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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.

7,386 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 7386
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: 7,386 | Reviews: 3,152 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Oxymoron


2.93/5  rDev -29.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

If I lived in California and saw snow I don't think I would celebrate. Celebration pours a very clear (anti-hazy), light amber brown shade. Decent foam that hides to the edge of the glass and good lacing.

The smell is not overwhelming but still noticeable. Good hop notice that is mostly piney with some earthy smells kicked in. Overall it's light for an IPA. The malt is worth mentioning as it has a really grainy smell to it.

The taste is more noticeable then the nose. The bittering hops are first to really take notice. A good bite that isn't overbearing. A good bitterness the isn't too oily but pushes the limit and. Although it seems to dominate the rest of the beer. The malt is rather basic and doesn't really support the rest of the beer. The flavoring hops play second as well. Tastes more of a ESB then IPA.

The body is light but the beer is easy enough to drink. Other then the bitterness there is nothing wrong. Overall I wasn't too impressed.

Serving type: bottle

01-22-2006 04:39:57 | More by Oxymoron
Photo of betterbgood


2.93/5  rDev -29.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I've tried this beer on tap about a year ago, but i had to try it again because i forgot how it taste. the reviews from here were good, so i decided to buy two six packs for me and some friends. I knew it was another ipa or pale ale, i wasn't ignorant at all by the marketing scheme of a special spiced winter warmer and all the holiday decorations on the label. but alltogether its average, it might just be torpedo in sheeps clothing.

Serving type: bottle

12-25-2009 01:13:38 | More by betterbgood
Photo of quincyships


2.95/5  rDev -29.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This used to be my favorite beer, but this year they seem to have screwed the pooch.

Appearance: Poured 12 oz bottle into Sam "perfect pint" glass. All looks well, with appropriate head and carbonation.

Aroma: Celebration has never been exceptionally fragrant, but this year it smells vaguely dank (an ominous omen).

Flavor: What once was a rock-solid malt-forward IPA has been transformed, sadly, to some tepid form of cold tea. Somewhere along the line, some marketing genius decided to append the "fresh hop ale" tagline to this brew and the recipe changed to fit the program. Now, the flavor is unbalanced - where once there was malt complexity, there is now the blandest malt backbone. Where once there was a complex interplay of Centennial and Cascade hops, there is now ... I don't even know what. Yard rakings?

Mouthfeel: Perfectly fine. They f'd up the recipe, but they still have quality control.

Overall: My disappointment with this year's Celebration is rivaled only by the memory of realizing for the first time that there is no Santa Claus.

Have also had this on draft, with similar disappointing results.

Serving type: bottle

11-23-2011 03:53:49 | More by quincyships
Photo of cameraman


2.98/5  rDev -28.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

The 2006 edition of celebration ale, it pours a deep amber color. There are visible signs of carbonation, with a quater inch off white colored head forming. The aroma has a slight citrusy scent, but surprisingly a strong malt aroma is very dominant. That malt starts the flavor off, and then midway, the citrusy hop flavors become present and linger on the palate long after the beer has passed by. A medium bodied feel, that slowly thins out as it reaches it finally destination, my stomach. This was disappointing, SNCA, to me the standard for being a hop monster beer. Perhaps, my expectations were high, it just seems it falls short.

Serving type: bottle

01-10-2007 11:45:12 | More by cameraman
Photo of TechMyst


3/5  rDev -27.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Definitely not the Holy Grail I was expecting. How is this an IPA again? Ok, they got away with adding spices to a PA and it still tastes decent; I'll give them that. This, to me, (2006-07) had a red apple flavor, with some hard conditioning. This is better than any winter brew I can think of at the moment, but again; not something I would put high on my overall list...

Serving type: bottle

12-31-2006 19:46:20 | More by TechMyst
Photo of BlackHaddock

United Kingdom (England)

3/5  rDev -27.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Brown 2008 bottle, with 350ml of beer for 69 pence from a cut-price store in Wellington, Shropshire, couldn't believe my eyes when I saw them lined up on the shelf.

I poured it into a 'Hoegaarden Grand Cru' stemmed tulip glass, why not let it live a little before I drank it?

I allowed the whole bottle to enter the glass, so it looked a dull dark orange colour and was obviuosly cloudy. The head was a frothy off-white pile and the beer looked cool in its unfamilier glass.

Hops, hops and hops hit my nose, some yeast smells tried to get out too.

