Dismiss Notice
Save $5 when you subscribe to 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine by selecting auto-renew.

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join Our Email List →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.
Dismiss Notice

Pre-order your Respect Beer "Hipster" Hoodie today!

Plus: Free shipping (US only) on orders of $25 or more until 12/18/15. Just select "Free Shipping" at checkout.

Shop now →

Headwaters Pale Ale - Victory Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Headwaters Pale AleHeadwaters Pale Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

583 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 583
Hads: 2,463
Avg: 3.92
pDev: 23.21%
Wants: 82
Gots: 413 | 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
Reviews: 583 | Hads: 2,463
Photo of fmccormi
4.17/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Straight pour from 12oz pry-off bottle to a 25cl Duvel Single tulip. Freshness date of April 13, 2013 printed in white-grey ink on the shoulder of the bottle (“Enjoy By: Apr 13 2013 0182 1551”). Going by a five-month freshness period that Victory uses for this beer, I’m assuming that it was bottled on November 13, 2012. So, just under five weeks old on the date of consumption.

Appearance (3.5): Close to two fingers of very fine, velvety-looking foam rises offof the pour, capping a crystal-clear, honey-gold body. Retention is modest, but it leaves some fat splotches of lace and scattered suds as it goes down—definitely better than average.

Smell (4.0): Surprisingly funky, dank kinda smell coming off of this—which is awesome. The dry-hopping is evident, even at five weeks old. Very clean, fresh, and aromatic, with nice citrus (pineapple, mango) and mild weed tones (a little dank, a little resinous) over some solid, bready malt character that’s only modestly sweet and moderately rich—great mix and balance for the style.

Taste (4.5): A nice dose of bittering hops offers some grassy, mildly vegetal bitterness right off the bat. The body is clean and crisp, a light body of very pale barley malt that’s moderately toasty, like fresh-toasted Southern white bread—not sweet, very nice and dry but not particularly complex in grain composition, either. But it fits the style extremely well. There’s a very crisp, lemony flavor and bitterness that dominates the mid-palate and carries into the finish, which I like—very crisp and refreshing. The finish has a nice, medium-strength bitterness that’s part grass and part lemon. Awesome.

Mouthfeel (4.0): Definitely on the light side of medium-bodied, with a finish that’s crisp and dried out nicely from some modestly astringent hop oils. The carbonation is soft and full, foaming a bit on the way down. This is very, very drinkable.

Overall (4.0): Talk about crushable. This beer is so crisp and drinkable, it’s a perfect springtime beer—I can definitely see having a couple of these on the porch on a warm April evening in upstate NY. This is a great example of the style, and I will definitely be seeking it out again when I need something to shake me out of the winter doldrums and open me up to the crisp air of springtime. Good job, Victory.

 2,343 characters

Photo of drtth
4.17/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured into an imperial pint glass. Glass of cold water on the side to sip from periodically.

Appearance: As poured is a clear golden copper color with a 1” off-white head that recedes to a patchy thin layer on the surface and a ring of foam around the glass. The head leaves patches of lacing. Sipping leaves behind some speckles of lacing for much of the beer.

Smell: The aromas are fresh and clean and include some floral and citric hops tinged with tangerine and orange zest. There is some pale malt in the background that supports the hops but is also a definite presence.

Taste: The flavor is as clean and crisp as the aroma. The flavors include some caramel malt backbone that supports the floral and citric flavors from the hops (lemon zest, tangerine), but on the whole the impression is of dryness.

Mouthfeel: The mouth feel is on the light side of medium bodied, nicely smooth and with good carbonation. The finish begins with a touch of some malt sweetness noticeable. But that sweetness passes quickly and fades away first, leaving some dry citric bitterness that gradually fades in to just dryness at the end.

Drinkability and Overall Impression: I found this beer nicely drinkable, with each sip following the last quite easily. When the beer was finished I was looking forward to a second, and expect I’ll have this one on my shopping list for some years to come. My overall impression is of a well crafted Pale Ale that I could drink several of during an evening of conversations and socializing with friends and family.

 1,549 characters

Photo of EStreet20
4.17/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle, 20 ounce curved pub glass.

A - Excellent clarity on this orangish golden colored ale. Off white head, not that big but stays and laces well.

S - Very nice hop forward nose. Pineapple, tropica fruit.

T - Very nice tasting pale ale. Pininess joins the fruit flavors a little, and a nice malt/hop balance is there. The bitterness hits mostly in the finish, and ends fairly dry.

M - Lighter body. Carbonation is smooth and on the lower side.

