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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

81 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 81
Reviews: 69
rAvg: 3.92
pDev: 10.46%
Wants: 9
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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 81 | Reviews: 69 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of allergictomacros
3.93/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Clear copper red. Head is creamy tan and very sticky.

S - Hmm. Slight cheesiness? Floral and fruity. Some crispness as well. I think I'd have to call this a strong, pungent aroma.

T - Big sweet, bock-like malts. Light toastedness and coffee. Hope bring in the finish and clean up the palette. A touch of tart fruit.

M - Smooth and creamy, big full body.

D - Very tasty. Drinkable, but not in huge quantities. Not a session beer. Maybe a 1 or 2 a night beer, with food.

allergictomacros, Jun 11, 2006
Photo of headlessparrot
4.43/5  rDev +13%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

In the last few months of my journey of beer discovery, I have been quite impressed by Guelph's Wellington Brewery. From their discount lagers (respectable, for a great price) to their wonderful Russian Imperial Stout (in spite of it not being available at the Beer Store), to their excellent prices (without a doubt the most inexpensive of Ontario's great craft brewers), they've really won me over. So I decided to take a shot at their other Iron Duke, their Strong Ale. And this is a good one.

Pours from an industry standard bottle (freshness dating on a sticker applied to the exterior of the six-pack) into a pint glass a tad weakly, much like the Welly Imperial Stout, actually. Colour is a dark-cola, with hues of ruby and some brown. Very little head - I'd be exagerating if I said one finger - off-white (a faint brown) that quickly dissapates to a ring. Leaves little lacing until it warms, then develops quite a bit more. Perhaps nothing special, but there's a certain allure to any dark ale that one can't deny.

Smell is fantastic. Dominated by roasted malts, presenting bitter (and to a lesser extent, milk) chocolate, with coffee notes, molasses, cappucino, espresso, caramel and toffee, brown sugar. Actually somewhat similar to the Russian Imperial Stout, I believe. Hazelnut notes, a faint woodiness, with just a subtle hint of floral hop character. This is mouthwatering, and becomes even more so as it warms.

Taste lives up to the smell, without a doubt. Full-bodied, with dominant roasted malts. Quite sweet initially, as the flavours apparant in the smell dance over the tongue: again, bitter and milk chocolate, espresso, coffee, hazelnut, and brown sugar. A light, floral hoppiness throughout, but the flavours presented by the roasted malts clearly dominate - and they are fantastic. Faintly bitter and fairly dry on the finish, but exceptionally refreshing. A faint alcohol taste towards the end warms slightly (perhaps not the best summer brew, but I can't help myself). This is great.

Mouthfeel is great, much like the other Wellington entries I've sampled. Body is substantial - slick, not watery - and carbonation levels are almost perfect. This brew is silky smooth - my nearest comparison (as I'm largely unfamiliar with the style) is that of an oatmeal stout. I love it. Drinkability, then, it goes without saying, is great - I purchased a six-pack this afternoon and immediately sampled one. I followed that with another immediately, and then waited only a few hours before diving right into a third as my sample entry. Needless to say, I could drink this stuff all day and night (though the relatively high ABV might be slightly prohibitive in this respect).

Wellington's Iron Duke Strong Ale may be the crown brew of the Wellington Brewery - this is a keeper, perhaps only in competition with their somewhat similar Russian Imperial Stout. And at their prices (a respectable $10.85 for a six-pack is at least a couple dollars better than most competing Ontario craft brews and even better than Sleeman's pricing), it's well worth a try. This is, to state it again, an exceptional ale.

headlessparrot, Jun 04, 2006
Photo of Phyl21ca
2.98/5  rDev -24%
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.

Phyl21ca, Apr 10, 2006
Photo of funkengruven
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This poured a dark brown with a thin head, leaving some lacing behind

Smells pretty nice, a bit like dried fruit and prunes.

Taste is exactly what an English Ale should taste like. Malty with a slightly bitter finish.

Smooth as silk, This is one beer you can't go wrong with. But you have to be careful, you could pound a bucket of these back and not even realize it.

