Le Merle
North Coast Brewing Co.

Le MerleLe Merle
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Style:
Belgian Saison
Ranked #686
ABV:
7.9%
Score:
88
Ranked #10,846
Avg:
3.92 | pDev: 9.95%
Reviews:
537
Ratings:
1,406
From:
North Coast Brewing Co.
 
California, United States
Avail:
Rotating
Wants
  43
Gots
  178
SCORE
88
Very Good
Le MerleLe Merle
Notes:
View: Beers | Events
Reviews: 537 | Ratings: 1,406 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by detlefchef:
Photo of detlefchef
4.7/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Looks so, so pretty. Brilliant golden color with a delicate head that reforms with each swirl.

Deep, abundant pear and spice aromas and more pear on the palate with a vibrant heat on the finish. Somehow both lingering and clean, which makes this such a regal beer.

God I love this beer. Hands down my favorite foray into Belgian styled beers made by a brewery that doesn't specifically specialize in them.
Pairing: Herb-roasted quail with pear and caramelized onion

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More User Reviews:
Photo of Thorpe429
3.56/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle from Rick's in Alexandria, Served in a Mikasa tulip.

Pours a slightly-hazy golden color with a HUGE rocky white head. Retention is phenomenal. There's a thick sheet of lacing as it goes down. Really impressive-looking beer.

The nose starts off with some peppery phenols plus some herbal spice. Light pilsner malt behind that. Muted nose, but pretty nice. The flavor is heavy on the yeast, with just a touch of malt and hops as background. Pretty good amount of spice being carried through by heavy carbonation.

The body is light-medium. Dry and smooth through the finish with a bitterness level that is a bit above average for the style. No noticeable alcohol until the final portion of the finish.

Overall, pretty good. This has a nice yeast profile but gets the alcohol level a bit too high. I think taking this down to 6-6.5% would lead to a more crisp and drinkable beer.

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Photo of Lard_City
4.12/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

I always have trouble with analyzing saisons but this one is pretty simple. Very mild malt and hoppiness with a decent carbonation burn and a bit of sweetness. Very little aftertaste. Quite refreshing.

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Photo of The-Adjunct-Hippie
3.98/5  rDev +1.5%

Singles cooler, y'all.

Appearance (4.75) : Gigantic head about four fingers/five inches tall, very creamy, dense, and full of life. The body is ginger-honey-blonde color and is mostly transparent, I'd say about 10% or 20% opacity. Head stays and leaves generous lacing on the glass. North Coast seems to do their appearances right. Their caps always stay long and have such a good view to them.

Aroma (4.25) : Sheesh. It's almost like an Oktoberfest. Or a Wit. Or both. Wheat, orange peel, vanilla, cinnamon, spices, some faint maple syrup, some crisp lemon lime soda. Regardless the aroma is just fantastic. And it's loud, too.

Taste (3.75) : Complex is the word. And metamorphosis. Kids, learn your spelling words.

I will break it down as pertaining to different parts of the tongue because really, it is that complex.

1) Tip - Starts off tasting like an average wheat beer or american lager. A light blonde flavor with lots of pop.

2) Middle of the tongue - and as you move it to the middle, there's a slight sourness, trademark of a Flanders' style ale. There's some Bubble Tape going on there, too.

3) Back of tongue - ...and as it hits the back of the tongue towards the swallow, a heavy alcoholic paint-like taste comes in like a wrecking ball but thankfully leaves soon after you swallow.

The taste overall is something to be reckoned with. Goosebump-prone, even. It's not bad, per se, but man that alcohol kick really blows everything else away. As I said though, it disappears rather fast once it's down the hatch.

Mouthfeel (4) : Medium bodied, creamy, fluffy, ending crisp.

Overall (3.98) : I've only had two other Flanders' style ales, and this one takes the cake for character and flavor. I find it hard to believe it's only a 7.0% ABV, because that alcohol taste really kicks hard at the end. I am glad I picked up two, and not only one, but if I had picked up three, I may have regretted it. Okay in small doses.

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Photo of InsolublePancake
3.6/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A- Corked and caged bottle opens with a very loud pop, propelling the cork some distance. Pours a clear light amber with a very nice head that takes its time going down.

S- Quite cidery, with sweet and tart aromas of apples and pears. There's a touch of barnyard funk and a good dose of caramel malt as well.

T- Applesauce fruitiness upfront segues into a tart cider flavor backed by grainy malt. Hops add a pleasant earthiness and a good dose of bitterness on the end. The overall impression is of a tart, dry beer, but there is an underlying sweetness beneath it all.

M- Medium-bodied and slick with a rather low dose of carbonation.

Decent beer overall and fairly representative of the saison style. It lacks some complexity, but overall it's a pretty good beer. I might drink it again. Not a bad choice for fans of the style.

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Photo of Proteus93
3.93/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served on tap at Beer Run in Charlottesville, as per most of my draft selections!

A: A bright, somewhat 'glowing' yellow... quite vibrant, though a little hazy. White, fizzy head that forms fairly tight - but not enough to be creamy. It lingers all the way down, though.

