Headwaters Pale Ale - Victory Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Headwaters Pale AleHeadwaters Pale Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

576 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 576
Hads: 2,418
Avg: 3.92
pDev: 23.21%
Wants: 81
Gots: 393 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Victory Brewing Company visit their website
Pennsylvania, United States

Style | ABV
American Pale Ale (APA) |  5.20% ABV

Availability: Year-round

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

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 Headwaters Pale Ale Alström Bros
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 576 | Hads: 2,418
Photo of Stanhagen
2.31/5  rDev -41.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

I was really excited when victory released this pale ale as its one of my favorite styles. the beer pours, looks, and smells nice, however, there is a funky aftertaste that I can't get around. I can understand that it might appeal to some but in the eastern pa/philly area there are some great Pale Ales being produced (troegs, yards, philly brewing, etc). while i'd still list victory as one of my favorite breweries this was a serious let down.

 446 characters

Photo of salvo
2.41/5  rDev -38.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Headwaters APA is a Dr. Jeckle and Mr. Hyde: it is a completely different beer out of the bottle and on tap. I've noticed this with Victory products and I'm beginning to wonder if there's something going on at their bottling facility. I'll take this on to the discussion board, but I offer the following schizophrenic, double faced review of the two beers, both called Headwaters APA.

On tap:
Pours a beautiful clear straw-yellow under an inch of pure-white foam that dissipates, leaving only a ring all the way down the pint glass. Smell is of tropical fruits: guava, pineapple, mango. A rich nose for such a light beer.

Taste asserts its tropical fruit esters and is pungently guava tasting with some citrus in the background, ending with a suggestion of tea. The hops are supported by a solid malty sweetness. Body is light and could stand some additional substance. But overall, this is a damn tasty beer at 5.5%, and would be a lovely everyday drinker.

Pours a beautiful clear straw-yellow under an inch of pure-white foam that dissipates, leaving only a ring all the way down the pint glass. Similar to the tap. That's where the similarities end.

Nose is very lightly and suggestive of non-descript citrus; some grassiness and slight astringency.

Taste has more malt early in the sip, particularly when cold. No tropical fruitiness at all. Ends grassy and astringent; bitter. Finishes much more quickly, much more dryly.

 1,440 characters

Photo of Florida9
2.42/5  rDev -38.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Enjoy by Aug 22 2011

A: Clear darker amber. Forms a weak bubbly head with little retention. Head sort of just clings to the side of the glass. Little lacing.

S: An odd stink. Eggy. Flat out unappetizing. This has to be one of the worst smelling beers I've ever had.

T: Thankfully better than the aroma, but not by much. Earthy, grassy, and dirty with a moderate bitterness.

M: Medium in body with appropriate carbonation. A little syrupy, but otherwise fine.

O: I do not know what is going on with this beer. It is just wrong. It is well within the "enjoy by" date so it should be fresh enough not to be skunked. But the aroma was horrid while the flavor just wasn't much better. Really just not a very good beer and not one I enjoyed drinking.

 753 characters

Photo of TMoney2591
2.62/5  rDev -33.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Served in a Chicago Bears shaker pint glass.

Thanks to the Central PA group from the Gang Bang BIF for this bottle!

I've somehow not yet tried this pale from Victory. How'd that happen? It pours a clear straw-amber topped by a finger of cream-white foam. The nose comprises dark greens, egg yolk, caramel, flowers, and light leek. Not sure where that egg-y smell's coming from, but it's not helping things at all. The taste holds notes of greens, flowers, toffee, leek, grass, and grapefruit rind. Everything tastes kinda dusty, kinda dirty... The body is a hefty light, with a light moderate carbonation and a dry finish. Overall, I'm not sure what went wrong with this beer. It's still a few months before it's Best By date, it doesn't seem officially skunked...it's just not very good. Hm.

 794 characters

Photo of mattcrill
2.62/5  rDev -33.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Aroma: Complex malty aromatics that include bready, crusty, and light caramel notes. Mild floral hop aromas. Clean fermentation character. No esters noted.

