Dismiss Notice
Subscribe to BeerAdvocate magazine and get 12 issues / year of fresh beer content delivered to your door each month.

Already subscribe? to manage your subscription.

Headwaters Pale Ale - Victory Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Headwaters Pale AleHeadwaters Pale Ale

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

563 Reviews
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(Read More)
Reviews: 563
Hads: 2,376
rAvg: 3.93
pDev: 9.67%
Wants: 76
Gots: 371 | 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: 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: 563 | Hads: 2,376
Photo of beer2day
4.2/5  rDev +6.9%
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 +6.9%
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 +6.9%
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 +7.1%
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 +7.4%
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)

Photo of glid02
4.22/5  rDev +7.4%
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. (865 characters)

Photo of blackie
4.22/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

a: chalice serving, the beer is a light caramel amber in color, floating a frothy off-white head that falls back to a thin layer

s: herbal and citrusy hops accompany a biscuity pale malt body, grapefruit rind, light caramels, hops even provide a little resin while staying firmly within pale ale territory, there's nothing unnecessary or out-of-place - skilled execution really makes a great product from only a few ingredients

m: moderately carbonated, light-medium in body, satisfying and crisp

t: great structure of biscuity pale malts allows the dried citrus and grassy herbal hops to assert themselves, slight caramel sugar adds body and depth, nice grapefruit rind bitterness, finishing quite dry, clean and refreshing, outstanding balance, just a top notch pale ale

d: a superbly crafted pale ale not too far off from the hallmarks of the style produced by SN - not much of a surprise from Victory, glad to have another worthwhile, drinkable beer readily available (975 characters)

Photo of gabedivision
4.22/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz'r to a pint glass.

A- Pours a crystal clear copper color with a thin white lace of a head.

S- Big bold hop scent, citrus, and strong toasted malts. Very inviting.

T- Potent bittering hops, nice grapefruit citrus, sweet bold malt with a aspriny bitter after tone.

M- Medium bodied, crisp, bitter, and delicious.

O- I took a shot on this beer, (i know im in the minority when i say this but) i cant stomach alot of Victory's beers, so it takes alot for me to plunge 12 bucks into their 6 packs. This beer may have changed the way i feel about this brewery. This was awesome start to finish, i cant put enough of this down my throat. (643 characters)

Photo of projectflam86
4.22/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Enjoy by date July 8 2011

A- Pours a bright golden orange color with a thick foam head that leaves nice lacing.

S- Juicy hops and pine aromas dominate the nose. A bit of dank hop character is present as well. This baby smells quite hoppy for an APA!

T- A nice hoppy bitterness upfront with some citrus and tropical fruit flavors. Some pine and floral flavors come through with just a touch of caramel malt to balance in the finish.

M- Clean and hoppy with nice carbonation.

D- Very drinkable APA with a really nice hoppy flavor. I will definitely pick up another 6er of this. (581 characters)

Photo of sholland119
4.22/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the pub, 3/6/10.

A-pour is a clear light orange with a thin pool of white head and a nice sheet of lacing.

S-Nice blast of pungent citrus hops with a lighter malt base.

T-biscuity malt in the front followed by a generous amount of grapefruit hops.

M-light bodied and nicely dry. Nice smooth finish.

D-one of the best hoppy pale ales out there. An all day drinker for hopheads.

HV (396 characters)

Photo of VelvetExtract
4.22/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A-Pours a semi-transparent golden orange with bright honey highlights. Not very hazy at all. A thick head with a slight orange frothy hue is born from the pour. The head retains its crown masterfully. Unreliable lacing dots the glass. Looks quite attractive.

S-There is a pretty strong hop character in the nose. The hops remind me of a dulled-down version of Titan IPA from Great Divide. I have read a few reviews about this brew before, and the word earthy is commonly used in the nose. I agree. The malts balance out the hops well but in the nose, I would sway this beer a bit closer to the side of the hops. But balance is very close.

T-A unique flavor. The hops have a bunch of citrus, more lemony than orange. I also get a strong flavor of cereal, quite like Corn Flakes. The interesting scents in the nose are expressed in the flavor. A long, clean grassy finish rounds out the flavor. There are some awesome hop flavors, but they're not very bitter. The flavor is bright, and the malt backs up the other tastes well.

M-Medium bodied. A bit slick and creamy too. Light carbonation. Only mildly dry, but quite crisp in the end despite the initial creamy feel.

O/D-I have heard mixed reviews both on BA and by those I know who have tried it. I must say that I think Headwaters is a damn good Pale Ale. I only bought a single, but would not have been disappointed if I had bought a 6-pack. High drinkability. Hoppy enough to keep me interested but not too heavy, which makes this a great warm weather beer. I would absolutely love this beer in a can. Not your average APA. Worth a try? Yes. (1,599 characters)

Photo of feylure
4.22/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Found this stuff yesterday and decided to try it out. Enjoy by July 8th 2011

Appearance is a lovely clear gold.

