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Old Scratch Amber Lager - Flying Dog Brewery

Not Rated.
Old Scratch Amber LagerOld Scratch Amber Lager

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,412 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,412
Reviews: 752
rAvg: 3.42
pDev: 14.62%
Wants: 27
Gots: 61 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Flying Dog Brewery visit their website
Maryland, United States

Style | ABV
American Amber / Red Lager |  5.50% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 11-12-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,412 | Reviews: 752 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of RushLimbmalt


4/5  rDev +17%

I think this beer is underrated. It is a hybrid beer and it definitely has both Ale and Lager characteristics, but it leans more towards an ale .It pours a medium amber color and has a thin white head .It smells malty and yeasty... pretty inviting to me. The flavor is interesting. It is a it schizophrenic, but it is supposed to be. Is it a lager or is it an ale? Is it really a steam beer? Who cares? It is a good beer and worthy of companionship on a worthy evening.

01-26-2005 08:23:53 | More by RushLimbmalt
Photo of mentor


3.63/5  rDev +6.1%

12 oz bottle obtained from Westminster Liquor (Colorado) in Jan 2005 and consumed that same evening. Review from notes. Poured hard to generate a 1.5 finger light beige head over a slightly coudy light brown (or light rust) liquid. Smooth clean smell. Nice penetrating caramel with some toffee (remniscent of tamarind) and some faint hop. Taste caramel sweet. Fruity, despite being a lager. The frutis are mild and consist of orange playing off of tangerine. A very sutle Vienna malt (maybe even Biscuit) flavor. Good carbonation, which allows the malt sweet to hang around a bit. A bit too sugary for my tastes, but okay all around. Moderate lacing and medium light bodied.

01-21-2005 02:41:29 | More by mentor
Photo of ngandhi


2.42/5  rDev -29.2%

I guess it depends (it being how I should react to what I'm going through right now) on what you say an amber lager actually is? Some intrepid soul on BA has gone so far as to classify this as a steam beer. Yeah, there's something in common with a steam beer, but for it's brewing procedure alone this simply is not a steam beer.

It's a commendable guess, though. How would I identify this if I'd tasted it blind? "Amber lager" might not be my first guess. Is color enough to define the beer, or should "amber" actually mean something in terms of flavor?

This tastes like Old Style. Grainy and reminiscent of underpopped popcorn. Soft carbonation. Long, gassy, adjunct-laden aftertaste. This is probably all malt, but everything from the hops to the old, stale yeast all blend together to somehow create the flavor of a commercial American lager. It's like they tried to make it this bad, and I'm sure there's some guy at Flying Dog who drinks this everyday and thinks it's just great.

As Old Scratch warms, it becomes more amber-like with some malts actually coming through, but it doesn't know where to stop. The flavors drift on and on from pure malt to stale burpy air and finally into a pressing sweetness from a misuse of medium crystal malts.

Dirty. How to say it? I feel so . . . bad.

Relax, relax.

01-07-2005 23:56:17 | More by ngandhi
Photo of woemad


3.4/5  rDev -0.6%

12oz bottle from a mixed FD 12-pk. Cool/disturbing artwork by Ralph Steadman.

Poured a dark yet clear amber color. Head was tight, yet creamy. While it didn't hang around too long, there was lots of lace, and things stayed foamy for some time.

Smell wasn't bad, but it was rather weak. Mostly of mildly sweet malts and bready yeast. There was a tiny, medicinal hop note as well.

The taste was a little bit better than the smell. Again, the maltiness is most dominant, but the hops are a little more noticeable, providing a mild, citrus flavor. Not horrible, but nothing to write home about.

I think this could have used a little more carbonation, but it's not a big gripe. This is a medium bodied beer, reminding me more of an ale than a lager.

Not a bad beer, but there's nothing really noteworthy about it either. If it's the best choice around, I'd go for it, but that's pretty much the only reason to buy this.

01-01-2005 23:41:20 | More by woemad
Photo of smcolw


3.18/5  rDev -7%

Copper colored and very clear. The head is gone in a half minute; it poured to a single finger thickness.

Yeasty and soured milk, like a very soft lambic--most surprising considerign the style. I cannot discern any hops. In all, a very light smelling beer.

The taste is mostly malt. True to the smell, there is a (very) slight sourness to this brew. The hop does show up, but only as a harmonic interlude. The beer is above average in body. Not my favorite beer from Flying Dog.

12-28-2004 21:41:13 | More by smcolw
Photo of rowew


2.85/5  rDev -16.7%

Presentation: 12 oz long neck bottle with freshness code on label. Another great work of art by Ralph Steadman on the label. 10 yr. anniversary bottle cap.

