Headwaters Pale Ale - Victory Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Headwaters Pale AleHeadwaters Pale Ale

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

2,343 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,343
Reviews: 564
rAvg: 3.92
pDev: 11.22%
Wants: 73
Gots: 353 | 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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,343 | Reviews: 564
Photo of StoneBrewFanatic
3.7/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours clear amber into my snifter with just about one finger of head that has moderate retention and lots of patchy lacing.

S - Nice balance of hops and malts. sweet toffee and toasted bread, earthy pine hops and grapefruit citrus hops.

T - Malts are and roasted grain are pretty intense and then they fade right into a rather bitter finish that lingers on the palate, earthy hops, citrus rind, and hints of toffee.

M - Medium in body, smooth and creamy, crisp and refreshing.

O - To me this pale ale is a tug of war between the hops and the malts... The malts come out of the gate strong and then the hops beat them down and leave a lingering bitterness on the palate to remind you who's boss.

Photo of beermanbrian
4.3/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Nice bronze color with an off white soap suds head. Sticky lace trails for the entire glass. Smell of floral hops with citrus notes. Taste follows suit. Nice caramel malt backbone. Solid medium bodyFinish is nice and clean. A nice new offering from victory. Good session beer and a nice summer lighter good beer.

Photo of drtth
4.17/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured into an imperial pint glass. Glass of cold water on the side to sip from periodically.

Appearance: As poured is a clear golden copper color with a 1” off-white head that recedes to a patchy thin layer on the surface and a ring of foam around the glass. The head leaves patches of lacing. Sipping leaves behind some speckles of lacing for much of the beer.

Smell: The aromas are fresh and clean and include some floral and citric hops tinged with tangerine and orange zest. There is some pale malt in the background that supports the hops but is also a definite presence.

Taste: The flavor is as clean and crisp as the aroma. The flavors include some caramel malt backbone that supports the floral and citric flavors from the hops (lemon zest, tangerine), but on the whole the impression is of dryness.

Mouthfeel: The mouth feel is on the light side of medium bodied, nicely smooth and with good carbonation. The finish begins with a touch of some malt sweetness noticeable. But that sweetness passes quickly and fades away first, leaving some dry citric bitterness that gradually fades in to just dryness at the end.

Drinkability and Overall Impression: I found this beer nicely drinkable, with each sip following the last quite easily. When the beer was finished I was looking forward to a second, and expect I’ll have this one on my shopping list for some years to come. My overall impression is of a well crafted Pale Ale that I could drink several of during an evening of conversations and socializing with friends and family.

Photo of beergod1
3.88/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice easy drinking but hoppy beer. Pours a pale yellow with a slight orange tint and thin White carbonated head. Good retention. Hoppy aroma with notes of grapefruit. Moderately sweet/malt flavor with earthy, herbal hops. Balanced. Almost an IPA. Not bad.

Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.58/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On-tap 4/27/2011 at Doherty’s East Ave Irish Pub, served in a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep gold color, short off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains caramelized malts, earthy hops and some citrus.

T: The taste starts out with a strong but not over-powering hops bitterness followed by sweet flavors of caramel and citrus. The malt character is hearty and there’s some smokiness in the background creating a decent balance. The after-taste is slightly bready.

M: Smooth and crisp, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is clean.

D: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, mild kick, good representation of style, it’s a decent beer but there are others in the style that I would pick first.

Photo of JerzDevl2000
3.85/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked this up in Totowa because it was available via the single bottle and I've liked just about everything I've had from Victory. This wasn't the best but may have been the most accessible Pale Ale that I've ever had, since this was so easygoing and solid at the same time. A big deal was made about the water that went into this but if I was victory, I would certainly brag about how balanced this was as well.

Good pour to this with a light copper hue and decent head that lasted for a while. The lacing wasn't anything special but it was certainly there as well. This felt earthy and dry-hopped with just a bit of sweetness in the malt to balance it out. Carbonation was good and this tasted crisp without feeling like soda or a cascade of bubbles. There was a bit of citrus in the taste too but for the most part, this didn't feel too complicated or light to the taste.

