Anchor Liberty Ale | Anchor Brewing Company

very good
1,569 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: 1,569 | Ratings: 3,425
Photo of jizdepski
4.78/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

nice coppery orange colored ale with a lovely white-capped head. slim amount of retention and lacing. dominant aromas are malty and hoppy, not much else on nose. the taste is outstanding! this is the best american pale i've ever tried....has a wonderful balance of piney hops and malts, neither being overly aggressive, and just a bit bready underneath. i'd say it toes the line between an english pale and a hoppier apa. mouthfeel is thin to medium bodied....well carbonated, nice bitterness from the hops on finish but not overwhelming and quite refreshing. drinkability is high...could drink several in a sitting. very satisfying...hard to ask more from a beer, it really nails the style right on the head.

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Photo of goochpunch
4.77/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a hazy apricot with a frothy white head with bubble craters forming at the top. Some lacing present. Big malty nose with butterscotch notes and grapefruit scented hops. Flavors Start off with that butterscotch note which then leads into a mix of bready malts and grapefruit hoppiness, then finishes with a light fruitiness, which tastes more derived from the malts than the hops, accopmanied by a moderate hop bitterness. Perfect. Mouthfeel is moderate thickness with a very soft carbonation. Enough body to linger on the palate but not too much so that it forms a film. Damn near perfect session beer if it wasn't for the substantial abv.

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Photo of orfeu
4.77/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Carbonation-streaked orange-peach juice with a billowy off-white 1/2" head. Zingy citrus aromas of grapefruit and tangelo rind and candied orange slices. Citrus-inflected flavors dominate too, but in a far less astringent way: mellow orange (not yellow) and sweet ruby red grapefruit juice. Light doughy malt presence -- noticeable only in the "even-keeled" hop temperence acheived, so I guess I don't really detect much malt -- this is all about the hops. But this is not out of line! Unlike any other beer I've tasted, and unlike anything I was expecting -- almost a revelation! Clean, juicy mouthfeel and incredibly easy to drink. This is not the most balanced pale ale I've ever tried, but as a hop head I think it's quite possibly my favorite, even if it's not the lupulin blast of others. Simply great. Cheers, Fritz!

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Photo of maccroz
4.77/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours a nice golden color. This has all the flavor of a higher alcohol brew without the malt-liquor feeling of sucking back a 9.5% beer.

Flavor is extremely hoppy, but not so much that it is overpowering, rather it has a complex array of flavors which can be appreciated for 5-10 seconds after swallowing. A very tasty brew.

That being said, this is not a hot day, suck back a 6 pack by the pool under the sun type of brew. A great choice for those nights when you really do want "just one beer"

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Photo of Kwak
4.77/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Nice rocky head thick good steady foam.

Very aromatic nice hints of citrus.

Nice body stedy carbonation good pale orange color.

The taste is supprisingly light very clean and appetizing a little dry in the finish. Nice and refreshing good on a hot day or to acompany a spicy meal!

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Photo of RootedFool
4.77/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours hazy copper from a stubby 12 ounce bottle (purchased at the North Coast Co-op in Eureka, California), with a quick head that rose about half an inch and fell leaving a creamy, very thin band of lace.

The smell is a very colorful bouquet of fruits -- strawberries, apples, raisins -- and a lingering sizzle of hops in the background.

Ah. Taste opens with the bright fruitiness I picked up on right away in the nose and it levels out into a short stretch of creamy malt sweetness, followed quickly by a snap of hop bitterness. That bitterness lingers to the finish, and as it closes a citrusy edge comes through. Mouthfeel is spritzy and refreshing -- lots of carbonation -- and ends dry.

Overall, a refreshing yet complex and very flavorful beer.

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Photo of shabbtastic
4.77/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

After needing a secret decoder to decipher the bottle date stamped on the label you're in the clear.

A - Rather average in color with a medium orange completion. Head was big and thick / foamy

S - Nice balanced bouquet of hops / malt and citrus. All bases were covered in this aroma.