Appearance: Poured a fairly red amber color with a nice head that disappated to leave a good amount of lacing.

Smell: Very sweet aroma with hints of hops.

Taste: Nice carbonation and a little bit dry - good mouthfeel. Fairly well balanced - neither hops or malts stand out. Tastes more like an ale than a lager. A little bit sweeter than I would normally look for. Has an aftertaste that is a bit to sweet and clingy.

Overall impression: An interesting lager - but not one I'd seek out again.

12-21-2004 21:37:00 | More by rowew
Photo of oberon

North Carolina

3.63/5  rDev +6.1%

Pours a nice clear amber with a big fluffy head thats sticks well down the glass,quite a dose of citruisy hop in the nose along with a toasted grain not I pick up a touch of caramel as well.Quite a hoppy flavor up front citruisy and piney,get like a brown suger flavor coming thru big late an in the finish.Hey a well rounded lager with enough hops to make it somewhat interesting,much better than I thought it would be

12-18-2004 00:21:28 | More by oberon
Photo of feloniousmonk


2.55/5  rDev -25.4%

Appearance: clear, amber color, nice 1/4", well-retained, creamy froth atop.
Aroma: malty, herbal, on the sweet side, ...almost too sweet, but not bad, really.
Taste: odd entrance on the palate, a bit harsh and unpleasant, bitter, but not the way I like, ...I'm frowning with this beer in my mouth and that's not a good thing. Can't be from hops...malt is lightly felt in the flavor, too, but it can't cover up that offensive attack at the fore. Some people complain about a beer's "after-taste", which I call "flavor",...this one has a problem with the fore-taste!
After a few more sips, this lessens and the brew is more bearable, but it also bottoms out on flavor, too. Thins out incredibly, and we're left with an unimpressive feeling in the mouth...and then the offensive fore-taste returns.
An amber lager shouldn't be such a chore!
Got two in the sampler pack...don't know what I'll do with the other...

11-29-2004 01:23:06 | More by feloniousmonk
Photo of BigRedN


2.98/5  rDev -12.9%

Appearance: Bright Red/Amber, easy to see through. Small white head, gone before I knew it. No lacing.
Smell: Slightly sweet, caramel. Noticed maltiness but limited hops.
Taste: Again a little sweet, a tinge of hops, but the sweet maltyness and grains overwhelm this. Thin, I sip the liquid and as soon as I swallowed, the taste was gone.
Mouthfeel: As I mentioned, it was rather thin and shortlived. Light bodied, no carbonation noticeable.
Drinkability: A decent thirst quencher, but left me wanting more substance than this.

11-13-2004 06:08:23 | More by BigRedN
Photo of clvand0


3.28/5  rDev -4.1%

Pours an amber color (duh) with a small white head that quickly falls away to nothing and leaves almost no lacing on the glass. The aroma is sweet and floral - some sort of hops there, but I don't know what kind. The flavor is slightly hoppy and has a sweetness with a caramel malt flavor. The drinkability on this one is fine, but it didn't seem all that special to me.

11-09-2004 20:34:25 | More by clvand0
Photo of BrewMaster


3.15/5  rDev -7.9%

Poured from a 12 oz bottle. Orange to amber color with a weak head that dissipates quickly. The nose is essentially nil on this beer. Some faint caramel malt scents, but even that might be a stretch. The flavor is a bit sour with notes of carmel malts. There is also a light tanginess and perhaps a citrus flavor. The beer is sharply carbonated and and it distracts from what little flavor may be there.

11-08-2004 17:24:22 | More by BrewMaster
Photo of moocey


3.1/5  rDev -9.4%

I bought a six-pack of Old Scratch Amber Lager at a deli while I was waiting too long for them to make my sandwich. It was the only thing in the cooler that wasn't skunked import or macro swill, plus I'd never tried it before. I've tried a couple of brews by Flying Dog in my BA infancy and they were tasty back then. However that was when I was just learning about beer beyond boring american adjunct lagers. I might have a different impression of Flying Dog now.

This lager pours a copper/amber color with an average head of foam that fizzles out quickly. It leaves a small amount of lacing around the glass. There's not much aroma to be had, but what's here is pleasant. Kinda malty and sweet.