Smell is quite amazingly hoppy!

Taste is a great balance of hops and barley. Not too sweet and not too bitter. Just straight up clean with a tail of the same nature.

Mouthfeel is quite full all the way around.

This is an extremely well balanced brew and one that I find to be quite drinkable. Definitely be buying this again!

Cheers (450 characters)

Photo of justintcoons
4.23/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A: Pours a golden amber with two fingers head that dissipate slowly leaving behind excellent lacing. Low carbonation.

N: Orange, grapefruit and flowers.

T: Citrus and grapefruit upfront with some floral backed up by candy caramel.

M: Light-medium bodied, crisp, dry and clean.

D: Excellent! Light, bitter and refreshing. (324 characters)

Photo of ColForbinBC
4.23/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a pint

Pours a pure amber in color with a chunky two finger just off white head. Some mild lacing and a thin layer of foam left when everything settles.

Clean, bright citrus/floral aroma with a signature victory pale malt background.

Citrus up front (oranges/tangerines) with a clean, lightly toasted pale malt flavor through the middle. The finish is lightly bitter, where the floral, perfumey hops step up a bit.

Light to medium body with a dry, bitter finish.

For the style, I found this to hit all the major points pretty damn well. Not as hoppy as a Dale's or as caramel-laden as a sierra. A damn good example of the style. (657 characters)

Photo of DannyDan
4.23/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours to a golden body with a thick white head that disappears rather quickly. The retention is very good, and has good lacing on the side of the beer. Has an earthy hops with a sweet malt in the nose. The taste starts out with some caramel malts followed by some floral, pine and citrus hops. It is a very crisp clean smooth creamy mouth feel to it that leaves the mouth slightly dry. A very smooth well made beer that has a great taste to it and one I can see myself enjoying for many years to come. (501 characters)

Photo of BLove
4.23/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear, light orange hue with thick cottony head, small bits of lacing.

Citrus & floral hop aromas with sweet malt undertones.

Tastes like....VICTORY. No big surprises here...citrus hops are bitter but balanced nicely with sweet & crisp malts. Medium body & avg carbonation...just enough, not too much.

Well done & enjoyable pale ale...think I'll pour myself another. ;) (375 characters)

Photo of BeerMark
4.24/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Got this sixer at Derk's Fillet & Vine in Montgomery Alabama. My goodness, Alabama has come a long way in the last few years. I'm seeing world class beers sitting beside some great local selections. There's not much else that I can add to the reviews that are not here already. Headwaters Pale Ale is delicious. It's malty and hoppy and the combination of flavors is great. A very nice pale pale ale for times an IPA may be too much. Will be buying again. (455 characters)

Photo of Fcip78
4.25/5  rDev +8.1%
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. (440 characters)

Photo of Soonami
4.25/5  rDev +8.1%
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. (864 characters)

Photo of zoso1967
4.25/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Headwaters Pale Ale pours a very nice copper hued amber. It is crystal clear and has a nice frothy beige head that has great retention and leaves nice lace.

The aroma is wonderfully hop forward with plenty of tangy grapefruit, tangerine and some peppery, piney and resiny hop character. While the hops are the main player in the aroma, there is a definite caramel malt sweetness that is a bit toasty.

The toasty quality from the aroma comes through a bit more in the flavor, as well as more of the caramel flavors. The hops are citrusy and intense with plenty of juicy citrus and pine. The bitterness is quite high, making the grapefruit hops taste a bit pithy, but in a good way. There is a really interesting edge to the hop character of this beer that I find very appealing. In fact, I wonder if the “toasty” quality I am picking up is not just a byproduct of the hop additions as opposed to the malt.

The mouthfeel is on the lighter side of medium with a good amount of carbonation. This beer is super dry and finishes with a healthy dose of hops that linger long after swallowing.

This is one seriously drinkable APA and a fine addition to the victory line. It is one of those beers that is floating between an IPA and an APA, which is a sweet spot for me. I will surely seek out a six pack of this next time I am relaxing with some friends. (1,355 characters)

Photo of MrMcGibblets
4.25/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: golden orange to light copper. Clear creamy off white head and nice lacing.
S: some citric and floral, resiny hops with some bready, light caramelly malts underneath.
T: a very nice balance between the lightly sweet caramelly/toffeeish malts and smooth lingering hop bitterness. Finishes crisp and dry.
M: just over light-bodied. Nice and frothy, and not plodding, which i like.
O: a very nicely done apa and one which id buy again. Glad to see more lower abv quality beers. (477 characters)

Photo of AmitC
4.25/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Drinking my first headwaters. This one is being consumed beyond its best by date of 19 sep 2012.

