Dismiss Notice
We're celebrating 10 years of BeerAdvocate magazine with $10 print subscriptions for US residents.

Subscribe now!

Penn Dark | Pennsylvania Brewing Company

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
very good
263 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

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 263 | Ratings: 478
Photo of nsmartell
3.23/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I enjoyed this beer from the comfort of my own living room. From bottle to standard pint glass.

Appearance: Poured out a nice brown color with a foamy, off-white head.

Smell: Roasted malt, light caramel and slightly hoppy.

Taste: Roasted malt and hops, but not much else.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and medium-bodied beer.

Drinkability: Not my favorite dunkel I have ever tried. A little lacking in flavor for me.

 409 characters

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.

 387 characters

Photo of DrJay
3.28/5  rDev -15%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Clear, chestnut colour with a nice reddish brown hue, topped by beige foam. Head retention was alright and lacing was on the sticky side. Quite nice looking. Aromas were of sweet malts, caramel, and a hint of roast, with a pleasant nutty character. Low bitterness, definitely on the sweet side, with a mild grainy/roasty quality. Bitterness became a little stronger in the finish. Lightish bodied with moderate carbonation and a little residual sugar left behind by the yeast. Not bad at all, but a little too sweet for my palate without having a full, malty character to back it up.

 583 characters

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.

 401 characters

Photo of PorterPatrol
3.34/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a traditional American pint glass, this Pittsburg beer offered a nice clean head with rich dark brown hues often found in German style dark lagers. The brewery is consistent in their beer making quality and this dunkel is another winner with roasted notes along side a teeth-lingering crispness with a subtle sweetness and enjoyable maltiness on the finish.

 369 characters

Photo of mjw06
3.35/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

dark mahogany color with a small one finger size tan head that dissipates fairly quickly

barley malt with caramel tones and a metallic tone as well

a sharp malt taste that glides across the tongue all the way to the finish. the taste doesnt conjure up the presence that the smell has. though it does mock it with a little metallic accompaniement. for some odd reason it always bothers me when a breweries "dark" selection has less taste than its regular of flagship version. this is such the case with penn dark, as it carries significantly less taste and complexity than penn pilsner. little to no residual. not very rich at all and overall a dissapointing taste.

light to medium body, kind of thin overall in the feel of the malt, and slides right by to the back. little heavy on the carbonation on the side.

despite its flaws, overall its a good beer that is pretty drinkable and enjoyable. but ill just take a regular penn pils over this anyday.

 954 characters

Photo of schoolboy
3.36/5  rDev -13%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Well, it is dark and well crafted, with no glaring flaws. No funkiness of any kind, but also not a ton of character.

The head is pretty thin. The aroma has a slight hint of roasted flavor - very slight. It gets better with warmth as you would expect for the style.

Although this brew is very drinkable, I don't think I will seek it out and I would recommend getting actual German versions of this (they often are just as low priced if not even lower).

 462 characters

Photo of Dogbrick
3.36/5  rDev -13%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This brew pours a dark brown color with a medium thin beige head with decent retention. Stringy lacing. Roasted malt and nuts in the nose. Medium body with a smooth mouthfeel. Roasted malt and caramel flavors, along with lightly floral hops. The finish is mildly nutty and sweet and does not last long. Decent overall.

 318 characters

Photo of prototypic
3.38/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: It's clear and very dark brown in color. Head is off white and two fingers deep. Retention was good, but lacing was on the light side.

Smell: Light on the nose. A mix of roasted and caramel malts is noticeable if you stick with. A bit grainy smelling. Light yeasty smell toward the end.

Taste: Caramel and roasted malts blend well giving the beer an initally sweet taste. It is grainy and a bit earthy. Perhaps a little watered down, but not offensively so. Hops are light, but noticeable. A bit yeasty on the tail.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: It's light bodied. Carbonation is good. Decently crisp and refreshing. Good beer for a hot day. Pretty smooth and drinkable. Overall, it's pretty solid. I wouldn't turn it down.

 732 characters

Photo of jhammerly
3.38/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Received by Imstillthegman as part of SS07, thanks again.

