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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.

1,474 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,474
Reviews: 757
rAvg: 3.42
pDev: 14.62%
Wants: 31
Gots: 80 | 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: 1,474 | Reviews: 757 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of andjusticeforale
3.9/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This poured amber into a tulp pint glass. Not much head to speak of.

I was confused on what to think about this one, but it smells all malty and i was happy about that. It has the mouthfeel of an Oktoberfest, full bodied not overcarbonated, and that is how I would categorize it. There is not much hop balance, just big typical malts. And there is a heavy sweetness on the tongue in the finish.

Despite the sweet lack of balance, I give it high marks for moderate complexity, untold smoothness,and ultimate sessionability. I bet this would be killer on tap.

Photo of ColoradoBobs
3.28/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Aggressive pour of a 12-ounce bottle into a standard pint glass.

A: Very pretty amber-red with a large off-white bumpy head. Lasted a quite a while; but then I DID give it an aggressive pour. Lots of tiny streams of carbonation coming up kept this beer looking nice. Definitely the prettiest Flying Dog beer I've had.

S: Biscuity malt, some mild spices. Not a great deal going on here, but not unpleasant either.

T: Malt and hops are fairly-well balanced, but again, there's not much to write about here. Nice enough -- but just nice. The hops finish seems a bit more bitter than the 22.5 IBU's listed for this brew on the website.

M: Good mouthfeel -- what I'd look for in a lager. Just the kind of freshness that feels refreshing.

D: Carbonation is a bit over the top for this to be very drinkable. Decent.

3.55/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Body is a very deep copper amber in color. Head is a quick fading light tan with no lace.

Nose smells like a wheat field after rain and a noticeable nutty backbone.

As you take the first sip you get sweet light nutty body that is even and smooth. Entire palate is full with a nutty zest that is welcomed. Leaves a camilized hue on the mouth. Overall it is dominated by a very pleasant nutty presence throughout, mouthfeel including. Very drinkable but I'd call thes more of a nut brown ale.

Photo of Frozensoul327
4.43/5  rDev +29.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is good suds. Poured out to a orange amber color with a good head of about 1/2 inch and rings of lace were present. Medium level of carbonation. Aroma of hops and sweet grains. Taste was really good; flavors of hops, malt, grain and raw veggies blended quite well, and were not overly harsh or abrasive. Mouthfeel was medium bodied and well balanced. Higher level of drinkability, I would imagine this on tap would be exceptional and even better than in the bottle. A good beer for any time of year. Recommended. Special thanks to battlekow for the sample.

Photo of Boilermaker88
2.98/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a standard pint glass, this brew showed off a clear amber color, moderate carbonation and a miniscule white head that faded down to nothing in near-record time.
The nose had a rather buttery, toffee-ish aroma along with a real low-grade hops character. The taste was muted and bland with very little going on, to be blunt. Wet, sodden grains and a slight tinge of hops bitterness layered under a blanket of diacytel flavor didn't do much for me. The feel was lifeless and watery.
Okay, I got through this weak offering from Flying Dog pretty quickly simply to make it go away. Dull, boring and uninspired. Pass.

Photo of Enola
2.85/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

I must have had a different encounter with this beer than most. I poured slowly, as always, into a mug and the result was no head whatsoever. It is a decent looking beer. A nice orange tint. The smell is fairly good. The mouthfeel is ok but nothing to brag about. It seems a bit watered down. The taste on this beer is just plain insufficient. It looks and smells much better than it tastes to me. I would not consider buying this beer again.

Photo of wcudwight
3.55/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Nice amber color with a golden/brownish tint. Solid finger and half head that leaves slowly. Flying Dog makes some beautiful beers.
S: Bland. Maybe the tinniest hint of hop and yeast.
T: Well balanced between malt sweetness and mild hop bitterness. Some fruit. Pretty thin and bland.
M: Thicker than I expected, but nothing spectacular.
D: Good summer session brew.
Good for sitting around the pool.

Photo of asabreed
3.9/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My first Flying Dog beer. Though it's readily available, except the Gonzo which I hope I can eventually get, I've yet to try it. So I got a 6-pack to enjoy in the still warm weather.

Appearance: Nice head at first, though it dissipates a bit quickly. Still some thin and white lacing around the glass that's sticking. An amber / brown color, though leaning toward more light brown. For what it is for the style it's not too bad.

Smell: The weakest part of the brew. Nothing is too discernible. Some yeastiness and maltiness, slight fruit aromas, and maybe the slightest hops.

Taste: Pretty refreshing overall. Once again, this isn't a beer that's crazy with its complexity, but the malty character is felt and balanced well with the slight amount of hops. Almost biscuit-like at a point also, but the aftertaste is malty and coats the tongue nicely.

Mouthfeel: Light to medium body, with carbonation levels that fit the body well. It dissipates quickly, but there's enough to keep it going through the swallow, making it crisp by the finish.

