Le Merle | North Coast Brewing Co.

very good
1,358 Ratings
no score
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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

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Ratings: 1,358 |  Reviews: 522
Photo of vidisad
3.96/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of EmptyPockets
3.96/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of guzzleacoldone
3.96/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of Hoops4life511
3.97/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

750 mL corked and caged bottle poured into pint glass.

Appearance - Almost couldn't fill this one out because the cork tried to take my eye out. Pours a slightly hazy pale burnt orange with a white frothy head that retained for a little white. Patches are left around the top of the glass, but eventually dissipate. Carbonation coming from the bottom faster than a glass of champagne.

Smell - Grain, Belgian yeast, touch of lemon, earthy. Aroma really jumps out at you and is pleasant.

Taste/Mouth/Drink - Very bold continuation of the nose, the earthy notes take over your mouth. Some fruity sweetness comes through with an estery Belgian finish. Carbonation is a bit off putting and is very noticeable. Very full body for a saison and not as refreshing as I would have hoped for from this style.

Overall, a tasty beer worth the try. I was looking for refreshment with this one though and didn't quite find it. I would love another with a full flavored meal, I bet it would really pop.

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Photo of russpowell
3.97/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Opens to a resounding pop!

Pours an effervescent apricot with 2 fingers of pearl colored head. Average lacing & head retention

S: Musty apples & pineapples, plus apple blossoms

T: Apples & pears, some lemon & a touch of white pepper up front. A bit of booze warmth, plus mushroom as this warms up, along with a touch of pineapple & some dryness. Finishes fruitty with candi sugar dryness, came close to a 4.5

MF: Medium bodied with a slight stickyness & low carbonation

Drinks fairly easy, a good saison that really opened up as this warmed

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Photo of SFNC
3.97/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of 0x4a64
3.97/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of puboflyons
3.97/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled at the Brattleboro, Vermont Brewers Festival on May 22, 2010. The pour is a hazy, cloudy yellow with about three inches of foamy head that takes a few minutes to settle down. Yeast and wheat are evident in the aroma so it smells like it should. The taste is also full of wheat and yeast notes. Not all that bad but some US-brewed Belgian style ales are better.

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Photo of mntlover
3.97/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy darker yellow color with a big frothy white head that falls slow, sadly only light lace left behind.

Aroma is good nice sweet malts loaded with tropical fruits, mango, apple and pears mingled together. Fruits are lightly tart and mingle with funk and lightly spicy yeast notes.

Taste is like the aroma nice starts lightly sweet, then the tart fruits show up for a second moving right into spice and a funky finish. Little sweeter then most Saison's I have had but only sweet for a little while before the funk sets in.

Mouthfeel is on the lighter side but with good average carbonation level.

Overall a pretty tasty Saison one worth re sampling for sure.

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Photo of rarbring
3.97/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A clouded dark yellow brew, an off-white head with little lacing but good curtains.

Smelling winey, grapes, grape-fruit, and peaches.

Sweet sugary start, white wine, grapes, apples and spices.

Medium low carbonation, fresh texture with a good body, a light sour dryness,

An easily accessible Saison, a bit on the sweet side.

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Photo of callmemickey
3.97/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Orange-hay colored body with a slight off white head. Mediocre retention and spotty lacing.

S: Farm fresh floral character. Orchard tones including ripening apples and peaches. Slight earthy breads.

T: The taste, like the nose, is soft and rounded... which isn't always a bad thing, but does diminish the ability to explore the depth of flavor. Mostly a fresh breeze flavor.. grassy with slight fruit flavoring. Not much spice. Some alcohol creeps in.

M: Smooth and crisp. Light bodied.

D: This is a good saison... it just lacks in the complexity and cohesiveness of a well crafted saison. Worth exploring.

 613 characters

Photo of mryuk
3.97/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours an unfiltered yellow gold with zero head.

smell is sweet and malty with lots of orange.

taste is sweet and orange and light with a bit of sour.

mouth is light-medium bodied with low carbonation.

overall it was pretty drinkable but I am not overly excited to have another one.

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Photo of Snowdog
3.97/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of coldmeat23
3.97/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

GLASS: Tulip
TEMP: Cellared @ approx 50 degrees

This pours a clear, golden, peach color, with light, amber hues. Two-fingers of foamy, eggshell colored head sits on top. Retention is fairly good. Lacing is good, but pretty slick, so it keeps sliding back down.

