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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: 79 | 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 SixpointJMH
3.48/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

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.

Photo of arizcards
3.88/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

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!

Photo of MuddyFeet
2.6/5  rDev -24%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

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.

Photo of NEhophead
3.98/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

Photo of brewdlyhooked13
3.18/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

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.

Photo of mynie
3.5/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 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.

Photo of IronDjinn
3.3/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

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.

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

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!

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

Photo of cbl2
2.63/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5


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.

Photo of taez555
3.63/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of oracle
3.8/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

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

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.

Photo of JackTheRipper
1.9/5  rDev -44.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

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.

Photo of AllThingsNinja
2.4/5  rDev -29.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

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.

Photo of HappyHourHero
3.35/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

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.

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

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.

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

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.

Photo of DPMomutant
3.15/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

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.

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

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.

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.05/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

Photo of Tballz420
3.35/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

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.

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