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: 492 | Ratings: 2,035
Photo of brownbeer
4.85/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A- Rusty with a suprisingly big dirty white head.

S- A bouquet of fresh flowers, horse blanket, iron, and funk.

T- Floral flavors blend with an acidic backing. Truely wonderful.

M- Incredible texture. Perfectly carbonated with a pickle juice like acidity.

D- I'm sad that I don't have any more. I can't wait to see this again, a must own.

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Photo of ritzkiss
4.38/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Shared a bottle courtesy of Bobsy and his recent trip to Belgium, 2007 vintage.

Pours a cloudy light orange-ish, almost a tangerine apple cider with nice foamy white head that recedes to the edges of the glass.

Nose is nice and tart, hints of sour apples and lemons, also a beautifully balanced funk.

Taste is initially tart but hardly among the powerhouses of the style. Sour apples, lemons, a nice earthiness, farm funk, almost a touch soapy in the finish. Really nice drinking experience, not overly tart, nice light fruity sweetness to balance it all out.

Fantastically drinkable.

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Photo of bobsy
4.37/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, picked up at the brewery.

Hazy orange pour kicks up a clean white head, which soon fizzes down to a spotty film. Horseblanket dominates the funky and complex aroma, and overlays a crisp sour lemon and vinegar bouquet. Sourness dominates the palate, but this beer never becomes less than eminently drinkable, in part due to a light sweetness that pulls things back in. Tart lemon flavours contribute the bulk of the sourness, and leave a clean feeling in the mouth, not unlike a dry white wine. Funky horseblanket and hay notes add further layers of complexity. The medium-light body and pillowy carbonation only add to the refreshing character. Unbelievably drinkable for its sourness!

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Photo of nomomentwasted
4.42/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this last night, poured into a goblet from a 2006 vintage. When it was gone, I wanted to vertical it with the 2004 I've got sitting right next to it, but have to show restraint.

Appearance: Hazy, musty, apple-juice colored brew with very little head of whitish foam and some champagne-like lacing.

Smell: Out of the bottle, the nose is all funk. Wow, probably the funkiest beer I've had to date. I've been drinking quite a few sours as of late, but none had this kind of skunky barnyard funk like this. Upon pour, the funk is still strong, with a lot of heavy apple peel, lemon, and vinegar peaking through the back-end. Wow, that's a nose.

Taste: Not overly sour, but some pucker with really powerful apple and citrus notes. Slighly white-grape character as well, with some slight hoppiness actually there as well. Leather brett-yeast character is definitely present as well, with more musty funk and strong barnyard. Really, really solid. To draw a comparison, I think it's a less sour (yet more funky) Duck Duck Gooze in the flavor and a more musty Temptation. Really, really cool.

Mouthfeel: A little thin and could be more biting, but leaves a nice aftertaste that isn't too sticky.

Drinkability: Wow, could've plowed through a lot more than I did. Easily a winner. If it were more readily available, I'd buy a case. It's that nice. The scores may not read out clearly how much I really liked this beer, but I'm just glad to have another bottle for a special occasion.

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Photo of botham
4.32/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

vintage 2006 bottle poured into a snifter. pours a cloudy amber with a half finger of loose eggshell colored head that is reduced to a soapy rim after a few seconds and lasts for a while.

aroma is wonderfully funky and lightly sour with an acidic base and a lightly yeasty note. the funk is great; very well concentrated.

taste is more of the same with a bitter back end and a lightly tart texture as well. the funk is nicely matched with a soft sourness that takes over the palate. the bitter finish is unexpected, but works with the rest of the profile.

mouthfeel is medium bodied with a tart mouthfeel and a bitter finish. nice, but the dryness on the back end is a bit too assertive.

drinkability is great. funky, soft and a touch of sourness make this a solid lambic. another great brew from Cantillon. cheers!

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Photo of alexgrahamlv
4.17/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance- Cloudy honey orange/amber color. Nice size creamy white head.

