Headwaters Pale Ale - Victory Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Headwaters Pale AleHeadwaters Pale Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
88
very good

2,340 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,340
Reviews: 564
rAvg: 3.92
pDev: 11.48%
Wants: 73
Gots: 350 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Victory Brewing Company visit their website
Pennsylvania, United States

Style | ABV
American Pale Ale (APA) |  5.10% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: thagr81us on 02-14-2011

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,340 | Reviews: 564
Reviews by BrewerB:
Photo of BrewerB
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a six pack today from the nearby corner market. Dated best by 9/13/2012 so it's a few days out of range. Pouring into a 3 Floyds pint glass.

A slight haze envelops the light orange beverage topped off with a tight off-white foam. Lacing clinging to the glass as the head retraces back down. Lemon rind hops propped up by a salty cracker, toasted malt foundation. Sweet wort also makes a brief appearance in the aroma along with a danker hop note. Firm light toasted bread malt along with a steady, persistent level of bitterness lending a nice balance to the beverage. Short pine needles on the back-end preceded by a touch of navel orange fruity. Medium bodied and modest carbonation. Overall a well-balanced beer with enough flavor on both sides of the hop-malt spectrum to keep me coming back for another taste.

More User Reviews:
Photo of kpoole25
4.1/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Really good APA, dry, not heavy on the tongue. It has more hop flavor than bitter which I like, and a little more in the lemon / citrus hop zone than piney / resiny. According to their web site they only use 2 row malt but I would have thought there was a little pilsner or something to give more complexity (although the site says malt is imported, maybe that's the difference). Would buy again.

Photo of Jeffrey_Ryan
4.5/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

The fresh water that they brag is retrieved just a dozen miles away really does seem to make all the difference. Not very aromatic but very crisp and fresh tasting with hops that are very not overwhelming. Very drinkable

Photo of BEERchitect
3.81/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

The Pale is dead, long live the Pale!

As the classic taste of pale ale is taking on a renovation, it's shedding much of its malt sweetness in favor of a drier backbone. This happens as hop aroma, flavor and bitterness pulls substantially forward. Maybe they're not "session IPA". Maybe they're the new look of American Pale Ale.

Headwaters Pale Ale pours as any well-conceived one would- its copper and light bronze body shows glimpses of gold about its margins. As a steady stream of bubble race to the surface, a longstanding coat of froth presumes the beer's surface. As it trails with dotted rings, the beer sings the praises of all-things-pale.

Its racy scent favors the hop cone with unmistakable Pacific Northwest grapefruit and orange peels. Propped up with medium caramel and graham cracker-type dry bready-sweetness, the malt character offers stern support while still letting the hops shine. A turn to mint, fresh-cut grass and shaven pine complement the scent with earthy vegetative character.

Conversely its the graham cracker and caramel that greets the taste buds first. Its leading sweetness trends dry and lightly toasty while the pang of citrus rapidly grows in the middle. As a crescendo of citrus strikes, it immediately develops toward spicy, piney and pleasantly grassy finish with a piquant and resinous bitterness.

Medium-light on the palate, the sweetness lingers with the creaminess of carbonation momentarily. But once the hops resinous character sets in, the sweetness escapes and the hops close the show with its own sense of dryness to match that of minty-warm alcohol.

Echoes of toasted barley malt return as the stronghold of bitterness starts to relinquish. Its refreshing and satisfying taste isn't as IPA-ish as many. Headwaters retains its caramel "Pale" roots but also modernizing them.

Photo of PA-hunter
3.88/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured bottle into glass. 5.1% abv

Appearance- Semi clear amber with a thick fluffy head slow to dissipate.

Smell- Citrus aroma of oranges with floral characteristics. Biscuit notes mixed in as well.

Taste- Some slighty sweet bready/barley malt contrasts with a little bit of sweet caramel notes. Noticeable earthy hops sneak in later leaving for a bitter dry finish.

Mouthfeel- Light but not too watery. Good amount of carbonation.

Overall- A decent and flavorful ale. Not super exciting but pretty basic. A good hop presence however. On the refrshing side too and easy drinking for a warm day. Also, hats off to Victory for advocating environmental stewardship and protecting waterways on the label on the bottle!

Photo of oberon
4.02/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Nice to see a newer Victory offering here in Greensboro.Poured in a nonic a clear copper with a frothy white head that left multiple chunks of broken lace as it never fully settled,good carbonation.A mix of hops in the nose upfront,grassy,herbal,and citrus fruit mixed with a hefty caramel/biscuit base.A little this and watery in the feel it seems to take away a little oomph from the beer.A mix of herbal and citric hops and sweet caramel biscuit malt on the palate,the hops get the slight edge in a pretty balanced brew.A nice APA,big hops but really balanced,tweak the thinner mouthfeel and this is steller.

