Le Merle
North Coast Brewing Co.

Le MerleLe Merle
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Belgian Saison
Ranked #688
Ranked #10,759
3.92 | pDev: 9.95%
North Coast Brewing Co.
California, United States
Very Good
Le MerleLe Merle
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Reviews: 537 | Ratings: 1,405
Photo of Darkmagus82
4.32/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from corked 25 oz bottle into a chalice glass
Appearance – The beer pours a golden color with a one finger head of white foam. The head has a decent level of retention, fading over time to leave a moderate sum of ring lace on the sides of the glass.
Smell – The aroma big of a light fruit smell with lots of apricot, peach, and pear along with a very yeasty smell and a big showing of coriander and clove. Along with these aromas comes some light pepper smells and a little bit of a sour green apple smell. With a touch of grass and hay rounding out the aroma, one is met with a very inviting farmhouse smell overall.
Taste – The taste begins with a cracker malt taste that has plenty of the light fruits that were detected in the nose. While light upfront, the spice quickly kick it into gear and rapidly meet the tongue with a rather strong showing of coriander and clove. All the while some yeasty tastes and a decent hit of grass and hay also greet the taste buds. There is only a little bit of sourness upfront, but the green apple taste as well as some funk develop as the taste advances. The funk and sour remain on the lighter side however and with some of the cracker flavors transforming into a slightly more doughy nature, one is left with a smooth and robust, but lighter funked farmhouse taste to linger on the tongue.
Mouthfeel – The body of the brew is on the slightly thinner to average side in terms of thickness and creaminess with a carbonation level that is slightly higher. For the mix of light funk, fruit, hay, spice, and yeast the feel was fantastic and made with a very easy sipper.
Overall – This was a very nice rendition of a farmhouse brew. Sweet, but in a sorta subtle way. Sour, but not overwhelming. Yeasty and spiced, but all melded so with the rest of the flavors. With some funk and grass to round it all out. Very enjoyable and definitely up there (if not one of the top) in the saison category for me!!!

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Photo of JayDubTrub
3.98/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Great example of the style, with some subtle twists. It's a saison with hints of fruit and belgian yeasty flavors, on the dry end. I might like a little more carbonation for mouthfeel but this is a great example of style. I'm getting flavors like grapefruit zest and 565 style yeast, none of the bubblegum flavors that might come from other saison strains. I actually think this is a great beer for winter with its high abv and complexity - enjoyed a couple bottles with crab for NYE...

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Photo of damndirtyape
4.03/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, no date, served in a Duvel tulip glass.

Appearance: Clear golden yellow with a persistent white head. Some strands and islands of lacing noted.

Smell: Musty, grassy, lemon.

Taste: Leafy herbal hops, lemon, pilsner-like malt, a bit peppery, lightly bitter, but sharp, leafy hop finish.

Mouthfeel: Good thickness, sticky on the teeth, prickly carbonation, dry finish.

Overall / Drinkability: Hits the style pretty well. Refreshing, easily drinkable, a great looking beer, and I think this would be a real treat in the summer.

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Photo of iguanodon
3.8/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

[Original rating 2016-01-17] Clear gold with medium white head. Aroma of spice, yeast, butterscotch. Taste is bitter hops, pepper, stone fruit. Good saison but not great. Very similar to Boulevard Tank 7.

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Photo of antonyliu
3.8/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a tulip glass…


Poured a dull golden color, not much head and no retention from my bottle.

peppery yeast, spice, wheaty, honey, peach, hints of sourness

fruity, spice, coriander, a little citrus rind; the 7.9% feels high for this as the alcohol is masked well in the flavors

very, very fizzy and bright; medium-bodied but feels light/drinkable because it doesn’t leave much lingering behind


Overall nice and drinkable for the style. Character opens up over course of drinking and defrosting. It’s a sweet, spice, fruit, and slightly sour crisp drink. I don’t know that I’d get this again though. If I’m in the mood for this “flavor”, I might opt for a neighboring Gose style and go for a Modern Times Fruitlands. Purchased12oz bottle for for $1.99 in Southern California.

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Photo of lastmango
3.75/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Clear golden pour with appliance white head that has a bit of soapy look. Aroma of fruity yeast with orange, pears, grass and earthy funk. Taste follows the nose in a blend leaving it with less complexity. Moderate body and light carbonation.

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Photo of puck1225
4.16/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had it on tap served in a snifter. Golden orangish yellow with a good head and nice lacing. A fruity sweet smell. Carried to the taste but with a bit of earthy sourness and hint of vanilla. A beer I would get again.

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Photo of michiganmatt
3.72/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

L: a hazy golden orange with a small amount of white head. average amount of visible carbonation bubbles rising up the beer.
S: strong notes of Belgian yeast, breadiness, and light sour fruits, with some hints of Belgian spice as well
T: tastes a bit different than the smell. It seems like all of the flavors from the aroma have been subdued and then melded together. The result is a fairly generic bready Belgian taste with a moderate level of complexity. It's not bad, just a bit of a letdown considering this beer's fairly high rating.
F: Medium-bodied, below average quantity of average-intensity carbonation. About at the middle of the crispcreamy spectrum.
O: Overall, an okay saison, but there are definitely multiple others that I would prefer over this one.

