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

Pours a clear amber color with a slightly tanned head. Little bit of lace along the glassware. Nice roasted grain and malt aroma that is a little bread-like with a slight hop character in the tail end of the nose. Taste is lightly roasted grain and slightly nutty malt character. Light bodied, moderately carb level and a crisp finish. This is really one drinkable beer. 4% labels it as a good sessionable candidate but I could picture myself drinking quite a few too quickly.

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Photo of mralphabet
3.92/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into pint glass.

A: Deep garnet in color. About a fingers worth of brown head rises with moderate retention. Minimal lacing.

S: Sweet roasted malt aromas, with a strange hint of apples.... There is also a slightly spicy hop aroma.

T: Just like the smell... wonderful sweet roasted malt.... very sweet with a breadiness. Midway in I'm getting some spicy hops and a hint a apple.... The finish is very clean, with little aftertaste.

M: Medium bodied with moderate to soft carbonation. Perfect for the style.

D: A solid beer.... A little on the sweet side, but I like it. Good flavors, good ABV.... very drinkable....

My first Penn... and it is a good one...

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Photo of coalcracker
3.93/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Reddish brown in color with off-tan foamy head. Carbonation sticks around for quite some time.

Smell: Grainy and malty aroma with a touch of very light floral hops. Reminiscent of the typical lager.

Taste: Light roasted malt quality, caramel also evident. Hallertau hops balance out the malts quite nicely. In fact, the hop presence is bit more pronounced here then in other lagers in my opinion. Otherwise well-balanced. Pleasant aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Light to medium bodied and quite smooth.

Drinkability: Quite drinkable in terms of taste profile and ABV.

Overall, a pretty solid dark lager. Tasty and robust despite a low ABV.

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Photo of AgentZero
3.72/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Dark just like it says. Cola looking brew that peaks red at the edges. Small, decent head that receded quickly.

S - Lacking in the nose department surprisingly. Crystal malts with toffee and caramel hints, light caramel presense.

T - What you would expect, but this is not a bad thing. Coffee and toffee with malts and a hint of roasted bitterness taste. Solid tasting beer.

M - Bit thinner than you would expect from the look of this beer, which seems to give it a bit of a slippery feel. Not unpleasant though.

D - Pretty solid beer that is easy to drink. It's not a great beer, but it's definately not a bad one.

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Photo of eljefe21
3.95/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Dark brown cola like color. Thin head quickly vanishes. Some fine thin lacing.

S: Sweet malt smell with hints of raspberry. I like it, but am not sure what it'll lead to.

T: Hints of sweetness that never take full hold in the mouth. Balanced out nicely by hints of bitterness.

M: Medium bodied but a bit thin for the look of the beer. Low carbonation is nice.

D: A nice beer for cooler weather. Extremely drinkable and enjoyable. Not sure how strong this is but it feels very sessionable.

Served: in an imperial pint glass.

Review from notes taken on: 9/1/09

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Photo of william5586
4.02/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Clear light brown with a finger or so of light tan fizzy head.

A really great smell. Lots of toffee and caramel mixed with lightly roasted malt.

The taste if full of sweet toffee and caramel. There is also some lightly roasted malt and the slightest touch bitterness.

The feel of this beer falls a little short. but is in no way bad. It is a little thin and just seems to slide though my mouth a little to quickly. It also had a good dose of carbonation that may have been a bit to much. I'm being pretty picky here, but I love Dunkel's and I think it makes me judge them a little harder.

Penn dark may not be the best of the style, but it is a very solid brew. Based on the taste, price and availability, I find myself grabbing this beer more and more often. Its especially good for party situations when I know I'm going to knock a few back.

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Photo of mortarit
4.05/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

It's been a while since I have had a lager and a dark at that.

I figure there would be more head but this one was none existance if any.
What I like most about this beer is that it's smoothness from other lager.

It reminds me of some oak aged barrel verison. It has some sourness too.

I would buy this again when given the mood.

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

This beer pours a deep rich brown color with occasional reflections of red. Nice light tan head which settles to a thin lace after about 5 minutes or so. If this beer maintained it's head (a little longer), and had better stick...I'd would have rated the appearance at a 5. I love the look/color of this fine brew.

Fresh baked bread and roasted malts in the nose.

This beer has a nice roasted and somewhat nutty taste that goes well with the moderate carbonation and mild hop flavor.

Mouthfeel is on the thin side for a beer this dark.

I could definitely drink four or five of these no problem.

Morey's Bottom Line: I'm usually not a big fan of Lagers (although I'm trying to sample more of them), but I'm really enjoying this beer.

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Photo of butti001
3.65/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

For a Dunkel, the taste and aroma is not that complicated, being a lager and all, but still maintains a full bodied taste.

Penn Dark pours a dark and quickly dissipating head with a above average amount of carbonation for a Dunkel.

Body is not as heavy as a stout or porter which leaves plenty of room for another due to a thin mouthfeel.

You can get a sense of the carmalized malt leaves a pleasant amount of bitterness after drinking.

The beer doesn't reinvent the wheel as far as Dunkels, but it is worth trying.

