Dismiss Notice
Subscribe to BeerAdvocate magazine and get 12 issues / year of fresh beer content delivered to your door each month.

Already subscribe? to manage your subscription.

Highland Clawhammer Oktoberfest - Highland Brewing

Not Rated.
Highland Clawhammer OktoberfestHighland Clawhammer Oktoberfest

Educational use only; do not reuse.

72 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 72
Hads: 254
rAvg: 3.65
pDev: 9.32%
Wants: 10
Gots: 32 | 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
firstprev| 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next → last
Reviews: 72 | Hads: 254
Photo of Kegatron
3.68/5  rDev +0.8%
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 Onenote81
3.32/5  rDev -9%
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 blackie
4.12/5  rDev +12.9%
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 ImusBeer
3.56/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this at Taco Mac on football Saturday.
Came on draft a light amber color with very little head.
The smell was a bit metalic or iron, smelled clean and light.
Taste was also light and faint with a light malt very, dry mouthfeel. I liked this beer but it wasn't anything to brag about IMHO. (293 characters)

Photo of wcudwight
4.05/5  rDev +11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Golden amber in color with some orange hues. What the head lacks in body it makes up for in retention. It's in for the long haul.
Nice caramel toast smell. I've never head of caramel toast but this beer leads me to wanting some. Faint earthy spiciness. Smells kind of like one of those organic grocery stores.
Very tasty beer. Well balanced between a toasty malt flavor with some hints of sweet and caramel. The earthy, spicy hops cut through the malt flavors perfectly and really drive the flavor of the beer. Well balanced, a "wee bit different" yet still true to style.
Mouthfeel is on the light side of full bodied. Supports the flavors of the beer nicely yet a pint leaves me somewhat full.
Very drinkable beer as Highland is usually spot on. Good work guys. (763 characters)

Photo of rtratzlaff
3.4/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The thought of Highland brewing an Octoberfest excited me, so I purchased a couple 12 oz. bottles to taste. The label informs me it is a lightly colored, but toasty, rich full bodied marzen with German malt and German noble hops.

Poured into a Highland pint glass, the beer is a lighter amber peach hued bodied beer with a white head that sticks around for quite a bit and leaves some lacing down the glass.

The aroma is less bready and more earthy spicy hop aromas than most in the style.

The flavor is caramel malt up front, but a noticeable hop character soon follows with a spice kick.

The mouthfeel is on the lightside of medium with a good bit of carbonation.

What this beer lacks in maltiness, it makes up for in the spice hop character. To me, it is a bit more "balanced" than many completely malty Ofests. Some of the traditional German brewed versions aren't quite as malt forward as many craft brewers in the US are making theirs. To me this is a good beer that resembles something of both the traditional German marzens as well as the American brewed versions. (1,077 characters)

Photo of botham
3.1/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12 oz bottle poured into a tasting glass. pours a rich crystal clear amber color with a minimal head after a hard pour.

aroma is mildly grainy with caramel malts and another note of sweet crystal malts. the grainy note gets more pronounced as it warms a bit.

taste follows the nose with the same grainy note with a semi-sweet character and rich notes of caramel malts.

mouthfeel is medium bodied with a malty, mildly crisp character, along with a hollow finish that leaves little for the palate after the fact.

drinkability is decent. for a marzen, but it ends up a bit hollow in character. it drinks relatively well, but falls short of anything special. (658 characters)

Photo of dfillius
3.94/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Enjoyed in a pint glass
A: Chill hazy dark amber. Fizzy off white ring of head. More haed please.
S: Rich clear malt smell. Lemony butter herbal hops dancing around. Pleasant and I want to drink it already! Pumpkin seed.
T: Mild with buttered bread flavor and some hop character. No distracting flavors - crisp lager here. Creamy, with a slightly roasted malt note. Interesting and different character, almost like seltzer water. Starts pleasant, then leaves not so pleasant.
M: Off seltzer water carbonation taste/feel. Creamy too. Good except for the finish (seltzer)
D: Good. Off flavor and feeling is a bit troubling, but I'd have another. I wouldn't buy a sixer of this though (681 characters)

Photo of shivtim
3.89/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Surprisingly dark, even for a marzen. Mildly hazy resinous amber. Small lasting soapy off-white head. Heavily carbonated.

