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Cantillon Saint Lamvinus - Brasserie Cantillon

Cantillon Saint LamvinusCantillon Saint Lamvinus

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,245 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1245
Reviews: 426
rAvg: 4.52
pDev: 8.19%

Brewed by:
Brasserie Cantillon visit their website

Style | ABV
Lambic - Fruit |  5.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: truthbrew on 03-20-2003)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,245 | Reviews: 426 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of GCBrewingCo

North Carolina

4.2/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

The beer poured into the chalice a crystal clear rose with a white and very low yet persistant head which laced the glass.

The aroma was very much lambic with a distinct acetic sourness and some rubbery phenolic aromatics. The aroma was fruity with light grapeskin and seeds. The barnyard aroma was mostly sweaty and oaky with some bad cheese thrown in for good measure.

The flavor was sour but not overly so. The flavor dried quickly on the palate leaving a distinct grape flavoring. The flavor also contained a grape skin and grape seed flavor that were neither overdone. The flavor also contained some mishandled cheese flavors that melded well with the other flavors.

The finish was dry with lasting grape and sour flavors long into the aftertaste. The body was medium and fine.

A very expensive beer for no more complexity than it exibited. Based upon the reviews this beer had garnered I expected more. The place where this beer excelled was drinkability. In no other aspect could I take it beyond good.

750 ml corked and capped bottle. Bottled in 2003 on the cork. Above and on the cork was some thick brown liquid. Purchased at Green's in Atlanta, GA for $28.75. Most expensive single bottle of beer I ever purchased. Perhaps it should be sampled fresher, but without ripping off the foil, there was no way to know the age till the top is popped and the cork was extracted.

Serving type: bottle

05-28-2005 22:15:49 | More by GCBrewingCo
Photo of bnuttz


4.3/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

pours a magnificant ruby purple color. Smells tart and of lambic funk. Some slight grape and wine aromas are present. There is some grape flavor up front, but mainly dominated by the lactic acid flavor. Very tart and is really lip smackingly good. Very dry in the mouth. This is much like a very tart wine. I can't say I have anything like this before. The sour grape flavor is very outstanding and unique. But priced a little high in my mind.

Serving type: bottle

05-05-2005 00:02:11 | More by bnuttz
Photo of Sammy

Ontario (Canada)

4.35/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Expensive. Powerful sourness from tannins of the skins, with bursting aroma of oak and berries. Beautiful. The Palate cleaner. Not for the novice, but certainly a hit. Astringent yet balanced. I saved this for the boys, Radekfest 05 sample 26. An experience to be had once.

Serving type: bottle

04-04-2005 23:22:57 | More by Sammy
Photo of Wildman


4.6/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Cork says 2003: This beer poured a couldy amber color with red undertones and formed a light pink bubbly head that left circular lace as it subsided. An aroma of lambic elements, with a definate red wine character to it. The flavor is a very traditional non sweet lambic with a good deal of sourness to it without overpowering it. The body is medium light and slightly heavier than most lambics. The finish is quite astrigent with some if the winelike sourness present. This is a very outstanding beer.

Serving type: bottle

03-14-2005 02:20:49 | More by Wildman
Photo of Bighuge


4.75/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Cork says 2003.

Beautiful looking hue of scarlet. With a dash of that cranapple juice look to it. This fucker literally radiates. There's a bubbly light pink froth that caps it off quite nicely. It recedes to a thick, bubbly collar that leaves sporadic clingy lace.

Aroma is quite nice. Soft notes of vinegar, mustiness and barnyard funk are complented nicely by some purple grape sweetness and wine characteristics.

I find that this lambic really finds a happy medium between sour and sweet. It's got that horse blanket and farmyard funk going on. And the acidic properties, acetic acid, etc... but to a lesser extent than most Cantillon offerings. On the flip side, this beer also has a touch of grape fruit sweetness and red wine. And it's an interaction that works to perfection.

This beer is Bone Dry. Sahara Desert Dry. And the carbonation is ever so subtle. The body is about medium or so. And this beer leaves you wanting more, sip after sip, until it is gone...

