Pious Monk Dunkel
Church Brew Works

Pious Monk DunkelPious Monk Dunkel
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Munich Dunkel Lager
Ranked #126
Ranked #41,203
3.61 | pDev: 12.74%
Church Brew Works
Pennsylvania, United States
Pious Monk DunkelPious Monk Dunkel
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Reviews: 107 | Ratings: 280
Photo of Beginner2
3.9/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A treat for a malt-head like me. So I did not need to order dessert as this was the last of flight of four at City Works in Pittsburgh.
Pious Monk is sweet, yet balanced and finishes that way; just dry enough so there is no cloying. While it Looks and Smells only slightly above average, it Tastes clearly above that: rich caramel-like malts roasted well so as to only need modest hops for balance. The way a dunkel should be.

My first from Church Brew Works and I see their restaurant is in a converted church. Cool. I also noticed a nice dessert menu, perhaps explaining the quality of this dunkel. Too bad for me that I was not in Pittsburgh long enough to visit this Church.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
3.78/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Lawrenceville Brewery, Inc./The Church Brew Works "Pious Monk Dunkel"
12 fl. oz. brown glass bottle without freshness dating
$2.17 @ Giant Eagle, Indiana, PA

Notes via stream of consciousness: Dark mahogany brown body with a bit of a ruby cast and orange highlights near the base of the glass. The head retention is unfortunately not that good and the light tan cap has already dropped. I just cleaned this glass after having another beer that showed good head retention so it's not the glass. The aroma displays burnt-sugar, some brown sugar, a touch of chocolate, and a light background like charred wood. There's some fruitiness to it as well but it's hard to make out. The flavor displays more of that fruitiness within its darkly caramelish/sugary, bready, and lightly chocolatey maltiness, and it's like dark fruit (raisin, plum). There's a little bit of woodiness to the malt as well, and it's a touch spicy, but it's not roasty. It's interesting. I wonder if that's due to a combination of earthy and herbal hops with the dark malt. It's medium-light in body and gently crisp with a moderate carbonation. In general I expect more malt, and more maltiness in the flavor, but this is unique, and thus interesting, and it does have the general characteristics of a Munich-style dunkel. Oddly, however, with a different yeast I could easily imagine this malt bolstered up a bit would make a great Belgian-style dubbel.

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Photo of Sabtos
3.86/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Burnt amber-brown with a soft, off-white blanket leaving creamy lace.

Smell is subtle. Toasted bread with hints of cinnamon-raisin.

Taste is caramel, sweet bread, toast, roasted nuts, and a hint of banana skin.

Feel is soft, round, fluffy, but medium-thin and semi-wet.

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Photo of SomethingClever
4.08/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into snifter.

A: Very small slightly off white head that disappears quickly. Body is a hazy brown caramel in color.

S: Slight banana with a deep sweet bready smell and some burnt sugars ad some raisins.

T: Sweet breadiness light bits of clove and banana lights bits of caramel and toffee on the end a little honey.

M: Higher carbonation makes the beer feel fuller on the tongue but then slightly thinner.

O: Pretty good beer the clove and banana are dialed back, which let the breadiness and toffee shine through. The higher then average carbonation let the boy keep from being too heavy or cloying. Not bad at all.

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Photo of DavoleBomb
3.24/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Poured into a perfect pint.

3.75 A: Clear darker copper color. Two fingers of foamy beige head. Retention is about average and a half finger of lacing is left behind.

3.5 S: Caramel, toastiness, nuttiness are all quite prominent - very altbier-esque. Sweet brown sugar with figgy fruitiness. Vinous underneath with notes of plum. Not bad, but could be cleaner.

3.25 T: Many of the flavors are found in the nose. Again lots of caramel, toastiness, nuts, brown sugar. Raising, fig, and plum fruits. Earthy hoppiness with a mineral laden mountain water freshness. There's some complexity, but it's a little too dry and just okay.

2.75 M: Lighter body. Good moderate carbonation. A bit too watery, but it does bring some creaminess, which helps.

3.0 D: It's a decent beer, but there's a lot better options out there.

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Photo of ajm5108
3.09/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Pretty pedestrain American adaptation of a German classic, you can definitely get some of the semi-sweet malt bill but it is a little soft on flavor impact, mostly just some dark fruit notes (raisin bread) and then your tradional lager notes. Thin mouthfeel, too watery. Not bad but firmly mediocre.

