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Pious Monk Dunkel - Church Brew Works

Not Rated.
Pious Monk DunkelPious Monk Dunkel

Educational use only; do not reuse.

101 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 101
Hads: 248
Avg: 3.6
pDev: 20.28%
Wants: 5
Gots: 28 | 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:
Beer added by: kbub6f on 09-24-2001

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 101 | Hads: 248
Photo of CuriousMonk
3.6/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured on tap into a pint glass at Church Brew Works in Pittsburgh durin my visit in 2008. Pours amber, beige head. Aroma is malty / caramel, earthly hops. Taste, malty with some ncie chocolate notes with subtle nutty addition. Beer is well balanced, light hops giving an alsmot dark fruits flavor, with an always present nice chocolate / caramel malts. Finish leaves some light bitter hops. Beer became more enjoyable as it warmed up.

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Photo of kwjd
3.55/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle from Sammy. Pours an amber-brown colour with thin off-white head with good retention, though little lacing. Smells of toasted malt, caramel and bread. Flavour has a nice caramel sweetness to it, but it is pretty subdued. Medium carbonation level.

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Photo of DoppleJock
3.36/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5


Growler survived the train ride from Pittsburgh to Chicago.

A: Poured a crisp, clean dark amber. 1 finger head quickly dissipated (too much jostling on the trip home?) but carbonation decent.

S: Mild mix of malts and cloves. Faint citrus notes. Slightly peppery.

T: Very bready/biscuity. More than I would have liked. Picked up hints of bubblegum, but other than that there isn't the complexity I was hoping for.

M: Pretty smooth at first, but a little chalky aftertaste.

D: Could be complimented with food but it's missing something on its own...

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Photo of stakem
3.1/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle care of a friend visiting from Pittsburgh. Pours a clear amber brown color with no head. Some decent amount of swirling the glass produces some off white bubbles that rise to the surface and then rapidly dissolve.

The aroma includes a bit of citrusy twangy hops that are borderline souring/lactic in the nose. The hops also come across with a sweet floral aspect. The malt is faint but is evident with some caramel like sweetness.

The taste of this brew is a fairly decent blend of bitter citrus hops to caramel malt sweetness. All through the profile of this brew are butter tones and a mixture of light chocolate maltiness.. The finish of this brew has a very light twang suggesting lactic sourness that isnt off putting and actually increases this brew's drinkability for me.

This is a medium to light bodied brew with a light level of carbonation. There are some characteristics of this brew that are outside of what I am use to for a dunkel but it isnt bad. The abv is completely hidden and it is a decent session brew.

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Photo of IronCitySteve
3.65/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a dark amber brownish color. Provides a nice thick tan foam head but provided no substantial lacing.

S: Mostly bready, carameleand burnt toast notes. Nothing overpowering and no hop character.

T: Good amount of bready malt character, with some hints of caramel and some dark nuts.

M: A nice slightly creamy mouthfeel.

D: This is a highly sessionable Dunkel. A nice local offering, not my favorite local, but certainly a worth a try. I would enjoy it again.

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Photo of chefkevlar
3.68/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: A deep red hued brown color with a thin white head. The color actually reminds me of a heavily steeped tea

S: Nutty and bready. There's also some faint fruit notes (red cherry maybe?)

T: The flavor is light but complex enough to not be boring. There are notes of caramel, honey, and toast

M: Light bodied and low carbonation.

D: This beer is light and easy to drink, yet there is enough complexity to keep it interesting. Overall this could be a good beer to have at the end of the evening while winding down

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Photo of mwa423
3.28/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours a perfectly clear amber with minimal head and no lacing.

S - Light aroma, but a very traditional dunkel aroma with sweet malt.

T - Taste is also very light with only a bit of malt coming through which is well ballanced with light hops.

M/D - Mouthfeel is light and the beer goes down easily even on a hot day. Certainly a good take on a dunkel but I wouldn't make this the first beer you grab at the brewery.

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Photo of mdfb79
3.18/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into my Duvel tulip.

a - Pours a dark nute brown color with one inch of white head and moderate carbonation evident.

s - Smells of sweet malts, bready malts, and some sugar.

t - Tastes of bready malts mostly. Little bit of caramel malts as well. Also a tiny bit metalic.

m - Medium body and low carbonation.

d - A very easy to drink lager. Mostly smells and tastes of bready malts, probably wouldn't seek out again.

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Photo of mgbickel
3.5/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Perfect Pint glass. A single finger of pearly white foam formed on top of a golden amber body. The head receded quickly, leaving virtually no lace behind.

The nose has some earthy, almost grassy characters on top of a malty, caramel-like backbone.

Hmmm...the taste is bitterer than the nose leads on. A bready center gives way to a finish that finds something grassy and bitter...straw? Wet alfalfa? Nothing outstands here...

The mouth feel is light, semi-slick with moderate carbonation.

Yeah...this is drinkable and worth trying, but nothing real enticing here. Slightly above average at best.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.8/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

"Volumes might be written upon the impiety of the pious."

