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Old Scratch Amber Lager | Flying Dog Brewery

761 Reviews
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Old Scratch Amber LagerOld Scratch Amber Lager

Brewed by:
Flying Dog Brewery
Maryland, United States | website

Style: American Amber / Red Lager

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 11-12-2001

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

User Reviews
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Reviews: 761 | Ratings: 1,534
Photo of aracauna
3.2/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This tasted a lot like the the Dunkles I had at Gordon Biersch, but it's a bit better as it has more flavor. It's basically your typical dark lager flavors with just a little more character, probably coming from the steam-style brewing. Of course, that's why Anchor Steam is good for a lager, so it's no surprise.

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Photo of beergeek279
3.85/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in the 12 oz. bottle. The color is copper, with a decent bit of head. The smell is a slight, floral hop. The taste is fairly hoppy, with a bit of a sweet malt backing. The mouthfeel is smooth. Drinkability-wise, could have a few more.

When I had my first one, I had my doubts, but this 2nd bottle that I've reviewed seems to be a lot better. Not a bad representation of such a unique beer, and another rare Flying Dog I'd seek out again.

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Photo of RoyalT
3.88/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance – A nice, semi-cloudy copper color with a moderate head that left some lacing on the glass.

Smell – Pungent, floral hops complimented the malt aroma and a hint of sugary sweetness.

Taste – The malts comes out bigger in the flavor, on par with the hops. The malt itself is lightly toasted and sweetened with a small amount of table sugar flavor. The hops are mostly floral. Some fruity hops came out in the taste as well.

Mouthfeel – Some nice, crisp carbonation and a bit of dryness from the hops makes this one a winner in the mouthfeel category.

Drinkability – This was very good and went down well. I will definitely buy again.

Comments – It’s tough to pull off the even hop/malt flavoring and retain smoothness, but Flying Dog did a good job of it here.

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Photo of hotstuff
2.99/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

The Rathskeller Wine & Beer Fest:When poured into my glass, this beer had a small sized tan head that contained fine sized bubbles that fully dissipated.The body was clear with no carbonation.The hue was amber and the nose was lightly hoppy and malty and fruity.The flavor was bitter with a lingering aftertaste.The mouthfeel was tingly, smooth and light-medium bodied.This beer tasted more like a Pale Ale in my opinion.

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Photo of beerguy101
3.34/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Dark amber color. Head is off white and foamy. Aroma is fruity and slightly sweet. A medium bodied "steam" beer. Malts are very smooth and sweet, nutty and soft. Hops are a touch citrusy. Nice beer. Mouthfeel is full and round. Finish is clean and smooth. Aftertaste is slightly bitter.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
3.33/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Crystal clear amber tone with a full inch of foam sitting on top of the body leaving scattered webs of lacing around my pint. Aroma has some zesty lemony tones along with a mild sweetness and caramel malt tones to it very nice aroma pleasant and appeasing to the senses. Flavor has a bit of an alcohol edge to it then a wave of hop bitterness blended with a sharp sweetness created from the malt and mild fruit tones also arise in the finish. Crisp with a nice hop profile that does compare to Anchor Steam on tap however the bottles never seem to travel well from San Fran but I can compare this to the draught version. Mouthfeel from a light to medium bodied beer is slightly syrupy texture with a sharp carbonation to tickle the palate nice. Drinkability not dying for another could easily consume this amber lager purely due to the fact that it does have a really nice flavor profile.

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Photo of aaronh
2.89/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Medium amber color with a light cream colored head. 1/2" head quickly fades to a thin layer of foam but leaves a fair amount of lacing behind as you quaff. Mild aroma is lightly sweet with some grassy undertones. Taste is fruity and rather light, with a mild amount of caramel being swept up by some lemon grass hop flavors. Fairly clean finish, but there is a lingering battle between sweetness and bitterness on the aftertaste. Mouthfeel is a bit on the thin side, as with over 5% I'd expect a bit of body. Drinkability is OK, but the dichotomy of flavor in the aftertaste wears on me a bit. Almost poured 2 bottles into my larger 1L glass. Glad I didn't, as 12 ounces is enough of this for one night.

