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Anchor Liberty Ale | Anchor Brewing Company

very good
1,553 Reviews
Anchor Liberty AleAnchor Liberty Ale

Brewed by:
Anchor Brewing Company
California, United States | website

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: 1,553 | Ratings: 3,360
Photo of Gajo74
4.46/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours a cross between a straw yellow and orange and clear liquid. Fingernail length head dissipates into a thin white lace on the rim of the glass. Aroma is citric, honey, malty sweet and chocolate. Taste is malty sweet with slight hop and bready aftertaste. Taste also has hints of citrus flavors such as orange rind and lemony flavors. Nice carbonation, not so high, but still tickles the tongue. Low to medium body and slightly syrupy and viscous towards the end. Anchor Brewing Company is one of my favorite breweries. They do not disappoint with this one.

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Photo of interzen
4.46/5  rDev +13.5%
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 irishkyle21
4.47/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

One of my favorite APA's. We don't get this often in Canada so I usually buy a lot of it.

Pours a nice light orange. Very nice head that lasts until the very end. Some very nice lacing as well

The nose is to die for so many things going on, but they all blend well. The hops are very noticeable, citrus with some malt in the background.

Same thing goes for the taste. Very nice and well balanced brew that I could drink all day long

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

Pours light amber with a half inch head that lasts for several minutes and lots of lacing.

Scent is of bready malts and hops nicely sweet.

Taste is great starts hops then sweet malts and hops and ending with nice dry citrus hops.

Mouthfeel, wonderfull medium bodied with excelent carbination that compliments the hop flavor.

Drinkability is high. This is a great beer to have a six pack of and finish the whole thing.

Magnificent beer from Anchor. I have always liked the Steam and never tried this one. I like this beer better.

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

I first had this beer four years ago and since then it has always been one of my favorites. Pours a clear orange/light amber with a nice white frothy head. The smell is inviting, of floral aromas and of hops. Very pleasant smelling and rather strong--the aroma can be detected without even lifting the glass. Taste is spicy and hoppy, with a dry finish. Outstanding flavor. The taste is dominated by hops yet not in an overpowering way. Feels surprisingly light, and this combined with its great taste and aroma, makes for a highly drinkable beer.

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

pours a nice golden color with a slight haze and a two finger fluffy white head but small spotty patchs of lace.

fresh clean smell of honey, fruit, citrus, and pine.

taste is malt, biscuit, tea, honey, raw hop, with a slightly grainy finish.

light to medium mouthfeel and carbonation is good.

difinitely on the shopping list.

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

I feel like I am a better man just for drinking this beer. I have heard nothing but good things and now I know that everything is true. I love the taste. Fruity and sweet. Citrus with grapefruit and lemon. Caramel malts make it even better. It goes down so smooth that I couldn't drink enough of it. Great beer.

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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 ale....like drinking freshly squeezed hop juice...but at the same time not hugely bitter....very very tasty...

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

Poured from a brown bottle featuring an anchor and a bald eagle on the label.

A: Wet straw in color. Great head. Very thick. Lots of lacing.

S: Wow. Big floral hops. Such a great smell. Very bright. Grassy. Candied breads. Almost a soapiness in the smell. Mint.

T: Honey sweetness that slowly segues into a tart bitter. Some definite mint and citrus flavors.

M: Mouth filling. Thick. Ends dry.

D: The taste and smell of this beer is enough to make you go back for two or three more right off the bat. In the long run it makes it a staple to keep on hand.

Overall: Truly wonderful beer. Maybe if the ABV were a little less I'd consider it a true session beer. If you have not tried this beer then go get it right now.

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

Nearly clear orangish-gold pour with minimal but persistent head, gently maintained by light but persistent effervescence. Aromas remind me of a wheat beer with hints of citrus and crisp hops. A smooth taste with an initially soft sweetness that gives way to some bitterness toward the end. This balance makes for a very favorable mouthfeel that is only slightly oily. As expected, this is an eminently drinkable beer and my favorite bottled pale ale to date.

