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Penn Dark - Pennsylvania Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Penn DarkPenn Dark

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

386 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 386
Reviews: 252
rAvg: 3.87
pDev: 11.63%
Wants: 34
Gots: 14 | 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
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Ratings: 386 | Reviews: 252 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BeerTruth


3.98/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Got this one recently from tpd975, thanks man!

12 oz. bottle poured into a pilsner glass.

Pours a very dark amber brown hue with a one finger fluffy light tan colored head that dies down to a thin layer which lasts throughout. No lacing to be seen what so ever on the sides of the glass. Smell consists of chocolate malts, noble hops, and toasted grains. Caramel, nuts, and musty earth in the nose as well. Taste starts off sweet with caramel, toffee, and sun tea. Midway some spicy hops emerge with a slight metallic flavor. Aftertaste has some roasted notes and buttered biscuits, nice balance overall. Light to medium body with a soft creamy feel in the mouth and a subtle carbonation. A very drinkable and flavorful beer, one I wouldn't have a problem putting down on a regular basis. Thanks again Greg for hooking me up with this one!

Serving type: bottle

01-25-2009 02:05:19 | More by BeerTruth
Photo of PatrickJR

North Carolina

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

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into nonic pint glass.

A - Very deep garnet, nearly opaque. A finger of brown head rises with moderate retention. Minimal lacing.

S - Chocolate and roasty aromas. Sweet with some hints of metal. Slight spicy hop aroma.

T - Milk chocolate-like sweetness starts things off with a very rich and creamy flavor. Mid palate the brew dries out a little bit with hints of burnt bread and some metallic characteristics. Late palate more roasted grain and some earthy bitterness enters the scene with a touch of sour fruit. Finish is fairly clean.

M - Medium bodied with moderate to soft carbonation. Everything works great with the flavors.

D - A solid dunkel worth revisiting. Nothing completely extraordinary but nonetheless a very well balanced and drinkable beer.

Serving type: bottle

01-14-2009 08:23:48 | More by PatrickJR
Photo of TheycallmeTim

New York

4.28/5  rDev +10.6%
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.

Serving type: bottle

01-09-2009 21:10:16 | More by TheycallmeTim
Photo of Dodo2step


4.15/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

P- Market Cross Pub in Carlisle.

A- a dark brown/copper brass pour. A minimal head but lets off great aroma. Somewhat opaque but some light does get through.

S- light aroma of chocolate and caramel malts. Also some german pilsner malts.

T- dark roasted caramel malts with hints of chocolate. Some sour tang as well. Very good and tasty. Not too much hop to it but it is there but this beer is all malt flavor.

M- malt and smooth. Very clean and a pleasure to put down.

D- Easy to pound these back. A nice session beer. this would be good from a keg if you wanted to get one for a party.

Serving type: bottle

12-28-2008 19:01:36 | More by Dodo2step
Photo of Hojaminbag


4.35/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served on-tap at the brewery in the North Side of Pittsburgh.

A slightly translucent brown body with dark copper colored edges. A small off-white head that doesn't have much retention and doesn't leave behind any lacing.

Roasted malts in the aroma combine with caramel and chocolate malt notes. Some light pilsner malt aromas come through also. Just a touch of earthy spiciness from noble hops.

Taste is nicely layered. Roasted malt is the first and most pronounced flavor that is noticeable in Penn Dark. Sweet caramel and chocolate malts contribute to the flavor also. This beer is definitely about the malt, but some noble hop earthiness comes through also. A verty crisp, balanced beer.

Mouthfeel is light and thin, just like a lager should be. Very smooth.

Just like all of the Penn beers I've tried this one is extremely drinkable. Balanced flavors, a light body, sessionable ABV% and overall tastiness all contribute.

Serving type: on-tap

12-27-2008 21:28:41 | More by Hojaminbag
Photo of jasonjlewis


3.98/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a small head with subpar retebntion but a nice brown color.

Smell is of nice caramel malts and a bit of a roasted chracteristic. The malts provide a very big aroma.

Munich malt mixes with some caramel tofee notes and a hint of dark malts both chocolate and roasted. The balance is superb. The beer is clean and crisp from the yeast and the focus is just on the malts which are wonderfully balanced.

