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Le Merle - North Coast Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Le MerleLe Merle

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

1,149 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,149
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: 1,149 | Reviews: 480 | Display Reviews Only:
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
4.7/5  rDev +20.8%
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
3.56/5  rDev -8.5%
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
4.23/5  rDev +8.7%
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
3.62/5  rDev -6.9%
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
4.12/5  rDev +5.9%
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
3.91/5  rDev +0.5%
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.

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

750mL corked and caged bottle poured into a tulip. No bottled date.

(A)- Pours a clear goldenrod to pale yellow/orange color that produced a solid fluffy white head with good retention behind it.

(S)- A big dry hay and tart lemon aroma. Hints of clay and a cider-like finish.

(T)- Same as the smell. A dry hay/straw with a light tart lemon flavor. Finishes lightly sweet with bits of earth.

(M)- A huge bubbly carbonation level that dances all over your mouth with each sip. Crisp, tart, and dry.

(D)- A good Saison. Has a crisp and refreshing feel to it with some good flavors typical of the style. Not the best I have had, but it was still enjoyable and easy to consume except for the ridiculously high carbonation level.

Photo of OlRasputin989
4.42/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into Duvel tulip...

A: pours almost perfect into the tulip with the beer meeting the head right in the middle of the lettering. the beer itself is a rich and hazy straw golden color with a large head that fades slowly leaving soapy, sudsy lacing.

S: a very light aroma, though well balanced. i pick up yeasty notes of mango and pineapple along with lemon and pepper, most likely a characteristic of the hops used, with a noticeable malt background of butterscotch and honey.

T: very sweet and breadlike upfront. the tropical fruits become very noticeable again and blend well with the spicy, grassy, and bittering hops. finishes fruity with lots of white pepper and sourdough. a very complex and well balanced blend

M: medium full body that is frothy. becomes dry and astringent but still manages a clean finish. just a bit of alcoholic warmth adds more character to the drink.

Overall, another wonderful beer from North Coast. everything is well balanced and easy drinking, without sacrificing complexity. I will definitely buy this again.

Photo of OskarL
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 fluffy two finger head with decent retention that leaves some lacing.

Smells a lot of orange, lemon, malt, yeast and some spices.

Tastes of malt, yeast, spices, tropcial fruit, tart apple finishes with orangel zest.

Mouth feel is medium body with good carbonation, dry finish

Photo of MenloBeer
3.65/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a tulip glass.

A: Pours a hazy, golden green. Nice head with excellent carbonation throughout. Head simmers down but sticks around for the whole glass. Not a lot of lacing, though.

S: Lemon, spices, a touch of cloves. Grass is present, with a hint of vanilla. Some hops, but not overly so.

T: Spice and citrus notes, with a clean, dry finish. Touch of Brettanomyces is evident, and some light hop accents. Crisp.

M: A soft touch on the mouth, not overly oily. Carbonation makes the beer "dance" a bit.

D: Yes (but only in the summer)! This beer is nice, bright and crisp (see supra), a great summer sud. I don't think I'd like it if the weather were below 70 degrees, as it's too sharp a little sharp on the taste buds.

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

Bought the pint at BevMo. Has a yellow golden hue to it, cloudy and pale in color. Smell has notes of fruit and yeast, similar aroma to a common Belgian ale. Real nice, refreshing, drinkable with warm weather. Tastes a bit sweet with hints of Belgian yeast. A good beer from a great Brewing company.

Photo of avalon07
4.15/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had an orange color and a cloudy consistency. There was a quarter inch of foamy, fairly long-lasting head. Good lacing.

S: Nice, fruity smell, with traces of malt and yeast.

T: Tasted of malt, Belgian yeast, tropical fruits, and some spices. A nicely vibrant flavor. ABV% is barely noticable.

M: A highly carbonated beer with a super smooth finish. Light-bodied.

D: A highly drinkable saison.

Photo of puboflyons
3.97/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled at the Brattleboro, Vermont Brewers Festival on May 22, 2010. The pour is a hazy, cloudy yellow with about three inches of foamy head that takes a few minutes to settle down. Yeast and wheat are evident in the aroma so it smells like it should. The taste is also full of wheat and yeast notes. Not all that bad but some US-brewed Belgian style ales are better.

