Le Merle - North Coast Brewing Co.
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Ratings: 1,025 | Reviews: 466 | Display Reviews Only:
3/5 rDev -22.9%
How cool… to have a beer named after you. Of course, only if the beer is good. But this beer promises to have some hints of fruit in there. Fruits and spice that is.
The first thing I notice is how big the bottle is. I like it that some of these beers have big bottles. A big bottle, since we are splitting the beers amongst us, provides a full pint a piece. That’s more beer to enjoy, and more time to enjoy the fruits of our labor.
This beer looks like a wheat in the glass… perhaps a thicker, more robust Blue Moon. But smells nothing like a Blue Moon. It has a spicy nose, but a certain sweetness that is some of those fruit notes I keep reading about. The head is quite frothy too, which is unusual for lighter beers. (Yes, I did a proper pour.)
At first you are hit with some subtle carnation, but then you are just covered with utter sweetness. The beer explodes on the back of the palate and settles into a smooth, sweet aftertaste that quickly turns almost warm… those spices that I could smell a few minutes ago. The aftertaste lasts for a LONG time too. It just sits there, making you want to enjoy that rather than another drink. A big bottle could last someone a long time if planned accordingly.
The beer has a pretty high ABV too, nearly reaching 8%. So taking your time with a big bottle might be your best bet. The beer is good… not great, but very good. However I fear a beer like this won’t be very memorable. Taste is too complex to really explain, and since it’s such a new brew not sure I would even remember what it’s called unless staring at the bottle.
06-11-2011 21:27:38 | More by rickyleepotts
3/5 rDev -22.9%
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
3/5 rDev -22.9%
A - A hazy golden honey body with a generous amount of white foam. Very pretty. No lacing.
S - Sour Granny Smith apples, lemons, white grapes, earthy yeast, soapy hops, spicy Belgian yeast.
T - Green apples, tart cherries, lemon, pears, faint banana. The acidic fruit showcases a bold sweet pale malt. Heavy wheat towards the finish. Finishes with slightly sweet mineral citrus flavors then turns pretty dry right at the very end with lots of wheat.
M - Uber champagne carbonation fills the whole mouth with foamy bubbles on every drink. It basically robs half of the potential flavors. It's almost hard to swallow.
Get ready to belch...alot! This is a fruit filled Saison that I wish wasn't bombarded with fizzy carbonation, because it had so much potential. The carbonation really hurts the flavors and the overall enjoyment of drinking this beer.
03-31-2011 01:21:46 | More by StaveHooks
3.03/5 rDev -22.1%
A: Hard core carbonation. Fizzy snow white head is dominating the glass, allowing only a small dingy egg yolk colored body to form.
S: Loads of barnyard and wet blanket. Fair amount of floral pollen, daisies, clover honey and bread sticks. Overall, fairly fresh aroma.
T: Starts mildly tangy with notes of old lemon juice and bland pineapples. Spicy with stale seasonings you can tell they are there but dont pack much of a punch. Dry hay and some rounded yellow fruits and fresh grass clippings are the next batch of flavors to cross the palate. Finishes really bitter, all across the back sides of the tongue. More bitter than suits the style and adds off kilt balance of the other flavors.
M: Medium body, bit crisp in the mouthfeel.
D: Not really digging this one. Not a lot of balance which I prefer in my brews. This one is a bit flagrant and all over the place.
11-15-2007 04:17:11 | More by Westsidethreat
3.08/5 rDev -20.8%
Live reviewed from the BrickStore in Atlanta.
Served up in an eponymously gold-leaved goblet. Barkeep had to pull in almost a dozen stages to control the massive, merengue head. Body is slightly hazy and wit-ish. Head fell fast but never disappeared.
Smell is much sweeter than expected for a saison, more like a BSPA. Sweet malts, though the yeast is more true to the style.
Taste is dry and farmy at first, but then is immediately overpowered by a copper-ey note that simply reminds me too much of blood. What malts can be found are clean and quality. Last notes on the lips are back to BSPA.
Mouthfeel is downright creamy and light.
Drinkability is hindered by the metallic tones which are so hard to take. Served with some nice, spicy or meaty food, it eases down well enough.
11-21-2007 01:40:03 | More by ojiikun
3.13/5 rDev -19.5%
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.
03-06-2010 00:26:36 | More by theopholis
3.15/5 rDev -19%
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.
03-23-2010 03:23:29 | More by badboyrsl84
3.18/5 rDev -18.3%
Note: This review is as the beer stands "without lees." I did find, later on, adding the lees did help round out the beer. Still, the numbers stand.
Le Merle, the blackbird, pours -- no, leaps -- into the glass. Crystal clear liquid, the color of fire, is rippled by thousands of little bubbles. Up on top, a blowsy, thick mousse of paper white foam gathers on top. The bubbles keep coming and coming. Gorgeous.
Aroma is classic saison; all yeast, no hops. Good lashes of leather and musky papaya rise up from the glass. The esters are bold and in your face, if not as bright as they could be. Still, right on the money; this is like saison concentrate.
On the sip, strong fermentation esters jump out onto the palate; those esters, so promising on the nose, gush over into slight unpleasantness, like overly ripe, rotting fruit. There is a sour note in the back as well; a hint of vinegar and turpentine. Heavy. No hop flavor, no bitterness. In your face, to say the least; halfway through the glass, I can already feel a little headache coming on.
Mouthfeel is thick. Carbonation is there, but it doesn't fight the esters.
A grand misfire. Would I rather have people making this than some half-assed seltzer being passed off as Saison? (Looking at you, Sam Adams.) Yes. On the other hand, Saison is meant to be bright, refreshing, and rejuvenating. I'm glad I tried it (and my thanks to nrrd for the bottle), but one glass of this is more than enough.
Keep on reaching for the stars, North Coast. I mean it.
08-07-2011 01:50:11 | More by ithacabaron
3.18/5 rDev -18.3%
A: pours a cloudy yellow-orange with some sediment on the sides; the head is large and long lasting; minimal lacing on the glass
S: appears a bit subdued; mostly sour apple and a bit of spice
T: initially sweet with a banana flavor followed by a drier bitter aftertaste; I can sense a slight funky flavor to the beer, but it does not come out strong
M: good thickness, carbonation too strong
D: easy to drink; nothing too bad about the beer, but nothing special
05-25-2009 17:07:17 | More by Jablonski
Le Merle from North Coast Brewing Co.
87 out of 100 based on 1,025 ratings.