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Penn Dark - Pennsylvania Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Penn DarkPenn Dark

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
87
very good

437 Ratings
THE BROS
95
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 437
Reviews: 259
rAvg: 3.87
pDev: 12.14%
Wants: 37
Gots: 37 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Pennsylvania Brewing Company visit their website
Pennsylvania, United States

Style | ABV
Munich Dunkel Lager |  5.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: SheepNutz on 08-27-2001

Munich and various roasted malts give it a very malty, rich flavor with a hint of burnt flavor. 100% imported Hallertau hops, moderate bitterness and aroma.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 437 | Reviews: 259
Photo of gopens44
4.05/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

This has a very nice look to it. Lacing exists from what was previously a fine cream colored head, but now receded to a rim of foam and aforementioned gentle lacing. Nose is a touch muted, but what I can detect is a touch biscuity and maybe a tad nutty. Taste comes punching through with an immediate bitterness that gives way to that nutty thing that I could smell, hints of something spicy and just a faint berry presence. On the otherwise, crisp finish, we have just a hint of tart mixed into the final "eff you" attitude of bitterness. Very complex without being too much of a thinker. Haven't had it? Do yourself a solid and give it a whirl.

Photo of ordybill
3.48/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 OZ bottle into a pint glass.
Aroma- Has a nice sweet malt aroma.
Appearance- This is a very dark brown beer with a small brownish colored head.
Taste- The flavor is a little empty to me. A great aroma and look but the flavor was a little to one-dimensional with the malt. Not bad but I was expecting more.
Palate- A medium bodied beer with mild carbonation. this beer has a slightly oily texture.
Overall- It is OK to me, i noticed many others rated it a lot higher.

Photo of beer4brian331
4.01/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Beer of the month club done good!

Photo of MightyMonk
4.24/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Like the malty smooth mouthfeel and caramel notes.
Looks great in a pilsner glass
I'm a fan

Photo of Treyliff
4.04/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, poured into can glass

A- pours a clear dark copper-brown color with a one-finger creamy khaki colored head that retains long after the pour, leaving some specs of lace behind

S- sweet and malty aroma with notes of brown bread, caramel, grain & biscuit. A hint of earthy and spicy hop found it out

T- Caramel & bready malt sweetness up front with hints of raisin, slightly spicy hops kick in mid-palate, a dry finish leads to a a linger of chocolate and toasted bread crust

M- medium bodied with moderate carbonation leads to a foamy mouthfeel that continues into a creamy-yet-dry finish

O- smooth, sweet, may and incredibly drinkable, a solid American made dunkel

Photo of tone77
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%

Poured from a brown 12 oz. bottle. Has a light cola color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is malty, bready. Taste is toasted malts, bready, just a touch of sweetness. Feels light in the mouth and overall is an easy drinking beer.

Photo of Ozzylizard
4.06/5  rDev +4.9%

Undated bottle at 40 degrees into SA lager glass
Aroma of toasted malt
Head small (2 cm), light brown, frothy, diminishing to 2 mm ring and broken layer
Lacing poor – rare island of small bubbles
Body dark amber, clear
Flavor begins with toasted malt, ends just malty; no hops, no alcohol, no diacetyl
Palate medium, watery, lively carbonation

Appearance 4, Aroma 3.75, Flavor 4.25, Palate 4, Overall 4. Final weighted score: 4.0625
This is a very good dunkel – only lack of lacing detracts from its appearance, otherwise the beautiful clear dark amber is very enticing. The toasty aroma is welcoming, the toasted malt flavor is darn near perfect, and the palate is delightful. This is possibly the best beer Penn Brewing produces.

Photo of antott0523
3.13/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25

Appearance: As brown as the bottle from which it poured. Thin beige head that dissipates. The dark color hides any visible carbonation.

Smell: The yeast comes through with notes of iron. Toasted bread with faint notes bitter chocolate.

Taste: Bread and chocolate. Toasted malt. Limited amount of hop bitterness. The finish is nice, with dry toasted bread.

Mouthfeel: Moderate carbonation. Pretty smooth finish.

