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Cantillon Iris - Brasserie Cantillon

Not Rated.
Cantillon IrisCantillon Iris

Educational use only; do not reuse.

471 Reviews
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Reviews: 471
Hads: 1,893
Avg: 4.25
pDev: 9.65%
Wants: 708
Gots: 437 | FT: 33
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
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Reviews: 471 | Hads: 1,893
Photo of Viggo
4.2/5  rDev -1.2%
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!!

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Photo of blakesell
3.56/5  rDev -16.2%
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.

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Photo of illidurit
4.17/5  rDev -1.9%
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.

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Photo of IPAcraig
4.05/5  rDev -4.7%
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 LBS15
4.02/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2004 Vintage metal cap and cork

A: beautiful peachy/orange. Slightly weak lace however.

S: Brilliant hop aroma with slight touches of oak, yeasty and definite citrus notes.

T: Very very tart but not in a bad way at all. The tart hits you right up front with a slightly yeasty mid palate. The hops help firm up a dry finish.

M: Quite nice. The tart shoots you in the jaw but the it is very refreshing.

D: Not very drinkable as a session beer obviously. I had no prob. getting my two wine glasses down, but i dont think i would go past that.

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Photo of akorsak
4.12/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A 75 cL corked and capped bottle.

A: The ale is an amber orange color, quite brilliant as light shines through. The head was large on pour and disappeared rather quickly.

S: The beer smells like a stable, full of funky wet hay elements. Some tart green apple and grape aromas round it out.

T: An intense bitterness, full of brettanomyces and other gamey natural vermin. That tartness masks a rather strong hop presence that is earthy and quite bitter. That bitterness nicely compliments the tartness of the body. Finally, some of the grape and apple tartness of the nose comes through, adding a certain sweetness that helps to offset the impressive tartness.

M: Tart, this beer will make you pucker up! The finish is quite dry, forcing you to reach for another sip.

D: This style is not my favorite, the acrid tartness is too intense for my likes. My wife though, she loves this stuff. Crazy!

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Photo of rallison
4.4/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Vintage 2004 Bottle. Curious to try this, as it's the only Cantillon to be brewed with hops.

A: Slightly cloudy golden amber color with a 1/2 finger white head that mostly ends up disappearing.

S: Tart apple cider mostly with a bit of a white wine like character.

T: Tasty! Of course, you get the tasty tart apple cider sort of flavors, although it's also not nearly as intense as some sour beers. This is followed by a nice fruitiness - very vinous and grapelike. Tis a perfect warm afternoon beer, and a great intro to the style. Hops are mostly overwhelmed by the sour aspects, but are apparent in the slightly citric taste of this beer - of course, the hops have likely mellowed being a 2004 vintage.

M: Very nice. Good carbonation level to give it a bit of a bite, but still lets the flavors shine.

D: Hmmm, how to rate this? Always tough for a lambic, as they are generally beers that I couldn't session. Well, for the style, I have to give this pretty good marks.

Recommended. A nice, unblended lambic. Well done, Cantillon.

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Photo of dmbfrat420beers
3.98/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottled in 2004

Slightly hazy pale orange with centimeter white head that dissipates fairly quickly. Nice hue, and the lack of head retention is standard for the style.

Sharp and crisp, not as musty as I have come to expect from Cantillon. Notes of grape fruit and grape.

Flavor is similar to a white wine, with lots of sour and tart notes, grapes and a sharpness akin to cheddar.

Good carbonation up front, settles in a smooth medium bodied feel with a dry finish.

Anyone that can overcome the sourness should find this a highly drinkable beer.

I don’t know if I would take this beer over their Kriek or the blended Gueze, but a delicious beer from a superb brewery.

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Photo of steorn
4.25/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

vintage 2001 opened 2007

My patience finally ran out after sitting on this one for about 4 years
Solid pop! as the cork is removed. Instant horse barn,vegetable,but
with a sweetnes too.

Pours a bright orange-gold color with plenty of fizzy head.
Poured into a large champagne style flute,great presentation.

The first sip is all lambic.Musty yet lively with a great fizz.
Unlike the last time I met Iris there is a definite honey sweetness under
the usual Cantillon flavors.
Great mouthfeel,just enough carbonation without thinning it out.
Six years in the bottle has served this beer well. The aftertaste just gently lingers,begging me to drink more.

A very drinkable beer for me in spite of its high acidity.
The further into the bottle the better the flavors blend and balance.

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Photo of shbobdb
3.77/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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

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

A very interesting beer, to say the very least.

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

It smells strongly of rotting corpses and sour apples.

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

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

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

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

Bottled in: 2005
Drank: Early 2007

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

03/28/07- Purchased at Plumpjack's in San Francisco, CA.

Presentation- 750ml bottle sealed in foil, capped and corked. Vintage 2005 on the cork. Poured into my Duvel tulip.

Appearance- Deep orange colored pour. Maybe a bit rust like. Clouded yeasty pour. Minor rim of a head upon pour. Light spots of lace remain and drip down the sides of the glass.

