Dismiss Notice
Save $5 when you subscribe to 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine by selecting auto-renew.

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join Our Email List →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.
Dismiss Notice

Pre-order your Respect Beer "Hipster" Hoodie today!

Plus: Free shipping (US only) on orders of $25 or more until 12/18/15. Just select "Free Shipping" at checkout.

Shop now →

Highland Clawhammer Oktoberfest - Highland Brewing

Not Rated.
Highland Clawhammer OktoberfestHighland Clawhammer Oktoberfest

Educational use only; do not reuse.

81 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 81
Hads: 288
Avg: 3.63
pDev: 22.87%
Wants: 13
Gots: 47 | 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
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 81 | Hads: 288
Photo of BEERchitect
4/5  rDev +10.2%
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 oberon
3.91/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Officialy called the Clawhammer Oktoberfest, this beer poured into a .5 liter stein a near perfect clear rich copper with a large fluffy white head that a nice creaminess to it.Very toasted in the nose maybe even to much if posible,some caramel sweetness with a touch of peppery spice as well.Full rich malty flavors,caramel is predominant along with some doughy aspects,the finish ais a mix of peppery spice and rum-like alcohol.A full flavored and bodied O-fest,this along with Great Lakes are my two favorites of the style,very nice.

 536 characters

Photo of mikesgroove
3.63/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Another one I had yet to try from Highland on tap. As I made my way through the fest I stopped to grab a couple of these as the copper colored liquid was about what I needed at that point in time. Nice head of white and ample carbonation rounded it out quite nicely.

Aroma is light, lots of caramel and muted grains, a touch of an herbal essence to it and a nice and laid back bready aroma. As I take a sip it is very clean, with a light to medium body that is more then amply carbonated. Small touch of bitter in the finish but mostly just a really nice bready and caramel heavy fest.

Overall a very solid example and something you could put down a few of with ease.

 669 characters

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.38/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a clear, orange-amber body with a thin, white head and a few steady streams of carbonation.

Smell: Soft, light nose with only mild notes of bread malts, caramel, apple, florals, and spice.

Taste: Mild-tasting mixture of crisp grains and bread with a lightly sweet-tasting touch of caramel. Spicy, floral-toned Noble hops with a moderate amount of bitterness. Small hint of fresh orchard fruit arrives late. Dry, lightly bitter finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light body. Medium-plus carbonation providing for a carbonic bite.

Drinkability: It's an adequate, American-born Oktoberfest. Clawhammer will do in an O-fest pinch, but there're definitely better to have out there.

 689 characters

Photo of Kegatron
3.68/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle into a mug.

Pours a clear coppery amber, with 3 big fingers of off-white foamy head. Retains with a rigid finger, leaving back some thick swathes of lacing. The aroma is floral spicy hops, some citrus, and toffee and bread giving this a deep backing tang in the nose.

The taste is toasty and sweet, with a firm spicy bitterness to it. Finishes with some leftover tang, before a dry and spicy lingering feel takes over. The mouthfeel is medium bodied, with a crisp feel on top, but seems a bit too flat underneath to keep things moving readily. I'm also picking up the tiniest bit of an alcohol zing on the back of the palate after each sip. While not overly distracting, it is noticable.

This was a decent American O-Fest. Aroma and taste were fine but the body on this held the drinkbility back some. I'm willing to investigate another bottle...

 865 characters

Photo of Jason
3.62/5  rDev -0.3%
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 chinchill
3.62/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12 oz bottle served in a Highland Brewing pint glass. Lightly revised in September 2015.

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.

 659 characters

Photo of jwc215
2.97/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to jcwattsrugger for bringing this back from N.C. for me!

Pours light orange amber with a thin, disappearing head. More hazy than a lager should be, I'm thinking.

The smell is bready/yeasty - almost medicinal/ herbal.

The taste is of light/thin caramel with floral/herbal notes, slightly metallic. It has a bitterish, dry finish.

It is on the light side of medium bodied.

This is an herbal/spicy O-fest. Different. Even out of style a bit, it is somewhat clumsy. Hoppy, but not quite in the right direction for what I'm thinking it should be. Maltiness is a bit light. Interestingly, I thought the Shining Rock Lager, though it fits bock well enough, could pass itself off as a better "O-fest" than this one.