I could have easily had more than one in sitting since this is about a good a session beer as it gets. Normally, I don't consume this in the summer but I could see myself having a few of these on a nice warm day. This wasn't a hop bomb or has tons of resin and burning in the aftertaste. Rather, this is unassuming, nicely crafted, and clear as it appeared to be. Certainly worth a try for anyone who hasn't had this style of beer before!

Photo of kbutler1
3.16/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Bottle. Enjoy by Aug 17, 2011 but no idea when it was bottled. Poured into a DFH tulip glass a clear, darker than expected copper orange color with a 2 finger antique white head of both large and small bubbles. The aroma is not overly fruity or piney but has subtle hints of orange and grapefruit rind. Medium mouthfeel. The taste is more subtle than I thought it would be with a light sweetness up front with a light/medium amount of citrus bitterness that quickly fades. Mild lingering bitterness. Some lace. Overall, not bad but I was hoping for a wee bit more of a pop in flavor from this.

Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.05/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle - $1.89 at Olde Crabapple Bottle Shoppe in Alpharetta, Georgia.

Enjoy by August 17, 2011.

Appearance: Pours a golden-orange body with clear, consistent clarity and crowned with a layer of just off-white suds. Some spotty lacing on the way down.

Smell: Citrus peelings and sun-dried grasses in the nose with some underlying, milder hints of sweetish malt.

Taste: Adequate base of pale maltiness with light streaks of grainy bread and mildly sweet toffee. Citrusy tastes of zested lemons and tangerines. Moderately bitter, though it builds a bit as you go along. Grows a bit pithier and resinous as you approach the dry, crisp finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light body. Medium carbonation.

Overall: A nice, pleasant pale with a little bit of potency going on.

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!!!

Photo of MrOH
3.51/5  rDev -10.5%
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

Photo of DrinkingDrake
3.95/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into my pint glass a crystal clear golden color with a frothy head. A more than modest amount of carbonation. A lot of grassy hops in the aroma. Some very pale malt notes (Marris Otter?) Some light fruity characteristics pop out from a good hopping. Some mild grapefruits and orange. The taste has a solid hop character and once again is grassy but has a very dry finish. Crisp right up front but with a fruity, mostly citrus bite but is balanced with a solid pale malt body. Very drinkable beer with a light to medium body. Crisp and has a good balance of hops for 5.1% abv beer.

Photo of chodinheaven
4.12/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Looks and smells perfect out of the bottle with a big healthy head on top and a nice rich copper color. Smell is heavy on the hops and but there's also some nice sweetish malts that catch the nose as well.

Manages to be hoppy and light at the same time which is uncommon for many beers I try. I love hops and this one is chock full of them, but combined with a creamier mouthfeel and subtle sweetness that balances the beer out nicely. There is a pleasant bitterness to the aftertaste that makes me want to have another sip. All in all this was a good beer and pretty refreshing on a hot day. Reminds me of a hoppier SN Pale Ale, which is nothing but a great compliment. I'm coming to the conclusion that Victory and hops go hand in hand.

Photo of Naugros
3.87/5  rDev -1.3%
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.

Photo of salvo
2.41/5  rDev -38.5%
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.

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.

Photo of suspect
3.67/5  rDev -6.4%
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.

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.

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.

Photo of morebeergood
3.7/5  rDev -5.6%
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.

Photo of Chico1985
2.91/5  rDev -25.8%
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.

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.

Photo of andrewinski1
3.8/5  rDev -3.1%
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.

Photo of ReelBigwigFish
4.17/5  rDev +6.4%
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.

Photo of thebrood1987
4.8/5  rDev +22.4%
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.

Photo of farrago
3.82/5  rDev -2.6%
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.

Headwaters Pale Ale from Victory Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 2,343 ratings.