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Headwaters Pale Ale | Victory Brewing Company - Downingtown

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very good
601 Reviews
Headwaters Pale AleHeadwaters Pale Ale

Brewed by:
Victory Brewing Company - Downingtown
Pennsylvania, United States

Style: American Pale Ale (APA)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.20%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by thagr81us on 02-14-2011

For Trade:
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Reviews: 601 | Ratings: 2,574
Photo of Reagan1984
4.42/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed a couple of these on draft at Armby Abbey. The sample I tried sold me immediately with it's great aroma. Two visits and two pints later, Victory reminded me why they have been one of my favorite brewers.

Pale Amber in color with some gold/orange tones and nice clarity. Nice finger of creamy head that leaves some nice lacing.

Aroma is fruity, fresh and full of grapefruit and topical notes.

Nice little beer here. Great balance, nice fresh hop flavor with an explosion of grapefruit. Toasty malts play a nice supporting role here.

Really refreshing and bright in your mouth. Carbonation pops an brings forth the hop character.

Really enjoyed this and will look for the bottled version (which I am told exists)

Well done!

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.41/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottles purchased as part of a mix-six pack at Wegmans on East Avenue, in Rochester, NY.

Pours an amber orange into my Southern tier tulip. 1 inch fluffy head, visible carbonation.

Smells deliciously tropical and fruity, very clean smelling.

The taste is clean and crisp as well, I'd definitely guess this one uses a judicious amount of Citra hops. Oranges and pineapples abound, with a pleasant lingering bitterness. Some pine as well, that adds to the bitterness. Light but effective malt backbone, crackery.

Very crisp. One of the most drinkable pale ales you'll ever find.

Not one of the most balanced pale ales I've ever had, as the hop flavors dominate when fresh. The hop flavors are bright, clean, and refreshing though, and this beer is really drinkable- easy to put 3-4. Another winner from our friends at Victory.

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Photo of tzieser
4.4/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

a: straw in color with a slight haze. nice white head that settles into a thin lacing.

s: citrus-hop aroma with a noticeable honey-like malt sweetness and subtle grassy undertones.

t: crisp, hoppy and refreshing. hop flavor hits first and foremost with notes of citrus and flowers. malt backbone is there and keeps the beer from being too bitter (which it most certainly isn't). this is one refreshing beer. it's perfectly balanced. it deserves this 5; well done.

m: great mouthfeel.

delicious. my new go-to pale ale.

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Photo of fps_dean
4.4/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a golden amber color with minimal head and moderate lacing.

Smells rather mildly of piney hops and caramelized malts.

Tastes much like it smells, but tasting slightly heavier in the hop department, with nothing being overpowering or offensive. Quite refreshing, and extremely well balanced.

It's moderately carbonated, and goes down incredibly smooth like almost every other Victory brew, and exceptionally smooth for a lower alcohol content beer.

Overall, a very good pale ale and a really exceptional session beer. This has been one of my go to session beers especially in the summer season, as it's fairly light and refreshing and goes down extremely smoothly while being very solid in the flavor department as well.

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Photo of BigMike
4.4/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Pours a nice orange tangerine color. Very clear with a thin soapy off white colored head.

S: A very nice amount of candied orange and grapefruit. Light but right on for the style. Smells very clean.

T: This is a delicious Pale ale. And thats exactly what it is, a Pale Ale. Definitely doesn't cross over into IPA territory but its extremely refreshing and drinkable.

M: Light bodied but not watery by any means. Maybe a new summer time go to beer.

Overall: A solid PA from victory. After the last two sub par beers i had from them(ie Dark Intrigue and Victory Village) it's good to get a winner. Nothing earth shattering but well made.

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Photo of UnderPressure
4.39/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Nice standard looking pale ale. Orange color. Slight haze. Thin head. Nice lacing, though.

Intense hop aroma. Caramel sweetness. Nice citrus and floral. Pungent undertone.

Awesome flavor! Hops everywhere. Not all that bitter. Sweet, grainy, and very hoppy.

Heavy mouthfeel with low carbonation.

Could use more carbonation and a thinner body. Otherwise, this beer is awesome.

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Photo of CHickman
4.39/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear copper orange color with a 2 finger very thick foamy beige head that faded very slowly, leaving good lacing.

Smells of big hops up front, with floral hops, orange peel, citrus hops, grapefruit, caramel, sweet malt, grains, herbs and sweet candy or brown sugar; floral hops, citrus and sweetness dominate the nose and make this smell like an nice IPA. A great nose for an APA and one that I really enjoyed.

