Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale - Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Sierra Nevada Celebration AleSierra Nevada Celebration Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

3,291 Reviews

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Reviews: 3,291
Hads: 9,407
Avg: 4.15
pDev: 19.76%
Wants: 328
Gots: 1,328 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 3,291 | Hads: 9,407
Photo of hopfacebrew
3.46/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Note: This review was a re-post from my former account, jmkratt, which was hacked and I lost all my reviews...sorry for the redundancy.

On tap at Uptown Brewing Co. in Denver on 1/28/2010. Poured into an Uptown pint glass.

A - Deep amber/cooper color with a nice 2 finger head with decent retention and lacing throughout the glass.

S - I was not impressed with the aroma of the beer, or lack thereof. Very mild citrus hop aroma but really not much at all.

T/M - The beer actually starts with sweeter tones of roasted malts before transitioning to a earthy/piney/citrus palette which blends fairly well with the malts. The beer finishes with a slight astringent bitterness. Medium bodied with good carbonation.

D - Drinkable beer but I'd prefer a Torpedo.

Overall, its been years since I had a Celebration Ale so I looked forward to this beer. I found it slightly above average. It will probably be years before I reach for another.

Serving type: on-tap

Reviewed on: 01-28-2011 21:06:50

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Photo of JudgeRoughneck
3.45/5  rDev -16.9%
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.

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Photo of deepsouth
3.45/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

i'm drinking this one today out of a new sam adams glass.

sierra nevada was one of the first micros that i drank with any regularity after coming out of beer hell.

i poured this one rather aggressively into the sam adams glass. the result was a highly carbonated amberish yellowish beer with a light tan head that was about an inch thick. it disappated rather quickly and i was left with much lacing.

the smell is spicy and fruity. it smells like a christmas beer.

the taste is very fruity. grapefruit comes most to mind. some hops are their as well. the tast is pretty bitter, but somewhat balanced.

the mouthfeel is thin and carbonated. it feels very nice.

this one is just average to me. i hate to say it, but probably my least favorite christmas beer to date. it's ok.

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Photo of Redwood21
3.45/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I just had this on tap, and like a beergeek took notes. i was suprised when i got home to see how highly rated this beer was. i generally really like sn, and i like ipa's. this beer looks nice, but the problem i have is the harsh dry bitterness. its more complex than other beers etc etc, but i cant get past it. i have had bitter beers, and dry beers, but for me this was just too harsh with nothing to balance it out. Im sure i am in the minority and im willing to try it again. but my vote right now is that this is just too harsh.

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Photo of Schwerzpunkt
3.45/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Serving Type: Bottle poured into a tulip

Appearance: Crystal clear. Almost a cross between orange and amber. Head was thick, pillowy, and quite large. Off-white in color, it disappeared rapidly, leaving ample, film-like lacing on the sides of the glass, aswell as a thin blanket on top of the beer.

Smell: A well-balanced mix of malts and hops. Piny aroma was clearly evident and quite strong, however, notes of sweet caramel and toffee, aswell as a slightly bready aroma from the malts also shone and helped to even things out.

Taste: Much like the smell, the flavor of this beer was well-balanced. Hoppy bitterness and a strng flavor of pine were the stars of the show here, yet they were balanced nicely by a strong malt backbone. As with the aroma, there were notes of sweet caramel and toffee as well as a biscuity, bready flavor.

Mouthfeel: This was the most impressive part of the beer for me. It was perfectly medium-bodied, with just the right amount of moderate carbonation. This beer had just the right amount of substance that it was not either too watery or too heavy/syrupy. Very refreshing and very drinkable.

Overall: It was a good beer. Well balanced, refreshing, moderate in just about every area. However, on the downside, the only area it really stood out in for me, was the mouthfeel. It's stuck in the limbo of being good, but nothing special. Nothing really jumped out or wowed me. In my opinion its overhyped and would not be touted so highly if it were a year round brew.

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Photo of HopsandPots
3.45/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Fresh bottle poured into a 16 oz plastic cup

A- Reddish golden amber with good solid head and even lacing

S- Smells piney and sweet.

