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Le Merle - North Coast Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Le MerleLe Merle

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

1,148 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,148
Reviews: 480
rAvg: 3.89
pDev: 10.03%
Wants: 33
Gots: 90 | 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 (21) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,148 | Reviews: 480 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of metter98
4.05/5  rDev +4.1%
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 +4.1%
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 +2.8%
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 -10.5%
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 -4.1%
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 +2.8%
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 -21.6%
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 +2.8%
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 +2.1%
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 -6.7%
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.

Photo of mmercede
3.63/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

750ml bottle from Total Wine in Cherry Hill

A: Pours a brilliant pale/golden orange with an opaque color. The head is thick and last well. Initially this beer must be poured slowly as to not over foam. The lacing on the inside of the glass is beautiful and fades slowly.

S: Smell is of a yeasty/funky complexity with strong acidic notes. biscuits, toasted malt, dark chocolate, cherries, balsamic vinegar.

T: The sourness is quite nice with tastes of ripe cherries, pinapple, molasses, and biscuits. There is also a light taste of balsamic vinegar. A complex belgian yeast is present throughout along with nice fresh pine notes. Besides all of these nice flavors, the beer is pretty boozy. This is not an extremely big saison and the booziness is a major complaint. That being said, I think some age could make this a really great beer.

M: The mouthfeel is heavy with strong creamy carbonation. I think this is a bit over carbonated. The carbonation gets in the way a bit.

O: An enjoyable beer from one of my favorite styles. It has a ton of potential but tastes a bit young. A year or two could do this one some justice.

Photo of ktrillionaire
4.23/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A - The brew pours a golden-orange hue, and is capped with a stratospheric head, a la Duvel. Surprisingly little lace results.

S - The nose is quite funky. I get a blast of green apple, hay-straw, and green grassy notes. As it opens up, lemon verbena and apple cider notes appear.

T - The caramel-type base is unfortunate here, because with a purely pale-pils type of malt, this would be phenomenal. As is, it is quite good. Flavor specifics include breadiness, orchard fruit, apple skin, herbal and floral blossom notes, and a sweet booze punch on the finish.

M - Pretty good; no complaints here.

O - I am surprised how good this is. I guess I shouldn't be, as North Coast makes several high quality brews.

Photo of allanplaysguitar
4.45/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

YES! This was a great Saison. I am have been on a bit of a Saison trip and this won was a total WIN! The yeast really did shine on this one and brought some great esters and spice. There was a little bit of that Belgium funk, which I really loved in this beer. I don't know if I would recommend this as an "intro to craft beer" type of thing, as I feel it was a bit on the complex side, but for sure something that anyone with a preference to Belgium beers should try.

Photo of Sigmund
3.83/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750 ml corked cottled, as North Coast Le Merle Saison (Belgian Style Farmhouse Ale), courtesy of Cardinal Pub & Bar, Stavanger. ABV is 7.9%. Slightly hazy golden colour, huge white head. Sweetish aroma of syrup, farmhouse yeast and rotting fruits / stale berries. High level of carbonation in the mouth. The flavour is better than the aroma, medium sweet and moderately spicy, decent hops in the finish. Quite nice to drink, should also go well with many foods.

Photo of biboergosum
3.8/5  rDev -2.3%
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?

Photo of wschmit
3.66/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

75cL bottle into Duvel tulip.

A: Thoroughly bubbly, pale golden body with some haziness beneath a fluffy, Duvel-like high head. Very pretty.

S: Slightly musty and meaty, but also some freshly mowed hay and floral bouquet. Ever so slightly tart. A bit of a alcoholic towards the end.

T: Yeasty and bready, but with some of the spiciness usual to the style. Also on the hoppy end by saison standards, though still quite mild. Again, some of that meaty funk, which is good, but also a minerally, metallic taste, too, which is less good.

M: Spot-on. Effervescent, with the right body, that carries the yeast/malt dominant beer to a happy conclusion. Biggest ding is it's a bit alcoholic tasting.

D: Not a particularly challenging saison, but true to style if not great for the style. Goes down alright. At 9 bucks for the bomber, a pretty good value saison, but it has nothing on the stars of this style.

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

Pours hazy light gold with a big white head that recedes into a rocky white head.

Fruity aroma of pears and apples.

Flavor is slightly sweet, with a spicy yeasty bite. A bit of funk and bitterness lingers. Flavor is not as spicy as I would expect, and not dry enough.

Mouthfeel is lively from the carbonation.

Overall an ok saison, but not as satisfying as other options.

