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Iron Duke - Wellington County Brewery

Not Rated.
Iron DukeIron Duke

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
88
very good

69 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 69
Hads: 83
rAvg: 3.94
pDev: 8.12%
Wants: 10
Gots: 2 | 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:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 09-25-2002

Originally a seasonal brew, Iron Duke is Wellington’s winter warmer with the character of barley wine. An excellent dessert beer.
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Reviews: 69 | Hads: 83
Photo of Sammy
4.11/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Best from a good Ontario microbrewery. Not always available. Meats promise of nutty brown flavour. Liked it in place of a rum or scotch during the meal, though it was just OK to my friends. I would try it next time in place of a late afternoon cocktail to get the appetite going. Alcohol present but not overpowering. (317 characters)

Photo of Phyl21ca
2.97/5  rDev -24.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle: Poured a clear dark brown color ale with a small off-white bubbly head with minimal retention. Aroma of light sweet roasted malt. Taste is also dominated by the light roasted malt with some sweetness. Carbonation is quite low and alcohol very subtle. Overall, this a good beer but nothing special that will make me seek this again. (339 characters)

Photo of biboergosum
4.12/5  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. (1,092 characters)

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.35/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From the small Wellington County brewery in Guelph, Ontario come some of the most authentic North American brewed English-style ales, and their Iron Duke Strong Ale is no exception. It's a beer that's best enjoyed at cellar temperature to reveal its full character. It pours a clear brown body with a reddish cast. Its frothy light tan head holds well initially, leaving sheets of lace, but eventually drops to a thin creamy collar and reduces to just spotty lace. The aroma is not bold, but expresses a sweet bready maltiness that's gently fruity, toffee-ish, a touch nutty, and laced with alcohol. The body is medium with a soft and very fine carbonation that's lightly creamy and smooth. The flavor, not unlike the aroma, is not brazen but subtly complex. It's softly fruity, mildly chocolatey, toffee-ish, and nutty with a touch of alcohol that lingers into the dry finish along with a very slight roasty/burnt edge and a dull bitterness. Exceptionally well balanced! Really nicely done and highly enjoyable. (1,012 characters)

Photo of biegaman
3.81/5  rDev -3.3%
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. (1,614 characters)

Photo of Derek
3.62/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Chestnut-garnet; pours with a tan head, quickly dissipates, hardly leaves any lace.

S: Malty (bread, nut & toffee), alcohol, prune and a little pepper.

T: Burnt caramel, earth, pepper and nut (but also a nutshell-like bitterness, though not nearly as much as the SPA, which I really don't like); some prunes and black-strap molases; alcohol is fairly assertive. There's only a hint of British fruity-ester flavour, I think it would benefit from a little more (like in the County & Imperial).

M: Body is on the high side of moderate, but it's really well attenuated & finishes kind of dry. Carbonation is moderate.

D: Fairly flavourful & potent, but I'm not particularly fond of the flavours. It's good, but not sessionable. (738 characters)

Photo of DrJay
4.22/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This has a rich, dark amber, coppery colour. The light brown head had a very nice colour, but unfortunately didn't last long, and not much lace developed on the sides of the glass. Fruitiness and roasted malts make up the aroma, with a hint of nuttiness. The flavour is full of dried fruits like prunes and possibly figs, with a smooth malty sweetness. Very little hop bitterness is evident, but provides balance early on and supplies a mild bitterness that produces a clean finish. Full-bodied and velvety, this is a satisfying beer without being overly heavy, and one that is very easy to drink. (597 characters)

Photo of Viggo
4.25/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a clear dark brown/black, big off white head forms that sticks around, plus plenty of lace. Smell is dark fruits, cherries, chocolate, alcohol, slight coffee roast. Taste is fruity up front, with a dark chocolate middle and a sweet fruit and chocolate finish. Smooth mouthfeel, perfect carbonation, definately a quality beer. (331 characters)

Photo of wordemupg
4.2/5  rDev +6.6%
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 (749 characters)

Photo of spinrsx
3.55/5  rDev -9.9%
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. (627 characters)

Photo of Gusler
4.19/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Last Sample (11-12-2003) - 4.05
Well this is the last of the “The Old Iron Duke" I received some 2 years and 9 months ago, so lets see how its fared over the last 2-3/4 years.
As it sets in the glass a deep and nebulous burnished copper with the head is unassuming in size, frothy in texture and the color a light tan, as it vanishes as fast as a blink of the eye, the lace a fine curtain of tan to conceal the glass. Sweet malt aroma dominates the nose, I liken it to cotton candy, strawberries also comes to mind also a hint of brandy, quite pleasant actually, start is sweet and rich in malt, top is middling to full in its feel to the palate. Finish is tolerant in its acidity, the hops humble in their spiciness, and sweetness from the front carries all the way to the aftertaste which is also dry and long lasting. Hell it’s still got a bit of alcohol kick, and still a decent tasting brew, well so long old friend.

