Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale - Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Sierra Nevada Celebration AleSierra Nevada Celebration Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
93
outstanding

3,288 Reviews
THE BROS
97
world-class

(Read More)
Reviews: 3,288
Hads: 9,387
rAvg: 4.15
pDev: 9.88%
Wants: 311
Gots: 1,293 | 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: 3,288 | Hads: 9,387
Photo of Sammy
4.08/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

2000 edition, scooped at Route 59 Liquor in Monsey, NY. 5 year IPA that still rocked. More like a top Belgian, still well hopped with spicey yeast and barley and grapefruit hop, tastes up front, followed by honey and then bitter finish. Drying. Copper with sizzling white head, lace. Rich full mouthfeel.This is the rating.
2007 edition, still a very good IPA with citrus, above average carbonation, and lacing grooming the glass. Very drinkable, but the 2000 was an award winner. (480 characters)

Photo of t0rin0
4.53/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Update: I should probably reveiw this new as that's how most people are going to be drinking it. Appearance and body are the same but the hop flavors and aromas are mostly floral with plenty of pine and woodiness. It can be a very nice beer if you drink it within the first month or so from bottling but it can turn into something fun after a few years. It oxidizes in a nice way.

***

I recently aquired bottles from a number of different years. These include 2006, 2005, 2002, 1999, and 1990. I tried them all this month (August 2007). Believe it or not the bottle from 1990 (almost 17 years old now) was still quite good. It seems to have mellowed more than the 1999 bottle though.

The appearance is as it has always been, a reddish color with a bit of brown in there. Nice color.

The fresher years smell spicy and hoppy but the older they get the sweeter and less hopy they smell. Not necesarily a bad thing, just the malt coming out.

Fresh celebration ale is fairly bitter. It has a very dry aftertaste. The flavor is malty but that is overpowered by the hop flavor, which is not a bad thing. The older they get the more chocolatey and sweet they taste. Its unfortunate that I couldn't try some more years between 1990 and 1999 because the 1999 seems to be the best that ive tried whereas the 1990 seems to have lost a bit of flavor and is most certainly over the hill. If I get to try some more years I'll update this post.

Mouthfeel was the same for all years. Very smooth and thin. That seems to be a characteristic of Sierra Nevada beers.

Drinkability is a tough one to describe. Judge for yourself based on the flavors that ive described.

Overall this is one of my favorite beers of all time (out of the 460 or so that ive tried) (1,747 characters)

Photo of spycow
4.52/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Celebration Ale
Poured into a Nonic glass from the 12oz bottle

A - Poured an amber-light brown color with small but constant head. It coats the glass nicely when drinking.

S - Smell of a good hoppy beer. Chinook hops are noticeable with a smoky, strong yet pleasant smell with a light floral character.

T - Can taste the use of the various hops typical of a good IPA. IPA's are one of favorite styles. I love the bitter but not overwhelming flavor that leaves an aftertaste that lasts for minutes after. Even though slightly strong you can't taste the alcohol.

M - It has a great feel in the mouth. I like how it coats your mouth for an IPA leaving you wanting more.

D - Extremely drinkable and excellent example of an american IPA. One of those you can sit down and drink several wanting more.

A great example of an american ale that is worth spending the extra dollars for. It is always a staple for me during the holiday season. (937 characters)

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.72/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2009 edition.

A - Pours a hazy light orange color with a 1 inch white head that fades to a small cap. There is slight ring lacing going on.

S - Smells of citrus and pine hops with a sweet fruit undertone.

T - Tastes of bitter citrus zest/pine hops up front with a slight malt aftertaste. There is a lingering bitterness on the tongue from the hops.

M - Good carbonation makes for a smooth drinking experience.

D - This is a pretty good beer that I will buy again to try each year it comes out. I got this bottle from a Winter sampler pack on clearance and I am glad I got to try the 2009 brew. (598 characters)

Photo of GRG1313
3.65/5  rDev -12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark amber color with a thick white firm lasting head.

Nose is very yeasty, assertive and pleasant; nice bread nose character.

Flavors are strong citrus/pine hops with a little malt. Nice hints of pine. Pleasant and drinkable, although very predictable.

