Iron Duke - Wellington County Brewery

Not Rated.
Iron DukeIron Duke

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very good

69 Reviews
no score

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Reviews: 69
Hads: 83
Avg: 3.91
pDev: 10.23%
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 ikats
3.95/5  rDev +1%
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.

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Photo of Popsinc
3.64/5  rDev -6.9%
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.

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Photo of vitesse
4.32/5  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 no lightstruck hops! go canada!

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Photo of baiser
4.2/5  rDev +7.4%
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.

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Photo of Wintermute
3.93/5  rDev +0.5%
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.

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Photo of slitherySOB
3.78/5  rDev -3.3%
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.

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Photo of DrJay
4.22/5  rDev +7.9%
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.

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Photo of beckerboots
3.92/5  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.

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Photo of IronDjinn
3.85/5  rDev -1.5%
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.

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Photo of pootz
3.83/5  rDev -2%
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.

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Photo of TerryW
4.04/5  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.

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Photo of CRJMellor
3.87/5  rDev -1%
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.

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Photo of ManekiNeko
3.68/5  rDev -5.9%
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,

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Photo of Sammy
4.11/5  rDev +5.1%
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.

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Photo of Gusler
4.19/5  rDev +7.2%
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.

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Photo of sponberg
4.45/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Deep garnet red with an offwhite head that thins out quickly, but is persistent - sounds like the hair atop my head, but I digress.A malty,malty nose - sweet, caramelly, prunelike.

FRUIT!! The Duke whaps you upside the head with a vast, fruity maltiness - prunes, fig, apple - tinged with a toffee-caramel sweetness that's extremely round, but not at all cloying. As the sip goes down it dries out a bit, bringing Belgian chocolate and earthy notes along with an apple-skin flavor way in the background. The underlying bitterness is just enough to tie this whole thing together. A chewy, but very slightly thin for the flavors involved, mouthfeel fits this beer well, and makes it very drinkable. Yet another dark strong ale that I could sit by the fire and sip all night long.

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Photo of the42ndtourist
4.77/5  rDev +22%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On the label, Wellington calls this their flagship beer, and in a world where the vast majority of beer that is drunk is bland and uninteresting, their ability to stand up and call a beer like this their flagship instead of their more "regular" brews is admirable. That said (in a very long run-on sentence), this is truly a great beer, and I wish it was one that they distributed in cask format.

650mL Bomber. Pours out deep, deep brown, near black. A nice looking head to start, but it fades to near nothing. Flavours and aromas: nice dark fruits - raisins, plums - good helping of darker malts, long lingering finish of warming alcohol and more malts. Hops are firmly in the backseat, where they belong. Drinkable? Dear god, yes!! Iron Duke practically dives down my throat. An excellent beer, for those days when it's just not quite cold enough to justify an imperial stout (Wellington's, of course!).

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.35/5  rDev +11.3%
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.

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Photo of RBorsato
3.58/5  rDev -8.4%
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]

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