Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale - Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Sierra Nevada Celebration AleSierra Nevada Celebration Ale

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9,373 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 9,373
Reviews: 3,357
rAvg: 4.15
pDev: 11.57%
Wants: 305
Gots: 1,283 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American IPA |  6.80% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 11-02-2001

Fresh Hop Ale; no spices.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 9,373 | Reviews: 3,357
Photo of tewaris
3.7/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Sally's. Got this one in 2-for-1!

The bar I had this at is very dark, so it's hard to describe the color exactly; the beer seemed reddish copper with brilliant clarity and a dense off white head with good retention and nice, sticky lacing.

The nose was very disappointing. I thought I smelled some pine but cannot be sure, and that's about it. The taste was better, however: There was a decent malt backbone that manifested itself in the body but added little flavor and taste-wise hops ruled. Earthy, but with a citrusy zing to it, that seemed to get enhanced with rising temperature of the beer.

The finish wasn't the driest but was still very clean and massively bittering. A very well done combination of malts and *dominating* hops but not as good smelling as it tastes. Not the most refreshing beer but with the the right body and carbonation for an AIPA. Very drinkable.

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

Poured 2010 Celebration into tulip glass.

A- Very nice orange color that poured a giant cream colored foam. Some lacing on the glass remained. Beer was very very hazy...

S- Smell starts with citrus and slightly floral hops, hits a sweetness in the middle, then finished with very lemony and grapefruity hops again.

T/M- Not bad, but the bitterness here is a bit harsher than I expected. The beer initially is a bit bland when it first hits the tongue then gets a little sweet and bready with a big bitter cloud coming over you to end. Some of the citrus hop flavor is there, but mainly bitterness. Not quite as pleasant as I hoped. Medium body and medium carbonation make the mouthfreel proper.

D- I like it, I don't love it. I wish there was a bit more hop flavor to match the bittering qualities. I could be drinking this a bit too late, in which it is my fault; but as is I have reviewed honestly. I don't think I would go back for a second one considering almost 7% alcohol I would move to something else before I got too buzzed.

Photo of drunkboxer1
3.7/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Deep gold pour into a pint glass. Oily looking bubbles. Smells a little sweet, like pale malts. Also a good amount of hops. I honestly forgot this was a IPA, despite the fact that I know I've had it a few years ago. The bitterness isn't overwhelming, but its there. Hop flavor dominates. Definately some piney american hopes in there. There may be some British hops, giving some earthy/metally flavors. Can't really tell right now. Not bad. I think I like their torpedo a little better.

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

12 oz bottle from the 2007 batch

a - Poured a nice dark malty looking golden brown color. Very little haze. Pours to a decent head with some retained bubbling.

s - I get hit first with a nice aromatic hop - mostly a citrus note with some grapefruit background. There is some malt in there, but its subdued.

T - Tastes much like it smells - although the initial hop aroma isn't as strong in the bittering hops that finish it off. It has a grassy earthy taste to it. Some sweet malts to round it out.

M - Has a crisp mouthfeel to it - not watered down. Doesn't carbonation backs it up.

D - Very drinkable beer - I'm not sure the hop beat down would be so good after 5 or so. But, certainly a nice change of pace that almost could fit the winter warmer style.

Great beer - glad I have a few for the SB.

Also, it really reminds me of Great Divide's freshhop - wonder if anybody else got that.

Photo of berserker256
3.7/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Nice reddish golden beer. Thick lasting head with a lot of lacing. Heavy hop aroma. Smells like a pine tree and flowers. It smells like I've been whacking my way through an upper Michigan blue spruce farm with a machete while lost hunting whitetails. I'm not a huge I.P.A. fan but this is a good specimen of that style of beer. Typical I.P.A. bitter aftertaste is present. Good carbonation. Not too thick or thin. But not a "drink all night" beer either. Pretty easy drinker for 6.8% alcohol.

Photo of Thrasher
3.69/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Great, and overrated. Hazy reddish gold with huge dense head. Aroma is the weak point; smells like spoiled milk to me. Tart, piney hops are all you need to know here. Like Sierra Nevada Pale Ale except bigger. Malt character is solid but almost beside the point. Good for sitting by the fire on Christmas Eve with friends and family and getting comfortably smashed. A fine beer, flawed, whose esteem has risen largely because of limited availability.

