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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.

3,345 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 3,345
Hads: 9,590
Avg: 4.15
pDev: 19.76%
Wants: 343
Gots: 1,461 | 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: 3,345 | Hads: 9,590
Photo of malthead
3.1/5  rDev -25.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

2003 vintage - note that as my handle indicates, I'm not a big hophead...
Nice deep amber color, huge cratering head that disappeared to almost nothing. Smells hoppy - big, juicy hops, with some citrus. Taste is... hoppy... a lot of grapefruit, maybe some pine, with very little malt sweetness. Tastes a little raw to me, with the standard oily mouthfeel on a long finish. (gotta love the hop burps, though...) If you like big hops, this might be a good example, but it's too over the top for me - if I were going to have this again, it would have to be much more balanced.

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

2002 Vintage

Without looking at my review on the 03 Vintage, I scored the 02 exactly the same across the board.

Rosey and tropical from clear Centennials and Cascades. Moderate carbonation made soft by heavy caramel malt. Light residual sweetness brings out a dynamic citrus that truly brings this beer together. Piney finish with nutty grain. Jell-O juicy. No astringency. The floral hops thin to one-dimensional pine. Viscous malts is a touch too gummy.

Relax, relax.

2003 Vintage

The sharp bitterness in Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale is cut by classic West Coast fruity/floral flavor hopping; I get notes of Centennial and Cascade with definite Cascade dry-hopping. There's too much body for an IPA, but it's cut by good carbonation that lightens the mouthfeel and intensifies the hop profile.

Either IPAs have gotten too floral, too much like pale ales, or SNCA is too close to a barleywine. My first impulse on this brew was to call it an I2PA or a barleywine. Though the bittering is only (ha!) 62 IBUs, on the light side of barleywine, the Chinook character is very pronounced and something immediately reminiscent of Rogue Old Crustacean. Sitting here today, it's a wonder than OC has twice the bittering of this beer.

The finish is long and bitter, fading into some floral and grapefruit character from the Centennials and Cascades. SNCA screams of its hops and is a perfect indication of what Centennials, Cascades, and Chinooks taste like all at once. What more can you ask from an IPA?

Relax, relax.

2002: 4.3
2003: 4.3
Overall: 4.3

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Photo of TheOtherMike
1.69/5  rDev -59.3%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

I just cannot drink this beer. Beer? It seems more like a spiced cider or something - which seems appropriate for the holidays, but still something that I cannot drink. I 've tried twice but there will not be a third try. It is readily available during the holidays.

It's not the worst beer I've ever had - I think that was in Valdez, AK.
Some "Buzzard" brew I think. Thus I did not give this one the lowest scores for taste/smell/drinkability.

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Photo of meathookjones
4.42/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this on tap at Hard Times in Herndon. Pours a dark amber color with a small frothy tan head that disappeared fairly quickly. The head does create a nice lacing around the glass as it is drunk. Great aroma, which is huge in hops with some herbs and spices hanging on for the ride. Hops and fruitiness dominate the taste with a hint of spiciness and an excellent bitter finish. A great brew for a hophead to get his fix from. The mouthfeel is about average for an IPA. I find this to be a very drinkable brew as I usually have about 6 of these will playing pool, of course you will feel the 6.8% after a few. An excellent seasonal and all around brew, one of the best IPAs I have had.

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

This was the 2003 edition, poured a deep orange amber color with about 1 finger of frothy head that quickly dissipated, leaving some fine lacing in my glass. Smell was grapefruit, banana and mild citrus, with a hint of a malt backbone. Very soothing! Taste is sweet malts that are quickly taken over with a velvety bite of hops, yet never truly bitter like a Stone IPA. The overall taste is wonderfully crisp, that is refreshing and finishes dry and smooth. (Outside Temperature at tasting was 100+) Mouthfeel had just the right amount of carbonation with a slight oily texture that was very pleasing. Overall, a great Cali IPA, in either Winter or Summer. Another quality offering from Sierra Nevada!

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

2003 bottle. Pours a nice clear amber capped by a medium to thin head of slightly off-white bubbles. As the head diminishes and the beer is consumed a nice curtain of lacing lines the walls of the glass. A full aroma of hops--floral and citrusy with a bit of spiciness, greet the nose. Great fruity hop taste, with some good bitterness in the finish. Some sweetness and breadlike flavors come through as well, particularly as it warms, but really are hidden behind the hops. A great tasting and relatively easy drinking beer which I look forward to each year. A definite favorite. (I'm finally transfering my review from my own files, and just re-reading my notes is causing me to look forward several months for its next release)

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Photo of Joey7F
4.68/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

WOW!! I am so stoked! I just turned 21 (end of January) I pounded the pavement looking for this beer around beginning of February. Everyplace says "No sorry, we are out for the season" Today I went to Mr. Dunderbak's in the mall looking for Spaten Optimator and asking off handed, "I noticed you had a box of SNCA on display, you don't have anyfor sale do you?"

