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Anchor Liberty Ale - Anchor Brewing Company

Anchor Liberty AleAnchor Liberty Ale

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

2,582 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2582
Reviews: 1447
rAvg: 3.91
pDev: 12.02%

Brewed by:
Anchor Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American IPA |  5.90% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: kbub6f on 11-18-2000)
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Ratings: 2,582 | Reviews: 1,447 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of ThisWangsChung


3.74/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

A: Pours a golden amber color. There's about two fingers worth of off-white colored head with a rocky texture and decent retention. It leaves behind a good amount of lacing on the glass.

S: Interesting. It's hoppy, but in a restrained, delicate fashion. I pick up mainly grapefruit and even some mango at first, before turning mostly into a floral expression. There is enough in the way of both malt and even yeast esters (think orange marmalade) to help balance the flowery hops, but not enough to ruin it.

T: Again, it's balanced properly - the malt is there yet not suffocating, and there's enough hoppiness without being generically bitter. The first things I taste are some orange marmalade, apricots, and just a touch of toffee, before the floral hops build up on the back end. This tastes less like a typical 'Merican IPA and more of what an ESB *should* taste like - really, why aren't more ESBs this tasty?

M: This is nicely clean and crisp. It's not ridiculously dry finishing, nor is it sweet...it's just right. Okay, maybe it's a touch sweet, but it's a pleasant linger. Carbonation is mildly prevalent.

O: This feels restrained in all the right places. It's a reminder that this was one of the first 'Merican-made IPAs, and still has a significant English influence to it. Even in this era of EXTREEEME and MOAR HOPZ, I'd take this over many other modern IPAs any day.

Serving type: bottle

10-19-2013 18:34:02 | More by ThisWangsChung
Photo of Desher

New Jersey

4.84/5  rDev +23.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

I can't say enough about this beer. I finally tried it out today after years of passing it up... it's excellent it's the craft IPA everyone has tried to emulate.It's flat out hop balanced it has the 'bite" you want, it's the one beer your "lite" friend will say wow! Original. i'm having another nite! nite!

Serving type: bottle

10-17-2013 03:12:27 | More by Desher
Photo of Premo88


4.38/5  rDev +12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

12 oz. bottle poured into tulip
(3UD printed on bottle -- June 4, 2013)

L: orange/gold with slight haziness but close to 90% clear; lives up to "pale" in pale ale; strong full head of almost full inch; little bit of stick, lacing

S: very hoppy, nice citrus note, simple but nice grain underlaid in there -- even a bit of an English pale ale note ... hard for me to describe but it's sweet; peaches; flower garden

T: good mix of hops and grain with some nice malt sweetness in there; the hops are bitter enough to overpower most of the other notes, but i'd swear i'm getting some sweet bread notes from the malt; the bitter bite shows up in the middle and late, not a full-on chunk up front ... smooth

F: pretty strong, lots of carbonation, very drinkable and light without being watery

O: this has been around since 1975? where the hell have *I* been?!? my gosh is it good, probably my favorite American IPA ... proof that more isn't better concerning hops, for Anchor strikes a tremendous balance between those citrusy sweet bitter American hops and all the other notes a good beer can possess. i don't know how high this brew rates in IBUs, but a single IBU more would be too much.

a perfect single-hop brew that gives you some great Cascade hops for the standard in floral/citrus character

Serving type: bottle

10-15-2013 05:09:59 | More by Premo88
Photo of TTAmod


3.95/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Don't know what I can say about this one that hasn't already been said. This is one of the original pale ales, along with Sierra Nevada.

12 oz. stubby bottle poured into pint glass.

A: Pours a slightly hazy light orange with a fairly thick off-white head. Even after a few minutes, there is still quite a bit of head left on the top with lots of lacing down the sides. Looks good.

S: The smell is amazing on this beer: a full hop bouquet that's filled with floral, herbal, and citrus accents. There's also a nice little spice and spurts of toffee and caramel from the malts.

T: Nice, floral hop taste. Raw hop resin, touch of grapefruit and orange. There's also a touch of mint along with a substantial malt base. Not bitter at all.

M: Body is pretty much perfect. Mid-light body...smooth...no fuss at all. There's a nice creaminess to this one that just begs you to take another sip.

