Headwaters Pale Ale - Victory Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Headwaters Pale AleHeadwaters Pale Ale

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

559 Reviews
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(Read More)
Reviews: 559
Hads: 2,358
rAvg: 3.93
pDev: 9.67%
Wants: 76
Gots: 364 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 559 | Hads: 2,358
Photo of magnj
3.76/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

A - Brilliant clear orange-amber body with a frothy 1 finger head.

S - Aromatic during the pour! Smells well balanced with nice earthy hop tones and bready malt. Somewhat sweet?

T - Less hopaliscious than the initial nose suggested but being an APA this is a good thing. Extremely well balanced, really. Leads with grainy, raw pale malts and citrus, then gives way to just a little bit of earthy hop flavor and bitterness. Again ends grainy and reminds me of a typical brewpub house pale ale.

M/D - It took me a minute to figure out what it was about this beer that was giving me mixed readings. Despite all the flavor described above I still felt like it was almost watery. To me I think it's way under carbonated. Aside from that issue it's a great beer but it does affect it's drinkability. (796 characters)

Photo of omnigrits
3.86/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pored into a straight pint glass.

A. A very pleasing amber/light copper colour with a white head. Nice lace.

S. Almost non-existent. Virtually no aroma, but what little there is feels very APA-like. Some malty grain and a hint of citrusy hops.

T. Much better. Malt and hops in near perfect balance with a good but not overstated bitter finish.

M. Medium bodied, crisp carbonation.

O. A decent pale ale, very drinkable, quite subtle. I could easily see myself drinking this all evening. Very tasty. (502 characters)

Photo of MatthewWilde
3.67/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Sample: 1 bottle 2012

A: Copper-orange in color, completely translucent, mild internal carbonation, pours a small foamy head that dissipates into respectable lacing

S: Heavy citrus and tropical fruits, definite orange peel and some papaya, pretty fragrant all-in-all

T: Pretty weak in terms of flavor, quite similar to the nose, tropical fruits, light hops, of course, still a good sour/bitter balance, but missing something

M: Very smooth and drinkable, light citrus aftertaste, not drying or overpowering on the palate, but to be expected for the style and with such a low abv

O: Light, fragrant, and smooth, but nothing special, just a simple pale ale, pretty average (675 characters)

Photo of deaconoflove
3.06/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Ap. Beautiful, bright amber color with frothy off-white head. Nice lacing, too.
Sm. Grapefruit, first and foremost and really the only thing.
Ta. Grapefruit...maybe some malt way back int he corner.
Mf. Light, crisp, good carbonation. Good.
Dr. Goes down easy. (260 characters)

Photo of devinoconnor
4.12/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Victory's becoming a top tier brewery in my eyes. One brew after another, I'm pleasantly surprised.

This is a strong American Pale Ale, but it borders on an IPA in taste and smell.

Pours a golden color.

Smell is quite hoppy for categorized as a pale ale.

I thought the taste would be overly hoppy from the nose, but it wasn't at all. Yes, there's plenty of hops there, but the beer has a nice smoothness finish. It has a rather in-depth watery taste as it goes down. The Headwaters isn't just part of the name; it's a vital part of the beer.

Overall, highly recommend. (578 characters)

Photo of DeltaGolfSierra
4.33/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance is a crystal clear gold with a large pale white head on top. Good lacing down the glass while drinking. Scents are citrus, fresh bread, and a little bit of grass. The taste has a big hops profile - strongly citrus, with bitter grapefruity hops coming through stronger than some IPAs I've had. There is still some semblance of balance though, with a malty sweetness coming through in the background. I would rate this near the top of its style. Another winner from Victory. (483 characters)

Photo of Retroman40
3.98/5  rDev +1.3%

A great example of what a pale ale should be. Golden color, good hop aroma and a great balance between the hops and rich malt backbone. Very refreshing. Good carbonation level and smooth mouth feel with a sweet finish. (221 characters)

Photo of Scrapss
3.92/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured into a cheater pint from the bottle.

A: Translucent with floaties. Golden radiance. Thin head dissipates to ring less than 1 mm and minimal lacing. Has a fairly active carbonation present.

S: Very tropical and a hair bit piney. Malt peeks in with very light, crackery malt that does not intrude on the hops. Yeast is very subdued and a light yeasty, toastiness or bread peeks in.

T: Bitter orange and tropical fruits yield to a light bread or cracker note. A slightly bitter, sour fruit/metallic swallow ensues, not unpleasant but pronounced.

M: Dry with a very pronounced creaminess. Ephermal on the palate from the carbonation and hop dryness and medium body lends itself to these factors too.

O: Very good example of the style. Not too bitter, not too over the top. (781 characters)

Photo of MrOH
3.51/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Brilliantly clear deep gold with thin white head. Very little lacing.

A lot of overripe pineapple and grapefruit jumps out, far more than a standard APA. Some dry bready malt and a touch of caramel underneath.

Really crisp flavor. Bitter herbs, seltzer water, pineapple, some citrus rind. Very cleansing. This beer should be in a Jewish deli, as it would probably go exceedingly well with pastrami or lox. Malt does really show itself outside of a vague pretzel impression. Fruit comes forward a bit as it warms, but never overcomes the bitter seltzer sensation.

