Penn Dark - Pennsylvania Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Penn DarkPenn Dark

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

444 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 444
Reviews: 259
rAvg: 3.87
pDev: 11.89%
Wants: 38
Gots: 40 | 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: 444 | Reviews: 259
Reviews by dexterk1:
More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
3.78/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a nice deep brown color with some ruby hues,nice rocky head that sticks around.Smell was faintly malty and fruity.Taste was of of chocolate malts and a little caramelly with some lingering dryness.Much better than alot of the German styles I have had,very appetizing and sustaining.

Photo of RoyalT
4.3/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance – This lager is super-dark, it’s almost black, with a modest white head. It sure looks the part.

Smell – The rich maple and molasses are evident at the nose. These malts are complex with little sweetness. I can also pick up a light bready aroma.

Taste – This one delivers on the taste as well. It’s all about the malts with all the senses from the nose along with a deeper sense of grain. The sweetness is barely there and it’s more like baker’s chocolate than anything else.

Mouthfeel – This one is right in between light and medium-bodied with some bitterness throughout.

Drinkability – The simplicity of this MDL in and of itself is enough for me to give it the thumbs up, but the malt make-up and lack of nasty American grain means I’m officially joining the fan club.

Comments – Thanks to my best BA bud skyhand from bringing this back to Seattle all the way from PA.

Photo of nohead02
4.4/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Very dark with a good long-lasting head. Moderate body -- a bit higher than a regular lager, perhaps. The main flavor is that of toasted, almost slightly burnt malt. Though I am more of a hop head than a malt kind of guy, I really enjoyed this. A very good session beer that rewards with ample flavor.

On a side note, the BA tasting notes say that this beer has 5% alcohol by volume. According to Pennsylvania Brewery's web page it is only 4%.

Photo of Jason
4.25/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: 12 oz brown long-neck bottle with a blurb about the beer on the back ... freshness date notched on the back label.

Appearance: Dark brown with burnt amber hues ... well staying light tan lace.

Smell: Caramel in the nose with hints of grain and dark bread.

Taste: Very smooth with a medium body. Moderate hopping and a sweet caramel and carob malt flavour in the front. Layered with a bready, grainy and carob finish.

Notes: Straight up, a great dark lager ... spot on for style.

Photo of Billolick
3.83/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 ouncer sampled, some sort of feshness dating, but just having the first letters of the months along one side of the label doesnt do much for me.( bottled on? best before?, what year are we talking about???, c'mon brewers out there we can give better info w/o that much trouble) Alright my ranting is done, this one pours dark honey amber, a tad murky, with an off white/tan head and it leaves nice fine and well scattered lacing. Nose is toffee and brown sugar. this is a tasty sweet malty brew. Notes of vanilla, toffee, some nuttyness and sweet malts. Clean finish, free of esters and phenolics, minimal hop notes detected. I'm not really a huge lager drinker, but this clearly is a quality product and a worthwhile sessioner

Photo of tigg924
3.57/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: 3/4 inch head, dark-reddish brown in color, clear, high carbonation

Smell: dark wheat and toasted malt

Taste: big dark wheat, pumpernickel, some toasted malt, and light hops at the end.

Mouthfeel: high carbonation, light bodied, moderately sweet with a slightly bitter end

Overall: A nice bready beer. I do not find this one boundary pushing, but rather in the very solid category. I could have several of these, but this is also not the first beer I would reach for.

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

Presentation: 12oz. amber bottle with what appears to be a freshness dating marked on the back. "If you were going to spend eternity drinking beer, this would be the one." Hmmm....we'll see.

Appearance: A very, very dark brown brown/deep amber color on the pour. An amazingly creamy head appears and in addition to lacing the glass in a patchy sort of way, it also lasts the entire trip to the bottom of the glass.

Smell: Caramel sweetness over a bready aroma.

Taste: Toasted rye bread mixed in with roasted nuts and smooth caramel. Towards the end, a little more bitterness creeps in.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied with a smooth and just slightly crisp finish.

Drinkability: An excellent lager. I'm not usually one for this style of beer, but Penn's Dark has carved a niche in my heart. With just a slight aftertaste, this one is very easy to keep drinking. A pleasant surprise from the folks at Penn.

Photo of jcdiflorio
4.13/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Have this on my draft system currantly,always review my drafts, even if i had in bottled version as this one for a future referance.
Poured into a nonic glass.
Mahogany color with a reddish hue,clear with a slight haze. Dense,creamy light tan head with good retention leaving clingy webby lacing down the glass.

Dark fruit aromas at first wiff,followed by a nice moderate maltiness,roasty/nutty hints of chocolate with some light smokeyness.Earthy with a fresh baked bread note.