 720 characters

Photo of dbrauneis
3.57/5  rDev -1.7%
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 billab914
3.77/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Sam Adams pint glass. It poured a crystal clear copper color with a thin white head to it. The head had faded to a thin dusting after a minute or so and it didn't leave much for lacing on the glass either. Nice color though.

The aroma has a toasted malt and caramel flavor to it with just a touch of hop bitterness. Pretty good aroma for the style, it's pretty balanced and also flavorful.

The taste is similar to the aroma in that toasted malts and caramel make up the bulk of the flavors. A little of the caramel sweetness starts to come through towards the finish. Some hop bitterness helps balance it out overall. Pretty good tasting beer for the style.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Drinkability is good, it was a good beer of the style and quite drinkable. It had some nice flavors to it and was pretty well balanced. A pretty good drinking beer overall.

 925 characters

Photo of smakawhat
3.68/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from the bottle into a Libbey style pilsner glass. Filled July 7th 2015.

A real nice copper brass yellow tinged beer, and quite clear as well. Light rising carbonation coming through the middle, in nice even and slow streams. Head is off white, slightly tan yellow a bit, with a creamy appearance and easily making two fingers. Pretty much a textbook looking marzen, real nice looking.

Pretty closed nose though. Small caramel notes and light clove like spice. Not much sweetness or things to detect here. Relatively clean as well.

Palate comes fairly simple, but also nicely. Light toffee and almost crisp and wafery. The wafer quality ends up though coming off a little weak and wet in the mouthfeel department. Airy clove and a bit of sweet toffee manage to kick in the aftertaste. Bit of crispness going on which is nice. Flavors tend to fall off a bit, and a neutral kind of malt wetness takes over with some slight sticky yeast.

Overall not bad. Half decent otherwise.

 997 characters

Photo of avalon07
3.92/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Poured from a bottle to a mug. Had a brown color and a mostly clear texture. There was a small amount of foamy head that quickly dissipated. Average lacing.

S: A nicely spicy, malty aroma.

T: Tasted of malt, nutmeg, cinnamon, and some other spices. Generally pretty tasty. Not exactly what you think of when think of an oktoberfest beer, but that's not a bad thing.

M: A decent amount of carbonation with a slick finish. Medium-bodied.

D: This beer needs smoothing out in spots, but it is still drinkable.

 512 characters

Photo of Cyberkedi
3.93/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear coppery-reddish with a decent slightly off-white head. Aroma is malty and just a little spicy, mainly cinnamon and cloves. Flavor is rather strong and malty with an undertone of cloves and cinnamon and just a hint of caramel. Smooth, tingly, fizzy texture leaves a spicy and fizzy finish.

 302 characters

Photo of cpetrone84
3.38/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A-pours a light golden amber color, completely transparent with a thin off white head.

S-sweet caramel malts up front as an earthy bready malt takes over, notes of metallic phenol lie in front of a spicy herbal hop character.

T-caramel and bready malts, thick malt body up front, phenols stronger in the taste, a little metallic, crisp spicy herbal hops with light bitterness in the finish.

M-medium to full body, thick and slightly stick malt body are rather present with a crisp semi dry finish.

D-relatively drinkable with bold malt flavors and well balanced hop presence. good feel to it with a hint of phenol that does seem to detract from the overall taste and aroma.

 677 characters

Photo of thagr81us
3.57/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served from bottle into a Stone nonic. Poured yellow-orange with a half finger white head that subsided to a minimal amount quickly. There was no lacing evident throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of malt, coriander, slight clove, and a very light hop note. The flavor was of malt, very subtle hop, with an increasing maltiness upon swallowing. It had a light feel on the palate with no carbonation. Overall this was an okay Oktoberfest. None of the flavors were very pronounced unfortunately. It did however go down really smooth. Decent beer, just not for its style.