Photo of mlazzaro
4.32/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

22oz bottle aged for several years.
Looks appetizing in the glass, a straw colored, highly carbonated brew. Decent sized white head with nice tiny bubble structure. The smell and taste of this beer immediately reminded me of strawberries. Sweet, slightly tart Saison yeast. Really delicious, really refreshing. Mouthfeel is thin and carbonic/acidic. Drinkability is high I really liked this beer and would gladlly drink again. I am curious to know the difference between this aged bottle and a freshly brewed one.

Photo of BieresDesMoines
3.63/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a bright yellow with a good fluffy head that fades but doesn't leave much lace. The aroma is floral and spicy lightly soapy with some bready yeastiness. The flavor is spicy with some nice bright hoppiness mildly bready with a hint of banana and lemon zest.

Photo of BaileysBrew
2.83/5  rDev -27.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2.5

750 ml corked bottle

Uncorked the bottle and there was almost no pressure behind the cork. This made sense upon pouring, as there almost no carbonation. Odd for this style?

Appearance was golden with orange hues with a faint haze. Absolutely no head, even right after the pour.

Smell was grapefruit and orange with hints of yeast. No pepper or spice detected.

This beer was a bit disappointing to drink, mostly because it was very flat. That colors my review quite a bit. But it tasted a bit like a hard apple cider with just a touch of sparkle. There were some yeast notes and a little tangerine in the distance. It kept taking me back to my first attempt to homebrew a cider, and it wasn't that good.

The mouthfeel was actually pretty good if you took a big drink. That helped capture some of the carbonation and the viscosity was really right on--very smooth.

Overall, was not impressed. I think the carbonation would have made a big difference, but this still tasted alot like a bad hard cider.

Photo of Frothboss
3.85/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep golden orange with no froth and light lacing. Smells like oranges and grapefruit. Tastes tangy with sour/bitters hanging on the back of my tongue. Mouthfeel is bubbly with smooth swallow. Good i would drink again, really like the grapefruit taste.

Photo of impending
3.64/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

375ml into a tulip. Pours a hazy dull golden straw. Minor head even with encouragement, subsided quickly. Unexceptional lacing.

Aroma has considerable hop presence and only minor funk. Spicy, peppery atop a tart grapefruit and orange.

Taste begins sweet with a viscous mouthfeel. Flavor of hops dominate. A bit more funk in the flavor than in the nose. Finish is slight dry and bitter, level of bitterness is surprisingly low considering the level of the hop taste. Aftertaste dissipates quietly.

Photo of Jamesplarson
4.07/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

i really like this beer i think that is a very representative portion of the saison family and i enjoyed every aspect of the beer. The color is absolutly my most favorite part of this brew.. its head retention is inciedble and the white head and that malty body is something i will come bcak to to enjoy every time. Slanch.

Photo of GarthDanielson
3.78/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass (all we had available at the time). The beer pours a cloudy copper-orange coloring, with some amber highlights in the deep parts. No head. The beer has smells that seem to bounce between a sour and a barleywine. There are some very sweet notes, almost citrusy, as well as some sour aromas. The beer has an initial flavor of light spice, grapes, and alcohol that blossoms into a wide tongue sour taste, with a malty backbone, that fills the mouth. The bold sour flavors carry through to the aftertaste. The beer remains light in mouth, despite the powerful flavors. The finish is sudden, and rather abrupt after the developing nature of the flavor. It quickly retreats, leaving the slightly sour aftertaste in mouth, begging for another sip. Surprisingly easy to drink, likely due to the flavors blending so well.

Photo of Augustiner719
3.62/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

poured from a 750ml corked and caged bottle into a tulip glass.

This saison pours a very deep orange honey color. Much darker than your typical saison, also has a bit of viscosity to it which i don't usually find. There is a large fluffy white head that is very thick and recedes slowly, leaving behind minimal lacing. The aroma is very light and delicate. Very pretty floral components, a touch of hop citrus and some grapefruit zest on the nose. The flavors are very well blended together, and i get a lot of floral citrus flavors. The draw back is that it is not light at all on the body. Really viscous and oily body. There is also a bitter citrus pith component that makes this fall off a bit. After the bitterness comes some oily hop residue that doesnt follow the traditional saison. This is good for a fall style however. Mouthfeel is oily and viscous. Medium to heavy bodied and totally palate coating. Drinkability is nice and this really is a food friendly beer. This would do great with a chicken dish or even a lighter style german pork schnitzel dish with lemons. Not your typical saison, but a good value and worth a shot.

Le Merle from North Coast Brewing Co.
87 out of 100 based on 1,148 ratings.