Old Scratch Amber Lager | Flying Dog Brewery

1,537 Ratings
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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 Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,537 |  Reviews: 762
Photo of mikesgroove
4.12/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

So I am finally working my way through the entire Flying Dog lineup, so that includes going for the mixed twelve pack, which thrilled me to pick up anyways. This poured a deep, dark amber, with a nice burnt reddish hue. nice one inch white head, gave way to a nice coating along the top of the glass. Not really any residual side glass lacing to speak of. Nice carbonation bubbles rippling up through from the bottom of the glass. The smell was very nice, lots of grains and cerals, with a hint of some caramel and a touch of bittering pine hops mixed in. A very light off fruit aroma could also be detected after a few minutes. The taste was very well crafted. A good malted back with a good deal of a hop character mixed in. I did not really detect much of a citrus taste at first, but subsequent sips showed this to be more pronounced then I had thought earlier. Very well balanced beer as no particular taste won out over another. Great feel, decent carbonation, but the feel was very smooth and effortless. A little slick, but not distractingly so, rather easy drinking. I could throw down a six pack of these with no time. Definatly a chugger. Overall this was damn fine, and the first steam beer I have had in quite a while. I will definatly be having another one of these in the near future. This was almost too good to pass up if I saw it. I really enjoyed it!

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Photo of ghostmech007
3.62/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a pint.

Hazy copper/tan with a light white lace that hugs the glass.

Hops are present and a hint of esters are there as well. Very pleasant nose.

Hops oil, toasted malts, and hop bitterness in the after taste. Very warming alcohol taste with a faint fruityness.

Pretty good brew, but the heat of the alcohol took my out of the brew a little bit.

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Photo of cypressbob
3.73/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

355ml bottle, served chilled in a Sierra Nevada shaker glass

Pours with a deep rusty coppery body. Thick and bubbly off white head forms, good retention. Some noticeable lacing up and down the glass

Smell, rich caramel and syrupy malts. Dextrin and a fair whack of sugary malt extract. Some fresh yet slightly musky hops, dark malts like crystal too. Biscuity and slightly bourbon like on the nose too, some toasted malt and a hint of diacetyl

Taste, crisp and solid mouthfeel. Crisp slightly bitter hops backed up by a solid rich malt profile. Little bit of burnt sugar and dried fruit. Bready malt and a little bit of fruit cake

Drinkable and pretty tasty, well worth a try

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Photo of Shaw
3.97/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a lovely bright amber in color with a short off-white head.

It smells of tea and caramel malt with some earthy hop aromas.

The tea aroma crosses over to the taste. The malt flavors remind me of tea and fruit. This beer leans to the malty side instead of hoppy/bitter.

The body is hefty and smooth and thicker than I expected.

Overall this is a fine California Common and another winner from Flying Dog. I don't know why I had been discounting them for so long. I was very, very wrong. They are a great brewery.

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Photo of dacrza1
2.85/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

12. oz bottle from their seasonal sampler.... pours a heavy lager smell with a hint of caramel...nice one-finger head that stays atop an attractive amber body--I'm intrigued...then, a rich, heavy lager taste, with an equally heavy mouthfeel.... which one can interpret to mean difficult to swallow...as this beer continues, the presence of malt increases in its unsubtle communication... at bottle's end, only thoughts of light beers keep this amber from earning the dreaded "nondescript" title....

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Photo of BMoney575
3.68/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled on 6-22-07

Pours a bubbly deep amber color, with a quick, fizzy head. The bottle is awesome.

Smell is very sweet and fruity, and very clean.

Taste is surprisingly malty, finished by a surprising floral hop kick. Very well balanced with a clean, fruity aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is good, a little thicker, which enhances the hop flavors.

Drinkability is also good, malt and hop flavors are in the perfect amounts. Recommended as a nice change from a pale ale.

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Photo of Gmann
3.33/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear red amber color with a decent off-white head that dissipated into a small cap, left some nice lacing as I drank it. The smell is of malt and maybe a hint of some type of fruit. Not overly pronounced. The taste is of toasted malt, has a weird rusty metallic twang which I think is a result of the malt-hop balance, not very appealing though not gross. The feel is light and well carbonated, finishes a bit bitter. An easy drinking beer, worth a try though not great.