T - Crisp, with a malty aftertaste that was not too overpowering. Very, very clean.

M - Everything worked with this brew. With all its character it's hard to drink slowly.

D - An excellent APA and well worth the price ($10 / 6pk). Good drinking for any season, borderline session type drink.

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Photo of gwfrankpsu
4.76/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is not your average pale ale - this is the best!!!!! I try to have a Liberty Ale two or three times a year - I don't want to get used to it. THIS IS A TOP TEN!!!!!

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Photo of beer_forever
4.76/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

the Holy Grail of any given week day. bitter, dry, strong, exactly what you want in the evening. couldn't drink more than a couple without eating a fresh sandwich (rye bread, veganesse, pepper, and tomato slices) but you definitely won't regret trying this. i usually don't go out of my comfort zone (too many disappointments, of course) but this time i'm glad i did :)

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Photo of StevieW
4.75/5  rDev +20.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A sentimental favorite for me. This beer was my introduction into the real beer world. I bought another six, just to have around to introduce friends to better beer. Nice straw color, with slightly off-white head. Big hoppy nose and crisp hoppy taste with a certain tartness to it. Slight fruit taste as well, big bitter finish. I love this beer on many levels. A classic American Pale Ale, compliments almost any food, and it truly refreshing on its own. A fine tribute to the April 19, 1775 and everything it represents.

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Photo of doho95fu
4.75/5  rDev +20.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This sums up what kind of beer I like. The color is an orange/amber that seems slighly cloudy right after the poor. It has an adequate head, white in color, and some lace. The smell is sweet and you can tell the taste will be smooth. Taste is sweet and hoppy and finishes well, not dry, just right. This is one of those beers that you can never tire of (assuming you like it to start), the flavor doesn't bore you, or eventually overpower you. Drinkability is high (too high?)

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Photo of maedhros09
4.75/5  rDev +20.9%
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 Hops4Pops
4.75/5  rDev +20.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

12 oz bottle.
My personal taste and preferences would have had me rate this beer lower. However, considering that it is the grandfather of the modern style IPA and was first brewed in 1975, I am scoring it very highly. Also, after having three of these over several hours tonight, its growing on me. Of note is that it was constructed to commemorate the bicentennial of the United States of America. Way to go Anchor!
A: Poured into a pint glass. Giant off-white head 3 fingers. Bubble sizes from foam to a full 1/4 inch. Receded over several minutes to a surface foam leaving a lot of sticky lacing behind. Color is a medium, slightly-reddish amber color. Slightly hazy. Carbonation is fantastic and is steadily feeding the surface.
S: Subdued compared to other more modern IPAs. Cascade hops, citrus, grapefruit, lemon, floral, toffee. I can smell bitterness in it. It smells very basic.
T: Same notes as the smell but stronger. Tasting the sweetness of the malt now. Finish is crisp and bitter then goes to sweetness again. More bitter than anticipated and very nice.
M: Smooth, a bit of crispness on the tongue. The carbonation is near perfect on this beer. It gives a giant head to protect what is in the beer from escaping. Then it lets you nose it for a bit, taste it, let it linger and want some more.
O: This is the grandfather of the modern IPA. It is simple in construction but is very well balanced and true to style.Was first brewed in 1975 to commemorate the bicentennial. Definitely a must try for any hop enthusiast. Also a great beer for anyone new to IPA who wants to try one that won't knock their head off. It's not my favorite AIPA but it is the first, the traditional one, the oldest, very simple and well built.

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Photo of JudgeRoughneck
4.72/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance- Big fluffy two fingers of eggshell head with little cake in the middle. I love that. Beer is hazy orange color. Head leaves slowly, reducing to a thin layer, leaves fractured lace.

Aroma- bready english malt, lively ale fruit, bright yeastiness, maybe shortbread or poundcake, forceful hop spice and alcohol punches through it all.

