Le Merle | North Coast Brewing Co.

very good
515 Reviews
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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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Reviews: 515 | Ratings: 1,338
Photo of Onibubba
3.27/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazy straw yellow with a big, but ultimately short-lived, head. There is some hay in the smell, nothing too funky or spicey. Not bad. The taste is a bit "sharp." A good touch of bitterness too, botrderline IPA scale. Not what I want is a Saison. While seemingly smooth in body, this still drinks very high on the tongue. This improves after a great deal of warming, but the quaffability (love that word) is never at the leave a Saison should be. A bit hot too, surprising for its ABV. All in all, an admirable attempt, but not a beer I would come back to.

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Photo of dbalsock
3.29/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

App: Poured golden yellow with a high amount of carbonation present. The head was decent, but didn't last long and there was no lacing on the side of the glass. Looked like a standard saison, but the head was a little better initially than I'm used to.

Smell: Very farmhouse smelling... there was a noticeable hay like smell which I highly enjoy from belgian style ales. There was also a good deal of hops, not citrusy or overly floraly, but fresh smelling. However, it was also funky smelling... like it was almost skunky, but not quite.

Taste: The funky smell comes into the taste a little, but is overpowered by fresh hop taste and a decent backbone. For a saison, I would say it's a little unbalanced by the hops.

Mouthfeel: More bitter than your standard saison. This definitely is more of an american saison in that respect. Otherwise the body is nice and the carbonation adds a lot. The alcohol isn't noticeable for the amount in there.

Drinkability: For such a high alcohol saison, it's still easy to down. I could have a few glasses of these, but would have to share a bottle.

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Photo of Seanstoppable
3.29/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Had a bit of trouble getting the cork out initially, but eventually it came out with a satisfying pop.

Pouring into an oversized wine glass resulted in a cloudy dark-yellow/light amber brew with two fingers of fizzy, quickly evaporating head.

Very, very light scent. I caught a brief hint of yeast.

The taste is like nothing else I have had before. Some sweetness and malts burst on the taste buds, which eventually results in some citrus and bitterness at the end.

Lots of carbonation in the mouth with this beverage, reminding me of champagne (which I guess is fitting considering the cork and pop), but caused me to nurse the drink along for quite a while.

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Photo of bunnyhustle
3.33/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This, I believe, was my first Saison and I have to say I'm confused. This was a good beer but nothing what I expected from the style. It could have been a Belgian Strong Pale Ale or possibly even a Tripel and I wouldnt have noticed the difference. Poured into Duvel glass. Pours a hazy golden yellow with massive rocky head. Smell was of yeast, bread, and some fruits, the fruits were very muted. Taste was a little bland I though. It certainly had that grassy, straw-like Pale Ale taste to it with some yeast and sweet fruits but not much. Either this was too complex for its own good, or it wasnt complex enough, I still cant tell which one it was. Mouthfeel was medium with somewhat high carbonation. Overall an enjoyable beer, but there was something I just didnt get. Expected some funk and I was left funk-less.

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Photo of bobhits
3.33/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a lively body, darker orange much like a cloudy IPA. Impressively thick head that seems odd for the style. Unlike others that have a good amount of carbonation, this one has the sticky elements.

The nose is of apples, pears, lemons with a zesty finish. I wasn’t expecting this much fruit and citrus without some funk or off saison notes. Second thought, there is some saison aromas, but they are subtle.

The flavor is more of the nose with some funky hops at the end to bring out the classic farm house flavors. This one has a good deep malt and more powerful flavors than most. The funk seems almost covered by the malt bill, thee 7.9% I think is a culprit here.

A great summer/fall beer. Refreshing but big and bold enough to be the end of one’s night almost always. For the style I’d like a touch less body and more carbonation.

I’m passed on this offering for years, something about a cage and cork that just screams “buy me, but I’ll suck.” Add in I wasn’t blown away by some of their other lighter offerings and my expectations were reserved to say the least. Thankfully this is a very decent example of the style. A bit over priced, would be better at about 6 a bottle (current price is about 22 for a 6 pack which seems insane for this). Worth a try but tap I think may be the better choice.

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Photo of Gavage
3.34/5  rDev -14.8%
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 Jacobob10
3.34/5  rDev -14.8%

12.9 oz bottle at O'Donnell's Pub in Harrison, NJ.

Poured into a Le Merle chalice. Proper glassware at the bar... nice!

Amber colored with a lot of haze and a thin layer of white foam on top. The head clings to the sides of the glass but leaves no lacing behind. Fruity aroma mainly consisting of apple. Very sweet and not as dry as I prefer saison to be. Overall, this just wasn't very good. It was missing the funk and spice that I love about the style.

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Photo of Brew_42
3.34/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

They were handing out samples of this and I was pleasantly surprised. Took home a bottle myself..

Pours hazy yellow

Smells citrusy

Taste citrusy up front with a hint of spices on the end. The after taste is pleasant and fruity

Palate- Very crisp and refreshing

OVerall- I thought it was a great saison. Definitely worth trying.