--Herbert Spencer

Glowing topaz orange when held up to the brilliant light of the rising sun. A vigorous pour produced nearly two fingers of khaki colored foam that has acceptable texture. More interesting topography while melting, and more lace, would have helped.

The nose fits the style guidelines to a 'T' and is reminiscent of a less brown malty brown ale. It's earthy, slightly steely caramel-like, and isn't very cocoa powdery, if at all.

Aroma was a weak 3.5 and taste is a strong 3.5. Church Brew Works Pious Monk Dunkel packs a fair amount of flavor in an ABV of 4.3%. Yes, I know that low-ABV beer isn't always weak and uninteresting... but a lot of it is.

Specifics include brown bread, steely caramel, a mild toasted nuttiness and a sprinkling of bitter tea leaves. This offering has flavor intensity, decent flavor complexity, and is more bitter than sweet (while remaining balanced). Sounds like a worthy session beer to me.

The mouthfeel is light-medium, fills out a fraction as it warms, and is properly carbonated. The bubbles could be slightly softer and better integrated, but that borders on nitpicking.

Remembering to keep style and ABV firmly in mind, Pious Monk Dunkel is a tasty little MDL that deserves an increase in the score that matters most. This is quietly impressive beer. Thanks to mgbickel for my first Church Brew Works brew. Love the bottle cap.

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Photo of DerekP
3.88/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into nonic pint glass.

Very pretty dark amber brown. Silky lacing.

Smells of malty caramel & brown sugar. Grainy alcohol & brown bread.

A medium body with alcohol & hops taking the lead, then caramel & brown sugar coming through to the palate.

A very calm mouthfeel; hardly one thing to complain about. Enough bite to make it a beer, enough tenderness to make it a wife.

Pretty much a solid, all around brew. There's nothing I dislike about it. Highly drinkable, and from me, highly recommended.

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Photo of DrDemento456
4.36/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Had this at the church brew works. Was what they were know for their dunkel... and thats what I tried.

A - Nice amber hue with decent head.
S - Bananas and caramel with a nice toffee smell
T- Well I liked this more than Spaten Dunkel if that makes any difference in other reviews. Light banana taste with very faint toffee.
M - Looses a few points agree with everyone else way too light for the style.
D - If I went their again I would order it again but since it was sub par I would seek Dunkel at other places.

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Photo of bdupree
3.03/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - This looks like a traditional dunkel, with a nice amber hue... maybe a little lighter than I would expect. Pours with a thick head of foam.

S - Nothing really stands out. Toasted malts are in there, and some caramel or coffee.

T - Compared to other beers by CBW, I was disappointed by this one. It just tasted watered-down. It was light, and tasted more like a German alt bier rather than a dunkel.

M - Very light on the palate, does not linger.

D - If you are drinking this like I was expecting a quality German-style dunkel, you will probably be disappointed. Dunkel is prevalent in the Pittsburgh area, and this is not one of the best I had up there... out of three different breweries. It just does not have enough body, and is too light.

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Photo of beerman207
3.71/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Bamadog for hooking me up with a single of this.

A; Dark brown, 2 finger white head left behind

S: Nothing special - mostly malty

T: Banana, malt, sweet dark fruit. Has a good flavor overall

M: Medium - heavy

D: Pretty high. I can't say that this is the best beer but it's not bad.

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Photo of Atvar
2.66/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

A: amber brown with a small head.

S: Fruity or sweet? No hops smell whatsoever.

T: Fruity, almost sour. This reminded me more of a witbier than other dunkels I've tried. Very little hops flavor. It's not so much bad as not what I was expecting.

M: Thin.

D: Having one isn't so bad, but I think I'd get sick of the flavor real fast if I tried to drink more.

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Photo of bamadog
3.26/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a six pack of this on a recent trip back to PA, not a bad offering, but I've definitely had better. Pour is from the bottle to a pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a nice deep coppery color with beautiful ruby highlights; starts with a two finger off-white light tan head that fades to a thick and uneven skim; body is clear and shows strong carbonation; fair rings of lacing left behind.

Smell: Smell is some sweet malts, some toasty grains and a slight wheaty/straw-like presence. Nose it not especially strong.

Taste: Sadly, it comes across as a bit bland - the light toasty grains are there and that straw-like presence is a little stronger (and continues to come out as it warms slowly as I sip it down); a mild presence of some bittering hops are present at the end and a bit of an apple flavor in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Solid carbonation and a body that's a tad chewy even - solid stickiness is left on the roof of the mouth. Quite lively and they definitely nailed the body with this one... too bad the taste doesn't quite match up, but still not bad.

Drinkability: I kind of went in-between with this one - it's not bad, but the flavors just don't seem to be there for me. I wouldn't turn it down if someone offered it to me, but I likely wouldn't seek it out. I would be very curious to try more offerings from this brewery in the future if I come across them.

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Photo of Cylinsier
3.73/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

from a 12 oz.

