Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale - Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Sierra Nevada Celebration AleSierra Nevada Celebration Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

3,289 Reviews

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Reviews: 3,289
Hads: 9,388
rAvg: 4.15
pDev: 9.64%
Wants: 314
Gots: 1,298 | 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: 3,289 | Hads: 9,388
Photo of superspak
4.1/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle into signature pint glass, bottled on 10/2/2014. Pours slightly hazy deep orange/amber color with a 2 finger dense and rocky off white head with great retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lasts. Nice spotty soapy lacing clings down the glass, with a moderate amount of streaming carbonation retaining the head. Aromas of big grapefruit, tangerine, lemon zest, orange peel, floral, grass, pine, caramel, toasted bread, and floral/grassy earthiness. Damn nice aromas with great balance and complexity of juicy citrus/floral hops and moderate dark/bready malt sweetness; with great strength. Taste of big grapefruit, tangerine, lemon zest, orange peel, floral, grass, pine, caramel, toasted bread, and floral/grassy earthiness. Fair amount of pine/grassy bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of grapefruit, tangerine, lemon zest, orange peel, floral, grass, light pine, caramel, toasted bread, and floral/grassy earthiness on the finish for a while. Damn nice complexity, robustness, and balance of juicy citrus/floral hops and moderate dark/brady malt sweetness; with a great malt/bitterness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a very smooth, crisp, and fairly creamy/sticky mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is well hidden with minimal warming present after the finish. Overall this is an excellent wet hop IPA. All around great complexity and balance of juicy citrus/floral hops and moderate dark/bready malt sweetness; and very smooth and crisp to drink. A very enjoyable offering. (1,561 characters)

Photo of enjambed
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%

Serving: Fridge temp bottle poured into hefe glass (I need a tulip)

Look: Deep, dark copper, that's nearly brown at some points, but still somewhat transparent. Moderate pour produces a big off-white head that settles down, but persists all the way. Lacing is quite high and lingers forever.

Smell: fresh pine, citrus, grapefruit, and floral notes are abundant and dominate the aroma, with bready malts lingering in the background.

Taste: Like biting into a big, juicy grapefruit, and leaves a bit of that 'puckery' feeling in the mouth. Pine is also present. The malts are almost non-existent, but that's okay here. This is a hop showcase and it does it's job well.

Feel: Medium, but leaves a sticky finish. Carbonation is bubbly but not prickly.

Overall: Celebration is a wonderful seasonal IPA and I don't even care if it isn't balanced. (846 characters)

Photo of BltByKrmn
3.75/5  rDev -9.6%

Maybe it's because I've had 2 Space Dust IPAs before trying this, but I don't get the hype. A very average IPA, good but not something I would seek out. (152 characters)

Photo of TBoneJones
4.1/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

I'm glad I actually read the writing on this red 6-pack; I nearly passed it up thinking it was a winter warmer (which I don't usually seek) or something, since hopped beers tend to favor the green colors. Love this brewery's beers, yet never tried/ knew of this. Glad I caught myself.
Pint pour: A very hazy apple cider color, with plenty of active carbonation, a rich-looking body and a fluffy off-white head. Lacing ends up caked along the sides..(and a nice white foamy plate of head stayed while this was completed).
Smells like light pine and citrus hints, but mostly I pick up malts on the nose.
This is nice. Immediately drinkable, this has hops of pine and toasted, biscuiy malts.
Some grapefruit/ spicy mint too. Hop oils. Simple yet superb. It doesn't feel like much carbonation, yet it drinks well and has a medium-bodied feel to it.
If one was looking for an ipa that fits in with the winter/ holiday season, with straight-forward and not overdone hops, and a nicely toasted backbone, this brew will do it. I could see this drinking well from the bottle. Bitter, yet well-rounded overall. Enter winter. (1,119 characters)

Photo of MNishCT77
3.88/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle obtained at a blind Better Beer Authority tasting, don't recall exact bottling date but mid-10/14, poured into a BBA large bottom snifter glass, drank over 30 minutes (180 characters)

