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Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale - Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Sierra Nevada Celebration AleSierra Nevada Celebration Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

7,821 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 7,821
Reviews: 3,154
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 11.54%
Wants: 200
Gots: 462 | FT: 3
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: 7,821 | Reviews: 3,154 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of psinderson
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served on-tap in a pint glass at the Sharp Edge Creekhouse.

Appearance: Nice amber color, very clear. Slightly off-white head that has some staying power.

Smell: Definite citrus hops and some caramel. I also detect a hint of vanilla.

Taste: Very hoppy, yet smooth. Not too much holiday spice here, but there is a definite caramel note that differs from a typical IPA.

Mouthfeel: Nice medium bodied feel. Pleasant to drink.

Drinkability: For a hoppy brew, this is easy to consume. It also hides the ABV well...could be a dangerous thing!

psinderson, Dec 07, 2006
Photo of PSUDREW
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2003 edition:

Poured out that amber hue, some head retention, lots and lots of lace. Once in your mouth, it's lighter body is somewhat deceptive of it's real power. Powerful hop prescenes will smack you in the face (in a good way), and has some nice sweet and spice to it going down, smoothly finished off with a small bite. Seasonals- YAY!

PSUDREW, Nov 09, 2003
Photo of HopDerek
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a vintage 2005 series into a pint glass.

Appears orangish copper in color with a nice 2cm of foamy white head and good lacing. Some sediment. Smells of holiday spices like nutmeg and clove, along with a citrus smell and caramel. Taste is bitter, very much pale ale, with spices and pine, but with a malty finish. Very little citrusy hops though. Medium in body and smooth. Definitely a beer I will continue to grab for the winter months, a nice twist on standard winter brews with the nice hoppiness.

HopDerek, Dec 25, 2006
Photo of beerman599
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

i sat down with five coceutive years of this and found out that as the hops subside this becomes a great english still old ale. this year was full hpppy and wonderfully bitter, 2003 was still full bitter and hoppy 2002 starts to mellow and the hops start to fall away and expose more fruity character , the 2001 really starts to become and old ale with ripe fruit character and rich malt quilty, make no mistake their as still a great hop character its just becomes more sutle and allows the other flavors to come through

beerman599, Jan 22, 2004
Photo of assurbanipaul
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark yet crystal clear amber with a half-inch-thick foamy head that settles only slightly. Aroma is rich, hoppy and spicy with a small amount of caramel malt.

Taste is a blend of rich, luxurious malt and sharp, bright hops. Some mild spices weave in an among the citrusy, juicy, floral hop nature. This is a beer equivalent of freshly baked bread with the hops springing forward without knocking you over. Very good job of balancing the flavors so that neither side crushes the palate.

Mouthfeel is a little heavy, a little oily, but in a good way. Lips remain sticky after the drink is finished. Oddly, drinkability remains high despite its bold flavors. This is the gold standard in American IPAs, one I have sessioned on many occasions.

assurbanipaul, Dec 30, 2005
Photo of SolomonGrundy
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Seems funny to be drinking this for the first time in over a year, but in the beginning of Spring!!!

Pours a nice, clear orange amber. Bountiful, foamy head. At least four fingers, and it never really dissipates, leaving sheets of nice lacing. Well carbonated, too. Beautiful in every aspect...

Nice, fresh hop aromas greet you straight away. That must be the fresh hops they add. Atypical for SN in that it's not an overly malty aroma. Very subdued, actually.

Flavor is big and complex. Intro is bitter in a hoppy way, and the whole ale stays very hoppy thorughout. Not like typical big Lefty IPAs, though. The hops are really established and prevalent, but don't overpower you. The malt backbone never really comes to the forefront, but holds the whole together...When the hops start to fall off, and another hop character rears up, malty is still in the back getting you a little sweetness to back it up. Great, flavorful, well-balanced, yet still hop forward. Very nice. Now for the nice: $3.99/24 oz. bottle and 6.8% ABV. Drinkable too...

What I like most: Pretty much everything, but the appearance is top notch.

What I like least: The lower than hoped for ABV in a Winter ale...

