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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User Reviews
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Reviews: 761 | Ratings: 1,537
Photo of rodbeermunch
3.27/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Hearty appearance, gives off a strong red exterior, clarity, nice 3/4" white head. Aroma of red malts.

Taste was a smooth red experience, I like it more than your average red ale, the lager yeast lends itself to pairing with said malts better I think, smoother, less bitter hopped. Pretty mellow fellow. I remember the first time I had this, hooked up with a real attractive girl, prettier than the beer even!

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Photo of tillmac62
3.76/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

BOD 250/15. Pours a clear medium amber that is light garnet in intense light. World class head volume, lacing and retention.

Somewhat light nose of caramel and earthy hops.

Medium body that has a somewhat creamy texture. Superb carbonation with an effervescent burst in the middle and a nice prickly finish.

The flavor profile is very good. Reasonably intense, slightly complex and very well balanced. It begins with a slightly charred caramel that is more nutty than sweet. The middle brings a mild earthy hop bitterness and flavor. Underneath is the strongest caramel appearance. The finish is a slow fade of the above coupled with a subtle tart fruit note.

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Photo of pat61
4/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The brewery calls this a California Common or steam beer. Fruit, caramel and toasted malt are on the nose and palate. It has the extra fruity esters found in California Common but it is a little heavier and sweeter and not as bitter.

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Photo of startreker
4.43/5  rDev +29.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

L. Beautiful red deep amber color. Medium bodied head, left lacing that stuck to the glass.

S. Deep Malt with spices and mild hops.

T. Robust malty taste with caramel notes and spices. Mild on the hops, and no bitter after taste. Notes of toffee as well.

F. Medium creamy mouth feel very nice! Very easy to drink.

O. Overall, this is a wonderful amber lager that`s a pleasure to drink. I really enjoy the caramel toffee notes in this lager, would most certainly purchase this one again!

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Photo of Dmdolby
3.53/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.5

L- nice rich Amber color with an off white head. Leaves good lacing going down the glass

S- not a very strong smell. Slight hint of cloves

T- fairly light taste. No bitterness. Not an unpleasant experience

F-very smooth going down. No bite at all

Overall not a bad Amber lager. Goes down easy and is refreshing

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Photo of Jeffreysan
4.4/5  rDev +29%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottle, poured into a pint glass

Appearance: Pours a pretty, clear, deep, dark, mahogany color with a quarter of a finger of white-colored head that quickly dissolved away into a thin lacing of foam that partially covered the top of the beer.

Aroma: Lots of toasted malt up front, followed by some caramel and brown sugar. Very bready and sweet in aroma. Very nice!

Taste: Great!! Very malty up front, with strong notes of bread and cereal. Next comes some caramel and brown sugar-like sweetness and some spices of black pepper, a touch of coriander and a touch of ginger. The beer finishes with some beautifully balanced hoppy bitterness. Delicious!

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied and pretty smooth and creamy as there is very little carbonation. With an ABV of 5.5%, there is no alcohol on the palate.

Overall: This is an outstanding amber lager! Malty, sweet and creamy! Delicious! This is going to be a regular beer in my fridge!

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Photo of johnnnniee
3.77/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle from Sully's
Deep amber/copper color with a huge bubbly off white head that slowly recedes. The aroma is heavy on the caramel malt with hints of toffee and light chocolate. Light earthy hop aroma barely. The flavor is rich caramel maltiness with a touch of burnt sugar. Earthy spicy hop flavor with a light amount of bitterness. Solid darker lager brew.

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Photo of bmeehan
2.53/5  rDev -25.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.5

I remember drinking this and thinking "Why does this weak ass lager taste like such a hoppy pale ale?" It's bitter in a way that isn't enjoyable and it has no fun qualities to make you come back for more.

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Photo of dcscientist
3.5/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I was hoping for a little more here, but it's a reasonably good amber. They do better with some of their other beers though. Update: looks like they've retired this one.

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Photo of the_awesometeer
4.25/5  rDev +24.6%

Appearance - Red/amber color. Nice foam head, disappears quickly though.

Smell - Not too complex but a nice sweet malt smell, a little bready as well.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied, very smooth.

Taste - A mixture of sweetness and a hint of hops . Simple flavor but still good.

