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Anchor Liberty Ale - Anchor Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Anchor Liberty AleAnchor Liberty Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

2,887 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,887
Reviews: 1,472
rAvg: 3.89
pDev: 11.83%
Wants: 68
Gots: 146 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Anchor Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American IPA |  5.90% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
The champagne-like bubbles, distinctive hop bouquet, and balanced character of Liberty Ale® revives centuries-old ale brewing traditions that are now more relevant than ever. First introduced in 1975, Liberty Ale® is brewed strictly according to traditional craft brewing methods, and uses only natural ingredients — pale malted barley, fresh whole-cone Cascade hops and a special top-fermenting yeast, and water.

The yeast used during fermentation produces many of Liberty Ale's subtle flavors and characteristics. A natural process called "bunging" creates gentle carbonation, and the practice of dry hopping (adding fresh hops to the brew during aging), revived by Anchor, creates its unique aroma.

Liberty Ale® was first brewed to celebrate the bicentennial of Paul Revere’s historic ride. As the first modern American IPA brewed after prohibition and the first modern American single-hop ale and dry-hopped ale, Anchor’s Liberty Ale® is the original craft brewed ale and the historic beer that started a revolution.

(Beer added by: kbub6f on 11-18-2000)
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Ratings: 2,887 | Reviews: 1,472 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BrewsCrewSA
4.68/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Easily within my top 5. Anchor's Liberty Ale combines great taste with exceedingly great drinkability. And what better theme than our sacred patriotism

A - Pours a golden amber color with a great quarter-inch lacy, creamy head. Head still hasn't dissolved after a few minutes. Left several well-balanced layers of foam along the sides of my glass, about a half-inch distance apart. Very impressive.

S - Smells of pears and apples; a solid, craft bouquet. Faint buiscuit aroma.

T - Taste. All about taste. Spritzy, citrus-like and light. A cool breeze in June. Notes of orange and over-ripe lemons (you know, when they get a little sugary) followed briefly by a present yet not overbearing alcohol note. Bright, illustrious, and one-of-a-kind. This is what American craft beers should taste like. The taste of true accomplishment.

M - Extremely easy on the palate. I started getting into these Belgian beers and forgot how distracting the mouthfeel is in a heavy, alcoholic beer. This is a refreshing reminder of something a little smoother against the tongue.

D - Amazing. It's as natural as drinking water.

BrewsCrewSA, Apr 20, 2009
Photo of mithrascruor
4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a mug.

Appearance: Pours a clear orange-amber color. Nice white head with decent lacing.

Smell: A nice blend of hops, citrus, and floral aromas.

Taste: Grains, malts, and hops up front. A bit fruity and then floral at the finish. Aftertaste is a bit hoppy and buttery.

Mouthfeel: Generally light-bodied, with light carbonation. Mostly smooth, but a bit of grainyness that fits.

Drinkability: Nice ABV, works pretty good as a session beer.

A nice offering from Anchor. This is closer to an English pale ale, in that the hops aren't so strong, etc. Like most Anchor beers this is a bit pricey, so I won't get it too often. But it is an enjoyable one and I'll be getting it again in the future.

mithrascruor, Apr 16, 2009
Photo of yelterdow
3.7/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Finally... I've got the chance to sit down and review this classic APA. On tap this is awesome, so here goes a bottled example from a fresh sixer. The code reads 80W on the back label, and we'll serve this in an imperial pint glass at fridge temperature.

Appearance- A beaming pale to medium gold, this beer exudes a gorgeous four-finger crown that stands firm, popping away at a snail's pace but becoming more condensed over time. The lacing is setting up nicely, it's a beautiful beer just to sit and admire.

Smell- Huge aromas of honeyed grapefruit leap from the glass, even making their debut as the beer is being poured. After a few minutes, the air of Christmastime, with notes of fresh sap and pine needles, come through and add another dimension. There is a firm enough malt backbone to the nose, but the dry hopping far outweighs it.

Taste- Amazing... I taste the foundation of Anchor's OSA Ale in this... there is a very distinctive house yeast I would imagine that puts the thumbprint of the brewery in the flavor. Obviously the hops are huge, bittering the tongue with their citric character... but there's a hint of spice, almost like cinnamon or allspice buried in there. Interesting... the malts are buried as with the aroma.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- A bit harsh, remaining quite prickly throughout. A tasty hop lover's APA that won't disappoint.

yelterdow, Apr 15, 2009
Photo of Kendo
4.43/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A: Poured into a pint glass. A 1+ finger white pillowy head settles over a slightly murky honey-yellow body. Good rings of lace.

