Iris
Brasserie Cantillon

IrisIris
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Style:
Belgian Lambic
Ranked #2
ABV:
5%
Score:
97
Ranked #432
Avg:
4.37 | pDev: 8.92%
Reviews:
513
Ratings:
2,138
From:
Brasserie Cantillon
 
Belgium
Avail:
Year-round
Wants
  720
Gots
  488
SCORE
97
World-Class
IrisIris
Notes: The Iris beer, a spontaneous fermentation beer made with pure malt, is really unique. It matures for two years in oak-wood casks and undergoes a natural second fermentation in the bottle afterwards. The fresh hops give the beer a bitter flavour. This characteristic, combined with the absence of wheat, constitute the main difference between the IRIS and the other Cantillon beers, that are made with Lambic.
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Reviews: 513 | Ratings: 2,138
Reviews by Juan611:
Photo of Juan611
4.4/5  rDev +0.7%

More User Reviews:
Photo of chrysanthemumbler
5/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

i don't know if any of the people who say "barnyard" in a beer tasting have ever been in a barnyard. If they had ever mashed and bruised and rolled the hollow stem of an iris between their fingers until the cells between the strands turned into the watery, tugging, viscous, liquid that runs down your legs after the second time on a tart day in your cycle then I don't know why they wouldn't just say that this tastes like that.

 431 characters

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.6/5  rDev +5.3%

totally different stuff from cantillon here. all barley malt instead of some amount of wheat in here make it quite a bit more sturdy then their lambic types, and the hops are definitely more aggressive in flavor, although still really mild, especially by American standards. the beer has a darker caramel color to it, plenty of hazy as per usual with cantillon, and a tall and lasting dull muted whited head of tiny bubbles. the nose is more funk than sour, with some textured sweetness in there, and then of course the oaky mature lacto thing to finish. the taste is just like the nose, exactly like it, with the barley malt influencing this beer more in terms of body I think than flavor. the hops have an earthy dried herbal character to them than likes the bigger body, and carbonation is effervescently bright. I like the slightly richer feel to this, and the longer finish not usually there in their lambic. maybe a little less unique and distinct than some of their other beers, like say fou foune or the lou pepe fruit beers, but I think its quality is as good as any, and its definitely a new direction for them. stoked to have shared this bottle with my brother, who loves sours and wilds but until now has never had a beer from cantillon. we both really enjoyed it.

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Photo of kojevergas
4.21/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

75cl green glass bottle served at One Pint Pub in Helsinki into a Cantillon glass. Expectations were high given the brewery. Cost was 20 euro.

Bottled 17 March 2014. 6% ABV.

Reviewed from notes taken in July 2015.

No bubble show forms as it's poured.

HEAD: ~2 inches wide. Off-white colour. Not real frothy or foamy, but adequately thick for the style. Retention is nice - ~4-5 minutes. Leaves no rings of lacing on the sides of the glass as it recedes.

BODY: Clear vibrant gold with superb clarity. Clean, with no visible sediment within.

It's a nice looking lambic, but I've seen far better (especially from Cantillon). Appears adequately carbonated.

AROMA: Wild lambicus yeast(s) and intricate bacterial notes lend this its characteristic sourness - which seems to be about a 5-6/10 in terms of intensity, and is supplemented brilliantly by funkiness. Hay-like musty barnyard notes add more complexity, playing into the dry oak wood beautifully. Subtle wine-like fruit and rose grapeskin also come(s) through. The oak is marvelous.

Aromatic intensity is above average. Suggests a gestalt beer with remarkable intricacy, subtlety, and depth. I find little here in terms of hops (aside from the above-noted fruitiness), and no off-notes are evident.

TASTE: Hints of sour/green apple play into the guiding sourness nicely (which is indeed a 5-6/10 in terms of intensity), with complex layers of lactic acid, lambicus yeast, and wild bacteria lending the flavour profile stunning subtlety. Slightly vinegary but never acetic, with a gorgeous musty oak wood presence guiding the flavour profile and lending the beer natural cohesion, tying it together. Fruity grapeskin and appleskin acids play off the sourness at the heart of the beer. Make no mistake, this beer is alive.

