Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale - Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Sierra Nevada Celebration AleSierra Nevada Celebration Ale

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BA SCORE
93
outstanding

9,021 Ratings
THE BROS
96
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 9,021
Reviews: 3,285
rAvg: 4.15
pDev: 11.81%
Wants: 275
Gots: 996 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American IPA |  6.80% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
Fresh Hop Ale; no spices.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 11-02-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 9,021 | Reviews: 3,285 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by the Alström Bros:
Photo of Todd
4.47/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Balanced? No way. But who gives a rat's ass? 2001 is something to kick the Winter into gear, with its incredible raw hopped character and warming alcohol. A beer to look forward to, regardless. I do recall previous years being more pronounced in the malt dept. and more balanced. But hey, whatever. Drink a few of these and nothing will really matter.

To give this year's a perfect 5 is a little extreme. Everything was great overall, the drinkability ... like crack. I'm off to the pawn shop ...

Notes from 2000:

Presentation: 12oz short brown twist cap bottle. Lovely little X-mas scene on the label. Bottled on date, on neck of bottle.

Appearance: Rich, deep amber/copper. Excellent slightly off-white head ... very creamy, sticky and retains like its fighting for its life.

Smell: There's an absolutely incredible aroma on this beer! A nose full of big herbal hops and fruity esters. Some yeast aromas are also present, but very minimal.

Taste: Dreamy. So smooth. So rich. So fortified with malt goodness. So hoppy. At first there's a creamy feel on the palate, that then opens up to toasty, sweet malt flavours. A bold herbal hop runs rampid on the palate with a semi-prickly, puckering, lemon-rind quality. After a few more mouthfulls the brew begins to warm the body, and you can really feel the alcohol kick in. Finishes a bit dry with grain/husk flavours, and some breadiness as it warms.

Notes: At 6.8% this is one hell of a Winter seasonal! Warms the body and soul. A brew for hop heads too. One of the best Winter Seasonals that I have ever had, and one of the best Strong Ales. Drink with caution as this brew will kick your ass.

Photo of Jason
4.22/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz brown bottle with a vintage 2010 date on the label.

What an impressive head, very few beers show a thick lacing like Celebration does. Brassy amber color shows a bright clarity. Sharp citric and minty hop notes in the nose with some toasted grain in the back, a pretty big aroma. Medium bodied with a deep crispness. Hop bitterness is pretty sharp as it easily cuts through the malt from sip to sip. Hop flavors range from tobacco to mint, grapefruit peel to green tea. Toasted grain and a mild caramel maltiness lay deep beneath the hop character. Warming alcohol pokes through with a quick fume and clean fruitiness. Finishes bitter with a quick kiss of malt. This is the typical veteran hophead's first pick for winter seasonals and a great pick at that.

More User Reviews:
Photo of bassboneman
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%

I remember having this beer last year. I loved it then and I love it now!
The only issue I have is that the finish, to me, is slightly MORE bitter than I recall.
I am drinking this first brew of the season from the bottle - the next will be in a glass
Up yours!

Sam

Photo of Jeff_whitman
3.75/5  rDev -9.6%

Does not drink like a wet hopped beer. Its missing the fresh hop smell and flavor. Not a bad beer but it wasnt great either.

Photo of peabody81
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%

I have enjoyed this beer many times over the years, but this year is the first that Sierra Nevada has been local to North Carolina, so I've never had one this fresh before. Bottled on 9/26/14.
Aroma: piney, but not overwhelmingly so
Appearance: very nice orangey-amber-brown with delicate lacing
Mouthfeel: just right, not too watery, but not chewy either (not that there's anything wrong with that)
Taste: More balanced than I remember, but my hop tolerance is so high now that what would be insanely bitter to others is meh to me. Leaves a very nice, just the right amount of bitterness, aftertaste. Very drinkable.
Overall: One of the all-time classics, getting it fresh - BONUS!!!!

Photo of mrbran0
5/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Best seasonal ever. For real.

Photo of oberon
4.1/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A nice find in the middle of summer,a 2002 offering.Pours a nice copper clor with light to medium head that has some nice staying power,the aroma is hop zesty with a slight sweet background.The taste is very hoppy and citrus like but there is caramel malt taste that lingers as well.Very well done stays real well.

