Old Scratch Amber Lager

Old Scratch Amber LagerAh, some more Flying Dog goodness. Old Scratch is one of their mainstay beers, a 5.5% ABV lager that has some strong German roots but has the uniquely American twist: it’s a steam beer—that is, a California Common of the "Anchor Steam" variety. That means, even though it’s a lager, it’s fermented at ale temperatures (they call it "medium temperature") to develop ale characteristics.

There are few enough of these styles out there that it’s always interesting to see what a brewer can do with it.

Appearance: Very attractive mahogany colored, clear beer. Had a respectable, stable head of off-white.

Smell: Chocolate and caramel notes; nutty. A malty note of molasses. Rich and enticing—mouth-watering.

Taste: Nutty and malty with a dry character from some roasted malts. Nice neutral hop profile—bitter and present, but takes a backseat to the malt.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied with an almost smoky feel, and a dry finish.

Overall: Lots of roast nuttiness here that I’m digging; very tasty.

On BeerAdvocate, it scores a grade of B- (they have it categorized as an American Amber/Red Lager). On RateBeer, it scores 3.01 out of 5 and is in their 44th percentile.