O: Definitely one of the better pale ales out there...the epitome of balance that still has enough assertive hop flavors to remain relevant even nearly 40 years later. This particular bottle was brewed back in May, but the hop flavors were still strong.

I prefer Liberty Ale over SNPA, but both are amazing. This beer is like a rite of passage for beer enthusiasts...although I know a lot of people tend to overlook this one.

Serving type: bottle

10-13-2013 02:26:42 | More by TTAmod
Photo of Darkmagus82


3.74/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured from bottle into a pint glass

Appearance – The beer pours a quite hazy orange-amber color with a two finger, thick and creamy white head. The head very slowly fades, leaving a nice level of streaky lace on the sides of the glass.

Smell – The aroma of the brew is of a citrus nature overall with a good dose of sweet orange and some aromas of a more grapefruit like nature. Along with these aromas, were other smells of fruit, with apple, mango and pear all present. Some bready aromas and a bit of an earthy hop smell round out the aroma profile, producing a rather sweet and balanced IPA smell overall.

Taste – The taste begins with a biscuit and grapefruit hop taste. There is a little bit of a caramel sweetness upfront, but this is rather light with it growing even lighter as the taste advances further. While the caramel fades, some fruit flavors of lighter fruits comes to the tongue. Along with the fruit flavors, so too comes more hop with more grapefruit as well as an earthy hop flavor coming to the tongue. At the end, a nice floral flavor come to the tongue, rounding out the flavors nicely and producing a drier and nicely moderately hopped flavor to linger on the tongue.

Mouthfeel – The body of the beer is average in terms of its creaminess and thickness with a carbonation level that is on the average side. Both are rather nice for the drier and moderately hopped flavors of the brew, making for a very easy drinking beer.

Overall – A very enjoyable and easy drinking, moderately hopped brew. Quite tasty overall.

Serving type: bottle

10-12-2013 01:45:56 | More by Darkmagus82
Photo of WGO

United Kingdom (England)

4.58/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Love the Anchor bottles, they seem so quaint but hold so much liquid. Great labels.
Very dense thick foam, slowly dissipates, never leaves the edges. Cloudy amber brown colour.
Nose is citrus, but with a bit of tropical fruit ripe banana, mango hint of pineapple. Some bready malts also show through.
Taste is a number of orange fruits. Clementines, satsumas. Possibly dried apricots.
Mouthfeel is almost thick but not quite. Great carbonation, makes it interesting but still very drinkable.
One of my favorite beers.

Serving type: bottle

10-02-2013 00:58:18 | More by WGO
Photo of utopiajane

New York

3.86/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy unfiltered orange with a meringue like head of white foam that sat atop forever almost until if fell to some nice lace and a layer on top.

Nose is earthy and yeasty. Citrus and fruity hops character. Biscuit malt with a touch of the pale toasted grains and a little sweetness. Fresh honey. There's even a tiny hint of mint on the nose.

Taste is good , smooth malt and biscuit with honey. Nice bitter that settles int with the stronger than you thought citrus. The mint is light and refreshing. It's herbal and and crisp. The mouthfeel is coarse and not because the malt isn't smooth. The malt is smooth and the carbonation is medium. But, the flavors and the yeasty qualities combine for a coarse mouthfeel that's got a nice edge to it. It feels like it hasn't been tamed.

This beer is not what i was expecting. It has plenty of hop character but I think my favorite part of this beer is how the lightly toasted grain combined with the fresh mint and the honey. The fact that it wasn't smooth as silk made it even better to me. The bitter was strong but not aggressive and I really liked this one. You drink a few of these easily.

Serving type: bottle

09-13-2013 14:49:43 | More by utopiajane
Photo of swingdjted


4.21/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I really like this beer. Anchor beers are usually pretty good, but so far this is my favorite from that brewery, although this is only my 4th beer I've had from them including 2010 holiday, steam, porter, and this one. There's no one aspect that stands out over others; it's just a really good well balanced beer.