Serving type: bottle

02-06-2005 04:46:44 | More by Bighuge
Photo of clvand0


4.85/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Had this at Rich O's Public House and shared with three other people. $40 for a 750mL bottle. Good thing we shared it. Pours a brilliant light red color with a very small head, which was expected. Lots of funky stuff going on in the aroma. Fruit (grape), sweetness, sour, acid, it's all there. The flavor was very much the same as the aroma predicted. Strange tart/sour character with a great background flavor from the grapes. Very complex. There's a lot going on here. Very enjoyable. Very odd as well. I'm glad I got to try this one.

Serving type: bottle

01-16-2005 23:13:52 | More by clvand0
Photo of SheepNutz


4.85/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

$39.75 at Rich-O's Public House in New Albany, IN. 750mL bottle shared with kmpitz2, clvand0, and another fellow homebrewer and poured into a chalice. It pours a light burgundy color with one finger of head that dies down quickly. There is a touch of lacing left on the glass. The smell has that great Cantillon funk with some red grape sweetness. It really draws you in and keeps you wanting more and more. The taste is amazing. Lots of sweet and sour, with some funkiness. Dry grapes smashed under a horse's saddle. The complexity almost made my head explode. The mouthfeel had sizzling carbonation that just popped on the tongue, unlike any other beer I've experienced. The drinkability was through the roof. Going through a few of these would be hard on the wallet, but easy on the palate. This beer is everything a lambic was meant to be.

Serving type: bottle

01-11-2005 05:52:59 | More by SheepNutz
Photo of kmpitz2


4.97/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This rare treat was shared between 4 people last night, and I have to believe that I will have to drink this beer again, without the other 3 glasses being shared. The liquid pours a beautiful rosey ruby color with a finger of spritzey head that immediately fallst to ring the beer with large bubbles. This one is very wine-like in the color, somewhere between a blush and a dark red. The nose was true to the Cantillon form. Funky, sour, acidic, but with a nice fruity grape coming in behind the funk, smelling so damn good. The flavor. What can one say about liquid nirvana; something so awesome that I would be happy to drink exclusively for the rest of my life. What struck me most was how mellow and smooth this was. I've had a few of the Cantillon line, but this was every bit as funkey, but much more mellow. Still sour and acidic and tart, but not puckering. The grape flavor hits secondarily behind the initial burst of sour and acid, but it serves to polish this beer like the finest diamond. The feel was a weak moderate to moderate, wtih a light, dancing bubble on my tonge. Nothing that got in the way, but enough to know it was there. Awesome balance on the pucker factor. Wow...wow, wow, wow. If there is anything left to say about the drinkability that can't be drawn from what I've already said, I don't know what it would be. Hunt this beer. Drink this beer. Love this beer. So good.

Serving type: bottle

01-08-2005 16:27:17 | More by kmpitz2
Photo of BrewMaster


4.35/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This special treat was brought to a beer party by someone else. Wow, what a treat. It pours a pinkish red with a swirling white head of tiny bubbles. The aroma is yeasty sweet with a dry wine scent. The flavor is a sour, dry, and fruity red wine flavor. It is pungent and tart with notes of pear flesh. Going back and reading the bottle I saw that this beer is made with Bordeaux grapes. This is unlike any beer I've ever had and probably will ever have again. Excellent beer.

Serving type: bottle

11-19-2004 17:04:50 | More by BrewMaster
Photo of marburg


4.97/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Very typical Cantillon quality. Vibrant red color has a touch of violet in it. Surprisingly still in appearance despite the bold effervesence on the tongue. Sour nose with an especially vomitous, bile-like aroma. Ah, lovely, lovely Cantillon. Pressing deeper, one is hard-pressed to evade the grape skin and cranberry redolence present under the initial funk. Fruity cranberry sweetness and mild bitterness blend nicely with a potent sourness. It's quite sour, though I think of their fruit lambics, this is more nominal and par for the course (meaning consistent, not poor) than it is exceptional. Spectacular beer.

