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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 eric5bellies
3.74/5  rDev -4.3%
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

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Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
4.8/5  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.

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Photo of h0ppster
3.23/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Poured on tap

A - Very clear, bonde in color. Head is 2-3 fingers and clears up into an almost nonexistent lacy ring around the glass.

S - Strong fruit, light pepper, barn & funk. Alcohol comes through slightly but expected at 7.9%

T - very close to the smell - strong sweet fruit notes up front. Taste ends with a lingering sweetness and light peppery barnyard funk.

M - mouth feel is good overall.

Overall a tasty saison. A bit sweet, slightly out of style, but worth a try.

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Photo of magictacosinus
3.2/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

Consumed on tap at Gather many eons ago. Poured into an enormous wine glass that somehow fit about 16-20oz of beer. Been wanting to try this for a while, but I feel that North Coast's Belgian-style offerings have never really impressed me too much overall.

Pours a slightly cloudy golden color with amber hues - with the enormous 3 fingers worth of frothy white head, this could easily be mistaken for a strong Belgian blonde ale or something similar. There's a little bit of build and thickness present, but it's a pretty unassuming beer overall, even within the ever-changing style at hand. Head retention is pretty low, and carbonation seems to die down rather rapidly as time goes on, leaves not much of anything unless aggressively swirled. Looks like many, many other Belgian-style beers I've seen before.

The aroma is a combination of slightly funky fruity esters from the yeast, as well as sweetness and mild bitterness from the malts and hops. Notes of banana, lemon peel, and pears immediately come in, followed by some light floral aromas (similar to violets) as well as pine, grass, and orange blossom. Some vanilla, as well sweetened toffee and caramel notes. Maybe sugar cane. I'm definitely looking into this more than I should, as far as saisons go, this is very, very toned down.

The flavor is near identical to the aroma, except for the fact that there's an ever more present note of banana no doubt from the yeast. I don't mind banana forward beers so much, but this definitely feels a bit one-note in the long run. Green apple, pear, and lemon peel make themselves noticeable. The sugar cane and vanilla notes are stronger here, and sort of overpower the delicate floral notes and perhaps barnyard or grassy flavors that this was attempting to go for. It's very mild, and the alcohol is stupidly hidden, which caught up to me in no time during consumption. Thick and creamy, and easy drinking, as any saison should be. Very mild, however.

If I'm going to go for a domestically made, affordable saison, I think I'd stick with Ommegang's Hennepin over this any day of the week. Simply put, this lacks the funky, rustic character than would classify anything as a saison in order to distinguish it from a strong Belgian blonde ale, which this far more resembles. Not that it's a bad thing - it's still a well made beer - it's just very mild and way too high in alcohol for it to merit practical consumption. North Coast definitely has better Belgian style offerings - this one at least could be a good introduction to someone starting to get into these types of beers.

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Photo of TownDunkel
3.99/5  rDev +2%
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

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Photo of jlindros
3.88/5  rDev -0.8%
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.

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Photo of artdob
4.12/5  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.

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Photo of Drewfer
4.16/5  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.

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Photo of JMScowcroft
3.74/5  rDev -4.3%
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.

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Photo of SanDNigel
3.46/5  rDev -11.5%
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.

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Photo of Brew_42
3.34/5  rDev -14.6%
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.

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Photo of jamiecoppin
3.62/5  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.

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Photo of Hunter
4.48/5  rDev +14.6%
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.

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Photo of rangerred
4.13/5  rDev +5.6%
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.

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Photo of heygeebee
3.59/5  rDev -8.2%
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 ? :-)

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Photo of fatmusic14
3.85/5  rDev -1.5%
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.

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Photo of BeerlyLegal
4.65/5  rDev +18.9%
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.

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Photo of Jree261
4.15/5  rDev +6.1%
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.

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Photo of Meldrick
4.52/5  rDev +15.6%
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!

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Photo of Murrhey
3.87/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750ml cork and cage bottle into a tulip glass in high elevation Libby, Mont. No brewed or best-by date. Reviewed live.

A- Ridiculous fluffy white head, four fingers in thickness with a retention that lasts for days. Fluffy white lacing and thick, hazy orange color.

