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Le Merle - North Coast Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Le MerleLe Merle

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

1,128 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,128
Reviews: 477
rAvg: 3.89
pDev: 10.28%
Wants: 34
Gots: 82 | 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.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,128 | Reviews: 477 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Gobzilla
3.7/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: poured a yellowish orange with a bubbly three finger head that really doesn't die out.

S: the belgian yeast really comes out on the nose with a hint of tropical fruit aroma along side the sweet smell of the yeast.

T: Has lots of candy sweetness from the yeast that does not hide the booze at all. The alcohol really shines on the taste despite being only a 7.9 abv beer.

M: It's light to meduim body with fairly good carbonation.

D: the beer is a decent offering from north coast that really holds belgian characteristics on the taste. Good beer for a hot summer day.

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

I believe that learning new beers is an evolution. Most of us probably started with watered down American Lagers and then progress. For me it was first nice flavorful ales. Then stronger hoppy IPAs. And now it is the Belgium Saison style.

This beer from North Coast has a good flavor, but not as much as some Saisons I have had. It when really well with the chicken dish I had at the Yard House in Glenview, Illinois outside Chicago. The appearance of these beers are perfect for spring and summer. Heavy in alcohol so keep that in mind as you drink these.

Flavor is a great cross of fruity notes and hops. Making it quite different from ales and lagers. For me, I am looking for a nice chilled lemony flavor that is going to make me feel like spring.

Photo of beertunes
3.91/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into tulip. This is one of the prettiest beers I've seen lately. A light orange (bordering on deep yellow), with almost 2 inches of fluffy, white head that had good retention but no lacing.

A nice yeasty aroma greets the nose, with some fruit tones and spiceyness added in. The flavors are in solid agreement with the aromas, spicy, yeasty, fruity and a sharp, dry finish are the highlights.

The body is good, full, well-rounded and supple without being heavy. Drinkability is very good, I could easily have several of these beauties.

Overall, another fine beer from a brewery who, perhaps, doesn't get all the love they deserve. You should try this ASAP.

Photo of ocelot2500
4.05/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy golden orange color with a frothy white head that leaves plenty of lacing.

Smells of apple, lemon, and yeast spice.

Tastes of the fruitiness with a spicy finish. Lemon notes dominate with the tartness backing it up. Notes of apple and pear also make there presence known. Yeast gives off the clove spice. Grassy notes are also present.

Mouthfeel is medium with a light, airy amount of carbonation.

Photo of badboyrsl84
3.18/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I searched long and hard for this one and I'm not sure it was worth all the trouble.

The pour was full of head. I was blown away and figured this was gonna be over carbonated and I was right. It was a gold color with an almost see through appearance.

the smell is very fruity with some citrus.

The taste was very very carbonated and has some citrus as well as all the other tastes that are found Belgians. Nothing special here. Maybe its a bad brew.

I will finish with, its very carbonated and will probably be a forgettable brew to me.

Photo of kzoobrew
3.88/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

After a bit of an unexpected break from BA I figured there would be nothing better to get back into the swing of things than a new review. With the beautiful blue sky and the sun shining it just feels like a good day for a saison.

Poured Le Merle into my Duvel snifter. Even with a moderate pour a rather impressive head is produced. Creamy white mousse head stands 3 fingers tall and is in no hurry to leave. The head finally recedes leaving a modest cap set atop which does manage to linger for the duration of the glass. The lacing left behind is equally as impressive as the retention. The body is a hazy apricot color with plenty of visible carbonation. While not the best looking Saison I have had, it is damn close.

The aroma is earthy and dominated by a dry peppery characteristic. Slightly rustic and musty but falls short of anything I would call funk. The secondary aromas are much brighter than those up front. Apple and citric smells pair with a fresher grassy and citric earthy presence. Malt is sweet and a bit doughy which works well they typical belgian yeast notes. Pleasant aroma but not a show stopper.

The first thing I notice about the flavor is the overall sweetness. The malt provide a rather biscuity sweetness which the citrus flavor only seems to accentuate. While I am not opposed to a sweeter Saison, this is a tad too sweet for my preference. Spice and rustic flavors come into play soon after providing a pleasant attempt at balancing the taste. Cardamom, cloves and a bit of white pepper. Musty flavor along side of an astringent grassy hop profile round things out. Flavor is pleasant overall and certainly fits the style though lacks when it comes to personal preference.

