Anchor Liberty Ale | Anchor Brewing Company

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Anchor Liberty AleAnchor Liberty Ale
Very Good
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.

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User Reviews & Ratings
Reviews: 1,588 | Ratings: 3,517
Photo of TH28
3.65/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle. No code date visible. Appearance: Hazy light golden. Nice white foam cap. Aroma: Bready with light citrus. Taste: Bready, sweet malt that gives way a light citrus a moderate bitterness. Bitterness is not nearly as sharp as Sierra Nevada Pale. Grapefruit is very prominent. Mouthfeel: Moderate body and carbonation. Finish: Leaves a pleasant grapefruit flavor and lingering bitterness. Overall: compared to Sierra Nevada Pale, this is a better balanced, less hop forward pale ale. A really nice easygoing pale ale. Could stand to benefit from a slightly stronger hop aroma.

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Photo of Ian_B
3.09/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bright earthy flavours with a touch of burnt toast. Sounds stupid but a bit too much of the burnt malt / hop bitterness comes through on the finish. Slight metallic flavours. Good beer, but there are other/better beers I'd prefer with similar taste profiles.

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Photo of TheMarkE
3.71/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Dark honey with a big head of foam and good lacing. Lots of carbonation.

Smell: Pine and floral hops, sweet malts.

Taste: Sweet malts up front, followed by citrus and pine hops.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, with a mild hop bitterness in the finish.

The Verdict: Not bad. Well balanced and tasty, it’s more of a British ale than an American IPA. Good session beer.

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Photo of BucannonXC5
3.59/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Type: 12-oz. can
Glass: Manzanita pint glass
From: Trader Joe’s in Mission Valley (San Diego), Calif.
Price: $8.49 for a variety 6-pack
Purchased: June 26, 2015
Consumed: June 26, 2015
Misc.: Can says 6 percent ABV

Poured a honey, pale, clear color with 5-to-6 fingers of khaki white, rocky head. Settled to nice look on the top after a few minutes. Lots of bubble streams coming up from the bottom of the glass. Above average spotty lacing on the sides of the glass. Great retention on the top all the way down. (Sight - 4.00)

Smelled wet Cascade, pine, lime, dish soap, floral, faint watermelon, faint cucumber and caramel. (Smell - 3.75)

Tasted similar to the nose, albeit with buttery notes. Got wet Cascade, soapy pine, lime, dish soap, buttery malts, caramel, honey, peas and green beans. (Taste - 3.50)

Medium-to-light body. Oily-to-creamy texture. Average carbonation. Abrupt, buttery, bitter finish. (Feel - 3.50)

I didn’t this was that good. Maybe six years ago this would have been good, but just an average IPA. (Overall - 3.50)

3.59 | 81 | B

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Photo of furballkazoo
3.5/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

It claims to be the beer that "started the IPA revolution;" and though that may be true, this beer itself is a simple IPA that pails in comparison (to say the least) to the plethora of fantastic IPA's available today.

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Photo of ricke49
4.17/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Great beer. Not sure why it's called an American IPA (above) - fits more into an English ale/bitter category with those distinctive dank metallic British flavor notes - highly desirable characteristic to my palate. Love a beer that has both obvious hop and malt components as this one does. One of the best features: a darned attractive price!

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Photo of Chickenshack
4.42/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Wow. Exceptional. Seems to me as good as it gets. I have been a fan of Anchor Steam Beer for years but had never tried this one until reading on this site that this is the beer that started the craft beer, American IPA, dry-hopped cascade hops movement forty years ago (I realize this comes from the brewery but it doesn't seem unjustified). A slightly heavier, hoppier brother to the equally classic Steam Beer.

Pours a thick soapy head with an oh so slightly cloudy copper body.

Aroma has a slightly metallic, piney/ floral cascade hops scent with bright citric and fruit notes.

Taste is well balanced: hops are very piney, a little citrus, alcohol is slightly present with nice sweetness to balance the hoppy bitterness but its not cloying, big taste at first, then a little yeasty in the middle but finishes bright and clean with lingering hoppiness that doesn't overwhelm and make the jaw pucker.

