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Le Merle - North Coast Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Le MerleLe Merle

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

1,020 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,020
Reviews: 465
rAvg: 3.89
pDev: 10.28%
Wants: 29
Gots: 60 | 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
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Ratings: 1,020 | Reviews: 465 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of homebrewhawk


3.78/5  rDev -2.8%

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.

02-08-2009 17:13:49 | More by homebrewhawk
Photo of MiScusi


3.8/5  rDev -2.3%

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.

09-08-2008 03:38:30 | More by MiScusi
Photo of silentdonkey


3.8/5  rDev -2.3%

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.

10-26-2012 22:20:19 | More by silentdonkey
Photo of GarthDanielson

North Carolina

3.8/5  rDev -2.3%

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.

01-23-2011 23:00:24 | More by GarthDanielson
Photo of Naugled

New York

3.8/5  rDev -2.3%

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.

02-12-2009 01:01:18 | More by Naugled
Photo of markaberrant

Saskatchewan (Canada)

3.8/5  rDev -2.3%

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.

12-14-2008 03:05:23 | More by markaberrant
Photo of musicman575


3.8/5  rDev -2.3%

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.

12-02-2011 04:41:29 | More by musicman575
Photo of Birchgrove77


3.8/5  rDev -2.3%

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.

04-26-2009 02:33:09 | More by Birchgrove77
Photo of tai4ji2x


3.8/5  rDev -2.3%

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.

01-29-2009 22:27:23 | More by tai4ji2x
Photo of SABERG


3.81/5  rDev -2.1%

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

07-01-2014 20:29:59 | More by SABERG
Photo of biboergosum

Alberta (Canada)

3.83/5  rDev -1.5%

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?

03-04-2011 04:57:43 | More by biboergosum
Photo of tempest


3.83/5  rDev -1.5%

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.

06-10-2011 03:19:30 | More by tempest
Photo of Frothboss


3.83/5  rDev -1.5%

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.

02-09-2011 21:36:26 | More by Frothboss
Photo of BerkeleyBeerMan


3.83/5  rDev -1.5%

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.

11-29-2011 08:39:37 | More by BerkeleyBeerMan
Photo of bark


3.83/5  rDev -1.5%

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 theboozecruise


3.83/5  rDev -1.5%

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.

01-02-2010 02:28:46 | More by theboozecruise
Photo of ccrida


3.83/5  rDev -1.5%

750 ml bottle poured into my Lost Abbey goblet, Le Merle is a clear, bright, dark gold with a large, fluffy white head that is slow to subside and leaves foamy chunks of lace.

Smell is fruity farmhouse esters, dry and mineral laden pithiness, spot on, really very nice.

Taste is also drier, pretty simple, grainy with some tropical fruit and spicy hops on the dusty finish. Good, but there is something about it in both the taste and smell that remind me of a macro lager, pils or corn or something, maybe just sugar. Overall, it's a little underwhelming.

Mouthfeel is dry and spritzy, with a medium light body that is just slightly cloying.

Drinkability is pretty good, a nice little saison, authentic and true to style, but there's no wow factor, and it's ultimately forgettable.

09-21-2008 20:51:02 | More by ccrida
Photo of kennyo

New York

3.83/5  rDev -1.5%

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 brouwer


3.83/5  rDev -1.5%

I picked this out with a selection of beers at GB Russo and Sons in Grand Rapids, MI.

I was underwhelmed by the smell which is weak. The appearance was good with cloudy carmel color.

Taste is mild to moderate bitter with overtones of fruit.

I appreciate the hops which are moderate.

Appropriate carbonation with a good head.

Overall good but not great.

