Headwaters Pale Ale - Victory Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Headwaters Pale AleHeadwaters Pale Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

576 Reviews

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Reviews: 576
Hads: 2,417
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
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Reviews: 576 | Hads: 2,417
Photo of justintcoons
4.23/5  rDev +7.9%
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.

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Photo of ColForbinBC
4.23/5  rDev +7.9%
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.

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Photo of DannyDan
4.23/5  rDev +7.9%
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.

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Photo of BLove
4.23/5  rDev +7.9%
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. ;)

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Photo of BeerMark
4.24/5  rDev +8.2%
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.

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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.

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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.

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Photo of zoso1967
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%
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.

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Photo of MrMcGibblets
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%
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.

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Photo of AmitC
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%
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.

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Photo of StoneTSR
4.26/5  rDev +8.7%
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.

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Photo of Hoperator
4.26/5  rDev +8.7%
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.

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Photo of prototypic
4.27/5  rDev +8.9%
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!

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Photo of tbrown4
4.27/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. -> Dogfish Head chalice. Picked up a six pack of this at Well's in Towson, MD @ about $11. First I've seen it anywhere. Some PA friends of mine have been fluffing this brew recently, and I tend to enjoy the Victory brews. I decided to give this a shot and buy the whole pack.

A - Bright copper, medium bubble head quickly dissolves, decent carb stream, no lacing.

S - Wow. Immediately noticeable, could be due to the glassware. Very earthy, musky almost muddy. I'm not sure how I feel about this, and it's certainly unique from what I've experienced. It's a round hop aroma with a lightly roasted backdrop.

T - Tastes right about how I'd expect an APA. The big difference here that sets this one apart from the pack is how well defined each flavor note is. Really well done. I imagine this has a lot to do with the freshness.

M - Feels light to medium-light bodied. Crisp carbonation makes this feel very clean.

O - Oh wow, so no more "Drinkability"? Ok, this makes more sense anyway. So, this one is in the middle for me. The ABV makes it easy to put back a few, but as with most decent PAs it's a bit heavy on the palate. I'd certainly order this if I ever find it on tap. I'd buy a six pack again in a few months. This would be a good one to keep on hand in the fridge for the day that you want a good full flavored and moderately hopped craft ale. Nice job, Victory.

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Photo of SerialTicker
4.27/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Says to drink by June 23 2013, so I figure this is beer's likely not more than a couple months old. Poured into a Samuel Adams "Perfect Pint" glass.

Appearance: Almost crystal clear with a very slight haze; orange in color. There's about a two finger head after the pour, but it isn't long before it's just a film on top. Lacing is pretty spotty from top to bottom.

Smell: I first thought it really smelled like woman's shampoo with spices in it. That sounds odd, but it really did -- and not in a bad way at all. It smells great. As it warms up a tad, I find that it smells a lot more like a quality pale ale with a valiant blend of hops and malt. Probably the high light of this beer.

Taste/feel: Sweetness with the hops up front, that develops into more hops... and then more hops... and then finishes with the bitterness, with the flavor of caramel malts coming in to balance the hops. It's odd to me, because the hops seem sweet, and the malts seem bitter. Hey, I'm not complaining. The Citra (I believe they're Citra) hops, as usual, provide a very juicy quality to this beer, and the slight malty and spicy aftertaste on this beer makes it all the more satisfying. This is a great pale ale that has the bitterness of an IPA, but more overall qualities of an APA. Definitely a tasty pale ale worth seeking out. For the best flavor, I say take it out of the fridge five minutes before drinking it -- it's when it's at its best, I think.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
4.28/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Headwaters Pale Ale, 12 oz bottle, Feb 15 2011 so very fresh indeed.

Appearance: Bright copper in color with a yellowish soapy, bubbly head with lots of lace on the glass. Looks pretty good.

Smell: Hoppy, some breadyness, cat pee. All good solid traits in a pale ale.

Taste: Victory really manages to get all the best from the hops used in this one. A unique tobacco/leafy/herbal tone but very bright. Some citrus is there too. Malt flavor is almost similar to an english ale and is very light. Good hop flavor almost reminds the Prima Pils with a great hop flavor.

Mouthfeel: Medium to light bodied and alittle watery but carbonation was good.

Drinkability: A nice session beer from Victory. Lots of hop flavor and at the modest ABV I could make this a stand by.

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Photo of onewetpaw
4.28/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass.

A- Spicy hop character with some mild orange hops as well. Caramel and some nice full maltiness as well.

A- Brilliantly clear light amber with a nice white two finger head.

F- Spicy hop character reminding me of Centennial predominates initially. The malt character quickly follows and is nice and strong with some mild caramel sweetness present, but definitely in the background.