Taste- For starters, this brew is ludicrously balanced. It makes it very difficult to review becaus the flavors all hit the palate at the same time and meld togther beautifuly. I get a wonderful crisp red apple character, softed by very subtle diacetyl, full bodied, bready malt supports it all and gives the esters a nice home, hops creep in mid-sip and while never forgrounded, leave the final impression with a nice spicy/ juicy, bitterness that lasts into a slightly soapy aftertaste. Lemony taste emerges with warmth. Very interesting and artful interpretation of the style.

MF- Mid-wieght, full and fuzzy. Nice natural carbonation.
Drinakability- Had trouble keeping it in the glass long enough to review it.

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Photo of geexploitation
4.72/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I've often heard this beer described as some kind of ode to the Cascade hop, and after trying it I can see why. Appearance is quite solid -- the beer itself is a beautiful just-shy-of-clear orangey amber, and the head is substantial at first, although it eventually fades into a thin white film on top of the beer. Smell is full of those great citrusy Cascade smells, but there's also some creamy notes in there. Taste is outstanding -- sweet and sour hop flavors combined with the malt mean that every part of your tongue is active with this brew. There's no acrid feeling to this beer -- just spicy, flavorful hops. Extremely well balanced. Mouthfeel is a rarity, in a good way: this beer, according to the bottle, contains no artificial carbonation, and it certainly feels that way when drinking it. There's a very fine carbonation, enough certainly to tickle your tongue but no large carbonation bubbles... it's the difference between California sparkling wine and Champagne (with Anchor Liberty playing the part of Champagne, duh). Overall, a wonderful, quaffable beer.

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Photo of RonfromJersey
4.72/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Slighty hazy light orange body, filled with carbonation streams. A fist full of just-off-white assorted size bubbles make up a hefty head.

Big inviting aroma of grapefruit.

Big slippery and caramel sweet foundation rolls across the tongue. A crash of fruity and bitter hops snap the balance from sweet to benignly bitter at the finish, and into a slow sunset of an aftertaste. Overall, a great balance.

Light-medium mouthfeel. Excellent drinkability.

An American classic.

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Photo of OzarkElmo
4.72/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Have to say this is definitely one of my favorite beers over the past 2-3 months. Bottle pour into Stella glass. Hazy golden with substantial off-white head. Excellent lacing remaining throughout. Aroma - wonderful citrus, Cascade hops, grassy notes. Excellent taste and IMO a very well-balanced offering of an APA. Sophisticated yet very drinkable and refreshing. Not too dry or bitter, just right for me. Top notch - Cheers!

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Photo of hustlesworth
4.71/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A- pours a hazy golden peach with a sticky clumpy 1 1/2in cream colored head with decent retention and lots of wavy lace. a few bubbles rise here and there, this is a very attractive brew, with shimmering rays of bright golden orange where the light passes through the bottom of the glass.

S- buttery biscuit and sweet malt with a faint hint of cocoa, citrus pine hops, grapefruit, passionfruit, alchohol, mineral water, earthy aromatic wood

T- dried wood, earth/mineral and copper! the copper is very noticeable, but it's not like chewing on a penny. it's more like a fragrant essence of the metal coming out into the beer through the mash tun complementing the other flavors- sourdough bread yellow grapefruit peel, bitter spiced lemon, herbal piney hops from start to finish with a dry floral leafy aftertaste. this beer could really set the standard for how an APA should taste.

MF- initially silky becoming slick and coating as it goes down. finishes dry with a slight pucker that feels leafy and resinous.

D- a new addition to my list of widely available go to beers. anchor liberty ale, sierra nevada pale ale, and TD hoppus maximus.

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Photo of rickenclacker
4.7/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I would not exactly call this an IPA, more like an equivalent to Bells Two Hearted Ale, in taste and Alcohol content.
I am not sure what the attraction is to the smell, it is not suppose to go in your nose.

A strong brew if you are looking to expel stress, forget your problems, and not drive anywhere. Enough bitterness to exclude from a hot summers day drink, but not as hoppy as, say Red Hook IPA. Excellent overall.

