Cantillon Iris | Brasserie Cantillon

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Cantillon IrisCantillon Iris

Brewed by:
Brasserie Cantillon

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

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Reviews: 494 | Ratings: 2,042
Photo of Zaplt
4/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Split three ways again with Hobojon and DaveJanssen in Tulip glasses.

Appearance - Light orange, *coppery/reddish tints. Light head with complete lack of lacing.

Smell - Complex funk, initially thought body odor (not in an unpleasant manner) - sour with hints of citrus.

Taste - Has a prominently earthy sour funk. Floral taste is apparent and mixes extremely well with the funk to the point that it's hard to differentiate if the floral character is coming from the hops or yeast - most likely a complementary mix of both. Sweet candy near the end of the taste. *Extremely acidic

Mouthfeel - Smooth and lightly carbonated - a dry feel in general *especially in relation to the low carbonation

Drinkability - Very drinkable to those interested in lambics. Enjoyed it thoroughly but couldn't have enjoyed it as much a year ago, due to undeveloped palate but not extraordinary.

*Strongly influenced by fellow tasters.

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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.. . ..

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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.

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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.

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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.


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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Photo of NearerMyBeerToMe
4.03/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle with "2000" on the cork. The cork bursts out of the bottleneck and several ounces worth of foam goes rushing onto the countertop. I struggle to get the bottle under control. People are already complaining about the smell. I guess that's a good sign. Poured into a champagne flute, the beer is about the same color as raw honey or the light maple tabletop on which it is standing. A single thin, vigorous line of carbonation runs through the liquid, connecting to the bottom of a gruesomely pock-marked, 1/4" deep head that's the color of dirty dishwater. No cling or lacing. The smell isn't quite as offensive as I had hoped. It remindes me most of malt vinegar, the acidity being more acetic than uric. There are residual odors of cork and yeast. Tastes like sour dirt, and how. Sour enough that I'm wincing after each sip. Horrifying copper sourness rots through a layer of apple skins into a field of dead cabbages and finishes with leather and must. At first, the acids have my tongue trying to turn itself inside out, but the mouthfeel evolves to become refreshing and vibrant. Drinking it begets its own drinkability. Intense, intense stuff; and so complex it'll probably take me a few weeks to figure out if I actually liked it.

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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.

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Photo of prototypic
4.05/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Vintage 2006

Light haze clouds its golden color. Orange or amber highlights are strong and have a nice effect on its appearance. A forceful pour yielded a very thin, off-white colored head. It covered the surface, but had no appreciable depth. Retention was very short and little to no lacing lines the glass.

It's a little weaker than I'd like on the nose. Barley and grains are apparent. It also has a musky, old barnyard scent. Sour cherries along with sweet apple, pear, and lemon give it a definite fruity character. Smells a little tart and sour, but not nearly to the extent I expected. I like that aspect quite a bit. It opens up a little as it warms, but not enough to warrant a bump in score.

A sour cherry taste hits first. It's definitely tart, but not to a mouth puckering degree. Citrus lemon, sweet apple, and pear are noted. It's a little sweet, but that aspect is negated by the sour/tart flavor quite a bit. A musky, funky, barnhouse element is easily noted. Probably the Brett effect. It's not nearly as strong as some I've encountered. That's not necessarily a good or bad thing. Suffice it to say that it works well here. It seems to get more tart as it goes down. Iris has a really nice flavor. I'm not quite loving it, but it is very good.

A very smooth, medium body works really well here. Carbonation seems to be dialed down low and really helps to give it a very creamy feel. Of all things here, Cantillon nailed this aspect. Drinkability is good, but falls a few steps shy of excellence. Perhaps it's just my preference, but I frequently feel that way about these types of beers. It's got a nice flavor and goes down pretty easy, but one bottle is more than enough for me.

Iris is a really nice, solid beer. It's well done in all respects and doesn't have any glaring flaws to discuss. I can't say I'm head over heels for it, but that's attributable, in part, to personal preference. I'm just not the biggest sour fan. Coming from a not so sour guy, this is good beer. That's saying something, right?

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Photo of WeisGuy
4.05/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Capital Ale House Innsbrook.

a - pours a bright golden color, very hazy, minimal white head with remnants around the edges

s - smells of sour grapes and wild flowers, some light vinegar, not as sour and tart smelling on the nose as many of Cantillon's other offerings,

t - like the nose, there are flavors of sweet then tart grapes up front, a little sour apple, quite earthy and woody with a less pungent sourness and tartness on the midpalate and finish, light vinegar notes, definitely isn't the palate encompassing sour-bomb that other Cantillons tend to be (and which I like), more reserved and subtle

m - I found this beer to have much less carbonation than other lambics, a bit too low, the lower carbonation made it kind of dull-feeling on the palate, I'd like to try this out of the bottle to see if there's more carbonation as other reviewers would seem to indicate, much gentler on the palate than many other lambics because of the more reserved sourness and tartness

d - as noted above, easier on the palate than many lambics, I enjoyed a large tulip no problem, I imagine a 750ml would be about right

Overall, another very nice sour ale from Cantillon. Definitely a different experience from the Kriek and Geueze, as this is more subtle and nuanced. Well worth trying.

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Photo of brc
4.05/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2006 Iris, bottled Jan 2009. It's a 75cl bottle, which gave many pours into my Cantillon flute.

Pours a hazy brew, golden to orange in color. The offwhite head goes from a few fingers of foam to a ring around the glass fairly quickly, but is a pretty generous head for a lambic.

The smell brings me back to the brewery. It's the smell of the barrels, with the hint of tart goodness inside. It has the musty smell of farm cider, some hint of peach.

