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Headwaters Pale Ale - Victory Brewing Company - Downingtown

Not Rated.
Headwaters Pale AleHeadwaters Pale Ale

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

591 Reviews
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(Read More)
Reviews: 591
Hads: 2,505
Avg: 3.92
pDev: 22.96%
Wants: 81
Gots: 442 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Victory Brewing Company - Downingtown
Pennsylvania, United States | website

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: 591 | Hads: 2,505
Photo of jzeilinger
4.12/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours an amber color with moderate carbonation and a very thin white layer and lacing ring covering the top of the beer.

S - For an APA, the aroma is very nice, up front, and has some pungency to it which is refreshing after having too many pale ales with nothing going on in the nose. Light caramel malt and spicey citrus, the hop aroma is almost vinous in nature.

T - Earthy with some floral citrus bite, balanced, and there's a little bit of pine mixed in there. The malt comes through in a biscuity kind of way.

M - Light medium body, somewhat creamy, a little grainy, and lots of prickly carbonation on the tongue.

O - Of the APA's I've had, this one stands near the top. The style isn't one of my favorites, but this one is very solid.

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Photo of FLima
3.72/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Amber copper color with a thin off-white head with low retention.
Very few times I have felt such intense aroma of papaya in a beer. Also hints of sweet strawberries and white bread.
Bitter flavor with notes of tea bags, oranges, papaya, mango, peaches, caramel, grass, earth and floral and perfumy hops. Dry aftertaste with a long lasting perfumy bitterness.
Medium body with appropriate carbonation and an acid sensation.
A hoppy and earthy APA. Papaya with lemon drops and a handful of hops.

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Photo of KarlHungus
4.52/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a clear deep copper color. The head is one inch in height, and recedes slowly into nice lacing. The aroma is of freshly cut grass with a hint of grapefruit. It is a rather strong aroma. The taste is a nice balance of citrus and grass. Bitterness is firm without being overpowering. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a silky texture, and moderate carbonation. Overall, this is one of the best American Pale Ales I've had in a very long time. It has nice complexity. I can see this beer becoming a regular for me.

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Photo of Suds
3.58/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Here is a hazy, golden brew...thin white head. The aroma is of aggressive, piney hops and grain. Citrus and a pungent tree bark quality. Almost cheesy hops. Odd. The taste is moderately dry, sharp , bitter hops. Some companies may call this an IPA. Crisp, bitter, and clean. Full mouthfeel, firm body. Refreshing, and very enjoyable after an afternoon of hiking.

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Photo of StJamesGate
3.65/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

On tap at Black Sheep, Dublin.
Very pale gold with a white collar of foam. 3.75
Husky grain on the nose with just a hint of melon. 3.5
Toast, then lemon, herb, and grass - fairly light. 3.5
Canary melon finish and clean linger.
Crisp, slight cling, light. 3.75

Relieved to find this was around 5%, because it’s not up to much more. Subtle hopping could build to something given enough time/pints, which could be by design, but it’s just dumb and drinkable to start. There was some palate fatigue at that point in the evening, but this still falls in that strange new gap between an APA and a session IPA - too light for the former, too mild for the latter.

Victory can do much better. 3.75

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Photo of jera1350
3.96/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Certainly looks the part with a thick cap of foam and a golden body.

Kind of a soapy hop smell. Liquid dish soap with some earthy and citrus hop notes.

Not the biggest fan of the hop profile, but I do like the overall flavor of the beer. A nice biscuity sweet malt that puts the earthy hops in balance.

Smooth feeling with very soft carbonation. The body is light-medium. Lightly dry finishing as well.

Overall, this is a very solid pale ale. The hops stand out in this one, but in no way overwhelm the whole of the beer. That is the way a good pale ale should be. Nice brew.

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Photo of rlee1390
3.65/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Clear carbonated orange with a one finger head

S-Malt, some citrus hops and buttery notes

T-Starts with malt and some spices, pepper-like, some citrus notes and a little bit of grass.

M-Light to medium bodied, some carbonation

O-The best buy date was two weeks away when I had this beer, but it seemed to have started to turn. I'll look for another fresh one but so far I was disappointed.

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Photo of Fatehunter
3.4/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Pours a thin head on a hazy medium straw colored body.
The aroma is mild fruit: apricot and some grapefruit.
The taste has a solid moderate bitterness throughout with some balancing malt in the middle to end. It finishes with a little sweet note.
The texture is crisp with a good fizz.
It's enjoyable and on the more bitter side.