 578 characters

Photo of blackie
4.12/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a: into a lager glass, Clawhammer is a copper-amber in color, capped with a one-finger white head that settles down to a nice little coat

s: lager base of pilsner malts appropriately accented with toasty munich malt, grainy caramel sweetness, leafy, grassy, herbal hops, plenty here to wrap your nose around - rich but well rounded

m: medium carbonation and body, could be a bit livelier but no real complaints

t: base of clean lager and caramelized german malts, really quite nice and flavorful, turns a touch spicy after the swallow with persistent caramel grain, only complaint is the touch of sugar lingering on the palate

d: slightly hindered by the lingering aftertaste, but still an excellent example, my glass was drained with a quickness, wish I'd bought a six of this 'stead of the Big Boss pumpkin - whoops

single from 6-12 Market, Raleigh

 855 characters

Photo of wedge
3.73/5  rDev +2.8%

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 KYGunner
3.75/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

This is a well done Marzen as it holds well to the style. Sort of smoky at times, this delivers kilned grain, roasted nut and burnt toast. Also get caramel malt and light hop bitterness.

 186 characters

Photo of atsprings
3.26/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at the pit served in a 10oz glass a crisp orange with a thin head that diminishes to a thin layer that diminishes but leaves decent spotty lacing on the glass. The aroma is slight sweet malts, but not much there. The taste is a decent blend of sweet malts and earthy hops. The beer is light, crisp and refreshing. This is nothing more than a mediocre attempt at an Oktoberfest, I expect better from Highland.

 415 characters

Photo of Onenote81
3.32/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Found a bottle of this when we were in the OBX visiting. Consumed on 9/22/09. Reviewed from notes.

Poured into my pint glass a crystal clear pale orange. Minimal bubbles rising through. 1 inch white head on top. Some retention, little lacing. Smell of earthy dull bitterness mixed some hints of caramel sweetness.

The mouth is thin and lacking carbonation on the tongue. Mild flavor on this one. Some sweet caramel, slight bittering hops in the middle. Nothing noteworthy about this one at all. Pretty average, tame, and unoffensive.

 537 characters

Photo of hooliganlife
3.72/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

thanks oldstlyecubsfan!

pours bright copper with a quick white head that quickly disappears. no retention or lacing

sweet bitter malts and light floral hop notes

light up front and then a light bitterness comes out and finishes with a sweet malt flavor. light citrus hop aftertaste missed with the sweet malt flavors. a nice sweetness that is not overpowering like many marzans.

light to medium carbonation but nice and light

this was good, very easy to drink and not over done.

 483 characters

Photo of Ryan011235
3.72/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured into a Samuel Smith pint glass on 10/12/10

Burnt amber/orange color, similar to the color of leaves this time of year. Very clear. Bubbles are slow to be released from the walls. They can't maintain the head though as one finger becomes a patchy skim quickly. Very little lace.

The aroma strikes me a very earthy. Lots of toasted grain & a bready note that offers a robust, doughy aroma. Just a touch of malt sweetness. Nice flourishes of the Noble hops round it out.

There's a quick, floral hop flavor & very mild, bitter twinge up front. These peel back, leaving room for the malts to take center stage. Notes of toasted bread, grains & a touch of biscuit. Not particularly sweet. The hops return toward the finish.

Medium body with a dusty, almost gritty feel. Rather low carbonation seems right on point. The finish is pushing "coating" territory, caking residuals of grains & crusty hops.

Clawhammer is an easy enough drinking beer. Not overly impressive but solid. I've certainly enjoyed a few.

 1,012 characters

Photo of goblue3509
2.93/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pours a slightly hazt orangish gold color with an orangish one finger fluffy head. The aroma is of caramel malt, toffe, and butterscotch. The taste has a watery toffee taste up front with a caramel malt backbone a hint of anise and very small hop bite. The taste is a lil watery and not as strong as other marzen. The mouthfeel was a little watery with moderate carbonation. Overall it was okay it was a little watery and weak. I liked the taste just wish there was more there.

 477 characters

Photo of rangerred
3.69/5  rDev +1.7%
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 SaCkErZ9
3.65/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on draft at the Flying Saucer in Charlotte, NC. Pours a deep, orange amber color with a slightly white head. Aroma is very seasonal. Lots of amber grains with some caramel and a slight hop aroma. Mostly grains.

Nice flavor. A little more bitter than most Oktoberfests, but I really like the bitterness here. Some Okt are a little sweet but I really liked this one. Smooth and creamy. Crispy, clean, caramel like. Very nice.

I really enjoyed this. Not sure this is my favorite Highland (although Okts arent my favorite style) but very enjoyable.

 558 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Highland Clawhammer Oktoberfest from Highland Brewing
82 out of 100 based on 81 ratings.