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Cantillon Iris - Brasserie Cantillon

Not Rated.
Cantillon IrisCantillon Iris

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
95
world-class

481 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 481
Hads: 1,952
Avg: 4.26
pDev: 19.48%
Wants: 709
Gots: 447 | FT: 38
Brewed by:
Brasserie Cantillon
Belgium | website

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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 481 | Hads: 1,952
Photo of DaveJanssen
4.25/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

1/3 750 poured into tulip glasses. Reviewed 11/23/2009.

Ar: tart and funky, sweaty, horse, lemon, tart citrus, citric and acetic acids, very acidic, lightly herbal, light spice, light candy floral

Ap: very low head, clear copper, white head with fair retention

T: Tart and fruity though not as much as the aroma, herbal/vegetative end, apricot, light tomato?, acetic and citric acids, lemon, floral, delicate and complex, beautiful delicate floral, ends with warming acid, acid presence increases with warmth, mild peach, belgian sweet candy in mid taste, interesting hop quality, very acidic citrus, *chalky

M: Light body, low carbonation, peppery acid, warming acid end, light burn from the acid

O: initially not that great, gets better with each sip, beautiful mild complexity, less acid would be better, light strangeness, floral is very intriguing

*=ideas from fellow tasters

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Photo of cjacobsen
4.42/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to sweemzander for cracking this one open!

Vintage 2007

(A) Clean orange color, almost like it was electric. Adequate white head that hangs around for the duration of the beer.

(S) Smells sour and tart. Lemon and limes with a touch of orange. Bit of funk present.

(T) Taste had a decent amount of funk in it. Citric acid and a bit of vinegar. Sourness is big.

(M) Tart but very smooth. Light body.

(O) It's always tough for me to review sours like these as the taste is so simple and delicious and refreshing. There isn't a whole lot going on in the taste and it's not a very complex beer, but it sure is quite amazing.

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Photo of phichifiji00
3.75/5  rDev -12%
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.

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Photo of Ellbert
3.16/5  rDev -25.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Appearance: Orange color with a slightly fizzy white head. Not as bubbly as I expected.

Smell: Tart, sour, and rotten. I have had blended lambics before but never an unblended. Wow, I finally smell what I have heard so much about. Very different, almost a turn off but intreiging.

Taste: Sweet at first then sour, then very sour, and then very dry. Almost like a wine. It was better once I got used to it.

Mouthfeel: Mouthfeel was good but it was kinda hard to pay much attention to because of the tartness of the actual brew.

Overall a very different beer, something that you have to get used to. I would not be able to drink much of this.

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Photo of chOAKbarrell
4.6/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I got to try a vintage bottle of this at a local bar, dated 1996. $12.

Bright vibrant red, like kool-aid or a crayon. No head. Extremely tart, strong nose. The taste was intensely tart and sour, maybe even beyond Dogfish Head's Festina Lente. I mean that in a good way, though. I really enjoyed this, and dont know what to compare it to, other than the above mentioned lambic. I dont know if the flavor was supposed to be cherry or raspberry or what. The lowest mark for this lambic was the drinkability. It is pretty intense, and I dont know how much the average lambic drinker could handle.

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Photo of 01001111
4.6/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A: Burnt amber.

S: Tart, Cantillon yeast funk.

T: Peach, state bitter hops, an odd mixture of medicinal and rotten. Simultaneously delicious and mildly disgusting.

M: A slight prickly tartness. Crisp but full bodied.

O: Unique. Oddly compelling. Cantillon are certainly the kings of funk.

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Photo of Xul
4.27/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2007 Vintage 375ml bottle

A: Pours a slightly hazy orange/amber, capped by a frothy two finger white head. Head settles down to a half finger or so and lingers there for a while.

S: A good blend of acidity and funk. The acidity has a lot of citrus to it with strong lemon zest notes, along with some green apples. Funk is moderate in strength with a damp blanket character.

