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Headwaters Pale Ale - Victory Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Headwaters Pale AleHeadwaters Pale Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

583 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 583
Hads: 2,459
Avg: 3.92
pDev: 23.21%
Wants: 82
Gots: 413 | 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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Headwaters Pale Ale Alström Bros
Reviews: 583 | Hads: 2,459
Photo of Mora2000
3.83/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer pours a golden-orange color with a white head. The aroma is very hoppy for a pale ale. I get a lot of piney hops, as well as some resin and grass notes. There is also a little bit of cattyness in the hop aroma. The flavor is a little milder than the aroma. I get some resinous and grass-like hops, but they are balanced somewhat nicely by the biscuit malt. The bitterness is low, as expected in the style. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

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Photo of woodychandler
3.97/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I am heartened by the appearance of Victory beers in CANs as they are one of the last to CANVert to that medium. It was when Jim Koch of Samuel Adams relented on his stance that I knew CANs had finally come into their own. Look for Victory's Megan Moore as a "Character" in an upcoming column.

From the CAN: "A Refreshing Boldly-Hopped Ale"; "This crisp and aromatically arousing session ale integrates a supportive malt base with herbal hop complexity, offering lemon notes and tea-like earthiness."; "Brewmaster Approval [undersigned] Bill [&] Ron".

The Crack! and inverted Glug produced three fingers of fluffy, tawny head that hung around briefly before falling away to wisps. Color was Golden-Amber (SRM = > 5, < 7) with NE-quality clarity. Nose had a pungent lemony-citrusiness underlain by a breadiness and my mouth began to water. Mouthfeel was medium. The initial taste was very lemony on the tongue and in the mouth. It was interesting to get that earthy tea-like flavor as it warmed. I began rolling it around in my mouth before swallowing to enhance the experience. Finish really held the earthiness that seemed to be the point of the melange. I am not generally a fan of session ales/beers, but this was quite satisfying, although at 5.2%, it sits at the high end.

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Photo of smakawhat
3.85/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bottle into a nonic pint glass.

A dull amber orange body, but with a nice glow and nice rising carbonation, makes a light tan/caramel fluffy and creamy head with good peaks and valleys. Settles to a finger after a good three fingers sized pour.

Nose is chewy cookie and biscuity sweet malts, mixing some nice fruity hop. Quite solid and delicious smelling. Basic with a bit of creaminess too it also.

Much of the malt presence hits with a slightly wet palate, not unlike what was hinted on the nose. Chewy and sweet, with a cookie dough like taste, then aftertaste has a real nice airy dry feeling hop quailty, that lingers with some nice bread action. Bitterness lingers quite sharp and long.

Overall pretty solid pale ale, not usually what I think of for Victory but this I could easily have again.

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Photo of Billolick
3.92/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle, Enjoy By Dating (Jul 8, 2011) on the label. Pours clear lighter copper amber, off white head, stays at about 1/2 inch, leaving a thicker collar and just a smidge of lacing.

Bright hoppy nose, minty, tea notes.

Spicy hopped up APA, hops quite minty and prominent. Some malt, but the hops are the star here. A bit thin, could use some more body and more of a malt presence. Eh nothing too special going on here. Just an easy drinking pale ale, with a bolder/fresher hop thing going on, then frequently encountered.

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Photo of Gavage
4.03/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Appearance: pours an orange color with a 2" head that slowly falls to a thin coating.

Smell: light cirus and hop bitterness comes through to the nose.

Taste: caramel, orange, lemon zest, and a moderate bitterness are the main flavors.

Mouthfeel: crisp from start to finish. Short lasting aftertaste. Refreshing.

Overall: a very easy to quaff pale ale that has a nice flavor profile and is satisfying.

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Photo of BARFLYB
4.05/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz Bottle into a glass.

A- A very clear looking olympic gold with some honey color and a bright white and firm inch of ivory colored foam. Very small amounts of stick. I get Citra right off the bat, a nice pale malting and a herbal/earthy scent, not grassy. don't pick up any alcohol. This smells great and the beer is super fresh. Taste really shines from the citra giving off citrus in a pale aleish amount, not shocking like a IPA. Some mango, pale malt, biscuit and just fresh ingredients. Feel is light and comes and goes on the tounge leaving just the lightest aftertaste, that keeps me coming back quicker. This is easy drinking beer and one I can drink a lot of. I won't go crazy over it, but a 6 pack on a hot day will do. This blows hopdevil out of the water, just a more balanced beer alltogether, showing the true skill coming out of Victory. It's harder to make simple beer and pull it off.

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

On-tap at Crow Burger Kitchen, on to the beer:

Yellowish orange in color with touches of copper. The head is ½ inch thick and has a soapy and creamy texture. Spotty lacing is left around the glass. Perfumy is the nose, whcih brings lovely pine, pineapple, and crystal malt aromas.

Its taste is similar to the aroma; yet it seems almost as English as it does American. The piney hop profile is soft, there's a good amount of crystal malt sweetness that comes through, yet it's pretty clean. I don't mind this package at all.