Photo of Beerwolf666
4.85/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

I Almost feel like a spokesman for "Sierra Nevada Brewery" man...I can not help it though, IMHO~`it is between them and "Ballast Point" for the single best Brewery in America,I live on the East Coast,[about 5 miles from "Dogfish Head " Brewery] and while we have some very good to almost gr8 Beers here on the east coast,there is something VERY Amazing and almost supernatural about a lot of these West Coast Breweries~we cant touch em with a ten foot cattle prod man...they just kick our ass every way including sideways,it has to be the soil and local grown Hops,the freshness,the taste,the flavor of their IPA's/APA's are just fucking CRAZY! [ya..they kick our ass in weed too..big fucking time!] and @ about 15 bucks a 12ver for almost all their brews....SHIT! how in the hell can they be that fucking good?....[but I am soooo very glad they are!..hehe] cheers! (865 characters)

Photo of SitkaSteve
3.99/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I poured this into a pint glass.
The appearance was a nice looking semi-hazy brown color with a one finger white foamy head that dissipated within about a minute. Light lacing traces around the top and falls nicely.
The smell had a sticky piney ebb and flow of lingering lemon underneath.
The taste was mainly bittersweet, fully combined and it lead to a nice bittersweet aftertaste and a sticky finish.
The mouthfeel sat about a light to medium on the body with a nice crisp sessionability about it. The carbonation seemed good for the style and for me.
Overall, I dig this brew. It was well worth the opportunity to buy for the price, one can't beat it. (655 characters)

Photo of Cory_Brown
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%

This is my first time having this seasonal selection with an enhanced palate. Last year I tried this and thought hmmm... What's all the hype about? But now I get it. This beer is dangerously drinkable for an IPA that clocks in at 6.8%. It's perfectly balanced with malt and hops. I mainly get pine in the taste but it's very pleasant and lingers on the tongue. I think it's the wet hops that keeps your mouth watering and wanting more. This beer is great and I will definitely look forward to it for years to come. (514 characters)

Photo of leantom
4.52/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a change from an earlier review. Tried another bottle and found it to taste better than I had initially thought. Here goes:

A: Looks great. Dark but clear amber with a one-inch head. Plenty of carbonation to boot, too.

S: Very good. Piney, lemon, grass and grapefruit but also some lightly-kilned caramel malt. A good balance of malt and hops.

T: Can taste lots of pine and grass from the hops, and these flavors are backed up by a nice amber malt backbone. Very toasty.

F: Great.

O: This is still a very good beer despite not tasting as good as in recent years. (587 characters)

Photo of pmarlowe
3.83/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

2014 release. Tulip glass.

A: Pours an amber/goldish with a finger of light, fine, soapy head. Very good retention and moderate lacing.

S: Amber and pale malt in the forefront, some mild pine hoppiness, a touch of sweetness.

T: Taste follows the nose, with a bit more of a piney kick to it, and the amber malt in the forefront. Mild to moderate, gripping (but still well integrated) bitterness carries from the middle through the end.

M: Medium body and medium-high, sharp carbonation that serves to accentuate the bitterness.

O: An old school, fairly tasty, but non-traditional IPA. Bitterness is a bit higher than I prefer and hop aromatics a bit lower. A beer that I wouldn’t particularly seek out, but wouldn’t turn down if offered. (752 characters)

Photo of hoagzzz
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%

Just had my first 2014 edition, bottled 10-08. This was my first true craft beer many moons ago. Have to say still it's damn good. I hate to say less hoppy than I recall but it's def not a malt bomb either. Call it more subtle and balanced. Real nice cinnamon piney note at the finish. Time for another. (303 characters)

Photo of justintcoons
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%

2014 Vintage.
12 oz bottle poured into a pub-style pint glass.

Light amber with 1-2 fingers of creamy off-white head. Good clarity with light carbonation.

Grapefruit, candied orange, lemon, pine, and caramel.

Grapefruit, candied tangerine, lemon, and pineapple. Firm caramel backbone with light notes of toasted biscuit and a nice dose of candy sugars. Sticky pine and wintergreen finishes it off.

