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Headwaters Pale Ale - Victory Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Headwaters Pale AleHeadwaters Pale Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
88
very good

2,177 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,177
Reviews: 540
rAvg: 3.92
pDev: 11.48%
Wants: 61
Gots: 220 | FT: 3
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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: thagr81us on 02-14-2011)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Headwaters Pale Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 2,177 | Reviews: 540 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Naugros
3.88/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Most of the IPAs and APAs I've had recently have hop profiles leaning more toward the piny and floral characteristics. It's been a while since I've had one with citrus flavors and aromas so I was excited when this one exhibited grapefruit right off the nose. The first sip was like biting into a wedge of ruby red grapefruit...wonderful. A good malt structure buoys up the hops in both the nose and on the tongue. The malts have a slightly sour and spicy feel to them when you really isolate them, giving off a sense of rye toast.

The mouthfeel was a little off-putting with an oiliness that coated the inside of your mouth and contributed a heavier mouthfeel than I'm used to in an APA. But it was a nice looking beer, pale orange/amber with a rocky white head and evident but lazy carbonation throwing up fat bubbles to support the froth.

There are a lot better APAs and IPAs coming out of Pennsylvania (Nugget Nectar, Hop Devil, Double Simcoe, et al) so I won't be returning to this one despite liking it. It's just the others are much better.

Naugros, Apr 24, 2011
Photo of salvo
2.38/5  rDev -39.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Headwaters APA is a Dr. Jeckle and Mr. Hyde: it is a completely different beer out of the bottle and on tap. I've noticed this with Victory products and I'm beginning to wonder if there's something going on at their bottling facility. I'll take this on to the discussion board, but I offer the following schizophrenic, double faced review of the two beers, both called Headwaters APA.

On tap:
Pours a beautiful clear straw-yellow under an inch of pure-white foam that dissipates, leaving only a ring all the way down the pint glass. Smell is of tropical fruits: guava, pineapple, mango. A rich nose for such a light beer.

Taste asserts its tropical fruit esters and is pungently guava tasting with some citrus in the background, ending with a suggestion of tea. The hops are supported by a solid malty sweetness. Body is light and could stand some additional substance. But overall, this is a damn tasty beer at 5.5%, and would be a lovely everyday drinker.

Bottle:
Pours a beautiful clear straw-yellow under an inch of pure-white foam that dissipates, leaving only a ring all the way down the pint glass. Similar to the tap. That's where the similarities end.

Nose is very lightly and suggestive of non-descript citrus; some grassiness and slight astringency.

Taste has more malt early in the sip, particularly when cold. No tropical fruitiness at all. Ends grassy and astringent; bitter. Finishes much more quickly, much more dryly.

salvo, Apr 24, 2011
Photo of DaveBlack
4.05/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Good looking beer. Crystal clear orange-ish honey color with maybe 1/2 finger of white head. The head has medium retention and leaves a light spattering of lacing. Upon first pouring it the bubbles stuck to the side of the glass in an almost unbroken wall of bubbles, but they quickly dissipated.

S: Smell is interesting. Slight bit of sweetness is almost overwhelmed by the hops. Lots of grapefruit and pine combine with a smell I can only describe as grassy and fresh.

T: Taste is not as hoppy as the aroma led me to believe, which is a good thing. The hops are definitely there, but they play really well with the malts instead of overpowering them. Lots of pine, a slight fruit flavor and a caramel sweetness rolls over it all.

M: Mouhtfeel is medium-light, relatively high carbonation. Leaves the mouth feeling slightly dry.

O: I find this to be an intensely drinkable beer. Reminds me of a good summers day. I grow tired of beers that are just liquid hops, but this has a nice balance of malts and hops. And the Aroma and flavor both rather remind me of a summers day.

DaveBlack, Apr 23, 2011
Photo of suspect
3.65/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Dogfish Head shaped pint glass. Enjoyed while watching the Sabres battle the Flyers in game 5! Let's go Buffalo!

A: Crystal clear pale copper color. Aggressive pour leads to a big 3 finger fluffy white head that dissipates quickly to spotty lacing. Very light stream of bubbles randomly make their way to the top.

