1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. 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

1,051 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,051
Reviews: 469
rAvg: 3.89
pDev: 10.28%
Wants: 31
Gots: 62 | 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:
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: 1,051 | Reviews: 469 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of target88
3.75/5  rDev -3.6%

target88, Jun 20, 2014
Photo of PatGreer
3.75/5  rDev -3.6%

PatGreer, Jul 04, 2013
Photo of wlynch
3.76/5  rDev -3.3%

wlynch, Monday at 05:11 PM
Photo of wesbrownyeah
3.78/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

North Coast Brewing Le Merle Farmhouse Ale 7.9% alcohol, poured into pint glass from corked and caged 750ml bottle.

A- Pours a hazed golden fluid that radiates in the light causing the inside of the glass to be slightly orange. Huge foamy white head rises as the beer is first poured taking a few minutes to settle into a nice half inch head that stays for the remainder of the brew.

S- Musky yeasty spice upfront remind me of a dusty cellar. Light scents of lemongrass and lemon rine are noted.

T-M- Fresh flavors of lemongrass, allspice, lemon rine, and dusty yeast upfront. Secondly I note s smooth sting of citrus hops underneath the musky yeast. Carbonation is bountiful with more than enough to tingle the tongue and slickly roll over the palete.

Overall a very drinkable and enjoyable beer in the aspects of a sunny day or just to quinch any thirst for a good user friendly Farmhouse that doesn't push to much funk... Cheers!

wesbrownyeah, Feb 09, 2012
Photo of augustgarage
3.78/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 750mL bottle into my Troubadour tulip glass.

Body is somewhere between amber and gamboge in shade, with a hefty dollop of ivory foam. Excellent head retention and Belgian-style lacing. Haze dissipates as the carbonation wears down.

Yeast (Brett?) with a fruity hop aroma which brings to mind fresh cut honeydew. Delicate, restrained, but pleasant.

The flavor on the other hand is quite potent. Tart and earthy with orange peel and lemon, grapefruit seeds (hops), yeasty astringency, and a little malt are well balanced, though the alcohol is maybe a touch excessive.

Alcohol ramps up the heat on the palate as well, which makes this a bit prickly on the gums given the high effervescence.

A fairly aggressive ale, hop-forward with a moderately high ABV, which makes this less refreshing than a Farmhouse/table brew...not my first choice for Summer.

Overall, an thoughtful domestic twist on a Flemish classic...

augustgarage, Jul 03, 2009
Photo of FrankWBurnsIII
3.78/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Last night I had a 375 mL bottle with salmon that had a honey mustard glaze and pecan crust. It was a terrific meal and pairing.

Prior to this I had only one other saison and didn't like it, but this one was significantly better.

In the glass, it displayed a heavily translucent, orange-yellow hue. The head was minimal and quickly departed.

This beer was not at all fragrant. I struggled to pick up on some peach or apricot eventually.

The taste was excellent with the peach and hops being more prevalent in the mouth than the nose. It had mild sweetness up front and the exit was mildly tart.

It was very smooth in the mouth. The carbonation was not strong, and I enjoyed that because it worked well with the taste.

Overall I would buy this saison again and it has encouraged me to explore the style further.

FrankWBurnsIII, Apr 04, 2011
Photo of dedrinker
3.78/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A hazy orange glow with a disappointingly thin white head. Aromas of oranges and lemon grass. Flavors of coriander, citrus, alcohol, and a fresh, doughy malt-like character hides beneath. Prickly carbonation, medium body, bitter-spiced finish. My bottle says 9% alcohol, not 7.9%

dedrinker, May 05, 2008
Photo of matylight
3.78/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: pours a lovely golden orange haze with a white fizzy cap that quickly settles down.
S: orange citrus, acid, alcohol, pleasent fruits, grassy...this beer is packin' 'em in. i'd love to see how these settle out with a little aging time.
T: this interpretation comes out a little tame. bright maltiness and relatively acidic but the alcohol seems to get in the way a little. i like it but it seems to lack a certain rustic farmhouse character that saison dupont has.
M: spot on for the style. spritzy and medium bodied with a small alcoholic finish
D: quaffable but i think i prefer the real deal. the higher strength tends to take a little away from it in my opinion. well worth a try though. cheers!

matylight, Sep 27, 2007
Photo of shivtim
3.78/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served up in a Le Merle Chalice with a silver bird on it. Nice hazy orange glow. Decent white head. Nose is sweet, fruity, and yeasty. Taste is true to style, with barny wild yeast and slight hops. Mouthfeel is good, and drinkability is nice considerng the almost 8% ABV. Good saison.

shivtim, Nov 14, 2007
Photo of ADZA
3.78/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This brew pours a hazy golden hue with decent carbonation that leaves behind a two finger head and little lacing,the smell is honey,alcohol,fruity bread and raisins soaked in honey,it has a medium bodied well carbonated dry mouthfeel and has tastes of fruity floral esters,bready malts,raisins soaked in honey and finished with a citrus hopppy dryness and overall nice but was expecting more cheers.

