Headwaters Pale Ale | Victory Brewing Company - Downingtown

BA SCORE
88
very good
2,601 Ratings
Headwaters Pale AleHeadwaters Pale Ale
BEER INFO

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

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

BEER STATS
Ratings:
2,601
Reviews:
613
Avg:
3.91
pDev:
11.25%
 
 
Wants:
89
Gots:
509
For Trade:
2
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 2,601 |  Reviews: 613
Photo of djrn2
4/5  rDev +2.3%

Photo of Knapp85
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This poured out as a clear looking orange color. The head was white and doesn't really have much retention. The lacing is light but scattered around the glass. The smell of the beer has a solid malt character with some hope on the nose. The taste is balanced with bitterness and grains. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a good carbonation to it. Overall this beer is actually impressive. I enjoy it and I feel like I would enjoy it again if I were to have it. Thumbs up to Victory on this one.

 496 characters

Photo of t0rin0
2.75/5  rDev -29.7%

Photo of nmann08
4/5  rDev +2.3%

Photo of oriolesfan4
4/5  rDev +2.3%

Photo of metter98
3.95/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: The beer is clear dark golden yellow in color and has a light amount of carbonation. It poured with a finger high off white head that gradually died down into lacing covering the surface.
S: There are light aromas of citrus and grassy hops in the nose. Smells of grapefruit stand out in particular.
T: Like the smell, grapefruit flavors stand out in the taste, which is well balanced by the underlying malts. The finish has a slight amount of bitterness.
M: It feels light- to medium-bodied and smooth on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation. There are some hints of dryness in the finish.
O: The beer goes down very easily and is quite sessionable. I would have no problem drinking this beer all night long.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.81/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

The Pale is dead, long live the Pale!

As the classic taste of pale ale is taking on a renovation, it's shedding much of its malt sweetness in favor of a drier backbone. This happens as hop aroma, flavor and bitterness pulls substantially forward. Maybe they're not "session IPA". Maybe they're the new look of American Pale Ale.

Headwaters Pale Ale pours as any well-conceived one would- its copper and light bronze body shows glimpses of gold about its margins. As a steady stream of bubble race to the surface, a longstanding coat of froth presumes the beer's surface. As it trails with dotted rings, the beer sings the praises of all-things-pale.

Its racy scent favors the hop cone with unmistakable Pacific Northwest grapefruit and orange peels. Propped up with medium caramel and graham cracker-type dry bready-sweetness, the malt character offers stern support while still letting the hops shine. A turn to mint, fresh-cut grass and shaven pine complement the scent with earthy vegetative character.

Conversely its the graham cracker and caramel that greets the taste buds first. Its leading sweetness trends dry and lightly toasty while the pang of citrus rapidly grows in the middle. As a crescendo of citrus strikes, it immediately develops toward spicy, piney and pleasantly grassy finish with a piquant and resinous bitterness.

Medium-light on the palate, the sweetness lingers with the creaminess of carbonation momentarily. But once the hops resinous character sets in, the sweetness escapes and the hops close the show with its own sense of dryness to match that of minty-warm alcohol.

Echoes of toasted barley malt return as the stronghold of bitterness starts to relinquish. Its refreshing and satisfying taste isn't as IPA-ish as many. Headwaters retains its caramel "Pale" roots but also modernizing them.

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Photo of oline73
3.53/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bottle into a standard pint glass.

Appearance: The beer pours a clear amber color with a half finger of fluffy off white head that leaves a ring around the pour and some mild lacing.

Smell: Light malt with a citrus peel hop note in front. Not particularly interesting, but still nice.

Taste: Could use a bit more malt in the background, but the hop profile is nice. Citrus peel hop bitterness builds through the sip to the finish.

Mouthfeel: The body is on the thin side of medium with fluffy carbonation and a dry finish.

Overall: This is a really drinkable pale ale. Nothing to think about too much, but I enjoyed it enough.

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Photo of brentk56
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a clear amber color with a two finger cap; decent lacing action

Smell: Grass and grapefruit with a biscuity base

Taste: A hint of the biscuity underpinnings and then the hops take over, bringing both grass and grapefruit in moderation; a bit of a mineral character, after the swallow, though the hops remain prominent

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Overall: Tremendous balance in this beer; this is the kind of beer to settle down with while watching a football game - enjoyable but happy to stay in the background rather than be in your face with every sip

 597 characters

Photo of emerge077
3.38/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

BBD: Aug 17 2011

Burnished gold color, offwhite cream colored foam that maintains itself well. Random spotty lace and a partial sheet of foam sticks to the glass. Slowly ascending visible carbonation.

Honeyed malt, mildly aromatic floral hops. Fairly mellow with a sweet, malt forward aroma.