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Photo of The-Adjunct-Hippie
3.67/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Thanks for this trade, ozzylizard!

A : Cherry wood stained color with 70% opacity. The head is three fingers and very stable, leaving licks of lacing on the glass.

S : Very vinous with grape, plum, and fig. Some kilned malts and light bubble gum yeastiness also accompany the nose. Overall a sweet, yeasty, sour aroma.

T : Yeast and fig hit first, followed by lightly scorched grain, ending with ABC-bubble gum, dough, and dried old hop flower. Out of the bottle it's very lager-y at the front and complete metallic at the back.

F : A medium bodied beer, complete with carbonation and a semi-dry sweet finish.

O : Interesting beer, though I wouldn't cry if I never had it again. :-)

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Photo of brother_rebus
3.34/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Brown color. Like a nut brown look. Bit of lacing and ringed head. Not much of an effervescent smell. Tastes of malt and dark fruits. Figgy. Plummy. Datey. Fizzy carbonation bite. Lingering sedimenty chalk taste. Not terrible. Just not my typea dunkle. I do like dunkle though.

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Photo of Ozzylizard
4.28/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Growler at 42 degrees into shaker
Aroma of roasted malt
Head small (2 cm, aggressive pour), light brown, frothy initially, rapidly becoming creamy, diminishing to 3mm ring and layer
Lacing average – various size islands of tiny to small bubbles
Body medium amber, clear
Flavor of lightly roasted malt, caramel; no hops flavor, no alcohol, no diacetyl
Palate medium, watery, soft carbonation

Appearance 4, Aroma 4, Flavor 4.5, Palate 4.25, Overall 4.25

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Photo of ONUMello
3.85/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a pils glass
A: Light brown color, a fair amount of bubbles and a 1.5-finger head that lingers for quite some time
S: Light malt
T: Malty, nutty and a bit of caramel
M: Light-bodied, not a lot of complexity here
O: Solid, tasty & probably a good session beer. Not overly complex but tasty

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Photo of craftbrewdoctor
3.73/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Similar to Sam Adams Octoberfest though not as sweet. Golden to brown in color. Nice caramel taste with some hops present. Good carbonation.

This review is for the draft version. Bought bottles to go and VINEGAR was present when I opened them at home.

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Photo of general_staal
3.62/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

It pours a nice dark amber copper color with a nice off white head that was about .5". The head cleared quickly and the lacing was alright; mostly spotty. The smell was a little odd to me, but enjoyable. This will sound weird but I got a baking soda and vinegar smell along with nutty, wheat. I also got a bit of a vinegar and baking soda taste from this beer which wasn't necessarily bad because it was very subtle, but it was odd. I also got some nutty flavors and a wheat back end. It had a decent mouthfeel but nothing overly special. I enjoyed this beer in a slightly odd way, but I don't know if I'll buy it again.

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Photo of twiggamortis420
3.84/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12 oz bottle courtesy of tommyguz pours a mostly clear copper color with an ample off-white head, dense and fine-bubbled. Retention is pretty good and lacing ok.

Nose is toast and toffee with a little but of buttered almonds and caramel. Just a hint of grassy hops.

Nose did not show the light sweetness that is really nice on the flavor. Toasted nuts and cleans up nicely on the finish. Im a sucker for a good dunkel and this beer scratches that itch quite well...I like it. It does show some lager brewing flaws, some diacetyl in particular, but it doesnt work against the beer too much. Its not too toasty that can sometimes just get a little acrid when combined with the hops. I wish this style was brewed more by American craft breweries, it really hits that 'malty, sessionable note'..for me at least.

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Photo of SpeedwayJim
3.88/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

12oz. bottle into a Pizza Boy pilsner glass. Shared with schen9303.

.5 finger foamy white head that dissipates quickly. Beer is a clear brown-amber. Lacing is spotty and stringy with average stick. Solid for the style.

Nose is brown sugar and caramel. Decently aromatic.

Opens sweet brown sugar, hazelnut shell and caramel. More rich brown sugar in the middle with a nutty, grainy and aggressively malty finish. Aftertaste is slightly roasted malt. I like it.