Overall: Not the greatest of the dark lagers that I have had, but it is decent. I prefer the higher carbonation of a St. Pauli Girl or Heineken, but this one probably has some nicer flavors.

Photo of BMMillsy
3.33/5  rDev -14%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Side by side with some other Penn stuff. Pours a dark amber brown color with small off white to light khaki head. Aroma is nice, with some sweet dark fruits, light toffee, chocolate notes. Flavor is a lightly spicy chocolate, clean finish, and medium sweetness. Medium bodied with low plus carbonation. A really nice brew that could pass as a winter warmer or a fall cookout beer. I'd have this again.

Photo of Sludgeman
4.07/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Received as part of a monthly beer club membership from my wonderful children. Poured into a nonic pint glass.

A good representation of the Munich Dunkel lager style. An underrated brewery producing good beers in generally undervalued styles. 4.25

A – Pours a clear reddish brown with a thin brown rocky head that dissipates quickly to nothing (-), almost zero lacing. 3.25

S – Malt, bread crusts. 4.25

T – Brown bread, faint toffee and molasses. 4

MF – Medium-bodied, semi-dry finish, thin, low carbonation. 4

Photo of LI_PO12
3.92/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle into Mug

Appearance- Dark brown with light hues, light tan head

Aroma- Bready malts, caramel sweetness, dark toastyness light but there

Flavor- Baked bread, caramel, some seep malts, slight hop presence

Mouthfeel- medium/light, good carbonation

Overall- Very true to style, and that's good not one of my favorite styles though. A very drinkable beer and worth a try.

Photo of Darkmagus82
3.74/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from bottle into a pint glass

Appearance – The beer pours a medium brown color with a small tan colored head. The head fades rather fast leaving a very light level of foamy lace on the sides of the glass.

Smell – The aroma is heaviest of caramel and roasted brown bread smells with a bit of toast and some cola like aromas. Along with these, is a decent level of nuttiness as well as some cocoa smells.

Taste – The taste begins a little sweet with some caramel and a molasses. Right from the start there is a good level of roasted malt flavor as well as some toast and cocoa, giving the brew a rather roasty flavor right from the start. The sweeter flavors fade more as the taste advances and a coffee and nutty flavor join the profile. The loss of some of the sweet and the arrival of the actually, rather strong coffee flavor really increase the roastiness of the brew toward the end, which in conjunction with a light earthy and herbal hop flavor, leaves a nice roasty and crisp taste to linger on the tongue.

Mouthfeel – The body of the beer is on the thinner side with a carbonation level that is on the higher side. While normally for a darker brew I enjoy a thicker body and lower carbonation, which likely would have been nice for this brew too, I actually found the combination of flavors nicely matched with the thinner body and higher carbonation, making this a rather refreshing style darker lager.

Overall – A nice, rather crisp, dark lager with a good level of roast, coffee and nice transitions of sweet to slightly drier flavors. A rather enjoyable brew.

Photo of barczar
3.58/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a brilliant dark brown with caramel highlights and a property quarter inch khaki head that dissipates quickly leaving a ring of foam.

Strong caramel notes and nutty toasted malt are accompanied by a plasticy, phenolic character.

Flavor reveals roast malt fruitiness underpinnings, with toasted malt at the base mid palate. The finish is slightly dry, though the balance is toward malt sweetness.

Body is a touch light, with moderate carbonation and a little astringent harshness. Alcohol warmth is evident.

No real flaws, but the fruity character is a little offputting. No real complexity, and a little overly sweet.

Photo of wvsabbath
4.15/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Serving Type -Bottle

Appearance - Dark ruby tan/brown, 1/8 inch head with some lacing.

Smell - Dark fruits, malts, sugars, a little cocoa/chocolate note along with some pale lager malts and yeasts.

Taste - Dark fruits mixed with lager malts, yeasts and chococlate at first sip. Nice combo of roasty, sweet and bitter. Hops add a nice bitter/piney flavor, not at all overpowering though. Pale malts really shine at the finish.