Overall - This beer is simple but still extremely enjoyable. I like it very much, can't wait for another one.

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Photo of superspak
3.68/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle into lager glass, best before 11/26/2013. Pours crystal clear deep orange/copper color with a 1 finger dense light khaki head with great retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Spotty soapy lacing clings down the glass, with a moderate amount of streaming carbonation retaining the head. Aromas of caramel, toast, toffee, biscuit, light nuttiness, herbal, grass, light pepper, light fruitiness, and yeast earthiness. Nice and pleasant aromas with good balance and complexity of dark/bready malt, earthy hops, and yeast ester notes; with solid strength. Taste of caramel, toast, toffee, biscuit, light nuttiness, herbal, grass, light pepper, light fruitiness, and yeast earthiness. Light earthy hop bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of caramel, toast, toffee, biscuit, light nuttiness, herbal, grass, light pepper, and yeast earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Nice complexity and robustness of dark/bready malts, earthy hops, and yeast ester flavors; with a good malt/bitterness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a very smooth and lightly creamy/bready mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is well hidden with zero warming present after the finish. Overall this is a nice amber lager style. Good balance and robustness of dark/bready malt, earthy hops, and yeast ester flavors; and very smooth to drink. A nicely enjoyable offering.

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Photo of WhiteHillsStore
3.74/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I love Flying Dog brewing company and am sad to see it leave Connecticut but hope it comes back soon. The appearance was a nice dark yellow almost orange with a light head. The smell is full of malt and hops, very effervescent. The taste is sweet in the beginning with the malt and then the hops give a bright finish. Hope to have one again soon.

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Photo of slym
3.3/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

This would be a good replacement for someone who likes SamAd Boston Lager. It is a little sweeter up front, a little more hoppy on the finish, but it is pretty dang similar to SamAdBL to me.

It's a little light on mouthfeel, as you'd expect such a crystal-clear brew to more highly carbonated.

Overall, I give it a 3.25

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Photo of jsausley
3.71/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured into a Sam Adams Perfect Pint glass from the Boston, MA brewery.

A: This beer pours a beautiful reddish-orange and amber that is slightly opaque. Its appearance gives the impression that it is a thick, heavy beer. It forms a nice head that is long lasting for a lager and bubbles nicely from the bottom of the glass. The head clings to the side of the glass as you drink, which is uncommon for a lager of this smoothness. Overall the appearance is rich and deep and the beer begs to be drank.

S: Old Scratch has a fairly crisp and pleasant smell that is rich of hops. There are fruity hints but nothing overpowering and it smells fairly typical for a lager. There is certainly nothing unpleasant in the smell.

T: Tasty, clean and smooth with lots of toasted malt. There are also subtle flavors to this beer. It smells more hoppy than it tastes, but there is a hint of bitterness. There is a rosy quality to the nose which is very pleasant and there are also hints of fruit, notably green apple. There are also flavors of caramel. It has a crisp and sharp bite that is absent from many other amber lagers. There is very little aftertaste, but what is there is reminiscent slightly of a yeasty wine with some bitterness.

M: Probably what I will remember most about this beer is its mouthfeel. There is very little carbonation, and I expected more from a lager. Additionally it is exceptionally smooth - it feels more like a stout with its thick, silky texture. These are not bad things but it is somewhat uncharacteristic of an amber lager and so it only ranks average here.

O: A great beer that I would certainly buy again. It is a different type of amber lager and is worth a buy - delicious, smooth and looks wonderful in a glass in front of you.

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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 gonzo000
2.77/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

A - poor was nice, caramel in color

S - Smell was lacking something, knew a watery beer was to come.

T - Taste as expected, lack luster , little to no body, flat tasting.

M - Mouthfeel was waxy-watery.

O - As a lover of ambers I was not impressed. Taste was not there, not enough body - this one just missed the mark.

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Photo of Mongrel
3.7/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours an attractive honey-amber color with half-finger of off-white foam. Head quickly recedes to a sudsy film that helps lend a soft, smooth mouthfeel.

The nose is comprised of slightly sweet, bready malts and a hint of vanilla. Perhaps a little hint of cool noble hops.

The taste delivers on that sweet, bready vibe from the nose, along with a nice complement of vanilla and perhaps other spices. It's somehow reminiscent of cinnamon raisin breakfast bread, but in a very subtle way. There's also a little tinge of lemon to everything, which keeps things clean.

