1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Pious Monk Dunkel - Church Brew Works

Not Rated.
Pious Monk DunkelPious Monk Dunkel

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

217 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 217
Reviews: 99
rAvg: 3.6
pDev: 13.33%
Wants: 4
Gots: 13 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Church Brew Works visit their website
Pennsylvania, United States

Style | ABV
Munich Dunkel Lager |  4.30% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: kbub6f on 09-24-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 217 | Reviews: 99 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Stinkypuss
3.38/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A. No head. Appears like a normal lager. Seems somewhat flat and/or watery.

S. Dark wheat and little else.

T. Decent. Wheaty malts. Earthy.

M. Lightly carbonated.

D. Very drinkable. Its lager people.

Overall: Its a pretty solid overall brew but nothing special.

Stinkypuss, Apr 20, 2008
Photo of bigdeuce
3.38/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

This beer was really easy to drink. It poured about like an average dunkel, with a slight head, no lacing. Nice malts on the nose, not very hoppy, true to the style. A bit of chocolatey malt flavor on the palate. Something was missing here, though. Just not enough syrupy sugar or something. It fell a bit short. Now by no means will I never have it again, but the Brew Works has better offerings.

bigdeuce, Feb 17, 2008
Photo of RblWthACoz
3.55/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear darker brown. Nose is mild malts and just mild all around. Flavor is very slight citrus sweetness. Minor earthy edge. Standard feel. Leaves a real funny aftertaste and makes this no better than a so-so brew. It's decent enough, but not really impressive enough to warrant a return.

RblWthACoz, Feb 06, 2008
Photo of dmamiano
3.8/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice, deep copper color with a very small head. Some lacing noted.
Smells of caramel malt, cotton candy even come to mind.
Taste is malts, with a caramel and even a hint of spiciness nated. Mouthfeel is pretty good and oily.
Slightly bitter at the finish.
Havent had much expeience with a Dunkel, this is decent.

dmamiano, Jan 30, 2008
Photo of ZimZamZoom
3.7/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a nice red amber color with a tan head that does not last long. Some noticeably audible fizz was in that head.

Aroma of dark malts, some breadiness and maybe some lingering hops but that is iffy.

The taste has some nice breadiness to it, with some roasted malt character. Nuts and caramel are mixed in there as well. Then you have a nice clean lager finish, that leaves you wanting more. Parting is a sweet sorrow as they say. Fortunately There's a lot more in the glass.

I have not ventured into this style much at all, but I do know I enjoy this beer. I could hit it all day long if I had to.

ZimZamZoom, Jan 29, 2008
Photo of mobyfann
3.98/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Paid $30 for a mixed case...

The beer pours a clear, dark brown base, with a medium sized head, 15 minute retention, no lacing. The beer hints of toffee and roasted malts, well-balanced.

The beer tastes sweet at first and at the end, in the middle is the roasted malts from the aroma and caramel tones as well. It's not too heavy in the mouth, and it fairly drinkable, but I would think after a few, a beer less sweet would be in order.

Final Thought: This dunkel tastes good!

mobyfann, Dec 08, 2007
Photo of MmmIPA
3.85/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Ive wanted to try the beers from this little brewery for some time now and saw them at the beer store a couple times and never bought them but now I did.I like it because there from Pittsburgh and because there is just something about a really small brewery.Drank from a Warsteiner pils glass.I tend to like darker lagers nowadays,I used to drink alot of amber lagers when I was younger but they seem very sweet to me now and a dark lager hits the spot.

Nice brown/copper colored body with a thick light tan head.Some very nice lacing on my glass.Lively carbonation dances to the top of my glass.

Nice little chocolate flavor as the beer leaves your throat.Hop flavor is there as well but not overwellming at all.Slight burnt nut flavor.Slight sweetness to it also,like caramel.Some bitterness in the aftertaste.Dry nuttie taste

Slight flowery smell.Some nuttiness in there also.

Mouthful seems a bit thin and watery but thats not a problem with me at all.

Very good dunkel,I really enjoyed it.It was the best lager beer Ive had in a while.I could have another one for sure.Thanks to Pittsburgh for producing this tasty beer.I need to visit this place and try some on tap.

MmmIPA, Aug 28, 2007
Photo of Sammy
3.58/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Shintriab's bottle, taking me to the Savant level. Easily quaffable, brown colour with creamy head. Nuts, caramel, chocolate malt.Subtle in roast.Sessionable alcohol so you can drink something else and still be functioning.Medium to light mouthfeel.

Sammy, Jul 18, 2007
Photo of Derek
3.1/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Deep-amber/copper, off-white head, no retention or lace.

S: Candied sugar, candied fruit, bready malt.

T: Brown sugar, burnt caramel, rye bread, mild bitterness, hint of grainy astringency.

M: Moderate body & carbonation.

D: Decent.