Serving type: bottle

08-13-2013 00:43:14 | More by swingdjted
Photo of FLima


4.05/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Slightly hazy amber orange color with a thick head with great retention and leaving lots of laces.
Citrusy aroma, zesty orange and lemon.
Nice bitter and fruity flavor. Taste of citric hops, spicy and condimented yeast with notes of lemon, pears, pine and orange peel, all on a sweet malty base. Dry and bitter aftertaste with a very distant sourness.
Medium body with medium carbonation.
Very good ale, flavorful, balanced, pleasant and highly drinkable. A sure regret if bought in singles. Highly recommendable.
Ps. Really more of an APA rather than an IPA.

Serving type: bottle

08-03-2013 19:59:42 | More by FLima
Photo of joaopmgoncalves


4.24/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: It's a low carbonated beer with a orange body with almost no head at all. Interestingly, it leaves some lacing.
S: Citrus could be smelled a mile away but there's also some malt, honey and floral aroma coming in.
T: Orange peel with some spicy notes. I guess I can feel some pine in it.
M: Gotta love it. It dries the palate after the sip and adds in a slightly sour note which makes you want more and more.
O: First American IPA I've had. The citrus aroma is so prominent that it even remembered me Orval. This is pretty neat. I'm sure I'll have more in a not-so-distant future.

Serving type: bottle

07-31-2013 00:23:45 | More by joaopmgoncalves
Photo of BWED


3.68/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

12 oz. bottle poured into a craft beer pint

A- Pale orange, and a clear body. Half inch off white head, but lacing doesn't stick.

S- Baked malt, the smell of mash. A little spicy earthy hop stings the nostrils as well.

T- Very bready, toasty, with a bitter pine-like hop flavor.

M- Medium-light bodied, semi-dry finish. The hop hangs around.

O- Very nice drink. Good malt flavor balances well with the hop bitterness.

Serving type: bottle

07-30-2013 19:25:27 | More by BWED
Photo of ianjsullivan


3.75/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

ST: Bottle poured into a pint glass.

A: Amber with a nice white head and good lacing.

S: Some malt, mostly grapefruit and pine from the dry hops.

T: Toasted bread, grapefruit, bubblegum.

M: Medium

O: A solid ale with mild but enjoyable bitterness.

Serving type: bottle

07-28-2013 18:37:10 | More by ianjsullivan
Photo of T100Mark


4.4/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A 12 ounce bottle poured into a shaker pint glass. One of the all-time great labels.

Appearance - Orange color. Hazy. Big head that sticks around for a while. Mild to moderate lace. A fine looking brew.

Smell - Big nose. Big citrus hit but the malt is also apparent. Very nice.

Taste - The hops leap out at you but, soon after, a substantial malty flavor makes it's presence known. Herbs. Slightly sweet. Slightly bitter. WOW!

Mouth - Tangy. Oily. Good carbonation. Substantial.

Overall - So this is the first California Pale Ale?! In previous reviews, I've been open about my bias towards all beers Anchor. This is yet another great beer from Anchor brewing! This beer is flavorful, complex, balanced, and wonderful. Go get yourself one or six.

Serving type: bottle

07-26-2013 03:15:44 | More by T100Mark
Photo of boilermakerbrew


3.53/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

3JO bottling date, so this one is a bit overage.

A- Pours a light to medium orange to golden color. A good amount of haze on this one in the body, enough to make it pretty much opaque. A good, 2 finger head forms and sticks around with a fair amount of lacing.

S- Light to moderate in hops as far as IPA's go. Way more floral in the nose than pine-like. Fruity with a bit of pineapple flavor in the hops scent. Hops fade a little into a slightly sweeter note at the end.

T- Starts with a slight bit of hops bitterness, but very slight at that. Somewhat dry and astringent flavor rolls across the tongue, making me think of a light citrus fruit or pineapple. Quickly dries the palate and adds in a slightly sour note, similar to a subtle Berliner Weiss sour flavor profile.

M- Light and easy drinking. Medium carbonation, but light in body. Really drying on the tongue.

Overall, not what I was expecting from an IPA. I'm a little disappointed, but I'll go easy on the guys at Anchor because of the age of this one.

Serving type: bottle

07-26-2013 01:56:49 | More by boilermakerbrew
Photo of magictacosinus


3.34/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

Dunno why I haven't ever tried this - it's been around here in the Bay Area for a long time now. 1975, no less! Poured into a tulip glass out of a 12oz "fatty" bottle. No freshness date.