The body on this beer is medium, if that, but the mouthfeel is big, round and smooth. Like silky smooth - pretty nice actually

Overall, a solid example of the style. Far from an intense beer, but more flavorful than your typical amber lager.

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Photo of steveh
3.34/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Received a couple of these in a mix sixpack as payment for some freelance work. I know I've had Old Scratch in the past, but never reviewed it so...

Based on the label's Julian code, I'm surmising this was bottled in October of last year; not terribly old. Maryland brewery for this batch.

A -- Clear, deep copper with orange highlights and a firm, sticky light tan head.

S -- Toffee and biscuit up front with spicy hops and fruit esters back.

T -- Toffee and cookie characters up front, fruit esters in the middle, and spicy, bitter hops in the finish. The cookie and ester flavors linger through the aftertaste along with an earthiness that could be malt or hop characters.

M -- Mouthfeel is soft to dry with a medium to lightly robust body.

O -- This is a complex and enjoyable beer, but it has so much of a warm-fermented profile that I find it odd to be labeled a lager. I honestly remembered it as an Ale from tastings in the past, and the flavors make me understand why it left that impression.

Looking for a good Amber Ale? This could be your beer!

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Photo of kaplunk02
3.14/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

12 oz bottle poured into a pint glass

A: poured a clear amber with a short off-white head that disappeared quickly

S: I didn't notice a very strong aroma but definitely a bit bready and hoppy with some grassy notes. Something a little sweet in there too. Maybe honey.

T: Tasted of cereal and hops

M: Very smooth and crisp on the tongue like a lager should be.

O: A pretty good Amber Lager. Not too crazy with the flavors but a solid brew from Flying Dog.

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Photo of upton7418
3/5  rDev -12%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

poured from a bottle into a snifter

A - no doubt an Amber lager copper color and very clear. good head upon pour that dissipates quickly. minimal lacing.

S - starts with a bread malt smell that unveils a light floral scent as it warms not very complex but there.

T - very bready with a light hop bite. nothing spectacular to note and very similar to Yuengling.

M - light carbonation and sweet.

O - the beer is ok but tastes similar to commercially available Amber lagers. not very complex but not bad.

Serving type: bottle

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Photo of Theheroguy
3.82/5  rDev +12%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Flying dog is a brewery which tends to produce consistently excellent beers, I still have many more beers in the lineup to try but in the past they've very rarely disappointed me. Old scratch is a medium to dark caramel color. It smells sweet and taste accordingly. It is noticeably more hopped than your average amber lager keeping that sweetness in check. The beer is crisp and perfectly carbonated. The finish is short and hoppy. Easy drinking and delicious check it out.

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Photo of jeranbrews
3.26/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - pleasant ruby amber hue. Short quickly fading paper white head. Lots of effervescance.

S - masked hop scents. Lite rye whiskey and malt soda.

T - sweet but biting. Sharp but lite in aroma and body

M - fizzy but dry

O - fine but not outstanding.

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Photo of Huffs
3.22/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Poured into a sam adams glass, nice off white head developed, though retention and lacing were mild. Appearance was a nice clear to copper color with a mild aroma with light notes of malt and toffee. Tasted of caramel and toffee, sweet with a medium to light mouth feel. Aftertast was sweet.

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Photo of BurgeoningBrewhead
3.55/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into shaker pint glass; lovely glowing orange-amber with a nice big white head that comes up and fades like soda, leaving a topping of clear foam on the top fed by bubbles.
Smell is quintessential lager; soft, bready malt with a hint of sweetness and a slight crisp pinch of generic hops at the end.
Taste is the same, and tasty; bready malt with a hint of cracker moving into crisp hops with a hint of bitterness to balance the malt left over in the aftertaste.
Mouthfeel is medium-light and smooth.
Overall, nothing mindblowing but a tasty drinkable lager.

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Photo of bnes09
3.49/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Hazy orange amber ale. Weakish soda like head. Poor retention and a few lace spots.

Slightly roasted aroma with hints of apple.

Malty, sweet flavor. Hint of caramel and apple. Minimal hop flavor.

Medium body. Coarse texture. High carbonation.

Middle of the road.

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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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