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Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale - Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Sierra Nevada Celebration AleSierra Nevada Celebration Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

3,356 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 3,356
Hads: 9,638
Avg: 4.15
pDev: 19.76%
Wants: 345
Gots: 1,500 | 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
Reviews: 3,356 | Hads: 9,638
Photo of Khad
4.46/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

What we have here is something pretty special. Celebration Ale is a unique IPA with hops, hops and more hops. I poured this from a bottle into a pint glass. Wonderful appearance with a head that sticks around and provides excellent lacing. To the nose you get plenty of hops, there is no mistaking you are about to consume one of the great American IPAs. While the hops overpowers the scent the taste is loaded with yes....of course hops but you'll also pick up a lot of pine, small amounts of citrus and yes more hops. This IPA works great for the holidays as this might be a bit much for the warmer part of the year.

To sum it up, this is a very very complex beer with layers of flavor but not much balance...but it works here. Definitely not for the faint of heart but for the true enthusiast, Celebration Ale is a world class brew and a real treat!

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Photo of scaaven
4.8/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I'm not a seasoned beer connoisseur, but I must say, this beer is excellent. It's a little hard to track down, but I knew Liquor Mart in Boulder, CO would have it... they have everything. This is the 2004 brew, and there are so many spices and nuances, your senses are provided with quality stimuli. Beer was purchased at 6.99 a six pack, and judging by the review on this site, i was happy to pay. I think Sierra nevada has a tendancy to have more carbonation than neccesary, but I thought this beer had a nice compromise. Poured a deep red/brown color. Looks like some yeast still remain, so not quite filtered as it's Pale Ale brother. It's more filling than Pale ale I can tell you that much. The taste was very complex and I felt the holiday "spirits" immediatly. I'm not experienced enough to know what specific ingredients and what processes produce a specific taste, but I can say that Celebration Ale tastes like an evening in a cabin during the dead of winter with the fire blazing and you snuggled up under a warm semi-stiff blanket. For being a 6.8% beer, you hardly taste the alcohol. Some beers rely on that alcohol taste to "flavor" the beer, but not this one. They've taken quality ingredients to almost exactly compliment any alcohol. Thanks Sierra Nevada for a quality brew!

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Photo of OSUbrewman
4.07/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A very hoppy offering from Sierra Nevada just in time for the holiday season! A dark copper with a sizable head (2 fingers), the flowery hops were extremely pleasant in the nose. Also detectable was pumpkin and cinnamon. Nice hops balance in the taste, with some hints of honey and ginger. A fine and quite drinkable AIPA for a seasonal offering. I will come back to this brew several more times before the end of the season.

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Photo of beercat11
3.53/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Picked up a 12 pack of this years batch. I have enjoyed this beer for many years but I must say that last year and this years version are not up to par as in previous years. Not sure why but the flavors are off from what I remember. Its still good as most brews from SN but too close to some of their other offerings such as the Pale Ale and Torpedo. It just doesn't stand out like it used to. The hop bitterness is there but it seems as though they are using different flavoring hops then they used to. My friends have also noticed this. Maybe SN is getting too big and loosing touch with the importance of consistency.

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Photo of xpatriate
4.35/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured into 20oz. pint glass hazy burnt orange with beautiful head and smell.pretty carbonated.tastes amazing.i could get carried away and drink these all night.total package with the look,smell,and taste!
my limit a night is 2 beers.recently i have been having an anchor christmas and then a celebration in that order.last two nights i did the reverse and drank celebration first,then the anchor.much better to my palette in that order.
happy holidays indeed!!!

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Photo of Black7Blue
4.15/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - beautiful Amber color and a small, but appetizing head.

Smell - Very aromatic. Not too strong, but light and fresh

Taste - Very original taste. Good classic IPA taste, good out of bottle, but great from the tap.

Mouthfeel - Very nice actually. Most IPAs tend to dry my mouth out, but the Celebration Ale leaves my mouth wanting more.

Drinkability - It's a great beer to enjoy, but you don't want to overload on it. It's the holiday treat we all wait for. Try it any where you can find it, you won't be dissapaointed.

