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Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale - Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Sierra Nevada Celebration AleSierra Nevada Celebration Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
93
outstanding

7,383 Ratings
THE BROS
96
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 7383
Reviews: 3152
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 11.54%


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: 7,383 | Reviews: 3,152 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of pbrian
pbrian

Connecticut

5/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is why I drink beer. All year long is merely a warm-up for the day when SN Celebration hits the shelf. Hops, Hops, Hops, accompanied by just the right amount of malt. Onslaught of flavor. Awesome.

Serving type: bottle

11-08-2001 10:46:56 | More by pbrian
Photo of BKotch
BKotch

Texas

5/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

It got perfect 5's last year and this year, if anything, it's a little smoother. I wonder how that six-pack from last year that I've kept in the back of my pantry (right next to a six of 2001 Big Foot) is faring?

Notes from 2000: If this is November, then Celebration Ale must be on the shelves. It's like biting into a raw hop leaf. Would I be too out of line to describe Celebration as a world-class IPA to go with SN's world-class pale ale?

Serving type: bottle

11-11-2001 20:23:07 | More by BKotch
Photo of RonfromJersey
RonfromJersey

New Jersey

5/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Red amber body with slight chill haze. A rocky head you can sculpt with. Incredible grapefruity hop aroma. Good malt background supporting marvelous hop smack to taste buds.
Drinkability? Had a six pack during a party and wanted more that night.

The first nationally available monster of an IPA. I am glad it is seasonal. Keeps me from taking it for granted.

Serving type: bottle

03-24-2002 01:01:54 | More by RonfromJersey
Photo of RBorsato
RBorsato

Virginia

5/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Deep Copper to Reddish Bronze. Huge Citrusy Aroma and Big Citrus Hop Flavor. High Bitterness but solid malt backing for good balance. Medium Bodied leaning to the Full side and very smooth.

This review was based on the 2001 Version. One of my favorite American Style IPAs - I buy at least 2 cases each year -- DRINK it fresh as it goes downhill after about 9 months. Still not bad but loses a good bit of it's citrusy hoppiness.

I have had the 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2004 versions.

===

Update: 03/13/05 Linear Tasting: Tasted 01, 02, 03 and 04 with much the same results - drink fresh!! Older versions did not go bad but hops were subdued to the point of having the Celebration Ale turn into a light English Barleywine... If that's what you like just buy a good BW instead of bothering with aging.

Serving type: bottle

10-14-2002 07:03:24 | More by RBorsato
Photo of HossMcGraw
HossMcGraw

Pennsylvania

5/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2001 Vintage
Sweet mother of god! This is the ambrosia I have been seeking. Fresh Celebration was always in my top 10, but an aged version... I think I need a change of underwear.
Appearance is a deep golden amber with a large white head and perfect lacing. The aroma is sheer bliss. Sierra Nevada should make a cologne that smells like this. The taste: Complex malts, honey, cinnamon, clove, and the best goddamn hop flavor I've ever experienced. This is perfectly balanced. Mouthfeel is smooth enough to bed the queen of England, and the drinkakbility: too good to be true.
If you've never had an aged Celebration, I can tell you that's it's a completely different beer. The only way this beer could possibly improve is by aging it another year or so.

Serving type: bottle

11-14-2002 17:33:02 | More by HossMcGraw
Photo of Gueuzedude
Gueuzedude

Arizona

5/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Ok, I freely admit it I am extremely biased when it comes to this beer. I used to buy cases of this stuff every year. I finally broke down and started to buy a keg of it instead. The first time I had this it absolutely blew me away. The hops where so intense so fresh the just screamed to break free from the confines of the bottle. This beer is definitely best when fresh, because it is all about the hop flavor and aroma. The hops lend a wonderful spicy citrusy greatness to this beer. And wonderfully the brewers saw fit to outfit this paragon with a solid malt backbone that just carries and delivers the hop celebration to every corner of your mouth. Just a plain awesome beer.