Body is somewhat thin with crisp sparkling carbonation that makes the beer very crisp and then the hops extend the finish and then it's crisp and refreshing but then hoppy again and you want another drink. Goes down very easy for nearly 6 abv with some hoppy bitterness.

This is the real thing- what more could you reasonably want from a beer?

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Photo of LiquidAmber
3.85/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a Seattle Beer Week pint glass. Pours a medium golden amber with a nice two finger white head with good retention and lots of lacing. Aroma of citrus and fresh pine, bready and light bisquit malt; slightly floral and quite pleasant. Flavor of light neutral malt with a hint of wheat, light citrus subdued at first, but then developing a good citrus and pine bitterness that lasts into a lingering hoppy finish that reveals the light biscuit from the aroma. Medium bodied with good carbonation. Kind of old fashioned by American IPA standards and less malty than an English IPA, this must have been a bright, fresh look at the style when it was introduced. It still is quite enjoyable, smelling good and leaving a great aftertasted of flavorful hops with a good level of bitterness. The general profile reminds me a lot of the base for the holiday ale, but without the spicing. Nicely done and a credit to the early craft days that it has stood up so well.

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Photo of loubar
4.1/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Nose combines malt and floral hops. Taste is bracing and rich. Features a rich hops presence with limited bitterness on a subtle roasted malt base. Assertive, yet enjoyable. Along the lines of an IPA but not over the top. Dry finish. Tasty and well done.

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Photo of Moose90
3.61/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle served into Nonic Pint glass

A – Pours a deep honey hued amber with a tall off white colored head. Nice consistent lacing left behind.

S – Smells of rich and sweet malts, balanced by a light piney and bitter hop note.

T – Tastes predominately malty and sweet, light hop bitterness, very mild for an American IPA, drinks much more like a British IPA.

M – Medium bodied, light to medium carbonation levels.

O – Nice beer from Anchor, predominately malty though.

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Photo of BeerDrinkersWorldTour
3.84/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Appearance - Clear golden body with streaming CO2 and a massive rocky head of white foam that has good retention and leaves decent lace.

Smell - Passion fruit, grapefruit and blood orange up front with a bitter more hoppy front followed by some malt sweetness and a wet dog aroma in the back.

Taste - Malty front from breads and sugars to caramel. Ten the fruity hop kicks in again bitter with grapefruit and blood orange to sweet with passion fruit and mango. Bitter in the back end so that this is well balanced but the taste is not as fruity as the aroma.

Mouth Fell - Good and well sustained linger. A little thin towards medium bodied even with a nice dry end.

Overall - Tasty and well balanced the MF is good but nothing to write home about. I rather like it and it goes well with dried pork.

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Photo of MarkLinton1
4.59/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Have heard and read great things about Liberty Ale for a long time. Was surprised to see it at my local Kroger this weekend, although the do stock an outstanding selection of craft beers. Have always been impressed with Anchor Brewing, and Liberty Ale is no exception. Amazing is an understatement. New go to IPA for me.

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Photo of drmeto
3.79/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

-lemons,oranges and mango upfront
-slight pineapple and passionfruit notes
-high carbonation
-lemons and lightly bitter on the finish

Very tame but good

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Photo of ajchocholousek
4.03/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a beauitful, albeit slightly hop-hazy, light copper orange. 1 finger white soapy head that is sticking around a bit. A touch of soapy lacing on the glass. Aroma gives a sweet, yet subtly spicy, grapefruit and orange bouquet. Bright, effervescent carbonation on the tongue gives way to a delicate, slightly creamy, malt-supported, citrus bitterness. The hop character is bright and fresh, and the malt has a nice sweetness on the finish. Very Clean and very good overall. Could drink a lot of this.

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Photo of archyquaffer
3.75/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A moderate pour from a bomber into a Pilsener glass produces a nice one inch frothy white head. The beer is a pale copper color, crystal clear, with moderate carbonation.

The aroma is excellent, with subtle floral qualities and a dank fruitiness suggesting citrus and maybe apricots. The flavor is subtle and only moderately bitter, with notes of light citrus, a vegetal quality, and perhaps light apricot and pineapple. These hop flavors meld with a rich malt base that lends a slight molasses or sweet tobacco note and some malt-o-meal graininess in the aftertaste. The mouth feel is frothy and creamy.

