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Cantillon Iris | Brasserie Cantillon

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Cantillon IrisCantillon Iris
2,089 Ratings
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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Ratings: 2,089 |  Reviews: 504
Photo of Boilermaker88
4.2/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Paid $15 for a rather dusty bottle which turned out to be a Y2K vintage. Had a slightly hazy light peach color with a creamy white head that fizzled down quickly.
The nose had a mild fruity sweetness mingled with a herbal note. A definite lemon citrus and damp cellar mustiness also lingered around the edges. The taste was initially sweet with a bit of fruit and some earthy malt. Then came that familiar jaw-cramping sourness and tongue-prickling acidity. The eyes tear up a bit and the tongue sizzles. The hops were subservient and hardly noticeable to the tart, stinging bite. The feel was light, crisp and very dry in the finish.
Overall: I wish I had started investigating lambics a while ago as I like nearly all I've tried, including Iris. Definitely worth trying out.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
4.77/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottled 2002, Sampled February 2004
This beer pours a hazy amber-copper color, which is in stark contrast to the typical light gold color of a traditional Gueuze. It is reasonably well carbonated. The carbonation creates an off white head that is persistent but only 1/4 inch in my tulip glass. Wow, the aroma has as the strongest element definite notes of cat-piss, surely the most I have ever experienced in a Lambic beer. Other aromas of musty barns and of course some sour notes as well.

Upon my first taste I notes that there is lots of hop character for a Lambic type beer, which mixes quite interestingly with the traditional Lambic character. Don't get me wrong, the hop character is fairly subdued but it is here, even after 3 years of aging in the cask. This beer is of course sour (what else would you expect from a Cantillon product), with notes of citrus (a lemon & grapefruit mix) as well as a hint of vinegar. The barnyard musty-leather Brettanomyces character is quite prevalent in this bottle. This concoction showcases what this fickle funky yeast can do. This beer is quite fruity as well, what comes to mind as an apt description for this fruitiness is that of sour apples.

The lack of wheat in this beer seems to make this beer a bit fuller/ richer in the mouth than a typical Lambic product. This beer is not overly hard either, especially for a Cantillon Lambic. This was a wonderful first beer on a Superbowl Sunday afternoon. It paired wonderfully with the aged sharp cheddar, prosciutto, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and rustic bread. Cantillon definitely delivered once more with this beer. This is a world class beer, whose only flaw, given the specialty designation on this beer, is that perhaps it is not quite distinctive enough from a traditional Lambic, but how can I really complain since I do love Lambic.

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Photo of Realale
4.77/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Slightly hazy deep orangish gold. Huge raspy off-white head settles to a persistent 1/4" cap that jumps up each time the glass is swirled.

Incredible nose. Nose as sour as most Cantillon, and definitely richer. Slightest hint of barnyard over the rich, but controlled maltiness. Tons of warm spicy yeastiness to it - touch of cardomum and clove. Really unique - even for Cantillon.

Not as acidic as expected on the palate, but its the acidity that and spices that dominate. The malt is an important supporting player, but its definitely not the lead. Long by normal beer standards, but not for a Cantillon. Excellent earthiness comes out with food. Really quite excellent.

Typically beautiful soft bottle-conditioned Cantillon mouthfeel. Incredibly drinkable and an outstanding beer with food.

When I told MJR that I had not had this Cantillon, but it was in the tasting queue, he said that he thought it the most easily accessible of the main Cantillon bottlings for those lacking experience with them, and I have to whole-heartedly agree. If you want to taste Cantillon start here. Its definitely less challenging than some of the other offerings as to acidity and funk, but its on par in quality and a hell of a beer by any standard. Simply another awesome beer from Cantillon. 2001 bottling.

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Photo of tavernjef
4.32/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Color is a rusty deep golden clouded yellow, tall fluffy white head bursts up quickly becoming big bubbley and fizzy. Then lays flat to leave a fizzy collar. Lots of thin webby lacing. Aroma is pungently strong, albiet a bit more pleasing then the vulgarly pleasing Vigneronne. This has a steady waft of the funky horse blanket - barnyard thing, without the canned tuna and arrogance that the Vigneronna has. Otherwise its nearly the same with citrusy notes of grapefruit, lime, and lemon, floral deepness with the roots and all, earthy and highly sweet. Taste is quick and tart with citrus rinds of all kinds, moslty lime and grapefruit, dry and sour puckering sweet with nice floral notes creeping in. Lots of layers to the souring tartness, musk, fresh flowers, grasses, sour candies, citric acidicness, dirt, sour, sour, sour. Whew, its packed. Full on tartness, sourness, and sweetness. Its actually not bad, it takes a few sips to get used to, but as you snap your senses around it and it warms, its pretty good. Still though, its a big time sipper with all that tongue drying, cheek puckering, lip tingling sour tartness.