Serving type: bottle

09-20-2003 16:45:48 | More by Gueuzedude
Photo of Dmann
Dmann

California

5/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

In my opinion, this is the perfect beer. I had this baby on tap for the first time tonight and was blown away. It has a beautiful dark red/amber colour with a nice white head that left great lace down the whole glass. The smell was great;the hops jumped right out at you and did not let go, and the citric bite was prevelant as well. the taste was pure beer goodness with the perfect mixture of hop bitterness and a touch of malty sweetness to balance it out. There were also great citric flavors in there and it was not really dry tasting like a lot of IPA type beers are, but it was very very drinkable. If you can find this brew on tap or in the bottle, you will definantly be hooked!

Serving type: on-tap

11-01-2003 09:20:28 | More by Dmann
Photo of ColForbin
ColForbin

New Hampshire

5/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

SNCA may just be my favorite beer in the world - certainly my favorite American beer. I twist off the cap of a 2003 bottle with much anticipation. It pours an orangey-red with with a thin, fine-bubbled head. The nose is full of piney hops, making me remember that this is the drink to set up a Christmas tree with - forget egg nog. Taste is all hops, but with a firm malty body to back it up. Just the perfect mouthfeel to keep you coming back for more - not too thick, not too thin. A perfect beer, hence the 5's in all categories.

Serving type: bottle

11-19-2003 01:18:04 | More by ColForbin
Photo of rajendra82
rajendra82

Georgia

5/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I am blown away. Pours out with a dark amber orange body and an extra tall beige head that is creamy and smooth. One of the loveliest display of carbonation I’ve ever seen in a beer. There is a near constant stream of tiny bubbles rushing to the top the entire time I drink this beer. The aroma is pure hops with citrus, pine, spruce, and spices in every whiff. Body is medium with an appropriate mouthfeel enhanced by the tiny bubbles that coat your tongue as the beer warms in your mouth. Bitter hoppy taste is a delightful departure from the sweet and syrupy winter fare from others. Malt backbone is solid and creamy, but hops are front, center, and back. Many thanks go to nvsblman for this trade. Hopefully next year this beer will be on the shelves in Georgia. When I see it in the stores, I’m going to be celebrating for sure.


Update:

It is now fall of 2004 and by the grace of God, HB 645 is now the law of the land in the State of Georgia. I just picked up a Sierra Nevada Celebration off the shelf from Green’s. When pouring it in the glass I notice something that was missing last year. This year’s version is cloudy. The bottle conditioned release is much less bubbly than the force carbonated 2003 version. The mouthfeel also seems more soft this year, and the spiciness has gone down a notch. Still a classic IPA.


Update 2:

Got a 2003 bottle as part of Cellar Meat BIF 18 from pentathlete. After a year and a half, the hops had faded, and the beer could be considered balanced. The taste had taken on shades of an Old Ale at this age, with some chewy sweet malt. The hops lurked in the back as a peppery wispy presence. I much prefer the assertive fresh taste, but still much to like here.

Serving type: bottle

02-19-2004 04:28:53 | More by rajendra82
Photo of tbone53
tbone53

Texas

5/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

this is not a beginers beer.only those who appreciate the way beer should taste will like this.pours a nice creamy head laces nicely down the side of the glass.nice hoppy taste.this is a good special occasion beer.you are not going to sit back and throw a six pack of these down.good taste good look good call.

Serving type: bottle

12-25-2006 22:02:10 | More by tbone53
Photo of Erdinger2003
Erdinger2003

Iowa

5/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a big thick pillowy head with a great lacing and a clear brown color with yellow/gold edges. Smell is a slightly sweet fruity hop smell with some pineapple grapefruit hops. Taste is sweet malty with some really good bitter that's light and well, well balanced. Mouthfeel is soft and pillowy too. Overall, a very good brew I will have more of this wonderful brew.

Serving type: bottle

12-05-2007 19:24:19 | More by Erdinger2003
Photo of gabrielpicasso
gabrielpicasso

Texas

5/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is one beautiful beer.

Upon emptying the bottle into a pint glass, I noticed two things right away. The head and the color.

The foam settled into a creamy white head about two and one half inches high and filled the room with the scent of flowers and orange blossoms. Quite remarkable. The color was a deep, luminous copper-bronze, slightly cloudy when held against the light.

Before the first sip I stuck my nose in the glass and enjoyed the aroma. At first I could not place the scent, but as the liquid warmed and relaxed I finally determined that I was smelling apricots, oranges and honey along with the wonderful hoppy floral characteristics. The taste is primarily apricot and honey. The orange comes in through the nose as you tip the glass to drink. I spent a lot of time with my nose in the glass.

