Anchor Liberty Ale | Anchor Brewing Company

very good
1,568 Reviews
Anchor Liberty AleAnchor Liberty Ale

Brewed by:
Anchor Brewing Company
California, United States

Style: American IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.90%

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.

Added by kbub6f on 11-18-2000

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Reviews: 1,568 | Ratings: 3,416
Photo of TripelJ
4.15/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Now Quaffing: Anchor Liberty Ale

This is one that I have overlooked for some time and as per usual have later grown to regret that. This beer pours a hazy golden apricot with a thick, somewhat "fizzy", off-white head. Not much lacing going on. Nice sweet citrus and mellow floral hop aroma going on. Taste has the same mellow hops balanced perfectly on a malt backbone with a crisp finish. I was also tasting some light peach flavors on the sweet end which was enhanced by the hop bitterness and bite. Overall, a very enjoyable and readily available pale ale. I still love my Sierra Nevada Pale Ale though.

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Photo of farHillsBrewer
4.5/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

One of my long time favorites. I like to introduce friends to new beers and Liberty is the only one that I can say that everyone has liked. The lighter than "pale" color is deceptive for such a flavorful brew. The perfect sweet to bitter transformation sweeps across the tongue and satisfies all the way. It has enough bite for most hopheads but the beautiful balance and the pleasant floral bouquet erases any possible complaints. Even the mother-in-law likes it. The best introduction to the way of the hophead.

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Photo of silks636
4.12/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. brown bottle.

Hazy light amber color with decent white head. Wonderful floral and citrus aroma with a slight touch of grain. Meets your tounge with pleasant carbonation and a terrific balance of sweet malt under piney and citric hops. Finishes off with a biting bitterness that turns to a sweet fruity aftertaste. Hops wins the battle for dominance in the taste profile, but is not at all overbearing. Light bodied and very smooth mouthfeel.

This is a damn good beer. Very drinkable. A first-rate American Pale Ale.

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Photo of byrd
4.01/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I’ve only had a couple bottles of Liberty Ale before, but I like this brew. Liberty Ale pours with a great frothy head that is about three quarters of an inch high. The color is clear amber-bronze. The head hangs around for a rather long length of time and eventually lowers to a thin lace. The aroma has a slight amount of caramel malt with hops being more predominant – slight citric/grapefruit hints. The body is medium with moderate carbonation. There is a light smooth malt start with just a hint of caramel. The hops are great! Towards mid swallow, the hops come in but don’t completely hide all notions of malt. There isn’t an overwhelming hop bite that takes over the beer, rather, the hops seem to fade in gently and take over. Hops are fairly citric, somewhat juicy and linger into the dry finish. The aftertaste is also of hops but is restrained with malt becoming slightly evident again. Overall, Liberty is quite well balanced, but definitely leans towards the hops. This is a very drinkable and enjoyable brew that is great for most occasions and worth keeping in the fridge on a regular basis.

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Photo of Webby64
4.2/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a very very good beer!! Got a kick to it also! Poors a hazy copper color with a thick head that lingers a bit in my mug. Smell has some floral notes. Taste has some citrus and malt with the taste of alcohol in the background. I really like this beer and will get it again.


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Photo of chaduvel
3.93/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance is brass/golden with a decent white head. Smells of juniper and crisp lemon peel and hops. Taste is almost gin-like and it tastes like it smells: juniper, lemon peel, enough malts to keep this from being too watery, and citrus hops. I would say this is almost the beer equivalent of a gin-and-tonic. Very refreshing and goes down easy.

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Photo of Winter
4.2/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a pale copper in color with a rising off-white head. Aroma consists of a fruity hop bouquet, caramel malt, citrus orange peel and vanilla. Medium-bodied mouthfeel with a pleasant carbonation. Initial malt flavor surrenders to a spicy and citrusy hop combination. Some sweetness detected throughout from the malt. The malt flavor and bitter/sour hops pair up rather well.