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Photo of Jon
4.67/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

75cl bottle dated 2001.

Pour exhibits a darker-than-usual, amber-orange pale ale hue. Different for Cantillon, but this is, to them, not a "true" lambic as it's brewed with 50% malted barley rather than the 35% unmalted wheat required of traditional lambic. Alas....

Nose features earthy, barnyard notes in addition to a touch of oak and stone that open up around mid-bottle. Deep, aromatic whaffs keep the nose lively and inviting throughout.

Lemon and grapefruit flesh, lime rind, flinty minerality and oaky notes are accompanied by the characteristically bracing Cantillon acidity that's omnipresent in this brew. The fresh hop character appears, too, imparting some earthy, but not bitter flavors. While it's not "lambic," this rendering is quite indicative of Oude Gueuze.

Lively mouthfeel with refreshing qualities and penetrating acidity keep this beer interesting, and in turn, highly drinkable. Would work quite well on a hot summer day, very slightly chilled (45-50 degrees), with a sampling of robustly flavorful cheeses. I drank this one at cellar temperature and was most pleased with the results. Another wonderful offering from Cantillon's portfolio.

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Photo of PatandDavid
3.53/5  rDev -19%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I wonder if I am just not totally bowled over by lambics...while I enjoy them, they are not getting tremendous marks, I think it could be the mouthfeel..anyway, this was a light peach when poured. Again with the barnyard/horse aroma that could be off-putting to some, I'm just always pleasantly surprised when the beer doesn't taste like it smells. A dry crisp fruityness when tasted. The carbonation is not overwhelming. While not overwhelmingly tart, I can see that this would not be as much as a session beer as others. An interesting beer to drink and enjoy, maybe not one to drink a lot of at one setting. Pat

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Photo of Naerhu
2.16/5  rDev -50.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

This is quite a shocker. Pour vinigar on a tatami mat and lick it and you will know what this beer tastes like. This was not even a novelty it was just sour (can be good) and bitter (usually a good thing), but together it foul. I kept looking for redeming qualities, but there are none. This is not refreshing, tasty or anything else.

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Photo of krberg
4/5  rDev -8.3%
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.

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Photo of Bighuge
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Cork says 2000.

This lambic is actually copper in color. Gas bubbles rise quickly and steadily. Head is creamy and tan. And also long lasting. Aroma is yeasty, lemony, musty and funky. Pretty cool. The mouthpuckering quotient is pretty high for this one. (Higher than the Cantillon Gueuze I just had the other day.) Tart as hell. Acidic. Lemon Juice. Grassy. A little of that funky barnyard stuff going on. It's almost like sucking on one of those sour gobstoppers. Interesting to say the least. Mouthfeel is nicely carbonated. Maybe medium body at best. Yet again, Cantillon does not disappoint. The masters of the authentic lambic.

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Photo of rastaman
3.75/5  rDev -14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Kind of strange really, very sour yeasty aroma, with hints of parsley, lemongrass and flowers. Quite sour and then bitter, with a grassy earthy flavour, complex and different. I don't think this quite worked, that green stemmy, flowery quality, didn't seem to fit alongside the sour yeastyness. Still, hardcore.

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Photo of MJR
4.4/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Purchased in Boston the weekend of the AoBF...

Corked 750ml bottle...cork dated 2000...

I remove the bottle crown, pull the cork, and IT'S A GUSHER!! I loose around 1/4th of the bottle as it erupts like Mount St. Helens! I've always heard that Cantillon's beers can be unpredictable, but I've always been lucky...until now. Damn law of statistics...

After cleaning up the mess, I fill my Cantillon tumbler and watch as it's head quickly takes up over half the glass, then slowly shrinks to a tiny cap of big bubbles. The liquid is much darker than any other of their offerings, with a rich amber color. This brew doesn't follow the traditional guidelines of 35% wheat, but instead uses all pale malt.

Smell: The aroma has the standard Cantillon mustiness and funk, only it's not as strong. I detect a touch of fresh hops too, as 50% of the hops used are fresh.

