Iron Duke - Wellington County Brewery

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Iron DukeIron Duke

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very good

69 Reviews
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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 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 stoutman
3.85/5  rDev -1.5%
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.

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Photo of drinkininthewood
3.85/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I like this brewery alot.

Served from a brown 341 twist off bottle into a pint glass.

A- Deep red color, small tan head diminishes quickly leaving some lace and a small layer of foam.

S- Nice malt aromas, a little roasty, slightly fruity, some toffee.

T- Very nice flavor. Roasty malts, some fruit - plums/raisins, slightly caramel with some toffee notes as well. Nice hop profile(fuggles maybe?) Fairly sweet and fruity off the start with a bitter dry finish.

M- light in body but not watery. Carbonation is light.

D- Lots of flavor, light in body, and incredibly drinkable. Alcohol hides itself pretty good which can be dangerous.

Overall i love this beer! Tones of flavor and awesome drinkability. Very enjoyable. An excellent brew from an excellent brewery>highly recommended.

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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 nlmartin
3.88/5  rDev -0.8%
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.

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Photo of atomicbolt
3.9/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

6-pack I got for my birthday - thanks, dad! :)

Dark brown-reddish colour with a creamy, light beige head - nice. To the smell, there's caramel, smokiness, spice, nuts - not as much of an alcohol smell as I expected, considering this weighs in at 6.5%.

The taste is quite smooth and pleasant. Fruits, caramel, roasted coffee, all very well-balanced. A bit of a bitter bite in the aftertaste which provides a nice kick, but again, without the strong alcohol taste I was expecting either. Very drinkable, but watch out about having too many of these, they can definitely sneak up on you.

Overall, it's easy to fall in love with this beer, and with the brewery in general. Hats off to Wellington for continuing to make quality English ales and not succumbing to the lure of the bargain bin.

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Photo of Antilochus
3.92/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 341mL bottle (in a six pack) purchased at a Kingston, Ontario Beer Store. Appearance is reddish brown opaque, descending along the glass to translucent reddish brown. The head is tan, slowly dissipating to a thin cream with lace. Aromas are roasted malts & sweetish dark fruits, with slight burnt sugar. As it warmed alcohol became noticeable, but not overly so.

Mouthfeel is immediately medium viscosity, with low carbonation. Taste was sweet and roasted/burnt overall, with smalt, cherry, prune, and a bit of spice. Alcohol not as noticeable as I expected, very enjoyable. Decent drinkability, but at 6.50% abv probably not sessionable.

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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 fisherman34
3.92/5  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.

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Photo of mrnobody
3.93/5  rDev +0.5%
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).

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Photo of ritzkiss
3.93/5  rDev +0.5%
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.

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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 allergictomacros
3.93/5  rDev +0.5%
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.

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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 ludachris
3.97/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Courtesy of TheHammer, thanks Marky Mark.
Pours a nice chestnut brown with a little over a finger of off white head that quickly boils down to a ring that follows the beer down until the end of the glass. Minimal lacing.
Smell of roasted malts, toffee, and a hint of caramel. Subtly complex; very nice.
Some nice chewy malt upfront. Chocolate, buscuit and a bit of toffee. Finishes off with a nice dry hoppy finish.
Mouthfeel is excellent. Decent amount of carbonation and very smooth. The higher ABV is masked very well. Definately sessionable.

Overall, a great brew. This is only my second Wellingtons, the first being the SPA, and ive been impressed with both. Apparently 6ers of these go under 12 bucks. Definately worth the money. Can't wait to have another.

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Photo of bobsy
3.97/5  rDev +1.5%
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.

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Photo of Shadman
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark walnut/mahogany with a nice off white head and good gobs o' lacing.

Lot's of boozy dried fruit , hint of molasses toffee and just a hint of woodsmoke.

Smooth, albeit bland start, most of the flavours don't arrive until @ least 3 steamboats after taking a swig. Rum raisin to start, followed by slight nutty dark toffee. Finish is slightly oaky and dry.

Touch watery @ first, but a lower carbonation works as the body is still medium to slightly full.

A very drinkable ESA.

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Photo of AlexJ
4/5  rDev +2.3%
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.

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Photo of cratez
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

341ml bottle from a 6 pack purchased at The Beer Store.

A: dark ruby brown with one finger of frothy, cream coloured head. Gobs of lacing decorate the pint glass.
S: light nuttiness, raisins, sherry, a bit floral, some metal, brown sugar, and vinous, port like aromas.
T: dried fruits, toffee, roasted and chocolate malts, red grapes, caramel bitterness, parched cocoa finish with a warming, alcoholic edge.
M: silky, fullish medium, high carbonation for the style, lasting bittersweet dryness.
D: a dangerously quaffable, malt-forward English strong ale. Marvelous.

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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 Oxymoron
4.09/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

That's in Durham right? Pours a chestnut brown color with decent clarity. A very soft off white head with good retention and limited lace. Both didn't last through the tasting though.

The nose is malty with very distinct caramel and toffee notes. Really come out and are very perceivable. A nice toasted and a hint of roasted grains as well. Minor yeast as well as figs notes but overall very smooth. A slight earth hop noses and hints of woody and vanilla characteristic.

The taste is more toned down than the nose. The maltiness is still evident with more caramel flavors coming out. Toffee is still present but lighter and more in tune with a more toasted/bready flavor. A noticeable chocolate flavors as well. There is more of a yeast presence that is a bit off but not over bearing. Some esters plums, prunes. Finish with a slight earthy note and hints of molasses.

The body is more moderate than full. A light carbonation. Overall a good beer with a fantastic nose and minor flaws in the taste. Very enjoyable, thanks to DrJay for the extra.

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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 JohnnyBarman
4.12/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Stopped by the brewery today for some holiday gift getting - snapped up a six pack of the Duke, probably my favorite from Welly!

Pours a nice dark brown, a bit of amber when held to the light. A half inch of head, thick ring around the glass. Looks good.

The smell is terrific, very complex and inviting. Roasted malts, grapes, coffee, Black Forest cake.

The taste is also very enjoyable: the usual brown ale suspects, with a strong bitterness to the finish.

A highly drinkable ale, perfect for the winter weather. One of the better dark ales in this part of the province!

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Photo of biboergosum
4.12/5  rDev +5.4%
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.

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