Long bitter hop finish. (291 characters)

Photo of kylehay2004
4.23/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

3 finger frothy off white head with excellent retention and lacing. Body is cloudy and golden with amber/crimson hues. Nice sweet citrus aroma with subtle floral notes. Flavor is mostly pine and woody hops, a little bitter with a subtly citrus sweet finish. Medium body and moderate carbonation. Overall a nice complexly hopped ale. Becomes more drinkable throughout the expierience, excellent (393 characters)

Photo of metter98
4.2/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The beer is hazy light amber in color and poured with a two finger high off white head that slowly died down but consistently left a thin layer of bubbles covering the surface. A light amount of carbonation is visible along with some particles floating in suspension.
S: There are moderate aromas of grapefruit and pine resin hops in the nose.
T: Similar to the smell, the hops contribute lots of citrus flavors to the overall taste along with a mild to moderate amount of bitterness, yet they do not overpower the taste because they are well balanced by the underlying malts.
M: It feels medium-bodied and very crisp on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
D: If the alcohol content was a little lower, this beer could be considered as sessionable because it is rather easy to drink.

Note: 2010 vintage (820 characters)

Photo of Thorpe429
4.17/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes, though I'm sure J have had this nearly 50 times.

Pours a brownish amber color with a nice white head and that sticky hop type of lacing. Nose brings a good dose of citrus and pine hops plus some caramel and sweet bread. Nice combination of hops and malt for the colder seasons. Drinks quite well and is a staple in our fridge every time it is available. (375 characters)

Photo of brentk56
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a clear amber color with a lovely head that leaves plenty of lacing

Smell: Wonderful citrus orange aroma

Taste: Although this beer is very hoppy, it has a nice caramel malt backbone that supports the citrusy hop flavors; it gives you a nice sweetness up front alongside a long bitter flavor, with a floral aftertaste

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with plenty of carbonation

Drinkability: One of my favorite IPAs, this one has a great hoppy taste and is extremely well-balanced (493 characters)

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.21/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

has a finer looking glass of beer ever been poured? i doubt it! absolutely sensational festive red color with a 2 inch head that resembles the first big pillowy snowfall. smells like whole cone hops, delicate and passive, but confident and obvious. resiny, floral notes hit the nose, with none of the spice warmer stuff the packaging suggests. taste is less than a standard american ipa in terms of hop bitterness, in fact its not bitter at all, but just a good well balanced ale, perfect for any season in my opinion, not just christmas time. a really well crafted beer, with a perfect mouthfeel, medium body and carbonation that lets you taste it all. nice finish as well with one last hop kick. really fresh and delicious. as big as sierra nevada has gotten, its products only continue to get better. great great brew. looking forward to the other 11 bottles left in the box... (880 characters)

Photo of BEERchitect
4.18/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Riding on the heels of recent hop harvests, Sierra Nevada Brewing Company takes advantage with a hop-dominant, yet malty-rich beer that is both hearty enough and zesty enough for a compliment to many winter dishes.

The pour delivers a bright classic amber color with a modest haze. A dance of carbonation fuels a consistent and foamy head that retains as well as beers can and lacing with rings and intermitten patterns throughout. Foam of eggshell color takes on a moussy texture. Could this be the poster child for how IPA's should look? Aside from the richer amber color, I'd say so.

Pungent with citrus and grass, the nose delivers a lush and delicate blend of ruby red grapefruit, pine resin, and floral/flowery notes burried a bit under the malts but come in late in conjunction with sweetly alcohol scent. Spicy and bready, the beer takes on a graham cracker-like aroma that compliment the hops well.

Bread crust flavors of French baguette work with caramel and graham cracker dry/bready yet spicy flavor sets the tone for the malt base, of which provides the springboard for an exquisite display of hop dominance. Sweetness steps aside to allow for sharp, spicy, and vibrant citrus flavor and bitterness delivered by the Cascade hop in such a maner as only Sierra Nevada can deliver. Just shy of sharing the juicy and lush tropical flavors of Centennial, Citra, and Amarillo, this beer's hop profile is nearly ideal. Slightly grassy and vegital because of the leafy residue of whole hop cones, the beer carries a pungent bitterness that compliments the malts as much as it detracts from the crisp hoppiness.

Medium to start, the modestly creamy textures transition to a consistent fade toward a malty/dry mouthfeel just before the finish. Obviously the beer concludes with a long and resiny bitterness with a hoppy dryness that accompanies a minty warming/cooling feel deep into the aftertaste.