Taste: Starts out with their trademark acidic, vinous notes. Lots of farmhouse, horse blanket...you know the terms... Underneath the funk is a firm bitterness that I'm not used to tasting, no doubt from the fresh hops used. Towards the end, there's a touch of caramel and burnt brown sugar. Finishes with a fantastic mouthpuckering dryness.

Mouthfeel: Dry, sharp, and acidic. Sucks the moisture right out of your mouth with a painfully dry, astringent finish.

Drinkability: Quite the change of pace for Cantillon, this is a very enjoyable brew. It's a surprising, and delicious experience...like all of their beers.

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Photo of marburg
4.77/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

The nametag on your newly found friend reads, "'Hello! My name is Iris.'"

Never before have you met someone like this. Some people are too challenging to be any fun. Some people are too simple-minded to be worth your time. And then there are the folks who are just right. And Iris is just right.

Your pal is a unique sort, with a hazy brown-maize skin that lets you know right away that he's not from your side of town -- a breeze of fresh air, really. And most of your friends aren't the sort of people who you accept when they don't shower, when they reek of rotting apples and damp earth.

But how many of your friends are this lively -- ebullient and full of original personality? Quick to see his temper flare, he offers only a fleeting sweetness to those around him that yields so often -- yet not too often -- to his vitriolic, mordant, sour dark side. Unquestionably, Iris fills everywhere with this "presence" that leaves a bitter taste in your mouth that's solid with an unusual satisfaction, something you wouldn't expect.

This new friend has personality enough to last a lifetime, but fortunately, you can endure it in somewhat smaller doses, which is good because, for some reason, you'll find yourself always begging for more.

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Photo of Gusler
4.32/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On the pour a pearlescent orange color, the head Brobdingnagian in size, creamy in its texture, the color a magnificent light tan, the lace a satin sheet to drape the glass. Fruit sweetness followed closely by the vinous aromas tart, clean and quite appealing. Start lightly sweet but the stinging acidity and tartness hits your palate immediately, hops are mild and unassuming, also quite dry and lingering aftertaste, in my humble opinion a quintessential “Old Style Lambic”!

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Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.55/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Iris 2000. A 1 Pint 9.40 fl.oz green glass bottle, the front of which contains a small label containing a picture of a Marsh Iris (symbol of Brussels) painted by Julie Van Roy. Iris is different to all the other Cantillon beers, it is not brewed with the stipulated 35% wheat required of trad. lambics, but made only with pale ale malt. This is partly responsible for it’s amber color, which is quite a bit darker than the other offerings from the Brewery. Neither are 100% dried-aged hops used, Iris utilises 50% fresh-young hops. After 2 yrs in the Barrel, it is then “cold-hopped” with fresh hops before being bottled. Wow.
With this in mind I eagerly removed the thick black foil, the crown cap & cork and I poured the whole bottle in one go, first into a large Glass Jug & the remainder into a Cantillon Tumbler. I avoided pouring any yeast into the bulk of the beer that way. I served it at 55 Deg.F. It pours with a medium effervescence & a rich white short lived head which settles to a very tight 1/8” collar. Lines of bubbles slowly stream upwards throughout the experience. The body of the beer is a lovely deep amber-orange color that has ‘peachy’ twinkles when held to the light. Quite a bit darker than other Cantillon offerings I noted.
The beer in my Glass exhibited a slight haze as I finished the pour. I wanted every drop of this beer & picking up some of the yeast as a side-effect was perfectly acceptable to me in doing so. As I topped up from the Jug the clarity returned. A Gorgeous sexy amber-peach color. I wanted this beer so much.
Nose is vinous, sharp & acrid, but not as acidic as other offerings from the Brewery. Breath in deeply over this beer & you get the aroma from the 50% fresh hops used against a background of mustiness. As with all Cantillon beers, it does not pussy-foot around in the taste stakes – it is not for the feint-of-heart. Tastes are robust without apology. The first taste is dominated by the sensational mouthfeel, velvety, spritzy and lively – I am sure it reacts with the saliva in your mouth. Acidity is there & to a seasoned geuze-drinker, it may seem somewhat restrained, for it is neatly balanced by a bitterness (no doubt from the fresh hops) & a mild taste of burnt brown sugar & caramel which linger in the finish, culminating in an astringent shock finish, the trademark “Cantillon Mouth-Pucker”.
A truly unique beer, that is pseudo-lambic, rare for Cantillon the Masters of Tradition. Another excellent, high quality, offering.

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Cantillon Iris from Brasserie Cantillon
Beer rating: 4.36 out of 5 with 2,089 ratings
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