1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Le Merle - North Coast Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Le MerleLe Merle

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
88
very good

1,097 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,097
Reviews: 473
rAvg: 3.89
pDev: 10.28%
Wants: 31
Gots: 72 | FT: 4
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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Ratings: 1,097 | Reviews: 473 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Sammy
3.73/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A very good saison, which some people think is gone and reired. Pours foamy whitish body and big lasting soapy white head, lasting lace. A little farmhouse aroma, and spice. Taste is above average, complex spice. A nce drinking saison, more of a sipper, hat refreshes the Summer wheaher.

Sammy, May 19, 2009
Photo of t0rin0
4/5  rDev +2.8%

t0rin0, Dec 01, 2012
Photo of spycow
3.5/5  rDev -10%

spycow, Mar 11, 2013
Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.93/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at The Surly Goat in West Hollywood, CA.

Pours a clear golden color with a white head that settles to a thin cap on top of the beer. Foamy swaths of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of grain, spices, yeast, and some light fruity aromas. Taste is pretty much the same but there is also a slight soapy flavor on the finish. This beer has a light level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good saison that is tasty and easy to drink.

UCLABrewN84, Mar 09, 2012
Photo of djrn2
4/5  rDev +2.8%

djrn2, Dec 17, 2011
Photo of zestar
4.25/5  rDev +9.3%

zestar, Jun 26, 2013
Photo of acurtis
3/5  rDev -22.9%

acurtis, Jan 08, 2012
Photo of Thorpe429
3.55/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle from Rick's in Alexandria, Served in a Mikasa tulip.

Pours a slightly-hazy golden color with a HUGE rocky white head. Retention is phenomenal. There's a thick sheet of lacing as it goes down. Really impressive-looking beer.

The nose starts off with some peppery phenols plus some herbal spice. Light pilsner malt behind that. Muted nose, but pretty nice. The flavor is heavy on the yeast, with just a touch of malt and hops as background. Pretty good amount of spice being carried through by heavy carbonation.

The body is light-medium. Dry and smooth through the finish with a bitterness level that is a bit above average for the style. No noticeable alcohol until the final portion of the finish.

Overall, pretty good. This has a nice yeast profile but gets the alcohol level a bit too high. I think taking this down to 6-6.5% would lead to a more crisp and drinkable beer.

Thorpe429, Apr 03, 2012
Photo of Texasfan549
4/5  rDev +2.8%

Texasfan549, May 12, 2012
Photo of metter98
4.05/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: The beer is hazy golden yellow in color and has a moderate amount of carbonation. It poured with a finger high white head that died down yet consistently left a thin layer of bubbles covering the surface.
S: There are moderate aromas of floral hops, apples, lemons, spices and yeast in the nose.
T: The taste is very similar to the smell and is fruity with notes of spices and hints of sourness.
M: It feels medium-bodied and crisp on the palate with a moderate to high amount of carbonation. There are some hints of dryness in the finish.
O: The beer is very easy to drink and refreshing. It is a good representation of the style.

metter98, Apr 11, 2011
Photo of GRG1313
3.5/5  rDev -10%

GRG1313, Jun 09, 2014
Photo of kjkinsey
3.75/5  rDev -3.6%

kjkinsey, Dec 04, 2011
Photo of brentk56
4.05/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a hazy apricot nectar color with a whipped egg white cap that retains beautifully and leaves nice shards of lace

Smell: Wheat bread, with a lemon and grassy aroma that features some spices, too, such as coriander and a hint of clove

Taste: Fruity, up front, with apple and pear bleeding into the lemon and grassy bitterness, with spices arriving by mid-palate (white pepper, coriander and clove); after the swallow, flavors mellow out but there is a residual sweetness that builds, almost like a tripel

Mouthfeel: Medium body with spritzy carbonation

Drinkability: One of the top domestic saisons I have encountered - really catches the spirit of the style; this bottle is at least a year old and I tried it the day after I tried my four year old Jubilee which, though similar, had developed a bit more complexity

Thanks, rsyberg01, for the opportunity

brentk56, Apr 18, 2009
Photo of BEERchitect
3.98/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A fitting beer for a late summer night. Kinda cool outside and sitting on the porch after a long day's work. Saison it is.

Le Merle begins with a serious pop with the cork. the beer shows very active carbonation and a billowing eggshell head that maintains constant replenishment because of the efforvesence. Golden to orange in color, the beer shows a modest haze, great retention, and ample lacing.

The whole gammot of fruits can be found in the nose: peaches, pears, apples, appricots, pineapples, under-rippened berries, mangos, papayas, orange zest, and lemons are all recognizable. Spicy pepper, corriander, curraco, and light plastics round out the phenols.

Flavors do much the same. Very fruity, spicy, and well, Belgiany. Lightly vineous, tart, and acidic taste amplify the zesty and vibrant fruits. It's easy to forget about the malts. These are very well attenuated and give a subtle cracker-like crisp grain flavor along with a confection sweetness that provide the daintiest of backdrops for the showcase of fruits and spices.

