Cantillon Iris | Brasserie Cantillon

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
BA SCORE
95
world-class
489 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score
Send samples
Cantillon IrisCantillon Iris
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Brasserie Cantillon
Belgium | website

Style: Lambic - Unblended

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
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."

Added by TheLongBeachBum on 12-05-2002

BEER STATS
Reviews:
489
Ratings:
2,001
Avg:
4.26
pDev:
9.62%
 
 
Wants:
706
Gots:
464
For Trade:
46
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 489 | Ratings: 2,001
Photo of drabmuh
4.03/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

REVIEW #799!! 2007 vintage. Beer served in a snifter. Beer is dark amber and completely hazy. Forms a surprisingly big head (the cork really popped out fast) and the carbonation is really high. Head is off white and made up of small bubbles. Doesn't leave much lacing on the glass. Looks great (although I don't mind my unblended lambics to have almost no carbonation).

Strongly tart with mild fruit aromas in the nose. Apples, some apricots (I know these fruits aren't here, just saying what I can smell). Mild acetic acid notes, nice lactic notes. Smells good.

Beer is super sour and has a nice funk to it. Lots of carbonation in the mouth. This pushes the limits of what I think a sour can be. Very lactic / citric in the front and then oak and woodsy at the back with a lingering funk. Drinkability is good but its not my favorite lambic from them. Overall I still thoroughly enjoyed it.

 893 characters

Photo of ne0m00re
4.02/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

07/14/10- Had a 750 mL bottle from 2007.
A: Cloudy, amber and burnt orange, it poured a medium white head that died to a nice head.
S: Gentle musty apple, reisling white wine, a slight cheese, musty and earthy hops; very nice.
T: Starts off as mildy musty with a nutty characteristics, apple comes on tart and ends quickly with a parmesan cheese finish and bitterness. It is nicely tart with a lingering apple core bitterness.
M: Frothy and spritzy with a mildy syrupy body.
D: Good.

 483 characters

Photo of Sallerj
4.02/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

This is a cloudy, gold orange beer without much head (my bottle is six years old). It has a powerful aroma of vinegar-- almost mustardy-- plus apple, lemon, nutmeg maybe, and something a little tropical, but mostly just that sour smell. When you taste this beer, the sourness keeps coming and coming until your cheeks hurt and your eyes water. What does it actually taste like? Sour. Green apple, grapefruit, funky, wood resin, and sour sour sour. Yum.

 452 characters

Photo of neenerzig
4.02/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes seeing as how I drank this 8 days ago now.

Served to me in a goblet. This beer is a sort of hazy medium copper/amber color that reminds me of apple juice, only this one is a bit darker. No head or lacing at all here. The nose has a tarty, floral hop presence along with some oak. Was this beer aged in oak barrels? Has a very sour flavor with some green apple and tart along with the floral hops. Has a crisp, smooth mouthfeel with light carbonation and a light to medium bodied mouthfeel. Fairly easy to drink. Never had a lambic like this one before and I liked this one quite a bit.

Eric

 612 characters

Photo of OneDropSoup
4.02/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2006 vintage, bottled in 2008.

Poured into a stemmed tulip: Medium russet body, translucent -- pretty sure some sediment got in there, as it was transparent earlier in the pour. Head has a mind of its own: Fast-rising & aggressive, but sinks ot a thick & porous coating. Head's an intersting color, splotches of light tan & beige. Can see around the edges some nucleation.

Smell is wicked complex: Green apple, semi-dry champagne, there's an "open field" smell that halfway between barnyard funk & bright, airy, grassy. Some mild orange & grapefruit. There's a kind of "hidden" sweetness, too -- not sure if I'd call it vanilla or sweet grapes or just plain sugar, but it's just subtly peeking out from behind the tart, funky notes. Strongly tart, I'm really liking the aroma. There's some leather, rawhide too.

Taste is -- whoa! Formidable is an understatement. First few sips are highly acidic, with citric & fruit peel tartness. Some oak shows up. Ends puckeringly sour & very dry. Whew.

This one makes me salivate, big time. Medium-bodied, with sharp acidity. Dry, yessir.

This is an engaging & complex brew. I can't say I have any other straight lambics to compare it to, but found it very satisfying. That said, it's also intense & I don't think I could take more than a glass of this.

 1,296 characters

Photo of HuskyinPDX
4.02/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle Opened on 8.27.12
Bottled Feb 20, 2012

A - Pours a medium to dark cloudy orange with a fizzy one inch yellowish-tan head that fades quickly.

