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Headwaters Pale Ale - Victory Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Headwaters Pale AleHeadwaters Pale Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
88
very good

2,068 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,068
Reviews: 538
rAvg: 3.92
pDev: 11.48%
Wants: 60
Gots: 186 | FT: 3
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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: thagr81us on 02-14-2011)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Headwaters Pale Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 2,068 | Reviews: 538 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Texasfan549
3.5/5  rDev -10.7%

Texasfan549, Jun 22, 2013
Photo of BEERchitect
3.8/5  rDev -3.1%
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.

BEERchitect, Mar 20, 2014
Photo of mikesgroove
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

had this one on tap at barleys while waiting for calton to bring up the growler! served cold right from the tap.

the pour was a very nice and very golden amber with a smooth cap of white that graced the top for a few moments before settling back down. light aroma, citrus hops, lemon, orange, nice hints of tangerine peel and a wonerfully well balanced profile. smooth, clean and very light delivery lets the flavor explore the palate and really gives a cool and resfreshing taste. clean an concise, the finish was lightly tart and dry.

overall i was not expecting much but i ended up really, really liking this one, good session beer.

mikesgroove, Mar 23, 2011
Photo of kjkinsey
4/5  rDev +2%

kjkinsey, Dec 05, 2011
Photo of womencantsail
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks for sending this one my way, Dyan.

A: The pour is amber in color with a couple fingers of white head that leaves some mild lacing on the glass.

S: A solid hoppy aroma right away. Juicy citrus with plenty of oranges and tangerines, perhaps some hints of grapefruit, too. A moderate amount of malt in there. Nicely balanced.

T: The citrus hop flavors open things up quite pleasantly. Plenty of tangerine and mild grapefruit along with some hints of pine which provide a little bitterness. Balanced with sweetness of bready malts.

M: Medium in body with a moderate level of carbonation.

O: This is very much along the lines of how I like my pale ales. Nice hoppy character without being overly bitter or malty.

womencantsail, May 05, 2011
Photo of ygtbsm94
3.5/5  rDev -10.7%

ygtbsm94, Aug 12, 2013
Photo of kylehay2004
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: 1.5 finger white head with decent retention on a hazy golden with amber hue body.

S: a mild wet sock hop, almost fresh hop like note, and mildly earthy and floral hops. little on the malt side.

T: nice pine, grass and floral notes provided by the hops. minimal on the malt end.

M: medium body and moderate carbonation.

Overall: Nicely hoppy but still drinkable. This APA is properly hopped for the style. A nice member of the genre.

kylehay2004, May 15, 2012
Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.05/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle - $1.89 at Olde Crabapple Bottle Shoppe in Alpharetta, Georgia.

Enjoy by August 17, 2011.

Appearance: Pours a golden-orange body with clear, consistent clarity and crowned with a layer of just off-white suds. Some spotty lacing on the way down.

Smell: Citrus peelings and sun-dried grasses in the nose with some underlying, milder hints of sweetish malt.

Taste: Adequate base of pale maltiness with light streaks of grainy bread and mildly sweet toffee. Citrusy tastes of zested lemons and tangerines. Moderately bitter, though it builds a bit as you go along. Grows a bit pithier and resinous as you approach the dry, crisp finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light body. Medium carbonation.

Overall: A nice, pleasant pale with a little bit of potency going on.

ChainGangGuy, Apr 26, 2011
Photo of Knapp85
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This poured out as a clear looking orange color. The head was white and doesn't really have much retention. The lacing is light but scattered around the glass. The smell of the beer has a solid malt character with some hope on the nose. The taste is balanced with bitterness and grains. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a good carbonation to it. Overall this beer is actually impressive. I enjoy it and I feel like I would enjoy it again if I were to have it. Thumbs up to Victory on this one.

Knapp85, Jan 19, 2012
Photo of oberon
4/5  rDev +2%
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.

oberon, Mar 06, 2011
Photo of TMoney2591
2.63/5  rDev -32.9%
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.

TMoney2591, Jun 26, 2011
Photo of emerge077
3.4/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

BBD: Aug 17 2011

Burnished gold color, offwhite cream colored foam that maintains itself well. Random spotty lace and a partial sheet of foam sticks to the glass. Slowly ascending visible carbonation.

Honeyed malt, mildly aromatic floral hops. Fairly mellow with a sweet, malt forward aroma.

