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: 2,013
Photo of warrenout330
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750 capped and corked bottle

A- pours a muddy honey color... fluffy white head.... dissolves to a thin ring around the glass...minimal lacing to the glass

S- acidic tartness dominates .... fresh cut green apples... lingering vinegar

T- huge acidic flavors, green apples... vinegar... a tad of malt backing making this a odd lambic ... but different in its own way

M- metallic mouth and tongue... medium bodied with decent carbonation .... lingering metal feel

O- my first cantillion .... probably not my last... very pleasing for all the hype behind this brewery and they definitely delivered the goods...

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Photo of cps98
4.17/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is the one I was waiting to try. I received Iris brett isolates from a guy who harvested yeast from the dregs of a 2007 bottle. I’ve got them on a lambic at home right now that I brewed and never having had this beer it was a must try so I had something to go by. It was much darker burnt orange than any of the other Cantillon offerings I had had the day of the tasting. Lots of floral notes in the nose, my guess would be from the late hop additions this beer receives. Had a really nice sweet, green apple tartness to it. This beer also had a more pronounced maltiness. I also noticed this beer had a much heavier mouth feel than the other traditional lambics that were tried. Overall I like to taste the difference of this beer with the different grain bill and hop additions against the traditional lambics.

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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.

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Photo of spdyfire83
4.37/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

287th Review
75cl bottle poured into tumbler wine glass
Vintage: 2000 (cork date)

From notes. Enjoyed a couple summers back at a backyard BBQ with the usual suspects in the Mile High Knight's tasting crew. If memory serves correct, I can thank Jensen for this one. Cheers!

A: We've got a gusher! Lost nearly a third of this bottle as a result of its over-excitement to finally get opened. Medium peachy yellow. 3+ (white) fingernail head on gentle pour.

S: Very herbal and acidic. Touch of candied sugar sweetness with enjoyable overtones funk. Floral notes towards the end are nice as well. Very inviting!

T: Follows smell, but the floral notes are a bit more present in the taste as is the sugar. Very dry. Very tart.

M: Light bodied and very carbonated.

O: A fantastic beer! I was happy to find these old notes as I think this beer several summers back kicked off my love for Cantillon. Superb execution here with such a wonderful balance! Age has done this beer wonders and, as of the day I enjoyed this, it was the oldest beer I had the privilege of trying. Great stuff from an awesome brewery!

Side note: I laugh at my notes of smell and taste on this as I was quite the rookie back then and, sadly, could not do this beer justice with a proper review. As such, I've committed to re-reviewing it as I have some 2003 bottles aging for a special occasion.

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Photo of Etan
4.16/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A 100% barley malt, heavily hopped sour beer from Cantillon? Should be interesting. 750ml bottle into a Cantillon tulip. 2011 vintage.

A: Pours an amber body with a large white head. Already different from the usual light gold color of lambic.

S: Malt profile comes through in the aroma - it's slightly sweeter than expected. Mild caramel, lactic acidity, fresh hay, dry wood.

T: Puckering dried peach tartness, drying tannins, palpable yet subtle floral hop bitterness melds well with the acidity. Plenty of woody and cheesy funk, too.

M: Light-bodied with moderate carbonation. Very dry.

O: This beer is a bit of an oddity, but I really liked the way it worked.

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

Here it is, the most weird of all 'loons. Thicker and murkier and more amber than other lambic, it is easier to spot among others of its kind. Funky, duh. Honestly, I did not detect much uniqueness in the aroma but taste is a whole different game --- much more malty but not sweet, I am having trouble finding the right adjective. And then there's the bitterness. In this layman's terms, it drinks like a blend of a lambic and an... IPA?

But finish is usual Cantillon --- sharp and dry! Interesting and unique but not necessarily my favorite.

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Photo of rapidsequence
4.47/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle. Bottled Feb 20, 2012. I picked this one up at Cantillon earlier this year.

Appearance: Other folks who said this pours hazy either had old bottles, or drank it cold. There is initially some chill haze, but it clears almost completely. Pretty amber, very short lived head, no lacing.

Smell: Tart and funky. Lemon and musty old shed. Some pale malt sweetness.

Taste: As above. Pretty tart, but not overbearing. Very nice combination of malty sweetness, tart lemon, and funk. While I smelled no hops, there is a nice herbal/grassy hoppy flavor that extends though the finish.

Mouthfeel: Lower carbonation than the gueuze, which I would change. Finishes dry and bitter.

Overall: Very nice twist on a normal lambic. The extra pale malt and hops add makes it different and interesting.

