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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 Slatetank
3.88/5  rDev -0.8%
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 womencantsail
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks for sending this one my way, Dyan.

A: The pour is amber in color with a couple fingers of white head that leaves some mild lacing on the glass.

S: A solid hoppy aroma right away. Juicy citrus with plenty of oranges and tangerines, perhaps some hints of grapefruit, too. A moderate amount of malt in there. Nicely balanced.

T: The citrus hop flavors open things up quite pleasantly. Plenty of tangerine and mild grapefruit along with some hints of pine which provide a little bitterness. Balanced with sweetness of bready malts.

M: Medium in body with a moderate level of carbonation.

O: This is very much along the lines of how I like my pale ales. Nice hoppy character without being overly bitter or malty.

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

Served on tap at Beer Authority in New York, NY

A: Pours a crystal clear medium to dark golden yellow in color with light amounts of visible carbonation. The beer has a finger tall off-white head that slowly reduces to a thin film covering the entire the surface of the beer and a thicker ring at the edges of the glass. Significant amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate aromas of grapefruit/citrus hops with lighter hints of grassy hops.

T: Upfront there is a light amount of malts followed by moderate flavors of grapefruit/citrus and grassy hops. Light amounts of bitterness in the finish.

M: Just shy of medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Smooth with light amounts of dryness in the finish.

O: Enjoyable and quite easy to drink - good flavors and the lower ABV make this quite sessionable. Well balanced.

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Photo of TMoney2591
2.62/5  rDev -33%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Served in a Chicago Bears shaker pint glass.

Thanks to the Central PA group from the Gang Bang BIF for this bottle!

I've somehow not yet tried this pale from Victory. How'd that happen? It pours a clear straw-amber topped by a finger of cream-white foam. The nose comprises dark greens, egg yolk, caramel, flowers, and light leek. Not sure where that egg-y smell's coming from, but it's not helping things at all. The taste holds notes of greens, flowers, toffee, leek, grass, and grapefruit rind. Everything tastes kinda dusty, kinda dirty... The body is a hefty light, with a light moderate carbonation and a dry finish. Overall, I'm not sure what went wrong with this beer. It's still a few months before it's Best By date, it doesn't seem officially skunked...it's just not very good. Hm.

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Photo of orangesol
3.41/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served on cask at Al's of Hampden into a nonic pint.

A - Pours clear amber orange with a bubbly one finger tall white head leaving small, sticky, rings of lacing down the glass.

S - Smells of lightly toasted caramel malt, dulled citric hops, biscuity malt, and some dull citric fruit. Something tells me this is a bit past its prime.

T - Starts off with a good bit of sweet caramel malt slowly giving way to a mix of chewy malt and dulled citric hops. The hops are nearly gone in this one as it seems to be well past its prime. Finish is mostly malty sweetness with just the faintest hint of hop bitterness, lingering for a short period of time.

M - Medium-Light body and flavor with moderate carbonation. Starts off with a nice creamy feel quickly fading to a dull, slick, feel in the finish.

O - I had one of these on cask a month or two ago and it was very good. Something tells me this one is from that same back, just much older. I still enjoyed it for what it was.

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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 billab914
3.98/5  rDev +1.8%
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 mdfb79
3.85/5  rDev -1.5%

From 08/31/14 notes. 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

Pours a bright amber-gold color with one to two inched of off white head and moderate carbonation evident. Some light citrus hops, followed by a lot of bready malts, dough, some caramel malts, and light oranges and floral hops. More malty than hoppy. Medium body and low carbonation, no bitterness and easy to drink.

Overall a decent APA. Not too hoppy but tastes good and easy to drink. Would have it again and easy to drink a few of.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
4.5/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I bought a case at McBroom's today, thank god my sister is living a block away. So I always have a good excuse, to get up to D'z and McBroom's. Fresh cases of Headwaters Pale Ale. Appears a pale copper, full thicket of light beige head with fine even lacing. Light speckled lacing, with aromatics have a pungent citric/floral aspect no pine or earthiness. Hints of sugar coated biscuit malts in the nose, very nice malt base with sturdy citric hops standing up to the malts. I believe they're using Citra hops with a combo of other hops for this brew, I tried the Dorado version of Pursuit of Pale Ale. Flavors just work with this brew, herbal/citric hops blended effortlessly with a nice biscuit sugar coated malt profile that matches perfectly, low alcohol by volume makes for a very sessionable brew, right at the time when America really needs this style of beer Victory is there for us old school craft beer drinkers that would rather have an accessible pale ale versus the next big beer that is released by the thimbleful to the line of people camping out to drink it. Mouthfeel is medium bodied slight oily texture from the hop resins with ample carbonation, I can't complain. Drinkability, excellente low alcohol meant for consuming with friends over many a conversation and celabratory song. In all reality it's quite tasty with enough booze and flavor to keep you interested great beer.

