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Le Merle - North Coast Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Le MerleLe Merle

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
88
very good

1,163 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,163
Reviews: 483
rAvg: 3.9
pDev: 10%
Wants: 34
Gots: 96 | 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:
Beer added by: BeerBeing on 06-03-2007

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (20) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,163 | Reviews: 483
Photo of ADZA
3.75/5  rDev -3.8%
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.

Photo of spinrsx
4.05/5  rDev +3.8%
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.

Photo of dyoung3
3.55/5  rDev -9%
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...

Photo of brendan13
3.65/5  rDev -6.4%
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.

Photo of Knapp85
3.46/5  rDev -11.3%
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.

Photo of afinepilsner
4/5  rDev +2.6%
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.

Photo of brouwer
3.79/5  rDev -2.8%
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.

Photo of katan
3.83/5  rDev -1.8%
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.

Photo of gkunkle
4.02/5  rDev +3.1%
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.

Photo of calebroberts811
4.03/5  rDev +3.3%
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.

Photo of mikesgroove
3.72/5  rDev -4.6%
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.

Photo of RedSpecial1
4.3/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer poured out a cloudy amber with a finger of head that quickly dissipated. There's a nice nose consisting of mild hop bitterness, yeast, and a very slight sour straw-like note at the end that adds some depth. The taste is surprisingly sweet, but not cloyingly so, probably due to the nice tang at the end that echoes the slight sour straw in the nose. The mouthfeel is light, and refreshing. This is a pretty tasty brew, very enjoyable.

Photo of alamere
4.64/5  rDev +19%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a stemless wine glass..

A - A bit of a hazy, golden yellow orange, with a tight, champaigne-esque head. This is a beer that would pour a massive head into an ale glass..

S - Really smells amazing, some pear notes, some citrus.. you can almost smell the sparkling wine spritziness of it.

T - Doesn't get much better than this for this style... I've been sampling Saison all week and this is as good as they taste to me. You can still taste the grain, the herbal hop notes, a grassiness.. and this beer is light enough to drink for a long time. I'm surprised at the stated ABV because it really just doesn't feel like it at all. The perfect hot summer day Belgian beer. It doesn't have that soapiness that some Pilsner beers have.. but that certainly isn't my favorite part of many Saisons.

M - It's crisp, light and airy, and at the same time it's got a smoothness to it... a

Overall - I must be drinking the North Coast cool-aid, but I can't imagine someone not liking this beer. I suppose if you aren't a fan of the style.. but this is an exceptional belgian style beer in my opinion. This is EXACTLY what I think of when I think of Saison.. might be better to say, this is what I dream about when I think of Saison.

Photo of Pencible
4.17/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: This poured a hazy light copper with thick off-white head.
S: It smelled like apricot and pear, with some citrus and honey and wild yeast and fresh wheat.
T: It tasted like apricot and tangerine, with pear and honey and wild yeast and fresh wheat. It had a clean and bitter aftertaste.
M: It was watery with moderate carbonation. Nice and light.
D: This was a very delicate but flavorful beer. It was like a Belgian IPA, with lots of bitterness but not much funk or tartness. Really tasty though, and nice body too. The alcohol was well hidden also, so it was easy to drink. Recommended.

Photo of bucklemyshoe
4.3/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

375 mL caged and corked bottle at 45 degrees into a Stone IRS tulip.

A: It pours a clouded golden color with two fingers of large-bubbled white head that slowly fizzles away and leaves average lacing.

S: Sweet lemon, white pepper, coriander, and some horseblanket funk that screams "drink me!"

T: It begins with a citrus onslaught (orange and lemon juices and zest) with some coriander and perhaps some clove spicing with a funky, yeasty finish.

M: It has high carbonation throughout, though it begins spritzy while the finish is more mellow.

O: This is perfect for warm weather and goes down easily for its strength.

Photo of metter98
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.

Photo of plfahey
4.05/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

375 mL bottle poured into a shaker pint.

Appearance-Pale Golden in color with a slight haze. Giant head with moderately high retention.

Aroma-Smells phenomenal-musty, slightly funky barnyard aromas along with some floral/spicy hop presence. Some grainy malt along with white pepper phenolics. Yummy.

Flavor-Phenolics stand out here, with clove and white pepper notes. Phenolics are followed by spicy floral hop flavors and light grainy malt. Barely sweet up front, this beer finishes very dry. High carbonation leaves the plate cleansed.

Mouthfeel-Excellent here, with a medium body and enormous, effervescent carbonation. Very slight alcohol warmth. Fantastic.

Although not as complex in the nose and flavor as some other saisons, this is a very tasty and drinkable example of the style, and I'm quite happy that I got the chance to try it. Not my favorite saison, but definitely a good one.

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

Pours light wheat color with white head that stays put for a while, plentiful carbination. Nice aroma, Belgian hops. It seemed a little too carbinated at first, but after a few sips I really started to enjoy it more. Very light tasting and the alcohol is well hidden.

Photo of phishgator
3.48/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a tulip glass. Nice rich golden, hazy with medium carbonation. Big white head that stays awhile. The notes are of grassy hops, fresh plain yogurt, and Belgian candi sugar. The flavor is very tart and a bit too funky for my tastes, not that it is completely off style, but it more resembles a sour ale than farmhouse. The appearance is great, but after that not much else is working.

