Cantillon Iris | Brasserie Cantillon

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Cantillon IrisCantillon Iris

Brewed by:
Brasserie Cantillon
Belgium | website

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: 489 | Ratings: 2,001
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 Jon
4.67/5  rDev +9.6%
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 sacfly
4.32/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml 1996 written on label. (Score!)

Pours a light, cloudy straw color. Becomes more hazy and red after getting some yeast in the pour. You can tell strait off from the aroma that this is going to be tart, tart, tart!

Puckering Cantillion flavor. The sides of my tongue light up. TART, acidic, citricÂ… I feel my mouth dumping huge amounts of saliva to try and compensate. But no! I drink again! HA HA HA! Flows down light and easy. Tastes great, but like most Cantillions a bit one dimensional. If nearly overwhelmingly tart is what you want, that is exactly what you will get.

Was tempted to order another (it was only $12 for a 750!) but was distracted by a great (and cheep) beer selection. Will defiantly make it back to pick up some more of this one.

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Photo of xgrigorix
4.38/5  rDev +2.8%
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 pmccallum86
4.72/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a magnificent golden amber color with a light frothy bubbly head. Very nice.

Smell is incredible, such great tart aromas and earthy notes. Slight hops are detectable as well. Amazing.

Taste is amazing, great tart funky notes with a bitter hop finish. Some barnyard funk and dry leather finish.

The drinkability here is amazing, such a terrific beer. Good carbonation, super refreshing on a hot summer day.

Extremely drinkable, I doubt it gets more drinkable then this.

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Photo of abrand
4.3/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

on tap at iTap

Iris pours a golden orange color with pretty good clarity. Very well carbonated with bubbles and a nice fizzy head fizzes quickly. Aromas are herbal, vinegar, floral, and sour. Taste is similar to the nose with sourness being the dominant characteristic. Very smooth with plenty of acidity. Mouthfeel is medium bodied and very well carbonated. I was loving this beer other than the fairly high price tag. I would love to keep a few of these bottles and see how it ages.

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Photo of ricke
4.62/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Vintage 2006. Bottled in 2008.

Serving date: 2009-01-10.

Served in snifter.

Presentation: 750 ml bottle, corked and capped. Bottling date and freshness date on label (Bottled 2008-05-26, best before 2015-12). Some information about the production process on the back.

Appearance: The pour is golden/copper - almost reddish - and semi-clear. The color of this brew is very appealing. The white, 1 cm head is lively but quickly dissipates leaving a minimal ring of lacings. The head is not as big as anticipated (perhaps due to the chosen glassware).

Smell: The smell is rather complex: Scents of unripe green apples sit side by side with hints of grapefruit, and in the other corner vinegar tags up with a faint funky smell. Amazing smell.

Taste: The taste is even more complex than the smell. Where to start, where to start... First of all, this is a very sour beer. Sourness and tartness thus being its main characteristics. Tastes of especially lemon, but lime, are up-front and linger on throughout the experience. A fruity character of unripe green apples and grapefruits is also prominent. Vinegar also reappears in the taste, but is not as dominant as in the smell. A faint hint of yeast is also detectable. Subtle hints of a funky barnyard taste adds an interesting tension to the taste of the concoction. The very long finish is primarily sour and a bit dry.

Mouthfeel: The body is medium. Carbonation is good. The sourness sends a tickling feeling to the cheeks, which is a pleasant sensation.

Drinkability: I really like lambics and in my opinion this is a really good beer. The distinct sourness actually doesn't become overwhelming, even though the bottle is 750 ml. A highly recommended brew.

NOTE: I'm going to cellar a bottle of this for a year or two, and see how it turns out cellared.

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Photo of Bowdoinbeerboy
4.53/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer poured with a HUGE head, I'm not sure if there is some wheat in the malt bill or what, but its very pretty. The beer itself is almost entirely opaque, quite hazy, and is a light to medium brown color.

The nose here is very barn-yard funky. Its not nearly as "in your face" sour and acidic as the Cantillon Gueuze, but its got a good dosage of bitterness going on.

This beer starts with an almost malty sweetness as it first hits your palate, but that quickly subsides as the sour acidity literally EXPLODES into your mouth. I would put the sourness here at 6/10, its pretty sour, but not crazy sour. As the flavor rests on the palate its acidity really lingers for a long time. This beer is crazy complex, with the sweet, then bitter, then acidic; its Cantillon at its best.

I'll probably never see this beer on the shelves in Portland again, but by god it was worth $20.

PS. Big thanks to the guy at the store who was in line immediatly ahead of me, he gave the last bottle to my GF and I as we were the first in line not to get any.

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Photo of MJR
4.4/5  rDev +3.3%
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 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 all of their beers.

