Le Merle | North Coast Brewing Co.

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Le MerleLe Merle

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

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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Reviews: 508 | Ratings: 1,308
Photo of julian
4.04/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bought at QFC in Everett, WA - 750ml bottle

A: golden and straw colored mostly opaque with moderate cloudiness and a shimmering of orange when put up to the light. visible carbonation, this is one fizzy looking beer! pours with a thick CREAMY and towering white foamy head. heavy and sparkling lacing. wow, perfect example of the style!

S: light floral hoppyness mixed with fruity esters, somewhat sour note while maintaining a moderate earthy and nutty spicing. somewhat yeasty to the nose.

T: ABV mostly unnoticeable. yummy fruity citrus taste complimented by unique saison yeast profile and earthy spicing. somewhat dry but also malty sweet. nicely balanced!

M: pretty fizzy as expected, and typical of the style. crisp and refreshing. would be an excellent hot summer day beer!

D: given the more than tolerable ABV which is nicely masked, and the fruity taste of this is one beer I could drink more than once in a sitting...but probably not more than twice given that it's a 750ml bottle.

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Photo of jacamp16
4.22/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Tried this the other night after eyeing it in the store for weeks. Gotta love mark downs. This beer poured a slightly hazy golden color with enough carbonation to give it as many fingers of head as you'd like. Head fell to a finger or so for the duration of the drink. I could look at and smell this beer for days. Immediate smells of citrus, tropical fruit, and a little barnyard lure me in. For me, this nose was almost perfect. The flavor on the first sip was dominated by the carbonation. Made the spice really jump out at me and almost made it feel as though my tongue was cut. The tropical fruit was there, but not as present as the nose would have suggested. As the beer warmed, alcohol became more of a factor and started to detract from the experience due to a little more heat than I would like. Medium bodied, but again, carbonation took away from the mouthfeel. Overall, great beer that I would look to pick up again.

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Photo of weezyfart
4.18/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a delightful Saison from a brewery that consistently puts out solid product. It has a lovely golden orange color that gleams in the glass. The aromas are delicate with some banana notes as well as slight citrus and light funk. What really stands out is the taste and drinkability. Banana again on the palate with a little lemony zest on the back, the Le Merle reminds me a lot of Hennepin. While this may not be as traditional as, say, Saison Dupont, this is a beautiful beer and one that I will try again.

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Photo of sweethome
4.01/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750ML bottle - corked. Quite a blast when I popped the cork. Pour is hazy honey color, thick white head. Climbed right to the top of my Verboden Vrucht Goblet. Okay lacing.

Nose is quite subdued. A bit of yeast and fruity esters.

Nice dry entry, then some fruity malts, effervescent, some yeast, honey, flower petals. Very nice build on the mouthfeel. Drives out and back, bringing in a nice hop bittering in the back of the mouth and on the finish, but not much hop flavor until the very end. I don't think they used any spices here. Fruity flavors, pineapple and mango come to mind.

A very nice representation of the style. Reminds me a lot of the anniversary beer this brewery did for Whole Foods. Slightly drier if my memory serves me.

This is one fine drinking beer, every thing I love about this style - refreshing yet complex, flavorful yet sublime, brings in the best of every ingrediant.

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Photo of ahalloin
3.74/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the 750mL corked bottle. A: Pours a golden yellowy fluid that seems unfiltered in that it is not translucent. The head that formed quickly (and dominated the glass) is luxuriant and fluffy with larger bubbles near the outside and smaller foam bubbles at the center. Even on the second pour, the head was huge and frothy. Carbonation continues to sneak through the fluid as it sits in the glass. S: The smell has that characteristic yeasty Belgian Saison quality. The underlying base is Belgian yeast but a little wild with citrus, other fruits, and spice! T: The flavor carries a nice hoppy punch at the nose which gives way to a peppery, fruity dry finish. MF: The carbonation is full and tickles the tongue throughout. The balance seems skewed toward the hoppiness, in other words, I could use a little more body to the beer. Overall an interesting example of the style.

