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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

576 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 576
Hads: 2,418
Avg: 3.92
pDev: 23.21%
Wants: 82
Gots: 393 | 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: 576 | Hads: 2,418
Photo of MadScientist
3.72/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: A pale amber beer with very good clarity. The head is rock, off-white with a decent retention.

S: A medium citrus hops aroma with some resinous character. A clean malt sweetness and a little bit of caramel.

T: A strong hops bitternes and medium-strong citrus hops flavor some piney character. There is a low , peach-like fruit ester. A touch of malt sweetness in middle with balance being decidedly bitter with a crisps, dry finish. Lingering citrus hops and bitterness in the aftertaste.

M: A medium bodied beer with a medium-strong level of carbonation and very crisp.

O: A straight forward, hop driven beer. A darn good pale ale.

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

12 ounce bottle into pint glass, best before 6/23/2013. Pours lightly hazy golden amber color with a 2 finger dense and fluffy cream colored head with fantastic retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lasts. Nice soapy rings of lacing cling down the glass, with a good amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of big grapefruit, orange zest, lemon zest, orange rind, floral, grass, light pine, bread, light caramel, and floral earthiness. Very nice aromas with good balance of hop notes with a moderate malt balance. Taste of grapefruit, orange zest, lemon zest, floral, grass, bread, light caramel, light pine, and floral earthiness. Light floral bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of citrus, citrus zest, floral, grass, bread, light caramel, and floral earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Very nice balance and good complexity of hop flavors; with a moderate malt balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a lightly creamy, lightly sticky, and smooth mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with hardly any warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is a damn nice pale ale. Good balance and complexity of flavors; and very smooth to drink. A very enjoyable offering.

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Photo of socon67
3.94/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Cloudy amber color with a soapy white foam that retains well and laces the glass.

S - Has a light citrus smell and a scent of pale malt.

T - This is a refreshing beer that has a nice contrast of tartness from lemon flavors and a malty sweet taste. There is a lsight amount of bitterness in the finish, but this an easy drinking pale.

M - Good amount of balance and complexity which is hard to do with a standard pale ale. Minimal carbonation present, and light feel. Very sessionable.

O - Really no complaints as this is a solid pale ale that has plenty of flavor. Another staple beer from Victory.

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Photo of jSehnert
3.28/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Light copper in color, with thin had on pour.

smell citrus and some malt.

taste citrus hop with thin malt balance

lingering bitterness, not harsh but good

overall good hop nose and flavor but not balanced by malt backing.

at 5.1 % may bee a reasonable balance for a hoppy session beer.

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Photo of JednoPivoProsim
4.03/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 12 FL. OZ. bottle into a pint glass. Enjoy By: June 16, 2013.

Appearance: Pours a cloudy orange with a thick soapy off white head. Great looking pale ale.

Smell: Pure tropical citrus from the Citra hops. Smells delicious. A little sweet.

Taste: An interesting struggle between the light tropical Citra and the harsher piney Centennial. This beer is lacking a little in balance. The malt body comes off a little watery and thin in trying to hold up to the heavy hop profile.

Mouthfeel: Appropriately creamy for an American pale ale. Nice.

Overall: I like the direction this beer was trying to head in. Looks and smells great, but in the end, the hops overwhelm the malt body. Still good overall.

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Photo of dancaplette
4.13/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

headwater's has a bright copper color to it , slight carbonation that lasts through the pour. it retains a one figure head with a nice lacing.

it has a citrusy smell to it, more than I expected for a pale ale, very pleasant.

it has a nice mouth feel, I can describe as a light, but creamy smoothness and nice bitterness.

overall a good effort, as usual by victory.

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Photo of lsummers
4.01/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a growler with a one finger bone white head. Very clear bright copper. It's so clear it's actually quite attractive. Smells of some spicy nutty piney hops. There's a malty sweetness in there along with some lemon zest. The taste doesn't hit as hard with the hops up front. Starts a bit nutty and has a herbal, earthy, pine with that lemon zest hop notes. Ends with some roasted malt notes. Mouthfeel on this is hard to judge since it's from a growler. It has a milder carbonation and feels fairly round on the tongue.

Overall, I really need to try this bottled or on tap to gain a better gauge of the mouthfeel. It's tasting fantastic and is a solid pale ale.

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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 Headyman
4.02/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Thanks to SammyJaxxx for the beermail.

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a belgian tulip.

Appearance: Pours a beautifully clear light amber. 1 inch bubbly head fades away fairly quickly.

Aroma: A pleasantly mellow citrus, with lemon and grapefruit. Some earthier hop undertones with a sweet, slightly dank finish. The aroma is quite pungent for a Pale ale.

