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: 481
Photo of kush6875
4.37/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

my personal favorite beer of penn brewing.

appearance: chocolate brown color with thin white head

smell: good dark rye bread, bitter dark chocolate, burnt malt

taste: just like it smells! delicious and smooth!

mouthfeel: is thinner than you would expect

drinkability: very sessionable beer!!! they go down great with a bratwurst smothered in dark mustard and onion!! cheers!!

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Photo of Phatz
4.35/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served in my pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a dark coppery color that is partly transparent. Decent off-white/tan head fades to a frothy cap that lasts the duration of the beer. Mediocre lacing.

Smell: The aroma is enticing yet gentle. It has a roasted malt and caramel sweetness to it but not a bold sweet; more of a mild sweetness. Immediately follow by some mild grassy hops.

Taste: Definitely dark caramelized malt lead the flavor. The seems to be a hidden chocolate before the unveiling of the hop character. The hops have a quick bite at your palate then get left behind with the sweet sugary aftertaste. The flavor is not overly complex but it is worth of consideration and is extremely quaffable.

Mouthfeel: This beer seemed to have a flavor spike in the middle of each sip, slowing down the pace and forcing me to enjoy it all the more. So yes is smooth and easy to drink but it is also worth taking the time to sip savor and swallow.

Drinkability: This beer goes down easy, is worth thinking about and yet is sessionable. I don't know what else we could ask for from Pennsylvania Brewing Company. This is an excellent Munich Dunkel Lager.

Hope this is helpful.

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Photo of claytri
4.35/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The beer poured a rich brown with a tan head. The aroma was of dark malt and a hint of cherries. The taste was toasted malt with a coffee middle and a cherry finish,and all with a wonderful smokey undertone. The feel is medium and dry. I really like this beer. Sort of like throwing my best pitch and they caught it in the wheelhouse.

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Photo of tugdriver7
4.33/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I don't know when this happened, but Penn products can now be found in Maryland! I stopped in at Corridor in Laurel and was shocked to see it lining the shelves. No more long treks to PA for beer. (Well, not for Penn anyway.) To the uninitiated, you're in for a treat. They're all great, but Penn Dark is by far my favorite "regular" (year long) offering from Penn. Nice dark color, small frothy head, a bit of malt and a nice toasted scent in the nose, and a decent (not too thin, not too thick) mouthfeel. Taste is mildly balanced malt and toasted malt with a hint of hops--just enough to provide a nice bitterness in the aftertaste. Add just the right carbonation and you have the formula for an amazing Munich Dunkel-style beer. Extremely drinkable and refreshing. Thanks, Penn!

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Photo of jneiswender
4.33/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured out of a 120z bottle in to a Sam Adams Lager glass.

A--Nice dark mahogany, very clear. Just a faint head around the circumfrence of the glass.

S--Toasted, nutty and a wisp of earth.

T--nicely balanced. Moderately sweet to begin and then the hops gives you some bitterness. Not assertive. Finishes with some nice breadlike tones.

M--Definately a medium body beer.

D--I could drink this all night. Very nice beer. Nothing is so assertive that you would get tired of it. Very much worth a try.

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Photo of jwhancher
4.33/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: With a vigorous pour into a pilsner glass, a nice 3-finger tan head sits atop a body of dark amber colored beer. Head sticks around quite awhile after diminishing to 1-finger width.

S: Lots of roast aromas with some raisin, caramel, and slight cocoa. A little light smokiness, or charred burnt character, can be picked up too.

T: Has a bit of a rauchbier going on. Some really good smokiness is evident in the taste - wow, completely unexpected. Aside from that, some lighter chocolate & dark syrup like notes. I wonder if they used a decoction mash? Either way, a very nice interpretation of the German style.

M: A nicely done light tasting lager with some lingering bitterness at the end. Carbonation levels are appropriate.

O: Had drank this plenty of times before and knew this one was one of my Penn favorites. Wasn't until I actually sat down for a more in-depth review did I realize how good this beer actually was. It's quite an underdog or a surprise hit.

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Photo of paulmanz
4.32/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A: Appearance appropriate for style. Clarity was a bit off - flashlight showed a slight haze. Lacing. Color of beer and head was good.

S: Malt with a slight roast character to it. Munich Malt. Some noble hops.

T: Roasty, perhaps a bit more than is appropriate for style but over all OK. Would have expected more breadiness.