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Photo of dpodratsky3
3.79/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into frosted pint glass

A: Dark chocolate, cola-like brown. A small, but dense head.

S: Not particularly strong smell. Carmalized malt.

T: Starts out with roasted caramel malt flavor and fades into a nicely singed/roasted flavor. Nothing too sweet, but good dark malty notes.

M: Surprisingly light. Medium carbonation, but a nice tight finish.

D: Good for a darker beer, too roasted to drink too many, but a good balance.

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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 goblue3509
3.83/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark brown color with a khaki color head that measures one finger. Smell is of roasted malts that are very sweet much like sweet bread. The taste has a sweet malt smooth taste. The mouthfeel is little carbonation with a smooth finish. The drinkability is very high on this, just a smooth flavorful beer that goes down easy.

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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.

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

This cold brew shows a dark mohagany color, slightly hazed with a thin off-white/light tan head and a bit of lacing. The aroma is a very solid brown sugar malt and some yeasty bread and grapes. The flavor brings on tart apple and lots more brown sugar malt. It has a decided bite that lodges in the back of your throat and tongue that suggests a slightly smokey, dry light citrus/cracker kind of hoppiness. There's plenty of smooth carbonation and it has a relatively light body, spritzy and refreshing mouth feel. Very drinkable. Not my favorite style but this one has some personality and i could drink a few of these in a pinch, no problem.

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

Bottle poured into a pint glass.

A- Very murky dark brown that you barely see the ruby highlights through even when held up to light. One finger khaki head that left pretty good lacing.

S- Very mild, a little roasted and a little sweet.

T- Sam as the smell with a little malt and caramel added in.

M- Smooth, medium bodied, and a little sticky.

D- Pretty easy to drink but I wont be looking for any more of this one.

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Photo of Cyberkedi
4.42/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Comes out of the bottle a dark chocolaty brown that is slightly translucent, capped by a fairly thick pale tan head. Malty, slightly spicy aroma has a hint of molasses. Rich malty aroma has strong tones of cinnamon and cloves and a touch of caramel. Texture is smooth and fizzy. Quite satisfying.

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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 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.

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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 BeerSox
4.6/5  rDev +19.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

12oz bottle into nonic.

Deep brown hue, the same as a brown ale, but maybe not quite as dark as a Schwarzbier.

Nutty roastiness with a light creaminess that's always characteristic of the style. A bit of butterscotch in the background.

Very very smooth malts, which give a good amount of creaminess and roastiness along with a strong nutty flavor. Full bodied.

Quite the enjoyable Dunkel Lager. Smooth, creamy, roasty. Everything that needs to be there is there. Good job by the PBC.

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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.

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Photo of BaerBeer
4.78/5  rDev +23.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I decided to buy a few beers that I already had, but I seen this Penn Dark and decided to give it a try. I was pretty blown away by the superb taste of this beer.

Poured the 12oz bottle into a glass:

A- A nice dark brown color with a tint of amber. Has a chocolaty type look to it. Decent head, with a light lacing that stays for a while

S- Hints of dark wheat bread, slight chocolate aroma, kind of a tobacco smell with a hint of musty-yeasty aroma as well

T- Great, great taste. Sort of a salt cured beefy taste with a few hints of chocolate; sharp yet slightly bitter taste that is very smooth. I would compare the taste to new castle brown mixed with Sierra Nevada Porter.

M- Very pleasant on the palate; Smooth as hell, not very tangy which is a plus in my mind. Kind of a bubbly feel to it, but also pretty sturdy

D- Super drinkable. I think I could drink a full 6 pack of this because of it's smoothness. For some reason, it fells like I am drinking a light meal- very fulfilling.

Overall, an excellent beer. I felt like I stumbled upon gold with this one, and I would definitely buy this one again and again. I think I found a new favorite :)

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Photo of smerkinb
4.44/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottle says "Celebrating 20 years". Back label references a Norse legend of drinking for eternity and gives a short description of "roasted barley malt and Hallertau hops."

Pours a dark chocolate color with a loose 1/2 inch tan head. Shows dark mahogany when backlit and head evens to a steady collar.

Smells sweetly malty and-as promised- roasted. Not much in the nose for me, but it is enticingly sweet.

Wow. Sweet, heavy malts with bready, yeasty playing second fiddle. Other flavors that jump in to balance this out are roasty, barely bitter and nearly-there faint dark chocolate.

Penn Dark is of course dark and it's smooth but not heavy or thick. Nice carbonation that leaves little brief bubbles. The dryish finish makes this one a bit too easy to drink.

Great beer! With all the recent talk of sessionable brews, I would raise this as an example every time. It's sweet without ever approaching cloying and it's not at all heavy. Easy to drink and is both satisfyingly tasty and not quite enough to ever really quench my thirst. I want more from the first sip. Actually I'm kicking myself for not getting a sixer. Scratch that--I'm going to get s sixer now. And I'm never going to be without this beer again.

The bottle says "If you were going to spend eternity drinking one beer, this would be the one." I heartily agree.

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