Cantillon Iris - Brasserie Cantillon

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Cantillon IrisCantillon Iris

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BA SCORE
97
world-class

1,823 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,823
Reviews: 474
rAvg: 4.36
pDev: 9.17%
Wants: 711
Gots: 416 | 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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,823 | Reviews: 474
Photo of MiScusi
4.62/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Golden orange with a big white head, doesn't stick around too long.

S- There is a really nice funk to offset the sourness. Similar to a stinky cheese rind.

T- Sour, yet a light fruitiness to it as well.

M/D- you work a lot of carbonation out of it just by swirling it so much to keep bringing back the aroma but it really offers a nice intese sourness with a good funky bite to it as well.

Photo of grub
4.2/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | 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 contributed this one. thanks again jan!

750ml bottle, capped and corked. front label says 2005, and the cork+back label say bottled 2007.

pours orangey amber with a small dense white head. the head drops fairly fast and leaves spotty lace behind.

aroma is good. floral, woody - cedar, oak, pine. bit of alcohol. lots of funk. horse blanket. it of leather. cider vinegar. lemon. bit of spice too that i can't quite place but i like.

taste is intense. lots of funk. big blast of sour lemon and malt vinegar. grapefruit. cracker and grain. white bread. hint of caramel, but no trace of accompanying sweetness.

mouthfeel is good. medium very fine carbonation level, well integrated and smooth. medium light body with a bone dry finish.

drinkability is good. the intense sourness makes it a bit of a sipper, but the other elements are balanced well.

Photo of WeisGuy
4.05/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Capital Ale House Innsbrook.

a - pours a bright golden color, very hazy, minimal white head with remnants around the edges

s - smells of sour grapes and wild flowers, some light vinegar, not as sour and tart smelling on the nose as many of Cantillon's other offerings,

t - like the nose, there are flavors of sweet then tart grapes up front, a little sour apple, quite earthy and woody with a less pungent sourness and tartness on the midpalate and finish, light vinegar notes, definitely isn't the palate encompassing sour-bomb that other Cantillons tend to be (and which I like), more reserved and subtle

m - I found this beer to have much less carbonation than other lambics, a bit too low, the lower carbonation made it kind of dull-feeling on the palate, I'd like to try this out of the bottle to see if there's more carbonation as other reviewers would seem to indicate, much gentler on the palate than many other lambics because of the more reserved sourness and tartness

d - as noted above, easier on the palate than many lambics, I enjoyed a large tulip no problem, I imagine a 750ml would be about right

Overall, another very nice sour ale from Cantillon. Definitely a different experience from the Kriek and Geueze, as this is more subtle and nuanced. Well worth trying.

Photo of Deuane
4.22/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Offered at the 2008 Zeno's Belgian Beer Fest 4/26/08.

A-Honey goledn yellow with a thin white head that dissipates to nothing.

S-Sourness is pronounced and pungent. Very much like a glass of sour grapes...nice.

T-As one would expect this is a sour one! But while the sourness dominates it is amazing to me how balanced it is. Sure it is like a liquid sweet-tart but a totally enjoyable one!

M-Medium-light body. Somewhat thin a fairly unexciting. The carbonation helps keep it interesting.

D-I have some to expect nothing but good to great beers from Cantillon and this one does not disappoint. Gets better with each and every sip. This a a very nice example of style.

Photo of Derek
4.57/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Vintage 2004.

A: Bronze with a fizzy, white head, initially some retention and hints of lace.

S: Earthy, metallic-mineral aroma, cider, tart/acidic aroma. Relatively mild & not overtly funky with subtle hints of barnyard.

T: Tart cider with biscuity malt undertones; metallic-earthiness; very pleasant leather-like quality; crisp tartness that isn't at all puckering.

M: Light to moderate body is well-carbonated, smooth and slightly acidic.

D: Very drinkable for a lambic.

Photo of HopHobo
3.08/5  rDev -29.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

2007 vintage poured into a beer tulip

A-yellow honey colored pour with a respectible finger head that leaves a lacing over time.

S-tart sourness and yeast dominate the smell coming from this bottle...a wild one to be sure.

