Dismiss Notice
We're celebrating 10 years of BeerAdvocate magazine with $10 print subscriptions for US residents.

Subscribe now!

Cantillon Saint Lamvinus | Brasserie Cantillon

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
BA SCORE
98
world-class
475 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score
Send samples
Cantillon Saint LamvinusCantillon Saint Lamvinus
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Brasserie Cantillon
Belgium
cantillon.be

Style: Lambic - Fruit

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Everyone knows some of our best friends are wine growers from the Libourne region in France, more specifically those who make Saint Emillion and Pomerol. They respect the tradition and let their wine ferment in a natural way.

Fermentation, origin and vintage are still kept up.

Our collaboration resulted in a product uniting the best of their wine and of our beer : the Saint-Lamvinus.

The grapes, of the merlot and cabernet-franc varieties, are soaked in Bordeaux barrels containing two to three years old lambic. The beer is not blended before the bottling. The foam is caused by the addition of a liquor which starts the fermentation.

Added by truthbrew on 03-20-2003

BEER STATS
Reviews:
475
Ratings:
2,007
Avg:
4.43
pDev:
16.7%
 
 
Wants:
1,415
Gots:
428
For Trade:
40
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 475 | Ratings: 2,007
Photo of orangesol
4.24/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served on-tap at Monk's on Zwanze day. This is the 2008 version.

A - Pours murky purple/red with a very small film of white head, dissipating down to nothing at all, leaving little to no lace down the glass.

S - Smells of acidic sourness, musty basement funk, merlot grapes; from the skins to the pulp, it is all in there; and some dry oak tannins. Smells like a funky merlot.

T - Starts off with quite a bit of sharp acidic sourness slowly giving way to a mix of juicy merlot grapes and their skins, damp earth, musty barnyard funk, dry oak tannins, and some faint fruity twang at the very end. The finish is a mix of dryness and sourness, lingering for some time.

M - Medium body and flavor with moderate carbonation. Sharp, vinous, feel with plenty of pucker that lingers through the finish. This is quite complex, yet very enjoyable.

O - I enjoyed my glass of this one. Sometimes the combination of funk and grapes doesn't always work but it really does here. Yet another winner from Cantillon.

 1,003 characters

Photo of mdfb79
4.57/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

From 09/25/10 notes. Thanks to Matt (Drabmuh) for sharing this one!

a - Pours a pinkish-ruby red color with two to three inches of fluffy white head and moderate carbonation evident.

s - Smells of tart raspberries, oak, grapes, light fruity malts.

t - Tastes of grapes, oak, wine, tart fruits, mainly raspberry and dark fruit. Definitely some great sourness to it, but not an insane amount; very enjoyable and drinkable.

m - Light body and low carbonation. At 6% ABV, a very easy drinking lambic/sour.

d - I liked this one a lot. I thought it taste great and was very easy to drink for a sour. The light body and low ABV made this a beer I felt like I could drink a lot of, and I'd love to again sometime.

 710 characters

Photo of Huhzubendah
4.89/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottle shared by drabmuh. Thanks Matt!

Dec. 2008 vintage.

A: Bright purple color with a slight haze. There is but a wee head that fades quickly, leaving no lacing.

S: A noticeably different aroma than the draft serving. I detected more of Cantillon's distinct, funky barnyard scent in the bottled version. Aromas also consist of berries, grapes, oak.

T: Though the serving type altered some of the characteristics of this beer slightly, this is a world class fruit lambic nonetheless. Fabulous grape flavors, though more subtle than the draft version, wrapped in a sour farm blanket make for a truly delicious beverage. There is a nice tannic presence to the beer, as well. This is extremely well-crafted, with a myriad of flavors coming through. Balanced to perfection, I give this beer my highest recommendation.

M: Nice and tart. Lip smacking, puckering and fabulous.

D: A terrific example of what a fruit lambic can and should be. A another masterpiece from one of the world's finest breweries.

***

On draft at Churchkey in D.C.

