Headwaters Pale Ale | Victory Brewing Company - Downingtown

BA SCORE
88
very good
2,597 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:
2,597
Reviews:
610
Avg:
3.92
pDev:
11.22%
 
 
Wants:
88
Gots:
507
For Trade:
2
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,597 |  Reviews: 610
Photo of Boone757
4/5  rDev +2%

Photo of jlindros
3.91/5  rDev -0.3%
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 ygtbsm94
3.5/5  rDev -10.7%

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.

 2,494 characters

Photo of chinchill
3.48/5  rDev -11.2%
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 TheManiacalOne
3.58/5  rDev -8.7%
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.

 773 characters

Photo of Kegatron
4.18/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the Victory Brewing Company (Downington, PA) on 2/15/11 during their 15 Year Anniversary Celebration. Served in an imperial pint glass.

Pours a clear copper, topped with 1 ½ fingers of stiff bright-white foam. Wow, just beautiful head retention on this, with this continuing to release the whole duration of the glass and holding tight across the top of the glass with a thick finger. Rich patchy lacing just coats the sides of the glass. Great look here! The aroma smells flowery and dank, but things don't get too loose in the nose, as it is propped up by stiff notes of bitter citrus. The malts soften things up across the back, with some toasted biscuit character and light eggy notes.

Wow, the taste just pops in the mouth with green citrus, which have some bite but aren't totally aggressive with it either, as fresh hop flavors push to the forefront. The malts add some extra tightness here but have just enough bready sweetness to them to balance out that earthy bitterness. This finishes with a grassy and herbal feel that lingers on the breath after each sip. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a fantastic tight and crisp feel in the mouth. There is just enough underlying slickness present and this is probably where I feel the herbal qualities of this beer the most, as it adds some extra ease to the body without countering the fresh pop in the mouth that this provides.

Man, I liked this. Bright and full hop flavors that were well balanced and that super crisp and easy body made for a most thirst quenching and drinkable presentation. This was just so fresh and vibrant here on draft during its premiere. I'm looking forward to seeing how this translates to the bottle as well.

 1,712 characters

Photo of dbrauneis
3.95/5  rDev +0.8%
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.

 836 characters

Photo of nathanmiller
3.5/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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

Really interesting aroma of flowers and the strangest hint of cat box. Light, refreshing body. So crisp and clean. The acidic touch is balanced by a biscuity malt that is delicate. Clear light amber, great foamy attributes.

I think this nicely shows how a more subtle kind of beer can showcase so many flavors. Massively drinkable. Just pleasantly bitter with real hop flavors. Makes me think of their Summer Love. Another win for Victory.

 440 characters

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

First had: on tap at Victory, Downingtown, PA

Golden-orange pour into an imperial pint, clearish, with a solid layer of white head that leaves a bit of sticky lacing on the glass. Aroma is hop dominant, almost IPA-ish in nature, fresh citrus and lots of it, with notes of grass and pine, sweet biscuity malts in the background. Again in the taste, I felt this walks the border between APA and AIPA, lots of fresh citrusy hops, pithy and considerably bitter, with a touch of pine resin; maltiness is present but generally subdued. Medium body. Not nearly as smooth as some of your other APAs, but still quite drinkable.

 619 characters

Photo of XmnwildX12
3.5/5  rDev -10.7%

Photo of mendvicdog
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%

Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.05/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle - $1.89 at Olde Crabapple Bottle Shoppe in Alpharetta, Georgia.

Enjoy by August 17, 2011.

Appearance: Pours a golden-orange body with clear, consistent clarity and crowned with a layer of just off-white suds. Some spotty lacing on the way down.

Smell: Citrus peelings and sun-dried grasses in the nose with some underlying, milder hints of sweetish malt.

Taste: Adequate base of pale maltiness with light streaks of grainy bread and mildly sweet toffee. Citrusy tastes of zested lemons and tangerines. Moderately bitter, though it builds a bit as you go along. Grows a bit pithier and resinous as you approach the dry, crisp finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light body. Medium carbonation.

Overall: A nice, pleasant pale with a little bit of potency going on.

 774 characters

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.

 1,000 characters

Photo of Ciocanelu
4.4/5  rDev +12.2%

Photo of smcolw
4.39/5  rDev +12%
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.

 734 characters

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

had this one on tap at barleys while waiting for calton to bring up the growler! served cold right from the tap.

the pour was a very nice and very golden amber with a smooth cap of white that graced the top for a few moments before settling back down. light aroma, citrus hops, lemon, orange, nice hints of tangerine peel and a wonerfully well balanced profile. smooth, clean and very light delivery lets the flavor explore the palate and really gives a cool and resfreshing taste. clean an concise, the finish was lightly tart and dry.

overall i was not expecting much but i ended up really, really liking this one, good session beer.

 637 characters

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.

 1,302 characters

Photo of smithj4
4/5  rDev +2%

Photo of Gagnonsux
3.95/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of mdfb79
3.85/5  rDev -1.8%

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.

 491 characters

Photo of womencantsail
4/5  rDev +2%
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.

 719 characters

Photo of orangesol
3.41/5  rDev -13%
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.

 975 characters

Photo of vfgccp
3.75/5  rDev -4.3%

Headwaters Pale Ale from Victory Brewing Company - Downingtown
3.92 out of 5 based on 2,597 ratings.
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