T&M-Sooo sour...I live in a state that has a great brewery for sour beers (jolly pumpkin) and this beer blows it away as far as sourness goes. Became hard for me to drink as it warmed so much so that I avoided letting it hit the sour sensors on my tongue. A great flavor that can be tasted beyond the sour, but difficult to get to because the sourness is so overpowering.

D-A good beer for the style no doubt about it, very glad I tried this beer, but I doubt I will ever buy it again given the price and some of the difficulties I had drinking it.

Photo of albern
1.76/5  rDev -59.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

This is either the worst Belgian beer I've ever had, or the beer went bad. I popped the cap and beer started to come through the cork. This is a bad sign, and it is possible that the beer just went south somewhere along the bottling process. If not, yikes. The beer pours a slightly frothy head, plenty carbonated, but the smell is rancid vinegar, maybe some safflower, and other tart flowery herbs. The taste was largely undrinkable. Bitter, sour, flower petal bitterness, perfumey, just not at all good. As I said, it is possible the beer went bad on me, which I hope, because otherwise this was a total waste of a ten dollar purchase.

Photo of IBUnit63
3.8/5  rDev -12.8%
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.

Photo of JDV
2.78/5  rDev -36.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Bottle shared by gueuzelover. Thanks!

Pours a cloudy orange dull color with a spritzy, non-lasting white head. Smell is sour peach, funky barnyard and fruity. Flavor was exceptionally dry to me, with almost no sweetness, and a light sour vinegary character and bland fruity notes than need a little more sweetness to make them pop. Honestly not too impressive flavorwise for me, with a thin dry unsweetened apricot or peach sourness. Unique and while not bad, didn't wow me with its dullness of flavors, complex as they were.

Photo of Goliath
3.5/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours an amber color and is cloudy. A thin white head sits on top. Aroma is subtle for a lambic. Typical oak characteristics giving a sour nose. Also a little yeasty. Taste is extremely bitter. Essence of fruit, yeast and wheat is also present. Makes your mouth pucker and water for more. Mouthfeel is on the thin side with a low level of carbonation. Drinkability is fairly low as the tartness will eventually overwhelm the drinker. A nice bottle to share.

Photo of SacoDeToro
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Vintage 2004

Opened a well settled bottle and got a bright and clear yellow pour with a rocky white head.

The aroma was full of brettanomyces barnyard funk, lactic acid, some acetic note, and mild cheesiness.

The flavor was pretty tart and acidic. The beer had a clean biscuity backbone (very subtle, but nice). As Iris is 100% barley malt, it was absent of the typical wheatiness that is in nearly all Cantillons. There was a nice grapefruit pith bitterness in the finish.

The carbonation was spritzy the mouthfeel was light and crisp. Slightly fuller bodied that the Classic Gueuze.

Very refreshing and highly drinkable. It's nice to have unblended lambics to be reminded of what these beers can taste like in their "naked" state.

Photo of Bobzilla
4.35/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2004 Vintage.
A golden yellow, but not as hazy as some others have mentioned. Light ivory lacy head. Not a sugary beer, so it didn't 'poof' up like some Belgian beers.

The initial nose was sour, but with a grapefruit tartness. As it warmed, some other citrus notes emerged, and a light hint of woodiness. The lambic mustiness/horsey/odd? smell comes through unmistakably.
The taste is superb. After an initial bite of sourness, the grapefruit and orange notes come through. There is that lambic tartness with the herbal character that it imparts. The flavor is unmistakably Cantillon.
Mouthfeel was light, crisp and fizzy. Similar to a champagne.

I would say that this beer is more drinkable than the "4" rating may imply, but the smell and taste are so powerful, that I can't imagine having more than the one bottle in any sitting.

Excellent with an aged Gouda or/and Chimay cheese and a good Pate.

Photo of NEhophead
4.02/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12.7 fl oz green bottle, capped and corked; served in a flute.
Vintage 2005; bottled in 2007.

Pours a light champagne in color with a slight haze. Carbonation-filled, somewhat creamy white head that recedes after a moment leaving a ring of bubbles around the flute's rim.

