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Le Merle - North Coast Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Le MerleLe Merle

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

987 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 987
Reviews: 464
rAvg: 3.9
pDev: 10.26%
Wants: 29
Gots: 58 | FT: 2
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)
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Ratings: 987 | Reviews: 464 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of markaberrant

Saskatchewan (Canada)

3.8/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - brilliant clarity, very soft orange colour, gigantic head, and lively carbonation streams, leaves big chunks of lace clinging to the glass.

S - tart lemons off the start, but quickly dissipates, hay, pepper spice, very fresh

T - good bit of spice to balance out the sweetness up front, finish is drying alcohol, mild tartness and a lingering bitterness.

M - very light thanks to thin body and agressive carbonation, effect is "airy" moreso than "creamy," noticable alcohol, warm and smooth.

D - runs a fine line between a tripel and a saison... call it what you will, it drinks quite nicely.

A well done attempt by an American brewer. I'm thinking a little more wildness and/or hopping would push it into definite saison/farmhouse territory, and would also increase the complexity. As it stands, it's a very good Belgian inspired beer, just not as exotic as I had hoped.

Serving type: bottle

12-14-2008 03:05:23 | More by markaberrant
Photo of champ103


4.28/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a hazy golden orange color. A two finger white head forms with excellent retention. As the rocky foam recedes, rings of patchy lace are left behind.
S: Funky yeast up front. A great funky barnyard aroma of hey and grass. A passion fruity medley of pears, apples, oranges, and melons. Excellent.
T: A wonderful fruitiness. Melons, oranges, bananas, pears, ext. Maybe the best fruit medley I have come across in a beer or the style. A nice spicy flavor lingers on the tongue. Plenty of funky yeast and barnyard flavors as well.
M/D: A medium body that is perfectly effervescent. Very dry, crisp and clean. This is exceptionally smooth and easy to drink for a nearly 8% ABV.

North Coast continues to blow me away, and one of the best breweries anywhere. This is a great Saison. I seem to say this a lot about North Coast, but this is one of the best American made versions I have had. Highly recommended.

Serving type: on-tap

12-12-2008 05:18:18 | More by champ103
Photo of magictrokini


3.43/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours yellow with a puffy white head. Orange peel, lemon, wheat, pepper, and earthy yeast. Grassy, fruity taste with some spice, particularly the white pepper. The yeast was nice, not overpoweing, but enough to give you some funk while keeping the beer light.

Serving type: bottle

12-10-2008 22:40:13 | More by magictrokini
Photo of abrand


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

750 ml bottle poured into tumbler with dinner for Thanksgiving dinner.

A- This beer pours a golden hazy color with a very thick few finger head which dissolves fairly quickly. Fairly good lacing lines the glass.

S- This brew gives off a very good aroma. Lots of fruit hit the nose. There are also hints of musky wooden pines.

T- Pretty wicked brew with a lot of complexity. Taste consists of fruity orange and melons. Very mild bitterness and very smooth.

M- Medium bodied with good carbonation

D- Pretty solid beer from North Coast. My experience with this style is lacking so I don't have much to compare to, but I will definitely explore more Saisons.

Serving type: bottle

11-28-2008 01:44:06 | More by abrand
Photo of aerozeppl

New York

4.1/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Nice clear golden color. One and a half fingers white head with some spotty lacing.

S: This is probably the best part of this beer. Nice funky nose right up front. Hints of overripe fruit

T: Very sweet up front. Hints of apples and other fruit. A little bit funky as well.

M: Very nice crisp mouthfeel. A little bit dry in the finish. Well carbonated with a nice bubbly feel as well.

D: Much better than I thought it would be. Very nice traditional take on the style. I think this beer would cellar nicely. I might just grab a bottle and throw it away for a while.

Serving type: bottle

11-16-2008 20:12:24 | More by aerozeppl
Photo of atigerlife


4.43/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Corked bottle opens with a big pop. Pours golden wiht a huge 2+ finger creamy white head that has very good retention. Good lacing. Tons of carb. rising. Very impressive to look at.

