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Iron Duke | Wellington County Brewery

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Iron DukeIron Duke
BA SCORE
3.94/5
Very Good
86 Ratings
Iron DukeIron Duke
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Wellington County Brewery
Ontario, Canada
wellingtonbrewery.ca

Style: Winter Warmer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.50%

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.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 09-25-2002

BEER STATS
Ranking:
#8,662
Reviews:
71
Ratings:
86
pDev:
8.63%
Bros Score:
0
 
 
Wants:
12
Gots:
4
Trade:
0
HISTOGRAM
 
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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 86 |  Reviews: 71
Photo of taxandbeerguy
3.83/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

355 ml bottle served at about 8 degrees into a snifter. Purchased as part of the Wellington Reboot Pack #3. Looking forward to this beer as it appears very well regarded around here.

Appearance - A clear dark ruby colored beer is poured with moderate carbonation. A big two finger light tan colored head that froths with abundance sits on top. Good retention, keeping near a half finger of foam for a good duration and streaky lacing abounds.

Smell - Dark fruit, subtle spices of cinnamon and nutmeg are present. Cherries and figs, with dark chocolate. Basically a chocolate fruitcake in a glass. Subtle bits of lemon zest add a layer of complexity.

Taste - Dark fruit with some chocolaty and earthy bitterness. Flavors don't really pop with intensity, this is a more subtle experience. Minerally and also with some molasses. Touch of nutmeg and and maybe a trace of ginger. Vanilla appears in the aftertaste. Complex brew.

Mouthfeel -Smooth and reasonably light with a very dry finish. Carbonation is middling, probably on the low side, but pleasant. Body is light for a 6.5% ABV winter warmer. Creaminess improves as it warms

Overall - Certainly an enjoyable winter warmer, but without any knock your socks off flavors, Iron Duke will remain firmly in the very solid camp as opposed to rising to the very top of of the mountain. Probably the best beer of this sampler pack.

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Photo of Jotora
3.75/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Electros
3.81/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of GoHabsGo
4/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of BKotch
4.25/5  rDev +7.9%

On cask at Volo in Toronto, summer of 2009.

43 characters

Photo of andrenaline
4/5  rDev +1.5%

Photo of ZachT
4.3/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Pmicdee
3.75/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of biegaman
3.81/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Iron Duke has a colour something like a bosc pear that's been heavily bruised; it is a murky, deep brown and, needless to say, not all that attractive. It's gloomy tone obscures virtually all highlights and clarity, imparting a dreadfully dreary complexion. Its head is sturdy but incomplete.

The aroma leaves a resounding sweetness in the nostrils - turbinado sugar and a fruitiness that resembles some kind of raisin/prune hybrid. There is a superficial semblance to port attributed not only to the fortified-wine notes but also a musty woodiness. Though more vivid on the palate, the beer's spiced Christmas cake-like persona is introduced via smell.

Iron Duke has the flavour (and nearly the texture) of a chunky oatmeal-walnut-raisin cookie. There are also notes of dried cranberry and plum pudding. Maybe some cocoa. The mouthfeel is thick and calls extra malt reinforcements to duty in the finish; each sip is like a beer bear-hug.

Though no alcohol is present, the beer can taste stronger than it actually is (6.5%). It has the requisite levels of richness and warmth to qualify as a 'winter warmer' (which the brewery claims it to be), though it borrows heavily the roasty and nutty characteristics of brown ales as well as the fortified fruitiness of a barley wine. It doesn't fit neatly into any one category.

Iron Duke's long tenure in the Ontario marketplace speaks to its quality and distinctiveness as well as its ability to engage new craft beer drinkers without losing the interest of deeply-ingrained ones. This is a great recipe that the brewery is rightly proud to now offer year-round.

 1,614 characters

Photo of DaPan
3.75/5  rDev -4.8%

Photo of jrenihan
3.81/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

On cask at Volo.

The room is rather dark, but the beer appears to be amber in colour. A typical cask-like bubbly head on top.

Nose contains toffee, and a bit of smoke. A bit faint, but pleasant enough.

Taste contains caramel, toffee, some smoke and a bit of a burnt flavour. A bit reminiscent of whisky, actually (only sightly). A bit on the bitter side. with some earthy and grassy hops present.

Medium bodied, low natural carbonation. Nice cask feel.

Overall, pretty good. A pleasant beer, nothing to search out. Haven't had this in a bottle for a long time, so I can't say whether it is better in cask or not, but it seemed like the cask treatment worked well.

 669 characters

Photo of cfalovo97
3/5  rDev -23.9%

Photo of Kremlock
4/5  rDev +1.5%

Photo of Antikythera
3.75/5  rDev -4.8%
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.

 698 characters

Photo of BrewCaveDweller
4/5  rDev +1.5%

Photo of thehyperduck
3.83/5  rDev -2.8%
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: 3.83, 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.

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Photo of phamda
3.5/5  rDev -11.2%

Photo of biboergosum
4.12/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

341ml bottle - it's been a long while now that I've tried to track this one down around here - (good) siiiiigh.

This beer pours a clear, dark ruby amber hue, with one stocky finger of 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 and leafy hops. The taste is bready malt, 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 and 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, and definitely performing as advertised, leaning to the English or Scottish way of things. Full, dense, and strangely drinkable - credit that British-influenced Canadian know-how and restraint. In the end, one hell of a tasty, and story-generating six-pack party favour, I would imagine.

 1,219 characters

Photo of traumaqueen
3.75/5  rDev -4.8%

Photo of dipso123
4.13/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

On cask
From a cask with an engine and a sparkler, so it looked great. Nutty malt smell and taste. Clean medium body and very quaffable. Not a hint of 6.5 ABV.
Overall, cask is the way this beer should be served and the numbers above reflect a cask pour not the bottle. More of an Old Ale than a Winter Warmer. IMO, not a winter warmer at all and certainly not "with the character of a barley wine."

 401 characters

Photo of Stocean1
3.67/5  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.

 630 characters

Photo of bigox420
5/5  rDev +26.9%

Photo of RedAleMan
4/5  rDev +1.5%

Photo of spinrsx
3.55/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Cask

Appearance - The beer pours a clear dark brown colour with a small frothy beige head. There is a low amount of carbonation showing due to the darkness and there is some pretty nice lacing. The head lasted for 3 minutes before it was gone.

Smell - Malts, dark fruits, caramel/toffee

Taste & Mouth - There is a low level of carbonation and I can taste lots of malts, chocolate, and some dark fruits. There is also a but of a nuttiness to it. It ends with a sweet malty aftertaste.

Drink - Was happy to get a chance to try this from a fresh cask. It's definitely one of Wellingtons better offerings and I'd have it again.

 627 characters

Photo of wordemupg
4.2/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

341ml bottle poured into tulip 30/6/11

A very clear ruby red nearly purple when held to the light, fast raising bubbles support a slow falling tan head that leaves just a few specks of lace

S spicy plum with some dark toffee and some darker bread

T not far from the smell with a little nutty aspect and some faint booze, nothing overpowers and everything mingles well, pretty tasty stuff not my favorite style but they did a great job at it

M medium bodied creamed up a bit from the bubbles and a nice nutty aftertaste

O nice English Strong Ale for sure, I'm surprised I never tried it before being around Alberta for some time now, well rounded not really lacking in any area

I may be drinking this again but I may wait for colder weather

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Iron Duke from Wellington County Brewery
Beer rating: 3.94 out of 5 with 86 ratings
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