S: A somewhat sweet lemon scent, a little bit like a witbier in that it is kinda 'breakfast cereal' like. There's a bit of a fruity yeastiness to it other than lemon... soft apple and pear peel, with a little alcohol pepperiness. Overall, the aroma is fairly mild.

T: Lemony, with some tart fruit notes accenting the lemon flavour quite nicely. A leafy bitterness, and a touch of spiciness.

M: The feel is a rather assertive 'sparkling' sensation. The bubbles feel finer, more like the shimmer of a champagne, which is quite nice. It gives it a delicate feel that is appreciated.

D: Big enough to be a slow sipper, and the feel is wonderful. Flavour and aroma come just a tad short for my palate, but it's a decent beer nonetheless. Happy to have tried it.

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Photo of mdaschaf
3.75/5  rDev -4.3%

Photo of dannymo24
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%

Photo of Ted_Infrared
3.75/5  rDev -4.3%

Photo of The_Woodling
4.18/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of NiceGuyMike
3.83/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

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Photo of bobsy
3.87/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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.

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Photo of cfinch2
4.5/5  rDev +14.8%

Photo of hackedfly
4/5  rDev +2%

Photo of Dan269605
4/5  rDev +2%

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.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.98/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A fitting beer for a late summer night. Kinda cool outside and sitting on the porch after a long day's work. Saison it is.

Le Merle begins with a serious pop with the cork. the beer shows very active carbonation and a billowing eggshell head that maintains constant replenishment because of the efforvesence. Golden to orange in color, the beer shows a modest haze, great retention, and ample lacing.

The whole gammot of fruits can be found in the nose: peaches, pears, apples, appricots, pineapples, under-rippened berries, mangos, papayas, orange zest, and lemons are all recognizable. Spicy pepper, corriander, curraco, and light plastics round out the phenols.

Flavors do much the same. Very fruity, spicy, and well, Belgiany. Lightly vineous, tart, and acidic taste amplify the zesty and vibrant fruits. It's easy to forget about the malts. These are very well attenuated and give a subtle cracker-like crisp grain flavor along with a confection sweetness that provide the daintiest of backdrops for the showcase of fruits and spices.

The body is quite light and crisp for its fruitiness, sweetness, and boldness. A moderate hop bitterness persists and has a problem ajoining to the beer properly. Very warm, nearly hot to the mouth with a sharp carbonic bite from the CO2 activity.

The spicy-fruity attributes of the beer are in the keeping of Saisons. Even the sweetness suggests so. Though there is little to complain about the beer, it is not wonderful as we expect from great Belgian varieties.

Edit: After the beer looses its carbonation a bit, the mouthfeel and aggressive textures fade nicely, leaving the fruity, spicy blend to work their magic.

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Photo of MisterClean
4.15/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Rep from North Coast saw a bunch of the Hop Heads (our local beer group) enjoying the Rubicon Hop Festival and dropped off some free promos. Included was a 750ml of Le Merle.

Pour was a very carbonated, slightly hazy, yellow with lots of legs. Smelled of citrus with clove and coriander spice. After the carbonation settle, the taste was extraordinary, with light notes of citrus and little bitterness from the spices. Barely felt the alcohol flavor and very drinkable. Note to self: Go to BevMo and buy a bottle.

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Photo of andyfrancis
3.91/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

bubbles on top of bubbles with more bubbles. Almost violently carbonated, with the head growing from the bottom as fast as it reduces on the top. Cloudy yellow pour, but it could be some chill haze, almost white head. Looks pretty great in a wine glass

Just getting some sourish yeast on the nose. This thick head may be acting as a bit of an aroma barrier. Aroma growing in complexity as it warms.

Bitter up front, quickly overwhelmed by cascades of spice and fruit esters. Yummy.

Crisp, fairly clean finish, faint lingering hints of the spice and fruit.

Could and will drink all 750ml easily, and will be feeling just fine afterwards. Alcohol is very well hidden.

Overall...pretty, pretty good. On par with any of the other american attempts at the belgian farmhouse style.

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Photo of Cramerican
3.75/5  rDev -4.3%

Photo of Smarty_Pints
3.75/5  rDev -4.3%

Photo of Jarrod_LC
4.27/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of MiScusi
3.78/5  rDev -3.6%
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.

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Photo of beerthulhu
4.13/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured a bright, hazy tangerine orange with a monstrous 3 finger off white head that was dense and foamy in nature. Retention was incredibly well lasting while the lacing was splotchy, foamy and random. Visible carbonation was moderate strong.

S: tart orange peels with a light yeasty funkiness and cobwebs that was fair in strength.

T: An acidic nature and tart oranges greets you upfront. Dough, sour oranges, lemon peels and a moderate funkiness stand out. There is some underlying sweetness to the palate as well. Some sour fruitiness of pears, apples, pineapple, and bananas are contributed by the yeast. A nice hoppiness of musty citrus with a musky cellar quality add to the overall depth and flavor. Tart, yeasty and practically everything you can ask of per style.

M: a medium carbonation with tart dry oranges that lingered long after the swallow. The body was light to medium in fullness.

D: Very good drinkability, with a nice tart yeasty character makes this a smooth and delightful drink by style and definitely worth checking out. Finishes as strong as it starts.

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

Le Merle from North Coast Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 88 out of 100 with 1406 ratings