S - Lots of barnyard funk and some wild flowers.

T - Lots of funk, tart red apple, dandelions, earthy.

D - Good carbonation, light body, very lively.

O - Very tasty, lively and tart. Try it if you can, you will enjoy it.

 373 characters

Photo of LBS15
4.02/5  rDev -5.6%
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.

 564 characters

Photo of NEhophead
4.02/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12.7 fl oz green bottle, capped and corked; served in a flute.
Vintage 2005; bottled in 2007.

Pours a light champagne in color with a slight haze. Carbonation-filled, somewhat creamy white head that recedes after a moment leaving a ring of bubbles around the flute's rim.

Intense notes of sourness: raspberry, apple, orange, cranberry. Moderate notes of oak giving a very dry cedar nose. Spicy, dry clove and pepper.

Slick, intense sourness imparting young, unripened berry and citrus flavors. The sourness lasts throughout the sip, but is practically overwhelmed by the swarming dry, cedar flavor. Pepper into the finish along with a grappa-like alcohol flavor that is just a touch too strong/young.

A light, medium in body; champagne-like in texture with lots of carbonation. Dry, almost waxy in spots due to the dry flavor profile.

As always, a unique and pleasant offering from Cantillon. Heavy on the cedar and notes of oak is how Iris will be remembered. Still quite young and not quite in balance. I would be very interested in sampling earlier versions.

 1,066 characters

Photo of BretSikkink
4.02/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served a pleasant orange-brown color with a solid white head, good stick, some legs. The nose is strongly earthy and sour enough.

The flavor is slightly sweet with a lot of citric-style sourness. Not full-on vinegar-style puckering, but a pleasantly crisp and fruity beer. Mouthfeel's just fine, drinkability hurts a bit as it finishes just a little off from this tap.

 370 characters

Photo of Jeffo
4.02/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this one at the Bierkoning in Amsterdam.

From a 750 into a wine glass
Bottled 29 Jan 2013

APPEARANCE: Pours a small, fizzy, looser looking, off-white head with lousy retention. Head quickly fades to a wisp. Cloudy burnt orange with medium levels of carbonation. A ring remains until the end but leaves no real lacing down the glass.

SMELL: Tart lemon on the nose, with flowery aromas and some acidic vinegar as well. Nice, but not quite as forthcoming as hoped.

TASTE: Much more forthcoming than the nose, and very sour and acidic. Lemon sourness with flowery hops, bitterness and grapefruit flavors at the swallow. Bold finish is acidic with vinegar, sour grapefruit, lemon and a touch of floral bitterness. Quite sour and interestingly balanced with the hoppy bitterness. Very enjoyable.

PALATE: Medium body and medium carbonation. Light and creamy on the palate, goes down smooth and finishes rather dry and puckering. Good stuff.

OVERALL: Really nice and very well balanced. The nose could be a little more present, but the flavor really delivered. A good dose of acidic sourness that's balanced really well with the hoppy bitterness this one provides. Even though my overall score might not suggest it, this one is well worth the effort. Highly recommended.

 1,277 characters

Photo of gyllstromk
4.02/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2006 vintage.

Pours a nice hazy orange, with a big frothy head. Nose is funk and sour lemon/tangerine with hints of juniper or ginger. Flavor is bitter citrus evoking primarily grapefruit, with little cloves on the finish, and a huge astringent/tannic aftertaste that builds and peaks at 5 seconds. Really adds to the feeling of biting grapefruit and is not entirely appealing (from maybe a few too many days in the barrel). The bitterness is tempered as the beer warms toward room temperature. The taste it on the thin side for a lambic and not overly complex, but the acidity is just right. Overall a nice lambic but drinkability suffers from the bitterness.

 661 characters

Photo of eyncognito
4.02/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had this on tap at the Malthouse in Madison.

Yellow pour, gold-orange tint, with white head that disappeared quickly-yeah this is some acidic stuff. The aroma is pure sour funk, unripe fruit-lemon, apple, pear, vinegar. I now really understand barnyard funk, the faint fresh cut grass scent is inviting.

Taste follows, viscous acid taste-vinegar, tart lemon and grass. Dry and mouth puckering, slight unripe cherry taste. Nice and dry with strong carbonation, lively.

I am not a huge fan of lambics, but I do have some experience with them. This is one of the best unblended I've had. Quite refreshing and complex, but like nearly all lambics it's one and done.

