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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: 2,429
Avg: 3.92
pDev: 23.21%
Wants: 82
Gots: 394 | 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
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Reviews: 576 | Hads: 2,429
Photo of dciBA
3.92/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into my Victory tulip. Clear, amber in color with about 2 fingers of white head that fades to a thin skimming. Quite a bit of lacing as it goes down.

Smell is quite hoppy. Citrusy grapefruit hops mostly, some pine. There's a solid amount of toasted malt coming through as well.

The hops in the nose aren't quite as strong on the tongue. The classic Victory malt profile comes through nice and strong without being overpowering. Hops aren't as prevalent as you would expect after smelling the brew. They are there though. Flavor lingers surprisingly long for the style. The finish is on the sweet side, but doesn't detract too much.

Perfect carbonation. Nice smooth mouthfeel. Overall a well balanced, tasty APA. Not the best I've had but a nice effort from Victory and well worth picking up a sixer.

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

Over a large pie from Classic Slice I drank this tasty pale ale. It had a mellow aroma, a laid-back impression, a chill mid-section and dry bitter finish. At first I thought, Oh no, another out-of-wack pale ale! But as I enjoyed it as an accompaniment to my rich, tangy-sauced pizza it became a highly regarded companion. The big malty base played well with the bitter linger and actually kept me eating (and drinking) more than my fair share.

Thankfully, it's a pale ale that isn't trying to be a IPA or some other bastardized-macho-hop-whipper. Not the best out there, but well worth a seat the pizza parlor booth (and a repeat visit to my fridge).

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Photo of Soonami
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Victory Headwaters Pale Ale is a fantastic APA. This is a crystal orange-amber beer topped with clingy white lacing that just explodes with citrus flavor. The nose is dominated by tangerine and navel orange peel with subdued whiff of baking biscuit. The beer tastes like candied orange peel, with a fruity mango-like sweetness (not sugary or malty) and a hint of grainy toasted cracker. This is a beer with great balance of hops aroma and flavor with malt, but I wish it were just a little bit more bitter to give it a little more crispness and bite. The beer also has more body than I would've like and tastes a little under carbonated. I guess maybe I want this beer to be more like Prima Pils with it's crisp snappy carbonation and sharp bitterness but with the fruit ale yeasts and citrusy american hops. Either way this is very good but just short of perfect.

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Photo of silver0rlead
4.05/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a nice clear golden with a frothy off-white head that retains OK. The aroma is grassy and citrusy hops upfront, along with grainy malt and some biscuit notes, honey and some minerals. The flavor is similar with honey and biscuit malt initially, along with some grassy, citrusy and slightly floral hops, grainy malt and some fruity esters. The mouthfeel is light and sprightly, and drinkability is excellent. A tasty and quaffable pale ale, perfect for warmer weather.

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Photo of Axic10
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle into a tulip glass.

Appearance: Pours a clear golden orange with a finger of fluffy white head that settles to a thin layer.

Smell: Citrus notes, fresh hop aroma, slight hint of sweet malt.

Taste: Citrus is the highlight of the flavor profile. Juicy grapefruit and mango, with a slight hop bitterness and a sweet aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Light bodied, crisp and clean.

Overall: Very impressed with this beer. I'm looking forward to drinking this in the summer months as it is really refreshing.

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

12 oz bottle at 42 degrees into a pint glass. Enjoy by: July 8, 2011.

A: It pours a clear red-orange color with a half-finger of head that leaves some small-clumps of lace; it looks typical for an APA.

S: Lots of fresh hoppy and citrusy aromas; it is very enticing.

T: The hoppiness is a bit subdued in the taste but plenty of citrus is still present and it has a dry, cereal malt finish. It is not very complex - how many APAs are? - but it is quite refreshing.

M: The body is medium-light with average carbonation and a "sudsy" creaminess on the palate late.

O: it is a little less hoppy than I hoped but it is highly quaffable and inexpensive - $8.99 per sixer.