Great stuff.

funkengruven, Apr 01, 2006
Photo of crwills
4.38/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Another nice surprise! I'm beginning to really like Wellington Brewery.

This beer was poured (too cold, cause I'm lazy) into a standard pint glass. Pours a moderate Pepsi-brown with very little head (but that's cause it was too cold!).

Smell is malty and sweet, with hints of sugarcane and coffee -- gets stronger as it warms.

I took my time drinking this, but even cold the taste was pleasantly surprising for the style. Bitter cocoa, lots of coffee flavours (bitter), earth, salt. Some upfront alcohol, and a sharply bitter aftertaste that contrasts nicely with the initial flavour.

Very, very drinkable beer -- I'll be stocking up!

crwills, Feb 02, 2006
Photo of stoutman
3.88/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Honey and peanuty aromas. Brown in color with a diminishing tan head. Quite sweet in the nose with some added floral nose that adds to the sweetness. Mild fruits and nuts mix about when swilling. Very simple. Very drinkable. Quite tasty with a mild alcohol finish.

stoutman, Jan 31, 2006
Photo of tatterdash
4.4/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

It's a "One ale, one lager" night at my house and I have resolved to review more beers on here, so here it goes:

Pours a clear, dark copper brown into my dipple mug. The head is off white and quite tightly packed for a bottled beer, and it has quite good retention and lacing. Smell was very bold and strong in malty fruit esters, with a hint of burnt toast and smoke. Taste is equally bold and full, with a great roasted body of malt and toasty bitterness in the middle that lasts well into the finish. The mouthfeel was creamy and smooth, and the high ABV was very well hidden, just a subtle warming late in finish. This is great beer, one of Wellington's best and great value.

tatterdash, Jan 04, 2006
Photo of Cwrw
4.3/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From Ontario and only available to me here through the CANBIF method, courtesy of the42ndtourist. First: the labelling. I love the antique appearance of the label, showing Wellington, the "Iron Duke" in his military outfit. The cap, too, shows a black and white picture of the mighty Duke. Attractive bottle. I have wanted to try this beer for a while now. The fluffy light brown head formed slowly and creamily as I poured to the glass. The beer is mollasses brown and very thick looking. The colouration changes with the light and at times I could see hints of ruby, light purple, hickory, and rosewood. The mocha-brown head went down quickly to a thin covering, but I blame that on my glass being a little wet from rinsing it(I was too thirsty to wait for it to air-dry.) The sheets of lacing moved quickly, and the head was darker around the edges. A very attractive strong ale to be sure. The aroma will delight Imperial Stout lovers: the black licorice notes are enormous, with dusty black currant, mollasses, horehound, dark chocolate with raisins, and milky malts. The aroma is spicy from above the glass, and in close the sweet richness of the malts adds an almost red-grape nuance. The malts are very roasty in character, adding a salinity akin to smoked meats. The hops lurk in the back, and this is all unctuous maltiness. Fantastic smelling beer. Rich and meaty. At first I sense quite a bit of salt in the taste, more in the middle, adding to the roasty malts and making me want to take another sip. Definite black licorice in the taste too, with thick caramel and dark chocolate. The malts are very smooth, almost as though this was brewed with some oatmeal. A little burst of phenols in the middle, nothing very powerful. The taste is dusty, with a lot of raisins and spicy leathery notes. The malts leave a sweetened biscuit, cake-like flavour; very fresh and appetising. If there is any coffee taste, it is more like French Vanilla coffee, because the sweetness of the beer, at least in the middle, belies any coffee comparison. The finish is very dry, the hops definitely making their presence known, but the bitterness also comes from the roasted malts. I am left with a dry, malty, nutty feeling in the mouth. A complex flavour wheel. The beer is full-bodied, low in carbonation, and quite drinkable, though a little sweet at times. A phenomenal beer from Wellington, and I feel privileged to have had it. I would love to try this on-tap, and I will be buying some if ever I return to Ontario. Thanks Duncan!