Gestalt, with impeccable balance and notes of rose and white wines that will dazzle even the most sophisticated wine drinker. To nitpick, its depth of flavour could be more impressive, and fruiting this lambic might make it still better. But it's a lovely build for a lambic, and the neutral barley malt melts seamlessly into the sourness, succumbing to the spell of the wild bacteria.

TEXTURE: Acidic as hell, but somehow still refreshing. Hides its alcohol content completely. Smooth, wet, and perfectly carbonated. Light bodied yet supple, with a great overall presence on the palate. The acidity accentuates the sour flavour, giving this beer a rare harmony of taste and texture.

OVERALL: A sublime brew from Cantillon, and testament to their deservedly high reputation. I'm glad I sought it out, and would happily pay the 20 euro pricetag again. Stunning drinkability coupled with high quality makes this tough to put down. Truly wonderful; I'm not sure I'll try a better beer this year.

High A- (4.21)

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Photo of biboergosum
4/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle, at BeerBistro in DT T-dot. 2006 vintage - and the cork says it was bottled in 2008.

This beer pours a mildly hazy, medium golden amber hue, with two skinny fingers of puffy, yet thinly foamy, and soapy dirty white head, which leaves little beyond a low ebbing lace wake around the glass as it evenly subsides.

It smells of sour lemon candies, mild earthy funk, a touch of brewers' sugar, pale cereal grain, white vinegar, American virgin oak, and faint noble hops. The taste kicks off rather abruptly with a lip-puckeringly sour lemon and apple fruitiness, followed by some further nondescript funky vinegary tartness, a decently supportive, and relatively sweet musty white graininess, and some weirdly plucky earthy, leafy hops, somehow not lost in the multivalent acrid morass.

The carbonation is averagely peppy, which is obviously difficult to discern beyond the sourly funky hit one takes in each and every sip, the body coming across as duly light and somewhat oily in its gay attempt at smoothness. It finishes rather dry, with that same tart, edgy, and funky fruitiness we've all come to tacitly accept and, er, love.

Nice to see what happens when things go 'unblended' in the Senne Valley - like this is all that different from this one's blended ilk - except maybe for any specific fruit's neutered contribution to the matter, and perhaps a heavier leaning on the wood vinegar way of things. At any rate, a heady, uncompromising affair of a beer, worthy, I suppose of the $30-plus price tag in tony King Street beer parlours.

 1,555 characters

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

Both intense and satisfying, the unblended Labics always gives an intimate view into an unadulturated flavor and process of brewing these magical beers.

Initial vinous aromas speak of super dry white wines, lemon rinds, must, and a mild cidery/vinegar note. Supportive dusty note take the shape of old woods, leather, and mildly horsey notes. Still, the lemon acidity and vinous oaky notes dominate the nose and give a tickle to the nose. Only a mild phenolic scent (band-aid) distracts from the clean lactic/malty nose.

Surprisingly, the beer pours with a light carbonation that fuels a very froathy whie head. Lacing well and retaining better yet, this lambic is much less 'still' than straight lambics should. Deep golden or strong-straw in color, the beer carries a mystic and foggy glow.

Initial flavors of citrus lemons and limes (and the rinds thereof) very much lead the way. Tart apple cider flavors are mixed with light vinegar, white wines (young white grapes), and an aged wood character more reminescent of sandlewood than oak. Leathery, musty, and savory- this beer leads to a long and transitioning bitter and acidic finish. Though it is easy to confuse the acidic sharpness with the pang of hop bitterness, the two are different and are displayed well with the early citrus flavor and the late bitterenss.

Medium at best, to start, the beer tries to become somewhat malty early on. But the beer lets go of that notion quickly and the pursues a lactic sourness, pleasant astringency, and late bitter dryness in the throat.