Photo of MadScientist
3.72/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: A pale amber beer with very good clarity. The head is rock, off-white with a decent retention.

S: A medium citrus hops aroma with some resinous character. A clean malt sweetness and a little bit of caramel.

T: A strong hops bitternes and medium-strong citrus hops flavor some piney character. There is a low , peach-like fruit ester. A touch of malt sweetness in middle with balance being decidedly bitter with a crisps, dry finish. Lingering citrus hops and bitterness in the aftertaste.

M: A medium bodied beer with a medium-strong level of carbonation and very crisp.

O: A straight forward, hop driven beer. A darn good pale ale.

Photo of BeerAdvocate
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review from BeerAdvocate Magazine Issue #50 (March 2011):

Bright amber with a creamy white lacing. Sweet floral, herbal and fresh, with apple skins and fresh grain in the nose. Firm body, creamy mouthfeel, crisp carbonation. Citric hop bite up front with a mixed bag of floral, herbal and spicy notes, followed by a small dose of malt sweetness (cereal grains, biscuity, bready), and apple-y fruitiness rounds things out. Chalky, bicarbonate, and dry with sticky and spicy herbal flavors lingering on the palate. A very solid addi- tion to the Victory lineup. This will no doubt become a benchmark APA in years to come, if they keep it consistent.

Photo of Beaver13
2.95/5  rDev -24.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle, enjoy by 4/29/12. Pours a clear yellow gold with a smallish rocky white head that retains well and laces the glass some.

The aroma is sweet bready malts and piney hops.

The flavor is sweet, slightly vegetal, malts and a little fruit with a good sized resiny grassy hop finish. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with some prickly carbonation.

Overall, a decent pale ale.

Photo of Fcip78
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

If you are looking for a hoppy session beer, this is your choice....It pours light amber in a pint glass with a nice off-white head. PLenty of light delicious citrusy grapefruit hop zing with each sip balanced with malt, thanks to citra hops! This is plenty smooth, but not too smooth where the beer becomes forgottable. This is a great beer year-round, but really awesome for any get together for casual beer drinkers and beer geeks alike.

Photo of Billolick
3.92/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle, Enjoy By Dating (Jul 8, 2011) on the label. Pours clear lighter copper amber, off white head, stays at about 1/2 inch, leaving a thicker collar and just a smidge of lacing.

Bright hoppy nose, minty, tea notes.

Spicy hopped up APA, hops quite minty and prominent. Some malt, but the hops are the star here. A bit thin, could use some more body and more of a malt presence. Eh nothing too special going on here. Just an easy drinking pale ale, with a bolder/fresher hop thing going on, then frequently encountered.

Photo of tigg924
3/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into a Sam Adams perfect pint glass

Appearance: 1/4 inch head, orange-brown in color, clear, high carbonation

Smell: caramel and floral and citrus hops

Taste: caramel and floral and citrus hops

Mouthfeel: high carbonation, medium bodied, sweet with a distinct bitter backbone and a bitter aftertaste.

Overall: An ok pale ale. I could have a couple of these, but this one really does not stick out. If you love hops, try it, but I will pass on this one in the future

Photo of Mora2000
3.83/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer pours a golden-orange color with a white head. The aroma is very hoppy for a pale ale. I get a lot of piney hops, as well as some resin and grass notes. There is also a little bit of cattyness in the hop aroma. The flavor is a little milder than the aroma. I get some resinous and grass-like hops, but they are balanced somewhat nicely by the biscuit malt. The bitterness is low, as expected in the style. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

Photo of bsp77
3.84/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into tall glass. "Enjoy by" date of July 8, 2011.

Appearance: Bright amber with nice off-white head and some lacing rings.

Smell: Mostly citrus (orange and grapefruit), with some spiciness, pine and a hint of metal. Light dried malts underneath.

Taste: Mix of dry hops and dry malts. Grapefruit, spice, herbs, pine, caramel and biscuit all play a role, and are so heavily integrated that it is hard for anything to stand out - this is both a strength and a weakness. Herbal and slightly bitter & metallic on the finish.

Feel: Moderate carbonation, medium body, dry finish (actually dry throughout).

Drinkability: Very drinkable and refreshing APA - not surprisingly coming from the always solid (and often great) Victory. However, I have to admit that when a 15 year old respected craft brewery releases their first APA, I expect a little more. Maybe it is just a wee bit too herbal for me.

Photo of kingcrowing
3.53/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap poured into a pint glass.

Pours a light amber color with a small hire head. Nose is hoppy and fresh but a but subdued.

Taste is lightly hoppy but not killer, lightly grainy taste with a bit o caramel. Mouthfeel is sharp and creamy with a good bite on the end.