 664 characters

Photo of Onslow
4.01/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark sunset orange, with a low eggshell head, sparse foam puddle after it settles .. . I love the aroma, from sour white grapes, zest, vinegar, all kinds of delicious wrong flavours that are just so right!! ..Man Utd Forever!.. . quite a bitter mouth to it, with a tanglicious refreshing bite.. quite complex in the mouth lemon to sherbet to aspirin to other sour animals .. . Its got something to it, i like it, it hates me: word.. . I like everything about it except the braising bitterness in the aftertaste.. . ..

 525 characters

Photo of jazzyjeff13
4/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A 750ml green glass bottle with a bottled-on date of Feb 20th 2012. ABV is stated as 6%. Purchased at the brewery back in May, while on a trip to Belgium/the Netherlands. I was able to try this at Moeder Lambic while I was in Brussels - it was great!

Poured into a Duvel tulip (twice). A bright orange-amber hue with medium carbonation; much hazier on the second pour. Yields a small head of white foam that lasts for a couple of minutes before dissipating. A tart, dry aroma with notes of lemony acidity, musty barnyard funk, green apples, mild vinegar, hay, earthiness, yeast and faint hints of caramel and hop overtones. Complex and inviting.

The flavour is distinctly sour and dry, with layers of character and a slightly bitter finish. Notes of tart lemons, unripe apples, barnyard funkiness, subtle vinegar, musty yeast, hay/straw, faint citrus and a vanishing hint of caramel malt. Very faint aromatic hop overtones in the background. A mild hop bitterness upon swallowing. Mouthfeel is puckeringly acidic - bone dry and highly astringent. Quite light, with tingly carbonation and good body. Aftertaste of tart, dry mustiness with a hint of bitter hops. Incredible.

A fantastic beer. Not a true lambic, but superbly crafted nontheless. The spontaneous fermentation gives it a sour, funky character with amazing depth. My only (slight) complaint is that the hops are too subtle and attenuated - was hoping for more in the aroma. When I had this on tap in Brussels it seemed hoppier, but perhaps the time that has passed has allowed the hop notes to fade. I suspect this is a beer best consumed young. Anyway, another quality offering from Cantillon and well worth your time. Grab one if you come across it.

 1,715 characters

Photo of biboergosum
4/5  rDev -6.1%
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 Hobbz
4/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Wild-fermented. Aged in oak three years, and after sampling my "spontaneous" first reaction was: Why?? But then my understanding took over -- an admitted novice to the style by first-hand sensory experience, but with a knowledge and desire to open up to the Gueuze and Gueuze-styled beers. Otherwise, without any understanding of what is going on here... well, just try to feed the stuff to your typical macro-drinker who "knows" what he/she likes in a beer. This would then hardly classify as beer, if not barnyard piss...

This is Gueuze-styled in that it is brewed with 100% barley malt for one (no wheat); the oak-aging process is also extra-style.

Its appearance was a cloudy orange, not too dark but with a light amber hue. Its smell was boldly, boldly sour, akin to sniffing a package of sweet-tarts. Hugely bitter, mouth-puckering sourness predominates each and every sip, first to last. Amazing. Even against a young, unblended Gueuze, this offering is way to the extreme IMO. Two other components, it think, contribute to its intensity: pretty high carbonation acts as a conduit for its natural, wild acidity (microflora acting to the max). To be honest, my drinking buddy and myself had difficulty finishing this (yet we did - too expensive and we are too proud not to in each other's company though you should've heard our laughing and puzzled/puckering speech; perhaps a bit too intense/extreme for upstarts to the style).

Related notes: My bottle was dated 2002; I sampled in March 2004. Most definitely not a "pedestrian" beer.

 1,550 characters

Photo of CrazyDavros
4/5  rDev -6.1%

Pours amber with a large head.
Nose shows spicy notes, lemon rind, elderflower, peaches, some funk and a hint of catnip.
Very acidic flavours. Some lemon pith in addition to the rind providing some astringency along with some more peach and floral notes.
Nice high carbonation.

 277 characters

Photo of krberg
4/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Once the crown cap was removed the cork moved a quarter inch above the bottle lip on its own. This beer wants to be consumed. I was amazed at the loud pop produced when the cork was removed. 3 years in oak and its still so lively?! The beer poured with a lot more head than I expected and smelled almost like vinegar. I have to stop now and admit that this is the first true lambic I have tried, so the smell worried me a bit. Iris has a nice reddish-tan cloudy appearence. It is a color I find somehow comforting. Its first taste was not as sour as I had assumed by smell, but still very tart. It finished sharply bitter. Once the initial sour shock has passed it smells of apples and grapes. I will agree with past reviewers on the "grassy" aftertaste. I am surprised that oak is not discernible. Iris has a nice light mouthfeel - I would have liked to try this in the dead of summer. After reading the love them or hate them comments about true lambics, I am very happy to say that this beer is quite refreshing and I look forward to trying other examples of the style. My only complaint is that no one is here to share the bottle with me, but I doubt any of my friends would understand anyway.

