County Dark Ale | Wellington County Brewery

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County Dark AleCounty Dark Ale
128 Ratings
County Dark AleCounty Dark Ale

Brewed by:
Wellington County Brewery
Ontario, Canada

Style: English Brown Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Wellington’s most decorated beer is a dark traditional ale with a rich bouquet, matured slowly to deliver exceptional smoothness and balance.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 10-22-2001

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Ratings: 128 |  Reviews: 73
Reviews by DoctorStrangiato:
Photo of DoctorStrangiato
3.65/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a 473-ml can into a draught glass.

Appearance - red-brown colour with good 1-inch head. Decent lace all the way through.

Smell - toffee, caramel and rich malt dominate the barley aromas.

Taste - initial carbonation subsides and gives way to heaps of malt, chocolate, coffee cake and mocha flavours. Finish is cideresque and lasting.

Mouthfeel - another example of an active beer vs. smoothness. Interesting and good.

Drinkability - definitely for the colder season. Perfect for early spring rainy nights, which is tonight.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
3.88/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Found this one way down here in Noth Carolina,couldnt find it in Michigan or western NY.Mine was an old bottle but held up very well.Nice brown ruby color,decent head,very warm and appetizing looking.Could tell it was mellowed from sitting but still hade some nice qualities like the soft bitterness in the ending.Well made crafted brew.

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Photo of beerhunter13
3.5/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of JohnnyBarman
3.86/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On draught at the Duke of Wellington in Waterloo.

Pours a dark brown, with a bit of ruby-orange around the edges. Left a one inch, creamy tan head that lasted through most of the sitting. Terrific, cascading lacing.

Nose wasn't terrific, but still decent. A bit of roasted malt, toffee and chocolate, but a bit of skunkiness I couldn't pin down.

The taste, fortunately, is solid all around. Malt, chocolate, bitterness and a bit of caramel at the finish. Yeast somewhere in the middle.

Mouthfeel is well-carbonated, a bit stingy, but still quite drinkable.

One of the better dark ales around these parts. Very drinkable, great for this pseudo-winter weather we're having right now. Worth a go!

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Photo of biboergosum
3.15/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

473ml can, dubbed 'County Dark Ale' as of late, the eponymous duke's portrait still staring out prominently from the label.

This beer pours a clear, dark reddish-brown hue, with one finger of loosely foamy, somewhat creamy pale beige head, which leaves a few piddly arcs of skyward reaching lace around the glass as it swiftly settles.

It smells of sweet, toasty caramel malt, a bit of musty floral fruitiness, and some leafy, earthy hops. The taste is bready caramel malt, middling fleshy orchard fruit, some mild bittersweet chocolate, faint earthy tea leaves, and a subtle metallic edge.

The bubbles are quite restrained, the body medium-light in weight, bordering on thin, and generally smooth. It finishes with a sweet cereal maltiness, musty hops, and thankfully waning flinty edge.

An all right example of the style, it could use some extra heftiness to round things out; as it stands, it's just not all that memorable, very much in the way of Big Rock's Trad - a decent gateway offering, perhaps.

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Photo of Sammy
3.77/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Much better on-tap. More roasted aroma and flavour. Balanced, good with food. Bit of bitterness works, even some hops, bit of carbonation and head. SLightly dark colour. Creamy middle mouthfeel, smooth.I had it again on-tap 1.5 years later and my rating is based on that.
Had it again on cask a couple of years later and above average bitterness and cask ale.
A year later had it on cask again and was so-so.

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Photo of CanuckRover
3.62/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours from can a very dark auburn. Orange highlights, a thick, creamy looking head, two-fingers thick. Beautiful beer. First time I've ever seen a decent head on a Welli, must be the can.

Malty nose, sweet caramel/toffee and milk chocolate. Nice, but not particularly powerful aroma.

I got a little bit of a metallic taste of this, I'll blame in on the can, but I feel like I've often found this coppery taste off Wellington brews. Oddly enough, the taste seems to disappear after awhile. This is a malty session brew. Caramel and a chocolately sweetness. Diacetyl stands out giving a nice buttery silkiness to it. Certainly a bit of typical brown ale nuttiness.

Great mouthfeel, as is the case with all Wellington beers. These are great session ales.