A: Radiant purple hue with pink foam head.

S: Less funk and barnyard aromas than other Cantillon beers. Prominent grape scents from a few feet away.

T: Absolutely delicious! Cantillon sour grape juice, with just enough sweetness to create an amazing balance.

M: Lingering pleasant sour aftertaste. Awesome feel.

D: Perhaps the most drinkable of the Cantillon brews. Simply wonderful. It would be easy to drink this all night.

Serving type: on-tap

Reviewed on: 03-27-2010

 1,518 characters

Photo of RblWthACoz
5/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The day before I tried this (6-11-2007), I had to do the heimlich on someone who was choking. They got to live (and gave me a few $$ for beer because we talked about my love for it) and I got to try Saint Lamvinus on cask. Life is beautiful.

On cask at Spuyten Duyvil in Brooklyn for their special event for lambics and brett beers.

I have reviewed this before on the bottle. So forgive me if I don't get too detailed with the review and choose to just enjoy it a bit more without thinking too much.

Pours a clouded ruby red. A small ring of white head lines the top of the glass. Nose is straight up lambic funk. Taste brings the funk still. Mild sour attributes. At least I think they are milder than they were on the bottle. I am not sure if the cask has something to do with the rounding out of that, but who cares. There it is. Mild sweet tones off fruit and grapes. Obvious, but still slightly subdued grape characteristics there. Oh to hell with it. As you can see from my scores, I think this is as good on cask as it is from the bottles. A joy to be able to have on this special occassion. I'm sorry you weren't there to be able to enjoy it with me.

 1,164 characters

Photo of Alieniloquium
4.14/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 mL bottle poured into a tulip. Bottle dated 11/21/2010, I believe. Tough to read as it's smudged.

Appearance - Murky/hazy pinkish purple. Not quite a burgundy. The head is gone before I even get a chance to look at it.

Smell - Acidic and musty grape smell. The fruit isn't a bright aroma, but rather a general aura of grape surrounding the lemongrass and other lambic aromas.

Taste - Sour, but not overly so. The grape flavor again isn't bright, but more of a background flavor cutting some of the acidity. Oak and tannins dry it out in the finish, but there's a deep musty character in the finish that comes across as a deep barnyard funk.

Mouthfeel - Heavyish, even though it really isn't. Lower carbonation. Drinks like a wine.

Overall - Not the most amazing fruit flavor I've had in a lambic, but it certainly doesn't detract from the beer. I feel as though the Cantillon lambic profile calls for lighter fruits, a la Fou Foune.

 941 characters

Photo of stakem
3.9/5  rDev -12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750ml bottle with a bottled on date in '11 which makes this the most "fresh" tasting of St. Lamvinus ive had to date. Poured into a matching Cantillon long stemmed tulip. The brew appears a dark ruby with a stained pinkish color cap. The head fizzes away audibly and leaves faint spotty lacing effect on the glass.

The smell is mildly like vinegar with some sweet accents of grape juice. Quite a wild and funky nose of earthy Brett and lacto cheesiness. Some mild barrel presence is noted across the back.

The taste is acidic with juicy grape flavor. A tannic touch of raw oaked quality mixes in with a bit of harshness complimenting the acidity. Lots of raw, earthy grape flavor is present which transforms gradually into heartburn inducing sourness. The grape touch to this adds a nice complexity and a wine-like appeal.

This brew seemingly strips all te moisture from the mouth. It is excessively drinkable with a medium body and modest to lighter level of carbonation. Throughout the experience, there was little to no alcohol impact. While not my favorite Cantillon offering, this is still good and something I would try again if I could get a very young bottle or something quite old for comparison purposes.

 1,217 characters

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

Served on tap at Ebeneezer's

Poured into a wine glass. dark ruby color with almost no head at all. Aroma is very vinous with lots of sour funk. Tastes how you would think it was going to taste. Lots of lactic sourness some barnyard funk and lots of red wine taste. Puckering mouthfeel, crisp body. It's hard to draw the line here. I enjoyed this brew, but thought it might have been too wine like.