Mouthfeel falls just short of crisp as the finish is just short of dry. The visible carbonation noted previously does not translate into the mouthfeel. The feel is smooth and enjoyable. The lingering sweetness prevents the finish from being dry, a quality I tend to prefer in the style. Once again the characteristics and appropriate for the style just not what I look for in the style.

While not being the beer I would ideally drink when I reach for a Saison, Le Merle drinks quite well. Very enjoyable and extremely easy to drink. This is one I would recommend as it is worth a look, it just would not be the first one I reach for.

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

Poured into New Belgium globe glass.

Pours 2.5 fingers of off white head. Great retention with lots of lace. Color is a hazed bright orange sunset.

Aroma: Some barnyard funk, lemon zest, orange peel, pepper, and yeast. A decent saison aroma.

Taste: Tons of spices and fruit notes. Pears, orange peel, lemons, apples, coriander, yeast and grassy hops.

Mouthfeel: Crisp, slightly smooth, and refreshing. Medium bodied with a higher amount of carbonation. Ends dry.

Overall, a solid saison and represents the style well. Fairly drinkable and I really like this one. I let this one sit in the cellar for almost a year and it turned out nicely.

Photo of corby112
4.42/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On draft at the 4th Ave. Pub in Brooklyn.

Pours a very hazy dark golden yellowish orange colt with golden dark ripe banana hues when heldto a light source and a half finger frothy white head that slept settles into a lasting ring. Minimal spots of small lacing left behind.

Slightly tart earthy aroma which is also quite floral with hints of peppery spice and crisp light fruit, mostly apple and pear. There is also a good amount of bready yeast, banana and clove. Very complex aroma. Hopefully the taste lives up to t.

Fuller bodied than expected with some soft carbonation up front the fades into a slightly tart earthy flavor mid palate. There is a nice amount of zesty peppey spice with maybe some clove? I'm also picking up some flora(petal) notes that blend very well with the crisp light fruit notes. Hints of banana, apple, pear and apricot. Sweet, spicy slightly dry and somewhat tart with a clean finish. The alcohol flavor is present but overall the high ABV is excellently masked, making this beer dangerously drinkable. I had to stop myself from pounding the glass. Complex and very tasty. Recommended!

Photo of theopholis
3.16/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Appearance- Fairly clear, very sparkly honey color. Decent head, but absolutely no head retention. Hardly any effervescence one it settles down.

Smell- Starts out with a nice, complex malt sweetness but then settles down to a....okay...it's still a fairly complex sweetness with some tartness in there. Quite inviting.

Taste- Not bad, not great. Well blended malt sweetens mixed with a hint of tartness. Just the barest hint of earthiness. Not nearly as complex as I would expect, and the over-carbonation gives it a bit of a salty taste.

Mouthfeel- As I said earlier, it's over-carbonated. But it's more of that. It's very course carbonation. It feels like the CO2 was never completely dissolved in the beer. It has more of a 7-up feel then a nice Saison.

Drinkability- Despite all the flaws I mentioned earlier, this is a worthy effort of a tough style. I would recommend you try it. Maybe I got a bad bottle. Maybe the brewer is still dialing in the recipe. Despite my disappointment with this particular bottle,, I WILL try it again, because I taste some real possibilities in this beer.

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

Rather nice saison from North Coast, and a great social bottle.

Presentation: 750 ml corked bottle. Succinct blackbird (Le merle) label design over the image of a grey silver bird over a black background. Brief side paragraph notes style inspiration and main characteristics. Lacks a recognizable date of bottling, and shows Alc. by Vol. (7.9%) Poured into a tulip glass.

A - Pale to deep gold pour, a bit hazy, with a very generous head, good retention, and nice lacing.

S - Rich fruity and spicy nose, a bit pungent and sour, a tad wild, but fresh nevertheless. Citrusy and good for the style.

T - Complex and inviting flavor, fruity, dry, with a touch of a sour-pungent yeast, a bit wild but very manageable. Sweet dry and citrusy finish.

M - Light to light-medium body. Crisp and a bit dry. Great finishing bite.

D - A very drinkable brew. Does not push the envelope for the style but offers great accessibility.

Notes: Sure enough, it may not be an icon for the style. But it is a great brew to share and socialize around, opens up a great craft conversation and more often than not works very well. One to keep around and pop up in a receptive group. The taste is rich enough to be meaningful, presentation and appearance work very well, and it is rather drinkable even for those unaccustomed to these brews.