Intense notes of sourness: raspberry, apple, orange, cranberry. Moderate notes of oak giving a very dry cedar nose. Spicy, dry clove and pepper.

Slick, intense sourness imparting young, unripened berry and citrus flavors. The sourness lasts throughout the sip, but is practically overwhelmed by the swarming dry, cedar flavor. Pepper into the finish along with a grappa-like alcohol flavor that is just a touch too strong/young.

A light, medium in body; champagne-like in texture with lots of carbonation. Dry, almost waxy in spots due to the dry flavor profile.

As always, a unique and pleasant offering from Cantillon. Heavy on the cedar and notes of oak is how Iris will be remembered. Still quite young and not quite in balance. I would be very interested in sampling earlier versions.

Photo of kmo1030
4.08/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2004 vintage.
slightly hazy gold/orange, seems to have a head when first poured, but it quickly fades to a ring.
quite musty smelling, with hay and hosey smells, tart citric and earthy apple skin aromas. i get a piney sort of aroma too, like cedar or something. that may not be a good description though.
the taste has a variety of fruity flavors in it. i find peach, apricot, lots of lemon, apple (like crabapple actually). pineapple show up at the finish. i can't say that i really taste any oak, but i ge the feeling that the oak smoothed things out a bit. the same vaguely piney flavor is here as in the aroma. there is something slightly sweet underneath all the sourness, but i cannot pick out what it might be at all. the entire experience has a very earthy edge to it.
the body is medium with very delicate carbonation.
good drinkability. smoother than it intitially appears, probably one of the most easily quaffable cantillon beers.

Photo of mikesgroove
4.37/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

2004 Vintage, capped and corked bottle, served right out of the fridge and poured into a chalice

A - Poured a very nice and very hazy orange colored amber. Some small bits of sediment floating through but not really too much at all. A nice amount of carbonation could be seen upon the poor, bubbling up from the bottom in the form of nice chains reaching toward the top. A nice and tight small head of white colored foam graced the top of the glass, perhaps being about one inch high, before finally sliding down and leaving nothing more then the tiniest of films across the top. The side glass presence was there, but very thing, and towards the end of the session, essentially non existent.

S - The aroma was hugely filled with sour yeast. Just an enormously big aroma here with lots of fruity esters floating around and mingling inside. The main player I found here had to be the yeast. Such a big presence you could almost pick it up from across the room. Lots of notes of sour grapes and apples, perhaps a cherry in there as well. There was a light and delicate presence of earthy grass notes which I was able to pick up in the background, as well as a light note of some yeast. Very intriguing and welcoming. But the big story here, by far was how sour this one was, really a very bitter exploration of the senses and very bright.

T - The flavor followed along with the aroma perfectly, keeping lock step with each little subtly I had found inside the aroma. There was a deep sour and tart flavor explosion right off the bat, as soon as the first sip hit your tongue, you new how it was going to be. Lots of yeast, giving it a very grape, prune, or peach like flavor. Very light though, in as much as the flavors themselves was not heavy, but rather quite welcoming and inviting. Huge fruit like flavors here coming from all angles, as each sip seemed to open the door to the next flavor coming through. There was some cherry like sweetness buried in here as well, with just the slightest notes of a grassy hoppy like flavor mingling in underneath everything. The base was solid with a good wheat like flavor, and some light cereal grains. The finish, was excellent, really letting the flavors bend around and explore. Long drawn out sour finish, that you could taste for a good few minutes after it was done.

M - The feel on this was excellent as well. A light to medium bodied ale, which really had a very nice little kick to it courtesy of the carbonation. Never really thin or slick, and not really dull in any way, this was simply a nice way to let the flavors speak for them selves and really start to explore.

D - Outstanding. Sometimes you will have something that is so sour that it is hard to take more then just the mildest of sips; however this was not the case here as this one was really very drinkable. Such a nice light profile mixed in with a solid carbonation, and very low ABV, made it a sipper, but only at of courtesy for the style. You could easily finish the bottle and come back and ask for some more later on.