Full mouthfeel with good carbonation.

This is a very very drinkable beer. It has such a nice balance. I could have a few of these.

Thanks to seanpachefeddffa (however you spell it) for the extra.

Serving type: bottle

12-26-2008 04:27:26 | More by jasonjlewis
Photo of lionking


3.13/5  rDev -19.1%
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 SwillBilly


3.78/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served from 12oz bottle:

Appearance: Pours a deep, rich mahogony with tinges of of copper along the outer edges. When held up to light its crystal clear with streams of carbonated bubbles racing to the surface. The beer is topped by a rather small, tan head the fades fairly quickly to a sheer lacing.

Smell: Fresh bread along with some dark fruit dominate the nose. A sort of mineral like quality makes itself known as well.

Taste: Starts nicely with the mild sweetness of dark fruit along with an earthy, bready flavor. Has a touch of roastiness in the finish along with just a glimmer of hop bitterness that lingers. Somewhat dry in the finish with a little bit of a tannic bite along with a mineral like quality.

Mouthfeel: Light and lively. The color betrays the lightness of the beer.

Drinkability/Notes: Overall, a good beer that is very drinkable. Enough different flavors to keep things interesting and the light body makes it really easy to drink. Not the best Munich Dunkel I've had but still a good one. Seek and Enjoy

Serving type: bottle

11-24-2008 20:51:15 | More by SwillBilly
Photo of blackie


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

a: into a pilsner glass, gives a one-finger light khaki head with average retention, the beer is a deep pecan shell brown in color

s: clean pilsner and nutshell Munich malts comprise much of the aroma, light metallic touch, mild noble hop spice

m: medium carbonation and light-medium body

t: clean pilsner type malts heavily accented with a nutty, toasty Munich malt, very light sweetness dries quickly, hops add just a touch of grassy spice and bring a light bitterness, finishes clean with some gentle toasted malts lingering

d: an authentic example of the style: clean, flavorful, and sessionable...really enjoying the Penn stuff, they seem to have some of the better micro lagers around

sixer $8.99 from Whole Foods Fair Lakes

Serving type: bottle

11-02-2008 23:43:00 | More by blackie
Photo of Gavage

New Jersey

4.08/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: lovely reddish brown in color with a 1" head.

Smell: malt sweetness is the lone aroma pulled from the glass.

Taste: nice malt profile with a light red ripe fruit sweetness, mild bitterness, and barely a hint of chocolate.

Mouthfeel: lightly crisp from start to finish. Lighter side of a medium bodied beer. Short aftertaste leaves the mouth quickly.

Drinkability: simple but tasty lager. Easy to quaff and a pure sessionable beer.

Serving type: bottle

11-01-2008 14:53:44 | More by Gavage
Photo of dmamiano

West Virginia

3.55/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

poured fairly dark with virtually no head..redish hues around the edges as its held to the light.
smell is very much of grainy malts which seem to be mixed with a metallic type smell..kind of funkey..hints of caramel noticed.
Taste is immediately malty and smooth...very bitter in the finish for me.
Actually slight vanilla notes are highlighted alond with a slight "doughy" flavor.
Not bad on the palate

Serving type: bottle

10-29-2008 22:52:06 | More by dmamiano
Photo of ECioffoletti


2.58/5  rDev -33.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

I didn't know what to expect going into this one. The bottle only revealed that this was a dark lager. There are various styles and variations within there but I have to say that I enjoyed the mystery.

The appearance of the beer was a pleasant dark brown. I expected a lager that was more amber in color and so this was a pleasant surprise. What I was taken aback by was the lack of foamy head and, as I worked my way through this one, a thin layer of light brown lacing never formed. When I bought the beer, it was stored at room temperature and there's no born-on date so perhaps this has something to do with it.

It smelled like fresh toast and coffee. Chocolate asserted itself a little as it warmed up. I knew this was a sign of roasted malts. I'm not a huge Stout fan but this smell coming from a lager intrigued me. Couldn't pick up on too many hops in the aroma. If they're there, my nose isn't discerning enough to find them.

