Brewed by Cantillon
Style: Lambic Style - Unblended
Brussels, Belgium


on tap

Broad Distribution

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RATINGS: 1334   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.86/5   EST. CALORIES: 150   ABV: 5%
The Cantillon brewery is closely linked to Brussels, a city which has the iris as its symbol. As the name indicates, the "marsh iris" is a plant growing in humid areas. The historical center of Brussels is built on swamps where this flower used to grow abundantly.
In 1998, the Brussels Museum of the Gueuze celebrated its 20th anniversary. The Cantillon brewery decided to make a new spontaneous fermentation beer for this occasion, named after this symbolic flower.
It is a completely original beer which, contrary to the other products of the Brewery, is not brewed with 35% of wheat. The Iris, which is only made with malt of the pale ale type (giving a more amber colour to the beer) conserves the typical flavour of the spontaneous fermentation, the complex aromas and the vinous taste.
The hopping is different too. Lambic is made with 100% dried hops, for the Iris we use 50% of dried hops and 50% of fresh hops. The latter cause a superb acidity, the former, due to their tannins, enable to conserve the beer while preserving all its qualities.
After two years in the barrel, the Iris undergoes a second fresh hopping two weeks before the bottling. A linen bag, filled with hops, is soaked in the beer for two weeks. This technique, called "cold hopping", gives the beer a more intense savour and makes the smell and the taste more bitter.

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   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
ogivlado (7656) - Zagreb, CROATIA - MAY 21, 2008
UPDATED: MAY 27, 2008 Bottled(375ml). -Courtesy of faroeviking (thanks a lot for this one Jacob!)
Vintage 2003. This was my first unblended lambic so I dont have something to compare it with. Pours a light hazy orange colour with small white head and fruity nose. Very sour fruity taste at least similar to gueuze (or Im wrong?), but Im not sure about other things.
Besides Marko and myself, this beer was tasted by my parents and girlfriend, so here are their comments:
girlfriend-tastes like cider with very tart greapfruit juice
mother-tastes like very sour green apple juice with notes of currant
father-he eloquently said "F..K" with disgust grimace on his face
So till next unblended lambic...

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
BeerPrince (1701) - Vancouver, British Columbia, CANADA - MAY 20, 2008
Medium orange body with minimal head. Aroma was barny and funky with some sort of rubber eraser notes. Citrus and floral flavour with of course some tartness.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
Marko (5408) - Split / Zagreb, CROATIA - MAY 19, 2008
0.375 bottle (2003) shared with ogivlado who received it in a trade with faroeviking (thanks to both of them). So... my first unblended lambic... yup, couldnt wait. Now, Im not all that experienced with lambics. I mostly liked what Ive had so far and I wondered how this would compare. It certainly looked good. A murky light brown-orange colour with a small thick white head. A typical lambic aroma (ok Im a heretic probably for saying that)... nice and funky/sulphury. The taste is remarkably balanced and quite pleasant. A balanced seesaw with the strong, lemony sweetness on one side and the typical sulphury funkiness on the other. A lingering sourish aftertaste. Wasnt all that complex in the malt department but it was certainly interesting and tasty. It didnt rock my world like I hoped it would but Im certainly looking forward to trying some other Cantillons.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 17/20
kepano (277) - Los Angeles, California, USA - MAY 18, 2008
UPDATED: MAY 21, 2008 I must admit, I always approach Cantillon with apprehension. Im as fanatic about lambic as one can be, but time and time again Cantillon has never quite done it for me. Still, I appreciate the beauty of the effort; its sad to see the tradition wane and for that reason alone I feel compelled to continue enjoying their brews as much as I possibly can. The Iris pours a cloudy but bright orange hue, glowing deeply with the color of a fresh apricot. The creamy off-white head is fairly ordinary which makes me wonder why crazy head formations are rarely seen among lambics. The aroma is exciting, and bests most Cantillons Ive had before. Beautifully funky, the house character is present but softer and perhaps more cheesy than usual (a positive note, in my regard). Apricot lends a certain tartness, as do the tangerines and peaches. Cheesecake and brown sugar add a luscious sweetness to balance the nose. Surprisingly ash also is apparent, giving a slight smoky note that I wouldnt have expected. The flavor isnt as puckering as usual but Cantillons touch is certainly present. Perhaps more dilute, this lambic is greatly refreshing especially served on the cool side. The minerality is pleasant, working well with both fresh hops and fresh cheese. Green apple and melon add zest and balance while the long finish continues to echo a flavorful cheesy funk profile. Didnt think I would attain Cantillon enlightenment on this brew, but Im certainly happy I did. An excellent lambic!

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
nparikh (20) - New York, New York, USA - MAY 6, 2008
Big bottle, vintage 2005. Lets begin with the bottle. Be careful not to remove the (difficult) label to try to get to the cork, because it will leave unusually disgusting label gunk all over the bottle, which you will then have to waste time cleaning off. So gross. On to the beer. Lively head during the pour, but vanishes very quickly. Pours a hazy dark gold color. Sweetish but primarily tart and acidic aroma reminiscent of yellow grapefruit. Nice mouthfeel, feels light on the tongue but has some depth and viscosity to it, almost like gum syrup in a cocktail. Carbonation is somewhere between the Grand Cru and the kriek. Taste is citrus rind tempered with bitterness of pith; grass and hay; develops in stages and finishes surprisingly sweet, almost like beginning with yellow grapefruit and winding up with a red one. A really interesting lambic, and perhaps a good stepping stone between Cantillons fruit lambics and the more intense Broucsella Grand Cru?

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Miksu (5046) - Jyvskyl, FINLAND - MAY 4, 2008
0.75 l bottle. Hazy yellow brown color with almost no head. Sweetish, perfumed and strongly acidic aroma with strawberry, raspberry and sulphur. Dry, acidic and grassy flavor with strawberry, grapefruit, lemon, menthol, sulphur and spicy bitterness. Not my favorite Cantillon, but very exotic. Hop flavor is very grassy which I dont like.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
downender (8481) - Bristol, Gloucestershire, ENGLAND - MAY 2, 2008
UPDATED: MAY 8, 2008 Bottle from Hopduvel, Gent. Pale amber in colour with a moderate, tight head and decent carbonation. Dusty, musty lambic aroma with some lemon, floral hops and yeast. Full mouth feel, with flavours of orange peel, the barnyard and tart fruit. Plenty of grassy hops leading to a long, bitter finish. Excellent.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
joshwilfong (1200) - Cleveland, Ohio, USA - MAY 2, 2008
golden orange with white head. flavor is very unique due to all barley, making it more traditional ale tasting but still finishes with the lambic sourness and with a stronger hop presence than a traditional lambic. very good

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 12/20
Blom (837) - Odense, DENMARK - APR 18, 2008
[Vintage 2004]. Pours orange into the glass with a small low head. Sour and flowery aroma, dominated by perfumed hops and a bit of sweat. Nice balanced flavours, wood, grape, pine and lemon being present with a sour-acid ending.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
csbosox (1229) - Prairie Village, Kansas, USA - APR 14, 2008
UPDATED: JUL 11, 2008 July 07 tasting. Orange gold color with a light head. Aroma of horseblanket, hay, and light citrus. Initial taste is honey, citrus, leather, and earthiness followed by a tart acidity and hops bitterness along with earthiness and citrus.

I shared a 4 year old bottle of this with JB from Boulevard last night and I was reminded how wonderful it is. The beer is dripping with wonderful brett flavors and the extreme sourness I was bracing myself for, since this is Cantillon, was not there. It was sour, but pleasantly so. Thanks JB!

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