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

bottle, 50*, snifter

a redish brown, off white head. good but not great. color is saison like, but a little too clean

S fresh and crisp smelling, hints of baked spices and orange peel

T apricot, yeast, nice acid. well rounded, but flavors needed an increase of temp. to really come out toward the end.

m mid body, style wise it probably on the lighter side

D pretty good, but not great. i would probably not have two, but its worth the price for one.

Photo of weatherdog
3.52/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

75cL bottle poured into a Duvel tulip

It pours a golden hazy orange with an off-white head that doesn't quit; helped on by the Duvel etching. Minimal lacing down the side of the glass.

The smell is huge pepper and some lemon to me. Classic saison smell. The back end has just a whiff of alcohol.

The taste mirrors a lot of the smell with a huge pepper bite followed by some lemon and maybe some orange. At the end there seems to be something just a little off putting. I don't know if its the yeast or what but the best i can describe it a little oily-tasting. It detracts from the initial good flavor. At the very end there is some Belgian yeast esters with some alcohol as well.

This beer is very carbonated and practically foams in my mouth. I'm glad i choose to use the Duvel tulip to knock some of it out of solution as it's sitting here. Besides that it's pretty light on the tongue and good drinkability. I haven't had that many examples of the style but this one just had something a little off in the taste.

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

Appearance - light, clear, light gold, whitish head - little to no lacing

smell - mmm belgian yeast funk - citrus ? fruity, a lot of pear, banana? fruit !

taste - very refreshing and woah did they do an amazing job with balancing the alcohol - 7.9?! tastes like 5 - 6. Very fruity belgian yeast tates - pear is strongly present - *champagne like - hops are not overwhelming at all but for a saison I think it is generously hopped.

mouthfeel - carbonation feels strong but not overwhelming the finish is a bit resiny for a saison but I like it. Smooth - particularly for the alc.

Overall - Decent beer, I liked it but something felt a little off. The yeast seemed a little strange??? I'm not sure. Decent job though.

Photo of biancasaur
4.02/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Golden, moderately clear with slight haze, pretty!

First smell: Funky, sweetish-tart, lots of pear, honey. Funky but delicate, not overwhelming.

First taste:
Delicately funky, quite evident pear taste. Light and refreshing with a slight bitterness. Pleasant, sparkly, full but not-thick mouthfeel. Mmmm.

While drinking:
Champagne!!! (How'd I miss that?) Bubbly champagne feeling. *Lots* of white wine character, light citrus fruity (grapefruit). Mild, subtle, delicious hops. Gentle alcohol character - I was informed halfway through of the alcohol content and was surprised how high it is. On a half-empty stomach, I felt the effects after one glass - wow.

I found this to be a very drinkable beer, putting me in mind of a warm summer day and gentle breezes. For its delicacy, it's richly complex. I'd definitely buy again and share with friends on some idyllic sunny day.

Photo of pmccallum86
4.03/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy peach color with a light creamy head that leaves little lacing on the glass.

Smell is very fruity. Lots of pear, peach, banana and various citrus aromas.

Lots of fruity flavors, just like the smell. Some pears, bananas, maybe some saaz hops and light malt flavors. Good tasting saison, definitely a fan.

Lots of carbonation, smooth and creamy. Very refreshing beer, goes down well.

Very good drinkability, this beer would be terrific on a warm summer's night.

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

A - Huge pop and a little geyser on open. Pours murky like honey, stark white tight bubble head, good retention.

S - Acrid, sharp, lemony sour.

T - Some malt sweetness, overcome by lemon and bitter.

M - Very carbonated, fair coating, good balance.

D - I like it, I can do the bottle at least. :)

Photo of eat
4.17/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A bottle of bobsy's, already open when I showed up at ritzkiss' place. Thanks Rob!

Pours a cloudy light-honey colour with a decent covering of white head.

Smells like honey, spices, candy, citrus rind and musty yeast. Big, awesome smell.

Tastes of yeast, spices, sweetness and some funky mustiness. You can notice the alcohol but it blends well with everything.

Duvel-like feel. Lively carbonation and a slightly-sticky medium body. Very nice.

This is the first serious Saison I've had, I'm really into the style. I'd definitely look for this one again.

Photo of bobsy
3.87/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a rich orange with a large rocky white head. Nice retention and lace. Juicy nose, with marmalade (thanks Eric), all kinds of citrus, some grain, grass and a dash of pepper. Flavour is very fruity for a saison, and with only the mildest hint of funk, making it drink like a classic golden ale. Surprisingly sweet and juicy with perhaps too much residual sugar for the style, and lacking some of the complexities of the nose. The body and carbonation are both medium.