In the taste the hops took over again, wave after wave of them, nothing else could force its way through, a dry bitterness from the said hops appeared to be unchecked, but a slight fruity flavour (apples, pears and berries) did turn up in the aftertaste.

Plenty of body, not rich or creamy, just body.

Pleasant, but just a bit too hoppy for my palate.

Serving type: bottle

11-04-2009 22:52:29 | More by BlackHaddock
Photo of sicilian


3/5  rDev -27.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

If you're a real Hop Head you will love this beer as it should be labeled as an Double IPA style. I really enjoy the regular SN Pale Ale and other PA's and even most IPA's are OK with me. I do enjoy the floral sharp hop flavors generally speaking.

This one has very strong flavors typical of a holiday brew, but they are totally overwhelmed by the bitter hop flavor and smell with little to no spice or malt flavors. This made it not so enjoyable to me as I wasn't expecting. About half way through my palate was numb enough to enjoy the remainder without wincing.

Serving type: bottle

01-09-2010 23:23:50 | More by sicilian
Photo of hotstuff


3.03/5  rDev -27.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

2002 On Tap:This beer's appearance was a small sized ivory head that was creamy and smooth and contained fine-small sized bubbles that was mostly lasting.The body was uncarbonated and clear with a reddish hue.The nose was hoppy and malty with a very bitter and hoppy flavor.The mouthfeel was fairly smooth and somewhat tingly and it was medium bodied.There was a fair amount of lacing with this beer.I am not a hop head by any means so this one tasted very hoppy and bitter to me.

Serving type: on-tap

11-09-2003 17:55:56 | More by hotstuff
Photo of Truh

New Hampshire

3.03/5  rDev -27.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Gave thanks to various deities with this one on 12/4/2004. 16-oz. angled shaker pour at the Sunset.

Initial head of ½ inch fluff that is creamy in appearance with some larger stuff going on at the outer edges. Celebratory hop front on nose with just a jack of candy cane sweetness flitting about aimlessly in the eaves. Gaudschalk frizziness of hop that almost stings on the tongue and back of throat and simply engulfs any washing holiday spices that I think must be hidden in there, somewhere. Really seems like this could do with some more mellowing; an oddly low-tide mud flat finishing to the pour brings the party down to a murmur for me.

Serving type: on-tap

12-04-2004 22:03:24 | More by Truh
Photo of Guinness4me


3.03/5  rDev -27.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

In an attempt to not offend the hop heads of the bunch, I'll be as kind as possible with this beer as it does seem like a good example of the style.

The color was a lovely golden/orange color with a white head full of tiny bubbles. The smell was 110% hops to nearly the point of a flowery perfume.

The taste was all hops with a slight, sweet malt and a very bitter finish that tended to linger on the back of my tongue.

The mouthfeel was neither offensive nor spectacular but again is indicative of the style. I'm glad to get this one over.

Serving type: bottle

12-27-2004 02:55:40 | More by Guinness4me
Photo of nrpellegrini


3.03/5  rDev -27.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a dark red/ golden color. A decent head stays a while and tries to lace. Smells of spiced hops and light malts. The taste follows the same suit, a very bitter big hop flavor up front that bites at the tongue, then finishes with an easier malt flavor in the background. Mouth wasn't so pleasent with the hop bite, and drinkability wouldn't have lasted long, I did not want another. I guess I was just expecting something else, this isn't my style of beer.

Serving type: bottle

11-09-2008 02:19:41 | More by nrpellegrini
Photo of miketd


3.03/5  rDev -27.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

On tap at The Brew Kettle, 2008 vintage. Pours a dark amber with a decent white head. Aroma is nutty and grain with earth notes and subdued hops. Flavor is malt, grain, wet grass and earth. Palate is ok. I have enjoyed this in the past, but now it just seems too grainy with no hops. Don't know if the recipe changed or if my palate is different. Not one I will drink again any time soon though.

Serving type: on-tap

12-21-2008 22:33:12 | More by miketd
Photo of malthead


3.05/5  rDev -26.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

2003 vintage - note that as my handle indicates, I'm not a big hophead...
Nice deep amber color, huge cratering head that disappeared to almost nothing. Smells hoppy - big, juicy hops, with some citrus. Taste is... hoppy... a lot of grapefruit, maybe some pine, with very little malt sweetness. Tastes a little raw to me, with the standard oily mouthfeel on a long finish. (gotta love the hop burps, though...) If you like big hops, this might be a good example, but it's too over the top for me - if I were going to have this again, it would have to be much more balanced.

