Penn Dark | Pennsylvania Brewing Company

BA SCORE
87
very good
489 Ratings
Penn DarkPenn Dark
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Pennsylvania Brewing Company
Pennsylvania, United States
pennbrew.com

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

BEER STATS
Ratings:
489
Reviews:
268
Avg:
3.86
pDev:
12.18%
 
 
Wants:
45
Gots:
61
For Trade:
0
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Ratings: 489 |  Reviews: 268
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 djrn2
3.5/5  rDev -9.3%

Photo of Knapp85
3.7/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer poured out as a nice dark brown color. It has a pretty good looking tan head on it. The lacing could have been a little better. The smell of the beer was roasted and had the typical lager smell in there too. The taste of caramel and bitter coffee were upfront on this beer, the aftertaste was of some lager bitterness. The mouthfeel is light enough to consume several in a sitting if you choose to. Overall this beer is surprisingly pretty good. I was impressed by how much it tasted like a real German Dark Lager.

 524 characters

Photo of nmann08
4/5  rDev +3.6%

Photo of metter98
3.78/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Drop Off Service, New York, NY

A: The beer is extremely dark brownish amber in color. It poured with a thin creamy off white head that died down but left a thick ring of bubbles around the edge of the glass.
S: There are light to moderately strong aromas of dark malts in the nose along with some syrupy sweetness.
T: The overall taste is quite malty and has flavors of dark malts along with hints of malty sweetness, nuts, roasted malts and syrup. There is a very slight amount of sweetness but the underlying hops prevent this from being cloying.
M: It feels medium-bodied and a bit smooth on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer is very drinkable and sessionable, especially given all of the malty flavors. I could easily drink this beer all night long.

 793 characters

Photo of BEERchitect
3.75/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A very authentic tasting German Dunkel. Impressive!

Penn Dark pours a solid to dark brown color, good clarity and with an off-white head that forms well but could linger a bit longer. No real lacing.

Malty rich aromas are accompanied by notes of toast, bread crusts, nutty, and light cocoa. No sulfur, phenolic, or ester qualities. Simple nose but pure.

Again, malt flavor dominates with a bready, lightly toasted quality. The nutty and cocoa tastes take a far back seat. Still, a clean and simple flavor with no off-flavors. Hops balance the beer but after that, their job is done.

Creamy and froaty up front but the beer fades nicely into a light dry and toasty finish.

A nice, non-offensive beer that would make any beer lover proud.

 742 characters

Photo of brentk56
4.07/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance - Dark cola body with a thin tan head that sticks around for a while; a bit of lacing

Smell - pumpernickel bread and caramel on the nose

Taste - Nicely balanced between the rich, dark bread malt and a touch of bitterness from the hops

Mouthfeel - Slightly thin, but you have to remember that this is a lager and you shouldn't expect it to taste like a porter

Drinkability - A fine effort; flavorful enough to keep you interested and light enough to consume in quantity

 491 characters

Photo of dmorgan310
3.75/5  rDev -2.8%

Photo of zeff80
4.02/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured out a dark burgandy color with a foamy, white, two-finger head.

S - It smelled of roasted malt, caramel and a little hop aroma.

T - It tasted of rich roasted malt with a subtle burnt toastiness. Also, some underlying grassiness.

M - It was crisp and smooth. A light to medium-bodied beer.

D - This was quite good. I look forward to finding more from this brewery.

 378 characters

Photo of zestar
3.75/5  rDev -2.8%

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.

 1,091 characters

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.

 1,049 characters

Photo of oberon
3.78/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a nice deep brown color with some ruby hues,nice rocky head that sticks around.Smell was faintly malty and fruity.Taste was of of chocolate malts and a little caramelly with some lingering dryness.Much better than alot of the German styles I have had,very appetizing and sustaining.

 289 characters

Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.85/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a dark brown color, with a thin off-white head that fades quickly and leaves a very thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is faint but contains light roasted malts, lager yeast and a touch of hops.

T: The taste starts out bready with flavors of lager yeast and a hearty but not too heavy roasted malt character. Then a very mild sweetness from flavors of chocolate and caramel come in. The hops presence is also mild but complementary and brings a good balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet and slightly bready.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is clean.

O: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, mild kick, good representation of style, this is a solid beer to drink for a while if you’re in the mood for the style.

 829 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

Photo of smithj4
3.9/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of atrocity
3.12/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

Photo of russpowell
3.6/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Got this one from Melbatoast93, cheers Hart!

Pours an effervescent caramel/cola color with 2 fingers of tan head. Above average head retention & average lacing

S: Toasty malt, plus a touch of roasted malt

T: Dry, toasty with a bit of powdery brown sugar up front. More dryness & some more roasty malt & a touch of grainyness as this warms. Finishes dry & roasty with leafy hops

MF: Light/medium bodied with low carbonation

Drinks easy, but I've had better Dunkels

 470 characters

Photo of smcolw
3.83/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Large off-white head. Settles quickly. Leaves plenty of streaky lace. The liquid is deep ruby brown where light does pass.

Cold cocoa aroma. Minor coffee in the background. Relatively light smell.

Slightly sweet with a touch of sour. Mostly darker malt flavor. The hop is not very present, perhaps only to balance. Good body with a below average level of carbonation.

 369 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 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.

 504 characters

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.

 358 characters

Photo of Slatetank
4.25/5  rDev +10.1%

Photo of mdfb79
3.65/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From 12/18/11 notes. Shared by namnn08; thanks Nate. Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into my Bell's tulip.

a - Pours a dark mahogany brown color with one inch of off white and moderate carbonation evident. No real head retention or lacing on the glass.

s - Smells of nuts, bready malts, toasted malts, burnt malts, and roasted malts.

t - Tastes of bready malts, rye, toasted malts, burnt malts, light roasted malts, light spice, and nuts. A tiny bit spicey, a step down from the nose.

m - Medium body and low carbonation. A touch undercarbonated.

o - Overall a pretty decent Dunkel. Nothing mind belowing but a nice malty nose and pretty easy to drink. A little spice in the taste. Would try it again.

 702 characters

Photo of orangesol
3.75/5  rDev -2.8%

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Penn Dark from Pennsylvania Brewing Company
3.86 out of 5 based on 489 ratings.
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.