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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: 2,015
Photo of scott451
4.33/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

750ml corked and capped bottle. Bottled in 2010, best before 12/2020. warmed from fridgetemperature and poured into a glass mug and some beakers.

A hazy rose apricot with a bubbly off white head which soon dissapeared to a few thin patches.

Vinous sour smell. Some citrous barn. Whoah! Very smooth, sharp, sour grapefruit pith. Apple, leather, oak leads followed by a long slide to a very long prickly astringent dry finish. Whew!

Medium light body. Well carbonated. The drinkability is outstanding. I could drink this long haul.

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Photo of HiroProtagonist
4.53/5  rDev +6.3%
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 alovesupreme
3.85/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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

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

2007 vintage in a pint glass.

A - rich hazy amber, lots of head (cork popped out explosively), lingers but doesn't stick to the glass.

S - big wild yeast aroma, almost funky like a saison at times, with substantial barley underneath. only slightly sour; at this point it's all about the complex yeast.

T - tart and malty at the same time. pear & green apple cider, but also plum and grape. almost too much fruit...I think a dry finish would suit it better, but it finishes borderline sweet.

M - lots of carbonation without being overbearing. big bubbles gives it zing on the tongue without the fizz that makes lagers & the like hard for me to drink.

D - perfect example of the style. only thing wrong with it is that it's gone already.

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

bottle bought some time ago, the first of this batch of bottles exploded 2/3 of liquid contents into living room; this time a muted pop (cork dated 2000) opens this beer.

typical cantillon mustiness with some odd malty content opens the nose on this beer.

Oddly, first taste adds more backbone than most gueuzes or lambics i have tasted in my life. the front taste is still very sour and bitter, but there is a back elemen present that is lacking in all of the cantillon products I have had recently. I am familiar with the ingredients of this beer.

this is a very sour but good beer. and a good example of unique craft from cantillon. Well worth a try!

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

I find lambics to be very difficult to rate and review, but here goes. Poured from a 375 mL corked and capped mini-champagne bottle into a flute and split with a friend. $7.75 from Abe's in Bethlehem. Not really sure what to expect from an unblended lambic brewed with fresh hops. 2005 Vintage

Color is mostly clear orange gold, small head, fairly poor retention and no lacing. I guess all the acidity really kills the bubbles. Really nice color, though.

Smell is sour, tart and vinegary, obviously. This beer is fairly fresh for a lambic, but it is three years old and I think any hop aroma has faded.

Taste is sour but lacking in complexity. It tastes different from the other sours I have had, can't quite put my finger on it so I will chalk it up to hop bitterness. I wish I could describe it more helpfully.

Mouthfeel is nice, crisp, puckering. No complaints.

Drinkability is pretty high. I couldn't slam pint after pint of it, but that's not really the point. I could easily finish the small bottle myself, but what is the fun in that. Highly recommended as something different for fans of sours.

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Photo of Antilochus
4.92/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Quaffed on...


Vintage 2005 - bottled 22/03/2007 (2 year old lambic). Unbranded (!) glass at Delirium Cafe, Brussel. Slightly hazy amber, 2cm white head. Perfectly even head and body, goes to collar. Sour apple, citric acid aromas. Musty, chalky. Incredibly smooth palate! Perfectly well balanced! Noted acidity, fruitiness, hop bitterness. This is awesome. Wirey sour grape notes, mildly fungal, haven't even swallowed yet. Not too carbonated, well attuned. Finish is the sourest thing I've ever tasted. Mild juniper, amazingly long finish on citrus, juniper again. Malt presence is minimal, only contributing to slight sweetness. Amazing that the hops can stick through this sourbomb. Slight yeasty sourdoughness comes through.

Fiendishly complex, superb. I'll remember this one forever - massive beyond its abv, and I appreciate that. An incredible beer, I'd love to try some 1990s vintages.

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Photo of wedgie9
3.9/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Vintage 2007, tasted from 375mL bottle at Lush West Town. Pours light amber orange with a quickly fading white head. Nose is brett funk with some burnt rubber, vinegar, and a dandelion florality and just a hing of lemon and green apple. Taste is very bitter on the tip of the tongue and very sour with some citrus. The body is medium minus with sparkling carbonation and a medium finish.

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Photo of backbaybrewer
4.52/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

750 bottle. Served in white wine glass similar to those used for serving at Cantillon tasting room.

Ap: Orange/Amberish color. Big lasting off-white head. moderately hazzy, but not opaque.

Ar: Sour/Tart is the first thing you pick up. with fruit and some floral/citruisy hop presence as well. Maltiness also present. A wonderful tart/sour smell to it though. As soon as I cracked the bottle I get hit with it.

T: Not the predominant flavor, but worth mentioning first is the Hop bitterness. This beer differs from most other cantillon offerings in that they use fresh hops as opposed to aged hops which provides noticable hop bitterness on the palate. Also of note is the maltiness present. Again, not overwhelming, but it's there. These two flavors combine with the classic gueuze like flavors to create a truly unique Cantillon offering. Fruity sourn/tartness is really the dominant flavor, but the others stand out despite being reserved simply because they are so unique for a beer of this type.