Soft sweet malt, grassy hop, light lingering bitterness. Very simple and understated malt character. Hops come across as slighty spicy and floral. Light carbonation, easy drinking. A bit simple with no real flaws, slightly sweet for my taste personally. Still it's a quality offering, like the majority of Victory's output. Good craft transiton beer.

emerge077, May 08, 2011
Photo of zeff80
3.88/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a clear, golden amber color with a small, off-white, bubbly head of foam. It left sudsy trails of lace on the glass.

S - It smelled piney with some tropical fruit. A touch of caramel, too.

T - It tasted fairly spicy with some sweet caramel maltiness. It had a tropical fruit hop presence with just enough bitterness.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium bodied ale with a dry finish.

O - This is a very nice APA. Victory is very consistent with their year round brews.

zeff80, Jan 18, 2012
Photo of JAHMUR
3.5/5  rDev -10.7%

JAHMUR, Feb 11, 2012
Photo of NeroFiddled
4.35/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I recently consulted with a brewery that was soon to be starting up and when they asked what beers I thought they should brew (which was really the LAST thing to consider given the many unanswered questions regarding just getting the brewery built!), I told them "forget doing a pale ale and just brew an IPA". My point was that hops are what's selling now; and that a lot of beer geeks just aren't interested in basic pale ales anymore - they want "WOW"! Besides, it's a very hard sell to get your pale ale on tap when they're already being squeezed out by different styles (Belgians, IPA's, ...). That said, I'd questioned why Victory, or any brewery would bring out a pale ale at this point. I didn't know what to expect of it, but now I do - it's got some "WOW"!

There are a lot of breweries making IPA's that are really just hopped up pale ales. That's not even an option for Victory given their IPA's. This is a pale ale. It's medium light in body and drinkable. The bitterness is at a reasonable level, somewhere around 36 IBU's; and it's got a nice, caramel-drizzled malt base to it (giving a nod to its English ancestors). The difference is they've used some new and different American hops. I'm not sure what they are, but there's a sharp edge in the nose, and at the front of the mouth in the flavor. It's pungent and somewhat citrusy (tangerine). That's the attention grabber! Unlike a lot of other breweries that would have just taken that and run with it (read as - hammered you over the head with it), Victory has decided to go for more balance. They've blended their hops so that it's not just one gleaming component that blinds you from the rest of the beer. It's right up there in front, yes, but then it settles down and you find more leafy, floral, earthy, and even somewhat piney hops across the middle. There's a lot of character, but the hops still don't overwhelm the malt. It just goes from sharp at the beginning, to wide and malty with more bitterness showing across the middle, and then it steadily reduces in a dwindling finish that's more earthy/piney than citrusy. Everything is kept in balance, which leaves it remarkably drinkable.

The only question is, are today's craft drinkers savvy enough to recognize that balance, or will they still be blinded by the next bigger and better (read as less-focused but brash or bold) thing? Headwaters is a great American pale ale that carves its own little niche; and hopefully will be rewarded rather than passed over.

NeroFiddled, Mar 09, 2011
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.

WVbeergeek, Feb 21, 2011
Photo of nickfl
4.33/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A - Pours with one and a half fingers of white foam on top of a clear, bright copper colored body. The head settles down slowly and leaves moderate lace on the glass.

S - A moderately strong, yet fresh and very green hop aroma with bready malt in the background.

T - Bread and toasted malt up front with some light sweetness. More toasted malt in the middle as well as a bit of pine hop flavor. The beer ends with more rich, sweet malt and moderate bitterness as well as a lingering pine hop flavor.

M - Medium body, moderate carbonation, and a slightly sweet finish.

D - Excellent, it is mild and balanced but very full flavored for the style. The hop aroma isn't so strong that one could mistake it for an IPA, but it is pungent and very enjoyable. This has to be the best APA that I have ever had, simply brilliant.

nickfl, Apr 16, 2011
Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.58/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On-tap 4/27/2011 at Doherty’s East Ave Irish Pub, served in a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep gold color, short off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains caramelized malts, earthy hops and some citrus.

T: The taste starts out with a strong but not over-powering hops bitterness followed by sweet flavors of caramel and citrus. The malt character is hearty and there’s some smokiness in the background creating a decent balance. The after-taste is slightly bready.

M: Smooth and crisp, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is clean.

D: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, mild kick, good representation of style, it’s a decent beer but there are others in the style that I would pick first.

