Dismiss Notice
Subscribe to BeerAdvocate magazine and get 12 issues / year of fresh beer content delivered to your door each month.

Already subscribe? to manage your subscription.

Cantillon Iris - Brasserie Cantillon

Not Rated.
Cantillon IrisCantillon Iris

Educational use only; do not reuse.

467 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 467
Hads: 1,863
rAvg: 4.22
pDev: 8.53%
Wants: 706
Gots: 424 | FT: 28
Brewed by:
Brasserie Cantillon visit their 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: 467 | Hads: 1,863
Photo of warrenout330
4.5/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750 capped and corked bottle

A- pours a muddy honey color... fluffy white head.... dissolves to a thin ring around the glass...minimal lacing to the glass

S- acidic tartness dominates .... fresh cut green apples... lingering vinegar

T- huge acidic flavors, green apples... vinegar... a tad of malt backing making this a odd lambic ... but different in its own way

M- metallic mouth and tongue... medium bodied with decent carbonation .... lingering metal feel

O- my first cantillion .... probably not my last... very pleasing for all the hype behind this brewery and they definitely delivered the goods... (610 characters)

Photo of JasonLovesBeer
4.25/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: A kind of ruby gold... or amber orange? The head from my bottle fizzles up to about a finger then sizzled away to lacing pretty quickly.

S: Funky, earthy, lemon citrus, and woody. Tart apple skins?

T: That old funk taste - the oak barrel is noticable and combines with the earthiness of the hops. Its age is obvious, in a good way. Lemon bitterness and apple cider vinegar. The additional dry hopping makes this a unique Cantillon despite its familiarity in many senses.

M: Gentle and fine carbonation, light, crisp and dry.

O: Familiar yet different, I really enjoyed this beer. My girlfriend took a sip and had a puzzled look while stating "kind of tastes like an IPA?"... the hops really makes this interesting and I'm glad for the variety, though it doesn't make it necessarily better than other Cantillons. I really enjoyed it, but I'd go for a Rose or Kriek first. (880 characters)

Photo of nomomentwasted
4.42/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this last night, poured into a goblet from a 2006 vintage. When it was gone, I wanted to vertical it with the 2004 I've got sitting right next to it, but have to show restraint.

Appearance: Hazy, musty, apple-juice colored brew with very little head of whitish foam and some champagne-like lacing.

Smell: Out of the bottle, the nose is all funk. Wow, probably the funkiest beer I've had to date. I've been drinking quite a few sours as of late, but none had this kind of skunky barnyard funk like this. Upon pour, the funk is still strong, with a lot of heavy apple peel, lemon, and vinegar peaking through the back-end. Wow, that's a nose.

Taste: Not overly sour, but some pucker with really powerful apple and citrus notes. Slighly white-grape character as well, with some slight hoppiness actually there as well. Leather brett-yeast character is definitely present as well, with more musty funk and strong barnyard. Really, really solid. To draw a comparison, I think it's a less sour (yet more funky) Duck Duck Gooze in the flavor and a more musty Temptation. Really, really cool.

Mouthfeel: A little thin and could be more biting, but leaves a nice aftertaste that isn't too sticky.

Drinkability: Wow, could've plowed through a lot more than I did. Easily a winner. If it were more readily available, I'd buy a case. It's that nice. The scores may not read out clearly how much I really liked this beer, but I'm just glad to have another bottle for a special occasion. (1,485 characters)

Photo of BMoldy
4.43/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Tasted on 09/14/11. From notes:

A: Medium amber, relatively clear, with golden hues. Quite beautiful, really. No head or lacing to speak of.

S: Mildly fruity, with a wine-y grape presence. Woody yet slightly floral.

T: Tart and sweet, but surprisingly balanced for a lambic. Slight bitterness. Oaky tannins as well. Very smooth.

M: Medium-bodied. Small but brisk carbonation.

O: Absolutely delicious. A few days after I tried this (fresh) one, I got to try one from 2006, which was phenomenal. Still tastes like a good, tart lambic, but the extra bitterness adds some great balance to the beer. My favorite by far. (619 characters)

Photo of GuzzLah
4.3/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A - pours a cloudy amber with a beige head. A little lace. No bubbles.

S - pretty floral hops, citrus, peach, leather, wood, mild funk, herbal, soft caramel malt and a little bit of wet dog at times, unfortunately.