Soft sweet malt, grassy hop, light lingering bitterness. Very simple and understated malt character. Hops come across as slighty spicy and floral. Light carbonation, easy drinking. A bit simple with no real flaws, slightly sweet for my taste personally. Still it's a quality offering, like the majority of Victory's output. Good craft transiton beer.

 645 characters

Photo of WillieThreebiers
4/5  rDev +2.3%

Photo of zeff80
3.85/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a clear, golden amber color with a small, off-white, bubbly head of foam. It left sudsy trails of lace on the glass.

S - It smelled piney with some tropical fruit. A touch of caramel, too.

T - It tasted fairly spicy with some sweet caramel maltiness. It had a tropical fruit hop presence with just enough bitterness.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium bodied ale with a dry finish.

O - This is a very nice APA. Victory is very consistent with their year round brews.

 495 characters

Photo of dmorgan310
3.74/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of zestar
3.75/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of superspak
3.96/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle into pint glass, best before 6/23/2013. Pours lightly hazy golden amber color with a 2 finger dense and fluffy cream colored head with fantastic retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lasts. Nice soapy rings of lacing cling down the glass, with a good amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of big grapefruit, orange zest, lemon zest, orange rind, floral, grass, light pine, bread, light caramel, and floral earthiness. Very nice aromas with good balance of hop notes with a moderate malt balance. Taste of grapefruit, orange zest, lemon zest, floral, grass, bread, light caramel, light pine, and floral earthiness. Light floral bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of citrus, citrus zest, floral, grass, bread, light caramel, and floral earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Very nice balance and good complexity of hop flavors; with a moderate malt balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a lightly creamy, lightly sticky, and smooth mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with hardly any warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is a damn nice pale ale. Good balance and complexity of flavors; and very smooth to drink. A very enjoyable offering.

 1,247 characters

Photo of mothman
3.03/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a light layer fo white head. Fades down to a ring. Color is a clear gold.

Aroma: Light aroma. Grassy and kind of weedy. Crystal and pale malts. Kind of bready.

Taste: Pale malts. Very bready. Grassy and weedy. A light citrus note.

Mouthfeel: Bitter and creamy. Light to medium bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. Ends sticky.

Overall, a decent pale, but nothing I would want a lot of. Somewhat easy drinking. Average pale.

 442 characters

Photo of Boone757
4/5  rDev +2.3%

Photo of DrBier
4/5  rDev +2.3%

Photo of Thorpe429
3.74/5  rDev -4.3%
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.

 679 characters

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.

 822 characters

Photo of chinchill
3.48/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured clear, medium amber in color with a small, off-white, short-lived head that left spotty lacing on the glass.

S: Mainly hops, with piney, citrus, earthy and herbal notes. IPA strength of aroma.

T: Strong hop presence with a lingering grapefruit peel note. The bitter finish soon retreats to a more welcome malty/bitter hop mix.

M: Smooth for style; Medium bodied; Medium-high carbonation; semi-dry finish.

O: a nice APA that leans to the hoppy side.

 464 characters

Photo of oberon
4.02/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Nice to see a newer Victory offering here in Greensboro.Poured in a nonic a clear copper with a frothy white head that left multiple chunks of broken lace as it never fully settled,good carbonation.A mix of hops in the nose upfront,grassy,herbal,and citrus fruit mixed with a hefty caramel/biscuit base.A little this and watery in the feel it seems to take away a little oomph from the beer.A mix of herbal and citric hops and sweet caramel biscuit malt on the palate,the hops get the slight edge in a pretty balanced brew.A nice APA,big hops but really balanced,tweak the thinner mouthfeel and this is steller.

 611 characters

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.

 2,494 characters

Photo of jlindros
3.91/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big fizzy head of 1.5 fingers hits the top of my SA perfect pint glass perfectly, and lots of bubbles from the bottom reinforcing it so it sticks around for a while. The beer is a crystal clear pale amber orange color. slight sticky lacing.

Nose has some nice hops, fresh hops with just a touch of musty resin, light grassy, barely a touch of tropical fruit, not much by way of malts.

Taste is light and refreshing, low malt feel but a bit of a malty flavor, some hops again, light musty resin, fresh wet hop like flavors, light spicy and grassy hops, very light tropical fruit. Dry finish, gets fairly bitter and slightly astringent, very light mint flavor too. Light lingering citrus and musty resin.

Mouth is a bit lighter bodied, but good carbonation, crisp.

Overall fairly decent, not the best APA but a decent hop addition, light malts, very drinkable and refreshing.

 877 characters

Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.58/5  rDev -8.4%
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.

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Headwaters Pale Ale from Victory Brewing Company - Downingtown
3.91 out of 5 based on 2,601 ratings.
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