This is a complex IPA with a toned down bitterness that makes it easy to drink. It was also a pretty good deal at $3.79 for the bomber. This beer has apparently been around awhile but I don’t think I’ve seen it much around my neck of the woods.

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Photo of Daktah
3.91/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I love all things Anchor. Liberty is no exception. Grainy and hoppy smell, crisp hop and biscuit undertone. Just a little sweetness to round things out.

A great beer to pair with all types of food, and one of my go to purchases.

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Photo of iRaven99664
3.75/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

L: looks amazing! Has a nice apple juice appearance. Its deep amber but not too dark. And its clear with no mirk. When opened there was jsut a hint of smoke. Lacey head, seems to stick as it goes down.

S: Cracked it open and the first thing I noticed after the smoke was "this is that ideal beer smell". In the "this is the smell I smelt in high school and in college, but better". It's not bad as the aroma is spot on perfect for what its going for at the time it was brewed. It's just not "ale" smell. It's definitely an adjunct lager smell.

T: Again, it feels like an ideal product for what it must be going for back in the day. Seriously it makes me feel that they were trying to do an operation of taking the taste of lager into the world of ale [which seems blasphemous today, but what was probably preferred in the day]. Fruitish, caramel, and slight hop dominate front and back on the tongue, and lingers pleasantly on the tongue. As I saw with another review it may have raised an eye brow in the late 70's, but not too par to todays standards. Should it be knocked for that? No. It's Old Gard. It really truly reminds me of PBR that's filtered for impurities. And as a new found lover of PBR for lower end beer, I'm okay with that. It's just not an IPA, not even English. Hell its not even an ESB or Pale Ale.

F: Again, an ideal quality to this. For being as light as it is, its perfect. It's just a tad thicker than water, with a hint of sudsy carb. rather pleasant. The coating is nice, and the lingering taste reminds you "Oh yeah, that hint of alcohol reminds me I am drinking an adult beverage, but the fruity malt sweetness says its wonderfully soothing".

Overall: If like most of us that started with the BMC adjuncts, but has a preferred taste for PBR and its fruity sweetness, you will enjoy this with its "less than insta-hangover" quality. I can see where this was a hit after decades with Bud and Miller. Todays standards, it doesn't seem high quality or over the top. But I can see this as an American style that screams "I'M FUCKING PATRIOTIC AND THIS BEER SAYS 'MURICA!". Though, it's not a Sam Adams.

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Photo of Chris_Burton
3.95/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy orange with a small, bubbly head. Very resinous smell, reminding me more of a very light American barley wine than an IPA. Flavour is fairly subdued by American IPA standards, although I can imagine this raised a few eyebrows back in 1975! Nice combination of caramel, resin and a hint of fruit, with a rather dry aftertaste. Mouthfeel is smooth and fairly full for the style.

A very decent and pleasant beer but somewhat unremarkable. I respect it, but I won't rush to have it again.

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Photo of Wiffler27
4.18/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

pours an amber hue with a thick white head.

smell is subdued. present but not strong. smells of sweet bitterness, aka hops.

taste is plain with nice bitterness. not overly bitter but also not leading to any one flavor. not bad though, nice sweet fruit taste with some bitterness. goes down smooth, easy drinker. could definitely see this being an "original" IPA (in a good way!). good taste but not overly bitter, a good beer.

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Photo of interzen
4.46/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

355ml bottle poured into a tulip glass

Look: Pretty much what I've come to expect from American (or indeed any other) IPA - golden yellow pour with a fluffy, bubbly white head. Good retention, some lacing left behind.

Smell: Again, typical IPA - plenty of citrus and pine resin from our old friend humulus lupulus, specifically the Cascade variety. Quite deliciously resinous, in fact, particularly if you let it stand for a while.

Taste: Beautifully astringent - very little in the way of malt notes but chock-full of earthy, resinous Cascade goodness. One of the less aggressively hopped American IPAs in my recent experience, yet still a world away from a typical British IPA.

Feel: Eminently quaffable - the bitterness of the Cascade hops would cut through pretty much anything and you're left with a wonderfully dry, astringent and bitter finish.