Subtle, yet grand. Headwaters is Victorious.

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Photo of johnnnniee
3.36/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Can from The Drinkery Derry
Brilliantly clear deep golden color with a good sized long lasting frothy off white head. Lemony citrus, light sulfur, light bready maltiness. Old school, a bit bland for my hop toasted taste buds.

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Photo of tempest
4.04/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Best by March 3 of next year, so this one's plenty fresh. The aroma is more light, juicy apricot and floral, while the flavor dives into biting lemon and grapefruit. Toasty, crusty malts pop into the aroma and flavor, for a hop-forward, but not dominant beer. Overall, an excellent pale ale. The bitterness is rough enough to put it on par with some IPAs. I'd buy a six-pack.

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Photo of Halcyondays
3.8/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle,

A: Pours a light amber with a mild soapy white head, good retention, spotty lace.

S: Nice grassy and herbal aroma. Lawn clippings for sure, some biscuity maltiness.

T: Very grassy and green, bitter hopping well to the finish. Light maltiness, good flavour in the style.

M: Frothy, soapy, light-bodied. Crisp, fairly smooth.

D: Really nice pale ale. Classic flavours, a winner from Victory. Very much a mini Hop Wallop, they both have very similar hop profiles.

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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 GarthDanielson
3.95/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured on-tap and served in a pint glass, the beer is a copper color, with a thin, foamy head, white as snow. The aroma is wet, green hops and semisweet caramel malt. Flavors are roasted and toasted caramel sweet, with peppery hops and loads of cedar green characteristics. The aftertaste is syrupy sweet, with a bitter hops presence. The beer's finish is semi-dry and bitter. Very tasty.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
3.83/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Overall, a pretty solid pale ale. Not exactly my style, I find it a bit too bready and grainy for my taste, wheras I prefer mine a tad juicier, but I do find myself going back for another ocassionally. Pours a slightly hazy light orange with a very fine head that leaves some grainy looking lacing. Smells floral and grainy with a touch of meatiness. The taste is nicely balanced with some grain up front followed by some sspicy hops. Very dry, crisp and more crackery than bready. Well made and a bit different.

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

Headwaters Pale Ale has the customary perfectly clear, toasty golden complexion. Its otherwise ordinary, standard sized head leaves intricate and unique patterns of lacing that would require the investigation of a blood-splatter analyst to make sense of.

This pale ale smells like it's been schvitzing for a month in some kind of hop bathhouse. The smell of actual hops - by which I mean the actual buds you pick from those tall vine plants - combines with the conventional smell of boiled hops - the more citrusy and floral effervescence found, not in nature, but in beer. Malts have been lost in the shuffle.

By using a blend of Citra and Centennial hops you're practically begging for fruity, citrusy, floral flavours to dominate your beer; indeed, they have. Notes of passion fruit, rose water, lemon and gooseberry prevail over an (all German) malt bill that is so clean and efficient that it hardly allows its dry, crisp, communion wafer-like taste to be noticed.

Despite the whole flower hop aroma and an ample dosage of kettle hops, this beer is considerably tempered; the bitterness doesn't get too out of hand and the hops brush the palate with the lightness of a feather, rather than falling on it like an iron anvil. The finish is expressly floral, as if I've eaten been eating flower petals all this time.

Victory Brewing is as constant as the north star. It's no surprise that their pale ale turned out as solid as everything else in their lineup. Its delicately floral, fruity hoppiness showcases that there is beauty in simplicity and that you don’t have to read Walden to find heaven in nature. This is definitely no ego-stroking anniversary beer - it's the kind of flavourful, characterful, quality brew this brewery made a name for themselves with.

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Photo of WoodBrew
4.94/5  rDev +26%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

STOP THE PRESSES>>>This beer is F'ing A....F'ing awesome! A very nice flavored yet subtle pale ale. Victory hit the mark for me! A wonderful tasting pale ale that does not linger nor leaves a brutle bitterness and super elevated ABV. The color was copper in color...the white was very thin and not a lot of lace. The nose was heavy with grapefruit with subtle pine. The taste absolutely followed suit...awesome balance! Mouthfeel was great....SESSION!!!

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Photo of plaid75
4.02/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On draft at The Lark, East Northport, NY.

Poured a medium copper hue with a one finger foamy white head. There was very good retention and lacing.

The smell featured a peppery and herbal hops and a light sweet dough.

The taste consisted was well balanced with a full herbal atop an earthy and moderately caramely malt.

The mouthfeel was toward the fuller side of the style.

Overall a very nice hop forward pale ale.

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

(Served in an American pint glass)
Enjoy by Apr. 4 2012
A- This beer pours a clear apricot body with a lumpy beige head and a wall of microbubbles running up the side of the glass.

S- The green earthy hops are full and just a hint of pungency in the finish.

T- The green mellow hops have some pineapple weed flavor and a spice quality to the finish. There is a biscuit malt flavor that grows under the pale malt taste and the dry finish has some grapefruit pith and lime leaf hops flavors that hang on.