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Photo of mempath
4.48/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

truly american and truly pale. i swear, it looks more like a rich lager...compared to what i've been drinking and reviewing. i haven't seen this old standby in many years. good to return to it with a renewed appreciation. first, it pours intensely carbonated, thick, congealed-like foam does a semi-guinness thang underneath...head stays thick for several minutes whie lusciously lacing. amazing and nice to be entertained by the looks of it. this is really 'old-school' micro/craft APA. preHip HOP...

smell is more malt than anything. if anything, i catch some kind of candied, dried fruit. it's subtle and mysterious enough to be well above average. good!

dang, what a classic. no no it's no hophead delight, something that i spend 90% of my obsession on...but this has something other 'tame' APAs don't have...again, it's the fruit but layered very nicely with the hops who just stay laid back in a california (1980s...) kind of way! not a bit of bitterness. but then, that doesn't mean sweetness either. smooth, but satisfying in a deep sense. this is, somewhat (to me), the west coast Sam Adams.

nice carbonation on sight translates, even after settling, well into the mouth. there's a well balanced liquidity and creaminess. it was aptly engineered for human mouths...

really, a drinkability heaven for sure. true, i would take a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale over this anyday because it is what it IS, but dang, yeah, this is a lazy day session beer in early spring, somewhere in new castle DE, on the delaware river, watching the tankers float by and go under the DE Mem. Bridge....i can feel the breeze, close my eyes and almost find myself back in the SF bay....waiting for a bread bowl of chowder to arrive.

what a great classic ale! more than recommended. anytime of the year.

post-review note:
as it warms, the hops pop out. yes, compared to the hophead tsunami out there, this is 'tame'...but tame is another benchmark of the high art. in other words, it isn't tame. it's refined and will still very likely kick any unsuspecting, disrespectful brewheads' *&%$##^* ! ;)

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Photo of Fatehunter
4.48/5  rDev +14%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Into a pint glass. Clear, medium straw color with two fingers of foamy head. Head held through the entire pint. Quite aromatic in the pour.
Nice smelling bouquet of citrus and spruce.
Big bitterness upfront, mellow sweetness in the middle, pine bitter finish and aftertaste.
Silky crisp texture, low carbonation.
Cannot go wrong with this one. It's the benchmark of its style and of craft beer in general.

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Photo of Evocatus
4.48/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a nice golden orange-yellow with a healthy, thick, foamy, white head. Aroma is filled with sweet malt/grain with hints of citrus. Taste was pretty strong. There was sweet malts, citrus, and the hops going down; each pretty distinct. Good body and carbonation. I popped this one after coming back from a 10 mile ride. wonderfully refreshing, definitely an anytime beer.

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Photo of beerogre
4.48/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Anchor Liberty Ale is a truely great beer that I could never get tired of drinking. Actually, I could say the same about most of the beers this brewery produces. They are all solid reliable brews that you can confidently turn to in times of crisis, or any other times come to think of it!

For me, Anchor and Sierra Nevada Pale Ale are so close to each other in terms of excellence of taste, but where I am SN is much more widely available, so it's always nice to pick up some Liberty when the opportunity arises.

Yep, there's no doubt about it - I could quite cheerfully drink this all night, despite my penchant for sampling several different during a session. From it's appearance through to it's finish, this is a true American Classic, and a first class session beer.

Simply brilliant and brilliantly simple.

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Photo of Natural510
4.48/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Very light golden-amber color with fluffy, cotton-like head which lingers for a long time, descending into a layer which coats the glass beautifully.
Very subdued floral hops along with breaded malts & yeast are detected in the scent. I like the fact it doesn't smack you in the face with its characteristics like many newer takes on the style.
The flavor introduction is of sweet, tangy breaded malt. A surprising peach-banana note resides within the malt characteristic of the brew. Hops creep in subtlely to make their presence known and create a dry finish without overwhelming things. The liveliness of yeast is apparent as well, likely adding to the fruitiness.
The body of the beer is creamy, smooth and easily drinkable. This is a great pale ale, one of the best. I'm surprised it took me this long to try it out of all the Anchor beers, but I'm glad I did.

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Photo of Luigi
4.48/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours out a slightly hazy light orange color with a big fluffy head that reaches three finger in height with the right glass. Carbonation bubbles are light and the head retention is at least a finger high through out the life of the ale.

The aroma is dominated with pine and citrus hops. There is a sweet and mild bread aroma that pulls through. Otherwise is aroma is mild yet to the point! that would be the hops.

The taste is balanced so well... bitter pine cone and citrus up blended perfectly with a biscuit malt that balances out near perfect.

Has a nice semi dry bitter finish. The hops linger on the palate and I would not have it any other way!

This is everything I expect and want out of an American Pale Ale. Anchor brewing has perfected this!!! I love this beer!!!