S: Nice hoppy nose immediately leads me to conclude there are Cascades in there. Citrus fruit and floral hops over cereal grains is the basic idea.

T: Grainy malt up front, with dry, fruity, citrus hops following. Dry citrusy/lemony finish that's more fruity than bitter. Not terribly complex or complicated, but straightforward -- tasty and clean.

M: Light-to-medium in heft, with nice active but soft carbonation.

D: Deserves a 5 in drinkability, as this one goes down easily and enjoyably.

Notes: Got a sixer as a gift. It'd been years since I'd had this beer. It won't be years before I buy it again, however. Forget SNPA as the quintessential APA; this may be it.

Kendo, Apr 14, 2009
Photo of BeerFMAndy
3.95/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into an Imperial Pint. No date but a series of 3 numbers/letters punched into the back label.

A - The Liberty Ale poured a slightly hazy nice golden wheat but the head was the shining part of the appearance. Big and lumpy, the white head went down slow and left patchy, sticky lacing like crazy!

S - Liberty was full of hops on the nose with some wheat and spiciness with a semi-fruity aroma/ citrus hint.

T - Hoppy but not overwhelmingly so. The hop level is well above the malt, so much so that I didn't detect the malt, so the balance is off but what is there is incredibly good. Not overpowering but refreshing.

M - Almost no carbonation coming up really leaves the mouthfeel smooth on this guy. Its slick and light as well as refreshing.

D - Despite its unbalanced hoppiness its an easily drinkable brew. Good for a tasty refresher on a summer day I'd imagine.

BeerFMAndy, Apr 13, 2009
Photo of JRed
4.03/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours orange amber in color with large sticky marshmallow head. A pleasing aroma of grains, citrus fruits, wet greens, hops. Flavors of light floral, greens, cereal (quaker oats, plain, aisle 7 in the market) and some sour notes that mingle with the hop bitter finish. Light in body and refreshing on a sunny day. A higher alcohol session for afternoons.

JRed, Apr 12, 2009
Photo of LittleDon
4.25/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle to a pint glass.

Golden with a healthy amount of carbonation, off-white head (thick, but not dense as I'd like), and a tad hazy. Under-emphasized barley aroma, nothing interesting here. Clean and well balanced, with the right amount of hopping. A slightly bitter finish. It is reminiscent of a German lager. Medium-light bodied but with enough oomph to stand out. I also detect a bit of spice in the nose This would make a very good beer for warmer weather for those who aren't into wheat beers. It would also work well with Thai or Indian food.

LittleDon, Apr 11, 2009
Photo of bunnyhustle
3.55/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours clear and golden with thick white head, decent retention and lacing. Smell was slightly hoppy but a strong biscuity malt as well, almost "bock-ish" at first. Taste was slightly hoppier (piney hops) with a strong malt balance. The malt here seemed to be a dryer, bready malt which I'm not a huge fan of. Mouthfeel was fine, not light but not too heavy and it was easily drinkable. I think I'd take a SNPA over this though.

bunnyhustle, Apr 11, 2009
Photo of dankbrew21
4.05/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A- Orange hue. Large creamy white head.

S- Orange smell too! And other citrusy flavors. Sweet malts and light hops.

T- Smooth and light. Creamy, sweet, slightly bitter. I think I'd like another!

D- Very drinkable.. Wonderful session beer.

NOTES: Good quality session beer. I highly recommend trying it.

dankbrew21, Apr 10, 2009
Photo of youngblood
3.93/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a light amber color with a nice frothy white head. Scents of honey, flowers, citrus, and bread are coming from this. When taking my first sip, I got alot of biscuit first then some of the hops. Semi-citrusy, well balanced with the malt. Leaves a faint sweetness on the tongue. Very drinkable and enjoyable.

youngblood, Apr 07, 2009
Photo of Bung
3.78/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. Fairly golden pour, small bright white head. Floral citrus aromas. Taste is just a hint of malt, mostly citrus fruits, a little yellow raisin and piney hops. Would have liked some more grain or biscuit or something. Very clean light body. Good drinkability. Great refreshment on a warm day. Somewhere between a pale and an IPA, and pretty darn good.

Bung, Apr 06, 2009
Photo of jbertsch
4.03/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a vibrant orangy-gold, with a faint haze, into a Sam Adams Perfect Pint glass. I got a frothy and attractive two-finger head that laced well. But, after the first couple sips, the head became more soapy/bubbly than frothy.

There's an orange zest that sits on top of a good hop aroma and a trace of sweet malt.

