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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

1,113 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,113
Reviews: 473
rAvg: 3.9
pDev: 10.26%
Wants: 31
Gots: 76 | FT: 4
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)
View: Beers (21) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,113 | Reviews: 473 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of theopholis
3.13/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

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.

Photo of badboyrsl84
3.15/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

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.

Photo of ithacabaron
3.18/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

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.

Photo of Jablonski
3.18/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

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

Photo of magictacosinus
3.18/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

Consumed on tap at Gather many eons ago. Poured into an enormous wine glass that somehow fit about 16-20oz of beer. Been wanting to try this for a while, but I feel that North Coast's Belgian-style offerings have never really impressed me too much overall.

Pours a slightly cloudy golden color with amber hues - with the enormous 3 fingers worth of frothy white head, this could easily be mistaken for a strong Belgian blonde ale or something similar. There's a little bit of build and thickness present, but it's a pretty unassuming beer overall, even within the ever-changing style at hand. Head retention is pretty low, and carbonation seems to die down rather rapidly as time goes on, leaves not much of anything unless aggressively swirled. Looks like many, many other Belgian-style beers I've seen before.

The aroma is a combination of slightly funky fruity esters from the yeast, as well as sweetness and mild bitterness from the malts and hops. Notes of banana, lemon peel, and pears immediately come in, followed by some light floral aromas (similar to violets) as well as pine, grass, and orange blossom. Some vanilla, as well sweetened toffee and caramel notes. Maybe sugar cane. I'm definitely looking into this more than I should, as far as saisons go, this is very, very toned down.

The flavor is near identical to the aroma, except for the fact that there's an ever more present note of banana no doubt from the yeast. I don't mind banana forward beers so much, but this definitely feels a bit one-note in the long run. Green apple, pear, and lemon peel make themselves noticeable. The sugar cane and vanilla notes are stronger here, and sort of overpower the delicate floral notes and perhaps barnyard or grassy flavors that this was attempting to go for. It's very mild, and the alcohol is stupidly hidden, which caught up to me in no time during consumption. Thick and creamy, and easy drinking, as any saison should be. Very mild, however.

If I'm going to go for a domestically made, affordable saison, I think I'd stick with Ommegang's Hennepin over this any day of the week. Simply put, this lacks the funky, rustic character than would classify anything as a saison in order to distinguish it from a strong Belgian blonde ale, which this far more resembles. Not that it's a bad thing - it's still a well made beer - it's just very mild and way too high in alcohol for it to merit practical consumption. North Coast definitely has better Belgian style offerings - this one at least could be a good introduction to someone starting to get into these types of beers.

Photo of PerArvidsson
3.2/5  rDev -17.9%

Photo of h0ppster
3.2/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Poured on tap

A - Very clear, bonde in color. Head is 2-3 fingers and clears up into an almost nonexistent lacy ring around the glass.

S - Strong fruit, light pepper, barn & funk. Alcohol comes through slightly but expected at 7.9%

T - very close to the smell - strong sweet fruit notes up front. Taste ends with a lingering sweetness and light peppery barnyard funk.

M - mouth feel is good overall.

Overall a tasty saison. A bit sweet, slightly out of style, but worth a try.

Photo of SmokinSmyth
3.23/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A "Belgian Style Farmhouse Ale", I drank with chips and dip before dinner. I'm not sure what technically makes a beer "Belgian Style", but at the first taste I was reminded of some of the beers I had during my last trip to Belgium. It was very good, with a cork top like a champagne bottle.

Photo of dagubna
3.24/5  rDev -16.9%

Photo of alex4sure23
3.25/5  rDev -16.7%

Photo of olradetbalder
3.25/5  rDev -16.7%

Photo of drone
3.25/5  rDev -16.7%

Photo of Treb0R
3.25/5  rDev -16.7%

Photo of jkurosaki
3.25/5  rDev -16.7%

Photo of zrab11
3.25/5  rDev -16.7%

Photo of Glenney67
3.25/5  rDev -16.7%

Photo of Zbeetleman
3.25/5  rDev -16.7%

Photo of kbrown
3.25/5  rDev -16.7%

Photo of Nunya
3.25/5  rDev -16.7%

Photo of Hack72
3.25/5  rDev -16.7%

Photo of pants678
3.25/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

My first North Coast brew and it's from the bottle into a make-shift chalice that's actually a large-type brandy glass. It's stark orange and is as cloudy as they come. It had a two finger head that retains decently.

Smells starkly of coriander and all things citrus. I can smell the alcohol coming through after a good spinning to get the head back. Very sharp aroma.

Hits the tongue just as sharp as it smells. Front heavy carbonation combines surprisingly well with malt and yeast giving off an intricate orange. What I expected from my first Saison. Not necessarily up my alley, it's good brew.The back reminds me of Duvel, a warm, not too sharp, cloudy mix of garlic and tart. The orange and coriander can be boring toward the middle, not particularly complex.

Again, very warming and has a solid balance of front and back. Does not come off as over carbonated.

Photo of BubbleBobble
3.25/5  rDev -16.7%

Photo of Onibubba
3.25/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazy straw yellow with a big, but ultimately short-lived, head. There is some hay in the smell, nothing too funky or spicey. Not bad. The taste is a bit "sharp." A good touch of bitterness too, botrderline IPA scale. Not what I want is a Saison. While seemingly smooth in body, this still drinks very high on the tongue. This improves after a great deal of warming, but the quaffability (love that word) is never at the leave a Saison should be. A bit hot too, surprising for its ABV. All in all, an admirable attempt, but not a beer I would come back to.

Photo of Evil_Pidde
3.25/5  rDev -16.7%

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
3.25/5  rDev -16.7%

Le Merle from North Coast Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 1,113 ratings.