 398 characters

Photo of jwc215
4.25/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours light red with a thin pink head.

The smell is fruity - cherry and raspberry - sour/tart aroma.
The taste is fruity - cherry/raspberry - tart with some sour. Very fresh and flavorful. As it warms, sweet grainy malt balances out the fruitiness. Rich and complex. The feeling of a grape skin sticks to tongue, giving it a long, dry finish.

Worth about $30 a bottle? As an occassional treat - it is a good lambic. Serves as a nice apperitif or to pair with a fruity desert.

 482 characters

Photo of smakawhat
4.6/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle at Churchkey DC into a snifter glass.

Deep solid cherry colored body, orb glowing, with a little hint of pink throughout. Slight pink collar and thin ring presented. Looks like a jewel.

Fantastic bouquet on the beer. Great notes of light sweetness of cherry, bright funk and dry peppery action. Good chewy sense of malt (wheat?), subtle and balanced, with a nice effervescent and clean quality. This looks like something good.

Palate comes with a great champagne crispness but a decent malt depth to carry forward. Carbonated pepper and mild sourness. Tart fruit action of red raspberry and cherry, with subtle aromatics. Tastes like dusted funky fruit in a bowl, and champagne.

Overall a subtle yeast funk character and chewy texture to match with floating funky red fruit in a champagne glass. But it's beer. It's a winner and one of the most enjoyable Cantillon beers I've had.

 908 characters

Photo of feloniousmonk
4.42/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Rosy top in the look here, deeper burgundy beneath, under absolutely no head...par for style, though...

Aroma: bracing, yet invigorating, a blast of cherries and grape, twisted by sour...musty, rank, and deep...liking it...a deep well, dominated by fruit. Delectable.

Taste it, already! Oooo! Weeee! Owww! Bold, huge, fat puckeration,...ooo, ooo, ooo! Takes hold of the mouth and doesn't let go! A blend of dark fruits, cherries, and berries, and grapes. Luscious. Sour and flavorful. Mellows a touch, gets easy as we go, gets easier to take..

Not for everyone, but a particular treat for demanding palates, constant play on the tongue that is rewarding for some, punishing for others.

Hard to compare this to anything else on earth. Far beyond any other lambic, a definitive sui generis classic.

2004 bottling. too young? who's to say. worth the $33 spent? probably...

 885 characters

Photo of MasterSki
4.39/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this on-tap at Sheffield's sour night. Served in a Cantillon mini-tulip glass.

A - Judging by the other reviews it sounds as if the bottles have significantly more carbonation. The pour I got looked like it was a cask ale - just a bunch of big bubbles that stuck around for a while. The color was really nice - mostly transparent purple-red.

S - Sour cherry, Merlot, tart pink lady apples, sour green grapes, gooseberries, and hints of wood, funk, and musty barn. The smell is incredibly potent too.

T - The taste smooths out a lot of red wine flavor, and pushes the sour apple and cherry flavors up to the front. There's also a restrained sour grape-skin aftertaste. I feel like I don't have the necessary descriptors for a brew like this one, and that red wine loves would find all kinds of interesting things to say. It was definitely interesting and delicious though.

M - Dry finish - a bit of cotton mouth starts to happen. It's very smooth and thin-bodied, but doesn't come off as watery. The negligible carbonation is unfortunate, because because it starts to come off a syrup-like after a while and makes me feel like I want to brush my teeth.

D - Mild aftertaste, low ABV, cask-style texture. The only thing that keeps this from a perfect score is the outrageous price. It tastes wonderful, but at $40/bottle in Chicago it's too expensive to have regularly. Hopefully it pops up on-tap a little more often (albeit slightly more carbonated).

 1,458 characters

Photo of drabmuh
4.83/5  rDev +9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Beer on draft, I was shocked when this was on draft at Churchkey, promptly ordered. Beer was purple and cloudy. Had no head and carbonation was low. There were a few bubbles but they failed to generate any lacing. Looks really interesting, kind of like grape juice.