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Photo of trep
3.73/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Perfectly clear orange amber body with a nice frothy bone colored head that leaves a good bit of lacing as it slowly fades. Crisp, light malty aroma, hardly any hops to speak of.

Pretty flavorful. Notes of apple, pear, and a slight hop bitterness. Alot better than I was anticipating.

Light bodied with medium carbonation. Super easy drinking.

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Photo of happygnome
3.78/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

a: amber color with about an eigth inch of head that does not dissapear fast and does leave some lacing
s: a very nice clean crisp aroma, sweet malts balanced nicely by hops
t: a very well balanced beer not too sweet and not to bitter
m: medium bodied with average carbonation

overall this is a very enjoyable beer, very sessionable and very nice

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Photo of MmmIPA
3.21/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass.Nice one finger white head.A very refreshing amber color,clear body.A nice clean smell with some hop aroma in there.Some malt smell but I cant tell what type.The taste is sorda sweet with some bready malts and earthly hop taste.This is my first steam beer and it is ok but nothing I would run out to try again.The carbonation is very easy on the palate.This is a good summer time and session beer.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
2.86/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Bottle courtesy of Okbeer: Poured a copper color beer with a small foamy head with not much retention but some surprisingly good lacing. Taste of pure malt with some subtle sweet nutty notes. Taste is slightly sweet with some very subtle notes of caramel and nuts. Light body with some low medium carbonation. No hops presence could be easily detected. Overall, this is was not too bad as a session al but not something I would go for very often since it did lack some character.

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Photo of wcdoyle
2.73/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Light, very clear, copper that trends toward orange instead of red. Head was quite white and settled down quickly. Carbonation starts off roaring then dies back. With a first whiff the hops seemed lemony-orange with a bit of malt underneath. Second smell (after the taste) got more of the malty sweetness. Odd surprise on first sip. What I tasted most was bread-yeasty, like a home brew batch that might have picked up an odd touch of wild yeast. There's a mild sweetness that's not unpleasant. Thick hops on the tongue are what I'm left with with this beer. Considering the carbonation, this beer was on the light side.

Not one of my faves, but I might try it again just to see if this batch wasn't a fluke and b/c I've liked other Flying Dog brews.

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

Light brown/copper color with a whitish head that has average retention and lacing.
Aroma is initially hoppy, but it has contributions from some dark malts, and even biscuit-like smell at times.
Medium-bodied, starts on lightly hoppy, fruity, evolving into roasted malts and the same biscuit and some additional sweetness that I had noticed on the nose.
Pleasant brew, nothing spectacular but easily drinkable on a summer day.

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Photo of mithrascruor
3.9/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a mug.

Appearance: Pours a nice amber-orange color. Clear, yet dark. Off-white head is moderately dense and foamy, gradually turning into a thick film along the edges of the beer.

Smell: Lots of malts, but with an unusual somewhat smokey(?) aroma to it. Some hops as well in the background.

Taste: Again, a nice malt flavor, but with a strong smokey/hoppy bitter accent to them.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied, generally smooth. Light, tingly carbonation.

Drinkability: Something with the taste makes this a bit difficult to drink a lot, but alcohol-wise it's fine.

A nice beer, but the bitterness in the flavor (which is hard to differentiate between hops and a smokey character) can be a bit overwhelming. Still a good solid beer with a unique flavor that's worth a try. A bit on the pricey side, however.

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Photo of smcreator
4.3/5  rDev +26.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Reddish amber with a one finger head.
S: Nothing special but it does have a nice clean smell.
T: A nice balance between slightly sweet and slightly bitter.
M: Very smooth and fresh taste. Just shy of a perfect mouth experience.
D: Since the beer goes down light and still tastes good, it is very easy to drink all night long.

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

This beer pours amber as one might expect. There is minimal head that doesn't leave behind any lacing. Very tame taste without many prevailing adjuncts. This taste is dominated by the malts. Overall pleasant beer, but doesn't stay in memory for very long.

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Photo of Metalmonk
3.95/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is a good looking beer, with a sizzling soapy head staying full for a good while, atop a well-filtered glassy amber color. Thin webs and dots of lace cover the glass.

