Old Scratch Amber Lager | Flying Dog Brewery

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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 CraftBeerTastic
3.5/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Ba Review #184
Served On: 07/06/2012
Glassware: Tumbler Pint
Labeled ABV: 5.5%
Date/ Code: -

This was in the latest year-round mixed 12 pack that Flying Dog offers.

Look: Poured a light amber color with tinges of gold at the edges. Head was a thin consistent kaki film. Carbonation bubbles were slow and steady.

Smell: Spicy biscuit like a frosted cinnamon bun. Also some evidence of citrusy hops.

Taste: Initial biscuit note lead into a nice spice typical of darker lagers. The middle had a nice roasty bitterness. Finish was fairly clean with some lingering roasted malts coupled with more bitterness.

This is a great lager with some nice qualities. I can’t quite find the California Common characteristics. In my opinion I would have to consider this more of a Vienna Lager.

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Photo of PeeWee8
3.3/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: in bottle. Poured out into pint glass and had nice amber/copper color.

Smell: floral, nice welcoming aroma in pint glass.

Taste: quite taste. Noticeable caramel flavor, slightly sweet aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: crisp, has mild bite to it and tickles palate slightly. It's a good thing.

Overall: just had it for first time but pleasantly surprised. Also bottles for $2.50 were a sweet deal. Would definitely have again/recommend it.

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Photo of TheSixthRing
3.61/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - Pours a clear, reddish amber with an off-white, finger width head. Retention is average. Resulting lace hangs around and clings well.

Smell - Fruity esters. Notes of caramel and grassy hop.

Taste - Buttery caramel. Toasted, bready malts. Hops are floral and grassy. Well balanced. Finishes fairly clean.

Mouthfeel - Medium body. Smooth and velvety. Carbonation leaves a a slight tingle.

Overall - I'm not big into steam beers, but this one is pretty good. I like it much better than Anchor Steam, which most would consider the benchmark for steams.

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Photo of weller1js
3.65/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

appearance: pours a clear, brownish-copper, well carbonated with tiny effervescing bubbles; finger-thick beady antique white foam dissipating into similar lacing.

smell: malts are bold and notable and are predominant in the scent.

taste: begins very clean, sequeing with a buttery mellowness that progresses into the full malty attributes, finishes very similar to how it begins, with a continued malty lingering.

overall: on par with what you would expect with a premium lager, very casually drinkable.

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

Poured from 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: rich amber hue with a clear body and a moderate effervescence. Head poured a half finger of frothy tan foam but quickly dissipated. Not bad, but for the lack of head.

Smell: rich caramel aroma with a mild, earthy hop character present. Not bad, but a bit on the mild side.

Taste: very caramelly flavor, but not overly sweet. Noble hop character is present along with a somewhat raspy finishing bitterness. Not bad, but that finish is a bit on the rough side.

Mouthfeel: light body but a big creaminess coming from a well-integrated carbonation. I would not have guessed this from the relatively mild head and effervescence.

Overall: a very middle-of-the-road amber lager. I would not have guessed this is a steam beer, but caramel malts can mask a lot of subtlety.

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Photo of Arborescence
3.92/5  rDev +15%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Medium to dark amber, clean. Pours a tiny head that recedes quickly. Quite dark for a lager.

Aroma: Some malty sweetness, fairly mild, but much more aroma than I'd expect from a lager of this type.

Taste: Less sweetness than the aroma suggests, but this is certainly quite malty. Hops are very mild, overwhelmed by the malt. It's heavier and much richer in taste than I would've expected.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, light to medium carbonation. Pleasant but nothing amazing.

Overall: This is a good lager, it proves that even a rather basic lager does not mean to be very light and tasteless. The Old Scratch has robust elements in all aspects and it's a serious beer.

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

Light amber with a nice full and fluffy white head that forms and sticks around. Pears, bread, and yeast in the nose. Malty, nice bitterness with a good piney hop flavor going on. Bready and dry on the palate. Adequate carbonation with a medium body. Refreshing and crisp.

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Photo of Slatetank
3.43/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I had this at Wegman's in Mechanicsburg, enjoyed in a tumbler from a chilled bottle.

The color is deep copper bordering on brown with a decent amount of beige cream. There is little lace left, but clarity is good and carbonation is visible with tight bead. The smell is ok, but a little fruity slightly caramel in a general way, not overly fragrant, but the smell of malt is dominant. The feel is very good, lots of carbonation with mild sweetness and gentle spice with a similar level of yeastiness to a vienna lager with slight hint of fruit tanginess lingering.

