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Cantillon Iris | Brasserie Cantillon

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Cantillon IrisCantillon Iris

Brewed by:
Brasserie Cantillon
Belgium | website

Style: Lambic - Unblended

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
From the brewery's website: "Although it is a spontaneous fermentation beer, the Iris is very different from the Lambic. The amber colour and the bitter and slightly caramelized taste make it a complex beer."

Added by TheLongBeachBum on 12-05-2002

User Reviews
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Reviews: 488 | Ratings: 1,985
Photo of pagriley
4.48/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Dec. 2014 750ml into snifter

Pours slightly hazy amber gold with slight head and ring. Good cascade of carb
Funk, tart and a touch of sweet malt / caramel on the nose
Taste is classically funky Cantillon with a bit of bitterness to finish
A touch stickier and less dry than regular gueuze

Overall a delicious beer - something worth seeking out

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Photo of NilocRellim
4.34/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Had the Iris 2006

Pours a cloudy blood-orange colour. Smells tart, syrupy, white grape, and gooseberry. Very tart taste, sour, floral notes, oak/woodiness, and very dry. Aged is the way to go!

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Photo of YodersBeerEmporium
4.44/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Been wanting to try an Iris for quite some time! Thanks Pete for the opportunity! Very complex beer! Great easy drinking amber beer with some light carb

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Photo of rodbeermunch
4.54/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Looked ipa-ish, vibrant orange and yellow. Lots of lemon and aged hops in the aroma, complex, super nice. Bright oak, french.

Taste lots of white wine notes, green apple, super mild caramel still comes out dry. Damn I love this beer.

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Photo of Jow
5/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Great taste this on!

The flower aroma mixes perfectly with the lambic and everything balanced to well.
For me I don't notice any oak and this is something I like!

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Photo of Stolenface1
4.76/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Pours a light amber/copper color into Crooked Stave tulip. Aroma of lemon, grapefruit, oak, honey, hay, funk, earthy, floral, herbs and wheat. Flavor follows the aroma with a nice tart/sour level and a very miniscule sweetness on the finish that plays perfectly with the herbal/floral/earthy Hallertau dry hop. The feel is light with perfect carbonation. I have absolutely nothing bad to say about this wonderful creation from Cantillon. Could be a touch more sour for my tastes but balance is really the key here. A+

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Photo of chrysanthemumbler
5/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

i don't know if any of the people who say "barnyard" in a beer tasting have ever been in a barnyard. If they had ever mashed and bruised and rolled the hollow stem of an iris between their fingers until the cells between the strands turned into the watery, tugging, viscous, liquid that runs down your legs after the second time on a tart day in your cycle then I don't know why they wouldn't just say that this tastes like that.

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Photo of angrybabboon
4.36/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Consumed 12/31/15, review from notes

Note: 2013 bottle

A: Medium amber orange, with some honey around the edges - nicely hazy and cloudy - pours with a large, fluffy, off-white head, fades to a small, wispy cap, leaves a medium sized collar, leaves nice streaks of lacing

S: Hyper sour in a way that only Cantillon can seem to do - seriously sharp sourness - highly acidic, with some straight-up lemon - decidedly tart - some lactic notes - sharp, ripe oak and chewy wood - flowery and lightly earthy - some pale and caramel malts at the base

T: Sour with more sour - sharp, intense, puckering sourness - bright and acidic with some lemon - highly tart - funky with some serious barnyard and horse blanket - rich, woody oak - pale and amber malts very faintly at the base - earthy and dry - sourness lingers into the aftertaste

M: Medium to light, crisp, sharp and acidic, low carbonation, dry finish

O: Truly wild

I dug this out of my cellar to ring in 2016. And it's about as amazing as one would expect from anything crafted by Cantillon. Iris is very sour, very tart, very woody, yet distinctly different than some others (e.g., Cantillon Classic Gueuze). It's flowery with some earth and some sweetness. This begs to be sipped for a very long time.

So hilariously sour. Maybe not as good as classic Gueuze. amazing though

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Photo of nodder
4.33/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

750 ml bottle. December 2014 vintage.

A- Slightly hazy orange/amber with a quickly fading thin white head. Little to no lacing.

S- Sour citrus, honey, funky yeasts, vinegar. Great smelling sour.

T- Bitter lemondrops, white grapes, an oak/earthy flavor and quite sour. Little to no alcohol in the taste.

M- Light and dry with alot of carbonation. This should be sipped but I could quaff it quite easily.

O- Sours are hit and miss with me, so I wasn't sure what to expect with this one. What a pleasant surprise. I really loved this beer. Recommended.