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Photo of BRoberts914
4.48/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Simply put, this is my favorite Pale Ale of them all. That being said, I find it to be distinctly, and pleasantly, different from most other pale ales. The appearance is quite appealing--the color is a dark amber that suggests a healthy dose of malt was used to brew this beer. The smell is what you would expect for a Pale Ale--plenty of robust english and american hops to go with some enticingly earthy malts. First taste is delicious--the malt flavor is sweeter and stronger than I expected, and is very tasty. I detect a prominent citrus note, perhaps the result of some cascade hops present in the boil. Mouthfeel is excellent; let there be no doubt, this is a man's brew. I generally find most pale ales to be a little sharp for session drinking, but the perfect balance of this brew certainly promotes multiples. Damn good beer.

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Photo of corey0212
4.49/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a clear light-orange color, smallish sized white head fades into a film on top of the beer, a few splotches of lace around the glass. Lots of floral hop aromas, bright & citrusy, with a nice bready backbone. Citrus hop flavors come through nicely, without being too over-the-top, some faint tangerine notes, slight piney bitterness, some sweet caramel flavors, all of this in extreme balance. Lively and refreshing, and a beer you could drink all day, all year. A longtime favorite of mine.

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Photo of pat61
4.5/5  rDev +14.5%

Nose spicy citrus with some grapefruit, light grains
Brilliant copper amber with a 2: finely bubbled off white foam cap.
Palate: citrus, apricot to peach, caramel and malt, assertive grapefruit rind finish.
Medium body, very rich and creamy medium carbonation.

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

Appearance: A slightly hazy golden-amber body capped by two fingers of creamy whitish head that feature terrific retention and lacing.

Aroma: Bright, fresh, citrusy, and floral hops over a slightly grainy caramel malt body--I can already tell this is going to be solid.

Flavor: Up front, a wave of brassy and somewhat juicy citric hops lead the way. Underneath, there's an understated biscuity malt backbone keeping everything in check. The end result is a well balanced English-style Pale Ale with some extra American-style bite. Leafy bitterness and biscuity grain in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied and slightly creamy with smooth carbonation and a drying finish.

Drinkability: A perfect session choice, this is a beer that aches for repetition.

Verdict: Back in the dark days, I'm sure it took a pretty exceptional beer to get people back into drinking the hoppy stuff. Liberty obviously fit the bill back then, and still holds up as a tasty brew today.

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Photo of Chiefy770
4.5/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into an IPA glass.

Presentation: Fluffy foam head collapses and leaves a good amount of sticky lacing. Crystal clear body. Golden with the slightest tint of amber in color.

Smell: Sweet citrus. Floral esters. Minor presence of grains.

Taste: Good hit of the malts up front: floral notes, bitter citrus - somewhere between grapefruit and lime. The flavorful hops sit on a decent malt body: crackers and grains.

Mouthfeel: Medium carbonation. Medium-light body.

Overall: Anchor nailed this one. It is simple, tastes great, and is pretty friendly on the wallet.

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Photo of WAbeerfiend
4.5/5  rDev +14.5%

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a tumbler on 05.09.14.

A: 1 finger head with an aggressive pour. Crystal clear orange.

S: Biscuity malt, citrus.

T: Caramel is first, then sweet citrus. Bitterness on the back end, then lingering sweetness again.

M: Crisp.

O: This one is a classic. It's not at all hop heavy in comparison to the IPAs of today. It's simply subtle and refreshing. The malt seemed more dominant than the hops, which is weird now, but it comes from a different time. It was a great gateway into IPAs for me.

Rating: A-

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

This is probably my favorite beer of all time. God Bless Howard F. Maytag.

This brew pours with much CO2 and looks quite filtered from what I remember. It's almost totally clear. This produces a beautiful sticky and clumpy white head that lasts pretty much all the way through.

Liberty Ale gives off aromas of pine, floral, molasses, and toasty fragrances. This tastes great with a good hops presence, as well as a slight hint of celery.

This feels a bit bity, and a little coarse too. Also, this is very clean and crisp.

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Photo of Beer_I_Am
4.5/5  rDev +14.5%

Pours a beautiful golden Amber with a quarter finger head that is sticky and lingers for several minutes. Aroma is hoppy, floral, fresh cut grass. Mouthfeel is the best part of this beer. So creamy and wonderful. Front end is sour, then bitter hops. Very clean and drinkable. A great example of its type. Solid ale. Would definitely buy again.

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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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Anchor Liberty Ale from Anchor Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 1,553 ratings.
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