Verdict: World class ale, perfect for anytime of year really and well-balanced enough for almost anyone. Get some folks.

SolomonGrundy, Mar 06, 2011
Photo of bigbeerdrinka
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Well haven't written a review in a bit but this brew is surely worth it. 2004 Release. Pours a deep copper color with a fluffy offwhite head that just sticks around nicely. Aromas are super hoppy, giving off some citrus, a little pine, and just a hint of malt. Initial flavors start of very hoppy with a piney resinous like flavor. The mood of this beer quickly changes over with a nice creamy malt backing that portrays a bit of biscuit and just a hint of caramel. This brew progresses back to the hops thereafter, giving off a slight crisp bitterness followed by some juicy citrusy flavors that just linger on the tongue sip after sip after sip. The body of this beer is magnificent while the carbonation plays on the tongue in just the right way. This IPA is truly magnificent, and a true testament to what Sierra Nevada can do.

bigbeerdrinka, Oct 27, 2004
Photo of stonermouse
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From the bottle into a Sam Adams glass.

Poured nicely, looking pure golden with a solid, dense, bright white head. Quite impressively, the head replenishes itself with the agitation of each sip. Every time I put it down, a 1/4 inch head just bubbles up waiting for my next sip. Cool.

Aroma is mild. I get a faint, nondescript maltiness, and mild hops. Decent, but doesn't tell me much.

Crikey, this thing is good. This flavor is phenomenal. Nice, steady malt backbone. Not at all overpowering. There are so many subtle flavors here on top of the malt. The hops are present certainly, but there's a lot more going on that I can't quite identify. That's a good thing, really, because the ingredients meld into an excellent, fairly potent, warm, complex, sip-by-the-fire IPA. Just wow.

Mouthfeel is quite good as well. Flavor envelopes my entire palette, front to back. Has a nice, dense body that is just short of syrupy.

Drinkability is quite high. I could see drinking these in the dead of winter, but also in the spring, early summer, and perhaps even after mowing the lawn in mid-July. But best of all, I can't wait until the weather gets nasty cold, and I can sit inside with two or three of these. I'm heading back to the store right now to stock up...

stonermouse, Nov 06, 2010
Photo of deanhead
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Deep and rich Red, almost crimson in color. Poured with an amazingly frothy head.
Aroma is earthy and pungent, almost turpy.
Taste- clean and bitter, rich with viscosity citrusy almost lemony finish with lingering bitterness that just seems to coat the mouth and tongue
Fabulous beer by SN. These guys have got this beer dialed right. It's an amazingly easy drinker despite it's 6+ % abv. Get some. Hands down one of my favorite beers.

deanhead, Mar 18, 2009
Photo of ski271
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I have to write another review to counteract my lower bottle review earlier this month. Just yesterday I had this beer on tap. A surprising treat at The Corner Room in State College, PA. Yes, we all know most beers are better on tap, but this one was MUCH better. It was so smooth, balanced, fresh and beautiful that I was sorry we only had time for one. In my previous review I remarked about how I didn't think SNCA quite lived up to the hype, but now I think otherwise. It's definitely highly recommended to try on tap.

ski271, Dec 27, 2005
Photo of DovaliHops
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Was looking forward to having this beer! Last year around this time I was just getting into craft. Pours a clear amber color with a medium head that diminishes quickly. Scent is DELICIOUS hoppy goodness with just a bit of malt. A lot of pine and grapefruit aromas. Taste is very delightful. It reminds me of a very fresh Torpedo with a bit more malt character. At first I get some pine, followed by grapefruit and sweet apricot flavors. Then followed by some hop bitterness with a bit of caramel malt. Very well-balanced IMO. Mouthfeel is nice and full bodied with great carbonation. Drinkability is very high. I could see why people would complain about having an IPA as a Christmas/Winter ale, but I have no complaints. Love this beer!

DovaliHops, Nov 25, 2010
Photo of CharlatanSin
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a bomber of this for a very cheap price.

This is one of the most beautiful beers I've seen. It pours a hazy golden amber with an absolutely ridiculous, giant, off-white shaving cream head. That head doesn't go anywhere while you're drinking it. It leaves probably the most lacing I've ever seen. Absolutely world class in terms of appearance.

