Counter Culture
Flying Dog Brewery

Counter CultureCounter Culture
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American Amber / Red Ale
Ranked #121
Ranked #25,706
3.8 | pDev: 8.42%
Flying Dog Brewery
Maryland, United States
Very Good
Counter CultureCounter Culture

SPECIALTY MALTS: Brown, Crisp 77, Chocolate, Bon Munich, Flaked Oats

HOPS: Citra

YEAST: American Ale
Reviews: 56 | Ratings: 206 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by ksimons:
Photo of ksimons
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-caramel color with a fingers worth of cream head

S-caramel malt, light dark fruits, and nutty aroma

T-similar to the smell with a heavy malt backbone, caramel, raisins, nutty taste

M-medium body, moderate carbonation

Overall nice malty beer, very enjoyable

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More User Reviews:
Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.73/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

12 oz bottle into a teku.

Appearance: Pours a dark copper color. The head is a finger high, and off-white in shade. Retention is average for the style, but look at the thick ring of lacing stuck to the glass! (3.75)

Smell: This definitely seems like a hoppy brown ale, or a malty pale ale - take your pick. Since I don't pick up much caramel malt, I'll call it the former. I pick up plenty of roasted nut, faint cocoa powder, brown sugar, pumpernickel bread, and even a bit of coffee (?!). Its hop profile is pretty much as advertised - stone fruits like apricot and peach pop thoroughly. Having said that, this is malt-forward brew first and foremost. (3.75)

Taste: Wow, the maltiness is really unusual here - first and foremost, it tastes like a coffee-infused brown ale. But oh ho, there's no coffee in this brew. The coffee will fade a little bit, revealing notes of brown sugar, nuts, molasses, bread...and yes, some caramel. Hops here serve as a balancing bitterness, though they do bring some nice apricot and melon notes near the back end. I'm not even mad the Citra notes are subdued here - the malt backbone this beer provides is impressive enough as is. (3.75)

Mouthfeel: The oats give it a soft creaminess, while the hoppiness cleans the finish nicely. There's still a bit of lingering astringency, so the mouthfeel isn't perfect by any means. Carbonation is fairly subdued. Ergo, it's more of a sipper than a chugger. (3.5)

Overall: Flying Dog is frustratingly hit-and-miss at times - their hoppy beers are genuinely great (when fresh), Gonzo is always a good fallback option, yet stuff like their Hefeweizen, K-9, and some of their Brewhouse Rarities make me shake my damn head. This,'s weird, but I like it! The maltiness works, and the way the Citra hops embellish said maltiness gives it great balance. I think it's well worth purchasing again. (3.75)

3.73/5: Go go gadget malt backbone

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Photo of woodychandler
3.8/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Once again, the siren song of The Friendly Greek Bottle Shop caught me in its allure & I scored this as a single bottle on my most recent visit. I was intrigued by the label, which gives nothing away other than ABV. It could be any style! Maybe even a toy surprise inside!

I Pop!ped the cap, but nothing happened! No genie from within, no Kraken or Cthulhu-like tentacle snaking out to take me by the throat, nothing. I began with a gentle pour because some previous reviewers had mentioned cloudiness, but I was getting haze anyway, so I let fly after that. This resulted in two fingers of dense, rocky, tawny head with good retention. Color was a hazy Deep-Amber/Light-Copper to Copper (SRM = > 13, < 17) with amber highlights. Nose was as mysterious as the bottle in that there was a light cattiness along with banana and coconut odors as well as freshly-baked bread and toffee. Wow! I may deserve a prize after this. Mouthfeel was medium. The breadiness of the malt was immediately evident on the tongue. In fact, I will stick with that tropical fruit taste that I mentioned on the nose and mention banana bread. It was only slightly bitter and I was still getting a light cattiness. I am not sure that I would have been able to identify its style as an "American Amber/Red Ale", but not because I had any dislike for what I was drinking. I swear that the finish left me with a lot of banana flavor, almost to the point that I would have guessed Dunkelweizen. Am I nuts? And where is my prize?!?