An easy drinking brown hued lager with a one-fingered beige head. Body is light to medium and easy on the taste buds. Light caramel sweetness in the nose (as well as in the flavor). Add a slight nuttiness to that with a very mild hop character. A good beer.

 316 characters

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.41/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Date brown infused with orange juice. As it often does with beer of this hue, backlighting changes things to russet. The sandlewood colored head is attractive, as is the wide band of BB-shot lace that has formed just above the nonic bulge. Yes indeed, this is what a Munich dunkel is supposed to look like.

The aroma doesn't hold the line. It's on the musty and (slightly) earthy side rather than being dark malty. Actually, PD smells like a garden variety Euro dark lager rather than a member of this most venerable style.

The flavor makes a minor comeback. I've still had better. The beer doesn't taste old, but it would be nice to have some sort of date to determine if it's as the brewers intended or if it's past its prime. Thankfully, it's improving as the middle of the bottle approaches.

Penn Dark is simple, as are quite a few Munich dunkels. The less than bright star of the show is an earthy maltiness that isn't as dark as hoped for. There's a hint of roastiness, though it's actually more of a brown bread toastiness. Hallertau hops balance things out in terms of both flavor and sweetness-bitterness. A medium-dark fruitiness and a baked nuttiness emerge as the beer warms.

The mouthfeel, while not the least bit impressive, is right about where it should be. It's closer to light than to medium and is adequately carbonated. To be fair, not too many 5.0% lagers impress me with their mouthfeels.

Penn Dark is roughly the same level of quality as Penn Pilsner and Penn Weizen. That is, decent and drinkable without being a standout. It may not be a fair comparison, but St. Nicholaus Bock Bier is still the undisputed king of the PBC hill as far as I'm concerned.

 1,682 characters

Photo of david18
3.45/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I think this was a good time to have this beer (a chilly spring day). Good dark malt with an overall light character in weight and alcohol by volume. I'm not sure exactly what the difference is between a dunkel and a schwartzbier but this is not as interesting as many of the Schwartzbiers I've had.

That said, the Penn Munich Dunkel Lager was pretty good. Good malty aromo and flavor but, as expected, light on the head and stomach. Aroma is not that strong, flavor is ok. Drinkability was good but I don't know how many more of these I'll order.

 549 characters

Photo of PorterLambic
3.45/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear, coppery-brown. Decent head develops then drops to islands. No noticeable lace.
Smell is roasted malts, hints of wheat, hops, alcohol and a fruitcake-like note.
Taste is the same as the smell with some slight dark fruit and yeast notes joining the party.
Smooth, medium bodied, slightly warming in the throat. A really nice beer overall. Could quaff several without any problem.

 392 characters

Photo of silentjay
3.46/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

deep brown, that turns mahogany when held to a light with a dense khaki head that retains and laces well.

very nutty aroma with some raisiny fruits and some pumpernickel bread. a touch metallic, but with some floral hops coming through slightly as well.

starts nutty, goes a bit buttery, some burnt malts, a slight roast, earthy and floral hops that balance well.

the crispness of this brew is its best quality, i think. it keeps it easy drinking and it finishes clean so that the sweetness never becomes cloying.

a decent brew. goes down so easy, but remains flavorful throughout. nothing earth-shattering, but one that you can drink and enjoy without contemplating.

 672 characters

Photo of Sammy
3.48/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Amber rather than dark colour. Its plain but its drinkable. Some toastiness, some hop, rather taste is led by malt profile including chocolate malt. Molasses.Appreciated than no sourness. Medium mouthfeel. Part of the German style lineup and nothing special.

 258 characters

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.

 485 characters

Photo of rtratzlaff
3.49/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a deep brown to black body under an off white head.
Aromas of sweet malt with a slight roastiness as well.

The flavors are roasty with more sweetness of munich malt and a good bit of hoppiness for a dunkel in the finish.
The body is medium to light with ample carbonation and plenty of character to make this something worth trying. Overall, a great dunkel that beat the pants off most macro versions of the style.

