Le Merle | North Coast Brewing Co.

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Le MerleLe Merle
Very Good
1,386 Ratings
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

Bros Score:
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Ratings: 1,386 |  Reviews: 529
Photo of FreshmanPour77
2/5  rDev -48.7%

Photo of BeccaH
2/5  rDev -48.7%

Photo of fullmoonbeer
2/5  rDev -48.7%

Photo of s4s
2/5  rDev -48.7%

Photo of MIrvine
2.03/5  rDev -47.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Photo of chrisroarshack
2.29/5  rDev -41.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Photo of Reaper16
2.4/5  rDev -38.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2.5

375mL bottle served into a tulip glass

Pours a... bright orange color? What the fuck is this? I've never, ever seen a Saison this color. This is a Saison, right? Very fine bubbles make for 3/4 of a finger in head size. If this were a "blind" tasting, and you told me it was a saison, I would say "get out of here."

It doesn't smell like a Saison, either. Lots of lush fruits: guava, clementine, persimmon. Some earthy hop aromas. The yeast is giving off none of the usual phenolic or funky aromas that Saisons usually employ. Instead the nose is dominated by this abundance of fruit. It smells juicy.

Ugh. This is not a good Saison. It actually tastes pretty good, but I can't call it a Saison. It is so, so, so fruit-forward. Guava and persimmon for days, brash and bright. You know when red wine is sometimes described as "overextracted" (meaning that the grapes were extracted too much)? That's what this beer tastes like. It's like drinking the syrup from canned fruit. A dash -- only a dash! -- of clove coming from the yeast provides some other note, at least. I mean, hey, I like canned fruit syrup as much as the next guy. But not in my favorite style of beer.

It's pretty easy to guess what I have to say about the mouthfeel, right? If it tastes big and juicy, then the mouthfeel is likely going to be sweet and wet. Saisons are prized for their dry mouthfeel. Someone should have told that to North Coast. You could place my tongue in a sieve and out would come pure Capri Sun. This beer is like making out with a sheep dog in the rain.

Again, this kind of tastes interesting enough. But it meets almost zero of the qualifications of a good Saison.

 1,665 characters

Photo of sjrodriguez
2.5/5  rDev -35.9%

Photo of beernads
2.5/5  rDev -35.9%

Photo of jophish17
2.5/5  rDev -35.9%

Photo of spikechiquet
2.5/5  rDev -35.9%

Photo of oneguynamedjosh
2.59/5  rDev -33.6%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Photo of kojevergas
2.7/5  rDev -30.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

375ml brown glass bottle with hood and wire cap over a cork served into an EKU 28 stem-snifter in me gaff in Castle Rock, Colorado. Reviewed live. Expectations are high given the brewery. Acquired at Lukas Liquor in Lone Tree, Colorado.

Served straight from the fridge and allowed to warm slightly over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

Not paired with food.

Yields a satisfying cork pop upon opening. No upsurging issues or anything.

A: Pours a two finger white colour head - a bit too thin - of slight cream, decent thickness, and good retention for the high ABV. Decent lacing. Body colour is a nontransparent translucent pale copper. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show. Not quite on par for the style, but generally inviting.

Sm: Light funkiness, pale malts, some dull lemon zest, and fairly stale citrus ester hops. An average strength aroma. Surprisingly, no yeast is detectable. No alcohol is detectable either.

T: Lemon and citrus zest in a dull and somewhat stale sense. Pale malts. Hints of funk. No real yeast character. No alcohol comes through. It's too simple; there's little to say about it. Lacks complexity and subtlety. Not particularly balance either. Meh. It leaves a lot to be desired. Lacks the subtle peppery character present in every quality saison I've had.

Mf: Smooth and wet, with some tingly coarseness from the crystal malt. Decent carbonation. Okay palate presence. Doesn't feel custom-tailored to the flavours, but it works in general sense.

Dr: Drinkable but unremarkable. I wouldn't bother with this again. There are far better beers in the style. Not recommended. Hides its ABV well, but that's one of the few things it has going for it. A severe disappointment from North Coast.


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Photo of schenectady
2.73/5  rDev -30%
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 thefluker
2.75/5  rDev -29.5%

Photo of tastymug
2.75/5  rDev -29.5%

Photo of alex_hart
2.75/5  rDev -29.5%

Photo of BaileysBrew
2.83/5  rDev -27.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2.5

750 ml corked bottle

Uncorked the bottle and there was almost no pressure behind the cork. This made sense upon pouring, as there almost no carbonation. Odd for this style?

Appearance was golden with orange hues with a faint haze. Absolutely no head, even right after the pour.

Smell was grapefruit and orange with hints of yeast. No pepper or spice detected.

This beer was a bit disappointing to drink, mostly because it was very flat. That colors my review quite a bit. But it tasted a bit like a hard apple cider with just a touch of sparkle. There were some yeast notes and a little tangerine in the distance. It kept taking me back to my first attempt to homebrew a cider, and it wasn't that good.

The mouthfeel was actually pretty good if you took a big drink. That helped capture some of the carbonation and the viscosity was really right on--very smooth.

Overall, was not impressed. I think the carbonation would have made a big difference, but this still tasted alot like a bad hard cider.