Nose is wonderfully lager-yeasty, with puffed rice and fresh wet straw. Hints of sweet grass. Excellent for the style.

Taste is old hay, gentle hops and cereal, maybe corn too. Some vague peppery spice. Wild yeast and un-tamed character.

Mouthfeel is full and bubbly. Nice brew. (403 characters)

Photo of jwc215
2.97/5  rDev -18.6%
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 beer2day
3.7/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours classic copper with a wheaty, straw-grass aroma. Thin head with lots of evervesence present leading to thin lacing. Initial hit is very malty but finishes dry with little evidence of hops - almost a rye quality to it. The grassiness in the aroma leads to a grassiness in flavor as well. A decent attempt at the style. (323 characters)

Photo of hellomcfly
3.75/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours clear orangey-amber color. Good off white head that disipates fairly quickly.

S - Toasy, bready malt smell with a slight spicy hop smell.

T - Very much bready malt flavor with slight hop spicyness to round it out just like the nose. Like another poster said it almost turns sour in aftertaste but not in a bad way for me.

M - Mouthfeel is light bodied and smooth. Seems just right for the style.

D - high drinkability. Very sessionable beer and is a pretty good representation of an american octoberfest in my opinion. Well balanced and highly sessionable. (569 characters)

Photo of superdedooperboy
3.92/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a bright, clear orange-amber color. Raises a one-finger off-white head that fades to a patchy cap and leaves a slight amount of lacing behind.

Aroma is of slightly sweet malts and a tad of grassy hops.

Medium-bodied and well-carbonated. Flavor is slightly malty-sweet, with a bit of bready flavor following the middling herbaceous hop flavors which do a great job of balancing the brew. Finishes mostly sweet with a faint hint of bitterness.

Very drinkable; this one goes down easily and is fairly thirst-quenching. Could use a bit more maltiness to fit in better with the style, but overall a great beer and a good Oktoberfestbier. (641 characters)

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

A: Bright amber color with a 1/4" layer of thin white head with minimal retention.

S: Rich aroma of toast with just a faint whiff of sulfur. There's also a more prominent hop nose than normal for the style.

T: Crisp cracker/bread notes up front with a hint of sweetness. Again, slightly more hop bitterness shows up late.

M: Smooth and creamy with moderate body and low to medium carbonation levels.

D: Not my favorite Oktoberfest, but still a pleasant brew. The hops detract from the full maltiness that is a hallmark of the style. (536 characters)

Photo of NClifestyle
3.68/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On the side of the bottle, the label states, "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!" We shall see.

Clawhammer Oktoberfest Lager pours up a bright, light bronze color in the glass, crystal clear, with tons of bubbles streaming up from the bottom of the pint glass. The beer only offers a small head of off white foam, and this disappates quickly, leaving only a dusting on top of the beer. Minimal lace is to be found on the sides of the glass.
One whiff of this beer, and it's obvious that you hold a lager in your hand. The smell is of slightly sweet toasted malt, in the bready vein, maybe semi-sweet caramel, very crisp and clean. A hint of grain is present. The beer is not overly sweet, grainy malt is at the fore with a touch of caramel. Then, you get some bittering, spicy finishing hops at the swallow. German malts and hops indeed, this is a true Märzen, a great lager.
Carbonation is lively in this lager, with an almost sharp sensation. The mouthfeel is thin to medium, very easy drinking, goes down smoothly. A great example of the style, and closer to the originals than most brewed in this country.
As this beer warms, it releases more flavors and aromas, so it is suggested to leave it out for 5-10 minutes before cracking it open.

Cheers... (1,501 characters)

Photo of khiasmus
4.35/5  rDev +19.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This is the best American example of a true Oktoberfest I've had this year.

Pours a beautiful clear amber with ample moussy white head that lasts forever.