Photo of Otesanek
3.69/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz into a 22oz snifter. 50*F. Awesome looking, 3/4" tight bubbled offwhite head. Rich orange-red body, brilliant clarity. The head lingers going no where, nice gooey lace. Smells nice and hoppy. Very piney sweet smelling. The aroma is a bit shallow beyond the the sweet malt and piney hops, not bad, just simple. The flavor is quite bitter, coats the mouth with the bitterness. Very grapefruity, bitter pith, but also sweet ruby-red grapefruit flesh. This beer is definitely all about the hops. A faint toastiness develops in the long finish. The mouthfeel is fine, a bit coating, the bitterness definitely lingers as a physical sensation, not quite astringent, the carbonation is on point. This beer goes down really easy, I'm sure I could drink several of these in a session. It's not super interesting to me though, no flaws or anything, just not all that memorable.

Photo of charlieos
3.68/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I was really excited to try this, expecting it to be much heftier and spiced. Frankly, it tastes like SN Pale Ale with a bit of pumpkin spice at the end. Maybe I've been spoiled by darker, sweeter, heftier beers, but I was really disappointed here.

Its a tasty session beer for not too much money. Its vaguely spicy, and is (as SN Pale Ale is) a well balanced IPA.

It is not going to change your life or make you think.

Photo of Franziskaner
3.68/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Serious carbonation going on here. I've got an inch thick head of off white foam. Good lacing. Copper brown in color and I can see it is unfiltered due to microscopic sediment within the beer. I get a whiff of pine like hops and light grains. I get a prominent pine like hop and citrus hop flavor at the front of the palate followed by a cereal grain backbone. The hops dominate and it is different to have the citrus and pine hops blended. The mouthfeel is a bit chalky and seems to pair well with the long fading bitterness.

Photo of tweeder263
3.68/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours out a beautiful amber with a nice 2 finger head medium carbonation.Smell is nice and hoppy.Decent hop filled taste, with a little alcohol warmth towards the end.Mouthfeel was ok just a little thin for me.A good beer ,theres other brands id probably prefer first,but id never turn one of these down.

Photo of Lolli1315
3.68/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Wow, great white fluffy head that doesn't want to go away with stick lacing all around the glass. And orange copper color with some haziness. Man, that head still is holding strong.

S- Tons of citrus hop in the smell, but not overwhelming. Some caramel sweetness sticks its head in between the hits of citrus hops while some peppery character comes through with faint hints of alcohol.

T- Beer begins with a citrus hop sweetness punch and then lowers into a sweet malty middle. The middle brings along a faint bitterness that is overshadowed by caramel and biscuity/bready taste. The end of the beer is taken over by a swift kick of bitterness that fades into the aftertaste. Soft notes of alcohol become apparent at the end giving a slightly warming sensation.

M- Great carbonation in the mouth with a medium to slightly thick body.

D- Great IPA and although not my favorite, it certainly is no slouch.

Photo of froghop
3.68/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

vintage 2008.

pour is a semi-hazy dark copper with a large egg-shell head, and excellent lacing.

smell is hops, touch of spice, floral, some grapefruit, some caramel, and a touch of fruit, sweet in the background.

taste a little thick, spice, pepper, a little caramel, some citrus, and hops, ends a little dry with a slight bitter aftertaste.

Photo of goblue3509
3.68/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice hazy amber orange color with a three finger frothy slighly off white head. The head gives way to nice lacing. The aroma is of citrusy hops and floral hops with a hint of caramel malt. The taste has a caramel malt backbone along with a nice piney hop bite up front. There is also a citrus hop presence and the presence of spices to round out the flavor. The mouthfeel is moderately carbonated. The drinkability is good, it is a smoother drink than most ipa's. There is not the big hop bite that some ipa's have, but a nice well balanced flavor. The bite is enough to keep you interested and wanting more.

Photo of Qbdoo
3.68/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Appearance - slightly burnt yet golden orange.
Smell - light citrus. Nice but not powerful.
Taste - surprisingly mild. Slightly piney with a mild (non-specific) citrus flavor. Malts balance out hops well but I'd like a bigger beer in one way or another.
Mouthfeel - pleasant, mild carbonation.
Overall - a good drinking IPA but there are a number of better seasonals out there. Price and availability are great pluses, however, for a beer of this quality.

Photo of pinotboy007
3.68/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Nice, clear, burnt copper color with a terrific, craggy head and gobs of sticky lace.

S - Citrus hops and cinnamon stick.

T - Hops conquer all; grapefruit, pine resin, and maybe even a bit of toasted oak barrel and a hint of malt.

M - Nice off creamy feel with modest carbonation in support. Rather decent.

D - I like it and think it would also be good with food or all its own.

