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Sneak peek! BeerAdvocate magazine #104 (September 2015) featuring Leah & Oscar from Highland Brewing in Asheville, North Carolina. Learn more ...
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Highland Clawhammer Oktoberfest - Highland Brewing

Not Rated.
Highland Clawhammer OktoberfestHighland Clawhammer Oktoberfest

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
83
good

73 Reviews
THE BROS
82
good

(Read More)
Reviews: 73
Hads: 256
rAvg: 3.65
pDev: 9.32%
Wants: 10
Gots: 34 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Highland Brewing visit their website
North Carolina, United States

Style | ABV
Märzen / Oktoberfest |  5.00% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: SaCkErZ9 on 09-30-2008

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Highland Clawhammer Oktoberfest Alström Bros
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Reviews: 73 | Hads: 256
Photo of hopmashian
4.25/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This is a wonderful time of year for beer lovers. Of course if you like IPA's, Oktoberfest beers are lacking strong hoppy flavor. But they're tasty in their own right with a balance of malt and hops. Clawhammer is a fine example of this style. It also was a good beer to enjoy with my stir-fry . I will try rhis again. (318 characters)

Photo of OldManMetal
3.52/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The thin, brief-lived head, slightly off-white and pebbly, doesn't amount to much (nor does the lacing it leaves), but the beer itself- crystal-clear, pale amber and abundantly sparkling- is quite striking. The aroma is moderate in strength: a toasty, slightly sweet malt with a hint of spicy noble hops and faint alcohol undertones. On the palate, it is balanced: mild noble hoppy bitterness over a light toasty malt foundation. The finish is a distinct flash of malt, followed by a hop bitterness and a very slight sour note that linger a bit. Mouthfeel is quite prickly from the very fizzy carbonation, and is thickish for the light-medium body. This is a creditable, smooth-drinking, well-balanced lager, and does not have the heavy caramel maltiness and seasonal spices that some American Octoberfest beers sport. (818 characters)

Photo of RyanPoff
3.05/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Poured from a bottle.

A: Pours a dark copper color with about a finger of head, moderate lacing, but little retention. Good but not noteworthy.

S: Toasty, bready malts, but other than that, not a lot going on.

T: Again, a heavy maltiness, some pepper spice, and a hint of hops. Decent, but not memorable.

M: A very thin and watery feel, in spite of its freshness.

Just a poor outing from Highland, which usually makes very high quality stuff. (450 characters)

Photo of MichaelProcton
3.98/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours a pretty Texas burnt orange with substantial khaki head and light, but active carbonation. The smell is very malty, with a kiss of hops. The taste is similar, though the hops may be even less detectable, which is just fine with me. The flavor has a lot of backbone, and the feel is rich and creamy. I like this a lot, among the style or otherwise. (356 characters)

Photo of Jeffreysan
3.39/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Appearance: Pours a semi-cloudy, copper/orange color with a half of a finger of white head that quickly dissolved into a thin lacing of foam that covered the entire top of the beer.

Aroma: Very malty, very bready. Strong notes of cereal and caramel. Subtle notes of black pepper and clover, however, I get nothing in the way of hops.

Taste: Very similar to the aroma. Very malty and bready up front, with pepper spice and orange peel. There’s some pleasant caramel-like sweetness, finished by some nicely balanced hoppy bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied to slightly thin. With an ABV of only 5.8%, there is no presence of alcohol on the palate.

Overall: This is a pretty solid beer. Not great, but not at all bad either. It’s definitely worth a try, and I’d have it again, but I’m not going out of my way for it either. (846 characters)

Photo of delta490
3.6/5  rDev -1.4%

Pours a cloudy orangey amber with a creamy white head. The aroma is almost nonexistent. The taste is mild as well, with just hints of fruit. The body has a nice feel to it with a little carbonation. (198 characters)

Photo of humuloner22
4.25/5  rDev +16.4%

I am giving this the rating I am giving it for the style not as the best beer I have ever had. I think I am going to begin doing ratings in that respect. Just judge the beer based upon style and how much I liked it. Not being overly comprehensive. But, maybe I won't. This beer has a low rating overall and I think it is one of the better Oktoberfest beers I have had. It may be less traditional or less experimental, but its damn drinkable. It really is a lager with more malt and flavor. Its really a solid beer.