M- The medium-light mouthfeel has a tight fizz that enhances the hops in the finish.

O- The nice smooth pale ale has some good malt support to the more forward hops making this very sessionable although a bit on the dry side.

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Photo of akorsak
4.2/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A 12 oz bottle accompanying my sub from Zeek's.

A: The pale ale is pale, a lighter amber color that looks like tea. Quite clear, the condensation on the outside of the glass being the only impediment. A finger of white head disappeared quickly and left no traces behind.

S: The pale ale has a well-balanced aroma, equal parts biscuit and citrus hops. The hoppy grapefruit aromas are floral and sit nicely atop the malts.

T: Very piquant, the spiciness of the hops hits a surprisingly high note. The hops have grapefruit sweetness that flicks at my tastebuds, a sharp bitterness. Caramel and biscuit are nearly as flavorful, matching most all of the hops. An excellent pale ale.

M: Balance is the key, equal parts hop and malt, bready and biting. A comfort beer. I'm glad that Victory finally listened to the masses.

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Photo of Rhettroactive
3.88/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From 12oz bottle to Bruges hybrid glass on 9/28/11
*From notes

A: Clean orange amber. A decent pour yields a 1.5 finger head and solid lacing.

S: Piney hops. A bit of malt too, though more then anything else, this smells exceedingly resiny.

T: Again, that piney resin comes through first. As it opens, there's a bit of that patented citra hop juiciness. The finish is packed with a malty backbone and really adds balance to the beer.

M: Richer then expected. Creamy and frothy, it feels like a beer twice it's ABV.

O: Victory's Headwaters Pale Ale is one of the better (albeit newer) entries into the APA style. If you like hop forward APA's, then I highly recommend checking this out when über-fresh, as the hops show significantly better. I foresee myself knocking off sixers of this stuff on the regs. Well done, Victory.

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Photo of corby112
3.23/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Draft at Kraftwerk on 2/17/11.

Pours a clear dark golden orange color with burnt orange hues when held to a light and a half finger white head that slowly fades into a lasting ring. Sporadic spots of lacing left behind.

Slightly earthy aroma that's also a bit perfume like with hintsof crisp light fruit, grass and straw. Pale malt with a bit of apple, pear and phenol.

Lighter end of medium bodied with crisp, dry, earthy hops that linger throughout into a dry finish. Slightly earthy with hints of grass, sweet alcohol and light fruits, notably apricot and apple. Slightly watered down but with enough complexity to make it interesting. More hop forward than I expected but the malt presence becomes more prominent as it warms.

Not a bad beer but nothing out of the ordinary. Usually Victory makes above average beers for the style but I wasn't terribly impressed with this one.

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Photo of beerthulhu
3.97/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: A dull orange with a good clarity reveals a fine micro-bubbly effervesce rising at a moderate pace. The head is thin, spongy, turning to a washy topping within a short lapse not leaving much in the way of lacing.

S: The aroma was fairly strong of pine and dry citrus that lingered on a bit. Touches of dried toffee and caramel from the specialty grains add a dry toasty compliment.

T: Toasted grains with a light dried caramel and dried toffee. Sticky pine, buttered crossiant with a small helping of alcohol warmth. The finish is dry hopped, grapefruit pulp and pine that lingers with a smooth dryness and spicy nature after the swallow.

M: Nice tingle of carbonation, especially around the tongues edges. Creamy texture, dry with a spicy bite of hops.

O: Overall a nicely hopped pale that doesn’t forget its malt base. Nicely balanced, good drinkability, and one that is definitely six pack and repeat worthy, what’s not to like.

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Photo of tone77
3.64/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a brown 12 oz. bottle. Has a rich golden color with a 1/2 inch head. smell is of hops, some citrus. Taste is hoppy, bitter upfront, some citrus, pine as well, smooth and enjoyable. feels medium bodied in the mouth and overall is a solid beer.

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Photo of DrJay
3.74/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Clear amber with a soapy off-white cap, some spotty lacing, decent head retention. Intense hop aroma, fruity grapefruit rind, citrus zest, a bit spicy, with just a little toasty malt in the background. Hop bitterness was sharp, maybe due to the light body and mild malt sweetness. A little spicy, lots of fruity citrus, a bit earthy. Medium-light body with moderate carbonation, off-dry, decent texture. Overall I liked it, but it did tread very close to being overly aggressive in hop character.

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Photo of puboflyons
3.92/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From a 12 fl. oz. bottle. Sampled on August 5, 2012.

The pour is about medium amber with lively carbonation and a head that diminishes quickly.

The aroma starts out with pale malts, caramel, and raising but the hops really penetrate the senses taking over the scent.

Medium body.

The taste is somewhat sweet but the hops tend to be thje dominating factor here. That is not a bad thing but I like my American Pales to be a little less bitter.

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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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Headwaters Pale Ale from Victory Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 583 ratings.