Iron Duke | Wellington County Brewery

BA SCORE
87
very good
84 Ratings
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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
Ratings:
84
Reviews:
70
Avg:
3.94
pDev:
8.63%
 
 
Wants:
12
Gots:
3
For Trade:
0
View: Beers | Events
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 84 |  Reviews: 70
Photo of TerryW
4.04/5  rDev +2.5%
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.

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Photo of cfalovo97
3/5  rDev -23.9%

Photo of sholland119
3.62/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Big thanks to grub for the opportunity to try this one.

A-Pours a muddy off brown with a thin white head and no lacing.

S-Candy sugar, brown sugar and sweet malt, chocolate syrup and chocolate covered cherries.

T-Sweet dried fruit, milk chocolate and rum soaked raisins.

M-Light bodied and a bit light on the carbonation.

D-A pleasant easy drinker.

HV

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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 RedAleMan
4/5  rDev +1.5%

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

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 pootz
3.83/5  rDev -2.8%
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.

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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 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 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 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 AlexJ
4/5  rDev +1.5%
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.

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Photo of JohnnyBarman
4.12/5  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!

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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."

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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.

 685 characters

Photo of Shadman
4/5  rDev +1.5%
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.

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Photo of Pmicdee
3.5/5  rDev -11.2%

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 korguy123
3.55/5  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.

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Photo of ChrisCage
4.32/5  rDev +9.6%
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!

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Photo of bigox420
5/5  rDev +26.9%

Photo of TheHammer
4.34/5  rDev +10.2%
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.

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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 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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Iron Duke from Wellington County Brewery
3.94 out of 5 based on 84 ratings.
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