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Le Merle | North Coast Brewing Co.

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BA SCORE
88
very good
507 Reviews
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Le MerleLe Merle
BEER INFO

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

BEER STATS
Reviews:
507
Ratings:
1,300
Avg:
3.91
pDev:
16.37%
 
 
Wants:
41
Gots:
152
For Trade:
3
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
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Reviews: 507 | Ratings: 1,300
Photo of dill
3.75/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

served on tap in a North Coast snifter.

A: highly carbonated, deep gold in color with a thin, white head.

S: very earthy aromas with a bit of maltiness.

T: citrus flavors with a bit of spice. a bit sweet with a bitter finish.

M: crisp with a medium, tight carbonation.

D: I enjoyed this one slowly and wasn't eager to go back to it. I really like the tanginess and appreciate that it's not too strong, but it's not my favorite in this style.

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Photo of Billolick
4.25/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Large bottle, caged and corked, no freshness nor bottling info offered. Pours light apricot amber, semi cloudy and initially shooting up a HUGE eggshell head, it slowly becomes a puffy and long lasting meringue. Leaving gobs of thick sheeting and ringed lace. Plenty of micro bubbles continuing to rise. Nice looking glass of beer. Nose is multifaceted with whiffs of soap, perfume and light pepper. Love the style and this is a worthy take on it. More perfume, plenty of pepper, spiced tropical fruit such as bananas, melon, mango. Moderate, subtle drying hops late. Complex, interesting beer. Well worth a try.

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Photo of scruffwhor
3.95/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a great hazey hay colored sunshine. Hnts of pale orange mix and dazzle the eyes. Agood head greet right after the pour, but eventually recedes to nothing. The aroma is a spicey mix dry fruits ad vibrant minerals. Very good recreation of a Belgian classic. The first sip is a very spicey fruit. Hnts f cinan and nutmeg. The middle and finish is little dryer. The finish is reminiscat of dry English water mixed with chammomile. The palte is smooth, yet dry and fruity. Dried fruits and unsweetened. Great rendition of a hard to mimic Belgian classic.

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Photo of Bubba83
3.88/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Picked up the 750ml corked bottle from BevMo in Sunnyvale, CA.

Appearance - Poured slowly into a snifter at 50 degrees. An excellent golden hue with yellow highlights towards the outside of the glass and a nice orangey hue through the middle. A good deal of head sits on top (2 finger length) from even just a slow pour. The head is pure bright white, and the bubbles are on the smaller side for a Saison. Tiny bubbles emanate from the bottom of the glass throughout the session and lacing is great.

Smell - Smells of funky horse with a black pepper burn. Faint highlights of tropical fruits and red apple at the tail end of the whiff. Definite pineapple here once the pepper subsides.

Taste - Lemon and Faint tropical fruit notes arrive first with an excellent flavor, but I wish they would last longer. Quickly the black pepper and coriander take over, making for a predominantly spicy flavor that ends earthy. Pineapple comes through a bit better as it warms. Overall flavor reminds me of Pranqster, no surprise here.

Mouthfeel - As with all of the other offerings from North Coast, the mouthfeel is superb. I almost gave it a 5. Nice and vibrant on the tongue, almost to the point of dancing, yet isn't annoying to swallow. As you refill your glass with more the bubbles in the head get smaller and you are treated to a bit of a creamyness that is in great balance with the carbonation. The density is also well done, it's light and refreshing without being watery, has some oilyness there to keep it feeling slick.

Drinkability - It's pretty good. I could definitely see myself having the whole wine bottle size by myself after working on the farm. Perhaps a little heavier than some saisons but just as refreshing. Surprisingly quaffable for being so spicy.

Give this a try but don't expect it to be much different from Pranqster.

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Photo of IntriqKen
3.93/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours out a cloudy pale lemon colored liquid with a soft, pillowing snow white head that stays around forever making lots of sticky lace as you drink.

Aromas are sort of a funky, farmhouse, bready yeast with some sweet malts. I know this will sound strange but there is something 'warm' about the aromas.

Taste is very lightly sweet amber malt with a touch of lemon and then some of that funky, bready yeast and light peppery spices to finish with.

Aftertaste is slightly spicy and 'spritzy' with a nice tingle continuing on and on.

Mouthfeel is tingly and creamy from all of the carbonation. Unlike many reviews of this beer, I did not find it overly thin for the style.

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Photo of BeerBelcher
3/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I was a bit underwhelmed by this beer. For some reason I expected the makers of Old Rasputin, Old Stock Ale, and Red Seal to be able to make a little better Saison than this. Nonetheless, it wasn't bad.

It poured a pale, opaque yellow which reminded me of lemonade. Aroma was light, sweet, citrus-y and effervescent. In fact, this beer reminded me a great deal of Sprite or Sierra Mist. It wasn't bad, but it didn't really scratch my beer itch; it just seemed a bit insubstantial and almost in flavor like a shandy or a radler. Mouthfeel was very light and active.

Not bad, but I can't say I'll be having this again. I got this bottle at Discount Liquor in Milwaukee, and split it with Surly Sober.