Aroma- Lemon, hay, reminds me a bit of a eucalyptus cough drop. Tad of honey and orange.

Taste- Not overly sour but has a nice tartness of lemon, honey and grapefruit. Quite refreshing actually.

Mouthfeel- Light to medium body, high carbonation, long lasting finish.

Overall- Very refreshing and would definitely love to try again.

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Photo of ghostwalker
3.97/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Amber body with a light haze and very thin head.

Tart aspirin nose.

Flavor is tart and dry, but smooth with a sour fruitiness.

Mouthpucker with slight astringency.

Good for the style. Definitely a sipper, but still somewhat quenching.

Thanks to juicestam for sharing his loot from Belgium!

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Photo of br3wmeister
4.26/5  rDev 0%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Small wispy head with weak retention and mild lacing. The beer is a hazy orange/peach color.

S- Huge cedar wood aroma to this beer with some black pepper, orange peal, honey, Horse blanket, and honey. Also some floral smelling hops and spicy tart yeast.

T- Nice refreshing tart flavor initially, it taste like cedar smells, I have never eaten cedar but I think it might taste similar to this beer. Some nice fruity flavors as well, peach and orange mostly, some orange peal, light cracked black pepper and lemony tartness lingers in the end. This is a very good tasting beer, if i could get it for cheaper I would have a bunch of it in my cellar.

M- Medium light bodied and very smooth, some puckering tartness and mild finish.

This is an amazing beer, everything about it is good, maybe now awesome but very good. I might have to stock my cellar with this beer.

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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.

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Photo of Cresant
4.82/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured this green bottled split into a Tripel Karmeliet glass. 2005 vintage, cork stamped bottled 2007. The body was bright copper colored and clear of sediment. The modest head faded to nothing.

Smell was of damp basements and spices. Earthy. Pixie Stix candy.

Taste was woody and lightly crisp. Tart with just enough sweetness. Stone fruits, maybe nectarines. Granny Smith apple peel. Well constructed and highly drinkable.

Mouthfeel was medium to low in carbonation with a fine texture. Silky. I wish my bottle was larger.

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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 thryn
3.94/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Labeled 05, bottled in 07 according to the cork.

I feel like this beer should have a nice head, and it does not. Other than that, it is attractive. A cloudy pale copper, with a small head that recedes immediately to a halo.

nicely tart and sour on the nose. This is full of green apple notes, with a bit of mustiness. Some pear as well, with tons of oak scent.

This does not taste nearly as delightful as it smells, sadly. There is a lot of tartness and that musty blanket flavor, with some nice sour apple up front that fades and is followed by a weird overripe fruit whang. Great at first, then just bitter and weird. I'm not hugely familar with true lambics, so maybe I haven't got my palate around them, but I tend to like sour and funky beers better than I like this. The flavors come in waves and don't mesh terribly well.

... OK, I'm upgrading. The flavors blend much better as it warms, and the unpleasantness I was getting is gone. It's gone from a strange bitter and rotten finish to a nice sour finish. Some citric and spice notes are coming out nicely, too. Lesson -- let this one air out and warm a bit before sipping. It's still not great, though.

Mouthfeel is very nice. A medium to light body with plentiful sharp carbonation despite the lack of head.

I'll finish it, and may buy another to compare, as I feel this one may not be the best representation.

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Photo of AKBelgianBeast
4.22/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a cloudy white yellowish with orange tint. Minimal white fizzy head dies down quickly, but a ring around the glass remains.

Nose is typical cantillon sour raping of the nostrils. Some flowery spice as well.

Taste is not as sour as alot of other cantillon, but still quite tart. Notes of spice and oak come into play. Fairly uncomplex, but i almost like that about it.

Mouthfeel is nice, where it should be, ample carbonation and good refreshing tartness.

Drinkability is solid. Nice and refreshing tart brew.

