1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. 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

1,115 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,115
Reviews: 473
rAvg: 3.89
pDev: 10.28%
Wants: 31
Gots: 77 | 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)
View: Beers (21) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 1,115 | Reviews: 473 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of djmichaelk
3.68/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

375ml corked & caged bottle into a perfect pint.

A - Slightly hazy pale yellow, with a sizable three-finger head that has some pretty good retention. A bit of lacing, but it doesn't last very long.

S - Grassy and a little earthy, with lemony notes in the front. A bit of funkiness if you search for it, but it's pretty subtle.

T - The citrusy flavor hits first, along with that grassiness that makes me think of being out in a field in the California countryside (which is probably the point). It's similar to other saisons, but the flavors are more muted here. The funk is mainly in the finish, and is subtle like the nose implies.

M - Good carbonation, light on the tongue. Slightly dry but not really drying.

D - Higher abv than I usually get from a saison, but this is light enough that I could drink plenty of it.

O - The price is the only thing standing in the way of this being a great everyday beer. If this came in 4-packs and was priced slightly lower I could see it moving faster.

Photo of megahurts4
4.1/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

North Coast Le Merle Saison

Appearance: Huge head, cloudy-yellow, and some good lacing.

Smell: Yeasty wheat and a very subtle hops.

Taste: Yeast, wheat, slight malt, and subtle hops.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light and smooth.

Overall:
This is a very good saison! It is fairly subdued but full of flavor.

Photo of Shaw
4.15/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice golden/amber in color with a nice off-white head with lots of carbonation.

Nice earthy and funky aroma with a hint of sourness and lemon.

Flavor is lightly dry with nice lemon and yeast notes. Very nice.

Body is great with a wonderful feel from the carbonation.

Overall this is a very nice saison, and another winner from North Coast. Seek it out.

Photo of SmokinSmyth
3.23/5  rDev -17%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A "Belgian Style Farmhouse Ale", I drank with chips and dip before dinner. I'm not sure what technically makes a beer "Belgian Style", but at the first taste I was reminded of some of the beers I had during my last trip to Belgium. It was very good, with a cork top like a champagne bottle.

Photo of scott451
4.2/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750ml bottle into a Duvel tulip. A towering bubbly white head on a fairly hazy apricot. Strong carbonation. The head soon diminishes to a persistent thin layer. Minimal lacing.

Very nice smell. Understated sweet spices with some citrusy malts. In the taste there are complex malts with a nice bite at the finish. Fruit flavours come out as it warms. A pronounced lingering twang at the finish.

Medium body and well carbonated. Very drinkable. True to the style. This could be tweaked into a very nice saison.

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.

Photo of OBeerMeGreatOne
4.13/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a corked bottle into a Chimay goblet. No bottle date.
Look: Pours a very sunny gold with a fizzy, yellowish head. Carbonation sticks to the bottom of the tulip. Head is gone in an instant. No real lacing.
Smell: A slap of funk, right across the face. Lemon rind and pale malts. There is a slight sweetness in the background.
Taste: There is a mix of bready sweetness and sour funk to start. The hops seem to leave an herbal and slightly medicinal bitterness. I like that you get sweet, sour and bitter all in one sip. Could use a little tweaking but still pretty impressive.
Mouth: Just a touch heavy on the carbonation.
Drink: For the price, it hits the spot (though I prefer Saison Dupont which is similar in price). Very nice effort from North Coast, with a bit of fine tuning (and a bottle date so I can cellar it and know when to pull) I would be interested in grabbing one more often. Still, this is my 3rd or 4th try so maybe I'm almost hooked already.

Photo of CascadeConan
4.22/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Very light straw color, fizzy head and an eruption of carbonation flowing from the bottom of the glass, puts champagne to shame.

The smell is a grab-bag ranging from a slight musty, wet hay to tart citrus, earth and the subdued spice of the yeast.

The taste is tart, lemon zest, earthy with noble hops, white pepper and coriander. A beautiful dry twang on the end of each sip that is complimented nicely by the higher level of carbonation and a medium body.

This beer is very drinkable, well hidden alcohol and paired nicely with rosemary, fingerling potatoes and lamb. I really enjoyed this beer and I can see myself heading for more saisons like this in the future.

Photo of Hoops4life511
3.98/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

750 mL corked and caged bottle poured into pint glass.

Appearance - Almost couldn't fill this one out because the cork tried to take my eye out. Pours a slightly hazy pale burnt orange with a white frothy head that retained for a little white. Patches are left around the top of the glass, but eventually dissipate. Carbonation coming from the bottom faster than a glass of champagne.

Smell - Grain, Belgian yeast, touch of lemon, earthy. Aroma really jumps out at you and is pleasant.

Taste/Mouth/Drink - Very bold continuation of the nose, the earthy notes take over your mouth. Some fruity sweetness comes through with an estery Belgian finish. Carbonation is a bit off putting and is very noticeable. Very full body for a saison and not as refreshing as I would have hoped for from this style.

