Headwaters Pale Ale | Victory Brewing Company - Downingtown

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
BA SCORE
88
very good
601 Reviews
Headwaters Pale AleHeadwaters Pale Ale
BEER INFO

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

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
Reviews:
601
Ratings:
2,568
Avg:
3.91
pDev:
23.27%
 
 
Wants:
83
Gots:
488
For Trade:
2
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 601 | Ratings: 2,568
Photo of BeardedBoffin
4.03/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This offering from the folks at Victory is a very well made, drinkable beer. The beer pours a nice amber-copper color with a very lively cap of foam. The foam clings to the glass causing fractal-like patterns. The aroma is a heavy dose of citrus and and flower hops. The malt provides balance . Caramel and grain offset the dollop of citrus and flower bitterness at the end. A very nice addition to Victory's lineup.

 416 characters

Photo of Jwale73
4.03/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle served in a willibecker. Pours a light, translucent copper with a one inch, frothy cream-colored head. Nose expresses Simcoe, an earthy/herbal quality, citrus notes and light, toasted malts. Head eventually disperses into a consistent, 1/8th inch cap with delicate spots and strands of lacing revealed in the wake. Taste consistent with nose, as well as the addition of a slight buttery flavor that cuts across the flavor profile and a light, noble hop bitterness at the finish. Mouthfeel is light-medium in body with an assertive, slightly prickly carbonation and some citrus astringency. Overall, a very satisfying and tasty APA that would pair well with pub food and quite quaffable at 5.1%.

 707 characters

Photo of tony223366
4.03/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: As is appropriate with a bear named Headwaters... the head is excellent! 3+ fingers of white fluffy head. Color is a rich amber/copper color. Clarity is excellent and I can see lots of action from the carbonation. The head has fantastic retention. Looks amazing!

S: Smells majorly of hops primarily citrus. It does smell the slightest bit dank as well. Nice caramel malt aromas too.

T: First thing that hits me is the citrus hop flavors. It's actually really bright and floral as well. That's followed by a caramelly malt that is wrapped in bread. It's full of really clean and bright flavors. The finish is lightly bitter and actually fairly bready.

M: Nice, high carbonation. Slick and medium body.

O: This pale really took me off guard. I had no idea it was going to be as good as it ended up being. It's bright, balanced and really drinkable. Nice work Victory.

 873 characters

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

12oz bottle. No bottling date. Served in a snifter glass.

Pours a medium copper body, one finger white head, medium collar, good retention, bits of lacing. Smells bready, herbal, floral, cereal grain, a bit of biscuit, touch of honey. Nice balanced malt and hop aromas. The hint of sweet caramel comes out. Flavour is a very nice biscuit, mild caramel, a fair bit of floral, grassy hop bite to accompany things. Balanced pale ale. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, crisp and slightly drying, good grassy bite on the finish. Very drinkable. An overall balanced pale ale, nice combination of hop bite, just the right amount of sweet caramel to back it up.

 648 characters

Photo of Omnium
4.03/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle > Winter Lager Glass

A - Pours a really nice golden color with a slight orange tint, 1 finger head, thick fluffy lacing.
S - Citrus fruits, earthy and great floral notes, a little yeast, great aroma.
T - Bitter citrus hop flavor, nice floral undertones, and a floury finish.
M - Bitterness hangs on a bit, along with those earthy floral flavors, medium, and a tad watery.
O - Great APA, Victory is somewhat overlooked, but this is a solid go-to beer, and should get more recognition. Refreshing and flavorful

 519 characters

Photo of doopydoogle
4.03/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Nice golden amber with orange and red hues. A glorious creamy white head that really sticks around.

S - Pineapple, tropical fruity, pine and juniper, some bubble gum, slight caramel from the malt, fresh herbs, grass

T - Clean malt forward with subtle hops that kick in with a bit of bitter and some citric and pine quality. The ale is very well balanced and leaves you with a good hop profile while not overwhelming the malt. The minimal bitter comes through the finish. There's a decent herbal quality as well which gives the beer an almost medicinal quality.