Big notes of tropical fruits are noticed first. A good level of belgian yeast is here. It has a sort of 'fruit bread' kind of scent. There is also a nice earthiness, presumably from the hops.

This is quite a balanced taste. The yeast and the fruits are well-matched. The earthy notes of the hops provide a nice amount of dryness, which counters the sweetness, almost perfectly. There is no bitterness to speak of, which lends to the enjoyment of this beer.

This has a medium body and a high level of carbonation. There is a bit of roughness around the edges, with a touch of creaminess in the middle. It makes for an interesting mouthfeel.

This is very well-balanced and easy drinking. Along with the 7.9%abv, which is only lightly noticed, this is quite drinkable.

 1,031 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 AKBelgianBeast
3.98/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

La merle pours a peachy hazy yellow with good head, but it dissipates quick. ok lace. The nose is very wheaty, and some spice is there. Taste has alot of wheat, and has alot of spice as well. Some banana on the finish. Now notice more spice through the middle, good spice and good flavor. Mouthfeel is good for a saison. Drinkability is very high and refreshing. I could see this being very good on a hot summer day. way to go north coast.

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Photo of Justdoit1234
3.98/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Phenwayphrank74
3.98/5  rDev +1.5%

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.

 1,942 characters

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 mrob22278
3.98/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

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

750ml bottle poured into a goblet.

A: Hazy orange color with a huge head that becomes a thin film. Good amount of lacing.

S: Fruitiness abounds. Apples, grapes, hints of citrus.

T: Like a cross between sparkling wine and hard cider. I would have preferred more citrusy fruitiness and less apple/grape fruitiness. Fortunately, the hops and bready yeast provide a nice counterpoint and prevent the fruitiness from becoming cloying. No trace of alcohol. Drying finish.

M: Light and heavily carbonated. A bit too carbonated, as a matter of fact.

D: It probably could have benefited from a bit more hop character, but still a quality saison. I have yet to be let down by a North Coast brew. Would go well as an aperitif or with a light lunch on a hot summer day.

 762 characters

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

poured and opaque straw yellow with a white head compried of tight bubbles of carbonation, 1 finger high with pretty fantastic retention.

I'm not really feeling the tropical fruit description the label has, perhaps there is a bit of pineapple on the nose, however there is lots of citrus, lemon, pepper, spices, and some barnyardy belgian funk

Lemon, Peppery and tart with a bit of a puckery sourness to it.

Active carbonation and mouth feel with a clean finish that is a tad bit on the dry side.

A great beer to have with a meal.

 536 characters

Photo of myteam24
3.98/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Patrick999
3.98/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cool, a domestic saison. I'd seen this one before but for some reason never thought to try it. 750ml bottle, corked and caged.

A - With some firm coaxing, the cork gave way in a controlled manner. Poured into a goblet, passes the saison appearance test with flying colors. Very substantial soapy meringue head, cloudy gold body. Ranks right up there with the very best Belgian examples of saison.

S - Passes the saison aroma test, too. A little peppery, but not quite so much peppery as a fruity aroma I can't quite place. Maybe some apple, strawberries that are about to go bad...also perhaps the pungent smell of lychees about to go bad.

T - Interesting, not really too hoppy saison, more of a wheatgrass taste, with some of that about-to-ferment fruit. Near 8% ABV not terribly noticeable, just peeking through occasionally. There's a definite element of funk as it warms. A lot of interesting flavor, but somehow doesn't come off to me as very integrated or locked in, maybe due to seeming a bit heavy on the pungent fruits. And I'm not crazy about the aftertaste, which to me almost seems macro lager-like, shockingly. I'm not knocking this too much, though, as it is complex and not at all boring. In edit, I agree with the guy below, though, this could use more of the peppery spice to balance it out, or more hop.

F - Has the Belgian feel pretty well down, feels pillow-light even though carbonation is high. Medium body.

D - As is often typical of the style, easy to drink. As someone who loves this style, I'd pick up again. It might not be quite as dialed in as some of the Belgian examples, but it's very clear that the guys at North Coast did their homework. I like seeing American brewers make beers like this, and I like it even better when they make it all the way down to the tip of Florida.

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Le Merle from North Coast Brewing Co.
3.92 out of 5 based on 1,358 ratings.
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