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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: 2,417
Avg: 3.92
pDev: 23.21%
Wants: 81
Gots: 393 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Victory Brewing Company visit their website
Pennsylvania, United States

Style | ABV
American Pale Ale (APA) |  5.20% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: thagr81us on 02-14-2011

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Headwaters Pale Ale Alström Bros
Reviews: 576 | Hads: 2,417
Photo of JMad
4.19/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I poured a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass...

The liquid was a light, copper, orange color with a thin, bubbly, white head that dissipated quickly. It smells amazing for a pale ale, there are hints of lime, grapefruit and sweet malt. The taste consists lemon and lime with a hint of bready sweet malt and a piney, hoppy aftertaste. The beer is light, with stinging carbonation and a slightly dry finish. Headwaters pale ale is highly drinkable, it's perfect for a hop-head that wants to have a nice drinking session.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.74/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of jcb890. Served in a Hill Farmstead wine glass.

Pour yields a copper-orange beer with a thin white head that doesn't stick around too long and really doesn't leave much lacing behind. The nose brings forward some citrus and floral notes. They are certainly faint, but come out more as the beer warms up and are quite noticeable with a good, hard sniff. Taste is a bit on the light side, though enjoyable. There's a generic "hop character" but nothing really pops out.

Feel is slightly bitter with good carbonation on a medium body. Quite drinkable. Not a huge standout, but with this ABV and overall profile, I could see myself coming back for more of this.

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Photo of baconsausage
3.7/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Golden color, nice lacing, smooth drinking. Aroma of big juicy fruit hops not present in the flavor. Reminds me of some of the coveted CA beers from the aroma, but doesnt get there in taste. Still good though. A little citrus and a lot of pine in theflavor, balenced, alittle bitter. Drinks smoove,

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Photo of projectflam86
4.22/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Enjoy by date July 8 2011

A- Pours a bright golden orange color with a thick foam head that leaves nice lacing.

S- Juicy hops and pine aromas dominate the nose. A bit of dank hop character is present as well. This baby smells quite hoppy for an APA!

T- A nice hoppy bitterness upfront with some citrus and tropical fruit flavors. Some pine and floral flavors come through with just a touch of caramel malt to balance in the finish.

M- Clean and hoppy with nice carbonation.

D- Very drinkable APA with a really nice hoppy flavor. I will definitely pick up another 6er of this.

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Photo of mlazzaro
3.52/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Very clear amber color. High carbonation, looks like the carbonation of a soda. Very low head retention. I thought it was the glass but multiple beers in a row, with low retention.

Smells of American hops. Mild by what I am used to.
It is refreshing and smooth. But really just kind of boring. Citrus hops are really subtle. Especially up against the bitterness. What tastes like English yeast is very neutral in flavor. It's pretty good beer. I am a very picky beer drinker.

Also a bit watery for my taste. High carbonation and thin body are really not a good mix. I am able to drink a good amount of this beer. It is probably just designed to be a sessionable beer. The flavors that are happening are tasty. But it has enormous room for improvement I feel.

I declare misuse of the word "head". I isn't nearly as heady as I presumed.

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Photo of THECPJ
3.37/5  rDev -14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

reviewed from notes:

appearance: copper orange with a 1 finger white head

smell: hops, malts,

taste: sweet malts, hops, dry bitter finish

mouthfeel: mild carbonation, thin / medium body

drinkability: was hoping for a bit more out of victory, this beer is just not doing it for me unfortunately.


the CPJ

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Photo of FickleBeast
4.02/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at victory brewpub.

Arrives in an english imperial pint glass. Clear pale brown color, no head. Aroma is a nice fruity hop.

First sip is nice but the body is a bit thin. Very drinkable due to the dry finish. The hop flavor does assert itself nicely. There is a slight grainy flavor as well.

As I drink this, the beer gets better and better. There is a substantial floral hoppiness that I am really starting to enjoy.

Overall, a very nice offering.

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

Served on-tap in a clear nonic pint at Mellow Mushroom (Charlottesville, VA).

A: Clear amber with 1/2-finger tightly bubble oatmeal colored head with good retention and lacing.

S: The hoppiness seems a little tempered compared to the bottle I had last week. Still orange dominated with a rich biscuity malt presence.

T: The hoppiness and maltiness don't have the profound snappy quality that the bottle version had. Still an enjoyable brew with smooth orange and pine hops qualities and generous caramel and pale maltiness.

M: Carbonation is medium as is the body.

D: A nice session brwe from Victory -- I would order again, but I thought the bottle was sharper and more distinctive.

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Photo of plfahey
3.38/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle poured into a tulip glass.

Appearance-Deep gold to light amber with good clarity. Moderately tall white head with moderately good retention.