Light bodied and effervescent, as it should be.

Meh, next time I'm having a reuben or sailor sandwich I'll look for one, but not really something I'd drink repeatedly (733 characters)

Photo of LtCracker20
4.3/5  rDev +9.4%
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. (606 characters)

Photo of ReelBigwigFish
4.17/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had a 6oz sample at work and then a serving in a bottle more recently.

a: from the sampling, it had a golden color with little head, though the vessel may have hindered head formation, retention, and lacing.

s: hoppier than expected with the usual pale malt aromas. the strong hop aromas really make this stand out for a pale ale.

t: again, the hops are what make this such a treat. piney hops are much more pronounced than in many other pale ales, but not nearly at the level of IPA'ism; this allows for an easily balanced, and subtle blending of hops and sweet malt flavors.

m: a medium bodied ale that is very drinkable. it's great to swish around to get all the flavor you can, and also great to take a nice big gulp and get that refreshing bite.

o: as a fan of ipa's, i think this really is a great beer. it's nothing too crazy, but far superior to something like sierra nevada. (888 characters)

Photo of Wadsey
3.1/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Victory Headwaters 

Served in a Terry Abner Salon signature glass

A: Pours as shiny copper with decent head that sadly has poor retention. Still, a nice stream of bubbles rise through the beer. 

S: Hops smell pungent and lively, evoking citrus and tropical fruit, especially passion fruit. A little marijuana. Malts throw biscuity aromas.

T: Unfortunately, the above characteristics are not as sharp in taste. Cracker-like malts with a hint of steely caramel.  General fruity and a little spicy hops. Medium-high bitterness. The beer is dry. Weeds and citrus peels in finish.  

M: Medium-light body and medium carbonation. The beer would be smooth except somewhat harsh weedy finish. 

O: Victory Headwaters strikes me as a decent pale ale whose overall score is hurt by a relatively harsh finish. I will probably revisit this beer, particularly if I find it on tap.  (879 characters)

Photo of Star80
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours out a golden amber color, with a thinning but still creamy looking head. Smells a lot like a famous Pale Ale from Northern California that I won't name, some nice citric hop whiffs with some spiciness that is hard to point a finger on. Taste is nice a balance, some malty, breadiness but with a spicey hop background to help balance the flavors out and cleanly come off the palate. Definitely a bit more spicey than that Calfornia Pale Ale, but I think these are similar in quality, I believe they both are using lots of whole leaf Cascades, which to me is still one of the best hops on earth. Anyway, would take a point off for originality somewhere, but from the brewers standpoint why try and reinvent the wheel? A nice, high drinkable interpretation nonetheless! (772 characters)

Photo of pvsob
3.97/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Light orange color with a rather small head (white) that fades quickly and leaves some lacing.

S- Malt, earthy/musty aromas, grapefruit, and just a touch of tropical fruit.

T- I picked up more malt in the flavor than in the aroma. A nice citrus bitterness balances out the malt. A nice bitter (citrus pith) finish.

M- Low to medium feel with medium to high levels of carbonation.

O- Well done Victory. I think I found a local replacement for all those sixers of SNPA I usually have in my fridge. Recommended. Cheers. (524 characters)

Photo of birderbeerer
3.8/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Golden beer with a slightly off-white, two-finger head.

What is that hop? It's the same aroma as Daisy Cutter and Nugget Nectar--a clean and pungent hop. Like a juicy pine cone. Hard to pinpoint. But it's very nice.

And, like Daisy Cutter, the taste just isn't as nice. The hop tastes more bitter than it smells. The malts are very sweet and this is a good beer. But it's not blended well and the hops are a little off-kilter with the rest of the beer.

This beer is best as a hoppy chug after doing something outside on a scorcher day. (539 characters)

Photo of Stobin
3.3/5  rDev -16%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Really like this style, don't know if this one is a good representation. Smell has a hint of what wine people call "pipi du chat", or cat piss. Didn't care for smell, but tastes much better. Really like this brewery, and most of its offerings, but this one falls a little flat for me. Will try on tap if given the chance, but won't buy in bottles again. (353 characters)

Photo of greybeardloon
3.95/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

best before March 10, 2012

A: Solid lacing.

S: Bitter grapefruit and piney hops.

T: Slightly sweet grain and the same hops. The hops are definitely prominent, but there is still some modicum of balance.

M: Just about right.

O: Very good, hoppy APA. I have no problem drinking several. (291 characters)

Photo of ToAzwethinkweizm
3.3/5  rDev -16%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Date: 24 June 2011
Glass: Ithaca English-style pint glass
Type: 12fl bottle

Poured gently, brief 1+ finger head, reduces to a light cap, fairly nice draped lacing, color is clear amber gold

Aroma is wonderfully floral, paired with touches of pine, and a quick wisp of grapefruit.

Taste is incredible for a session beer 5.1% (at least I believe it's of session quality). Taste begins with a lightly floral bitter hops, a touch of pine, and a pale malt backbone. Possibly the slightest touch of lemon, but very brief.