The mouthfeel is very nice, thick and creamy as it rolls around on your tongue and the carbonation is just right.

I plan on looking forward to each year’s edition of Celebration Ale.

Serving type: bottle

01-10-2008 16:48:48 | More by gabrielpicasso
Photo of cigardave
cigardave

Oklahoma

5/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

SNCA has been my fave "hop bomb" year in and year out. I buy a case every year and end up "cellaring" some. I'm drinking the '08 edition as I write this (in a local watering hole, not a favorite, since they are NOT cigar-friendly...but that's another story!).

Once again...year after year...as I'm pouring it, I notice the hops right off...Cascade and Centennial...and the taste, as usual, is to die for! Thanx Terrence (@ SN)! Thick head and a lot of lace. A GREAT cigar ale, especially if the cigar has a grassy, earth-like note.

Since most everyone, if not all, rate the current batch each year, I'd like to do something different. As mentioned, I "cellar" several bottles of each year's batch and conduct parallel tastings upon arrival of the new batch.

Last year we paralleled the '04 thru '07. You will notice different flavors for each year as the hops (i.e. ~ harshness) decrease with age, so the '04 was less harsh than the '05 and so on. The '04 and '05 both had an "oxidized" character. This is due to "ingressive" oxygen, which is caused by having bottle-caps versus corks (i.e. ~ allows oxygen into the bottle). The '04 and '05 had Sherry, "winey-like" notes, along with some "burnt" notes with the '04 being more so than the '05.

Re: hops...on the aromatic side, if I'm not mistaken, SN uses a 50-50 mix of Cascade & Centennial and for dry-hopping it's a mix of 70% Cascade and 30% Centennial. Primary fermentation is 3-4 days and is dry-hopped during this phase. Chinook is the bittering hop.

I'm looking forward to the first 5-year parallel this year...using up the last of the '04 and '05 batch through '08.

Serving type: bottle

11-21-2008 22:50:05 | More by cigardave
Photo of rbbchbum
rbbchbum

District of Columbia

5/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Copper color with a nice head and some good lacing.

More hops than malt, but enough malt to balance out the hops. It's definately bitter but nicely balanced with toasty malt flavors.

Good carbonation that lasts. Great mouthfeel.

Too bad this is seasonal. It's one of my favorite beers. I bought a case in December, and I'm down to my last six-pack. :(

Serving type: bottle

01-29-2009 00:19:32 | More by rbbchbum
Photo of AtlasBrew
AtlasBrew

Pennsylvania

5/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I got home after a shitty night at work and decided to do something nice for myself. So, I went to the fridge and got this lovely holiday brew. I was lucky enough to get a case on sale for $20, what a steal!

12 oz bottle and a 20oz wide mouth pub glass.

Color: It pours a rich copper color with a cream colored head that lasts a long amount of time.

Aroma: Lovely smell of fruity hops and a spicy hint of something I can't quite put my finger on but I like it.

Taste: A sweet and spicy beginning with a fruit and spice backend that leaves you floating in those wonderful hops. A bitter finish that gets stronger as it gets dryer. Medium mouth feel.

Overall: Love that spice and hop flavor, I'm not sure what they used here but it works, a very pleasant brew. My only wish is that they layed off the bittering hops just a tad, otherwise, it's a great brew.

Don't miss this one!

Serving type: bottle

02-07-2009 05:30:07 | More by AtlasBrew
Photo of lester619
lester619

Wisconsin

5/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is the stuff that expanded my mind beyond high life light from the can. It looks fantastic. Deep, dark copper to amber brown. Gigantic creamy rocky head. Lacing that slides down the entire side of the mug. Perfect. Very fragrant fresh hop smell. I've never been to a hop farm at harvest time, but this is what I imagine it smells like. The taste is ideal for an IPA. Thick, chewy bready backbone. Understated sweet toasty caramel malt with the perfect amount of fresh complex oily hop bitterness. It doesn't go too far with the hops and produce a bitter aftertaste. Again, perfect. This is hands down my favorite beer. It might be my favorite part of Christmas.

Serving type: bottle

10-15-2009 18:27:16 | More by lester619
Photo of cdizinno
cdizinno

South Carolina

5/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Presentation: Poured into a tulip glass from a 12oz brown bottle with a vintage 2009 date on the label.

