Cantillon Iris | Brasserie Cantillon

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Cantillon IrisCantillon Iris
2,114 Ratings
Cantillon IrisCantillon Iris

Brewed by:
Brasserie Cantillon

Style: Belgian Lambic

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: 2,114 |  Reviews: 506
Photo of KarlHungus
4.2/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This brew pours a clear bronze-amber color. The head is billowy and white, and the lacing is thorough. The aroma is tart, sour, and sweet. The sip is tart with sweetness in the finish, and more tartness in the aftertaste. The mouthfeel is light bodied and dry, with nice carbonation. Overall, this is a fine, tasty, relaxing brew.

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Photo of twelvsies
4.47/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Ahhh. It's not my everday beer by any means, but when I get the itch there's nothing like a super fresh super sour funky lambic from Cantillon. Had this one on tap at Sunset. Appears a golden color, with little to no head, and great clarity and shinyness. The best thing about a world class beer like this is the freshness. Everything about it screams fresh and wild. The scents coming off this one are like apple and pear skins, a hayfield, and a slight grassy and herbal hop quality. Taste, as expected, is quite sour, but not unpleasantly so. Complex, musty, funk after taste supports the ripe fruityness and sourness. I don't know if it's just the power of suggestion, but this beer has a really nice hop quality to it that makes it particularly unique. Once again, tastes how a big wild field smells in the fall. Excellent slick yet super dry mouthfeel. An incredibly natural and hedonistic beer.

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

From Notes: Tap version sampled at Redbones on a dinner stop home from Maine. Dark slightly hazy orange/sunflower with a nice small but tightly packed head of white/off white foam. Aromas of barnyard funk, and wild yeasts abound, with a nice actual malt base, and some real heavy handed hoping (for a Cantillon) making this one quite unique and different, for a brewery that prides itself on being unique and different. Taste is sharp and funky, sour, with all of the gueuze qualities we know and love. The hops add a slightly citric sharpness to the finish of this one, which is as dry as ever. Mouthfeel is refreshing and bubbly, making this brew totally drinkable. Another great brew from these master lambic makers...

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Photo of NearerMyBeerToMe
4.03/5  rDev -7.6%
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 eclectic
4.35/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at The Publick House

Poured a hazy golden color with thin lacing. Typical cantillon sour/acidic aroma. Initial taste is as expected, mouth puckering tart with a hint of lemony citrus mingling with a fruity funkiness that is incredible complex. Light bodied and easy to drink, only wish it was served in a larger glass.

Another amazing cantillon that not only matches, but exceeds its bottled form.

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Photo of Andreji
3.38/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Iris 2003, bought at the Brasserie in Brussels. Drank on [colombian] memorial day, 18 july 2005.

This beer I hauled on the airplane back from summer vacation. brought on some extra weight but what the heck, beer is always an unmissable commodity.

I popped the beer after letting it cool down a bit more in the fridge. the appearance immediately turned to a bronze although opaque orange, which did not seem to give off much light. the head was fizzy and abundant, white, a bit like a cross between champagne and beer.

The smell was very weak, and hinted only a bit of rotten fruits (mostly apples) which I was neither disgusted by or too appreciative of.

The taste was a bit of a turndown. very acidic and soury at first. unlike other cantillons comparable with white wine, for example, this one is comparable to a somewhat brut champagne-like beer: very strong sour feel, with almost no sweetness to it although somehow the fruity sense is perfectly perceivable: apples dominated the scene, maracuja a bit in the nostrils. immediately after, a strong appearance of salty taste- so far most cantillons appear to be brewed with salt-water- which swiftly converts into a bizarre bitter taste/mouthfeel on the sides of the tongue. carbonation is abundant but not strong; I mean, it doesn't sting like in other cases, but relaxes atop the tongue slowly mixing up the beer.

this is an ok beer, but some other offerings from Cantillon are certainly worthier of my time.

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Photo of beerhandy
3.43/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

cork 2004 chimay chalice

Orange hued haziness , a light beige head which stood 2" very frothy and lingering

Aromas... musty oak ,fresh mushrooms,honey , vinegar,green apple and moldy hay

taste..tart and tannic chenin blanc and vinegar but it works
the dryness helps the sourness and rounds out the intensity
of this lambic.

Very effervescent

Intense beer probably over the top for the uniniciated definitely something to be drank with fellow lambic lovers

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Photo of GCBrewingCo
4.2/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer poured into the chalice clear amber golden with a tight white head which fell rapidly to the edges of the surface as it tried to lace the glass.

The aroma was stinky cheese when first poured (at least that was the thought that came to mind). After the head dropped the aroma became fruity with a distinct grape aroma like that of skins and seeds. A definite lambic horsey and barnyard aroma was present, but not overly so. A slight sweaty aroma was also present.