M - Good carbonation and clean mouthfeel

O - An enjoyable, crisp, and sessionable pale. Seems more refined than some of its APA brethren.

 705 characters

Photo of Marko84
4.04/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

From a variety pack I recently purchased
Victory Headwaters pale ale
I like this. I like this a lot. As with Hop Devil, it doesn't smell as good as it tastes. A musty smell is forgotten the moment it hits your tongue. This was my favorite among the Victory taster pack I bought. I don't mean to draw a parallel, but it feels and tastes more like a wheat beer. Either way, I enjoyed the heck out of it.

 401 characters

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.

 375 characters

Photo of nukem5
4.04/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a great golden color with a spectacular frothy head which does last thru the entire beer. Nice legs or lacing whichever you prefer.

S: Sweet and little bit of both floral and citrusy hop aromas.

T: Taste is of a malty initial burst then flashes between floral and zesty citrus hop flavors with a great malty backbone.

M: Medium bodied with a light carb level good balance.

O: Very drinkable and would like another sadley have none to have.

 452 characters

Photo of MoreThanWine
4.04/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a 3" custard head with a pretty long life. The body is a clear golden yellow. It smells of grapefruity hops. The taste is far milder than the smell but the grapefruity hops are still there, and I guess that's what keeps this a Pale Ale instead of an IPA. There's a persistent long finish. And it's a very refreshing beer. Nice.

 334 characters

Photo of hagbergl
4.05/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bought a sixer of Victory Headwaters Pale Ale as my go-to vacation beverage at Craft Beer Cellar in Belmont, MA for approx. $10.50. Poured into a Redbones pint glass.

Appearance (4/5): Headwaters pours a clear copper color with a rusty red tinge to it and is topped with a two finger off white head of foam that leaves a little lacing behind as it dissipates. This is a good looking pale ale.

Smell (4/5): Take a whiff and you'll know straight away that this is an aggressively hopped pale ale. Piney, lemon-like, and resinous hop aromas escape from the glass, but, this being a pale ale, a significant malt backbone can be detected pushing back and balancing against the hops.

Taste (4/5): The hops are the star and flex immediately, with strong citrus notes in the foretaste that are balanced by the malts at mid-tongue, then linger on into the finish. This is my kind of pale ale. Lots of hop flavor, though not intensely bitter and well-balanced–a pale ale that leans hoppy, but would never be confused for an IPA. The hops lend citrus and mellow, herbal characteristics to this brew that are nicely complimented by the malts. This beer is smooth and easy-going. Never cloying and with a moderate ABV (you cannot detect the slightest hint of alcohol in the flavor), you can drink multiple Headwaters and not get tired of it.

Mouthfeel (4.5/5): I think the mouthfeel on this beer might be the best thing about it. Headwaters is a medium bodied pale–that is to say, a little thicker on the tongue than other pales (perhaps due to the generous hopping) and feels just right on the tongue. This beer "punches above its weight," so to speak. The beer goes down smooth and has a relatively long finish, again due to the hops.

Overall (4/5): This is one tasty APA and another successful creation by Victory. Any experienced BA will appreciate this beer's easy-drinking nature and subtlety of flavors. I would definitely recommend this to anyone that likes hoppy beer but is looking for something lower in ABV and a bit more restrained.

 2,046 characters

Photo of silver0rlead
4.05/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a nice clear golden with a frothy off-white head that retains OK. The aroma is grassy and citrusy hops upfront, along with grainy malt and some biscuit notes, honey and some minerals. The flavor is similar with honey and biscuit malt initially, along with some grassy, citrusy and slightly floral hops, grainy malt and some fruity esters. The mouthfeel is light and sprightly, and drinkability is excellent. A tasty and quaffable pale ale, perfect for warmer weather.