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Photo of Suds
3.84/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

This brew, from a bottle, is a very hazy, cloudy straw-colored beer. The head is soapy and white. The aroma is fresh and full of juicy citrus scents....Wonderful yeasty, spicy scents. Wonderful balance in the flavor, with a Belgian spice note and plenty of fruit flavors. Earthy and tasty.

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Photo of jazzyjeff13
3.76/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A 12oz bottle with no visible BB date. Acquired ages ago from the Brewdog webshop.

A: Poured into a Duvel tulip. Bottle conditioned. A deep, hazy orange-amber hue with fine floating sediment and good carbonation. Produces a large head of creamy white foam that lasts for a minute or two before subsiding to a patchy surface layer.

S: Aroma of fruity Belgian yeast with hints of spice, subtle apples/pears, earthiness, light grain, mild caramel and a vague leafiness. A touch of funk and more than a whiff of booze in the background. Fairly balanced - decent.

T: Tastes of fruity farmhouse yeast with notes of esters, spice, mild apple/pear, earthiness, subtle funk, leafiness, light grain, a hint of caramel and stewed husks. A slightly hot alcoholic note lurks in the background, followed by a subdued bitterness upon swallowing.

M: Mouthfeel is smooth, tingly and dry, with spritzy carbonation and good body. Well-judged texture. Aftertaste of fruity Belgian yeast esters, spice, earthiness, faint grain and a mild leafiness.

O: A decent farmhouse ale that has lasted well - I'm not sure how old it is but I've certainly had it for a while. Looks OK; shame about the head retention. Aroma and flavour are decidedly yeasty and a tad boozy but well balanced. Nice body - rounded and understated. A good example of the style; worth sampling.

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Photo of Czequershuus
4.05/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer pours a bright gold with a medium head. The aroma features lemon peel, clove, black pepper, dust, bubblegum, underripe apricot, green apple, and bubblegum. The flavor is starts with bright lemon and orange peel, as well as dried apricot, then widens out to baked banana, bubblegum, an brown sugar, finishing with a note of bubblegum. The mouthfeel is fairly full with bright sudsy carbonation and a lingering stickiness. Overall this is an excellent American made saison - rich and yet bright and refreshing, it hits the marks nicely.

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Photo of arizcards
3.94/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Picked up a bomber from Safeway in South Lake Tahoe, CA Wednesday for $6.99. Packaged on 07/07/2017

Beer poured golden with a nice white head with the initial pour.

Nose is apples and pears with an ever so slight barnyard funk.

Taste is apples and pears, light horse blanket, some excess sugar in the finish.

Feel is light to medium bodied and very light across the palate.

Overall a pretty good representation of the style. It needs a drier finish as opposed to a sweet one.

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Photo of josanguapo
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From Zombier. In Goose Island glass. Playing Outland. The funk notes are here but kept to a minimum, making it similar to a belgian blonde. The pear, apple and spicy notes dominate

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Photo of Red5StandingBy
3.85/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from 12oz short bottle into Belgian Style Tulip. Bottled on February 17th 2017.

L: Slightly hazy gold, half finger white head has poor retention.

S: Belgian yeast, some sweet fruit, apple, banana, with a spicy clove. Bready.

T: Light fruit notes pair nicely with the Belgian bready yeast hints. Some faint clove.

F: Light, Belgian carbonation, and semi-dry.

O: This is your standard Saison. Nothing special but made very well.

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Photo of Lone_Freighter
3.86/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

This was poured into a tulip. The appearance was a burnt orange color with a one finger white foamy head that quickly dissipated leaving some super light lacing all over the place. The smell started off with some sweet apples, pears, peaches, sweet bread all blend together nicely with some Belgian spices. The taste was moderately sweet through the previously mentioned flavors and underscored with the Belgian spices to balance. The aftertaste was there, kinda sticky yet dry with the fruitiness being the base of it. There’s a quick dry finish. On the palate, this one sat about a light to medium on the body with a decent sessionable feel to it. Carbonation runs good for the style and for me. Overall, its a good saison. I could see myself coming back to it when necessary.

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Photo of Blackop555
3.94/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours light hazy, gold. Foamy, medium, white head lasts shortly.

Smells fruit, side, yeasty, citrus and light grassiness.

Tastes pear, apple, spice, yeast funk and some light malt. Followed by a light citrus and Orange sweetness. Finish is semi dry with a yeasty and Orange peel linger. Medium body and creamy lower medium carbonation.

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Photo of Act25
4.15/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

North Coast never set me wrong so far. Top Saison.

A) Active carbonation sports a pillowy eggshell head that maintains a steady film over a modestly hazed orange to gold body. Dotty lace.