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Photo of Stolenface1
4.76/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Pours a light amber/copper color into Crooked Stave tulip. Aroma of lemon, grapefruit, oak, honey, hay, funk, earthy, floral, herbs and wheat. Flavor follows the aroma with a nice tart/sour level and a very miniscule sweetness on the finish that plays perfectly with the herbal/floral/earthy Hallertau dry hop. The feel is light with perfect carbonation. I have absolutely nothing bad to say about this wonderful creation from Cantillon. Could be a touch more sour for my tastes but balance is really the key here. A+

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Photo of Realale
4.77/5  rDev +12%
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 hoegaardenhero
4.12/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

picked this up on a trip to the brewery last year; 2007 vintage

a: amber body with mild golden highlights, light foam head that fades leaving a light white ring around the glass and small columns moving briskly up to the top

s: warmer caramel/toffee w/ a very acidic sour grape scent to balance; light dust; sweeter apples; banana bread; definitely has sourness of wild yeasts but is still sweet

t: sour apples; yogurt; warm sweet apples up front with sour apples and tart yeasts on the back

m: very carbonated with a medium/light body; nice and lively like champagne

d: definitely worth a try; very good and unusual; nothing quite like it.

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

2007 Vintage straight from the cellar...

Appearance: Poured from the bottle into my DFH Chalice, this beer is a very foamy, cloudy, reddish amber color. Even with an easy pour there was at least three solid inches of bubbly white head. The retention is pretty good, not much in the way of lacing.

Smell: A musty mix of sour, tart, and some fruity vinegar mixed with just a bit of funk. I was in the mood for something funky, I think this'll hit the spot.

Taste: Oh yea buddy. Big tart and sour funk going on here with a slight sort of woody characteristic to it. There's also a nice clean, dry finish to it that really rounds it off nicely. Classic Cantillon.

Mouthfeel: Perfect carbonation, a refreshing light to medium body. Spot on here.

Overall (Drinkability): I'm a big fan of Cantillon, and this brew is a perfect example of why. Great flavor, some nice sour funk, everything you could ask for. Definitely recommend!

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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 kiddynamite920
3.87/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured a pretty dull orange, with some yellow highlights. Served to me without a head whatsoever. Bubbles building on the side of glass showed the carbonation, and an unclean glass sadly. No points off for the glass, just poured a bit flat looking.

S: Barnyard, red wine vinegar, lemon and a very tart aroma. Big earthiness and lemongrass. A bit of stinky sock, but in a good way somehow. Very pleasant and inviting aroma.

T: Oof! That's puckering. Lemon and vinegar, grass and dirt. Just a very earthy beer with an outstanding sour note.

M: Carbonation was actually very high and added to the astringency/puckering quality of this beer. It was strange drinking this after having a Batch 9000. Overly sweet to overly sour took my palate for a ride.

D: I'd say I could have two of these, the sourness and citrus seems like it would upset the stomach after 2-3 of these. 1 was enough for me, my gums and tongue were dry and puckered enough for me.

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Photo of wnh
4.78/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

12.7 oz. bottle poured into a tulip. 2007 vintage, bottled in 2009.

A hearty and exuberant "pop" upon popping the cork on this beer. Pours a rich, bright, clear golden amber with a large, lasting, foamy white head. Lively, with groups of bubbles constantly rising to the surface. A pleasure to behold.

Mouthwatering aromas of horse blanket, lemon peel, cracked pepper, and red fruit. Dense, but relatively subtle. The kind of beer I could sit and smell for an hour before taking a sip. But...

Mouthpuckeringly sour and biting on the palate. Complex and contemplative. Barnyard flavor is heavier than on the nose, with a bitter pithy lemon peel note that lasts through the finish. Still fruity and sweet, though I can't specify what sort of red(ish) fruit I'm tasting. Bitter lemon peel flavor lingers, but the overall finish is quick and short, leaving just enough behind to beg me to take another sip. Iron-like flavor comes through as the beer warms, adding to the complexity.

Quite heavy bodied, with a moderate amount of carbonation that surely makes the body feel heavier than it is. Seems to be drying up front, while it somehow becomes "wet" on the finish, such that the overall effect is not a drying one. Perhaps this is just the result of a literally mouthwatering beer, so that the dryness of the beer is nullified by its effect on me. Whatever it is, it's wonderful.

I'm still relatively new to sour beers, but this leapfrogged its way right to the top spot. Fantastic.

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Photo of dbalsock
4.25/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Almost clear light amber with a good, balanced white head (good retention too). There was no lacing on thet glass which was nice, and the carbonation looked alright.

Smell: Oaky, flowery (similar to an Iris actually), honeysuckley, pungent cheese, peaches and some tropical fruits. It also picks up smells from the air really well.

Taste: Sharp cheese, like a good cheddar, sublter oakness than from the taste. These mix nicely with the flower taste and honeysuckle.