Aroma of yeast, citrus and somewhat grassy.

Taste is hay, yeast, citrus, apples, spices and some sweetness.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and very cleansing.

Overall, very drinkable. Very enjoyable. It will go well with a variety of food. Very refreshing. Very impressive.

Serving type: bottle

11-09-2008 20:06:24 | More by atigerlife
Photo of SFLpunk


4.43/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

750mL cork-finish with no date. Poured into wide-topped flute (Blanche de Chambly glass).

Appearance: Pale yellow straw. Thick foamy head, slow to recede yet leaves little lacing. 1/4 inch remains after 1 minute.

Nose: Fruity esters, orange, apple, pear, and white peach. A hint of pale wheat and a touch of Italian bread.

Palate: Spicy up front and has good carbonation. Lots of mixed fruits, with yeast-spice gliding way out on the finish. Grapefruit and grass come up, almost like a NZ sauvignon blanc. Finish is moderately long and leaves the impression of a crisp white wine.

Notes: A solid beer, not the best "saison" I've had, but a damn drinkable brew from a respectable company. It's going to go really well with my Baby Boucheron cheese, toasted baguette slices and Quinta do Coa Olive Oil (Portugal)! Cheers!

Serving type: bottle

11-08-2008 02:38:19 | More by SFLpunk
Photo of IBUnit63


4.15/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Corked & caged 750 ml into Ommegang chalice with a solid pop of the cork...

Pours a natural honey/lemon gold with ample carbonation up to pillowy, finger-and-a-half head that claws nicely to the glass.

Excellent yeast electricity merges with mild melon, slight citrus, a little vanilla and almost a Champagne essence. Complex yet quite approachable.

This shows off almost a dry Riesling texture. Merging with the solid yeast electricity is the carbonation strength and husky light grains. The stealth sweetness of the vanilla and melon tones emerges, along with some mild apple tartness as well.

Has a wine-style feel to it - hearty braised malt, mild grape sweetness and palate dryness along with a carbonation tingle. A very pleasant New World saison.

Dowsn't drink too terribly quickly but it's a solid example of the style.

Serving type: bottle

11-03-2008 07:33:12 | More by IBUnit63
Photo of beerthulhu

New Jersey

4.18/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured a bright, hazy tangerine orange with a monstrous 3 finger off white head that was dense and foamy in nature. Retention was incredibly well lasting while the lacing was splotchy, foamy and random. Visible carbonation was moderate strong.

S: tart orange peels with a light yeasty funkiness and cobwebs that was fair in strength.

T: An acidic nature and tart oranges greets you upfront. Dough, sour oranges, lemon peels and a moderate funkiness stand out. There is some underlying sweetness to the palate as well. Some sour fruitiness of pears, apples, pineapple, and bananas are contributed by the yeast. A nice hoppiness of musty citrus with a musky cellar quality add to the overall depth and flavor. Tart, yeasty and practically everything you can ask of per style.

M: a medium carbonation with tart dry oranges that lingered long after the swallow. The body was light to medium in fullness.

D: Very good drinkability, with a nice tart yeasty character makes this a smooth and delightful drink by style and definitely worth checking out. Finishes as strong as it starts.

Serving type: bottle

10-18-2008 23:24:10 | More by beerthulhu
Photo of Voonder

Alberta (Canada)

4.3/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours cloudy golden colour with big bubbly white head. Smell is sweet and fruity - grapes, pears, grass. Taste is a bit sour and fruity. Really well balanced with perfect level of carbonation beer goes down very well. Great stuff, taste is unbelivable - so complex and really interesting. Would have more!