Appearance: Clear amber pour with sudsy white head. Still looking in the glass.

Flavor: More malt driven character that reminds me of wheat bread, buckwheat pancakes, and dark grain flavors. Balance is nearly even with a slight lean towards the malt. Finish is clean and dry.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with medium-high carbonation. No astringency noted. Clean on the palate.

Overall impression: A definitively malt-driven American pale ale. Too malt forward to be truly American. Not enough malt character or English hop character to be English. Fits in the style space between American hoppy and English malt driven. Well done but nothing outstanding for me to want to try again.

 839 characters

Photo of wollybugger
2.66/5  rDev -32.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The first time I try a new beer I get so excited....after the first sip I was somewhat disappointed. Vicory is usually either hit or miss. I love their Lager & Prima Pils. I'm not a fan of the Golden Monkey or the Hop Devil.

I was drinking Samuel Adam's Noble pils on tap prior to drinking the bottle of Headwaters Pale Ale. The first sip threw me a curve ball. Maybe it was the sudden change from one beer to another, but the next few sips were the same. I thought I was drinking a flower. Yard's does a great job with their Pale Ale where they underbrew the hops for a more aromatic taste. Victory appears to have stopped way to early, and all of the taste is coming from aroma hops.

I'm glad I was a given a bottle for free and didn't spend $38 bucks on the case. Others appear to enjoy this beer, but my taste buds say no.

 828 characters

Photo of PorterLambic
2.68/5  rDev -31.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a lighter honey color (like clover) with a bloom of head from an aggressive pour. Head drops quickly to a film of off-white.
Smell is all hops, herbal and piney with just a whiff of malt.
Taste is the same: herbal and evergreen hops with just a hint of malt.
This drinks like a "west coast" beer, almost an IPA in its hop forward attitude. No balance because there is nothing for the hop to balance against. A true "one note" song.
Medium bodied, restrained effervescence. A bit of biscuit comes into play well into the aftertaste. Dry finish. Not a bad beer but it definitely is off style, IMO, and that's what I'm supposed to be rating it on.

 651 characters

Photo of samie85
2.83/5  rDev -27.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A-Pours a slight copper-hued golden color with half a finger of head.

S-Smells of lemon and guava with some light grain notes.

T-Slightly bitter, almost floral notes with a light malt backing.

M-Very light-bodied with medium carbonation and a very drying finish.

D-I'm glad I got this in a mix-a-six; I'd be hard-pressed to buy another one of these.

 353 characters

Photo of Chico1985
2.91/5  rDev -25.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a pale glowing orange, white head. Head retains as a cap and splits into a bunch of little chunks that look like curdled milk. Nice color but not the most attractive looking beer.

Nose is pretty bland, uber-small dose of herbal/grassy hops and metallic notes.

Taste has got a bit more going on. Herbal/grassy hop profile matches the nose, with faint piny and spicy hops as well. Very light notes of fruit but not much. Bready malt with a nice warm and toasty finish. It seems pretty bitter although the none of the hop flavor is very strong.

The finish is probably the highlight of this beer, otherwise feels like a mixture of average/messy/slightly unpleasant.

 670 characters

Photo of AwYeh
2.92/5  rDev -25.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

On-tap at Melt Bar and Grilled in Lakewood, Ohio. Poured into shaker pint, reviewed from notes.

A: Pours a clear, golden copper yellow color, with two fingers of quickly dissipating white head.

S: Biscuity malts and grassy, herbal hops both come through strongly here. Nice balance between the two- bitter and sweet are in close proportion to one another.

T: Rather bitter with more of the grassy flavor present in the aroma, along with some light caramel sweetness lingering in the background.

M: Standard APA- light/medium body with moderate+ carbonation and a moderately dry finish.

O: The lack of any really enjoyable flavors or complexity hurts this beer's overall score; I was pretty tired of it by the end of my glass and doubt I'll be picking this one up again.

 774 characters

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.

 382 characters

Photo of Louisville-Beer-Reviews
2.99/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Appearance: Clear, light, golden amber color, with a thick, fine, persistent head and sticky lacing down the glass.