O - A nice, exceptionally easy drinking pale with sessionability and a great hop fix without being overwhelming in that area.

 583 characters

Photo of cagocubs
4.17/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap locally.

A: Pours a copper color with a 1 finger puffy off white head that lingers and laces.

S: Hoppy, citrus (orange, grapefruit), malt and grains along with some sugary sweetness. Typical and clean of an IPA/APA.

T: The hops are crisp and bitter, the citrus element comes through along with the sweet malt and spice. Some buttery bready finish give this a nice balance.

M: Light/Medium body with a good creamy texture that maintains a tingle. Easy drinking and smooth.

A solid choice for any APA fan.

 516 characters

Photo of CHADMC3
4.17/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a very crisp copper with golden hues and a foamy white head packed with dense bubbles of carbonation that leaps from the bottom of the glass.

Floral and herbal hop aromas waft from the glass offering scents of grass, pine, and straw with just a hint of citrus. There are lingering hints of malty sweetness as well.

The first sip reveals just the right touch of pine amongst the herbal and floral hops. Similar to the aroma, there are underlying notes of malt, but ultimately a return to the delightful floral hops.

This APA is lighter in body, but with generous carbonation and a crisp, clean, and refreshing finish that seems to cleanse the palate.

This is quite a good beer, and another job well done from Victory. This offers just he right amount of flavor for the style without going overboard to escape its boundaries.

 835 characters

Photo of Kegatron
4.18/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the Victory Brewing Company (Downington, PA) on 2/15/11 during their 15 Year Anniversary Celebration. Served in an imperial pint glass.

Pours a clear copper, topped with 1 ½ fingers of stiff bright-white foam. Wow, just beautiful head retention on this, with this continuing to release the whole duration of the glass and holding tight across the top of the glass with a thick finger. Rich patchy lacing just coats the sides of the glass. Great look here! The aroma smells flowery and dank, but things don't get too loose in the nose, as it is propped up by stiff notes of bitter citrus. The malts soften things up across the back, with some toasted biscuit character and light eggy notes.

Wow, the taste just pops in the mouth with green citrus, which have some bite but aren't totally aggressive with it either, as fresh hop flavors push to the forefront. The malts add some extra tightness here but have just enough bready sweetness to them to balance out that earthy bitterness. This finishes with a grassy and herbal feel that lingers on the breath after each sip. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a fantastic tight and crisp feel in the mouth. There is just enough underlying slickness present and this is probably where I feel the herbal qualities of this beer the most, as it adds some extra ease to the body without countering the fresh pop in the mouth that this provides.

Man, I liked this. Bright and full hop flavors that were well balanced and that super crisp and easy body made for a most thirst quenching and drinkable presentation. This was just so fresh and vibrant here on draft during its premiere. I'm looking forward to seeing how this translates to the bottle as well.

 1,712 characters

Photo of patoakes7
4.18/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

a-coppery orange in color, extremley clear with little to no lacing off the cask.

s- slight cirusy hop smell. Not much nose poured from the cask

t-refreshing citrus and hoppy throughout. Not overwhelming and pretty smooth

m-Very little carbonation, light bodied and easy to drink

D- Much more drinkable then off regular draft. Props to Victorys 15th anniversary beer headwaters for supplying the firkin.

 407 characters

Photo of Wiffler27
4.18/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

pours light crystal orange with a thick white head.

smells like citrus malt, not overly sweet or overly bready.

crisp and bitter, finishes with a crisp note on the tongue. nice hop bite but not overpowering. good pale ale!

goes down smooth, nice finish.

overall this is a pretty good pale ale. very sessionable. IPAs are one of my favorite styles so it's nice to enjoy a pale ale sometimes. easy drinking, nice hop bite, and crisp taste. much better than the first time i had this. i like this being in a can too.

 517 characters

Photo of riversider76
4.18/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice golden with amber hues. One finger plus head with good retention and nice lace. Aroma is of citrus, hops with notes of bread. Body is the lighter side of medium with some carbonation. Taste is a crisp well balanced treat. Nice grapefruit edge to the finish. Very nice.

 281 characters

Photo of RonfromJersey
4.18/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

$8.50 sixer from Liquor Outlet, Boonton.

Appearrance is just classic. Crystal clear bold gold body, topped by two fingers of snow white various sized bubbles.

Pleasant citrus aroma, not at all harsh, very inviting.

Firm semi-sweet caramel base coats the tongue. A good blast of bitterness follows with an undercoating of juicy fruit. Nice clean finish with just a slight malt/hop mix trading off in the afterglow. Extremely well balanced.