Photo of chaz01
3.53/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Tasting portion at a North Coast beer tasting event at a local grocery store. Poured into a champagne flute glass. The beer rep from North Coast indicated that the philosophy of the brewer was to make beers that closely resemble the style guidelines for that type of style (i.e., to make the perfect beer for that style), and that Le Merle was a fine example of that philosophy for the Saison type.

A: Cloudy, golden to light orange in color with a thick foamy head

S: Orange and fruity aroma with some tropical fruit aromas present

T: Somewhat yeasty with a fruity pineapple flavor. Bitter finish, tasting somewhat of orange peel

M: Medium bodied with OK carbonation levels.

D: Light, refreshing and a little bittersweet. A bit more hops that what I normally consider in a saison, but I think that adheres more to the original style. Would make a nice pairing with a fruit cocktail or some type of fruit salad.

Photo of trevorjn06
3.4/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a Unibroue tulip glass.
Pours with a lovely head, but this soon fades to a faint ring of foam around the glass.
The aroma is very mild malt, a bit metallic with a hint of fruit, in fact it smells a bit like a dry white wine.
As soon as it touches my lips I can tell it is quite carbonated. It is prickly on the tongue with a very mild malt flavor. Quite dry and the mild fruitiness comes through in the taste as well, perhaps peaches? It's not sweet at all, just fruity. There is a very subtle hop character that comes through a bit as the beer warms. On the finish there is the Saison tart/sourness but it's not quite as dominant as some examples. Overall this beer is a little thin feeling, there is not much substance to it.

It would be good chilled on a warm summer day but overall it just doesn't do it for me. Not that there are any bad flavors present, the ones that are there just don't come together in a very interesting or exciting way

Photo of biegaman
4.27/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Flinty clarity does not ensure a rugged looking beer. On the contrary, this sparkles a bright and sunny golden even despite the pressing haze. Although its bubbles climb into the high range of decibel levels, for all the noise these craftsmen make little is accomplished; any head that forms collapses like a house built of straw. No foam also means no lace.

Generous doses of pepper and lemon are grounded in farmhouse hay; if summer has a smell this is it. The bouquet is musty and zestful, exactly as a saison should be, with hints of tropical fruits. Yup, banana and papaya and traces of mango and guava. This reminds me more of a beach resort I visited in Cuba then it does the breweries I saw in Wallonia.

That taste of guava continues on and adds great depth to the otherwise typical notes of hay, cereal grains and straw. There is some subtle spices, white pepper and grains of paradise, but, oddly enough, their flavours are perceived without much zest or pungency (however, as the beer warms, they seem to as well).

If the label is to be believed, this beer (nearly 8%) would seem too strong to be quenching. But it's not! The dry, toasty malts, the tinkling savor of the yeast, the effervescent brush of the bubbles and the light herbal character of the hops all make this a well manicured and impeccably lush ale, a perfect candidate for a sunny afternoon snack.

As a rule, the best saisons come from Belgium. Naturally, there are exceptions to every rule. Still, this is suspiciously good - if it were a drawing I'd swear that the Americans traced it! Exception or not, I don't recall the last time I had a saison (Belgian or otherwise) that I enjoyed quite as much as this. This is "American Art" indeed, North Coast.

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

Pours a five+ finger thick, off-white head that takes forever to fade, leaving some lace. Hazy amber color. Good carbonation and medium bodied. Light peach nose. Flavor is sweet peach and yeast. Imagine that a sweet saison! $9.20 for a 750ml caged & corked bottle from Colonial Spirits Acton, Ma.

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

This took almost as long to pour as it did to get the cork out of this thing. The colour is a creamy peachy orange with three fingers of fluffy, meringue head that displays excellent retention and leaves spots of chunky lace behind.

The nose is quite vinous with notes of sour green grapes being quite prominent amongst the Belgian yeast, over-ripened pears, chewy biscuit, and light tropical fruits it stands with.

Sweet and delicate tropical fruits move to the middle of the palate as the tart green grapes move to the back, giving a slight puckering effect, all of which occur over a bready/Belgian yeast backbone. As the beer warms, the tart grapes and notes of sour apple make up and become stronger in the finish.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, very creamy, and sporting an excellent balance. The alcohol is nowhere to be found, making each pleasurable gulp go down easy.

This marks my first Saison and it has left me more than satisfied. Rich, flavourful, and very easy to drink, I think this one was definitely worth its higher price tag. I can't wait to try their Old Rasputin which I've got lined up next.

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.

Le Merle from North Coast Brewing Co.
87 out of 100 based on 1,149 ratings.