TheManiacalOne, Apr 29, 2011
Photo of RblWthACoz
4.33/5  rDev +10.5%
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.

RblWthACoz, Aug 15, 2012
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.

Kegatron, Feb 16, 2011
Photo of StonedTrippin
3.93/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

cool environmental cause here. pours a orange blossom honey color with a fading white head. little bit of cloudiness. smells like citrus all the way, really pungent lemon/limey hops and just a touch of english feeling pale malt. flavor is less hoppy than the ipa nose indicates, but still a nice fruity character to the hops. really nice evolution in the mouth fruity hops first, then thick amber-esque malt flavor, then a nice bitter hops, delicate finish. feel is decent, body feels a little heavier than it should, and definitely heavier than it looks. it would be appropriate if the abv was a few percent higher, but its just a tiny bit out of balance there. overall a great beer for a great cause. hops are the star here, really nuanced flavors. yum

StonedTrippin, Mar 09, 2012
Photo of Slatetank
3.9/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I picked this up from Wegman's in Mechanicsburg as part of a mix-a-six. The brown bottle was poured chilled into a willybecker.

The shade is deep golden with amber hues bordering on copper with great clarity, the head rises and falls to about 1/2 inch of rocky off white with an average sized bead and stringy lace clings. The carbonation is visible in the liquid. I like the aroma, I just wish there were more of it -slightly citrus hop odors w/ a slight toasted malt aroma, slight hints of mineral or yeast scents in their too. I enjoy the balanced feel this beer presents with moderate bitterness and carbonation with slight toasted malt and light sweetness, the pale finishes semi-dry with some lingering hop astringency.

Headwaters is a tasty pale with some citrus notes from the hops with a slight lemony and herbal effect with mild hints of bitter flavor interwoven among a slight bready and dry toasty malt which doesn't quite get to the nutty realm but the lingering acidity of the hops seems to give the flavor more of a dry taste toward the end which is refreshing. I have had many American Pale ales and I think this one is pretty solid, it has the Victory signature taste, pretty nice balance which is a sign it was brewed to be drinkable. I think Victory achieved that with Headwaters.

Slatetank, Mar 07, 2011
Photo of jlindros
3.93/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big fizzy head of 1.5 fingers hits the top of my SA perfect pint glass perfectly, and lots of bubbles from the bottom reinforcing it so it sticks around for a while. The beer is a crystal clear pale amber orange color. slight sticky lacing.

Nose has some nice hops, fresh hops with just a touch of musty resin, light grassy, barely a touch of tropical fruit, not much by way of malts.

Taste is light and refreshing, low malt feel but a bit of a malty flavor, some hops again, light musty resin, fresh wet hop like flavors, light spicy and grassy hops, very light tropical fruit. Dry finish, gets fairly bitter and slightly astringent, very light mint flavor too. Light lingering citrus and musty resin.

Mouth is a bit lighter bodied, but good carbonation, crisp.

Overall fairly decent, not the best APA but a decent hop addition, light malts, very drinkable and refreshing.

jlindros, Mar 23, 2011
Photo of drabmuh
3.95/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I'm running out of beers wtih several hundred reviews that I've never had, but this is definitely one that I've managed to overlook for the past decade, that ends today. On tap at Meridian pint.

Beer is light amber and clear with moderate to light carbonation, a thin white head of small bubbles, some lacing, looks nice.

Aroma is sweet, mildy hoppy, a little earthy, smells fine.

Beer is medium to light in body, easy drinking, wet finish, wet throughout, the hops are subdued and under emphasized, there is a mild graininess to the finish but overall a decent APA.

drabmuh, Feb 19, 2012
Photo of oline73
3.53/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bottle into a standard pint glass.

Appearance: The beer pours a clear amber color with a half finger of fluffy off white head that leaves a ring around the pour and some mild lacing.

Smell: Light malt with a citrus peel hop note in front. Not particularly interesting, but still nice.

Taste: Could use a bit more malt in the background, but the hop profile is nice. Citrus peel hop bitterness builds through the sip to the finish.

Mouthfeel: The body is on the thin side of medium with fluffy carbonation and a dry finish.

Overall: This is a really drinkable pale ale. Nothing to think about too much, but I enjoyed it enough.

oline73, Aug 31, 2012
Headwaters Pale Ale from Victory Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 2,068 ratings.