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Photo of froghop
3.35/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

pours a semi-clear yellow, lively carbonation, extremely large white head, and good lacing.

smell of grain, sweet fruits, malt in the back, and a touch of smoke.

taste is fizzy, pear, peach, grain, yeast, and a touch of sour malt, ends on the dry side.

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Photo of trevorjn06
3.4/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a Unibroue tulip glass.
Pours with a lovely head, but this soon fades to a faint ring of foam around the glass.
The aroma is very mild malt, a bit metallic with a hint of fruit, in fact it smells a bit like a dry white wine.
As soon as it touches my lips I can tell it is quite carbonated. It is prickly on the tongue with a very mild malt flavor. Quite dry and the mild fruitiness comes through in the taste as well, perhaps peaches? It's not sweet at all, just fruity. There is a very subtle hop character that comes through a bit as the beer warms. On the finish there is the Saison tart/sourness but it's not quite as dominant as some examples. Overall this beer is a little thin feeling, there is not much substance to it.

It would be good chilled on a warm summer day but overall it just doesn't do it for me. Not that there are any bad flavors present, the ones that are there just don't come together in a very interesting or exciting way

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Photo of magictrokini
3.42/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours yellow with a puffy white head. Orange peel, lemon, wheat, pepper, and earthy yeast. Grassy, fruity taste with some spice, particularly the white pepper. The yeast was nice, not overpoweing, but enough to give you some funk while keeping the beer light.

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Photo of kmeves
3.42/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours an opaque yellow with a fine bubbled white head and some lace. Aroam is medium sweet with Pils malt, light lemon, bread and nicely spiced. Flavor is initially sweet malt flavor with a good deal of bready yeastyneess and ample spice. Lingering bitter/dry finish. Mouthfeel is crisp citrus with a medium body.

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Photo of Onslow
3.42/5  rDev -12.8%
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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Photo of Huhzubendah
3.43/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Hazy orange body with a thick, off-white head. Aromas include stone fruits, yeast, a touch of fruity hops. Apple, pear, melon, Belgian yeast strain. Moderate sweetness. More akin to a tripel than a saison. Decent, but one pour is plenty. Sweet + alcohol = limited drinkability.

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Photo of BBP
3.44/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours orangish yellow. Slight head and retention is a but weak. Nearly no retention.

The aroma is slightly tart and spicy. Typical blonde ale aromas.

The taste is of a BPA with slight funk. Spiciness accompanies it all. A but of citrus and grain. Mild but decent character. Some hops sans the bitterness.

Medium heavy with medium body. The finish is mildly dry and sticky.

Overall a decent beer but a bit pale and light for my tastes. tastefully done but not entirely intense.

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Photo of dgallina
3.45/5  rDev -12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle without obvious dating on the bottle or cork.

Pours into the tulip very clear gold with a short finger of creamy head. The smell is fruity and spicy; orange peel, black pepper, and coriander. Flavor is pleasing, but over-sweet compared to the typical Saison. Tart and lemony on the front of the tongue, but becomes peppery in the center. Bursting with orange sweetness and coriander in the finish and aftertaste, with a bit too much lasting alcohol warming. Overly prickly and carbonated in the mouth. A worthwhile change of pace, but atypical and not altogether winning.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
3.45/5  rDev -12%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Pours a light golden color with a white head and some lacing. Pours with excellent clarity from tap to snifter. The aroma has citrus as well as peach or pear juice. Nice fruity nose. The taste is earthier but still has a fruitiness. Grassy, milky citrusy hop character works with the fruit and damp hay notes. Fair bitterness, the brew finishes clean and balanced. Overall, this is a pretty decent saison, for an American version.

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Photo of Buebie
3.45/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Got this bottle for christmas in 2007, been cellering since.

Poured from a brown 750, caged and corked. Off the pour the beer foams like its infected, hopfully it is not.
4 inches of cola like head form up. The color of the beer is a transparent dark golden. The head receeds to leave a half inch white froth. Thick spotty globs of lace line the glass in islands, not a solid lace drape.

Aroma of pepery spice, grassy hops, lots of cereal grain maltyness and a semi sweet citric rind aroma. Some cloves and herbs in there. A touch of alcahol at the knose, with a yeasty funk. Sourdough bread and a belgian like fermented honey aroma.

Mouthfeel is pretty creamy, still with a good doseage of carbonation, but definatly more light in feel from that carbonation flare up. It just has a more full body to the feel. Carbonation is crisp with a real bite to it. It seems like it wants to foam up though in my mouth as I sip. I'm nervous that this is going to cause me GI problems later.

Taste seems much more laid back then the aroma. Its picking up bitters though into the swallow with alot of non traditional hop flavors. Grassy with alot of bitter lem rind zestyness.
Some malt in the middle with more of that fermented honey taste, resembling very strongly an imperial kolsch.
I really dont know how to describe the taste. I know I dont care for it and am not enjoying it, but for the style it seems to follow the guidlines. Its not fruity though and definatly a bit more warm from alcahol. Compared to other saisons I've had this on is very dry, bitter and bready with plenty of sourdough flavors.