Mouthfeel - Malts and chocolate really coat tounge first, with yeasts and hops coming in on the palate. The aftertaste is malty, chocolate and yeasty sweet.

Overall - Great beer, balanced well, low alcohol and easy to drink. Combine that with a very affordible price , and year round avaiblity, this is a local winner for sure. One of the better dunkels out there.

Photo of Sweepz189
4.21/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

Small back story: I've lived near Pittsburgh for almost 20 years now. A friend of mine recently said she was moving and it is near the Penn Brewery. I laughed, thinking they probably made Stoney's Beer or something horrible or cheap. I was horribly wrong, and I apologize. So today I figured I'd try my first ever Penn Brewing Co. beer. The distributor had a few variants, all priced differently (not sure why). I asked the guy working if he ever had anything they made and he said the Weizen is good, but I was in the mood for something darker. So I shelled out 30 bucks for some Penn Dark. They had the Porter, which I almost got, but it was a few dollars more and let's just say money is tight right now.

A: I will say this almost every time I write a review, but I prefer to drink from bottles and I almost exclusively buy/drink beer in 24-bottle (12oz. bottle) cases from the distributor. No more bars for me. So my point is, I'm judging appearance by looking through a brown bottle. You know what I think? It's dark. Hence the name. Not a lot of foam, though.

S: I do smell new beers before tasting, so I can judge without bias from my taste buds. First impression was a little unsure; it's very strong-smelling, lot of chocolate, and a bit of alcohol. I was afraid I had got something that was good, but not easily drinkable. One of those "once in a while" beers.

T: Fortunately, I was wrong. It has a light, crispy chocolate and bitter flavor. Very easily drinkable. Not an overpowering alcoholic taste, it's hidden quite well behind the mild burnt-cherry flavor. The after taste is very bitter, like after eating a bar of dark chocolate.

M: The carbonation is about medium; not too heavy that you're feeling full after a sip, but not too light that it feels like bubbly water in your mouth. It also has a nice sting on the tip of the tongue as it washes over the rest of your mouth, coating it with the numbing sensation of alcohol!

O: I would certainly buy this beer again, and it indeed breaks my heart that it barely exceeds what I prefer to spend on a case of beer. Otherwise, I'd have a new regular to replace my standard Yeungling Black and Tan or Porter. This would be on the lines of Black and Tan, but it's just a way better craft in every facet. It's easy to drink, ABV is reasonable for a session beer (a bit high, but where's the fun in 3%?), and of course it tastes amazing. Not a new favorite, but very close. I know now what I'm getting in a week or so when I go to buy more beer: Penn Porter.

EDIT: Re-worded the part about how I buy beer by the case. I previously said "24.oz cases" which doesn't make sense. Proofread your reviews before submitting lol.

Photo of daliandragon
4.15/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Anything with a valkerie is usually a good bet anyway, plus its a good time of year for German style lager in general. Pours darker brown than I expected, nearly black, with a creamy cap but not much else visible. Nose surprises as well with heaps of roasted malts and caramel, chocolate, and bread tones.

Smooth in texture and medium in body, with a silky finish. Not swimming in flavor, but enough flavor to justify the style. I get mostly dry, dark chocolate and
a satisfying nuttiness. Noble malts make a late appearance as this beer warms that adds solid balance and complexity. A lot to like here if you like the style.

Photo of wattoclone
3.1/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

My son who lives in Pittsburgh and knows my love for dark beer bought me a case of this for Christmas last year at the Penn Brewery. I used to be able to find it in my local distributors near Philly but since 2008 it has disappeared. The Penn Dark I used to purchase locally prior to 2009 was somewhat richer in flavor and aroma, but the 2012 version was definitely fresher which is important for this style.

This review is based on the newer 2012 batch. It pours a medium brown with light tan head that persists during the session. Aroma is sweet malt with aromatic notes of vanilla. The taste is a quick burst of roasted malt and hints of vanilla with a rather polite short lived bitter after note. I still like it slightly better than the locally available dunkel from Sly Fox but not enough to drive for 5 hours.