Overall, highly drinkable. Victory celebrates its anniversary by going to the style that built the craft beer movement and makes a dandy.

 580 characters

Photo of JMad
4.19/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I poured a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass...

The liquid was a light, copper, orange color with a thin, bubbly, white head that dissipated quickly. It smells amazing for a pale ale, there are hints of lime, grapefruit and sweet malt. The taste consists lemon and lime with a hint of bready sweet malt and a piney, hoppy aftertaste. The beer is light, with stinging carbonation and a slightly dry finish. Headwaters pale ale is highly drinkable, it's perfect for a hop-head that wants to have a nice drinking session.

 516 characters

Photo of GilGarp
4.2/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on-tap at Freshcraft in Denver.

10oz. pour has great clarity. The color is an amber-orange and the head is creamy but short-lived.

Aroma is fresh and hoppy with some nice citrus notes.

Flavor is really pleasant with hoppiness and great fresh citrus. It's one of those pale ales that has IPA-like hops.

Mouthfeel is medium-light in body and nicely carbonated.

Overall a great American pale ale. I was excited to see this on tap but I would really like to see it in bottles here soon.

 494 characters

Photo of akorsak
4.2/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A 12 oz bottle accompanying my sub from Zeek's.

A: The pale ale is pale, a lighter amber color that looks like tea. Quite clear, the condensation on the outside of the glass being the only impediment. A finger of white head disappeared quickly and left no traces behind.

S: The pale ale has a well-balanced aroma, equal parts biscuit and citrus hops. The hoppy grapefruit aromas are floral and sit nicely atop the malts.

T: Very piquant, the spiciness of the hops hits a surprisingly high note. The hops have grapefruit sweetness that flicks at my tastebuds, a sharp bitterness. Caramel and biscuit are nearly as flavorful, matching most all of the hops. An excellent pale ale.

M: Balance is the key, equal parts hop and malt, bready and biting. A comfort beer. I'm glad that Victory finally listened to the masses.

 819 characters

Photo of DrDemento456
4.2/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I find it weird that I never seen a bottle. Got this as a free birthday beer at the Mad Mex during happy hour! I was so happy!

A - Poured glorious golden orange, darker than expected for a pale ale with a nice inch of head on top.

S - Smells pretty timid. I got some Amarillo hops, slight malt and a bit of grain. Doesn't smell too bitter so that's a plus.

T - It's weird but it's kind of like a lighter version of Dales Pale ale. You get a mild aggressiveness from the hops and bitterness from grains and then it finishes sweet with a gram cracker malt. Balanced and tasty.

M - I did find it a bit light bodied but it just might have been since I had a Mojo Risin before this so maybe it had a medium body but drank light.

Overall I really enjoyed this offering from Victory and to me it was the definition of a session ale. Moderate ABV, smooth taste and little bite with just enough to take another sip. Hopefully I can find six packs someday!

 951 characters

Photo of atr2605
4.2/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-pours a semi-transparent light amber/orange color with a slightly off white foamy head with good retention.
S-bit of sweet malt/honey, with moderate citrus and pine hop aroma
T-Citrus and malt up front followed by a bit of pine bitterness that is followed by more malt sweetness. Citrus bitterness lingers on the palate
M-medium bodied
O-Really well balanced beer with tons of flavor but still extremely drinkable. Look forward to having it again.

 451 characters

Photo of Stunner97
4.2/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Appearance- typical of the pale ale style with good crisp carbonation and thin white head quickly faded,

Smell- very nice hop smell really dominates the smell profile

Taste- its certainly has a nice firm hoppy finish but this beer does have good balance of malt up front and that really makes things balanced, in terms of flavor i really enjoyed this beer its got a alot of hops but really the balance is perfect

Mouthfeel- good light to medium bodied and quite smooth, all in good balance

Drinkability/overall- overall i think this beer was extremely drinkable and the keyword here was balance , they managed to use to the right amount of hop ratio to malt and just perfect balance, this to me would make a great session beer that I will probably go to from time to time, just a beer i think a beer that is complex enough yet simple enough to make you want drink it through the night, good showing by victory for a solid pale ale

 935 characters

Photo of schoolboy
4.2/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a nice clear, yellow brown brew with very little head or lace. The smell is not bad but not overy aromatic.

It has a nice hoppy taste with a nice finish. It has a slight bite, but is generally nicely balanced and pleasant. I would want to have this again.

 264 characters

Photo of ToddT
4.2/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Clear light copper color topper with an thick khaki head. Head falls slowly and is sticky leaving some nice lace on the glass.

