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Headwaters Pale Ale - Victory Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Headwaters Pale AleHeadwaters Pale Ale

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

563 Reviews
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(Read More)
Reviews: 563
Hads: 2,377
rAvg: 3.93
pDev: 9.67%
Wants: 76
Gots: 372 | 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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Headwaters Pale Ale Alström Bros
Reviews: 563 | Hads: 2,377
Photo of billab914
3.98/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Terrapin glass. It poured bright amber in color, with a modest, frothy, off white head to it. Very nice looking color to it. The head settled to a thin layer, but still managed to cover the beer well into drinking it.

The aroma has some brighter, citrusy, piny, hoppy flavors to it. I get a bit of a juicy, pineapple, grapefruit like hoppiness to it, which I like. Some pale, toasted like malts give the beer a nice base.

The taste shows a little more of the piny, resiny, grapefruit rind like hops to it. I get some of the pale malt sweetness up front, while the grapefruit like bitterness lingers in the finish. Just a hint of the juicy, pineapple like hoppiness comes through.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with carbonation being moderate. Drinkability is pretty good, it's a pretty good APA. It had some nice hoppy flavors, and also a pretty nice pale malt base to it. Nice mix of the flavors overall and a nice beer overall. I'll be buying this one again. (1,000 characters)

Photo of phreshbeer
3.38/5  rDev -14%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured into a pint glass... beer is crystal clear and golden in color. Has a white foamy head that dissolved quickly with little residue. Some lacing apparent, not overly carbonated.

S: More aroma than I anticipated. Some straw-like hops and a little musty smell.

T: Solid American Pale Ale, nothing special as far as taste. Some hops present with maybe a little hint of apricot at the finish. Not a lot of malt, but enough to balance it out.

M: Headwaters is a smooth pale ale with a pleasing amount of carbonation. Not too watery, not too heavy. Right on.

D: This wasn't my favorite pale ale, but still very drinkable. I could use this as a session beer. (663 characters)

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

Headwaters pours crystal clear with a nice golden tinged amber color and an offwhite foamy head that leaves moderate amounts of lacing. Good looking pale ale.

The aroma has lots of pungent and floral hops against a pale malt background.

The flavor has a nice citrusy tang up front followed by piney and pungent hops but with equal amounts of fresh pale Munich malts slightly bready or biscuity in character. Bitterness is dialed back but not absent, very balanced along with the malt in the finish.

The mouthfeel is nicely medium light, somewhat slick but very crisp and perfectly carbonated.

It would be easy to try and characterize this new pale ale as just an IPA but that would be doing it an injustice. It is firmly in the pale ale category and easily shines as such. Crisp and very drinkable! Another fine beer for the Victory lineup. (845 characters)

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

I recently consulted with a brewery that was soon to be starting up and when they asked what beers I thought they should brew (which was really the LAST thing to consider given the many unanswered questions regarding just getting the brewery built!), I told them "forget doing a pale ale and just brew an IPA". My point was that hops are what's selling now; and that a lot of beer geeks just aren't interested in basic pale ales anymore - they want "WOW"! Besides, it's a very hard sell to get your pale ale on tap when they're already being squeezed out by different styles (Belgians, IPA's, ...). That said, I'd questioned why Victory, or any brewery would bring out a pale ale at this point. I didn't know what to expect of it, but now I do - it's got some "WOW"!

There are a lot of breweries making IPA's that are really just hopped up pale ales. That's not even an option for Victory given their IPA's. This is a pale ale. It's medium light in body and drinkable. The bitterness is at a reasonable level, somewhere around 36 IBU's; and it's got a nice, caramel-drizzled malt base to it (giving a nod to its English ancestors). The difference is they've used some new and different American hops. I'm not sure what they are, but there's a sharp edge in the nose, and at the front of the mouth in the flavor. It's pungent and somewhat citrusy (tangerine). That's the attention grabber! Unlike a lot of other breweries that would have just taken that and run with it (read as - hammered you over the head with it), Victory has decided to go for more balance. They've blended their hops so that it's not just one gleaming component that blinds you from the rest of the beer. It's right up there in front, yes, but then it settles down and you find more leafy, floral, earthy, and even somewhat piney hops across the middle. There's a lot of character, but the hops still don't overwhelm the malt. It just goes from sharp at the beginning, to wide and malty with more bitterness showing across the middle, and then it steadily reduces in a dwindling finish that's more earthy/piney than citrusy. Everything is kept in balance, which leaves it remarkably drinkable.