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Photo of charlieos
3.68/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I was really excited to try this, expecting it to be much heftier and spiced. Frankly, it tastes like SN Pale Ale with a bit of pumpkin spice at the end. Maybe I've been spoiled by darker, sweeter, heftier beers, but I was really disappointed here.

Its a tasty session beer for not too much money. Its vaguely spicy, and is (as SN Pale Ale is) a well balanced IPA.

It is not going to change your life or make you think.

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Photo of coldwarkid
4.22/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

appearance: 12 oz bottle into a nonic pint. Pours a mildly hazy, light caramel colour with golden edges when held up to the light. Moderate pour yields a one inch, creamy, beige head that settles to a decent cap. Leaves nice rings of lace throughout the entirety of the glass as I'm drinking.

smell: pineapple, mango, tangerine, brown sugar coated grapefruit rind - papaya as it warms up! Very impressive dry-hopping. I never would have thought that Centennial and Cascade hops could yield this complex of a bouquet. All very lovely aromas - in fact, probably my favorites, although they aren't too pungent and in your face as other IPAs i have tasted.

taste: Piney with orange wedge and grapefruit pith hop goodness! Not over the top hoppy, but just right for a session IPA. A slightly sweet brown sugar malt character peeks its head in the finish (thanks to some caramel malt), followed by a bitter orangey hop aftertaste, which lingers on just like any other good IPA.

mouthfeel: medium-thin bodied, with prickly carbonation. I would have appreciated a little more body to the beer, but a subtly complex and flavorful session IPA isn't beyond me!

drinkability: A solid session IPA that displays a very delicious hop aroma and taste, along with a little sweetness to carry the hop flavors forward. This is the kind of beer that I've come to expect with Sierra Nevada regular and seasonal offerings: solid, true to style beers that are sure to please but perhaps not to amaze and astound (although I've yet to try Bigfoot).

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

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass. 2009 release.

Appearance: Has a rich amber color. Produced a thick, fluffy head that stayed for a long time. Looks like the beer has a good amount of carbonation.

Smell: One whiff of this lets you know it was brewed by Sierra Nevada. Lots of Cascade hops and that signature yeast scent, all of which I like.

Taste: The hops are very prominent. A good amount of bitterness is present throughout a sip, with an resiny finish. It has a nice malt profile, but the hops are the main focus. Nice!

Mouthfeel: Overall...pretty good. This beer feels pretty thick, but there's nothing wrong with that. That carbonation is just about perfect for this style.

Drinkability: I could easily put a few of these away on one session, but I don't plan on it. The thickness of this beer would start to be noticed after a couple. I could see the 6.8 ABV creeping up on me as well.

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Photo of beerman1
4.08/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear amber brown color with a two finger white head that lasts a bit and form nice lacing on the glass. Aroma of caramel malts, citrus, spice and floral hop. The taste has nice malt sweetness in the back ground with a grapefruit citrus hop that is very pronounced balancing it out. Has a lingering bitterness and a dry finish.

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Photo of AJPainter
4.45/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance is a nice golden/amber/orange with a nice white head. Head dissipates fairly quickly leaving lacing on the sides of the glass.

Smells like a citrus forest. Hops, grapefruit, pine, with a little malt somewhere in there...

Tastes like hops and malt. And hops. And it's good. Nice carbonation/mouthfeel, too.

I could drink this all night, but unfortunately, this is my last of the season. Must buy again!

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Photo of BusyNinja
4.33/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

After all the Celebration bashing, my expectations were low. Yes, it does taste different - a bit more balanced, a little less in your face with the hops. But I really, really like this beer. It had plenty of hops for us hop heads, but I don't think it would over power the casual, non-geek. It poured gorgeously into the glass, with a beautiful head and just the right amount of lace all the way down. It was just plain hard to stop drinking after one bottle, something that I hope won't happen again. Go out, buy it, and enjoy a very pleasant, but not paradigm shifting, brew.