Clean taste with fruity notes at first turning roasty with powdered chocolate and a slight burnt edge. Very nice balance with a clean,crisp finish.

Full bodied with a light mouthfeel and some grainyness. Very smooth and refreshing. A real crowd pleaser,not a beer i would want to drink all night,but won't complain a bit if I had to.

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 ADR
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've drank a lot of Penn Darks (mostly on tap) over the years, but haven't done a review since I've joined B.A, so thanks to P. D. for the bottle. Clear dark amber appearance, head is light brown and frothy, like steamed milk on a latte. Laces are mostly rings with some interconnecting tendrils. Malty aroma, biscuity with some sense of light honey. Texture is fun, if lighter, some medium-toasted graininess plays in concert with a solid if non-complex caramel flavor. The finish is best, dries slightly with well-done hop balance. Just a solid Dark Lager, brings back the memories.

Photo of WVbeergeek
4.7/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I must say that in the past, I have boughten a whole case of this stuff and believe me that case was worth it. Each one of those beers were fully enjoyed by all, so now it's time to return to this old favorite and break it down. Appears a very dark nearly opaque with hints of ruby piercing through around the edges when held up to the light. Paired with a tan moccha head, which is binding to the rim of the forming even annular rings of lace as the glass empties. The aroma has some semi-faint fruit tones wrapped in a mild milk chocolate bringing creamy malt to the forefront. Also some of the darker roasted malts are also doing their part allowing a toasted nut scent to dance in the air. The taste leaves me with that creamy milk chocolate sweetness around my lips, along with the trickled chocolate and mild coffee tones comes a crisp smooth lager-like characteristic making this one amazingly smooth. The mouthfeel is full of those creamy sensations down the palate of this fairly heavy bodied beer. Drinkability I would love to find this on tap just to see if it gets any frothier than it already is, and I would like to experiment with mixing this with some Lindemann's Framboise.

Photo of stereosforgeeks
3.95/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance – This lager is "almost-black," with a modest white head.

Smell – Roasted malts and molasses and maple syrup. There are some bread notes as well.

Taste – The roasted malts and molasses seem to be the backbone here. After the malts comes some bitter bakers chocolate and a some mild hops in the finish.

Mouthfeel – Minimal carbonation in a medium bodied ale. Feels appropriate.

Drinkability – Very drinkable, but not incredibly complex.

Photo of rhoadsrage
3.11/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

(Served in a dimple mug)

A- This beer has a dense but clear walnut brown body with a slight amber red hint to it in the light. There is a strong carbonation of big bubbles and a perfectly smooth creamy light tan head that last and last.

S- This beer has a smooth but soft green hop note with a soft biscuit malt note in the background.

T- This beer has a smooth dry pale malt with lightly toasted malt flavor. There are some pot caramel note and the dry biscuit flavor comes through with a finish of bitterness that might be from hops or from dark malt it is hard to tell.

M- This beer has a medium mouthfeel with a light dry finish.

D- This beer has very soft flavors and some dark malt notes but not much depth to them.

Photo of SetarconeX
4.13/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A nice dark brown, without a trace of haze. Smells a bit malty sweet, but it's not too heavy. Really wish there were a bit more nose on this one. Luckily, it tastes pretty wonderful. There's an almost coffee-like roasting on it that gives it a wonderfully rich flavor.

Which gives it a shockingly drinkable quality. Almost like having a cup of coffee, only it's beer. This is good stuff.

Photo of brewQ
3.83/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On Tap at the brewery.
This is the one I settled on after tasting several at the bar.

Black "schwarz" color with a touch of ruby. Off white head with strong lacing. Mild, malty aroma.

With my sweet tooth this would be a very good session beer.
Full flavored with just a bit of hop for balance.

I have to admit I am such an ale/hop fiend that I had to adjust to this all lager brewey.

Photo of TheycallmeTim
4.25/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into an American pint glass.

A--Pours a deep brown, dark chocolate body with a finger and a half tan head that dies quickly to a ring. Head was denser than I anticipated, however, and left some nice dots and speckles in the glass.

S--Mostly dates, with a hint of licorice and tobacco toward the back of the nose. A little bit of must from the yeast.

T--Up front the malt gives you some soy sauce and beef jerky (not much of either, but they're there) before being cut by a tang of beautiful lager yeast and a bright, brief hop bitterness that has a twinge of fruit, maybe plum? Throughout there are considerable whole-grain flavors from dark, molasses-rich bread. Very satisfying on the barley end of things, and the malt vinegar early on makes this brew memorable.

M&D--Seltzer water. That, to me, is exactly what the mouthfeel mimics. It's kind of refreshing, but I'd like something a little less bubbly and a little more sturdy. Drinkability shines as is typical for a lager--worthy of a keg and a giant pyramid of stacked steins.