Taste: Unlike any Pale i've had before. Begins with a nutty sweetness, that is accentuated by the high carbonation. Headwaters has a real grassy, weedy, mid and a somewhat salty sweet earthy hop finish. A bit of a peppery taste lingers.

Mouthfeel: Moderate-to high carbonation that works to bring out the hop character. Has an aftertaste that slowly changes from citrusy sweet to a slightly bitter peppery taste. Perhaps a tad watery.

Overall: Extremely interesting to say the least, and quite good. There is a nice dank flavor that evolves from the first sip to the last. A solid pale ale, I'll have to pick this up next time I see it.

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Photo of Bills453
4.15/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from bottle.

Appearance - a beautiful golden color with some red tint. Nice one and heif finger head. Sticks around nicely.

Smell - this one is very citrusy. Lemon, lime grapefruit. Hops as well.

Taste - delicious refreshing citrus flavor with fantastic bitterness and hoppiness. Very nice taste.

Mouthfeel - very nice, refreshing.

Overall - a great offering from Victory. Victory is a pretty underrated brewery in my opinion. I really enjoy all of their beers I have tried.

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Photo of chinchill
3.48/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured clear, medium amber in color with a small, off-white, short-lived head that left spotty lacing on the glass.

S: Mainly hops, with piney, citrus, earthy and herbal notes. IPA strength of aroma.

T: Strong hop presence with a lingering grapefruit peel note. The bitter finish soon retreats to a more welcome malty/bitter hop mix.

M: Smooth for style; Medium bodied; Medium-high carbonation; semi-dry finish.

O: a nice APA that leans to the hoppy side.

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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 u2carew
4.49/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz longneck
A) Pours with a finger thick head that settles quickly learning a thin lacing of big bubbles at the edge of the glass. Clear, bronze colored body.
S) Robust hop aroma consisting of sweet floral notes, evergreens, and peaches.
T) Well balanced hops and malts. Nutty and buttery malts with leafy and vegetal hop notes. A semi-sweet hop bite lingers in the aftertaste.
M) Clean throughout. Crisp. Medium light body.
O) A delicious APA. I will be drinking another one!

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Photo of Frankinstiener
3.5/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

I've been wanting to give this a try for a while but never got around to it for some reason.
Freshness date printed on bottle: Enjoy by June 23, 2013. Pale gold in color, about what you expect for the style. Nice head almost filled up the rest of the pint glass then shrank down to a thin layer leaving faint lacing. I thought I got more of a citrusy hop smell right when I opened the bottle, but after pouring it into the glass and taking a wiff I'm getting more of an earthy type smell thats hard to put my finger on but not as impressive. Taste is crisp an well balanced and leaves a little bitterness behind. Solid pale ale overall definataly a good example of the syle but nothing new or special here. At 9.99 a six pack there are couple pale ales right in the same price range that I would prefer.

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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 SerialTicker
4.27/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Says to drink by June 23 2013, so I figure this is beer's likely not more than a couple months old. Poured into a Samuel Adams "Perfect Pint" glass.

Appearance: Almost crystal clear with a very slight haze; orange in color. There's about a two finger head after the pour, but it isn't long before it's just a film on top. Lacing is pretty spotty from top to bottom.

Smell: I first thought it really smelled like woman's shampoo with spices in it. That sounds odd, but it really did -- and not in a bad way at all. It smells great. As it warms up a tad, I find that it smells a lot more like a quality pale ale with a valiant blend of hops and malt. Probably the high light of this beer.

Taste/feel: Sweetness with the hops up front, that develops into more hops... and then more hops... and then finishes with the bitterness, with the flavor of caramel malts coming in to balance the hops. It's odd to me, because the hops seem sweet, and the malts seem bitter. Hey, I'm not complaining. The Citra (I believe they're Citra) hops, as usual, provide a very juicy quality to this beer, and the slight malty and spicy aftertaste on this beer makes it all the more satisfying. This is a great pale ale that has the bitterness of an IPA, but more overall qualities of an APA. Definitely a tasty pale ale worth seeking out. For the best flavor, I say take it out of the fridge five minutes before drinking it -- it's when it's at its best, I think.

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Photo of Omnium
4.03/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle > Winter Lager Glass

A - Pours a really nice golden color with a slight orange tint, 1 finger head, thick fluffy lacing.
S - Citrus fruits, earthy and great floral notes, a little yeast, great aroma.
T - Bitter citrus hop flavor, nice floral undertones, and a floury finish.
M - Bitterness hangs on a bit, along with those earthy floral flavors, medium, and a tad watery.
O - Great APA, Victory is somewhat overlooked, but this is a solid go-to beer, and should get more recognition. Refreshing and flavorful

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

Appearance: Golden orange color. Beautiful. Nice head, fades relatively quickly and leaves a thin head. Good lacing.