Smell- Not as much funk as would like, but a nice tart and sour grassy and fruity nose. Can't really pick up what fruit though. Maybe lemon?

Taste- Tart, but not outrageously tart as some of the other Cantillon brews I have had. A nice mixture of lemon, orange and grapefruit sour medly.

Mouthfeel- Makes you salivate for more. Good tartness and next to no carbonation.

Drinkability- Excellent output from Cantillon. Maybe my favorite of the bunch to date.

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Photo of Iguana
4.73/5  rDev +11.3%
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.

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

between crown cap and cork was a clear liquid layer that smelled of madeira , and vinegar 750 ml. bottle- color of orange honey , with a tick eggshell colored head – delicate nose of sweet white grapes (chardonnay , riesling ) , yeast , lime , sour grass , yellow apples ,and hint of floral hops – taste of wonderful sourness , and tartness , white wine vinegar , chalky , slight maltyness , slight caramel , and barnyard – body is dry , acidic , and a little harsh– aftertaste of chalk , white wine , and astringent

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Photo of Gavage
4.14/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: clear yellowish orange color. 1/2" head lingers a bit before falling to some surface bubbles. No lacing develops.

Smell: yeast, barnyard funk, sour fruits and overall muskiness fills the nasal passage.

Taste: the flavors follow the nose as yeast, muskiness, sour green apples, honey sweetness, hints of oak woodiness, and some light alcohol tones make up an interesting dry lambic.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied. Smooth and dry throughout. Brief bold aftertaste sticking towards muskiness and sour apples.

Drinkability: a pleasant slow sipping lambic that some may be turned off by, but this grow on you. Pretty easy to quaff.

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

Presentation: a 12 ounce heavy bottle with foil cork and cap.

Allowed to warm and served in a Flute glass.

Appearance: Pours a soft orange amber color with a think white head in my Brooklyn Flute glass. When the head fades there is no notable lacing.

Smell: Musty sour lemon aroma with strong suggestion of old wood barrels, and hints of the yeast and Lambic funk.

Taste: Wow! I Love it!! I was expecting much more intense than this. It is tart yes but somehow it seems even less intense than the Cantillon Kriek. This is smooth and easy sour. With an apple cider acidity and dark dryness. but there it also a level of depth, with Muscat grapes and woodiness (vinous) and a sweetness that came out long after the beer is swallowed and the sour fades the aftertaste continues to shine.

Mouthfeel: Perfectly dry with just the right acidity and sour to make me smack my lips and salivate for more long after each swallow.

Drinkability: As a sour beer fan, I loved this one. It is up there with, if not even better than Vigneronne. WOW. I need to get more of this stuff. If only the 750s were less than $17.99 I'd be drinking this beer every night. That said, this style is not a transition beer. This is an acquired taste, I love.

Hope this is helpful.

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Photo of dbalsock
4.25/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Almost clear light amber with a good, balanced white head (good retention too). There was no lacing on thet glass which was nice, and the carbonation looked alright.

Smell: Oaky, flowery (similar to an Iris actually), honeysuckley, pungent cheese, peaches and some tropical fruits. It also picks up smells from the air really well.

Taste: Sharp cheese, like a good cheddar, sublter oakness than from the taste. These mix nicely with the flower taste and honeysuckle.

Mouthfeel: Sour like a lambic and sharp like good cheddar with the slightest bitterness to round it out. The little carbonation balances the light body.

Drinkability: This is definitely a celebratory beer, but I could give this a go fairly often with the right food pairing.

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Photo of scott
4.33/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

V.05 per cork
Sublime golden-hued flute of a thousand bubbles. Great head.
Aroma was peculiar, but so inviting. Rich. Complex. Beastie.
Awesome flavor of many complexions. But, to my dismay, the "tart funk" was rather subdued. I was hoping for a pucker, but I could drink this all day long without being intruded upon.
Cantillon makes an awesome product, hands down.
If this style is what you are looking for, then here is your drink.

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Photo of ciderfaerie
3.35/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

appearance - amber, perfectly roasted marshmallow, creamy vanilla colored head, good carb

smell: strong floral fragrance and a nice burnt sugar (again with the toasted marshmallow, mmm)

taste: first sips were highly oaky, and either the oakiness decreased as the beer warmed or the bitterness (see mouthfeel) numbed my taste-buds

mouthfeel: thick, soft, bakers chocolate bitterness like biting into a dandelion (or iris?)

drinkability: far too bitter for my preference, however, the complexity is so intriguing and makes this an interesting lambic for sipping and pondering

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Photo of CAMRAhardliner
4.85/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I picked up a bottle of this for 17.99 at Premier Gourmet in Buffalo. Using 50% fresh hops and no wheat in a lambic sounds really interesting, and this must be a first.

It pours a dark straw color with a wispy long lasting head that leaves a good smattering of lace on the glass. The aroma is magnificently funky and barnyardy, but without the yeast edge of other Cantillons. Hops arent really perceptable to me in the nose, the funk and acidity subsume them.