Overall I would have to say that this one is an absolutely excellent selection. If you were just getting into sour beers this might be a good stepping stone as well, because it is not extremely mouth busting, but at the same time will give you a very clear picture of where the style can go. I would definitely have to recommend this one and will more then likely be trying it sometime in the near future.

Photo of BBeerL
4.79/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Whenever I want to treat myself I usually by this beer. The bright green citrusy hoppy taste mixed with the old hop traditional musk of a lambic is like nothing I have ever tasted before. The time in aok really does wonders for this beer. I felt it takes the harsh edges off the beer and really bring all the flavors together. Great beer!!!

Photo of DrJay
4.18/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2004 vintage.
This one poured very clear and a beautiful gold colour. There was a bit of fizzy, short-lived off-white foam, a bit of a ring supported by constant bubbling. The aroma was very floral with a nice tartness, a bit of acetic acid and light funk. The flavour was quite tart with berry notes, a bit of vinegar and a light sweetness. Dry, fruity sourness lingered. Apple/cider character developed as it warmed. Light bodied with some residual sugar present, ample carbonation and some dryness. A tasty, mouthwatering beer with restrained sourness that wasn't overpowering. Good stuff!

Photo of RidiculedDisplay
4.39/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Found a bottle of this at a local liquor store.

Appearance: Pours with a lively one finger white head, which settles within minutes to a quarter-finger. Lacing is initially spotty upon swirling, but further swirls reveal some fingers, also. All of the lacing patterns, however, tended to be transient, drooping down the side of my glass within seconds of the swirl. The body is a pretty, if not completely opaque, amber straw color.

Smell: Wow. A ton going on here. Alfalfa, timothy hay, brett, fermented fruit, hint of lavender, hint of rosemary, apple cider, acai fruit, caramel, malt sweetness, general mustiness. Really a ton of things that I could pull from for hours. Amazing.

Taste: A fascinating thing to me about sour beers, so far, has been the rather obvious revelation that our noses have little to no way to detect sourness. It's entirely a tastebud thing. This is no exception - whereas the nose revealed a variety of barnyard, herb, and fruit aromas, there was no sourness, which hits you like a train, therefore, upon sipping. I understand, from other reviews of Iris, that this is a little on the mild side for Cantillon in terms of sourness, but it still was fairly strong to me. That being said, the sourness is not completely overwhelming, it's just dominant. It allows itself to step aside for a second to gather other flavors. Vinousity, pepper, a strange hint of smokey charbroiled meat. Hard to explain, but unique. Grape skins, flowery perfume, slight alcohol, brett, other wild yeasts. Great.

Mouthfeel: A little thin, to be honest, and undercarbonated. Certainly sour. Not too astringent, though, surprisingly.

Drinkability: This is definitely a sipper for the sourness, but, as I said, it's a gentle sourness.

Photo of jakon
4.42/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12.7oz bottle purchased for $8.99 on 1-2-1 at Whole Foods Portland.

2004 Vintage

Wow do I love Cantillon. I remove the crown and give it a sniff and my taste buds are already up and running.

The cork comes out just fine. No flakiness to hassle with like is so often the case for me with Cantillon brews.

The beer pours a bright orange-amber color that, like so many other fine lambics, appears to be alive and glowing. Minimal head and retention as expected.

The aroma is stunning. It has all that barnyard funky sourness that you expect form Cantillon, but it's different. I detect a bit of honey and floral notes.

Mouth already watering something furious, I take my first sip and prepare for the inevitable punch to the jaw. Wow, this guy didn't hit me nearly as hard as some of his cousins have in the past! The sourness is most definitely alive and well, but it's not overpowering at all. There is a ton of complexity here. Unlike any other Cantillon product I've tried, I can taste hops in this one. That light bitterness is unmistakable and very enjoyable in this format.

Overall, this is a very unique beer that I wish I could savor more often. Not sure how I'd rank it next to some of the other Cantillon offerings, but I don't think I need to.

I think this beer has excellent long-term aging potential. It would be a completely different beast a few years from now.

Photo of AlexJ
4.17/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My notes say 1996, which means it was bottled in 1999 (right?) Anyway, this well aged beauty pours out murky apricot colored with a thin white head that remains as a thin ring. Quite ugly to look at as mote lambics are.