Commercial description:
"Gold Medal Winner of the Great American Beer Festival. Our beer is fairly dark in color, but don’t be afraid. It is a perfect example that dark beers are not always strong beers. The body is surprisingly mellow, and the alcohol content is a bit lower than most people might think. It has a wonderfully clean and roasty aroma. Hop bitterness levels are kept in line, but is has a noticeable hop flavor. Alcohol by Volume - 5.2"

Derek, Jul 18, 2007
Photo of akorsak
3.65/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A 12 oz bottle from a trade with vwcraig.

A: The lager is a dark amber brown color that shows off some orange highlights. The head was fairly small on pour and never amounted to much more than a small white band.

S: The nose is very strong on the sweeter caramel malts with some biscuity dryness thrown in for good measure.

T: Flavorwise, the lager shows off some nice caramel and light chocolate tastes. The grains are not strong, but the flavor more than holds its own. Hops don't figure much in the taste, but the darker malts carry the body.

M: Caramel and lightly roasted notes give the beer a nice depth.

D: Good beer, easy drinking and a nice body. A solid selection from Western PA.

akorsak, Jun 03, 2007
Photo of PittBeerGirl
3.73/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- pours dark amber in color with white head that fades.

S- smells dark. Nuts, malt, chocolate, caramel

T- good mix of malt, chocolate, nuts and caramel

M- smooth with medium body and low carbonation

D- the combination of the taste and smoothness makes this a pretty drinkable beer

PittBeerGirl, Apr 04, 2007
Photo of flexabull
3.5/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Beer came to me as part of the Name Name BIF courtesy of Alkey, thanks!

Beer pours a cloudy brown color, a lot of big bubbles floating around, but not much of a head to this one.

Aromas are spicey, bread like, and a bit sweet.

Flavor is a bit flat on the front, the mouthfeel is nice, but not much flavor at first sip. Beer then settles into a slightly sweet toasted malt like flavor, and then finishes crisp, somewhat yeasty, and with a bit of spicey hop bite.

Mouthfeel is good, above average.

Drinkability is good. Nothing special here, but it's a session worthy beer, and a decent example of the style. Certainly worth a try, this is a pretty good beer, it just didn't look all that appealing in my pilsener glass.

flexabull, Mar 23, 2007
Photo of bjohnson
3.33/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Thanks to skinnyelvis for supplying me with this offering as part of my ba anniv. package.

A: Pours a dark auburn almost reddish rusty color with a thin one finger white head. Slight retention towards the edge of the glass.
S: Toasted grain notes. Clovey wheat like notes. Grassy hops rounding out the malt.
T/M: Toasted grain notes with an undercurrent of sweet caramel malt. Wheaty on the palate with a fruitiness that comes through--bananas and slight melons. Grassy hop presence takes over in the dryer aftertaste. Light to medium body. A tad buttery.
D: Nice session quality dunkel lager for that hot summers day. I enjoyed this--thanks for the opportunity. Very easy drinking and smooth.

bjohnson, Mar 12, 2007
Photo of tgbljb
3.53/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a hazy deep copper color. Miniscule head with modest lacing.
Smell is significant for roasted malt, with light caramel notes present.
Taste starts off nice and malty, but a bit too much bitterness starts to show itself.
Nice taste retention, but a bit too dry at the finish.
An OK beer. Nothing great and probably not worth a revisit.

tgbljb, Mar 07, 2007
Photo of DrJay
4.08/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Wow, fresh malt aroma right off the pour! Clear, medium chestnut brown with a very light tan head that quickly settled to a solid ring. Some fine lacing, but not longlasting. Warm, sweet malty aroma, some brown sugar and a hint of roast, freshly milled grain, nuts, and some caramel. Mild bitterness. Toffee and light brown sugar up front, a bit of roast towards the end with growing bitterness. Pretty toasty and malty overall. Lightish body with carbonation that's not overpowering yet still lively. The texture is on the creamy side to start, then becomes a little more astringent and dry in the finish. I like it. It has a solid malt backbone, nice flavours and is light enough to have a couple in a sitting.

DrJay, Jan 26, 2007
Photo of rhoadsrage
4.08/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

(Served in an American pint glass)

A- This beer pours a warm amber body that is clear but a bit dense. There is a thin puddle of light tan foam that floats around in the glass. There is a sea of microbubbles racing to the surface.

S- This beer has a soft dark toasted malt aroma that is pretty neutral with some dark dried fruit notes.

T- This beer has a dark slightly bitter malt taste with a bitterness in the finish but it is not notably from hops. There is a soft sweetness of cold coffee roasted malt and dry toffee in the malt taste. As the beer warms the bitterness in the finish increases nicely.

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

D- This beer has clean crisp flavor but there is nice depth in the malt without the typical pot caramel off-flavors. Very smooth and drinkable.

rhoadsrage, Jan 15, 2007
Photo of Alkey
4.22/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This was served to me a dark amber color with scents of toasted bready malts. The taste was a medium bodied and a little sweet malt flavor with a hint of hop bite. A very refreshing tasting lager with a high drink ability that I will be looking for again.