Color: Light copper. Very little head.

Smell: Not much, some bready malts, almost a little like apple juice. But those are aroma's of fall to me.

Taste: Crisp, this is where the beer really shines, its not too sweet, its not flat, it has good body and a nice bready/lager hybrid flavor. It is a lighter version of the style and maybe that is why I enjoy it so much. Its closer to some of the European light Marzen's than a lot of the ones I have had recently. This beer is very sessionable and perfect for a Saturday in October watching some college football and one that you won't get wasted while drinking. Overall, its another win for Highland. They really do make beers that appeal to lots of people with lots of integrity. Its awesome they are also celebrating 20 years in the business, this year! (1,321 characters)

Photo of wedge
3.73/5  rDev +2.2%

Pours a crystal clear golden color with a small off-white head. Smells toasty and clean...straw, caramel, and some fruit. Flavor is nicely malty and not too sweet. Toasted grain, floral notes, slight bread, and grassiness. Medium-light bodied, clean, and moderately carbonated leaving a lingering dryness. A totally decent Oktoberfestbier. (346 characters)

Photo of Cervezaconcalor
3.27/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Poured this one into the Sam Adams glass

A - Light golden color with a nice two finger head filling the Sam Adams glass perfectly.

S - Malty and fruity

T - You get fruit from the nose with malts up front that finishes pretty quick.

M - Smooth and almost creamy

O - Good beer but not a great Oktoberfest. I would drink another but not if I was buying. (355 characters)

Photo of Mojo
3.71/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

12 ounce bottle -> tulip glass

A - initial hazy medium gold, eventually clearing, two finger head, no retention, and small amount of lacing.

S - grassy, bread, pine (all mild notes)

T - basically a very mild taste, sweet, lemony, grassy notes, and an unfortunate metallic note, dry mild yeasty finish

M - clean with not much aftertaste, medium carbonation

O - not overly impressed. (389 characters)

Photo of mattsdenney
3.32/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Golden amber in color, thin head. Scents of cider, straw, bread, and malt. Great flavor, well balanced malt with mild peppery hops. Tastes of saltine cracker, toasted bread, fresh cut grass. Aftertaste is mild. Mouthfeel is light bodied, low carbonation, pretty nice. Overall a good tasting fall option, very drinkable. (319 characters)

Photo of dbrauneis
3.57/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A: Pours a clear copper in color with light to moderate amounts of active visible carbonation streaming from the bottom of the glass and some burnt orange + amber highlights. The beer has a finger tall foamy beige head that reduces to a thin film covering the majority of the surface of the beer and a thin ring at the edges of the glass. Light to moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Light to moderate aromas of bready malts with some hints of light fruit sweetness (apple) and caramel. Light amounts of floral hops are present as well.

T: Light to moderate flavors of cereal grain malts with some additional bready malt flavors as well. There are light hints of caramel and light fruit sweetness (apple). Light hints of floral and earthy hops that impart a light but lingering bitterness.

M: Just shy of medium bodied with slightly more than moderate amounts of carbonation.

O: Easy to drink and enjoyable but certainly not one of the best American examples of the Oktoberfest style that I have come across. I could have a couple of these but would generally choose another Oktoberfest if I had the opportunity. (1,124 characters)

Photo of Jason
3.62/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz brown bottle with a freshness date.

Deep golden hue, great clarity. Ample froth. Fresh grassy nose, crackers, bready, herbal, earthy, ghost-like sulphur. Thinnish body, beautiful smoothness, fresh grass, grainy throughout, sufficient hopping, mild hop bitterness, faint broth, yeast, dry finish.

Enjoyable even if it is not at the top of its style, quaffable and tasty but was expecting a cleaner brew. Regardless it is an O-fest I'd love to revisit year to year. (470 characters)

Photo of BEERchitect
4/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Though astute at making well crafted Scottish and Irish ales, it seems that Highland Brewing has no problem stepping out of their comfort zone in creating lager beer with spot-on festival-type taste with great finesse and understated complexity.

Opening with a light golden appearance, there's a tinge of orange highlights that peak through the very light haze. A bright white head billows up from the beer's body and tops the beer with a cottony froth. Great withstanding foam and well-defined lacing brings the beer's appearance to a very classy close.