Refreshing, a bit citrusy. It comes across as a summer beer. I'd like to drink this at the ballpark with a bratwurst. There's a bitter aftertaste thanks to the hops, but not an unenjoyable one.

I expected more carbonation since I see great bubbling action, but there's still enough. It's thirst-quenching, albeit bitter, but I didn't get the dry finish so much that other's on here say.

Thumbs up. Easy to have multiple as long as you have some food or munchies with it. Or else, the bitterness may become unwelcome on the tongue after a few.

The only other brew I've had from Anchor Brewing is, as one might guess, Anchor Steam. Although Anchor Steam is good, it's funny how it's far more popular and accessible (at least here on the east coast it is), because I think this Liberty Ale is slightly more enjoyable for the masses.

jbertsch, Apr 06, 2009
Photo of neenerzig
4.13/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A 12 oz bottle poured into my pint glass. This beer pours a clear, medium golden color. The white fluffy head is initially huge, well over 2 inches thick before settling to a good 1/3 inch about 10 minutes after being poured, and eventually to a solid surface coating maybe 1/8 of an inch thick after a few sips. Very nice lacing. Has a nice malty, slightly spicy aroma upfront along with a hop presence. Has a nice sweet, slightly toasted caramel malt and sort of spicy flavor upfront along, with a nice citrus hop presence. Has a crisp, medium bodied mouthfeel with moderate to heavy carbonation. Easy to drink in a good way. Pretty tasty.


neenerzig, Apr 04, 2009
Photo of SomeLady
3.9/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I've been enjoying Anchor Porter and Anchor Steam for years now; this is my first go with their Liberty Ale.

Pours that gorgeous, perfectly golden hue that we all know and love. Very little head, and even less lacing.

Smells of lovely mellow hops, with maybe a touch of honey sweetness... very appetizing.

And the taste? Liberty Ale has got, in my mind, the perfect balance of a light, cereal maltiness with a respectable hoppy presence that a good, refreshing ale calls for.

With a smooth, yet lively carbonation, this beer is light on the tongue and leaves a deliciously bitter aftertaste.

Highly drinkable - a good thirst quencher, with flavor in spades.

This is what I want to have in my hand as the days grow warmer. It may not be ground-breaking or especially distinctive, but for me, this is like the Mona Lisa of "Beer Brand beer". I love it.

SomeLady, Apr 02, 2009
Photo of Morey
4.13/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured this beer with a medium aggressive pour and it yielded an impressive 2 finger head that took some time to settle. Very fluffy cloud like appearance to the foam.

Smell is malty yet flowery with subtle hints of alcohol.

Taste is a nice balance of hops and malts with a somewhat aggressive carbonation.

Mouthfeel is a little on the thin side, making this a pretty good choice to a session beer.

Again, a great choice for a session...especially in the warmer months.

Morey's Bottom Line: This may not be as hoppy as some people like their beers (including me), that being said...this is a well crafted beer with some definite hop character.

Morey, Mar 31, 2009
Photo of Kromes
4.08/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a slighty cloudy orange golden color with thick head. Smells hoppy, spicy and fruity. A floral hoppy flavor with sweet malts and a little bite and bitterness in the finish. The carbonation is apparent and provides a spicy tingle on the tongue. I really enjoyed this beer, would definitely have another.

Kromes, Mar 28, 2009
Photo of PaleAlien2
4.25/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Hazy orange with stark-white head. Thick white lacing is prevalent.

Crisp hops and fruit in the nose. Smells awesome.

Crisp, coarse, prickly hops are prevalent. Very dry. Notes of yeast and citrus.

I love the carbonation in this beer. The label says they use "natural carbonation." I don't know exactly what that means, but whatever they're doing it's good.

Love this beer. Quintessential American Ale, indeed.

PaleAlien2, Mar 27, 2009
Photo of Shadman
3.98/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Hazy aprocot color, impressive 2 inch head, tons of lacing. So far so good. Lot's of grassy + citrus hop. Picked up a bit of peach fruituness as well. Very crisp, loads of hop, but there is a malt backbone there that tries to balance things out somewhat by slipping in and out of the citrus hop tsunami. A bit too sharp on the tongue to rate it higher in the mouthfeel dept. A very good example of the style.

Shadman, Mar 26, 2009
Photo of SeanRedd
4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

America...Fuck Yea, back at it bitch, the red white and blue delivers the goods in true English style. A scientific approach to balancing hops and malt. The aroma was faint but compensated with clear, healthy body, lacing, and head. Apricot malt base to bitter tea hop bite. Excellent collaboration by both competing parties to create a light body ESB? An English mild on steroids? Who cares, a perfect example of what is possible if the foundation for a marriage is grounded. This couple of hops and malt are in it for the long run, with the malt being a bit of the bitch in this case. Refreshing, sessionable, braggable. What, what?!

