Cantillon Iris - Brasserie Cantillon

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Cantillon IrisCantillon Iris

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BA SCORE
94
outstanding

464 Reviews
THE BROS
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Reviews: 464
Hads: 1,849
rAvg: 4.22
pDev: 8.53%
Wants: 711
Gots: 419 | FT: 28
Brewed by:
Brasserie Cantillon visit their website
Belgium

Style | ABV
Lambic - Unblended |  5.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: TheLongBeachBum on 12-05-2002

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."
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 464 | Hads: 1,849
Photo of zaphodchak
3.65/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Churchkey for Zwanze Day 2011.

One finger fine white head, golden-amber body.

Powerful vinegar funk on the nose.

The taste is incredibly sour; monolithic vinegar dominates. Slightly musty with some very bitter lemon and possibly arugula.

Mouthfeel is thin, not very carby.

Too much too late? I can't even imagine how sour this might be fresh. If you're seeking balance, avoid. If you're a sour fanatic with a palate to appreciate the super-tart, might be worth a shot. (483 characters)

Photo of Hojaminbag
3.65/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Yellow body with a fluffy white head that doesn't stick around long or leave much lacing.

The smell has some sourness, a musty aroma and a bit vinegar, but all of these smells are rather subdued. Normally, I expect a more powerful aroma from a Cantillion.

This is an interesting one. A bit of sourness comes through, but nothing huge or puckering. Then the musty and vinegar notes come through, but they are even more subdued than the straight sourness. Of the three characteristics, the musty ones stand out the most. Next comes something one won't find in a Cantillion much: a hop profile. There is a definite spicy and slightly bitter hop presence here that is at least as prominant as any of the the other flavors in this brew. I would guess these hops are added with greater gusto than in other Cantillions, but I would also guess that they are not aged, or at least not aged very much.

Full mouthfeel, not especially puckering.

Drinkability is OK. This is definitely not my favorite Cantillion, but thing I will say is that it is interesting and not bad at all. In fact, I think I would recommend Iris for people who are new to sours and want to get started. With just a touch of sourness and a familiar hop presence, this is a good transition beer. (1,259 characters)

Photo of Slatetank
3.65/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Stakem for sharing this 2007 version bottled in 09 with kegatron and me. Enjoyed chilled from a cantillon tulip and allowed to gently warm.

The color is deep golden bordering on amber with a thick cap of light beige with ultra tight bead. Spots of lace stick with translucent clarity in general. The smell of wood, like a humidor with toasted oak and tobacco and mild hop accents with a herbal and light hint of earthy and sweet malt with light stone fruit presence w/ other dried fruit notes. The feel is highly acidic and bitter with tannic elements dominating, slight woody dry texture and dry earthy feel with tart fruit aspect and mild vinegar-like tinge giving an acidic edge to the toasted element w/ dry and warming w/ slight bitter feel in the mostly sharp finish.

The dry sharp flavor with lots of acidity is in the taste right off the bat with hops and oak that give a mild cedar like aromatic wood element w/ mellow bark and almost grapefruit like sour fruit in the tertiary. The woody and citrus combo is intense with both sour and bitter blending to give a bitter herbal and lemon rind taste which also has a gentle oak accent. The hops seem to come out more toward the finish as the woody sour flavors are all over the entry to middle taste. The taste is so puckering w/ light bitter leafy edge it seems at times like a juxtaposition and others like a wierd tug of war. The drinkability is not that high for me, it is interesting and intense, but overall seems like an assault on the palate without any where to retreat, this stirs the acid in the stomach and is a bit overwhelming mixed with other lambics enjoyed, it just comes off too sharp ...it would be difficult to have multiple samples in my opinion. (1,738 characters)

Photo of AgentMunky
3.66/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

From the Mikkeller bar in SF. 2004 vintage. Bottles in 2006.

A: Clear orange. Light lace. No bubbles.

S: Weird and funky and pleasant. Beautiful bright fruit and sweaty horses.

T: Huh. Initially very tart. It develops into something fruity and wild and barnyardy and floral and confusing. The finish is clean and full of Brett.

M: Dry-tart. Crisp? Nice.

O: I guess(?) I'm glad I tried it, but never would again -- especially for this price. I'm not sure I 'get' it. Something is going on, but what? Paired with Fiscali cheddar. (536 characters)

Photo of yeahnatenelson
3.68/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to Drew for bringing this to a recent tasting so I could finally get around to trying it. Cheers.

