1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Penn Dark - Pennsylvania Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Penn DarkPenn Dark

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
87
very good

385 Ratings
THE BROS
95
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 385
Reviews: 252
rAvg: 3.88
pDev: 11.6%
Wants: 34
Gots: 15 | 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:
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 added by: SheepNutz on 08-27-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Penn Dark Alström Bros
Ratings: 385 | Reviews: 252 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of rhoadsrage
rhoadsrage

Illinois

3.1/5  rDev -20.1%
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.

Serving type: bottle

01-11-2007 22:47:20 | More by rhoadsrage
Photo of Cylinsier
Cylinsier

Pennsylvania

3.1/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

From the tap.

Pours a pretty dark brown like coffee with a tan head that's not too thick.

Smells malty and a bit sweet like dark sugar.

The taste is like malts and brown sugar, plus a bit of toastiness.

Mouthfeel is smooth and on the thinner side. Not very carbonated in the feel.

A pretty decent and easy to drink dunkel, but I've had better.

Serving type: on-tap

08-02-2009 21:52:12 | More by Cylinsier
Photo of wattoclone
wattoclone

Pennsylvania

3.11/5  rDev -19.8%
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.

Serving type: bottle

09-12-2012 14:48:25 | More by wattoclone
Photo of lionking
lionking

Pennsylvania

3.13/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance. Poured from bottle to glass. Small head on the beer with some lacing as I drank it. Dark brown color almost like weak coffee.

Smell. Roasted malts with coffee.

Taste. Dark malty flavor with coffee

Mouthfeel. Ok but a little on the watery side.

Drinkabiliy. Honestly I was a little disapointed with this one.

Serving type: bottle

12-21-2008 17:13:02 | More by lionking
Photo of antott0523
antott0523

New Jersey

3.14/5  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.

Serving type: bottle

04-23-2014 23:46:18 | More by antott0523
Photo of jaluria
jaluria

Connecticut

3.18/5  rDev -18%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

First beer I've tried from Penn Brewing Co.

Poured a dark brown color with subtle dark copper/rust hues at the bottom of my goblet. Heavy carbonation with a thick, frothy head. Heavy lacing, entire rings were left behind. Aromas of alcohol, spoiled fruit, cream, and yeast; together these scents were rather unpleasant. The taste was as might be expected with fruit juice flavors mixing with sweet malt and yeast flavors. Somewhat astringent flavor in association with the yeast and fruit flavors. Semi-sweet with a creamy texture, but not complex or refreshing. Slightly tart and bitter finish.

Serving type: bottle

07-24-2006 15:01:40 | More by jaluria
Photo of nsmartell
nsmartell

Wisconsin

3.2/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I enjoyed this beer from the comfort of my own living room. From bottle to standard pint glass.

Appearance: Poured out a nice brown color with a foamy, off-white head.

Smell: Roasted malt, light caramel and slightly hoppy.

Taste: Roasted malt and hops, but not much else.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and medium-bodied beer.

Drinkability: Not my favorite dunkel I have ever tried. A little lacking in flavor for me.

Serving type: bottle

05-29-2008 00:52:57 | More by nsmartell
Photo of woodychandler
woodychandler

Pennsylvania

3.23/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

This arrived with a big, deep-tan head above a dark brown colored beer, like cola, with ruby highlights. The nose had a slightly sweetish aspect. The mouthfeel was thin, but approaching medium, not out-and-out watery. I perceived notes of licorice and chocolate in the mouth and on the tongue. The finish was lingering with a semi-sweet chocolaty aftertaste.

Serving type: on-tap

10-31-2007 22:01:41 | More by woodychandler
Photo of OWSLEY069
OWSLEY069

Pennsylvania

3.23/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a clean deep amber to brown in color with a light tan head. In the aroma, small roast, caramel, and small faint lager like notes. In the taste, coffee, caramel sweetness, and faint hints of lager. A small bite and medium to lighter bodied mouthfeel, with a small dry hint of caramel in the aftertaste. Nice roasty flavors with lager notes under all of it.