The taste is lambic perfection with an amazing twist. A huge amount of brett funk (you know, musty horse blanket, wet horse hair, a dung heap in a verdant meadow, sweaty gym socks, rotting straw, strong cheese, uric acid, all the good stuff!) and sharp sourness takeover the palate. The middle reveals a herbal, leafy hop aroma that sort of reminds me of a well hopped German Pilsner. The finish is mostly sour with some bitterness on the edges, and it lasts forever. I can definitely sense the absence of the wheat 'tartness'. The mouthfeel is full and lightly carbonated.

This is one kick ass experimental lambic, one of the tastiest Cantillons Ive had the fortune of tasting. The fresh hops and sourness work better then I was expecting.

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

the cap came off and foam started to force its way through or along the cork. hopefully the beer doesn't taste like cork

suuuper pungent. the glass and open bottle are filling the room with funk and sourness. truthfully, this aroma would be quite alarming in any other context (except perhaps a barn). i regret to say urine is in there, too. when i take a closer whiff fruit is much more evident: pear, kiwi. the color is a peachy amber with a slight haze and thin head

it's not as sour as the rose de gambrinus but much funkier. up front it's all citric acid and the finish is chalky, bitter horsiness. i can't help but think that the first of this variety was nothing more than an accident. the funkiness is quite multifarious; more so than othe lambics i've had

it's fairly hoppy, actually. bitter with a decent noble aroma. burps are hoppy

i like this beer, but i couldn't drink two in a row. as much as i enjoyed it, all i wanted afterward was the maltiness of a nice scottish ale

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Photo of CharlesDarwin
3.82/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

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Photo of cbl2
3.68/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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


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


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


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

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Photo of wl0307
4.47/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Purchased at the BSF bar, GBBF06. Coming in a 750ml green bottle, corked and capped, covered with black foil.. 2003 vintage, the cork states it's bottled in 2006. Served lightly chilled in a large Burgundy bulb wine glass. BTW, the ingredients printed on the bottle seem to suggest this lambic has no wheat malt in it--an "all-malt lambic" then?

A: translucent dark orangey amber hue, little beer head comes with the beer, gentle carbonation.
S: fragrantly hoppy, mildly sour fruity and mildly sweet malty aromas all blended well upfront, like apples+nectarine added with a touch of lemon zest, plus the classic funky edge like damp blanket, etc... overall the smell is not as intrusive as Cantillon bio Geuze or Lambic, showing a rather pleasant hop fragrance and balanced aroma achieved with malts--maybe due to all malted barleys and colourful hops used in this beer?
T: a funky and quite assertive salty-sour flavour of musty/moulded wood, dried grapefruit peels, and mature cheddar cheese comes to mind... the mouthfeel turns quickly tannic, rusty, woody, semi-dryish, with plenty of mineral elements to rub the tongue, while the saltiness keeps the company of bitter-sour fruits at each step. The aftertaste has an extra length of hop bitterness, along with a superb woody aroma and flavour lingering down the tongue. Overall the flavour is not so much fruit-dominated nor as sour as any other lambic/geuze I've tried, incl. Cantillon's own range, yet the additional hop bitterness is really pleasant I must say, making it perhaps the hoppiest lambic I've ever tasted~~
M&D: very smooth, almost no fizziness is detected on the mouthfeel, while the texture is rusty and chewy as usual. The body is pretty balanced for a lambic, perhaps due to the amount of hops used at different stages in making this beer. Distinctive from Cantillon's other offerings, with a pronounced edge of hop bitterness and fragrant flavour to make this nice beer apart from other great ales by this traditional brewery. I'd love to try the draught version if it's ever available. A really nice hoppy one this is~~

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Photo of Billolick
4.39/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Its one of the Beer axioms I live by, when you see Cantillon on tap, order it! So when I saw this on on tap at My Place in Ct. my choice was a no brainer...this one poured cloudy, dull light amber, with minimal head, lacing etc. Nose was the expected sour, funky ripe apples. IOn the tongue, this classic, unadulterated Lambic continued the theme of sour, but not too sour, apple notes, funky, flavorful, unique, intense, complex, what can I say I love the Cantillon brews and this one was just lovely. Support the producers of these world class artisinal creations.

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Photo of Westsidethreat
3.6/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Served in a champagne flute

A: Highly carbonated with a very spirited head on top of a hazy orange body.

S: Aroma is a bit funky with green apples and a touch of citrus

T: Sour like a standard lambic but somewhat rounded thanks to the pale malt. Had an earthiness opposed to pure general sourness. Finishes with a light was of bitterness. Different for sure.

M: Medium bodied and well carbonated fitting to the style

D: At first I was taken back by this beer but it grew on me. I couldn't get used to the earthy bitterness but finally adjusted after a while. Not bad.

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Cantillon Iris from Brasserie Cantillon
94 out of 100 based on 471 ratings.