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Photo of mdaschaf
4.27/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2011 Vintage.

A: A slightly hazy orange-golden color with a very large white head on top, very sudsy. I could actually hear the bubbles pop as the head reduced to a thin cap on top. Lacing forms on the glass and lasts momentarily before receding down into the beer.

S: Surprisingly, I get a bit of earthy hops right away. This gives way to tart citrus and flowery aromas with a heavy funk/cheese aroma at the end.

T: Less funky/musty than the aroma, much more fruit forward and floral. More green grape, sour apple, lemon, and a bit of peach. Has a slightly sweet, puckering finish.

M: Medium bodied with medium carbonation, not as tart as other Cantillons, this one is very balanced in that regard.

O: Different for Cantillon, definitely hoppier from the fresh hopping that they do to the beer. Definitely like it, would be interested to taste it with some age.

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Photo of Tnudish
3.88/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled at Stoutfest. Label says its a 2007 vintage, but the cork says its 2010. I am gonna go with this being a 2007. Thanks to whoever brought this.

A-Pours a hazy orange in color with maybe a quarter fingers worth of tight white head.

S-Nose is exceptionally balanced. There is lemon and a fair amount of floral character to it. It resembles a Cuvée des Champions or Saint Gilloise in my opinion.

T- Flavor starts out with some bright lemon and then immediately turns to the floral aspect of the beer. It’s gentle grass and tartness....exceptionally balanced.

M-Mouthfeel is light, carbonation is gentle, as well as the acidity, a moderate finish.

O-Never had this before, but I am a big fan of this. I enjoy the floral character of the beer quite a bit and it adds some nice complexity to the lambic.

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Photo of ThePorterSorter
3.8/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle from Dec 2011

The beer pours a rich looking, cloudy amber with a thin, yet consistent, blanketing of a tan head. The nose is herbal and tart with just enough sweetness. The taste is rather harsh and the herbal characteristics in the nose are blunted by the beer's intense sour tartness. The mouthfeel is tart and acidic, but not overwhelmingly sour. The aftertaste is a mix of sweet and sour with a slightly lingering bitterness, and tons of acidity. Not the best cantillon I've had and I'm not sure what the hype is...still a good sour.

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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 jmarsh123
3.88/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours hazy orange with a finger of perfectly creamy white head and a few bubbles.

Intense hay like funk in the aroma. Some white wine, grapes, lemon and a whiff of flowers.

A little boring up front. The initial sip feels like it lacks a bit of punch. Floral flavors comes out a lot in the middle and finish. Finishes sour and floral with slight bitterness. I really enjoy the finish, just wish there were a bit more up front.

Smooth carbonation. A bit on the low side compared to some pricklers I've had, but still acceptable. Light mouthfeel.

Solid beer and one I'd be glad to pick up any day.

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Photo of maximep
4.47/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

another fantastic beer from the masters of Lambic.

A- pours a hazy, almost unfiltered IPA color of a pale brown/amber, with a lager like head that settles quickly. nice lacing.

S- zesty, rotten egg, a bit sulfuric, fruity, floral, acidic

T- a bit disappointed here. not enough malt sweetness as i expected for an all malt unblended lambic. nonetheless delicious, however not the sweet tartness i expected. more tart, grassy notes of floral lemon.

M- very warm, lovely lightness of a worldclass Lambic. reminiscent of all great wild ales, thin yet not light, lovely small bubbles, a truly alive beer.

O- i tried this side by side with a 2005 Iris and the 2005 was much more subtle. this was review is of the recent bottle. had i reviewed the elder, it would have been near perfect. judgments are relative to the side by side comparison.

again, another smash home from Cantillon. I've only had two of their beers, can't wait to explore them all.

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Photo of Thehuntmaster
4.45/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle 5,0% Abv.
Served lightly chilled in an oversized wine glass.
2007 Sticker date, 2010 cork date.

Appearance: What a beautiful pour! Moderately hazed golden-orange body, topped by a large white head. The head lasts well for a lambic, but sadly doesn't leave much in the way of lacing.

Smell: Mmmm, this smells absolutely delicious and to my surprise, there is actually still some hop character. Notes include: Tart citrus fruits, oak, orange marmalade (distinctly reminiscent of English hops), cider vinegar, old wood, hay, overripe peaches and a touch of farmhouse cheese.