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Photo of Lawl3ss
3.45/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 3.5

Lightly chilled 25.4 oz. C&C bomber with no visible bottling date. Poured into a 9 oz. snifter.

Look- Pours a tawny apricot/medium anber color with a finger of fizzy head that falls quickly. Not much in the way of lace. Well carbonated, from the look of the rising bubbles.

Smell- Sweet, generous helping of tasted malt. Lightly fruity, with hints of citrus rind, peach, and pear. Mild flowery yeast presence. As it warms a bit, it takes on an apple cider-like, almost vinegary quality.

Taste- Tastes like it smells, starts and finishes tart, with various pale fruits (white grapefruit pith, pear, apple, under-ripe peach) poking through in an off-again on-again manner. Bready malt is there, but buried beneath the other flavors, although it makes more of a showing once the carbonation has died down. Finishes with a taste reminiscent of fig. Aftertaste is clean, with a light grainy flavor reminiscent of toasted caraway seeds. I'd rate this one higher on taste, but the sharp carbonation really masks the flavors.

Mouthfeel- Medium-to-full body, heavy carb that accentuates a moderate pucker. Drinks like syrupy champagne. This one's a slow drinker. A very slow drinker.

Overall- Very wine-like, fruit flavors dominate. Sour, but not offensive. It's actually pretty darn good and the only gripe I have is that the flowery yeasty character I look for in a saison is hidden behind the acidic fruit flavors. Actually, I have another gripe- the carbonation is really too excessive, and kills it for me a bit - I'd consider decanting this one and pouring it back and forth between glasses to take the edge off. I'll probably pick it up again sometime to pair with dinner, although I'd pass if I was just looking for something to drink while relaxing after work.

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Photo of SanDNigel
3.46/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

375ml into chubby tulip
A- Hazy golden yellow. Big-bubble white head that runs away as fast as it can (you can hear it..)
S- Raunchy bread dough is the first thing I can think of. I guess a touch of anise. Pretty funky
T- Like it smells. That super caramelly heavy tripel kinda thing. Its good but doesn't make me wanna jump up n down
M- The big bubbles help whisk away the heaviness of the beer body. Bubbles feel huge
I don't know if I would buy this beer again, but I am enjoying what I have in front of me.

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Photo of Knapp85
3.46/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Popped the cork with and poured into a snifter. The color is a really nice orange copper color. The head is nice at first then it settles down to a thinner white layer. The lacing is sparse. The smell is a little spicy with some wheat and just a very light aroma of funk. The taste is a little boozy with some spice and some grapes in there. The mouthfeel is bubbly and a little creamy. Not a bad brew. Pretty decent stuff for a saison.

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Photo of ultralarry2006
3.46/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 750 ml. bottle. Leaves a big, crazy, three finger, off-white, foamy, and rocky head that has excellent retention, and leaves excellent lacing. Body is a cloudy orange tinted gold.

Smell - tart and sour horseblanket, unsalted saltine crackers, and faintly, some grassy and herbal hops.

Taste - exactly as the smell indicates. A wash of tart and sour horseblanket over unsalted saltine crackers, and some faint grassy and herbal hops.

Mouthfeel - medium to thin bodied, some puckering from the tartness, very effervescent.

Drinkability - this is a decent beer. Also, its abv is just a little high for it to be a sessionable beer.

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Photo of cadenwhitaker
3.46/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a 22oz bomber into a glass flower vase.

I feel like I did everything right. I poured it into a large vessel so the sediment would mix (rather then having 1 pour be completly clear and the next one the consistency of mud). I let it breathe and warm into near room temperature.

However, this is good, I mean I really like Saison's, but this one isn't breaking any ground for me. It tastes like any other Saison that I've had... is that a bad thing? I don't know.

I guess I'm expecting more variety from this category, I don't know why, maybe I'm used to categories like IPA where no two breweries will make the same thing.

Overall a good, drinkable farmhouse that I enjoyed but not enough to get me to stop drinking Hennepin or Dupont

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Photo of tjkinate
3.47/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Been on a Saison kick lately.

A: 1+ finger soapy white head with little retention settling to a few bubbles atop this transparent golden bodied brew.

S: Floral, honey, grass with hints of spice.

T: Like the smell, heavy honey, lemon with a sweet spice undertone.

M: Well carbonated, medium bodied.

O: Good beer, but I like funk in my Saisons.

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Photo of bmwats
3.48/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 750 ml bottle into a becker.

A: Golden hue. Heavy carbonation. pours a giant, bubbly, white head. Craters slowly leaving a mountainous landscape, and plenty of sticky residue. Lots of beer ring lacing. Head renews with each pour.

S: Fermented raspberry and cherry.

T: Baked white bread with light flavor of fermented fruit.

M: Light body with a light fruity refreshing quality. Pungent, steely, aftertaste.

D: Refreshing. The high alcohol quality is absent.

Atmosphere is pretty solid. Nice hue, giant head, and lots of lacing. Nose is mostly fermented berried. Flavor is a light bready flavor with the same light fermented fruit flavor. Overall, this is a pretty good quaff.

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Le Merle from North Coast Brewing Co.
3.92 out of 5 based on 1,338 ratings.
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