Penn Dark | Pennsylvania Brewing Company

very good
265 Reviews
Penn DarkPenn Dark

Brewed by:
Pennsylvania Brewing Company
Pennsylvania, United States

Style: Munich Dunkel Lager

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.00%

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.

Added by SheepNutz on 08-27-2001

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Reviews: 265 | Ratings: 483
Photo of mvanaskie13
4.19/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a narrow glass: color is dark brown, amber edges, head is light tan with fine bubbles, head lingers as a thin top.

Smell is a pleasant blend of munich malt and light roast and hint of chocolate like malt, light toffee notes.

Taste is moderate munich malt, then touch of toffee like flavor and toasted malt, no graininess just well crafted and solid malt flavors - hops are noticeable in the finish with a light earthy grassy note.

Mouthfeel is well carbonated, crisp and a little sharp on the tongue - this particular bottle might be past prime.

Overall the aroma and flavor are very good and create a flavor beer, well done dunkel qualities and drinkability.

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Photo of IchLiebeBier
3.91/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The only real hit was the small head and faint aroma. Overall, the balance was very good between the malts, bitter grains and hops. Pretty impressed; not many US brewers seem to be able to get dark lagers this good. Definitely look for this again.

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Photo of Jon_Hendricks
4.5/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours to a deep brown color.

Overall : The aroma is malty sweet with hints of molasses and brown sugar. The taste is a touch of sweet malt, a touch of roast, a touch of chocolate. This is a very smooth beer, very clean. It finishes with more good malt character up front, then is balanced out again with a mild hop bitterness. This beer is excellent!!

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Photo of AngryDutchman
4.46/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

From a 6-beer variety 12-pack.

Dark with a lovely ruby tone from roast grains. No overwhelming aroma for me. The taste is terrific with just the right sweetness and biscuity quality that transitions into a sugar cookie /toll house dough aftertaste. Vanilla where it belongs :). Probably the best aftertaste I've experienced, which means the Perle hops are spot on perfect. Feels great on the tongue with an understated carbonation that I prefer. This is for me an absolutely perfectly executed German-style beer and one I'll be getting again

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Photo of Brian_L-2056
3.91/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours brown with little head into a pint glass, can see reddish amber tints when held up to the light. Smells mostly Iike roasted malt. Initial taste instantly reminds me of guinness, only smoother. Flavor has hints of caramel, cola, roasted malt and a little coffee. As with most dark beers, i enjoy more as they warm up. Overall, I think that this is a good solid drinkable brew

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

Appearance - mahogany body with a small amount of beige head

Smell - caramel, whole grain bread, toasted nuts

Taste - caramel, toasted nuts, tea, whole grain bread

Mouthfeel - medium body, medium carbonation, slight sweetness upfront from the caramel, easy drinking

Overall - this is a rock solid beer and an excellent version of a Munich Dunkel. Recommended for fans of this style. Highly enjoyable

Price Point - $2.25/12 oz single

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Photo of lastmango
3.24/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Pours a root beer brown with no head or lacing. The nose is a very mild honey malt initially, which becomes more pronounced as the beer warms. The taste is of mild malt with little hoppiness. The beer is very thin and carbonation is a bit flat. I use to think this was a very good beer. However, I am not sure now. There was no complexity to this beer . . . very one dimensional.

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
3.9/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Bottle purchased at AJ's Beer Warehouse in Henrietta, NY.

Pours a somewhat dark black, with a small head, and a bit of lacing.

Smells like roasted malt, caramel and toasted bread.

This is simple but tasty. Roast caramel and bready malt in unison.

This is a bit thin and light bodied, with a great drink ability.

Good stuff here.

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Photo of dacrza1
3.14/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

DATE TASTED: August 27, 2015 ... GLASSWARE: 22 oz. Pilsner... OCCASION: having returned from the annual soccer coaches’ meetings... APPEARANCE: dark red, almost burgundy body that supports a one-finger brown head... The head settles swiftly to a resilient ring and little else in the middle... too dark to track its effervescence... AROMA: candied, almost cherry cola in its hints... Slightly doughy, with minimal hops... PALATE: slightly warming, slick, almost flat... Dry, medium-bodied.... TASTE: an odd, vegetable flavor begins the profile... Grape, cola, some earthy elements that redeem the initial effect... Cough drop and raisin also are suggested... Not the compliment to the pilsner... OVERALL: Drinkable and steady, but not a beer that can be called a standout or a strong representation of its style... A beer that could use some dimension to its flavor profile... Peaty like scotch, in a strange way...