Serving type: bottle

05-26-2011 19:57:46 | More by OWSLEY069
Photo of hayesez
hayesez

Indiana

3.23/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Received, along with numerous other locals, from ceptrone84.

Poured into my Pilsner Urquell glass. Dark caramel color that stacked up nicely in the pilsner glass. Small amounts of bubbly sandstone head grace the surface.

Very malty nose with a fair amount of graininess. Small amounts of sweet caramel are also present.

The taste is fairly straightforward. Very malty with a small amount of roastiness. The sweet caramel is also in there, but you have to dig deep. The graininess in the nose is not quite as evident in the taste, but definitely still there. This beer certainly does not stand out; it is not overly complex and tastes very much as I expected. Standard.

Medium-bodied, light carbonation. I'm not a huge fan of the style, but this is a good representation; you get what you would expect. Very, very easy to drink.

Consumed: 3/8/2010

Serving type: bottle

03-09-2010 01:26:02 | More by hayesez
Photo of JPMcKirk
JPMcKirk

Pennsylvania

3.25/5  rDev -16.2%

06-15-2012 01:41:15 | More by JPMcKirk
Photo of Petegrieco
Petegrieco

Massachusetts

3.25/5  rDev -16.2%

07-02-2014 15:23:42 | More by Petegrieco
Photo of DrJay
DrJay

Massachusetts

3.25/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Clear, chestnut colour with a nice reddish brown hue, topped by beige foam. Head retention was alright and lacing was on the sticky side. Quite nice looking. Aromas were of sweet malts, caramel, and a hint of roast, with a pleasant nutty character. Low bitterness, definitely on the sweet side, with a mild grainy/roasty quality. Bitterness became a little stronger in the finish. Lightish bodied with moderate carbonation and a little residual sugar left behind by the yeast. Not bad at all, but a little too sweet for my palate without having a full, malty character to back it up.

Serving type: bottle

08-26-2007 21:06:39 | More by DrJay
Photo of Illos
Illos

New Jersey

3.25/5  rDev -16.2%

09-23-2012 05:56:20 | More by Illos
Photo of mjw06
mjw06

Pennsylvania

3.33/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

dark mahogany color with a small one finger size tan head that dissipates fairly quickly

barley malt with caramel tones and a metallic tone as well

a sharp malt taste that glides across the tongue all the way to the finish. the taste doesnt conjure up the presence that the smell has. though it does mock it with a little metallic accompaniement. for some odd reason it always bothers me when a breweries "dark" selection has less taste than its regular of flagship version. this is such the case with penn dark, as it carries significantly less taste and complexity than penn pilsner. little to no residual. not very rich at all and overall a dissapointing taste.

light to medium body, kind of thin overall in the feel of the malt, and slides right by to the back. little heavy on the carbonation on the side.

despite its flaws, overall its a good beer that is pretty drinkable and enjoyable. but ill just take a regular penn pils over this anyday.

Serving type: bottle

05-09-2009 15:47:13 | More by mjw06
Photo of BMMillsy
BMMillsy

Florida

3.33/5  rDev -14.2%
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.

Serving type: bottle

03-30-2014 02:24:38 | More by BMMillsy
Photo of PorterPatrol
PorterPatrol

North Carolina

3.38/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a traditional American pint glass, this Pittsburg beer offered a nice clean head with rich dark brown hues often found in German style dark lagers. The brewery is consistent in their beer making quality and this dunkel is another winner with roasted notes along side a teeth-lingering crispness with a subtle sweetness and enjoyable maltiness on the finish.

Serving type: bottle

06-19-2009 01:15:10 | More by PorterPatrol
Photo of schoolboy
schoolboy

Ohio

3.38/5  rDev -12.9%
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).

Serving type: bottle

04-29-2012 23:18:57 | More by schoolboy
Photo of Dogbrick
Dogbrick

Ohio

3.38/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This brew pours a dark brown color with a medium thin beige head with decent retention. Stringy lacing. Roasted malt and nuts in the nose. Medium body with a smooth mouthfeel. Roasted malt and caramel flavors, along with lightly floral hops. The finish is mildly nutty and sweet and does not last long. Decent overall.