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Photo of Dukeofearl
3.63/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle from La Bodega in Riverside, CA. for $7.99 in January 2008. My wife and I have enjoyed this one many times, but I just realized that I have never reviewed it.

Pours a slightly hazy golden yellow, with a moderately fluffy head. "Middle of the Road", as Chrissy Hinds once sang. But more to the point, that's not necessarily a bad thing....

Aroma of a mild yard funk, not strong in the style. However, that actually means an increased drinkability. Flavor of a nice malt balanced by a yeasty organic, slightly barnyard funk. But the main flavor is a gentle lemony fruitiness. Generally lighter and more accessible than the better known versions of the style.

As mentioned above, this one has been seen in the house before, so it has something good going for it. Generally a very drinkable, nice version of the style. Not "out there" in something new, something wild, something weird, but overall, a good drinker.

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Photo of dfillius
3.68/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Enjoyed in a wine glass.
A: 1/2 finger of immaculate white head quickly fizzles away to a thin sheen. Hazy gold color, looks like pineapple juice. Quite pretty! The fizzy head was the only negative.
S: Fruit and lactic creaminess. Barley malt syrup, apple cider. Last bit from the bottle with lots of yeast smells a lot like tropical fruit! Like a pineapple malt.
T: Pear cider. With dregs of yeast, this beer is MUCH better and fruitier. I would recommend swirling the yeast into this one.
M: Too fizzy and sharp with carbonation. Like a big mouth full of foam. With the yeast it is much smoother, but it had been sitting a while when I had that drink too.
D: One bottle between 3 people would be perfect. It was a little harder between two.

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Photo of kennyo
3.8/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle purchased from New Beer, NYC, NY

Poured with a big soapy head, pours like a good belgium, cloudy, hazy, copper penny color, lace throughout the entire glass.

Some malt, citrus (lemon), Very carbonated. Malty, clean up front, very carbonated, very refreshing.

I thought Saisons were supposed to have some funk to them, which this doesn't.

Nice drinking beer for the style

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Photo of Halcyondays
3.62/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at the Beachwood BBQ in Seal Beach, CA,

A: Pours a cloudy yellow, with a firm nice head, with good retention and really good lacing.

S: Really faint, some light maltiness and spices though.

T: Main flavour is a bit of an acidic lemon, with white pepper, maybe some coriander spiciness, bready malt and earthy hops throughout. Similar to Dupont, but the acidity is more upfront and overt, while the spiciness is more mild.

M: Crisp and refreshing, acidic, slightly medicinal.

D: A pretty good American saison, nose could use a little work, but overall, pretty good, $6 for a glass at Beachwood.

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Photo of bruachan
4.02/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

nice looking label. what appears to be an arty rendition of a bird adorns the front

the beer is super foamy. i didn't get very far into my pour before i had to abort. as it descends i see evidence that lacing will be good and sticky. the liquid is gold with amber whispers

a highly hopped aroma presents itself in the form of bold lemon notes and some typically noble spiciness. the yeast's own spice penetrates, as well. all in all the bouquet is large and features the hops and yeast most noticeably. peach?

it's a yeasty tasting beverage, as well. spicy. a complex malt-based (but yeast influenced) caramel element. sweet, bitter and with a strong noble hop flavor. a little chunky for a saison, but i suppose i'll forgive (it's hard for a homebrewer to criticize deviation from style guidelines). certainly dinkable

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Photo of irishevans
3.72/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

pours a yellowish hazey amber with a film of a head that is pretty damn close to white, and a nose that seems to hint toward corriander and maybe banana peel, a coarse nose if you catch my drift. taste that corriander for sure and that banana taste is there as well, just not as noticeable. pretty consistant all the way through, the mouth-feel is coarse but not abrasive and smooths as it goes toward the finish. drinks okay, but usually this style and my bowels don't agree(as well as doubles and triples) so I would say not a good downer but not everyone has the G.I. problems that I do, so you may feel different and I wouldn't disagree, so that being said; as far as a saison goes it's pretty good.

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Photo of AKBelgianBeast
3.98/5  rDev +1.8%
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 Freshie
3.52/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This is one of those styles I am not crazy about. But, I can recognize when I see a good one.

The appearance is golden and cloudy. Foamy white head. Many bubbles rise to the surface.

The smell is fragrant. Fruit, earthy yeast.

The taste is sour, like a cider. Sweet and crisp fruit flavor. Aftertaste is bitter, and yeasty.

This is to be expected in this style but is still not my cup of tea.

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Photo of nickfl
4.45/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A - A thunderous pop as the cork comes out of the bottle indicates vigorous carbonation. The beer pours hazy and golden with a finger and a half of loose, white foam that leaves behind moderate lace as it settles.

S - Sweet citrus and musky funk. Notes of lemon and orange as well as a bit of coriander and pepper.

T - Very yeasty up front, with a hint of vanilla. Lots of clove, banana, pineapple and pepper. Herbal hops and oranges come in up top. The finish is more yeast and hops with a lingering warmth and citrus pith bite.

M - Full bodied with high carbonation and a reasonably dry finish.