Pours a nutty brown with an off-white head that disspiates to a film.

Smells sugary and a bit smokey.

Tastes sort of sweet like buttered bread. Very mellow. There's a bit of barley in the end.

Feels smooth and relatively full with mild but frothy carbonation.

Not a bad beer, although not the best dunkel I've had. Still, I would choose to enjoy this beer again. Worth checking out.

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Photo of HitokiriNate85
2.33/5  rDev -35.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Poured into a pilsener glass.

A - Pours a nice amber with some lighter highlights around the bottom. Thick, rocky head diminishes to a thin cap pretty quickly. I expected it to be a little darker, but maybe that's because I'm used to my dunkels coming in a liter mug.

S - Toasted malts are the primary aroma, but they seem a bit weak. There's something that seems like it'll lead to spicy hops, but at the same time it makes me think it might be a bit...sour? Yikes, I hope not. The beer didn't have to travel more than a few miles to get here.

T - Hmm...basically the same as the nose. Some toasted malts with some nice spicy hops. The malt notes are a bit weak, though, and there's a pretty noticeable metallic flavor in the finish. Yeah, just too much of a metallic flavor that's really off-putting.

MF - Slightly watery, but it has decent carbonation, and considering the low ABV and the fact that it's probably intended to be pretty thin, I don't think it's necessary to knock it much for that.

D - This is basically a follow up of the taste and aroma since dunkel lagers are pretty drinkable by default. Considering the smell and taste aren't that great, this is basically the same. It's entirely possible my bottle is old and has seen better days, so I probably owe it to myself and to CBW to make it over and try it from the source.

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Photo of OneDropSoup
4.37/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice ruby brown with low head & little lacing.

First whiff smells like fresh cookies! Rich bready, sweet smells, with a tea-like character thrown in there. Not overpowering or too full, stays nice & clean so as not to become redundant or over-saturated.

Taste is like light pastries with a clean hop snap in the finish. Delicious caramel malt flavor with biscuit & sugar subtleties.

Mouthfeel is brisk, on the thin side with a little bite from the hops. Good aftertaste, like the first puff of a cigar.

In general, I put the Church Brew Works' brewing at "good", not terrific, not bad, but this is opne that really stands out for me. An unassuming beer with a lot to offer.

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Photo of Redrover
3.62/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I opted for the 12 oz glass. The beer is a light brown with a bit of red highlights. It has a beige head and virtually no lacing.

Nice aroma of roasted malts and a bit of chocolate.

The taste is slightly roasty and a bit sweet. A hint of baker's chocolate and a touch of alcohol in the finish.

The mouth is smooth with surpassing low carbonation levels. Easy beer to pair with their food.

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Photo of botham
3.08/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

on tap poured into a pilsner glass at the brewpub in Pittsburgh. pours a deep chestnut brown color with a half finger of tan head and leaves moderate lacings and rich tan highlights.

aroma is of very light caramel malts with notes of chocolate and a touch of roasted malt. not rich or full in the nose, but decent.

taste is of light fruit notes with a bit of caramel malt thrown in. again, devoid of any real character to call its own. finishes with light grain and a touch of roasted malts.

mouthfeel is light bodied with a watery texture and a smooth finish. mediocre at best.

drinkability is good. light and watery for a dunkel, but for what it is it gets the job done. worth a try.

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Photo of ThaBobfather
3.66/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Nice colored dark pour, very nice head.
Flowers and malt fill the nostrils weakly, but it's there.
The flavor is smooth and malty.
It finishes with a delightful roasted flavor and is very drinkable.
I'm not crazy about the lack of power on this dunkel, but it's a great dark.

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Photo of damienblack
3.55/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Thanks to Sebletitje for this as an extra!

Standard dunkel appearance, dark cloudy amber. Seems a bit lifeless, head dissipates quickly, and there's not much carbonation going up the chute. Has a big wheaty, yeasty smell, graham crackery. Smells like something from Sam Adams.

First thoughts: Very clean and crisp, with a strong but not outstanding malt presence. true to lager form. Very slight taste of dark fruit. Body is a little thin, has little impact on the palate. Easy drink to session. Not much to say, a decent enough session beer, but not something I would seek out again.

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Photo of hopdog
3.7/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle.

Poured a medium copperish color with an averaged sized of white head. Aromas of toasted nuts, chocolate and light roast. Tastes of toasted nuts, chocolate, roast, and a trace of carame. This would make a decent session beer.

Notes from: 6/1/07

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Photo of sonicdescent
4.07/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from notes, drink had 1/10

Pours medium brown with one finger head, leaving a crown with decent lacing.

Smells nutty at first, swirling releases a floral and hoppy scent.

Tastes semi-light with a taste tilted more toward malt, not much in the way of bitter. Great intro to craft.

Mouth is light to medium bodied with medium carbonation.

Drinkability is good, this is a semi light lager, easy to drink, slam, and session.

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Pious Monk Dunkel from Church Brew Works
82 out of 100 based on 101 ratings.