Mouthfeel: Sour like a lambic and sharp like good cheddar with the slightest bitterness to round it out. The little carbonation balances the light body.

Drinkability: This is definitely a celebratory beer, but I could give this a go fairly often with the right food pairing.

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Photo of bs870621345
4.77/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Huge thanks to plenum for this bottle in a recent trade.

Pours amber with a huge white head. Leaves a very little bit of lacing down the glass.

Smells funky, lemony, vinegar, and a slight hint of wheat.

Taste is of funk, vinegar, apple, lemons, all mixed in with a hint of sweetness and pine resin.

Mouthfeel is very carbonated, moderately full on the mouth.

Drinkability is awesome, I decided to review so that I would slow myself down on drinking it.

An amazing lambic.

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Photo of mlazzaro
4.65/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

vintage 2007 375 ml bottle. corked and capped.

orangy/light rose color. well carbonated. great head retention.

refreshing smell. pungent tart aroma.

sweet, tart and sour. so tart, I feel like it hurts my teeth. it's awesome. light brew sour candy. excellent aftertaste.

I wish this beer wasn't finite. or so expensive. great sour lambic though. one of my favorites.

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Photo of output01x
4.42/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 25.4 oz. bottle (Vintage 2007, Bottled On 12/15/10) into a tulip glass.

A strong pour yields a 3-finger creamy white head atop a hazy orange amber body. Slow moving carbonation bubbles can be seen through the haze. The head recedes after a few minutes to a decent dusting and thick foam ring. Very little lacing is seen throughout consumption.

Sweet, sour, and a tad bit funky in the nose. Red apple, white grapes, and lemony citrus notes can all be found.

Dry white grape juice, tart lemon peels, and sour apple notes combine to make this extremely complex. Each sip is a journey through multiple flavors and mouthfeels that truly makes this beer an experience.

Medium bodied with great carbonation, this beer is dangerously close to chuggable. The carbonation perfectly allows the carbonation to be experienced just as much as they should be.

Exceptionally sour and dry, Cantillon Iris should be enjoyed by anyone claiming to be a fan of sours. For those uninitiated to the style, this may be rather extreme.

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Photo of gmcfarre
3.5/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

750mL corked bottle poured into New Belgian chalice
Cork dated 2005

A - Pours a very cloudy orange/gold color with 1 inch frothy head. Lacing is moderate.

S - Pungeant funky yeast with a tart cider-like scent. A good touch of earthy sourness accompanies.

T & M - Weel carbonated sourness with a light to medium body. Apple cider taste with strong acidity. Kindof weak in the middle, which is disappointing. Funky and interesting with its wild yeast.

D - A bit cloying overall. The kind of beer I want to like, but really have a hard time doing so. Not my favorite lambic, and not too easy to drink or even savor. Alcohol is not a factor.

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Photo of ptykozoon
4.12/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Light auburn. Thin head and spotty lacing.

Sweets, funk and strong citrus.

Sour at the forefront, cherries, lemon peel. Oak, dry grassy flavors, light acidity in the finish.

Mouthfeel is perfect - not too light or dense. A lot of depth for a beer with such a light ABV.

Great beer. Strong sourness but not overwhelming, complex and sexy.

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Photo of Sephiroth
4.22/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottled in 2005: There was standing beer on top of the cork. It pulled from the bottle with seemingly no carbonation. The pour alleviates my fears, however. Body is light orange, with a decent head. Smell is dirty, funky, citric, and acidic.

Taste is a little tart, and possesses all the characteristics of the smell. This must be sipped to fully appreciate the compexity. Mouthfeel is full, but not thick. Drinkability isn't the best, and I do like this beer.

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Photo of boatshoes
3.93/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Received this as an extra in a recent trade with nonstick. Thanks!

Appearance- Pours a murky tan with a few floaties despite decanting the yeast. About a finger of fizzy white head rises off the body of the beer and actually stuck around for longer than I was expecting. No discernible lacing but some visible carbonation.

Smell- A lot more funky than I was expecting. Lots of barnyard, wild yeast, lactic tartness, and fruitness coming through. Of the nature of green apples, lemon zest, and some pear. Very wild and tart smelling.

Taste- Big on the tartness and funk. Really a lot of the wild yeast funkiness and barnyard on the palate accompanied by a mouth puckering lactic tartness that dies back somewhat as the beer warms. Again, green apple and some pear show through but this lambic is on the less fruity and more sour/wild side than many I have had. Very nice though and an interesting change.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- Mouthfeel is great for the style and not overly thin, though the carbonation is surprisingly spritzy. Drinkability suffers just a touch because of the high levels of funk and tartness but still pretty good.

Overall, interesting and a change from the lambics I've had recently. Another great offering from Cantillon and I would recommend it.

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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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Cantillon Iris from Brasserie Cantillon
95 out of 100 based on 489 ratings.
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