This is a good example flavor wise, it has some lager-like traits with mild sweetness and subtle caramel tinges with a nice hint of hops with some yeast fruitiness in the background. It ends mostly dry with a little spice and the carbonation pushes some of the steam-like qualities forward. I enjoyed the drinkability of this and would purchase it again.

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Photo of matjack85
3.05/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I picked up this single 12oz brown bottle at the Binny's store in Bloomingdale, IL as part of a build-your-own 6 pack for $9.99. Another silly story about selling your soul to the devil (Old Scratch) is on the front label, but no freshness date.

The beer pours a beautifully clear reddish-copper/amber color, but only produces a ½-finger of white head that dissipates in a minute and leaves practically zero lacing.

Caramel malt and leafy hop aroma.

Mild caramel sweetness with a bit of a spice kick. A mild (18.5 IBU) flowery hop bitterness balances things out.

Light to medium body with a hefty dose of carbonation.

It's alright, but there's no "wow" factor to it.

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

An average pour yielded a finger and a half of parchment colored head. A steady stream of bubbles constantly rises to the top of this orange/amber beer. Head dies down to a frothy ring and leaves very little lacing.

Caramel malt and grassy hops compliment each other. Light odors of sour apples and yeast flesh out the nose.

Lightly spiced bread gives way to crisp, grassy hops. Ends on a peppery, spicy note.

This beer is light bodied, and a little on the sweet side, even with the good spice notes involved and the bitterness at the end. It coats most of your mouth and leaves you dry, ready and waiting for the next sip.

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Photo of bluHatter
2.95/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Nice bright amber color with a finger of head.

S: Caramelized malts with a bit of fruitiness - cinnamon apple.

T: This tastes a lot like a mild nut brown, with just a bit more emphasis on a bitter hoppiness, though that doesn't really linger. Slightly metallic.

M: Creamy bubbles, medium bodied.

O: This beer seems bold at first but quickly mellows out in the mouth and leaves only the slightest of nut brown memories. It's an interesting remix of some classic themes. But not one I'm likely to enjoy again.

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Photo of tdm168
3.5/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a clear ruby amber with a quarter of an inch of loose, fizzy, white head that has little retention.

S - caramel, very faint citrus, lager yeast

T - heavy caramel, faint citrus, mild bitterness in the finish, slightly herbal, a bit sugary

M - medium bodied, slightly syrupy, smooth, well carbonated

The caramel/sugar/syrupy quality dominates the flavor, nose, and mouthfeel. I will probably avoid in the future.

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Photo of B967ierhunter177
3.06/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer pours a bold, clear copper color with a thin head and some fine lacing. It's aroma is of caramel apples, spices, and a hint of maple. The flavor is sweet malt followed through by ginger and pretzels. The mouthfeel is light and smooth. Flying Dog Old Scratch Amber Lager is a good beer, a good example of the style. Recommended.

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

Deep amber body with a very thin, non-lasting white head.

Bright sweetness of malt in the nose, biscuit-like in character.

Light in body with soft, bread-y malt flavors, followed with a decent bitterness at the finish. Clean and crisp.

A decent lager, but nothing out of the ordinary. Seems to me the Flying Dog brews were better when brewed in Colorado. Nevertheless, these East Coast versions are okay, just more run-of-the-mill than anything else.

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

Came from a FD mix pack. 12oz bottle poured into a pint glass and served cool.

Pours a brownish red and clear body and an white and thick head.

American hop scent and flavor in the beginning here. Nice grain sweetness brings the beer into balance. No one flavor or scent overpowers the other.

Medium mouthfeel.

Nice. Sessionable. Very good with food.

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

Dark orange to amber colour with a foamy white head that is about four centimetres tall and stays for about a minute before beginning to fade.

Caramel and toffee on the nose with some muted rich malts and very faint alcohol. It seems a lot darker and richer than I was expecting but is a good smelling beer with touches of sugar as well.

Rich malts and toffee to begin with along with a touch of caramel; again this beer is richer and darker than average. It is quite sweet with a lot of different malt flavours fighting to be noticed and and a background malty bitterness, albeit a mild one.

Medium bodied and very sweet with a mildly bitter finish and good carbonation levels.

A good beer all round here, quite sweet and rich in taste with a much darker flavour than I had anticipated. Very drinkable and a beer that I'll be keeping my eyes peeled for in the future; grab a bottle if you spot it anywhere, you won't regret it.

1001 Beers Blog:

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Photo of JacStance
3.41/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice light brown/dark orange color with a slightly creamy white head that dissipates quickly.

The aroma is pretty tame. I can pick up some subtle hints of caramel and a tinge of alcohol, but not much else.

