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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

82 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 82
Reviews: 70
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: 82 | Reviews: 70 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ludachris
3.98/5  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.

ludachris, Apr 05, 2009
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 ChrisCage
4.35/5  rDev +11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- I gave this a moderately hard pour into my glass. The color is walnut and is slightly hazy when held to the light. It didn't have a real thick head but it was frothy and settles into a ring around the glass. There is some fine sticky lacing that clings to my glass and the carbonation looks to be of fine bubbles.

S- This has a rich, nutty aroma that is somewhat roasted. There is a detectable wood aged smell that is a milder version of a dark rum or whisky...somewhat toffee like, somewhat woodsy. There is some noticeable dark fruit in the aroma, like dates or plums. Mild hops are on the the finish as well.

T- Again, the flavor is very nice and rich. There is sweet roasted malts on the palate right up front and a very detectable oaked wood character right throughout the middle. The higher alcohol, while hidden quite well in the full flavor, does provide just a hint of a zip that makes this taste like a wood aged rum, with the toffee richness included.

M- This beer has a nice medium full body and is buttery smooth, as the carbonation is not really heavy and is fine on the palate. Very well rounded feel and I really have a sense of enjoying a real authentic warm, relaxing smooth drinking beer!

D- While I wouldn't normally want to have several of this style of beer, simply due to the richness of it, I'd have no problem throwing back a few of these....this beer really is a true joy! It's balanced, flavorful, and has the right amount of warmth. I will definitely be purchasing this brew again in the future!

ChrisCage, Feb 26, 2010
Photo of trevorwideman
4.3/5  rDev +9.7%
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!

trevorwideman, Jul 13, 2006
Photo of sponberg
4.45/5  rDev +13.5%
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.

sponberg, Jul 13, 2003
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 bryehn
3.83/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nut brown-ruby colour with a frothy tan head that didn't last long or lace, but did get retained as a collar.

The aroma of Iron Duke (there's a poop joke in there I'm sure) is one that I find rich and complex. Its nutty, sweet and malty, with strong dark fruit tones and a hint of spice.

The taste is very similar, it's got a sweet and nutty flavour and the dark fruit aroma characterizes itself as cherry to me. I get a roasted chocolate or coffee-like bitterness that balances things out on the back end.

Considering its rich characteristics and ABV, I find this beer goes down easily. I do think its a bit thin, but it does have a weighty creaminess and medium carbonation.

I've tried five beers from Wellington and this is without a doubt my favourite. Almost perfect as a Winter beer, but drinkable enough that I'd try it in the warmer months too.

bryehn, Jan 31, 2011
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 Stocean1
3.65/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a half finger poorly retained head leaving almost no collar, minimal patchy lacing, dark brown in color with ruby highlights

Scent is caramel toffee, dark fruit, sweet dark bread

Taste follows the nose with a faint dark chocolate note and some earthy hops

Very smooth and refreshing for the style, there is little carbonation with a light medium body, mild bitterness in the finish. Has a watery quality to it when swirled in the glass which does not generate any suds whatsoever. Almost seems like a session brew

A decent brew that with a more experienced palate is not as big as I remember it but still holds up well.

Stocean1, Mar 10, 2012
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 EatsTacos
4.33/5  rDev +10.5%
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..

EatsTacos, Nov 11, 2008
Photo of Kremlock
4/5  rDev +2%

Kremlock, Oct 31, 2012
Photo of Pmicdee
3.5/5  rDev -10.7%

Pmicdee, Sep 12, 2013
Photo of Antilochus
3.93/5  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.

Antilochus, Nov 19, 2007
Photo of traumaqueen
3.75/5  rDev -4.3%

traumaqueen, Apr 03, 2012
Photo of the42ndtourist
4.8/5  rDev +22.4%
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!).

the42ndtourist, Feb 07, 2003
Photo of drinkininthewood
3.85/5  rDev -1.8%
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.

drinkininthewood, Jun 22, 2007
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 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 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 mrnobody
3.95/5  rDev +0.8%
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).

mrnobody, Jan 21, 2011
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 thaichile
3.43/5  rDev -12.5%
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.

thaichile, Apr 28, 2007
Photo of Antikythera
3.78/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle poured into glass.

a: I thought this would be like a stout, but it's not that dark at all. It's the colour of strong brewed tea, and a bit cloudy. Foamy head settles down but sticks to the glass in layers. I can see how much I drank in each mouthful by the high water lines on the glass.

s: nothing special. A bit of that odd proteiny smell that I don't like, but there's not enough of that to be disagreeable.

t: pretty mellow for such a dark beer. A little nutty and a little sweet.

m: a bit overcarbonated, but that goes away and leaves a pleasantly slippery feeling.

o: good stuff. If I want something dark this is one of my favourite local options, especially for the price point.

Antikythera, Sep 26, 2012
Iron Duke from Wellington County Brewery
88 out of 100 based on 82 ratings.