Aroma is sour, citric with a hint of acetic, perhaps a little lactic in there as well. There is a slight sulfur aroma to it.

Minimal front flavor, beer is light in body. Drinkability high. The tartness gets you, its grapey and slightly sweet but in a sour and sweet sort of way. The flavors develop better on the back palate than the front. Its a great beer. There is not a lot of body to it and there is nearly no carbonation in the mouth. I really enjoyed it.

 729 characters

Photo of GClarkage
4/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

07/29/06 Purchased at Plumpjack's in San Francisco, CA.

Presentation- 750ml bottle. Capped and corked. Bottled in 2003. Poured into my Duvel tulip.

Appearance- Murky plum colored pour. Very very slight spritzy head which evaporates almost on contact with the glass. Slight and spotty lace left behind. Seems the norm for a lambic.

Smell- The wet horse blanket and wet hay scent really comes out as it warms to room temp. A bouquet of fresh assorted berries as well.

Taste- Hmmm, taste is pretty good, but I found grapes to be one of the tastes that was hardest to find. Just a touch of grape flavor, but mostly cherry and raspberries. Sour, but not the punishment that most beers from Cantillon carry. Sour enough to make it a very slow sipping beer though.

Mouthfeel- Super dry, very very light carbonation kick. After it warms it's smooth as silk. Sour as predicted and long lasting aftertaste.

Drinkability- Wasn't let down, but I wasn't really blown away either. I was expecting a bit more out of a $32 bottle of beer. Still a pretty good beer, just not willing to dole out that much money again for it. Am a novice at matching beers with cheese, but a cheese expert said that Pierre Robert cheese (brie like) would pair nicely with it. I really didn't see it though. It did pair really well with dried cherries though...wow, did it!

 1,355 characters

Photo of ShanePB
4.52/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Vintage 2011
Served into a tulip

A: Hazy ruby red with some purple and pinkish hues throughout the body. A small rocky and a bit fizzy soft pink head formed, but quickly dissipated into a thin cap. Minor, almost no, lacing present.

S: Huge fresh grapes, lots of tannins, ripe red fruits, cherry and red grape notes are over the top. The acidic and sour component is noticeable straight away, along with a musky funk.

T: Sour and funky up front with plenty of fruits coming through. More red grapes and sweet cherry, fresh oak and a nice dry red wine character. The tannins from the skins stand out leaving this well rounded and delicious.

M: Highly carbonated, bubbly and fizzy on the palate. Despite the lack of "pop" from the cork, this is classic Cantillon in its carbonation.

This was awesome, perhaps one of my favorite Cantillon beers to date. The grapes and red fruit flavor were a perfect match for the sour and funk that is all things Cantillon.

 959 characters

Photo of Gobzilla
4.26/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: poured a pinkish purple in color with a very thin head which left a little lacing sticking to the glass.

S: you could definitely sniff out the Merlot grapes in the nose alongside the signature oakum funky character, some acidity and a slight amount of citrus as well.

T: the flavor was even dominated by the Merlot grapes, tons of funky horse blanket character, oakum accents and a touch of citrus.

M: the brew was light to medium in body with a low amount of carbonation which had a fruity, oaky, funky, and sour finish.

D: the beer was drinking amazing and a great sour bite. Very glad to have this one again.

 618 characters

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.23/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bottle dated 21 NOV 12.

A - Opaque medium purplish-red colour with one finger of raspberry red head.

S - Sour/vinegar notes with grape and oak.

T - Tart and slightly sour. A very light vinegar-like sourness. A big grape musk flavour is present, as expected and some oak/woody notes add another layer of complexity.

M - Very dry. Medium body. Light to moderate carbonation.