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Photo of haver
4.05/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Just picked this up (5/21/09) on clearance for under $5.00 a six. It is out of date and I didn't car because I wanted to see if the flavor changed with age. Wow this Beer changed. The hop flavor went way down and the malt and spice went up. If you tried this beer a few months ago and see this on sale get it and see what I mean. I loved this when It came out and drank a lot of it. Before it was a rich IPA. This is now a different beer. The hops were hiding the malt and spices before and now they have come to play.

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Photo of ardmoreryan
4.31/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Copper color with an off-white, rocky head, lacing the glass as the beer goes down. The head stayed solid for about 5 minutes; after that, it became rocky and dissipated quickly.

Tastes like a stronger Pale Ale with an oily pine scent followed by a nearly overwhelming hops-grapefruit flavor behind. No one does hops nearly as well as Sierra.

As far as drinkability, the Ale goes down similarly to Pale Ale. However, despite the higher alcohol content, there is an easiness to it. The hops don't stick to the back of the tongue in the same way that they do in IPAs and other APAs.

All in all, a remarkable example of American "craft" brewing with hops!

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Photo of cowens22
4.33/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2008 bottle into a pint glass.
Pours amber with 1 finger off white head that lingers around at about half a finger for the remainder of the drink. Nice lacing all of the way down the glass.

Mildly spicy hops aroma with some subtle citrusy notes underneath the hops.

Tastes of bitter hops up front and more hops to follow. No overbearing alcohol taste. Excellent feel over the pallet.

This beer is one of my all time favorites. I am a hop-head and this fills my need for hops. Sierra Nevada does a great job with this brew year in and year out. Highly recommended to all hop-heads.

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Photo of hayes31
4.55/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured on tap into a pint glass.

When I stumbled upon this beer for the first time I was a little drunk, so I attributed the great taste to that. However, I had it sober, and it was still amazing. I was so surprised at how drinkable this beer was. A great hop taste, and it virtually dances across your tongue and tingles. It's drinkable like a BMC but it has so much flavor to it it's almost hard to take it all in.

A great overall beer that I will drink again and again.

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Photo of Beasticles
4.8/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. 2 finger lacy head that stays with you for much of the duration of the beer. Reddish amber color and solid hoppy and and sweet aroma. Hops hit the buds first, followed by a smooth change over into a citrus spice and sweeter finish. Great brew. Had it on tap last year a couple times and it is better from the bottle.

Don't let the label fool you, this ale is appropriate for any time of the year. Seasonal only, so store up your nuts for the summer.

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Photo of NICKV1117
4.3/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

One of my favorite seasonal offerings from Sierra Nevada (or any other brew maker for that matter).

Pours a beautiful amber, clear with a decent amount of carbonation. Put a nose on it and you smell that deep pine and citrus that we have come to know from West Coast I P A. Sweet, but not too floral. The taste is similar to their fantastic Torpedo, yet with a bit more spice.

All in all, it truly compliments the joys of the season. A winner.

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Photo of Smr7626
4.75/5  rDev +14.5%

This is one of my favorite beers. I can't rate it a 5, because that should be reserved for Zombie Dust and Flower Power, but it is damn tasty. I am about to embark on a Xmas beer taste test and I have this one lined up against Avery, Deschutes, Great Lakes, Southern Tier and will grab one more to make six.
But...I have had this over the years and it is absolutely fabulous. Why? Dark Copper Pour, tastes is consistent in draft and bottles which is something to be commended on, great hop smell but also notes of spice, full bodied happiness but with a clean finish, and just the right amount of APV. This is not an ordinary IPA, but symbolic with the colder weather and holidays. I had a few left over and had over the summer, and while the beer held up, it is not a good fit with hot humid summer days. Save this tasty beverage for the season it was meant to commemorate.

I am not a professional reviewer, and do not really know how to express how something tastes like so many of the excellent reviewers here. I will say once you savor the pour, the smell and that first taste you will know you are embarking on something special. The body is full, but not too full, the hop characteristics reek of freshness but the beer is also balanced. It is a big beer...meaning after about 3-4 it is time to move on. But, man oh man, this is good stuff. The best beer Sierra makes. I love it.