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Photo of Ri0
4.3/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured 750ml into Teku glass. Bottled December 2013. Cloudy blood orange color with a dirty white 2.5 finger head. Fades into a thick collar and leaves some lacing. Aroma is quite tart and hoppy, some similarities to a IIPA aged in barrels with added brett. Flavor is nice and tart with a plenty of hops even after 2 years. I pick up bitter grapefruit and lemon zest along with balsamic vinegar and some nice funk. Acidic and dry feel with a lighter body. Yes, this was magnificent.

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Photo of rodmanfor3
4.19/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This beer can be polarizing.

Poured with a slight chill on the beer, the initial taste pulls the palate in three directions: first sour, then hoppy, then strongly bitter. I was on the fence as to whether I liked this beer or not when I first tried it. The Cantillon label urged me to give it a second and third chance.

As the beer warms, the flavor begins to come together nicely in a bitter, sour grapefruit wave.

Definitely more enjoyable at room temperature as a sipping beer to give the beer time to open up.

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Photo of zoober911
4.71/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Bottle date January 18, 2015 -

A - A rigorous pour yields a small head. Retains for a moderate length of time but fades into the glass. Pours a darker shade of amber, a brick color. Generally cloudy with some transparency.

S - The smell of beautiful funk. Slight hop presence from the dry hop but mostly masked by funk some fruit characteristics and oak vanillas.

T - Pleasant tartness, soft sourness. Plums. French oak vanillas. Blended together they linger, dancing I your mouth. Slight sour puckering on the back of your tongue, makes your mouth water thinking about it. Very well balanced.

F - Soft mouthfeel. Light carb level as expected. Crisp.

O - Overall, this is another great option from Cantillon. Very well balanced. Tart - sour - funky - delicious - refreshing.

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Photo of JackieKu
3.74/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

750ml bottle. Bottled on 2015-01-19. It has a beer cork as well as a wine cork.

A: Hazy amber. Poured with small amount of foam.
S: Tart sourness. A little balsamic. Figs.
T: Sharp sourness. Balsamic. Plum. Low bitterness. Fruits seeds.
M: Light bodied.
O: Initially I thought I am not a big fan of the beers that sour, but I found it is more complex and interesting than that.

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Photo of brentk56
4.25/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Pours a cloudy amber color capped by an inch of foam; stands of lacing hang around

Smell: Funky and sour with a pithy aspect

Taste: Sour and funky, with a pithy character; the funk builds into the finish which is also quite dry

Mouthfeel: Light to medium body with moderate to high carbonation

Overall: Intensely sour and well-crafted; the hops add a very interesting edge

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Photo of Phil-Fresh
4.34/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A: Deep sour, funkiness upfront with a delicate aroma followed by a bit of oak.

A: Clear amber color with a thick off-white head with solid retention.

T: Complex layers of sourness with a subtle woody oak presence. Slightly acidic and lightly tannic, the beer has an almost white wine quality.

M: Light bodied with moderate carbonation. The beer is refreshing and not overly acidic. Moreover, it completely masks any alcoholic warmth.

O: Tasty! The subtle complexity of the aroma and flavors make this beer easy to drink and quite enjoyable.

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Photo of kojevergas
4.21/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

75cl green glass bottle served at One Pint Pub in Helsinki into a Cantillon glass. Expectations were high given the brewery. Cost was 20 euro.

Bottled 17 March 2014. 6% ABV.

Reviewed from notes taken in July 2015.

No bubble show forms as it's poured.

HEAD: ~2 inches wide. Off-white colour. Not real frothy or foamy, but adequately thick for the style. Retention is nice - ~4-5 minutes. Leaves no rings of lacing on the sides of the glass as it recedes.

BODY: Clear vibrant gold with superb clarity. Clean, with no visible sediment within.

It's a nice looking lambic, but I've seen far better (especially from Cantillon). Appears adequately carbonated.

AROMA: Wild lambicus yeast(s) and intricate bacterial notes lend this its characteristic sourness - which seems to be about a 5-6/10 in terms of intensity, and is supplemented brilliantly by funkiness. Hay-like musty barnyard notes add more complexity, playing into the dry oak wood beautifully. Subtle wine-like fruit and rose grapeskin also come(s) through. The oak is marvelous.

Aromatic intensity is above average. Suggests a gestalt beer with remarkable intricacy, subtlety, and depth. I find little here in terms of hops (aside from the above-noted fruitiness), and no off-notes are evident.

TASTE: Hints of sour/green apple play into the guiding sourness nicely (which is indeed a 5-6/10 in terms of intensity), with complex layers of lactic acid, lambicus yeast, and wild bacteria lending the flavour profile stunning subtlety. Slightly vinegary but never acetic, with a gorgeous musty oak wood presence guiding the flavour profile and lending the beer natural cohesion, tying it together. Fruity grapeskin and appleskin acids play off the sourness at the heart of the beer. Make no mistake, this beer is alive.

