1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Le Merle - North Coast Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Le MerleLe Merle

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

1,014 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,014
Reviews: 465
rAvg: 3.9
pDev: 10.26%
Wants: 29
Gots: 59 | 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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 1,014 | Reviews: 465 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Onslow


3.43/5  rDev -12.1%

Network Difficulties - Please Standby ... Pours a slight hazy golden orange .. light fluffy head, lacing a bit low for a saison ... funked up honey smell ... light and tangy, some nice bitterness, lower sweetness ... in an umbrella: is a well made American saison that is enjoyable and goes down smooth with lots of refreshing qualities! ... drank while enjoying a blank screen then the Dynamo in the CONCACAF semi's 2008!!!

04-03-2008 03:09:49 | More by Onslow
Photo of BeerZack

North Carolina

3.95/5  rDev +1.3%

Pours a cloudy dirty orange color with big bubbly head that sticks.

Spicy grassy hops, lemon zest, bready malts, hay and a slight sour funkiness all come out in the nose.

Crisp carbonation keeps it light and effervescent. Good bit of acidity.

Sweet bread and hay flavors balanced by the aggressive carbonation (which immediately foams in the mouth) and a good dose of lemony acidity. Somewhat dry bitter finish.

This is no little knock-off Saison, this is the real deal with nice acidity and even a mild funk. Would like to see how this ages.

04-03-2008 01:09:28 | More by BeerZack
Photo of joeack

New York

3.78/5  rDev -3.1%

Poured a golden straw with two inch fluffy head. The smell was quite tame with not a lot of the hay, wet straw smell normally associated with a Saison. Taste was fruity and musky and the drinkabilty was good. Wouldn't seek this one out but it was good to try and compare with all the other Saisons out there

03-30-2008 20:23:32 | More by joeack
Photo of Bighuge


4.13/5  rDev +5.9%

Bright lemon yellow body. Voracious carbonation from the looks of it. There's a big pillowy dove white head that acquiesces to a rocky terrain as it dissipates. Really good aroma of belgian yeastiness, doughy maltiness and spice. The flavor doesn't disappoint either. Honeyed malt flavors lay a base. Tropical fruit nuances dance around (peaches, mango and papaya). Hops give an herbal presence to the beer. The mouthfeel is not as charged up as the appearance seemed to indicate. Oh, it's got some scouring power were you to pair this with say a crispy duck in red coconut curry sauce. But it's not gaseous or bloating. Body is light to light-medium. All in all, this is pretty damn enjoyable.

03-22-2008 03:55:45 | More by Bighuge
Photo of bark


3.83/5  rDev -1.8%

The colour is orange-yellow; the liquid is a bit hazy. There is almost no head at all.

The smell is yeasty and sweet with some metallic bitterness. It is well balanced.

The taste is mild and fruity. I noticed hay and dough. There are some mild bitter flavours. The aftertaste is fruity with notes of dough and grass.

The carbonation is strong, the bubbles medium to large. The liquid is mid-smooth.

An interesting interpretation of the saison style. Perhaps it is a little too "clean".

03-17-2008 21:28:24 | More by bark
Photo of Gmann

New York

3.93/5  rDev +0.8%

Poured out of a 750ml corked and caged bottle; review based on second half of the bottle with the yeast poured. Pours a cloudy (almost milky) golden color (first half of the bottle was fairly clear). The smell is on the faint side but is true to the BPA and Saison style; light floral sweetness and some yeast funk. The taste is light and not overly complex, more Belgian Pale Ale. There is a light candi sugar sweetness and a light Belgian spice profile. The beer stays true to the tart side of saisons but doesn't quite deliver the spice or funk of top notch saisons. However the brew does not taste bad, at all. The feel is moderate with very active carbonation, finishes very well balance. This is quite the drinkable brew, very light in the feel, the alcohol is well hidden and it tastes like a good BPA. A very good representation from an Amercian brewer.

03-16-2008 04:16:11 | More by Gmann
Photo of baggio


3.98/5  rDev +2.1%

Bottle shared with fellow BA Bark at Oliver Twist, Stockholm

A: Yellow and very unclear. Some thin lace on top.

S: Orange, yeast, tropical fruits.

T: Hay, Orange, Coriander, Pepper, Peach, Wheat.

M: Lots of carbonation in this one. It has a fresh feel to it and feels very belgian.

D: Easy drink. Could have this all night long.

Had this beer in between imperial stouts and dipa's and it was very refreshing. This is good beer. Go try!

