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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.

1,418 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,418
Reviews: 752
rAvg: 3.42
pDev: 14.62%
Wants: 28
Gots: 62 | 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: 1,418 | Reviews: 752 | Display Reviews Only:
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
Photo of cbl2

New York

2.63/5  rDev -23.1%


Crystal clear light brown in color with a faint white head. Unremarkable.


Crisp cascade hop aroma with some faint malt characteristics underneath.


Bitter hops great the tongue followed by some sweetness from the malts, finishing all bitter. Not enjoyable.

06-21-2004 14:27:27 | More by cbl2
Photo of taez555


3.63/5  rDev +6.1%

This beer poured a nice thick white head with a clear amber body.

The nose was a soft mix of caramel, corn, rice and some slight spice. There was a slight sweetness. Basically nothing crazy, sort of like a bigger macro with a bigger touch of malt.

The taste was very light and simple. A grainy maltiness. A slight roasted, toasted, and burnt malt flavor. Some soft corn notes even a few hints of butter. There was a mild but present bitterness, and an earthy hop flavor that definitely comes through more as it warms.

I was actually a bit surprised by this beer. I hadn’t been impressed by most of the flying dog series, but this… well… it’s nothing special, but as it warms it actually becomes a nice simple tasty session beer. I'd try this again if I got it in a mixed pack.

06-14-2004 06:46:33 | More by taez555
Photo of oracle


3.8/5  rDev +11.1%

This beer was a middle of the evening experiment, as it was the first time I remember Rich O's having it on tap.

Beer was a fairly light and clear copper with a medium white head that left heavy lacing.

Smell was light and airy with a very mild hop characteristic mixed evenly with malt.

Taste was more substantial than the smell but not much. Balanced mix of malt and hops with a lingering after taste of english oak.

mouthfeel - medium carbonation but not much else to report

overall, this is what I would call a good lawn-mower beer. Great on an extremely hot day when you need a thirst quencher, but lacking in substance.

06-09-2004 03:40:55 | More by oracle
Photo of blitheringidiot


3.13/5  rDev -8.5%

Cryptic 162A04 printed on the label. One day I have to check that out. BA brownie points for their box that has little scales regarding hops & malts and light & dark designation. FLYING DOG has quite a different marketing style. Their artwork is twisted in a cool way.

Pours a clear dark garnet hued brew, without any suds into me Guinness pint. A scant head rans away before I could get a leash on this FLYING DOG.

Light aroma of malts.

Malty lager flavor on steroids. A little bit of Kraft Caramel squares is in there too.

Not much to say about the body.

Last swigs: Lager with creamy body & taste. Decent!

Beer is always good. Happy beering.

05-21-2004 06:30:14 | More by blitheringidiot
Photo of JackTheRipper


1.9/5  rDev -44.4%

A: Clear amber in color. Zero head or lacing.
S: Thin malty smell. No character whatsoever.
T: A barely there maltiness. Very thin taste. Slight bready taste as this one warms a bit.
M: Crisp and clean. Carbonation and alcohol in good levels.
T: This beer has no soul. Very cool label but nothing but water in the bottle. Not recommended.

05-19-2004 23:49:36 | More by JackTheRipper
Photo of AllThingsNinja


2.4/5  rDev -29.8%

To sum up this beer. "Eh? While it looks quite good with a white head on a brilliantly colored amber body - there's little of substance to the beer. The grain and grass aroma was sub par, and the flavors less impressive. It was an uninteresting blend of grassy notes and lager yeast flavors. I will avoid this beer in the future.

05-16-2004 12:19:35 | More by AllThingsNinja
Photo of HappyHourHero


3.35/5  rDev -2%

Caramel, mild apple, cereal grain aroma. Light tan colored head fades quickly to a film leaves a small scattering of lace. Orangish amber colored beer is pretty transparent. Mouthfeel is a bit light and slightly cloying. Malty sweet flavor with a bit of caramel, not much in the finish. Not bad, but nothing really great about it.

