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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

583 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 583
Hads: 2,459
Avg: 3.92
pDev: 23.21%
Wants: 82
Gots: 412 | 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: 583 | Hads: 2,459
Photo of DeltaGolfSierra
4.33/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance is a crystal clear gold with a large pale white head on top. Good lacing down the glass while drinking. Scents are citrus, fresh bread, and a little bit of grass. The taste has a big hops profile - strongly citrus, with bitter grapefruity hops coming through stronger than some IPAs I've had. There is still some semblance of balance though, with a malty sweetness coming through in the background. I would rate this near the top of its style. Another winner from Victory.

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Photo of Scrapss
3.92/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured into a cheater pint from the bottle.

A: Translucent with floaties. Golden radiance. Thin head dissipates to ring less than 1 mm and minimal lacing. Has a fairly active carbonation present.

S: Very tropical and a hair bit piney. Malt peeks in with very light, crackery malt that does not intrude on the hops. Yeast is very subdued and a light yeasty, toastiness or bread peeks in.

T: Bitter orange and tropical fruits yield to a light bread or cracker note. A slightly bitter, sour fruit/metallic swallow ensues, not unpleasant but pronounced.

M: Dry with a very pronounced creaminess. Ephermal on the palate from the carbonation and hop dryness and medium body lends itself to these factors too.

O: Very good example of the style. Not too bitter, not too over the top.

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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

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Photo of PA-hunter
3.88/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured bottle into glass. 5.1% abv

Appearance- Semi clear amber with a thick fluffy head slow to dissipate.

Smell- Citrus aroma of oranges with floral characteristics. Biscuit notes mixed in as well.

Taste- Some slighty sweet bready/barley malt contrasts with a little bit of sweet caramel notes. Noticeable earthy hops sneak in later leaving for a bitter dry finish.

Mouthfeel- Light but not too watery. Good amount of carbonation.

Overall- A decent and flavorful ale. Not super exciting but pretty basic. A good hop presence however. On the refrshing side too and easy drinking for a warm day. Also, hats off to Victory for advocating environmental stewardship and protecting waterways on the label on the bottle!

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Photo of LtCracker20
4.3/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a clear orange amber with a beautiful 2-finger off white head that hangs around for a little bit before falling to a cap. Leaves some very nice lacing.

S- Amazing citrus and floral hops. A little malt sweetness, but the nice citrus and floral aroma comes through the most.

T- A little sweetness mixed in with the hoppiness. Not IPA hop bitterness bite, but nice pale ale hoppiness.

MF- Nice moderate bodied beer with a very clean and crisp finish to it.

O- I actually like this much better than Sierra Nevada's Pale Ale. Don't hate me, but I think the flavor of this beer is much, much better.

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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.

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Photo of Wadsey
3.1/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Victory Headwaters 

Served in a Terry Abner Salon signature glass

A: Pours as shiny copper with decent head that sadly has poor retention. Still, a nice stream of bubbles rise through the beer. 

S: Hops smell pungent and lively, evoking citrus and tropical fruit, especially passion fruit. A little marijuana. Malts throw biscuity aromas.

T: Unfortunately, the above characteristics are not as sharp in taste. Cracker-like malts with a hint of steely caramel.  General fruity and a little spicy hops. Medium-high bitterness. The beer is dry. Weeds and citrus peels in finish.  

M: Medium-light body and medium carbonation. The beer would be smooth except somewhat harsh weedy finish. 

O: Victory Headwaters strikes me as a decent pale ale whose overall score is hurt by a relatively harsh finish. I will probably revisit this beer, particularly if I find it on tap. 

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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 Stobin
3.3/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Really like this style, don't know if this one is a good representation. Smell has a hint of what wine people call "pipi du chat", or cat piss. Didn't care for smell, but tastes much better. Really like this brewery, and most of its offerings, but this one falls a little flat for me. Will try on tap if given the chance, but won't buy in bottles again.

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Photo of pvsob
3.97/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Light orange color with a rather small head (white) that fades quickly and leaves some lacing.