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Photo of Stubbie1
3.91/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours as the name that it was given, a nice amber color. It gave off a thick head, which left a sticky lace to the end of the glass. Very nice! The aroma was mostly malt and some caramel tones are noted. Nothing overpowering with the aroma. The taste was very nice, a straight shot of malt with the caramel notes mixed in giving it a bit of sweetness to the flavor but the hops came in at the end to give it a slightly bitter finish. Over all a nice brew, light body and very drinkable this is the first from the flying dog that I enjoyed!

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Photo of WesWes
3.88/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours just as it's name calls for, "amber". There is little head, but a nice thin lace. The aroma is of a traditional lager, but with the addition of caramel malts giving it a amber color and aroma. I'm not a particular fan of lager beer due to the fact that most are so simplistic in make up. They hardly ever meander from the regular. The taste is good. I like the amber lagers better than a plain. I guess it must be that there is some malt character although it's still not much. The mouthfeel is good; a low bodied beer. A real booser's beer. A clean finish marks the end of this beer. Not bad, as far as lagers are concerned.

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Photo of Morris729
3.72/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a brownish copper color with a foamy off-white colored head that soon settles into a good amount of lace. Nose is toasted malts and caramel with a touch of fresh bread. Taste is sweet malts followed by notes of doughy yeasts and some citrusy hop oils. A smooth and easy-drinking brew. Not a bad choice for a session beer. Thanks to Loki for the sample!

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Photo of jackndan
3.63/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Old Scratch: an amber lager from Flying Dog, and one that is not to bad.

Nice looking beer, deep amber, with an off white head, that leaves some lacing.

The aroma is extremely malty, nice and hearty.

The taste is more than decent, nice malt sweetness, with caramel tastes, not to much of a hop kick.

Nice brew, easy enough to drink, and a fine taste.

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Photo of Indybeer
3.88/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle. Pours a dark amber, with a small head the quickly receded. Leaves bits of lace on the glass. The aroma of roasted malt is present, but no real hop aroma. You can taste the malt and it has a subtle hint of hops with a smooth finish Good carbonation. This is a good session beer

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Photo of Loki
3.8/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Sampled in an American Pint glass from a rotational offering at 4th Street Filling Station in Winston Salem, NC.

Presented a deep amber with a faint head. I didn't watch them pour this beer so I don't know if it was the beer or the pour. The beer left ribbons of lacing throughout the sample with two 1" wide strips on each side that looked to be caused by some residual.

Smelled of roasted malt, carmel, and some floral hops. Nose was much more present via draft.

Tasted of roasted malt, hints of carmel, and a smooth hop finish. Very balanced, very crisp, and very clean. The draft had a little more body, and a biscuity taste via draft. Just a little more drinkability.

I rated the taste from both the bottle and the draft the same, however I think the draft tasted a little better but not enough to take it to a 4.5.

This good amber gets better on draft, but that is what you would expect. A great session beer and a great offering from Flying Dog.

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Photo of GeoffRizzo
2.91/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a nice amber color with a thin soapy head. A faint, distant smell of fresh fruit and some hops, tough to detect. Very thin body, some hops and fruit to be noted, has a decent warming feeling. Just a thin and bland beer, not too many qualities, not one of the better Flying Dog brews.

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Photo of jlervine
3.45/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Amber in color, perfectly clear. Nice head, but fades quickly. Hops and caramel malt tickle the nose. Taste is subdued, malty on the finish. Mouthfeel is much more interesting - carbonation hitting here and there all over the tongue. Very drinkable, but boring.

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Photo of AtLagerHeads
3.59/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This was a real surprise. The pour created a cloudy amber look with a head that couldn't make it up to a finger even with much coaxing and teasing. The tan head retreated quickly and became a thin film that left small bits of lace. The nose was heavily malty with nary a trace of hops. Lots of grainy richness and bready notes. Yeasty. Not sweet, but not bitter either. Fairly dry tasting throughout with a substantial body that is not filling. Substantial residual tan oily residue.

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Photo of Boto
2.68/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Clear amber color, not too much head which dissapated rather quickly. I agree that this tastes like some form of a hybrid beer. Lager body, with some of the tartness and bitterness of an ale. I'm not quite sure how the brewer is calling this a "Steam Style" beer. Nothing about this reminds me of a steam beer. I'm guessing that the label art sells the beer. The art is quite good, but the beer is mediocre.

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Photo of mickeymac
3.18/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

It's amber with a brown tinge and little head. A metallic smell underlays the smell of butterscotch, making for a not completely pleasing combination of smells. The taste isn't much better. It's pretty bland with just enough going on to keep drinking it in the hope it comes together at some point. Unfortunately, it never really does. The Flying Dog stuff just doesn't really cut it.