I tried this beer because I had a Warsteiner dunkel at an outdoor German Christmas market and, before that, a Penn Pilsner at a Pirates game at PNC park. I had tried neither the Munich dark style nor the brewery before these two, and having liked both I was stoked to see I could combine them. The result is impressive. Looking forward to trying more of Penn's offerings.

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

Penn Dark

Appearance- Dark mahogany brown with a small light lacing head.
Smell- Roasted/ burnt caramel malt. Faint though.
Taste- Roasted caramel malt with a BBQ wood chip tanginess.
Mouthfeel- Sweet and chewy up front with a dry ashy burnt like feeling in the end.

Overall- Bought this on a whim and was very happy. This is a session beer without a doubt. Good thing this is easily obtainable in my area.

Photo of asabreed
3.08/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: Dark amber, not a lot of lacing, not a lot of retention, which seems to be something I've been saying for a while lately, especially with these "darker" beers.

Smell: I get some biscuit, some mild darker roasted malt sweetness, and that's about it. There's just really not a lot here.

Taste: Again, not a lot here. Some darker mildly roasted malt flavors. A bit of residual sweetness. The faintest of hops. Seems way too toned-down all over the place to be a legitimate German brew.

Mouthfeel: Nicely coating and seemingly fairly light, with good carbonation, moderate, enough to let the flavors come in without feeling too heavy or over-carbonated.

Drinkability: A solid brew, but for me nothing special. I'm starting to believe I either just don't have an affinity for many German styles, or a lot of these domestic breweries of such brews are overrated. There's flavor going on here, and I could drink these pretty easily, but I don't find anything more than above average that I want to keep returning to.

Photo of Sammy
3.48/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Amber rather than dark colour. Its plain but its drinkable. Some toastiness, some hop, rather taste is led by malt profile including chocolate malt. Molasses.Appreciated than no sourness. Medium mouthfeel. Part of the German style lineup and nothing special.

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.3/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Penn delivers a very well-made and exceptionally drinkable lager in their Dark. It's clear, deep chestnut body glows with ruby highlights at it's center; and its creamy light tan head holds rather well before dropping to a standard collar and leaves short splashes of lace about the glass. Dark, caramelized sugars and Munich malts dominate the nose; toasty and bordering on becoming subtly roasty with a thin cusp of chocolate in the background. Occassional floral hops sometimes make their way through the malt, lending to quite an enticing aroma. It's somewhat creamy and fairly smooth across the palate with a fine-bubbled, moderate carbonation that lends a light zest to the tongue before it warms. Dark Munich malts appear upfront in the flavor, mildly toasty, lightly sweet, and even somewhat raisiny. As it warms more toasted character becomes apparent; and it finishes with a flash of floral and grassy hops as it's drying bitterness rises. It's very well-brewed, clean, nicely balanced, and highly drinkable! An impressive dunkel that probably deserves more attention than it gets.

Photo of cjgator3
3.77/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown with light tan head leaves a decent amount of lacing on the glass. Sweet toasty malts, caramel and fresh baked bread make up the nose. Taste is much like the aroma with a lingering toasted malt and hop finish. Mouthfeel is medium bodied and smooth. Overall, Penn Dark is a pretty solid offering that is good enough to have again.

Photo of prototypic
3.38/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: It's clear and very dark brown in color. Head is off white and two fingers deep. Retention was good, but lacing was on the light side.

Smell: Light on the nose. A mix of roasted and caramel malts is noticeable if you stick with. A bit grainy smelling. Light yeasty smell toward the end.

Taste: Caramel and roasted malts blend well giving the beer an initally sweet taste. It is grainy and a bit earthy. Perhaps a little watered down, but not offensively so. Hops are light, but noticeable. A bit yeasty on the tail.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: It's light bodied. Carbonation is good. Decently crisp and refreshing. Good beer for a hot day. Pretty smooth and drinkable. Overall, it's pretty solid. I wouldn't turn it down.

Photo of tempest
3.63/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Ooh, definitely the hoppiest dunkel lager I've ever had. The malt could stand up a little more, but there's still a nice subtle caramel and cocoa taste with a burnt toast edge. The hops, along with a lot of the flavor, fade as the beer warms. They were grassy and funky before, now they've become lame as I finish the beer. Frankly this beer is still a bit bland. Nice and plenty tasty at times, but a little light on flavor.

Photo of Cromster
2.56/5  rDev -33.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Appearance - Light brown in color with very little head. No lacing.

Smell - Some malt and caramel

Taste - Toasted malt and a little hops.

Mouthfeel - Very light in the mouth with very little bite. I would even say it is a little watery.

Drinkability - I didn't enjoy this beer very much. It is something you could drink if you are in to lighter beers.

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.

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Penn Dark from Pennsylvania Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 444 ratings.