D - This is pretty easy to drink despite being big and flavorful. I have noticed that many North Coast beers have more flavor than aroma and Le Merle follows that trend as well. The nose is pleasant enough, but it fails to fully reflect the depth of the flavor. Overall this is an excellent saison and a wonderful example of the style.

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Photo of MisterClean
4.15/5  rDev +6.1%
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 jbsteiny
3.53/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Brought a 750mL back East from BevMo in SF to enjoy with friends. A bit disappointing due to my high expectations -- i love saison and North Coast, so maybe I built myself up too much.

Cloudy orange-gold with a sizable head that recedes to a thin foam and oddly leaves little lacing. Faint aromas -- fruit (white peach, tangerine); biscuity malt, a bit of the funky yeast -- but even when warmed, this never attains appropriate Belgian funkyness for me.

Tastes okay, the coriander and fruit come out with a solid pale malt backbone, but again, I find this lackluster. Dry finish, and eminiently sippable at 8%, but I prefer other examples of the style that are more affordable and better distributed.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
4.12/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A great funky nose and a flavor to match! What a spot on example of the style from an American producer. If saison is your thing, then this is definitely one to try. Great level of smooth carbonation to it Too bad this hasn’t shown up in Brooklyn yet (from what I have seen).

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Photo of beerking1
3.62/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very cloudy gold, with a big lasting head that leaves lace all the way through the glass. Aroma is that of yeast, some musty notes, and a bit spicy, with some hints of candied citrus peel. Flavor is spicy, phenolic and yeasty, with some dryness that follows through to the finish. The body seems a little big for the style, but the finish is dry and short.

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Photo of cjgator3
3.87/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Corked and caged 750ml bottle poured into a large tulip glass. Pours a pale yellowish orange color with a large off-white head. The aroma is malt, tropical fruit, citrus and spices. The taste is citrusy fruits with yeast and spices dancing around the tongue with a dry finish. Overall, this is a pretty solid attempt at making a Belgian style saison. There are many saisons made in Belgium that are far superior, but Le Merle is one of the better ones produced in the US. Recommended.

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

Appearance - Hazy orange with blond highlights. The first pour produces an enormous head that takes a few minutes to settle down.

Smell - Fruity and spicy; overtones of citrus and tropical fruit, subtle notes of clove.

Taste & body - Grassy and yeasty, mild banana-like sweetness mixed with a pleasant lemon juice sourness. Spicy, citrus-like hops provide a long, bitter finish. Medium in body with high carbonation.

Notes - An easy drinking saison with good character, and at $7 per 750ml bottle you really can't go wrong.

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Photo of Gavage
3.34/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance: hazy orange in color with a 1/2" head that breaks apart quickly. No lacing develops.

Smell: yeast, hints of alcohol, spice, and fruit sweetness are easily detectable.

Taste: caramel, yeast, red apples, and a general spiciness are wrapped in a mellow bitterness. The yeast and spice seemed a bit strong creating an unbalanced profile in my opinion.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied beer. Crisp from start to finish. Long aftertaste as the yeast and spices stick to the tastebuds.

Drinkability: a so-so saison that just doesn't excite me at all. Not so easy to drink with the unbalanced flavors.

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Photo of ntillemans
4.35/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

I liked this one.

A: Golden color and nice thick head
S:Barnyard...I learned what was meant by the expression barnyard, horseblanket, etc...
T:Grapefruit, tart citrus with a formidable sweetness
M:What I'd expect from a Saison...it was a nice Saison
D:I could drink this one all day and all night long...very drinkable...lickable

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Photo of ppoitras
4.08/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750ml bottle purchased at (I think) Julio's, Westboro, MA. Corked and caged.

Poured in a Rapscallion glass, formed a 2" off-white head over the slightly cloudy dark gold brew. Head is refueled by heavy bubblage from the bottom, takes a long time before the sticky prominent lacing can be noted. Aroma is crisp hops with pale malts. Taste is sweet maltiness upfront coupled with spiciness that lingers on after the swallow. Mouthfeel is clean, and drinkability is only limited by the somewhat excessive malt sweetness. Nice swing at the style from an American brewer.

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Photo of BlindPig
3.86/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Pours with a huge off white head on a cloudy darker golden body. Has great head retention and sticks to the side of the glass.
S- Light funk to it with grass and citrus hops. Lemon and pepper come through as well. Sweet caramel laying under it with just a touch of alcohol to the nose.
T- Light grass hops with the citrus ones coming through quite a bit more. The lemon flavors come through the most with some pepper to blend in too. The yeast comes through as a regular yeast flavor, not the "saison" type. Sweet caramel body to let everything stand on it. Pretty big bitterness lingers on the tongue (for this style) and just a hint of alcohol warmth.
M- Medium body with medium/high carbonation.
D- This style is really hard to judge just because the lines are wide open for what can be called a saison. I think it is good but not your classic Fantome Saison or anything. Still a good beer but missing the saison yeast to it which IMO is a big part of the style. I will probably get this again but not running to the store to get it.

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Le Merle from North Coast Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 507 ratings.
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