So it might have lost a lot of its hoppiness and aroma. Still it does very well on a lot of parameters and i can see how good this will be if taken fresh.

Pours with about two finger thick fluffy white colored head, with not much standing. Amber in color, somewhat pale and hazy. Very good lacing. Almost no bubbles.

Aroma: Very good mix of citrus hop aroma and bready malts. Some weed like and grass like nose. I am assuming this is a subdued lot, but still it puts many IPAs to shame.

Taste: Nice mix of malts and hops. Nice use of malts that are suppressing the bitterness but still the balance tilts in the favor of hops. A good bitterness in the after taste for a pale ale. Citrus and some resin, oily character. Very hop upfront. Slight malty backbone and the ending is again full of bitterness. Bitter dry finish.

Mouth feel: Light to somewhat medium feel. Some hop derived astringency. Crisp and refreshing. Low on carbonation.

Very good beer for summers and springs. Very enjoyable in the winters as well. In the mood of some easy hops, this one will do the trick.

Style Rate: 4.25
Personal Rate: 4.25

Would definitely have scored 4.5 if fresh. I will seek this one out, an younger bro of Hop Devil. Certainly. (1,329 characters)

Photo of StoneTSR
4.26/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

APPEARANCE: This is an exceptionally lively beer. Bubbles are covering the bottom of the glass and erupting towards the surface while some slower bubbles climb up around the edges of the glass. There is a little haze to this orange beer and the head is moderately sized. Retention is decent, but not great.

SMELL: The aroma is very, very grapefruity. Not much else going on here (which isn't a bad thing as far as I am concerned), but a slight earthiness is also there. The only problem is that it is a pretty mild smell.

TASTE: Wow. This is a pleasant surprise, kind of a grapefruit bomb. There is plenty of malt to make sure that this beer doesn't go too far in the bitter direction, but this makes me think of a cocktail with grapefruit juice, slightly sweetened with some agave nectar or simple syrup. The finish also has a touch of weedy resin. This is surprisingly tasty.

MOUTHFEEL: The liveliness of the appearance comes through in the mouthfeel as well. This is a strongly carbonated beer with a nice sparkle.

OVERALL: I have not always loved Victory, but most of what they have done has been pretty decent. This, however, is a hidden gem in their lineup. What an excellent option as a session beer. I could drink a few of these for sure. (1,253 characters)

Photo of Hoperator
4.26/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Clarity and the amber glow was exceptional. Carbonated perfectly. Dense tan head laced the glass and retention was there to the last ounce. Against the APA style this is way too hoppy, however, is more in line with an IPA standard. There is certainly a good amount of Citra Hops pushing an incredible citrusy aroma with some piney, lemony notes. The taste is the same as the aroma with a well balanced overall experience. Has a good level of bitterness, certainly more than present in APAs. This is the beer your want to have when an traditional IPA is to big but when you want all the nose and flavors. One of my favorites and is my go to beer when people like hoppy without the extreme bitterness. (699 characters)

Photo of prototypic
4.27/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Headwaters is light copper in color. It's very, very clear. A little light gives it nice orange highlights. A vanilla colored head tops it and stands roughly a finger and a half tall. It dissipates rather quickly, leaving spotty strands of sticky lace behind.

The nose is impressive. One whiff is all it takes to realize it's a hop forward American Pale. Given that I prefer those to their more balanced siblings, I like it. The hops smell mostly citric and feature strong grapefruit and orange scents. But, there are a few grassy and floral notes as well. Sweet caramel malt is noted throughout, but never takes center stage. Alcohol is never much of a factor. At 5.1%, that's no surprise.

The flavor is nothing short of excellent! It's not complicated. The caramel malt base provides a sweet flavor up front. It tastes a little sugary. Hops waste no time jumping into the mix. I have no clue what the hop bill is, but it's delicious. Strong grapefruit and orange flavors blend with light grassy and floral notes to create one hell of a fine hop flavor. It leans bitter, but the malt base provides some balance in that respect. Alcohol is completely buried. Finishes with a punch of citrus and bitterness.

Headwaters has a light-medium body. Carbonation is light and restrained. It feels nice and smooth. Drinkability is extremely high. This is stuff is damn tasty and goes down far too easily. Given that its abv is only 5.1%, a few of these sounds like a great idea.

Victory Brewing Company took an interesting path with releasing Headwaters Pale Ale as its 15th anniversary beer. I would've expecting a trendier, bigger beer. Honestly, I love what Victory did here. Not only is it an interesting choice, it's a fantastic beer! This is the most impressive American Pale I've had in a long time. I'm thrilled that this is going to a year round release. Happy 15th, Victory! (1,882 characters)

Headwaters Pale Ale from Victory Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 563 ratings.