T- Tastes resiny, piney, and a bit medicinal. The malt finish is not nearly as sweet as it was last year and the hops aren't as bright.

M- A smooth viscosity. Goes down really easily.

Overall- Solid beer, but from how it was last year I am a bit disappointed. The sweetness and vibrant taste of the hops are not there. At least not to the bar that they have set previously.

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Photo of orsulacp
3.44/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2005 Vintage
I poured this beer vigorously to get a huge egg-shell white head, with a clear light amber body. The smell is dominated by the hops, mostly piney some fruit, with a hint of nutmeg. The hops also dominate the taste, which is a good thing. I don't get much else in the taste. The malt is hidden by the hops, not getting much from the malts It has a medium body and leaves a slightly bitter aftertaste. I would like to have a little bit more malt to balance the great tasting hops.

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Photo of tastymug
3.44/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Really nice clear, red copper color. Poured with a great head and leaves lots of nice lacing on the glass.

Smell: Mix of malts and hops in the nose with some citrus and pine.

Taste: Well-balanced taste. Definitely more hoppy than anticipated for a winter-time beer but it’s not overpowering—it should appeal to hop heads and those that like a more malty taste.

Mouthfeel: Crisp with a nice amount of carbonation; light to medium bodied.

Overall: For what this beer advertises, it certainly delivers. While I prefer a more spiced type of wintertime ale, this one delivers for its genre. Very drinkable, good level of alcohol ... beautiful color and head. I could definitely drink more than one of these to counteract the sweets at the Christmas family meal!

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

Appearance: beautiful amber/orange, sturdy head, fun to look at
Smell: hoppy, spicy, very fragrant
Taste: strong bitter component, complex, a little over the top, maybe too much of a good thing, beer doesn't need to hit you over the head IMHO
Mouthfeel: full, nice carbonation
Drinkability: I don't feel like drinking many of these, one was interesting though
Overall: a complex beer with bold flavor, not the second coming though, overrated

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

Poured from bottle into pint glass.

This a rusty orange color with a nearly white head. Good retention and nice lacing. I'm not the biggest fan of the darker color IPAs-- and the micro sediments I see floating around aren't something I like either... However, the overall appearance is still better than average due to the retention, head, and lace.

Sweet caramel and bready malts... Piney and citrus hops are nice, but the spicy hop note is a bit too much. Without the spicy notes, this would score higher.

Taste follows same rules and notes asthe nose. A big dry spicy hop note is present in the finish-- with lots of lingering bitterness and a resiny pine. The balance is very nice, and without the spicy hop notes, this would score higher in my book. The body is very respectable-- solid carbonation works well with a medium-full body and a nice oily presence is perfect to compliment the resiny piney hop notes.

Overall, this is a solid beer. I won't be picking up a case and drinking 3 per night or anything... But if I run into this one, I'll gladly drink it again. The flavor is complex enough to enjoy but not mind-blowing enough to get worked up over.

This is a decent beer-- but not one I'll be looking forward to all year.

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

A-Nice big head on top with very good retention, nice amber color.

S-I picked up sometype of spice, but I cant call it.

T-A little bitter for my taste, but other than that a pretty good beer, nice and hoppy as well.

M-Light to medium bodied

D-Didnt impress me but goes down easily and is not a bad beer by any means, its not for me though.

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Photo of charlzm
3.42/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottled, consumed on 12/04/07.

Amber, plenty of carbonation. Nice white head that didn't fade too fast or last too long.

Aroma of grapefruit hops.

Some nutty malt on the palate as the astringent beer enters the mouth, but hops steamroll the malt flavor almost immediately and provide a lasting, bitter finish.

If you don't understand the appeal of hoppy beers, this one will not be the one to explain it to you.

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Photo of WhistlingBird
3.42/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I poured it into a pint glass so I could enjoy the aroma as well as the taste. It poured with very little head, but laced the glass nicely as I drank it. It was not a bad beer by any means. It is a bit more btter than I prefer. It was a nice amber color, and had a great hop aroma. Beyond the bitterness, it finished smooth, a nice aftertaste. A perfect beer for a cold winter day in Illinois.