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

Moderately strong pungent citrus hops over spicy noble hops in the aroma with hints of light crystal sweetness. Clean, no off aromas. Poured short, foamy, white head that faded slowly to a thin ring leaving a few strings of lace. Pale amber colored beer is brilliantly clear. Spicy noble hop flavor up front with minimal citrus flavor. Lightly sweet malt base fades as the moderate bitterness kicks in towards the finish. Fairly clean finish with just a hint of lingering bitterness. Smooth, not harsh at all. Medium body with moderate carbonation is just enough to carry the flavors while maintaining drinkability. A really clean beer that is well balanced with enough flavors to keep it interesting. Well done.

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Photo of twiggamortis420
4.09/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle with a best by date of Jul 8 2011. Pours a stunningly clear copper color with a modest cap of tan head. Fades fairly quick and does not leave a whole lot of lacing.

I really like the tropical blend of hop aromas on this one. Really nice. Some toasty malt is in the background, but the juicy hops are the main show.

This is a mighty fine Pale Ale. Succulent hop flavors are complimented by a shifting grass hop bitterness at the end. Not to be outdone, the biscuity and toasted malt flavors manage to shine as well. Mouthfeel is right at medium for an APA and it goes down very easy and smooth. I think Victory has a real winner on their hands here. I know I will buy more than a few six packs of this each year.

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Photo of Star80
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours out a golden amber color, with a thinning but still creamy looking head. Smells a lot like a famous Pale Ale from Northern California that I won't name, some nice citric hop whiffs with some spiciness that is hard to point a finger on. Taste is nice a balance, some malty, breadiness but with a spicey hop background to help balance the flavors out and cleanly come off the palate. Definitely a bit more spicey than that Calfornia Pale Ale, but I think these are similar in quality, I believe they both are using lots of whole leaf Cascades, which to me is still one of the best hops on earth. Anyway, would take a point off for originality somewhere, but from the brewers standpoint why try and reinvent the wheel? A nice, high drinkable interpretation nonetheless!

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Photo of meatyard
4.13/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very clear, deep golden with a 2-finger+ white head that falls at a moderate pace leaving some decent lacing.

The smell is fruity and grassy with a bit of sweet malt.

The taste is mild grassiness and light fruit balanced nicely with a similar mild malt sweetness followed by ,,, yes, mild bitterness.

The mouthfeel is medium/thin, crisp and lightly carbonated.

Overall, this is a mild but still tasty and well balanced beer that will be an excellent beer on a hot summer day and I look forward to having some fresh bottles in a few months. Victory has produced a pleasant, nicely made version of an APA.

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Photo of yesyouam
4.57/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Victory Headwaters Pale Ale is a crystal clear, lightly sparkling golden ale with a dense, bubbly white head that has outstanding retention and lacing. It has a huge, fresh hoppy aroma of pine and flowers. It has a very smooth medium body with a solid, dry finish. It's a nice, simple, hoppy flavor with perfect bitterness and perfect balance. It tastes slightly dry and piny. This is a supreme example of an American pale ale.

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

12oz bottle with a July 8th 2011 best by date stamped on the label.

Pours copper-orange in color with brilliant clarity. One finger of off-white foam topped this brew for the first couple of minutes, but has now settled to a thin lace floating on top. Pretty decent head retention.

Smell was pretty fruity and citrus forward immediately following my pour, but more malty aromas are now starting to dominate the nose.

A really nice mix of hops and malts. Really balanced at this point. Hops linger a bit in the finish, but it's pretty mild making for a very refreshing summer beer.

Thin to medium body with moderate carbonation. About what you might expect for the style.

I could easily drink this on a warm summer day during a BBQ.

Morey's Bottom Line: This is the first time that I've had this beer, and I'd like to have a fresher bottle sometime. I almost didn't review it, but if Victory still considers it to be well within the freshness realm, then why not. It was good, but I prefer Southern Tier's Pale. But then again, ST is close, so I only drink theirs fresh.