The first taste is of caramel malt. It's sweet, but not overwhelmingly so. I can detect a faint hint of hoppy afterbite that lingers in the aftertaste. This is a light bodied lager with a pleasant taste. I could put away a few of these fairly quick. However, it's nothing to get excited about. It was pleasant, but nothing about it stood out as being great in my opinion. This is just your average microbrewed lager. If you're looking for a decent lager there are plenty of other beers that are just as good plus a whole lot cheaper. (like Yuengling or Shiner Bock) This isn't something I'll go out looking for, but I'd drink it again(for free or very cheap)

10-25-2004 20:39:39 | More by moocey
Photo of Guinness4me


3.65/5  rDev +6.7%

Since I approach most Flying Dog Brewerie beers with trepidation, I tried once more and I'm glad I did.

The more red than amber color of this brew was a jewel of a beer. The head was light and left quickly.

The smell was a combonation of fresh bread and sweet fruitcake; quite a surprise.

The taste grew on me as the beer warmed. At first I felt it was a bit overpowering with apricots and alcohol but the flavor mellowed and blended as it warmed. There was a slight aftertaste but not unpleasant.

Rather rich in taste, one or two in a sitting would be plenty for me.

10-19-2004 03:51:39 | More by Guinness4me
Photo of SixpointJMH

New Jersey

3.48/5  rDev +1.8%

pours a nice amber colour with a fairly large and mildly sticky head. pretty good stuff thusfar. the smell is slightly above average: malt, some grain and a touch of sweetness. the hop/malt balance is much more even in the flavour (as hops couldn't even really be detected in the smell). there' a slight toasted bread flavour mixed in along with a touch of caramel before a moderate hop-bite finish. i would have liked this one to be a bit bigger-feeling, but overall it's a fiarly tasty brew that could be spruced up a bit, but is by no means offensive. a tad boring but tasty nonetheless.

09-25-2004 03:32:44 | More by SixpointJMH
Photo of arizcards


3.88/5  rDev +13.5%

This is another part of the sample case from Costco.

This reddish lager did not pour much of a head. The smell was good, of carmelized malts. The taste was interesting, a nice blend of the carmel malts and a bit of a hop finish to make it interesting. I thought this was a bit thin but overall this is an easy drinking beer. The Flying Dog line seems to be made for summer!

08-31-2004 01:31:43 | More by arizcards
Photo of MuddyFeet

North Carolina

2.6/5  rDev -24%

A very "flat" beer all-around. The taste is nothing impressive. The hops and malts are there. But not much that tantlaizes the tongue. The aroma is of malts (I'm assuming that's the amber aspect). There are hints of toffee in and around the beer, but nothing that makes this beer stand out to me. It poured the color of mud with no head and no lace.

08-08-2004 01:01:14 | More by MuddyFeet
Photo of NEhophead


3.98/5  rDev +16.4%

12oz brown bottle.

1/2" frothy white head leading to some thin, sporadic lacing. Crisp orange and amber in color.

A mild caramel-malt sweetness. A touch of floral aromas but nothing overpowering.

Mild caramel and toasted malts with faint oak and nut flavors. Moderate hop bitterness that fits well with the sweetness.

Decent amount of carbonation. Medium bodied on the palate and well balanced.

A very drinkable beer and a solid version true to the style. No surprises here yet no disappointments either.

07-29-2004 13:53:03 | More by NEhophead
Photo of brewdlyhooked13


3.18/5  rDev -7%

Appearance - popped a pair into a half-liter glass. Pours a pleasant orange-amber and creates a stiff-peaked lightly tanned head. The bubbles melt down to a half-finger, but leave some thick lacing on the glass.

Aroma - bready malty with an initial element of citrus. The fruitiness fades and leaves a very malty smelling beer.

Taste - lots of bready malt, fairly predictable from the nose. A little metallic taste, but not too bad. Some balancing hops on the finish, a touch bitter, also picking up some background lemon notes. On the whole, not near as good as the look and smell, but it's okay.

Mouthfeel - kinda thin, kinda lifeless. Some weak bubbles make it feel kind of watery, too bad.

Drinkability - not a bad beer at all, it's got its ups and downs. Had to visit Old Scratch at least once, it was worth the money.

07-26-2004 03:51:25 | More by brewdlyhooked13
Photo of mynie


3.5/5  rDev +2.3%

Pours very pretty. Small head that goes away pretty quickly.

Sweet citrus and malt smell. It doesn't taste nearly as sweet as it smells, but there is a nice maltiness to its flavor mixed with an almost vinegary sourness that actually tastes quite good.

Light bodied and goes down okay. A good beer, but not the best that Flying Dog has to offer.

07-25-2004 23:13:58 | More by mynie
Photo of IronDjinn

Alberta (Canada)

3.3/5  rDev -3.5%

Another Ralph Steadman creation on the label, I like it (but not as much as the one on the Pale Ale). It definitely stands out on the shelf, but then again anything with a predominantly orange label will do that every time.