"Sure, we have about 10"

Wow, Ben Franklin said "Beer is proof there is a God, and that He loves us." This beer is proof that God truly loves His children (or those 21+ ;)).

The appearance is something I cruise by usually but this is a fantastically amber brew. A thing of beauty. It smells really good, very hoppy and spicy. It tastes better than any light beer I have ever tasted.

The taste is hoppy...more so than the Pale Ale. I had my first IPA the other day, I consider this FAR above Red Hook's offering. It is slightly thin in the mouth, but few light beers can compete there.

It is HIGHLY drinkable. Seriously, this is the best beer day ever. Hopefully many more to come ;)

My favorite IPA/Seasonal brew. Two thumbs up!


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

The 2003 bottle edition pours a lovely, bubbly, rich amber color, topped off with a modestly frothy off-white head. Mostly hops in the aroma, with some grapefruit and piney background and just a hint of the toasted malts. The taste is exquisitely complex--initial hops and some light citrus and floral on the back of the palate. The taste lingers for a good while and then fades to a balance of bitter, swettness, and subtle smokiness. A bit too heavy on the carbonation I think, but the mouthfeel is good; it has some substance to it.

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

2003 edition of the Celebration Ale, in a 12 oz bottle

Apperance: very orangish copper like, nice white head initially, disappears shortly after.

Smell: smells very nicely of hops and spices, maybe some citrus in there also.

Taste: ooh the hops, so sweet, yet deliciously bitter. The floral aromas really take over. great amount of carbonation. very smooth.

This beer is a good example of a good IPA, good job sierra nevada

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

The 2003 bottle version poured a nice copper color with a nice off-white head that leaves a nice lacing around my glass. The aroma is quite hop-filled and has a very citris-like scent to it. The taste, like the aroma, is big on the hops. I really couldn't detect much in the way of malts due to the overwhelming hops. The mouthfeel was excellent as the beer had just the right amount of carbonation and it went down almost too smooth! This is a beer that you can sit back and enjoy several of in a sitting. Definitely something to look forward to each year from Sierra Nevada!

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

What this beer is to me is a bigger and badder version of their pale ale with more hops, more alcohol and more body. I like how this beer gets better sip after sip with a warming effect taking place after half a bottle. There are heavier winter warmers and more exotic winter warmers but this is one the best drinking winter beers.

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Photo of grynder33
4.12/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice healthy hop aroma, amber brown color, very hop filled first taste with a nice blend of malt and some spice, sweetness seems to disappear rather quickly and your pretty much left with the hops and resulting bitterness. A true hopheads Christmas brew, non hop heads need not bother

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Photo of 99bottles
3.95/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I had this on tap a few months ago, but I thought it deserved a more attentive review, so I went out and got a bottle. 2003 on the neck label. Celebration Ale pours a nice amber-red color with a inch or so lofty off white head. Give it a few minutes and the fluff settles to a nice lumpy top, like a pancake before you flip it over. There is a strong smell of hops. Held up to the light, you can see abundant flecks of what I would guess are spices suspended in the brew. No sediment though.
The first taste is...hops. Did I just eat a Cascade salad? Progressive sips seem more subdued. There is decent carmel malt that is pretty much covered by spice. I'd guess the standard winter spice mix most places use: clove, allspice, cinammon. It's not really balanced. The hops bite, then the spices give an artifical lengthing of the hop bitterness. Not as sweet and rich as I think a winter seasonal would be. I guess its an IPA first, a seasonal second.
Mouthfeel is good. Not heavy and cloying, but with enough oomph behind it to let you know you're drinking a beer. Drinkability is good. I could easily have a bunch of these. I like this beer. I do. I'm just not sure it deserves such high ratings. If anything, it's well known and widely distributed. Almost as much as SNPA. I'm glad to try it about once a season, see if anything has really changed. Good beer.

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

A very nice clear, amber pour with quite a generous pancake head. The nose is nicely hopped and has plenty of fruitiness kickin around as well...peach and apricot i'd have to say. The taste is big and hoppy right off the bat with underlying fruitiness and a nice malt backbone. Underlying caramel sweetness. This beer offers bold, up front taste and well balanced body. A very, very light and smooth mouthfeel make this one an easy drinker...dangerous with the 6.8% abv. The finish is of a lovely hop bitterness as the light fruity notes disapate towards the end. Great stuff!

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Photo of SilentSabre
2.86/5  rDev -31.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

poured a copper like reddish brown with little head. Sweet smell with some spice and a bit chocolate. Alot of spice in the taste, but had a bit of bitterness to it as well. Had a little more carbonation than I was expecting but not too bad. No exactly something to write home about. Not totally awful, but not really impressed, either.