Serving type: bottle

10-11-2008 04:43:49 | More by Voonder
Photo of bunnyhustle


3.3/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This, I believe, was my first Saison and I have to say I'm confused. This was a good beer but nothing what I expected from the style. It could have been a Belgian Strong Pale Ale or possibly even a Tripel and I wouldnt have noticed the difference. Poured into Duvel glass. Pours a hazy golden yellow with massive rocky head. Smell was of yeast, bread, and some fruits, the fruits were very muted. Taste was a little bland I though. It certainly had that grassy, straw-like Pale Ale taste to it with some yeast and sweet fruits but not much. Either this was too complex for its own good, or it wasnt complex enough, I still cant tell which one it was. Mouthfeel was medium with somewhat high carbonation. Overall an enjoyable beer, but there was something I just didnt get. Expected some funk and I was left funk-less.

Serving type: bottle

10-02-2008 20:55:45 | More by bunnyhustle
Photo of kyoes


3.98/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml Bottle servered in Chimay globlet.

Nice saison, lacks the funk one would expect. Very fruity notes, orange, green grapes, rasin, and a little spice.

Medium-high carbonation. Light bodied.

Deep gold color, cloudly, thin head. Very nice for a domestic.

Serving type: bottle

09-26-2008 21:34:11 | More by kyoes
Photo of twiggamortis420


3.68/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark color for a saison, it is dark golden in color with a fat, pillowy white head that sticks around nicely.

Sweet smelling. Honey, green grapes, willow bark and bright green pears.

Tastes much the same as the nose. Funk is there but is counterbalanced by the bright fruity flavors of honeydew melon and pears. Smooth floral finish.

This saison is a bit on the sweet side with not enough funk to it. Intense and bright tasting, it is good but not quite great.

Serving type: bottle

09-25-2008 04:26:26 | More by twiggamortis420
Photo of ccrida


3.83/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle poured into my Lost Abbey goblet, Le Merle is a clear, bright, dark gold with a large, fluffy white head that is slow to subside and leaves foamy chunks of lace.

Smell is fruity farmhouse esters, dry and mineral laden pithiness, spot on, really very nice.

Taste is also drier, pretty simple, grainy with some tropical fruit and spicy hops on the dusty finish. Good, but there is something about it in both the taste and smell that remind me of a macro lager, pils or corn or something, maybe just sugar. Overall, it's a little underwhelming.

Mouthfeel is dry and spritzy, with a medium light body that is just slightly cloying.

Drinkability is pretty good, a nice little saison, authentic and true to style, but there's no wow factor, and it's ultimately forgettable.

Serving type: bottle

09-21-2008 20:51:02 | More by ccrida
Photo of roblowther


4.43/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml, corked, caged, and it was just begging for me to take it off the shelf & back to a good home. It pours pale, cloudy gold with a thin near-white head that really doesn't hang around to party. The smell, though, makes daddy happy. It's strawberries, lemons, wheatgrass, sugar, a hint of caramel, and a whole lotta makin my mouth water. Taste is drier than the smell hinted at, with tart fruit yielding to a crisp taste and a really clean finish that just makes you want more at the very end. It has an aged cheese taste in there somewhere. The Northcoast guys have outdone themselves on this one. Mouthfeel is creamy, nicely carbonated, and just a hair thin. Drinkability is very good. The flavors balance very well & make me want more. I'd move to a farmhouse if this is what it meant!

Serving type: bottle

09-16-2008 01:02:43 | More by roblowther
Photo of MiScusi


3.8/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- bright yellow with an airy bright white foamy head.

S- quite earthy. Lot of phenols.

T- Again, very earthy. Yeast did lots of work on this flavor. Also a mild lemon taste to it too.

M- medium-high carbonation. Very light bodied.

In comparison to a well known saison, Hennepin, this one has a lot less tropical fruit thing in it and much more of the saison yeast character.

Serving type: bottle

09-08-2008 03:38:30 | More by MiScusi
Photo of brdc


4.05/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Large corked bottle, poured into a tulip. I have to thank this to someone for sending it as an extra, but unfortunately lost my trade book in a basement flood. Please let me know if I missed your name here.