ADZA, Jun 02, 2011
Photo of joeack
3.78/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

joeack, Mar 30, 2008
Photo of homebrewhawk
3.78/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml corked bottle served in a Duvel tulip. Opens with quite a pop. Plenty of carbonation. Pours a hazy gold with a big white head. Spice and citrus in the aroma. Some noble hop aroma comes out as it warms. On the lighter side of medium bodied with a spritzy mouthfeel from all that carbonation. More spice and a little tart lemon in the flavor Very dry. There is a little funk in the finish (in a good way). Maybe a little past its prime, the flavors could have been a bit brighter.

homebrewhawk, Feb 08, 2009
Photo of MiScusi
3.8/5  rDev -2.3%
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.

MiScusi, Sep 08, 2008
Photo of silentdonkey
3.8/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a tulip glass.

A: Straw yellow, slight haze, with a fizzy white head that quickly dissolved.

S: Mild citrus and some peppery notes. A little hint of yeast. Not a whole lot going on here.

T: Very nice dry, crisp, and refreshing Saison. A slight spiciness/pepper from the yeast, mild malt flavors, and a bit of citrus (lemon & grapefruit).

M: Very carbonated. Has a nice crisp tinge. Perfect summer time beer.

O: A very solid Saison for the price. Not very complex, but its simplicity works.

silentdonkey, Oct 26, 2012
Photo of GarthDanielson
3.8/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass (all we had available at the time). The beer pours a cloudy copper-orange coloring, with some amber highlights in the deep parts. No head. The beer has smells that seem to bounce between a sour and a barleywine. There are some very sweet notes, almost citrusy, as well as some sour aromas. The beer has an initial flavor of light spice, grapes, and alcohol that blossoms into a wide tongue sour taste, with a malty backbone, that fills the mouth. The bold sour flavors carry through to the aftertaste. The beer remains light in mouth, despite the powerful flavors. The finish is sudden, and rather abrupt after the developing nature of the flavor. It quickly retreats, leaving the slightly sour aftertaste in mouth, begging for another sip. Surprisingly easy to drink, likely due to the flavors blending so well.

GarthDanielson, Jan 23, 2011
Photo of Naugled
3.8/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

750 ml bottle

A- Nice straw hazy beer with clean white head.

S- Tart zesty aroma with hints of lemon.

T- Citrusy and a bit salty with a tart bitter finish.

M- Thin bodied with crisp carbonation

D- Good saison but not my favorite for drinking. However, I find it is very good with food.

I would buy this again.

Naugled, Feb 12, 2009
Photo of markaberrant
3.8/5  rDev -2.3%
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.

markaberrant, Dec 14, 2008
Photo of musicman575
3.8/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Hazy straw color with a rather plain head. This doll didn't get made up before she went out to do her thang.

For a saison, it seems relatively unrefined. The smell is sweet and juicy but a bit like the beer has been left in the glass too long (though I just poured it). So fruity and mildly sweet - oranges, green grapes, pineapple, lychee. The booze is quit apparent. A bit more hops might cover that up. A tiny bitterness comes right at the end, but doesn't quite make a complete finish. I wish it were a bit more dry.

musicman575, Dec 02, 2011
Photo of Birchgrove77
3.8/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle pulled out to celebrate the first BBQ of the season.

Pours a beautiful orange hue with cloudiness increasing as the bottle gets drunk. Intial smell was quite inviting with a definite citrus aroma, but as the beer warmed the Pilsner malt came through with a bit of sour funkiness.

Initial taste was of some honey with a touch of clove followed by a great fresh orange character. I would say this was perfectly carbonated, but the beer seemed a tad heavy on the mouthfeel with a touch of alcohol. No real discernable hop character but I wasn't really expecting one with this beer. Some funkiness, but quite pleasant and helped round this beer out. Will definitely purchase again for the summer months.