05-13-2004 19:27:56 | More by HappyHourHero
Photo of Mitchster


3.43/5  rDev +0.3%

Fermented with a lager strain at ale temps.
OG=1.053, 5.4% ABV.

Pours out to a sparkingly clear dark-copper, forming a modest beige head with poor retention and nice lacing. Carbonation is moderate. Aroma predominated by dusty English hops and some diacetyl. Mouthfeel is lively with a medium body. Taste is much better than the smell, with a mild, but fresh English hop flavor (with the suggestion of Centennial), a well-balanced malt middle with lots of nutty and toasty overtones, and a mellow cake-like sweetness in the finish with some mild semi-ruddy hop bitterness. The aftertaste has more of that diacetyl and dusty English hops, which I'm not keen of, but it's thankfully brief. Has an Anchor Steam tang towards the end, but I can't put my finger on it.

If they cleaned up the ferment, this would be much better. The higher alcohols and diacetyl hurt it's drinkability and give me a headache, but I enjoy the mellow sweetness in the finish. Nothing I would seek out.

05-12-2004 00:05:37 | More by Mitchster
Photo of Foxman

New Jersey

3.9/5  rDev +14%

It pours a clear bubbly amber, glinting ruby in the light. Two fingers of off-white head swell and recede quickly to a mottled bed of froth. Sparse lacing dots the inside of the glass.

In the aroma, there's a considerable toasted malt sweetness, along with a mild doughy presence. There's also a fleeting and rather vague hops essence in play.

Upon sipping, there's the sinewy sweetness of cooked malt and baked dough. A quick glimpse of toffee settles back to a slick buttery current flowing through the middle. The edges of my tongue are stimulated by an indistinct astringence, not distracting, but there nonetheless. A very muted peppery bite appears near the end before a mellow bitterness fades slowly at the finish. It's not especially busy, but it's maltier than I expected, and that works pretty well.

Almost medium bodied, it's slippery and it sets nicely on the palate. The flavor components deliver gentle physical sensations on the tongue.

This one surprised me. Easliy my favorite of the Flying Dog line that I've tasted, it has plenty of flavor, with some sass and some sauce thrown in for good measure. The malt profile is round and warm, and it combines with the understated hops to bring a tasty blend to the table. For my money it drinks well and capably. I'd never say no to one, and might even actively look for it. Amid some damned stiff competition, that's pretty decent praise.

05-04-2004 15:28:35 | More by Foxman
Photo of DPMomutant


3.15/5  rDev -7.9%

Pours a copper body with an average sized off-white head that doesn't last terribly long.

Moderate malty smell comes out of this. I have a hard time detecting more than that, but it isn't bad.

The taste is a bit hoppier than the smell indicated. Just a slight bitterness and buttery taste at the end.

This beer feels kind of oily going down but is smooth. Some more carbonation would probably improve this a bit.

This isn't a great beer but isn't bad either. I'd rather have an Anchor, but if a friend had a 6er of this I could share it.

04-21-2004 04:37:21 | More by DPMomutant
Photo of ppoitras


3.55/5  rDev +3.8%

12ozer bottle from prepackaged mixed 12-pack from Austin Liquors, Shrewsbury, MA.

Poured into a pint glass, formed a half inch tall light tan colored head. The brew is orangey-amber in hue, and has an aroma of sweet malt with a tinge of hops. Taste is of malt, possibly some caramel smoothing the mouthfeel, and only slight bitterness. A slight tinge of citrus seems to pop up as well. The flavor profile seems skewed in the grain direction, but that's acceptable for an amber in my book, and helps the drinkability quite a bit.

04-02-2004 23:09:40 | More by ppoitras
Photo of BuckeyeNation


3.05/5  rDev -10.8%

Bright orange-amber, heavy on the orange, with several whispy floaters suspended within. The head is dark cream in color, average in size and leaves mere scraps of lace on the glass. The nose is faintly hoppy at best. Not much else going on in the aroma; it's pretty subdued overall.

Disappointing on the palate. The first thing that strikes me is the thin, watery mouthfeel which makes describing the flavor difficult. The beer doesn't hang around on the tastebuds long enough to make much of an impression. Caramel malt with a touch of earthy hops is about all I can manage for a description. This is one seriously under-flavored beer.