Last Sampled (11-02-2002) 4.00
The pour murky deep amber to copper color, the head is middling in size, the lace glutinous sheets, and both light tan in color. Nose is malt, caramel, plummish as in over ripe fruit. Front is malt and quite sweet, the top is skinny, finish is potently acidic, pertinently hopped, aftertaste is dry and long lasting. I have "Cellared" this beer for pert near two years, and I do think it has mellowed, could not find out if it is or isn't a "Bottle Conditioned Beer", so if anyone know for sure, drop me a line. (1,472 characters)

Photo of tbeckett
3.44/5  rDev -12.7%
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. (379 characters)

Photo of RBorsato
3.58/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Dark brown color (copper-red to a light source) with a nice light brown head. Malty toasty biscuity aroma and a very light chocolate aroma. Nutty malty flavor with a hint of alcohol. Medium bodied but leans full. This beer is good but just not a stand-out.

[11.5 oz bottle] (276 characters)

Photo of papat444
3.36/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to grub for this one. Had it with my supper, meatballs & salad.

Poured from a 341ml. bottle.

Appearance: Dark brown body with cherry wood reflections near the bottom and a beige 3 finger head.

Smell: Nuts and caramel with a touch of sweetness. Aroma very muted and opens a little as it warms.

Taste: Leathery on the sides with a pervasive malt presence and maybe a hint of liquor. Some brown sugar also. Not very complex though not bad either.

Mouthfeel: Carbonation a little higher than i would have liked and certainly felt watery a little. The body is smooth though doesn't really leave a lasting impression.

Drinkability: Just ok i guess. I don't see myself going for this often.

Overall: Alright though it had potential to be better IMO. (756 characters)

Photo of jrenihan
3.81/5  rDev -3.3%
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. (669 characters)

Photo of kwjd
3.77/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Purchased a 6 pack of this yesterday at the brewery store. Pours a dark amber-brown colour with thin off-white head and with traces of lacing. Smells of boozy raisin and cherry. Taste has mild bitterness, with sweet booziness as well. Even though the head isn't very big, this is well carbonated. Quite a nice English style ale. (328 characters)

Photo of bobsy
3.97/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On cask at C'est What. Dark brown body with a minimal tan coloured head, which lingers around for much of the duration. A sweet chocolate smell in the aroma jives with some fruity esters. The flavour shows much of the same, but with more of an emphasis on the fruity end mixed in with caramel. The alcohol packs a nice kick, and although it does not dominate, it does become more apparent in the aftertaste. Fairly full bodied and easy cask drinking. A very decent beer. (470 characters)

Photo of CRJMellor
3.87/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I found this beer about 2 years ago on a trip to Toronto and just getting around to writing the review.

Pours a dark reddish brown topped by very little head. Small amount of lace left on the side of the glass. Strong aroma dark fruit, prunes or figs and maybe a hint of chocolate.
Flavors of prunes, caramel with some high velocity sugar or molasses for some extra sweetness. Very little, in fact no bitterness. Finishes a little abruptly, expected a little more length with color and aroma. Mouthfeel starts sort of syrupy and then again finishes a little-bit watery but does not distract from overall drinkability that much. (632 characters)

Photo of IronDjinn
3.85/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Many thanks to northyorksammy for getting a bottle of this into my grubby little paws. Poured from a brown 750 ml capped bottle, best before date marked on the back label (making this one a month before it's over the hill).

A thin fizzle of off-white head on the pour that disappears just as quickly. Aside from that it is a very appealing dark woody brown, but becomes a stunning cherry oak hue when held up to direct light. I could gaze upon that for a very long time... Uh, where was I?

The aroma possesses a faint sweet butter-rum character, as well as date/prune/raisin notes.