T: Strong tartness up front with even more lemon zest than in the nose, along with some very light green grapes. Funk comes in to balance the acidity, maintaining the damp blanket from the nose. Tartness comes back for the finish with a light fruity sweetness.

M: Light to medium bodied with moderate carbonation, dry finish.

D: Very easy drinking with strong but not overwhelming tartness.

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Photo of SacoDeToro
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%
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.

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Photo of Naugled
2.98/5  rDev -30%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

750ml corked bottle served in chalice
2004 vintage 2006 bottling date

A: cap was rusted from the inside out, cork had leaked and smelled damp. cork made no pop on opening, and pour produced no head almost flat. Has a gold orange color.

S: Musty peppery smalled with hints of greasy fried chicken but in a good way (that's the first I've ever experienced that in a beer)

T: Very sour, tart and tangy. has the classic guezey lambic taste. Dry and astringent and bitter finish that lingers too long.

M: slippery mouthfeel and leaves the mouth with a chalky feeling.

D: I don't think this beer is meant to be drunk, I think its just for collectors and blenders. I blended the remaining portion of the bottle with Muse a sweeter saison and the two together were fantastic.

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Photo of mondegreen
4.1/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz Bottle poured into a Samichlaus Tulip.

2007 Vintage, according to the cork it was bottle in 2009.

A: Hazy golden/copper appearance. Tons of tiny bubbles rushing to the head , keeping a healthy froth above the beer.

S: Funky & Strong. My wife commented that she smelled in from about five feet away when I walked into the room. Tough for me to put a finger on exactly what I am smelling, as I'm still fairly new to the world of Lambics. This one smells nice, though.

T: Heavy pucker factor all the way through this one. Sour fruits are evident, and the aftertaste is unique. I like the taste, but this one needs to be enjoyed slowly, as the aftertaste lingers.

M: Nice carbonation, beer is just thick enough to be enjoyable.

D: I'm enjoying this one, but I think 12oz will be enough for one sitting. Of course, it will take me awhile to finish this since the flavors are quite potent. I'd be up to have it again at another time, for sure.

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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 IPAcraig
4.05/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

One of the beers I brought back from Belgium. Poured into an oversized wine glass. Drinking it while watching My Cousin Vinny


A - Pours a murky golden orange with just a wee bit of carbonation although more than their Gueze.

S - As with most of the Cantillon products, this has hugely funky aroma. However, this has something off in the nose, a gluey sour aroma. With that small critique aside, this does smell pretty good, smells of an earthy barnyard tartness.

T - Hugely sour, with a big acidic flavor. I was especting a bit more hoppiness from this one, but the hop bitterness is very slight. A big earthy extremely tart Lambic.

M - More carbonated than the average Lambic, very light mouthfeel.

D - It may be tough to finish the 750ml by myself, the tartness is huge.

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Photo of scott451
4.33/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

750ml corked and capped bottle. Bottled in 2010, best before 12/2020. warmed from fridgetemperature and poured into a glass mug and some beakers.

A hazy rose apricot with a bubbly off white head which soon dissapeared to a few thin patches.

Vinous sour smell. Some citrous barn. Whoah! Very smooth, sharp, sour grapefruit pith. Apple, leather, oak leads followed by a long slide to a very long prickly astringent dry finish. Whew!

Medium light body. Well carbonated. The drinkability is outstanding. I could drink this long haul.

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Photo of HiroProtagonist
4.53/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Cantillon Iris was served from a corked (2001), capped, and foiled 750ml bottle. In a chalice, this beautiful beer was a brilliant and shiny copper color, and was topped by an everlasting, fine, and creamy off-white head that left sheets of luxurious lacing wherever it touched. The carbonation was varied and fascinating, consisting of slower small streamers, and large speeding bubbles that would hit the surface with such force they could be seen making bumps in the head from above. The nose presented an aggressive sourness with a soft musty grapefruit component followed by herbal juniper berry and powdery floral perfumy notes. On the palate, an up-front oaky dry sourness with an assertive raw lemon accent explodes then gains a tannic bitterness before slowly dropping off, leaving lingering herbal/grassy earthen lemony aftertastes. The body is very smooth, slick, and richly full, serving to counter and balance the dry oaken sourness. The vigorous carbonation matched well with the flavors and character of this lambic. I found this beautiful all-malt lambic to be wonderfully aromatic, robustly flavorful, and a pleasure to drink.