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Photo of Franchise
4.62/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This offering from North Coast pours a foggy orange leaving a very carbonated body and a thick 3in head. The nose is fantastic, lemon, orange, wheat, honey, musty, grass, earthy spicy hops with a sour citrus, candi sugar, ending.

The taste is dry, crisp, salty, sweet carbonation in this fruity mouthfeel. Spicy, delicious clove honey, ripened fruit, plums, pears, peaches, wheat, syrupy coating the back of the tongue with a sweet earthy bitterness in the finish.

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Photo of Atlas1
4.33/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Cool. A North Coast saison. I like it. I like it a lot.

Popped the cork to a hugely carbonated beer. Man. After letting this one sit for a while, to blow off some steam so to speak, I was able to sit down and sip. But the pour yielded a massive foamy white head. It looked like a bubble bath on top of fizzy cloudy apricot-colored liquid. Good lace. Waaaay too much carbonation for me to start things off, but the initial product sure was good looking. And it did finally die down after all. The nose is fruity (peach, lemon, orange) and spicy. Pepper and coriander and clove rise into my nostrils. Sweet, almost sugary malt scent is there as well. Very nice, but subtle. The taste follows suit, delivering a spicy fruity kick with a noticeable dryness. Really tasty beer, this saison. Mouthfeel is tangy and dry.

This is another quality product from the gang at North Coast. I'm a fan of the saison/farmhouse style but I don't drink them very often. This one is a bit fruitier than some I've had, but I think it actually adds depth to this beer in my opinion. Really nice stuff here. More please.

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Photo of grub
3.85/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

sampled may 24/08 as part of biegaman's annual summer saison tasting, with a mix of BA/RB represented. biegaman shared this one, so thanks jan!

750ml bottle, corked and caged.

pours crystal clear golden yellow with a small fluffy white head. the head drops slowly and leaves a few spots of lace.

aroma is nice. touch of alcohol. bread. cracker. light spice, but i'm not picking out any one in particular. light floral hops.

taste is good. medium bitterness level. nice light citrus character - orange, tangerine, bit of grapefruit. white bread. crackers. alcohol. light floral character again.

mouthfeel is good. medium-high carbonation level. medium-light body with a nice dry finish.

drinkability is good. a little more bitter than i'd expect from a saison, but it works. i also enjoyed the subtle spicing. overall, quite nice.

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Photo of irishkyle21
4.16/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours with a huge white head. Great lacing and retention. A rush of bubbles after each refile. Has a hazy golden color.

Smells of yeasty spices, citrus, other fruits and a little sour funkiness.

This is one refreshing and drinkable beer. Tastes of light grassy/citrusy hops, spices, a bit of funk and tartness.

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Photo of giblet
4.32/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

9 dollars for this bottle. i forgot to look at the size but it was big! the fact that you got a lot of beer that was very good made it worth it.

it poured nice and crazy. about 3 inches of head with very active and steady carbonation. very tiny bubbles but a bunch of them. smells fruity like citrus yet earthy. cloudy pale color with some yeast that is near impossible to not disturb. i had my bottle that sat in the fridge for two weeks, carefully uncorked it, and very carefully poured it. i was so careful that when it was half empty i let the bottle lay on its side so as to not disturb any more yeast.

taste is quite good. very much the belgian style with sweet citrus, nice tingle on the palate yet with nice dry finish. crazy lacing too.

suckem up and movem out.


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Photo of spointon
4.33/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I poured this one from a 750ml brown bottle featuring the slogan "American Artisan Series".

A= This ale is a beautiful, slightly dark yellow color with lots of streaming carbonation release. The head poured 2 inches of creamy white froth and hung on for a long time - eventually settling to 1/4 inch. Lacing was pretty good down the glass.

S= This one smells of lemon, candied sugar, yeast, alcohol and yes, that famed saison horse blanket aroma (its a good thing).

T= This ale is complex! While I would say it fair to call it typically fruity/funky from the Belgian yeast, it is also slightly sour in the middle/end of a swallow. Cleanses the palate well and leaves you wanting more!

MF= Light and refreshing body. The carbonation makes this a perfect ale for a hot summer day.

D= Another outstanding ale from North Coast brewery. I will definitely seek out more of this...

