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Iron Duke - Wellington County Brewery

Not Rated.
Iron DukeIron Duke

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
88
very good

82 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 82
Reviews: 70
rAvg: 3.92
pDev: 10.46%
Wants: 8
Gots: 0 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Wellington County Brewery visit their website
Ontario, Canada

Style | ABV
Winter Warmer |  6.50% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
Originally a seasonal brew, Iron Duke is Wellington’s winter warmer with the character of barley wine. An excellent dessert beer.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 09-25-2002)
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Ratings: 82 | Reviews: 70 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BKotch
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%

On cask at Volo in Toronto, summer of 2009.

Photo of andrenaline
4/5  rDev +2%

Photo of ZachT
4.5/5  rDev +14.8%

Photo of Pmicdee
3.5/5  rDev -10.7%

Photo of biegaman
3.81/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Iron Duke has a colour something like a bosc pear that's been heavily bruised; it is a murky, deep brown and, needless to say, not all that attractive. It's gloomy tone obscures virtually all highlights and clarity, imparting a dreadfully dreary complexion. Its head is sturdy but incomplete.

The aroma leaves a resounding sweetness in the nostrils - turbinado sugar and a fruitiness that resembles some kind of raisin/prune hybrid. There is a superficial semblance to port attributed not only to the fortified-wine notes but also a musty woodiness. Though more vivid on the palate, the beer's spiced Christmas cake-like persona is introduced via smell.

Iron Duke has the flavour (and nearly the texture) of a chunky oatmeal-walnut-raisin cookie. There are also notes of dried cranberry and plum pudding. Maybe some cocoa. The mouthfeel is thick and calls extra malt reinforcements to duty in the finish; each sip is like a beer bear-hug.

Though no alcohol is present, the beer can taste stronger than it actually is (6.5%). It has the requisite levels of richness and warmth to qualify as a 'winter warmer' (which the brewery claims it to be), though it borrows heavily the roasty and nutty characteristics of brown ales as well as the fortified fruitiness of a barley wine. It doesn't fit neatly into any one category.

Iron Duke's long tenure in the Ontario marketplace speaks to its quality and distinctiveness as well as its ability to engage new craft beer drinkers without losing the interest of deeply-ingrained ones. This is a great recipe that the brewery is rightly proud to now offer year-round.

Photo of DaPan
3.75/5  rDev -4.3%

Photo of jrenihan
3.81/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

On cask at Volo.

The room is rather dark, but the beer appears to be amber in colour. A typical cask-like bubbly head on top.

Nose contains toffee, and a bit of smoke. A bit faint, but pleasant enough.

Taste contains caramel, toffee, some smoke and a bit of a burnt flavour. A bit reminiscent of whisky, actually (only sightly). A bit on the bitter side. with some earthy and grassy hops present.

Medium bodied, low natural carbonation. Nice cask feel.

Overall, pretty good. A pleasant beer, nothing to search out. Haven't had this in a bottle for a long time, so I can't say whether it is better in cask or not, but it seemed like the cask treatment worked well.

Photo of cfalovo97
3/5  rDev -23.5%

Photo of Kremlock
4/5  rDev +2%

Photo of Antikythera
3.78/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle poured into glass.

a: I thought this would be like a stout, but it's not that dark at all. It's the colour of strong brewed tea, and a bit cloudy. Foamy head settles down but sticks to the glass in layers. I can see how much I drank in each mouthful by the high water lines on the glass.

s: nothing special. A bit of that odd proteiny smell that I don't like, but there's not enough of that to be disagreeable.

t: pretty mellow for such a dark beer. A little nutty and a little sweet.

m: a bit overcarbonated, but that goes away and leaves a pleasantly slippery feeling.

o: good stuff. If I want something dark this is one of my favourite local options, especially for the price point.

Photo of thehyperduck
3.85/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

341 mL bottle from a six-pack. I got this mostly because it was on sale, which I noticed in a moment of serendipity because the logo happened to be pretty close to eye level on that 'wall of brands' at the Beer Store.

Pours a lovely deep-hued brownish-bronze colour, topped with two fingers of light-beige head, smooth and dense. Decent retention; it recedes over the next few minutes, leaving behind a thin, creamy cap and lots of lacing. Very malty aroma, with lots of toffee and biscuity malts, and hints of vanilla and dates. A little too saccharine for my tastes, but still generally pleasant.

Straightforward flavour with restrained intensity; pretty much what I expect from most English-style ales. There is a backbone of brown sugar, toffee and toasted biscuit malts, with a slightly nutty feel to them, and a few hints of dark fruit as well. I can't complain about this being too sweet, because it does actually have a nice, slightly roasty finish that provides some crucial dryness to balance it out. Pleasant bittersweet aftertaste that encourages further sipping. Medium-bodied, and quite smooth with its mild carbonation. Quite drinkable for the ABV.

Final Grade: 3.85, a B+. I have met the Iron Duke, and it was an unexpectedly satisfying experience. This is a highly quaffable strong ale that I would happily recommend to others. Sort of reminds me of Innis and Gunn-style scotch ales, without the woodiness - probably more appropriate for autumn or winter than this time of year, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.

[Updated June 19 2014]

Another six-pack picked up at the local TBS. A little out of season, but this is still a solid English-style strong ale that is sure to pique the interest of palates that prefer the malty side of things. I wish they'd start putting this in tallboy cans, because as much as I enjoy this beer I'd like to have the option of grabbing a can or two rather than an entire sixer. Give this one a shot, as it's easily one of the best brews in the Wellington portfolio.