Its distinctive aroma is of toasted barley, bread crust and a sweetness that's just shy of caramel. Lightly nutty and savory- the malt character is simple yet refined. Swirling about the malts are a delicate floral scent from noble German hops to give the rounded nose a sense of honeysuckle.

Certainly more robust than your typical German lager, its lightly toasted character delivers delicate savoriness straight to the taste buds. Delicate malted milk character is pleasantly starchy, while light bread crust, soft cashew and an elegant sweetness that never reaches caramel. Lightly spicy in its finish, there's just enough hop bitterness to balance the malts and to keep its finish crisp. Surprisingly, the floral upstart gives the initial taste a slim fruit note to ride along side of the malt.

Mid-light on the palate, the beer is creamy as soft carbonation emerges from starchy malt structures. The lager remains that way through early and middle palate but finishes crisp, clean and almost minty.

Clawhammer is a surprisingly convincing Oktoberfest. Highlands smartly avoids caramel flavor or over-hopping for balance. The fest beer is effortless in its drinkability but is also full of character and charm. (1,775 characters)

Photo of GossageBrewery
3/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured this Oktoberfest from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. Pours a clear orange color, produced a thin white head, poor retention and below average lacing left on the glass. The aroma of this brew consisted of malted grain, caramel and spice. Medium bodied, a foundation of fresh baked bread, caramel and mild hop bitterness. Overall average Oktoberfest style, better offerings to be found. Prost! (401 characters)

Photo of Jadjunk
3.53/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.5

"Clawhammer Oktoberfest is a lightly colored, but toasty, rich and full bodied Märzen styled lager brewed with traditional German malt and the finest noble hops. A spicy hop finish and aroma balance out the abundance of malt flavor. Clawhammer means pure high-country enjoyment!" Brewed in the style of an Oktoberfest/Märzen. Available as a fall seasonal beer.

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle to my Highland pint glass. Served north of 45º Fahrenheit.

(Appearance) Pours a frothy, crisp golden-white head over a medium hazy copper-amber tone body with mild carbonation. Head quality is about average, thickening as it recedes but it doesn't last long, and no lacing is present. Decent appearance. 3.5

(Smell) Clean caramel husks and a bit of bready spice malt. Follows through with a light bitter grassy hop but doesn't completely balance out. The aroma is clean. Potency is medium. 3.5

(Taste) Clean caramel biscuity malt up front with a spicy, lasting high bitter finish. Very clean, a little stronger on the bitterness and alcohol on the end than most Märzens that I've had, but does not significantly infringe on drinkability. Drinkability, is in fact enhanced for me because it is much better balanced, and thus not overly sweet, a touch dry even. Enjoyable flavor. One of the more memorable Oktoberfests that I have had, dragged down a notch by a more evident alcohol presence. 3.75

(Mouthfeel) Clean, very crisp and quite dry. A bit harsh on carbonation, very sharp on the tongue and roof of the mouth. Body is medium-high for Oktoberfests, medium overall. Alcohol presence is medium. A bit off on the carbonation and texture, drags down the drinkability. 2.75

(Overall) Clawhammer is a slightly more thorough Oktoberfest than average, with a bolder spicy malt profile and a bitter hoppy character, which is helpful in achieving a better balance. It does fall through on being a bit too dry and having a distracting level of carbonation. This is the start of a very good Oktoberfest, but there are some big fixes that would come easy with some slight recipe tweaks, and I hope to try this next year to see that they have been done. 3.5

Highland Brewing's
Clawhammer Oktoberfest Lager
3.54/5.00 (2,208 characters)

Photo of Brubaker
3.58/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

OK, let me state for the record that i DO NOT LIKE OKTOBERFESTS. They are sickly sweet to me.

A- Golden amber. 1 finger head. Clear.

S- Malty & mild.

T- Dark sugars. Strong Bready flavor.

M- Smooth. Medium textured. Light & dry.

O- It's an OK mild different sort of Oktoberfest. Drinkable (for me). I gave it ratings i think it deserved independent of my preferences.

Might Drink
Wouldn't Buy
Wouldn't Make. (415 characters)

Photo of Dodo2step
3.53/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

P- Thanks to my buddy Trask in NC for this brew!

A- burnt ornage in color with a half finger head. NIce lacing and has some staying power on the top of my beer.

S- biscuit malts and i think i get hints of cherry.