Maybe I'm in the minority, but I wasn't so impressed with the complexity of the taste. I kept hoping for something other than this brew's rich smokey top layer to come at me in the aftertaste. Save for the slightest of hoppy bitterness to balance it out, it never did. Not that there's anything wrong with the toasted malts and coffee that dominate the palate. The beer favorably reminded me of a porter. Funny thing though: maybe it's because this is actually a lager but despite the fullness of the taste, the texture of the beer remains light to medium at most. Impressive that so much taste could come out of a lager but because it was so light, the overall experience felt incomplete. If I'm in the mood for this kind of beer, I'd sooner go for a strong porter because it's heavier and has a more complex flavor profile.

Not sure if I would go out of my way to purchase this one again. I drank the Penn Weizen not too long ago and I really enjoyed that so I'm pretty eager to see what else this brewer has to offer. I could see how a lot of people would really like this though. It packs a flavorful punch without being too heavy. Maybe it just wasn't my cup of tea.

Serving type: bottle

10-29-2008 07:11:57 | More by ECioffoletti
Photo of Domingo


4.2/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Thanks to BankerJoe for this one. I've been hoping to try this for quite some time. Dunkels are the most underrated and hard to find style out there!
Pours a really deep chocolate brown color. This is an "old style" dunkel that is really dense. The head the forms isn't huge, but just right so you don't have to be super careful with the pour.
The heart and soul of this beer is milk chocolate. Not too dry, not too sweet. Chocolate, a little caramel, clover honey from the lager yeast, and a little bit of noble hops in the finish to keep it clean.
I polished off a glass of this quickly and wish I had more.
If this beer were available to me, I'd have it around all of the time.
Reminds me a lot of the "house" Bavarian dunkels that don't make it here, or really outside of the region.
This is a nice example of one of my favorite styles.

Serving type: bottle

10-12-2008 15:19:45 | More by Domingo
Photo of cvstrickland

North Carolina

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

12-ounce bottle poured into a pint willi glass yields a clear rusty ruby body with a cap of orange-tinged ecru foam atop. Flat swatches of webby lacing decorate the emptying glass

The smell is lightly toasty and sweetly malty with a bit of a spicy herbal note.

The taste is mellow and malty with a faint caramel sweetness, a dry earthy character, and a malty backbone reminiscent of toasty buttered biscuits.

Penn's Dark is light-medium in body, softly carbonated, and very drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

09-29-2008 21:29:40 | More by cvstrickland
Photo of jdg204


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

PA races into the 20th century and starts selling beer at Grocery stores. Thus, Wegman's finally unites me (Mr. PA) with Penn Brewing Company, here's teh first offering.

A: The lager is a deep brown color with a thick head on the initial pour.

S: The beer has a roasted aroma that betrays hints of chocolatey malts.

T: The beer has a nice roasted malt flavor. The malts are chocolatey and full of flavor. The hops add a bittering component and not much else, allowing the darker malts to show off.

M: The chocolately malts are very good, giving the palate a soothing taste.

D: Good everyday session brew and one well deserving of the Penn name. The first of four Penn reviews from a solid, classic brewery all Keystoner's should be proud to bear our name.

Serving type: bottle

09-28-2008 23:23:43 | More by jdg204
Photo of jkrich


3.58/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle with no freshness date found. The label displays a Valkyrie riding a horse.

This dunkel poured an almost opaque, dark brown with ruby hightlights with a quickly dissipating tan head; some lacing left on the glass

Faint aromas of malts, little else.

This is not a very complex dunkel; some mild roasty malt taste which dissipates rather quickly leaving a slight sweetness on the tongue. The hops more than keep this one from becoming too sweet. As the lager warms there is a slight increase in the roasted malt aspect, but it remains somewhat one dimensional.

Good carbonation and medium bodied with a malty thickness that coats the tongue

This is very drinkable as no aspect of this beer is overpowing. One could drink several given the 5.0 ABV. Like Helles made by this brewery, I was expecting more given that this brewery specializes in the classic German styles.

Serving type: bottle

09-28-2008 22:40:53 | More by jkrich
Photo of brewmudgeon


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

Poured a cola hue, fairly large bubbles and a flimsy head were disappointments.
The fragrance was very nice, roasted sweetness playing with a subtle hop background.
Taste a bit out of sync with the texture. The low quality of the carbonation made it seem more watery than it probably was. But toasty sweet flavors were still enjoyable.
Very easy to drink, but not as rewarding as it should be

Serving type: bottle

09-10-2008 20:54:17 | More by brewmudgeon
Photo of russpowell


3.6/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Got this one from Melbatoast93, cheers Hart!