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Photo of morimech
4.1/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Enjoy by Sept 19 2011. Amber color with two fingers of head that had good retention. The head settles to a thick cap. Some lacing is left on the glass.

Hoppy aroma of citrus and grass. What malt is detectable gives some toasted notes.

The malt makes more of an appearance in the flavor compared with the aroma. Caramel and toasted malt lays a solid foundation for the hops to play on. The hops have notes of citrus, grass, and a little earthiness. Quite a bit of hop flavor from the modest IBUs. Just a hint of sweetness in the finish.

Solid pale ale body. Good carbonation and texture.

A lot of flavor from relatively low IBUs and low ABV. Why can't more brewers do this.

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Photo of Gmann
3.6/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a crystal clear toasted straw color with a small tight off white head that dissipated into a light cap.

The aroma is of a light fruity and peppery hop, slight metallic twang. Pretty standard APA aroma.

The flavor is of a sweet bready malt base with fruity hop flavor, a bit grassy at time, with hints of pepper. Light metallic notes in the finish. The hops seems to be more for bittering than flavor. Again, standard for an APA. Solid but not spectaculiar.

Moderate body with tingly carbonation. Some sweetness on the palate but finishes with a slightly dry bitterness.

A very standard APA, I'd prefer a bit more hop flavor. A good outside drinking beer during a bbq.

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Photo of BeerAdvocate
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review from BeerAdvocate Magazine Issue #50 (March 2011):

Bright amber with a creamy white lacing. Sweet floral, herbal and fresh, with apple skins and fresh grain in the nose. Firm body, creamy mouthfeel, crisp carbonation. Citric hop bite up front with a mixed bag of floral, herbal and spicy notes, followed by a small dose of malt sweetness (cereal grains, biscuity, bready), and apple-y fruitiness rounds things out. Chalky, bicarbonate, and dry with sticky and spicy herbal flavors lingering on the palate. A very solid addi- tion to the Victory lineup. This will no doubt become a benchmark APA in years to come, if they keep it consistent.

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Photo of woosterbill
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at Prime 16 into a shaker pint.

A: Clear light amber body with an inch of pillowy white head. Great retention, spotty lace. Very nice indeed.

S: Floral and piney hops on top of dry, biscuity malt. Simple, and good.

T: Hops are up front, but quickly give way to toasty, biscuity, bready malt. Cleanly bitter finish. I'm impressed by how substantial and complex the malt notes are without adding too much sweetness.

M: Substantial body with moderate, initially sharp carbonation. Enjoyable.

O: While this wasn't anything to write home about, it was a thoroughly enjoyable and drinkable APA. I'd be more than happy to drink a few of these on a cool summer evening. I'm certainly in the minority to say this, but this is by far my favorite of Victory's hop-forward offerings - granted, that says as much about how much I dislike Hop Devil and Hop Wallop as it does about my admiration for Headwaters, but so it goes.

Cheers!

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Photo of DavoleBomb
4.01/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a perfect pint.

3.0 A: Faintly hazed light orange color. Just half a finger of frothy off-white head with average retention, but no lacing.

4.5 S: Lot of aroma in this. Jam packed action for the nose. Quite hoppy with floral and dank resiny, cat pissy hops. Maybe some citrus and pine underneath. Grainy with a light caramel and a light toastiness. Solid neutral malt aroma. Not entirely complex, but powerful and more importantly, exceedingly pleasant.

4.0 T: Good balance betweent the hops and the malts. Hops are again floral, resiny, and dank with just slight cat notes. Grainy malts with light toast and caramel. Solid flavors that are big and bold. Well done.

3.5 M: Lighter medium body. Good moderate carbonation. Light creaminess and could use some more, but good enough overall.

4.0 D: Tasty, well rounded pale ale. Super drinkable and easily classified as an "anytime beer."

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Photo of cokes
4.12/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours toasted golden with a large stack of off-white foam. Retention and lacing are both moderate.
Oily, orange rind and mint nose, backed with herbal snappiness, and tangerine and apple butter-smeared toast.
It begins with a taut, crackery maltiness that unfolds towards honeyed Golden Grahams as it warms. Some tangerine fruitiness frolicks in the middle, then a solid slap of minty, herbal, citrus peel bitterness shoots it down the throat.
It's light bodied, with steady, percolating carbonation. It's an absolutely refreshingly quaffable, and with enough character to stay interesting throughout the session.