Drinkability: Certainly a 4 for me. I don't think I'd buy this in the winter or anything, but for summer it seems to be a pretty decent and very drinkable session brew.

Photo of SaCkErZ9
3.08/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a crystal clear amber color with a small head that dissipates into a ring around the glass, leaving no lacing as the beer is consumed.
Smells malty with a touch of citrus hops.
Taste is slightly alcoholic with hop overtones and a fruity essence and a tiny bit of earthy/ grass taste in the last of the aftertaste.
Pleasant mouthfeel with a nice hop bite in the foretaste.
A pleasing beer. I am not a big steam beer fan but this seems to be an ok example of the steam style.

Photo of DogFood11
1.93/5  rDev -43.6%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

I don't know man. This is a pretty boring brew even for a typically watered style of steam beer or california common. I think this is a style problem more than it is this beer. It pours a copper/amber color. the head is apologetic but it does have a ring lacing with each pull. Malts make up the jist of this beer, hints of caramel, hops are an afterthought, a very odd woody taste approaches the end of this brew that is annoying as hell...never had much success with this brewery and this is another example....overall very forgettable. Very mild in every category. better than the BMC? not really.

Photo of tgbljb
3.2/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

poured a medium copper color with tannish head that lasted throughout the glass. Smell is extremely light with maybe a hint of malt present. Taste is caramel and malt, but neither is very strong. Good ending with a fruity dryness that is pleasant to the palate. Good beer to try.

Photo of mrasskicktastic
4.03/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Deep amber/auburn color (clear) with a large frothy pale tan head that lingers for minutes and lacing that sticks to the side even longer.

Smell - Mild aromatic hops, slight grain sugar, banana and grapefruit odors. A faint smell, but nice. As it warms the sweet grain aroma increases to announce the great flavor.

Taste - I didn't expect the flavor to be strong from the odor. It is upfront a very very weak banana and citrus taste. Then it progresses to a very strong thick wheat like flavor one would expect from a hefeweizen. Then a mild bitterness joins the thick wheat taste. Very good.

Mouthfeel - Exceptionally smooth, fairly thick and not in the least bit drying. The carbonation tingles the tongue a bit more than I'd hope, but still very good.

Drinkabilty - Very drinkable, goes well with food and goes down easy. Low abv keeps it that way.

Photo of fisherman34
3.4/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Amber in colour with pleanty of carbonation. Loads of caramel malt aroma with this one, along with a hint of roasted grain. The flavors were generally smooth and malty, with subtle notes of herbal hops, roasted grains, and a very mild fruitiness. Far better than I expected. Probably one of the better offerings from Flying Dog that I've had.

Photo of ryantupy
3.7/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a cloudy bronze color with a stained white head.

Smell: Slightly malty and hoppy scents and nothing else I could really put my finger on.

Taste: I found it to also taste medium bodied with slight hoppy and malty flavors. I also found it to be a little bitter and have some slight ale characteristics.

Mouthfeel: Slightly bitter and a little different than a traditional lager. Slightly felt like an ale.

Drinkability: It was a tasty brew with some nice flavors again with a strong ale taste and high in alchol content.

Photo of mmmbeer
3.05/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz. with no freshness date - served chilled in a pilsner glass. Pours an amber/orange with a thin semi-fizzy off-white head that doesn't leave lacing. Smells of caramel and spicy hops. There is a cloying sweetness with some bitterness from the green/spicy hops but there isn't much else except perhaps a hint of coffee at the end. The body is a little tingly and the body is medium to heavy for a lager. I really couldn't drink too much of this because of how sweet it is.

Photo of CRJMellor
3.18/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours amber and yellow in color with just a hint of haze. Big off-white/tan head gives way quickly and really leaves no lace.
Aroma some grain and bread on an underlying bead and juicy malt and caramel.
Flavors of caramel and some lighter fruits and a gritty piece of grainy wheat.
Mouthfeel is light and airy with a slightly off twist on the finish. Kind of a tart fruit tone. Definitively ale-like in its feel.
Drinkability is about average and definitely of from a style standpoint. Not a bad beer just a very fruity-like ale brew.

Photo of palliko
2.9/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Appearance is a cloudy reddish color with some beige foam and sticky lace. There are some mildly clove or ester scented hops in the aroma, followed by citrus/fruity hops and roasted malt. A little thin and too much like a nut brown ale for me. And there is too much carbonation. Supposed to be a lager? The alcohol asserts itself and dominates. It is too thin for an ale, but too strong for a lager.

Photo of baiser
2.9/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a golden amber colour, with wispy white lacing. Slightly sweet, but very little else. Thin and watery. A little toasty character and slight hop flavour. Some diacetyl too. Overall, ok on drinkability. Better than the mainstream lager, but won't have again.