Photo of Phelps
3.68/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed on tap at Papago. Served in a standard pint glass.

Looks: poofy. A one-finger head of pillowy light khaki billows above the rim of the glass and recedes very slowly, hanging out for a good ten minutes. The beer itself is a perfectly clear medium copper. The remaining layer of foam grips the sides of the glass in snowy sheets.

Smells: sweet. Caramel, cotton candy and a smooth floral character akin to roses or orange blossoms. It's sweeter than it is citrusy, but there is some subdued tangerine here.

Tastes: toastier than expected. Lots of biscuits and crackers, sharp orange peel and a lightly sweet caramel character. There's also floral rose and lavender before a grainy finish.

Feels: medium light in body with a light yet prickly carbonation. It's smooth, crisp and lightly fizzy as it moves about.

Drinks: like a celebration in my mouth. Sierra Nevada's winter IPA isn't their best, and it doesn't have any of the wintery spiciness that some expect. But it's a decent brew, and one that should be on anyone's winter beer list.

Photo of PeterIngemi
3.68/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a oud beersel tulip

A: pours a clean looking brownish amber with two fingers of slightly tan head... Excellent retention and lacing... Carbonation bubbles can be seen trudging there way upward through the brew.

S: bitter herbal/floral hops, some grapefruit notes as well along with
a touch if grain and a hint if sweetness in the sturdy malt backbone.

T: much like the nose, alot of herbal and piney bitterness over a lightly grainy, light caramel malt backbone... The hops are very aggressive. There is a bit of citrus in There as well, grapefruit peel mainly. A bit of breadiness going on here as well.

M: heavy medium bodied with very nice creamy carbonation and a dry, bitter, grainy finish that leavs a long lasting after taste in your mouth... Not a huge fan of the aftertaste.

O: a good ipa, seems a little unbalanced... Deffiantly showcasing the hops, which is fine by me, but the lingering aftertaste for the best of me on this one.

Photo of iceviper22
3.68/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got 2 bottles of this in a mixed case of Winter/Christmas ales. Because of this and the way the label presents it, i was surprised when I poured it and was greeted by the flowery hop aroma that is an IPA, instead of the traditional spicy aroma of a winter brew.

Anyway, it pours a nice deep orange, almost reddish appearance with a small fluffy tan head. The smell as I said is the usual grassy, flowery, hopped smell of an IPA with a little orange to it. The taste is a nice balanced hoppy bitterness, yet slightly sweet and refreshing. A good amount of carbonation tops it off reminding me more a summer thirst quencher than a Winter brew but very drinkable none the less.

Photo of brewcrew76
3.68/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2006 Vintage

A - Pours a slightly hazy copper with a 2 finger white head and a nice coating of lacing down the side of the glass.

S - Somewhat faint spicy pine and citrus hops.

T - Spicy pine and citrus hops with a sweet malt middle and nice dry finish.

M - Medium bodied and creamy with just the right amount of carbonation.

D - Not as hoppy as I remember previous versions but still a very nice easy drinking IPA.

Note - Sampled the 2006 along with a vertical of the 2004 and 2005. The 2004 has taken on a Barleywine like quality with time. Still tasty with some noticeable hop character but very barleywine like. The 2005 has more citrus than I get in the 2006 and is still a nice tasting IPA after a year. I would probably give the 2005 4's across the board.

Photo of kbutler1
3.68/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2008 & 2009 Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale poured from the bottle although I have had this ale on tap as well.
A: Poured a nice cider like reddish brown with a nice fluffy head that slowly receded.
S: Mild smell of hops and spices. Piney aroma
T: hoppy from beginning to end. Slight malt flavor up front
M: Medium
D: Most certainly

Smooth up front with a definite hops back end! For an American IPA it is pretty tasty, although I probaby would reach for a Two Hearted first before this, it still is a great choice

Photo of sinstaineddemon
3.68/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - dark golden brown, with large few carbonation bubbles and a thin tan head that laces quickly

S - warm hoppy aroma, with a sweet molasses type aroma, smells like a wintry IPA

T - oh, there are the hops, wow, nice hop bomb, that i didnt expect, with a background subtle sweetness, and a citrusy grapefruit hint as well, a nice IPA

M&D - will be too bitter for some, but a great sweet/bitter IPA, SNCA lives up to the hype, another great SN brew

Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.68/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2011 scores: (4.0/3.5/3.0/3.0/3.0)

I always felt I never gave this one a fair shake, so here goes nothing. 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

A: Pours a hazy copper color with middling clarity. The head is a nice two finger light cream color with excellent texturing. Ultimately, the head settles down to one finger, and leaves impressive patchwork lacing on the glass.