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Photo of IdleAaron
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Apperanc: Golden yellow, reminds me of wheat.

Smell: Grain, citrus (grape fruit?) Candy sweet finish.

Taste: First taste wasn't too great I thought it was skunked. I think this may be due to the huge head (3"). After I let it settle back it was much better. I tated citrus with a nice clove finish.

Mouthfeel: Sharp, crisp, full, good.

Drinkability: Easy drinking.

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Photo of pershan
3.88/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on-tap at Frisco Grille in Columbia, MD.

The beer poured a cloudy, dark straw color with a thin white head into a chalice. The aroma had that distinctive Belgian yeast profile, with sweet and sour components. The flavor was more of the same, with bubble-gum sweetness and sour apple tartness both fairly prevalent. The sweet/sour flavor lasted long after the last swallow - an interesting style. A fairly fizzy mouthfeel. All in all, a very refreshing and drinkable beer for those hot summer days that will surely be showing up here in the Baltimore area fairly soon.

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Photo of MMAJYK
4.47/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Bright and golden. Transparent. Head is 1" and lacing is decent with slight patch work on the sides of the glass.

S- Citrusy of lemons and oranges. The candi sugar is present and melds well with the citrus.

T- Very clean and crisp with same citrus notes carrying over from the nose. The candi sugar though is not so strong as in the nose which is nice. That sweetness gets old to me pretty quickly. This is the best tasting Saison I have ever tried.

M- Relatively thin and super clean. Carbonation is high. Very refreshing.

D- Too drinkable. I got a bottle for my g/f while sitting at The Map Room in Chicago. I had to help her drink this. Amazing brew.

Overall- This is the most clean and refreshing Saison I have tried to date. Very true to style and just outstanding.

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Photo of MrHungryMonkey
3.95/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Rich straw color, with golden hues. Not exactly clear, it's more translucent. Massive head - so nice.

Tart yeasty aromas. An underlying malt bed Wild smell.

Oh my. Wild tartness with an earthy funk really pokes through. Soft malt character is unobtrusive behind the wildness. A little alcohol is notable in the very back. After the initial pizzazz the flavors balance a little more into a highly drinkable brew. Medium body, mild carbonation.

I love the wild twang, it draws me in for more and is very satisfying. Num.

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Photo of malcontent
3.91/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hazy, golden body highlighted by gobs of streaming bubbles feeding the two fingers of rocky head. Average lacing follows.

Aspirin-like phenols mask aromas of hay and clove in an otherwise uneventful nose. Hold that, hints of mango surface as the drink warms. Cool.

Apple skins, slight citrus peel twang lead into what I swear is a Belgian Special B malt body. Discernible hop finish winds up clean after all is said and done.

Full mouthfeel with carbonation that borders on over aggressive. Still, a good try at the style from one of the more consistent American breweries.

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

A hazy orange glow with a disappointingly thin white head. Aromas of oranges and lemon grass. Flavors of coriander, citrus, alcohol, and a fresh, doughy malt-like character hides beneath. Prickly carbonation, medium body, bitter-spiced finish. My bottle says 9% alcohol, not 7.9%

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Photo of cichief
4.2/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on draft at the Frisco Grill, Columbia, MD.

A- Pours a nice hazy gold, with an ample white head.

S- Smells of yeast and sweet malt.

T- Begins rather sweet, but is balanced, lots of fruit/citrus, a very pleasant biscuit finish.

M- Lots very small bubbles, no fizziness, medium body.

D- A very drinkable beer, quite refreshing.

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Photo of allengarvin
4.58/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured into a Chimay glass, this beer leaves an enormous head, of Duvel proportions. Excellent retention, solid and frothy. The is a slightly hazy orange, with fine bubbles streaming up. Yeasty aroma full of spicy phenols, a delicate fruitiness, and some nice herbal hoppiness. Excellent flavor, with a light sweetness, honey vanilla fruitiness, dry grassy hops, plenty of yeasty spiciness. There might be a trace of brett funk--I'm uncertain, though. Finish is nice and dry.
The body is perhaps a tad watery--too much carbonation released in the pour?

Excellent saison.

