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Iron Duke - Wellington County Brewery

Not Rated.
Iron DukeIron Duke

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

70 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 70
Hads: 84
Avg: 3.94
pDev: 9.64%
Wants: 12
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.
View: Beers (28) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 70 | Hads: 84
Photo of ludachris
3.97/5  rDev +0.8%
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 vikingmike
4.23/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I picked this up completely randomly at an Ontario Beer Store.

Appearance: Hazy caramel. It looks like a proper English ale.

Smell: Fragrant candied fruit and marzipan (almonds and sugar).

Taste: Excellent. Entirely different from the smell. More of a burnt toffee taste with a solid alcohol backbone.

Mouthfeel: Very smooth

Drinkability: This is an outstanding beer that I'm slightly upset I discovered so late. I could easily session a few of these.

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Photo of EatsTacos
4.3/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a dark brown into a tall pilsner glass. Creamy mocha head with not a lot of retention and a small amount of lacing.

Aroma is roasted malty, chestnuts, toasted bread, biscuits.

The taste begins with a sweet caramel malt that fades into a bready, roasted grain. Chocolate and expresso, roasted coffee beans. The hops are herbal and bitter. Very smooth and drinkable. The end is bitter and nutty. Delicious.

Medium to heavy body with a low crisp carbonation. Very smooth beer.

I've never had a beer I didn't enjoy from this brewery, and I'd love to try this one on tap or cask..

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Photo of Oxymoron
4.09/5  rDev +3.8%
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 atomicbolt
3.9/5  rDev -1%
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 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.

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Photo of Antilochus
3.92/5  rDev -0.5%
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 drinkininthewood
3.85/5  rDev -2.3%
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 thaichile
3.4/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark coffee brown with no head and absolutely no carbonation. Nose is roasty. Flavor is openly sweet with some kind of fruit in the deep recesses of this one. Although this was a dark brew, I didn’t get a lot of those burnt offerings but rather roasted hazelnuts. This greatly remininded me of a barleywine, with its viscosity, sweetness, and limited carbonation. This brew improved as it warmed. I thought at times it was a little thin, but overall a good one. Thanks to dherling for the bottle.

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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.

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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.

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Photo of Frozensoul327
3.55/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A rather quaffable English Ale. Pours out to a deep cherry mahogany color with a medium head of dense off-white foam. Low carbonation. Aromas of roasted malts and sweet dark fruits. Taste is medium bodied, but still quite flavorful. Nuts, malt, sweet grain, earthy wood notes, dark fruits and cherries, figs, dates. Wow. I've got to say it's quite complex. Mouthfeel was creamy and smooth, yet not overly dense or thick. Drinkability is pretty good. Special thanks again goes out to Derek for the sample. Recommended.

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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.

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Photo of trevorwideman
4.27/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sampled at the Woolwich Arms and Arrow in Guelph...

Poured into a pint glass. Lovely dark colour, not quite opaque, shades of purple and ruby, slightly cola like. Not much of a head results, but a ring persists with a bit of lacing to the bottom of the glass. Smell is hearty with a generous roasted malt character. Toffee and caramel notes, some coffee and an underpinning of hops. Not too sweet, which is something I tend to worry about.

Taste packs a real punch. Nutty malts give way to a not overbearing caramel sweetness, great espresso type roasted character. Light hoppiness is definitely overshadowed by the intense and punchy malt characteristics of this brew. Nonetheless adds a refreshing character to something I'd normally consider an Autumn/Winter brew. Hearty body and soft mouthfeel make this brew slide down very easily and due to its exceptional flavour would make a great session brew. I'm proud to have been born in Wellington County if this is the kind of brew coming from my old stomping grounds. Cheers!

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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.

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Photo of headlessparrot
4.41/5  rDev +11.9%
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.

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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.

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Photo of funkengruven
4.22/5  rDev +7.1%
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.

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Photo of crwills
4.35/5  rDev +10.4%
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!

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Photo of stoutman
3.85/5  rDev -2.3%
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 tatterdash
4.4/5  rDev +11.7%
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.

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Photo of Cwrw
4.29/5  rDev +8.9%
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!

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Photo of fisherman34
3.92/5  rDev -0.5%
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 CAMRAhardliner
3.16/5  rDev -19.8%
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.

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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.

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Iron Duke from Wellington County Brewery
88 out of 100 based on 70 ratings.