Serving type: bottle

10-20-2004 15:45:29 | More by marburg
Photo of Rastacouere

Quebec (Canada)

4.63/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2003 edition had at the Moan and Dove. Deep pinky brownish cherry body. Almost no head, but there’s that mysterious cloudiness I love in some bottle-conditioned beers which just seems to make the color complex. Huge aroma, very clean, balsamic, lightly farmy and surprisingly pretty sweet. Floral sweetness, dessert sauce, red wine-ish.. This defines classy. Field notes. Complex woody oak-like character. On the tongue, you really taste the grape skins out of it. Acidity level is masterfully controlled. Just the right lactic bite. It evolves into a malic fruitiness, passes through a moldy temporary state and finishes very leafy with remarkable mouth puckering properties. Cantaloup, pomegranate.. Big mouthfeel, full bodied, moderately carbonated, perfectly fitting imo and enhances global flavour deployment. Dryness hits you up and leaves a toy of an astringency with which I spent several minutes experimenting sips of water. What can I say, water tasted just sooo good after a sip of st-lamvinus. A beer that will haunt my memories for a long while. Post taste actually doesn’t last all that long, but I still found myself trying to suck out the remaining flavours out of my tongue, like struggling for the last red grape of a whole harvest. Unique. This is to sip with respect, not that it’s not drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

10-12-2004 17:23:26 | More by Rastacouere
Photo of Goldorak

Quebec (Canada)

4.1/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled at In 't Spinnekeopke, Brussels.

Appearance: Cranberry juice red, with zero head.

Smell: Like cabernet Sauvignon, but with that recognizable Cantillon touch.

Taste: Not as sharp as the other Cantillons I've sampled, it has a more subtle flavor. The raisin cuts down the usual dryness. It's like wine, but with an acid finish, and with good carbonation.

I wouldn't pay the ~40 US$ price tag I saw at a few stores in the States, but if you can get one from the brewery at a very reasonable 8 euro, don't hesitate.

Serving type: bottle

10-11-2004 18:52:50 | More by Goldorak
Photo of frank4sail

New Jersey

4.9/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Rediculas neon raspberry color with a slight pale white head. Beauty in a goblet. Hand carried from the brewery by my good friend Andrew. Smells like (and I mean this in the best way possible) what my girlfiend puked up on the carpet in my dorm room after attending a very good high quality red wine tasting . Acidic rounded and berrylike in the nose. Very clean and dry upfront with a rounded fruity berry like (blackberry/raspberry) mellowness. A touch of barnyard love but it is a very clean drinkable brew. Smoothish soft loving mouth with little bubbles on the tongue. The brew just WONDERFUL!

Serving type: bottle

08-10-2004 00:55:21 | More by frank4sail
Photo of bigbeerdrinka


4.83/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Well after trying many of the Cantillon offerings I was ready to see what all the hype was about this brew. Pours a cloudy ruby red with a skimish white head that leaves no lace. Aromas are of a typical lambic, but almost a little more subtle. There was the classic barnyard, pungent sourness / tartness and just a slight slight hint of grape. For flavor this beer was just incredible. Smooth and well rounded this beer starts off sour and tart, but it just doesn't overwhelm the pallate like most Cantillon's. There was only the slightest hint of grape flavor and just a little carbonation, but it was enough to just add a little extra something to this beer. The Saint finished a little acidic but not overwhelming like so many other lambics, with just the right amount of sourness to keep this beer very drinkable. By far of all the Cantillon's this is the best, just well textured, good balance of flavors between the tartness and sourness, and the acidic fruit flavors. Though it may be a bit pricey, if you see this around, its definetly worth the pick up.

Serving type: bottle

08-05-2004 17:19:22 | More by bigbeerdrinka
Photo of Crosling


4.5/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Alright lets see what the commotion is all about.


I always find it kind of redundant to describe the flavors and aromas of a lambic. I usually don't feel like writing down "snake skin, farmhouse, cobwebs, leather, barnyard" and so on and so forth because almost every spontaneously fermented beer possesses these qualities. The difference between the best and the worst are how the flavors mold together. That being said, the aroma on the Saint Lamvinus is subtle. The sourness and traditional Gueuze qualities are toned down by the addition of the grapes. Complex.