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Photo of stakem
3.9/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks Kegatron for gifting me with a bottle of this. Standard 12oz bottle appears a hazy amber color with a khaki head that easily revives to a finger with a swirl.

It smells great with coffee leading the way before toasty bready grain also becomes evident.

The taste has mild fruity hops/alcohol with very lowkey bitterness. Some caramel/toffee/bready malt and strong indications of coffee.

This is medium in body and modestly carbonated. A great beer with such unique combination of malt/coffee that i was not expecting. Halfway through the glass, the alcohol becomes increasingly warming.

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Photo of bubseymour
4.22/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Light brown/dark orange with a perfect sized 3 finger head and nice carbonation. Smell is of very mild citrus hops but extremely subtle and light on smell. Taste is exceptional on this one. Leaning more towards a brown ale but there is a nice light citrus hop balancing act with the faint caramel sweetness. Like the nose, all flavoring is more subtle balanced than extreme. Body is a tad light and watery but not offputting at all.

This is one of their hits for sure.

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Photo of Raime
4.19/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Flying Dog Counter Culture

Another random on recommendation from one of my local shops. Flying Dog has really been smacking them outta the park lately and I'm hoping this one continues the streak. Only got about six brews to review tonight and only one is a heavy hitter so thing a shouldn't get too crazy ;)

Look -From the twelve ounce bottle hard poured into a pint glass. This brew pour a deep, almost murky amber with a finger and a half of off white head that eventually settles to a thick cap amongst the top of the swill with a strong ring around the edges. The carbonation appears to be on about moderate with this one. Particles of lace on the back end of a finished glass are all that remains

Smell - Right off the bat I can tell you the smell of this beer is almost on point with Bell's Amber. Toasted nutty levels with the proper amount of caramel malt and a distinct, although moderately light smokiness surrounding it. Some nice juicy hop levels as well but mostly true to a malt forward Amber.

Taste - Clean with a perfect balance. Caramel malts as you'd always come to expect, followed by that nut and smoke which really adds a solid middle ground to the flavor. Hop juice is readily apparent and really sits on the buds as you swallow. Alcohol is nowhere to be found.

Feel - Full bodied abd likely the boldest Amber ale I've ever come across. Carbonation is rather low but just enough for a light tickle upon the tongue. Flavors all retain much the same with more nut on the finish. Swallows easily with a medium creamy factor.

Overall - A very well balanced, easily drinkable and even quaffable amber ale that stays true to the style without gluing overboard on the hops. Would make a perfect beer for the later weeks of the Fall season and I think that's when they should start dropping it instead of the dead of winter. Try it side by side with your favorite ambers and see what you think.

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Photo of hopphead31415
3.71/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I grabbed this one without realizing it was Flying Dog, because of the ‘Last Supper’ by Da Vinci front label. Not sure why they thought that was relevant, the dirty bastards, but let’s review this 6.0% ABV (and 25 IBUs) beer anyway.

Look-It pours a clear liquid that is a dark amber color that looks like red oak and cedar. It glints with an orange copper hue in the light. The head diminishes down to a thin layer and leaves bubbly sticky and moist lacing on the glass.

Smell-I smell caramel malts with orange and hints of spices. The toasted malts are rarely flecked by any noticeable hops.

Taste-I taste figs, nutty spices, cardamom, nutmeg, toasty malts and milk chocolate. This beer has 5 varieties of malts (Brown, Crisp 77, Chocolate, Bon Munich, Flaked Oats) and only one weak hop variety (Citra) which is why the hops are not very noticeable in this beer. The bitterness is almost nonexistent and I taste a hop presence, but it is a distinction that you need to make before trying this beer. I also taste the yeast component at the end which is a nice complement to the milk chocolate and is a flavor combination that I have not explicitly tried before.

Mouthfeel-It has a medium-bodied sweet feel to it, but it isn’t overly sweet or syrupy. The carbonation is mild and tampered along with the alcohol. I get a coating on the tongue that is primarily nutty oats, chocolate, and a tinge of the orange zest.