The flavor was acidic sourness, but never over the top. The fruit flavor in the aroma was similar in the flavor with grape skins and seeds but also a nice citrusy orange and slight pineapple flavor were present but never sweet. The sourness most likely tricked the tastebuds into sensing those flavors like an assault and your memory failing. The beer was incredibly tart.

The finish was very dry and very tart with lasting sensations of citrus and pineapple. The body was medium and the carbonation was fairly low. The beer was easy to drink and complex, but lead to some awful beer belches that drove the cat out of the room.

750 ml bottle, corked and capped. Bottled in 2004 on cork. Purchased at Green's in Atlanta, GA.

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Photo of walleye
3.52/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

from the bottle shared with bieristgut. poured a orangish with a off white head. aroma sour, musty, malts, and some nice hops come out, and hints of fruits. flavor not as sour as the aroma, pears, grapefruit, and malts. this is not one of the styles that I care for that much, but I did like this and glad I got to sample it

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Photo of blitheringidiot
4.64/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

First pour from a “Botteld 2004” [sic] cork was a crystal clear light amber hue. Second pour has some cloudy hazy quality with zero head cap or lace.

Scents are a pure delight of tart mega tart lemon and lemon rind.

Lemon rind and lemon juice ultra tart flavor. Some hop balance eeks out but this is all about the sour tart lambic style. Quite acidic in the aftertaste.

Last swigs: This is an Imperial Lambic to me. Mega tart and sweet. Mostly tart. Thanks to fellow BA PopeDX for sharing the bottle. Overall, this is absolutely outstanding.

Beer is good. Happy beering.

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Photo of cokes
4.8/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours to a lightly foggy amber cherry juice, stacked with a snowy, alpine peak.
Perfumed of brushed suede, cedar, spanish moss, lime leaves, and rose petals. Oh, and oak-rested urine too.
A brief bicuit maltiness splashes across the mouth, ceded immediately by a cutting lime juice sourness. This is as tart as any of Cantillon's "real" lambics, as it serves as a canvas for all that is about to unfold. Peach skins and pear, and pinot gris, cherry stones, bile, and rusted tin. Lilacs and bleu cheese. Turns woodier on the close, with moss-filmed fallen maple, dry cedar, and screeching oak.
Bountifully carbonated, but far from spritzy. This is a down pillow. Soft, supple, and form fitting in the mouth. Despite its moments of aggression and sharpness, this is a comfortable sip..err..gulp.
Another jewel in the Cantillon crown. Perhaps my favorite thus far.

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Photo of kmpitz2
4.89/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Shared this bottle with orbitalr0x in Chicago at the Map Room. We had to "settle" for this one since they were out of the Vigneronne. Bastards. This beer poured a hazy amber color with a healthy 3 finger head that fell to coat the beer generously. Upon smelling it, I was taken back, even thought I had this beer once before. Sour and fruity notes hit me first, followed with tart and acidic barnyard funkyness kicking me in the face directly afterwards. Wow. The flavor is something that has to be experienced to understand. Immediate sourness and acidic flavors assaulted my tongue. This was as close to making me pucker as a beer can without making me actually do it. Damn, this beer is fine. The feel was moderate with a slight carbonation to keep it lively on the tongue. The flavors and aroma on this one is so far beyond the norm, that it can be nothing but greatness. I had to hide from one of my wife's friends, as she kept stealing drinks from my glass. I had to tell her where she could find a bottle for herself at home.

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Photo of orbitalr0x
4.8/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I shared this bottle last night with kmpitz2 at The Map Room. The Iris evacuated the bottle with a deep golden color and a big, bubbly three finger head. Tempting aromas of vinegar acidity, barnyard funkiness, hints of citrus/floral and a bit of dirty sweat socks thrown in for good measure. Wonderfully unique and tempting.

Beautiful sour acidic puckering opening with slight floral notes and hints of lemon. Super funky, each sip brings something new. Dirty hay and barnyard stable weaves in and out and keeps me guessing....possibly some green olives that have gone bad? An extremely challenging and rewarding lambic...simply wonderful.

Smooth, crisp mouthfeel with small bubbly carbonation. This is so easy to drink and each sip just leaves me wanting more and more. Gueuze and lambic are becoming some of my favorite styles and Cantillon has blown me away so far...I highly recommend Iris and I look forward to trying more of their beers.

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Photo of Dukeofearl
4.33/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 750 ml bottle, cork stamped with “Brasserie Cantillon Bruxelles Botteld (sic) in 2.004” with a circled 1 below the date.