Photo of phamda
3.5/5  rDev -10.7%

Photo of biboergosum
4.1/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

341ml bottle.

This beer pours a clear, dark ruby amber hue, with one stocky finger of thin, tightly foamy tan head, which leaves a low ebbing tide of lace around the glass as it gently subsides.

It smells of booze-soaked raisins, musty caramel/toffee malt, molasses, a slight treacle note, and earthy, leafy hops. The taste is bready, of the Christmas-time, indulgent variety, with the caramel, toffee, dark fruit, and slight alcohol warming all included. Outside of that, we get a bit of a redux of the leafy, earthy hop notes from the nose.

The bubbles are present, and well behaved, the body a well structured medium weight, and agreeably smooth. It finishes sweet and caramelized, the offset of booze, hop, and fruit simulacrum doing their job in a seemingly black box, collective manner.

A pretty impressive strong ale, definitely, as advertised, leaning to the English or Scottish way of things. Full, and dense, and strangely drinkable - credit the British-influenced Canadian know-how and restraint. One hell of a tasty, and story-generating sixpack party favour, I would imagine.

Photo of traumaqueen
3.75/5  rDev -4.3%

Photo of dipso123
2/5  rDev -49%

Photo of Stocean1
3.65/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a half finger poorly retained head leaving almost no collar, minimal patchy lacing, dark brown in color with ruby highlights

Scent is caramel toffee, dark fruit, sweet dark bread

Taste follows the nose with a faint dark chocolate note and some earthy hops

Very smooth and refreshing for the style, there is little carbonation with a light medium body, mild bitterness in the finish. Has a watery quality to it when swirled in the glass which does not generate any suds whatsoever. Almost seems like a session brew

A decent brew that with a more experienced palate is not as big as I remember it but still holds up well.

Photo of bigox420
5/5  rDev +27.6%

Photo of RedAleMan
4/5  rDev +2%

Photo of spinrsx
3.55/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Cask

Appearance - The beer pours a clear dark brown colour with a small frothy beige head. There is a low amount of carbonation showing due to the darkness and there is some pretty nice lacing. The head lasted for 3 minutes before it was gone.

Smell - Malts, dark fruits, caramel/toffee

Taste & Mouth - There is a low level of carbonation and I can taste lots of malts, chocolate, and some dark fruits. There is also a but of a nuttiness to it. It ends with a sweet malty aftertaste.

Drink - Was happy to get a chance to try this from a fresh cask. It's definitely one of Wellingtons better offerings and I'd have it again.

Photo of wordemupg
4.22/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

341ml bottle poured into tulip 30/6/11

A very clear ruby red nearly purple when held to the light, fast raising bubbles support a slow falling tan head that leaves just a few specks of lace

S spicy plum with some dark toffee and some darker bread

T not far from the smell with a little nutty aspect and some faint booze, nothing overpowers and everything mingles well, pretty tasty stuff not my favorite style but they did a great job at it

M medium bodied creamed up a bit from the bubbles and a nice nutty aftertaste

O nice English Strong Ale for sure, I'm surprised I never tried it before being around Alberta for some time now, well rounded not really lacking in any area

I may be drinking this again but I may wait for colder weather

Photo of ritzkiss
3.93/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12oz bottle from a sixer purchased at the Beer Store. Pours a dark brown with glowing ruby glinting throughout. Finger of khaki cream head which has good retention, still has a creamy topping like icing on a cake. Pretty.

Nose has an earthy roast, toffee, dark fruits, rye bread, caramel. Flavor is smooth and relaxed, unfortunately not aided by a slightly thin body. Dark fruits, roast, earth, a slight mineral note, fruit bread, some sweetness in the body and a dry finish, brown sugar, creamy mouthfeel though a little thin, not a hint of any ABV. Perhaps not the most sexy beer but (aside from how it looks) but it's well made and a good example of the Englsh style it represents.

Photo of bryehn
3.83/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nut brown-ruby colour with a frothy tan head that didn't last long or lace, but did get retained as a collar.

The aroma of Iron Duke (there's a poop joke in there I'm sure) is one that I find rich and complex. Its nutty, sweet and malty, with strong dark fruit tones and a hint of spice.

The taste is very similar, it's got a sweet and nutty flavour and the dark fruit aroma characterizes itself as cherry to me. I get a roasted chocolate or coffee-like bitterness that balances things out on the back end.

Considering its rich characteristics and ABV, I find this beer goes down easily. I do think its a bit thin, but it does have a weighty creaminess and medium carbonation.

I've tried five beers from Wellington and this is without a doubt my favourite. Almost perfect as a Winter beer, but drinkable enough that I'd try it in the warmer months too.

Photo of mrnobody
3.95/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

341 ml bottle poured into a Duvel tulip.

A: Pours a dark amber with 2 fingers of beige head which recedes to a ring leaving some lacing.

S: Smells malty, fruity, spicy and slightly metallic.

T: The flavour is rich and malty but also fruity and with a nice hoppy finish.

M: Medium body with a creamy mouthfeel but not heavy. The carbonation is spot on.

D: The drinkability is very high. I'd say this is a very tasty traditional winter warmer (unspiced).

Photo of tbeckett
3.43/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Ruby in colour. Head died really fast after pouring. Minor carbonation.

S - I get alot of fruitcake and dates.

T - Fruits are much more present in the taste. The dates and sort of nuttiness come out nicely.

M - Small amount of carbonation, light to medium body.

D - Good stuff but not by any means a great beer. I could have a few but I would by no means seek this out.

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Iron Duke from Wellington County Brewery
88 out of 100 based on 82 ratings.