Overall-I did not expect anything from this beer and I must say that I did enjoy it a lot, but I wished that there were a bit more hops in it. The brewers could easily introduce a bit more hop complexity without changing the bitterness units. Just something to think about, but this variety was nice as is.

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Photo of Jason
3.84/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 3.75

STYLE American Red Ale | ABV 6.0% | AVAILABILITY Year-round

Toffee, Bready, Toasty, Citrus

While I would not go so far as to call Counter Culture a malt bomb, this brew does have a firm focus on its layers of toffee, toasted bread and nuttiness. Oats yield a lush smoothness and hint of citrus from the Citra hops create layers that open up after a few sips. It’s nice to see something completely different and unexpected from Flying Dog and something very well done, too.

Review from BeerAdvocate magazine issue #103 (AUG 2015)

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.16/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Flying Dog Brewery "Counter Culture"
12 oz. brown glass bottle, coded but without freshness dating - it appears to be a Julian date but I can't tell if it's beginning or ending.

Appearance: Slightly hazy very deep copper/light russet brown body. Rocky yellowish head. The lacing could certainly be better.

Aroma: Malty/grainy with distinct caramel and chocolate notes. Fruity/hoppy/lightly citrusy.

Flavor: As the aroma suggests. Also bready/toasty, and a bit leafy/grassy/spicy. Some apple and red berry-like yeasty notes. Chocolatey like light milk chocolate, or perhaps a chocolate cookie. A touch nutty as well. The malt is quite solid but the hops are able to cut through. Nicely balanced, leaning towards the malty side but certainly not sweet, or even sweetish (the darker malts see to that). It finishes drying as the maltiness fades and the fruitiness becomes a bit more apparent.

Mouthfeel: Medium to medium-full bodied. Creamy and smooth with a fine bubbled moderate carbonation that allows the malt to really become the focus.

Overall: Without any descriptor on the label, and without really looking anyway, I wasn't sure what to expect but I'd probably label it an American brown ale given the chocolatey/caramel/nutty malt, and its 6.0% abv. In many ways it's kind of an amped up northern English brown ale. Really nicely balanced and rounded (I'm not sure you can even do it any better). Certainly worth trying unless brown ales and malty beers are just not your thing. Perfect for sitting on the porch in fall when there's just a slight chill in the air as the night sky rises and the stars come out.

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Photo of Billolick
3.85/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Zorro
3.77/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Clear red colored ale with a medium sized tan colored head.

Smells of bread and toffee. Can't pick anything else out.

Starts out malty and a little sweet. Citrus hops and a trace of sour. Toffee and malt syrup. Bitterness is mild. A red ale closer to a wee heavy than an IPA.

Mouthfeel is thick.

Overall a good pleasing ale.

+ As this warms the toffee and nuts really come on strong.

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Photo of ejimhof
3/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Photo of scruffwhor
3.72/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of therica
3.85/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A = Tan head, modest, fading to modest but ongoing lacing on my pint glass.

S = Nice complex nose, hints of laundry starch, hint of occasional chocolate, slight hint of toffee, a whiff of fresh spring air from the hops.

T = Sweet yet slightly sour, with modest bitters, burnt toast but also dough, some occasional hints of chocolate. Light tangerine undertones.

F = Slightly astringent in the finish. Lingering evidence of all, above but the tangerine and bitterness come forward.

Overall, a very worthy beer. Would go well with a burger, but probably not seafood or steak.

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Photo of razorsdescent
4.02/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Kendo
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured from the bottle into a Piraat tulip/snifter-type glass. Body is hazy dark amber with a half-finger of ivory head on top. Body appears more orangey-amber, with reddish hues, when backlit.

S: Hazelnut coffee, caramel and bready malt. Toast. Hint of citrusy/lemony hops. Smells like a slightly hoppy Brown Ale.

T: Nutty, caramel malt foundation. Yeasty fruit - overripe apples come to mind - and brown bread. Finishes with a fairly clean lemony bitterness. Is there Citra in this one? Wouldn't surprise me, and that relatively lighter hop profile goes nicely with the malt that's featured here.

M: Light-to-medium in heft, carbonation is modest.