T - is just like the aroma minus the wet dog. Even the floral character translates to the flavor. Moderately sour. Acetic.

M - medium-full body. Oily. Viscous pour. Medium bitterness. Mouth watering. Mild sweetness. Long aftertaste.

O - unusual Lambic. Hop forward for the style. Thick body for the style. Pleasant flavors with a nice balance. Less sour and funky than Cantillon Gueuze, but that isn't a complaint. Complex beer that was a pleasure to drink. (678 characters)

Photo of kasper
3.87/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2004 Vintage

A: Pours a cloudy, faded amber with straw-colored highlights. Fizzy short-lived off-white yields no lacing.

S: Funky earthy and floral aromas, loads of brett, and maybe some sweet olive brine.

T: Not sure how to describe this one. Flavors are rather course and earthy, like flowers smashed on smooth wet rocks. Overall, fairly sour with hints of something that reminds me of pollen. This odd, bitter flavor lingers somewhat coarsely on the finish.

M: Almost a medium bodied brew. Well carbonated but shy of champagne -- bit tingly and fizzy.

D: Much different than the other Cantillon's I've tried, mainly due to the lack of wheat and fruit. It's also not as sour as some others, but certainly does the trick. Honestly, it's this is the least favorite yet of the Cantillon sours I've tried, but that's not saying much -- it's still an extraordinary and refreshing beer. I couldn't fathom turning another one down short of being offered some other more appealing sours. (990 characters)

Photo of RidiculedDisplay
4.39/5  rDev +4%
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. (1,743 characters)

Photo of HossMcGraw
4.62/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Enjoyed this bad boy on tap at Monk's Cafe in Philly before a Mountain Goats show and man did it hit the spot. The appearance was pleasant but unexceptional, resembling an overcarbonated pale ale. The head was very nice however.

The aroma was sour lactic funkiness with very grainy notes that reminded me of eating rye bread in a horse stall-an appealing description that I'm grateful fellow beer enthusiasts can appreciate. The flavor followed suit with super intense blue cheesey flavors and complex grains. Paired wonderfully with the smoked trout.

Mouthfeel was wonderful with balanced sprightly carbonation. As for drinkability, although fairly acidic, the craftsmanship of this brew along with its addictively tart flavor certainly would keep me coming back for more. (779 characters)

Photo of slayer3604
4.97/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A- golden amber, with nice sticky foam thats forms a 2 finger head, and settles to a ring of white foam on the sides of teh glass with small traces of lacing.

S- I can tell this beast is going to be sour, it has lemon, brown sugar, little bit of funk and its RICH. i can smell this thing even when its not by my face.

T- Extremely sour, sending tinges of acidity to the back of my jaw, lots of lemon peel, buttery on my teeth and tounge, with a rich ripe semi dry finish. Lots of cloying sour notes. awesome. awesome.

M- Very well balanced body, with a lot to discover every time you take a sip. The acidity and prolonged finish make this an epic beer.

D- At 19 bucks a bottle, its kind of steep, but i cant think of any other beer i'd rather have with key lime pie. hands down best cantillon ive tried. (808 characters)

Photo of beerloverofbham
4.61/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Served in a tulip. Appearance is pale orange, like the color of apple juice. Smells like cheese aging in a damp tack room in an old barn. Tastes of lemon, crap apple, hints of different hop profiles come through--more so than any lambic I've had, which stands to reason considering it was brewed with fresh hops, than dry hopped later--rounds out with the sweet side of grapefruit. Not much lacing. (398 characters)

Photo of jakon
4.42/5  rDev +4.7%
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. (1,387 characters)

Photo of joeysmokedporter
4.08/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served from a 750ml bottle into a goblet.

A: pours light coppery orange, hazy, with a light off-white head that dissipated quickly.

S: slight vinegar, but very sour aroma with a little underlying malt.

T: starts with a lemon-like sour flavor, which eventually gives way to a malt sweetness. The finish is a long, dry lingering sour note. upon exploring the sourness a bit more, it is mostly lemon but with a very slight cherry. not a lot of funkiness detected in this which made for a very pleasant and drinkable beer.

M: average to light body, the sourness can be somewhat puckering to the mouth. Carbonation average and maybe slightly low for a Belgian.

D: What a drinkable beer this is. It is very much on the sour side, but makes for a very refreshing drink. Try pairing this with Port Salut cheese. Pure. Heaven. (822 characters)

Photo of Trizzle
4.47/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Amber body with minimal head. Hazy with some fine carbonation.