Photo of dogfishandi
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle pulled from my fridge poured into my SA perfect pint glass. enjoy by: JUL 8 2011 stamped on the label.

pours out a crystal clear golden, slightly orange color with a one finger of frothy white head that slowly faded to a thin retentive layer. decent amount of sticky lace on the glass.

a nice, yet subdued hoppy aroma, mostly floral and pine. just slightly resinous. tropical fruits become evident as it warms up. behind the hops theres just a hint of a cracker like malt.

a hoppy taste, but nothing over the top. just the right amount of resin and bitterness for a pale ale. again, floral, pine, and citrus are the main players. a cracker like grainy malt tries to balance.

medium to light in body, more towards the light side. carbonation is up there. finishs clean. crisp on the palate.

drinks very easy with a very sessionable abv. i found myself easily able to play some beer pong with this brew.

overall: a nice offering from victory. overall an average pale ale with a slightly amped up hop level. i would drink this again if offered, but i prolly wouldnt buy this again. its definatly worth atleast a single.

Photo of jazzyjeff13
3.87/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A 12oz bottle with no visible BB date. Picked up recently from Trembling Madness in York. Named for the source of the water used in brewing Victory's beers - the Brandywine creek.

Poured into a straight pint glass. A clear orange-amber hue with low carbonation. Yields a large head of creamy white foam that lasts for a few minutes before settling as a patchy surface layer. Some lacing. Aroma of fruity hops, pine, a hint of citrus, sweet caramel malt and earthy yeast. Very nice.

Tastes of spicy aromatic hops and sweet malt, with a crisp bitter finish. Notes of pine, grapefruit, peel, citrus, grass/hay, caramel, barley sugar, earthy yeast and stewed hops. A tangy bitterness envelops the tastebuds upon swallowing. Mouthfeel is smooth and tingly, with good body but lacklustre carbonation. Slightly astringent, followed by an aftertaste of pine resin, bitter hops and mild caramel.

A tasty brew - goes down nicely. Looks alright, with a fantastic aroma/flavour of hops and sweet caramel malt. Decent body, though more effervescence would add texture. Reminds me somewhat of SNPA, which is a pretty good endorsement. Could happily drink a few of these. Worth sampling if you come across it.

Photo of Soonami
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Victory Headwaters Pale Ale is a fantastic APA. This is a crystal orange-amber beer topped with clingy white lacing that just explodes with citrus flavor. The nose is dominated by tangerine and navel orange peel with subdued whiff of baking biscuit. The beer tastes like candied orange peel, with a fruity mango-like sweetness (not sugary or malty) and a hint of grainy toasted cracker. This is a beer with great balance of hops aroma and flavor with malt, but I wish it were just a little bit more bitter to give it a little more crispness and bite. The beer also has more body than I would've like and tastes a little under carbonated. I guess maybe I want this beer to be more like Prima Pils with it's crisp snappy carbonation and sharp bitterness but with the fruit ale yeasts and citrusy american hops. Either way this is very good but just short of perfect.

Photo of BranfordBound
4.22/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle marked best before September 2011. Poured into a DFH Shaped Pint.

Pours a nice amber color with a fluffy one and a half finger white head. Leaves ok lacing.

Smells of hops, surprisingly. Suprising in that hops are extremely strong for a pale ale. Rivals their IPA.

Wow, yeah, follows with the nose being extremely hoppy. Not like other Pale Ales, this one is not all that malty. Only a hit of malts at the beginning which yield immediately to the rush of hops. Hops are herbal, grassy, and have a strong grapefruit flavor which lingers.

Lighter side of medium bodied, carbonation not too strong to distract.

Nice drinking pale ale, definitely on the hoppy side of things.

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.35/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Light caramel colored pour, good clarity, good head. Best by Sep something 11 date. Nice hoppy aroma, not picking out the specific hop varieties, but whatever the meld, it was enjoyable and even keeled to not be able to say it leaned pine or citrus wise.

Taste, starts off good, carbonation, hops, mild sweet caramel malt, average bitterness. Swallow. Wait for it, ugh, what is that aftertaste in this? Slightly off flavor. Not horrible, just not pleasant like everything else about the beer. Its fresh, it still has 3 more months on it before the best by date, and the hopping is there. The only possible descriptor that came up was like, you know those biscuits that come in the pressurized metal containers that pop open when you depress a spoon on them? This had a like, stale, metallic bitter, biscuit aftertaste really ruined an otherwise pleasurable beer.