S- Malt, earthy/musty aromas, grapefruit, and just a touch of tropical fruit.

T- I picked up more malt in the flavor than in the aroma. A nice citrus bitterness balances out the malt. A nice bitter (citrus pith) finish.

M- Low to medium feel with medium to high levels of carbonation.

O- Well done Victory. I think I found a local replacement for all those sixers of SNPA I usually have in my fridge. Recommended. Cheers.

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Photo of birderbeerer
3.8/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Golden beer with a slightly off-white, two-finger head.

What is that hop? It's the same aroma as Daisy Cutter and Nugget Nectar--a clean and pungent hop. Like a juicy pine cone. Hard to pinpoint. But it's very nice.

And, like Daisy Cutter, the taste just isn't as nice. The hop tastes more bitter than it smells. The malts are very sweet and this is a good beer. But it's not blended well and the hops are a little off-kilter with the rest of the beer.

This beer is best as a hoppy chug after doing something outside on a scorcher day.

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

best before March 10, 2012

A: Solid lacing.

S: Bitter grapefruit and piney hops.

T: Slightly sweet grain and the same hops. The hops are definitely prominent, but there is still some modicum of balance.

M: Just about right.

O: Very good, hoppy APA. I have no problem drinking several.

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Photo of ToAzwethinkweizm
3.3/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Date: 24 June 2011
Glass: Ithaca English-style pint glass
Type: 12fl bottle

Poured gently, brief 1+ finger head, reduces to a light cap, fairly nice draped lacing, color is clear amber gold

Aroma is wonderfully floral, paired with touches of pine, and a quick wisp of grapefruit.

Taste is incredible for a session beer 5.1% (at least I believe it's of session quality). Taste begins with a lightly floral bitter hops, a touch of pine, and a pale malt backbone. Possibly the slightest touch of lemon, but very brief.

Mouthfeel is extremely crisp, like a quick spike. Doesn't leave a bitterness on the palate. A lemony flavor lasts few a few seconds. Light-bodied beer, great for hop-heads that don't want to spend a lot of money, and want a sessionable beer. Good job again, Victory.

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Photo of DAllspaw
4.47/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into plastic cup while on vacation, so I don’t yet have proper rating for appearance, but looks like other pale ales…it was pale with white head. Moving on, the aroma on this beer was exceptional. Very bright notes of grapefruit and citrus with a hint of pine and some subdued malt. One of the better smelling pale ales I’ve had. Taste follows suit, very fresh hope profile and a crispness in the taste that reminds me less of pale ale and more of a pilsner. The creamy mouthfeel present in so many pale ales is not as evident here, but nevermind, since a great beer in its own right. Can’t wait to have again, really made a strong first impression.

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Photo of generalnotsew
4.65/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a thick cottony white head. Body is very dark orange/amber color. For the abv and the style it looks exceptional. Smell is sweet grassy, earthy, pineapple, caramel malts. Very potent in the nose with all these pleasant smells. Nice clean hop bite upfront. Mellows out into a smooth caramel malt. Not as good as the smell but still leaps and bounds above a lot of pales. Taste is also grassy with a bit of grapefruit. Very oily and bubbly mouthfeel. Overall this is one the best Pale Ales I have ever had. Very clean and refreshing. Should be a real summertime crowd pleaser!

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Photo of rorykanderson
4.1/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Great pale ale. Enjoyed ice cold straight from the can. Aroma of pine, citrus, grass and hay. Pleasant earthy undertone throughout. Taste of orange, lemon and grapefruit that's immediately balanced out by the bread/biscuit malt flavor. Very well balanced pale ale that finishes with a moderate bitterness that doesn't linger.

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

Poured from the bottle into a clean pint glass.

Poured a clear copper/amber in color. Formed a nice, slight tan 2 finger head that left some decent lacing.

Smell - some light citrusty hops hit the nose first, with a nice crispness.

Taste - initial hop bite, that floated over the palate for the malts to show up, and finished very clean and smooth. very easy drinking pale ale.