 1,006 characters

Photo of blakelive784
2.9/5  rDev -25.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12.7 fl oz brown glass bottle served in a tulip, reviewed live:

A - Pours a hazy honey golden color with a fizzy, white, two finger head. Retention is OK. Standard fare.

S - Lemon, light pepper, slight funk, doughy yeast, and crystal malt. Relatively simple for the style, though balanced and inviting.

T - Heavy citrus, light peppery spice and basic yeast. That's about it. Simple. Could be a nice base for a better beer.

M - Light, crisp and refreshing. Nearly ideal

D - Needs some serious work. Too simple. Run of the mill Saison. I wouldn't seek it out again.

 572 characters

Photo of JCarey
2.9/5  rDev -25.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Corked 750 with a cool label. Was only 7.49 so I picked it up.

Pale orange with pretty minimal effervescence for a Saison. Half finger of head recedes quickly but leaves behind a small cap and some thin lacing.

Aroma is pretty barren Saison. I'm getting a lot of Apple Cider. No noticeable hop or malt character, and pretty mild for style. Not a whole lot of yeast personality in this beer. Reminds me more of a wine than a Saison.

Again, starts with apple cider. No hop flavors and very minimal bitterness. Ends slightly malty. With a bit of toast and bread. Not much of the yeast character I've come to love about the style presents itself. I get a bit on the very back of the swallow, but I wish that was more pronounced to the front and throughout.

Dry, but not the crisp dryness I should be getting. A bit sweet and keeps the mouthfeel from really being what it should.

I wish I liked this beer, but I'll pass on it the next time I see this in the store. I want to finish by saying that I am in NJ and this is a West Coast brewery. I think this beer suffered from being corked, as it was pretty swollen and tough to get out.

 1,134 characters

Photo of goochpunch
2.92/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 1.5

Pours out a slightly chill-hazed brassy tangerine with a wealth of tiny bubbles making their way to the head. Head is massive, foamy, and almost spills over the top. Leaves some near solid lacing on the glass. Nose is very fruity (over-ripe fruits) and candy sweet. I get a lot of peach and mango (which I would normally love, but, as I said, it's more of an over-ripe and near-rotten smell). Has a bit of a grain bite in the nose. Flavor starts off with a candy sweetness and some grainy character which leads into those over-ripe fruits again (but not so overbearing as in the aroma). A bit of an earthy hop comes in toward the finish alongside a dull bitterness and a flat yeastiness. The saving grace of the flavor profile is a finishing dryness and mild background acidity which save this from being an overall cloying experience. Mouthfeel is rather light in body with a jumpy carbonation although it isn't so forcefully carbonated that it pricks the tongue. Drinkability started off OK, but as it warms it gets sweeter and sweeter and the bitterness becomes more astringent. If I ever drink this again, which I doubt, I will definitely be having this ice cold.

 1,167 characters

Photo of DaPeculierDane
2.93/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Le Merle from North Coast pours a hazed orange-amber into a large snifter with aggressive carbonation and a nice thick white foam. Musty aroma of lemon pepper and bananas. Flavor includes hay, banana, grassy hops, and spice. Some alchol warming is present. No sourness or funk to be found and the bitterness is high for style. The bitterness becomes more balanced by yeast fruit flavors as the beer warms, however, at that point the particulate yeast begins to present some off (and not in a good funky way) flavors. Not my kind of saison.

 539 characters

Photo of SilentSabre
2.95/5  rDev -24.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I have mixed feelings about this beer. Three good things about this beer are 1) It has fantastic head retention. After taking a few sips and walking away for several minutes, when I return, there is still a lovely, white froth that almost looks like meringue a good inch thick remaining. 2) The smell is just wonderful with plenty of fruit and yeast and a very subtle "barnyard" smell that you really have to search for. This seemed to be pretty on-point for the style, although not 100%; still nice nevertheless. 3) Lastly, this had quite a collection of yeast and debris in the bottle, which is rather desireable to me. The one truly negative thing about this beer, is perhaps the most important: taste. A farmhouse saison should have a sour/tartness to it, IMO, and this did not. In fact, it seemed much more bitter on the finish, which was rather disappointing to me. I really enjoy this style, and had such high hopes for this drink. It is certainly not a bad beer, but as far as being a saison, I just don't think it is a very good representation of the style.

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Photo of womencantsail
2.98/5  rDev -23.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A: The pour is a cloudy golden orange color with an enormous white head that eventually dies down and leaves some nice lacing.

S: The nose is driven by the cracker and bread malt aromas along with a strong yeast presence. Some light citrus zest notes along with some pepper and banana. Not all that much that says saison, and sort of bland.

T: As unremarkable as the aromas were, the flavor is similarly boring. The intense carbonation mutes what flavor is there. Again, this beer is mostly wheat bread and yeast (almost doughy) with a light citrus component.

M: Over-carbonated to say the least. The body is medium, but the intense carbonation is just a bit too much.

D: This is a rather lackluster beer. North Coast gets a lot of notoriety because of Old Rasputin and Old Stock, but I've found most of their other beers to be mediocre.

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Photo of BradVern
2.98/5  rDev -23.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

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Le Merle from North Coast Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 3.9 out of 5 with 1,386 ratings