Light bodied with moderate to high carbonation. Quenching and light in the mouth and goes down smooth. Messy finish with a lightly lingering aftertaste. Real drinkable.

A real solid beer that is a good representation of the style. Very drinkable and with just enough flavor to keep things interesting. A session offering for sure.

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Photo of mick303
3.63/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a medium dark chestnut brown colour, small head which leaves a nice film and lace.

Smell is has apricot-like malt esters, fair bit of roast malt. Some citrus in the hops. Nicely balanced, and quite fragrant.

Taste is a strong initial maltiness with a good balancing hop character. Wholemeal bread, with some fruity flavours thrown in. Hops are relatively light, but add a dry citrusy bitterness. Crisp dryness at the end. It is pleasant, but there's not a ton to get really really excited about, its a well-made tasty beer.

Mouthfeel has a moderate, malt forward body, plenty of crisp carbonation, refreshing, and highly sessionable.

Enjoyable beer, pretty well balanced, but could be more complex, makes for a nice session beer and I would have it again.

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Photo of prototypic
3.7/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pious Monk pours a darker copper color. It’s mostly clear. A little reveals some nice garnet highlights. Pretty nice color. A light, off-white head covers the top. It’s rather modest, rising maybe half a finger in height. It’s quick to recede, leaving a very light, spotty lacing in its wake. Not bad.

The nose is better than you might expect. It smells like a mix of caramel and brown malts. It’s a little on the sweet side as far as this nose can tell. There might be a hint of light chocolate, but it’s tough to tell. Yeast is definitely in the mix and actually smells pretty good. Smells a little toasty and herbal. Perhaps a bit of a grassy hop note on the tail. Alcohol is masked extremely well. It really smells pretty good.

The flavor is even a bit better. It’s a pretty nice representation of the style. The malt base is a mix of caramel, light chocolate, and brown malts. There’s a touch of sweetness, but it’s mild. It is yeasty and a bit herbal. Those aspects are subtle and secondary, but add something positive. There’s a very light grassy hop flavor. It complements the other flavors well and isn’t strong enough to seem out of place. I like that. Alcohol is definitely buried. I’m not getting any at all. Finishes a malty and a little sweet.

Pious Monk has a body that’s on the lighter side. Carbonation is definitely light and soft. It honestly feels a little thin to really be smooth. Needs a bit more body. It’s not way out of line for the style though. Definitely an easy drinking beer. I could happily down a few these. The ABV is just right for that, too!

I picked up a variety pack of Church Brew Works beer on a recent trip to Pennsylvania. Pious Monk is probably my favorite of the lot. It’s a nice Munich Dunkel that features all the standard bells and whistles. Definitely worth checking out.

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Photo of NoLeafClover44
3.7/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into Allagash chalice.

A - Pours a dark mahogany with plenty of red highlights when held up to the light. The thin head is whiter than I would expect from a brew this dark. Leaves behind a tiered, incomplete lacing.

S - Complexity of malts, bready and nutty. Sweet fruits; candied banana and dark grape juice come to mind.

T - Bread and buttery malts along with dark fruits. Some subtle chocolate and banana hit mid-palate. There is a lingering molasses flavor on the back end.

M - The body is on the lighter side with medium smooth carbonation.

O - Good mix of sweet, rich, and bready. The flavor is very full for a beer this light in body. This would make a good low ABV session beer. Mouthfeel is fantastic, nearly perfect. Not a style I typically drink or else I would consider getting it again.

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Photo of neenerzig
3.72/5  rDev +3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Got a 6 pack of this when the wife and I visited the brewery recently on a trip to Pittsburgh. Poured out of a 12 oz bottle into my pint glass, this beer pours a slightly hazy medium copper/amber color. Slightly off white head is about 1/2 inch thick when poured before settling fairly quickly to a nice thick ring lining the inside of my glass. Not much surface foam except for the ring along the inside of the glass, just very tiny bits spotty surface coating here and there. Almost no lacing too. Aromas of malt, hints of spice, bread, and bits of fruit such as cherry and grape. Starts out with a nice caramel malt sweetness upfront along with some bready notes that give way to a bit of spice (cinnamon and clove perhaps), a bit of toffee, hints of the aforementioned fruit, and is rounded out with a slight touch of hops. Has a crisp, somewhat tingly, creamy/frothy mouthfeel with moderate carbonation. Easy to drink in the way good beer is supposed to be. All in all not a bad beer, worth a try.


