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

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.

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Reviews: 761 | Ratings: 1,537
Photo of ShrLSU
1.18/5  rDev -65.4%
look: 2 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

12 ozs of horror with a flying roach on the side.

Appearance - dark red amber with very little head

Smell - A lot of malt with a touch of hops.

Taste & Mouthfeel - WTF? I don't even really know how to describe this. Very oily and nasty. Not at all amber like. If i were to drink airport toilet water, this is what i would equate it to.

Drinkability - If you're in the desert and you come upon an oasis with a running refridgerator (bear with me here) and it was stocked with nothing but ice cold flying roach beer....I'd choose death. The rest of these beers in my fridge will be thrown away or given to a homless person on the street.

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Photo of ryrust5301
1.21/5  rDev -64.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Another flying dog, sigh. Poured from a 12oz. brown bottle with a gross ass looking flying roach on it into a pint glass.

Appearance - clear dark red amber color with a tiny white head on top.

Smell - Pungent malt smell with a tiny bit of hopiness

Taste & Mouthfeel - Down the drain with this worthless attempt at beer. Had one taste and it was oily and sour malt. No it wasn't a bad bottle.

Drinkability - There is none. Maybe they threw a bunch of the flying roaches in while brewing. I usually don't like to judge a bottle by the label, but I mean come on. Get your act together and slap a real label on there. No one wants a flying roach on the bottle. Fire whoever came up with this idea!

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Photo of Oxymoron
1.29/5  rDev -62.2%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

Elderly sore? Pours semi darker amber color with a few red highlights through out. Great clarity and with a little help on the pour left a pretty rocky white head. Limited retention and no lacing to speak of.

The nose is presentable but off. Some grainy aromas that have some sour or old malt characteristics. Some sweeter caramel malts and a nice hop presence. Kind of generic citrus and floral aroma. Some light oxidation/cardboard as well.

The taste is off as well. Actually I ended up dumping a little less than half of it. Off malt flavors with some caramel and sour grain flavors. There is a almost malt extract flavor where is has a slight plastic/veggie flavor. Definite oxidation notes. Limited positives but a nice hop balance with some citrus floral coming out.

What can I say, body is mid to light. Really this beer was pretty bad.

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Photo of kensuthe
1.63/5  rDev -52.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 1.5

Appearance: Brown 12oz bottle with the usual Flying Dog artwork on the label. Poured into a pint glass. Dark amber with a lacy white head about a finger and a half thick.

Smell: Solid, aromatic malt with a light undertone of hops. Slight bitter citrus smell as well.

Taste & Mouthfeel: A small tinge of hops and malt at the beginning, followed by a heavy, sour malt taste with a bitter, saccharine aftertaste. It was oily in the mouth, and then dried the mouth and produced an unpleasant burning sensation on the tounge after swallowing.

Drinkability: The initial flavor isn't bad, but the sourness and bitterness turn this into an unappealing chore to drink. The feeling that it leaves in the mouth and the throat isn't a good thing, and the flavor of it makes it sit heavy in the stomach. It's not the worst beer I've ever had by a long shot, but I expected more from it.

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Photo of Beaver13
1.8/5  rDev -47.2%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

12 oz bottle. Pours a clear light amber with a medium white head that quickly goes to a thin film that leaves some lacing.

The aroma is sweet bready (slightly vegetal) malts.

The flavor is sweet vegetal caramel malts with a bit of a metallic twang at the finish. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with some prickly carbonation.

Overall, this is barely one step above a macro. I didn't care for this at all.

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Photo of Jamesthebrit
1.92/5  rDev -43.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

A: Bubbly and bold amber red. Very nice color for a lager.
S: Maybe not so good... some astringent apple like scent. That's what I got... it must overpower any other smell.
T: Lacking in flavor until it fades to a lingering bitterness. Poor showing here.
M: Sits pretty good. A little bubbly but solidly average.

Overall that taste is just terrible. It doesn't taste good and then fade to lingering bitterness it just tastes like nothing and then fades to bitter. A poor showing. I'm excited to review their IPA or pale ale which were both excellent. It is odd to have this one be so much worse. Pass on this beer as it is lacking where it really counts.

Now I see I am 45% of a deviation from the mean which is really a lot. I wonder if I didn't get a bad bottle or so. I have the beer sitting right next to me so it is what it is I suppose.

