Dismiss Notice
Save $5 when you subscribe to 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine and select auto-renew.

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join Our Email List →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.
Dismiss Notice

Pre-order your Respect Beer "Hipster" Hoodie today!

Plus: Free shipping (US only) on orders of $25 or more until 12/18/15. Just select "Free Shipping" at checkout.

Shop now →

Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale - Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Sierra Nevada Celebration AleSierra Nevada Celebration Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

3,345 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 3,345
Hads: 9,585
Avg: 4.15
pDev: 19.76%
Wants: 344
Gots: 1,452 | 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:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 11-02-2001

Fresh Hop Ale; no spices.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale Alström Bros
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 3,345 | Hads: 9,585
Photo of rjd722
4.24/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

What a classic. Pours a beautiful deep reddish-amber with a slightly tan rocky foam head. The aroma is light biscuit, floral and slight citrus hops accompanied by pine. The flavor is somewhat malty upfront, but quickly yields to the robust hoppy bitterness you would expect from a longstanding IPA favorite. There is a pleasant level of spiciness throughout, it's just right for this variety of seasonal beer - definitely not overdone. The bitterness from the hops lingers for a while, but doesn't make this beer any less drinkable; nice carbonation and very smooth.

 566 characters

Photo of Tee76
3.56/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

As far as an IPA goes this is exceptional. Great lacing, great taste, very drinkable. My only complaint is its marketed and sold as a winter beer. There's nothing "Christmas" or winter about this brew. Sierra Nevada should sell it year round. I could easily drink this on hot day.

 280 characters

Photo of rand
4.1/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Just picked up a couple of 6 packs of fresh, 2015 vintage, and realized I hadn't reviewed this. 12 oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

A: Clear, amber appearance, with a small, fluffy head. A couple rings of lacing are left after a few sips.

S: Hop-forward nose with a citrusy, floral bouquet. I just went through a lot of fresh-hop brews from the September harvest, adn this smells very similar.

T: The hop essence defines the flavors but it's floral, grassy and nuanced rather than bitter. NOtes of green apple and citrus rind are countered by honeyed biscuits and toasty grains. There is some bitterness toward the back of the sip, joining a touch of warming alcohol. Closes with a medium finish, with lingering bitter residuals.

M: Medium-light complexion with an oily slick mouthfeel.

There's good reason everyone clamors over this brew this time of year. It seems all of the fresh hop IPA's available have only made this more popular. Get it while you can.

 986 characters

Photo of BrewUSA
4.36/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Sierra Nevada Celebration

Look 9/10
Smell 18/20
Taste 36/40
Feel 10/10
Drinkability 20/20

Overall 93/100

 174 characters

Photo of Whiteturtle
4.14/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottled 10/02/15... consumed on 11/23/15. Wishing I got to try this a week or two after it was bottled, but wishes don't always come true.

Pours a nice transparent orangey-ambery colour. About a full finger head (pointer finger, not pinky). Some decent lacing building on the sides just from the head, haven't even moved the glass yet. **About halfway through the beer and there is still a misty foamy .0001 inch head on top. I love it when beers can pull this off. Ive noticed some of Sierra Nevada and Deschutes beers having this ability.

The nostrils pick up grapefruit, orange, pine, apricot, plus a wash of sugary malty goodness. There's actually not a strong aroma accompanying this ale, but I concede that this could be due to the style (fresh hop) and the time spent in the bottle.

First couple of sips are met with a lemon zest and grapefruit blockade. I know grapefruit is probably the most overused describer of IPA's.. but it is front and center for this celebration. With warmth, I start picking up a some caramel, some buttery biscuits, beechwood, and anise.

I love the body and mouth-feel that is the result of whole cone hoppage. It's like every nook and cranny inside my happy little cheeks (you know I mean face cheeks...come on guys) get the creamy yet bittery goodness. Landing on a 6.8% abv, it's a little stiff for me and needlessly heats up a would be remarkable feel.