Hazy bright golden, nice but relatively small white head, decent retention but little lacing.
Fresh fruit aroma, particularly lemons and oranges, yeastiness, spices abound.
Medium bodied, but not a lot of carbonation, it has a similarly fruity and yeasty taste, lots of spices, which actually dominate the taste. There are herbal touches, some funkiness, earthy notes.
Nothing to blow you over, but a very solid and worthwhile saison, and like any good saison, matched a creamy pasta with ham dish easily.

Serving type: bottle

08-27-2008 02:24:18 | More by brdc
Photo of acrawf6


4.15/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours out a nice hazy light orange hue with a frothy one inch white head that rests nicely on top. a good, and typical look to a nice saison.

Smell. Spicy esters come out, and is on the sweet side. fruits come out, i get mostly a apple and pear juice that is accompanied with the spiceness with a little allspice and a black pepper hotness.

Taste. A very interesting flavor. Initially reminds me of a belgian strong pale ale, and la fin du monde comes to mind (but a bit sweeter). The styles seems similar at times, but i think the higher alcohol in this one brings more characteristics to a bspa or even a little of a tripel. But the spiceness comes through as it warms that gives it more of a saison feel. Has a noticable sweetness, but is by no means overwhelming. There is a noticable level of alcohol that contributes to the flavor, and adds a bit of the hotness to the flavor. There is also a good touch of a hop character, not bitter, but just enough to give notice. Finishes with a nice level of allspice flavor and sweet fruit- apple juice from concentrate and a touch of pear come to mind.

Mouthfeel. Body is on the fuller side for the style, which is certainly helped by the alc. The high level of carbonation helps out and lightens it up, making it feel quite drinkable after a few sips. Overall i think a nice balance.

Overall, a rather enjoyable beer, and a very nice belgian style american beer. I'm not completely big on other belgian styles this brewery has made, but i think they did a very good job on this one. Certainly sticks out with the flavor, and still has a nice drinkable bit to it. I do think it is a little bit of a hybrid between a saison and a bspa, but the details isnt important. I enjoyed this beer and look forward to buying it again.

Serving type: bottle

08-25-2008 01:22:01 | More by acrawf6
Photo of Patrick999


3.93/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cool, a domestic saison. I'd seen this one before but for some reason never thought to try it. 750ml bottle, corked and caged.

A - With some firm coaxing, the cork gave way in a controlled manner. Poured into a goblet, passes the saison appearance test with flying colors. Very substantial soapy meringue head, cloudy gold body. Ranks right up there with the very best Belgian examples of saison.

S - Passes the saison aroma test, too. A little peppery, but not quite so much peppery as a fruity aroma I can't quite place. Maybe some apple, strawberries that are about to go bad...also perhaps the pungent smell of lychees about to go bad.

T - Interesting, not really too hoppy saison, more of a wheatgrass taste, with some of that about-to-ferment fruit. Near 8% ABV not terribly noticeable, just peeking through occasionally. There's a definite element of funk as it warms. A lot of interesting flavor, but somehow doesn't come off to me as very integrated or locked in, maybe due to seeming a bit heavy on the pungent fruits. And I'm not crazy about the aftertaste, which to me almost seems macro lager-like, shockingly. I'm not knocking this too much, though, as it is complex and not at all boring. In edit, I agree with the guy below, though, this could use more of the peppery spice to balance it out, or more hop.

F - Has the Belgian feel pretty well down, feels pillow-light even though carbonation is high. Medium body.

D - As is often typical of the style, easy to drink. As someone who loves this style, I'd pick up again. It might not be quite as dialed in as some of the Belgian examples, but it's very clear that the guys at North Coast did their homework. I like seeing American brewers make beers like this, and I like it even better when they make it all the way down to the tip of Florida.

Serving type: bottle

08-22-2008 22:17:45 | More by Patrick999
Photo of Tdizzle


3.93/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750mL corked and caged bottle purchased at Vendome Fullerton.

A- Poured into a Duvel tulip glass, this beer pours a completely opaque light-orange color with a massive, bubbly, white-colored head that takes a very long time to settle down to a thick layer over the beer. Each sip yields some very thick and soapy lacing on the glass.