Pours out a fine clear amber colour, smallish head that recedes to a ring. At first the aroma reminds me of scotch, and piques my interest. Sweet malt on the next pass, with an odd sourness as well that doesn't quite detract, ripe fruit, and then leafy hops. It smells like Autumn damnit! In the flavour is an odd balance of sweet caramel malts and citric hops, and a curious sourness from the hops as well in the form of a lemon rind tartness. Perhaps the latter is influenced by the yeast. Full mouthfeel that blankets the palate, rich texture. It's definitely not the best sample of the Flying Dog line I've been able to try yet, but the scotch/fall equinox nose and seductive mouthfeel make this a curiosity that I'll probably revisit again, just to see if those two show up to the next party. If not then I'd probably cross Old Scratch from my dance card in favour of better endowed prospects.

07-23-2004 00:35:48 | More by IronDjinn
Photo of NeroFiddled


3.9/5  rDev +14%

Fying Dog's Old Scratch displays a crystal clear copper body with a reddish cast beneath a good-sized head of ivory foam that holds well and leaves some nice splashes of lace about the glass. The nose combines a delicately sweet and subtly caramelish, toasty maltiness with a nice touch of yeasty fruitiness. It's lightly crisp and then smooth in the mouth with a medium body and carbonation. The flavor reveals a richer maltiness than the nose suggests with some Munich or Vienna malts, and probably a good dose of crystal/caramel as well. Grassy and leafy hops become apparent towards the swallow along with a very nice fruitiness (strawberries, sweet apple, pear); and it finishes lightly sweet and lingering but never cloying - there's just enough bitterness there to keep it from going out of bounds. Well done!

07-22-2004 22:17:25 | More by NeroFiddled
Photo of FormatKid


4/5  rDev +17%

Another beer out of the mixed twelve pack I picked up here in town. The label calls it an Amber Lager but after checking the website they say it is a Steam Beer. Nice surprise.

Pours out perfectly to it’s name-sake a beautiful shade of amber, nice and boldly colored. An aggressive pour results in a somewhat meager head which recedes basically to a thin greasy cap of foam with some small scattered pizza crust bubbles. Medium amount of ultra-fine carbonation bubbles are present.

I like the smell a lot although I’m having a problem isolating exactly what it is I’m smelling. Seems like I can pick up both lager and ale smells here (appropriately). Small hints of lager yeast, along side a berry fruitiness. This is backed solidly by caramelly malts with tangy bitter hop notes dancing along the edges.

The taste is tangy all the way through…and delicious. Nicely astringent tartness on the front of my tongue with a grainy taste…middle takes hold with caramel malt flavors and fruity esters (berries). Finish displays the earthy, tangy hop bitterness. Aftertaste is nicely dry, with lingering tastes of bitterness and a possible hint of ginger. Mouthfeel is medium light but hangs well with this savory treat.

What a lovely surprise, expecting a bland mushy lager and ending up with a juicy, tart, and savory steam beer. Would definitely pick this one up again.

07-17-2004 02:53:06 | More by FormatKid
Photo of yankeeheel


3.25/5  rDev -5%

Pours a clear reddish amber with a rather large caramel shaded head. Solid retention and lots of lacing.

Smells slightly caramely with a scant citrus background.

Tastes a little watery right off the bat. Very weakly malty and slightly drying. Perhaps a slight hint of cinnamon and orange.

Mouthfeel is right in there with most other lagers. Nothing special.

Despite my blah review I think this makes for a nice social beer, where there is less empahsis on "thinking" about what you're drinking and just drinking a beer.

07-15-2004 22:42:53 | More by yankeeheel
Photo of flaminghomer


3.7/5  rDev +8.2%

this has a nice amber copper color. the head is good, not as fizzy as their others. a thin layer of lace. taste is pretty light and simple. mostly thin watery sweet alcohol taste. not their best beer, but it came in a sampler, so i didn't lose out too bad.

07-06-2004 03:23:37 | More by flaminghomer
Photo of abcsofbeer


3.55/5  rDev +3.8%

Pours a deep amber color, nice. Very little head and little, if no, lace lingering. The aroma is somewhat fruity, cherry-like, maybe. The taste is good, not exceptional, but good. There is that fruity taste and a small but apparent hop taste that lingers on the roof of the mouth. The beer finishes even and smooth. This is a good beer and one that I would definitely drink any time.

06-21-2004 23:58:52 | More by abcsofbeer
Old Scratch Amber Lager from Flying Dog Brewery
78 out of 100 based on 1,412 ratings.