Photo of BEERchitect
4/5  rDev +17%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A very enjoyable amber lager. I am typically not a fan of these beers because of their cloying sweetness with little complexity. Old scratch pours copper to golden like a pale ale. Smells malty caramelly, toasty, toffee, mildly herbal, nicely hopped. Taste is much like aroma. Slightly doughy, creamy, crisp and refreshing-moreso than most ambers. Clean finish. A very easy drinking beer.

Photo of battlekow
3.75/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I'm reviewing this simultaneously with Anchor Steam Beer to compare. It matches up pretty well with the old sea dog, just a bit off in every regard. It's the same great amber color of Anchor Steam, but is a little clearer and has a puny head. Just looks like less of a beer. Smells and tastes a little sweeter and sharper than the AS; at the same time, it's also more bitter. Mouthfeel is thinner, more watery. Not bad, though.

Photo of pootz
4.25/5  rDev +24.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Glorious....that’s the only way for a malt head to describe this wonderful creamy, malty complex concoction. Poured a deep orange-amber in the glass with an off white rocky cap and good lacing, moderate carbonation allows the flavors to charge through. Aromas are sweet caramel malts with slight fruitish-cider tones. The taste is very malt biased with the sweet caramel/biscuit malts float on a creamy mouth feel...woody, herbal, slightly tangy hops show in the middle and long wet finish. A very tasty and enjoyable lager with some malt characteristics of a Vienna and a creamy delivery...great stuff.

Photo of aquatonex
3.13/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I really do enjoy Flying Dog, but this one was not as 'on par' as the other offerings I have had so far...

Pours translucent crimson with a lot of carbonation at first but no head. Not much lacing. Smells include some nice roasted hops, citrus notes, a small bit of wheat, and alcohol. Taste is mainly light wheats and some punchy hops with citrus. Rather light bodied, a good session beer. It leaves residual bitterness and alcoholness in your mouth though.

Photo of coasterfreak75
3.18/5  rDev -7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The pour was a medium copper/red with a one and one half to two finger head that quickly dissapated and left only a thin white ring around the top of the beer.

The smell was very light and thin until the beer warmed. As it warmed a light fruit, possibly a mix of apricots and figs with a strange nutty undertone in the rear of the nose.

The drink started with an almost watery taste followed by a mix of fruit and flowers in the mouth that was gone very quickly. The finish was clean and dare I say flat.

All and all a very refreshing and clean tasteing beer but not at all what I had expected from it. This had, to me, the least body of any of the Flying Dog beers I've tried. It is a good beer and is worth a try, but I just wasn't impressed.

Photo of 12vUnion
3.5/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Couldn't get a head out of it for the life of me. Very little lace. Not a very strong aroma. Smells of malts and light, fruity hops. The taste feels a little watery. Sweet and roasted malts, citrus, fruity hops. After taste fills the mouth with roasted malt and citrus (like grape skins). Taste lingers for a long while. Slight butter/oil taste and feeling.

It's overall pretty good. It's a well balanced brew with few surprises. Certainly not the worst, but is probably on the lower end of Flying Dog's line. I'd drink it again.

Photo of danielharper
3.38/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Purchased from Great Spirits, Huntsville, AL.

My first New Beer Sunday beer, purchased this one primarily because of the cool bottle that I could add to my small-but-growing selection. This is the only the second California Common I've tried (after Anchor Steam, of course), but it seems to be a pretty nice (if uninspiring) beer.

Appearance gets fairly high marks for me -- upon pouring, produces a nice thick layer of foam on top that dissipates fairly quickly. Sloshing the beer doesn't cause any new head to form; through the rest of the beer I had only fragments of foam collecting across the top. Beer itself is a nice amber color (who would've thought). I'm giving an extra-high rating simply because of the quality artwork on the bottle -- so many beers I've tried don't even attempt to keep anything original on the label.

Smell is average, nothing offensive, nothing special. A tiny bit of fruit that is mostly buried under weak hops. Nothing to write home about.

Taste is pretty nice, with fruit overtones upon first hitting my throat, followed by a sort of foamy light bitterness to finish. Again, nothing special to talk about, but I find it a nicely pleasant taste that I savor for a few moments before swallowing.

Mouthfeel is about average. A nice foaminess upon tasting and swallowing, but the aftertaste has too much of an adjunct lager feeling for me. A bit watery, but still coats the tongue and throat.

I'm giving this a reasonably high score on drinkability, because it's a nicely balanced brew that is inoffensive and very easy to drink. Carbonation is fairly low, and I find that I can chug this without a lot of fuss. You don't even get the unpleasant aftertaste as long as you keep drinking it, right?

Overall, I think I prefer this to Anchor Steam, and would consider it a fairly good, uncomplicated beer to introduce someone to craft beers. More like a lager than a lot of micros, but high-enough quality that I would feel pretty decent about recommending it.

Old Scratch Amber Lager from Flying Dog Brewery
78 out of 100 based on 1,474 ratings.