Aroma is a powerhouse of crushed grape skins and musty rotting orchard fruit. There are notions of festering cut grass and dead horses. Cherry pie laced with vomit. If this was an unfamiliar liquid you would turn away in revulsion but in this respect it's fantastic. Part of the lambic appeal is that you are drinking something foul and wonderful at the same time.

Flavor starts with decaying concord grape skins and vinegar barrel must. It has dark cherry and currant notes with a pit fruit astringency. The barn notes are overpowering as is the cadaverous notion of a body decaying in wood. Why is this good I do not know but it is.

Body is light but leeches into your palate like acid. Light carbonation and the supremely wierd and tart nature make the mouthfeel difficult to assess.

Overall one of the most deliciously strange things I have ever tasted. Masterfull complexity.

Photo of mmmbeer
4.41/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap in a flute at the Capital Ale House in Richmond, this beer arrives orangey and crystal-clear, with low carbonation and a thin, vanishing head. Smells sour, lactic, tart, and lemony acidic. The flavor adds to this a slight woodiness, medium bitterness, and a delicious, fresh mozzarella character. There is little, if any sweetness, which enhances the extreme dryness of its medium, mildly carbonated body. Very refreshing; assertive, but not overwhelming, and I think the cheesy element to the flavor is a tasty novelty.

Photo of Halcyondays
4.52/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

25.4 oz. bottle with a flower on it, 2004 Vintage,

A: Pours a somewhat murky, though the first few pours are clear, amber, with a fizzy white head that hisses as it evaporates, though it leaves a good rim around the glass, satisfying for a lambic.

S: Very tart, not overly funky, though, though there is some barnyard character to it, with a lot of sweet malt.

T: A huge sour note of lactic acid hits you when you first taste the beer, then the complexities start to come in, with a light Brett character of horse blankets and aged cheese. The beer finishes with a very earthy hop note of wet hay, grass, and straw. Very tasty.

M: Very sour, not as sour as Berliner Weisse, but close, I'd reckon a pH of about 3-3.5, slightly vinegary, but still has a lightness about it that makes it real easy to drink, well done.

D: A great lambic beer from Cantillon, I probably won't buy this again due to the price, $18.99 plus tax for a 25.4 ounce bottle, but I'm definitely glad I tried it, an interesting experiment, a 100% malted barley lambic, and it worked.

Photo of BeerBelcher
4.07/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I was rather impressed with this beer, although reading the commercial description I realize that I missed out on some of the flavors injected into the beer (lots of hops and iris). Nonetheless, this beer packs some intense and refreshing sourness that I found very pleasant. If you like gueuze or are into sour, I would definitely recommend this beer.

Appearance was a hazy orange with a head of tiny bubbles. Aroma was lots of great sourness and a candy-sugar sweetness. Flavor was full-on sourness, which reminded me (if memory serves - which it probably doesn't) of the Cantillon Grand Cru I've had before. I also got some sour apple flavor. I didn't taste the hops or iris included in the brew, but enjoyed the taste very much nonetheless. Mouthfeel was astringent (owing to the sourness) and good.

Definitely recommended for those into lambics/gueuze or sour flavors.

Photo of thierrynantes
4.42/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Beer bottle (75cl, 2002), tasted in 2005.
Appearance: developed in spontaneous fermentation, but only from fresh malt and hops, which provides a special bitterness (no wheat: lambic normally contains 35%). Mature 2 years in cash and bottled fermentation naturally. Amber colour.
Taste: high notes of citrus, taste very long
Drinkability: a success.

Review added 10-27-2007, translated from french 1-31-2008.

Photo of lordofthewiens
4.79/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A 750ml bottle poured into a tulip glass. Vintage 2004 on the label, bottled 2006 on the cork. Hazy golden red color with a tiny head and little carbonation. A tart fruity aroma, very earthy. Citrus fruit taste, very sour, yeast, crisp, clean finish. Loved this beer. Could drink it all night if my salivary glands were up to it.

Cantillon Iris from Brasserie Cantillon
97 out of 100 based on 1,823 ratings.