I have had this beer for the past several years, but this is my first time reviewing it. Like I mentioned earlier, this review is from a beer that is almost two months old. While that may not be a big deal for most styles, I believe it does affect a fresh hop ale. It was still really really good. Celebration is one of the most accessible and well rounded fresh hops you can get. I wouldn't have minded the alcohol being tuned down just a tad. Otherwise: celebrate hops, celebrate tradition, and celebrate good beer.

Happy Holidays

 1,936 characters

Photo of BigDaddyWarbuxx
3.83/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

An IPA that focuses on bitterness, first and foremost. Definitely not for the uninitiated, this is an IPA that packs a punch in flavor and dominates the palate.

 160 characters

Photo of tempo013
4.06/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I would purchase this again. Very good ipa. A bit more spicy than other ipas. Drank from a 12 ounce bottle while watching a lifetime movie with the wife.

 156 characters

Photo of MacMalt
4.29/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into IPA glass. The color is a lovely honey-orange with a thick, two-finger, creamy milk-colored head and thick lacing that did not dissipate. It's a beautiful pour. The smell features pine and floral hops; not a lot of citrus. The taste follows the nose: bitter, piney, with light citrus, and subtle malty sweetness at the finish. This is a light, crisp, refreshing ale and very drinkable at 6.8% ABV. This is a great ale to enjoy outdoors, at a sporting event or with a nice meal. It is ideal for tailgating! Another excellent offering from Sierra Nevada.

 573 characters

Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
4.24/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

On draft at Olympic. Served in pint glass. keg tapped yesterday. Glad to finally try this. Nice flavorful hops that aren't very bitter. Well done beer by Sierra Nevada.

 169 characters

Photo of bobstockwell
4.24/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

great seasonal treat. Dark for an IPA. Really nice balance between malty backbone and piney/citrus of hops.

Very good beer, great beer for the price. $12.99/12pk

 165 characters

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

This is a different take on the normal traditional holiday Christmas ale that we see all the time nowadays. It's simply a fresh hop IPA brewed seasonally for he holidays and it really is a good brew for the season, but it doesn't have the spices, cinnamon, nutmeg, etc. that most Christmas ales have. It's refreshing but also a beer you could enjoy in the cold winter and savor the flavor of the fresh hops, the first hops of the season to be exact! It's worth checking out if you come across it, but not something I would bend over backwards to find.

 551 characters

Photo of mirp1
4.48/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Celebration Ale is one of the first holiday beers ever released in the U.S. I first had it many years ago, and was blown away by it's classy simplicity. It struck me as an in-your-face, rock solid craft beer, having no intentions on faking anyone out. I looked forward to it's annual November release, and not just for the quality of the beer, but also for the striking holiday-winter theme packaging. Like many reviewers, I have had all kinds of beer over the years, from EKU 28, to Scaldis, to Heady Topper, Pliny the Elder, Ghandi Bot, Hi Res, KBS, Bourbon County Stout/Barley Wine, Bells Hop Slam/Mars, Seeking Alpha, Flower Power, Creeker, etc, etc. Consequently, my palate is conditioned to not be as impressed as I was with the more regular craft beers of the world. When I was told last week that Celebration Ale was now in stock at local beer stores here in Utica, NY, I quickly went out and grabbed some. Modern holiday beers have become spice crazy, and so have jumped the shark. Celebration Ale is that rock solid holiday craft beer that never sold out. Great color, malty, crisp, with cascade, centennial, and chinook. Nuff said.

 1,147 characters

Photo of Tonyjenlasc
3.81/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Look - Amber color, somewhat opaque in appearance
Smell - Floral, piney, earthy
Taste - Pine, floral, spice, earthy, some malt sweetness, very slight hints of citrus

Overall - Tastes like a hopped up SNPA to me. Nothing outstanding about this beer to be honest. Easy drinking but not mind blowing in any way.