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Photo of jahilgen
4.7/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into an Imperial Pint Glass

Color is a complex hue of orange amber and hints of dark flavors, the beer develops nicely as it is poured and settles release a sweet and hop-filled bouquet.

Taste is rich and complex but not overwhelming can quickly recognize the hops and slight fruit tone but is not as overwhelming as traditional IPA. The mouthfeel continues the development of rich flavors of the beer, and after each drink the flavor stay with the palate and continues to develop after each drink.

What makes this beer a personal favorite is how versatile the beer is for me. It can be refreshing on summer afternoons or comforting for cold winter evenings and is a constant stable in my fridge. It is a great beer for people that love pale ales and has been enjoyed by company that do not enjoy pale ales. I have yet to find a American Pale Ale I like better.

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Photo of tronester
4.7/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle into a pint glass, has a nice white head, lots of lacing. Smells good with a citrus character. The taste, however, was not to my liking. The bitterness from the hops was good and balanced, but instead of a malty character, the beer seemed to have an excessively strong vanilla taste. I will definitely have to try this beer from the tap to see if I like that better.

I very much like Anchor's Steam, so I don't know what it is with this beer.

This is what I originally reviewed the beer:
A 3.0
S 4.5
T 2.5
M 3.0
D 2.5

RE-REVIEW (11/05/2008):

After over a year, I bought a single bottle of Liberty Ale to see if I still didn't like it. Well, I must have got a bad 6 pack the first time around, as this time it was fantastic.

Pours a slightly hazy golden, with a big, rich white head. Smells purely of an orange peel. Taste is also VERY citrus dominated, with each sip reminding me of a bite from a tangerine. There is a touch of toasty malt present, but this beer seems to be focused on hop flavor (in a very good way). The finish is much like a grapefruit, with a nice, mild bitterness. A very sweet beer, I'm amazed they created these flavors with malted barley and hops. Mouthfeel is rich, nice, smooth carbonation. Very drinkable, this beer doesnt taste like your average pale ale, but is a unique experience that I plan to drink many more of in the future. I would probably say this is my favorite American Pale Ale.

HIGHLY RECCOMENDED! Just check the date codes and make sure your beer is fresh (The second reviewing I had was about 5 months old, who knows how old the first one was!)

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Photo of jockstrappy
4.7/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy amber color, with a frothy head that hangs around for a while, providing good lacing....Aroma is clean, slightly fruity, not overpowering at all...The taste of this beer makes it worth the price to me, a little malty at the start, hops coming out on the way down, and sticking around for a pleasant finish that leaves you wanting more...Nice medium body, and moderate carbonation make this brew very drinkable, and one my personal favorites. Anchor has a real winner with this one!

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Photo of CAMRAhardliner
4.68/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

came in a cool looking 650 ml bottle. poured a light orange color with copious spectacular looking bubbles. Best carbonation Ive ever seen (aside from unibroue beers). It has a massive dense foamy head with endless retention and chunky lace. The aroma is of perfumey and floral hops. The taste is very complex but definitely dominated by hops; grapefruit, lemon, earthy, woody, and grassy hops. Very enjoyable, one of my favourite beers.

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Photo of jackndan
4.67/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Anchor Liberty Ale: How it has taken me this long to try this absolutely terrific beer is beyond me. I’ve never been a big fan of Anchor products, but their Liberty Ale is the cat’s pajamas. It is a deep golden color, with an off-white head, with great staying power. The aroma is almost perfect, fruity, perfume, hops, flowers. The taste really shows off the cascade hops, with tremendous smoothness, leaving a very clean dry finish. The mouthfeel is somewhat hop/oils, very pleasant. Damn fine beer.

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Photo of BrewsCrewSA
4.65/5  rDev +18.3%
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.

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Anchor Liberty Ale from Anchor Brewing Company
3.93 out of 5 based on 3,425 ratings.
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