SeanRedd, Mar 26, 2009
Photo of Brewsmith
2.33/5  rDev -40.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

From a 22 oz bottle purchased locally. Aroma is citrusy lemon/orange. Orange gold in color with a one-inch white head. Flavor is lemony and a little oxidized. Malt is a little one-dimentional amd a little cardboard in there. Flat body and lacks richness. This is a bad bottle. I've had this beer before and I know it's much better.

Brewsmith, Mar 26, 2009
Photo of Tilley4
3.4/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I actually liked this one much better out of the bottle... This had a slight hoppiness to the aroma that seemed well balanced with the malts... The taste got old fairly quickly on this one. It could have been old or something... Sorta middle of the road brew for me on tap... I loved this in the bottle...

Tilley4, Mar 25, 2009
Photo of BeenJammin
4.1/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

It is pale/golden in color with a nice creamy head. Smells a lot like floral and herbal hops. The taste has a lot of citrus hops and some nice sweet caramel and fruity malts. It has real nice balance. Good medium body and mouth feel. It is very drinkable.

BeenJammin, Mar 25, 2009
Photo of abar22
3.55/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle into a Sam Adams Sensory Glass

The Liberty Ale poured a slightly cloudy amber and gold color with a 2 finger head. The head, white and billowy, settled into a nice cap that left a small amount of lacing.
Grassy, citrus hops dominate the smell. The smell isn't the standout here. While it is perfectly pleasant it doesn't come out quite how I'd like it to.
The taste is hop forward. Malt sweetness barely peaks it's head out before the hops kick in. The body is made up of citrus hops while the ending is grassy, bitter, and dry.
Mouthfeel is right where it should be. All things combined makes this a very good beer. I could drink quite a few of these in one sitting.

abar22, Mar 25, 2009
Photo of biegaman
4.1/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A distant yellow daisy that, thanks to a fuzzing haze, appears to be falling out of focus. The constant flurry of bubbles doesn't help to sharpen the image, instead it makes the focal point more dizzying. Still, the beer emits a healthy glow when up to the light and its head is ultra creamy, resilient and sticky. Fluffy blanket and soapy drapes make nice decor for any beer.

The aroma is infinitely one thing: hoppy. The vibrant, floral note of green hop combs perfumes the room like a budding summer garden or an enchanted fairy-tale forest. The fragrance doesn't perspire bitter resins or acidic citrus piths like the more modern examples; this is a bouquet redolent of mother nature in her most straightforward and pristine.

The pleasant, perfumed aura of hops is noticeably present in taste as well. This doesn't stem from an overly copious addition but rather from a simple and bare malt bill. The use of pale malt, plain and hardly toasted, leaves a flavour bare of any caramelization, any graininess, any abundance of sweetness. As result, it is a canvas left open for only hops to paint.

I can't say the bitterness isn't assertive but I maintain it's nature to be quite docile. It won't conclude your sips early nor will it linger in the aftertaste. It is just enough to assert quench. The carbonation is considerably low, which veers the beer away from the quaffing category and nearer to that of slow-paced appreciative sips. Actually, I think it bridges the two.

Although perhaps not by today's standards, this is an incredibly hoppy beer. For a time, it was one of the only hoppy beers and is arguably responsible for gearing people's tastes towards that style. I don't think it would be wrong to consider all definably aggressively hopped beers (DIPA's definitely included) to be descendants of Anchor's Liberty Ale.

The connection is greater than that these styles originated around that area of the country. The idea of upping the alcohol and cramming pale ales with gluttonous amounts of hops (in essence making the beer 'bigger, stronger, better') is undeniably reflective of an American mentality. As its name would suggest, there's nothing more American than a Liberty Ale.

biegaman, Mar 24, 2009
Photo of CityBoy1986
4.13/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a pint glass. The bottle date is 6 Jan. 2009.

The pour is golden with a tall white head. Retention and lacing are nice.

The nose is citrus (especially orange and apple) with some bready notes. The taste is more of the same with just a mild bitterness toward the finish. Some spices are also in there.

Mouthfeel is medium-bodied with a good amount of carbonation. Drinkability is high; I could have a few.

This is a very nice example of the style, and I will definitely enjoy it again.

CityBoy1986, Mar 23, 2009
Anchor Liberty Ale from Anchor Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 2,887 ratings.