Headwaters Pale Ale - Victory Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Headwaters Pale AleHeadwaters Pale Ale

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BA SCORE
88
very good

2,341 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,341
Reviews: 564
rAvg: 3.92
pDev: 11.22%
Wants: 73
Gots: 351 | 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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,341 | Reviews: 564
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.

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

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!

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.

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.

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!

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."

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.

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.

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.

Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
4.15/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle served in a standard pint glass.

L - clear bright copper color with a white head that left patchy lacing.

S - sweet, floral hop aroma.

T - sweetness upfront is quickly met with a sharp bite of bitterness finishing dry and bittersweet.

F - medium bodied with a clean, crisp feel.

D - borderline session beer for some but I think I could do a few in a sitting.

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!

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.

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

Pours a nice gold color in the glass and a good head. Lacing on the glass is present during consumption. This continues to challenge older traditions of pale ales and has a healthy dose of hops both in the nose and on the tongue. Hops tend to be more spices than citrus or pine. Good refreshing beer and could be used as a session.

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.

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.

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.

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

From the hand pull at The Bulls Head Public House, Lititz, PA.

A-Lightly hazed golden kissed copper, with a medium bright white head. Head slowly reduces to a thin cap and leaves heavy ringing lace.

S-Light floral hop qualities with a zing of spiciness and a subtle hit of muddled herbs. Mild citrus notes sneak through with notes of lemon zest being most dominate. Backing body of lightly sweet biscuit malt in the background providing balance.

T-Pleasant citrus zing melds nicely with a combination of herbal dankness, sweet biscuit malt and a finishing flurry of biting spiciness. All very nice for a rather light brew.

M-Medium bodied, soft, smooth and creamy. Hop bite and spicy zip are long lasting. Becomes surprisingly dry in the finish.

D-This one is right in my wheelhouse, especially on cask! A session APA if there ever was one...not too hoppy, not too big, everything is "just right". I would like to try this on tap and from a bottle to see if it as enjoyable. I doubt it but....Victory has done a fine job with this one.

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

12oz bottle with a July 8th 2011 best by date stamped on the label.

Pours copper-orange in color with brilliant clarity. One finger of off-white foam topped this brew for the first couple of minutes, but has now settled to a thin lace floating on top. Pretty decent head retention.

Smell was pretty fruity and citrus forward immediately following my pour, but more malty aromas are now starting to dominate the nose.

A really nice mix of hops and malts. Really balanced at this point. Hops linger a bit in the finish, but it's pretty mild making for a very refreshing summer beer.

Thin to medium body with moderate carbonation. About what you might expect for the style.

I could easily drink this on a warm summer day during a BBQ.

Morey's Bottom Line: This is the first time that I've had this beer, and I'd like to have a fresher bottle sometime. I almost didn't review it, but if Victory still considers it to be well within the freshness realm, then why not. It was good, but I prefer Southern Tier's Pale. But then again, ST is close, so I only drink theirs fresh.

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.

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...

Photo of thecheapies
3.72/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Orange-copper color and showy carb. Quickly fallen head. 3.0

Piney hops and some grape soda from the malts. A little musty and lightly toasted. 3.5

Spicy hops... almost black peppery. Some dank earthiness evident. Toasted pale malts show off uber-dryness. More pepper in the finish. 3.5

Wow! A heavy-bodied APA. Rich with a busy carb to match. Full and almost creamy in the mouth. Expertly crafted mouthfeel. 5.0

Other than the great feel, not much else stood out. But, I'll simply call it a well-made APA with enough to character to pick it out in a taste test. 4.0

Photo of homebrew311
3.91/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a bright clear gold with plenty of bubbles. Thin white head upon pour, dissipates rather quickly. Not much lacing.

S: I get a whiff of Centennial hops up front with notes of pine and citrus, fairly big malt profile contributes bread and caramel character. Citra hops come through at the end with a lemon zest.

T: malty flavors come through first with notes of bread and caramel. Some sweetness sneaks in next with notes of honey. Bitter notes follow with a citrus/pine hop character. Finish is crisp and well balanced. Very refreshing.

MF: light body, high carbonation, crisp

O: This is a nice flavorful pale ale and is very well balanced. The drinkability is great. Based on the description, I was hoping for a bigger impact from the Citra hops.

Photo of yemenmocha
4.5/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Incredibly flavorful and interesting Pale Ale. Reviewed to style, this one is among the better pale ales I've had. Good complexity of hop aromas and flavors, balanced on the palate, yet also refreshingly easy to drink. Rivals the best of the new, trendy "session IPA" beers too, I would wager.

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

Nice to get to the warmer weather and the lighter beers whether hoppy or not. This one, of course, is. And with a name like "headwaters" I'm inclined to think of the origins of the Mississippi being in our fair state.
Classic hop aroma with solid malt base. Seems familiar, but not necessarily common. Citrus hops with a hop oil quality reminding me of DIPA's.
A little darker than many, but certainly within range. Very clear body of amber gold. Small, but dense creamy looking head.
Well balanced flavors with a solid toasty, biscuit base and hops floating around appreciatively with citrus flavors and lightly moderate bitterness that softly finishes the drink.
Nicely done mouth feel with very soft carbonation, creaminess and moderately light body.
Very nice drinker. An overall balanced beer that if it leans it does towards malt character. But it goes down well, light enough for a few. Seems like a lovely ale for the coming warmer weather. Seems like an outdoor beer.

Headwaters Pale Ale from Victory Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 2,341 ratings.