05-21-2011 22:58:01 | More by brouwer
Photo of khiasmus

South Carolina

3.83/5  rDev -1.5%

A cloudy, drizzling day in what is normally a bright meadow. Marigolds are glistening through the fog, making the whole scene look yellow-gold hazy. There seems to be a layer of cloud directly at the top of the line of sight, and if I walk to the edge of the precipice I can look down and see billowy, pillow-like foam. Some thin clouds appear to be sticking to the walls of the gorge, but not going anywhere soon. I brought a knapsack, let's see what I have for lunch?
I open it and immediately can smell the white pepper, it must have spilled in my bag... "Ah yes, there are my clove cigarettes, I think i'll light one up..." I can smell the bread, white pepper, and something else... "Ugh, I must have left that bottle of apple juice in here last week... smells a bit sour, almost like a brett beer I had once..."
I heave to and begin eating my lunch, drizzling some honey on the white bread I brought, topping with some swiss cheese and white pepper, finishing off with a swig of vodka from my flask. "Good thing I brought an IPA with me to, these hops balance all of this quite nicely."
The beer has the mouthfeel of a thick champagne... the carbonation so high it feels like swallowing a cotton ball, a full body, a dry finish from the hops...

Oh. I suppose I was just imagining. Well, imagine with me and you'll have a glimpse of what this beer is like...

01-18-2009 16:38:15 | More by khiasmus
Photo of dino213aa


3.83/5  rDev -1.5%

A: Beautiful light golden color with mild haze. Head pours loose and frothy and leaves plentiful uneven head. Head dissipates slowly.

S: The first thing I noticed was white grape. Also notes of sour apple and salt.

T&M: Starts off with light fruity notes of cherry and lemon. flavor gets progressively sour as expected for a saison. Finishes slightly bitter.

D: Overall this is a very easy drinking saison with a rewarding blend of looks, aroma and taste. I've had this sitting in my fridge for a while and was putting off reviewing it. However it as surpassed my expectations. Worthwhile.

02-05-2009 23:03:27 | More by dino213aa
Photo of bobsy

Ontario (Canada)

3.83/5  rDev -1.5%

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.

02-04-2010 16:37:01 | More by bobsy
Photo of cjgator3


3.85/5  rDev -1%

Corked and caged 750ml bottle poured into a large tulip glass. Pours a pale yellowish orange color with a large off-white head. The aroma is malt, tropical fruit, citrus and spices. The taste is citrusy fruits with yeast and spices dancing around the tongue with a dry finish. Overall, this is a pretty solid attempt at making a Belgian style saison. There are many saisons made in Belgium that are far superior, but Le Merle is one of the better ones produced in the US. Recommended.

12-21-2007 05:05:17 | More by cjgator3
Photo of NiceGuyMike

New Jersey

3.85/5  rDev -1%

This beer poured golden clear with loads of streaming bubbles.
A huge pillowy white head heavy lacing keeps you occupied as you prepare yourself for tasting.

Smells of fruity Belgian yeasts with a touch of sourness that hints what you're in store for.

You're initially hit with a curious twang. The twang reveals itself as a basic sourness. Some bitterness follows up the rear (it is an American interpretation so bitterness is a must). Good Belgian fruity back flavor is always nice and curiously abundant.

This ale is silky smooth and creamy. This is such an excellent quality compared to the bitter sourness.

The 750ml kicked me in the ass. Much stronger than I would expect from a 7.9 abv brew. It is an interesting and I think I'll have to try it again in a few months. The sourness is a bit disconcerting, but overall I liked it.

06-06-2009 21:33:37 | More by NiceGuyMike
Photo of Sigmund


3.85/5  rDev -1%

750 ml corked cottled, as North Coast Le Merle Saison (Belgian Style Farmhouse Ale), courtesy of Cardinal Pub & Bar, Stavanger. ABV is 7.9%. Slightly hazy golden colour, huge white head. Sweetish aroma of syrup, farmhouse yeast and rotting fruits / stale berries. High level of carbonation in the mouth. The flavour is better than the aroma, medium sweet and moderately spicy, decent hops in the finish. Quite nice to drink, should also go well with many foods.

03-07-2011 00:48:35 | More by Sigmund
Le Merle from North Coast Brewing Co.
87 out of 100 based on 1,020 ratings.