A remarkable beer in that it's complex with the malty/hoppy interplay- interesting that such balance and variance in taste can be found in such simple recipe profile. Yet, the beer can be tasted with such ease that it's dangerous at 6.8%. An absolute delight of a beer and a welcome to my drinking rotation each winter. (2,227 characters)

Photo of Knapp85
3.75/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I had picked up 2 bottles of this around the holidays this passed year and was pretty excited to have this again. This beer pours out as a really nice looking Christmasy red color with a tan head on top that settles pretty quickly. The aroma is mostly hops which I like, it makes me want to dive right into this beer. The other aromas are subtle enough that they are almost nonexistent in this one. There is a little bit of spiciness coming through in the nose as well. The taste is just hoppy, I guess there are some malt flavors in the far background of this beer but mostly all hops here. The mouthfeel is medium I'd say. It's a really nice brew though and worth checking out. (679 characters)

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.83/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a clear amber color beer with a nice foamy slightly off-white head with excellent retention. Aroma of citrusy hops is quiet evident as well as an evident caramel malt presence. Taste is a well balance mix between semi-sweet malt and citrusy and bitter hops. Body is fuller the average with a good level of carbonation. Overall, this is well balance IPA that I would love to have access to all year around. (420 characters)

Photo of largadeer
4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Copper-colored, fairly good clarity and with a solid off-white head that retains reasonably well. Looks like beer, so it's successful on that front I suppose.

Smell: Generously hopped and pleasantly citrusy, grapefruit and blood orange come to mind. There's a touch of tobacco in there as well.

Taste & mouthfeel: Very clean and hop-forward. Citrus and tobacco, notes of grapefruit being particularly strong. Fairly light bodied for being near 7%, and perfectly dry for the style, but the hop flavor could use a bit more oomph - it's good, but not enough to make me celebrate. In any case, I'll have no trouble finishing my six pack. (647 characters)

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.35/5  rDev +4.8%
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 (2,569 characters)

Photo of biboergosum
4.03/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, many thanks to DoktorZee for fulfilling a longtime beer want of mine for Christmas 2012.

This beer pours a slightly hazy, medium bronzed amber hue, with three fingers of rocky, chunky off-white head, which leaves some decent fuzzy cogwheel lace around the glass as it slowly sinks away.

It smells of somewhat musty citrus rind and pine tips, lightly toasted bready caramel malt, a touch of toffee, and softly sassy grassy hops. The taste is more orange and grapefruit pithy fruitiness, a wee bit of lemongrass, some leafy spruce resin, and a somewhat overmatched bready, almost crackery malt, the caramel morphing into a echo of lingering expectation.

The carbonation is averagely competent, being all that I want it to be, the body a sturdy, just reconstructed medium weight, and smooth with that tacit acknowledgement of hoppy interlopers. It finishes off-dry, sure, but in a general, brown sugar sense, as the various hoppy notes play on and on and on.

I may have just given off an air of hop fatigue, but that's just not the case. What is true, however, is my weariness of late of brewers who claim an all-satisfying balance in their big-ass bitter offerings, in the hope of worldwide acceptance, I suppose, when nothing of the sort is actually on offer. So, to summarize, this is indeed a pretty stellar IPA, but there's nothing particularly wintery, in terms of malt-upsizing, about it. Glad to have finally made its acquaintance, though, certainly. (1,472 characters)

Photo of emerge077
4.28/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2007

Purrs into a large Spaten mug, really nice deep amber coloration, with 3-4 fingers of foam initially. The head deflates after several minutes, but is ever present. there is a soapy ring of drippy lace hanging around the edge.

Caramel, bready malts in the nose, some vague citrus.

Full bodied, it feels really silky and rich. Not especially harsh, but there is a good deal of hop flavor, more resiny and herbal. The malts seem to have stolen the show, after sitting half a year in the bottle. Toffee, caramel, spicy hop, and citrus rind.

Really balanced, verging on double IPA. Tasty stuff. I'll be looking for the '08 this winter. (642 characters)

Photo of mikesgroove
4.97/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Ahh, the return of an old friend. I await this one to come out every year, and every year pick up a couple cases and have one every night from now until New Years. This years I have to say is fantastic. A big hop presence was added and it really showed. Poured a nice amber, not as dark as years past, but with a very sticky and foamy head on top, this one was here for a while. The smell was obnoxious, it was so sticky and fresh with hop resin, I did not even know what to do. Such a great mix of pine nugget freshness with a little bit of spice mixed in, dare I say perfect. The flavor was nothing short of extraordinary with a deep rich and stick hop profile, it was much better then any I had tried the last few years. Overall this was great and far exceeded last years version. This is a huge hop monster this year and it really needed to be. I am thrilled to see this back around and it is a real treat. Go out and get some, you will not be disappointed. (961 characters)

Photo of zeff80
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours out an orange/amber color with a one-finger head. The head has great retention and left some nice lacing.