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Photo of keeganfrank
2.85/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Tea-colored lager with no real head to speak of. Aroma, which is pretty mild, is primarily fruits and bread. Flavors of fruit, caramel and faint brown sugar. This lager is lighter in body and less flavorful than I expected. It's crisp and easy to drink but left me a little underwhelmed.

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Photo of AMiz602
3.62/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is a not quite as dark as some Dunkels. It is very translucent, and looks more like a red or brown ale than a European-style Dunkelbier. Not quite as heavy feeling either, it has a pretty light and crisp mouthfeel.

It is a light beer, with a calm caramel sweetness, but it quickly turns into a burnt-nutty maltiness. It provides for a whole 180 degrees of flavor. After it gets to its proper temperature, the malt really shines through, and takes on a dry, walnut taste.

It is an easy-going Dunkelbier, and I would sometimes stop and look at it and wonder if I was drinking a Yuengling or this Dunkelbier. Overall, a good deal from Church Brew Works.

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Photo of Rifugium
3.38/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

First had: on tap at the brewery

Poured a medium brown color, hazy, but still see-through, with a thin, wispy layer of bubbles for a head. Somewhat subdued aroma, dark malts, moderate roast, mild hops. Taste reflects what was noted in the nose: roasty dark malts, grains, mild earthy hops, slight bitterness from a subtle cocoa flavor. Crisp, dry finish. Light-medium mouthfeel, nothing that hasn't been experienced before, but overall quite sessionable.

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Photo of dungledauf
1.8/5  rDev -50.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 2

Appearance: Clear, ruby hue with no carbonation

Smell: Sweet malt not overpowering

Taste: Really tasted just type of malt which I believe to be Munich malts. Expected to taste caramel and some burnt malt. Slight metallic aftertaste

Mouthfeel: Very thin, watery, and flat.

Overall: Expected more depth & flavor for a Munich Dunkel.

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Photo of oline73
3.31/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a Sam Adams perfect pint.

Appearance: Pours a very nice looking reddish dark amber color with a half finger of off white head. The head fades to a thin layer on top of the pour.

Smell: Malty and sweet, but not overly so. I'm picking up some bread from the grain along with some cherry and grape notes.

Taste: There is a lot of flavor given the abv. I'm picking up a similar flavor to the smell. Bready malt with some cherry and grpe notes. The finish has a slight bitterness to it.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with aggressive carbonation and a slightly dry finish.

Overall: I enjoyed this beer. The taste was bold given the abv. I'm not sure I'd have another, but I'm glad I tried it.

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Photo of output01x
3.94/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. capped bottle (no date) into a pilsener glass.

An aggressive pour yields a 1/2-finger tan-colored head that quickly fades to a thin dusting and thin foam ring. The body is a perfectly clear brown amber with just a few tiny carbonation bubbles. Some decent lacing can be seen throughout consumption but never sticks around long.

Dark, sweet malts aromas hit the nose immediately as this beer is poured. Spicy hops aromas quickly follow. Notes of caramel, brown sugar, and toasted grains are all discernible.

Sweet, grainy malt flavors hit the tongue at the beginning of each sip with notes of caramel, toffee, and whole grain biscuits. Upon swallowing, the bready malts flavors come out even more with slight notes of milk chocolate and toffee.

Medium bodied with moderate carbonation, this beer is smooth and easy-drinking. The body is slick and slightly sticky, which really helps the presentation of the flavors. The carbonation is only slightly fizzy and really helps this beer's drinkability.

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Photo of NardiByNature
3.62/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into the Church Brew Works pint glass. Looks like root beer - a good deal of carbonation and not much head. Fairly clear. Just a lttle bit of spotty lace.

Smells like toasty dark grains; a little bit of spice. Nothing exciting, but it smells good.

More of the toast than in the nose. A tad bitter. It's good - definitely lagery than "dunkel"ly. What I mean by that is there isn't so much caramel toastiness that you would expect with this style.

Crisp and drinkable, this is a sessionable brew to be had straight from the bottle

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Pious Monk Dunkel from Church Brew Works
Beer rating: 82 out of 100 with 280 ratings