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Le Merle - North Coast Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Le MerleLe Merle

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

491 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 491
Hads: 1,242
Avg: 3.91
pDev: 16.11%
Wants: 38
Gots: 127 | 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:
Beer added by: BeerBeing on 06-03-2007

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (29) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 491 | Hads: 1,242
Photo of jbsteiny
3.53/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Brought a 750mL back East from BevMo in SF to enjoy with friends. A bit disappointing due to my high expectations -- i love saison and North Coast, so maybe I built myself up too much.

Cloudy orange-gold with a sizable head that recedes to a thin foam and oddly leaves little lacing. Faint aromas -- fruit (white peach, tangerine); biscuity malt, a bit of the funky yeast -- but even when warmed, this never attains appropriate Belgian funkyness for me.

Tastes okay, the coriander and fruit come out with a solid pale malt backbone, but again, I find this lackluster. Dry finish, and eminiently sippable at 8%, but I prefer other examples of the style that are more affordable and better distributed.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
4.12/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A great funky nose and a flavor to match! What a spot on example of the style from an American producer. If saison is your thing, then this is definitely one to try. Great level of smooth carbonation to it Too bad this hasn’t shown up in Brooklyn yet (from what I have seen).

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Photo of beerking1
3.62/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very cloudy gold, with a big lasting head that leaves lace all the way through the glass. Aroma is that of yeast, some musty notes, and a bit spicy, with some hints of candied citrus peel. Flavor is spicy, phenolic and yeasty, with some dryness that follows through to the finish. The body seems a little big for the style, but the finish is dry and short.

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Photo of cjgator3
3.87/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Corked and caged 750ml bottle poured into a large tulip glass. Pours a pale yellowish orange color with a large off-white head. The aroma is malt, tropical fruit, citrus and spices. The taste is citrusy fruits with yeast and spices dancing around the tongue with a dry finish. Overall, this is a pretty solid attempt at making a Belgian style saison. There are many saisons made in Belgium that are far superior, but Le Merle is one of the better ones produced in the US. Recommended.

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Photo of largadeer
4/5  rDev +2.3%
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.

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Photo of Gavage
3.34/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance: hazy orange in color with a 1/2" head that breaks apart quickly. No lacing develops.

Smell: yeast, hints of alcohol, spice, and fruit sweetness are easily detectable.

Taste: caramel, yeast, red apples, and a general spiciness are wrapped in a mellow bitterness. The yeast and spice seemed a bit strong creating an unbalanced profile in my opinion.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied beer. Crisp from start to finish. Long aftertaste as the yeast and spices stick to the tastebuds.

Drinkability: a so-so saison that just doesn't excite me at all. Not so easy to drink with the unbalanced flavors.

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Photo of ntillemans
4.35/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

I liked this one.

A: Golden color and nice thick head
S:Barnyard...I learned what was meant by the expression barnyard, horseblanket, etc...
T:Grapefruit, tart citrus with a formidable sweetness
M:What I'd expect from a Saison...it was a nice Saison
D:I could drink this one all day and all night long...very drinkable...lickable

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Photo of ppoitras
4.08/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750ml bottle purchased at (I think) Julio's, Westboro, MA. Corked and caged.

Poured in a Rapscallion glass, formed a 2" off-white head over the slightly cloudy dark gold brew. Head is refueled by heavy bubblage from the bottom, takes a long time before the sticky prominent lacing can be noted. Aroma is crisp hops with pale malts. Taste is sweet maltiness upfront coupled with spiciness that lingers on after the swallow. Mouthfeel is clean, and drinkability is only limited by the somewhat excessive malt sweetness. Nice swing at the style from an American brewer.

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Photo of BlindPig
3.86/5  rDev -1.3%
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.

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Photo of DaPeculierDane
2.93/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Le Merle from North Coast pours a hazed orange-amber into a large snifter with aggressive carbonation and a nice thick white foam. Musty aroma of lemon pepper and bananas. Flavor includes hay, banana, grassy hops, and spice. Some alchol warming is present. No sourness or funk to be found and the bitterness is high for style. The bitterness becomes more balanced by yeast fruit flavors as the beer warms, however, at that point the particulate yeast begins to present some off (and not in a good funky way) flavors. Not my kind of saison.

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Photo of soulgrowl
4.16/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a modest hazed orange-yellow color beneath a truly enormous, champagne peach-blush white satiny pillow of a head that sparkles like freshly fallen snow. Solid and beautiful. Excellent retention.

Smell: Dry vermouth, dry white wine, apples, pineapple, lemon peel, and a touch of melon along with something vaguely vanilla-like; there is also a sweet, almost cake-like malt backdrop, a clear grain alcohol presence similar to vodka and a load of dry, dusty yeast. More Tripel than Saison in my opinion (not quite funky enough), but still nice.