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Photo of mceinsb
4.75/5  rDev +14.5%

A truly great beer from one of the big guys in the business. For me, it is the hop/malt balance that makes this beer so special. Even with all the other excellent IPAs on the market, I look forward to Celebration every year.

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Photo of Thelonious_Mahler_Crate
4.68/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance: It's a nice darker amber that lets just enough light through to see how cloudy it is. Surprisingly little head on this, with a moderate pour. The next one will get poured more aggressively... Lacing on this one is thick and refuses to disappear.

Smell: Sharp, citrusy, piney hops. Nice.

Taste: I think I've died. This must be the afterlife. As echoed by many others here, this one isn't very balanced, but great nonetheless. The hops cut through everything else, but a spicy maltiness is present as well as some grapefruit citrus. Adult candy.

Mouthfeel: Medium-heavy body with a smoothness that's top-notch.

Overall: Wow... I've seen this beer hyped in the forum so I had to try it. No disappointment here. It might be in my top three favorites now. I'll have to see how I feel after the next five of them. My guess is fantastic. (Note: I am a hophead. If you are not, you won't like it as much.) Getcha some!

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Photo of greebz
4.7/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is one of the beers that I actually seek out to buy every year. Unfortunately it's not readily available here on the east coast. Once again this yrs version did not disappoint if you like this type of ale. Nice copper color with decent head that leaves a nice lace on the glass. Slightly bitter, this is not the type of beer that you chug nor do have several at a sitting. Also it help to pair with the right food - spicy work well. I've never seen this on tap but would certainly love to find it, let me know if anyone knows where in the Boston area!

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Photo of carlosd74
4.85/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I had this on-tap at the Grey Lodge. Thanks to Scoats for the email alerting me to its tapping.

I do not have much to add to what has already been said about the 2006/2007 offering because most of what was said in the last few weeks (in reviews below) accurately describes the A-S-T-M & D. I wanted to add that this year's is better than last years because the hops did not hit me as overly "bitter".

I am not sure what makes this a holiday ale besides the timing of its release as it does not contain the spices found in the likes of a christmas /plum pudding.

I feel this should be offered year round because it is hands down my favorite IPA period! It is an exaple of perfection in a glass/keg and more brewers should aim for such high standards. It is hoppy yet never astringent like what you get in EVERY damn DIPA. The alcohol is very well hidden (so beware). It goes down so easy it is sickening.

I do not review many beers. I do not heap praise on many things but this beer is so balanced and really puts the "Craft" in Craft brews. Oh, to those who rated this ale below a 3.5 - You should get your head examined and go back to your Yuengling Lagers.


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Photo of EVLguy
4.27/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I really don't understand why a brewery would only release this beer once a year, and over winter for that matter as this tastes like the perfect hot weather IPA. Anyway, onto the review.

Appearance: a dark brownish orange and clear. The head was about one finger or more after pouring and slowly turned to a thin white cap of suds.

Smell: Piney, and even slightly earthy hops. It exhibits a depth of aroma not usually present in IPAs. Unfortunately it's too faint to really pick up on, still, it is kind of alluring.

Taste: That's good hops, crisp and bitter, but not overpowering. After a few sips of this you'll hardly notice a sting from the hops. Flavors of pine and even citrus are there, but to be honest distinct flavors aren't what makes this beer great. It's way you want to pick it up again for another quick sip.

Mouthfeel: The body is a little light, but overall it's very well balanced. Medium carbonation and acidity.

Drinikability: Refer to the last sentence of my 'Taste' comment.

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Photo of devildog1633310
4.3/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A hint of pine carmal hoppiness rushes over your scenes at the first whiff over the bottle. The pour is light with very little head. The calm brown color makes up for the lack of head. It has a classic winter brew taste with a heavier alcohol content which hits the pallet quickly. I found after the second or third sip the carbination was a bit high.

In closing I honestly believe that 06' has something missing from the 04' & 05' brews. I must be honest and say I don't know what's missing.

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Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 3,356 ratings.