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Photo of MrNuggets
4.4/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Burnt orange colour with a finger high off-white head. The beautiful lace elegantly wraps around my glass. Smells of citrus and hops.
I get that a hint of citrus in the taste. Then I'm slammed with that lovely hop bitterness I expect from a good IPA. Finishes off nice and bitter. Very full mouthfeel. This is my first celebration and i will certainly be getting more season.

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Photo of Jacobob10
3.85/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Wow, this beer has some HUGE flavor. It pours a deep orange with a small head but plenty of carbonation. It smells somewhat fruity. The taste is strong though. I can taste some orange and cinnamon with a slight taste of alcohol. A very filling beer that would be difficult to finish a six pack of. The hops really stand out here. Tons of flavor. This beer knocked me on my ass, but in a good way!


I have become wiser since my last review, so I thought I'd a few more comments. HUGE floral aroma and taste. This is one balls-to-the-wall IPA. I've bumped up my ratings a little bit after trying this again a year later. Definitely worth a try for yourself, but it still does knock me on my ass!

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Photo of Hagbard
4.38/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark honey color with a nice-sized beige head. Leaves a great lacing down the side of the glass. The aroma is not overpowering, but what is there is beautiful hop bitterness. The aroma is a great precursor to the blast of hops bitterness that assaults the back of your tongue. An IPA through and through. A faint fruity taste teases your tongue in the background, amazing considering the strength of the hops. The aftertaste is more of the same, leading into happy hoppy burps that let you relive the experience. The mouthfeel is heavy due ot the carbonation bombarding the sides of your mouth. This is immensely drinkable. The pint is gone almost before you realize it. I love this beer.

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Photo of ybnorml
3.74/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is the 2003 version. It has a cloudy orange amber color. Large bubbles in the head that leave a little bit of lace. An absolutely fantastic spicey and floral hop boquet. The flavor on the other hand did not give me the same hop jump. There was a hop bitterness followed by not a grapfruit citrus but more of a lemony citrus. Lemony like the finish to a lemon ice tea. I don't know if the cloudness in the beer was responsible for the muted finish to the flavor or not. I guess I will just have to wait to next year and try it as soon as it comes out.

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

Pours a nice, clear medium amber brown with off white lacy head that held the sides like a champ and lasted a pretty good time. Aroma of maltiness, citrus, spice and floral hop. The taste of grapefruit citrus hop is very pronounced with a hint of maltiness in the background balancing this out. It has a relatively light mouthfeel with a nice hop bite at the end that makes you want more and more. Very drinkable.

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Photo of HappyHourHero
3.95/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4


Poured a fluffy oatmeal brown colored head left a coat of lace as it faded to a film. Light mahoganny colored beer with a steady stream of bubbles rising from the center of the chalice. Potent piney hop aroma. Wow, only two years ago this beer was the most bitter IPA I could handle. Piney grapefruit hop flavor sits atop a solid malt base. The finish is mildly bitter, solid for an IPA. A staple IPA, nice raw hop character.

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

Pours a very mildly cloudy Bronze color.

Smell is sharply hoppy, as an IPA should be. Malt doesn't get overpowered by the hops and shows up. Also has a fruity scent to it.

Taste is sharp hop, and malt, and fruit and spice; all that in the first sip! All the flavors dance on your tongue as you continue to drink it. This is some good stuff.

Mouthfeel is quite thick for its style.

Very drinkable, I also know where there are 4 more six packs of this stuff are. Bye! need to go to the store!

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Photo of ark57
4.17/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2003 - I always look forward to the release of this beer, it has the bitterness that I crave and it signals a great time of the year. It is light copper in color with a citus aroma. It is very bitter with enough maltiness in the body to round it out. Each sip finishes with a appetizing bitterness that leaves you wanting another.

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

Another beer in my "honey, we got our tax return, let's each get fifty to blow and put the rest in the bank," beer. Poured a reddish gold color with a slightly off white fluffy head. Some lacing. Smelled hoppy, imagine that. Cascade mostly if I'm beginning to learn this stuff. Quite tasty. Very hoppy, but not as hoppy as I was expecting. Less of a hops assault more attention to detail. Decent mouthfeel, moderate body with good carbonation. A little oily, but that rarely detracts. Definately drinkable. I can't have more than one in a sitting, but will definately look forward to this each year. My one downside, as it warmed, the alcohol became rather obvious and overpowering.

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Photo of sulldaddy
3.98/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I am sampling this brew at room temp. I pour the beer into my pint glass and its color is clear orangish amber with some light sediment. This is the 2003 version by the way.
I get a soft fluffy off-white head that foams up easily.
Aroma is rich piney hops with some light spices.
The first sip gives me, an average body and medium carbonation, oh yea and lots of hops!
I get a brief sweet caramel hit up front and then hops roll in. SOme pine and some sour grapefruit. A little oily and chewy with a drying finish. This is a nice and smooth brew that is not overwhelmingly hoppy. Very nice to drink!

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Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 3,345 ratings.