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Photo of Hojaminbag
3.65/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Headwaters has a nice copper-colored body has an off-white head that doesn't have much going on in terms of lacing or retention.

It smells like there is an interesting variety of hops in this one, with a mix of citrus and earth aromas. A good bit of caramel malt also.

There is even more of a multitude of different hop flavors than what I noticed in the aroma. A good bit of citrus flavor is followed by a strong, grassy flavor and a bit of earthiness. The fairly-sweet caramel malt backbone balances these hops out a little too much for my tastes. I would really let these hops shine given the chance, because although they are not in-your-face-overpowering, they are really interesting.

Victory always does a good job with the mouthfeel of their beers, and this one is no exception.

Overall, I like this one. Solid pale ale.

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Photo of dfclav
4.07/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - pours a very clear copper, much like a new penny will look, with a 1 1/2 finger head and generous, active carbonation. A fair amount of lacing sticks to the glass, though thin and patchy. It's a pretty good look though the head left very quickly.

S - again, pretty intense for a pale ale, especially given the fact it clocks in at just over 5%. Grapefruit, sweet bread, vanilla, oranges. Flavors blend together well.

T - hmm...this kind of reminds me of their pils, only more hoppy. IPA-like grapefruit character. Malt plays a big part, and I like the aggressive hop bite they have going here. This is a beer that would pair well with many foods.

M - pretty average for the style, decent carbonation. Damn smooth. About as perfect a dry finish a pale ale can leave you. So easy to finish this off quickly.

O - while this fits into the category, it does push into some other boundaries. I do like the bite this beer has, because it will pair with foods very well and can get some new attention to the craft beer world to non-craft drinkers. Kudos for pushing a new beer into the lineup, and a pale ale of all things. This one works.

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Photo of jjanega08
3.68/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle reads enjoy by Jul 8 2011 BT6

A= Pours a clear golden yellow color with a nice big white head on it that holds steady retention and lacing on the side of the glass.

S= The smell is some light floral hops with a nice sweet malty compliment. Smells like your typical easy drinking pale ale.

T= The taste is again very typical of an APA. A nice semi sweet character to it with a decent grassy floral character. The finish is clean and there is a very very subtle lingering bitterness to it.

M= Great smooth creamy carbonation.

O= A nice easy drinking beer. Actually quite nice. Weather I would buy it again is up for debate. While it is very tasty I can support the guys down the street at Summit for less money and get what I would concider a better product. Not bad by any means however.

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Photo of beer2day
4.2/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep orange gold color. Forced 1-finger light cream head, with very light retention. Sparse lace all around the glass. Fairly light bubble stream.

Nice mix of strawgrass and herbal hops, with a grapefruit twist. Not overpowering, but not meant to be. For a 5% glass, a pretty decent nose.

Decent malt body, but a really nice bite of grapefruit hops in the finish. Particularly good considering the relatively low abv. Lightly roasted malt with citrus winning out over the malt body. Not overpowering, but very nice in the end.

Feel is about right for the abv and style. Slightly creamy and full.

Overall a beer I'd seek out again. Especially if in the mood for more than one.

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Photo of AwYeh
2.92/5  rDev -25.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

On-tap at Melt Bar and Grilled in Lakewood, Ohio. Poured into shaker pint, reviewed from notes.

A: Pours a clear, golden copper yellow color, with two fingers of quickly dissipating white head.

S: Biscuity malts and grassy, herbal hops both come through strongly here. Nice balance between the two- bitter and sweet are in close proportion to one another.

T: Rather bitter with more of the grassy flavor present in the aroma, along with some light caramel sweetness lingering in the background.

M: Standard APA- light/medium body with moderate+ carbonation and a moderately dry finish.

O: The lack of any really enjoyable flavors or complexity hurts this beer's overall score; I was pretty tired of it by the end of my glass and doubt I'll be picking this one up again.

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Photo of pmccallum86
3.53/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a golden red color with a healthy bubbly head.