Anno 2007.

Appearance -- Pours a rich ruddy amber with two fingers of foamy beige head.

Smell -- Salted lemon, red wine vinegar, and an iota of grainy malt sweetness. In addition, there is plenty of barnyard funky brett, though lacto tartness is not present.

Taste -- Very acidic, indeed. Tangy, slightly sharp cider vinegar and salted lemon is in the forefront with Granny Smith and horsey funk.

Mouthfeel -- Medium in body with lively effervescence.

Drinkability -- While I certainly enjoyed this, it seemed to lack a little bit of the character I normally associate with lambics, namely lacto tartness to offset the sharp acetic flavor, and perhaps the lack of wheat addition was throwing me off. As I was drinking it, I couldn't help but note the lack of depth that I associate with, say, Cantillon Gueuze. That said, it's unique, a must try, and one that I look forward to revisiting in the future. (1,018 characters)

Photo of cbl2
3.68/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11/1/2006 $14.99 750 mL 5.00% Bottled in 2004 according to the cork.

Appearance:

Pours a slightly hazy orange with extremely fine carbonation that leads to a quarter inch of foamy white head that settles rapidly.

Aroma:

Tart and funky with a slightly sweet pear aspect to it.

Taste/Mouthfeel:

Fine carbonation yields a smooth mouthfeel that is dominated by a tart oaky flavor. Hints of pear and apple are present underneath the intense tartness. Finish is wet wood. (486 characters)

Photo of Spider889
3.74/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

2004 vintage from the cellar at Monk's Cafe.

Boy was this little guy expensive!

The server brought this up from the cellar and you could tell there was some water damage on the label, more than half was peeling/rotted off. I think there was something sludgy around the outside of the cork too, because right before using the corkscrew the server rushed away and opened this out of sight.

The beer looks nearly flat with absolutely no head at all. It was a dirty copper color.

Smelled very musty with quite sweet queuze-like moments. Under that rotted oak planks are strong. Dry brett and lactic hints of green apple also grew as the beer began to open up more.

The taste is very bitter up front for the style. Not puckeringly sour as some Cantillon can be. Super dry and smokey with notes of earth and trodden grass along with some black cherry as well.

Sadly neither the funk nor the sour quite lived up to my hopes for my first lambic so old.

The mouthfeel is very dry and as acidic as it can get before becoming outright sour. There was an almost gritty/dusty element as well that wasn't overly appealing.

Overall this was a nice beer to try, but I'd take Classic Gueuze over this any day. Would love to give this another shot though someday, especially on a fresh bottle to compare. (1,295 characters)

Photo of rastaman
3.75/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Kind of strange really, very sour yeasty aroma, with hints of parsley, lemongrass and flowers. Quite sour and then bitter, with a grassy earthy flavour, complex and different. I don't think this quite worked, that green stemmy, flowery quality, didn't seem to fit alongside the sour yeastyness. Still, hardcore. (311 characters)

Photo of phichifiji00
3.75/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a taster glass at Beachwood BBQ Sourfest:

Appearance: cloudy yellow/orange, white head which quickly fades.

Smell: Citrus, acidic, tart, sour, a little funky, sour apple, apricot aromas.

Taste: Citrus, Sour, honey flavors towards the middle, funky. Something seemed off towards the end.

Mouthfeel: light-medium bodied.

Overall: Not my favorite from Cantillon, but still well worth the experience. (413 characters)

Photo of backpackeraaron
3.76/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Went on a weekend trip to Belgium and this was one of the beers I bought.

Poured from bottle to fluted glass

A- Pours a nice golden color with no noticable head. (poured into 2 glasses) 1st was very clear and second contained some yeast and was a bit hazy which is not a bad thing.

S- Barnyard Funk, Citrus almost like I can tell what taste is coming, fruity herbal, not lemon, but hard to explain.

T- On the front end I taste some sweetness, in the middle perhaps some old wet grass and at the backend I taste loads of SOURNESS.

M- Carbonation level about what I expect. Probably around 2.5-3 volumes. The beer flows across the palate fairly easily till the sourness comes..