S- Sweet tropical fruits and spicy Belgian yeast are the primary characteristics of the aroma. There are notes of fresh-cut grass and citrus rind as well.

T- The taste is fairly sweet at first, with some spiciness from both yeast and hops to balance it out. A slight metallic bitterness emerges right before the dry finish, which leaves a bit of a lemon grass flavor on the palate.

M- The mouthfeel is smooth and creamy with fairly aggressive carbonation.

D- The 7.3% ABV is well-hidden, but this beer is rather heavy on the stomach. One Duvel glass was plenty.

Serving type: bottle

08-22-2008 05:16:35 | More by Tdizzle
Photo of Gehrig


4.5/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Orange-apricot colored body supports three fingers of white foam. Ample carbonation and solid duration. Lots of fruity malt emerges in the smell--orange, melon, lemon--with only subtle farmhouse aromas. In fact, were it not advertised as such, locating this as a farmhouse ale would be difficult. Delicious taste, very smooth with decent carbonation, mixing the fruit with modest spiciness. Apricot and lemon blend with faint pepper that, while nice, is one area of clear improvement Le Merle could use--more spice.

Creamy smooth texture is a definite plus, making this even more drinkable. North Coast has a gem in Le Merle, one of my favorite farmhouse ales. Excellent.

Serving type: bottle

08-20-2008 19:41:20 | More by Gehrig
Photo of DoreenAndDave


3.65/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Beer is golden/amber, slightly cloudy, with a rich white head.

Aroma is somewhat nondescript. Slightly lemony.

Taste is strong. Lots of citrus, mostly orange and lemon. A dry, slightly bitter finish.

Feel is somewhat thin and a little light. Lots of carbonation.

Drinkability is good.

Overall, a very good, but not quite excellent beer. It's lacking some spice or earthiness or complexity that are typical of the saison style.

Serving type: bottle

08-20-2008 04:03:39 | More by DoreenAndDave
Photo of JBogan


3.58/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a medium/light orange with a large white head which leaves a solid lacing in my glass.

Smells a bit musty, like an orange left in the 3rd drawer of your Granny's "hi-boy". Not offensive yet nothing to get excited about.

Tasted along the same lines. I tried it on the colder side and then let it warm up, it really didn't make a whole lot of difference. Some citrus along with that musty-ness. Good tasting but not world class.

Mouthfeel was pretty decent. Somewhat thin but with enough carbonation to make your tongue happy.

All in all this was a rather drinkable brew, especially considering the price. There's other and better offerings out there if you want to impress a friend, but if you come across this and want a beer of this type, then you get your bang for the buck with this one.

Serving type: bottle

08-17-2008 02:48:38 | More by JBogan
Photo of stumac


3.58/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

alrighty! about to check out the new saison in my city!

pours up a vibrant orange with a great frothy white head. great retentive lacing. the nose is hay, subtle citrus. tastes of slight citrus, very musky, sweet malt, full bodied, dry finish, super carbo.

decent but this is no Saison Dupont.

Serving type: bottle

08-15-2008 00:29:48 | More by stumac
Photo of BretSikkink


4.05/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pale golden with lots of orange highlighting. White head is quite large, somewhat rocky as it recedes, and very thick and foamy. The froth leaves lots of little islands of lace on the glass.

Lots of citric fruit zest on the nose along with a good amount of sweet pale malts and a small yeasty earthiness.

Lots of light fruits: apple and pear are quite prominent, along with some clove, white pepper, and a really solid pale malt component. They all work together serviceably.

The mouthfeel is a little wan at times, odd given how much carbonation is visually evident. I was more impressed early on than as the bottle is nearly gone. The finish is dry and a little bitter from the herbal hops. Lingering grassy aftertaste.

Nice saison. I'd be happy to find it at a bar.

Serving type: bottle

08-13-2008 03:42:46 | More by BretSikkink
Le Merle from North Coast Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 987 ratings.