F- taste is ame as falvor but i do get more of a sour apple taste than cherry.

M- spiced candy hangs around in the mouth and it is light bodied and crisp

O- Not a bad Marzen, the taste is average but it is a beer you can pound back. (450 characters)

Photo of rangerred
3.69/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle into a pint glass.

Pours a clear rich copper with a one finger off-white head. Average head retention and lacing.

A really nice aroma. Biscuit and toasted malt along with a little bit of candy. Also some earthyness and grassy hops.

Flavor takes off with biscuit malt and some candy sweetness. Toffee and caramel is there along with a little bit of coffee. A little bit of wet hay along with a light bitterness. Finish is a bit on the sticky side but clean overall.

A decent Oktoberfest but not a whole lot that makes it stand out above the rest. I do like the extra bit of toast and biscuit in this one, though, and it is worth picking up. (655 characters)

Photo of outdoor7or24
3.32/5  rDev -9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz poured into pint glass.
A: light caramel orange, thin off white foam head, very little lacing, carbonation

S: hops, biscuit, caramel, toasted malt, some faint floral notes

M: thin, carbonation

T: hops up front followed by biscuit, toasted malt, some caramel sweetness ending with some metallic taste

O: good marzen brew that is worth trying (349 characters)

Photo of Apellonious
3.88/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle from six at CM.

A- clear, full orange with brownish red highlights. Thin head that moves quickly to a thin lace.

S - toast, grains, faint malt

T - clean, slightly bitter, bread, toasted grains.

M - good level of carbonation. Prefect amount of heft for the style.

O - I thoroughly enjoyed this beer. The flavors are more subtle (note it is better when not proceeded with a stronger tasting beer) but a great rep for the style. (445 characters)

Photo of 160Shillings
4.87/5  rDev +33.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Aroma: The aroma is crisp clean lager, rich melanoidin malt with a hint of toasted malt.
Appearance: Pours with a fine off-white head that collapses into thin, but firm cap. The color is on the light side being deep gold to light amber.
Flavor: Starts with a malty sweetness up front, then quickly moves to a crisp dry finish. Hop bitterness is moderate without being lingering. The result is a flash of sweet malt, quickly overtaken by bitterness than gives way to a clean dry finish, then you’re ready for another swallow.
Mouthfeel: Medium body and carbonation, but fully attenuated and doesn’t linger on the tongue.
Overall Impression: A rich display of melanoidin malt that doesn’t overwhelm or linger, finishes clean and dry.
Comments: Don’t drink this beer too cold! The rich and complex flavors really come out as this beer warms. This is my favorite Highland beer and my favorite commercial Oktoberfest. This one is everything but perfect for an Oktoberfest. (975 characters)

Photo of aubuc1
3.4/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a clear light orange, yellow that is lighter than normal with a thin white head.

nice smell of biscuit, bread and some faint fruit.

Taste is a somewhat sharp and surprisingly tart with a lagery metallic finish. Not what I expected.

Mouthfeel is pretty good, but overall this isn't what I expected for the style, but maybe that is what Highlands was trying for. I didn't love it. (387 characters)

Photo of fsvan
3.28/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Bottle poured into pint glass.

A- Bright, clear, radiant gold. A finger of barely off white head. About half of that hangs around for a while.

S- A sweetness. Bready malt. A slight hop bitterness. Not bad, but not a huge nose on this one.

T- A typical marzen sweet malt profile, with an American-inspired little hop bite not noticed in the German version (by me, at least.) The finish is slightly metallic.

M- Medium bodied. Nice for the style.

O- A decent marzen. That metallic finish hurts it a fair amount. (514 characters)

Photo of chinchill
3.68/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle served in a Highland Brewing pint glass.

A wee bit different, with a slight darker orange-gold body and more flavor from noble hops. Crystal clear with a proper looking level of carbonation. The medium-ligh carbonation is well-chosen, and gives this beer a light crispness. The smallish off-white head has limited duration and leaves little lacing. The aroma features bready German malts with some spicy and herbal notes from the hops. The hops come more to the fore in the near semi-dry and lasting finish.

O - refreshing and very good for style. Now, if only someone would hand me a large Bavarian pretzel. (625 characters)

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Highland Clawhammer Oktoberfest from Highland Brewing
83 out of 100 based on 73 ratings.