Overall: According to the blurb, this was apparently introduced in 1975 which pretty much debunks the myth that craft beer in the US is a 'new' thing. This was the second Cascade-based beer I'd had in this session (Saltaire Cascade being the other) and the Anchor pretty much blew the Saltaire brew away in terms of both smell and flavour. There are undoubtedly better IPAs out there, but if you're looking for a toe in the door of the American IPA style then this is as good a place to start as any.

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Photo of Tuck_leepulin
4.13/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a tulip and bottled on 09/14/2014

Appearance: Pours a slightly hazy golden amber with 1/2 finger of head

Smell: Citrus and pine hops

Taste: Full of earthy hop notes and bitterness

Mouthfeel: Medium and just the right amount of sticky

Overall: Very impressive that this beer is now 40 years old. Many brand-new American IPAs created in the past decade can't touch this

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Photo of dacrza1
4.56/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

DATE TASTED: January 16, 2015... GLASSWARE: Kisatsky Tavern pint ... OCCASION: a good week done... APPEARANCE: a storm of effervescent bubbles whirl violently below an absolute dreamy cloud of thick white head; hazy orange amber in color; lacing is ribbed and substantial... AROMA: sharp orange peel; some sugarlike cookie, vanilla, grapefruit and spring flowers... PALATE: creamy at the lips; slight pings of sourness at the teeth; effervescent but swift to the throat; light and mega-sessionable ...TASTE: citric flavors of grapefruit and lilac, orange and vanilla make this already a winner; the malt settles nicely, providing balance...OVERALL: why so long to revisit this most perfect example of the genre--as refreshing and flavorful as a pale ale can be...

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Photo of maedhros09
4.75/5  rDev +22.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

I don't know why this exquisite ale isn't better loved around here. To me it is perfection, and there are very few beers I can say that about (including the Anchor Porter). It has a wonderful balance among the malt, hops, and yeast flavors, the last of which imparts a very distinctive floral character.

By the way I have never considered this beer an IPA - more of a pale ale IMO.

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Photo of BillV
4.81/5  rDev +24%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Awesome. The BA score says 87 and the BROS say 89 and 'very good'. I concur but with an extra 'awesome' tied off at the end. This is really a fine beer and should be experienced to appreciate its rarity. Anchor has done us all a solid with this outstanding example of an American IPA. I can't say enough about the taste and overall points of this beverage. It is what you would expect a true craft beer to be about.

Imagine, if you have wandered in here and having only experienced drinking the usual American mass produced beers , you have no real knowledge of what a decent to awesome beer tastes and feels like. Well, I would steer you away from this one, then, at first. Go work your way around some of the other craft beers and get a good feel for what they are like. Then come back around and give it a try. I say this because I really believe that if you could develop your palate for these kinds beers, you will appreciate one like Anchor Liberty Ale all the more. And, in appreciating it more, have a better understanding going into it for what you should be looking for when you find it.


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Photo of Stevedore
3.72/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle. Served in a snifter 1/3/2015.

A- Darker yellow-copper body, mildly hazy but more or less transparent in character. Poured hard and comes up with a two finger white head with nice retention time, moderate longevity and not much lacing.

S- Clean caramel aromas, wet grains much like spent grains from the wort, and a nice pine aroma. I have to think this is Cascade-hopped in some capacity; there is a fair amount of pine here just like in SNPA. Clean, nothing intense but easy to pick out all of the components here.

F- Caramel, toffee, grainy sweetness mixed in with a bit of lemon zest and plenty of pine throughout; it's not more piney on the finish as it is in the middle; it's all there and unapologetic. I like this one quite a bit even if there isn't a lot of complexity. In its simplicity, this is a well-put-together beer.

M- Medium bodied, resinous and substantial. Nice carbonation. Not fizzy, but plenty of carbonation with a nice resinous pine feel on the tongue on the backend. Very drinkable

O- Solid IPA that has a nice malt sweetness to it that complements the Cascade (presumably) hops very well. It's not too dry, has plenty of resin and is very drinkable.

Final score: 3.73

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Anchor Liberty Ale from Anchor Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.88 out of 5 with 3,517 ratings