Le Merle | North Coast Brewing Co.

very good
517 Reviews
no score
Send samples
Le MerleLe Merle

Brewed by:
North Coast Brewing Co.
California, United States

Style: Saison / Farmhouse Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.90%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerBeing on 06-03-2007

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 517 | Ratings: 1,344
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!

 167 characters

Photo of Stoutmaster9
4.3/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 3.25 | 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 ...

 621 characters

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.

 379 characters

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.

 828 characters

Photo of Catracho5
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.

 600 characters

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.

 426 characters

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,

 300 characters

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.

 664 characters

Photo of Cthulhusquid
4.69/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Look : One finger white head, hazy orange body.

Smell : Tropical fruits, honey, straw, bubblegum, some spices.

Taste : Earth, straw, a note of cream, maybe a bit of pear, some bubblegum, spicieness, some citrus.

Feel : Medium carbonation and body, quite dry. Slight bitterness.

 281 characters

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

120z bottle into a tulip. no freshness dating that i could find.

slightly hazy dirty yellow body. generous white head, light carbonation. okay lacing.

faintly musty, sherbert and yeasty on the nose.

quite lively in the mouth, sweet and dry, with a nice yeasty finish.

mouth is foamy and full, with a slightly dry finish.

overall an enjoyable drink. nothing really jumps out, but a good solid tasty beer.

 412 characters

Photo of FLima
3.93/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I have been cellaring this for a while, so excited to open this big corked bottle.
Cork stomped loudly, which is a good sign. It poured an amber orange hazed color with a thick bright white head with great retention.
Nice aroma with notes of oranges, pineapple, Belgian yeast, bread with honey, onion and herbal piney hops.
Complex but also refreshing flavor with notes of oranges with soda and drops of Cointreau liqueur, pineapple, pears, herbal and citrus hops, Belgian yeast, nutmeg, a bit of cloves, white pepper, wood, dough, musk and mint. Dry aftertaste with a low to medium bitterness.
Medium body with good carbonation. Alcohol of 7.9% is well disguised.
Utterly pleasant Saison with above average complexity and bold citrus Simcoe, fruity and phenolic notes. Perfect balanced. Don’t drink this too young, this ages pretty well.

 840 characters

Photo of Jimlikesbeer
3.99/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured dark golden into a tulip glass with a full 1" head. A little bit cloudy. Some lacing. A sweet scent of floral notes. A crisp taste, with no bitterness. An excellent Farmhouse beer, perfect for a hot summer night.

 219 characters

Photo of jmd1978
3.63/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pale cloudy yellow Collin with nice 2 inch creamy head. Nose is bready with floral and fruity notes. Taste of apples, white grapes, and tangerine followed by notes of bready malts and hints pear. Very light finish. Saisons not usually my thing but this one definitely decent enough to try again.

 296 characters

Photo of Beginner2
3.98/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

I associate North Coast mostly with expertise in the British tradition whose stand-out feature is blending malts. Unlike the typical west coast brewery that uses hops as the main attraction, North Coast uses hops for balance.

So with their relative restraint of hops, I speculate, it is easier for North Coast to shift into the Belgian tradition... once they find the right yeast.

In Le Merle, they found the right yeast. It may be their best Belgian style ale. Try it.
More of an amber tone in the glass, the nose finds lots of tropical fruit from the yeast and hops synergy.
You will like the taste, also; full enough for substance and balanced enough to go with food.

Le Merle is listed in the "1001 Beers To Taste Before You Die" and it deserves it.
So it is, I speculate, with you.

 789 characters

Photo of joaopmgoncalves
4.23/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured to a Duvel glass.

A: The body is opaque orange-y to copper-y. Poured a two finger thick white head that soon became a very thin head with lots of retention and lacing.
S: I'm currently with a cold that unables me to feel the aroma in its wholr but I can feel the phenolic touch with a very proeminent profile of yeast and breadiness.
T: Sweet, Bready and yeasty. Actually, as I drink this beer it feels like a mariage between a wheat beer and a belgian strong pale ale. Which actually explains the opaqueness in the appearance.
M:The mouthfeel is very soft eith an awesom crescendo of bitterness to a mild level. High carbonation, high body. Great.
O: Second North Coast beer. As a saison, I look at this with a mix of wheat beet and BSPA. It explains the variations on a BSPA base. It's really interesting.

 815 characters

Photo of MarkQ617
4.27/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Had this poured into a pint glass. Color was a translucent yellow-orange with a significant amount of fluffy foam head. The aroma and flavor were both sweet but not overly so. I dont know that Ive ever seen such a variety of flavors in reading the reviews on here for this beer, but I got pineapple, yeast, banana, and guava. Mouthfeel was damn good for a saison, very refreshing. Maybe a little underrated on here in my opinion.