There is some tartness on the tongue from start to finish, but it doesn't wring my mouth out. Grapefruit sourness, with a hint of cider vinegar. A bit lemony as well. The hop bitterness is definitely present, especially in the finish. In the finish I also get some of the off funk flavor. Quite dry.

The mouthfeel is mostly of the tartness, on the tongue and tickling the throat. Carbonation is low to medium, just right.

I thought the unusual flavors would make this less drinkable than other lambics, but it's refreshing, balanced, and easy to drink for a sour tooth.

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Photo of orangesol
4.05/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served on-tap at Max's Taphouse during their "Rare and Obscure" event.

A - Pours amber yellow with a small one finger tall white head leaving spotty lacing down the glass.

S - Smells of strong barn yard funk, light acidic sourness, and some white grape skin. Not as strong a nose as I was expecting.

T - Holy pucker batman. Lots of strong puckering sourness up front slowly giving way to a mix of green apples, grapes, and light brett funk. The alcohol is well hidden behind all that sourness. The finish is pretty dry, lingering for some time. More sourness than I was initially expecting.

M - Medium body and flavor with moderate carbonation. Strong, acidic, feel with a good bit of dryness in the finish.

O - I liked this one, just not as much as the other two. It was, surprisingly to me at least, the most sour of the three. I tend to like my sours with a bit more fruit in them but this was still very nice.

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Photo of IPAcraig
4.05/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

One of the beers I brought back from Belgium. Poured into an oversized wine glass. Drinking it while watching My Cousin Vinny

A - Pours a murky golden orange with just a wee bit of carbonation although more than their Gueze.

S - As with most of the Cantillon products, this has hugely funky aroma. However, this has something off in the nose, a gluey sour aroma. With that small critique aside, this does smell pretty good, smells of an earthy barnyard tartness.

T - Hugely sour, with a big acidic flavor. I was especting a bit more hoppiness from this one, but the hop bitterness is very slight. A big earthy extremely tart Lambic.

M - More carbonated than the average Lambic, very light mouthfeel.

D - It may be tough to finish the 750ml by myself, the tartness is huge.

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Photo of birchstick
4.05/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

2007 Edition; bottled 2010

A - pours an orangeish faint copper / caramel color with a really nice head that dissipates as the beer settles

S - smells of citric acids, honey, a little funk, and white grapes with oak tones

T - starts off with fresh lemon on the front of the tongue. This fades to a caramelized honey flavor throughout the middle of the palate. There was also a touch of bitterness coming through. Iris ends how it started - citricly sour. Not as mouth puckering as other Cantillons I have tried, however this is still pretty damn sour. Pretty solid!

M - thin and dry with a modicum of carbonation

D - Another winner from Cantillon. After reading some previous reviews I was expecting a different beer than what poured out of my bottle. As previously stated, not as sour as other Cantillons, but another quality product. I have one more in the cellar and am anxious to see what time does this one.

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Photo of mdfb79
4.05/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From 11/05/10 notes. Had at a small tasting. 2007 vintage, 750ml bottle.

a - Pours a murky honey-golden color with one inch of fluffy white head and light carbonation.

s - Smells of floral notes, some barnyard funk, tart fruit, especially lemon and citrus.

t - Tastes of spices, tart lemon zest, peppers, and floral notes.

m - Light body and low carbonation. Quite dry and crisp, easy going down.

d - A nice lambic from Cantillon. Not my favorite Cantillon beer, but still good none the less. Lots of floral notes and tart lemon. Would drink again.

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Photo of Neffbeer
4.07/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From notes on 12/18. 375 ml bottle dated 2007, Pour into a tulip:

A: Straw colored body with a billowing white head that quickly recedes leaving little to no lacing.

S: This smells so good. Huge citrus aroma, apple, hops, and some big ol' funk. Very tart and juicy, even to the nose. Oh my god this is right up my alley.

T: A ton of citrus, apples, grapes, hops, and some bretty funkiness (hay, grass). Finishes oh so dry and crisp. I wish I had a 750ml of this!

M: Smooth and slick. Not as carbonated as the appearance would leave one to believe.

D: This is one fantastic beer. I have never met a Cantillon offering that I have not liked, and this is no exception.

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Photo of BeerBelcher
4.07/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I was rather impressed with this beer, although reading the commercial description I realize that I missed out on some of the flavors injected into the beer (lots of hops and iris). Nonetheless, this beer packs some intense and refreshing sourness that I found very pleasant. If you like gueuze or are into sour, I would definitely recommend this beer.

Appearance was a hazy orange with a head of tiny bubbles. Aroma was lots of great sourness and a candy-sugar sweetness. Flavor was full-on sourness, which reminded me (if memory serves - which it probably doesn't) of the Cantillon Grand Cru I've had before. I also got some sour apple flavor. I didn't taste the hops or iris included in the brew, but enjoyed the taste very much nonetheless. Mouthfeel was astringent (owing to the sourness) and good.

Definitely recommended for those into lambics/gueuze or sour flavors.

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Photo of hooliganlife
4.08/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

vintage 2005, served in a Bruery tulip

pours a nice dull hazy orange with slight brown and yellow tones. little to no head, very light retention.

light lemon and earthy notes. light oak and funk. scent was a bit faint.

i pick up lots of lemon and a hint of lime. not as tart and puckering as most cantillon i have had. an underlying sweetness and funk carry through out. i pick up a nice light pineapple flavor throughout the finish. I was going to say this was a 4.0, but i am really digging this pineapple flavor in the end.

moderate carbonation. light dryness. the oak comes alive the most in the mouthfeel.

great stuff, not sure why i waited so long on this but time treated it well. i will be buying more for sure.

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Cantillon Iris from Brasserie Cantillon
4.26 out of 5 based on 2,042 ratings.
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