 1,197 characters

Photo of peabody
4/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours out a really cloudy yellow amber with 1/2 finger of white small suds. Not a lot of lacing here.
Smell is sour lemons and grapefruit rind with a strong yeast aroma. Very sharp and spicey.
Taste is grapefruit dry sour with a very bitter grassy aftertaste.
Mouthfeel is a little dirty but leaves some nice oaky notes. The last sweet aftertaste is just wonderful.
Drinkability is good here. I like this beer from Cantillon. They can do no wrong.

 449 characters

Photo of ThaCreep
4/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Golden bronze. Tannic nose reminiscent of an unblended lambic but more mature. Once in the mouth, we get also this, that we are not to a bad end product and not intended for consumption.

In flavor, it perceives the roughness of the wood and the acidity of wood but with the addition of a touch of malted barley (with a small light caramel taste), which increases the complexity of the drink without altering the balance. The finish is acid, but retained, and the tannic side continues to be a nice way.

Unblended lambic a much more convincing than the Bruoscella, by far.

 575 characters

Photo of eric5bellies
4/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a hazy ornage colour witha tight White head that laces and retains.

S - Plenaty of funk and tartness, a little citrus and wood as well.

T - Nice balance of citrus, and woodyness with some barnyard funky sourness. The balance is very good indeed.

M - Medium body and light to medium carbonation.

O - One of the most drinkable sours around

 351 characters

Photo of aasher
4/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I received this beer in a massive trade with thagr81us, thanks Calton! This bottle is the 2007 vintage.

Upon popping the cap the cork was instantly saturated with lambic. The beer pours a light bodied amber in color with a light white lacing around the glass. It appears that it may be slightly oxidized. The aromas consist of perfume like qualities, floral acid, and moderate vinegar. It tastes quite acidic and has a particular spiced bite to it. It does have some floral and tea components as well. It's interesting to say the least. It drinks light in body and dries out your palate, yet not as much as other Cantillons. Overall it's an interesting beer and worth a try. I'm curious to know why they named the beer Iris.

 726 characters

Photo of riored4v
4/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed on 5/5/09

Poured into a Chimay goblet. Slightly pink in color.. hues of red and amber. Clear body. Off-white, thin head that fades fast.

Smell was leathery and mildly musty. Slightly acidic and very crisp.

Taste was leathery, musty and had a tartness that was cherry-like. Good amount of funkiness and interesting, although very subtle, vanilla notes from the oak. Fairly smooth drinking, not overly tart or acidic and leaves a clean palate in the finish.

Mouthfeel was light and crisp. Dry finish.

Drinkability was good. Tart but clean finish.

Overally this was a really tasty brew. The bottle went down way to easily.

 636 characters

Photo of Sideswipe
4/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

At Stone on Zwanze day

A- Dark orange, amber color. Little to no head.

S- Sour oranges and mild funk.

T- Sour and tart out of the gate with grapefruit rind and orange qualities. Some barnyard funk mid-palate followed by a citrusy, sour finish and a lingering sour aftertaste.

M- Medium to light body with low carbonation. Very nice.

O- Really enjoyed this. Interesting citrus characteristics which work quite well with the sour, funky qualities of the beer. Hope to have this agaIn. Recommended.

 504 characters

Photo of aubuc1
4/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12.7 bottle dated 2005 (cork dated 2007)poured in to a flute.

pours rich golden with a steady stream of carbonation rising to a quickly disappearing head.

Smell is slightly tart and slightly malty with some spice and faint fruit. Very complex.

Taste is very sour and dry. Warm taste, but not alcohol. Sourness is cidery.

Dry mouthfeel vanishes and with the sourness leads me wanting more.

Not as great as I hoped, but a very nice experience.

 447 characters

Cantillon Iris from Brasserie Cantillon
95 out of 100 based on 489 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Return of the Belgian Beer Fest

    BeerAdvocate Brings its All-Belgian Fest to Portland, Maine on September 17, 2016. Tickets are on sale now.

    Learn More
  • Get the Mag

    Become a BeerAdvocate magazine print subscriber today.

    Subscribe