Photo of Popsinc
4.05/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A very nice clear, amber pour with quite a generous pancake head. The nose is nicely hopped and has plenty of fruitiness kickin around as well...peach and apricot i'd have to say. The taste is big and hoppy right off the bat with underlying fruitiness and a nice malt backbone. Underlying caramel sweetness. This beer offers bold, up front taste and well balanced body. A very, very light and smooth mouthfeel make this one an easy drinker...dangerous with the 6.8% abv. The finish is of a lovely hop bitterness as the light fruity notes disapate towards the end. Great stuff!

Photo of Marty
4.72/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I love this beer! It's beautiful; pours a golden amber hue with a tall, foamy, lasting head that leaves a sticky lace down the inside of the glass. The taste is crisply hoppy and malty sweet. I was having trouble characterizing the smell, but one of my friends hit it right on the nose... peach! There are definitely hints of peach in this beer. One of my all-time favorites.

Photo of mojohawk21
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%

Photo of RoyalT
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance – This poured a dark orange in color out of the tap. It had some brownish notes as well. The head was puffy and very pretty. It showed retention the whole time I drained the pint glass and left some awesome lacing.

Smell – The nice, sharp pine is what I first noticed in this nose. There was also some light citrus and maybe a few other hoppy notes. The healthy malt base gave this IPA a very good balance.

Taste – The hop profile is very complex and reflects the scents found in the nose. The toasted malts come up slightly bigger at the taste and have a small nut compliment. As I said before, this is a very balanced brew.

Mouthfeel – This one is a solid medium bodied, on the bigger side mind you, with a terrific lingering aftertaste.

Drinkability – One of the more quaffable beers that I’ve had. On-tap this thing is addictive.

Photo of aszatk01
3.75/5  rDev -9.6%

Photo of cam477
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%

Photo of DaPeculierDane
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Wonder's Pub.

Nice amber with a fluffy white head. Good lacing.

Big western hops bring a hefty dose of juniper berries to the aroma. Citrusy. Herbal, maybe coriander and thyme. The cascade hop level isn’t quite Mt. Ranier but it is a close Mt. Hood.

There is a decent amount of malt in here to balance the bitterness of the hops but hops still rule the day. Citrus floral notes dominate the flavor. Esters swish throughout, warming the brew. Also touches of nuttiness and grain.

Dry, crisp, and quite drinkable.

Photo of DanGeo
4/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of tectactoe
4.49/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Just finished my last Celebration of the season. Time to rewrite this review. Pours a deep copper-amber hybrid color with some orange highlights. An absolutely huge, beige-colored head tops this one off - incredibly thick and creamy with extraordinary staying power, also coating all sides of the glass with fat, chunky lacing. Decent clarity, and you can see a nice stream of carbonation bubbles flowing from the etched bottom of my glass to the top of the brew.

The aroma is strong, with a super-fresh dose of hops. Sierra Nevada claims that these are "fresh" hops (not wet, mind you, but fresh) and you can definitely tell. It's like sticking your head into a recently cut field of grass, vibrant and alive. The character of these hops is largely resinous, piney, and somewhat floral. The pine aromas hit your nostrils with some power, very needley and pungent. Faint citrus hints, more so on the rind and pith side, as to not make things too sweet, rather keep with the solid bitterness profile. Some spiciness from the hops is also noticeable and works to tie everything together.

The taste is crazy delicious - despite the heavy load of hops, there is certainly a strong malt presence here that does more than just lay out framework for the other parts. Slight toasted malts, caramel, toffee, and a faint, musky, earthy presence can be found immediately. As soon as you start to appreciate this nice, malt-laden infrastructure (or maybe even before that), the hops come in and go buck wild on your palate. Pines, pine needles, resinous hop nuggets, Christmas trees, Christmas wreathes - yeah, I said it. Christmas wreathes.

The malt profile is ever-present for the duration of the hop take-over, which creates a nice cosmic balance, despite the hefty bitter overload of the hops. The spice character is not to be forgotten - there's a joke going around that SN adds spices to this beer, which they've debunked as false many times. But I can see where people are coming from. A nice, peppery, earthy, and warming "hop spice" flavor trills along for the entire sip, riding a wave right into the aftertaste. I really can't overstate how goddamn tasty this shit is. Medium bodied, carbonated to the max; not too sticky, not too dry, this beer is great in all aspects.

