Highland Clawhammer Oktoberfest | Highland Brewing

82 Reviews
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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 KonigObHops
2.96/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

This beer poured a deep copper color with a thin white head that dissapated quickly.

There was very little aroma, but had some faint hop notes.

The initial taste was lightly sweet. Ther was a light malty taste with a hint of caramel underneath some faint hops in the middle. The beer finished with a sweet hoppy taste.

Mouthfeel was crisp with above average carbonation.

Overall this was a decent Oktoberfest. Seemed like a light version of the style. Very drinkable, but not at all complex. Even lighter floaters than a Spaten Oktoberfest.

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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 88caprice
3.14/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Poured from a bottle into a glass.

Look: Clear, with a nice copper color. One finger head that dissipated quickly. Minimal thin lacing. Active bubbles.
Smell: Very faint malty smell with a slight tart edge. Very little aroma at all. No alcohol in the nose.
Taste: Some mild malty notes with some slightly tart "high notes." A hint at some breadiness that never fully comes through. Taste matches style, but lacks richness.
Mouthfeel: Goes down easy, very drinkable. Medium light body that's a bit thin. Active carbonation early on, but feeling flat by the end of the glass.
Overall: This is a decent brew that could pair well with a nondescript mood. All the style attributes are there, but nothing stands out or grabs attention. If you're in an Oktoberfest mood, this one falls short of a Paulaner, Seirra Nevada, or Duck Rabbit (IMO).

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Photo of Owlish1
3.1/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Look - beautiful, clear, copper color
Smell - almost none
Taste - pleasant, bright, slight hoppy finish
Feel - light to medium body, nice carbonation
Overall - nice, very drinkable.
This is my second review ever. My first taste of an Oktoberfest. Since I am not familiar with the style, I'm not sure how this compares. As I learn more about the style, I might want to revisit this review.

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Photo of tillmac62
3.23/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

BOD 7/7/15. Pours a clear medium amber. Very good (for a lager) head volume, lacing and retention.

Very light nose of biscuit with caramel notes.

Heavy light body that is somewhat smooth. Superb carbonation with a nice effervescent middle and a finely bubbled burst in the finish.

The flavor profile is good. Reasonable intensity, lacks complexity but is very well balanced. It begins with a toasty biscuit that is more cracker than sweet. The middle brings an extremely light hop flavor (herbal) and bitterness. A brief hint of caramel emerges at the start of the finish. The finish is semi-dry and a herbal hop note lingers.

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Photo of smakawhat
3.68/5  rDev +1.7%
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.

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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 marcfromphilly
3.36/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Long time ago 'twas my favorite October beer. But times have changed and this palate has grown. This shit is weak as fuck, copper taste and watered down, no smell or character.

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Photo of Jericho7x
2.87/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Starting to try the style with many different brewers.

This is my second Oktoberfest beer to date. First was Sierra Nevada Oktoberfest (which I really liked)

Color is a beautiful deep caramel color. Head was thin, and lingered a little. My nose cannot pick out all the things others can, but this beer smelled along the lines of the rest of the type. Taste: This one seems a little light and watery to me. A lot of carbonation. Not really much with malts or hops. Finish is pretty clean.

Overall, not something I would buy again, and not something I would recommend.

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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 OldManMetal
3.52/5  rDev -2.8%
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. (12 oz bottle, 41 days after pkg.)

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Photo of RyanPoff
3.05/5  rDev -15.7%
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.

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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 Jeffreysan
3.39/5  rDev -6.4%
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.

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Photo of delta490
3.6/5  rDev -0.6%

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.

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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 wedge
3.73/5  rDev +3%

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.

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Photo of Cervezaconcalor
3.27/5  rDev -9.7%
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.

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Photo of Mojo
3.71/5  rDev +2.5%
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.

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Photo of mattsdenney
3.32/5  rDev -8.3%
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.

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Photo of dbrauneis
3.57/5  rDev -1.4%
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.

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Photo of Jason
3.62/5  rDev 0%
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.

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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 GossageBrewery
3/5  rDev -17.1%
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!

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Photo of Jadjunk
3.53/5  rDev -2.5%
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

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