Delicious aroma of citrus peel, grape skin, old wet hay, subtle grassy fresh hops and tart apple cider.

Medium light mouthfeel, dry up front, some green apple tart develops with a decent malt body. Great bit of grassy hop action on the back palate. Mandarin peel, more green grape skin, dry orange liquor, good hit of brett barn funk with a long tart finish. Maybe the brett could be funkier but thats about it. Hugely complex. Something new on each sip.

Will definitely be going back to this one. (563 characters)

Photo of hayesez
4.22/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Cracking open my first Iris sounded like a pretty good way to kick off Super Bowl Sunday. Poured into a tulip glass early in the afternoon.

Poured a dark copper with a massive off-white fizzy head. Caught all of the good stuff at the bottom with the last pour; left a dark tan trail on the head which dissipated throughout. Bunches of bubbles continued to surface throughout the beer. The head reduced quickly, but remained throughout the drink. No lacing left on this one.

Smells funky with a tart tinge...kind of like a sour fruit. Nothing to surprising in this guy...smells like I hoped!

Wow...sour. Dry. Astringent. Whew, the first drink got me right in the cheeks and the back of the mouth! Definite tart sour blast. Has that citrusy bitter finish...like the taste you get when you lick a lemon peel. The bulk of the flavor vanishes quickly and leaves behind a lasting bitterness that was a bit "off" to me.

I really did enjoy this beer. Fizzy, sour, musky, light to medium bodied, and dry. Excellent flavor. The only thing that detracted from this guy was the weird bitterness. When that first blast of sour hit me, I wasn't sure I was going to get through this, but about halfway through, I knew this one bottle wasn't going to be enough. Excellent!

Consumed: 2/6/2010 (1,280 characters)

Photo of midnite2sixman
4.5/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2006 Vintage. Courtesy of Steven Smith the chief beer geek at the Hop Cat in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Poured into 3 tulip glasses. Appears a ruby orange minimal head. Small globby lacing.

Sour greenhouse floral smell. Granny smith apples. Mild citrusy. Smells kind of like a rainy morning in a garden.

Taste is more of the same. The greenhouse thing is really what I am emphasizing here. Smells like the local garden center mixed with some sunshine and a tinge of citrus.

Mouthfeel is smooth and light, the green grassy taste lingers for quite a while.

Drinkability: Don't pass this beer up if you have the chance. (619 characters)

Photo of NearerMyBeerToMe
4.03/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle with "2000" on the cork. The cork bursts out of the bottleneck and several ounces worth of foam goes rushing onto the countertop. I struggle to get the bottle under control. People are already complaining about the smell. I guess that's a good sign. Poured into a champagne flute, the beer is about the same color as raw honey or the light maple tabletop on which it is standing. A single thin, vigorous line of carbonation runs through the liquid, connecting to the bottom of a gruesomely pock-marked, 1/4" deep head that's the color of dirty dishwater. No cling or lacing. The smell isn't quite as offensive as I had hoped. It remindes me most of malt vinegar, the acidity being more acetic than uric. There are residual odors of cork and yeast. Tastes like sour dirt, and how. Sour enough that I'm wincing after each sip. Horrifying copper sourness rots through a layer of apple skins into a field of dead cabbages and finishes with leather and must. At first, the acids have my tongue trying to turn itself inside out, but the mouthfeel evolves to become refreshing and vibrant. Drinking it begets its own drinkability. Intense, intense stuff; and so complex it'll probably take me a few weeks to figure out if I actually liked it. (1,248 characters)

Photo of Cmack15
4.27/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Does Cantillon make a bad beer, I think not!
Appearance: nice light golden color, like a ray of sunlight

Aroma: sourness, barnyard funk, with a hint of the oak

Taste: sour, funk, but some bright clean notes too little sweetness comes through too. finishes dry

Mouthfeel: awesome, carbonation is great and feels nice and light. cleans your palate

Another great beer from one of the best breweries in the world
Cheers (420 characters)

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

2006 Iris, bottled Jan 2009. It's a 75cl bottle, which gave many pours into my Cantillon flute.

Pours a hazy brew, golden to orange in color. The offwhite head goes from a few fingers of foam to a ring around the glass fairly quickly, but is a pretty generous head for a lambic.

The smell brings me back to the brewery. It's the smell of the barrels, with the hint of tart goodness inside. It has the musty smell of farm cider, some hint of peach.