S) Lots of orchard: peaches, pears, apples,, pineapples, orange zest, and lemons tempered and dried by spicy pepper and spice cabinet, including the cedar wood.

T) Big. Follows smell. Very fruity, spicy, wine-like, tart, acidic taste enhance the zesty, abundant fruits. All of this cloaked in yeast and grassy backdrop and on top of sweet crackery male base. Lovely complexity, ample flavor, a favorite.

F) Light and crisp for its wine-like fruitiness. Like wine it's warming but unlike wine it's scrubbing and peppery. Lovely.

O It's a spicy-fruity Belgian classic as good as imported.

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Photo of Bluerabbitbell
4.02/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From tap at NCBC in Fort Bragg. Another style I'm not very familiar with. Pours a nice cloudy yellow. Very lacey. Tasty is fruity, almost like juicy fruit gum ! Ha ha!

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Photo of Stoutmaster9
4.36/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Rather light golden, with loud popping bubbles, carb activity a glory to behold, with a three and a half finger foamy head of tiny bubbles, besides the "chunky monkey" effect, which I am not squeamish about, this brew looks the part, of it's Belgian style.

Sent of willowy yeast, with a hint of blessed Bananas, Lemon. Other fruits, to be sure ...

Deceptively light and crisp, willowy and sour, giving way to the serene, swirling chaos of a Belgian yeast (experience).

Fantastic! The lingering, well-hidden strength is dreamy, and a delight to sip on a sunlit porch, while the birds are singing, the sun setting ...

(Upgraded the Look, many months later, enjoyed on a foggy morning, to the sensual sound of local Crows ... )

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Photo of drmeto
3.93/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

-pours a hazy golden with a big,foamy,white head
-medium carbonation visible
-honey,lemon,white bread,peach,apricot,pear,faint tartness
-honey,sugar,lemon,white bread,spicy,herbal
-medium to high,lingering bitterniss
-medium to high carbonation
-light to medium body
-alcohol noticeable
Fits more into the Range of the Hoppy Belgian Strong Ales.
Very good overall.

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Photo of TheSixthRing
3.98/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Appearance - Pours hazy and rustic orange in color with a white, two-finger width head. Good retention, then dissipates to a thin, consistent layer of suds. A few spots here and there make up the lacing.

Smell - Smells like your classic saison - light fruitiness (mild lemon, green banana, apple), spice and funk.

Taste - Follows the nose. Spicy, funky, lightly fruity. A hint of hay. Finish lingers with mild lemon brightness and a bit of spice.

Mouthfeel - Medium-bodied with bitey carbonation. Slick, smooth texture. Very very drinker with a crisp, semi-dry finish.

Overall - A straight-up classic example of a saison here. All the basic flavors are present and they're expertly balanced. I'm not much of a saison guy, thus this will probably be my first and last purchase, but much respect to such a well executed brew.

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Photo of Brolo75
4.04/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into a tulip

A: Pours a hazy, dull orange with a bright white full frothy head, great head retention, lots of carbonation.

A: Belgian yeast notes pepper, clove, spice, must, barnyard aroma, slight grainy malt, slight lemon peel, doesn't pop with aroma.

T: Follows the nose but the pepper and spice are more noticeable, pepper, clove, spice, aftertaste is dry with citrus/grain aftertaste, pepper reemerges at the end, solid saison.

M: Highly carbonated, gives it a full bodied feel, dry finish.

O: Another well made beer from North Coast, nice balance of flavors, very enjoyable.

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Photo of detgfrsh
3.94/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From an undated 750ml bottle. Pours a cloudy straw color with two fingers of fluffy white head. Smell is mostly yeast with a touch of sourness. Airy feel with lots of carbonation. Tastes of earth and straw with some spiced sharpness, a bit of tropical fruit, and a warm finish. It's an interesting beer and there's plenty of depth in the flavor profile. Not very fruity compared to other saisons, this one is much more earthy.

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Photo of stevoj
3.69/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Nice mellow saison from North Coast. Poured into a Duvel tulip and watched the carbonation center on the low point and trickle slowly but steadily up in a column. Small creamy head, on rich golden body. Aroma is musty, floral yeast, taste adds some butter, and spice. All around well executed saison,

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Photo of cavedave
3.94/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A finger of white foam is quick to retreat to cap and ring atop a lightly cloudy bronze color beer.

Light/med. aroma, rounded tart is first to hit, with some lighter and sharper sour notes, with light peppery spice and a nondescript fruity element rounding it out.

Wow kind of a reverse of the aroma. The spicy/peppery notes are prominent and are backed by just the right amount of fruity notes and tart to make an excellent balance. Tasty for sure.

Medium viscosity, low/med. carb., decent finish, clean linger.

Nice saison that is hitting the spot. Not complex, nothing earth shattering, just a solid well made beer, like all of North Coast's offerings.

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Le Merle from North Coast Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 88 out of 100 with 1405 ratings