This is a really finely tuned lambic. Incredibly soft and mellow on the palate. The Cantillon lambic qualities are there providing everything in quotes above :) and the addition of the grapes provide an incredible flavor. Mouth puckering and simply to die for.

I understand now.

Serving type: bottle

07-21-2004 03:33:28 | More by Crosling
Photo of truthbrew


4.97/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The cork removed with nary a pop, the expected semi-sour barnyard aroma pushed through the narrow neck and hit my nose. The aroma was very strong, very traditional Cantillon with slight hints of grape. The pour, while plenty vigorous, resulted in no head, merely a brilliant hazy red, semi-viscous liquid.. Little to no carbonation, but an excellent prickle during the swallow. Unlike many other Cantillon lambics, it was completely smooth and perfectly balanced, no overwhelming acidic or sour bite, just enough initial lambic traits, then smooth and satisfying. Wow… a traditional lambic with this perfect of drinkability; I could have sipped on it all night. For any lambic lover, worth spending the time, energy, and money to obtain a bottle. I don’t believe it will be a revelation for anyone who has enjoyed other Cantillon lambics, but a very, very nice addition to their line.

Serving type: bottle

06-09-2004 04:04:45 | More by truthbrew
Photo of Dmann


4.88/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Having this be my first true Lambic will for sure make all other that I have pale in comparison. This one poured a great ruby red color with with not too much head but a great ammount of bubbles that added greatly to the visual appeal. The smell was nice and sour, with sour grape notes and sharp cheese scents. The taste was wonderfull with a great dry flavor of citrus and vinegar. The stuff was so smoothe I could have had the whole bottle! This is a beer to behold for sure.

Serving type: bottle

06-06-2004 11:58:32 | More by Dmann
Photo of beergeek279


5/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Served in the 750 mL bottle, into a goblet. The color is a ruby red, with a bubbly white head in the middle. The smell is the lambic sour mixed with a slight bit of dry wine tart. The taste is a more mellow sourness than other lambics (ie, no face puckering), and the wine grapes add just a bit of tartness, body, and a more complex depth. Mouthfeel is nice and smooth. As for drinkability, this is a lambic that I could session with almost all day without my mouth going numb.

Well, this is the first beer that I had as a college graduate. It's been a long, strange trip, but it's been worth it, and I'm glad that I learned to persevere throughout it. I want to thank ngandhi for sending me this rare bottle and for all of his kind thoughts and words of encouragement as I was preparing for this wonderful day. I also have to thank all of my BA friends that I've met and have yet to meet, and I wish you well at the AOBF and whereever else you may be, and just wish that I could be there with you (though I hope I am in spirit). Finally, I want to thank my family and friends...without their support and their love, I wouldn't be drinking this beer on one of the happiest days of my life, and I have to raise a toast to them.

As for the lambic, this is easily the best lambic in the world, and I hope that someday I'll be able to reminisce about my good 'ol days here at school with another glass of this. Cheers to Mr. Jean-Pierre van Roy for this masterpiece, and I know that I will have this one again.

Serving type: bottle

05-08-2004 17:28:10 | More by beergeek279
Photo of sprinkle


4.3/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bright ruby red in color. Fine champagne bubbles. Great nose of slight wet horse blanket with fruit undertones. Smooth in the mouth not as upfront in your face sour as there others definatly more refined. Same tecture of wine, like silk running over your tongue.Hints of roses and nice fine tannins.

Serving type: bottle

04-22-2004 02:35:33 | More by sprinkle
Photo of GreenCard


4.1/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled in 2003...

Appearance: a beautiful cassis-red (deep purple-red), a bit hazy, no head at all, thin film of bubbles

Aroma: the usual Cantillon lambic nose (lactic sourness, a bit of sulphur and hay), a bit fruity but not out-right grape-like

Flavor: up front lemony sourness with a grape juice overtone, corky and a bit woody, enteric bitterness, sulphur, finishes dry and tart with a soft wine-like aftertaste... very nice

Mouthfeel: strangely full-bodied, low to no carbonation, slight warmth

Overall Impression: A "cross-over" beer for oenophiles? This one is quite young with lots of fruitiness and low carbonation. Very soft, but also a wine-like full body. No reason why this couldn't be the replacement for a nice Cabernet or Pinot.