Photo of WVbeergeek
4.5/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I bought a case at McBroom's today, thank god my sister is living a block away. So I always have a good excuse, to get up to D'z and McBroom's. Fresh cases of Headwaters Pale Ale. Appears a pale copper, full thicket of light beige head with fine even lacing. Light speckled lacing, with aromatics have a pungent citric/floral aspect no pine or earthiness. Hints of sugar coated biscuit malts in the nose, very nice malt base with sturdy citric hops standing up to the malts. I believe they're using Citra hops with a combo of other hops for this brew, I tried the Dorado version of Pursuit of Pale Ale. Flavors just work with this brew, herbal/citric hops blended effortlessly with a nice biscuit sugar coated malt profile that matches perfectly, low alcohol by volume makes for a very sessionable brew, right at the time when America really needs this style of beer Victory is there for us old school craft beer drinkers that would rather have an accessible pale ale versus the next big beer that is released by the thimbleful to the line of people camping out to drink it. Mouthfeel is medium bodied slight oily texture from the hop resins with ample carbonation, I can't complain. Drinkability, excellente low alcohol meant for consuming with friends over many a conversation and celabratory song. In all reality it's quite tasty with enough booze and flavor to keep you interested great beer.

Photo of chinchill
3.48/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured clear, medium amber in color with a small, off-white, short-lived head that left spotty lacing on the glass.

S: Mainly hops, with piney, citrus, earthy and herbal notes. IPA strength of aroma.

T: Strong hop presence with a lingering grapefruit peel note. The bitter finish soon retreats to a more welcome malty/bitter hop mix.

M: Smooth for style; Medium bodied; Medium-high carbonation; semi-dry finish.

O: a nice APA that leans to the hoppy side.

Photo of hagbergl
4.05/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bought a sixer of Victory Headwaters Pale Ale as my go-to vacation beverage at Craft Beer Cellar in Belmont, MA for approx. $10.50. Poured into a Redbones pint glass.

Appearance (4/5): Headwaters pours a clear copper color with a rusty red tinge to it and is topped with a two finger off white head of foam that leaves a little lacing behind as it dissipates. This is a good looking pale ale.

Smell (4/5): Take a whiff and you'll know straight away that this is an aggressively hopped pale ale. Piney, lemon-like, and resinous hop aromas escape from the glass, but, this being a pale ale, a significant malt backbone can be detected pushing back and balancing against the hops.

Taste (4/5): The hops are the star and flex immediately, with strong citrus notes in the foretaste that are balanced by the malts at mid-tongue, then linger on into the finish. This is my kind of pale ale. Lots of hop flavor, though not intensely bitter and well-balanced–a pale ale that leans hoppy, but would never be confused for an IPA. The hops lend citrus and mellow, herbal characteristics to this brew that are nicely complimented by the malts. This beer is smooth and easy-going. Never cloying and with a moderate ABV (you cannot detect the slightest hint of alcohol in the flavor), you can drink multiple Headwaters and not get tired of it.

Mouthfeel (4.5/5): I think the mouthfeel on this beer might be the best thing about it. Headwaters is a medium bodied pale–that is to say, a little thicker on the tongue than other pales (perhaps due to the generous hopping) and feels just right on the tongue. This beer "punches above its weight," so to speak. The beer goes down smooth and has a relatively long finish, again due to the hops.

Overall (4/5): This is one tasty APA and another successful creation by Victory. Any experienced BA will appreciate this beer's easy-drinking nature and subtlety of flavors. I would definitely recommend this to anyone that likes hoppy beer but is looking for something lower in ABV and a bit more restrained.

Photo of glid02
4.22/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at the Bookhouse Pub in Atlanta.

Pours a clear light copper color with a one-finger white head. The head recedes into a patchy layer on top leaving solid lacing.

Smells of bright citrus and floral hops with hints of tropical fruits all backed by a slightly grainy pale malt backbone.

Tastes similar to how it smells, though the hops aren't as robust. Slightly dry pale malt flavors kick things off and are joined quickly by citrus hops. Midway through the sip the citrus hops fade a bit and allow sweeter tropical fruit flavors to work their way into things. The hops carry through to a moderately bitter ending.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a nice thickness with solid carbonation.

Drinkability is very good. I finished my glass quickly and could easily have a few more.

Overall this is another outstanding low-ABV beer from Victory. Well worth a shot.

Photo of rhoadsrage
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(Served in an American pint glass)
Enjoy by Apr. 4 2012
A- This beer pours a clear apricot body with a lumpy beige head and a wall of microbubbles running up the side of the glass.

S- The green earthy hops are full and just a hint of pungency in the finish.

T- The green mellow hops have some pineapple weed flavor and a spice quality to the finish. There is a biscuit malt flavor that grows under the pale malt taste and the dry finish has some grapefruit pith and lime leaf hops flavors that hang on.

M- The medium-light mouthfeel has a tight fizz that enhances the hops in the finish.

O- The nice smooth pale ale has some good malt support to the more forward hops making this very sessionable although a bit on the dry side.

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Headwaters Pale Ale from Victory Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 2,340 ratings.