Aroma: Bright grapefruit, and piney hops.

Taste & Mouthfeel: Immediate, biting carbonation on the tongue, with strong grapefruit flavor, and a slight touch of biscuity malt. The finish consists of exceedingly bitter, resiny hops, like pine oil.

Final Word: This one feels pretty self explanatory to me, given how few descriptors there are for the beer, as even the hop/bitterness lovers that I would recommend this to (and those are the only ones I would recommend it to) should still want something with more depth, complexity, and balance than this beer offers. The vicious carbonation, and overwhelming bitterness make for a brew that you have to brace yourself against before every sip, and even if it were in better balance, there are so few flavors present in the beer that it would still be underwhelming/bland. My hope is that the passing of time could benefit this beer by reining in the carbonation, and hop bitterness, creating a better balance. As it stands, I can only recommend this to someone craving an extremely bitter, piney tongue bruiser, and would recommend that all others find something else!

 1,236 characters

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

 477 characters

Photo of Snatchariah_Jackson
3.02/5  rDev -23%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

although advertised as refreshing, this beer has the weight (in terms of taste, not OG) of a big IPA, without a flavorful reward. No apparent weakness; merely disappointing compared with other Victory offerings.

 211 characters

Photo of mothman
3.03/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a light layer fo white head. Fades down to a ring. Color is a clear gold.

Aroma: Light aroma. Grassy and kind of weedy. Crystal and pale malts. Kind of bready.

Taste: Pale malts. Very bready. Grassy and weedy. A light citrus note.

Mouthfeel: Bitter and creamy. Light to medium bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. Ends sticky.

Overall, a decent pale, but nothing I would want a lot of. Somewhat easy drinking. Average pale.

 442 characters

Photo of deaconoflove
3.06/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Ap. Beautiful, bright amber color with frothy off-white head. Nice lacing, too.
Sm. Grapefruit, first and foremost and really the only thing.
Ta. Grapefruit...maybe some malt way back int he corner.
Mf. Light, crisp, good carbonation. Good.
Dr. Goes down easy.

 260 characters

Photo of Wadsey
3.1/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Victory Headwaters 

Served in a Terry Abner Salon signature glass

A: Pours as shiny copper with decent head that sadly has poor retention. Still, a nice stream of bubbles rise through the beer. 

S: Hops smell pungent and lively, evoking citrus and tropical fruit, especially passion fruit. A little marijuana. Malts throw biscuity aromas.

T: Unfortunately, the above characteristics are not as sharp in taste. Cracker-like malts with a hint of steely caramel.  General fruity and a little spicy hops. Medium-high bitterness. The beer is dry. Weeds and citrus peels in finish.  

M: Medium-light body and medium carbonation. The beer would be smooth except somewhat harsh weedy finish. 

O: Victory Headwaters strikes me as a decent pale ale whose overall score is hurt by a relatively harsh finish. I will probably revisit this beer, particularly if I find it on tap. 

 879 characters

Photo of david131
3.11/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A- Pours a lightly hazed yellow liquid with a thick and craggy white head that leaves some nice lacing.

S- Some toasted grains, cut grass, and a light fruitiness. A little faint but it isn't bad per se.

T- Toasted grains, a touch of butter, some fruitiness, and fresh cut grass. The flavor is alright, but nothing to write home about.

M- A bit bitter with a nice amount of carbonation.

O- It is fine, but nothing all that memorable.

 437 characters

Photo of kbutler1
3.16/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Bottle. Enjoy by Aug 17, 2011 but no idea when it was bottled. Poured into a DFH tulip glass a clear, darker than expected copper orange color with a 2 finger antique white head of both large and small bubbles. The aroma is not overly fruity or piney but has subtle hints of orange and grapefruit rind. Medium mouthfeel. The taste is more subtle than I thought it would be with a light sweetness up front with a light/medium amount of citrus bitterness that quickly fades. Mild lingering bitterness. Some lace. Overall, not bad but I was hoping for a wee bit more of a pop in flavor from this.