Overall another winner from Cantillon. Sort of a simple lambic by their standards, but a fine one, as they constantly seem to acheive.

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Photo of mjsarch
4.54/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

1996 bottle numbered 163 of 500, consumed on my birthday. Wonder how many bottles from this batch are left on the planet?

A - Thin rim of head persists with no lacing, very minimal carbonation, some suspended yeast with the pour. Copper color.

S - Could smell this one about three feet away: sour, barnyard, horse blanket, acetic aroma.

T - Somewhat more mellow than some of the Cantillon brews. Grapefruit, lemon, floral, vinegar all present.

M - Mouth puckering sour.

D - Nice beer for savoring and observing a special occasion.

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Photo of chinabeergeek
4.22/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5


i've now had this numerous times during the week of april 20-25, 2009, during the craft brewers conference when jean van roy visited boston.

i had this a year ago when i was only just getting to like sours, and didn't understand the nuances of this particular beer.

this is actually technically NOT even a lambic, because it DOESN'T use the traditional proportion of malted barley and unmalted wheat. instead it is ALL pale ale malt. and instead of 100% dried, aged hops, this has 50% fresh hops. an additional "cold hopping" of fresh hops takes place before bottling as well.

i had previously attributed the floral and barn characteristics to some weird and possibly undesired result of fermentation. now i know it is probably the fresh hopping.

m. van roy jokingly calls this his "ipa" or "extreme beer". fair enough.

appearance 3.5 -> 4.0
smell 3.5 -> 4.5
taste 3.5 -> 4.0
drinkability 4.0 -> 4.5

OLD REVIEW 7-22-08

vintage 2005. cork says bottled 2007. poured into tulip.

hazy, deep honey color, slightly orange. nice head, but soon fades to just a very thin ring. no lacing.

smells of fresh cut hay and flowers, mixed with horse blanket and weak phenols. faint yeast and whiff of oak.

tart and tannic, hints of esters, phenolic with horse blanket and barn flavors again. moderate bitterness with acidity. semi-dry finish. faint hints of wood here and there.

not watery, some acidic texture. gentle carbonation.

looks like i prefer blends and gueuzes. this one just seems a bit too straightforward with the tartness and barn flavors.

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Photo of DefenCorps
4.59/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Max's last night

A: Reddish orange with a thin white head, decent retention,

S: Incredible combination of citrus hops and funk. It's not a combination I typically care for, but this time, it works. The citrus/orange character is just unbelievable. Not as funky as the bottle I had, and the acidity is milder. Slightly aspirin-like.

T: Opens up sour, tart and acidic with massive hop flavor. Very very tasty. Complex. Finishes mildly hoppy and bitter with sourness. Mild grape character.

M: Light, good acidity, great finish

D: Very drinkable.

Try this beer fresh. It's quite different than older vintages!

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Photo of Hojaminbag
3.65/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Yellow body with a fluffy white head that doesn't stick around long or leave much lacing.

The smell has some sourness, a musty aroma and a bit vinegar, but all of these smells are rather subdued. Normally, I expect a more powerful aroma from a Cantillion.

This is an interesting one. A bit of sourness comes through, but nothing huge or puckering. Then the musty and vinegar notes come through, but they are even more subdued than the straight sourness. Of the three characteristics, the musty ones stand out the most. Next comes something one won't find in a Cantillion much: a hop profile. There is a definite spicy and slightly bitter hop presence here that is at least as prominant as any of the the other flavors in this brew. I would guess these hops are added with greater gusto than in other Cantillions, but I would also guess that they are not aged, or at least not aged very much.

Full mouthfeel, not especially puckering.

Drinkability is OK. This is definitely not my favorite Cantillion, but thing I will say is that it is interesting and not bad at all. In fact, I think I would recommend Iris for people who are new to sours and want to get started. With just a touch of sourness and a familiar hop presence, this is a good transition beer.