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Photo of SomethingClever
3.41/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

12 oz bottle poured into snifter

A: Copper colored with great lacing and good clarity

S: spices, floral hops, herbal malty

T: it's spicey very herbal lots of floral hops it's got a huge malt backbone

M: it's a medium bodied beer you know it's there and it lingers a little

O: This beer is average it was average last year it was average this year it's just Sierra Nevada has one taste to their hoppy beers you either like it or you don't and I've never liked it. This beer is no exception.

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Photo of fitzy84
3.41/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The drink had a blood-red amber appearance with great lacing. Sharp malts and spices were sensed as the main aromas from this one. It overall had a pretty malty taste, but there was a sourish-bitter aftertaste to it that seemed off. A great carbonation helps this drink and gives it a good punch. However, that bitterness cannot be masked by the mouthfeel, so its drinkability is hindered.

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Photo of TCgoalie
3.41/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thank you to BuckyFresh for this present.

Pours a gold color with a pinch red. A slight white head appears upon pouring with some splotchy lacing.

Lots of malts in the smell with a cidery apple like scent. There is not as much hop scent as I thought there would be. The smell does not match the taste.

Tons of west coast pine hops are in the taste with some celery and citrus. Some malts help balance the hop taste creating a hop heavy brew.

The mouthfeel is medium with a good deal of carbonation. The bitterness is medium with a nice finish.

Another solid ale produced from SN. I would say this is medium in the scale of drinkable. Not the most drinkable, but not the least.

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Photo of Dubblebock
3.41/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

I finally managed to get my hands on a sixer of this a couple of weeks ago. This was my first stab at the Celebration Ale, and I dropped $7.99 for the opportunity to try it. Interestingly enough, I had to slowly drink my way through almost the entire six-pack (I have one left) before I could get a handle on this beer. My initial impression was that it was badly out of whack. It seemed extremely unbalanced and overly harsh at first, but I began to understand the beer a little better after I had sampled it a few more times.

It's a confusing holiday brew for those who have never tried it before. It's not your traditional spiced Christmas ale. No, it's an IPA, and a big one to boot. Celebration really throws you when you first try it.

It pours great, with a big, foamy head and a slight citrus nose. It's a dark amber color in the mug, and it just looks fantastic.

The initial taste is mellow, but the hop bitters really kick in on the middle and back of the tongue. Potent, to say the least. I was really taken aback on my first try at this beer. I was not expecting the high level of bitterness at all. No malt character to speak of, this one is all hops. It felt like Santa had come down my chimney and punched me right in the mouth. POW! Merry effin' Christmas, you BA wannabe!! I felt betrayed. Celebration, indeed!

But, I couldn't abandon it. I had to keep after it, had to master it. So I tried it again, this time figuring that I knew a little more about what to expect. Better on the second try. Still bitter, but not so bad. Tried one straight from the bottle. Better yet. Actually began to get a little bit of malty warmth out of it. By the fouth one, I was ok with it and actually started to really enjoy it. I felt like the bruise that Santa had given me had healed a little, and a little bit of the ol' Celebration spirit was beginning to kick in.

Good mouthfeel, fair carbonation. Not something my palate would say is highly drinkable, but one or two at a sitting would be cool. I'll have a go at it again next year now that I know more about the beer. If you're into strong India Pale Ales, this one is for you. Don't expect much more than a hop explosion, but if that's what you like, you're in for a treat.

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Photo of hopwave
3.4/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Sierra Nevada Celebration is a holiday tradition in our house. I always look forward to getting this beer during the holiday season. It's subtle head perfectly laces the glass. This well carbonated, medium bodied beer create an easy drinking true Sierra classic.

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Photo of KATCanada
3.4/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12/29/2014 with 2-14 vintage. Getting a little long in the tooth it seems. Dark golden coloe with good off white foam. At fridge temp not a lot of nose. Nice mouth feel, good carbonation. Strong bitterness on finish. Malts come through through and sort of a grapefruit pith taste. It's a'right, wish I'd had it fresher. Unlike some others I'd prefer the Pale ale.