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Photo of woodychandler
3.97/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I am heartened by the appearance of Victory beers in CANs as they are one of the last to CANVert to that medium. It was when Jim Koch of Samuel Adams relented on his stance that I knew CANs had finally come into their own. Look for Victory's Megan Moore as a "Character" in an upcoming column.

From the CAN: "A Refreshing Boldly-Hopped Ale"; "This crisp and aromatically arousing session ale integrates a supportive malt base with herbal hop complexity, offering lemon notes and tea-like earthiness."; "Brewmaster Approval [undersigned] Bill [&] Ron".

The Crack! and inverted Glug produced three fingers of fluffy, tawny head that hung around briefly before falling away to wisps. Color was Golden-Amber (SRM = > 5, < 7) with NE-quality clarity. Nose had a pungent lemony-citrusiness underlain by a breadiness and my mouth began to water. Mouthfeel was medium. The initial taste was very lemony on the tongue and in the mouth. It was interesting to get that earthy tea-like flavor as it warmed. I began rolling it around in my mouth before swallowing to enhance the experience. Finish really held the earthiness that seemed to be the point of the melange. I am not generally a fan of session ales/beers, but this was quite satisfying, although at 5.2%, it sits at the high end.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
4.3/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I remember way back when this beer was newly released, I was more than happy to see a new Victory beer available and on the market.

But as far as the beer goes:

This has a nice hoppy bite to it. Good spicy tones with a thorough bitter bite. It's nice. Real nice. I like it better than when I had it on-tap. Maybe it was the place I had it at. Either way, this is a good one, which is no less than I expect from Victory. Try it if ya got the chance.

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

On draft, served in a nonic. This brew appears a polished golden copper. A thin film of off-white sits across the top. A light swirl revives to a fingers worth of tan coloring that slowly fades leaving a full curtain of lace sticking to the glass.

The smell of this brew is bright and juicy with hip acted. Grapefruit initially with other tropical scents that are fruity and enjoyable. A touch of herbal aspect is present along with some grass and a hint of stinky cheese.

The flavor includes fresh tropical hops upfront with a fairly moderate grainy backing. A little bit of caramel malt is toasty mixing up the hop flavoring that gets grassy and herbal. The aftertaste is almost straw-like as it warms up blended with some fruity hop hints.

This is a medium bodied brew with a light level of carbonation. There is seemingly no alcohol inclusion. Easy drinking and well rounded, this is easily approachable. Hops are bold initially that luckily give way just a bit to let you enjoy the other aspects. Worth a try.

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Photo of jwc215
4.07/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had on-tap at a local restaurant last year. Reviewed from notes that were lost, but recently found.

Pours amber with a thin lasting head. Dotted lacing sticks.

The smell is hoppy with citrus and pine.

The taste is of pine sap with citrus - tangerine, orange and grapefruit. Finishes with a sharp dryness.

The body is fitting for a pale ale, though a bit sharp - could be creamier.

This is a tasty, hoppy pale ale!

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Photo of johnnnniee
3.36/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Can from The Drinkery Derry
Brilliantly clear deep golden color with a good sized long lasting frothy off white head. Lemony citrus, light sulfur, light bready maltiness. Old school, a bit bland for my hop toasted taste buds.

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Photo of tdm168
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a pale amber with 1/2" of dense, bubbly head. Good retention. The nose has faint notes of malt with piny, citrusy hop aromas. The taste is bready, biscuity malt up front followed by citrusy hops that balance well. The mouthfeel is medium bodied, clean, and well carbonated.

This is a well blended APA with a nice blend of hops and malt. The flavor profile is a little short lived and at times a little thin, but overall I found it really enjoyable.

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

Poured from the bottle into a nonic pint glass.

A dull amber orange body, but with a nice glow and nice rising carbonation, makes a light tan/caramel fluffy and creamy head with good peaks and valleys. Settles to a finger after a good three fingers sized pour.

Nose is chewy cookie and biscuity sweet malts, mixing some nice fruity hop. Quite solid and delicious smelling. Basic with a bit of creaminess too it also.

