Brasserie Cantillon

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Lambic - Traditional
Ranked #2
Ranked #477
4.37 | pDev: 8.92%
Brasserie Cantillon
Notes: It is a completely original beer which, contrary to the other products of the Brewery, is not brewed with 35% of wheat. The Iris, which is only made with malt of the pale ale type (giving a more amber colour to the beer) conserves the typical flavour of the spontaneous fermentation, the complex aromas and the vinous taste.

The hopping is different too. Lambic is made with 100% dried hops, for the Iris we use 50% of dried hops and 50% of fresh hops. The latter cause a superb acidity, the former, due to their tannins, enable to conserve the beer while preserving all its qualities. After two years in the barrel, the Iris undergoes a second fresh hopping two weeks before the bottling. A linen bag, filled with hops, is soaked in the beer for two weeks. This technique, called "cold hopping", gives the beer a more intense savour and makes the smell and the taste more bitter.

Iris is brewed only once every season and all the beers come from the same brewing. This is why the beer is dated. The second fermentation is obtained by adding liquor. 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.
Reviews: 525 | Ratings: 2,170 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of zac16125
zac16125 from South Carolina

4.32/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

750mL bottle into a Teku
Bottled: 25 Feb 2019

Pours translucent with the slightest degree of haze. Golden copper in color with 2 fingers width of off white colored head. Aroma is very floral, grassy fields, some nondescript fruity esters and pungent cheese like funk. Tart citrus acidity rounds out the aromas. Very complex nose. Taste is somewhat tart upfront but not nearly to the degree of most Cantillons I’ve had and it’s also notably more funky with barnyard and pungeant cheese like funk. Prominent bitterness on the finish. There is a fairly prominent sweetness to balance. Mouthfeel is vibrant with high carbonation and excellent drinkability. Overal, far from my favorite Cantillon but a complex and exceptionally well done beer.


Apr 08, 2021
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Sigmund from Norway

4.34/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

750 ml corked and capped green bottle, vintage 2007, courtesy of Cardinal Pub & Bar, Stavanger. ABV is 6%. Deep golden to orange colour, moderate off-white head. Beguiling complex aroma, notes of farmhouse, rustic kitchen, oxidised apples, apple cider vinegar and hops. The flavour is sour but not extreme, hints of oxidised apples and spices, unlike other lambics it also has a distinct hoppy bite in the finish.

Mar 18, 2021
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zonker17 from Texas

4.43/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dec 2014 bottle opened Jan 2021. Cork perfect, amber-copper color, small white head, minimal lacing. Nose light funk, barnyard, grapefruit. Taste very complex, sourness seems to be both acetic and lactic, leaning on lactic, apple, grapefruit, mild bitterness, leather, earthy, dry finish.

Jan 31, 2021
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Benish from Wisconsin

4.53/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a burnt orange color with a tall slight beige head. Strong hop aroma without distracting that classic lambic funk. Flavors start out really delicate and mild with notable hops. Vinous quality with hints of grapefruit. Then it gets all sorts of nuances as it warms up. Grapefruit rind becomes more robust. Vinous quality kicks in as well as the hoppy bitterness. A nice tang without overwhelming acidity. This is quite unlike other Cantillon’s I have tried. Far more hoppy than their traditional beers, heavy grapefruit. I love it.

Dec 24, 2020
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SierraNevallagash from Maine

4.42/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

750ml bottle - March, 2016 Vintage ('15/'16 cork) poured into a wine stem at 45°F.

Pours a very unique scarlet reddish-orange - slightly foggy, with zero head production, and just a razor-thin tan collar. No visible effervescence.

Nose: The aroma begins to fill the area as soon as it is opened. Oak, first and foremost. Tons of damp, musty, splintery white oak, with a whisper of acetone. There's some dusty grain, water cracker, green apple, apricot, fresh pumpkin, tangerine, grass, hay, rose water, flowers, fresh linen, grapefruit zest, raspberry, band aid, sea shell minerality, lemon, dried leaves, leather, old parchment, and some quiet farmhouse funk. Some nutty malt appears as it opens up. This is exceedingly complex and fragrant, with these beautiful floral, almost perfumey undertones.

Palate: Iris greets the palate with a bright, zippy acidity, which leans mostly acetic, with some apple cider vinegar. Immediately, it's so mineralic, that it almost lends a salty note - like sea shells. Complexity quickly unfurls, with notes of tart green apple, lemon, lemongrass, overripe apricot, overripe cherry, white wine, pear, wild green herbs, with a grassy, almost vegetal touch, raspberry, grapefruit zest, flower petals, cracked black pepper, and on the back end, a distinct thread of ripe brie cheese. There's some subtle lambic funk as well, lending a bit of sweat, fruit rot, and damp soil. Parallel to all of this, is a reserved malt presence, with a kiss of caramel and toasted bread, and after about an hour, a lovely malty nuttiness develops. Approaching the finish, the acidity slowly begins to curve, as a herbal, slightly pithy bitterness emerges, with grass, grapefruit rind, tonic water, arugala, and a leafy, spicy, Nobel-esque hop note. As the acidity disappears, a long lingering finish of dry white oak, bitter grapefruit pith, and hop resin concludes the sip.