Taste: As with the nose, the flavour here is absolutely fantastic! Tart fruits (citrus, white grapes, green apples and a hint of apricot ) dominate the flavour with notes oak, musty basement, old wood, hay, orange marmalade and some overripe stone fruits also present.
Iris is actually pretty tart and borders on being puckering - one of the tarter Cantillons I have had recently. The finish is pretty dry and displays a light bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Light-medium body, with a fairly high level of relatively smooth carbonation. Thankfully the carbonation settles down to a medium level pretty quickly.

Overall: Iris is a fantastic lambic - I will certainly be having a ton more of this in the future.

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Photo of yamar68
4.36/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I believe this is the first unblended lambic I've had. Not sure what to expect. This bottle has exactly 6 months on it. I should also mention that the ABV listed on the bottle is 6%... must be specific to the batch? Anyway...

Poured from 750 to tulip. Gorgeous peach gold body with a lively, short-lived finger of white head. Nice lacing too.

The nose is pretty damn tart but tame at the same time... fresh pear, sour grains, very well balanced I think.

Ooo... that's tasty. Tart berry character, white grapes, smooth as can be. It finishes very dry, begging for another sip. Wonderful stuff.

Very impressed by this. I'll have to keep my eyes peeled for others of this style.

Highly recommended.

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Photo of kevanb
4.2/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

750ml bottle, 2012 vintage. Poured into a Cantillon stemmed glass.

Pours a great honey amber color, very cloudy, hues of copper and orange rind. A slightly off white head rises quickly, but recedes into nothing, barely a hint of film with no lacing to speak of. The aroma is very nice, a bit soft, but start with great fruit character, tart apple, citrus and white grapes. Lemongrass bridges the barnyard funk, hay and a bit of vinegar that come out so nicely behind the fruit, fantastic balance and integration, I just wish it was a bit more pungent. The flavors are wonderful, the fruit character really pops. The addition of the fresh hops really gives this beer something unique and special, great earthiness and grassiness plays with the tart fruits, lemons, apples, sweet oak acts as the bridge here and leads so well to the mild funk, straw, and yeast. Great body, nice and lively, but not overly carbonated, great drinkability that finishes smoothly, yet very dry.

Verdict: Absolutely wonderful lambic from Cantillon and I feel like a broken record saying that. The hops really make this a unique treat, it adds a great fruit component that goes so well with the milder funk character.

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Photo of boilermakerbrew
4.88/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Simply beautiful. Had a 2010 Iris on tap tonight at Hair of the Dog on Washington Ave. in St. Louis. Pours a yellowish, golden hue, with a terrific head that retains and laces the best I've seen. Smell is of sour notes intermingled with slight hints of lemon and citrus as well as the tiniest bit of hops.

Taste is superbly balanced. Sour up front with lots of lactics. As it progresses towards the back of your mouth and warms a little the citrus and lemon flavors ring through. Slight hops bite towards the end, but not bitter by any means. Great balance throughout, with a creamy smoothness going down, yet still light and refreshing for a sour.

Definitely among the best beers I've ever had, as evidenced by the straight 5's. I think this being aged a couple years and on tap puts it over the top. If you get the chance, try it; you won't be disappointed.

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Photo of eduardolinhalis
4.45/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle served in a Flute glass.

Bottled in 19th of January 2010. By the way, a 6% ABV and not 5%, as described above.

A: Pours a deep orange to amber cloudy color forming a big fizzy bubbled aired beige head. Medium to low retention and many lacings and chunks of foam around

S: Sweet and fruity with the strong presence of the characteristic Lambic yeasts. Tart, but not aggressively

T: Really smooth and intense. Mild sweet caramel upfront. You can actually feel the caramel malts and hoppy bitterness. Fruity, with notes of white grapes and apples, mainly. Metallic. Excellent sweet-tart-bitter combination

M: Light to medium body. A bit creamy and heavier than her sisters. Upfront is mild sweet passing through the tartness and leaving a pleasant mild tart-bitter aftertaste

O: Absolutely drinkable. One of the best Cantillons I've ever had

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Photo of jrenihan
4.46/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Iris 2007. Bottled January 21 2010.

Beer is amber in colour with a moderately sized and very fizzy off-white head. Head dissipates very quickly, fizzing away to nothing.

Smell is seriously funky. Horse blanket, yeast, lemon, grass. A deep fruit smell accompanies it, apple sticks out. Wood. Clearly sour from the scent. Quite complex. Outstanding.

Taste is similar to the nose. Very funky, with lemon and yeast playing a big role. Sour, but not as intensely as expected from the nose. Apple. Vinous, some grape and cherry. A slight bitterness in the finish, but generally very dry. Aftertaste is barnyard funk.

Medium bodied, very low carbonation- almost none. Quite puckering.