03-15-2008 10:42:11 | More by baggio
Photo of dill


3.75/5  rDev -3.8%

served on tap in a North Coast snifter.

A: highly carbonated, deep gold in color with a thin, white head.

S: very earthy aromas with a bit of maltiness.

T: citrus flavors with a bit of spice. a bit sweet with a bitter finish.

M: crisp with a medium, tight carbonation.

D: I enjoyed this one slowly and wasn't eager to go back to it. I really like the tanginess and appreciate that it's not too strong, but it's not my favorite in this style.

03-12-2008 23:19:31 | More by dill
Photo of Billolick

New York

4.22/5  rDev +8.2%

Large bottle, caged and corked, no freshness nor bottling info offered. Pours light apricot amber, semi cloudy and initially shooting up a HUGE eggshell head, it slowly becomes a puffy and long lasting meringue. Leaving gobs of thick sheeting and ringed lace. Plenty of micro bubbles continuing to rise. Nice looking glass of beer. Nose is multifaceted with whiffs of soap, perfume and light pepper. Love the style and this is a worthy take on it. More perfume, plenty of pepper, spiced tropical fruit such as bananas, melon, mango. Moderate, subtle drying hops late. Complex, interesting beer. Well worth a try.

03-01-2008 20:59:36 | More by Billolick
Photo of scruffwhor


3.95/5  rDev +1.3%

Pours a great hazey hay colored sunshine. Hnts of pale orange mix and dazzle the eyes. Agood head greet right after the pour, but eventually recedes to nothing. The aroma is a spicey mix dry fruits ad vibrant minerals. Very good recreation of a Belgian classic. The first sip is a very spicey fruit. Hnts f cinan and nutmeg. The middle and finish is little dryer. The finish is reminiscat of dry English water mixed with chammomile. The palte is smooth, yet dry and fruity. Dried fruits and unsweetened. Great rendition of a hard to mimic Belgian classic.

02-27-2008 05:17:45 | More by scruffwhor
Photo of Bubba83


3.85/5  rDev -1.3%

Picked up the 750ml corked bottle from BevMo in Sunnyvale, CA.

Appearance - Poured slowly into a snifter at 50 degrees. An excellent golden hue with yellow highlights towards the outside of the glass and a nice orangey hue through the middle. A good deal of head sits on top (2 finger length) from even just a slow pour. The head is pure bright white, and the bubbles are on the smaller side for a Saison. Tiny bubbles emanate from the bottom of the glass throughout the session and lacing is great.

Smell - Smells of funky horse with a black pepper burn. Faint highlights of tropical fruits and red apple at the tail end of the whiff. Definite pineapple here once the pepper subsides.

Taste - Lemon and Faint tropical fruit notes arrive first with an excellent flavor, but I wish they would last longer. Quickly the black pepper and coriander take over, making for a predominantly spicy flavor that ends earthy. Pineapple comes through a bit better as it warms. Overall flavor reminds me of Pranqster, no surprise here.

Mouthfeel - As with all of the other offerings from North Coast, the mouthfeel is superb. I almost gave it a 5. Nice and vibrant on the tongue, almost to the point of dancing, yet isn't annoying to swallow. As you refill your glass with more the bubbles in the head get smaller and you are treated to a bit of a creamyness that is in great balance with the carbonation. The density is also well done, it's light and refreshing without being watery, has some oilyness there to keep it feeling slick.

Drinkability - It's pretty good. I could definitely see myself having the whole wine bottle size by myself after working on the farm. Perhaps a little heavier than some saisons but just as refreshing. Surprisingly quaffable for being so spicy.

Give this a try but don't expect it to be much different from Pranqster.

02-26-2008 08:43:48 | More by Bubba83
Photo of IntriqKen


3.93/5  rDev +0.8%

Pours out a cloudy pale lemon colored liquid with a soft, pillowing snow white head that stays around forever making lots of sticky lace as you drink.

Aromas are sort of a funky, farmhouse, bready yeast with some sweet malts. I know this will sound strange but there is something 'warm' about the aromas.

Taste is very lightly sweet amber malt with a touch of lemon and then some of that funky, bready yeast and light peppery spices to finish with.

Aftertaste is slightly spicy and 'spritzy' with a nice tingle continuing on and on.

Mouthfeel is tingly and creamy from all of the carbonation. Unlike many reviews of this beer, I did not find it overly thin for the style.