Whether you call this a malty IPA, or a hopped-up amber/red ale, or a winter warmer, or whatever - it doesn't matter. Call it a stout for all I care. Just know that this beer is delicious. And the fact that it's a seasonal release around my favorite time of the year (the joyous bridge from Thanksgiving to Christmas) gets me that much more excited to pick it up each year. The holidays would not be complete without this beer in my fridge. I always try to make it last far into the spring - usually doesn't make it that long.

Photo of ricke
3.7/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Vintage 2008. Serving date: 2009-02-11. Served in pint glass.

Presentation: 350 ml bottle with freshness date on the label (best before 2009-10-17).

Appearance: Amber colored with copper and red hues, semi-clear. A rather aggressive pour into a pint glass creates a 3 finger airy head that has a strange, light cappuccino color (it actually looks dirty). Good head retention, some lacings.

Smell: A big hop fruity hop aroma, primarily of red and yellow grapefruits, lemon and surprisingly distinct strawberries - dominates. An earthy hop aroma of pine-needles is there as well. Behind all of this, is a faint note or reasonably sweet malts. A quite refreshing smell.

Taste: At first, some malt flavors appear, but they quickly leave room for a massive taste of hops. They mostly echoes the smell - grapefruits, sharp citric notes and strawberries - but the earthy notes of pine are bigger and accompanied by grass, mint and some tobacco. Although the malts are most noticeable in the beginning, they appear in the middle as well but they get constantly overrun by the hop flavors. The finish is semi-dry, a bit perfumy, contains sharp hops and has a seemingly endless bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, quite lively carbonation. It's kind of sharp, but the foam residues smooth things out.

Drinkability: I really liked this beer, but I think I was expecting a little more from it, especially considering its hyped status. Although I like its unbalanced character and big hop flavors (the strawberry presence, both in the smell and in the taste, is really great), the bitterness is a bit too to much and overpowers both the hop and malt flavors.

Photo of ExtraStout
4.46/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

2013 Vintage. Classic red amber color, comforting floral aroma with pine forest and vanilla notes. Flavor is sugar coated tangerines in a doughy blanket. As usual, great balance of gritty malt and rough edged hop bite. Finish is all about lingering resinous piney hop and a trickle of alcohol burn. Mouth feel is a bit light and dry - medium body is there, but the hops havent mellowed yet. IPA, Winter warmer, whatever you want to call it, SNCA is to me, one of the best large production beers available. A valid reason to look forward to Winter.

Photo of OhioBobcat
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%

Photo of MadScientist
4.48/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A: A light copper with good clarity. The head is long lasting, off-white with mostly compact bubbles that leave soem thick lacing on the glass.

S: It's like opening a bag of fresh hops having very strong citrus and pine hops aroma and some herbaceous notes from the fresh hops. There is a light malt aroma under there having a bit of clean malt sweetness and some caramel and biscuty notes. The yeast is a fairly clean American ale style.

T: Aggressive hops bitterness and strong hops flavor take center stage on this one and just enough malt for support. The hops flavors are again citrus with some pine. The malt is again just enough to support the hops. The balance is very bitter. A dry finish with a lingering hops bitterness aftertaste.

M: Medium bodied with moderately-strong carbonation.

O: This has been a favorite IPA of mine every since I was introduce to good beer. It's an outstanding IPA that bring a lot of hops flavor and bitterness to the glass while letting you through back a few.

Photo of CavemanRamblin
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%

Photo of jono0101
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%

Photo of brownbeer
4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- rusty amber with a fluffy white head, great lacing.

S- Heavy pine resin, fruity, spicy hops. Becoming pretty typical for Sierra IPA's.

T&M- Pretty straight forward pine with a certain pomegranite fruitiness and some caramel which balances and lifts the body to a pleasant fullness.

D- It's easy to kill several of these if you like Sierra's hop profile. Still a classic winter seasonal.

Photo of JudgeRoughneck
3.43/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

This beer sports a thin pistachio head and leaves an interesting looking sticky lace. It is a clear, light rust color. The nose is resinous, piney, earthy, and all around pretty light.

The taste is of course hoppy. Spicey hop flavors dominate, backed by floral flavors. This is over an almost transparent malt background. Bitterness turns a tad salty with warmth. This is pretty light for an IPA and I might even go so far as to call it watery. If you are looking for some straight hop juice, this is your beer.

Photo of npala86
4/5  rDev -3.6%

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Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 9,021 ratings.