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Photo of AudioGilz
3.42/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It's a clear amber color with hardly any head at all. The aroma is pleasant caramel maltiness. Caramel malts are pretty much the entire flavor as well, with a dry slightly hoppy finish. I find more of a toasty flavor in there as it warms. I enjoyed it, nothing exciting though.

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Photo of BeerBuilder
3.21/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours to an amber color with a big tan head. Leaves a bit of lacing when sipped down. The aroma was of sweet caramel malts, a bit of grain, and a slight fruitiness. The flavor had the sweet caramel maltiness with a fruity hop flavor. It was light-medium bodied beer, with a medium level of carbonation. It finished semi-dry and bitter. This was my second sampling out of their mix pack; overall it was a smooth, easy drinking beer.

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Photo of johnrobe
3.38/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This brew pours a nice, clear burnt-orange amber with an off-white head that reduces to a cap but leaves lace rings nevertheless. The smell is of buttery toffee and tea-like hops. Light-medium bodied mouthfeel. The taste is of caramel malt with a nice dose of herbal/tea and mildly citrus hops and some fruity esters in the background. Unfortunately, a fair amount of diacetyl comes through in mid-palate. I guess this was done on purpose, but it seems wholely out of place...even for a California Common style brew. Fruitiness transforms into a somewhat dry/crisp finish which gives away its "steam" ale/lager heritage.

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Photo of bditty187
2.88/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Orangey-amber hue, whitish head, ½ a finger’s worth, decent retention, pretty good lace. Rather fragrant bouquet, plenty of malt, hints of fruit, sweet caramel comes through as well. Surprisingly nutty taste, buttery, hints of tree-bark, malty… citrusy hops create the backdrop. Odd palate. Slightly sticky, yet bitter finish, not very dry. I can’t tell if Old Scratch is attempting to expand the realm of what is an Amber-Lager… or they have failed miserably at brewing an Amber-Lager. I tilt towards the latter. I don’t find this beer very impressive at all. I’d skip this one…

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Photo of TheLongBeachBum
2.93/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Flying Dog, Old Scratch Amber Lager, 5.32% ABV. 12 fl.oz Brown Bottle.

Dispensing the contents without a care in the world into my Imperial Pint Glass, this contributed to a massive (but wholly intentional) frothy, slightly off-white, rather yeasty looking, tanned head that was at least 3” deep. As the head settles it leaves a superb lace pattern that clings to the glass well. The perfect clear amber color, with the nicely developed head contributes to a good looking beer in the oversized Mug.
Nose is malty, with some caramel and not much else. The first mouthfeel was somewhat cold, as I had taken this beer straight from the fridge but it immediately revealed a sticky sweetness that I initially did not take to. As the beer warmed this became more prevalent and an aspect of the beer I did not care for too much. As the tastes develop, they are short lived but interesting at best, strange at worst. Thin mouthfeel. Has a caramel malt sweetness in the middle and one of those "sticky brown sugar" finishes that clings in the mouth, rather than lingers, if you know what I mean. I am always wary of beers that are listed with an ABV to more than one decimal place, guess I was right to be. Because, I am not enamoured at all by this, the first of my Flying Dog beers, to be honest.
A “well I tried it - but I don’t think I will go out of my way to have it again” beer.

Great label, shame about the beer – albeit strange, it is just “pretty average” for me.

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Photo of Gusler
3.1/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a sparklingly clear deep amber color with a noble in size head that is creamy in consistency, the color a light tan with the lace a fine sheet to coat the glass. Nose is malt and slightly sweet with the start sweet and the malt profile fair to middling, top is light. Finish is sparingly acidic with the hops subdued and the aftertaste quite dry.

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Photo of budgood1
3.67/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

clear amber color. thin head and lace. toasted malt nose with some flowery hops. pretty full mouthfeel, very round and smooth...almost buttery....and then a lager crispness in the end...this leads to lingering ale like flavors on the tongue. lots of sweet caramel malt and oily hops make it very un-lagerish. a very interesting, if not schizophrenic brew, and one i found rather refreshing and fun to drink because there is stuff going on not normally associated with lagers. i'd like to try more steam beers to get a better understanding of the style.

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Old Scratch Amber Lager from Flying Dog Brewery
78 out of 100 based on 761 ratings.