Photo of grittybrews
3.93/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a dark, nutty brown with a ruby tinge and a finger of light khaki head. Aroma of caramel and light toast.

Moderate carbonation and a crispy, light mouthfeel. Roasty chocolate, toast, and toffee up front followed by a hint of dark fruit and just a little roasty bitterness on the tail end.

Clean and easy-drinking. Nice malty flavor without being too heavy.

Photo of IronLover
4.38/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark chocolatey brown in color with amber hues and a deep chill haze to start. Poured with a rich off-white foam that reduced to a thick cap that left sheets of sticky lacings on the glass. A mellow, pleasant combination of roasted, chocolate and toasted malt. Thick, but delicate malty feel. Roasted and chocolate malt flavors up front and into the middle. Moderate bitter hop flavors are introduced in the middle and intensify toward the end only to taper out at the finish. Finishes with a delicate roasted malt aftertaste. A fabulous dunkel!

Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.85/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a dark brown color, with a thin off-white head that fades quickly and leaves a very thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is faint but contains light roasted malts, lager yeast and a touch of hops.

T: The taste starts out bready with flavors of lager yeast and a hearty but not too heavy roasted malt character. Then a very mild sweetness from flavors of chocolate and caramel come in. The hops presence is also mild but complementary and brings a good balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet and slightly bready.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is clean.

O: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, mild kick, good representation of style, this is a solid beer to drink for a while if you’re in the mood for the style.

Photo of mountdew1
4.1/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured into a pilsner. Color was a nice medium dark brown that was partially transparent. Had a nice 2 finger cream head that faded to 1/4 inch after a few minutes. Aroma was interesting. Had hints of fruity sweet, as well as sweet grainy bread. Kinda like orange flavored oatmeal bread. Flavor carried over the slightly sweet fruity flavorbefore shifting to a malty note, and then finishing with just a tad of bitterness. Was a bit thin and watery. Carbonated well, but just seemed too thin. Overall a good beer. Nice subtlety throughout.

Photo of claytri
4.35/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The beer poured a rich brown with a tan head. The aroma was of dark malt and a hint of cherries. The taste was toasted malt with a coffee middle and a cherry finish,and all with a wonderful smokey undertone. The feel is medium and dry. I really like this beer. Sort of like throwing my best pitch and they caught it in the wheelhouse.

Photo of Jimmys
3.88/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle into tulip. no bottled on date.

A: dark brown, but by no means opaque. off-white brown-ish tight bubbled head looks good. good retention and lacing.

S: banana split. chocolate sauce on top. sweet, a little fruity, and definitely chocolatey.

T: tobacco leaves. chocolate. dry cocoa powder into the finish. a certain chocolate/banana flavor as well. chalky.

M: average/moderate mouthfeel on a light/medium body.

D: another solid lager offering from penn brewing co. out of pittsburgh, pa. good flavor on a really drinkable brew.

Photo of schoolboy
3.36/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Well, it is dark and well crafted, with no glaring flaws. No funkiness of any kind, but also not a ton of character.
slight.

The head is pretty thin. The aroma has a slight hint of roasted flavor - very slight. It gets better with warmth as you would expect for the style.

Although this brew is very drinkable, I don't think I will seek it out and I would recommend getting actual German versions of this (they often are just as low priced if not even lower).

Photo of dbrauneis
3.53/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on tap at Drop Off Service in New York, NY

A: Pours a very dark reddish brown with light hints of dark amber when held up to the light. The beer has a thin beige head that reduces to a ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate to significant lacing is observed.

S: Overall a pretty light smelling beer with hints of roasted malts, smoke, and a little caramel sweetness.

T: A malty sweetness that is not unlike flavored pancake syrups (not real maple) with lots of caramel notes and some hints of nuts. There are also some roasted malts and a very light bitterness.

M: Medium bodied with light to moderate amounts of carbonation. Smooth.

O: Really easy to drink and very refreshing on a beautiful spring day here in NYC. Definitely an easy drinking session beer and one I would certainly get again. Very true to the style.

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Penn Dark from Pennsylvania Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 437 ratings.