Mouthfeel - medium light.

overall - not a bad pale ale. Not sure if it's one that i'd get again, but it is a very easy drinking pale ale.

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Photo of happy4hoppybeer
4.69/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Light,clear orange, with a nice half-inch of fluffy white head.Lacing is rather minimal.

Sweet citrus,floral hops, combined with nice sweet malt backbone. Wow,very inviting. I love this very pleasant aroma,nice citrusy hops are there right in your nose,with the steady level of malt sweetness. Yes.

Upon sip,what I experience in the nose is pleasantly repeated on the tongue. Good bitter citrus hops,yet very restrained, which is appropriate for a pale ale. Sweet caramel malts. Good medium body,with average carbonation,not too much,just the right amount of it.

Yet another winner from Victory,they never cease to amaze me, and always fail to dissapoint me.

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Photo of VictorWisc
4.06/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours clear medium amber with moderate off-white head with little retention, but with some foam film remaining on the surface. Moderate lacing even after head subsides.

Pungent hoppy nose with noticeable yeast. Mild citrus and eucalyptus notes.

Classic PA flavor profile Tastes grassy up front, then piny resin and clove notes with floral yeastiness. The finish is sweet citrus and caramel maltiness, rounding off back to resinous spice. Well balanced once the initial bitterness melts away. [PS 08/02/13: Just had another bottle from the same batch not quite a week later and this one is all grapefruit peel and mild caramel/burnt sugar malt notes. Not sure what to make of the difference, as there is nothing sweet in this bottle. It really tastes like what I got when I tried to infuse fresh grapefruit peels for 24 hours.]

Body light to medium with very light carbonation as the beer coats the tongue. Not boozy, but there is some alcohol doing a hot dance on the tongue.

Good summer choice if not overchilled. For me this is a strong preference over comparable Sierra Nevada PA which tends not to hold flavors quite as long. An excellent part of a mixed 12 (with Prima, HotDevil and Golden Monkey) that would work well in any season.

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

Pours a light copper/ orange, lots of bubbles, no haze, half finger of white rocky head.

Smell is all piney hops. Just a little bit floral.

Taste: Floral hops, some sharp citrus notes, and just a tiny backing of malt. Not complex, but satisfying

Mouthfeel is nice. Body is between medium and light, moderately high carbonation, but it seems appropriate. Just a tiny tiny bit of heat from the alcohol.

Overall maybe the best Pale Ale I've ever had. Probably will be my next homebrew project to clone this.

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

Had this one on tap at The Distillery in Rochester, NY. Glass arrived fresh pulled at a nice temp. Noticed the color right away at a reddish, copper. Next, the smell was very uplifting, and hoppy. Various floral, piney, fruity scents. Small head on it with descent lacing. Taste was very nice and rolled around the taste buds sweetly. Went weel with the pizza we ordered. Would def have again. It was on sale fro $3 a pint. Cant lose there for sure.

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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 TH28
3.59/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle. 7/3/14 code date. Appearance: A hazy dark golden with a thick off white foam cap. Aroma: Nice aromatic toasted bread in the malt with a hint of floral and herbal hops. Taste: Rich, bready and toasted malt dominates. Bread crust. Bitterness is crisp and strong enough to balance the malt, with some herbal/floral hints. Mouthfeel: Medium with a medium high carbonation. Finish: some lingering bitterness and bread crust. Overall: A great English style pale, with rich bready and toasted flavors dominating the flavor profile. Definitely malt forward.

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Photo of 312HopBomb
3.53/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

A burnt amber color that is clear with a slight eggshell cap and little lacing.

Aroma that is slightly fruity with pine sap hops..

Taste begins with a blast of hop bitterness that is dry with some acidity. No tropical or citrus that I was expecting, just a sharp bitterness that lingers. Doesn't taste fresh.

Mouthfeel is medium with light/medium carbonation.

I was disappointed with this because I it's a Citra hop brew that does not compare to the Zombie.

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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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Headwaters Pale Ale from Victory Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 583 ratings.