Medium bodied, crisp, juicy, and off-dry with a medium bitterness.

Just as good as ever!


Poured into a pint glass.

Amber with 2-3 fingers of fluffy loose head. Good retention. Excellent clarity and moderate carbonation.

Tangerine, candied orange, lemon zest, grapefruit pith, pineapple and candy sugar.

Sugar coated tangerines, navel orange, lemon juice, grapefruit pith and pineapple. Very light caramel backing with an abundance of candy sugars. Finishes with grapefruit rind and sticky pine needles.

Medium bodied, crisp, juicy, bitter and dry.

This is easily my favorite Fresh Hop/Wet Hop/Harvest Hop/Hip Hop/Flip Flop Ale of the season. It's got EVERYTHING going for it.


Poured into a Sierra Nevada pint glass.

A: Pours a beautiful amber with 2 fingers of fluffy head that dissipates slowly leaving behind thick lacing. Good clarity and low carbonation.

N: Crisp caramel, lemon, orange, pine and a hint of florals. Smells eerily similar to SN Pale Ale...

T: Grapefruit, lemon, navel orange, florals and rich caramel. Finishes with spicy pine, leafy hops, grass and lemon zest.

M: Medium-full bodied, creamy, smooth, slightly chewy, a little sticky, bitter and dry.

O: This is pretty much a fresher, cleaner, more bitter SN Pale Ale. Which is definitely a good thing in my opinion. An amazing Fresh Hop American IPA! (1,837 characters)

Photo of mr-jj
4.21/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a pint glass from a 12 oz bottle. Bottled 10/8/14.

Color is clear amber with a two finger white head. Good retention and decent lacing. Aroma is piney hops with some citrus and a definite caramel malt presence. Flavor is piney bitterness on the palate followed by a caramel sweetness from the malt. Bitter-sweet finish. Nicely balanced beer. Body is medium but has some oiliness from the fresh hops that give it a thicker feel.

Overall, it's another excellent year for Celebration. I always look forward to this release and once again I'm not disappointed.. (579 characters)

Photo of humuloner22
4.32/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

I feel like my reviews have become inflated lately. Which would not serve this beer justice. I should not have given the Kilkenny as high of a score as I did, I may adjust that. I also feel like beers that are overly hyped tend to fall short. This is a good beer, but is it as good as people say it is? Probably, because its solid and very reasonable in price. Is it spectacular? Not really. Its above average and that's about it for me. 2014 Release. I am almost certain I have had this one in previous years and it did not leave a huge impression on me.

Appearance: Beautiful, reddish bronze, head began pretty large and then settled into a nice froth layering the top.

Smell: Kind of boozy, some floral notes, and sweet malt.

Taste: Balanced. Not as sharp on the hops as you would expect considering its a fresh hop beer. I think the malt sweetness takes the stage and crowds the hops out a bit. They are there but not nearly as pungent as you would think.

Overall: I have had this one before, it didn't leave that big of an impression on me and honestly its a good beer, but not as good as the hype you read on the message boards would lead you to believe. Its worth seeking out, its cheap for what you get and its seasonal. It would be a great hoppy ale for those gateway drinkers. I am going to test this one on some of my friends who only drink macro lagers. (1,371 characters)

Photo of bassboneman
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%

I remember having this beer last year. I loved it then and I love it now!
The only issue I have is that the finish, to me, is slightly MORE bitter than I recall.
I am drinking this first brew of the season from the bottle - the next will be in a glass
Up yours!

Sam (266 characters)

Photo of samtrillo
4.1/5  rDev -1.2%

The first sip is the best one. The balance of the beer really comes to the fore. It's got a strong carmelized malt backing that is aided by the bitter hops. The hops do have a bit a of a grapefruit and pineapple thing going on the middle but fade to pure bitterness at the end. It's a bittersweet, fruity and full experience.