Aroma: Citra bomb. Tropical citrus fruit. A bit of simcoe-y pine and earthiness. This smells really, really good.

Taste: Really nice citrus and tropical fruit qualities. Moderately bitter. Quite dry overall. Just a hint of sweet balancing malt. Hops are the star. Hops come across a bit resiny and spicy on the finish.

Mouthfeel: Well carbed with just a touch of prickliness. A bit fuller bodied than expected for a 5% pale ale.

Overall: My go-to shelf pale ale/session hoppy beer. Underrated in my opinion. If the label said "Three Floyds" instead of "Victory" this would be rated considerably higher.

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Photo of 57md
4.07/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Appearance is a light copper with a thin layer of head. There is surprisingly healthy amounts of lacing considering the minimal head to work with. The nose presents a decent dose of hops and a touch of pine. Again, I am surprised that such a thin amount of head produced a hearty smell.

There is some malt taste, but the main flavor notes are crisp and clean. The finish is certainly not crazy hoppy, but it is relatively bitter for an APA.

One of the best APAs available - an overlooked style in the days of "bigger is better" beer making.

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Photo of dbl_delta
3.51/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Bottle dated "enjoy by 15 June 2015". Pours a deep, clear gold with decent white head. Moderate carbonation. Sort of a floral thing going on here. Thin to medium mouthfeel. Lingering bitter, astringent finish. Probably more like an English IPA in my opinion, and English IPAs aren't my favorite. My relatively low rating is more a reflection of my personal preferences in the IPA/APA field, rather than a negative review of this particular beer.
It's really admirable that Victory donates a portion of the Headwaters revenue to local environmental groups.

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Photo of cyclonece09
3.75/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a 14 oz "pint" glass. Pours a translucent orange with a small white head. Smells of citrus hops and slight flowery notes. Tastes of earthy and slight citrus taste from the hops a a nice malty body. Beer is light/medium bodied and carbonated well. Overall a very good beer.

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Photo of WankelEngine
3.66/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a wine glass

A: Pours a vibrantly clear (so clear I can read text through it like an orange-tinted magnifying glass haha) amber-orange color. There is a small, off-white head which quickly fades to nothing but a small ring of foam. Mild lacing.

S: The first thing I pick up is a good dose of tropical fruits, very citrusy. Mild pine and some toffee follow, but the nose is dominated by the tropical aromas.

T: Not nearly as fruity as the aroma, but with a bigger emphasis on the citrus. A good dose of grassy hops greets the mid-palate and lingers through to the finish. The malt here is light and mild but provides just a bit of balance with some caramel flavor. Moderately bitter overall with a mild but long finish.

M: Fairly thin mouthfeel, but not overly so. Carbonation is on the mild side of moderate, but still effervescent. A little watery as I swallow.

O: A decent pale ale. Citra hops are here doing their thing which never hurts. Easy drinking with decent flavor.

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Photo of masemase
4.73/5  rDev +20.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance was not notable

S - general mix of pleasant hops...citrus, pine, floral

T - bitter then sweet then floral then resinous bitter with clean finish

M - Solid carbonation, the reason this beer rates so high is that it is full of delicious hoppiness, yet without an overwhelming bitterness that accumulates on the palate

O - an extremely drinkable pale ale

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Photo of gr0g
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Golden-amber with high clarity. An almost two-finger head leaves some streaks of lacing. Grassy and citrusy aroma, in that order, with the citrus coming through as grapefruit and orange rind. Hints of tropical fare from the citra hops. Interplay between the citra and centennial hops is very nice in this restrained APA. The more restrained use of citra yields a floral, citric character as opposed to the pungency sometimes found with IPAs that use it heavily.

Cracker-like malt profile and a hearty helping of hop bitterness in the palate. Some grassy and citric hop character, grapefruit and other citrus rind. Good flavor for a 5% beer. Not all that complex, but enjoyable and refreshing.

Overall, Headwaters is like a more aromatic Sierra Nevada, which is a decidedly good thing. A great choice for a lighter offering that still packs a solid, hoppy bite. Despite being the "baby" of Victory's pale ale lineup, I think this is their most impressive.

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Photo of JG-90
3.24/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

bottle into glass

A - Pours medium/large slightly creamy head, leaves moderate lacing, very clear pale copper color

S - Not as much smell as I expected, resinous hops, bread, and a little malt

T - Huge prickly/resinous hop start (seems to me a little aggressive for a pale ale), bread, grapefruit, and a slight malt finish

M - very prickly mouthfeel, medium/light body, moderate carbonation

O - I think the prickly hops with lighter body are a little too much for my taste, seems like a sligthly watered down IPA, but still a good and interesting beer

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Headwaters Pale Ale from Victory Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 576 ratings.