Mouthfeel/Body: In typical lambic fashion, Iris is fairly light in body, although there is a roundness to it, as well as some malt weight. Effervescence is quite low - perhaps to its detriment, which also lends a fuller feel, as well as a slickness. The acidity is quite tart - sour, even, but remains shy of puckering. Dry, but not bone dry, with some pronounced tannic drying in the bitter finish.

Overall: A very unique offering that stays true to everything Cantillon is known for. While not technically a lambic because of the use of barley malt, it certainly retains most of the traditional Cantillon lambic characteristics, with an interesting malt element, and a whole other dimension of complexity from the unique hop treatment. It isn't "hoppy", but the hops certainly contribute some floral and bitter depth. Complex, cohesive, mature, and unique, yet entirely Cantillon and approachable. Definitely worth trying.

Nov 01, 2020
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Franziskaner from Missouri

4.36/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Amber hued with a fingernail of off white around a third of the rim and covering a quarter of the top. Lightly murky in complexion. The aroma is of light barley and lightly funky lambic yeast. I’m tasted earthy malted barley, light funk, and oak. The mouth is moderately carbonated and crisp.

Jul 29, 2020
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Snowcrash000 from Germany

4.52/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours a cloudy, deep, dark amber coloration with a medium, frothy head that soon fades to a thin ring inside the glass and slightly visible carbonation. Smells of light biscuity malt and estery and hoppy fruit notes of green apple, apricot, grapefruit and white grape, as well as hints of blue cheese funk, rose petals and oak. Taste is an excellent balance of light biscuity malt, slighty tart and estery yeast and somewhat zesty hop notes of green apple, apricot, pink grapefruit, tangerine, white grape and peach, with some flowery accents, a distinct, somewhat tannic oak presence and pretty light blue cheese funk. Finishes semi-dry with a light bitterness, medium acidity and some pink grapefruit, white grape, peach and tannic oak lingering in the aftertaste. Smooth mouthfeel with a medium body and carbonation.

While I wasn't a huge fan of Cuvée Saint Gilloise, their other dry-hopped Lambic, I actually rather enjoyed this one due to the hops feeling more fruity and zesty here and not being quite as floral and earthy, intermingling very harmoniously with the esters and acidity to the point where you almost can't tell anymore where the fruity esters and lactic acidity end and and the fruity, zesty hops begin, although there clearly are some very distinct white grape and peach notes to this which, along with the oaky tannins a and dry character, almost evokes a certain white wine feel here, while the funk is somewhat soft and mild, but still distinct in its own way. A very unique and unusual, quite hoppy, Lambic that feels rather light and refreshing, but still has a good, soft complexity and sublime balance of sweetness, bitterness and acidity, with an intoxicating aroma of rose petals, citrus fruit and oaky, tannic funk. Vintage 2019/20, 10 weeks old at time of consumption.

Jul 12, 2020
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UncleJimbo from Massachusetts

4.49/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2011 vintage. Consumed 12/31/15. This bottle was purchased at the brewery in 2011. Sour and delicious. Nicely round on the palate. Good carbonation.

Nov 20, 2019
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Bouleboubier from New Jersey

4.44/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

(75 cl bottle, 6.5% abv, bottled: 25 February 2019; purchased at the brewery... shared between 2 oversize wine glasses)

L: cloudy amber liquid; excellent foam stand on pour, creamy cap after collapse; no lace

S: first whiff, explosively fragrant - floral punch, band-aid phenol... sweat, hay... perfumy linen, hint of dried apricot?... late, granola with dried citrus peel

T: grapefruit pith, tonic water; floral, herbal, funky greeting, surprisingly malty, bready as it goes... cereal malt relatively present in the aftertaste, semi-dry, mellow nuttiness; a mild subtly peppery-spicy, grassy bitterness... funk coloring the ends with sedate highlighting

F: feathery texture, subtle silty follow-through, quiet rinse drop to its finish... little friction across the palate, little residual mark

O: moderately-intense in its ghostly expressions of flavors... already looking forward to trying it again; can't help feeling a subtlety or two passed me by... saw this at a few Monk's (draft) events, but this is my first sampling (1587)

Oct 21, 2019
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FLima from Brazil

4.29/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2019 bottle at Cantillon Brewery.
Amber orange color with a thick thin head that kept constant throughout the degustation.
Pungent sour aroma with notes of lemon, funky party, spices, grapefruit, leather, white grapes and oak.
Flavor with notes of lemon, malt, grapefruit, white pepper, white grapes, clear noble hops, peaches, white wine, horse sweat, earth, mild lactic acid and oak. Dry aftertaste with a sour finish.
Medium body with appropriate carbonation.
Quite complex and more like beer compared to their sisters. I liked the fact this is made just with barley malt; it felt more malt assertive making other nuances more visible. Also, it is sure more bitter than its counterparties. I guess this is how several beers were in the past. It brings lots of grapefruit, oak, lemony and Saaz hops notes.