Overall, a tasty beer worth the try. I was looking for refreshment with this one though and didn't quite find it. I would love another with a full flavored meal, I bet it would really pop.

Photo of daledeee
4.03/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A 750 ml bottle.

Pours a clear gold with a head that left too quickly. Lots of bubbles coming from the bottom.

Nose is lemon, Belgian malt and hops and grains.

Taste is citrus, Belgian hops with hints of yeast and some lemon.

Mouth feel was very carbonated. Alcohol was hidden and this beer is very easy to drink.

Photo of carpezytha
3.68/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into tulip at 50 F.
A: Pours a cloudy light honey/straw color with a fairly hefty head with large bubbles which dissipates without much of a trace.
S: Wool carpet, pencil shavings,
T: Straightforward funk, light citrus, a little pear.
M: Decent body, somewhat effervescent.
D: Good everyday drinker.

Photo of BeerResearcher
4.2/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16.9.4 oz dark brown bottle. No freshness date.
It pours a hazy orange-hued amber color with a thin white head along with some flecks and patches of lace.
A nice range of smells from farmy, to musty basement, mixed fruit, nutty barley, floral hops and earth.
The flavors are as wide ranging. Tart fruit, zesty citrus, doughy bread with a dose of white Zinfandel wine all mix and play well together.
A bit of an astringent medicinal twang leaves a bit of a raspy mouthfeel, although not in an entirely bad way.
You can tell some care went into this brew. It's a Saison with a purpose in mind.

Photo of PEIBeerGuy
3.53/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a cloudy, apple juice-yellow. A nice bit of fast-popping white head forms. It lowers quickly, but a mostly full film of it stays the whole drink down.

A bit of green apple, a bit of dough, a creamy smell... perhaps like porridge & milk, and some plantain (more plantain than banana, I think).

The taste is pretty much the same as the smell. Unfortunately, I was expecting something fruitier / hoppier, and ended up getting something that is one of my least favourite flavours of beers.

Very smooth and creamy, but with lots of fizz, too. Leaves a chewy yet dry kind of feel in the mouth. It also leaves a bit of sharp sweetness (it feels/tastes more sweet than bitter) that lingers for a bit that I don't care for... probably one of the main things I don't like about this kind of beer.

Pretty drinkable, but just not my type of thing.

Photo of HalfFull
3.9/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I pour the La Merle into a wine glass. Like many a saison I've tried in the past, I wait for the bottle to get it's true nature vs. a draft version. Poured from a corked 750 ml., I struggle to remove the cork yet get a welcome POP when I find success. Golden straw on the pour and nicely clear, with a cap that settles slowly amidst a volcanic boil of carbonation from below. Great retention overall.

Touch of noble hops on the nose and a bit of spice and a nice lemony yeast character. Slight alcohol presence but well within expectations.

Flavor follows with a subtle spice character. Nice but not overwhelming on the senses. Finish is pleasant and of moderate depth. An enjoyable saison that doesn't offer the depth of a great Belgian Saison but is nonetheless a beer worth seeking out. A rather dry saison that I hope to see more of, and better than the tap version.

Photo of omnigrits
4.13/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a perfect pint glass from the cork-and-cage bottle... probably a mistake because this beer needs no laser-etched encouragement to make bubbles. The head is huge and is taking a long time to subside to a point where I can take a sip, but in the meantime the aroma is oh so Belgian. Slightly musty, slightly citrusy. A clear, golden, honey-coloured beer. Plenty of good-looking lace.

A spicy, citrusy, earthy taste. Very strong and bold flavours. Wow, not for the feint of heart. Medium bodied with plenty of carbonation, as you've probably already gathered. All in all, a very nice saison. Yeah, I'd definitely buy this again, and maybe let it warm up a few more degrees before popping the cork.

Photo of steelerguy
3.58/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Deep gold with a touch of amber, nice frothy head that hangs around for awhile thanks to the high carbonation.

S - Earthy aroma with some spice and old fruit.

T - Much like the aroma, lots of fruit flavors, but with a sour tang as if they have just turned. There is also a good bit of spice, perhaps a touch too much.

M - Dry finish although not as much as most Saisons, a little more body than usual. Carbonation and alcohol keep the finish dry even if it does have more body than your typical Saison.

D - Nice Saison, complex flavors, but a little too much sour for me to keep it nice and refreshing.

Photo of scottfrie
4.03/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle into sauvignon blanc wine glass.