Cwrw, Sep 13, 2005
Photo of fisherman34
3.93/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark brown body with a small but a lasting head. Nice malty brown bread aromas. The flavors are mainly caramel and bready malts, along with a subtle fruity note. Medium bodied, whcih is surprising considering the aroma and flavor profile (expected heavier). A touch of alcohol on the finish. Not the most complicated or subtle beer out there, but a solid performer indeed.

fisherman34, Sep 04, 2005
Photo of CAMRAhardliner
3.13/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

I tried this beer a few times a couple years ago when it was sold in bombers, I didnt like it then (way too sweet), but I thought it was worth another try.

Pours a beatifully deep ruby with a smallish tan head and decent lacing. The aroma is of port, grains, figs and vanilla, very sweet and malty. The taste is very nice in the front. A rich mix of christmas cake, nuts, hay, orange peel and earth. In the middle a sweet flavor and spicy alcohol kick become apparent. This beer tastes like it has more alcohol than 6.5. A nutty flavor battles with a bracing sweetness in the finish. Hops are only a shadow in the finish. The mouthfeel is very thick and textured with lots of maltiness.

If only this beer wasnt so alcoholic tasting and sweet in the finish, it would be awesome. It has loads of malt complexity and a very nice body. I recommend it if you like very malty beers.

CAMRAhardliner, Aug 28, 2005
Photo of Viggo
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%
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.

Viggo, Aug 14, 2005
Photo of AlexJ
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A very interesting beer, the duke pours out a dark, red-tinged brown with a moderate beige head and a decent amount of lace.

Aroma is malt laden, and filled with notes of dark fruit, molasses, scorched brown sugar, peat, and subtle, lightly floral English hops. There's a nice, underlying smoky character.

Caramel, molasses, brown sugar, and peat smoked malt flavors up front lead to a fruity plum and dark cherry note. It definately has a smoky nuance that develops as the beer warms up to room temperature. There's a pleasant nip of bitter, floral hops to balance all the malt. If not for this hardy hop presence, this would taste very much like a good Scotch ale.

Body is a meaty medium, with a soft, smooth mouthfeel. Good drinkability that would pair wonderfully with smoked game, or grilled food.

Thanks to BrewMoose for sharing.

AlexJ, Aug 13, 2005
Photo of ikats
3.95/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Iron Duke pours very dark brown color with nice tan head that dissipates into a thin cover. Initial lacing is good, but slowly dissappears off the sides of the glass. Aroma is very sweet - dried fruits, prunes mainly, with some caramel. Same for the taste except with an addition of alcohol. The taste of alcohol is present, but not too strong. Mouthfeel is initially sweet, but lightens up considerably. All in all a very enjoyable, not too complex beer for a relaxing evening.

Tasted from a 12 oz bottle with no freshness date.

ikats, Jul 30, 2005
Photo of Popsinc
3.63/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Deep mohagany pour. Lively tan head. The nose is highlighted by sticky sweet molasses and toffee. Tastes starts off with some nice malt sweetness. Again, some molasses & black licorice and some hops come through mid sip. Dry-ish finish. Lingering malts and toffee. Some alcohol warmth. Fairly lively mouthfeel. Nice fuzziness to it. Decent drinkability but geared more for a sipping beer, or cool weather companion. Alot of great things about this beer but nothing that wowed me.

Popsinc, May 02, 2005
Photo of vitesse
4.33/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

served in 12 oz. brown bottle.
found this at "the beer store" in mississauga, ON.

what a nice ESB!!!
pours a beautiful brown color with a bit of clarity. no cloudiness. nice, fine carbonation is very much along the lines of english-style strong ales and ESBs.
smells of noble hops and wonderful biscuity maltiness. some fruitness is definitely in there. very complex flavors...chocolate, port wine, fresh biscuits and tea leaves.
slightly slick mouthfeel, but still very drinkable. alcohol is well hidden. a great ale.
pick this up!

also, don't forget that it comes in completely sealed 6-pack boxes...so no lightstruck hops! go canada!

vitesse, Oct 21, 2004
Photo of baiser
4.22/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had a 22 oz bomber. Poured a rich mahogany brown with red highlights, a large creamy tan head. A nice think layer of foam sat atop for the entire time.