M: Medium bodied. Carbonation is on the high end of appropriate. Felt like it could have used just a bit more body. Well attenuated and not cloying.

D: I could drink a lot of this for sure but I did feel that it needed a stronger malt presence and a bit more mouthfeel. I would pull back on the roast malts and use more Munich.

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Photo of Hojaminbag
4.32/5  rDev +11.9%
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.

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Photo of RoyalT
4.3/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance – This lager is super-dark, it’s almost black, with a modest white head. It sure looks the part.

Smell – The rich maple and molasses are evident at the nose. These malts are complex with little sweetness. I can also pick up a light bready aroma.

Taste – This one delivers on the taste as well. It’s all about the malts with all the senses from the nose along with a deeper sense of grain. The sweetness is barely there and it’s more like baker’s chocolate than anything else.

Mouthfeel – This one is right in between light and medium-bodied with some bitterness throughout.

Drinkability – The simplicity of this MDL in and of itself is enough for me to give it the thumbs up, but the malt make-up and lack of nasty American grain means I’m officially joining the fan club.

Comments – Thanks to my best BA bud skyhand from bringing this back to Seattle all the way from PA.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.3/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Penn delivers a very well-made and exceptionally drinkable lager in their Dark. It's clear, deep chestnut body glows with ruby highlights at it's center; and its creamy light tan head holds rather well before dropping to a standard collar and leaves short splashes of lace about the glass. Dark, caramelized sugars and Munich malts dominate the nose; toasty and bordering on becoming subtly roasty with a thin cusp of chocolate in the background. Occassional floral hops sometimes make their way through the malt, lending to quite an enticing aroma. It's somewhat creamy and fairly smooth across the palate with a fine-bubbled, moderate carbonation that lends a light zest to the tongue before it warms. Dark Munich malts appear upfront in the flavor, mildly toasty, lightly sweet, and even somewhat raisiny. As it warms more toasted character becomes apparent; and it finishes with a flash of floral and grassy hops as it's drying bitterness rises. It's very well-brewed, clean, nicely balanced, and highly drinkable! An impressive dunkel that probably deserves more attention than it gets.

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Photo of akorsak
4.3/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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: Very drinkable, an excellent dunkel lager from Penn.

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Photo of SchmichaelJ
4.3/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a very dark brown color, with a hint of red. It had a relatively small head, but it stuck around for a while. The smell was full of malt, with some hint of hops. Very slight, possible nut aroma mixed in somewhere, too. The lager had a very, very nice, rich taste. Lots of malt with good addition of hops, and almost strange roasted-like qualities. Good mouthfeel, with a somewhat stickly, medium to full body. Almost as filling as a stout, only with a lighter body. Penn Dark is a very enjoyable lager...the wonderful taste goes well with a nice warm feel in your gullet. Great session beer, too. Highly recommended.

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Photo of argock
4.27/5  rDev +10.6%
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.

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Photo of righthereisay
4.26/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This is the best beer I have had to date. Great fresh flavor, nice and dark, a dark beer enthusiast, this is one of the of the lighter darks that I've had. Kind of want to mix 6 ounces of this with 6 ounces of Guinness.

I really enjoy it from October through March. Very nice body and fresh taste. Not sugary or over carbonated. Very enjoyable.

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Photo of Jason
4.25/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: 12 oz brown long-neck bottle with a blurb about the beer on the back ... freshness date notched on the back label.

Appearance: Dark brown with burnt amber hues ... well staying light tan lace.

Smell: Caramel in the nose with hints of grain and dark bread.

Taste: Very smooth with a medium body. Moderate hopping and a sweet caramel and carob malt flavour in the front. Layered with a bready, grainy and carob finish.

Notes: Straight up, a great dark lager ... spot on for style.

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Photo of TheycallmeTim
4.25/5  rDev +10.1%
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.

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Photo of donteatpoop
4.25/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Wonderful beer. Glad I ordered this.

Went to a new restaurant with my wife today, it was really a nice place. It was an Italian joint and they had a huge wine list. So I was like "What kind of beers do you have?" Turns out they have a good list of beers too.

I went with this because I'd never had it before.

Poured a dark brown with practically no head. My wife had a pepsi, and this was a couple shades darker than the pepsi.

Smelled of roasted malts and earth, tasted much the same though a little more pronounced with the malty taste.

Great mouthfeel, went down smooth with no unpleasant aftertaste or dryness.

Really glad I tried it, I'll be trying this one again in the future. Went great with the porterhouse steak.