02-26-2008 02:51:15 | More by IntriqKen
Photo of BeerBelcher


3/5  rDev -23.1%

I was a bit underwhelmed by this beer. For some reason I expected the makers of Old Rasputin, Old Stock Ale, and Red Seal to be able to make a little better Saison than this. Nonetheless, it wasn't bad.

It poured a pale, opaque yellow which reminded me of lemonade. Aroma was light, sweet, citrus-y and effervescent. In fact, this beer reminded me a great deal of Sprite or Sierra Mist. It wasn't bad, but it didn't really scratch my beer itch; it just seemed a bit insubstantial and almost in flavor like a shandy or a radler. Mouthfeel was very light and active.

Not bad, but I can't say I'll be having this again. I got this bottle at Discount Liquor in Milwaukee, and split it with Surly Sober.

02-17-2008 01:55:48 | More by BeerBelcher
Photo of Dukeofearl


3.65/5  rDev -6.4%

750 ml bottle from La Bodega in Riverside, CA. for $7.99 in January 2008. My wife and I have enjoyed this one many times, but I just realized that I have never reviewed it.

Pours a slightly hazy golden yellow, with a moderately fluffy head. "Middle of the Road", as Chrissy Hinds once sang. But more to the point, that's not necessarily a bad thing....

Aroma of a mild yard funk, not strong in the style. However, that actually means an increased drinkability. Flavor of a nice malt balanced by a yeasty organic, slightly barnyard funk. But the main flavor is a gentle lemony fruitiness. Generally lighter and more accessible than the better known versions of the style.

As mentioned above, this one has been seen in the house before, so it has something good going for it. Generally a very drinkable, nice version of the style. Not "out there" in something new, something wild, something weird, but overall, a good drinker.

02-12-2008 01:23:16 | More by Dukeofearl
Photo of dfillius


3.68/5  rDev -5.6%

Enjoyed in a wine glass.
A: 1/2 finger of immaculate white head quickly fizzles away to a thin sheen. Hazy gold color, looks like pineapple juice. Quite pretty! The fizzy head was the only negative.
S: Fruit and lactic creaminess. Barley malt syrup, apple cider. Last bit from the bottle with lots of yeast smells a lot like tropical fruit! Like a pineapple malt.
T: Pear cider. With dregs of yeast, this beer is MUCH better and fruitier. I would recommend swirling the yeast into this one.
M: Too fizzy and sharp with carbonation. Like a big mouth full of foam. With the yeast it is much smoother, but it had been sitting a while when I had that drink too.
D: One bottle between 3 people would be perfect. It was a little harder between two.

02-11-2008 22:33:42 | More by dfillius
Photo of kennyo

New York

3.83/5  rDev -1.8%

Bottle purchased from New Beer, NYC, NY

Poured with a big soapy head, pours like a good belgium, cloudy, hazy, copper penny color, lace throughout the entire glass.

Some malt, citrus (lemon), Very carbonated. Malty, clean up front, very carbonated, very refreshing.

I thought Saisons were supposed to have some funk to them, which this doesn't.

Nice drinking beer for the style

02-10-2008 20:24:30 | More by kennyo
Photo of Halcyondays


3.68/5  rDev -5.6%

On-tap at the Beachwood BBQ in Seal Beach, CA,

A: Pours a cloudy yellow, with a firm nice head, with good retention and really good lacing.

S: Really faint, some light maltiness and spices though.

T: Main flavour is a bit of an acidic lemon, with white pepper, maybe some coriander spiciness, bready malt and earthy hops throughout. Similar to Dupont, but the acidity is more upfront and overt, while the spiciness is more mild.

M: Crisp and refreshing, acidic, slightly medicinal.

D: A pretty good American saison, nose could use a little work, but overall, pretty good, $6 for a glass at Beachwood.

02-06-2008 00:46:28 | More by Halcyondays
Photo of bruachan

District of Columbia

4.03/5  rDev +3.3%

nice looking label. what appears to be an arty rendition of a bird adorns the front

the beer is super foamy. i didn't get very far into my pour before i had to abort. as it descends i see evidence that lacing will be good and sticky. the liquid is gold with amber whispers

a highly hopped aroma presents itself in the form of bold lemon notes and some typically noble spiciness. the yeast's own spice penetrates, as well. all in all the bouquet is large and features the hops and yeast most noticeably. peach?

it's a yeasty tasting beverage, as well. spicy. a complex malt-based (but yeast influenced) caramel element. sweet, bitter and with a strong noble hop flavor. a little chunky for a saison, but i suppose i'll forgive (it's hard for a homebrewer to criticize deviation from style guidelines). certainly dinkable