When I first tried Liberty Ale over a year ago I didn't care much for it. My tastes seemed to have changed. This is very good indeed. Liberty Ale would seem to be a great beer to pair with food. This is a solid American Pale Ale.

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Photo of Brian700
4.2/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've enjoyed a few 6packs of the anchor steam and enjoyed them a lot. I feel stupid for not trying the Liberty Ale sooner. It was one of the best pale ales i've tried. I can see myself buying this a lot more.

It has a golden copper color and pours a good head; off white or tan. Decent lacing. It has a nice floral hoppy smell. Excellent, The taste follows the nose. Floral, malty, citrus. Good mouthfeel. I'd say medium bodied. Very drinkable, In fact I just ran out and I'm feelin a little down. Overall a great Pale Ale.

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Photo of ManekiNeko
4.52/5  rDev +15%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Sampled on tap at Blind Tiger.

Appearance: Burnished golden yellow. Clear with a nice frothy head. Decent lacing as this heavenly brew was quaffed.

Smell: Great hop profiles on this one. Anchor used more of the floral/fruity aromatic hops than the ones with piney/bitter notes. Slight lemon/citrus scent.

Taste: Floral/citrusy hop flavors balanced nigh-perfectly with the pale malt.

Mouthfeel: Slightly astringent, good drying sensation on the palate. Great medium body.

Drinkability: This has got to be one of the best pale ales I've ever had. I had forgotten how truly great some of Anchor's products are as it had been awhile. This will definitely become a staple in my fridge.

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Photo of goz
4.52/5  rDev +15%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Medium peach in color, with a large white head that slowly recedes to leave small amounts of lacing. Aroma is mainly dominated with cascade hops (pine needle & some citrus) with some bready maltiness and a bit of yeatiness hanging out. Taste is of piney hops, some sweet citrus, and hints of breadiness. Body is medium, flavor is very well balanced, and immensley drinkable.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
4.38/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A nice copper color., pours with a solid cream colored head. A definite citrusy aroma wafts from the glass to my nose. There is a good amount of body to this beer, and it goes along well with a nice American hop (Cascade) character, in both the aroma and flavor departments. This beer finishes with a nice pleasing bitterness that hits ones tongue. At its best this beer is overflowing with American hop character, a wonderful hop-citrus character. Backed by a solid amount of malt backbone that helps this pioneering beer stand tall. Unfortunately this beer does not travel well. Anywhere I have had this beer a significant distance from the brewery, it is merely a solid good above average beer. When it is fresh though it is world class. So all of you Liberty naysayers get thee to the brewery to really experience this beer.

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Photo of cerevisiaephilus
3.9/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer is pretty unique. I'm not sure what it is, but I think it might have something to do with the strain of yeast employed. An interesting blend of flavors, fairly hoppy, but with those interesting yeast notes. A very smooth beer overall that I thoroughly enjoy.

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Photo of alexgash
3.9/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Brassy orange with a small head.

Smell: Not too impressive. Some malt presence, but mostly citrusy hops.

Taste: Light malts followed by modest floral goodness. Finish is citrusy (oranges), tangy, and bitter. Pretty good, but not great.

Mouthfeel: a little watery.

Drinkability: Goes down very easily.

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Photo of ZAP
4.47/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Hell of a pale ale....awesome nose...juicy hops....Citrus, but also some pine needle like scents too and cannibas/herbal...I think they use Chinook in this and in my opinion it seems to impart a very nice tight, but not overbearing bitterness to the taste of it...this isn't one dimensional though..a nice malt backbone really is the key to this beer...

Body is medium...about perfect...color is deep gold...a little white head that spider webs the glass...

There's no ifs ands or buts about it...this is a fantastic pale drinking freshly squeezed hop juice...but at the same time not hugely bitter....very very tasty...

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Photo of Andreji
4.07/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

#2 of the all american spree.