The only question is, are today's craft drinkers savvy enough to recognize that balance, or will they still be blinded by the next bigger and better (read as less-focused but brash or bold) thing? Headwaters is a great American pale ale that carves its own little niche; and hopefully will be rewarded rather than passed over. (2,494 characters)

Photo of Jesse13713
3.6/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - Looks like your traditional pale ale, pouring a pale yellow and caramel brown color. Average lacing to the glass. Slightly over two fingers of creamy head.

Smell - Definitely a strong hop presence. Slight hints of caramel and barley as well.

Taste - A very hoppy and floral pale ale. The floral notes are very prominent from start to finish. The bitterness is accompanied by sweet candy-like caramel. Just very hoppy in general. I

Mouthfeel / Drinkability - The hops are very strong, fresh and tasty. They are not overpoweringly bitter, but I definitely would not prefer them to be any more bitter or this would probably be classified as an IPA. (661 characters)

Photo of NODAK
3.4/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Aroma is quite hoppy with a high citric content. Definite notes of grapefruit and perhaps lime even.

For an APA, it's rather hoppy as the smell indicated. A person who referred to it as "IPA lite" had a point. It starts off with a good dose of grapefruit, citrus hops smacking the tongue around. A small undercurrent of biscuit malt is present but is most certainly second fiddle. On the finish, the hops linger around with an aspirin-like astringency on the sides of the tongue for a little while.

When I drink an APA, I like a little more balance than this I suppose. It seems like an IPA in a way. It's certainly not bad, just not my favorite in style. (657 characters)

Photo of secondtooth
4.09/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Headwaters pours a nice coppery color, with rich suds and nice lace. Next, a lovely bouquet of hops hits the nose...fresh pine, grass, and citrus. Perfect. The flavor? A little bitterness, but with a smooth, clean finish, this is a well-done pale ale with character and distinction. A favorite, and an easy-to-drink treat. (322 characters)

Photo of jwhancher
3.98/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Got a growler from Victory yesterday. Pours a nicely clear copper color with great carbonation and nice head. Smells mostly of citrus hops with a slightly sweet malt aroma. Tastes a little more malty with slight bitter tinge. Glad to see the malt backbone and not have the hops completely dominate. A light refreshing beer, but the sweetness does seem to weigh it down a little. As this one appears to be Victory's new yearround offering, I'll be looking forward to having this one in the warmer weather. A welcome new addition to an already solid lineup. (555 characters)

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

A worthy entry from Victory, which previously didn't have a regular placeholder in the sessionable pale ale spot. It's not, perhaps, the best Victory beer, or the best American Pale Ale, but it is solid and tasty and a good expansion into an obvious niche. And Victory brings its usual restraint and precision to the enterprise.

Pours a slight coppery with a smallish white head that falls too quickly. The aroma is typical victory - a precise, pilsnery graininess with a strong and yet restrained hop sting - none of the west Coast citrus punch of many American ales, but still a sharp sting - a little pine, some musky citrus, some flowers.

The flavor is mild but distinct, with an earthy grain and a musty yeastiness that is typical of many Victory beers, including the similar but over-the-top Hop Wallop. There is a ight caramel sweetness and a flowery, slightly citric hop, more of a lime zest than the usual grapefruit or orange that you find in beers in this class.

The mouthfeel is round and slick and the beer finishes with a restrained but pleasant piny, citric bitterness.

A tasty beer. I am basing my observations on a bottled sample, but I recently tried several on draft. Although I didn't take notes or analyze it too critically, I recall the draft as richer and more satisfying and I'd probably have given it maybe a half a point higher in most categories. (1,377 characters)

Photo of Slatetank
3.88/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I picked this up from Wegman's in Mechanicsburg as part of a mix-a-six. The brown bottle was poured chilled into a willybecker.

The shade is deep golden with amber hues bordering on copper with great clarity, the head rises and falls to about 1/2 inch of rocky off white with an average sized bead and stringy lace clings. The carbonation is visible in the liquid. I like the aroma, I just wish there were more of it -slightly citrus hop odors w/ a slight toasted malt aroma, slight hints of mineral or yeast scents in their too. I enjoy the balanced feel this beer presents with moderate bitterness and carbonation with slight toasted malt and light sweetness, the pale finishes semi-dry with some lingering hop astringency.

Headwaters is a tasty pale with some citrus notes from the hops with a slight lemony and herbal effect with mild hints of bitter flavor interwoven among a slight bready and dry toasty malt which doesn't quite get to the nutty realm but the lingering acidity of the hops seems to give the flavor more of a dry taste toward the end which is refreshing. I have had many American Pale ales and I think this one is pretty solid, it has the Victory signature taste, pretty nice balance which is a sign it was brewed to be drinkable. I think Victory achieved that with Headwaters. (1,302 characters)

Photo of SFLpunk
3.72/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz brown glass pry top. Best before Jul 15th 2011.