Pours an effervescent caramel/cola color with 2 fingers of tan head. Above average head retention & average lacing

S: Toasty malt, plus a touch of roasted malt

T: Dry, toasty with a bit of powdery brown sugar up front. More dryness & some more roasty malt & a touch of grainyness as this warms. Finishes dry & roasty with leafy hops

MF: Light/medium bodied with low carbonation

Drinks easy, but I've had better Dunkels

Serving type: bottle

09-07-2008 20:49:10 | More by russpowell
Photo of GoodKnight1220


4.43/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle to a glass.

Poured a dark brown with little to no head, nice lacing.

Smells of sweet malt and carmel with a slight roast.

Taste and mouthfeel is smooth and is very sweet and malty caramel. Leaves a fading slight roasty taste at the finish.

This is a great dark lager, could drink a lot of this.

Serving type: bottle

09-07-2008 18:45:41 | More by GoodKnight1220
Photo of thaichile

New Jersey

2.73/5  rDev -29.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pours a blackish brown with a slight head. Nose is roasty and malty. Flavor is slightly sweet and not as roasted or nutty as the color and nose might suggest. Actually this had a very light body but coinciding with that was not much a flavor punch. Actually, this be could be a session beer, but I am going to stick with just the one. Thanks to JohnTravolta21 for the bottle.

Serving type: bottle

08-29-2008 15:13:04 | More by thaichile
Photo of JayQue


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

Pours a dense dark brown, little light gets through. Medium size tan head, average retention and good lacing. Mild malty aroma.

Tastes good, bready malt, rich flavor and just enough hops to keep it from being too sweet. Kind of half way between a lager and a very mild porter.

Mouthfeel is ok for the style. Drinkability is good. This is a well made beer and would be great for a session beer.

Serving type: bottle

08-10-2008 01:11:28 | More by JayQue
Photo of BuckeyeNation


3.43/5  rDev -11.4%
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 Stinkypuss


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

I've had this on tap twice in the past week at two seperate parties.

A. Poured into a plastic cup from a 1/4 keg. Dark brown lager with a slight khaki head and a nice exhibition of lacing.

S. Slight roasted malt and malted milk balls.

T. A very flavorful lager. Once again a sweet malty taste with some Hallertau hops there to add a earthy bitter note.

M. Full bodied lager here, a bit creamy and smooth.

D. Very good as well. Possibly my favorite micro lager.

Serving type: on-tap

07-27-2008 15:49:36 | More by Stinkypuss
Photo of IronCitySteve


4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: A deep dark brown color. An off white almost tan head a little more than one finger.

S: Lots of roasted malts. Espresso, caramel, nuts and smoke smells.

T: Toasted bread, espresso with some smokey/burnt overtones. An unusual mix, but quite appealing.

M: Medium body, with a sweet, creamy finish.

D: I really liked this beer, but it seemed a little heavy, where I am not sure if I could have more than 2 in one sitting.

Serving type: bottle

07-18-2008 19:17:10 | More by IronCitySteve
Photo of argock


4.3/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12oz brown bottle into a clear pint glass. Freshness date on back label.

A: Very brownish ruby with yeasty-appearing light tan head that recedes to a thin cap with sparse lace.

S: Appealing nutty aroma with bready and caramel notes. Toasted malts and noble hops are also apparent but more in the background.

T: Penn Dark is comfort-beer. Delicious soft flavors of caramel and dark malts are layered beautifully with nutty and chocolate notes with a a crisp, spicy noble hops finish which raises the refreshment factor way up.

M: Fairly smooth with warming chocolate malt aftertaste. Medium carbonation feels a bit heavy in this department but this is nit-picking.

D: An excellent lager with a very comforting, warming character owing to its malty, nutty, and toasted flavors with enough noble hops to make it very refreshing as well.

Serving type: bottle

07-14-2008 03:40:41 | More by argock
Penn Dark from Pennsylvania Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 386 ratings.