Pours a copper or amber or light red translucent with a very little tan head that fades quickly leaving only a sustained ring around the glass and very little and weak lacing.

The smell, even as it is poured, is room filling, very strong, with a strong feel of malt and some alcohol and hops, but smells sweet and old right away.

The taste is very nice, very fruity with much sweetness although very comfortable and well balanced with the strong carbonation it appears to have. At the end becomes very bitter leaving a positive sweet aftertaste combined with perhaps some wheat remnants. The alcohol, although mild, is also present at all times adding to the sweetness and overall mouthfeel.

Very nice mouthfeel, strong body yet goes through well as a thirst quencher with a medium body. This is a premium beer worth having many times (with moderation of course not all at once.)

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Photo of SeanChouffe
3.9/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: A golden color, sparkling, with a fine creamy head that reduces to a thin layer. The lace is slippery.

Aroma: Hoppy, but well balanced with an earthy presence of malt as well as a fruits lurking in the background.

Taste: Presence of hops and malt, but also complex with fruit flavors, and a dry finish with a crisp bite.

Mouthfeel: Creamy and effervescent with a crisp, dry finish and lingering bite.

IMHO: A well-balanced Pale Ale with more character than most – not over hopped and pleasantly complex.

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Photo of UnionMade
4.87/5  rDev +23.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

The beer pours a burnished copper color, with a sticky, lasting head. Great lacing, trailing like a cobweb down the glass.
Aroma is a balance between rich pale maltiness and agressive northwest hopping. Pronounced citric cascade aroma, with some estery floral quality to the malt. Not terribly complex, but simplicity lies within perfection.
Flavor is hoppy and tangy, with outspoken hopping and perfect malt presence to back it up. Hints of pear and mango, with a grassy floral hop flavor throughout the sip. Mild unassuming carbonation. Medium bodied. Moderately bitter finish, with sharp hopping, the bottled version seems a bit weaker. Aftertaste is slightly tart bitterness.
An excellent beer from a true american original. Accept no imitations.

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Photo of Indybeer
4.12/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle. Poured a hazy orange color, with a moderate head that quickly receded to a smallish ring, leaving some lacing behind. Aroma is floral and citrus from the hops! Very nice. Taste is slightly malty, witha good hop balance and with moderate carbonation, this is a very drinkable beer! Very enjoyable.

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Photo of Kongquistador
3.98/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From a bomber.

This beer looks nice, and pours with a billowy white head that sticks around. Eventually it seems to fade down to a thin lace with a little bit of stickage on the side. The color is a perfect amber, yellow with just a hint of reddish. Very pale for a pale ale, but not bad. Substantial carbonation. The aroma on this is pretty mild, nothing to get excited about. Mainly it smells lightly of hops at first, mostly citrus stuff. After awhile there is a faint malty scent, but it is hard for me to pick out. It also has a slight honey scent. The scent almost reminds me of the one Belgian ale I've ever had, although I don't know what the defining characteristics of that are.

Up front, the Liberty Ale offers a nice hoppy hit to the tounge, followed by a nice mellow taste. The middle of this beer has a slight taste of honey, which I find peculiar, but thats what I'm feeling. The finish is very mild as well, with some hoppy bitterness, but it isn't strong at all. The bottle claims Liberty Ale has "a distinctive bouquet and uncommon delicacy" and that certainly seems to be the case. I was originally going to rate this lower, but then I realized that just because I expected a strong hoppy taste and aggressive malts, didn't mean it wasn't a good beer because it didn't have them. In fact, in consideration, I like this quite a bit, precisely because it isn't overpowering at all. Very, very well balanced.

This stuff tastes and feels pretty good going down, and it has a nice sweetness that makes it a pleasure to drink without being soda pop. Can't fault the carbonation either, especially after it has wamred a little bit. This is definetly a nice beer to relax with, and drink without thinking about drinking.