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

Murky yellow with a big foamy head that dissipated rather quickly.
Floral mostly Petunia, hops,funk and slight barnyard.
Very floral taste with some vinegar and barn. Lots of Lemon Concentrate. The hops are very prominent for the style which make it obvious why hops are used sparingly traditionally in this style.
A full body which is all I would expect from the style.
A good beer, but over hopped.The bitterness is not pleasant or ideal in the style.

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Photo of Richardberg
4.32/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

2007 vintage in a pint glass.

A - rich hazy amber, lots of head (cork popped out explosively), lingers but doesn't stick to the glass.

S - big wild yeast aroma, almost funky like a saison at times, with substantial barley underneath. only slightly sour; at this point it's all about the complex yeast.

T - tart and malty at the same time. pear & green apple cider, but also plum and grape. almost too much fruit...I think a dry finish would suit it better, but it finishes borderline sweet.

M - lots of carbonation without being overbearing. big bubbles gives it zing on the tongue without the fizz that makes lagers & the like hard for me to drink.

D - perfect example of the style. only thing wrong with it is that it's gone already.

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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 dogfooddog
4.32/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

bottle bought some time ago, the first of this batch of bottles exploded 2/3 of liquid contents into living room; this time a muted pop (cork dated 2000) opens this beer.

typical cantillon mustiness with some odd malty content opens the nose on this beer.

Oddly, first taste adds more backbone than most gueuzes or lambics i have tasted in my life. the front taste is still very sour and bitter, but there is a back elemen present that is lacking in all of the cantillon products I have had recently. I am familiar with the ingredients of this beer.

this is a very sour but good beer. and a good example of unique craft from cantillon. Well worth a try!

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

I find lambics to be very difficult to rate and review, but here goes. Poured from a 375 mL corked and capped mini-champagne bottle into a flute and split with a friend. $7.75 from Abe's in Bethlehem. Not really sure what to expect from an unblended lambic brewed with fresh hops. 2005 Vintage

Color is mostly clear orange gold, small head, fairly poor retention and no lacing. I guess all the acidity really kills the bubbles. Really nice color, though.

Smell is sour, tart and vinegary, obviously. This beer is fairly fresh for a lambic, but it is three years old and I think any hop aroma has faded.

Taste is sour but lacking in complexity. It tastes different from the other sours I have had, can't quite put my finger on it so I will chalk it up to hop bitterness. I wish I could describe it more helpfully.

Mouthfeel is nice, crisp, puckering. No complaints.

Drinkability is pretty high. I couldn't slam pint after pint of it, but that's not really the point. I could easily finish the small bottle myself, but what is the fun in that. Highly recommended as something different for fans of sours.

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Photo of Antilochus
4.92/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Quaffed on...

VLAAMSVEST '08

Vintage 2005 - bottled 22/03/2007 (2 year old lambic). Unbranded (!) glass at Delirium Cafe, Brussel. Slightly hazy amber, 2cm white head. Perfectly even head and body, goes to collar. Sour apple, citric acid aromas. Musty, chalky. Incredibly smooth palate! Perfectly well balanced! Noted acidity, fruitiness, hop bitterness. This is awesome. Wirey sour grape notes, mildly fungal, haven't even swallowed yet. Not too carbonated, well attuned. Finish is the sourest thing I've ever tasted. Mild juniper, amazingly long finish on citrus, juniper again. Malt presence is minimal, only contributing to slight sweetness. Amazing that the hops can stick through this sourbomb. Slight yeasty sourdoughness comes through.