Alkey, Nov 15, 2006
Photo of Dogbrick
3.5/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Sample at the brewpub. The beer pours a murky dark amber color with a medium thin light beige head and spotty lacing. Bready malt aroma, along with a hint of nuts. Medium-bodied and smooth with malt and caramel flavors, plus a bit of chocolate. It kind of falls off though, and the lightly bitter hops aftertaste is short-lived as well. This showed promise at first but ended up being pretty run-of-the-mill.

Dogbrick, Aug 31, 2006
Photo of asabreed
3.5/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: Quickly dissipating off white head, leaving a thin small ring around the edges of the top of the brew. Body is amber and orange / yellow as light hits the lower regions.

Smell: I like the smokiness here, and it adds some complexity. Otherwise it's not extremely discernible as far as complexity. Slight chocolate and toasted husk and flavors, and a bit of breadiness. Also some weird metallicness and slight hops.

Taste: Slight chocolate in the background with a quick burst of fruity and sweet malt, followed by some toasted husk and malt characters, then with some hops at the finish. Alright as it stands, but could end up being much more robust and complex. Seems like they had something just OK and didn't put enough gusto into this.

Mouthfeel: Light to medium bodied, with the carbonation slightly spritzy which I find odd, but remains fairly full in the mouth by the end despite that characteristic.

Drinkability: Above average, but nothing worth raving about. Still a decent effort from CBW and one that may make a decent session brew too for some.

asabreed, Aug 08, 2006
Photo of tugdriver7
4.38/5  rDev +21.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Easily my favorite from Church Brew Works. (Thanks again to "N" for bringing it back from Pittsburgh.) Deep rich color in the glass with nicely foaming head. Smell was rich, roasted malt with subtle hops--and the taste was exactly the same. Nice slightly bitter aftertaste that made you want more. I'm just glad I have another bottle in the fridge. Of course then I'll have to wait until I get back up to PA.

tugdriver7, Jul 27, 2006
Photo of woodychandler
4.25/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This poured with a huge, bubbling, deep-tan head that simply reduced itself to wispiness in no time. The color was a deep, cola-brown with cherry-red highlights. The nose was lightly malty, but that was about all. I got a chocolaty flavor on the tongue and the mouthfeel was light, but about right for a lager. The finish had that same chocolate aspect that I noted on the tongue. Compared to the earlier Celestial Gold, this is eminently drinkable. I really liked this beer and would certainly consider it for a session, given its low ABV.

woodychandler, Jun 10, 2006
Photo of OldFrothingSlosh
3.73/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at the brewery.

One of the better offerings from CBW. Attractive golden-yellow in color with a sturdy head that does a nice job of lacing. Nose of toasted malt, some smoke. Subtle smoke carries over into the flavor as well, along with some caramel sweetness. Nice, sweet finish. Above-average mouthfeel and drinkability.

OldFrothingSlosh, Apr 15, 2006
Photo of Illinick
2.5/5  rDev -30.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A: Reddish brown with a touch of mahogony. Small white head that dissipates. Rising carbonation
S: Bland smells of malty bread, some roasted smells and not much else.
T: Parallels the smell. Bland flavors of malty bread and roasted/burnt flavors. Nothing jumps out and everything seems to be smashed together.
MF: LIGHT and watery
Overall: I am hoping I got a bad batch of this brew, because it was dissapointing at best. I wasn't the only one to share this sentiment that night. I'll give it one more shot and if nothing changes I will probably never try this or any of their brews again. Thoroughly dissapointing to say the least. I am unimpressed with their range of brews. Doesn't hold a match to Penn Dark.

Illinick, Mar 07, 2006
Photo of tomthumbsblues
4.05/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

One half finger foamy head atop clear reddish brown color. Aroma of roasted malt. Taste is smooth and refreshing with very light burnt quality lurking in the background. Finish has very full bready malt character. Mouth is fairly balanced, but borders on wateriness. This beer definitely deserved the accolades it got at the GABF. I'd have another next time I'm in Pittsburgh.

tomthumbsblues, Mar 01, 2006
Photo of garymuchow
3.7/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This bottle courtesy of SS'05. Thanks guys.

Aroma presents with a nice simple malt character. Holds a pleasing nuttiness.
Very clear. Amber of brownish red. Small tan head that left rather quickly to leave a ring and some spotting on top.
Rich malt flavors that hold off from being sweet. Fairly intense dryness grows from a mild start of the sip and that notes some slight bitterness. This seems to hold off the malty flavors at the finish. Flavor is somewhat less comlex than I would have liked.
Fullness from carbonation that is made up of very fine bubbles. Lager feel in the cleaness. Finish holds a slight astringency.
This beer works for me. Doesn't seem quite right on the coldest night of the new year. Would be nice on a sunny day in May. Nonetheless, enjoyable for style and I'm glad I was able to try a beer from this brewery.

garymuchow, Feb 05, 2006
Pious Monk Dunkel from Church Brew Works
82 out of 100 based on 217 ratings.