D- Not my favorite style of beer, but great for what it is. I can drink about 1 bottle, but thats about all. Not someting I would tell my friends they have to try, unless I just want to see the look on their faces. (898 characters)

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.77/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

750 mL bottle poured into a snifter. Bottled March 19, 2013.

Appearance - Deep orange. The head builds as I pour it. Ends up with a pretty decent creamy colored head. Murky body. Dark for a "lambic."

Smell - Quite hoppy. Hoppy with a citrus acidity. Equal quantities of maltiness and acidity.

Taste - Lemony sourness, but nothing like other Cantillons. Malt replaces grain and hay. Hoppy flavor throughout blends nicely with the sourness. Slightly bitter in the finish.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied, but less spritzy than other lambics. Medium carbonation.

Overall - Interesting experiment, but I prefer regular lambics over this. A lot of complexity is lost. (663 characters)

Photo of shbobdb
3.77/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Hmmm . . . I've had this beer before, but where? Ahh, yes, the De Proef Flemish Primitive Series!

What, blasphemy, you say? Not in the slightest. What a difference wheat makes, coupled with some hops, eh? This beer has the distinctive 'dead grandmother' taste found in the De Proef beers, with a nice earthy hop presence and just a hint of a lactic twang at the end. But this beer is much less sour than standard Cantillon fair.

A very interesting beer, to say the very least.

But let's get down to the specifics -- it pours a hazy bronze/orange with less bubbly than I'm used to in a gueuze (which isn't surprising, since it isn't a gueuze) and shockingly poor head-retention.

It smells strongly of rotting corpses and sour apples.

The taste continues the theme of the smell, with the corpse predominating followed by apricots and granny smith apples. There is a surprisingly hoppy finish -- tastes like an earthy continental hop to me, but I can't be sure which one, mingled with a very slight lactic edge.

The mouthfeel is quite thin, probably due to the lack of bubbly. Not unpleasant, mind you, but I think some added acidity from the carbonation would have helped the finish on this beer, as well as flesh it out a little. And this is with the 1900 Grand Cru being one of my favourite beers! So it isn't just a general aversion to lack of carbonation.

The drinkability on this beer is good. A strange experiment to be sure, and I guess the dead grandmother taste doesn't just come from brett, but rather brett's interaction with either the hops or the absence of wheat . . . or some other variable I'm not considering.

An interesting brew, but I'd rather have either gotten their gueuze (which I think tastes better) or a Flemish Primitive (which I think tastes similar, but at half the cost). But no regrets on purchasing it! And at $20 a bottle, that is saying something!

Bottled in: 2005
Drank: Early 2007 (1,945 characters)

Photo of biga7346
3.77/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into oversized wine glass, 2006.

A: Hazy, turbid, flat, little carbonation and no head retention, a pretty amberish-rose color. Very little lacing.

S: Big wine notes maybe burgundy, tartness was surprisingly mild, spritzy, resiny and an under-current of mustiness which I like very much and would like to have had more of it.

T: Mineral water, resin, burgundy, maybe dry sherry up front with soft horse blanket in the finish with some acidity. Very refreshing. (471 characters)

Photo of CrellMoset
3.77/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cantillon Iris, Vintage 2005, courtesy of proteus93 - thanks! Split three ways w/ proteus and dkachur, w/ my portion poured into a brandy snifter.

Appearance: Pours an incredibly hazy, turgid golden yellow, dirty and gross, with no head of which to speak and only a very thin, fine-bubbled collar of off-white bubbles. Not unreasonable for the style, but I can't say it's pleasant to look at.

Aroma: Fruity and funky as hell, though only slightly sour. Cherry notes and apple skins, tossed around in a barn. The earthy funky horseblanket is intense in this one, and the sourness - though delicate and well-blended - has a slight acidic, vinegary quality. Pretty good, nonetheless.

Taste: Sour funk. 'Nuff said. There are very few notes here other than that. Acidic, only slightly-fruity tartness, all-encompassing, though not really overpowering. That is, it's not as flavorful as I'd like, either up front or any other way. Slightly disappointing.

Mouthfeel: Crisp, due to the sourness, but in a thick blanket. Overall, it's a little less lively than I'd expected or would like, though not bad, as it is incredibly soft and delicate.

