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Le Merle - North Coast Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Le MerleLe Merle

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

980 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 980
Reviews: 463
rAvg: 3.9
pDev: 10.26%
Wants: 29
Gots: 57 | 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: 980 | Reviews: 463 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Sammy
Sammy

Ontario (Canada)

3.73/5  rDev -4.4%
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.

Serving type: bottle

05-18-2009 23:28:08 | More by Sammy
Photo of t0rin0
t0rin0

California

4/5  rDev +2.6%

12-01-2012 13:57:46 | More by t0rin0
Photo of UCLABrewN84
UCLABrewN84

California

3.93/5  rDev +0.8%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

03-09-2012 06:48:59 | More by UCLABrewN84
Photo of djrn2
djrn2

New Jersey

4/5  rDev +2.6%

12-17-2011 00:04:33 | More by djrn2
Photo of Thorpe429
Thorpe429

Illinois

3.55/5  rDev -9%
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.

Serving type: bottle

04-03-2012 21:04:00 | More by Thorpe429
Photo of BuckeyeNation
BuckeyeNation

Iowa

4.2/5  rDev +7.7%
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.

Serving type: bottle

06-20-2008 22:09:41 | More by BuckeyeNation
Photo of metter98
metter98

New York

4.05/5  rDev +3.8%
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.

Serving type: bottle

04-11-2011 01:28:21 | More by metter98
Photo of brentk56
brentk56

North Carolina

4.05/5  rDev +3.8%
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

Serving type: bottle

04-18-2009 21:02:12 | More by brentk56
Photo of mikesgroove
mikesgroove

South Carolina

3.7/5  rDev -5.1%
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
Photo of BEERchitect
BEERchitect

Kentucky

3.98/5  rDev +2.1%
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.

Serving type: bottle

07-25-2009 04:43:20 | More by BEERchitect
Photo of acurtis
acurtis

New Jersey

3/5  rDev -23.1%

01-08-2012 01:49:42 | More by acurtis
Photo of womencantsail
womencantsail

California

2.98/5  rDev -23.6%
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.

Serving type: bottle

09-27-2010 16:21:18 | More by womencantsail
Photo of kjkinsey
kjkinsey

Texas

3.75/5  rDev -3.8%

12-04-2011 23:01:28 | More by kjkinsey
Photo of ChainGangGuy
ChainGangGuy

Georgia

2.98/5  rDev -23.6%
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.

Serving type: bottle

09-10-2007 23:00:58 | More by ChainGangGuy
Photo of Texasfan549
Texasfan549

Texas

4/5  rDev +2.6%

05-12-2012 04:31:11 | More by Texasfan549
Photo of jaydoc
jaydoc

Kansas

4.25/5  rDev +9%

08-31-2013 05:01:26 | More by jaydoc
Photo of spycow
spycow

Illinois

3.5/5  rDev -10.3%

03-11-2013 04:44:47 | More by spycow
Photo of oberon
oberon

North Carolina

4.05/5  rDev +3.8%
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.

Serving type: bottle

06-26-2008 23:13:25 | More by oberon
Photo of GRG1313
GRG1313

California

3.5/5  rDev -10.3%

06-09-2014 18:43:49 | More by GRG1313
Photo of Knapp85
Knapp85

Pennsylvania

3.48/5  rDev -10.8%
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 zeff80
zeff80

Missouri

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

A - Poured out a cloudy, golden amber color with a two-finger, very bubbly, soapy, off white head of foam. It left sticky patches of lace on the glass.

S - It smelled phenolic with spices and yeast. There was a nice grain presence.

T - It tasted very spicy and yeasty with some sweet caramel and grain flavor. Some fruitiness, too.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium bodied ale with a dry finish.

O - This is a very nice saison. Another very good brew from North Coast.

Serving type: bottle

08-26-2011 02:13:48 | More by zeff80
Photo of biboergosum
biboergosum

Alberta (Canada)

3.83/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750ml solid, caged and corked bottle.

This beer pours a hazy medium straw colour, with a ton of thin, wispy, teeming white head, which leaves some chunky lace around the glass as it recedes. It smells of crisp peppery yeast, pale malt, and citrus. The taste is sweet wheaty malt, candy sugar, citrus rind, and a bit of yeast. The carbonation is quite even, the body light, a bit airy, but still, well, there. It finishes fairly dry, some new-found warming alcohol playing aside the latent citrus and yeast.

A nice, ramped up saison - all the grain, yeast, and fruit, with a slight elevated booze warming. What's not to love, especially from this summer-forlorn winter denizen?

Serving type: bottle

03-04-2011 04:57:43 | More by biboergosum
Photo of JAHMUR
JAHMUR

Connecticut

4/5  rDev +2.6%

11-20-2011 05:40:01 | More by JAHMUR
Photo of largadeer
largadeer

California

4/5  rDev +2.6%
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-21-2007 02:26:53 | More by largadeer
Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
westcoastbeerlvr

California

3.25/5  rDev -16.7%

11-15-2011 19:28:43 | More by westcoastbeerlvr
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Le Merle from North Coast Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 980 ratings.