S - Smelled of hops and malt.

T - Malty and hoppy. There was also a pine-like taste and it became spicier as it warmed.

M - It was very crisp and light to medium-bodied.

D - It was very good. It lived up to all the hype. (348 characters)

Photo of oberon
4.12/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A nice find in the middle of summer,a 2002 offering.Pours a nice copper clor with light to medium head that has some nice staying power,the aroma is hop zesty with a slight sweet background.The taste is very hoppy and citrus like but there is caramel malt taste that lingers as well.Very well done stays real well. (314 characters)

Photo of womencantsail
4.28/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Just picked up a sixer of the 2009 release. I love this beer, so I had to grab some.

A: SN Celebration pours a hazy amber color. It starts out with about a finger of off-white foam that dies down to a thin layer. There is excellent lacing on the glass.

S: The smell is full of citrus hops and has a fairly big malt backbone. This is not quite as aggressive and powerful as your typical west coast IPA.

T: The flavor is a bit more assertive than the nose. It starts off with a nice dose of citrus and piney hops, and has a nice crisp, bitter finish. There is still a solid malt component to this, beer however.

M: A rather full body for an IPA, with the carbonation is on the light side.

D: This beer is quite drinkable, but hits surprisingly hard for 6.8%. (761 characters)

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.28/5  rDev -21%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance: Clear, deep, dark copper body with a small, white head.

Smell: Fragrant blanket of hops with scents of citrus, soap, and pine overlaying a rudimentary pale maltiness.

Taste: Pale malts with a clean, though transient malt sweetness. Big push by the hops, with flavors of rosin, lemon-scented soap, and grapefruit pith. Moderate bitterness throughout. Oh, but the humble malts fight valiantly to regain some ground, but, sorry, it's game, set, match for the hop bitterness. Slight grassiness. Long, lingering bitterness on the dry finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation. Very light stickiness to the mouthfeel.

Drinkability: A Celebration of brash, simplistic bitterness which, if that's your bag, is fine, but I never ever quite understood all the hoopla for this beer. (798 characters)

Photo of nickfl
4.15/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - 1.5 fingers of slightly off-white head on top of a slightly hazy, copper colored body.

S - Strong resiny, piney hop aroma. Citrus, caramel, some pine... spicy, peppery.

T - Strong hop flavor and bitterness up front. Black pepper and lemon flavors. Slightly roasty caramel. A little bit of alcohol.

M - Medium body and high carbonation.

D - For such a bitter beer this is quite drinkable. There is a good bit of hop flavor and especially aroma, but this one is really all about the bitterness. I am normally a bit cynical when it comes to super bitter beers from the west coast, but this is a classic. The bitterness is overwhelming, but characterfull. This beer pairs magnificently with rare, tuna soft tacos and hot mango salsa. (737 characters)

Photo of TMoney2591
4.15/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a Devil's Backbone willibecher.

It pours a clear straight amber topped by a firm finger of cream foam. The nose comprises a nice level of citrus hops alongside a pleasant bit o' sweet caramel. The taste generally follows, but the hops, which add a bit o' pine to their repertoire here, seem to dominate the caramel, which is no longer as sweet as it once appeared. The new piney-ness lingers on through the aftertaste. The body is pretty light, with a moderate carbonation and a very easygoing feel. A very solid IPA, a credit to its style. (551 characters)

Photo of oline73
4.15/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a standard pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a clear reddish amber with a finger of off white head that fades to a ring around the edge of the glass.

Smell: Sweet malt up front with some citrus hops coming into the fold as you take a whiff. A little bit bready with some citrus fruit notes in there as well.

Taste: The malt and hop balance in this beer is really nice. Just enough bready malt to back up the fresh citrus peel hop flavor. I'm getting more orange peel than grapefruit in this one. The hop bitterness stays with you through the finish.

Mouthfeel: This one is just on the thick side for the style if you ask me. Aggressive carbonation with a slightly dry finish.

Overall: I look forward to cracking one of these open every holiday season. Great balance and hop profile. I'll definitely have more in the future. (850 characters)

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Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 3,288 ratings.