O: A fantastic beer. Perhaps my new favorite Cantillon. Wish I had multiple bottles because I could sit around and drink this like a session beer all day.

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

Vintage 2004
Bottled in 2006

A: Beautiful golden orange. Doesn't pour with much of a head. A thin white layer rests on the top.

S: Can smell this over a foot away from me right now. Classic old lambic aromas; musky; tart; orange peel;

T/M: Similar musky, lambic taste. Quite tart. This one isn't for the faint of heart. Vinous like qualities. Mouthfeel is bone dry and a nice carbonation leaves things refreshed.

D: Nice but super tartness makes it tough to drink a ton.

Overall a very nice old lambic. Expensive, as all of these are, but worth it from time to time.

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Photo of ballewblake
3.6/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from bottle into my Duvel tulip.

Cap was rusted and cork and top of bottle were moldy. 2005 Vintage with cork saying bottled in 2007. Two finger head that dropped within a minute. Deep amber color in the body, opaque. Smell is funky, musty attic smell, earthy, sour, floral. Tastes like a battery, really not very appealing at first, gets better with more drinks, but then reverts back, there is something off here. Chemical like tastes, wow, its really off putting. I'm glad I shared this with a friend, I don't know if I could have drank the full 750. Mouth feel is good with carbonation, drinkabilty suffers from the weird off putting metallic/chemical flavors I'm getting. This might be my first unblended lambic.

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

bottle @ La Brocante, Brussels

brewed 11/13/2009
bottled 3/8/2011

A: Amber color. Almost completely clear. Little head and a lack of bubbles makes me conclude that this is relatively uncarbonated. Looking at the bottle date (2 months ago), I assume it probably needs to age for a few more months.

S: Some sweet fruit, like apricots or pears. Funk barely present (again, too fresh).

T: Dried apricots. Some sweetness (very slight) perceptible. Only slightly sour, with a clean aftertaste. Little astringency.

M: Flat. Light body.

O: It's definitely a unique lambic, probably due to it being made only with barley (traditionally ~30% wheat is used) and fresh hops (traditionally aged). It is pleasurable but flavors are a bit subdued. Again, this might be because it was bottled recently, and I would love to try a more aged one. Overall, not my favorite Cantillon, but still good.

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Photo of ausonius
4.75/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2007 Iris. Bottled Feb, 2010.

Enjoyed in a 22 oz. Riedel red wine glass.

Appearance - Deep golden copper bronze.
Two finger fluffy head that subsides in a couple minutes to a thin foamy head with a decent amount of foamy lacing.

Aroma - Big, round, wheaty, malty, floral, earthy key-lime, funky, Lambic Brett & lactic nose with a nice noble, earthy hint of hops.

Palate - Malty lactic. Medium-light sourness - less sour than standard Cantillon Lambic. Slightly grainy wheat in fore-palate. Round earthy hop bitterness comes in after mid-palate.
Round herbal lemon & key-lime fruitiness. Light funk, but typical Lambic complexity.
Amazing balance & combination of flavors. Hint of malt sweetness, but fairly dry.
Flavor is huge, intense & perfect.

Mouthfeel - Good carbonation. Grainy, creamy, full, slightly attenuated lambic/lactic with Great, full, complex, predominantly hoppy finish.

Drinkability - Pretty amazing considering all the flavors stuffed into this bottle.

96 Points

Love this stuff! One of the greatest brews on this planet.

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Photo of Beersignal
4.8/5  rDev +12.7%
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 drewba
4.22/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - murky, blood orange. Super small bubbles, one finger head.

S - huge vinegar, apple, lemon, lime, pear cider vinegar.

T - high cider vinegar, huge funk, lemon-lime citrus. Biting sour with a slight sweetness. I think I can detect a little dry hopping.

M - So crisp, so clean. This would overpower any beer previously drank.

D - quite sour; not sure how long I could sustain without my taste buds melting, but I'm going to try because this is delicious.

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Photo of ahalloin
4.54/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Vintage 2007 poured at Churchkey on Zwanze Day.

Pours a cloudy dark gold with a leggy white lacing. Incredible lacing actually clinging the glass as I swirled it. Great look, hence the 5.

Candied orange, hay, grass, with slight garlic/onion notes come through for me in the aroma. The garlic/onion detracts somewhat.

The flavor is a different story. Beautiful mouth-filling funk and sour grapefruit fresh make up the taste.

The mouthfeel is quite outstanding. Full flavor and body yet a subtle drying finish. Medium carbonation works great with this.

This was my favorite Cantillon of the day next to Zwanze '10 and '11.

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

2006 vintage, bottled in 2008.

750 poured into Duvel tulip.

A: Big, rocky, meringue-like head. Murky reddish, golden color. Head vanishes a little quicker than expected. Laces nicely.