Oct 08, 2019
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Thomas_Wikman from Texas

4.49/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I just has Cantillon Iris a Belgian Lambic from Brassiere Cantillon in Brussels, ABV 6.00%. It is matured for two years in oakwood casks before it is refermented. It is simply delicious and one of the best Lambics I've had. Well actually, it is not a true Lambic because it does not have wheat in it. It is it's own type, maybe Belgian Wild Ale.

Look: Hazy dark golden with a thick white head

Aroma: crabapple, orange, oak

Taste: It has a tart and bitter flavor, crabapple, grapefruit, orange, followed by an oaky or woody dry bitterness.

Body/Overall: light to medium body

Aug 04, 2019
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darktronica from Indiana

4.3/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

750 mL bottle from the brasserie, bottled February 2019. Pours a darkish orange, somewhat hazy, with a half-finger of head with modest retention. Dried orange peel, white grapefruit, lemongrass, mild ammonia on the nose. Hoppy bitterness and acidic tartness on the first swallow, which is a roller coaster that becomes more stable with repeated sips and warming. Dank for a lambic, bitter crabapple and a slight mustiness that never really veers into funk and feet. Some balancing sweetness emerges as it warms. Very complex and interesting.

Jul 29, 2019
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superspak from Ohio

4.33/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle into tulip glass, bottled on 12/26/2016. Pours lightly hazy/cloudy deep golden/amber/light orange color with a 2 finger dense and rocky off white head with fantastic retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lasts. Nice dense foamy lacing clings on the glass, with a light amount of streaming carbonation. Fantastic appearance. Aromas of big sour/tart/tangy lemon, lime, orange, grapefruit, citrus peel/rind, peach, plum, pear, apricot, red/green apple, white grape/wine, oak, peppercorn, hay, straw, grass, leather, wet wood, barnyard Brett funk, cracker, and white bread dough; with lighter notes of caramel, toast, white wine vinegar, and yeast/oak/toasted earthiness. Damn nice aromas with great balance and complexity of fruity/funky/acidic/spicy yeast, citrus/earthy hops, oak barrels, and bready malt notes; with big strength. Taste of huge sour/tart/tangy lemon, lime, orange, grapefruit, citrus peel/rind, peach, plum, pear, apricot, red/green apple, white grape/wine, oak, peppercorn, hay, straw, grass, leather, wet wood, barnyard Brett funk, cracker, and white bread dough; with lighter notes of caramel, toast, white wine vinegar, and yeast/oak/toasted earthiness. Light-moderate lactic tang/tartness, citrus peel/rind bitterness, and Brett/oak tannin spiciness on the finish. Lingering notes of tart/tangy lemon, lime, orange, grapefruit, citrus peel/rind, peach, plum, pear, apricot, red/green apple, white grape/wine, oak, peppercorn, hay, straw, grass, leather, wet wood, barnyard Brett funk, cracker, white bread dough, light caramel/toast/vinegar, and yeast/oak/toasted earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Amazing complexity, robustness, and balance of fruity/funky/acidic/spicy yeast, citrus/earthy hops, oak barrels, and bready malt flavors; with an awesome malt/tang/tartness, and bitter/spiciness balance; with no puckering/astringent flavors after the finish. Fairly crisp finishing. Light-moderate increasing dryness from lingering tang/tartness and bitter/spiciness. Medium carbonation and body; with a very smooth, moderately creamy/bready/grainy, and acidic/tangy/sticky/tannic balanced mouthfeel that is great. Zero warming alcohol for 6%. Overall this is an amazing all barley malt lambic. All around incredible complexity, robustness, and balance of fruity/funky/acidic/spicy yeast, citrus/earthy hops, oak barrels, and bready malt flavors; very smooth, easy, and fairly crisp to drink with the modestly acidic/bitter/tannic/drying finish; not overly lactic/tannic. Amazingly well rounded barnyard Brett/bacteria complexity with added hops; great oak presence and bready malts against acidity. Minimal residual sweetness with crisp drying. A highly enjoyable offering, and spot on style example as expected.

