Penn Dark | Pennsylvania Brewing Company

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263 Reviews
Penn DarkPenn Dark

Brewed by:
Pennsylvania Brewing Company
Pennsylvania, United States | website

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: 263 | Ratings: 476
Photo of Cromster
2.56/5  rDev -33.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Appearance - Light brown in color with very little head. No lacing.

Smell - Some malt and caramel

Taste - Toasted malt and a little hops.

Mouthfeel - Very light in the mouth with very little bite. I would even say it is a little watery.

Drinkability - I didn't enjoy this beer very much. It is something you could drink if you are in to lighter beers.

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Photo of Ryan011235
2.57/5  rDev -33.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Poured into an A-B flute on 2/3/12

Pretty dark beer; it's a medium shade of ruby and brown with some rusty highlights. One and a half finger head drops quickly to a much thinner but even layer. Some lace, but not much.

Aromas of ground dark grains, bitter cocoa with a hint of roast and dried bread. Overtones of raisin sweetness and reduced dark fruit sugars. A fine layer of yeast lingers underneath. The raisin and fruit translate to the palate but whereas it was sweet in the nose it takes more of a tangy bent, clashing with nippy roasted grain notes. The finish has a musty earthiness and a wash of stale, bitter coffee. Thin body with over-reaching carbonation. The finish also has an unpleasant coating feel.

Penn Dark just isn't doing it for me. Maybe a sub-par bottle? Old bottle? I dunno, but I have a hard time believing this is as the beer was intended. I'll pass.

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Photo of LarryKemp
2.62/5  rDev -32.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

This beer poured a deep, dark brown with a nice ample just off white head that stayed atop the beer for a long while. That is where the good story ends. I might have gotten a bad bottle, but the aroma is very mild and barely any malt. The taste is bland and in no way could I call this complex. There are no chocolate flavors. The mouthfeel is almost American Lager light. I will be trying the other two bottles I have of this beer sometime and may reevaluate this beer. BUT this bottle REALLY SUCKS.

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Photo of ECioffoletti
2.67/5  rDev -30.8%
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.

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Photo of DogFood11
2.73/5  rDev -29.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Dark ruby/amber, really fine carbonation fills out a tan head that staying power is decent enough.

Decent dunkel lager, robust enough to make it worthwhile yet subtle and easy to drink. I'd have to say its a bit thin and a watered type hop presence. Some roasted qualities and some coffee notes faintly in the backdrop. Zippy finely tuned carbonation swirls around every taste bud. Doesn't finish very clean.

The price was fair and this is a decent offering, it just misses by my standards. A bit thin and some odd twists and turns in the middle are a rough mix.

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Photo of thaichile
2.75/5  rDev -28.8%
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.

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Photo of Halcyondays
2.84/5  rDev -26.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle,

A: Pours a dark mahogany brown, with a very small and short-lived head, no lacing, nice colour though, so I bumped it up a notch, good clarity in this lager, but overall, not very appetizing.

S: Huge caramel malt notes, with a bit of acid and coffee.

T: Get a large acidic twang on first hit, then the malt comes, tasty, but the acidity kind of overwhelms the other flavours, off-putting.

M: Light, kind of thin, acidic, and sour.

D: I mean this beer is OK, but not something I'd buy again, not a very good example of the Munich Dunkel style out there, when Ayinger's roaming around.

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Photo of phrygian68
2.89/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Malty beer with a little bitterness,not anything great,makes a nice session beer,equally good in the winter as in the summer,slight smokey flavor with a roasted malt
I thought it would be a little more robust though! for me it was almost but not quite there. This beer seems to have a bit of an identity crisis ,decent drinking beer have had it many times!

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Photo of coreyfmcdonald
2.94/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Pours a dark brown with amber hues. A finger of head slowly recedes wo a thin ring.

S: Lots of dark fruits with a hint of caramel. Slight vinegar smell that I am used to getting with sweeter lagers.

T: The slight vinegar aroma I got is much stronger in the flavor. There is also a metallic flavor that I find distracting. Behind all of this, I get prunes and breadiness that is quite pleasant.

M: Medium to thin bodied with good carbonation.

O: There are some off flavors that I find distracting. Behind all of this, there is a good balance between dark fruits and breadiness.

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Photo of BeerCon5
3/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Pours a very dark amber color with a large fluffy off-white head that disappears very quickly.

The scent is of roasted malt, chocolate, and some notes of earthy hops.

The taste is of roasted malt, chocolate, mildly bitter hops, it's an odd taste as someone previously noted it does taste like blood.

Medium body, very smooth and oddly flat, almost not carbonation.

This was sort of an odd beer, maybe I got a bad one, but it seemed like a lot of things were off. I will have to try this again sometime.

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Photo of cbutova
3.03/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A- Dark murky brown body with a two finger light tan cap. Head retention is decent and it has a foamy texture. A few lines of lace slash down the glass.

S- Slightly metallic feel right off the bat. Toasted nutty caramel malt lurks underneath with some dark fruit. Roast hints.

T- Prominent flavors I get are nutty, toasted caramel malt with dark fruit hints. Slight metallic and somewhat spicy and herbal from the Hallertauer. Some buttery notes.

MF- High carbonation stings the palate in a somewhat light, watery body. Fair bitterness in the finish.

Not extremely familiar with the style but a pretty good beer. Doesn't drink as smoothly as other dark German beers I have had.

