1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Iron Duke - Wellington County Brewery

Not Rated.
Iron DukeIron Duke

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
88
very good

82 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 82
Reviews: 70
rAvg: 3.92
pDev: 10.46%
Wants: 8
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)
View: Beers (22) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 82 | Reviews: 70 | Display Reviews Only:
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.

Photo of nlmartin
3.9/5  rDev -0.5%
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.

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.

Photo of Frozensoul327
3.55/5  rDev -9.4%
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.

Photo of Oxymoron
4.08/5  rDev +4.1%
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.

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.

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.

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.

Photo of BKotch
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%

On cask at Volo in Toronto, summer of 2009.

Photo of ZachT
4.5/5  rDev +14.8%

Photo of thehyperduck
3.85/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

341 mL bottle from a six-pack. I got this mostly because it was on sale, which I noticed in a moment of serendipity because the logo happened to be pretty close to eye level on that 'wall of brands' at the Beer Store.

Pours a lovely deep-hued brownish-bronze colour, topped with two fingers of light-beige head, smooth and dense. Decent retention; it recedes over the next few minutes, leaving behind a thin, creamy cap and lots of lacing. Very malty aroma, with lots of toffee and biscuity malts, and hints of vanilla and dates. A little too saccharine for my tastes, but still generally pleasant.

Straightforward flavour with restrained intensity; pretty much what I expect from most English-style ales. There is a backbone of brown sugar, toffee and toasted biscuit malts, with a slightly nutty feel to them, and a few hints of dark fruit as well. I can't complain about this being too sweet, because it does actually have a nice, slightly roasty finish that provides some crucial dryness to balance it out. Pleasant bittersweet aftertaste that encourages further sipping. Medium-bodied, and quite smooth with its mild carbonation. Quite drinkable for the ABV.

Final Grade: 3.85, a B+. I have met the Iron Duke, and it was an unexpectedly satisfying experience. This is a highly quaffable strong ale that I would happily recommend to others. Sort of reminds me of Innis and Gunn-style scotch ales, without the woodiness - probably more appropriate for autumn or winter than this time of year, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.

[Updated June 19 2014]

Another six-pack picked up at the local TBS. A little out of season, but this is still a solid English-style strong ale that is sure to pique the interest of palates that prefer the malty side of things. I wish they'd start putting this in tallboy cans, because as much as I enjoy this beer I'd like to have the option of grabbing a can or two rather than an entire sixer. Give this one a shot, as it's easily one of the best brews in the Wellington portfolio.

Photo of JohnnyBarman
4.1/5  rDev +4.6%
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!

Photo of RedAleMan
4/5  rDev +2%

Photo of ritzkiss
3.93/5  rDev +0.3%
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.

Photo of korguy123
3.53/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz screw off bottle. No BB date into snifter.
Was purchased as part of the Fall OCB 6er.

A- Opaque rich chocolate/burgandy pour. Two finger off white head. Ruby red when held to the light. Almost like a dark merlot. Faint carbonation bubbles scurrying up sides of glass.

S- Strawberries, cherries, milk chocolate, bitter hop presence. Chewy caramel, nice biscuity malts, faint coffee.

T- Slight metallic taste, figs and raisins, faint brown sugar. Fresh bitter hops are a nice kick in the teeth. Tart taste that I can't quite put my fingers on.

M- Drying bitter finish, the carbonation overshadows the tastes a bit too much.

Well worth trying once. The metallic taste became a bit off putting by the end of the glass.

Photo of Shadman
4/5  rDev +2%
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.

Photo of bigox420
5/5  rDev +27.6%

Photo of dipso123
2/5  rDev -49%

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!

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.

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.

Photo of TheHammer
4.35/5  rDev +11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Came in a bottle with a picture of the Iron Duke, Arthur Wellesley, the first duke of Wellington on it. Ahh the wonders of wikipedia, I suppose a fitting tribute given the brewery name. Not much head on this one, about a finger's worth but what I did get seemed to both sustain and lace decently. The beer itself is a nice dark brown color with red highlights with clear signs of carbonation and quite clear despite how dark it is.

Smell - Definite roasted chestnut and almond smell with undertones of biscuit, sweet malts and light chocolate and a hint of cherries and plums. Very complex and nice, my only qualm is that it could be a little bit stronger.

Taste - Very nice and complex, starts with nice caramel taste with a little bit of a fruity sensation. It then transitions seamlessly to roasted malts with a touch of chocolate bitterness and then ends with a nice touch of bitter but sweet herbal hops where the chestnuts make an appearance. Very nice, although I feel that the bitterness could be reigned in slightly.

Mouthfeel - The aftertaste of this beer is quite pleasant, as the sweetness does a lot for it however it does linger a bit too long. However this stuff is a smooth as silk going down, despite having a slight dry taste at the end. The beer itself is a bit light on the carbonation and the lack of head also penalizes it somewhat.

Drinkability - If this stuff is 6.5% it's certainly hard to tell. This stuff is dangerous man, as the alcohol isn't noticeable. It is exceptionally light on the gut, goes down smoothly. If it wasn't slightly dry at the end and a bit more refreshing, it would be perfect.

Final Thoughts - This beer is exceptionally good, and even more so given it's price (at about $12 for a six). If you live in Ontario, you owe it to yourself to try this beer. I was very impressed by this beer, and I think after I polish off the remaining four I have, I will partake of this brewery again. Definitely worth picking up a six or even a twelve pack.

Photo of cratez
4/5  rDev +2%
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.

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,

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.

Iron Duke from Wellington County Brewery
88 out of 100 based on 82 ratings.