O: I'd call this one an American Brown Ale rather than an Amber/Red, but whatever - it's a solid beer that fits well with the season.

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Photo of schoolboy
3.92/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Well, it is a unique ale. I had no idea what to expect with this. An ale, and I think it's new. The aroma faintly gives away some of the chocolate taste to come. The malty red color similarly gives away sweetness to come.

The taste is pretty unique. It's fresh, with those big hops, but there is balance. So it's a nice Amber, but not boring like some apologetic versions of the style.

Recommended for when you have a taste for an Amber able that is a little out of the ordinary.

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Photo of metter98
3.73/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A: The beer is very dark amber in color (brown when viewed from afar). It poured with a quarter finger high dark beige head that died down, leaving a thin layer of bubbles on the surface, a collar around the edge, and some lacing down the sides.
S: Light aromas of nutty malts and citrusy hops are present in the nose. The smell becomes stronger as the beer warms up and starts having some coffee-like aromas.
T: The taste is similar to the smell, having flavors of nutty malts and toffee along with notes of citrusy hops.
M: It feels light- to medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation. No bitterness is perceptible, but there are enough underlying hops to mask any sweetness.
O: The combination of citrusy hops and nutty malts lends some interesting and unique flavors to this beer - it smells a little like unroasted coffee beans.

Serving type: bottle

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Photo of Slatetank
3.91/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I enjoyed this bottle chilled in a cervoise

The color is dark amber bordering on brown with thick haze and white head that collapses into a ring of beads with no lace left. The smell is slightly nutty with bean-like aroma more than roast coffee but malt has a subtle sweet and toasted aroma with low spice of hops in the smell with mild vegetal aspect yet the nose has a mild woody quality. The feel is mostly dry with a light sweet entry and medium carbonation with subtle roasted middle and low bitterness with slight toasted grain in the texture and earthy finish with nutty element and light body for abv.

The taste has a good malt flavor with hints of coffee interspersed with mild roast and light vegetal taste but it is not overpowering more medium roast perhaps which matches the malt intensity but no hops in the taste or perhaps only a subtle flavor of them to add to the earthy coffee flavor. The taste is subtle but well put-together +nicely balanced with hop flavor that is herbal with light caramel malt taste as it warms with mild roast coffee bitterness in the relatively dry finish. Overall I enjoyed this very good as it progressed -not as vegetal yet still mild coffee roast level with an almost maple quality which is pleasant, a good amount of flavor just not in your face or drenched in coffee

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Photo of AnalogReigns
3.63/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Decent red ale, I purchased just because of the compelling DaVinci's "Last Supper" art-label, with the title "Counter Culture." There's a terrific book by John R.W. Stott called "The Christian Counterculture" which described Jesus' "Sermon on the Mount" as a call to be a counter-culture to the evil current culture. label!

This is an easy-going but quality beer. If you're like me, and you're tired of the hoppy mess that so many craft breweries specialize in now.....and you like good, balanced, malty beers....this is for you. Super well balanced, crisp finish. Head goes away quickly but hey, this isn't a German beer. Very tasty. I recommend it.

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Photo of BeerForMuscle
3.9/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of Kegatron
3.78/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Photo of soupyman10
3.26/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

My run through FD brews continues. Amber color, finger of white head, solid lacing (FD beers seem to consistently look quite solid). Nose is a subtle, dirty malt. Hints of toffee, dried fruit. Not much of an aroma on this one. Flavor is similar. Fairly mild, dirty malt - cookies, a hint of caramel. Not much going on here either. Overall, fine if you desperately need an amber fix, but otherwise, stick to something with a little more going on.

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Photo of AndrewMichael
3.33/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

12 oz bottle poured in a mini-schooner glass. Great Amber appearance, and subtle citrus hop aroma. Well balanced ale.

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Photo of dar482
3.54/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

The aroma is herbal, fruity, toasty malts, bready.

The beer follows with in between roasty and toasty malts, herbal and earthy hops, onto coffee and toffee sweetness.

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Counter Culture from Flying Dog Brewery
Beer rating: 85 out of 100 with 206 ratings