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

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 265 | Ratings: 482
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 Wasatch
3.85/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks Alkey for the brew.

Pours a clean/clear dark brown color, nice carbonation, small fizzy tannish head which quickly dissappears, some sticky lacing afterwards. The nose is of sweet slightly roasted malts, slight hops, toffee/caramel. The taste is malty, slightly bitter, nice touch of toffee/caramel. Medium body. Drinkable, a very tasty dunkel lager, glad to have a chance to try it out.

 397 characters

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

I've had this on tap twice in the past week at two seperate parties.

A. Poured into a plastic cup from a 1/4 keg. Dark brown lager with a slight khaki head and a nice exhibition of lacing.

S. Slight roasted malt and malted milk balls.

T. A very flavorful lager. Once again a sweet malty taste with some Hallertau hops there to add a earthy bitter note.

M. Full bodied lager here, a bit creamy and smooth.

D. Very good as well. Possibly my favorite micro lager.

 466 characters

Photo of plaid75
3.85/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a dusty dark brown hue with a 1/4 inche tan lacey head. There was decent retention and lacing.

The smell was upfront sweet caramel with a decent toasted grain element.

The taste began mildly sweet but soon morphed into a toasted grain and coffee flavor. A nice multigrain bread finish.

The mouthfeel was a bit on th thin side and dry.

Overall a very drinkable dark lager. From the nose, I was expecting a sticky sweet mess, but instead was pleasantly suprised by the toasted dryness.

 502 characters

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

Pours a hazy medium brown with a head that pours a couple of fingers high and then sticks around as a swirly cap. Richly malty, but dry with aromas of bitter chocolate, baked bread, and a little minerality. Taste is quite pleasant, but a little light. More of that bitter chocolate, but it is slight and way in the background. Slightly spicy grain, restrained earthy hops, and some more baked bread flavors round it out. Smooth, relatively light and an anjoyable drinking experience.

 483 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 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.

 604 characters

Photo of jdhilt
4.12/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours with a thinnish head and hardly any lace. Dark root beer color. Malts are up front and hops are hardly noticable but there is a very slightly hoppy finish. This lager is a smooth, medium bodied beer. Very drinkable and nice to get a good dunkel brewed in the US.

 268 characters

Photo of cjgator3
3.77/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown with light tan head leaves a decent amount of lacing on the glass. Sweet toasty malts, caramel and fresh baked bread make up the nose. Taste is much like the aroma with a lingering toasted malt and hop finish. Mouthfeel is medium bodied and smooth. Overall, Penn Dark is a pretty solid offering that is good enough to have again.

 348 characters

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.

 740 characters

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.

 463 characters

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.

 627 characters

Photo of bluejacket74
3.98/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in a snifter, the beer pours dark brown with a half inch off-white/tan head. Head retention and lacing are both OK. It smells like roasted malt, bittersweet chocolate and some coffee, but the aroma is on the light side. Luckily the taste is stronger, it tastes like roasted malt, chocolate, dark fruit, molasses and coffee. Body is light/medium, and smooth with just the right amount of carbonation. Drinkability is good, I think it would be a good session beer as it goes down easy and tastes good. It wouldn't be hard to drink a few of these at a time. I'd recommend it to others to try.

 596 characters

Photo of tigg924
3.57/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: 3/4 inch head, dark-reddish brown in color, clear, high carbonation

Smell: dark wheat and toasted malt

Taste: big dark wheat, pumpernickel, some toasted malt, and light hops at the end.

Mouthfeel: high carbonation, light bodied, moderately sweet with a slightly bitter end

Overall: A nice bready beer. I do not find this one boundary pushing, but rather in the very solid category. I could have several of these, but this is also not the first beer I would reach for.

 483 characters

Photo of DrDemento456
3.8/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at the Penn Brewery restaurant.

A - Pours a very dark brown almost black with a half inch of mocha colored head. Very similar to the black IPA.

S - Light roasted malts, touch of bread, maybe a bit of raisin, and a good bit of almonds.

T - Transitions pretty well maybe not as much nut or fruit flavors but a good bit of roast and bread with a touch of buttery flavor which leans more toward lager.

M - Light to medium I found it very easy to drink.

Overall the best beer I had of the night. It was light, good flavor, and went well with my meal. If ever there again I could see myself ordering a couple.

 624 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 Bighuge
4.59/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Beer is a clear dark ruby red. Thin light brown head leaves some sparse lace. Nice nose of toaste malt, burnt caramel, toffee and licorice. Really nice. The taste follows through in a big way. Nice caramel and burnt malt tones. Bitter roasted notes. Great flavor. One of the best tasting dunkels I've had the pleasure of consuming. Mouthfeel is appropriately smooth, creamy, silky. Body is about medium. Very good beer.

I'm sold on Penn. Nice brewery there.

Thanks for the Penn samples marc77.

 499 characters

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.

 681 characters

Photo of Viggo
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Thanks to Dan for bringing this case up. Pours a clear dark amber/brown, medium tan head forms, nice lacing, decent retention. Smell is sweet, some roast, little floral, grains. Taste is dry and roasty, chocolate through the middle, caramel finish. Mouthfeel is light bodied with lower carbonation, very smooth and satisfying. Great session lager, I feel like I could drink this all night.

 389 characters

Photo of Suds
3.56/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on tap, this beer is a dark brown with a frothy head. The aroma is very restrained, but there’s a little malt, graininess, and yeast in the smell (I had to hunt for it, though). The taste is a little nutty and grainy, with caramel. The finish is dry, clean, and a little hoppy, and the body is medium (maybe on the lighter side of medium). Not really complex, but nothing really wrong either. It’s a solid and enjoyable, if not particularly interesting beer.

 467 characters

Photo of stereosforgeeks
3.95/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance – This lager is "almost-black," with a modest white head.

Smell – Roasted malts and molasses and maple syrup. There are some bread notes as well.

Taste – The roasted malts and molasses seem to be the backbone here. After the malts comes some bitter bakers chocolate and a some mild hops in the finish.

Mouthfeel – Minimal carbonation in a medium bodied ale. Feels appropriate.

Drinkability – Very drinkable, but not incredibly complex.

 464 characters

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.

 1,593 characters

Photo of TurdFurgison
3.63/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I had this on tap at a Pirates game after a string of Yuenglings. I paired it with mint chocolate chip ice cream due to my being a glutton.

It was dark copper colored with a thin tan head. Clear plastic stadium cup. The aroma was a little malty and the the flavor was pretty balanced malt/hops. Not bad, and the atmosphere helped (Pirates game + nice buzz from 2 hours of Yuengling).

I brought a bottle home also, I'll re-review if I disagree with the on-tap review.

 472 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 cpetrone84
3.84/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A-pours a dark brown beer with hues of red shining through. the head is a light tan color, thin and bubbly, no retention or lace.

S-the nose is quite rich with candied sugar, caramel, and a touch of dark fruit with ripe plums and some dark cherries

T-the taste is sweet but a little watery, it brings caramel, brown sugar, and dark ripe fruits. Plums and a hint of dark cherries.

M-this is extremely smooth, ever so smooth with very little carbonation. thinner in body and slightly dry with a clean finish.

D-this is extremely easy drinking and has a pretty good amount of taste to it. definitely a solid session beer!

 622 characters

Penn Dark from Pennsylvania Brewing Company
3.86 out of 5 based on 482 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.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

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