Photo of FrankWBurnsIII
3.73/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Last night I had a 375 mL bottle with salmon that had a honey mustard glaze and pecan crust. It was a terrific meal and pairing.

Prior to this I had only one other saison and didn't like it, but this one was significantly better.

In the glass, it displayed a heavily translucent, orange-yellow hue. The head was minimal and quickly departed.

This beer was not at all fragrant. I struggled to pick up on some peach or apricot eventually.

The taste was excellent with the peach and hops being more prevalent in the mouth than the nose. It had mild sweetness up front and the exit was mildly tart.

It was very smooth in the mouth. The carbonation was not strong, and I enjoyed that because it worked well with the taste.

Overall I would buy this saison again and it has encouraged me to explore the style further.

Photo of matt20102
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served from champagne bottle into pilsner glass at refrigerator glass. Colour is hazy golden. Pours with one-finger of head which quickly dissipates to a lingering skin of head. The aroma is more reminiscent of an adventurous wheat beer than a saison in that there is little of that 'funky' aroma that one might expect- although it is more present in the flavour. The flavour is also characterized by a subtle mix of clove, light malt, and well-balanced hops- much like a blend of American and German wheat. This is highly drinkable and probably a safe foray into a saison, if not the best example of the style (it could be more funky or farmhouse). But, I say, style expectations be damned and I'll be drinking this one again...

Photo of StaveHooks
3.05/5  rDev -21.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2.5

A - A hazy golden honey body with a generous amount of white foam. Very pretty. No lacing.

S - Sour Granny Smith apples, lemons, white grapes, earthy yeast, soapy hops, spicy Belgian yeast.

T - Green apples, tart cherries, lemon, pears, faint banana. The acidic fruit showcases a bold sweet pale malt. Heavy wheat towards the finish. Finishes with slightly sweet mineral citrus flavors then turns pretty dry right at the very end with lots of wheat.

M - Uber champagne carbonation fills the whole mouth with foamy bubbles on every drink. It basically robs half of the potential flavors. It's almost hard to swallow.

Get ready to belch...alot! This is a fruit filled Saison that I wish wasn't bombarded with fizzy carbonation, because it had so much potential. The carbonation really hurts the flavors and the overall enjoyment of drinking this beer.

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

Pours a murky, somewhat-dark golden orange color with a LARGE frothy white head that doesn't appear to be shrinking down anytime soon. Scent is very spicy with some strong Belgian yeast aromas and hints of citrus. (When the hell is this head gonna shrink??? I wanna drink this thing!) A bit of funkiness and barnyard aromas as well. Now for the taste... The taste is just as it smells but with a lot more fruitiness and citrus flavors. The strong fruit flavors blend well with the light funk, strong yeasty flavors, and spiciness. There are also some bread-like notes in the taste. Mouthfeel is very dry and crisp, with a spicy finish. Drinkability is high. Overall, this is not the best example of this style, but it's still pretty darn tasty. Not a bad price either.

Photo of mryuk
3.97/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours an unfiltered yellow gold with zero head.

smell is sweet and malty with lots of orange.

taste is sweet and orange and light with a bit of sour.

mouth is light-medium bodied with low carbonation.

overall it was pretty drinkable but I am not overly excited to have another one.

Photo of SkeeterHawk
3.63/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I have seen this beer for quite a while, but finally took the notion to try/review it. Let's see what the West coast thinks a Saison tastes like.

Appearance: Pours with all head. The head is 4+ inches thick and bone white. The head was rising after the pour and started to fall 2-3 minutes after the pour. Obviously this beer is well carbonated. The beer itself is really light colored and pretty clear with tons of bubbles rising to keep things stirred up.

Aroma: The aroma has some wheat and some obvious hops, and the hops have a bit of a citrusy note to it that is nice and a bit spicy like a Saison, but it has an American edge to it that is a little weird. There is a dry chalkiness in here also, that I assume is a combination of the water and bittering hops.

Taste: The flavor is quite a bit milder than I ever would have anticipated by the aroma. The hops aren't nearly as big of a player in the flavor as they are in the aroma. The body is medium to light with high carbonation, but amazingly the beer doesn't go down fizzy. It is almost like the carbonation is neutralized as soon as you take a sip and then the beer gets a bit watery as you actually drink it. There are some citrusy notes in here, and I am getting proper lemon juice in particular. The finish is very slightly balanced toward the malt with a little bit of sweetness, dry wheaty bread crusts and some very subtle warming to linger for what seems like forever.

Opinion: This is a decent beer. From my perspective, it leaves a lot to be desired if you hold it up to even just decent examples of the style. It is pretty good beer all by itself, but put it next anything DuPont and it will shrink in comparison. I don't recall if this beer was stupid cheap or anything that would justify the fact that it is pretty far off from classic examples of the style. If it is half the price, give it a shot as it isn't infected or anything. Otherwise, I would stick to other more highly rated Saisons.

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Le Merle from North Coast Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 1,163 ratings.