Aroma is of obviously Munich malt and earthy noble hops. Achieves an excellent balance, much like the traditional examples.

The flavor is much the same... Munich malt with hint of biscuit, and earthy hop undertones. Finish is rather bitter with a good amount of noble hopping, that leaves you wanting another sip. The balance is just the right amount of sweetness while maintaining an excellent drinkability score. The only issue I have with the flavor is that the noble hop finish seems to turn barely sour at the very end, so the aftertaste is less than enjoyable.

Mouthfeel is perfect. Light, creamy, with reasonably high carbonation that lends a spicy character. Finish is lightly dry, which adds to the drinkability.

Drinkability is excellent for all the reasons stated above... the absolute only problem with this beer is the light bit of strangeness in the aftertaste. Other than that, it's a perfect example of the style. (1,089 characters)

Photo of daliandragon
3.7/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Always nice to try new stuff from the folks out in Ashville. This also gives me the opportunity to try another Oktoberfest before they disappear for another long eleven months. Clawhammer pours a tight golden color with reddish highlights and near perfect clarity. The head is thin and brief. I notice some noble hops backed by caramel malt. There is a slight metal tinge to the nose.

The flavor boasts surprising citrus hopping throughout along with the more traditional malt flavors. The finish is strong but the mouthfeel is a bit thin and doesn't carry the taste as well as I''d hoped. Carbonation could use an upgrade. This is a decent, drinkable Marzen but I can't help feeling slightly disappointed. (707 characters)

Photo of PatrickJR
4.17/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into nonic pint glass.

A - Clear bronze/copper with a finger of white head. Moderate retention, no lacing.

S - Great toasted malt aroma balanced nicely with an earthy/spicy hop element.

T - Very nice. A gentle sweetness comes on early palate with a generous dose of the toasted quality from the nose. Very bready tasting with suggestions of almonds and oatmeal. The hops take center stage late palate providing a pepper like spiciness atop the bready, toasted malt flavor. Ample bitterness in the finish, drying things out perfectly.

M - Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Good vehicle for the flavors going on.

D - A great drinking marzen, though it seems like the ABV may just be a little higher than I'm used to. One of the best oktoberfests I've had this year. Highly recommended if you can get your hands on it. (854 characters)

Photo of bboven
3.4/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Does Highland brew all their seasonals without rye?

Appearance is right on in color, bright orange. However, there is little head and it's cloudy.

Oktoberfest aromas are there, but there is also a high peppery note from either rye or hops.

Taste is the same. Peppery and a little too bitter for the style, but good.

Mouthfeel is crisp, clean, highly carbonated. Spot on.

Very, very good beer and great offshoot of the style. Not a true oktoberfest, but tasty in its own right. Would certainly buy again. (509 characters)

Photo of cvstrickland
4.15/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12-ounce bottle poured into a pint willi glass yields a a clear golden body with a tint of orange, capped with a thick two fingers of rocky, off-white foam. The head recedes slowly to a chunky sheet that leaves solid swaths and interlocked rings of lacing on the glass.

The smell is sweetly toasty with zesty, herbal hops. Orange-infused pale malt ducks in to say hello, and a fine, perfumey floral sweetness really stands out.

The taste is sweetly malty with plenty of caramel-flavored syrupiness, but a plethora of spicy hops bring bitterness and a recurrent whiff of citrus to the drink, and an earthy note dries the finish. A slick muskmelon sweetness emerges as the drink nears the end, along with a little husky dryness that works in favor of the brew's drinkability, knocking down the sweetness a peg or two.

I have yet to be disappointed by the folks at Highland Brewing. This particular offering, "Clawhammer Oktoberfest Lager", is exceptionally tasty, somewhat full-bodied, well-carbonated, and highly drinkable. (1,025 characters)

Photo of oberon
3.91/5  rDev +7.1%
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 SaCkErZ9
3.65/5  rDev 0%
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)

firstprev| 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next → last
Highland Clawhammer Oktoberfest from Highland Brewing
83 out of 100 based on 72 ratings.