 311 characters

Photo of ckornmannn
4.58/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From a bottle: deep amber color, transparent, dense head of foam. The smell is amazing; lots of citrusy hops. It is balanced by some malt on the aftertaste. This is a different take on a winter beer, as it is essentially an IPA, but one of the best IPA I have had.

 268 characters

Photo of mothmanscott
4.34/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours an opaque amber, with lots of pale particulates swimming about, producing 2+ fingers of tan, frothy, lasting head that leaves a nice coating of clumpy, webby lacing. Aroma is biscuit, light toast & caramel malt balanced with leafy/floral, pine & citrus hoppiness. Taste is similar but sweeter & more intense with bready & toasted caramel malts imparting a toffee sweetness that is dominant over the orange, pine & black tea like notes of the hops which lasts beyond mid-sip but finishing with a nice full bodied balance of malt & pine/citrus hoppy bitter-sweetness which rockets forward aggressively to become a very bitter aftertaste. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with moderate carbonation, slick, with a minor prickle, light dryness & slight astringency.

 760 characters

Photo of chuckpalka
3.55/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Just picked up one in Chicago
L: Poured in a Goblet a medium copper with a very light tan foamy head that settled some but never went away.
S: Pleasing moderate smell of a easy mix of pine and grapefruit.
T: Slightly bitter as expected but not overboard. Maybe just a little more than I care for.
F: A soft mouth feel and dry aftertaste and a empty glass with plenty of lace.

A good beer as expected from Sierra Nevada.

 423 characters

Photo of JJKBeerLvr
3.93/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into pint glass in November 2015. Nice that it is dated. Drank about 1 month after "Packaged" date.

Appearance: Deep amber with tan head. Beer is clear and not cloudy. Head is thick, and leaves a nice film on the glass.

Smell: Aroma filled with a strong hops aroma, and includes citrus and pine smells.

Taste: There is a noticeable hops flavor, as expected from an IPA. There is good bite from the hops along with other flavors like citrus. There is not much sweetness from the malts. The aftertaste provides a variety of flavors over time.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied. Soft alcohol.

This is a smooth medium-bodied beer. It is an interesting example of an IPA, and I would drink this again.

 716 characters

Photo of OldManMetal
4.19/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This winter seasonal is an attractive beer, if on the dark end of the range for an IPA: a clear, deep amber body capped by a giant (but brief-lived) pillowy off-white head that leaves huge slabs and clouds of lacing everywhere it touches. The aroma is moderate in intensity: fermented pineapple over a nice blend of pine and dark florals, with more subdued caramelly malt notes. The flavor is a bit more strongly expressed, but still pretty modest for the style: moderately bitter pine, pineapple and spicy citrus over a very apparent, slightly caramel bready malt foundation. The finish is hoppy: pine and floral notes, followed by the onset of a very bitter, amazingly resinous clinging piney bitterness that coats the tongue and the roof of the mouth, lingering for a good while. The mouthfeel is biggish for the body, and the texture is moderately creamy and faintly peppery from the soft-for-style carbonation. The prominent malt character and the intense resinous bitterness provide some very nice dynamic tension, making this an interesting beer and one to look forward to. (12 oz bottle, 44 days after pkg)

 1,114 characters

Photo of Kubishark
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A fantastically solid IPA. Pours a coppery color, smells hoppy and piney. Tastes like a mix of pine and citrus, with a good dose malts thrown in. 2015 is the first year I had this, and for some reason I was expecting it to taste more "Christmassy," but the fact that it doesn't taste that way is actually probably for the better. Medium bodied and overall one of my favorite IPAs I've had. Actually now that I think about it, this may be the best score I've given to an IPA up to this point in my BeerAdvocate career.