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Photo of alovesupreme
3.85/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Murky yellow with a big foamy head that dissipated rather quickly.
Floral mostly Petunia, hops,funk and slight barnyard.
Very floral taste with some vinegar and barn. Lots of Lemon Concentrate. The hops are very prominent for the style which make it obvious why hops are used sparingly traditionally in this style.
A full body which is all I would expect from the style.
A good beer, but over hopped.The bitterness is not pleasant or ideal in the style.

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Photo of SpruceFish
4.37/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

1st Cantillon i have had; 2006 vintage

A- very cloudy almost opaque straw yellow with a white head no lacing

S- brett oak funk (barnyard horse blanket) sour apple grape a little hay

T- sour apples grapes the brett really comes though on this one great oaky undertones

M- great puckering but no to much carbonation is where it should be

D- very little vinegar gives this a great drinkability

Cantillon has lived up to my expectations i cant wait to have more of there brews

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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 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 TurdFurgison
4.52/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12.7oz bottle, corked and capped, vintage 2005. The beer is clear with a touch of haze, copper colored with almost no head. The aroma is sour and barnyardy, kind of musty and a little metallic. The taste is just perfection, Cantillon makes the best lambics I've tried. I get a lot of sour citrus like lemon or puckering grapefruit juice, funkiness from the wild yeast, tart and delicious. Full bodied for a lambic (meaning light in body versus many other beer styles), I found the bottle disappearing quickly. I'll get the big bottle next time.

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Photo of joe1510
4.17/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Binny's, Orland

Vintage 2005

Iris fills up this here glorified flute with a russet red body and glowing orange highlights and a slight haziness. The orange grows when I hold this lambic up in front of a light and nearly takes over the body. A quick, fizzy white head grows to two fingers on the pour before fizzing down to a thin, swirling cap. A quick swirl of the glass brings the bubbly head back briefly.

The nose of Iris isn't near as funky or tart as other Cantillons I've had in the past. White vinegar acidity keeps it Cantillon while decaying wood, mousy and damp barnyard notes rise and fall with each aroma. The barnyard aromas are of the damp hay, grass, and wood variety as opposed to the animal aromas of others. There's a handful of fresh mint leaping from the glass that I'm sure comes from the dry hopping of this lambic. That spearmint characteristic bumps the aroma up a notch in my book. Each quick, hard swirl brings forward some white grapefruit.

The flavor follows the aroma with mild barnyard (more like forest floor) qualities and a quick flash of white vinegar that makes me pucker about half way through the mouth. The mint is more subdued but still in the flavor as well, I would have liked to see a bit more considering what the aroma led to. The acidity is moderate and much less than some of the other Cantillons. This is a very well put together beer and one of the easier drinking Cantillon. There's not a hop bitterness exactly but a tongue sapping nature that feels like it's been scrubbed by hoppy bitterness, it's oddly superb.

Iris has a great mouthfeel with a soft body and spritzy carbonation on the swallow. The carbonation, incredibly drying mouthfeel, and feeling of bitterness sap the mouth of all saliva and scrub the tongue dry; just how I like it.

I could handle a bottle of this easy with a little time. It's a sipping savoring beer but it's also quenching and easy to drink.

Iris isn't quite as bitingly sour as some of the other Cantillon lambics and could be considered good introduction to the Cantillon family. They never disappoint and Iris is another gem in their stellar lineup. I'm going to pick a few more of these up for cellaring; especially being that this is one of the cheaper Cantillon bottles out there.

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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.

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Photo of philipquarles
4.32/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

75cL bottle from 2006. Pours a hazy copper color with a small cap of resilient foam. Tart, musty nose with some citrus character. Flavor is quite acidic with a slightly sweet background. Some mineral character and woodiness. Dry, tongue-curling finish. Medium feel with light carbonation.

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Cantillon Iris from Brasserie Cantillon
4.26 out of 5 based on 2,035 ratings.
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