As usual, I made my girlfriend (now my wife) try it. She didn't like it, but I poured a small glass for her and told her she could just sit and smell it. About 15 minutes later she was over to the bottle to pour a little more in her glass! She said it tasted good with dark chocolate. Go figure!

Update (July 2008): Just tried the second of my 2003 S. Lamvinus bottles. As expected, the fruitiness of the grapes is gone, leaving the tartness of the lambic. The aroma is a lemony sourness with red wine vinegar and hints of sour socks and creamy goat cheese. The flavor is quite tart, but not overly lip-puckering. Hints of cork, mold, grape skins, popcorn, and an enteric bitterness in the aftertaste. I asked my wife to try it, too. She remembered the aroma, but grimaced at the sharp sourness.

Serving type: bottle

04-18-2004 13:53:04 | More by GreenCard
Photo of ark57


4.72/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I'll admit I am a sucker for lambics, but this is possibly the greatest one I have ever had. It was the 2001 bottling. It is light purple in color with a sour, winey aroma. It has all the flavors of a traditional lambic, the horse sweat, the musty cellar, the floral/honey notes, but then it finishes with a dry grape finish. The merlot and cabernet franc grapes add a nice dimension and complexity to an already amazing beer.

Serving type: bottle

02-21-2004 23:17:43 | More by ark57
Photo of ngandhi


4.45/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Classic Cantillon nose deep with earth is flawless -- funky and lightly mouthwatering, complex, yet calm. It's no surprise, however, how much of a beast this beer actually is. Prototypic lambic palette of wet earth that opens up to hints of cocoa and salt from the cab franc. Smooth and wonderfully balanced.

Relax, relax.

Serving type: bottle

02-12-2004 04:26:25 | More by ngandhi
Photo of francisweizen


5/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Opening Notes: Geez, where do I begin? First off a big thanks to NGandhi for this ultimately rare, and pricey ($40+ a bottle) offering from the traditional lambic masters @ Cantillon. The presentaition is subtle, yet beautiful. A 750ml bottle which has a black overwrap, a crown and a cork. Like other aged Cantillon offerings the overwrap is rust-laden, the crown cap, is rusted to death, and the cork is really in there. The rust is gently washed off, the crown cap is pried off and the cork comes out flying with an immense rush of carbonation. Have I just released a beer genie from his bottle?, I ask myself...Note to those "in the know" this is a late 2002 vintage that we are dealing with here...

Appearance: The pour is extremely effervescent, and even noisy! a deeply turbid purple-ish liquid glugs slowly out of the 750 and into one of my best Alba wine glasses. The colour settles down to a deep reddish/pinkish liquid with a small pink/off-white head, that shimmers, fizzes loudly, and than all but dies, leaving only the slightest trace of a head, in the form of a white ring. This colour combination is very reminscent of the extravagent Alba red raspberry wine that I drank the other day. This is truly a beautiful beer to behold. Hold it up to the light and transport yourself to another dimension!

Aroma: The aroma is simply to die for! All of the traditional Cantillon gueuze/lambic aromas are here, and they are enhanced by the addition of the Cabernet-Franc and Merlot grapes from the Libourne region of France. This smells musty and earthy, with hints of leather, horse blanket, sheep, cobwebs, freshly packed dirt, cemeteries/graveyards, other various plants and animals, funky yeast, old barns, stewed shoes, and the general drunken monks, funky skunks, and dirty old drunks. However, the aroma is bolstered, and softened by the character of the different grape varieties that are added to this lambic beer. How can something this good be made so simply, and in such an old-fashioned way? That is a question that I find I ask myself often when I contemplate the greatness of Cantillon beers. Note to self: pick up some Saint Emillion and Pomerol wines soon!