A: Slightly cloudy reddish amber color with off-white head and substantial lacing.

S: Strong citrus and minty pine hops.

T&M: Very crisp, medium to full bodied. Sharp hop bitterness, typical of a Sierra brew. Mild piney and fruitiness that finishes slightly bitter with a dry, malty sweetness.

This is always a favorite that I look forward to each holiday season.

Serving type: bottle

11-16-2009 23:31:33 | More by cdizinno
Photo of vdread
vdread

Texas

5/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale 2009
bottle to glass

Sierra Nevada Celebration has to be one of the best seasonals, if not THE best. it has everything a beer lover would enjoy. it's heady and leaves a nearly solid wall of lace behind it, it smells great, and tastes even better, perfectly blending hop bitterness with the maltiness of a winter beer. it's crisp, clean, easy to drink, and has a hefty ABV. in short, it maybe the perfect beer.

a beautiful dark orange, bubbly, with a thick foamy head that leaves a WALL of lace down the side of the glass. there is some sediment at the bottom.

hops jump out at the nose. lemon, grass, grapefruits, bready malts. you can tell this is a hop-dominant brew.

taste is the clean, hoppy, with the solidly bitterness that sierra nevada is known for making. the malt presence is bready and thick. it's crisp up front, slightly spicy in the back.

very creamy and goes down thick on the palate, leaving bready malts and hops in the aftertaste. you can definately tell there's some alcohol in there. easy to drink and enjoy. an all around awesome beer, seasonal or not.

Serving type: bottle

11-18-2009 19:49:12 | More by vdread
Photo of wesl56
wesl56

Florida

5/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2009 celebration ale

a- some sediment in the bottom of the bottle, so gave it a light swirl, pours really foamy with bubbles rising to form a large head, settling to a reddish dark amber with tiny particles present... heavy lacing all the way down

s- floral and citrusy, with a hint of spices and malts

t- strong floral hops, tastes like an ipa but has a very smooth, almost perfectly balanced finish

m- very pleasant, perfect amount of carbonation and after-taste

d- a moderately heavy slow sipping beer, excellent for cool weather

overall - i love this beer, since i first tried it last season, it has been one of my top five not just seasonal, but all time beers... its like an IPA at first but with a excellent balance, lots of hops there, but they dont overwhelm... like i said this is a perfect sippin beer for a cool evening, just relaxing around the holidays... i plan to pair this with a steak later, which i expect will go very well

Serving type: bottle

12-04-2009 00:36:47 | More by wesl56
Photo of bosox941827
bosox941827

North Carolina

5/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from 12 oz. bottle into an Imperial pint glass.

A: A soothing clear amber/orange color - you know you're going to have a good beer when you see this color. Pour it rough and you get a nice rocky head that will leave its ring with each sip...
S: Right after the pour you get the hops...as the head dissipates a bit it becomes more balanced as you might expect.
T: The essence of a hoppy beer. Hops on the front, malt in the middle as some leverage, resolving back into hops, which linger for quite a while. What does it for me with this beer is the bit of sweetness you get in the middle that gives it balance as it resolves into the finishing hops. If you began with the hops and went right to hops again to finish it off, you could, with justification, label this as unbalanced (with the accompanying mouth-fatigue), but that bit of sweetness in the middle is what makes this beer world-class (said the unconverted hop-head!). What also distinguishes this beer from other IPAs, is the LACK of toasted malts, which usually make themselves known at the front of the palate (see: Titan, Stone, etc., etc.). In fact, I had a Titan IPA just prior to this, and even though the IBU are identical, the hop-punch of the SN is leagues ahead of the Titan. This IPA puts the hops at the front and at the end, with the malt in the middle, the way an IPA should be, IMHO.
M: Almost like a fine French Champagne, tiny bubbles that are almost not there.
D: I could drink this beer all day, although I can see how a non-hophead may get mouth-fatigue. Also, the somewhat high ABV of 6.8% (though non-discernable on the palate) will sneak up on you before you know it.

I LOVE this beer - it is the standard against which other IPAs should be judged. Another winner from Sierra Nevada.

