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Cantillon Iris - Brasserie Cantillon

Not Rated.
Cantillon IrisCantillon Iris

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
94
outstanding

467 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 467
Hads: 1,863
rAvg: 4.22
pDev: 4.27%
Wants: 705
Gots: 424 | 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: 467 | Hads: 1,863
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 JDV
2.78/5  rDev -34.1%
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. (526 characters)

Photo of Goliath
3.5/5  rDev -17.1%
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. (457 characters)

Photo of SacoDeToro
4.5/5  rDev +6.6%
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. (739 characters)

Photo of Bobzilla
4.35/5  rDev +3.1%
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. (903 characters)

Photo of NEhophead
4.02/5  rDev -4.7%
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. (1,066 characters)

Photo of kmo1030
4.08/5  rDev -3.3%
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. (942 characters)

Photo of mikesgroove
4.37/5  rDev +3.6%
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. (3,452 characters)

Photo of BBeerL
4.79/5  rDev +13.5%
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!!! (340 characters)

Photo of DrJay
4.18/5  rDev -0.9%
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! (592 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 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 AlexJ
4.17/5  rDev -1.2%
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. (1,105 characters)

Photo of mmmbeer
4.41/5  rDev +4.5%
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. (527 characters)

Photo of Halcyondays
4.52/5  rDev +7.1%
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. (1,058 characters)

Photo of BeerBelcher
4.07/5  rDev -3.6%
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. (875 characters)

Photo of thierrynantes
4.42/5  rDev +4.7%
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. (408 characters)

Photo of lordofthewiens
4.79/5  rDev +13.5%
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. (329 characters)

Photo of Sammy
3.89/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2003 edition. The blonde of lambics. Iris, Iris, fair and graceful in your looks. The smell of the earth, a pleasant mouthfeel. The taste of sweet apple not harsh. And livable sourness. A work of art not to punch a hole through. Satisfying like a very good white wine, 5 for satisfaction. (288 characters)

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

375ML bottle. 2004 vintage but bottled in 2006.
Served at cellar temp and poured into my Abbaye des Rocs chalice.

Appearance is good. Nice murky blood orange colored beer with absolutely no head at all. Lighter orange color around the edges.

Smell is very good. Strong and wonderful aromas of tart lemons, funky yeast, horse blanket and a mild hop presence as well.

Taste is good. Starts off with a sharp tart lemon bite with a big dose of sour funk. Acidic but not overly so. Hops are noticeable but are in the background and round out the finish with a nice bitterness. Crafted well and different than your typical lambic flavor.

Mouthfeel is good. Mild dryness for a lambic. Below-average levels of carbonation. Salty and heavy on the palate. Finishes with a slight acidic harshness on the swallow.

Drinkability is very good. Like most good lambics, i can drink this all night.

Overall:
Nice change-of-pace lambic when I'm in the mood for funk but done differently. Certainly not one of the best beers Cantillon makes but without a doubt a very good one. Recommended. (1,077 characters)

Photo of gmcfarre
3.5/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

750mL corked bottle poured into New Belgian chalice
Cork dated 2005

A - Pours a very cloudy orange/gold color with 1 inch frothy head. Lacing is moderate.

S - Pungeant funky yeast with a tart cider-like scent. A good touch of earthy sourness accompanies.

T & M - Weel carbonated sourness with a light to medium body. Apple cider taste with strong acidity. Kindof weak in the middle, which is disappointing. Funky and interesting with its wild yeast.

D - A bit cloying overall. The kind of beer I want to like, but really have a hard time doing so. Not my favorite lambic, and not too easy to drink or even savor. Alcohol is not a factor. (650 characters)

Photo of Viggo
4.2/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled at Goldoraks Post-Mondial tasting 2007, courtesy of Goldorak himself! 2003 vintage!!!

Pours a hazy orange/red, thin white head forms, nice layer, lacing, looks great. Smell is sweet, sour, very acidic, lots of fruits, funky, trademark Cantillon, but more malt in the aroma. Taste is caramel, sourness, very funky and acidic, almost pungent on the tongue, clean bitter finish with more acidity. Mouthfeel is lighter bodied, medium carbonation, nice bitterness, malty, more backbone than most Cantillon, nicely done. Thanks Martin!! (541 characters)

Photo of blakesell
3.56/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 1 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bottle into a belgian (st. bernardus) cereal bowl styled glass.

Vintage 2004

Appearance- Big problems with the cork and cap. The bottle is rusty and leaking slightly. The rust is all over the bottle area even with the cork in there. Cleaned it off as best I could but with the beer oozing out (I think that's the beer, it looks like glue). Cork pops off as if nothing is wrong but the cork looks quite aged and disturbing as well. It didn't fall apart beforehand and there were no eruptions on the bottle. That's a plus. But is it OK? Beer itself is orange and hazy.

Smell- Vinegar, Smells like I could put this on a salad and do OK. At this point I am not having the highest hopes for this beer.

Taste- Sour Patch Kids, Apple flavor, Lemonheads, and Funk O' the Barnyard. Lots of candy flavors and funkiness. It actually isn't bad! now that is a relief. There is also some grapefruit and orange flavor and sour grapes.

Mouthfeel- Tart, sour, drinkable. The more I try it, the more I like it. At this point I actually think it's good!

Drinkability- Yes! It's bizarre, funky, reeks, and is fruity. I like it. A strange and pleasant suprise from Cantillon. (1,188 characters)

Photo of illidurit
4.17/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2004 Vintage.

A: Somewhere between orange and brown, this beer is hazy and forms a 2 finger off white head. No lacing, ok retention. Expected for a lambic.

S: Vinous grapiness, some apple, overtly tart.

T: Funkier than James Brown. Sour, lactic, acidic, but oh so good. Crabapple comes through strong. Kind of winey.

M: Though the head dissipates pretty fast, the carbonation is alive in well in the liquid, though maybe a little subdued from the 3 years it has been aged. As is the norm for gueuzes and lambics, the tart finish begs you to have another sip.

D: 750 mL bottle is easily finished, great refresher for summer. (638 characters)

Photo of IPAcraig
4.05/5  rDev -4%
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. (789 characters)

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