S- Tropical fruits and interesting yeast character. Bubblegum, and some noble hops make this fairly attractive.

T- Extremely refreshing, strong hop character and a wet fruity smack to it. Really just a well-balanced, well constructed beer. Yeasty and noble hops.

M- Full-bodied and wet, with a little tangy feel as well.

O- Delightful beer in a style I'm growing to appreciate more and more.

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Photo of DenverLogan
4.17/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

375ml Corked bottle...beautiful label and overall design. served in chalice. Significant carbonation and nice head...medium size...lace...lasting.
Aroma of amber malts and wheat.
Mouthfeel is bubbly for several minutes. Flavors of citrus, kiwi, berries, light honey, and a variety of spices. Minimal malts, hops or alcohol.
Ahhh...as a saison, well I'm partial to this style, this one is very nice. Not too sweet or spicy or funky, but full bodied and very tasty. At 7.9 abv it's higher than traditional farm worker saisons by a long shot, but that's fine for today's after work "let's have a few tasty gems" lifestyle. Ayieee!!

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Photo of blakelive784
2.9/5  rDev -25.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12.7 fl oz brown glass bottle served in a tulip, reviewed live:

A - Pours a hazy honey golden color with a fizzy, white, two finger head. Retention is OK. Standard fare.

S - Lemon, light pepper, slight funk, doughy yeast, and crystal malt. Relatively simple for the style, though balanced and inviting.

T - Heavy citrus, light peppery spice and basic yeast. That's about it. Simple. Could be a nice base for a better beer.

M - Light, crisp and refreshing. Nearly ideal

D - Needs some serious work. Too simple. Run of the mill Saison. I wouldn't seek it out again.

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Photo of kojevergas
2.7/5  rDev -30.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

375ml brown glass bottle with hood and wire cap over a cork served into an EKU 28 stem-snifter in me gaff in Castle Rock, Colorado. Reviewed live. Expectations are high given the brewery. Acquired at Lukas Liquor in Lone Tree, Colorado.

Served straight from the fridge and allowed to warm slightly over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

Not paired with food.

Yields a satisfying cork pop upon opening. No upsurging issues or anything.

A: Pours a two finger white colour head - a bit too thin - of slight cream, decent thickness, and good retention for the high ABV. Decent lacing. Body colour is a nontransparent translucent pale copper. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show. Not quite on par for the style, but generally inviting.

Sm: Light funkiness, pale malts, some dull lemon zest, and fairly stale citrus ester hops. An average strength aroma. Surprisingly, no yeast is detectable. No alcohol is detectable either.

T: Lemon and citrus zest in a dull and somewhat stale sense. Pale malts. Hints of funk. No real yeast character. No alcohol comes through. It's too simple; there's little to say about it. Lacks complexity and subtlety. Not particularly balance either. Meh. It leaves a lot to be desired. Lacks the subtle peppery character present in every quality saison I've had.

Mf: Smooth and wet, with some tingly coarseness from the crystal malt. Decent carbonation. Okay palate presence. Doesn't feel custom-tailored to the flavours, but it works in general sense.

Dr: Drinkable but unremarkable. I wouldn't bother with this again. There are far better beers in the style. Not recommended. Hides its ABV well, but that's one of the few things it has going for it. A severe disappointment from North Coast.


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Photo of bskrtz
4.25/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Cork sealed small format bottle served cold in glass beer challis at Fat Pour, Chicago

A) Hazy, golden brass with billowy off white head

S) Lemon zest, alcohol esthers, sour dough & apricots

T) Outstanding - sweet caramel malts, mild hops, apple pie & other yummy baked goods

M) Well balanced, medium body. Alcohol is a bit high for the style but hardly noticable

O) Thoroughly enjoyed this beer but note: found it closer to a traditional Belgian blonde than Saison. Another good beer from the folks at North Coast.

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Photo of brewskifan55
3.85/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter

A: Golden with a white one finger head that lingers. Good lacing.

S: Citrus, lemons, Belgian yeast.

T: Follows nose. Light pepper in the mix. Smooth, tart and zesty. Dry finish. Very nice.

M: Medium, creamy, chewy. Good carbonation.

O: A great saison. Would drink again. One of my new favorites.

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