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Le Merle - North Coast Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Le MerleLe Merle

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

1,152 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,152
Reviews: 481
rAvg: 3.89
pDev: 10.03%
Wants: 33
Gots: 91 | 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: 1,152 | Reviews: 481 | Display Reviews Only:
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.

Photo of grittybrews
4.12/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a cloudy honey-orange into a tulip with three fingers of creamy white head. Pleasant, powerful aroma of lemon and hints of banana and spicy Belgian funk.

Relatively high carbonation and a thick, prickly mouthfeel. Flavors of lemon and wheat up front with some mild leather/funk to balance. Quite sweet at first with caramel notes reminiscent of North Coast's Pranqster, but as the beer warmed it became quite a bit drier and peppery notes emerged.

Alcohol was well-hidden and this brew was quite drinkable, especially after it warmed up a bit.

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

Reviewed from notes. I poured this bottle into a large wine glass.

A: cloudy honey gold color, good cream-colored head quickly falls into a skinny cap with good lacing.

S: floral, honey, clove, a hint of banana, grape.

T: overall a very vinous, pleasantly sour character; the front has honey, sweet bread-like grain, the middle has apple, banana, a bit of Belgian funk, the finish is gently floral and fruity.

M: medium-bodied, silky, moderate carbonation, somewhat sour; very nice.

D: I could definitely see myself quaffing one or two of these after working the fields of Flanders!

Photo of nickthegun12
3.7/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

typical saison style color here...a dark straw yellow...with lots of carbonation and a nice big white head...thick lacing...

smells fresh like a saison....you can actually smell the dryness in the nose...

has a nice wheat taste with some bitterness....something taste a little off though....

nice dry feel....and lots of tingly carbonation...

ok drinkability here...prob wouldn't want to enjoy but just one of these...

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

A: Cloudy, golden yellow. Nice thick, white head that disapates quickly.

S: Lemon, some orange, spicy. Smells like a saison.

T: Tastes like a saison. Follows the nose. Lemon, yeasty, coriander. Has a nice hoppy character to it as well.

M: Bubbly, tingly with a slight burn. I like this, but I normally prefer these to be a little dryer. Nothing wrong w/ the mouthfeel though.

D: Goes down smoothly and is delicious.

Photo of ssalgado
3.68/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

My wife brought this home from a bottle shop. Have had this a few times, including at the brewery on draft but this is the first time reviewing it. Very cloudy with a light yellow/orange hue. Short head that goes away quickly. Taste is crisp with a nice yeasty bite to it. Light hints of lemon & other spices. Good carbonation adds to the crisp flavor. Essentially, a mellow, tasty saison with strong yeast flavors and light on the hops.

Photo of cpetrone84
3.5/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A-very cloudy urine like yellow with tons of thin bubbly off white head.

S-yeasty lemon up front, candied sugar is strong, a fair bit of spice and corriander behind with a touch of grassy hay like hops in the back.

T-much sweeter than the nose would let on. The yeast is subtle but present, tons of candied sugar and lemon with just a hint of banana in the back. the spice is very subtle and almost not there, the hops are citrusy with a touch of hay in the finish.

M-a little light in body but soft and creamy feel to it. It is quite wet and juicy throughout and lacks a dry finish I like. Carbonation is just fine and has a clean crisp finish.

D-this is a little muddled and simple, not bad and easily drinken. Nothing special and a little sweet in the flavor.

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

Serving: 375ml bottle into a snifter. Heck of a long cork for such a small bottle.

A: Slightly cloudy, golden pale. About an eight inch of head which dissipated pretty fast. Fairly carbonated. Looks great.

S: Pale malts and saison-style yeast. Smells good.

T: Maltier and a little sweeter than I expected. Great saison yeast characteristics. Hints of orange peel. Slight bitterness. I would have preferred it to be a little drier tasting however still very good.

M: Fizzy and tingly on the tongue which I've grown to expect from belgian-style pales. Good.

D: A very drinkable saison. Would drink it again if I saw it.

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

Poured into a tulip glass from a 750ml bottle.

A - Poured a bit more oily than expected with a nice bright but hazy orange color and a nice off0white head about ,25 inches tall that receded fairly quickly.

S - Aroma starts off with some nice tart fruit hints. Some lemon peel as well as oranges and some grapefruit notes. Some nice hop hints can be noted in the nose as well as some good funk.

T & M - Flavor starts off with a nice refreshing citrus notes and a slight tartness. The orange and lemon from the aroma are quite present and very nice and refreshing. Then the nice yeast flavors come in, slight phenols as well as nice interesting funk. There is some nice hop flavor in this one as well with some slight peach notes and vinous qualities. Nice and crisp with clean flavor and a semi-dry finish.

D - I am loving this style more and more each time I try different kinds. This one is up there as a good sure thing Saison. Refreshing, crisp and clean.

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.

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
3.2/5  rDev -17.7%
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
4.18/5  rDev +7.5%
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
4.14/5  rDev +6.4%
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
4.23/5  rDev +8.7%
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
3.97/5  rDev +2.1%
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
4.02/5  rDev +3.3%
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
4.17/5  rDev +7.2%
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.

Le Merle from North Coast Brewing Co.
87 out of 100 based on 1,152 ratings.