Overall, a very complex and interesting beer. Body is limp but I suppose that is how it is supposed to be. Smell and taste are great. Pretty remarkable.

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Photo of drpimento
4.33/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Good beer. Opended the bottle to find a little liquid beer on top of the cork and a little gas fizzing out thru it. Poured at good temperature with huge, fluffy, thick, cream-colored head that settled after a bit and some lace. Color is a clear amber with a single lazy bubble trail. Aroma is tart sweet with a barest hint of hop. Flavor's like nose and again hop is in the background, more bitter. Body is a little soft as a result of low carbonation. Does have a few high point from the bitter/yeast combination, but it's not offensive. Finish is like flavor and relatively long.

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Photo of DovaliHops
4.23/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Says 2007 on the label. Cork says bottled 2009. Pours a murky, amber-reddish orange with a large white head that takes some time to go down. Scent is very funky (it's Cantillon, what did you expect?). Floral hoppiness with some sweet stone fruits and green apple. A bit of grass along with intense sour aroma. Taste is very tart at first. Very sour in the middle, with a surprisingly bitter/hoppy finish. The most hoppy Cantillon I have ever had, but work really well as it remains extremely funky and sour. Slightly earthy and grassy. Mouthfeel is medium-bodied, somewhat fizzy, and highly carbonated. Drinkability is very high. Overall, this is another great Cantillon. They never let down.

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Photo of brystmar
4.15/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Been a LONG time since my last Iris. Was a total sour (and Cantillon) newbie last time, glad to re-visit! 2011 cork date.

A gorgeous looking lambic: hazy caramel body with plenty of white head and tons of sticky lace. Floral, funky yeast aroma. Sour fruit too, smells acidic.

Tart and acidic, bitter earthyness with some hops at the end. Yeasty as hell, crazy complex. Wish I bought more of these when they were abundant on the shelf :(

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Photo of wordemupg
4.27/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml corked and capped bottle poured into tulip 22/6/12

A slightly hazy amber with just a few slow tiny bubbles feeding a thumbs width of well retained light tan head that leaves no lace

S very earthy nose, wet wood, barnyard funk, there's some citric notes with some apple cider and just a little caramel apple to go with it, complex stuff that's working well for me

T more vinegary apple and heavy amount of oak compared to the nose, slightly herbal aspect that I don't quite understand and some rind, quite good but I preferred the nose

M its not turning my mouth inside out but it's tart and slightly sour, quite slick and it has some body too it. big aftertaste of woody funk lingers forever

O very interesting brew and the 750ml bottle wasn't big enough, not overly funky or sour like I expected and lots going on in all areas

2007 vintage and I'm curious to how a fresh bottle or a very old version would differ, not cheap in these parts so I may or may not find out

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Photo of scottfrie
4.48/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle poured into 3F stemware. 2007 sticker, bottled in 2010 (cork).

A: Pours a clear light honey-amber color with two fingers of fine bright white head that actually held great retentions. A fuzzy, rather thick, film lasted until the glass was drained. Beautiful.
S: Heaven in a glass. The nose is dry, lightly tart, earthy, musty, funky, barnyardish and contains notes of caramel malt. Woody and dry oak is heavy as well, and there is even a splash of golden fruits, white grapes, and citrus.
T: The first thing I thought when I tasted this was “distinctive.” This beer very vinous and dry as expected, but there is something bitter mixed in with the funk and sourness that is akin to citrus pith and rind, but not as harsh. Hops could be the culprit, I’m not smart enough. There is a leafy earthiness to the brew. Maybe a bit of green fruit as well. The finish is vinous and full of light malts and straw, and the aftertaste is dry, lightly tart, bitter and mildly acid and citrusy.
M: Clean and refreshing body, crips, dry and smooth mouthfeel, with soft and delicate carbonation.
O: Another awesome beer from the masters of the style. I could drink this every day. Perhaps I should move to Belgium… Cheers!

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

750 ml bottle, bottled on 15 December 2011, best before 2015, poured into a tulip glass.

A- Pours a hazy golden orange color with a finger of white head, leaves some spotty lacing.

S- Very funky nose, hay and must, also a bit of fruit, wood and acetic tartness.

T- Quite tart, although not as much as other Cantillons, has a light lemon and apple character, some white wine and vinegar, big funky hay, horseblanket and wood flavors.

M- Medium-bodied leaning towards light, very smooth and crisp, very dry with a bit of astringency.

O- A really interesting beer, highly drinkable, great stuff.

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Cantillon Iris from Brasserie Cantillon
4.26 out of 5 based on 2,013 ratings.
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