Aroma has a candied maltiness the reminds of a doppelbock, with a little cinnamon and well-behaved hops coming through.

Flavor leans toward the malt; sweet and candy-like, with hints of cherry, caramel, red wine and those little red cinnamon candies. Hops offers balance, with adequate presence, but coming out stronger, with added astringency, in the finish.

Mouthfeel carries an effervescent, fluffy lightness, making itself known but not distracting from the flavors.

Good solid stuff here, nothing to really complain about. If you want a malty but well-balanced beer that's not heavy or too alcoholic, here you go.

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Photo of wspscott
3.28/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle in pint glass

A: Amber/red color, crystal clear with no head, virtually no lace.
S: Not a lot of smells, slightly bready/malty, no hops
T: Mostly bready malts, very little in the way of hops, kinda "flat" tasting. The bread flavor seems to linger/coat the tongue. It seems like there are a little too much in the way of tannins, very drying.
M: Standard ale, not very rich but, not watery. Nice carbonation
D: Worth trying, nothing overwhelming going on. I would have liked a little more hops.
The only other 'steam' beer I have had is Anchor. This seems very different from what I remember Anchor being, might have to pick up a 6 of the classic steam beer.

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Photo of khiasmus
2.82/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Beautiful dark amber with an off white head... looks like every amber lager should. Perfectly clear and bubbly.

S- Some mild malts and a slightly bready character, but not much else... the nose is very faint.

T- Mild malt up front, with some slight balancing hops in the back. a bit too well-balanced, tastes like cheap beer, if you know what I mean. Very slightly yeasty, with little aftertaste.

M- Clean and smooth, but thin, even for the style. Low carbonation... almost has the mouthfeel of water.

D- You could drink several... you could, but I won't. If you want a good amber lager, reach for a JW Dundee's or something. I like other things by flying dog, but this one isn't up to par.

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Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
4.37/5  rDev +28.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

12 oz bottle poured in a pint glass

A - nice clear orange/amber color with a small bone white head that flattened out leaving no lace.

S - nice sweet malty aroma makes you want a taste.

T - very nice tasting beer, sweet, rich malty taste, crisp/clean finish.

M - light body and light carbonation make for a good mouth feel.

D - excellent drinkability, goes down smooth and easy. 5.3% abv makes this good for drinking a whole lot of anytime you're in the mood.

IMO, better taste than Sam Adams Boston Lager at a lower price.

Good Beer - No Shit

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

amber, obviously, in appearance. smell is of caramel malts and a touch of fruity hops. taste is mostly of the malt, dry and crisp finish. almost reminds me of a dry, astringent vienna lager or marzen. minimal hop bitterness. mouthfeel is light. short finish. sessionable due to the abv. pretty much your typical american amber.

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Photo of PittBeerGirl
4.05/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

A- clear red body with white head that fades quickly.

S- strong caramel/malt smell.

T- this is good. caramel and nuts upfront with nice malt backing. Clean finish.

M- medium carbonation and light body. Goes down smooth and easy.

D- yes. I will have another. Another great offering from flying dog. The carmel and nuts do overbalance the other flavors so if you don't like those then you will not like this beer.

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Photo of cpn920
2.88/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer was ok. It seems to be a slight step above a macro lager. I poured it into a pint glass and it had no head retention whatsoever. It was better than most of the other Flying Dog beers that I have tried but overall I was dissappointed with the sampler twelve pack that I bought. With that being said this beer was hardly memorable.

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Photo of MrHurmateeowish
3.7/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz brown bottle from Florian's. Crystal-clear brick brown-red body with very little head. Roasty malt dominates the aroma with hints of diacetyl, though the aroma is a bit weaker than expected. Flavor has hints of roasty malt and apricot hops. Tastes good, but a bit weaker than expected. No real flaws though. Lighter bodied, and very, very drinkable. Not a bad beer.

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

Poured a dark amber with a tight thin head that faded quickly and left no lacing. Unusual aromas of chocolate and malt for the stule wiith something medicinal there as well. The taste is also quite malty with more cocoa notes and a little sour grain. The mouthfeeel is smooth but a little slippery. Not my favorite, the flavors are a little bizarre for me to want another.

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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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