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Photo of longpondbeerman
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This brew, I was told, is a classic, the prototype for the so-called west coast IPA's, and from what I can tell it is an apt description. It pours a light amber with a modest off-white head that recedes quickly. The smell is, of course, hoppy, but not nearly as bold as some of its west coast descendants. The taste is light and hoppy--not much in the way of complexity, but extremely drinkable, especially listening to a Thelonius Monk CD on a late summer vacation evening.

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Photo of beergeek279
4.3/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in the 12 oz. bottle. The color is an amber, with a bit of head. The smell was very hoppy. The taste is very hoppy and dry, with some hints of malt. Mouthfeel is very smooth. Drinkability-wise, a good pale ale that I'd have a few more of.

I've enjoyed the other Anchor offerings that I've had, and this is no exception. A good, solid, West Coast pale ale.

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Photo of RoyalT
3.15/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance – Nice orange color but a smallish head that quickly fizzles away leaving the glass dry.

Smell – Some citrus fruit at first, but then the hops kick in.

Taste – This has a similar flavor to Anchor Steam Beer. I poured this one right after it for comparison purposes. There’s a noticeable malt taste to compliment the mostly hop body. The citrus flavors come out as well, with a bitter finish tempered with an orange peel.

Mouthfeel – Nice, light carbonation gives this beer a comfortable tingle on the tongue, but it’s kind of clumsy going down.

Drinkability – Like post APAs, this one is rather dry and will probably go down well on a hot summer day.

Comments – The Liberty Ale is less authoritative in its flavors than the Small Beer.

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Photo of beerinator
3.88/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Straw colored with a hint of red. Off white long lasting head.

Aroma: Malty with strong hop aromatics. Piney. Sweet smell dominates.

Taste: Strong malt flavor, hop presence is muted. The hops that are there aren't very citrusy. Smooth Flavors.

Notes: Very drinkable. Good beer for those seeking a beginner beer down the hoppy road.

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Photo of oberon
4.2/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep golden/amber color with a nice fruffy head,the aroma is somewhat dry and hoppy with some slight sweetness in the background.The flavor is zesty and citruis-like with a malty sweet lingering backbone but the hop profile is the main taste I got from this brew.A pretty darn good ale even better if your a hophead.

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Photo of KroMagnon
4.15/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I don't know what other BAs are like but I personally tend to drink many different beers than a lot of the same beer. This has become even more true since my family has tended to eat out less often. So its great to go back and revisit an old classic like Liberty Ale from time to time. The neck label has a great little tale about the beer and its inaugural brewing on April 18th 1975 (almost 30 years ago!) The main oval-shaped label features an anchor and a bald eagle, with "San Francisco" (a great American city) called out prominently at the bottom. The brew color is dark golden and the head was nice and white, with a good stability. This beer is famous for its dry hop aroma, but on this occasion I also pick up some estery notes like a very slight hint of bubble gum (VERY VERY slight) and perhaps a little bit of lemon (which may also be from the hops). (As an aside, I had this the same day as the New River Brewing Company pale ale and the latter seemed to have more hop aroma). The beer flavor itself was a delight - extremely well balanced, not a hop monster like many west coast pale ales and IPAs but definitely hoppy. The maltiness was evident and splendid without being oversweet. Back in 1975, I bet the beer was totally unique for American-made beer, but now you can find many others that are bolder. Nevertheless, I don't think you can find many that are as well-balanced as this beer, and the quality of Anchor's products (despite, or maybe because, of pasteurization?) is impeccable. In addition, to me, the ester notes that blend with the malt and hops in the aroma are also a welcome thing; so many micros display very little fermentation characteristics that you tend to forget how great they can be when you run across them.

For the BJCP style American Pale Ale, this is in the 4.3 / 5 mark - more hop aroma would help.

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Anchor Liberty Ale from Anchor Brewing Company
3.93 out of 5 based on 3,416 ratings.
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