Taste: Minty herbal hops enter first, soon to be upstaged by a fruity-sweet malt presence and a dry, tangy yeast character that produces associations of bitter lemon zest, endives (or radicchio?), apples, triple sec, white wine, and gin and tonic. On the simple end of the Saison spectrum, very mellow, yet somewhat unusual in its bold, lingering bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Airy and fairly light bodied; dry, but not too dry, with a fade-out kind of finish.

Drinkability: It's hard for me to be unbiased here because I like this brewery and this style so much, but that said... this is a nice beer. Recommended as a flavorful, refreshing-yet-interesting quaffer.

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Photo of travisd13
3.87/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served from a 750ml. bottle corked and caged into a pint glass.

A - Poured a bubbly two finger head off white in color. The head settled down to a drinkable level quick with some lasting lacing. Color is a cloudy/hazy pale yellow with a few specks of sediment.

S - Aromas of exotic tropical fruit. Very good smell.

T – One of the better tasting Saison’s I’ve had in a while. Maybe a little lemon, a little earthy, nice and bitter. Almost tart.

M – Texture is light and bubbly. What I would consider a clean finish, almost crisp.

D – I’m not a big Saison fan but this was very drinkable. It would have probably been better on a nice hot summer day rather than late fall. IMO it’s worth a try.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(Served in a tulip glass)

A- This beer has a hazy lemon yellow body with a sea of microbubbles gliding to the surface. There is a thick snow white head that turns rocky but last and last. There is a bit of lacing that breaks up quickly after each sip.

S- This beer has a perfumed floral smell with a note of light fruit flesh and a sweet corn note at the finish.

T- The bright tartness starts off the taste leading to a soft fruity flavor that is not really distinct but a bit like pears or quinces. There is a lemon note with a light soapy yeasty note and some caramel malt sweetness. The finish is a pepper flavor with a light apple tartness that lingers a bit.

M- This beer has a medium mouthfeel with a full fizz at the finish. There is no alcohol heat at all.

D- This beer has a nice depth and some good complexity that has a sort of mystery about it. The flavors are good and they blend together well making a bit difficult to describe.

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Photo of Lupin
4.16/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Corked/caged bottle in my fin du monde chalice. Foamy off-white head dissipates quickly from 3" to 1" and then slowly to nil. Smell is sweet and citric, along the lines of a strong pale ale or a wit. Very inviting and VERY orange/meloney. Beer itself is opaque/straw colored. Seems pretty standard

First taste is curious. I haven't eaten in a while and it makes me want something. Oranges are still there and it's not too tart. Again, pretty standard, with that nice relaxed openness that defines a well-made saison. Nothing too alarming on the palate and a nice fresh finish without too much bitterness.

This beer seems like it would be a decent starter for a tasting. The malt body is well-rounded and playfully citric and the finish isn't overbearing. I've only had 10-15 saisons, so my experience is limited, but I would come back to this one and probably will.

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Photo of DaggerEyes
3.98/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

poured and opaque straw yellow with a white head compried of tight bubbles of carbonation, 1 finger high with pretty fantastic retention.

I'm not really feeling the tropical fruit description the label has, perhaps there is a bit of pineapple on the nose, however there is lots of citrus, lemon, pepper, spices, and some barnyardy belgian funk

Lemon, Peppery and tart with a bit of a puckery sourness to it.

Active carbonation and mouth feel with a clean finish that is a tad bit on the dry side.

A great beer to have with a meal.

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Photo of ojiikun
3.15/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2.5

Live reviewed from the BrickStore in Atlanta.

Served up in an eponymously gold-leaved goblet. Barkeep had to pull in almost a dozen stages to control the massive, merengue head. Body is slightly hazy and wit-ish. Head fell fast but never disappeared.

Smell is much sweeter than expected for a saison, more like a BSPA. Sweet malts, though the yeast is more true to the style.

Taste is dry and farmy at first, but then is immediately overpowered by a copper-ey note that simply reminds me too much of blood. What malts can be found are clean and quality. Last notes on the lips are back to BSPA.

Mouthfeel is downright creamy and light.

Drinkability is hindered by the metallic tones which are so hard to take. Served with some nice, spicy or meaty food, it eases down well enough.

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Photo of Onibubba
3.27/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazy straw yellow with a big, but ultimately short-lived, head. There is some hay in the smell, nothing too funky or spicey. Not bad. The taste is a bit "sharp." A good touch of bitterness too, botrderline IPA scale. Not what I want is a Saison. While seemingly smooth in body, this still drinks very high on the tongue. This improves after a great deal of warming, but the quaffability (love that word) is never at the leave a Saison should be. A bit hot too, surprising for its ABV. All in all, an admirable attempt, but not a beer I would come back to.

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Photo of Westsidethreat
3.03/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Hard core carbonation. Fizzy snow white head is dominating the glass, allowing only a small dingy egg yolk colored body to form.

S: Loads of barnyard and wet blanket. Fair amount of floral pollen, daisies, clover honey and bread sticks. Overall, fairly fresh aroma.