 473 characters

Photo of bucklemyshoe
4.05/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle at 42 degrees into a pint glass. Enjoy by: July 8, 2011.

A: It pours a clear red-orange color with a half-finger of head that leaves some small-clumps of lace; it looks typical for an APA.

S: Lots of fresh hoppy and citrusy aromas; it is very enticing.

T: The hoppiness is a bit subdued in the taste but plenty of citrus is still present and it has a dry, cereal malt finish. It is not very complex - how many APAs are? - but it is quite refreshing.

M: The body is medium-light with average carbonation and a "sudsy" creaminess on the palate late.

O: it is a little less hoppy than I hoped but it is highly quaffable and inexpensive - $8.99 per sixer.

 669 characters

Photo of mooselvlt
4.05/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle into a pint glass

A - Very clear deep gold color with a nice 2 fingers of off tan head. Excellent retention with nice lacing.

S - Subtle, good citrus hops mixing with malt backbone. Neither overtake the other.

T - A nice mix of malts and hops, much like the nose. The hops are there but leave a very light lingering bitterness, not overpowering

M - Medium bodied, very smooth with moderate carbonation. Really drinkable. I could see having this as a session brew. .

O - Very solid, drinkable pale ale. Really glad I tried it. This was the last one to go into my mixer 6er today.

 596 characters

Photo of utopiajane
4.05/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours clear golden amber with a scant head of bone white foam that fell fast to a cap and ring. Left nice lace and constantly refreshed. In the right light has an orange hue.

Nose is out of this world. Citrus, lemon and orange with apple behind that. Light malt sweetness, grains and light bread. Generous spice, sweetly floral and herbal.

Taste follows the nose all the way. Citrus twang greets you first followed by a light sweet malt. Cereal grains carry it to the back with an earthly presence and a healthy helping of spice to tingle on the tongue. Ample carbonation lightens the body. Mouthfeel is sticky, creamy, crisp and light. The apple is sweet and tart like a good apple should be. Lingers whole in the aftertaste with no one characteristic able to be separated from the others. Terrific balance and the aftertaste has a slight mineral quality.

This is one of the best pale ales you will have. It's refreshing, it's delicious, it's well made and you want to have it always in your refrigerator. It's confident and brisk.

 1,038 characters

Photo of BARFLYB
4.05/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz Bottle into a glass.

A- A very clear looking olympic gold with some honey color and a bright white and firm inch of ivory colored foam. Very small amounts of stick. I get Citra right off the bat, a nice pale malting and a herbal/earthy scent, not grassy. don't pick up any alcohol. This smells great and the beer is super fresh. Taste really shines from the citra giving off citrus in a pale aleish amount, not shocking like a IPA. Some mango, pale malt, biscuit and just fresh ingredients. Feel is light and comes and goes on the tounge leaving just the lightest aftertaste, that keeps me coming back quicker. This is easy drinking beer and one I can drink a lot of. I won't go crazy over it, but a 6 pack on a hot day will do. This blows hopdevil out of the water, just a more balanced beer alltogether, showing the true skill coming out of Victory. It's harder to make simple beer and pull it off.

 906 characters

Photo of DaveBlack
4.05/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Good looking beer. Crystal clear orange-ish honey color with maybe 1/2 finger of white head. The head has medium retention and leaves a light spattering of lacing. Upon first pouring it the bubbles stuck to the side of the glass in an almost unbroken wall of bubbles, but they quickly dissipated.

S: Smell is interesting. Slight bit of sweetness is almost overwhelmed by the hops. Lots of grapefruit and pine combine with a smell I can only describe as grassy and fresh.

T: Taste is not as hoppy as the aroma led me to believe, which is a good thing. The hops are definitely there, but they play really well with the malts instead of overpowering them. Lots of pine, a slight fruit flavor and a caramel sweetness rolls over it all.