S: There are the typical floral, piny, and vaguely citrusy hops I expect from most SN IPAs, but here the hops also seem to take on a spruce character that I find rather enticing. Centennial hops are very aromatically evident with lemongrass notes. Concentration will yield a bit of sweet, graham cracker-like maltiness.

T: Last year, I found this too bitter, but this year, I'd say it's bang on in terms of balancing between hops and malts. Similar to the aroma, Centennial hops seem to be in the forefront, opening the flavor profile with lemongrass and pine. Both the midtaste and finish are pleasantly malty, with only a slightly bitter aftertaste. At times, this really does evoke a Christmas tree in liquid form - and that's a good thing. Only real problem are vague distractions of dish soap here and there.

M: A bit on the heavy side in terms of texture, with a rather clean and dry finish. Carbonation is on the lower side of medium. Absolutely nothing out of the ordinary in terms of a typical IPA, but it matches the flavor profile well.

O: I'm glad I gave this a second chance, because now I can see what the fuss is about. While by no means my favorite IPA, it's a damn fine Christmas-time staple. Probably my second favorite vessel for Centennial hops behind Bell's Two Hearted.

Photo of danielharper
3.68/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Purchased from Stong Bros. Liquor, Fayetteville TN. 2004 vintage.

This beer poured a nice dark amber color with good clarity but also a high opacity -- no cloudiness, but I couldn't really see through it. Topping this beer was a nice thick bubble-filled head that quickly halved in size, then stuck around for the rest of the beer. I also like the Holiday Theme on the outside of the bottle -- possibly my favorite of the Sierra Nevadas I've seen.

Smell was decent, with a strong hop presence (normal for an IPA) mixed with a sweet red fruit aroma. A bit overbalanced towards the hops for my taste, but overall a nice aroma that makes me think "IPA" pretty clearly.

Taste is down a notch from that, as the beer's hoppiness really dominates the flavor, to the point at which it's actually overpowering the fruit completely. Especially as the aftertaste hits me, I find this beer so bitter that it's almost difficult to drink. Perhaps this is to-style for an IPA to some degree, but I would prefer that it be a bit more balanced.

Mouthfeel is decent, with a nice foamy body that coats the tongue, but the carbonation and hoppiness actually burn the mouth a tongue a bit, and make it more difficult to get down. Decent, not unpleasant, but not exactly my taste.

Overall drinkability is decent -- I could pound two or three of these if I had them available, but for the $2.25 that I paid for this single, I can do a lot better. The Bridgeport IPA is still my favorite of the style, although I'll keep an eye out for the 2005 so I can try that when it comes out.

Photo of DannyS
3.68/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Served in a pint glass, poured from a bottle.

A - A perfectly appropriate orange-brown amber color, long lasting tan-ish head

S - The hops here are straightforward and strong, with a subtle citrus backing

T - Very hoppy, as it should be. A bit bitter for my taste, and the bitterness lingers forever, but it's not really unpleasant. How an IPA should taste.

M - The bitterness REALLY hangs on, but the overall feel is smooth and easy drinking without being too watery.

D - Not being a huge fan of IPA's, I'm not sure how many of these I could stomach. One is a-ok for me.

Overall, It's not a favorite, but I'd definitely drink it again. It's bitter, but what self-respecting IPA isn't? Basically, I wouldn't specifically seek it out, but I'd definitely drink it if I was offered some.

Photo of rarevos
3.68/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into pint glass. I've never had this beer before, and wanted to see what all the fuss was about.

A: Pours a coppery-amber with lots of fluffy, very light tan head. Head has great retention, and leaves sticky trails behind in abundance as it recedes. It's not in a hurry to recede, though.

S: Malty sweet grapefruit aroma up front, with some toffee behind that. Somewhat sugary.

T: Some nice citrus (grapefruit, lemon zest) with a good malty presence. Caramel, candi sugar. There's a bit of pine and some lemongrass. Finish is nicely bitter and fruity with a long, bitter tail.

M: Medium-bodied.

D: This doesn't drink like a 6.8% abv beer, that's for sure. But it perhaps suffered from too much hype. It was a good beer, but it didn't change my life. I will say that the one really nice thing about this beer is that it's not reminiscent of winter at all, but it IS warming. It's fruity, flowery, piney, and bright, so it's reminding me of some warmer/nicer days from a few months ago.

Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 9,373 ratings.