S: Tart & sour as soon as the cork is pulled. So much going on it is difficult to pin it all down. Granny smith apples. Unidentified citrus. Some pear. Maybe even some mint hiding in there. Barnyard funk. Stellar.

T: Quite sour, but pleasantly so. All tartness up front. Very grassy and fresh. Delicate Golden Delicious and Granny Smith apple peal. Asian brown pear. Lots of funk. Faint oak and vanilla notes. Just a hint of tobacco. Slightly acetic in the finish. The complexity is impressive.

M: Light and spritzy. Lively carbonation that is very well suited to the style.

D: When it comes to drinkability I feel that true lambics and geuezes have a low threshold relative to other styles. However, based on style I would rate the drinkability as high.

My first venture into sour beer was a Cantillon Geueze several years back and I just wasn't ready for it at the time. I literally had no idea what I was getting into. Lately I've been making an attempt to try more wild/sour styles now that I have a better understanding of such beers. I really enjoyed Iris and I will continue to pick up different Cantillon beers (dispite the high price) as I have the opportunity.

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

V.05 per cork
Sublime golden-hued flute of a thousand bubbles. Great head.
Aroma was peculiar, but so inviting. Rich. Complex. Beastie.
Awesome flavor of many complexions. But, to my dismay, the "tart funk" was rather subdued. I was hoping for a pucker, but I could drink this all day long without being intruded upon.
Cantillon makes an awesome product, hands down.
If this style is what you are looking for, then here is your drink.

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Photo of DearthVader
3.94/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2007 Vintage split with my girlfriend and brother. This was made possible thanks to the generosity of LSUPT. Thanks again for this Alex.

Poured into my Fantome tulip.

It pours a beautiful burnt yellow that gets brighter towards the center of the glass. A Ron of carbonation in this one which creates the billowing 2 finger off white head. The head sticks around for quite some time which I am nor use to with the style. Very nice.

Smell is a little underwhelming. The oak characteristic was the most prevalent feature. It overwhelmed the sour aromas and all the mashed fruits that were in this.

The taste is sour upfront. The sourness bleeds into some wonderful grape, apple, peach, and apricot flavors. The oak is very noticeable late in the sip.

Could drink this stuff all day. Nice and creamy mouthfeel that is still light bodied and very inviting.

My second chance with a Cantillon. They continue to live up to the hype.

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

2010 vintage. 750 ml bottle, surprise gift brought home by my dad.

A- Pours a hazy orange yellow. Aggressive pour into my Duvel tulip rendered a very small bubbly white head that rose up, and went right back down. Bummed there is no head.

S- Smells of strong lemons and vinegar. Getting some funk, grapefruit, grapes, green apple peels, unripe pears, sour malts. A small amount of spicy floral aroma present as well.

T- On the front of the palate it is moderately sweet, prickly carbonation intensifies the sourness. Mid palate, the carbonation dies down, and the funk kicks in. The green apple is strong in this one. Getting alot of lemons, sour fruits, oak. On the back end, there is a lingering bitterness and sourness reminiscent of grapefruits.

M- Surprisingly carbonated on the tongue for being flat looking in the glass. High drinkable, would be great on a spring/hot summer day.

O- Another great beer from Cantillon. Really look forward to all the offerings from them. Wish this shit wasn't so friggin expensive though.

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

Labeled 05, bottled in 07 according to the cork.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Photo of gyllstromk
4.02/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2006 vintage.

Pours a nice hazy orange, with a big frothy head. Nose is funk and sour lemon/tangerine with hints of juniper or ginger. Flavor is bitter citrus evoking primarily grapefruit, with little cloves on the finish, and a huge astringent/tannic aftertaste that builds and peaks at 5 seconds. Really adds to the feeling of biting grapefruit and is not entirely appealing (from maybe a few too many days in the barrel). The bitterness is tempered as the beer warms toward room temperature. The taste it on the thin side for a lambic and not overly complex, but the acidity is just right. Overall a nice lambic but drinkability suffers from the bitterness.

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

Had this once before and happy to have it again. Hard to say what kind of beer this is - the brewery doesn't consider it a lambic and it's a world away from the Grand Cru Bruocsella I had yesterday.

Pours an opaque dark orange with a healthy 2 fingers of head. This is already different to any lambic I have ever seen, slight but noticeable lacing and all. Very earthy and slightly funky nose at first with wet wood and an enticing underlying floral note which is not present in other Cantillon beers I have had.

Notably hoppy. Quite flowery and grassy at first, but it's only a split-second before a tart green apple flavor makes itself known. After that, grapefruit followed by a little medicinal herb/cheese rind twang and... is that a hint of malt sweetness or am I imagining things? The finish is almost confusing; bitter and tart with the funk outlasting the hops. Oak rounds it out.

Well carbonated with a slightly lighter than medium body. Feels fine in the mouth... without food, your stomach might suffer though. Hard to not want more of.

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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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Cantillon Iris from Brasserie Cantillon
4.26 out of 5 based on 2,015 ratings.
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