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Photo of nota
3.4/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours amber/orange in color with nice two finger head that waslow to dissolve.Sweet floral smell. The taste is heavy with pine with sweet in mouth at front and bitter hop finish. I can't drink to many of these.This beer to me was a SNPA on steroids!

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Photo of morebeergood
3.4/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Picked up a six pack at Trader Joe's because I've never had the chance to try this beer. Poured into a standard pint glass. Bright orange color. Ivory white head. Decent lacing. Hops really stood out in the smell. And yes, after the first sip, the hops hit me. Now, maybe it's my fault, but this is not what I expected. I thought this beer was more along the lines of a winter ale, with the very festive label and all. Not being a huge hophead, I was looking for something a bit more smooth to drink. Sierra Nevada has made quite a nice IPA here, but it's a bit overly hoppy for my taste.

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Photo of Takahiro
3.39/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

tulip glass for evaluation

A: Tan/light brown, clear, with thick off-white 3" sticky foam.

S: Dank marijuana, malty wort, caramel, brown sugar

T: Strong hop flavor, which interplays with thick malt in the beginneing. The malt flavor loses its battle to the hoppiness shortly after, and the hop flavor lingers on for a while. A quite while, but pleasantly so.

M: fully mouthfull of maltiness. Hop flavor cuts well into this sticky malt. Sticky.

D: Not so well. The flavor sticks to the palate and makes it tired after few sips.

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Photo of GreenCard
3.39/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

DISCLAIMER: This is a review of an AGED bottle of Celebration 2004. It was cellared for about 5 years.

Appearance: coppery-brown, hazy, thin layer of yellowy froth/suds, not much head retention, loose sediment

Aroma: malt caramel, sherry, very slight hops, brown sugar

Flavor: bready malt sweetness with overtones of rum raisin, dark brown sugar, and sherry; hop bitterness is still quite present as a raspy attack on the back of the tongue; finishes semi-sweet with a piney aftertaste

Mouthfeel: medium-full body, pert carbonation, alcohol warmth, and astringency on the teeth

Other comments: OK, this beer does not age well (at least not extended aging). It has become very unbalanced and a mere shadow of it's former self. Good experiment though.

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Photo of Lothore
3.39/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A- Pours a reddish amber hue with a huge off white head that just does not quit. Some carbonation is present.

S- Smell is very mild, some piney hops a bit of sweet malt but very hard to detect.

T- Taste is very malt forward with a hop bitterness at the end that grabs onto your tastebuds and doesn't let go. Last year I remember this being extremely piney and unbearable but maybe I just got a bad batch. All in all I think it is a bit too sweet and the way the bitterness lasts on the tongue is somewhat annoying.

M- Very carbonated and fairly viscous.

D- I don't dig this one. Had it for the first time last year and absolutely hated it. This year i've warmed to it but it just doesn't seem drinkable to me. The first sip is fine and I don't mind hop bitterness, in fact, I love hop biterness, however the bitter stickiness that lasts for minutes after every sip doesn't appeal to me.

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Photo of CortexBomb
3.38/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2004 bottling

Pours out dark orange with black edges and an off-tan head which settles to a solid 1 inch thickness. Nose is lovely with a strong, yet not overwhelming hop presence to go with some undefined sweet aspect and the vaguest hint of pine.

Taste is almost textbook IPA all the way though, the variety of the nose gives way to what I would call a standard American IPA hop bitter on the back of the tongue which almost completely dominates the taste. I get faint hints of malts in the creamy note, and some off-nutty tones when I go fishing for them, but this is predominantly a generic IPA IMO.

Mouth is a notch above average though, good full, carbonated feeling that goes well with the style. The drinkability I only rate average though, largely due to my opinion on over-hopped beers, which this certainly qualifies as.

Strange brew, I bought this thinking it was a warmer, and ended up disappointed when I realised it was only a seasonal IPA. I'm not normally a fan of over-hopped beers, and this offering by SN is no exception. For the hop heads only.

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Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 3,291 ratings.