01-29-2008 01:58:27 | More by bruachan
Photo of irishevans


3.73/5  rDev -4.4%

pours a yellowish hazey amber with a film of a head that is pretty damn close to white, and a nose that seems to hint toward corriander and maybe banana peel, a coarse nose if you catch my drift. taste that corriander for sure and that banana taste is there as well, just not as noticeable. pretty consistant all the way through, the mouth-feel is coarse but not abrasive and smooths as it goes toward the finish. drinks okay, but usually this style and my bowels don't agree(as well as doubles and triples) so I would say not a good downer but not everyone has the G.I. problems that I do, so you may feel different and I wouldn't disagree, so that being said; as far as a saison goes it's pretty good.

01-17-2008 05:15:44 | More by irishevans
Photo of AKBelgianBeast


4/5  rDev +2.6%

La merle pours a peachy hazy yellow with good head, but it dissipates quick. ok lace. The nose is very wheaty, and some spice is there. Taste has alot of wheat, and has alot of spice as well. Some banana on the finish. Now notice more spice through the middle, good spice and good flavor. Mouthfeel is good for a saison. Drinkability is very high and refreshing. I could see this being very good on a hot summer day. way to go north coast.

01-17-2008 04:59:55 | More by AKBelgianBeast
Photo of Freshie


3.5/5  rDev -10.3%

This is one of those styles I am not crazy about. But, I can recognize when I see a good one.

The appearance is golden and cloudy. Foamy white head. Many bubbles rise to the surface.

The smell is fragrant. Fruit, earthy yeast.

The taste is sour, like a cider. Sweet and crisp fruit flavor. Aftertaste is bitter, and yeasty.

This is to be expected in this style but is still not my cup of tea.

01-17-2008 04:39:43 | More by Freshie
Photo of nickfl


4.5/5  rDev +15.4%

A - A thunderous pop as the cork comes out of the bottle indicates vigorous carbonation. The beer pours hazy and golden with a finger and a half of loose, white foam that leaves behind moderate lace as it settles.

S - Sweet citrus and musky funk. Notes of lemon and orange as well as a bit of coriander and pepper.

T - Very yeasty up front, with a hint of vanilla. Lots of clove, banana, pineapple and pepper. Herbal hops and oranges come in up top. The finish is more yeast and hops with a lingering warmth and citrus pith bite.

M - Full bodied with high carbonation and a reasonably dry finish.

D - This is pretty easy to drink despite being big and flavorful. I have noticed that many North Coast beers have more flavor than aroma and Le Merle follows that trend as well. The nose is pleasant enough, but it fails to fully reflect the depth of the flavor. Overall this is an excellent saison and a wonderful example of the style.

01-12-2008 02:48:36 | More by nickfl
Photo of MisterClean


4.2/5  rDev +7.7%

Rep from North Coast saw a bunch of the Hop Heads (our local beer group) enjoying the Rubicon Hop Festival and dropped off some free promos. Included was a 750ml of Le Merle.

Pour was a very carbonated, slightly hazy, yellow with lots of legs. Smelled of citrus with clove and coriander spice. After the carbonation settle, the taste was extraordinary, with light notes of citrus and little bitterness from the spices. Barely felt the alcohol flavor and very drinkable. Note to self: Go to BevMo and buy a bottle.

01-11-2008 02:18:17 | More by MisterClean
Photo of jbsteiny


3.55/5  rDev -9%

Brought a 750mL back East from BevMo in SF to enjoy with friends. A bit disappointing due to my high expectations -- i love saison and North Coast, so maybe I built myself up too much.

Cloudy orange-gold with a sizable head that recedes to a thin foam and oddly leaves little lacing. Faint aromas -- fruit (white peach, tangerine); biscuity malt, a bit of the funky yeast -- but even when warmed, this never attains appropriate Belgian funkyness for me.

Tastes okay, the coriander and fruit come out with a solid pale malt backbone, but again, I find this lackluster. Dry finish, and eminiently sippable at 8%, but I prefer other examples of the style that are more affordable and better distributed.

01-07-2008 00:08:48 | More by jbsteiny
Photo of RblWthACoz


4.1/5  rDev +5.1%

A great funky nose and a flavor to match! What a spot on example of the style from an American producer. If saison is your thing, then this is definitely one to try. Great level of smooth carbonation to it Too bad this hasn’t shown up in Brooklyn yet (from what I have seen).

01-01-2008 06:20:45 | More by RblWthACoz
Le Merle from North Coast Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 1,014 ratings.