A very drinkable beer. I think Wellingtons should really be had on tap, cask if possible, they lose something otherwise.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.1/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A clear russet body is topped by a full ivory head that holds well, drops to a thin creamy collar, and leaves some nice lace. The aroma expresses a rich caramel malt laced with chocolate and backed by fruitiness. Very nice! The body is medium; and coupled with its fine and gentle carbonation it gives an exceptionally creamy mouthfeel. The flavor is surprisingly full (although I don't know that I can actually call it rich), with a nutty, caramel, and chocolate-toffee character. A thread of earthy and grassy hops runs from start to finish, helping to keep the malt in line and adding to it's overall character. It finishes dry with some residual fruity malt and hop. An excellent session beer that maintains interest throughout several pints. Well done! Quite the English beer... brewed in Canada!

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Photo of traumaqueen
3/5  rDev -17.4%

Photo of jbonapar
3.63/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle, wasn't expecting too much from a somewhat "typical" independent brewery in canada. However, is a nice beer surprisingly.

Appearance: Pours a dark coppper liquid with a thick head, if you pour fast, its very thick.

Smell: Malty caramel with a touch of hops. Some butterscotch under the hops.

Taste: Smooth and balanced, Not overpowering. Crisp and minerally. The Bitter hops balance the roasted malty sweetness. For an everyday beer, this is it. I used to swear by Clancy's In Nova Scotia, but over the last 10 years, they have been getting worse and worse. This is a beer for people who like a tasty beer, but want to have a few during the hockey game.

An excellent everyday brew that will satisfy a connoisseur but be easy enough for the hockey game.

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Photo of eat
3.1/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

My second sampling from the OCB Discovery Pack #3.

Transparent and amber in colour, this dark ale pours a head you can tell will not be there for long. Recedes to a ring around the glass and light covering of off-white head. No lacing.

Yeast, grain, citrus, malt. Smells like your average beer, nothing special here.

The taste is in line with what I've come to expect from Ontario 'craft' breweries. Their first goal seems to be making sure they won't be offending anyone. We certainly wouldn't want that, after all. Light everything: bits of hops, sweet generic malt, slightly nutty. That's about it.

The feel is perfect for this beer: average.

Sure, it's drinkable. But this beer's taste is the flavour equivalent of watching paint dry. No better than a Rickard's Red or whatever else. I won't be buying this again and it won't be long before I've forgotten I even drank it in the first place.

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Photo of elricorico
3.57/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a medium brown colour, almost like the crayon, with two fingers of beige head. Head falls to about half a centimeter and holds there for some time.

Smell immediately brings to mind caramel, nuts and milk chocolate. Candy bar in a can? Nuttiness seems quite prominent.

Taste is pretty true to the smell. I don't get the chocolate, but the caramel is there up front and the nuttiness throughout. Just the slightest hint of funk in the very end of the taste.

Not quite light body and a fair amount of carbonation. I wouldn't mind a touch more body or a touch less carbonation here, to smooth things out.

Another decent English Brown, no big complaints, but nothing to rave about.

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Photo of Goldorak
3.7/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Sampled at the Arrow and Loon, Ottawa.

Appearance: Very dark, copper red, with that perfect soapy head you only get from the cask, that dies down and forms a nice lace that clings forever on the sides of the pint glass.

Smell: Flowery, honey sweet hop smell.

Taste: The bitterness, light mouthfeel and low low carbonation kinda feels like you're drinking iced tea. Buttery and malty, I had no trouble downing this one.

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Photo of StormAles
4/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Stocean1
3.53/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - poured a solid two finger head that slowly faded to a nice thick collar - decent patchy lacing - dark chestnut colour

S - dark malt and fruit

T - dark malt and fruit with chocolate notes, some biscuit, nicely balanced

M - light to medium bodied with good carbonation - bitter on the back end with some metallic notes

O - a solid brown ale that is sessionable and I will grab it again I am sure

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.5/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a very dark brown beer with a nice head with medium retention. Aroma is really pleasant with malt and roastiness. Taste is very refreshing with again lots of malts and a very nice finish of roastiness. Body is above average with OK carbonation. Overall, I was quite surprise by what I thought would be another classic English ale; it proved to had more character then expected and I’m starting to really like this brewery.