Quick review: Pours crystal clear amber with some thin head. Nose is a mixed citrus basket with some faint grain notes. Palate is crisp and citrusy, moderately dry. Somewhat hoppy, but not overly bitter.

A nice example of the "new" American Pale Ale style. (311 characters)

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

12oz bottle pulled from my fridge poured into my SA perfect pint glass. enjoy by: JUL 8 2011 stamped on the label.

pours out a crystal clear golden, slightly orange color with a one finger of frothy white head that slowly faded to a thin retentive layer. decent amount of sticky lace on the glass.

a nice, yet subdued hoppy aroma, mostly floral and pine. just slightly resinous. tropical fruits become evident as it warms up. behind the hops theres just a hint of a cracker like malt.

a hoppy taste, but nothing over the top. just the right amount of resin and bitterness for a pale ale. again, floral, pine, and citrus are the main players. a cracker like grainy malt tries to balance.

medium to light in body, more towards the light side. carbonation is up there. finishs clean. crisp on the palate.

drinks very easy with a very sessionable abv. i found myself easily able to play some beer pong with this brew.

overall: a nice offering from victory. overall an average pale ale with a slightly amped up hop level. i would drink this again if offered, but i prolly wouldnt buy this again. its definatly worth atleast a single. (1,137 characters)

Photo of oberon
4.02/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Nice to see a newer Victory offering here in Greensboro.Poured in a nonic a clear copper with a frothy white head that left multiple chunks of broken lace as it never fully settled,good carbonation.A mix of hops in the nose upfront,grassy,herbal,and citrus fruit mixed with a hefty caramel/biscuit base.A little this and watery in the feel it seems to take away a little oomph from the beer.A mix of herbal and citric hops and sweet caramel biscuit malt on the palate,the hops get the slight edge in a pretty balanced brew.A nice APA,big hops but really balanced,tweak the thinner mouthfeel and this is steller. (611 characters)

Photo of sholland119
4.22/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the pub, 3/6/10.

A-pour is a clear light orange with a thin pool of white head and a nice sheet of lacing.

S-Nice blast of pungent citrus hops with a lighter malt base.

T-biscuity malt in the front followed by a generous amount of grapefruit hops.

M-light bodied and nicely dry. Nice smooth finish.

D-one of the best hoppy pale ales out there. An all day drinker for hopheads.

HV (396 characters)

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

Love Victory beers, so I had to try this one. Nice golden color with a big old head. I can smell the hops - citrus and spice. The taste is also has a spicy zing to it. Great Spring beer: light in body but with a little hop kick to the taste. Definitely sessionable. (265 characters)

Photo of Schracky
3.65/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I picked up a six pack of this when I was down in Pennsylvania. I am a big fan of Victory, so I was excited to try this beer.

A: Very light copper. Head settled quickly.

S: Best part of this beer. Great hop aroma. You can smell the malts too. The hops are spicy in smell, more floral than citrus. Very nice smell, good balance between malt and hops.

T: Better than average taste. Initial malt character hits you followed by the nice spiciness of the hops, much like the smell. The aftertaste sticks around for awhile though and leaves a bitterness on the tongue.

M: Nice mouthfeel. Good carbonation.

D: Nice beer to have with dinner. I had it with a fish burrito. It paired well. It goes down smooth and is an easy drinker. (728 characters)

Photo of Deuane
4.1/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From the hand pull at The Bulls Head Public House, Lititz, PA.

A-Lightly hazed golden kissed copper, with a medium bright white head. Head slowly reduces to a thin cap and leaves heavy ringing lace.

S-Light floral hop qualities with a zing of spiciness and a subtle hit of muddled herbs. Mild citrus notes sneak through with notes of lemon zest being most dominate. Backing body of lightly sweet biscuit malt in the background providing balance.

T-Pleasant citrus zing melds nicely with a combination of herbal dankness, sweet biscuit malt and a finishing flurry of biting spiciness. All very nice for a rather light brew.

M-Medium bodied, soft, smooth and creamy. Hop bite and spicy zip are long lasting. Becomes surprisingly dry in the finish.

D-This one is right in my wheelhouse, especially on cask! A session APA if there ever was one...not too hoppy, not too big, everything is "just right". I would like to try this on tap and from a bottle to see if it as enjoyable. I doubt it but....Victory has done a fine job with this one. (1,040 characters)

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

A-Pours clear amber with 1/3 inch of foamy off white head that fades almost instantly. Leaves intermittent traces of lacing.

