartness.
O - Quite a clean Saison. Not bad but not especially interesting either.

Serving type: bottle

05-25-2011 08:18:54 | More by brendan13
Photo of Knapp85


3.48/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Popped the cork with and poured into a snifter. The color is a really nice orange copper color. The head is nice at first then it settles down to a thinner white layer. The lacing is sparse. The smell is a little spicy with some wheat and just a very light aroma of funk. The taste is a little boozy with some spice and some grapes in there. The mouthfeel is bubbly and a little creamy. Not a bad brew. Pretty decent stuff for a saison.

Serving type: bottle

05-22-2011 03:45:50 | More by Knapp85
Photo of afinepilsner


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

750ml corked brown bottle
7.9% abv

Le Merle was pale gold in color with good clarity on the initial pour, but hazy for the rest of the bottle. It had a tall, foamy, white head with good retention and lacing. The smell was yeast, spices, and fruit. The taste was pale malt, peppery spice, and some bitterness. The finish was dry and lightly bitter with a bit more peppery spice and touch of aspirin. The mouthfeel was good with a medium body and medium carbonation. Overall Le Merle is a good beer and worth a try.

Serving type: bottle

05-21-2011 22:59:50 | More by afinepilsner
Photo of brouwer


3.83/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I picked this out with a selection of beers at GB Russo and Sons in Grand Rapids, MI.

I was underwhelmed by the smell which is weak. The appearance was good with cloudy carmel color.

Taste is mild to moderate bitter with overtones of fruit.

I appreciate the hops which are moderate.

Appropriate carbonation with a good head.

Overall good but not great.

Serving type: bottle

05-21-2011 22:58:01 | More by brouwer
Photo of katan


3.85/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

25oz into a pint

A - Deep golden color, opaque but not hazy. Thick looking. Lots of carbonation coming through, especially the hefty white head. Well retained at a film.

S - High amounts of pilsner breadiness - somewhat grainy at times. Lightly peppery, a hair of funk.

T - Starts off very malty, lots of those pilsner malts. Huge sweet backbone. Mid-stream gets bitter, no hopping detected. Finishes with some lemon, somewhat citrusy note. White pepper shows up in the aftertaste.

M - Moderate beer body, lots of carbonation, occasionally stinging the palette. Finishes clean - some alcohol warmth.

O/D - Easy drinking saison. Manageable ABV. Not to funky for those looking to get into the style. A bit over carbonated for me, comes off as overly filling.

Serving type: bottle

05-16-2011 04:29:30 | More by katan
Photo of gkunkle


4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazy golden orange color with visible carbonation. Upon the pour into my tulip glass I noticed a 1.5 inch white head. I believe my glass may have caused the head to recede a bit quickly. The smell has notes of fruit and wheat with a little bit of funk. As I taste the beer the first thing to hit my tongue is the sweetness of the fruit flavors and the spicyness, as it crests my tongue I get a nice dose of spicyness. This beer was a bit thicker than I expected, but the excited carbonation lifts it off the tongue, giving it a light and refreshing feel. Overall, I am quite impressed with this beer, I think I may have found a new favorite summer style. This beer has inspired me to buy a few more saisons and give them a try. The only drawback to this beer is the high price point and the high ABV, I would mug prefer something in the 4 or 5% range to make it a little more sessionable. This is such a great beer, I would prefer to be able to drink it all day.

Serving type: bottle

05-13-2011 21:46:06 | More by gkunkle
Photo of calebroberts811


4.03/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was my second foray into the realm of saison/farmhouse ales, the first being Boulevard's Tank 7. I have to say that this proved to be a much better beer. Here's my breakdown:

A - Insane three-finger head that didn't dissipate at all but rather sustained itself into a creamy, fluffy, eggshell white head. Consistent and plenteous carbonation from the bottom of the glass with a golden yellow color.

S - Strong notes of pineapple and tropical fruits, hay, with a slight cheesy funkiness.

T - Tropical fruits on the introduction; beautiful biscuity flavors on the mid-palate which descended into caramel notes on the back end accompanied by the expertly balanced warmth of the 7.9% alcohol and the hop bitterness.

Though I've only had two Saisons, this one holds a place as my standard of the style and aside from all the technicalities, this was simply a wonderfully pleasurable beer. Major props to North Coast.

Serving type: bottle

05-12-2011 04:08:30 | More by calebroberts811
Photo of mikesgroove

South Carolina

3.7/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Lots of carbonation coming up from the bottom of the glass, letting me knows this was most definitely a live one. A two inch layer of white foam then came up over the top, settled down to a broken crown and coated the inside of the glass with decent lacing.

The aroma was rather odd, sweet at first but as I really let it explore there were some light fruity notes, maybe peach and pineapple with a biscuit like note, very odd, but also very good. The flavor was more of the same, rich notes of caramel whirled over the tongue and separated into a light and fruity Belgian yeast and a grapefruit and pineapple like floral hoppiness. Strange, but awesome I have to admit. Really quite complex. The flavor took a turn toward the bitter and dried out the palate appropriately, creating a nice dry, and inviting session for the next sip. Great medium feel was a little bit heavier then I thought it would be, but very well carbonated and an awesome session beer. Very rich for such low ABV.

Overall I am not sure what to call this style but it was definitely unique to say the least. Really quite nice and a classic for me.

Serving type: bottle

05-03-2011 01:57:41 | More by mikesgroove
Le Merle from North Coast Brewing Co.
87 out of 100 based on 977 ratings.