Smell is very earthy, tons of earthy hop aromas in the nose, not much else.

Taste is bitter in front with a very earthy hop character. Nice tasting beer, not much of a malt presence, but not bad.

Mouthfeel is slightly thin and dry

Overall a decent beer, nothing special but above average.

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Photo of tbrown4
4.27/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. -> Dogfish Head chalice. Picked up a six pack of this at Well's in Towson, MD @ about $11. First I've seen it anywhere. Some PA friends of mine have been fluffing this brew recently, and I tend to enjoy the Victory brews. I decided to give this a shot and buy the whole pack.

A - Bright copper, medium bubble head quickly dissolves, decent carb stream, no lacing.

S - Wow. Immediately noticeable, could be due to the glassware. Very earthy, musky almost muddy. I'm not sure how I feel about this, and it's certainly unique from what I've experienced. It's a round hop aroma with a lightly roasted backdrop.

T - Tastes right about how I'd expect an APA. The big difference here that sets this one apart from the pack is how well defined each flavor note is. Really well done. I imagine this has a lot to do with the freshness.

M - Feels light to medium-light bodied. Crisp carbonation makes this feel very clean.

O - Oh wow, so no more "Drinkability"? Ok, this makes more sense anyway. So, this one is in the middle for me. The ABV makes it easy to put back a few, but as with most decent PAs it's a bit heavy on the palate. I'd certainly order this if I ever find it on tap. I'd buy a six pack again in a few months. This would be a good one to keep on hand in the fridge for the day that you want a good full flavored and moderately hopped craft ale. Nice job, Victory.

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Photo of patoakes7
4.18/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

a-coppery orange in color, extremley clear with little to no lacing off the cask.

s- slight cirusy hop smell. Not much nose poured from the cask

t-refreshing citrus and hoppy throughout. Not overwhelming and pretty smooth

m-Very little carbonation, light bodied and easy to drink

D- Much more drinkable then off regular draft. Props to Victorys 15th anniversary beer headwaters for supplying the firkin.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Photo of EStreet20
4.17/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle, 20 ounce curved pub glass.

A - Excellent clarity on this orangish golden colored ale. Off white head, not that big but stays and laces well.

S - Very nice hop forward nose. Pineapple, tropica fruit.

T - Very nice tasting pale ale. Pininess joins the fruit flavors a little, and a nice malt/hop balance is there. The bitterness hits mostly in the finish, and ends fairly dry.

M - Lighter body. Carbonation is smooth and on the lower side.

O - A nice, exceptionally easy drinking pale with sessionability and a great hop fix without being overwhelming in that area.

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Photo of LittleDon
4.1/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pale ale or IPA, you decide.

Clear, light amber, good head retention and lace. Aroma: pineapples, a touch of caramel. Good hop/malt balance, lean toward the hoppy side. Finish is a bit on the flat side. Fairly high amount of carbonation with a medium-light body. Overall, very drinkable as a pale ale/IPA hybrid.

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Photo of GeoffFromSJ
4.33/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

An exceptional pale ale. Pretty amber color (maybe more on the yellow side). Nice head at first, but a lacing I couldn't get rid of.

I know this beer is a tribute to their main water source. For me though, it is a tribute to the piney hops they use. I'm assuming Amarillo. And it is pretty nice.

A good bit of hop taste but not overwhelming. Not an IPA. So it becomes an easy-drinking beer.

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Photo of jpmclaug
4.64/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Bottle into a nonic

clear golden body with a small white head. A very nice citrusy hop smells is present, wow, maybe a bit of pale malt too but I have to say this APA is one of the best smelling around. I'm impressed with the flavor as well. A nice citrus hop flavor is incredibly well balanced with the pale malts. Finishes with a nice hop flavor but isn't overly bitter. Mouthfeel is light to medium body with a light carbonation. Drinkability is extremely high on this one. I'm really blown away by how good this beer is. Well balanced but with plenty of hop flavor, honestly I think this is the best APA I've ever had.

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