 378 characters

Photo of tempest
4.1/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a bottle at Abe's Cold Beer for $25. Honestly, this was a good beer, but not my favorite Cantillon. It poured a grape-juice colored purple-red with a short head. The beer drinks like a very dry red wine and isn't quite as sour as a lambic or gueze, but it still certainly on par with the good fruit lambics. I think the grapes here have overpowered a lot of the funkier elements, making this beer reminds me more of their framboise. I'd say this beer is worth a try if you can afford it.

 497 characters

Photo of Gavage
4.57/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: pours a clear reddish purple color with a short 1/2" head that falls quickly to a surface foam.

Smell: easily detectable sour and tart tones, red grapes, and a hint of barnyard muskiness.

Taste: the initial taste is strong on the sourness, but after the tongue adjusts to the initial shock, the complex flavor profile shines. Sour cherries and wine grapes, tart citrus, barnyard and earthy tones, and some very mellow bitterness. Dryness abounds.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied. Crisp and dry throughout, and the aftertaste is long on the pleasant sourness.

Drinkability: this is a strong flavored beer that is a slow sipper. At $29 a bottle, drinkability is lower from a financial standpoint, and the flavor profile is unique and is as far from a session beer as you can get. Absolute great beer worth shelling out the money for at least once.

 864 characters

Photo of Mora2000
4.42/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had been saving this bottle for a special occasion and decided to crack it open for beer number 1500.

Bottled 11/18/2008. The beer pours a reddish-brown-amber color with a white head. The aroma is very tart with some oaked notes. The flavor is tart grapes with some oak. The tartness is very intense but it is not overwhelming. Light-medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation. This is a great sour ale that was worthy of being beer number 1500. Cantillon has done it again.

 475 characters

Photo of aasher
4/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2010 vintage. This one pours a lighter bodied dark cranberry red in color with a one finger slightly pink head. The nose is dry and musty with a nice amount of funk and acidity. The flavors are dry and tart and it has nice acidity. As a wine drinker, I must say that this has zero characteristics of a Merlot so it's nice to see the difference between the beer and wine. This one is musty as hell. It drinks light with nice acidity but I can't really like the flavor. It doesn't have enough fruit character for my liking. This is the best vintage I've had so far. The '07 smells like puppy farts in my opinion, as in "I just fed my dog too many rawhides" puppy farts. I definitely prefer this vintage to that one.

 713 characters

Photo of Wasatch
4.4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks goes out to jwc215 for this brew.

Poured into a chalice a nice dark ruby red color, nice carbonation, nice little fizzy white head, with some tiny islands left behind. The nose is malty/yeasty, with some raspberries, strawberries, spices, and some oily scent. The taste is malty/yeasty, very sour, slight spicy. Medium body. Drinkable, this is a pretty tasty brew, quite different than other's of this style. Thanks Joe.

 428 characters

Photo of BARFLYB
4.33/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A bottle split with oglmcdgl, poured into some nice glasses.

With the cork pry, the bottom of the wood had a light purple stain on it. The liquid in the glass looks a dark ruby red with some trace amounts of faint purple. The liquid slides in nice with a light purple inch of foam that stood around for a bit than vanished, no lace, but small bubbles rising up.

Smell is all grape for the first 30 minutes or so. The merlot comes out really nice in this fresh bottle. Trace amounts of leather and some minimal funk at this young stage. I don't get as much 'Foot' as in older vintages, which brings out the grape even more.

Very clean grape taste here with some kinda fresh lambic that brings the merlot out even more. Not so much grape that it becomes sweet, just enough to get the wine flavor blended in with the lambic. Trace amount of leather and more funky taste as time goes on.

Yes, this is a Cantillon, and yes, it is sour, but not really sour, I would say kinda tart. This beer has a body that is in between light and medium with some low cab in the mix. I think 5 years in the bottle may bring up the sour, but will for sure bring out the funk more. Lamvinus is not the mouth puckering sour bomb that you may expect, but a well integrated beer resembling wine. This stuff is kick ass.