Appearance: Pours a slightly cloudy hazy golden yellow. In a Cantillon Gueuze glass, it develops a medium sized head that quickly collapses. In a flute, a medium sized head develops that sticks around a while as a constant flow of small bubbles of carbonation feed it.

Aroma: Sour, farmyard, harsh overlying some apples, some malt.

Flavor: According to Cantillon’s web site, this beer has no wheat, and is hopped much more than their lambics. I don’t really note hops in this brew, but the predominant character is the sourness of lambics, but this is much softer, rounder than the Cantillon gueze. Dry, ok, tart is the only way to describe it.

Mouthfeel: Champagne-like, but heavier. The dryness definitely causes a pucker that asks to be paired with some cheese or other tasty foodstuffs. Filling mouth, not rich in the way of many big full beers, but there’s enough substance to be interesting.

Drinkability: I could drink this a lot, but as with all of this style of beer, it is an occasional beer for me.

Overall: I think I like this better than the gueuze- it has very similar characteristics (at least to my palate, which still has a lot to learn), but it isn’t quite as overpowering and over the top in sourness and musty farmyard aromas/flavors.

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Photo of Ellbert
3.16/5  rDev -27.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Appearance: Orange color with a slightly fizzy white head. Not as bubbly as I expected.

Smell: Tart, sour, and rotten. I have had blended lambics before but never an unblended. Wow, I finally smell what I have heard so much about. Very different, almost a turn off but intreiging.

Taste: Sweet at first then sour, then very sour, and then very dry. Almost like a wine. It was better once I got used to it.

Mouthfeel: Mouthfeel was good but it was kinda hard to pay much attention to because of the tartness of the actual brew.

Overall a very different beer, something that you have to get used to. I would not be able to drink much of this.

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Photo of Suds
3.62/5  rDev -17%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Lambics are an enigma to me…so much wildness and unrestrained flavors. This beer was no exception. I’ve been sitting on a bottle (cork says it’s from 2001), and finally gave it a try. It’s a truly unique brew. The cork, which was quite damp through half of its volume, was extruded with a loud “Pop”. The brew is a hazy orange with a billowing white head. Aroma is a mix of deep, woody oak and musty manure. There’s plenty of lemony, vinegar-like acidity going on in the smell as well. It’s a totally un-hinged, wild aroma. The taste is solidly acidic…it crosses the line from tart to downright mouth-puckering sour. No malt is detectable through the acidity, though there is a notable oak character and bitter hop finish. The oak is not unlike that of a decent Chardonnay. Unfortunately, the sourness made the beer very difficult for me to drink. Maybe it would be a wonderful aperitif, but in anything other than small quantities, it’s a rough-sell. Extraordinarily interesting, and completely wild

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Photo of soper2000
4.32/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Wow, I've got a young one here, picked up at "From the Vine" in Columbus. Cork is dated 2004. Cork came out with no gushing. Pours a light orange with a minimal white head that retreats to just the sides of the glass fairly quickly. Nose is not as assertive as previous Cantillon's that I have had. A sharp fruity/citrusy aroma is well guarded by notes of cork. A slight musty smell creeps up at the end, but it remains in the background. Taste is very citric. Large hints of grapefruit are present. Finish is very tart and cutting. Musty flavors are only found in the middle as the finish reminds me a little of lime concentrate, pretty acidic as well. Very unique. I'd like to try this after cellaring for a few years. Out of all the Cantillon's I've had, this is easily the most accessible. A quality beer for sure, but if I had to choose one brand it would be their Gueuze.

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Photo of crookedhalo
4.45/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Cork dated 2001 vintage. Pours a glowing orangey-gold color with a frothy off-white colored head. Rich barnyard funk with a bit of honey, oak barrel and pale malts in the aroma. Initially tart, but a honeyed sweetness does shine through, sometimes reminiscent of sour apricot or peach. Ooh, there's some hops in there, too, they interact with the tartness very nicely. Oak barrel aging is evident in the taste, as well. Delicate carbonation is good for this ale. Probably one of the best lambics I've tried.

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Photo of Goldorak
4.62/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sampled 15JUN2004. Many, many thanks to Beersignal for letting me participate in the tasting of this very rare find.

Peachy orange, clearer than I expected. The small white head dissapeared rapidly.

The minute I squeezed my nose in the tasting glass I knew I was about to experience something special. This Beer has enormous complexity. A citrus fruit start, than a very pepermint freshness, some green apple, pear, and a smell I could only compare to those leather tobacco pouches cowboys used to have on their belts! After a while it went back to citrus and started all over again, absolutely fantastic stuff!