Taste: The taste is what you would expect from a traditional Cantillon lambic offering. Oh wait, it is, and it isn't. The aromas ring true in the taste of this brew, but there is also much more here, than there is in any other lambic beer that I have ever sampled. By soaking the grapes in old French Bordeaux barrels full of lambic, Van-roy has really added a new depth of flavor and character to this offering. The taste is sharp, vinous, and acidic up front, with the classic acidity that one expects in a Cantillon offering. This acidity is than backed up by a new vino acidity that rides in on the coat tails of the previous acidic punch. It's a Cantillon, 1, 2 punch. After the acidic rush ends, the grape flavors mingle on the middle of your tongue. It is hard to describe all of the flavors, but to me it is very reminscent of a spring evening in a vineyard. Or when you ate perfectly ripened graps in your backyard as a child...Finally the finish really blends together the best of the French wine world, and the Belgian lambic world. The acidity makes one last charge on the back of your tongue, leaving a sweet and sour sensation and a bit of an alcoholic tinge on the front of your throat...until, Finally the grapes reappear once more to smooth out everything incredibly well. This is definately the easiest drinking Cantillon out there.

Mouthfeel: The mouthfeel of this masterpeice is also perfect. It is sharp, acidic, and effervescent at the beginning of your glass, but by the middle of your glass, it has changed. The mouthfeel morphs into a subtle rolling, gentle carbonation, that puts all of the flavors in your mouth and blends them together into one wonderful melange of ecstacy. Just take a sip and airate it through your teeth, swirl it around into your cheeks, and all of the tiny crevices in your mouth. Do you feel that soft, gentle, rolling carbonation releasing itself throughout your entire mouth? This is exactly how a lambic beer should feel. The mouthfeel is absolutely dead on.

Drinkability: The drinkability you ask? Well it was OK. No, no it was not OK, it was PERFECT! This stuff is so well balanced and so easy to drink, that if I was a King, I would demand to have this as my daily drink. I could easily drink this beer all day and every day. The flavors are just blended so well. Combine that fact, with the perfect and heavenly apperance, aroma, and mouthfeel of this brew, and you have the best drinking lambic ever created.

Final thoughts: Thank-you Mr. Van-roy, you are truly an artist and a master creator of traditional lambics, and I am grealty indebted to you. This is easily the best lambic, and probably the best beer that has eveer passed my lips, and I owe it all to you.

Closing Notes: Get this beer any way that you can, it *IS* most definately worth it!!!

Serving type: bottle

02-04-2004 19:18:44 | More by francisweizen
Photo of Jon


4.95/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Where do I begin? Ahem, OK, Cantillon Saint Lamvinus. A beer I've been looking forward to for quite some time. The holidays, of course, bring out the best in everyone, and in this case, a bottle from my stash of 2002 Saint Lamvinus. Yeah, it was worth it.

Deep pinkish-purple color with a lighter pink-hued head. Simply beautiful.

Musty nose emitted further aromas of leather, citrus, and earthiness. Deep and omnipresent aroma keeps one's attention all the way through.

Flavors range from typical traditional lambic notes of citrus zest and earth with a characteristic, profound acidity that lingers indefinitely. The Merlot and Cabernet Franc grapes used in the production of this lambic, however, share different flavor profiles to this beer and, in turn, soften (but certainly enhance) it. Some tannin from the Pomerol/St-Emilion-derived grapes appears in the mix and provides some definite acidity to the all ready acidic aged lambic. Almost indescribeable. I hate to sound like too much of a fan of Cantillon, but after sampling this beer, it's hard not to. Deep, eccentric and truly original.

Lively, carbonated and acidic mouthfeel is wonderful. Not acidic enough to peel the skin from the roof of one's mouth as it seems a bit softened, but lovely nonetheless.

Drinkable like you wouldn't believe, once you have the palate for these traditional fruit lambics, you will never go back. The question that everyone seems eager to ask, however: is it worth the price? Well, if you're a traditional lambic fiend like myself, most definitely YES. I look forward to seeing how some aged bottles come out in a few years. This beer clearly has the acidity and structure to fare well in a cellar. Hard to describe, but a delight to drink.