Drinkability: If you like the aforementioned sour funk, it's quite possible that you'll enjoy this brew immensely - I just didn't find it too terribly complex, unfortunately. I can appreciate what it was and what it was trying to be however, and that, coupled with the low alcohol, makes me think that it must be pretty drinkable. (1,470 characters)

Photo of magictrokini
3.78/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

2005 vintage. This is the first unblended lambic I've tried. Pours hazy orange-gold with a bubbly white head that quickly disappears. Musty aroma of yeast, lemon, apple, spice, and old wood. Taste is fruity, citrus sweet up front, but instantly turns into a dank acidic sourness with an apple wine/vinegar bite. As it warmed the sourness lightened up just a bit. Dry, sweet finish akin to a Flemish. (399 characters)

Photo of stakem
3.78/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

750ml bottle, '07 vintage bottled in '09 shared with some friends and poured into a matching Cantillon long stemmed tulip. The brew appears amber in color with an off-white to tan cap that maintains pretty solid retention for the style from a constant stream of carbonation rising to the surface. A light swirl revives the tan cap once it fades.

The smell of this brew is bold with damp woody character upfront. More smells reveal a bit of herbal hop character that blends into a fruity aspect. A tangy lactic component is throughout with a very pronounced earthy, damp mildew-like character somewhat similar to moist cork. It smells quite enjoyable but individually the scents of this brew are a bit contrasting and unexpected when mixed together.

The taste is tangy initially with an equally bold flavor of damp old wood and must just like the aroma indicates. It is both herbal with hoppy bitterness and earthy with a bit of dark fruited aspect. It is quite tangy and drying on the palate yet brings forth some salivation factor. As the brew warms up, there is a toasty flavor that seems to be like a toffee sort of grain indication or perhaps more reasonably a toasty depth of character imparted by the barrel aging. If possible, I would give this a 4.25 for taste, so I'll round up to a 4.5.

This is a medium bodied brew with a lively level of modest to high carbonation. There is not much abv impact but the combination of sourness and herbal bitterness is very trying on the palate. I enjoyed this but the combination of bitterness and sourness overall degraded this brews drinkability for me. Even though this brew was split equally between 4 people, I had a hard time finishing my ~5-6 oz. To this brews credit it was very unique with bold enjoyable barrel character. I wouldn't mind having a fresh one of these for comparison. (1,839 characters)

Photo of dasenebler
3.78/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

375ml, 2007 edition, bottled January 2010.

For a three-year old beer, this stuff still looks great. A hard pour produces a thick, off-white head atop a hazy, light amber body. Great retention and lacing, which might have something to do with this being an atypical, all-barley Lambic.

Aroma is funky and acidic, bordering on vinegary. A touch floral, with a mineral character as well.

Man, this particular Cantillon is a double-wallop: not only is there that signature dry sourness, but also a high bitterness from the use of fresh hops. Funky barnyard flavors are apparent, enhanced by the earthy hop flavor. Touch of citrusy hops on the finish-- very different for a Cantillon. Acidity is citric, but also with that same ripe apple and strawberry thing I tend to get from most Lambics. Mouthfeel is fuller do to the exclusive use of malted barley. The carbonation was perfect and effervescent at first, but faded fast.

All of the Cantillon beers are intense, but this one is especially potent due to the bitterness. It borders on overpowering, but still remains drinkable, just not as refreshing as some of this brewery's other Lambics. (1,142 characters)

Photo of mlhyatt
3.79/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 750ml into tulip glass

A- a murky brownish tan. Nothing impressive. Lots of foam that lasts and lasts.

S- this is the best part. Lots of fruitiness with a funkyness that makes your cheeks pucker before the first sip.

T- it starts off delicious. Again lots of fruit and a sourness that that wasn't as puckering as i expected it to be. It remembered me of a cider a little bit. Then there is this strange taste on the back. It's bitter and funky, and completely ruined the taste for me.

M- full bodied. Tenses up your cheeks. Very nice mouthfeel.

O- that weird bitterness on the back end of the beer completely ruined it for me. If it wasn't for that then this beer would have been amazing. (707 characters)

Photo of IBUnit63
3.8/5  rDev -10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

100th review!

Vintage 2004 poured from bottle into champagne flute...

Honey-colored, amply-carbonated with yeasty head - slowly dissipates with moderate lacing. Sparkling characteristic provides a nice Champagne aura.

Tartness is very pronounced and pungent - aroma spreads with aid of carbonation quickly - when glass is on table can sense even when stepping away. Yeast and carbonation are very abundant here.