Serving type: bottle

12-18-2007 19:44:53 | More by Dogbrick
Photo of prototypic
prototypic

Ohio

3.4/5  rDev -12.4%
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.

Serving type: bottle

03-11-2008 02:26:00 | More by prototypic
Photo of jhammerly
jhammerly

Nebraska

3.4/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Received by Imstillthegman as part of SS07, thanks again.

An easy drinking brown hued lager with a one-fingered beige head. Body is light to medium and easy on the taste buds. Light caramel sweetness in the nose (as well as in the flavor). Add a slight nuttiness to that with a very mild hop character. A good beer.

Serving type: bottle

01-04-2008 03:44:21 | More by jhammerly
Photo of BuckeyeNation
BuckeyeNation

Iowa

3.43/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Date brown infused with orange juice. As it often does with beer of this hue, backlighting changes things to russet. The sandlewood colored head is attractive, as is the wide band of BB-shot lace that has formed just above the nonic bulge. Yes indeed, this is what a Munich dunkel is supposed to look like.

The aroma doesn't hold the line. It's on the musty and (slightly) earthy side rather than being dark malty. Actually, PD smells like a garden variety Euro dark lager rather than a member of this most venerable style.

The flavor makes a minor comeback. I've still had better. The beer doesn't taste old, but it would be nice to have some sort of date to determine if it's as the brewers intended or if it's past its prime. Thankfully, it's improving as the middle of the bottle approaches.

Penn Dark is simple, as are quite a few Munich dunkels. The less than bright star of the show is an earthy maltiness that isn't as dark as hoped for. There's a hint of roastiness, though it's actually more of a brown bread toastiness. Hallertau hops balance things out in terms of both flavor and sweetness-bitterness. A medium-dark fruitiness and a baked nuttiness emerge as the beer warms.

The mouthfeel, while not the least bit impressive, is right about where it should be. It's closer to light than to medium and is adequately carbonated. To be fair, not too many 5.0% lagers impress me with their mouthfeels.

Penn Dark is roughly the same level of quality as Penn Pilsner and Penn Weizen. That is, decent and drinkable without being a standout. It may not be a fair comparison, but St. Nicholaus Bock Bier is still the undisputed king of the PBC hill as far as I'm concerned.

Serving type: bottle

07-30-2008 13:12:43 | More by BuckeyeNation
Photo of david18
david18

New York

3.45/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I think this was a good time to have this beer (a chilly spring day). Good dark malt with an overall light character in weight and alcohol by volume. I'm not sure exactly what the difference is between a dunkel and a schwartzbier but this is not as interesting as many of the Schwartzbiers I've had.

That said, the Penn Munich Dunkel Lager was pretty good. Good malty aromo and flavor but, as expected, light on the head and stomach. Aroma is not that strong, flavor is ok. Drinkability was good but I don't know how many more of these I'll order.

Serving type: on-tap

04-20-2010 18:53:55 | More by david18
Photo of rtratzlaff
rtratzlaff

North Carolina

3.48/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a deep brown to black body under an off white head.
Aromas of sweet malt with a slight roastiness as well.

The flavors are roasty with more sweetness of munich malt and a good bit of hoppiness for a dunkel in the finish.
The body is medium to light with ample carbonation and plenty of character to make this something worth trying. Overall, a great dunkel that beat the pants off most macro versions of the style.

Serving type: on-tap

07-11-2009 23:01:41 | More by rtratzlaff
Photo of PorterLambic
PorterLambic

Florida

3.48/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear, coppery-brown. Decent head develops then drops to islands. No noticeable lace.
Smell is roasted malts, hints of wheat, hops, alcohol and a fruitcake-like note.
Taste is the same as the smell with some slight dark fruit and yeast notes joining the party.
Smooth, medium bodied, slightly warming in the throat. A really nice beer overall. Could quaff several without any problem.

Serving type: bottle

03-31-2010 02:29:58 | More by PorterLambic
Penn Dark from Pennsylvania Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 385 ratings.