Serving type: bottle

01-05-2004 04:14:46 | More by Jon
Photo of Gueuzedude


5/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Vintage Bottled 2002, Sampled November 24, 2003.
It is with some trepidation that I open this bottle. When I peeled off the foil covering the top of the bottle, the cap was badly rusted and there were streaks of crusted beer running down the neck, as well as a small amount of fresh beer leaking from the cap. Since I was not going to get another one of these in the foreseeable future I let it settle down in my dedicated beer cooler.

There is perhaps a hint of a hiss as I pop the cap off the 750ml bottle; hopefully this beer is not too far gone. The cork feels very moist and is obviously fully penetrated from the beer, a slight acetic smell emanates from the cork. Well I go for the cork pull. The cork pops out, and yes, there is some carbonation here. Perhaps it won’t be as bad as I thought.

I pour the beer and low and behold it is very well carbonated. The carbonation produces a couple of inch thick pink to light purple colored head, which, lasts longer than I was expecting. The beer itself is a reddish/ light purple color, quite hazy as well. There is a definite acidic aroma that emanates from my glass. It is sour, though not intensely so.

As I take my first sip I note that there seems to be a large amount of body to this bone dry Lambic. I wonder if the grapes have added some structure, as I was expecting it to be quite thin. The grape character is certainly here, it is under the sourness, there is a bit of tannin here from the grapes. There are some berry notes, which compliment the lemony acidity, it sort of underscores & picks the beer up. As I peel the layers of this beer away I note that the berry–grape like flavor is definitely here.

As this beer warms slightly the wine grapes really start to pick up, especially in the finish. I get an austere vinous slightly tannic ending. The Lambic sourness definitely dominates, but this beer is infinitely better and more complex than the Cantillon Vigneronne. The typical suite of Lambic flavors are here; leathery, musty, and sour. Aromas of cat piss, musty cellar, citrus, vinegar, it is just wonderful to sniff away at. I must get more of this.

A Lambic on its own, when made properly, is incredibly complex. The Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and the Cabernet Merlot grapes just bring this to a whole other plane of existence. This has got it all, and the grapes did not thin out the body of the Lambic like the Muscat grapes did to the Vigneronne. This beer has convinced me to brew a grape-Lambic, perhaps a syrah.

Well I just finished my first glass of this wonderful beer; luckily I still have a second one yet to savor. In my second glass the sour aroma has receded a bit. The Brett character has become a much more noticeable, accompanied by some enteric notes as well. The aroma is just wonderfully complex; I could just smell this beer forever. So, I take an extended moment to do just that… which leads to some ruminations on my part. How can something that is described in such negative terms (enteric, sweaty – leathery – horse blanket, vinegar, barnyard, etc.) be so wonderfully enticing? Well I don’t know, but I truly love it. The taste is again sour up front, but the body and finish of this beer is where the grape character shines. Don’t get me wrong, don’t read too much into my description, this is by no means a wine, definitely a beer, definitely a Lambic, but the marriage of wine and beer is pure genius in the form of Lambic. The complexity here, I never would have guessed that grapes could add so much to the complexity of a traditional Lambic product. Unlike most fruit Lambics (including many that I really enjoy, even most Cantillon products) the grapes take nothing away from the Lambic character, they only add a whole other dimension that intertwines and picks up the character of this Lambic.

No one else should try this beer; I sincerely believe that it is all meant for me. No one else will be able to appreciate the stunning complexity and subtlety that is this beer. After reading this I am sure that anyone else trying this will be let down, so don’t get it, seriously, I’ve got dibs on the rest.

On a serious note, I really would not recommend anything less than an 8 oz serving of this (and a full 12oz would be adequate, but a 750 would be much better). This beer is just far to complex and needs, nay requires, deep contemplation and time to savor and explore this nectar. Please deeply explore this beer if you get a chance, it is well worth it.

Stunning, contemplative, world class; these are all words that just do not do justice to this beer. Please Jean-Pierre, make this a regular beer in your line-up.

Serving type: bottle

12-09-2003 19:10:55 | More by Gueuzedude
Cantillon Saint Lamvinus from Brasserie Cantillon
100 out of 100 based on 1,245 ratings.