This beer has dramatic impacts from the split second that it hits the lips until extremely deep in the finish. For a light and thirst quenching beer, this beer has an impressive range that keeps the complexity going and going.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.37/5  rDev 0%
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 Alieniloquium
3.77/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

750 mL bottle poured into a snifter. Bottled March 19, 2013.

Appearance - Deep orange. The head builds as I pour it. Ends up with a pretty decent creamy colored head. Murky body. Dark for a "lambic."

Smell - Quite hoppy. Hoppy with a citrus acidity. Equal quantities of maltiness and acidity.

Taste - Lemony sourness, but nothing like other Cantillons. Malt replaces grain and hay. Hoppy flavor throughout blends nicely with the sourness. Slightly bitter in the finish.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied, but less spritzy than other lambics. Medium carbonation.

Overall - Interesting experiment, but I prefer regular lambics over this. A lot of complexity is lost.

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Photo of jburns301
4/5  rDev -8.5%

Photo of RuckusDu
4.75/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of CLAUD
1/5  rDev -77.1%

Photo of Jimmeekrek
3.75/5  rDev -14.2%

Photo of mgr78704
4.25/5  rDev -2.7%

Photo of nicole-mac
4/5  rDev -8.5%

Photo of bobhits
2.74/5  rDev -37.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Exceptionally well carbonated, funky yellow orange color. Champagne amounts of bubbles.

Nose burning sour. A good bit of barely and some very belgium hops.

Very sour, funky, with a lot of hops. a Kind of an wet blanket flavor in the back ground. Almost seems like Duval or something that has spoiled. As it warms and I get used to it the flavor is more and more going towards the sweet/sour flavors with the hops and the funky off putting flavor moves to the back ground where it adds complexity more to it vs just tasting weird to taste weird.

It's pretty nice drinking and feels well. Plenty of carbonation, light enough in body.

I'm a bit torn on where I stand here. I haven't reviewed many (any?) sour beers because I just don't have a feel for these things yet. This of the 4-5 I've had is in the middle. I've only had one that really impressed me. This doesn't impress me at all.

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Photo of NorCalYeti
4.15/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

taste- superb acid, bitter and carmelized taste

color- amber

clarity- clear

smell- citrusy hop character, spice, earth, bitter, complex aromas

body- very tart, astringent, mouthwatering, medium-body and length finish

appearance- nice orange-amber color with white, active carbonation and nice lace

glassware: tulip

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Photo of peensteen
4.3/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Amber with a hazy ring of white head, no lace. Smell is funky, lemons, wet wood, orange, oak and white wine. Taste is tart and sour with citrus fruits, lemon and orange, vinous flavours, oak, a bit of floral hop. Medium-light carbonation, medium body. Another outstanding beer, certainly something I will be coming back to again as often as possible.

 350 characters

Photo of 1noa
5/5  rDev +14.4%

Photo of DRBiser
4.75/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of Gunch52
4.75/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of SurlyUtopia
4.2/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of The_Beer_Shark
5/5  rDev +14.4%

Photo of sjstraub
5/5  rDev +14.4%

Photo of jampics2
4.5/5  rDev +3%

Photo of nataku00
3.58/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap poured into a tulip glass, 2007 batch. Beer poured a dark copper, hazy, with some thin wisps of head. Looks still, with little to no carbonation visible.

Nose is funky wet hay, earthy, herbal and woody, with some light white vinegar notes.

Follows the nose, some earthy and herbal hop notes, then some funky and woody flavor. Slight vinegar tang middle of the tongue leading to a dry finish with lingering earthy and woody flavors.

Light to medium body, no carbonation, but that is expected for an unblended lambic. Pretty interesting beer, but I'm not sure aging this one was idea as some of the dry hopping would have probably helped brighten up the flavorl.

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Iris from Brasserie Cantillon
Beer rating: 97 out of 100 with 2138 ratings