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Photo of JackTheRipper
1.93/5  rDev -43.4%
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.

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Photo of DogFood11
1.95/5  rDev -42.8%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

I don't know man. This is a pretty boring brew even for a typically watered style of steam beer or california common. I think this is a style problem more than it is this beer. It pours a copper/amber color. the head is apologetic but it does have a ring lacing with each pull. Malts make up the jist of this beer, hints of caramel, hops are an afterthought, a very odd woody taste approaches the end of this brew that is annoying as hell...never had much success with this brewery and this is another example....overall very forgettable. Very mild in every category. better than the BMC? not really.

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Photo of mckenziac
2.06/5  rDev -39.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a Samuel Adams Boston Lager glass.

Appearance: Pours a clear, amber color. Has a smallish, fizzy head that dissipates quickly and leaves little to no lacing.

Smell: Smells grainy and sweet with strong notes of caramel malts.

Taste: Mildly hoppy up front. Transitions to sweet and grainy at the end. The finish is sort of sickly sweet with a grainy lager taste.

Mouthfeel: Watery and over-carbonated.

Overall: A poorly constructed amber lager. Flying Dog has always been hit-and-miss with me and this is definitely a miss.

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Photo of Vendetta
2.14/5  rDev -37.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Original Rating Date:
September 13, 2008

Pours a very nice neon red, very nice. A bit of aroma, not too much, but some caramel malt in there. Tastes waaay too dry for me to enjoy, there are some decent hops and some maple syrup and caramel, but this is just way too dry to work with those flavors. Won't buy this again.

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Photo of lpayette
2.2/5  rDev -35.5%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Appearance- copper/amber color. weak head.

Smell- Mostly malty in the nose with some grainyness.

Taste- Much like the smell... malty at first. And a grainyness that I dislike.

Mouthfeel- Fairly smooth, again- finishes grainy.

Drinkability- Overall a subpar beer that isn't worth seeking out again, but maybe I'll try it again someday.

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Photo of BrewmasterNPB
2.26/5  rDev -33.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Old scratch had a very low hop profile, perhaps too low for style. I realize that an Amber Lager is suposed to have a low hop profile, but this one is a bit low for my liking. This is very malty, but so much so that it carries a very sweet flavor profile.

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Photo of ccrida
2.3/5  rDev -32.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a shaker, bronze with a large-bubbled off-white head that leaves light lace and quickly dissapates.

Smell is sour and grainy, like a wheat beer almost, with a hint of sugar.

Taste is just off, something about this one from the first sip was too much, like spiced cereal. Semi-sweet with a cloying, medicinal aftertaste that really lingers, yuk...have to dump this one!

MF is average.

Drinkability is low, I didn't finish this one because it just didn't work for me and life's too short. Don't think it was spoiled or anything, just a gross taste from whatever malt/esters/hop combo they picked. Wouldn't want to power though and chug this one either, insta-puke!

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Photo of jm1229
2.32/5  rDev -32%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

12oz bottle opened on 9/3/11 and poured into a pint glass. Served at 55 degrees.

Wanted to give this a try after trying and enjoying the stout and porter offered by the brewery.

A- Pours a rust color with a lot of carbonation. Not beer-carbonation, though; it looks more like a soda. Maybe a dark ginger ale... No lacing.

S- Malt and bread. Underwhelming.

T- Same thing. Very malty and bready.

M- Again, almost like a soda. Very drinkable for what it is.

O- I used to be a huge fan of amber beers but I've sort of outgrown them since. This beer isn't all that great, especially given what's written on the label: "Good people drink good beer"- Hunter S. Thompson.

I doubt I'll buy this again. Not really my style of cup of beer.

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Photo of HeroJH
2.33/5  rDev -31.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

This is the last beer from the flying dog sampler pack I bought a month ago that I had yet to try. I'm glad that trip is over. I'm left un-impressed by Flying Dog unfortunately. The ones I tried were from the Denver brewery, and think I read that they were closing it. I wonder if there was a difference between these and ones that would come from the main Fredrick, MD brewery.

A - nice clear amber with a touch more red and gold. The head didn't maintain.

S - very light smell. A little caramel and malt.

T - started like it would be full and smooth, quickly went bitter and ended with a musty dryness. With the second sip, it's a bit astringent from over boiled hops and that hangs out with me for the remainder. Gulps 3-5 I'm searching for the flavor I smelled. I'm getting some dry grain. The bitter is blocking anything else. Lagers can be quite subtle depending, and the bitterness on this is blocking anything from registering on my palette. Tastes a bit like club soda.