S-Piney, resinous hoppiness with an underlying pale malt sweetness. Valencia orange skins, white pepper.

T/M-Biscuity malts wrapped in a layer of dry, piney hops. Medium bodied with an abruptly dry finish. Very simple and well done. There's not much to it, but there doesn't need to be. Well executed simplicity is harder than juggling multiple flavors that don't add up to anything.

D-I hope this becomes a year round release. It's a very good pale ale. (582 characters)

Photo of blackie
4.22/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

a: chalice serving, the beer is a light caramel amber in color, floating a frothy off-white head that falls back to a thin layer

s: herbal and citrusy hops accompany a biscuity pale malt body, grapefruit rind, light caramels, hops even provide a little resin while staying firmly within pale ale territory, there's nothing unnecessary or out-of-place - skilled execution really makes a great product from only a few ingredients

m: moderately carbonated, light-medium in body, satisfying and crisp

t: great structure of biscuity pale malts allows the dried citrus and grassy herbal hops to assert themselves, slight caramel sugar adds body and depth, nice grapefruit rind bitterness, finishing quite dry, clean and refreshing, outstanding balance, just a top notch pale ale

d: a superbly crafted pale ale not too far off from the hallmarks of the style produced by SN - not much of a surprise from Victory, glad to have another worthwhile, drinkable beer readily available (975 characters)

Photo of glid02
4.22/5  rDev +7.4%
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)

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

A: Poured from the bottle into a pint glass. Body is clear, light honey-amber in color with a small whitish head that settles fast.

S: Toasty, biscuity malt and herbal, leafy hops - maybe some grassiness as well. Pleasant.

T: Follows the nose: toasty and toasted grains with a spicy and leafy hop bitterness. Finishes fairly dry. Some citrus lingers (mainly lemon) in the aftertaste. Slight copper penny taste.

M: Light-to-medium in heft, carbonation is light to modest.

D: Goes down easily enough. Fairly flavorful for a lighter (5.1% ABV) ale. Kinda reminds me of a cross between an ESB or an Eglish Pale Ale and an American Pale Ale. (641 characters)

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

Standard run-down here. It's just a beer.

Mostly clear yellow-gold, tiny twinkling flecks in suspension. Force-carbed foamy head wells up on the pour but, alas, poofs out into a sudsy spread on top. This is how it looks.

In my nose, I detect a spicy citrus, biscuity, toasty aroma.

On my tongue I taste toasty fresh baked roll malt flavor with a just about sharp bitterness - pungent hops with an even balance of spicy grapefruity citrus and earthy rustic peppery qualities.

Pretty clean with a soft smooth roll in the middle, moderately crisp, oh so delicate carb sizzle, bit of a dry cottonmouth feel in the finish.

I can definitely see where this may be thought of as "HopDevil Lite". The similarity becomes more apparent the further down into the glass you get. While I could drink HopDevil in any given situation (I've most often had it w/o food), this I'd rather have accompany a toasted deli sandwich with some potato salad, beans, and a dill. Ideal for summertime and barbecues. (991 characters)

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

Growler poured into a Duvel tulip. Bright and light amber with a huge frothy head that settles down to a thick skim. Good retention from then on. A ring of crackly lacing up top, soapy patches down below.

Some honeyish sweet notes along with biscuity malt. Hop aromas are plentiful, bright and floral. Even more hop-forward than the nose suggests; this is definitely one of those 'IPA light' pale ales. Juicy citrus followed up with a grassy and slightly metallic bitter finish. The malt holds up its end of the bargain nicely; a touch of sweetness, plenty of toast, some cereal grains. Some lingering citrus and a touch of alcohol in an otherwise crisp finish.

Overall impression: What took ya so long to brew an APA, Victory? This will surely demand an occasional spot in the beer fridge as the temps warm up. (813 characters)

Photo of feylure
4.22/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Found this stuff yesterday and decided to try it out. Enjoy by July 8th 2011

Appearance is a lovely clear gold.

Smell is quite amazingly hoppy!

Taste is a great balance of hops and barley. Not too sweet and not too bitter. Just straight up clean with a tail of the same nature.

Mouthfeel is quite full all the way around.

This is an extremely well balanced brew and one that I find to be quite drinkable. Definitely be buying this again!

Cheers (450 characters)

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

Pours clear orange in body with white bubbly head. Grass, hops, lemon, citrus, and dew in the nose. Hops, citrus, wet grass, lemon, and malt sweetness backbone in the finish. Light and sessionable. A lovely pale. Possibly the best Victory has to offer. (252 characters)

Headwaters Pale Ale from Victory Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 563 ratings.