Highland Clawhammer Oktoberfest | Highland Brewing

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Highland Clawhammer OktoberfestHighland Clawhammer Oktoberfest

Brewed by:
Highland Brewing
North Carolina, United States

Style: Märzen / Oktoberfest

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.00%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by SaCkErZ9 on 09-30-2008

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Reviews: 82 | Ratings: 305
Photo of 160Shillings
4.87/5  rDev +34.5%
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.

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Photo of khiasmus
4.35/5  rDev +20.2%
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.

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Photo of hopmashian
4.25/5  rDev +17.4%
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.

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Photo of humuloner22
4.25/5  rDev +17.4%

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!

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Photo of PatrickJR
4.17/5  rDev +15.2%
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.

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Photo of silver0rlead
4.15/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This one is a little out of season, but I'm sure it's drinking fine. Pours a hazy amber color with a thin off-white head that doesn't retain particularly well. The aroma has some nice caramel notes upfront, along with some biscuity malt, a bit of spicy phenols, and a hint of alcohol. The taste is similar to the aroma with a nice caramel sweetness upfront, followed by some toasted bread, peppery phenols, some metallic hops and a bit of an alcohol bite. The mouthfeel is medium, with moderate carbonation. Drinkability is excellent. Overall a tasty marzen, maybe a little past it's prime but still drinking fine.

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Photo of cvstrickland
4.15/5  rDev +14.6%
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.

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Photo of blackie
4.12/5  rDev +13.8%
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

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Photo of wcudwight
4.05/5  rDev +11.9%
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.

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Photo of TheKingofWichita
4.02/5  rDev +11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a deep orange color with a thin off white head and tons of residual lacing. Smells very nice of clove and cinnamon with hints of malty goodness. Strong spice throughout with tons of clove, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg and maybe some pepper with subtle hints of pumpkin and a slight bitterness from the hops. Mouthfeel is thick and carbonation is heavy but well done. Drinkability is high and it is very nice. Go get some!

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Photo of BEERchitect
4/5  rDev +10.5%
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.

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Photo of MichaelProcton
3.98/5  rDev +9.9%
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.

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Photo of welldigger888
3.95/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured like a helles with clear golden hues a nice just off white head and some lacing.

Malty goodness enveloped in a hop forward fashion. Caramel and quality grain for sure.

Smooth caramel like goodness with a firm malt backbone that leads into a nice american style hop goodness. tropical type fruit and a distinct noble hop flavor for sure.

Seems to me to be medium .

This is a quality redition of a classic.

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Photo of dfillius
3.94/5  rDev +8.8%
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

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Photo of Cyberkedi
3.93/5  rDev +8.6%
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.

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Photo of superdedooperboy
3.92/5  rDev +8.3%
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.

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Photo of avalon07
3.92/5  rDev +8.3%
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.

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Photo of oberon
3.91/5  rDev +8%
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.

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Photo of shivtim
3.89/5  rDev +7.5%
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.

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Photo of Apellonious
3.88/5  rDev +7.2%
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.

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Photo of twage04
3.85/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a bright orange, medium carbonation. Taste is typical of a malty lager, similar to other oktoberfests. An easy drinking beer but nothing really notable sets it above the pack.

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Photo of robwestcott
3.8/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

poured cold from the bottle to a sun king shaped pint glass a translucent copper with a wisp of a short lasting white head.

aroma of floral hops and cotton candy (?).

hoppy, toffee and burnt caramel.

light carbonation, medium bodied, sweet malts, no bitter.

drinkable - yep.

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Photo of billab914
3.77/5  rDev +4.1%
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.

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Photo of KYGunner
3.75/5  rDev +3.6%
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.

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Photo of hellomcfly
3.75/5  rDev +3.6%
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.

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Highland Clawhammer Oktoberfest from Highland Brewing
3.62 out of 5 based on 305 ratings.
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