Serving type: bottle

07-13-2004 03:01:54 | More by malthead
Photo of klewis


3.05/5  rDev -26.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

2006 edition

A: Pours golden with a 2-finger frothty head with good sustain and lacing.

S: Subtle aroma of vegetal hops.

T: Strong vegetal hops flavor balanced well with a dry maltiness. The hop bitterness creeps through and finishes with a kick.

M: Meidum bodied with moderate carbonation. Lingering flavor.

D: I remember this being better last year. Nothing offensive here, just nothing special. A very average beer IMO.

Serving type: bottle

11-05-2006 01:55:10 | More by klewis
Photo of gonzo46and2


3.05/5  rDev -26.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a ruby red with a three finger head that laces along the edge of the glass in a dense pattern.

Aroma of grapefruit and other citrus peel-like characters. Faint hints of woodsy pine and spruce.

Taste is hoppy bitterness that's a bit unbalanced. Not enough malt or sweetness for my taste.

Mouthfeel is thin and watery. Refreshing and seems to be a good fit for hot weather.

Serving type: bottle

02-18-2009 21:52:05 | More by gonzo46and2
Photo of Telix


3.05/5  rDev -26.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from the bottle into a Sam Adams Sensory glass. These are some sketchy notes because I simply didn't have much to say about the beer...:

A: Pours a nice deep copper, that's fairly clear, with a good head that slowly dissipates.

S: It's fairly mild with sweet malts and cat piss hops. I wish it were less bitter and had a greater amount of depth.

T: Some good malt sweetness, but a bit bitter and sharp. It's milder and a bit more piney than I'd like.

M: A bit thin, but more or less average for the style.

D: Eh, this was about as average an IPA as you can get, if you ask me. I wouldn't drink another one of these.

Serving type: bottle

01-23-2010 01:38:28 | More by Telix
Photo of Doppelbockulus


3.05/5  rDev -26.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Deep amber color.

Smells like sweet hops and a bit of caramel, but my sinus congestion isn't allowing much more in.

It tastes like a typical Sierra Nevada offering, so if you generally like Sierra Nevada you will like this, however not quite my flavor preference. Only slight Christmas notes. Of course there are hops right off the bat, slight hint of sweet, with a little earthiness. Then the aftertaste is burnt toast, and I don't like burnt toast.

The mouthfeel is comfortable, not too tingly.

Serving type: bottle

01-15-2012 23:34:27 | More by Doppelbockulus
Photo of MaltyHoppyGood


3.05/5  rDev -26.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

A : looks great! So excited to see the latest, freshest batch out. The 2010, 2011,and especially the 2012 batch were amazing. Huge, fluffy head, proper carbonation, deep amber/ copper color.

S: Mostly California/American ale yeast with some subtle hop aroma . Little, if no malt detected. Overwhelmingly yeasty while expecting so much fresh hop smell. Smells like Sierra Nevada.

T: some mild citrus hops, followed by medium sweet malts and a present back if tongue bitterness. There is a lot of balance here. Hops are hiding behind clean California yeast aroma. Drinks like a slightly bigger Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. This batch is particularly homogenous, having down played hops with an increase in balance. Can't taste fresh hops due to yeast/co2 aroma.

M: great drinking ale. Co2 is spot on, final gravity is perfect to balance sweet, bitter and alcohol. I enjoyed 12 oz quicker than expected. It is smooth, balanced and undistinguished.

O: 2013 aims to be an underwhelming, balanced IPA, a stark contrast to years previous. This beer lacked hop aroma, hop taste, notable character, and had an overly yeasty smell- It smells faintly like a macro. I had claimed this in years past as an amazing, highly recommended beer, but was disappointed this year. Perhaps SN is spreading their operation too thin? I loved their beer camp series, but it perhaps detracted from overall quality control on their most infamous craft beer. Better luck next year , old friend.

Serving type: bottle

11-09-2013 21:26:13 | More by MaltyHoppyGood
Photo of mayor55


3.08/5  rDev -26%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Copper color with patchy head. Pungent odor. Decent taste with unpleasant, metallic aftertaste. It has a strange head. definetly a winter beer, why? I don't know. I would definetly categorize it as an IPA. Very hoppy nose. not my favorite from Sierra Nevada.