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Photo of ThinkAgain
3/5  rDev -17.4%

Photo of ZorPrime
3.45/5  rDev -5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

473 ml can received from liamt07 in a recent trade. Cheers buddy!

Amber color, quite dark too. Nice white/beige head, but disappear fast. Aroma is caramel malts with some burnt notes. Similar on the taste side. I get no hops. Refreshing beer. Thin body. Well balanced and tasty enough for a day to day beer. Not a high end beer that will make your taste buds go nuts.

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Photo of PEBKAC
2.33/5  rDev -35.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

My uncle brought a pack of this stuff & the Arkell Bitter back over the border. Would I have been happier with some suspect prescription drugs? Only time will tell.

Poured into a DFH rounded pint glass. An inch of milky, cream-colored froth develops over a filtered, orange hued, dark wood stained body. Really appetizing.

Smell is boring. Hard water, aluminum, hay, a touch of menthol-like hops & maybe anise, & some caramelized cereal.

Taste is dusty/dry malt, slightly burnt hulls, earthy carob, bland metallic hops, & a slight phenolic edge near the finish(a bit like stamp glue) before it goes numb.

Carbonation & overall feel is your only relief. Crisp & just barely sharp. Thin body(though it sometimes comes off as chalky), a dry finish, & minimal aftertaste.

These six packs are completely boxed, & the winter has been pretty cold, so I don't think the elements effected these much. No best by or bottled on date. The bottles are pretty beat up, so they probably traveled quite a bit before reaching their destination.

As far as the beer goes, it's just a semi-tolerable, ho-hum thirst quencher at best. Bland & inoffensive enough to be swallowed & forgotten while concentrating on those Doritos you're hoarding.

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Photo of mikesgroove
3.13/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I received this one in an extra from a recent trade. The bottle looks encouraging to be honest, and I have never had anything from the brewery before so I was hoping for a little something good here in this one. We shall see how it turns out in the end though, hopefully all will be well. Poured my 12oz bottle into an Imperial Pint glass.

Appearance - The pour was decent. A clear brown liquid appeared before me, with some light orange hints around the edges. Some carbonation streaking up toward the top, but that died down after a few minutes, and left behind nothing more then a token hint of bubbles on the side of the glass. A small amount of white lace formed on the top but quickly faded leaving just a thin crown on the top and a small amount of side glass lace for a few moments.

Smell - The aroma was very sweet with nice tones of caramel and bready malts coming off of it. No balance here though and after it warmed it seemed to really take a quick step back and the aroma faded into a musky, moldy, biscuit like smell with the sweetness evaporating.

Taste - The flavor was alright, but I have to admit there was nowhere near enough depth in it for me. Lots of bready and biscuit like flavors, dancing around with a caramel candy sweetness for a few moments. But the profile was thin and unbalanced. The finish tried its hand at having a bitter touch to it but was blown away by the ,alt characters and never really could get back off the ground.

Mouthfeel - The feel on this one came off thin on me now as well. The carbonation was lacking and there was a slick feeling to it, especially in the finish. Overall it felt thin and a touch watery. Not too impressive here.

Drinkability - It was ok, it was low in ABV , but really did not have much going for it in terms of carbonation, and flavor. I mean you could easily knock down a few of these, however I really would not want to.

Overall, it was just your average brown ale for me. Nothing really standing out or making a huge impact here. I wish it could have been different but unfortunate it was not. Maybe some of their other offerings are better, as this was sort of sub par for me at least.

 2,167 characters

Photo of WillAndSarah
3.75/5  rDev +3.3%

Photo of IronDjinn
3.53/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Nice deep mahogany body on this one, off-white head that settles quickly to a spongy cap.

Toasted malt on the nose, a bit smoky, coffee notes, some crisp wafer.

Flavour is dry, wafer and toasted malt, espresso grounds, a nuttiness on the finish and dry coffee-like nutty aftertaste. Nice take on an English brown.

Mouthfeel is light and smooth, body picks up near finish, a little carbonation to push it over.

Decent English brown, on the fence with a mild, dry and malty as opposed to sweet, a good intro/stepping stone beer to check out browns in general for the uninitiated.

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Photo of ikidunot
3.77/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of dipso123
3.5/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of CurtisD
3.25/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

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County Dark Ale from Wellington County Brewery
Beer rating: 3.63 out of 5 with 128 ratings