M: Mouhtfeel is medium-light, relatively high carbonation. Leaves the mouth feeling slightly dry.

O: I find this to be an intensely drinkable beer. Reminds me of a good summers day. I grow tired of beers that are just liquid hops, but this has a nice balance of malts and hops. And the Aroma and flavor both rather remind me of a summers day.

 1,082 characters

Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.05/5  rDev +3.6%
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 PicoPapa
4.06/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

On tap at Prime 16 in Orange. Pours a translucent amber color with a 1/4 inch of head. Good amount of lacing. Aroma is citrus and spicy hops. Slightly tropical with some biscuity malts. The taste is spicy hops with some orange peel and pine hints. Lots of hop flavor with a good amount of bitterness. Biscuit towards the end with more orange peel bitterness. Light mouthfeel with a fair amount of carbonation. This is one of the hoppier Pale Ales I've had. Overall, lots of flavor that's easy to drink. This Pale Ale is worth seeking out.

 538 characters

Photo of VictorWisc
4.06/5  rDev +3.8%
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.

 1,243 characters

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

A - pours a very clear copper, much like a new penny will look, with a 1 1/2 finger head and generous, active carbonation. A fair amount of lacing sticks to the glass, though thin and patchy. It's a pretty good look though the head left very quickly.

S - again, pretty intense for a pale ale, especially given the fact it clocks in at just over 5%. Grapefruit, sweet bread, vanilla, oranges. Flavors blend together well.

T - hmm...this kind of reminds me of their pils, only more hoppy. IPA-like grapefruit character. Malt plays a big part, and I like the aggressive hop bite they have going here. This is a beer that would pair well with many foods.

M - pretty average for the style, decent carbonation. Damn smooth. About as perfect a dry finish a pale ale can leave you. So easy to finish this off quickly.

O - while this fits into the category, it does push into some other boundaries. I do like the bite this beer has, because it will pair with foods very well and can get some new attention to the craft beer world to non-craft drinkers. Kudos for pushing a new beer into the lineup, and a pale ale of all things. This one works.

 1,139 characters

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

Enjoy By: Jul 15 2011

Golden orange hue with a solid frothy head atop. Hoppy aroma...herbal, floral, zesty grapefruit notes over a subtle sugar cookie base. Leafy, sweet, juicy, spicy hoppiness on the tongue. The hops have a nice, punchy, pungency to them all around, but it's not out of control. Oily, yet fairly dry. Only a hint of the toasted malts under all the fresh, dank zestiness.

Very crisp and refreshing. Another quality beverage from the fine people at Victory that will likely find it's way into my fridge regularly. I love a good sessionable beer...

 565 characters

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!

 418 characters

Photo of 57md
4.07/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Appearance is a light copper with a thin layer of head. There is surprisingly healthy amounts of lacing considering the minimal head to work with. The nose presents a decent dose of hops and a touch of pine. Again, I am surprised that such a thin amount of head produced a hearty smell.

There is some malt taste, but the main flavor notes are crisp and clean. The finish is certainly not crazy hoppy, but it is relatively bitter for an APA.

One of the best APAs available - an overlooked style in the days of "bigger is better" beer making.

 542 characters

Photo of goldrodent
4.07/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A nice friendly beer that lets the malts run the show, intimidating the hops up front, letting in a little spicy bitterness at the end. Tastes very good. Looks very, very pretty. Date it. See where it goes.

Epilogue: It is probably unfair to force a reviewer to write a review longer than 250 words when a beer is this proudly simple.

 336 characters

Headwaters Pale Ale from Victory Brewing Company - Downingtown
88 out of 100 based on 601 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Return of the Belgian Beer Fest

    BeerAdvocate Brings its All-Belgian Fest to Portland, Maine on September 17, 2016. Tickets are on sale now.

    Learn More
  • Get the Mag

    Become a BeerAdvocate magazine print subscriber today.

    Subscribe