Dismiss Notice
Save $5 when you subscribe to 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine and select auto-renew.

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join Our Email List →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.
Dismiss Notice

Pre-order your Respect Beer "Hipster" Hoodie today!

Plus: Free shipping (US only) on orders of $25 or more until 12/18/15. Just select "Free Shipping" at checkout.

Shop now →

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: 412 | 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 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.

 768 characters

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.

 388 characters

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.

 512 characters

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.

 1,777 characters

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.

 424 characters

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!!!

 462 characters

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.

 737 characters

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.

 819 characters

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.

 830 characters

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.

 885 characters

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.

 946 characters

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.

 254 characters

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.

 496 characters

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.

 447 characters

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.

 596 characters

Photo of rudzud
3.21/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From notes taken at the Armsby Abbey on 5/9/11.

A - A copper clear pour with a one finger head which left nice side lacing.

S - Kinda lackluster here. Typical hoppy (grapefruit) notes with a little bit of sweet malts.

T - More of the same. Everything seems somewhat dull and muted. The hops are there, as is the malts, but theres nothing complex about it at all.

M - Its not bad, decent carbonation for the style. It still feels a bit watery though.

O - This isnt a bad example of an APA, just nothing to write home about. Enjoy a better APA for a better price.

 568 characters

Photo of HuskyinPDX
3.35/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

A - Pours a slightly cloudy orange with a light tan-yellowish head.

S - Bread, citrus, and malts.

T - Sweet malts and carmels.

D - Low carbonation, light body overall.

O - Pretty average all around. Yawn, yawn.

 253 characters

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.35/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Light caramel colored pour, good clarity, good head. Best by Sep something 11 date. Nice hoppy aroma, not picking out the specific hop varieties, but whatever the meld, it was enjoyable and even keeled to not be able to say it leaned pine or citrus wise.

Taste, starts off good, carbonation, hops, mild sweet caramel malt, average bitterness. Swallow. Wait for it, ugh, what is that aftertaste in this? Slightly off flavor. Not horrible, just not pleasant like everything else about the beer. Its fresh, it still has 3 more months on it before the best by date, and the hopping is there. The only possible descriptor that came up was like, you know those biscuits that come in the pressurized metal containers that pop open when you depress a spoon on them? This had a like, stale, metallic bitter, biscuit aftertaste really ruined an otherwise pleasurable beer.

 863 characters

Photo of spinrsx
3.91/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz Bottle from Total Wine Tampa FL for 2$

Appearance - Clear dark gold colour with a large size fizzy white coloured head. There is a low amount of carbonation showing and there is some faint lacing. The head lasted for only a few minutes.

Smell - Hops, malts, grapefruit

Taste & Mouth - There is an average amount of carbonation and I can taste caramel and malts mixed with hops. There is also some grapefruit/lemons mixed with some light pineapple. It ends with a sweet malty and fruity aftertaste with a touch of hop bitterness.

Overall – Really delicious stuff that I could see myself drinking a lot of in 1 sitting. It has a nice well rounded taste that isn't potent but remains interesting throughout. I'd buy it again.

 733 characters

Photo of scruffwhor
3.42/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Clear, medium bronze color with good bubblng. The head on teh other hand is about one finger after the pour, and disappears before I take my first sip.

Faint grass and mild citric hop aromas of orange and grapefruit. Good toasted biscuit and bread crust sniff from the malt.

The taste starts with calcium rich water and then toasted mlats. Caramel, biscuits, toasted cracker, make up a solid bodied middle. The middle to the finish has the hops coming into scene with orange rind, grass, and cucumber skins. The cucumber just makes think of the slight bitterness I get when I take a bite into a cucumber slice with the skin still on.

Palate is a a nice dry and wet. Dry from the hard water flavor, and wet for the quenching finish. Not a bad session APA.

 759 characters

Photo of Brad007
3.48/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a mild amber color with a thick head into my glass. The head recedes, leaving some lacing on the edges.

Aroma contains a slight hint of biscuit malt with some grassy hops. Very clean and basic.

Lots of grassiness upfront with very little malt underneath. Not much appeal otherwise.

Finishes clean with lingering grassiness. Meh.

My overall impression is that it's a very basic, yet unimpressive example of the style. I was expecting more flavor.

 456 characters

Photo of TurdFurgison
3.92/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at a small pub in western Mass. This is a very clear and filtered beer, light copper color with a few fingers of foam. There's some light citrus on the nose, with a grain base behind it. And it tastes just how it smells, a touch of citrus with a pale malt backbone, in other words a very approachable pale ale. Light-medium carbonation, very drinkable. Recommended!

 372 characters

Photo of DrDemento456
4.2/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I find it weird that I never seen a bottle. Got this as a free birthday beer at the Mad Mex during happy hour! I was so happy!

A - Poured glorious golden orange, darker than expected for a pale ale with a nice inch of head on top.

S - Smells pretty timid. I got some Amarillo hops, slight malt and a bit of grain. Doesn't smell too bitter so that's a plus.

T - It's weird but it's kind of like a lighter version of Dales Pale ale. You get a mild aggressiveness from the hops and bitterness from grains and then it finishes sweet with a gram cracker malt. Balanced and tasty.

M - I did find it a bit light bodied but it just might have been since I had a Mojo Risin before this so maybe it had a medium body but drank light.

Overall I really enjoyed this offering from Victory and to me it was the definition of a session ale. Moderate ABV, smooth taste and little bite with just enough to take another sip. Hopefully I can find six packs someday!

 951 characters

Photo of claspada
3.57/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Aromas are initially bright and citrusy hops ; lemon and grapefruit are prominent. Lesser tropical notes with some biscuity and light caramel malt notes.
The taste begins with a decent biscuity maltiness. Bitterness is strong with orange and lemon hop flavors; some light floral and grassy flavors as you sip further.
The mouthfeel is surprising full for such a light ABV beer; medium carbonation and some hoppy stickiness before a crisp, dry finish.
Overall this is a very good pale ale from Victory. Nothing revolutionary or mind-blowing but a good sessionable Saturday day drinkin' and grillin' beer. Recommended indeed

 622 characters

Photo of glid02
4.22/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at the Bookhouse Pub in Atlanta.

Pours a clear light copper color with a one-finger white head. The head recedes into a patchy layer on top leaving solid lacing.

Smells of bright citrus and floral hops with hints of tropical fruits all backed by a slightly grainy pale malt backbone.

Tastes similar to how it smells, though the hops aren't as robust. Slightly dry pale malt flavors kick things off and are joined quickly by citrus hops. Midway through the sip the citrus hops fade a bit and allow sweeter tropical fruit flavors to work their way into things. The hops carry through to a moderately bitter ending.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a nice thickness with solid carbonation.

Drinkability is very good. I finished my glass quickly and could easily have a few more.

Overall this is another outstanding low-ABV beer from Victory. Well worth a shot.

 865 characters

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