The smell is all hops, a nice combination of pine and grapefruit. The taste is an unadulterated hop bomb. Pine dominates. It's like a Christmas tree turned into a beer. The bitterness lingers forever. There's a bit of a malt counterbalance, but you have to go fishing for it. I think I can taste a hint of cinnamon, but I might just be reaching for it because of the label.

The mouthfeel is thick and creamy, perhaps a little too much so for the style. It's super sticky, which is unsurprising if the lacing is anything to go on.

Overall, Sierra Nevada does it again. I often take them for granted, since they are so ubiquitous, but they truly are one of the best, most consistent breweries out there, especially for a hophead like me.

CharlatanSin, Jan 10, 2010
Photo of phishgator
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I will say that on tap this brew is slightly better in aroma and taste. might just be the freshness, but there is a difference! I have a 2003 in the freg. it will brought out before 2006 is over to compare! It is a west coast AIPA and the full body with the overall overwhelming bitterness make this brew a true winter delight.

phishgator, Feb 22, 2006
Photo of egajdzis
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

(2002 - 7/13/03)Poured golden amber with a large head that left nice lacing. Hoppy aroma, and an initial hoppy taste followed by a fresh bitterness.
(2001 - 9/17/03) Darker amber color, strong fruity hop aroma. Milder hop taste, then there is a slight fruity taste, followed by a slight tingle on the tongue. Still good after almost two years.
(1996 - 8/1/04) Has become way to old. Sweet and oxidized, no more hops here. I'll take a 1 - 2 yr old please.

egajdzis, Aug 26, 2006
Photo of bobhits
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

There are a few beers every year I buy and just can't put my thoughts down on. This is certainly one of them.

The perfect sticky creamy lace coating head you'll see. A nice light amber color that's dense from I would assume bottle conditioning. Light shines through no problem, but you can't see through it.

Sharp fresh citrus hops as expected. They bite the nose and make you beg for me.

The hops here bite, they linger, they're citrus with a hint of pine. This beer has an interesting spicy kick at the end, not sure where it comes from but it keeps this one on the very aggressive and dry side. The malt is here but the hops just obliterate it.

I'll have another...need I say more?

This one is a bit aggressive and the dryness and the bite to it will turn people away who don't enjoy that. I however am not one of those people! If you don't like the aggressive bite a month or two will leave a still wonderful beer with more malt standing out. I can vouch that this isn't a bad IPA after a bit of age hits it. I'd still drink early!

bobhits, Nov 06, 2011
Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I've had two of these in my beer fridge since November and have somehow managed to resist them. I've been reading about how hoppiness decreases over time, which probably means (since I'm of the 'hoppier the better' school) that I should have had them as fresh as possible. Anyway, I'm about to remedy that oversight tonight.

Medium orange-amber with a moderate haze. The head is very large and is dark cream edging into ecru. Stiff and rocky, then lumpy, it sticks in chunks to the inside of the pint glass. It looks for all the world like a thick, frothy milkshake. Ultimately there are chunky rings of lace on the glass and a thick, lumpy film on top of the beer.

The nose is primarily grapefruit peel-like. Upon tasting, a soft (yet insistent) wave of hops hits the taste buds. Several varieties are probably present and I'm betting that Cascade is among them. The hoppiness is primarily citrusy and floral, with a hint of pine. There is also a background spiciness that becomes more noticeable as the beer warms.

There's a fairly large malt load as well. Alcohol is noted, especially after the initial wave of hops subsides (alcohol is almost undetectable in the 2007 Celebration). The finish is long, decently hoppy and ultimately dry. The body/mouthfeel is creamy and is reasonably full.

There's no question that Celebration Ale is an excellent IPA. It doesn't get extraordinarily high marks from me, however, because the hops aren't quite prominent enough. I know that this isn't a DIPA and that it would undoubtedly have been hoppier if I had drunk it sooner after bottling, but even so...