Pours a pale amber color that looks almost exactly like the original Anchor Steam beer, only a little bit brighter and paler than the latter. Even when aggressively poured in the glass, this produces a modest finger of head that is slightly foamy in texture - almost creamy - to add a bit of charm. Bubbles are plentiful at first, but they die down ridiculously fast, which makes me wish I had used a pokal glass or something. But, alas, old habits die hard, especially in the realm of IPAs. Slight lacing, although not too resinous. Not sure how to rate to "style" here, especially given the fact that this a proto-American IPA, but it looks fine on its own.

The aroma contains little to no noticeable citrus or bitterness, however, and only as it warms up does it start to reveal itself. Slight lemon and orange peel, a dash of pine (from the Cascade), and maybe a little bit of honey. Other than that, there's the classic 2-row pale barley flavors that I've grown up with drinking Anchor beers, and indeed, this strikes me as a slightly hoppier, less toasted take on the beer. Slight sweetness, but really subtle overall.

The flavor is more of the same - a subtle, tame array of citrus notes, pine, honey, and cereal bready grains. The front contains a bit of sharp bitterness, but it is quickly subdued by the malts at hand, as well as the thickened, bready feel at the finish. Alcohol is well hidden. The entire beer is well carbonated. It's pretty balanced at first, but I admit it gets increasingly grating as the dried, malty notes open up, which makes this taste slightly bland, and in which the hops become bothersome in providing a tobacco-y, acrid flavor. Not necessarily something I'd sip on in a session - the hop profile gets a little too distracting over time. As always with these guys, this is still easy to drink and is well rounded in terms of being creamy.

This is definitely an important beer in the history of West Coast (and hell, American) brewing in developing the widespread style of the IPA today. It is somewhere halfway between a pale ale and an IPA, so it's hard to rate here except for what it is. Decently hopped, slightly dry, and definitely not one you'd want to have sitting around forever. Not my favorite, but I'd imagine this DID blow people's minds a bit when it came out, though!

Serving type: bottle

07-22-2013 04:24:02 | More by magictacosinus
Photo of 57md


3.31/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25

Pours a cloudy straw color with a finger of head that lingered for a bit. The nose is fairly mild – perhaps there is a hint of oranges present. Light malt flavors and some hops, but not much. The finish has a sweet note, but also something that tastes medicine-like. I’m not convinced that this is best categorized as an IPA, but I’m not sure what might be a more accurate designation.

Serving type: bottle

07-16-2013 12:21:43 | More by 57md
Photo of puboflyons

New Hampshire

3.79/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

From the 12 fl. oz. bottle that looks like it says 5FL ion the back label. Sampled on July 13, 2013.

The color is a hazy orange-amber with a soft off-white head that simmers on top throughout.

The hoppy aroma is more earthy than floral with pale malts, sugar, and herbs on the nose as well.

The body is decent and in the medium range.

This is quite easy to drink. The hop bitterness is more subtle than many American IPA's I have had and that makes it that much better. There is a different citrus thing going on the background that adds to the bitterness.

Serving type: bottle

07-13-2013 17:42:16 | More by puboflyons
Photo of dougbassett


3.46/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

One of the "1001 Beers You Must Taste Before You Die" -- #30 of the ones I've reviewed here.

I remember back in the day liking this one quite a bit, but back in the day was...well, back in the day. A lot of American IPAs have come out since then and there's a lot out there now that's just better than this.

Pours okay, orangish-brown with a fluffy head that's resilient the way I like it, with significant lacing. The nose is the expected mix of hops and malt, not bad but not anything really amazing, either. Like a lot of decent beers, the flavors open up after the beer warms up a bit outside the fridge, with a bit of that sort of autumn-fruity thing you want in these styles. The finish is a delicate hop kick, if that makes sense, a bit muted for my taste but it's there .(I do like the mouthfeel of this, it has the body I want from ales and often don't get.

Liberty Ale isn't a bad beer by any means, as my scores show, but I do think it's kind of meh (much like Anchor Steam) and somewhat overrated (much like Anchor Steam). Time has really passed this beer by, I think: it's inarguable that back in the day it was quite the thing. You just have a lot of better alternatives out there now.