Aroma-Big floral and grassy hop bouquet, with lesser notes of citrus, grapefruit, catty, and resin. Grain, biscuit, and light caramel show up in the malt profile, which is rather subdued compared to the hops.

Flavor-Biscuit, grain, and husky malt flavor. Hop flavors are grassy, hay-like, and catty-a little bit off-putting. The more I drink it, the mustier it seems to be. Hop bitterness is moderate. catty, hay-like hop flavors linger on the palate.

Mouthfeel-Medium body with moderate carbonation.

I really liked the aroma off the bat, but the grass notes get to be a bit much, especially in the flavor. Not my favorite type of hop flavors, which turns me off a bit.

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

Headwaters is light copper in color. It's very, very clear. A little light gives it nice orange highlights. A vanilla colored head tops it and stands roughly a finger and a half tall. It dissipates rather quickly, leaving spotty strands of sticky lace behind.

The nose is impressive. One whiff is all it takes to realize it's a hop forward American Pale. Given that I prefer those to their more balanced siblings, I like it. The hops smell mostly citric and feature strong grapefruit and orange scents. But, there are a few grassy and floral notes as well. Sweet caramel malt is noted throughout, but never takes center stage. Alcohol is never much of a factor. At 5.1%, that's no surprise.

The flavor is nothing short of excellent! It's not complicated. The caramel malt base provides a sweet flavor up front. It tastes a little sugary. Hops waste no time jumping into the mix. I have no clue what the hop bill is, but it's delicious. Strong grapefruit and orange flavors blend with light grassy and floral notes to create one hell of a fine hop flavor. It leans bitter, but the malt base provides some balance in that respect. Alcohol is completely buried. Finishes with a punch of citrus and bitterness.

Headwaters has a light-medium body. Carbonation is light and restrained. It feels nice and smooth. Drinkability is extremely high. This is stuff is damn tasty and goes down far too easily. Given that its abv is only 5.1%, a few of these sounds like a great idea.

Victory Brewing Company took an interesting path with releasing Headwaters Pale Ale as its 15th anniversary beer. I would've expecting a trendier, bigger beer. Honestly, I love what Victory did here. Not only is it an interesting choice, it's a fantastic beer! This is the most impressive American Pale I've had in a long time. I'm thrilled that this is going to a year round release. Happy 15th, Victory!

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Photo of gatornation
3.25/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

from a 12 oz bottle best by 070811

A- was a yellow/orange sunset color with a fresh head just a litlle lacing mostly clear PA

S- was malty hay with some lemon citrus ,some floral hops

T- was wet grass,some floral hop notes mixed in were some lemon and citrus notes

M- fizzy a little watery

D- easy to drink but the taste was a watered down pale ale ..i like victory but this PA was a let down for me..and one i would not buy again.. ill try it on tap and maybe buy a single again

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

Victory's becoming a top tier brewery in my eyes. One brew after another, I'm pleasantly surprised.

This is a strong American Pale Ale, but it borders on an IPA in taste and smell.

Pours a golden color.

Smell is quite hoppy for categorized as a pale ale.

I thought the taste would be overly hoppy from the nose, but it wasn't at all. Yes, there's plenty of hops there, but the beer has a nice smoothness finish. It has a rather in-depth watery taste as it goes down. The Headwaters isn't just part of the name; it's a vital part of the beer.

Overall, highly recommend.

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Photo of wvsabbath
3.98/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Serving Type - Bottle

Appearance - Light tan, golden brown, not much of a head. Some mild lacing.

Smell - Light hops, yeast, Some floral smell, spices. Not Real strong in the smell department.

Taste - Mild yeast and hops. Floral fruits like lemon and orange are present. Lemon, orange, grapefruit, even some apricot are mixed with some spices.

Mouthfeel - Slighty bitter from the hops, and some tingle from the spices. Really dont get any alcohol. Its actually medium bodied and with some hop kick..

Drinkabilty - A nice mellow drink low in alcohol and has some hop kick. A nice job with this beer. I can see drinking 3-4 very easy and not realizing it.

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Photo of billab914
3.98/5  rDev +1.5%
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.

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Photo of phreshbeer
3.38/5  rDev -13.8%
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.

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Photo of BlackBearForge
4/5  rDev +2%
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.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.33/5  rDev +10.5%
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.

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Photo of Jesse13713
3.6/5  rDev -8.2%
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.

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Photo of NODAK
3.4/5  rDev -13.3%
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.

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Photo of secondtooth
4.09/5  rDev +4.3%
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.

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Photo of jwhancher
3.98/5  rDev +1.5%
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.

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Photo of Seanibus
4/5  rDev +2%
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.

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Photo of Slatetank
3.88/5  rDev -1%
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.

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Photo of SFLpunk
3.72/5  rDev -5.1%
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.

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Photo of dogfishandi
4/5  rDev +2%
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.

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