 1,297 characters

Photo of Gueuzedude
5/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Vintage Bottled 2002, Sampled November 24, 2003.
It is with some trepidation that I open this bottle. When I peeled off the foil covering the top of the bottle, the cap was badly rusted and there were streaks of crusted beer running down the neck, as well as a small amount of fresh beer leaking from the cap. Since I was not going to get another one of these in the foreseeable future I let it settle down in my dedicated beer cooler.

There is perhaps a hint of a hiss as I pop the cap off the 750ml bottle; hopefully this beer is not too far gone. The cork feels very moist and is obviously fully penetrated from the beer, a slight acetic smell emanates from the cork. Well I go for the cork pull. The cork pops out, and yes, there is some carbonation here. Perhaps it won’t be as bad as I thought.

I pour the beer and low and behold it is very well carbonated. The carbonation produces a couple of inch thick pink to light purple colored head, which, lasts longer than I was expecting. The beer itself is a reddish/ light purple color, quite hazy as well. There is a definite acidic aroma that emanates from my glass. It is sour, though not intensely so.

As I take my first sip I note that there seems to be a large amount of body to this bone dry Lambic. I wonder if the grapes have added some structure, as I was expecting it to be quite thin. The grape character is certainly here, it is under the sourness, there is a bit of tannin here from the grapes. There are some berry notes, which compliment the lemony acidity, it sort of underscores & picks the beer up. As I peel the layers of this beer away I note that the berry–grape like flavor is definitely here.

As this beer warms slightly the wine grapes really start to pick up, especially in the finish. I get an austere vinous slightly tannic ending. The Lambic sourness definitely dominates, but this beer is infinitely better and more complex than the Cantillon Vigneronne. The typical suite of Lambic flavors are here; leathery, musty, and sour. Aromas of cat piss, musty cellar, citrus, vinegar, it is just wonderful to sniff away at. I must get more of this.

A Lambic on its own, when made properly, is incredibly complex. The Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and the Cabernet Merlot grapes just bring this to a whole other plane of existence. This has got it all, and the grapes did not thin out the body of the Lambic like the Muscat grapes did to the Vigneronne. This beer has convinced me to brew a grape-Lambic, perhaps a syrah.

Well I just finished my first glass of this wonderful beer; luckily I still have a second one yet to savor. In my second glass the sour aroma has receded a bit. The Brett character has become a much more noticeable, accompanied by some enteric notes as well. The aroma is just wonderfully complex; I could just smell this beer forever. So, I take an extended moment to do just that… which leads to some ruminations on my part. How can something that is described in such negative terms (enteric, sweaty – leathery – horse blanket, vinegar, barnyard, etc.) be so wonderfully enticing? Well I don’t know, but I truly love it. The taste is again sour up front, but the body and finish of this beer is where the grape character shines. Don’t get me wrong, don’t read too much into my description, this is by no means a wine, definitely a beer, definitely a Lambic, but the marriage of wine and beer is pure genius in the form of Lambic. The complexity here, I never would have guessed that grapes could add so much to the complexity of a traditional Lambic product. Unlike most fruit Lambics (including many that I really enjoy, even most Cantillon products) the grapes take nothing away from the Lambic character, they only add a whole other dimension that intertwines and picks up the character of this Lambic.

No one else should try this beer; I sincerely believe that it is all meant for me. No one else will be able to appreciate the stunning complexity and subtlety that is this beer. After reading this I am sure that anyone else trying this will be let down, so don’t get it, seriously, I’ve got dibs on the rest.

On a serious note, I really would not recommend anything less than an 8 oz serving of this (and a full 12oz would be adequate, but a 750 would be much better). This beer is just far to complex and needs, nay requires, deep contemplation and time to savor and explore this nectar. Please deeply explore this beer if you get a chance, it is well worth it.

Stunning, contemplative, world class; these are all words that just do not do justice to this beer. Please Jean-Pierre, make this a regular beer in your line-up.