 593 characters

Photo of sdsurfer217
3.18/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass. Purchased this beer because of the headwaters program. I'm always down to support a good cause.

A: Copper/orange color. Half finger worth of clean white head. Pretty sexy looking beer.

S: Citrus, hoppy, almost sweet smelling. There’s something else that I can’t put my finger on, but it smells delicious

T: Almost a caramelized orange flavor, a little bit of biscuity/toast. Touch of hops linger

M: Not very carbonated and a little thin.

O: Pretty drinkable Pale Ale. Not bad, but also not remarkable. I would probably buy this again because it goes toward a good cause and the beer is decent.

 629 characters

Photo of GregBlatz
3.19/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Clear light copper color. Light tan head.

S - Esther fruitiness and grain sweetness. Slight iron aroma. Very little hops are noticeable.

T - OK, now I get it. This isn't a bold American pale ale, it is more of a simple session pale ale. The grains and esthers are dominant. Hops are subtle but provide a nice bitterness in the finish that helps to even out the sweetness that helps the finish dry out.

M - Thin and medium carbonation.

O - This is a very nice easy drinking pale ale. In fact I would like to put a few more of these down. The hops are subtle but they start to come out after a few sips. Very nice.

 620 characters

Photo of rudzud
3.21/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From notes taken at the Armsby Abbey on 5/9/11.

A - A copper clear pour with a one finger head which left nice side lacing.

S - Kinda lackluster here. Typical hoppy (grapefruit) notes with a little bit of sweet malts.

T - More of the same. Everything seems somewhat dull and muted. The hops are there, as is the malts, but theres nothing complex about it at all.

M - Its not bad, decent carbonation for the style. It still feels a bit watery though.

O - This isnt a bad example of an APA, just nothing to write home about. Enjoy a better APA for a better price.

 568 characters

Photo of Buggabeer
3.22/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A Nice golden color with nice lacing around the glass. It has a nice carbination and you can see the bubbles rising to the top to produce a thin head.

S Oh the Hop and Citrus (Grapefruit) aroma is wonderful. I could smell this all day!!

T Oh if I could only taste smell. As it hits the mouth it has a nice taste but after swallowing the best discription is it taste like biting into a grapefruit rind. It has the acidic bitter flavor to it.

M Nice feel with the right amout of carbination but nothing more than an average Pale Ale

O It was a dissapointment to me. After smelling the beer I so wanted to drink but after my first swallow and I got the rind taste it was all down hill after that.

 697 characters

Photo of Spikester
3.23/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Clear reddish gold with one finger of white head with poor retention. Pretty good lace though.
Smell is light malts and some herbal hops.
Taste is slightly fruity hop forward with the malts bringing up the rear. A light grapefruit flavor starts to build.
Mouthfeel is light with good carbonation and a dry bitter finish.
Overall a tasty session type beer but closer to the IPA junior style IMO. Needs more malts for an APA.
From a 12 ounce can enjoy by date was 21 Jan 2016.

 476 characters

Photo of phantomwyse
3.23/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours out a perfectly clear copper/caramel body – almost looks like cream soda. Half finger white as snow head rises and recedes quickly.

S: Pretty straight forward hop aromas – thick pine, slightly orange tinged citrus. Simple syrup sweet. Apple turnover, pastry malts.

T: Moderate hops, clean pine and a bit of grapefruit. Sweet in the middle, again reminds me of breakfast pastries – like the ones you get in gas stations that cost 99 cents and have a half life of 600 years. But, I mean this in a good way.

M: Medium to light bodied, halfway creamy, finishes crisp.

O: Hop Devil light. A moderate pale ale without the peppery bite of other hoppy Victory beers. Personally, that’s what attracts me to Victory beers is the assertive hop and alcohol presence. So, this beer comes across as middle of the road for them. I’m sure it opens their market up a little bit by having a less aggressive pale ale, however, there are better travel lane pale ales in my book – Troeg’s Pale Ale comes to mind.

 1,018 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Headwaters Pale Ale from Victory Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 576 ratings.