Tastes of floral hops, flowers, orange peel, lemon, citrus hops, grapefruit, grape or apple, caramel, sweet malt, grains, herbs, piney hops, wheat, brown sugar, coriander and bread or biscuit; the hops dominate most of the taste, but then give way to the sweet malts which adds nice balance and flavor.

Mouthfeel is creamy and velvety smooth, with a medium body, very low carbonation and an easy smooth feel.

Drinkability is high, this is a very hoppy pale ale and to me it was very tasty and went down quite easy. Right in my wheelhouse, this was very well done and a beer that I recommend. A definite session beer for me.

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Photo of dsa7783
4.39/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Single, twelve-ounce copped from Total Wine & More in West Orange. Superb depiction of the style; pours a ruddy, copper, amber-hue with slight carbonation visible. Aromatic, floral notes depicted on the palate and in the nose. Excellent, highly-drinkable brew with hints of tangerine and orange peel. A refreshing, medium-bodied pale ale with a noticeable hop presence. One of the better examples of the style I've come across in a long time. Great stuff. Recommended.

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Photo of smcolw
4.39/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Starts to slowly overflow the bottle, but the pour produces a standard sized head. The liquid is hazy with a light amber color. Leaves some streaky ring lace.

Classic blend of paler caramel-smelling malts and aromatic hops. Very pleasant while being fully predictable (in a good way).

Great balance in the flavors. Light earthiness but there's also a smoothness to the malt flavors. The hop shows up mid-sip and continues through the swallow. The bitterness is less complex but is perfectly appropriate for this style. The body is as to be expected with a slightly high level of carbonation. In short, this is a fine pale ale. In fact if I were to suggest one to give as the example of the American style, I would choose this one.

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Photo of jmerloni
4.38/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - A beautiful translucent straw yellow-orange with medium white head that spiders out on the top after it recedes. Really pleasant and clean looking. I like the looks of this a lot.

S - Yeast and honey malts. Something a little bit spicy in there, too. And hops.

T - Yeasty with a lot of citrusy hops. There's definitely some kind of spice here. I think it might be sage. Really nice and crisp, hops are fresh. This tastes like it flows from a utopian pristine creek somewhere!

M - Light to medium bodied. Hoppiness leaves the tastebuds pretty rocked. Smooth with not too much carbonation.

D - Great drinkability. Nice and light. There's a tiny bit of a gap between the intensity of the hops and the overall drinkability. It seems like Victory wanted to make it highly drinkable - and it is - but it does seem a bit watery on some sips, but it's actually nice and refreshing. Solid beer. I love what they do with lighter ales. They never ever miss.

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Photo of BeachBrewerDude
4.38/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Golden to amber in color, medium head retention

Smell: Subtle hop aroma

Taste: Tar, a little bit of skunk, mossy river stone, pungent grassy bitter hops, a hint of old lady makeup, a nice mild earthy maltiness.

Mouthfeel: Nicely carbonated and chilled. Hops with a tarry essence dominate taste buds.

Overall: Refreshing, hoppy, earthy, not too malty, great hoppy pale ale. The tar characteristic from the hops is something you should be in the mood for, but goes extremely well with certain foods such as BBQ ribs. This beer plays with BBQ sauce so well! Very fun to drink! Bartender...I'll take another!!!

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Photo of Gatch
4.38/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Beautiful copper color with a foamy, frothy, white head. No lace or retention.

S: Good balance of hops and malt but the hops stand out with a bite that I like to equate to East Coast hops. Not intense but great hop characteristics. Very pale, indeed.

T: Fresh, fruity, hoppy. Fantastic. Right amount of dryness. Malt hits the palate at the end of each sip to make this one balanced PA...from PA. (lame)

M: Smooth, refreshing, and delicious. Thinner body than I would like but the drinkability is very high.

O: A killer PA from Victory. Well done!

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Photo of Rockjocknroll
4.37/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: Deep gold/ medium amber, nice thick head to begin. Filtered.
S: Almost garlicky hop smell with sweet orange citrus.
T: Wow. Light and crisp with the perfect amount of subtle sweet and floral/fruity flavors. Just the right amount of bitterness that doesn't linger.
M: Again, very clean and crisp. Light and easy to drink.
O: Very impressed; easily one of the best Pales I've had. This would be dangerously drinkable in the summer. One of the best hoppy beers I've had from Victory which includes almost all of their IPAs and fresh-hop series.

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Photo of EvanM
4.36/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer is very beer-like. It has the color of beer and has a foam that appears when poured. Smells good and tastes great - not sour or bitter or sweet. Ask me if I like it....yes, tons! Beer is about the circumstance - not the provenance. Not too much hops and not too dry. Well balanced.