The flavour starts out quite mellow at first, light diactyl that gets stronger the longer it is held in the mouth, getting sweeter to almost a preserved current and cherry flavour on the finish, and then more diacytl on the aftertaste, like a full circle. Much milder than I had been expecting from this strong ale.

Mouthfeel is light but not swilly, very smooth over the palate and down the throat. Quite an easy drinker for the style, would do well as an after-dinner drink, especially after grilled meat, or even pasta.

My first sample of a Wellington beer and I am impressed, they will do right with this as their flagship beer. (1,231 characters)

Photo of ClockworkOrange
3.8/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 341ml bottle into my shaker glass. The ale appears a hazed chestnut color with about a finger of light ecru foam. Nose and flavors are of caramel, candy, toasted bread, toffee, chocolate and cherries. Decently carbonated with a nearly full body for its style. Worth trying if you come across a bottle or two. (322 characters)

Photo of sholland119
3.62/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Big thanks to grub for the opportunity to try this one.

A-Pours a muddy off brown with a thin white head and no lacing.

S-Candy sugar, brown sugar and sweet malt, chocolate syrup and chocolate covered cherries.

T-Sweet dried fruit, milk chocolate and rum soaked raisins.

M-Light bodied and a bit light on the carbonation.

D-A pleasant easy drinker.

HV (357 characters)

Photo of Absumaster
3.68/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I bought this beer at the brewery and took it back to Holland. Color is dark brown, almost black and the beer has a thin foam layer.

Smell is strange, a bit green like DMS, but I an not really sure. At least some sulfur. I can also smell the maltiness.

Taste is malty and roasted/burned like chocolate. There is not much bitterness, but enough to make this beer enjoyable. Wow, this almost tastes like a red wine, remarkable for this alcohol percentage. The yeastprofile is clean. Body is medium. (502 characters)

Photo of nlmartin
3.88/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer was part of a trade with Grub. Thanks Grub for the beer! The beer was served in a pub glass.

Appearance: The beer pours a chestnut brown. The head was about a finger and a half high. The head was a tan biege coloration.

Smell: The beer has a toasted nutty caramel malty lead. This gives way to a pleasing fruity cherry and plum flavor.

Taste: The beer taste like it smells. The toasted nutty caramel is well complemented by the fruityness. The alcohol is a bit boisterous; however, I think the alcohol lends the beer a spiceir flair.

Mouthfeel/ Drinkability: This beer is slightly shy of full bodied. The beer has low carbonation. The alcohol is a bit boisterous in the mouth but I like it. This is a dam fine beer. I could see drinking many of these at a time. This is my first Wellington Brew and I wish I had more. I can hardly wait to aquire more of these beers. Thanks again Grub for a great beer drinking experience. (945 characters)

Photo of pootz
3.83/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Re-evaluated 26/07/04

Poured a clear deep red cola color, mildly effervescent, the cap lasted a very short life but the lace andring then hang in for the ride
.
Subtle smells of raisins, fruits and sweet malt odors....slight hint of nutty-spice.
Taste...not as complex as I've been lead to believe but a really well carafted ale. Starts a with a real rich mouth full of dried fruit- malts up front..full bodied... raisin bread malty tones with some spice tastes...but it does lack the sharp hop astringency in the finish some crave...but that's ok by me...I like it....finish is long with a sweet- sour -bready after taste and a mild alcohol discernment. The whole swallow comes off as tastfully sweet, rich without hop over balance and with a nice alcohol warming in the finish... Has become a standard ale of mine. ...great brew!

True hop heads may be not be able to dig deep into this one....but for me...I like it as a drinkable brew...a micro ale that doesn't make you endure rough edges to get your hop hit at the expence of a great pronounced blend of malts. (1,076 characters)

Photo of TerryW
4.04/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark red brown, handsome colour. Short tan head that dissapated immediately. No head, lace or foam at all after that. Kind of a let down.

Sweet nose, lots of heavy fruit, roasted malt. Give it a swirl in the glass to cut loose some grain and nuts. Subtle but firm alcohol underlays it all. Lots of interesting stuff happening here.

This is quite a sweet beer. But just like the nose, there's lots of stuff happening here. Malt, prune or raisin fruit, nice low slow alcohol burn, quite pleasant.

This is a nice bottle of beer and worth trying out. Not as pretty as some, but an enjoyable experience on all other counts. Take your time with this one. Enjoy it. See what you can find in it. (696 characters)

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Iron Duke from Wellington County Brewery
88 out of 100 based on 69 ratings.