There is some tartness on the tongue from start to finish, but it doesn't wring my mouth out. Grapefruit sourness, with a hint of cider vinegar. A bit lemony as well. The hop bitterness is definitely present, especially in the finish. In the finish I also get some of the off funk flavor. Quite dry.

The mouthfeel is mostly of the tartness, on the tongue and tickling the throat. Carbonation is low to medium, just right.

I thought the unusual flavors would make this less drinkable than other lambics, but it's refreshing, balanced, and easy to drink for a sour tooth. (1,022 characters)

Photo of petacutlasaurus
4.67/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had a draft of Cantillon's Iris 2007 at the 2011 Zwanze pouring party at ChurchKey. Personally, I enjoyed the Iris more than any of the other beers poured (Zwanze 2010/11). The nuances of the wildness integrated really well with the original crisp, sweet ale.

Unlike the two Zwanze's (especially the 2011), this beer doesn't knock you out. The 2007 vintage, after four years, has had considerable time to mellow out, and that it has. But in losing acute sourness, it's gained some pretty remarkable depth in the sourness's specific taste. And to have all of that among an ale that's otherwise so simple really let's it shine. (626 characters)

Photo of afdempse
4.28/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On Draft at ChurchKey during Zwanze Day 2011

Hazy dark-ish orange amber color. Great foam cap that clings.

Tart aroma with a slight mustiness

Sour up front, with a spicy, bitter edge. Definite herbal-hop flavor, with bready barley notes in the finish. Lemony sour character that is smooth and not too astringent. Brett character is mild, not quite as funky as others from Cantillon, and not as mouth-puckeringly sour, either. Finishes sweet-tart and semi-dry.

Very complex ale that I enjoyed a lot. Would love to pick up an older vintage and let it sit around for a while in the cellar. (591 characters)

Photo of Iguana
4.73/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had this tonight on-tap at Concordia Ale House in Portland, OR. Was served in snifter glass. Came a golden orange with no head but some carbonation fizzling up. Smell is some tartness and white wine grapes. Taste was simply amazing, tart, hints of honey and chardonnay. Mouthfeel is slightly sweet and tart and really pleasant. Drinkability may not be great for some people, but i was amazed at how great this was. I could have drank this stuff all night. (455 characters)

Photo of aglose45
4.12/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a hazy brown/dark apricot color. The large white head quickly recedes, giving way to a thin head that sticks around for awhile.

S: The first whiff is of sour vinegar, followed by both leathery and lemon notes. Backing this is a sweet malty scent, maybe even sweet cherries.

T: There is a quick hit of tart citrus, lemon and apricot, then the taste moves on to some funk. What I'm getting from this funkiness is a bit of soapiness. Following this is a lingering sourness that is pleasant. I'm also getting a bit of oakiness.

M: Light and smooth, with a higher level of carbonation. The sourness lingers in the mouth well after the beer is gone.

D: This beer is good and sour, and it lingers awhile. My only complaint is that there isn't the same hint of sweetness in the taste that there is in the nose. (815 characters)

Photo of LucienDeRubempre
4.28/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into champagne flutes from a 2007 Vintage bottled on February 16, 2010.

My first Cantillon. The flutes really showcase the long-lasting carbonation, the bubbles keep coming up through the glowing amber body, maintaining a thin skim of foam as a memory of the thick tan head. Lots of sour and funky notes in the bouquet, with a hint of hops. After the first taste, the sourness is very strong and pleasantly intriguing. Lots of layers here, with faint soapy hops in the finish. Looking forward to comparing this to a Cantillon that is not dry-hopped, don't think I'll miss the hops too much as they're almost like an afterthought in this beer. Very refreshing carbonation keeps the sourness from being overwhelming on the palate, and call me crazy, but I could drink this (and any sour) to excess easily. (811 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 wd40
4.08/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Cork date: 2009. Sampled 2012.

Pours a beautify orange/amber color with a 1.5 finger thick white foamy head. The smell is lemony with a bit of orange. The taste reflects the aroma with some grassiness to balance out the acidity a little. Still pretty acidic and has a hint of bitterness. Fairly sour and a little drying in the mouth and throat (not unusual for a sour). Mouthfeel is pretty much perfect. The carbonation helps alleviate some of the excess acidity in the beer. (476 characters)

Cantillon Iris from Brasserie Cantillon
94 out of 100 based on 467 ratings.