I have to say I enjoyed Lagunitas's Fresh Hop Bomb 'Born Yesterday' more than this year's Celebration just from the hop flavor profile alone. However, celebration does feature a more balanced and richer mouthfeel in comparison making it a better overall choice as a go to 'Winter IPA'. (613 characters)

Photo of spacebear09
4/5  rDev -3.6%

Appearance- Copper, well carbonated

Smell- Slightly boozy with big pine and lemon notes

Taste- Pine, vegetation, bitter aspirin finish

Mouthfeel- Crisp and well carbonated

Overall- Good, but I prefer the Pale Ale by a long shot (231 characters)

Photo of BBQWhisperer
4.75/5  rDev +14.5%

The 2014 batch is as good as ever. You can't go wrong with Celebration Ale. I liked this one long before I really got into IPAs, highly recommended. I am just glad it's back! (174 characters)

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. (1,406 characters)

Photo of Tuck_leepulin
4.77/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

12oz brown bottle with pry-off cap and bottled on 10/08/14. Poured into a snifter.

Appearance: Pours a clear deep copper with 2 fingers of head that is puffy and beautiful lacing

Smell: Piney and earthy hops

Taste: Full of hop bitterness with pine and earthy notes and balanced by malt

Mouthfeel: Medium with ample carbonation with lingering bitterness

Overall: This. This is such a classic and I personally find it to be the prototypical American style IPA that does everything right. There is plenty of hop flavor and fresh aroma but is well balanced by the malt bill. It still stands up well to all the new beers since its first release. Combined with its availability and price point, this is an amazing IPA. A great alternative to all the spiced beers this time of the year. (796 characters)

Photo of hopsputin
4.34/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

a: its a hazy amber color with some burnt orange notes. 1 finger perfect off white head

s: starts with some crisp caramel and light toffee malts. that fades to juicy pineapple, mango, grapefruit, passionfruit, and strawberry. a really clean and delicious smelling beer

t: as with the nose this starts off with some sweet malt. that fades to a real mellow grapefruit flavor. followed up with some herbal tea-like bitterness, pineapple, and some fresh grassy notes. finishes with pineapple, toffee, and some grapefruit bitterness

m: its medium mouthfeel. average carbonation

o: this beer is a real treat. its such a well balanced American IPA to me. its got sweet, bitter, and fruit all harmonizing perfectly in the glass. its not too bitter, and not too sweet, it just tastes clean crisp and delicious (814 characters)

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. (226 characters)

Photo of SensorySupernova
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%

This is for the 2014 batch, opened about one month after bottling.

Appearance: Beautiful crystal-clear amber with plenty of white head.

Smell: Faint piney hop fragrance with some yeast and malt in the background.

Taste: Very good. Sharp bitterness up front fades into slightly sweet malt. Slight bitter aftertaste doesn’t stick around for long. Well balanced.

Mouthfeel: Well carbonated and somewhat thick, giving it a creamy feel.

Overall: Excellent look, taste, and feel, but the smell let me down. Considering the fuss about fresh-hopped, I thought the aroma would be more intense (even if it's not as fresh as wet-hopped). (634 characters)

Photo of jellikit
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%

Appearance: copper. Crystal clear. Medium, foamy, off-white head.
Smell: citrus.
Taste: malts lean slightly to the roasty side. Hop flavor is citrus and pine. Bittering is piney.
Mouthfeel: medium carbonation. Medium body. Dry.
Overall: great beer. Slightly dark flavors with a medium hop bitterness. I look forward to this beer every winter. (363 characters)

Photo of brewmine
4.75/5  rDev +14.5%

When you have something to celebrate (frequently, if if you like beer) a Celebration Ale sounds better then say Voices in My Head Insane Hops or suchlike. Good claim stake to a name - Celebration Ale - and a tough one to live up to. Been waiting for this favorite IPA of mine and here it comes on Nov 2 (package date 9/30/14). Amazing consistency and flavor for a mass-produced beer. If a small craft brewery made this it would make its fortune; from Sierra Nevada, it's as if Ford mass-produced the GT40 for the price of a Toyota. Cheers. (543 characters)

Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 3,289 ratings.