The first sip sucks out your saliva glands from around your tongue and vanishes with them, not making any promises on their safe return. After a few more, I very faintly detected a nanosecond's worth of sweetness, then Bam! The great sourness takes command, scrambles your tastebuds with oak, grapefruit, and a distinguishable hop bitterness, leaving a very dry, crisp mouthfeel.

We debated somewhat on the drinkability, and pondered if we could spend a whole evening drinking nothing but this amazing brew. I'm definately up for it! Too bad this stuff is so hard to find.

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Photo of Beersignal
4.8/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Rarely do you get to experience such craftsmanship in this writer's backyard as I did tonight with the Cantillon Iris. Accompanied by fellow BA, Goldorak, and another beer head I discovered what it means to master an artform.

The beer poured a stunning and bright amber peach colour with generous but very ephemeral foam. Very true to the Cantillon name.

The nose was generously greeted with young fruits (green and crab apples grapefruits and mandarine oranges, to name a few) strong hints of peppery mint tea and fresh cigar tobacco leaves near the back. The apples resurfaced often throughout the experience.

Tastes were magnificent and presented through a sparse bead. Very dry but firm, this beer boasted fruits and vanilla, oak and solidly set touches of hops all through a powerful and omnipresent acidity. The final was all about dryness derived from hops and the acidic character of this near perfect beer.

This brew displays incomparable aromatic complexity, along with intense flavours of orchard and citrus fruits buttressed by notes of wood and spices. A quenching and long finish round out the experience and render this drinker finally speechless.


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Photo of xgrigorix
4.38/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Green 750 ml bottle. Corked, capped, & neck wrapped in heavy black foil. Cork indicates that it was bottled in 2002.

Bright, clear, medium copper hue. Topped by a wonderful white cap of foam which holds for a short time before collapsing into a thin halo. Thin streams of carbonation are visible.

This is the real deal! Musty, earthy, barnyardy notes start off the nose. These are quickly followed by strong acidic aromas.

Impressive. Plenty of funky, earthy type flavours. A slight hint of apples. Tons of oak. Acidic, lemony notes lead to a dry, dry finish. Sour, tart, & very complex. Lively, & actually quite refreshing. Light / medium bodied with gentle carbonation.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.08/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This brew, merely my third from Cantillon, was used to christen my new Lion tulip-style glass, and it stood in quite well!
Rich orange appearance, enormous head on her, a flush, full bristling bundle, gracefully descending in size.
Aroma, sourness, yet balanced, overall citric, very ...damn, ...hard to pigeonhole, for certain, a great match, very lemon and orange-dominated. loads of lambic funk, the bass line beckons Bootsy...
Down the mouth, oooh! sour! let's put the pen down 'til i spend more time with her, ...yup, sour, but tasty, too!
Huge flavor, big presence on the palate, long, lingering finish,
ooo!ooo, ooo, oooo!!!
wince, shudder,!
Only 1/3 of the 750ml is gone? got more to enjoy, hurrah!
A delight for lamibic-geeks only and an occasional treat for weird beer-freaks like yours truly...such an unusual ale, a rare treat, another horse-blanket treasure from the barnyard geniuses!

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Photo of HiroProtagonist
4.53/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Cantillon Iris was served from a corked (2001), capped, and foiled 750ml bottle. In a chalice, this beautiful beer was a brilliant and shiny copper color, and was topped by an everlasting, fine, and creamy off-white head that left sheets of luxurious lacing wherever it touched. The carbonation was varied and fascinating, consisting of slower small streamers, and large speeding bubbles that would hit the surface with such force they could be seen making bumps in the head from above. The nose presented an aggressive sourness with a soft musty grapefruit component followed by herbal juniper berry and powdery floral perfumy notes. On the palate, an up-front oaky dry sourness with an assertive raw lemon accent explodes then gains a tannic bitterness before slowly dropping off, leaving lingering herbal/grassy earthen lemony aftertastes. The body is very smooth, slick, and richly full, serving to counter and balance the dry oaken sourness. The vigorous carbonation matched well with the flavors and character of this lambic. I found this beautiful all-malt lambic to be wonderfully aromatic, robustly flavorful, and a pleasure to drink.

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Photo of BeerBuilder
4.35/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours to a deep copper-orange color with a three fingers off-white head. The aroma is very fragrant; floral, herbal, slightly phenolic, fresh cut hay, and acidic. The flavor is sour and tart the whole way through with the “horse blanket” flavors throughout as well. It is a light-bodied beer that I really enjoyed. I would definitely get this one again.

Sampled 12/20/03

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Photo of Hobbz
4/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

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

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

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

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Cantillon Iris from Brasserie Cantillon
Beer rating: 4.36 out of 5 with 2,114 ratings