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Photo of AMo
3.05/5  rDev -21%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pennsylvania Brewing Company Penn Dark Lager pours a dark amberish brown with a short fizzy head that quickly dissipates. The smell is mild to medium of malts with a distinct lagerish aroma. Taste is ok, good for a lager, but there is just not a whole lot there, perhaps a little lightly malted flavor. For the most part it just taste like a typical light flavored lager. Mouthfeel is thin and watery with a medium to high carbonation. Drinability is ok, it certainly is liquid, but I'm rather bored with its lack of taste and watery feel.

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Photo of dungledauf
3.06/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Presentation: Growler from Penn Brewery on July 10.
Appearance: Great looking dark lager with gorgeous dark hue, no lacing, and no carbonation.
Smell: Very malty sweet.
Taste: The malty character came through, but the beer was creamy. Expect this style to be clean with a crisp ending.
Mouthfeel: The beer was very flat, under- carbonated with a medium body.
Drinkability: I have had better Penn Darks from the brewery in a bottle and on draft. Certainly would try this again because of the freshness. Not sure why this batch had a creamy mouthfeel, flatness, and low carbonation.

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Photo of asabreed
3.08/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: Dark amber, not a lot of lacing, not a lot of retention, which seems to be something I've been saying for a while lately, especially with these "darker" beers.

Smell: I get some biscuit, some mild darker roasted malt sweetness, and that's about it. There's just really not a lot here.

Taste: Again, not a lot here. Some darker mildly roasted malt flavors. A bit of residual sweetness. The faintest of hops. Seems way too toned-down all over the place to be a legitimate German brew.

Mouthfeel: Nicely coating and seemingly fairly light, with good carbonation, moderate, enough to let the flavors come in without feeling too heavy or over-carbonated.

Drinkability: A solid brew, but for me nothing special. I'm starting to believe I either just don't have an affinity for many German styles, or a lot of these domestic breweries of such brews are overrated. There's flavor going on here, and I could drink these pretty easily, but I don't find anything more than above average that I want to keep returning to.

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Photo of ActonBrewer
3.08/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Clear dark brown

S: Smokey aroma.

T: Smokey, chocolate. A lingering taste of blood (yes blood) mid-palate. Very strange.

M: Decent carbonation. Leaves a somewhat metallic aftertaste.

O: Ehh... I probably wouldn't revisit any of the beers from this brewery. If I had paid for the bottles I would have been far more disappointed.

Serving type: bottle

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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 rhoadsrage
3.11/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

(Served in a dimple mug)

A- This beer has a dense but clear walnut brown body with a slight amber red hint to it in the light. There is a strong carbonation of big bubbles and a perfectly smooth creamy light tan head that last and last.

S- This beer has a smooth but soft green hop note with a soft biscuit malt note in the background.

T- This beer has a smooth dry pale malt with lightly toasted malt flavor. There are some pot caramel note and the dry biscuit flavor comes through with a finish of bitterness that might be from hops or from dark malt it is hard to tell.

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

D- This beer has very soft flavors and some dark malt notes but not much depth to them.

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Photo of Cylinsier
3.12/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

From the tap.

Pours a pretty dark brown like coffee with a tan head that's not too thick.

Smells malty and a bit sweet like dark sugar.

The taste is like malts and brown sugar, plus a bit of toastiness.

Mouthfeel is smooth and on the thinner side. Not very carbonated in the feel.

A pretty decent and easy to drink dunkel, but I've had better.

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Photo of jaluria
3.12/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

First beer I've tried from Penn Brewing Co.

Poured a dark brown color with subtle dark copper/rust hues at the bottom of my goblet. Heavy carbonation with a thick, frothy head. Heavy lacing, entire rings were left behind. Aromas of alcohol, spoiled fruit, cream, and yeast; together these scents were rather unpleasant. The taste was as might be expected with fruit juice flavors mixing with sweet malt and yeast flavors. Somewhat astringent flavor in association with the yeast and fruit flavors. Semi-sweet with a creamy texture, but not complex or refreshing. Slightly tart and bitter finish.

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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 lionking
3.13/5  rDev -18.9%
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.

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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 OWSLEY069
3.2/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a clean deep amber to brown in color with a light tan head. In the aroma, small roast, caramel, and small faint lager like notes. In the taste, coffee, caramel sweetness, and faint hints of lager. A small bite and medium to lighter bodied mouthfeel, with a small dry hint of caramel in the aftertaste. Nice roasty flavors with lager notes under all of it.

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Photo of woodychandler
3.21/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

This arrived with a big, deep-tan head above a dark brown colored beer, like cola, with ruby highlights. The nose had a slightly sweetish aspect. The mouthfeel was thin, but approaching medium, not out-and-out watery. I perceived notes of licorice and chocolate in the mouth and on the tongue. The finish was lingering with a semi-sweet chocolaty aftertaste.

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Photo of hayesez
3.23/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Received, along with numerous other locals, from ceptrone84.

Poured into my Pilsner Urquell glass. Dark caramel color that stacked up nicely in the pilsner glass. Small amounts of bubbly sandstone head grace the surface.

Very malty nose with a fair amount of graininess. Small amounts of sweet caramel are also present.

The taste is fairly straightforward. Very malty with a small amount of roastiness. The sweet caramel is also in there, but you have to dig deep. The graininess in the nose is not quite as evident in the taste, but definitely still there. This beer certainly does not stand out; it is not overly complex and tastes very much as I expected. Standard.

Medium-bodied, light carbonation. I'm not a huge fan of the style, but this is a good representation; you get what you would expect. Very, very easy to drink.

Consumed: 3/8/2010

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Penn Dark from Pennsylvania Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 263 ratings.
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