 517 characters

Photo of drew42e
4.24/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours amber and is fairly dark for an IPA these days. Aroma is not terribly strong but getting some grapefruit and pine. Not sure why but expected this to be a lot maltier, this has strong grapefruit/citrus flavor and very balance malts. Slight bitterness on finish, fresh hops noticeable. This is a very nice beer and while i was expecting more of a spicy holiday ale this is an IPA I will look forward to drinking and seek out. One of my favorites from Sierra

 466 characters

Photo of aobrehm
4.23/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Poured from 12 oz bottle into chalice.

L- Thick, moussy off white head that is very well-retained. Rich copper red color with brilliant clarity.

S- Hop-forward aroma with juicy fresh hop aromatics. Aroma develops fruity and caramel complexity as the beer warms.

T- Balanced flavor profile. Great depth of hop character with notes of citrus, pine, tropical fruit, and some resin. Assertive bitterness is well balanced by bread and caramel malt backbone.

F- Full bodied for an IPA with a crisp dry finish. Carbonation is substantial.

O- This year's Celebration may be my favorite yet. Great hop character superbly balanced with other ingredients.

 649 characters

Photo of Gajo74
4.11/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Look- pours a copper and amber color; darker than your typical IPA. Modest head and an interesting lace that starts off as thin and ring like and then patchy and frothy as you move along.
Smell- clean at first, then, a big biscuity malt aroma takes over. As the drink warms, I detect orchard fruits as well as some mango. Further still, there is some alcohol.
Taste- hoppy but not overwhelming with a dry resiny finish. Bready malt backbone.
Feel-crisp and medium bodied. Quite drinkable.
I enjoyed this one.

 509 characters

Photo of MACrist
4.72/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Bottle dated 10/09/15 from 12 pack.

LOOKS: Hazy, red amber. Small, slow streaming bubbles rising. Tan head that sits like whip cream on top and lasts forever. Great lacing you expect with most SN beers.

AROMA: Pine is the main scent. Citrus is there, orange, grapefruit, lemon.

TASTE: Grapefruit, lemon, pine. Balanced sweetness and bitterness throughout gulp. Finishes with a pleasant bitterness.
MOUTHFEEL: Nice carbonation brings out flavors. Medium body, dry and refreshing.
Really nice IPA, first time having it. Similar to Flipside Red IPA. Can't go wrong with this, Torpedo, or Flipside.
Will be back for more.

 620 characters

Photo of Wer34truh
4.07/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark amber color, with a one-finger head which retains quite well - especially on the sides. Moderate-to-low carbonation.

The nose is dominated by a lot of citrusy pine-flavors. Smell is clear and striking, but not necessarily bombastic.

Piney hops dominate the taste, with the citrus making an appearance in the aftertaste. As with the smell, the taste is characterized by balance.

As with most Sierra Nevada brews, it is the price point which really makes this a great purchase. I would be willing to pay a lot more for a six-pack worth of this than its $8 price tag. Just like Torpedo IPA, this is a rock-solid beer for any price point - while potentially being one of the best beer-for-buck options on the market.

 721 characters

Photo of pinyin
3.98/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Celebration 2015 bottled on October 30th.

Served 38F into a 16 ounce goblet.

Color is probably the best feature of this ale. Dark bronze, with little to no translucence. Typical Sierra Nevada carbonation.

Smell is very fresh and clean, but not a huge aroma here. I understand that this recipe is almost 40 years old, so I would assume no dry hop schedule used. On the nose I smell some light hop aroma, and a big bready malt scent.

Taste here is good, but nothing earth shattering or breathetaking. Very well balanced and the hops do not outshine the malt backbone. A little on the sugary side.
Not a very big fan of the hops blend used here though.

Mouthfeel is a little bit thin, slightly watery and doesn't quite match the color.

Overall this is a very solid ale in terms of balance and freshness. I get that it is the original hop season harvest Ale that every other brewery seemed to copy. I just don't seem to have the same level of nostalgia for it that many others here do.

 988 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 3,345 ratings.