 422 characters

Photo of flexabull
3.49/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice clean brown color with a nice white head on top.

Aromas are dusty, slightly fruity, and nutty.

Taste is clean, and dry. A bit nutty, malty, and with and with a slightly fruity undertone. Pretty decent tasting Dunkel. But the flavors are bit muted to me.

Mouthfeel is nice and full flavored.

Drinkability is good. Not really my favorite style, but I can appreciate it for what it is... a pretty nice sessionable brew.

Thanks for the bottle jasonm!

 474 characters

Photo of Jbino34
3.49/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Not impressed with the pour of this beer, minute head with no real lacing. Dark brown in color, matches style.

Smell is nice, malty with a touch of hop flare but overall clean, and crisp.

Taste is light, again matches the style. Good dark beer introduction for those who are afraid of the dark. The sweet caramel malt comes through.

Mouthfeel is a bit week but again, i guess it matches the style. I like a bit more body when it comes to a brown or a dunkel. Low carbonation.

Definitely a nice and drinkable beer. I'd buy more and recommend.

 545 characters

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.

 225 characters

Photo of Zorro
3.5/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

In a pilsner glass this is a clear dark brown lager with a smallish tan head.

The smell is sweetish with a noticeable coffee aroma. Chocolate and berry scents are also present but are much less than the coffee.

The taste begins sweet and full of patent malt robustness. Fair amount of chocolate and roast in the taste I like it.

Mouthfeel is OK.

Pretty easy to drink I can see buying this one again.

 411 characters

Photo of TheEclecticGent
3.5/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Dark and rich brown with amber hues when held to the light. The head is a light tan with good lacing.

Smell: A caramel bready nose with hints of fresh grains.

Taste: The beer has a sweet caramel malt flavor with a barely noticeable hop profile. A really nice flavor, very fresh.

Mouthfeel: Medium with low-moderate carbonization.

Description: Seems like a long time since I have had a Munich Dunkel Lager on tap. This one is fresh and reminds me of one that I had in a brewpub in Bremen, Germany. Very good interpretation of the style.

 554 characters

Photo of dmamiano
3.5/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

poured fairly dark with virtually no head..redish hues around the edges as its held to the light.
smell is very much of grainy malts which seem to be mixed with a metallic type smell..kind of funkey..hints of caramel noticed.
Taste is immediately malty and smooth...very bitter in the finish for me.
Actually slight vanilla notes are highlighted alond with a slight "doughy" flavor.
Not bad on the palate

 405 characters

Photo of xzqrut
3.52/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured out a nice deep dark brown, with only very mild head, which had poor retention and poor lacing. Smell was decent, a good roasted malt aroma, with some chocolate tones. Taste good as well, again roasted malt, and at times an almost mocha like taste, a nice burnt finish. Mouthfeel was fairly light, with mild carbonation. All in all, it was OK.

 350 characters

Photo of dbrauneis
3.53/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on tap at Drop Off Service in New York, NY

A: Pours a very dark reddish brown with light hints of dark amber when held up to the light. The beer has a thin beige head that reduces to a ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate to significant lacing is observed.

S: Overall a pretty light smelling beer with hints of roasted malts, smoke, and a little caramel sweetness.

T: A malty sweetness that is not unlike flavored pancake syrups (not real maple) with lots of caramel notes and some hints of nuts. There are also some roasted malts and a very light bitterness.

M: Medium bodied with light to moderate amounts of carbonation. Smooth.

O: Really easy to drink and very refreshing on a beautiful spring day here in NYC. Definitely an easy drinking session beer and one I would certainly get again. Very true to the style.

 832 characters

Penn Dark from Pennsylvania Brewing Company
3.86 out of 5 based on 478 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Extreme Beer Fest® Cometh

    February 3-4, 2017. Boston, Mass. Limited tickets available. Prepare for epicness.

    Learn More
  • Free Trial Subscription

    Reside in the US? Interested in a free 1-month trial subscription to the print edition of BeerAdvocate magazine?

    Yes! Sign Me Up!