Much of the malt presence hits with a slightly wet palate, not unlike what was hinted on the nose. Chewy and sweet, with a cookie dough like taste, then aftertaste has a real nice airy dry feeling hop quailty, that lingers with some nice bread action. Bitterness lingers quite sharp and long.

Overall pretty solid pale ale, not usually what I think of for Victory but this I could easily have again.

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Photo of WoodBrew
4.94/5  rDev +26.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

STOP THE PRESSES&gt;&gt;&gt;This beer is F'ing A....F'ing awesome! A very nice flavored yet subtle pale ale. Victory hit the mark for me! A wonderful tasting pale ale that does not linger nor leaves a brutle bitterness and super elevated ABV. The color was copper in color...the white was very thin and not a lot of lace. The nose was heavy with grapefruit with subtle pine. The taste absolutely followed suit...awesome balance! Mouthfeel was great....SESSION!!!

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

Poured on-tap and served in a pint glass, the beer is a copper color, with a thin, foamy head, white as snow. The aroma is wet, green hops and semisweet caramel malt. Flavors are roasted and toasted caramel sweet, with peppery hops and loads of cedar green characteristics. The aftertaste is syrupy sweet, with a bitter hops presence. The beer's finish is semi-dry and bitter. Very tasty.

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Photo of Billolick
3.92/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle, Enjoy By Dating (Jul 8, 2011) on the label. Pours clear lighter copper amber, off white head, stays at about 1/2 inch, leaving a thicker collar and just a smidge of lacing.

Bright hoppy nose, minty, tea notes.

Spicy hopped up APA, hops quite minty and prominent. Some malt, but the hops are the star here. A bit thin, could use some more body and more of a malt presence. Eh nothing too special going on here. Just an easy drinking pale ale, with a bolder/fresher hop thing going on, then frequently encountered.

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

I'm running out of beers wtih several hundred reviews that I've never had, but this is definitely one that I've managed to overlook for the past decade, that ends today. On tap at Meridian pint.

Beer is light amber and clear with moderate to light carbonation, a thin white head of small bubbles, some lacing, looks nice.

Aroma is sweet, mildy hoppy, a little earthy, smells fine.

Beer is medium to light in body, easy drinking, wet finish, wet throughout, the hops are subdued and under emphasized, there is a mild graininess to the finish but overall a decent APA.

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Photo of tempest
4.04/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Best by March 3 of next year, so this one's plenty fresh. The aroma is more light, juicy apricot and floral, while the flavor dives into biting lemon and grapefruit. Toasty, crusty malts pop into the aroma and flavor, for a hop-forward, but not dominant beer. Overall, an excellent pale ale. The bitterness is rough enough to put it on par with some IPAs. I'd buy a six-pack.

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

The beer pours a nice golden color with a thick frothy white head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a wonderful malt character that boasts of pale and biscuit malts along with a floral hop nose. It's refreshing, yet displays a good bit of complexity. The taste is good as well. It has a solid malt flavor that's easy drinking with a touch of biscuit malt character in the finish. It's smooth with only a moderate bitterness. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a medium bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a terrific APA. It's balanced and easy drinking; a fine session pale ale.

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Photo of Gavage
4.03/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Appearance: pours an orange color with a 2" head that slowly falls to a thin coating.

Smell: light cirus and hop bitterness comes through to the nose.

Taste: caramel, orange, lemon zest, and a moderate bitterness are the main flavors.

Mouthfeel: crisp from start to finish. Short lasting aftertaste. Refreshing.

Overall: a very easy to quaff pale ale that has a nice flavor profile and is satisfying.

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

On-tap at Crow Burger Kitchen, on to the beer:

Yellowish orange in color with touches of copper. The head is ½ inch thick and has a soapy and creamy texture. Spotty lacing is left around the glass. Perfumy is the nose, whcih brings lovely pine, pineapple, and crystal malt aromas.

Its taste is similar to the aroma; yet it seems almost as English as it does American. The piney hop profile is soft, there's a good amount of crystal malt sweetness that comes through, yet it's pretty clean. I don't mind this package at all.

Subtle, yet grand. Headwaters is Victorious.

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Photo of Mora2000
3.83/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer pours a golden-orange color with a white head. The aroma is very hoppy for a pale ale. I get a lot of piney hops, as well as some resin and grass notes. There is also a little bit of cattyness in the hop aroma. The flavor is a little milder than the aroma. I get some resinous and grass-like hops, but they are balanced somewhat nicely by the biscuit malt. The bitterness is low, as expected in the style. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

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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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