Jul 09, 2019
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josanguapo from Spain

1.99/5  rDev -54.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.25 | overall: 1.5

De Tercertiempocervezas. En copa Teku. Viendo Venom. Excesiva acidez, de la que da dolor de barriga, junto con un lupulado cuyo amargor dificulta su ingesta aun mas

Jan 12, 2019
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Vidblain from Minnesota

4.33/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Iris is one of many Cantillon beers that I've only been able to try just once - and would really like to try again. This particular bottle was shared at Dark Lord Day 2018. It was tremendously funky and just a bit tart. The mouth feel and taste felt a bit... young. Immature. I suspect this bottle would have greatly benefited from age.

Still - it was delicious. I'd definitely like to try an older bottle some day.

Jan 08, 2019
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DJ-Hophead from England

4.5/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Tap @ Moor, Bristol, Zwanze Day 2018 - Pours hazy golden with small white foamy head. Aroma - Hoppy forefront, tart notes, oaky, barnyard funky feel. Taste - Sour, light bitter notes, barnyard funky notes, caramel malty feel, floral hops. Very nice hop forward well balanced lambic.

Oct 03, 2018
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kitch from Hong Kong

4.24/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A 750ml corked and capped bottle, bottled on 9th January 2018. Poured into a Cantillon ballon glass.

Appearance: A lightly hazy golden orange colour with a one and a half finger off white head that dissipates fairly quickly to a thin layer, while leaving some sparse lacing.

Aroma: Tart, funky barnyard, oak, apricot, grapefruit, citrus zest and rind.

Taste: Sour, lightly bitter, a hint of sweetness, funk, oak, apricot, peach, grapefruit zest, lemon and leather with a hint of floral and herbal.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with moderate to low carbonation.

Overall: Very enjoyable and great to drink. Even better when aged properly for a few years.

Sep 26, 2018
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brewseidon from California

5/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Absolutely amazing lambic. The 2007 version was a delightful spontaneous ale the delivers the terroir of Cantillon in a succinct and impressionable flow.

Jun 11, 2018
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stevoj from Idaho

3.95/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottle from Jeremy. Medium golden with finely beaded head. Aroma of stone fruit, tart, floral. Taste is more of the same, light and effervescent. Finish is equally sweet and tart.

Feb 26, 2018
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Sabtos from Ohio

4.06/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Almost fully opaque, the color of Iris is red grapefruit through and through. A loud, fizzy head dies to nothing except for a faint slick of white pond scum leftover on the surface.

Smell is malic and gummy apricot, acetic bright and vinous oak, peppery wood, dry lemon and grapefruit zests with smoky balsamic vinegar.

Taste starts ultra sour at first but only initially, bringing flavors of green apple, apricot, lemon, grapefruit, grassy and oniony hops and smoky balsamic vinegar with an oaky char. The hoppy bitterness and sour acidity decreases over time.

Feel is slick, slightly crisp with a semi-dry sharp chew.

2016 vintage

Sep 04, 2017
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SourFaceEric from Connecticut

4.89/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

One of my favorite beers from Cantillon, which may be the greatest brewery in the world (assuming you appreciate lambics). Very dry and complex, aromatic and with a lovely appearance.

Sep 04, 2017
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Phineasco from Massachusetts

4.36/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Look: Orange/amber, clear, with thin head that recedes quickly.
Smell: Floral, earthy, funky, and caramel.
Taste: Funky, earthy, caramel, and a little hoppy bitterness.
Mouthfeel: Medium.
Overall: A good lambic from Cantillon. The malt made this my least favorite Cantillon offering.

Aug 22, 2017
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MTKATL from Georgia

4.5/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2004 Vintage. Very complex. Super funky barnyard nose. Taste is almost wine-like. Earthy, rustic. I look forward to trying a younger bottle to compare.

Aug 20, 2017
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thebeers from Pennsylvania

3.86/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Hazy orange yellow with thin white head that quickly dissipates to a crown. Big floral aroma, some crackery malt with nice sourness behind. Weird sweetness mixes with the lambic beneath, the pilsner malts and florwery hops. Medium bodied with light carbonation. Nice, but not my favorite.

Aug 07, 2017
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eppie82 from Illinois

4.37/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2017 bottle at Cantillon Brewery in Brussels, Belgium.

Amber appearance with descent bit of foam head upon pour. Strong barnyard funk smell. Taste doesn't necessarily follow the aroma with this beer. It has this white grape and wine like flavor. The aftertaste is also a bit more bitter than I would expect from a Cantillon lambic so it is quite a bit different. Almost like it has more hops than other Lambics. For people that are transitioning from already liking IPAs to starting to like lambics and sours, I can see that crowd really enjoying this beer.

Jul 25, 2017
Iris from Brasserie Cantillon
Beer rating: 97 out of 100 with 2170 ratings