If you love IPAs that are hoppy with a nod toward balance, then start the Celebration early. Next year I'll crack open my first one on the day I buy it.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I never drank 2005 Celebration Ale, thought 2006 Celebration was more maibock-like than IPA-like (woefully underhopped) and just enjoyed the hell out of a bottle 2007 Celebration a few hours ago. (re-reviewed 12/29/07)

When done right, this is clearly an expertly brewed ale. The malt backbone was nice and sturdy (mostly pale with a hint of caramel) and the citric hops were right up front where they belong. I was equally impressed with one of the smoothest, creamiest mouthfeels that I've experienced in a beer of this style in quite some time. So *this* is what Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale is supposed to taste like!

scores for 2004: 4.5, 4.0, 4.0, 4.5, 4.0... ... 4.15
scores for 2007: 4.0, 4.0, 4.5, 4.5, 4.5... ... 4.3

BuckeyeNation, Feb 20, 2004
Photo of NCBeernut
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Words don't do this beer justice but here it goes:

Full fluffy two-finger off-white head that doesn't want to leave, coppery orange color. Tons of lacing.

S: A complex blast of hops, what else?

T: Delicious. I could drink this 7 days a week. Hops up front of course, mostly citrusy grapefruit, with some lingering orange zest. A nice strong malt profile compliments the hop bouquet and starts coming through after the initial smack of hops: bready with some caramel and suggestions of toffee.

Smooth and creamy, but with a hoppy bite. Not too much for my hophead palate. If you haven't had it, go buy some now.

NCBeernut, Jan 15, 2008
Photo of boilermakerbrew
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a deep golden to almost light amber color. Thick, dense head of about 2 fingers and slightly off white color. Retention and lacing is phenomenal. Slight haze with some evidence of the bottle conditioning.

S- Pretty straight forward with big pine notes. Reminds me of SN Hoptimum scent, with both using whole cones. Pine notes are present throughout, with other, more floral hops peeking in a little bit.

T- Flavor is pretty much the same as the scent. Also very similar to Hoptimum. Starts with a big bang of hops bitterness, but quickly adds in a solid malt flavor. Malt is definitely secondary, but is present with hints of caramel and lighter malts. Ends with a slight hops bite that linger on the tongue.

M- Pretty much standard IPA here. High carbonation, no detectable alcohol heat, and medium body. Hop profile might make extended drinking problematic, but overall a very sessionable beer.

Overall, a very enjoyable seasonal IPA. Whole cone hops give it a distinct flavor similar to SN Hoptimum. It's a shame this is just a seasonal, as it is a good everyday IPA. Price is very reasonable and even better for the quality of the brew.

boilermakerbrew, Dec 04, 2012
Photo of CrellMoset
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

UPDATED REVIEW: 11/20/2008

2008 vintage from Market Street Wine, downtown location. Poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: Similar to last years - a very nice, filtered copper color with a thick, solid-looking head with good retention that leaves splotches of sticky lacing. Perhaps not 4.5 worthy, but definitely really good ...

Aroma: A little more pungent and pleasant than I remember. I get more minty notes this time, vegetal, leafy qualities come through really strongly, at least initially. Citrus pulpyness, orange, grapefruit still are strong, and do an admirable job of covering up a doughy, roasted, and pretty dry malt backing. Very, very nice.

Taste: Still nice and bitter - that's what I remember!! Huge piney bitterness, lighter citrus than in the nose, a dry, biscuity backbone ... oo, that hits the spot.

Mouthfeel: Much smoother, pillowy, more even than I remember. Carbonation's a little higher too, I think. Great piney "afterfeel."

Drinkability: Still great. A solid IPA and a legendary seasonal, there's nothing not to love about this one. I don't think my score's changed any, but it's still a fantastic beer, and still highly recommended.

Had a friend bring over a six-pack for a holiday party a few weeks back. I hadn't had a chance to try one that evening, but there were a couple left over, so here goes:

Regular 12 oz. bottle, poured into a pint glass.

Appearance was very pleasant copper tone with very thick head, good retention, and thick lacing.

Smell is not too terribly strong, although the hops are obviously present, as are notes of citrus and malt. A few other things that are difficult to place, as well - an interesting balance.