T: Starts mildly tangy with notes of old lemon juice and bland pineapples. Spicy with stale seasonings…you can tell they are there but don’t pack much of a punch. Dry hay and some rounded yellow fruits and fresh grass clippings are the next batch of flavors to cross the palate. Finishes really bitter, all across the back sides of the tongue. More bitter than suits the style and adds off kilt balance of the other flavors.

M: Medium body, bit crisp in the mouthfeel.

D: Not really digging this one. Not a lot of balance which I prefer in my brews. This one is a bit flagrant and all over the place.

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Photo of shivtim
3.8/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served up in a Le Merle Chalice with a silver bird on it. Nice hazy orange glow. Decent white head. Nose is sweet, fruity, and yeasty. Taste is true to style, with barny wild yeast and slight hops. Mouthfeel is good, and drinkability is nice considerng the almost 8% ABV. Good saison.

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Photo of GbVDave
4.1/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750ml bottle into a Saison Dupont tumbler.

A: Pours a rich, very cloudy, golden-straw color. Meringue-like cream head.

S: Excellent yeasty aromas, with generous helpings of spice, some faraway fruitiness (tart apple, pineapple, lemon, pear...) and a dallop of funky horsey blanket.

T: See above with a a nich level of earthy hoppiness.

M: Bitter and creamy...near perfect levels of both!

D: I found this to be very refreshing. This is an excellent US made Saison.

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Photo of dgallina
3.45/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle without obvious dating on the bottle or cork.

Pours into the tulip very clear gold with a short finger of creamy head. The smell is fruity and spicy; orange peel, black pepper, and coriander. Flavor is pleasing, but over-sweet compared to the typical Saison. Tart and lemony on the front of the tongue, but becomes peppery in the center. Bursting with orange sweetness and coriander in the finish and aftertaste, with a bit too much lasting alcohol warming. Overly prickly and carbonated in the mouth. A worthwhile change of pace, but atypical and not altogether winning.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.1/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served to my Big-Ass Triple Karmeliet glass, busy, crystalline foam fills half the glass and aroma wafts out into the atmosphere...hazy straw orange color, looks the part for the style, and quite lovely.

Aroma is big and expressive, citrus and spice, flowery and flush with Belgian funk. Not so sour, but definitely wild and spraying out lemon, pepper, and plenty of things I can't name. Like it lots.
Label says "tropical fruit"...I can imagine banana, pineapple, coconut...well, let's not go crazy...

Fine and mellow on the tastebuds, smooth and easy drinking. Light bodied. Citrus and spice lingers gingerly on the palate (no pun intended), then softly fades away. A good food beer. Me, I'm having it with spaghetti and meatballs, because I'm such a rarified epicurean.

Zesty stuff. but a mite bit too watery to really beg comparison to the fine farmhouse ales of Flanders. Close, and an admirable effort.

Nice work, North Coast! Let's see some more.

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Photo of mrasskicktastic
3.65/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Hazy straw to gold with a monsterous foamy head and a lot of visible carbonation. There are some isolated patches of lacing here and there.

S - Strong aromatics of hay and horse sweat with faint hints of pineapple and honeydew melon.

T - A bit of a faint honey sweetness followed quickly by horse sweat and some musty hay. The aftertaste is a pungent musty hay and earthy yeast with only a medium bitterness.

M - Harsh from carbonation, medium bodied, pretty refreshing.

D - This is a nice saison. It is true to the style to say the least (as tough as it is to pin down saison). I would like to try it aged, but this one isn't really my thing.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
4.35/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a slightly hazy golden with an excellent head that fades to a healthy cap with some medium lacing. The nose is slightly sweet with typical Belgian yeast aromas and also apples, pepper, and honey. Pretty nice. The taste replicates the nose and adds in layers of orange, lemon, a slight sourness, and some slight sweetness on the finish. The mouthfeeel is creamy, smooth, and crisp- and quite refreshing. Nice to see this style increasing in popularity and to see it done so nicely.

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Photo of Nipitato
4.07/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked up a bomber at Julio’s Liquors in Westborough, MA. This beer is part of North Coast’s American Artisan Series.

A: Pours out of a nice looking bomber. Good thick, moussy ½ inch head with good retention. Has a medium gold hue. Completely opaque. This beer looks thick. No visible carbonation.

S: A really nice nose. Fruity pear and apple obvious Belgian yeast aroma. Farmhouse and hay aroma noticeable. Some spice aromas linger in the background. What is really prominent is a sweet almost cotton candy like aroma. The label says tropical fruit – I say cotton candy.

T: Hay/Belgian yeast flavor that is somewhat musty. Tart sourness is the most prevalent characteristic. Some peppery spice at the end. Hopper than other saisons that I have had. Has a lingering tart aftertaste.

MF: Medium full body. The weak link of this beer is the overly excessive carbonation. Some alcohol warming is noticeable. Dry finish.

D, Notes: This, Ommegang Hennepin, and Brooklyn Local 1 are the best domestic takes on a Saisons that I have had. Good yeast, complex, refreshing. Well made and well balanced.

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Le Merle from North Coast Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 491 ratings.