Birchgrove77, Apr 26, 2009
Photo of tai4ji2x
3.8/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle with cork. no date found. poured into tulip.

clear, golden straw color. lots of fluffy iceberg head that doesn't fade easily - eventually settles into a thin, bumpy layer of foam. fizz seems to rise non-stop from the bottom of the glass. good lacing.

fruity, overripe peach and hint of pear. definite, but gentle, farmhouse funk, bordering on hints of sulfur, with trace of wet hay. hints of pepper and grassy hop and a phenolic end. bready yeast whiffs.

blast of fruit on the palate: very ripe apple, peach and pear, plus other estery complexities, melding with a balanced, white peppery, phenolic note. malt is slightly overpowered by all of this however, but nonetheless keeps a bready, yeasty note throughout. hops are simple and grassy/herbal, with moderate bitterness. fruit and peppery phenols do linger in the finish, with a hint of acidity.

fluffy and almost all smooth, but then some acidity and astringency, and then a slightly over-prickly carbonation.

can get very fruity and and more funky upon further warming.

something just a tad over-exuberant about it all, esp. the fruitiness that borders on overripe and somewhat unexpected level of funk.

tai4ji2x, Jan 29, 2009
Photo of SABERG
3.81/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a modified tulip glass.
A - Color of day lily, beautiful carbonation traces through a field of flower rests against a pillowing white head.
S - French saison yeast base? Modest nose, flowers from the day before, hints of tangerine, blood orange.
T - Aged lemongrass, tangerine skin, grain is tightly wrapped around the fruit esters.
M - Carbonation keeps this in step, body is on the thicker side, oils reside on the mouth for a sweet linger. Not offensive.
O - A fine offering, leans to the meaty side of fence. The beer pours beautifully, glows in the glass and with a slightly lighter body could be spectacular.

Cheers all

SABERG, Jul 01, 2014
Photo of biboergosum
3.83/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750ml solid, caged and corked bottle.

This beer pours a hazy medium straw colour, with a ton of thin, wispy, teeming white head, which leaves some chunky lace around the glass as it recedes. It smells of crisp peppery yeast, pale malt, and citrus. The taste is sweet wheaty malt, candy sugar, citrus rind, and a bit of yeast. The carbonation is quite even, the body light, a bit airy, but still, well, there. It finishes fairly dry, some new-found warming alcohol playing aside the latent citrus and yeast.

A nice, ramped up saison - all the grain, yeast, and fruit, with a slight elevated booze warming. What's not to love, especially from this summer-forlorn winter denizen?

biboergosum, Mar 04, 2011
Photo of tempest
3.83/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

While drinking this, all I could think about (in terms of reviewing) was how much this tastes like Pranqster. There's a big, spicy phenol note after a lighter barley note. The deeper herbal and earthy flavors are missing, like you might find in something from Fantome. The beer is also force carbonated, which makes the beer feel heavier. It's in line with tasty takes on the style from American brewers, but it can't quite stand up to Belgian saisons.

tempest, Jun 10, 2011
Photo of Frothboss
3.83/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep golden orange with no froth and light lacing. Smells like oranges and grapefruit. Tastes tangy with sour/bitters hanging on the back of my tongue. Mouthfeel is bubbly with smooth swallow. Good i would drink again, really like the grapefruit taste.

Frothboss, Feb 09, 2011
Photo of BerkeleyBeerMan
3.83/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Nice billowing egg white inch head leaves enormous lacing and has long retention. Unfiltered glowing sunny yellow.

S: Pear, orange, green grape, Belgian yeast, apple sauce. Slightly sour beer taste like its aged in woody oak barrels. Tempting fruity esters and finely concealed alcohol.

T: Pilsner hops, grainy taste. Citrusy lemon burst and vanilla. Chardonnay. Malted French bread and sour.

M: Light slightly juicy mouthfeel. Begins with a rush of light carbonated juicy fruit and then drops to a nice grassy pilsner bitterness. It slides smoothly down my tongue and quenches my thirst.

O: The funk flavors of many sour farm beers aren't as pronounced in this clean Saison.This will never be the best Saison in the world but it's a fine offering by an always above average brewery. It's very drinkable The price isn't bad either. I plan on picking this one up again in the summer.

BerkeleyBeerMan, Nov 29, 2011
Le Merle from North Coast Brewing Co.
87 out of 100 based on 1,051 ratings.