I haven't been impressed with Flying Dog in the past and Old Scratch Amber Lager does nothing to change that. If the brewery put as much effort into their beer as they put into their labels, they might end up with something a little better than merely decent.

04-01-2004 22:50:02 | More by BuckeyeNation
Photo of Tballz420


3.35/5  rDev -2%

This beer is an amber colored brew, with a small white head on the top. Slight maltiness to the scent, nothing overwhelming. Clean lager taste, malty with a good hop contrast. I can see where they wanted to go, but the taste comes out too thin. Thin mouthfeel. This one is probably worth skipping.

03-27-2004 21:24:13 | More by Tballz420
Photo of oelergud


3.13/5  rDev -8.5%

Clear bronze body with very little carbonation, good off white rocky head.
Scents of sweet apple with mild spices and brown sugar.
Taste has a green apple tartness to it, very mild hoppy aftertaste with some sweet undertones.
Somewhat thin mouthfeel, abit watery yet with a slight buttery feel.
Easy to enjoy but lacks personality.


03-24-2004 23:44:37 | More by oelergud
Photo of Zorro


3.78/5  rDev +10.5%

Pours a nice red/brown ale.

Smell is malty and a bit hoppy, mild floral scent is present.

Taste is milder than Anchor Steam. Tastes of malt and tea hops. There is a metallic taste present. A nice attempt, but this isn't quite up to Anchor Steam level.

Mouthfeel is very good.

Very drinkable, just not up too what it tries to mimic.

02-23-2004 02:16:12 | More by Zorro
Photo of MobBarley


3.48/5  rDev +1.8%

A good CA Common, though it isn't my favorite of the style. Copperish amber color with a feeble, transient head that seems to be a trademark of this brewery. Smell is syrupy malt backed up by a crisp, citrusy hops aroma. Taste is nice and crisp if a little simple. Sweet at first, the taste gets dry real quick with an abundance of astringent citrus and hop notes. A graininess lingers on. Mouthfeel is average. Drinkability is good, as is the case with most CA Commons I've had. I like it but...are we sure this brewery isn't an extension of Coors or Bud? Some of their beer is well made, but lacks any special qualities. This is a one time purchase and I'll be picking up Anchor Steam if I want this style again.

01-31-2004 20:50:32 | More by MobBarley
Photo of Gavage

New Jersey

4/5  rDev +17%

Pours a copper color with 1/2 inch head. Some light lacing developed through the drink. The aroma was pleasant, as malt and honey tones were most prevelent. The flavor sports a nice balance of malt and bitterness with a mellow caramel candy tone. Full flavored and not wimpy at all. Comes in on the lighter side of medium bodied.

The mouthfeel is smooth. Carbonation levels were perfect. The malt and bitterness quickly leaves the tongue after swallowing. Very drinkable. Good session beer.

01-19-2004 12:29:09 | More by Gavage
Photo of Reidrover


3.73/5  rDev +9.1%

Ok bought in the 12 oz brown bottle..usual nasty Steadman label.
Quite an attractive beer when poured into my pint mug..dark copper/amber colour with a good sized creme coloured head..some lacing after head goes.
Smell while ok was pretty average mostly malts.
Nice taste sweet malts followed by some woody tasting hops.
quite smooth in mouthfeel.
highly drinkable beer..its an easy quaffer.

01-11-2004 06:27:52 | More by Reidrover
Photo of pezoids


3.9/5  rDev +14%

This beer poured out a very bright copper/amber color and was topped off with a thin head of foam that left small lacing on the glass. The aroma gave off something like sweet bananas and sweet caramel malt.The flavor is semi-sweet with caramel notes and is very pleasant on the whole. This is a medium bodied beer with some interesting flavors and a decent malt body. Bitter clean in the finish. A very pleasant and flavorful lager beer.

01-06-2004 06:00:56 | More by pezoids
Old Scratch Amber Lager from Flying Dog Brewery
78 out of 100 based on 1,418 ratings.