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Photo of ThirstyBird
4.24/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a transparent reddish brown in color. Tan head falls quickly to a wisp and small ring. Smell is dark bread, molasses, licorice - a good aromatic nose on this one. Taste is similar to the aroma. This is a pretty tasty finishes with a nice light hop dryness. Body is light/ medium and the carbonation is mild but enjoyable. If I could get one locally it would be in my regular rotation.

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Photo of mschofield
4.23/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a dark brown, lighter 'caramel' color at the edges. Half inch foamy tan head. Broken webs of lacing.

First off it's a nice clean beer, fresh malty and roasty, with coffee notes.

Again, just a nice clean fresh Dunkel, coffee, roast, Munich malt possibly Dark Munich and a touch of chocolate.

Full bodied, but contradicts itself with a light crisp finish, very nice. Drinkability is very good, especially when I thought it was 4% ABV, turns out it's 4%ABW or 5% ABV, still great, but a 4% lager with those characteristics would be outstanding.

It's a shame more breweries don't make Dunkels

Thanks to radioscooter for the sample

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Photo of number1bum
4.22/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark brown color, a sort of mahogany really, with a finger and a half of tan head. Keeps a mostly full lace and a nice coating of stick on the side.

Smell is very nice, with a moderately sweet bready aroma to go along with some lightly roasted malt. There is a nutty quality to it as well, plus some caramel.

Taste also consists of a bready, very lightly roasted malt base with some light caramel sweetness. I get some nuts like I did in the nose. Nose was a tad sweeter, although there is a bit more hop character to the taste as there is an earthy, somewhat floral flavor.

Mouthfeel here is light bodied and quite clean. It's smooth and nicely balanced.

This is a nice beer and very drinkable. I could session this very easily and it definitely hits the spot when I am in the mood for something light yet dark. Good stuff.

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Photo of SheepNutz
4.22/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz. bottle poured into a tulip-style glass. It pours a deep ruby red, almost black, with two fingers of head. There is some lacing left on the glass. The smell is sweet and malty with caramel and toffee. A hint of hops in the smell as well. A nice full aroma that fills the nose well. The taste starts with lots of roasted malt up front, some sweetness. A good hop bite on the finish. Balanced out fairly well. The mouthfeel is fairly thick and smooth. The drinkability is really nice due to the smoothness and the 4% abv. A great dark lager.

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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 AaronRed
4.2/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I am never one to underestimate a Dunkel, but I must say I was surprised. At first it poured a bit flat, a slight tan head. Color was nice for a Dunkel, but I thought it was going to be undercarbonated. I was wrong, great color and smell, with taste to match. It has thay nice German fresh aroma- malty, but tempered. A rich and fairly sweet lagar, I found this so enjoyable that I wanted more. This brew has a wonderful balance when you want something with texture and flavor, but not heavy. This beer is great with food- not overwhelming at all.

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Photo of saradad
4.2/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a 12oz glass forming a light tan head over a deep brown body with a good bit of visible carbonation. The head dissipates quickly to a light frost on top and lacing on the glass. There's roasted grain,light toffee and a light spicy hops in the smell. The taste is just like the smell with a medium body feel and a slightly dry toasted grain finish with a herbal/peppery lingering hops note. This is one of my favorites and I hope that Penn Brewing keeps making their beers, they almost make lawnmowing something to look forward to.

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Photo of jlindros
4.2/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Got this bottle thanks to noslenwerd from his stash, as Penn was not brewing for a while. From what I hear its great beer and glad they are back brewing.

A: Pours a chalky slightly darkened 1 finger head. Color is a very clear dark brown with reddish hue and almost molasses color.

N: Sweet malts first, some molasses, lager aromas, slight roasted characteristics.

T: Starts with roasted malt flavors. A nice roast, followed with some other dark malts, crystal I think. A slight sweet syrupy flavor, perhaps molasses and/or brown sugar. A slight smoked flavor, but the slightest. Then some crisp lager flavors. It has a slight juicy flavor as well, and hints of bitterness.

M: Medium body with good carbonation.

F: Finishes still pretty sweet, with more of that syrupy flavor coming through, but continues with that nice roast flavor and more of the crisp finish of a lager. It doesn't leave any real off flavors either. A nice beer, especially for a lager style which I'm not usually a fan of. This is a great session beer if I ever found one.

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Penn Dark from Pennsylvania Brewing Company
3.86 out of 5 based on 481 ratings.
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