The body is quite light and crisp for its fruitiness, sweetness, and boldness. A moderate hop bitterness persists and has a problem ajoining to the beer properly. Very warm, nearly hot to the mouth with a sharp carbonic bite from the CO2 activity.

The spicy-fruity attributes of the beer are in the keeping of Saisons. Even the sweetness suggests so. Though there is little to complain about the beer, it is not wonderful as we expect from great Belgian varieties.

Edit: After the beer looses its carbonation a bit, the mouthfeel and aggressive textures fade nicely, leaving the fruity, spicy blend to work their magic.

BEERchitect, Jul 25, 2009
Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.2/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sun-drenched honey with a light fogginess and a Belgianesque amount of carbonation. The eggshell colored crown isn't comparable to that country's best, but let's see what happens once it gets comfortable in the glass. The foam is whipped frothy as it melts, moderately rocky, and is beginning to deposit thick strands of sea foam lace.

The nose is everything that a saison nose ought to be. It's as bright and as fresh as a spring morning, delivering plenty of apple, pear and freshly zested lemon, along with a yeasty spiciness that is a perfect counterpoint to the sweet juiciness of the fruit.

For those lucky enough to drink North Coast Silver Jubilee 25th Anniversary Ale, Le Merle is that same beer 'with a few changes'. Although my flavor memory doesn't go back that far, this offering falls a bit short compared to the earlier beer. It's a near thing, though.

The malt backbone is an essential piece of the flavor profile puzzle, although it's the least sexy member. It provides a biscuity sweetness and allows the top notes of ripe fruit and spice to do their thing. Golden apples and tart pears are still appreciated, along with clove, cardamom and a few threads of horse blanket funk. Hops add considerable bitterness and an herbal-grassy flavor. The finish is tight and drying.

The mouthfeel, although good, needs a Belgian brewer's touch. It's best in the top half of the bottle (which is where I've chosen to score it). The bubbles begin to tire in the bottom half, providing less lift and eliminating any hope of a light creaminess. This is clearly the beer's weakest feature and could use some spiffing up.

Le Merle (The Blackbird) is probably in the top tier of American saisons. Here's hoping the brewers continue to tinker because it wouldn't take much to make this offering soar in the same skies as the world's best. Nice job North Coast.

BuckeyeNation, Jun 20, 2008
Photo of jaydoc
4.25/5  rDev +9.3%

jaydoc, Aug 31, 2013
Photo of mikesgroove
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.

mikesgroove, May 03, 2011
Photo of womencantsail
2.98/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A: The pour is a cloudy golden orange color with an enormous white head that eventually dies down and leaves some nice lacing.

S: The nose is driven by the cracker and bread malt aromas along with a strong yeast presence. Some light citrus zest notes along with some pepper and banana. Not all that much that says saison, and sort of bland.

T: As unremarkable as the aromas were, the flavor is similarly boring. The intense carbonation mutes what flavor is there. Again, this beer is mostly wheat bread and yeast (almost doughy) with a light citrus component.

M: Over-carbonated to say the least. The body is medium, but the intense carbonation is just a bit too much.

D: This is a rather lackluster beer. North Coast gets a lot of notoriety because of Old Rasputin and Old Stock, but I've found most of their other beers to be mediocre.

womencantsail, Sep 27, 2010
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.

Knapp85, May 22, 2011
Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
3.25/5  rDev -16.5%

westcoastbeerlvr, Nov 15, 2011
Photo of ChainGangGuy
2.98/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a cloudy gold body with a small, exceptionally fizzy white head.

Smell: Light, musty aroma of lemon, straw, pepper, and bananas.

Taste: Yeasty dough flavor with a little citric lemon, a little spice, too. Hint of wheat. Dry, banana-driven finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Highly carbonated.

Drinkability: An unremarkable saison with a brash, punishing level of carbonation.

ChainGangGuy, Sep 11, 2007
Photo of SocalKicks
4/5  rDev +2.8%

SocalKicks, May 26, 2012
Photo of oberon
4.05/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into an oversized wine glass a sort of hazed milky peach-like color with a thick blooming white head,complex aromas of yeasty clove spice,lemon pith,and overripe pineapple mainly,the funk is there but not overly so.A somewhat sharp mouthfeel is somewhat of an annoyance at first but it mellows after a bit,flavors start out citric and green from the abundance of hops used,it then shows off its funk and yeast elements wich kept the beer from being off the charts for me.Its alot better than some Belgian counterparts,its complex and enjoyable.

oberon, Jun 27, 2008
Photo of largadeer
4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - Hazy orange with blond highlights. The first pour produces an enormous head that takes a few minutes to settle down.

Smell - Fruity and spicy; overtones of citrus and tropical fruit, subtle notes of clove.

Taste & body - Grassy and yeasty, mild banana-like sweetness mixed with a pleasant lemon juice sourness. Spicy, citrus-like hops provide a long, bitter finish. Medium in body with high carbonation.

Notes - An easy drinking saison with good character, and at $7 per 750ml bottle you really can't go wrong.

largadeer, Dec 21, 2007
Photo of JAHMUR
4/5  rDev +2.8%

JAHMUR, Nov 20, 2011
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Le Merle from North Coast Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 1,097 ratings.