S- Floral and citrus hop dominate the nose. There are some nice malt and caramel note in the background as well.

T- Malt followed with a nice bright note of caramel, the finish is mostly a wash of floral and citrus hops and a short final bite from the hops. The finish is very clean and refreshing and crisp as well.

M- Medium in body and decent carbonation, nice feel in the mouth.

O- Very drinkable and accessible beer, low 5.1% ABV makes this a session beer.

Flavorful and well done, nice job Victory, It’s not going to replace Hopback as my favorite session beer, but I might rotate back and forth between them every couple of trips out to the bar.

 790 characters

Photo of bonkers
4.2/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a SA perfect pint glass. Nice copper colored pour, 2 inch white head, sticks around for a while, nice lacing. The aroma is a mix of pine, grass and sweet citrus. The first sip has a nice grapefruit pop. There was also some sweet pine, the finish was mostly grapefruit and it lingered. The body was medium/light and it has average carbonation. One of the better APA's, just a step below daisy cutter.

 436 characters

Photo of Chaney
4.2/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoy by September 12, 2011.

A: Poured a mildly cloudy orange-amber color, with a nice 1/2 finger or so head that died down into a diluted Alka-Seltzer-esque foam formation.

S: Strong, fresh hop profile, piney, and almost reminiscent of some of the wet-hopped harvest ales that I've had in the past. However, it also had Victory's "sour-dough with pepper" staple.

T: Sparkly, citrusy, and bready all at the same time. I did noticed the fresh, filtered water quality that the brewery taughted on the marketing-speak. The finish was bitter without being too dry.

M: Substantial, stuck-on-glass lacing, with a little bit of hoppy, bitter linger on the palate. The carbonation was fine.

O: Victory really packed a lot of flavor into such a low ABV beer. If I were to taste this one sight unseen, I would have tagged it as an IPA. Really good stuff... and I will be drinking more of it in the near future.

 905 characters

Photo of beer2day
4.2/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep orange gold color. Forced 1-finger light cream head, with very light retention. Sparse lace all around the glass. Fairly light bubble stream.

Nice mix of strawgrass and herbal hops, with a grapefruit twist. Not overpowering, but not meant to be. For a 5% glass, a pretty decent nose.

Decent malt body, but a really nice bite of grapefruit hops in the finish. Particularly good considering the relatively low abv. Lightly roasted malt with citrus winning out over the malt body. Not overpowering, but very nice in the end.

Feel is about right for the abv and style. Slightly creamy and full.

Overall a beer I'd seek out again. Especially if in the mood for more than one.

 681 characters

Photo of dragonWhale
4.2/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A 6pack purchased of this fine brew was a too old 6pack at a store where craft beer moves slowly. Unfortunate, but I will speak on this beer regardless. A translucent golden amber with some sexy lace and creamy head. Typically, the nose would reveal a bit of malt and some delightful orange citrus, but right now, the malt is dominating my nose.
Still starts with that little bitterness, just right for a pale, and there still is some hop character beyond, but the malt just rides it out. Sadly, this bottle is a shell of its former self, but I know based on past experiences what this truly is. Bottle says enjoy by 9/12..shiit. Probably should've looked at that first before I bought em. Oh, well. Still a good beer.

 718 characters

Photo of mrasskicktastic
4.2/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A - Slightly hazy, amber brew with a small head and rings of bubbly lace.

S - Grapefruit - pith and flesh, pine, slight malt.

T - Grapefruit pith, light malt, watery. Aftertaste is mild, only a hint of pithy bitterness.

M - A little harsh, medium body, high carbonation, very refreshing.

D - Stellar, it is exceptionally refreshing. A really great APA, I'll have it again. Another winner from victory.

 405 characters

Photo of MistahBeah
4.21/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a nice golden color. Amber around the top. Lots of visible carbonation. Creamy white head with nice retention. Some striated lace

Smells of biscuits and slightly grainy. Fresh oranges. Some honey. Lots of estery yeast character. Faintly metallic. Some spice too but a lot of sweetness

Taste starts off with some peppery spice. Biscuity malts with some traces of honey or caramel. Hops kick in with some juicy grapefruit. Herbal bitterness works well with the fruity esters. Very nicely balanced. Finishes a bit spicy

Feels smooth and medium-bodied. Crisp with carbonation and spice

Overall a classic in my book. I find that many pale ales - even the good ones - fall flat for me. I'll find myself saying that something's "good for a pale." This is a great beer. True to style, yet different enough to stand out and be known

 833 characters

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.

 689 characters

Headwaters Pale Ale from Victory Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 583 ratings.