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Old Scratch Amber Lager - Flying Dog Brewery

Not Rated.
Old Scratch Amber LagerOld Scratch Amber Lager

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1,504 Ratings

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Ratings: 1,504
Reviews: 765
rAvg: 3.42
pDev: 14.33%
Wants: 33
Gots: 104 | 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:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 11-12-2001

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,504 | Reviews: 765
Photo of pootz
4.23/5  rDev +23.7%
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
3.15/5  rDev -7.9%
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
3.2/5  rDev -6.4%
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
3.48/5  rDev +1.8%
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
3.34/5  rDev -2.3%
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.

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

From the sampler pack....

Initial thought was this was going to be an amber lager, but BA has it described as a "California Common" steam beer, so immediately I was comparing it with Anchor Steam. Dark amber, slightly fruity faintly hoppy smell. Anchor has a fuller, richer scent though and this beer was clearer.

Mouth was thin but okay. A little of the fruity taste and alcoholic base, not very bitter and better than run of the mill macros.

Taste however did not thrill me. I want to say there is a better quality to the flavors, it was slightly bitter , there really wasn't anything "amber" about the flavor of this beer, it seemed like a better than average lager but nowhere close to Anchor.

Drikability was average. I can't see buying this again, but then, even though I liked Anchor Steam, I'm more inclined to buy Liberty Ale for more flavors.

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

Pours a medium hued orange/golden color.

Faint smell of sweet malts, and a faint hop presence. Nothing too extraordinary.

Taste is slightly above average. There is sweetness up front but that's about all I could find. Real watery on the intake. It was too plain at the end for me, not exciting at all.

I don't know if I'd have many more of these.

Photo of Luigi
3.68/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Amber colored with a white head that stays around the glass untill the end. Smells slighty hoppy and has a lond of roasted malt aroma. Taste like sweet roasted malts up front and is balanced by a spicy hop. Has a smooth body and a great drinkabilty. A tasty lager and should be a regular for me.

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

Pours a crystal clear, well carbonated reddish amber, topped with a one finger tan head. Leaves thin webs of lacing.
Clean, clear aroma, toast and herb, a little leafy
Orange, toast, lemon zest in the taste, fruit. Somewhat harsh tasting.
Medium bodied to the light side, it's ok but nothing special.

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

looks like and amber, smells like and amber, tastes like and amber. solid brew, slight carmel like malt tradin shots with some mild hop tones. medium bodied, def. drinkable. not a whole lot to say, just a pretty good stab at the style...cost effective too.

Photo of HoboAGoGo
3.43/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a beautiful amber color, with a rather impressive head that stayed around for a while. I'm not used to lagers, so I'll have to review this one as best as I can. Had a very light taste, could taste the light hops. A light malt, that was less prevalent than the hops, some fruit, kind of a mild apple taste to it. One of the better lagers I've had thus far.

Photo of skybluewater
3.45/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a standard amber color. (There's even some lace!) Smells of pears (WTF?), and sweet malt. Taste isn't bad, just average. It tastes of malt and just enough hops to keep things from getting cloying.

This might not be the best amber out there, but it went down smooth. While I wouldn't go out of my way to buy, I wouldn't turn one down if offered...

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

Pours out amber amber amber with a small bright white headskie. Tastes nice and crispy hopped with a decent malted balance. Mouthfeel is smoothm but nothing special. A very decent beer, but not a great beer. Solid drinkability. Amoung the better of the Flying Dog brews.

Photo of Padron4KM
2.8/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle. Pours out clear amber with a 1" reddish tan head. Head dissapates rather quickly but it does leave some decent lacing.
yeasty, bready malt aromas with some hints of caramel.
Flavor is slightly sweet, a touch of caramel, with some very light hops at the end. barely enough to tingle the tip of the tounge.
Body is thin.

Photo of TastyTaste
2.52/5  rDev -26.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Very light copper color, with a moderate creamy tan head. Smell is grassy and musty, slightly skunky. Taste is malt dominated, grassy and skunky, not very good, leaves a sour taste in the mouth. Is this a California Common/Steam beer? WHo know or cares. Eych, another lackluster beer from Flying Dog.

Photo of elricorico
3.16/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

This brew is a clear, almost cherry red colour with nothing for head. Okay, a thin white head formed on an aggressive pour, but it was gone before I could sit down.

The smell is somewhat sweet, bready and floral. A fairly strong aroma, and not unpleasant.

The taste is much like the smell up front, but its finish is a bit of a mystery to me. There is a fair burst of flavour over the back of the tongue. It makes me think of black licorice, but that isn't exactly it. I'll have to read through some of the other reviews to see if anyone pinned it down. Anyway, I find the flavour is about average, it isn't greatly pleasing to me, but not offensive either.

Mouthfeel is a bit on the thin side, and the beer is fizzy, not very comfortable to leave on the tongue for too long.

Not a bad beer really, but not something I'll be looking for on shopping trips.

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

Old Scratch Amber Lager is anything but amber, this stuff is red that poured out of my 12oz dark brown glass bottle. Head went to less than two fingers before disappearing completely of the face of the earth, I’m talking gone as in alien abduction here. It goes without saying... no lace either.

Nose is a light floral hops with whiffs of alcohol. Palate is a creamy malt with an assertive floral hops.

If floral hopped lagers are your thing, you will be right at home with Old Scratch Amber Lager from flying Dog Brewery.

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

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.

Photo of mentor
3.63/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of ngandhi
2.48/5  rDev -27.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

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.

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

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.

Photo of smcolw
3.13/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

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.

Photo of rowew
2.88/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

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.

Photo of oberon
3.63/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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

Photo of feloniousmonk
2.58/5  rDev -24.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

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...

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Old Scratch Amber Lager from Flying Dog Brewery
78 out of 100 based on 1,504 ratings.