Gestalt, with impeccable balance and notes of rose and white wines that will dazzle even the most sophisticated wine drinker. To nitpick, its depth of flavour could be more impressive, and fruiting this lambic might make it still better. But it's a lovely build for a lambic, and the neutral barley malt melts seamlessly into the sourness, succumbing to the spell of the wild bacteria.

TEXTURE: Acidic as hell, but somehow still refreshing. Hides its alcohol content completely. Smooth, wet, and perfectly carbonated. Light bodied yet supple, with a great overall presence on the palate. The acidity accentuates the sour flavour, giving this beer a rare harmony of taste and texture.

OVERALL: A sublime brew from Cantillon, and testament to their deservedly high reputation. I'm glad I sought it out, and would happily pay the 20 euro pricetag again. Stunning drinkability coupled with high quality makes this tough to put down. Truly wonderful; I'm not sure I'll try a better beer this year.

High A- (4.21)

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Photo of peensteen
4.3/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Amber with a hazy ring of white head, no lace. Smell is funky, lemons, wet wood, orange, oak and white wine. Taste is tart and sour with citrus fruits, lemon and orange, vinous flavours, oak, a bit of floral hop. Medium-light carbonation, medium body. Another outstanding beer, certainly something I will be coming back to again as often as possible.

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Photo of swanfungus
4.31/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a beautiful auburn/orange color with a fantastic funky, fruity aroma. What follows is a delicious balance between the barnyard funk, sour/tartness, and fruit. Nice dry finish. A fantastic lambic.

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Photo of Roguer
4.36/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Beautiful bright orange/yellowish brew. Just a ring and light film of head, typical of the style.

The smell is amazing: a truly impressive amount of funk greets the nose in a few different ways. "Barnyard" or "horse blanket" as some would call it; I'm going with rustic, hay, almost a touch dirty, but in a delicious way.

The brew cannot truly deliver that incredible aroma to the palate perfectly, but it's a very funky, rustic brew. Straw, wheat, grainy malt; almost no sweetness; tart and lightly sour without being fruity.

Lively and very drinkable.

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Photo of ericdavidmorris
4.55/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

My very first Cantillon experience. Had on tap at Torst. An amber color, light head, good lacing retention for a sour. Very tart taste with floral notes. Complex beer to taste, very happy I tried it.

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Photo of MakeMineADoubleJack
4.48/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

My very first Cantillon!!! I practically trembled with the 6oz glass in my hand. I was very nervous about spilling it. Anyway, had it on tap at Norey's in Newport, RI as part of their "Sours and Lambics" tap takeover. This was a delightful beer. Floral, earthy, very tart. Bit of a citrus bite to it. What I enjoyed most was how delicate it was to the palate. Not cloying at all, not overly mouth puckering, and the back of my tongue didn't feel the burn certain sours provide. But these are masters of the art. Cantillon delivers!

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Photo of RollBounce
3.85/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

This is a different take then expected. sour dry and floral. not the same nose you get from their other beers. I feel other companies have copied this flavor.

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Photo of JohnCassillo
4.99/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

An incredible lambic. Absolutely on-the-nose with its sour flavor and aroma notes; a bright mix of citrus and fresh-cut grass that possesses just the right amount of bite. Feel is appropriately tart on the finish. Just a wonderful beer that does everything right for the style and then some.

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Photo of Zach136
4.34/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bottled March 17 2014, enjoyed June 27 2015.

Appearance: Sunburst orange, solid carb and head retention for a sour.

Aroma: Spicey and earthy, with light acidity, and the intriguing 'loon funk.

Flavor: Earthy with mild acidity.

Mouthfeel: Bone dry, medium-low carb.

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.76/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

On tap at The Beer Belly in Albany, NY.

This one pours a murky straw yellow, a little of orange, with a quarter inch head, and no lacing.

This one smells pretty damn sour, with lemon sweet tarts, and some sour grapefruit. Smells really nice and inviting.

This is interesting, I've never tasted an unblended lambic before. There is a bit of bitterness on the end, most likely from the dry-hopping. This has a good amount of citrus flavor, mainly sour and bitter grapefruit and lemon rind, with a pretty intense sweet tart candied flavor. There's some old woody flavors as well. This is pretty fantastically earthy, and just tasty.

This is light bodied, with a lively level of carbonation. Super super drinkable.

A pretty unique sour from Cantillon, and also a pretty delicious one.

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Cantillon Iris from Brasserie Cantillon
95 out of 100 based on 488 ratings.