This is a nice beer, but a not a remarkable one. I expected better, but wouldn't mind drinking it again.

I believe this saison came from BBrianBoogie - thanks man.

Photo of ritzkiss
3.75/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

750ml corked and caged courtesy of bobsy - thanks for bringing this Rob!

Pours a golden orange which is a few shades darker than your average saison. Piles of head rush to the top of the glass and take their sweet time up there leaving a rocky meringue head and lots of lacing down the glass.

Nose is superbly fruity - loads of lemon meringue pie, orange marmalade, candied orange rind, a hint of sweetness and a touch of zest - would gladly smell this one for some time.

Taste is a little bit of a let down after the nose. The hefty malt base asserts itself more than I would want in a saison and gives it a sweetness that seems out of place. Still, lots of lemons, a light grassiness, a hint of peppery zing, a light dryness in the finish.

Just too sweet and thick when I look for more light and springy. Certainly not a bad beer and the nose is fantastic - just not in the elite for me.

Photo of Moonraker7
4.15/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle poured into a Hennepin glass.

A: Slightly cloudy with a fairly substantial head.

S: I don't smell a whole lot, mostly fruit.

T: Taste is very fruity, with little alcohol

M: Pretty heavily carbonated, but easy to drink

D: Would buy again, very nice Saison, but more fruity than most others I've had of this type.

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

750 ml bottle poured into a tulip glass.

A: Poured an mild amber with a big, foamy head. A lot cleaner than I expected. Not a lot of murkiness from the yeast. Almost looks filtered.

S: Big fruity scents. Lot of fleshy fruits like apricots. Mild yeast and floral esters. Almost no barnyard funk.

T: Tastes like it smells. Lots of fruit, like apricots, up front. Semi-dry all the way through. Alcohol is hidden well. Nice taste.

M: Smooth and silky. Goes down really easy.

D: Le Merle is "le merde" (in a good way). I could drink this one all day.

Photo of taylorhamrick
3.57/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had 12/29/09

Pale yellow color, with a huge soft head. The beer is slightly cloudy, but you can see the bubbles rushing through, and the bubbles at top burst, leaving giant caverns in the head. The smell is primarily strawberries, a little overripe, smells of grapeskins, really bready yeasty smells, a bit of herbal, spicy smells - clove, with a hint of lemon and acid. The taste is incredibly grainy, like slightly cooked grains, still a bit raw. The taste is very spicy, peppercorns and lemon, a bit of grassiness. There's a bit of yeasty tartness and bite, with a slight breadiness in the background. Reminds me a bit of a granny smith apple - there's a note of sweetness, but the tartness of the skin kind of dominates. It finishes very dry and fruity. The spiciness becomes a bit too harsh at points, but still nice. The body is quite light, and the carbonation adds to the airiness, and creates quite a bite. Finishes very dry, pushing the limits of dryness and lightness, but I found that as it warmed, it became a quite enjoyable beer.

Photo of rebel1771
4.24/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a nice golden wheat color with a fluffy white head that sticks around a while.

S: Sour, citrusy and yeast. Smells awesome.

T: Funky yeasty flavor right up front. Peppery flavors along with hints of apple and pear.

D: This was my first Saison and I have to say I liked it. Can wait to try a few different breweries.

Photo of theboozecruise
3.83/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 750 ml bottle into a Chimay goblet... hazy amber color to this one, nice finger of white head, great retention and lacing. Looks great.

Smells like a fantastic ale... floral, definitely some citrus in there too. Orange smells come out more on the aroma than anything else.

Taste is more of the same... some wild floral flavors, hints of citrus... seems like the dominant flavors have switched from the citrus to the floral characteristics. I like it, for sure, but could use some balance. Just seems to be missing something to make it great.

I'm not a big fan of the bitter taste left in the mouth... but it's still plenty drinkable. A definitely above-average ale, but not the best.

Photo of drpimento
4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pretty good brew. My standard is Dupont Saison and so while this beer is a nice attempt, it's a little too malty sweet. But, not bad. Poured with an excellent foamy, frothy, off white head and lots of lace. Aroma was very nice as well: malty, yeasty, and a hint of lemon. Body is very good, perhaps a touch malty heavy. Finish is nice with a malty, yeasty, lemony quality. Session beer? perhaps.

Le Merle from North Coast Brewing Co.
87 out of 100 based on 1,128 ratings.