The taste is pretty inoffensive. It's a fairly well balanced beer, with the maltiness presenting itself first and the hoppy bitterness coming afterwards. The taste is pretty similar to the smell; I can pick up the same caramel and alcohol taste, not much else going on here.

It has a nice carbonation level, and the texture is pretty mild.

Overall; pretty decent. None of the individual parts did anything exceptionally well, but all of the pieces fit together to make something fairly enjoyable.

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Photo of jtierney89
3/5  rDev -12%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a nice amber color with a decent white head that fades rather quickly. Earthy nose with some notes of horse blanket and barnyards. Some bright hops come through as well as the beer airs out a bit.

Surprisingly crisp with good carbonation and a nice malt body. A bit grainy with touches of caramel, a bit of ripe bright fruit, and a floral hop finish which is all blended together into one clean sip. A touch of butter on the finish which is usually considered an off flavor for the style however it kind of plays with the maltiness a bit on this one.

Not overly complicated but kind of elegant in it's own way. Half way decent beer.

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Photo of jojotech
2.78/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Bought in the Stray Dogs Sampler pack. Poured from a 12oz brown bottle and Drank out of a pub glass. served slightly chilled.

A - medium amber in color with a small head of foam.

S - has a light malty smell bit not very strong.

T - has a medium malty taste with a small bitter aftertaste.

M - a very light mouthful but with a strong carbonation to it that leaves the tongue with a tingle.

O- Not to much flavor but with small bitter taste at the end. This was tasted at a slightly chilled temperature. Might be better at a colder temp.

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Photo of JednoPivoProsim
2.55/5  rDev -25.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a 12 fl.-oz. bottle. Purchased at the brewery gift shop. Best before day 117 of 2012 (April 27).

Appearance: Pours a solid toffee colored head with a dark amber body. Decent carbonation.

Smell: Very malty with a slight metallic, grassy hop aroma.

Taste: Slightly malty, otherwise not very flavorful. Almost tastes like a very thin nut brown ale. Slight coffee flavor in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Way too thin and watery for my tastes. On the positive side, this could be a refreshing beer.

Overall: Not terribly impressed by this one. Too thin and lacking in flavor to make this beer one to look forward to.

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Photo of troysoy2
4.02/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle out of the Stray Dogs variety case. With a mildly aggressive pour into a pint glass, I got a finger of white head. Brown amber body. Not much lacing to talk about, and head retention is pretty much just a ring around the edges of the glass, but whatever.

The smell has a decent amount going on. A bready, sweet malt foundation, topped with a bit of hops, and a metallic fruitiness that almost smells like it could have come from a white wine of some sort. Or maybe I'm crazy. Hmm.

The taste is pretty nice, really. A good, balanced malt flavor, a hint of citrus, a decently dry, crisp finish. The mouthfeel is just full enough to compliment the taste, and overall, each sip leaves me both satisfied and wanting more.

It's good to have a nice lager to turn to every now and then, what with all the DIPA's and Russian Imperial Stouts aged in oak barrels with a hint of smoked salmon and chili peppers running around these days. I enjoy this beer.

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Photo of chetripley
3.06/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from the bottle into my Stella chalice, pours an amber with gold sparkly highlights with a small head that disappeared quickly.
Difficult for me to go into a great description without comparing this Steam to Anchor, which I am convinced is the hallmark for Steams. This isn't one of them.
Also, I detected a slight skunkiness right at the end of the tasting, that dwelled long enough that it affected the aftertaste. This was even after warming a little.
Overall I wasn't very impressed with this brew. Will need to try again, maybe on tap.

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Photo of secondtooth
3.47/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Clean, clear amber, with limited carbonation and thin lace.

Nose is malty, grainy, and biscuity. Not bad.

Taste is likewise malty and toasty, even sweet. Comparable to Fat Tire but a mite sweeter (and possibly more oxidized, as I think this bottle may have been past it's prime - no freshness dating). Overall, fair at best.

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Photo of sommersb
3.89/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Tasted On: 01-04-2012
Freshness: Not indicated
Packaging: 12 oz. brown bottle
Glassware: Dogfish Head signature glass
Purchased: Single from World Market

Dark amber color, clear in the glass. Head is cream-colored and a finger high. Lacing is good, with low retention. Aromas are clean, with nice caramel malt sweetness. Also some light fruit smells present.

Taste is crisp, with caramel malt notes taking center stage. Mellow, with a light bitterness, but the balance is towards the sweet side. Carbonation is high on a light body, with a smooth finish.

Overall a really nice, easy drinking session lager. Would make a good go-to beer to have on hand in the fridge.

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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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