Serving type: bottle

05-24-2008 21:47:23 | More by mayor55
Photo of jujubeast6000


3.08/5  rDev -26%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Reviewed 12/12/2006 (Bottle @ West Alabama Ice House, Houston, TX):

(couldn't rate the appearance very well) Very malty then very very hoppy aroma. Bitter hoppy taste, but mellows at the end. More mellow as it warms up: hops, some malt sweetness. A decent mellow ale.

Serving type: bottle

01-31-2009 07:10:50 | More by jujubeast6000
Photo of michaelgrant1983

Rhode Island

3.08/5  rDev -26%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

The color and head on the beer are both great. Decent smell on the ale, not what I expected though. The taste itself wasn't bad, just not impressive either. For all the noise about how great this beer was I was not impressed at all. It tasted like a stronger SN Pale Ale. That idea sounds like it would be a great brew, but something missed in this beer. Just flat didn't like it.

Serving type: bottle

04-18-2009 14:41:52 | More by michaelgrant1983
Photo of longarm


3.1/5  rDev -25.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2004 edition:
Appearance is clear amber with fluffy pillows of foam. Generally a fine looking beer. The aroma is held captive by piney hops, but there are subtle elements of biscuit malt. A slight dose of alcoholic odors rests underneath everything else. The smell of alcohol gets stronger as the beer warms. Flavor has strong hop bitterness with a harsh finish and aftertaste. Strong piney flavors remind me of my least favorite hops, but maybe they just overhopped in general. I like the toasted malt that's in there, but it could use a lot more to achieve a sense of malt-hop balance. Some spices are in there, but the bitterness of the hops blasts them off the palate, and I can't tell what spices are actually there. The mouthfeel is decent. I like hops, but overall this beer was just out-of-balance. Maybe the harshness mellows with age.

Serving type: bottle

11-01-2004 16:14:21 | More by longarm
Photo of Hunter


3.1/5  rDev -25.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Hard pour yields a thick head of dense bubbles atop a light amber brew with brisk carbonation. Good head retention, some lacing.

Aroma: As hoppy as SN Pale Ale. Malt is in there somewhere, but it definitely takes a back seat to the grassy hop overtones. Not bad, if hops are your thing.
Taste: I admit, I have no idea how this tastes any different than their pale ale. Maybe they just upped the ABV? Sharp notes of hops, citrus, and pepper, with an almost too-sharp hop bite in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Light and bracing.

Drinkability: Certainly no less drinkable than their Pale, but points are lost for lack of originality.

Serving type: bottle

12-14-2005 00:49:06 | More by Hunter
Photo of Chsyhkr

North Carolina

3.13/5  rDev -24.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Ah, Celebration Ale, one would think of a nice winter warner, not!

A nice beer for hopheads, but too typical of overdone west coast hopped beers.

Really a nice IPA and not much more. A full gold color and strong hop presence, bordering on insipid. Some malt in the aroma and taste, but you know what we are getting here. HOPS!

A fairly dry beer, not unusual for an IPA with a clean finish, if you consider ripping your tastbuds out with pliers clean.

Hey, it's a good beer but not a "winter celebration" type ale. Don't be fooled by the packaging!

Serving type: bottle

01-29-2004 12:59:05 | More by Chsyhkr
Photo of PEBKAC

New York

3.15/5  rDev -24.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A sticky head tops off a pour as dark as black tea, but light enough to still dig out that elusive pistachio shell that flicked in from across the table.

It takes a good 7-8 minutes for everything to settle, so I began to get lost in watching each individual bubble rise to glory, only to be sucked into the mist. By this time, the glass looks really dirty with all the eratic lacing. The top is murky & cloudy like pond scum, but I think the dragon flies might of went in for a dip ahead of time.

Sticky hops tickle your nose, all within the fresh, mossy subterfuge of a standard pint glass.

The first taste bestows lots of pine, spicy hops, & an overall bitterness that is stronger then I last remember. Ribs are great with this. :D Wet & musty, it cuts like mouthwash. SN always seems to have just a bit extra carbonation in their bottles.

The aftertaste leaves a trail of saltine crackers & scratchy bitterness from the tip of your tounge, all the way to your tonsils(hanging on for dear life).

With a large meal, an extra pour is never out of the question. It is quite warming, with the carbonation influencing the alcohol.

A good value, a good brew. :)

Serving type: bottle

01-12-2007 22:13:20 | More by PEBKAC
Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 7,386 ratings.