Aroma of sweet sweet candy, some nuttiness in the nose. A little floral too.

Taste was delicious. Roasty, some floral hops, bitter hops up front. Some plum, molasses and a sweet alcohol warmth at the end of each sip. From time to time, you get some brandy flavour. Mouthfeel is smooth and bodied. A bit oily. This is one balanced beer.

IMO the second best Wellington has to offer (behind the imperial stout). It's a great beer from my favourite Ontario microbrewery.

baiser, Sep 25, 2004
Photo of Wintermute
3.95/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Good clarity. It appears dark brown at first but with a little more light, definite amber tones appear. Light brown head with a mixture of large and medium bubbles. Head dissipates fairly quickly leaving a light skim on the top of the beer that lasts throughout. It may have just been the glass, but there was only a little lace left on the sides of the glass (I seem to remember more lace last time I had it).
Malt dominates the smell, but there are some hops there too. Maybe some citrus in the hops. It's tough to tell because the malt dominates. There's a faint caramel sweet smell and also that dried fruit smell (Dried tamarind comes to mind). There's also roasted grains and even a little bit of alcohol can be detected in the smell.
It tasted pretty much like it smells. Starts out malty and but finishes fairly dry considering how malty it is. There's both alcohol tones and bitterness in the finish. It's not a strong bitterness, but it does linger a bit. Fairly well balanced.

Wintermute, Sep 12, 2004
Photo of slitherySOB
3.75/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark, amber brown colour beneath a two finger, white cloud head. Lace sticks to the glass like a bride's garter. Fresh fruit smell. Raisins, plums, dates, cherries, figs and prunes twirls around with the malt. It's safe to assume no hops were used in the making of this beer. Tastes like it smells, with a bit more freshness. Kind of softer, more chewy mouthfeel. I'll buy it again, and again, and again, but I won't have alot in one sitting.

slitherySOB, Jun 14, 2004
Photo of DrJay
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%
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.

DrJay, Jun 02, 2004
Photo of beckerboots
3.93/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured to a very deep amber with a hurried array of oversized bubbles that should not be that evident in a 6.5% ABV. Had an almost mesmerizing hint of dried fruit that carried the sweetness to the next level. Little bitterness or bite in the mouth as the sweetness retarded the palate. Certainly not as strong as the "Iron Duke" implies, but definitely a likeable product from an authentic Canadian micro.

beckerboots, May 13, 2004
Photo of IronDjinn
3.85/5  rDev -1.8%
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.

IronDjinn, Apr 04, 2004
Photo of pootz
3.85/5  rDev -1.8%
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.

pootz, Mar 14, 2004
Photo of TerryW
4.05/5  rDev +3.3%
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.

TerryW, Feb 05, 2004
Photo of CRJMellor
3.83/5  rDev -2.3%
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.

CRJMellor, Jan 08, 2004
Photo of ManekiNeko
3.68/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

350 mL bottle served chilled in a water goblet-esque glass. Something with a widish brim.

Appearance: Hazy reddish brown topped by a smallish offwhite head. Head dissipates to a film rather abruptly and left little lacing. The temp or soapy residue on the glass may be to blame for this, though.

Smell: Strong aromas of roasted malts and prunes. Very reminiscent of a Scotch Ale or a Wee Heavy. Precious little hopping. I was expecting something more hoppy, but that's probably due to all my previous exposures to the style being American interpretations. Still, it's not an overly complex smell.

Taste: Dark fruits like raisins and prunes with a undergirding of roasted caramel malts. Same comment about hops.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and robustly bodied. Alcohol very well masked.

Drinkability: Pretty decently drinkable. Had I had this blind, I would've thought it was a Scottish Ale or a Wee Heavy. Something for the Yanks to remember when trying this. Still, a darn fine beer. That it's, as one other reviewer notes, their flagship beer says volumes about the brewery,

ManekiNeko, Jan 05, 2004
Iron Duke from Wellington County Brewery
88 out of 100 based on 81 ratings.