 4,674 characters

Photo of biegaman
4.9/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

It's been said that in conceiving Florence's breathtakingly beautiful Santa Maria del Fiore cathedral no one had ever seen a building that looked like the one they wanted to build - its design was a matter of ambition and of idea. Likewise, before the masterful artistry of Cantillon's Jean Van Roy I doubt anyone had ever tasted a beer like the one he wanted to brew.

But I doubt even he could envision what would come of this experiment - using Bordeaux barrels to age Merlot and Cabernet-Franc grapes with 2-3 year-old lambic. Indeed, its result is something of a beer marvel...

375ml bottle found at the Bier Circus in Brussels. Bottled October 25, 2006 and list a "consumer avant fin 12/2009". Beautiful bottle art. How I savoured this...

Saint Lamvinus is graced by a most pristine colour, the beauty of which I can't easily describe. Something of a dark violet or eggplant purple. It has a strong, bright ruby shine and such pristine clarity. My eyes widen as I think to myself in French: "sa brille!" A short, only occasional stream of bubbles float up and contribute to a bold - but minimal - outlining ring of head.

The aroma is enchanting, ambrosial, downright divine. Lightly acidic and plenty full of tartness. The grapes cut sharply through the lambic. The merlot is so fresh and fruity! There is a certain softness imparted from the grape that plays so well with the underlying tartness of the lambic. This is not only incredibly balanced but also incredibly interesting as well as delightful. It easily elevates itself above even the best of malty barleywines, roasty Imperial stouts or fresh and hop filled double IPA's.

The mouthfeel is very sour but very graceful too. If one could only stop themselves from slowly savouring they would also realize it is quite refreshing! Every sip coats the mouth in sour grapes, a sensation which lasts all throughout. It is both soft and tart, dry but juicy, both sour and sweet - no part of the palate goes overlooked. It's also lightly acidic and slightly sugary, causing a real pucker. The blend, however, is perfect - a character of sharp tartness in the lambic and a fruity, luscious bouquet of wine grapes in the taste.

The taste, by the way, is out of this world. The merlot grape I found most predominant. It is very fruity. The grapes tend to impart flavours of other fruits also: grapefruit, passion fruit, lemon/lime, berry, plum and currant. Chalk full of fruity phenols. The flavours linger so gracefully, allowing them to truly be savored with every sip. They have lasting power.

It is incredible what flavours are captured from these grapes. The taste falls somewhere between the tasty "purple" flavoured grape candy/juice for children and the "Chateau OhLala" Grand Cru Vintage of a fine Bordeaux. Even experienced wine connoisseurs might wonder at how such flavour could come from a grape.

For me, I myself marveled at how such beauty could come of a beer. It is more than any hype, rarity or price tag that makes this special. This, to me, is the summer sun. When the cold, dark nights and never ending, harsh months of Canadian winter become relentless I will think of the Saint Lamvinus. I will remember the rare occasion I had of trying this beer, under an (equally rare) pristine blue Bruxelles sky in August. I will remember and smile.

At the conclusion of my notes there is a small part that reads:
"I'm in Love,
I'm in love,
I'm in love"

 3,455 characters

Photo of yourefragile
4.57/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

8 oz pour, served in a flute at Teresa's Next Door in Wayne.

Color is a dark, clear rose red with a wispy pink head that fades quickly to thin ring and no lacing. Aroma is dry, oaky blend of red grapes and non-acidic funky sourness. The flavor is surprisingly less fruity than expected, dominated by a subtle dry sour with merlot undetones. Body is very full and smooth with mild carbonation and a long lasting Pickering sourness. I'll need to try a bottle of this to appreciate the intricacies of this better, but so far I'm impressed.

 537 characters

Cantillon Saint Lamvinus from Brasserie Cantillon
4.43 out of 5 based on 2,007 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Extreme Beer Fest® Cometh

    February 3-4, 2017. Boston, Mass. Limited tickets available. Prepare for epicness.

    Learn More
  • 10 Years of BeerAdvocate Magazine

    We're celebrating 10 years of BA mag with $10 print subscriptions for US residents!

    Subscribe