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Photo of gopens44
4.05/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

This has a very nice look to it. Lacing exists from what was previously a fine cream colored head, but now receded to a rim of foam and aforementioned gentle lacing. Nose is a touch muted, but what I can detect is a touch biscuity and maybe a tad nutty. Taste comes punching through with an immediate bitterness that gives way to that nutty thing that I could smell, hints of something spicy and just a faint berry presence. On the otherwise, crisp finish, we have just a hint of tart mixed into the final "eff you" attitude of bitterness. Very complex without being too much of a thinker. Haven't had it? Do yourself a solid and give it a whirl.

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Photo of ordybill
3.48/5  rDev -9.8%
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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Photo of Treyliff
4.04/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, poured into can glass

A- pours a clear dark copper-brown color with a one-finger creamy khaki colored head that retains long after the pour, leaving some specs of lace behind

S- sweet and malty aroma with notes of brown bread, caramel, grain & biscuit. A hint of earthy and spicy hop found it out

T- Caramel & bready malt sweetness up front with hints of raisin, slightly spicy hops kick in mid-palate, a dry finish leads to a a linger of chocolate and toasted bread crust

M- medium bodied with moderate carbonation leads to a foamy mouthfeel that continues into a creamy-yet-dry finish

O- smooth, sweet, may and incredibly drinkable, a solid American made dunkel

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Photo of tone77
3.5/5  rDev -9.3%

Poured from a brown 12 oz. bottle. Has a light cola color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is malty, bready. Taste is toasted malts, bready, just a touch of sweetness. Feels light in the mouth and overall is an easy drinking beer.

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Photo of Ozzylizard
4.06/5  rDev +5.2%

Undated bottle at 40 degrees into SA lager glass
Aroma of toasted malt
Head small (2 cm), light brown, frothy, diminishing to 2 mm ring and broken layer
Lacing poor – rare island of small bubbles
Body dark amber, clear
Flavor begins with toasted malt, ends just malty; no hops, no alcohol, no diacetyl
Palate medium, watery, lively carbonation

Appearance 4, Aroma 3.75, Flavor 4.25, Palate 4, Overall 4. Final weighted score: 4.0625
This is a very good dunkel – only lack of lacing detracts from its appearance, otherwise the beautiful clear dark amber is very enticing. The toasty aroma is welcoming, the toasted malt flavor is darn near perfect, and the palate is delightful. This is possibly the best beer Penn Brewing produces.

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Photo of antott0523
3.13/5  rDev -18.9%
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.

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Photo of BMMillsy
3.33/5  rDev -13.7%
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.

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Photo of Sludgeman
4.07/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Received as part of a monthly beer club membership from my wonderful children. Poured into a nonic pint glass.

A good representation of the Munich Dunkel lager style. An underrated brewery producing good beers in generally undervalued styles. 4.25

A – Pours a clear reddish brown with a thin brown rocky head that dissipates quickly to nothing (-), almost zero lacing. 3.25

S – Malt, bread crusts. 4.25

T – Brown bread, faint toffee and molasses. 4

MF – Medium-bodied, semi-dry finish, thin, low carbonation. 4

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Photo of LI_PO12
3.92/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle into Mug

Appearance- Dark brown with light hues, light tan head

Aroma- Bready malts, caramel sweetness, dark toastyness light but there

Flavor- Baked bread, caramel, some seep malts, slight hop presence

Mouthfeel- medium/light, good carbonation

Overall- Very true to style, and that's good not one of my favorite styles though. A very drinkable beer and worth a try.

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Photo of Darkmagus82
3.74/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from bottle into a pint glass

Appearance – The beer pours a medium brown color with a small tan colored head. The head fades rather fast leaving a very light level of foamy lace on the sides of the glass.

Smell – The aroma is heaviest of caramel and roasted brown bread smells with a bit of toast and some cola like aromas. Along with these, is a decent level of nuttiness as well as some cocoa smells.

Taste – The taste begins a little sweet with some caramel and a molasses. Right from the start there is a good level of roasted malt flavor as well as some toast and cocoa, giving the brew a rather roasty flavor right from the start. The sweeter flavors fade more as the taste advances and a coffee and nutty flavor join the profile. The loss of some of the sweet and the arrival of the actually, rather strong coffee flavor really increase the roastiness of the brew toward the end, which in conjunction with a light earthy and herbal hop flavor, leaves a nice roasty and crisp taste to linger on the tongue.

Mouthfeel – The body of the beer is on the thinner side with a carbonation level that is on the higher side. While normally for a darker brew I enjoy a thicker body and lower carbonation, which likely would have been nice for this brew too, I actually found the combination of flavors nicely matched with the thinner body and higher carbonation, making this a rather refreshing style darker lager.

Overall – A nice, rather crisp, dark lager with a good level of roast, coffee and nice transitions of sweet to slightly drier flavors. A rather enjoyable brew.

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Photo of barczar
3.58/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a brilliant dark brown with caramel highlights and a property quarter inch khaki head that dissipates quickly leaving a ring of foam.