Serving type: bottle

07-10-2013 22:12:54 | More by dougbassett
Photo of jimmah120


3.63/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

pint on tap at old Chicago.

look is a typical orange color with a small head, but good lacing. smell is light malt and English hops. taste is bitter and engiah tasting. medicinally bitter pear and apple flavors.

not as "American" as I'd hoped

Serving type: on-tap

07-09-2013 00:33:27 | More by jimmah120
Photo of Kevin60


4.41/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pilsner glass.

Appearance - Begins with a tan head about an inch deep, eventually leaves a thin tan head with good retention. The beer is a dark brown/amber color.

Smell - A slight hoppy smell. Strong, but not overpowering.

Taste - The beginning is smooth and eventually turns into a bitterish and stronger finish with a lasting after taste.

Overall - Great tasting beer with good smell and appearance. A good beer with a little bit of a bite at the end. Floral notes that turn into a bitterish end with a moderately lasting after taste. A definite buy again.

Serving type: bottle

07-08-2013 00:47:24 | More by Kevin60
Photo of CrazyDavros


2.93/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours amber with a large head.
Nose shows floral, citrusy hops and some sweet bready malt.
Grainy, metallic malt dominates the flavours unfortunately. Also some grapefruit and sweet bready malt but its not enough to redeem things.
Carbonation seems a little high.

Serving type: bottle

07-06-2013 03:35:20 | More by CrazyDavros
Photo of DenverHopHead


4.38/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle with no bottled on date, into a tulip.
Appearance - a light orange with big fluffy, white head. This beer looks very refreshing! Lacing is adequate.
Smell - grassy, piney with some citrus hops; the malt presence is more noticeable on the nose, like some of my favorite CO & East Coast IPA's!
Taste - I didn't expect this west coast IPA to taste like this. Reminds me of an east coast IPA. Think a poor man's Victory Hop Devil!
Feels - feels like an IPA should, and the complexity is a turn on! Has characteristics of west coast, east coast and CO IPA's!
Overall - something tells me that since this beer has been around for more than 35 years that many brewers use this as a template in some way or another!

Serving type: bottle

06-30-2013 22:13:51 | More by DenverHopHead
Photo of Segelstrom


3.3/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - poured into frozen tumbler and achieved 1" head w/ moderate retention

S - rather non descript. neither the malt nor the hops jump out at me.

T - taste "ditto" smell

M - carbonation ok

O - not a bad beer but not one to make my buy it again list

Serving type: bottle

06-26-2013 21:55:50 | More by Segelstrom
Photo of Libationguy


3.41/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Reddish-copper color with some onion skin hues. Head is off-white, consisting of a fine carbonation structure and well supported. Slightly hazy, but healthy in the glass.

Nose is a little subdued as an IPA. Citrus and some light pine, quiet fruitiness and some sweet malt notes.

Citrus and resin on the palate, but on the subtle side on the initial attack. Gentle malt sweetness which is nicely balanced. Hops character builds a little as the beer works through the palate. Just a touch of alcohol heat late in the finish.

Mouthfeel is very supple, but a little light on body. Very low astringency. Carbonation is gentle and nicely balanced.

A nice beer, but would like to see the hops take a little bolder role in the beer for the style. Certainly not every IPA needs to hit you upside the head with a hop vine, but a little more definition here would be nice.

Bottle is in code and had been stored properly.

Serving type: bottle

06-22-2013 15:34:02 | More by Libationguy
Photo of IchLiebeBier


3.75/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Cloudy, pale yellow/peach; small, frothy head, long lasting; good lacing

Aroma: Hoppy, floral notes dominate; citrusy grapefruit; malt

Taste: Smooth, hoppy, citrus flavor profile on start; hops linger on tongue and throat through mid, finishes with citrus, grapefruit aftertaste; smooth and well balanced

Remarks: Listed as Pale Ale, but seems more like an IPA

Did not score A, T, S, M at that time; disregard those scores

Serving type: bottle

06-15-2013 01:31:03 | More by IchLiebeBier
Anchor Liberty Ale from Anchor Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 2,582 ratings.