[On edit: 2 months later, and I've enjoyed about one of these a week. Bumped the drinkability to 5. This is at least the equal of Dupont, possibly better.]

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Photo of asabreed
4.06/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Corked and caged big bottle into a Duvel tulip. Didn't realize this was North Coast until I popped the cork.

Appearance: An insanely huge, billowing white head of foam, like ice cram, with big bubbles sucking to the glass. Body is a hazy golden yellow, with tons of tiny bubbles swirling and surging toward the top of the glass. Even with subsequent pours it leaves such insanity, and the lacing's left in clumps and nice lines.

Smell: Initial hints of yeast, earthiness, minor alcohol whiffs, light cream, spice and pepper, lemon zest, along with some sour cherries and strawberries. Not much phenolic activity and / or funkiness, but I like that in that it's balanced and complex without trying too hard to be like a Fantome or Dupont or any of the other heavy hitters.

Taste: Yeast and spiciness initially with lemon, sour cherries, a bit of warming alcohol, earthiness, subtle herbal hop characteristics, all leading to a semi-dry finish with a good sour and earthiness, sliding into a bit of hop bitterness. Very nice and balanced and flavorful.

Mouthfeel: More medium-bodied than light, but with a good crispness and fairly full-feeling carbonation.

Drinkability: A very solid domestic version of the style, from a brewery I continue to be a big fan of. I paid around $8 for the bottle, which I think is certainly worth it. Again, what it doesn't mess with is the phenolic funkiness of a lot of true non-domestic Saisons, but then again, I'd rather have it be balanced and complex without the risk-taking into unworthy and unbalanced territory.

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Photo of RickSawyer
4.15/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Golden honey with white pillowy head. Light traces of lace across the glass. Smells earthy, buscuits, tropically floral, hints of banana and mango. Taste begins with french baguette, then transitions into some grassy earth, green apple, mild banana funk, some unripened pine apple, all very well balanced. Creamy mouthfeel could use some more carbonation to hit that champaign-esque feel traditionally found in saisons. Very nice for an american take at the style.

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Photo of goochpunch
2.92/5  rDev -25.3%
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.

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Photo of Rudgers73
4.92/5  rDev +25.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

The beer pours a bright orange-juice like color with a decent cloudiness to it out of the 750 mL corked and caged bottle. The head is a solid inch and slowly settles down to a retentive 1/4 inch thick foam. Lots of aroma in this one. Very fruity, mainly citrus and banana. There is a definite tart grapefruit aroma in there too. The beer itself is relatively mild in flavor. A surprise much like my first try of Saison DuPont. There is a nice prickly CO2 body that gives a lot of pepper notes to the semi-sweet, semi-bitter beer. The aftertaste is strong metallic hops and oily at the end. A very good example of an authentic belgian style saison IMO. This is similar to the Jolly Pumpkin's Bam Bière, but has more of that undetectable alcohol than the sessionable JP, again a bit more true to the style. This is a great example of an American brewer that really captivated this delicate and unique Belgian style.

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Photo of jwc215
4.5/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours hazed golden with a large fluffy white head that becomes rocky. It leaves plenty of lacing.

The smell is of lemongrass with earthy notes and candy sugar. Peppery, musty, doughy, biscuity, yeasty.

The characteristics in the complex nose are there in the taste - maybe a tad more mellow, but not enough to adjust the scores for. Sweet, spicy and sour. Finishes with a refreshing dryness.

Well-carbonated without being prickly.

This is on-spot for style. Try pairing this with pork chops, red cabbage, saurkraut and mashed potatoes - everything in there will complement the various aspects of this well-made brew.

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Photo of Onslow
3.42/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Network Difficulties - Please Standby ... Pours a slight hazy golden orange .. light fluffy head, lacing a bit low for a saison ... funked up honey smell ... light and tangy, some nice bitterness, lower sweetness ... in an umbrella: is a well made American saison that is enjoyable and goes down smooth with lots of refreshing qualities! ... drank while enjoying a blank screen then the Dynamo in the CONCACAF semi's 2008!!!

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Le Merle from North Coast Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 508 ratings.
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