Mouthfeel is extremely crisp, like a quick spike. Doesn't leave a bitterness on the palate. A lemony flavor lasts few a few seconds. Light-bodied beer, great for hop-heads that don't want to spend a lot of money, and want a sessionable beer. Good job again, Victory. (786 characters)

Photo of DAllspaw
4.47/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into plastic cup while on vacation, so I don’t yet have proper rating for appearance, but looks like other pale ales…it was pale with white head. Moving on, the aroma on this beer was exceptional. Very bright notes of grapefruit and citrus with a hint of pine and some subdued malt. One of the better smelling pale ales I’ve had. Taste follows suit, very fresh hope profile and a crispness in the taste that reminds me less of pale ale and more of a pilsner. The creamy mouthfeel present in so many pale ales is not as evident here, but nevermind, since a great beer in its own right. Can’t wait to have again, really made a strong first impression. (664 characters)

Photo of generalnotsew
4.65/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a thick cottony white head. Body is very dark orange/amber color. For the abv and the style it looks exceptional. Smell is sweet grassy, earthy, pineapple, caramel malts. Very potent in the nose with all these pleasant smells. Nice clean hop bite upfront. Mellows out into a smooth caramel malt. Not as good as the smell but still leaps and bounds above a lot of pales. Taste is also grassy with a bit of grapefruit. Very oily and bubbly mouthfeel. Overall this is one the best Pale Ales I have ever had. Very clean and refreshing. Should be a real summertime crowd pleaser! (580 characters)

Photo of Genuine
3.37/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from the bottle into a clean pint glass.

Poured a clear copper/amber in color. Formed a nice, slight tan 2 finger head that left some decent lacing.

Smell - some light citrusty hops hit the nose first, with a nice crispness.

Taste - initial hop bite, that floated over the palate for the malts to show up, and finished very clean and smooth. very easy drinking pale ale.

Mouthfeel - medium light.

overall - not a bad pale ale. Not sure if it's one that i'd get again, but it is a very easy drinking pale ale. (525 characters)

Photo of happy4hoppybeer
4.69/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Light,clear orange, with a nice half-inch of fluffy white head.Lacing is rather minimal.

Sweet citrus,floral hops, combined with nice sweet malt backbone. Wow,very inviting. I love this very pleasant aroma,nice citrusy hops are there right in your nose,with the steady level of malt sweetness. Yes.

Upon sip,what I experience in the nose is pleasantly repeated on the tongue. Good bitter citrus hops,yet very restrained, which is appropriate for a pale ale. Sweet caramel malts. Good medium body,with average carbonation,not too much,just the right amount of it.

Yet another winner from Victory,they never cease to amaze me, and always fail to dissapoint me. (662 characters)

Photo of VictorWisc
4.06/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours clear medium amber with moderate off-white head with little retention, but with some foam film remaining on the surface. Moderate lacing even after head subsides.

Pungent hoppy nose with noticeable yeast. Mild citrus and eucalyptus notes.

Classic PA flavor profile Tastes grassy up front, then piny resin and clove notes with floral yeastiness. The finish is sweet citrus and caramel maltiness, rounding off back to resinous spice. Well balanced once the initial bitterness melts away. [PS 08/02/13: Just had another bottle from the same batch not quite a week later and this one is all grapefruit peel and mild caramel/burnt sugar malt notes. Not sure what to make of the difference, as there is nothing sweet in this bottle. It really tastes like what I got when I tried to infuse fresh grapefruit peels for 24 hours.]

Body light to medium with very light carbonation as the beer coats the tongue. Not boozy, but there is some alcohol doing a hot dance on the tongue.

Good summer choice if not overchilled. For me this is a strong preference over comparable Sierra Nevada PA which tends not to hold flavors quite as long. An excellent part of a mixed 12 (with Prima, HotDevil and Golden Monkey) that would work well in any season. (1,243 characters)

Photo of Imsothirsty
4.13/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a light copper/ orange, lots of bubbles, no haze, half finger of white rocky head.

Smell is all piney hops. Just a little bit floral.

Taste: Floral hops, some sharp citrus notes, and just a tiny backing of malt. Not complex, but satisfying

Mouthfeel is nice. Body is between medium and light, moderately high carbonation, but it seems appropriate. Just a tiny tiny bit of heat from the alcohol.

Overall maybe the best Pale Ale I've ever had. Probably will be my next homebrew project to clone this. (508 characters)

Photo of burnheartsMKE
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Over a large pie from Classic Slice I drank this tasty pale ale. It had a mellow aroma, a laid-back impression, a chill mid-section and dry bitter finish. At first I thought, Oh no, another out-of-wack pale ale! But as I enjoyed it as an accompaniment to my rich, tangy-sauced pizza it became a highly regarded companion. The big malty base played well with the bitter linger and actually kept me eating (and drinking) more than my fair share.

Thankfully, it's a pale ale that isn't trying to be a IPA or some other bastardized-macho-hop-whipper. Not the best out there, but well worth a seat the pizza parlor booth (and a repeat visit to my fridge). (651 characters)

Headwaters Pale Ale from Victory Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 559 ratings.