As expected, sour-sour-sour with strong backbone of yeast. Opens up after warming. Tastes very well-made but admittedly not for me. Slight rubber tire aftertaste - oxidation?

Bright, tingly feel and finish; burnt rubber from possible oxidation is off-putting but does not destroy.

Gets better as it warms - again, non for me but a very well-made effort nonetheless. (783 characters)

Photo of match1112
3.8/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a: cloudy yellowish orange in color with a full finger head that quickly disappears.

s: fruits and yeast with a touch of vinegar.

t: enough tart fruits to make you pucker. with an overly vinegar finish.

m: tart and crisp with a tongue tingling vinegary acidic finish.

o: an alright beer, not my favorite wild ale. probably wont buy again unless someone wants one in a trade. (378 characters)

Photo of ThePorterSorter
3.8/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle from Dec 2011

The beer pours a rich looking, cloudy amber with a thin, yet consistent, blanketing of a tan head. The nose is herbal and tart with just enough sweetness. The taste is rather harsh and the herbal characteristics in the nose are blunted by the beer's intense sour tartness. The mouthfeel is tart and acidic, but not overwhelmingly sour. The aftertaste is a mix of sweet and sour with a slightly lingering bitterness, and tons of acidity. Not the best cantillon I've had and I'm not sure what the hype is...still a good sour. (545 characters)

Photo of Stigs
3.82/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

375ml bottle, vintage 2005 (corked 2007)...served in an Ommegang chalice

A - one solid finger of bubbly off-white foam, falls to a thin layer within a few minutes. the beer is very hazy, and slightly dark gold in color.

S - very crisp and tart lemons, apples and pears. fruityness comes off incredibly fresh despite its age with green apples taking the forefront. light layers of funky grass and crackery malt underneath. very mouth watering and enticing.

T - tartness comes to the front very quickly before a massive dose of vinegary acidity takes over. overly ripened apples and white grapes struggle to find their way through.

M - light bodied wit sharp but not overly aggressive carbonation. finishes massively dry with lingering lemony tartness.

D - i've heard a few times that Iris is best fresh, perhaps this is a little past its prime as the acidity is pretty dominating. still good, especially if you're in the mood for it. would seek this out again, and drink it on the spot. (992 characters)

Photo of CharlesDarwin
3.82/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Originally reviewed on December 6, 2005. Pours a gushing honey orange hazy pour, with copious off-white head. Sour, ascerbic aroma of brandied pears, olives and some green grapes. Also a little parmesan cheese and some cask aroma. Sour dry flavor of olives, oak and more cheese, all very funky. I don’t have much experience with true Lambics, so I never know what to expect or garner from the situation, but even since my run in with NG Sour Brown, I’m more interested in wild fermented beers. This is wildly funky beer. In a way, I feel like I’m drinking green olive juice. Very much pimento in this beer. There’s a nice subtle, floral sweetness in the background that’s lifting and airy, and really brings a lot to the table. This is much more quaffable than my previous experiences with past lambics. Palate is some how dry at first, then finishes sweet and supple. A softness and smoothness to this beer. My bottle keeps gushing. Interesting and woody, a lot of tooth and chewiness. Enjoyable. Tastes old, which I appreciate. (1,034 characters)

Photo of deliriumfest
3.83/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Consumed on 1/9/09

2006 Vintage, bottled in 2008; 750 ml bottle

Served well chilled and poured into a champagne flute. Pours a nice copper color with a foamy white head. Has a very sour/funky aroma with a bit of citrus and very little fruit. The taste replicates the smell but also includes a barnyard taste and no real fruit or sweetness. Very little carbonation and a light body concludes with a dry finish. Easily drinkable though incredible tartness could be perceived as a turn off. Wish I would have bought a smaller bottle but would definitely try again. (563 characters)

Photo of stcules
3.83/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bronze color, very clean, with a beautiful compact almost white foam.
Malt in the smell, leather, slightly sour notes.
More delicate in the mouth, again some leather and malt feelings, but also some almost floral notes, delicate, anyway.
It is relatively sweet, with some honey note, too.
Less aggressive than other Cantillon products, still a very good beer. (359 characters)

Cantillon Iris from Brasserie Cantillon
94 out of 100 based on 464 ratings.