 429 characters

Photo of gandres
3.21/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Tap to glass @ North Coast Brewing tap room@ Fort Bragg,CA
Appearance : Pale straw light yellow, cloudy, hazy, big white head disappears quickly, lacing
Aroma: yeast, aroma is like wheat beer
Taste: lightly sour,
Palate: long bitter finish, average carbonation
Overall: good beer, not to repeat, not to look for
Drank: April 13, 2016

 336 characters

Photo of Brutaltruth
3.93/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed form the growler via Jungle Jim's in Fairfield. This nice saison pours a cloudy golden orange with a moderate head of white foam that subsides to a thick ring, thin layer, and nice lacing. Nose of moderate citrus notes, light grassy notes, pears, and subtle yeasty goodness. Flavors exceed the nose with light sweet candy malts on the front and sides mingling with lime peel, lemon grass, pears, and crackers on the middle and back touched by lemon zest and subtle herb notes of coriander. Nice mouth feel, lightly carbonated, and a nice dry finish makes for an excellent saison that is crush-able and solid for the style. First time having this in a growler and a welcome experience indeed.


 712 characters

Photo of flyingpig
3.87/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

355ml Bottle from Brewdog's DogHouse BottleDog, Glasgow (£5.10):
I really enjoyed this, mainly as it didn't seem like as strong a saison since the usual funk & tart flavours were considerably subdued with more emphasis on sweet & tropical fruit flavours. The balance was good though with nice bitterness & I felt the beer would be an introduction to the style; great stuff & one that went down a lot better than I thought it would.

 432 characters

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

Deep orange, amberish hue. Two finger head dwindling down but retaining foam throughout. Very, very light lace, if any. Right out of the gate the tropical fruits hit your nose. Pineapple, guava, honeydew, papaya. Subtle spice.

Again tropical fruit is quite prominent in the taste. Along with the aforementioned fruits come hints of coconut, citrus peel, banana. Coriander, peppercorn and rye. A little bit of cracker and bread. Some farmhouse funk, straw, must, nutty and floral subtleties.

Finishes out quite juicy but semi-dry. Lots of depth and character in this one, but I'd have preferred a little more spice. A different take on the style and an excellent offering, but just misses on that particularity of the farmhouse style.

 737 characters

Photo of Fatehunter
3.75/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours a finger of head on a clear golden body with lots of bubbles.
The aroma is earthy, yeast, lemon, grapefruit and a little pineapple.
The taste is mild bitter with some fruit sweetness, and some dirt flavor.
The texture is soft and fizzy.
Really enjoyable.

 260 characters

Photo of schenectady
2.73/5  rDev -30.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

L- HUGE white head that slowly dissipated to a thin head on top. Murky haziness. Dark yellow/orange color.

S- Very sweet with pronounced pineapple, mango, candied fruit.

T- Pretty dry. Banana flavor sticks out. No real funk. Dry finish.

F- Leaves a dry bitter coating. Light carbonation that diminishes as you drink it.

O- Not the typical saison that I'm used to.

 371 characters

Photo of Icedog
4.76/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pouring the biggest head I've ever seen on a beer surprises me up front: then the odor blew me away. It's not what your mom would recommend. It has a real blond bier kind of odor with a twist of hops that verifies why it seems to sour at the first sniff. That mustiness lingers yet doesn't leave me fearing the after-taste at all. The general feel satisfies because you don't need to fight it down and it's not a true bitter bier. Loved the buzz; keep it coming to Texas...

 477 characters

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

LOOKS: Amber orange. Poured into snifter, leaves about an inch of soapy off white head that dissipates quickly to a thin layer on top of the beer. Beer is opaque with very tiny bubbles streaming up. Very slight lacing left down the glass.
AROMA: This is my first Saison and it's not what I was expecting, at least for aroma. I'm getting slightly tart fruit, like mango and papaya. Floral notes, bready, yeasty aroma, candied fruit. Not a lot of funk!
TASTE: Some bitterness, mildly astringent. Bready and yeasty. Very mild as far as sweetness. Dried, lighter fruits. Slightly tart, more of a bitterness, really.
MOUTHFEEL: The carbonation is definitely in the forefront, but not obnoxious. Very dry beer throughout the whole sip.
OVERALL: For my first Saison, I really enjoyed trying this style. I have a feeling this is mild compared to others but I would try this again. Pretty tasty.

 886 characters

Photo of WellRested518
3.79/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

L- A burnt yellow-gold with excellent clarity. Two fingers of head fade to a half-finger crown with brilliant lace. Lookin' gewddd.

S- Dusty cellar, wet hay, prickly pear, guava, grape must, pineapple, & canned peaches. Classic flavors of banana & clove are also abundant, but overshadowed by the tropical sweetness. Still very good.

T/M/O- The sweetness really kicks in here with notes of pear & grape juice, but oddly all of the citrus & old-world flare has been lost. It seems to almost get a trippel feel to it, as it becomes a bit cloying. Lacking depth, the carb becomes less & less effervescent. Eventually all is lost in what made a good beer superb... begging for a volley of nuance from the old-world.
This beer is good, but I'll be dammed if it couldn't be great. I understand that they wanted to create a clean, new-world saison, but if they had bottled with the slightest amount of Brett they could've kept some charm & cleaned up the residual sweetness.

Ps- I really dig this beer, but I see at as more of a trippel in this light.
Pps- I'm soooo going to blend this with some funky-peach Berliner-Weisse that I've got in the fridge.

 1,151 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Le Merle from North Coast Brewing Co.
3.92 out of 5 based on 1,344 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.