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Photo of blackie
4.22/5  rDev +7.7%
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

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Photo of FosterJM
3.76/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

870th Review on BA
Bottle to Pint
12 oz

Best by: 10/25/11

App- A dark orange/amber with a good solid one finger white head. A good sheen and cling of lace.

Smell- A lot of caramel with some malts and a slight bitter note behind it. A little bit earthy and citrus.

Taste- A pretty straightforward brew. A lot of malt behind its profile with some earthy tones. A slight citrus component with a small dampness behind it as well.

Mouth- A medium bodied beer with a paired medium carbonation. A good earthy and juicy residual flavor.

Drink- Not as refreshing as I had hoped but still tasteful. A bit fuller than most pale ales and a tad darker and more layered.

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Photo of Reagan1984
4.42/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed a couple of these on draft at Armby Abbey. The sample I tried sold me immediately with it's great aroma. Two visits and two pints later, Victory reminded me why they have been one of my favorite brewers.

Pale Amber in color with some gold/orange tones and nice clarity. Nice finger of creamy head that leaves some nice lacing.

Aroma is fruity, fresh and full of grapefruit and topical notes.

Nice little beer here. Great balance, nice fresh hop flavor with an explosion of grapefruit. Toasty malts play a nice supporting role here.

Really refreshing and bright in your mouth. Carbonation pops an brings forth the hop character.

Really enjoyed this and will look for the bottled version (which I am told exists)

Well done!

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Photo of argock
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on-tap in a clear nonic pint at Mellow Mushroom (Charlottesville, VA).

A: Clear amber with 1/2-finger tightly bubble oatmeal colored head with good retention and lacing.

S: The hoppiness seems a little tempered compared to the bottle I had last week. Still orange dominated with a rich biscuity malt presence.

T: The hoppiness and maltiness don't have the profound snappy quality that the bottle version had. Still an enjoyable brew with smooth orange and pine hops qualities and generous caramel and pale maltiness.

M: Carbonation is medium as is the body.

D: A nice session brwe from Victory -- I would order again, but I thought the bottle was sharper and more distinctive.

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Photo of notchucknorris
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Clear copper color with a 1/2 finger cream colored head.

S: Some pretty nice floral hops and a touch of caramel. Not fantastic, but pretty nice.

T: Some good floral hop flavor upfront followed by some biscuity malt and a touch of breadiness and malt sweetness on the finish. There's nothing about this beer that blew me away, but it's a tasty pale ale and I'd definitely try it again.

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Photo of alexgash
4.35/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle. No bottle date.

Deep tawny orange, with golden edges. Small pillow of gauzy, off-white head. Nose shows off fresh citrus and piny notes mixed with spicy, almost rye-ish malt, and a bit of fruit. Nice balance.

Toasted malt up front. Hop bitterness soon follows; very citrusy, with some marmalade, grapefruit, and spice. Caramel and fruit show up in the malty base. Drier in the finish, with lingering peppery, citrusy hop bitterness and traces of caramel malt. Moderate body with a smooth, easy feel. Very enjoyable and quite sessionable. Can't believe it took me so long to try this beer!

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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 KTCamm
3.54/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from twelve oz bottle into a pint glass

Pours copper with some foam that settles out. No lacing. Piney hoppy smell. Malty taste. Up front hop bite oily through the middle fades out. Smooth. Watery in a good way. Thin carbonation some grapefruit notes. Overall good beer.

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

Enjoy by Aug 22 2011

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

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

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

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

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

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Photo of wedge
4.07/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Enjoy By: Jul 15 2011

Golden orange hue with a solid frothy head atop. Hoppy aroma...herbal, floral, zesty grapefruit notes over a subtle sugar cookie base. Leafy, sweet, juicy, spicy hoppiness on the tongue. The hops have a nice, punchy, pungency to them all around, but it's not out of control. Oily, yet fairly dry. Only a hint of the toasted malts under all the fresh, dank zestiness.

Very crisp and refreshing. Another quality beverage from the fine people at Victory that will likely find it's way into my fridge regularly. I love a good sessionable beer...

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Photo of KYGunner
3.49/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is a very clean, very light Pale Ale that has a nice hop profile of pine and herbal notes while delivering a light malt backdrop. The appearance is very light in its copper hue with a thin fizz for a head. The aromas are subtle with pine, floral notes and a touch of caramel. The flavor follows suit with a very clean light finish. This is a good example of a Pale Ale but does little to set itself apart.

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Headwaters Pale Ale from Victory Brewing Company - Downingtown
88 out of 100 based on 591 ratings.