Taste is where this beer really takes off. Obviously, the hops are at the forefront of the game, but the previously mentioned citrus and malts are still detectable, both in the first instance and in the aftertaste. Alcohol flavor hardly present at all. Absolutely deliciously, hoppy without being overbearing.

Mouthfeel is also very pleasant, carbonated just about right.

Drinkability is damn good. Just damn good. Everything melds very well. Although I'm not a huge hops fan, the balance here is enough to convince me to try and become one. Two thumbs up.

CrellMoset, Jan 12, 2008
Photo of aaronh
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a light chestnut colored beer that has a slight reddish hue and amber highlights. It pours with a nice, solid head that really covers the glass with lace and exhibits excellent head retention. The aroma is of malt and floral hops, with a hint of spices. The front end of the taste is sweetness with a strong hop finish. The hops seem to be very much in keeping with Sierrs Nevada's style. It has a very smooth mouthfeel, and drinks quite easily. I feel fortunate to have found and enjoyed this beer.

aaronh, Oct 23, 2002
Photo of falloutsnow
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle from Hyvee in Omaha, NE.
No freshness date on bottle other than '2011' as year.
Poured into a standard US pint glass.

Pours a >2cm head of cream-colored foam made up of fairly small bubbles. This gives the head a very dense, pillowy appeal to it. Head descends gradually, but never fading completely (remains a 0.5cm cap on the body) leaving enormous amounts of lacing. Body is orange amber in color, slightly hazy

Aroma is notably hoppy, pulling in strong pine and juniper, along with noticeable grapefruit and orange. Slightly sweet and cracker-like from malt, but appropriately overshadowed by hops. Good, but not exceptional.

Taste opens with Interesting combination of hop flavors, ranging from a burnt or toasted hop, pine, juniper, to very light grapefruit and orange citrus. Some hop bitterness, but nothing too crushing. Malt backbone is never too far away, giving off adequate caramel sweetness for balance. Aftertaste of mild pine resin and hop bitterness. Fairly complex and enjoyable.

Beer is medium-bodied with enough carbonation to foam this up a bit on the palate. Feels somewhat creamy on the palate. Dry finish, slightly astringent.

An extremely tempered and pleasing IPA. The pine hop flavors seem appropriate for the time of year, though this would be excellent at any point one wanted a very hop-forward beer.

falloutsnow, Nov 15, 2011
Photo of AwYeh
4.39/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Bottled Nov. 13, 2013.

A: Just slightly hazy golden copper, with towering frothy head and lots of lacing.

S: Resiny, piny hops with a light earthiness/herbal aroma. Some citrus peeks in along a healthy dose of bready malts.

T: Delicious pine flavor, strong and bitter with a lot of tangerine and grapefruit flavors coming through too. Very solid flavor, with just the right amount of malts offering sweetness and balance.

M: Medium bodied, carbonation a little softer than average, creamy, lightly dry and sticky.

O: It's incredible that such a great beer is so widely available and affordable; something that I look forward to every year.

AwYeh, Dec 30, 2013
Photo of lordofthewiens
4.4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a beautiful beer that could be enjoyed all year. It has a nice orange-amber color with a small head and pretty lacing. The smell is predominately spicy. . It has a great spicy taste, and is also fairly hoppy. I think the bottled version is more hoppy than the one on tap. Either way, a great beer that can be enjoyed any time. It is 6.9% ABV, so be a litle careful.

lordofthewiens, Jan 08, 2006
Photo of Chlsyhawkins
4.4/5  rDev +5.8%

Chlsyhawkins, Aug 22, 2014
Photo of kingjames1
4.4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Wow. This is beautiful. Pours a deep orange-amber (the color of honey) with a solid, thick off-white head. Smells of bitter grapefruit rine, pine needles, and spice. MMM. The taste is wonderfully complex, and the thick and sweet malts present stronger as the drink warms. A wonderful beer that simply gets better with each sip. Great to sip slowly and really appreciate, or refreshing to drink relatively quickly as one would a standard IPA such as Harpoon. This may be my favorite IPA, and one of my favorite seasonal offerings. Fantastic. I'm buying up as many as I can before they leave us until next year.

kingjames1, Feb 14, 2006
Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 7,821 ratings.