Fiendishly complex, superb. I'll remember this one forever - massive beyond its abv, and I appreciate that. An incredible beer, I'd love to try some 1990s vintages.

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Photo of wedgie9
3.9/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Vintage 2007, tasted from 375mL bottle at Lush West Town. Pours light amber orange with a quickly fading white head. Nose is brett funk with some burnt rubber, vinegar, and a dandelion florality and just a hing of lemon and green apple. Taste is very bitter on the tip of the tongue and very sour with some citrus. The body is medium minus with sparkling carbonation and a medium finish.

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Photo of abfraser
4.2/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Vintage 2004
Bottled in 2006

A: Beautiful golden orange. Doesn't pour with much of a head. A thin white layer rests on the top.

S: Can smell this over a foot away from me right now. Classic old lambic aromas; musky; tart; orange peel;

T/M: Similar musky, lambic taste. Quite tart. This one isn't for the faint of heart. Vinous like qualities. Mouthfeel is bone dry and a nice carbonation leaves things refreshed.

D: Nice but super tartness makes it tough to drink a ton.

Overall a very nice old lambic. Expensive, as all of these are, but worth it from time to time.

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Photo of backbaybrewer
4.52/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

750 bottle. Served in white wine glass similar to those used for serving at Cantillon tasting room.

Ap: Orange/Amberish color. Big lasting off-white head. moderately hazzy, but not opaque.

Ar: Sour/Tart is the first thing you pick up. with fruit and some floral/citruisy hop presence as well. Maltiness also present. A wonderful tart/sour smell to it though. As soon as I cracked the bottle I get hit with it.

T: Not the predominant flavor, but worth mentioning first is the Hop bitterness. This beer differs from most other cantillon offerings in that they use fresh hops as opposed to aged hops which provides noticable hop bitterness on the palate. Also of note is the maltiness present. Again, not overwhelming, but it's there. These two flavors combine with the classic gueuze like flavors to create a truly unique Cantillon offering. Fruity sourn/tartness is really the dominant flavor, but the others stand out despite being reserved simply because they are so unique for a beer of this type.

O: A fantastic beer. Perhaps my new favorite Cantillon. Wish I had multiple bottles because I could sit around and drink this like a session beer all day.

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Photo of ballewblake
3.6/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from bottle into my Duvel tulip.

Cap was rusted and cork and top of bottle were moldy. 2005 Vintage with cork saying bottled in 2007. Two finger head that dropped within a minute. Deep amber color in the body, opaque. Smell is funky, musty attic smell, earthy, sour, floral. Tastes like a battery, really not very appealing at first, gets better with more drinks, but then reverts back, there is something off here. Chemical like tastes, wow, its really off putting. I'm glad I shared this with a friend, I don't know if I could have drank the full 750. Mouth feel is good with carbonation, drinkabilty suffers from the weird off putting metallic/chemical flavors I'm getting. This might be my first unblended lambic.

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Photo of jibbyvonjibb
4.22/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

bottle @ La Brocante, Brussels

brewed 11/13/2009
bottled 3/8/2011

A: Amber color. Almost completely clear. Little head and a lack of bubbles makes me conclude that this is relatively uncarbonated. Looking at the bottle date (2 months ago), I assume it probably needs to age for a few more months.

S: Some sweet fruit, like apricots or pears. Funk barely present (again, too fresh).

T: Dried apricots. Some sweetness (very slight) perceptible. Only slightly sour, with a clean aftertaste. Little astringency.

M: Flat. Light body.

O: It's definitely a unique lambic, probably due to it being made only with barley (traditionally ~30% wheat is used) and fresh hops (traditionally aged). It is pleasurable but flavors are a bit subdued. Again, this might be because it was bottled recently, and I would love to try a more aged one. Overall, not my favorite Cantillon, but still good.

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Cantillon Iris from Brasserie Cantillon
95 out of 100 based on 481 ratings.