S: Pretty typical pale malt smell with a nice presence of piney/grassy hops as well. Quite a nice aroma for a pale ale.

T: The taste is lacking a bit although it's not offensive. Malt is the main flavor here with some alcohol too which is unexpected given the low abv.

M: Light body, heavy carbonation...lots of tiny bubbles coat the mouth. Leaves a lingering mouth coating which is delightful and leaves me wanting more.

O: Overall this is a really solid pale ale that I'm glad I bought a six pack of. It's not one to write home about but I would gladly get it again.

suspect, Apr 23, 2011
Photo of jwinship83
4.45/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle picked up as a single that has a best by august date on it. drank from my sierra nevada hop tulip glass.

A- this one pours out a translucent light copper colored body with a tall finger of bright white head on top. the head last for a bit before falling, and leaves behind small rings of lacing. pretty nice.

S- the first thing i pick up on in the nose are hops. lots of hops. plenty of grapefruit and pine with a touch of floral. after that i get some caramel malts, which adds some sweetness and attempts to add some balance.

T- the taste starts out with some of the caramel malts which adds a solid sweet backbone. then its onto hop country. lots of grapefruit and resiny pine. a lesser amount of floral and grassy notes.

M- i find this to be on the lighter side of medium with a nice level of carbonation.

D- i really enjoyed this one. very hoppy for a pale ale and with an ABV that allows you to have more than two or three with out guaranteeing a crappy morning. this could give sierra nevada pale ale a run for its money. i wish it was year round. check it out.

jwinship83, Apr 22, 2011
Photo of scottbrew4u
3.85/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Served in a pint glass a clear amber color with hints of orange and a thin frothy white head that sticks around. Nice lacing with each gulp.

S: Pine sap, citrus mostly orange peel and grapefruit, some herbal and woody hop notes too. Malt is light roasted with some toasted bread and toffee notes.

T: Pine, grapefruit, and herbal hops meet with roasted grains and some toasted bread and semi sweet toffee and light honey.
Hops bring on more force to add spice and bitterness to the finish.

M: Medium body with crisp light bubbles and just a slight alcohol warmth.

D: It is a well made pale ale and it should definitely be tried. However, the balance is a bit more hop forward and the finish becomes to dry for me to want to have several in a row.

scottbrew4u, Apr 22, 2011
Photo of morebeergood
3.73/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had a bottle today that was graciously given to me by a friend. Poured into one of my favorite mugs. Dark orange color, with a slight head and lots of carbonation. Musty, earthy, grassy smell of hops. Flavor certainly had a great hop taste, but not as much as I was expecting from the nose. Subtle enough hops to notice, but well within range for the style. A slight bitter aftertaste on the palate at the end. Mouthfeel was a bit thin, but easily drinkable for an APA. A decent beer, but nothing too outstanding. I'd call it a lawnmower beer for craft enthusiasts.

morebeergood, Apr 22, 2011
Photo of Chico1985
2.93/5  rDev -25.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a pale glowing orange, white head. Head retains as a cap and splits into a bunch of little chunks that look like curdled milk. Nice color but not the most attractive looking beer.

Nose is pretty bland, uber-small dose of herbal/grassy hops and metallic notes.

Taste has got a bit more going on. Herbal/grassy hop profile matches the nose, with faint piny and spicy hops as well. Very light notes of fruit but not much. Bready malt with a nice warm and toasty finish. It seems pretty bitter although the none of the hop flavor is very strong.

The finish is probably the highlight of this beer, otherwise feels like a mixture of average/messy/slightly unpleasant.

Chico1985, Apr 22, 2011
Photo of biegaman
4.1/5  rDev +4.6%
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.

biegaman, Apr 21, 2011
Photo of andrewinski1
3.83/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass. This one has a nice light golden color without haze. The head is off white and is about half an inch, shrinking to a thin rim around the glass. There is a bit of sticky lacing left.

Nice hop filled aroma with a good dose of pine. A faint aroma of bread is noticed as well.

The taste starts and finishes dry and crisp. The piney hops are a huge part of the profile, with a good balance of bready malt.

The mouthfeel is light and crisp. Very refreshing.