Serving type: bottle

12-27-2009 02:52:30 | More by bosox941827
Photo of righlander
righlander

Florida

5/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Ok, first thing... it's 30 degrees outside right now. Frickin cold!! So I meant to buy a 6 of this before Christmas but, I ended up not getting it until now. And I'm sooo glad I bought a whole 6 pack!
Pours a nice slightly hazy amber from a 12oz bottle to a standard pint glass. Big foamy sticky head. Super clingy lacing going on here. Very pretty beer.
Smells piney...very piney! But also sweet malt chilling in the background. Maybe detecting some alcohol fuming around in there too. Smells like a bad ass beer. Very big smelling beer going on here. It smells absolutely wonderful! Very complex. It's hard to pick up on everything that is going on here. But none the less, it smells amazing. Maybe some oak or something in there too.
The taste is amazing! Beautifully hopped. A strong hop punch right off the bat...Yes it is really hoppy BUT, in no way over done. The hops just slam your tongue with wonderful punch. and at the end you get the sweetness of the malt followed buy more hop punch. It's really hard to explain everything that is going on in this beer but It's simply wonderful.
Mouth feel is perfect for this beer. The hops balance out the sweetness perfectly. This is a big beer. The drinkability is great! It tastes so good you have to control yourself! I drink them slow and enjoy every last drop!

Simply perfect.

Serving type: bottle

01-10-2010 08:05:26 | More by righlander
Photo of itfitz
itfitz

California

5/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Celebration Ale has caramel, cereal, hints of herbs and spices; the overwhelming prevalence of hops brings about a citrusy, floral note. Honestly, the holidays wouldn't be the same without Celebration Ale, and I buy as much as I can stock in my home each year.

This is without question one of my Top 5 beers. Incredible from the first taste until the last sip rolls out of the bottle.

Serving type: bottle

05-27-2010 10:41:47 | More by itfitz
Photo of brunop
brunop

Massachusetts

5/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

5.0 all around. there's not much i can add to the accolades of this 2010 release.

so i guess i'm just chiming in.

tremendous hops. just tremendous! V. TREMENDOUS!!!! my only "criticism" is that SN should make this a year-round brew. but i guess torpedo is their hop hound. and it wouldn't be celebration if this brew was all year round. but the "celebration" ale each year makes the new england winter easier to bear for sure!

and kudos and all dap to SN for charging a fair price.

Serving type: bottle

11-28-2010 04:46:22 | More by brunop
Photo of MQ4188
MQ4188

Virginia

5/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I am not a huge reviewer and I am going far out on a limb with this ale.

This is the best large production bottled beer I have ever tasted. Sierra Nevada hit a "home run" with this one in 2010. This is real close to the Sierra Nevada - Northern Hemisphere Harvest Ale they produced in 2010 in the 24 Ounce bottle.

The appearance was beautiful with a two finger, snow white head and a perfect copper color.

The smell had intense fresh hoppiness but floral and citrus notes as well.

The taste was amazing and hoppy and a bite that was not ridiculous.

Mouthfeel and drinkability was outstanding and one that was smooth and fresh with a lot of hop character that you don't see in an American IPA produced in volume.

If someone picked this one up thinking it was just like Sierra Nevada Pale Ale , then they got a big surprise! For the good; I must add.

If you are of the type that feel it is impossible to get all "5" ratings in a "mass produced" ale then I guess we will just have to disagree. I rated it as high because I wanted to give a "mass produced" beer the credit I feel it deserved.

Sure, I feel that there are many more that are different and better in, cask, limited 750ml, firkins, and the like, but this one was 12 ounce bottle and unbelievable for an ale which you can pick up in a grocery store. Find me another 6.8 abv. in a grocery store that is even close to the caliber of this, then we can compare. Until then, this one gets an A+ for an American IPA, in this category

Bravo, Sierra Nevada for taking it to the next level!!

Serving type: bottle

12-10-2010 19:09:11 | More by MQ4188
Photo of match1112
match1112

Illinois

5/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

poured my 2010 celebration into a pint glass. had a nice fluffy four finger head. lacing all the way around till the end. has a nice dark copper color to it. smells exceptional, nice floral hops. speaking of hops, the taste is the same start to finish, nice full bodied hoppy beer. cant wait for my next one!

Serving type: bottle

04-13-2011 23:31:08 | More by match1112
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Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 7,383 ratings.