M- Full body and above average carbonation. Quick to clear the palate

O- A really nice interpretation of the APA. I'll return to this again for sure. I would chose this over many other pale ales in national distribution.

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Photo of Ahoyhoyindeed
4.29/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Light amber, couldn't tell too much in the bottle

Smell: Slightly sweet

Taste: Light and slightly sweet with a brief hop bite

Mouthfeel: Smooth, light and crisp

Overall: Been drinking a lot of pale ales recently and this is the best so far.

Serving type: bottle

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Photo of cjgator3
4.3/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle

A- Poured into a pint glass. Pours a pale golden orangish color with an off-white head.

S- The aroma is exactly what I expect for a good American Pale Ale. Pale malts with citrusy hops make up the nose.

T- The taste like the aroma is pale malts up front with a good dose of citrusy hops in the finish creating a nice amount of lingering bitterness.

M- The mouthfeel is light bodied with a good amount of carbonation.

O- Overall, I enjoyed this beer. It has everything I want in a Pale Ale. It is not going to knock your socks off, but it is a solid beer that is highly drinkable.

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Photo of nc41
4.3/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is one very hoppy PA without the stinging bitterness of an IPA. Very fruity so you can get your hop fix even if your not a real IPA fan or want to cool on the bitter finish. Looks great. nice head, the nose isn't anything special, but much better than say Hop devil which IMO smells funky. This one is all about the hops, and the only other similar PA I've has would be Burning River. One really well done PA that gives you a nice fruity hop lick without crossing over into IPA territory. Worth a shot by any beer lover.

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Photo of smcolw
4.3/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Starts to slowly overflow the bottle, but the pour produces a standard sized head. The liquid is hazy with a light amber color. Leaves some streaky ring lace.

Classic blend of paler malts and aromatic hops. Very pleasant while being fully predictable (in a good way).

Great balance in the flavors. Light earthiness but there's also a smoothness to the malt flavors. The hop shows up mid-sip and continues through the swallow. The bitterness is less complex but is perfectly appropriate for this style. The body is as to be expected with a slightly high level of carbonation. In short, this is a fine pale ale. In fact if I were to suggest one to give as the example of the American style, I would choose this one.

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Photo of LtCracker20
4.3/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a clear orange amber with a beautiful 2-finger off white head that hangs around for a little bit before falling to a cap. Leaves some very nice lacing.

S- Amazing citrus and floral hops. A little malt sweetness, but the nice citrus and floral aroma comes through the most.

T- A little sweetness mixed in with the hoppiness. Not IPA hop bitterness bite, but nice pale ale hoppiness.

MF- Nice moderate bodied beer with a very clean and crisp finish to it.

O- I actually like this much better than Sierra Nevada's Pale Ale. Don't hate me, but I think the flavor of this beer is much, much better.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
4.3/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I remember way back when this beer was newly released, I was more than happy to see a new Victory beer available and on the market.

But as far as the beer goes:

This has a nice hoppy bite to it. Good spicy tones with a thorough bitter bite. It's nice. Real nice. I like it better than when I had it on-tap. Maybe it was the place I had it at. Either way, this is a good one, which is no less than I expect from Victory. Try it if ya got the chance.

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Photo of cooncat
4.3/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a std. shaker pint at fridge temp.

A hearty pour produces a tangerine colored brew, with a half inch of ecru head. The head sticks around for a while, but diminishes to a thin cap. Lacing shows on the swirl and leaves some splashes on the side of the glass. Nice looking ale.

The nose is very nice for a pale ale. Remember that you are drinking a pale ale, not an IPA. As pale ales go, this is a very nice nose, citrusy with hops, and with some caramel malt balance in the background. Tangerines and orange rind make up the hop nose.

The taste follows the nose quite nicely. This is a well balanced pale ale, and the citrus hops are definitely to the fore, but not 'in your face' as one might expect of an IPA. Nicely balanced with caramel, toffee and bread crust malt notes. Mouthfeel is a solid medium, and the carbonation is spot on for the style, rounding out the mouthfeel.

Victory never fails to impress me. I've been doing a lot of pale ales lately, and this is by far the best of the lot I've tried. This is a great session beer, and I'm thinking a case of this would be a great purchase the next time I cross over into nearby Pa.

Highly recommended, and a first class Pale Ale. It's what I've come to expect from Victory ... great beer. Get 'ya some ASAP!

Na Zdravje!

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Photo of beermanbrian
4.3/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Nice bronze color with an off white soap suds head. Sticky lace trails for the entire glass. Smell of floral hops with citrus notes. Taste follows suit. Nice caramel malt backbone. Solid medium bodyFinish is nice and clean. A nice new offering from victory. Good session beer and a nice summer lighter good beer.

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Headwaters Pale Ale from Victory Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 576 ratings.