Great pale ale. It's a little like Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, but with pineyer hops.

andrewinski1, Apr 20, 2011
Photo of ReelBigwigFish
4.2/5  rDev +7.1%
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.

ReelBigwigFish, Apr 19, 2011
Photo of thebrood1987
4.83/5  rDev +23.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I wanted to get a lighter, lower in alcohol flavorful beer (being that I have a bunch of higher alcohol IPA DIPAS and other bigger styles as well in the fridge) and this beer fits exactly under that description.

It looks great like a caramel color that is in between brown and yellow. I instantly get an astringent herbal tea smell with a sweet ripened fruit smell all from the hops. The taste is pretty identical to the smell starting off with a crisp hop bite on the tip of the tongue some cracker like malts in the middle and then ending with that herbal tea ripened fruit taste from the hops on the finish.

It definitely has a very pure fresh taste to it and I can tell they use really fresh water in this. I've had a bunch of Victory beers and this is absolutely one of my favorites. This almost reminds me of an IPA light By light I mean lighter body less alcohol less filling but definitely not lacking on the hops. What a fantastic beer.

thebrood1987, Apr 19, 2011
Photo of farrago
3.8/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Straightforward finger of off-white foam, nothing unique about its retention, the lacing holds on in spots, transparent and spotless liquid of a red-tinged orange color, metallic sheen, very few bubbles to be seen, if any. During the pour a bodacious amount of pink grapefruit, orange citrus bursts forth, lively bitter hops keep you on your toes, some pine tar and earth, baguettes, salt and pepper, a pinch of bittersweet chocolate powder but not that malty, conversely the hops never use this opportunity to go for the jugular, quiet confidence leads to extended nostril presence and overall balance. Light to medium-bodied, the carbonation is made of tiny, scrubbing motions with little foam. Strong mineral water, quinine, metallic character which gives it a raw and rugged freshness. Sourdough and wheat bread notes, salted pretzel dough, dried lemon and white grapefruit pulp, green lawn grass, some pine. Carob and mocha but no real sweetness in any of the usual malt-derived flavors. Florality spreads enough to allow it to avoid astringency. The hoppiness suggests pineapple, nectarine or papaya but, again, lacks the sweetness to deliver on this. More interesting warmer, more satisfying colder. A tactful, almost patrician, quaff.

farrago, Apr 18, 2011
Photo of nickshep7
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear amber base w/ 2 finger of nice off white head. Smell is fresh hops and a touch of sweet bready malts. Taste initially is sweet and hoppy but finishes nice and dry. Overall a good brew. Reminds me of SN Pale Ale, but a little thinner. But with both brews, the first thing that comes to mind is clean and fresh...

nickshep7, Apr 18, 2011
Photo of Lerxst
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Pours a clear gold with a nice one inch white head that has good retention and leaves spotty lace all the way down.

S-A slightly resinous scent is the first I pick up, a bit of citrus and then grainy/malty notes start to dominate.

T-Nicely balanced with a toasty grain flavor mixing with a slightly hoppy citrus and pine combo. Not too complex, but it is very pleasant and enjoyable.

M-Crisp and light with a dry finish.

O-A very nice APA that goes down very easy. This makes a really good lawnmower beer.

Lerxst, Apr 17, 2011
Photo of welldigger888
4.08/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from growler a nice copper gold with a white head that laced ok.

Nice resonious hop forward profile for the style, caramel maltiness to balance.

Like bread & butter, The resoniuos hop pine & sweet bready caramel maltiness play well together.

Medium bodied easy drinker here with spot on carbonation.

Victory realy know what they are doing up there! Nice beer,Send more down south please!

welldigger888, Apr 17, 2011
Photo of Gmann
3.6/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a crystal clear toasted straw color with a small tight off white head that dissipated into a light cap.

The aroma is of a light fruity and peppery hop, slight metallic twang. Pretty standard APA aroma.

The flavor is of a sweet bready malt base with fruity hop flavor, a bit grassy at time, with hints of pepper. Light metallic notes in the finish. The hops seems to be more for bittering than flavor. Again, standard for an APA. Solid but not spectaculiar.

Moderate body with tingly carbonation. Some sweetness on the palate but finishes with a slightly dry bitterness.