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Photo of Hopdaemon39
4.35/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a nonic tumbler- pours a clear copper/amber color with, a finger of bone-white head, light retention and lacing.

Smell is light and floral- hops predominate but are not too intense and there's a little pale malt.

Tastes wonderfully refreshing- not too heavy on the bitterness but still enough to make it crisp. Light hop bitterness on the front palate, followed by some caramel sweetness, giving way to some floral hops (I taste a bit of green apple as well) to finish it out slightly dry.

Mouthfeel is great- light to medium body, moderately carbonated, no sticky, resiny hop feeling. Great summer beer for sure.

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Photo of meverhart53
4.35/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I was pleasantly surprised by this APA from Victory Brewing in Downingtown, PA. I thought I was buying Victory's Hop Devil, but mistakenly purchased Victory Headwater Pale Ale instead. This ale gets a big thumb's up.

Brilliant copper color, pillowy head

Lots of citrus and pine

Nicely balanced malt and hops

A nice big tasting ale with a 5.1% abv

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Photo of alexgash
4.35/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle. No bottle date.

Deep tawny orange, with golden edges. Small pillow of gauzy, off-white head. Nose shows off fresh citrus and piny notes mixed with spicy, almost rye-ish malt, and a bit of fruit. Nice balance.

Toasted malt up front. Hop bitterness soon follows; very citrusy, with some marmalade, grapefruit, and spice. Caramel and fruit show up in the malty base. Drier in the finish, with lingering peppery, citrusy hop bitterness and traces of caramel malt. Moderate body with a smooth, easy feel. Very enjoyable and quite sessionable. Can't believe it took me so long to try this beer!

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Photo of nickfl
4.35/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A - Pours with one and a half fingers of white foam on top of a clear, bright copper colored body. The head settles down slowly and leaves moderate lace on the glass.

S - A moderately strong, yet fresh and very green hop aroma with bready malt in the background.

T - Bread and toasted malt up front with some light sweetness. More toasted malt in the middle as well as a bit of pine hop flavor. The beer ends with more rich, sweet malt and moderate bitterness as well as a lingering pine hop flavor.

M - Medium body, moderate carbonation, and a slightly sweet finish.

D - Excellent, it is mild and balanced but very full flavored for the style. The hop aroma isn't so strong that one could mistake it for an IPA, but it is pungent and very enjoyable. This has to be the best APA that I have ever had, simply brilliant.

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Photo of mjrod2142
4.34/5  rDev +11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle poured into a standard pint glass

The beer poured clean with a bright, orange-pumpkin-looking color with a slight hint of haze. A soft, off-white head quickly formed and left nice lacings inside the glass as it dissipated.

The aroma offers an immediate burst of grapefruit. The smell is very crisp and clean, with some bite of fresh-cut grass.

The taste gives you exactly what the smell does: a sharp grapefruit note that softens out to a malty finish. The mouthfeel is excellently smooth and rich without being heavy. Perfect carbonation.

If you love good hops, this American Pale Ale is for you. Highly recommended.

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Photo of ChrisMyhre
4.34/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass from the 12 oz. bottle. Best by December 2013.

a: Light copper color,billowy head with some lacing.

s: Hoppier than expected. Very little malt.

t: Hoppy, light malt but very flavorful.

m: Heavier than expected, nice smooth, easy drinking beer.

o: Great drinkable beer, very non-pretentious but flavorful. Great APA.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.33/5  rDev +10.7%
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 lisomiso
4.33/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Very, very pretty. Smells nice. My first sip forced a double-take: am I drinking a beer, or am I munching on a bud of chronic? Seriously, you guys, this is delicious. Bitter and fresh. Nothing mind-bending, nothing revelatory, but for reals: I could drink a whole lot of them. I want to drink a whole lot of them. I'm sad I only bought two.

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Photo of DeltaGolfSierra
4.33/5  rDev +10.7%
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 GeoffFromSJ
4.33/5  rDev +10.7%
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 garuda
4.33/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle, best-by date clearly labeled

A - Clear, brilliant orange-gold body with a one finger, soapy white head that has good retention and lacing.

S - Bready malt with some grassy, herbal hop aromas and caramel sweetness.

T - Bold bread and biscuit-like malts hit the palate first, balanced out by bitter grapefruit hops and a long, resinous finish.

M - Medium body, ample carbonation creates a light creamy texture across the palate and finishes with a punch of bitterness.

O - Nice crisp pale ale with depth and complexity crammed into 5.1% abv. A welcomed, long overdue addition to Victory's year round lineup.

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Headwaters Pale Ale from Victory Brewing Company - Downingtown
3.91 out of 5 based on 2,574 ratings.
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