Strong caramel notes and nutty toasted malt are accompanied by a plasticy, phenolic character.

Flavor reveals roast malt fruitiness underpinnings, with toasted malt at the base mid palate. The finish is slightly dry, though the balance is toward malt sweetness.

Body is a touch light, with moderate carbonation and a little astringent harshness. Alcohol warmth is evident.

No real flaws, but the fruity character is a little offputting. No real complexity, and a little overly sweet.

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Photo of wvsabbath
4.15/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Serving Type -Bottle

Appearance - Dark ruby tan/brown, 1/8 inch head with some lacing.

Smell - Dark fruits, malts, sugars, a little cocoa/chocolate note along with some pale lager malts and yeasts.

Taste - Dark fruits mixed with lager malts, yeasts and chococlate at first sip. Nice combo of roasty, sweet and bitter. Hops add a nice bitter/piney flavor, not at all overpowering though. Pale malts really shine at the finish.

Mouthfeel - Malts and chocolate really coat tounge first, with yeasts and hops coming in on the palate. The aftertaste is malty, chocolate and yeasty sweet.

Overall - Great beer, balanced well, low alcohol and easy to drink. Combine that with a very affordible price , and year round avaiblity, this is a local winner for sure. One of the better dunkels out there.

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Photo of Sweepz189
4.21/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

Small back story: I've lived near Pittsburgh for almost 20 years now. A friend of mine recently said she was moving and it is near the Penn Brewery. I laughed, thinking they probably made Stoney's Beer or something horrible or cheap. I was horribly wrong, and I apologize. So today I figured I'd try my first ever Penn Brewing Co. beer. The distributor had a few variants, all priced differently (not sure why). I asked the guy working if he ever had anything they made and he said the Weizen is good, but I was in the mood for something darker. So I shelled out 30 bucks for some Penn Dark. They had the Porter, which I almost got, but it was a few dollars more and let's just say money is tight right now.

A: I will say this almost every time I write a review, but I prefer to drink from bottles and I almost exclusively buy/drink beer in 24-bottle (12oz. bottle) cases from the distributor. No more bars for me. So my point is, I'm judging appearance by looking through a brown bottle. You know what I think? It's dark. Hence the name. Not a lot of foam, though.

S: I do smell new beers before tasting, so I can judge without bias from my taste buds. First impression was a little unsure; it's very strong-smelling, lot of chocolate, and a bit of alcohol. I was afraid I had got something that was good, but not easily drinkable. One of those "once in a while" beers.

T: Fortunately, I was wrong. It has a light, crispy chocolate and bitter flavor. Very easily drinkable. Not an overpowering alcoholic taste, it's hidden quite well behind the mild burnt-cherry flavor. The after taste is very bitter, like after eating a bar of dark chocolate.

M: The carbonation is about medium; not too heavy that you're feeling full after a sip, but not too light that it feels like bubbly water in your mouth. It also has a nice sting on the tip of the tongue as it washes over the rest of your mouth, coating it with the numbing sensation of alcohol!

O: I would certainly buy this beer again, and it indeed breaks my heart that it barely exceeds what I prefer to spend on a case of beer. Otherwise, I'd have a new regular to replace my standard Yeungling Black and Tan or Porter. This would be on the lines of Black and Tan, but it's just a way better craft in every facet. It's easy to drink, ABV is reasonable for a session beer (a bit high, but where's the fun in 3%?), and of course it tastes amazing. Not a new favorite, but very close. I know now what I'm getting in a week or so when I go to buy more beer: Penn Porter.

EDIT: Re-worded the part about how I buy beer by the case. I previously said "24.oz cases" which doesn't make sense. Proofread your reviews before submitting lol.

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Photo of daliandragon
4.15/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Anything with a valkerie is usually a good bet anyway, plus its a good time of year for German style lager in general. Pours darker brown than I expected, nearly black, with a creamy cap but not much else visible. Nose surprises as well with heaps of roasted malts and caramel, chocolate, and bread tones.

Smooth in texture and medium in body, with a silky finish. Not swimming in flavor, but enough flavor to justify the style. I get mostly dry, dark chocolate and
a satisfying nuttiness. Noble malts make a late appearance as this beer warms that adds solid balance and complexity. A lot to like here if you like the style.

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Photo of wattoclone
3.1/5  rDev -19.7%
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.

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Photo of grittybrews
3.93/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a dark, nutty brown with a ruby tinge and a finger of light khaki head. Aroma of caramel and light toast.

Moderate carbonation and a crispy, light mouthfeel. Roasty chocolate, toast, and toffee up front followed by a hint of dark fruit and just a little roasty bitterness on the tail end.

Clean and easy-drinking. Nice malty flavor without being too heavy.

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Penn Dark from Pennsylvania Brewing Company
3.86 out of 5 based on 483 ratings.
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