M - bitter with a coating. Too carbonated.

D - No thanks.

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Photo of utopiajane
2.35/5  rDev -31.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.5

Pours a true amber color. Almost no nose and no head. While it didn’t boast of anything up front I did notice a little floral hops character, some bitterness. No lacing. Light carbonation. The body of this beer was weak and unbalanced. It had a flat, fruity sweet quality that really detracted form the essence of the malt.

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Photo of bamojr
2.36/5  rDev -30.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

When I first poured this one it had a nice color with a decent head. It has the aroma of a standard Amber. The taste was less than I was hoping for with a bitter and almost unpleasant finish. I do not feel that this beer is worthy of the flying dog title and has a great deal of room for improvement in taste.

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Photo of Buebie
2.37/5  rDev -30.5%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 oz brown bottle into a surly tulip. Off a straight into an upright glass, pretty rigerous pour, only half an inch of head forms. Off white in color, quickly dissapearing to no retention, and only lace where the had had once been. Spotty at best and no lace behind the head point.
Transparent, copper orange in color.

Aroma is Apple juice, meets grassy hops, meets just a touch of grains. A little bit of sawdust in there too.

Taste is Apple juice, some very very small amount of grassy hops and a touch of peppercorn. Way to juice like. Finishing with wet cardboard and a hint of pine.
Its thin, and really lacking in all departments.

How I let the sales guy talk me into this is beyond me. $5 for the six pack was not worth it. I will never take his advice again.

Do Not Want

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Photo of jujubeast6000
2.38/5  rDev -30.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Reviewed 12/16/2009 (Bottle coded 336FX09):

Pours a dark amber reddish color body, with almost no head, quickly diminishing. Nutty malty aroma, vegetably/fruity. Some honey, sugars. Dark fruit. Vegetably, fruit essence. Honey. Malty, not very nutty. Not very tasty. Better as it warms, less vegetably. Still not a favorite.

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Photo of OWSLEY069
2.41/5  rDev -29.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Pours a clean amber/ orange-ish color with an off white head. In the aroma, small sweet maltiness. In the taste, malty, sweet and somewhat skunky. A small bite and medium mouthfeel, with a dry malty aftertaste. Kind of skunky taste, malty and dry. Really not that good.

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Photo of kojevergas
2.41/5  rDev -29.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

33cl brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into a true imperial pint glass in high altitude Denver, Colorado. Reviewed live. This was one of the bottles available in Flying Dog's sampler pack.

A: Pours a 3.5 finger head of slight soft cream, decent thickness, and good retention. Colour is a clear copper (NOT Amber!).

Sm: Biscuity yeast, cream, and amateurish barley. Smells like an all extract homebrew beer. The strength of the aroma is moderate.

T: And it tastes like a homebrew extract as well. Light caramelized malt doesn't add anything, but instead pollutes the balance. It's simply built and crappily so. The balance is off. The cream is understated, but may still be its best feature. A near watery finish; certainly a bland one.

Mf: Smooth and wet, with an artifical creamy undertone to it. Far from complementary of the flavours in the body.

Dr: Fairly drinkable excepting the lackluster quality. Overpriced as part of the sampler pack. I won't have it again.

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Photo of jeffmonarch
2.43/5  rDev -28.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

12 oz. bottle in a pint glass.

A - Nice copper red color with light head.

S - Not much smell.

T - What's there? It's really crisp and has bite initially but as that subsides there's no flavor, at all.

M - Light bodied with good carbonation.

D - Don't like it at all. It doesn't taste bad, it just doesn't taste at all.

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Photo of AllThingsNinja
2.44/5  rDev -28.4%
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.

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Photo of kcrosson492
2.47/5  rDev -27.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.75

A relatively plain lager. Nice, amber color. Smell is pretty unappealing. Taste is plain, comparable to more main-stream lagers such as Yeungling or Sam Adams. Flying Dog is an excellent brewery, specifically in regards to ale, but this lager falls relatively short of what I've come to expect.

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Photo of ngandhi
2.48/5  rDev -27.3%
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.

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Old Scratch Amber Lager from Flying Dog Brewery
3.41 out of 5 based on 1,537 ratings.
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