A: Pours a clear, light orange honey with light pink highlights under a billowing dense white head that took a long time to fade into a thick, bubbly layer. Spare spots of soapy lace were left.
S: Big notes of complex spice and earthy tones with sweet notes of golden fruits. Hints of pear, white pepper, herbal earthy hops and peach juice.
T: Follows the nose in addition to hints of doughy and faintly bubblegummy yeast, lightly tart green apple, clove, lemon, plum, apricot, sweet malt, and a slight, slight funk.
M: Medium body with ample carbonation that froths up in the mouth at first, but as the beer sits it dies down to a comfortable level. Finish is rather sweet. Alcohol is well hidden.
D: Tastes a lot like a tripel. Not a bad beer at all, and one of the better saison's I've had, but this has a lot of fruity and spicy sweetness to it, more akin to a tripel. I was expecting a little more funk, and there is hardly any. Still, highly drinkable and delicious.

Photo of donniecuffs
3.95/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Sampled this at Savor 2010. Poured a hazy yellow-gold hue, with a finger of white, decent retention, and good lacing. Very citrusy in the nose, with orange, lemon, and apricot, and a little spicy (coriander). The taste was a nice blend of spicy citrus, with nothing really standing out as overpowering. Slightly spicy in the finish, with very little hint of the alcohol content. Very lightly carbonated; smooth and light on the palate. Overall a serviceable and somewhat sessionable golden ale.

Photo of detlefchef
4.68/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Looks so, so pretty. Brilliant golden color with a delicate head that reforms with each swirl.

Deep, abundant pear and spice aromas and more pear on the palate with a vibrant heat on the finish. Somehow both lingering and clean, which makes this such a regal beer.

God I love this beer. Hands down my favorite foray into Belgian styled beers made by a brewery that doesn't specifically specialize in them.
Pairing: Herb-roasted quail with pear and caramelized onion

Photo of Long813
4.38/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dated: NA
From: Premier Wine & Spirits

A: Hazy golden-orange body with three fingers of white bubbly head. Head dissipates into a ring about 1 cm high and leaves loads of lacing. Very carbonated.

S: Strong presence of spices, yeast, sour fruit and grains.

T: Very pleasant mixture of grains, lemons, hot spices and notable funk.

M: Light bodied and high carbonation. Thin bodied and extreme carbonation makes for a frothy texture. Leaves a funky aftertaste and the alcohol is quite noticeable on the way down.

D: Absolutely outstanding. First of the style for me, but it reminds me of Duvel. It could use some time to mellow out though and I'd like to try it again with the yeast sediment mixed in/

Photo of Vonerichs
3.58/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear straw color with a good amount of white frothy head.

Smell is mostly lemon, a little yeast.

Taste is also lemon and a slight funky yeast. This doesn't have the nice peppery hint that I like in saisons. Overall, pretty light in flavor.

This mouthfeel with high carbonation.

No detection of alcohol and light body makes this an easy drinker.

Overall, a good beer but too light in flavor for me.

Photo of edrachman
4.25/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this on a cool summer evening in the back yard.

It pours very well with just the right amount of head. The look was a very hazy, almost cloudy golden straw color -- very nice actually.

Very sweet smell with hints of fruit.

Taste was very good, light malty taste in the background with straw upfront. However, my bottle had a fair amount of carbonation. Definately a drinkable beer and could have another right now!

Photo of mithrascruor
3.6/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750 mL bottle poured into a chalice.

Appearance: Pours a hazy dark yellow color. Light foamy white head turns quickly to a film.

Smell: Light aroma of orange and lemon, together with some yeast and wheat.

Taste: Mild flavor of citrus and grain. Yeast comes into the picture eventually, and there's a bit of a barnyard flavor in the finish and aftertaste. A bit too much lemon, but generally pretty refreshing.

Mouthfeel: Light-bodied and smooth with lots of carbonation.

Drinkability: No alcohol presence in the taste, but a bit light-bodied and too much lemon.

A mild but pretty tasty saison. Certainly worth giving it a try.

Photo of saintwarrick
4.13/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Murky old gold pour has a floral scent mixed with Belgian sugars and some passion fruits. Taste is nice and sharp, champagne mixed with light fruits and sugar. Has nice thick mouthfeel where other lesser saisons feel a little watery. Very well-crafted brew that finished dry with a touch of watermelon. Definitely a must-try for any saison lover. one of the better domestic saisons.

Photo of andyfrancis
3.93/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

bubbles on top of bubbles with more bubbles. Almost violently carbonated, with the head growing from the bottom as fast as it reduces on the top. Cloudy yellow pour, but it could be some chill haze, almost white head. Looks pretty great in a wine glass

Just getting some sourish yeast on the nose. This thick head may be acting as a bit of an aroma barrier. Aroma growing in complexity as it warms.

Bitter up front, quickly overwhelmed by cascades of spice and fruit esters. Yummy.

Crisp, fairly clean finish, faint lingering hints of the spice and fruit.

Could and will drink all 750ml easily, and will be feeling just fine afterwards. Alcohol is very well hidden.

Overall...pretty, pretty good. On par with any of the other american attempts at the belgian farmhouse style.

Le Merle from North Coast Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 1,115 ratings.