A very standard APA, I'd prefer a bit more hop flavor. A good outside drinking beer during a bbq.

Gmann, Apr 17, 2011
Photo of Georgiabeer
3.85/5  rDev -1.8%
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.

Georgiabeer, Apr 17, 2011
Photo of cjgator3
4.33/5  rDev +10.5%
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.

cjgator3, Apr 17, 2011
Photo of ndawg42031
4.53/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Great balanced ale!! Hoppy for a traditional pale ale. A nice change from the sometimes over the top hop race over the last few years. Has a spring seasonal feel.
I would recommend with pulled pork BBQ or any traditional cook out fair. Just as good out of the bottle as in a glass.

ndawg42031, Apr 16, 2011
Photo of nickfl
4.33/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A - Pours with one and a half fingers of white foam on top of a clear, bright copper colored body. The head settles down slowly and leaves moderate lace on the glass.

S - A moderately strong, yet fresh and very green hop aroma with bready malt in the background.

T - Bread and toasted malt up front with some light sweetness. More toasted malt in the middle as well as a bit of pine hop flavor. The beer ends with more rich, sweet malt and moderate bitterness as well as a lingering pine hop flavor.

M - Medium body, moderate carbonation, and a slightly sweet finish.

D - Excellent, it is mild and balanced but very full flavored for the style. The hop aroma isn't so strong that one could mistake it for an IPA, but it is pungent and very enjoyable. This has to be the best APA that I have ever had, simply brilliant.

nickfl, Apr 16, 2011
Photo of DefenCorps
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Maybe third time's the charm, like they say? Best by Aug 17, 2011

A crystal clear light amber with a dense, off-white head that recedes to a disk leaving patchy lacing. The nose has a rather unique hop profile. So catty I could swear there's Amarillo in there, along with some Cascade? A pungent grapefruit and citrus rind character is also present. The 100% German malt character is interesting with this hop schedule. Rich, bready and biscuit-like but still light and aromatic, I really like the combination.

Decidedly East Coast in its leanings, this beer is fresh enough to be thoroughly enjoyable. The combination of German malts and American hops is relatively unique, and this is very tastefully done. Pungent and bitter with grapefruit and citrus peel, there's a very nice balance of flavor as well with nice aromatics. The malt character is enjoyable, biscuit and toffee with a little caramel, all on a hearty but light on the palate base. Drying and bitter on the finish with some nice flavor hops, there's also a light sweetness that lingers, though the resiny hops do dominate. Medium-light in body with moderate carbonation, this beer is rather excellent.

DefenCorps, Apr 16, 2011
Photo of xnicknj
3.95/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into pint glass

Pours a clear burnt orange color with a few brighter golden hues. A one finger high off white head bubbles up and retains well with a nice layer of bubbled film resting on top, leaving some webs of lacing on the glass.

Nice edge of citrusy hops backed with floral notes. Slight orange sweetness followed by biscuity malt with toasted grain.

Burst of juicy hop flavor right up front with citrus and orange. Nice floral dryness as well before more of the fruit sweetness cuts through. Biscuity malt, toasted grain, faint dollop of caramel as well in the backbone. Some lemon and grassy tones. Finishes with some dry hop bitterness, slightly lingering flavor.

Medium bodied, higher carbonation, dry and tingly on the palate. Drinks smooth and easy, refreshing and pleasant especially for the season. A quality pale ale, definitely something I'd drink again.

xnicknj, Apr 16, 2011
Photo of Genuine
3.38/5  rDev -13.8%
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.

Genuine, Apr 15, 2011
Photo of Spider889
4.15/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this on tap at Melt Bar and Grilled.

Crystal clear, brass color, tiny amount of head with no retention or lace.

Smells of very sweet tropical fruit, citra hops, and pineapple predominant. Some notes of orange Tang are also there... interesting.

The flavor is sweet initially, nice and crisp. There's a very suitable amount of bitterness considering this is a pale.

Overall I was very satisfied with this beer, and would have ordered a second had there not been so many other beers on draft at Melt.

Spider889, Apr 14, 2011
Headwaters Pale Ale from Victory Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 2,177 ratings.