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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.

3,402 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 3,402
Hads: 9,920
Avg: 4.15
pDev: 19.76%
Wants: 349
Gots: 1,725 | FT: 3
Brewed by:
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
California, United States | website

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: 3,402 | Hads: 9,920
Photo of heidelbeerg
4.38/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Found this beer on tap at the Pittsburgh Bottleshop Cafe. Wow. What a brew ! Beautiful amber/copper color with a rich creamy off white head. Smell is mostly hops and citrus. Very nice. The taste was unbelievable. Very hoppy with a nice fruity flavor. The fruitiness reminds me of a late harvest white wine without being sweet. Did I mention very hoppy ? The mouth feel was just about perfect. The carbonation is just right. Drinkability is dangerously high. If I can find a case of this stuff I will certainly buy it.

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Photo of carln26
4.02/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Deep copper color, very clear with a light cream colored head. Thick and rich with a delicate lace that settled on the rim of the glass immediately after the pour. The nose has a hint of floral hops, backed by a delicate malt aroma with just a hint of spice. The taste has a nice balance of hop and malt backed by some spice character. It has a medium mouth feel . Very drinkable. I now see what all of the fuss is about.

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

Finally got to get mine. Pours a ruby amber color with a nice off white head stays a while and laces nicely. Aroma is malt lots of hops, floral and ctirus combined some fruity aromas coming from citrus hops? or somewhere else like a big gumby bear of hops just smells juicey. Tastes of malt to start then hops lots of hops dominating this beer grapefruity bitter. Starts out lightly sweet with floral hop flavors blending with the sweetness then the bitter grapefruit comes up with carbonation leading the way and announces itself all else falls away to bitterness for a while then it fades some and sweetness is tasted again as it finishes. This beer leaves a nice hop resin coating on your tounge to remind you its time for another drink. Mouthfeel is a good solid meium drinkability is also good nice hop strong regular IPA very good but not quite a masterpiece. After finally getting to taste some I can see why people talk of cellaring it. I bet after a year in my cool basement it will have much more to offer then just hops.

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

One of the beers I have been looking forward to trying since I first started getting into craft beer almost a year ago. The label is somehow psychologically soothing, and I like it. It pours out of the bottle like beaten copper with a ruby tinge. A big bubbly head rolls up and clings in loving lace patterns in big chunks of froth. The vision of the beer itself is almost hypnotically soothing, watching the head slowly recede and leave those patterns of lace on the glass. Once I take a whiff I get somewhat of a wake up call though. Sweet sticky malts over-come by resinous pine aromas, lemon grass, and citrus rinds. The combination is almost candy-sweet, but brash and assertive at the same time. This beer tastes great as well. The malts are present and nicely sweet, but light on the tongue. The hops, obviously, dominate this beer…vibrating mid-pallate like I had a penny on my tongue. Resinous pine and bitter citrus rind present themselves toward the finish, very lovely. A great IPA with classic Sierra Nevada style. Let me say that I love this beer, but there are some behemoths in the IPA category that are really hard to touch, Sierra Nevada still does an awesome job with this beer.

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Photo of krberg
3.9/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4


Bright and red with an off-white head. Somebody might mistake this for a Killians if they had lost their nose in some sort of accident.

Sinus-sticking aroma! Mostly hop but a few sugary malt notes poke through now and then.

I must be losing all sensitivity to hops, because it doesn't seem super-hoppy like I remember (and love). It is bitter, and there are fleeting moments of flavor hops that appear as a slight tangyness. The malt backbone reminds me of savory pastries or mild nuts. There is a big CO2 bite in the first few sips which, I found, initially obscures the flavors.

Nice rich, full mouthfeel. Very beer-like.

I can and have had quite a few of these (not right at this moment). Especially when they are first released and in the late spring and early summer months when I happen on a leftover case or two.

These days it is getting harder to distinguish yourself in the AIPA category. I think that SN Celebration is getting a bit dated. It is a good beer, but I can have exciting fresh, local AIPAs all year now and that, as much as it pains me to say, makes this beer less magical.

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

(2004 Release)
The beer decamps the 12-ounce stubby brown bottle a limpid burnished copper color with a gigantic semi-creamy light tan head after its decomposition leaves a thick blanket of lace to obscure the glass. Nose has a slight hint of hops with a sweet malt backing, crisp and clean to the senses with the start sweet and the malt profile pleasant, the top is middling in its feel to the palate. Finish is striking in its acidity, the hops delightfully spicy and the aftertaste quite dry and long lasting, a long time favorite and one I look forward to each year, also had it on tap at Papago a few days ago, both are excellent ways to sample this great “Winter Warmer

(2003) Release
What a thrill it was to stop by my “most favorite” watering hole “Papago Brewery” and to find on the shelf this years release of this stupendous beer.

Once it departed its tomb (bottle), and filled my glass, I simply marveled at its wonderful translucent burnished copper color, the head a large crown of creamy tan, and as it slowly fades in to oblivion the lace becomes a thin curtain to seal off the glass. Hop floral aroma reaches your first, followed by the citrus like crispness, then the sweet malt backing ends this fantastic nose, start is malt laden and sweet, the top moderate in its feel to the palate. Hops are persistent in their spicy bite and the carbonation pleasing with the aftertaste dry and lingering. Being the “Beer Pig” that I am, I bought all they had tee hee, tee hee aren’t I mean?

(2002) Release:
The beer pours a translucent deep copper color with a magnanimous head and thick clinging sheets of lace. Hop floral tones at the front and the malt underlying also citrus crisp and fresh, ah that nose. Front malt and lightly sweet, the top middling and the finish moderately carbonated with a special hop spicy bite that makes this a great IPA. The aftertaste dry and lingering and I have a case now aging away, yummy for the tummy.

(2001) Release:
Pours a lightly hazy deep amber to copper color, the head is frothy, mountainous, the lace in thick sheets that cling to the glass till the very end. Nose is hop floral, malt takes second fiddle, quite "Sniffable". Front is malt, lightly sweet, top is moderate, the finish is magnificently hopped, potently acidic, the dry long lasting mouth feel, adds much to this beer. Ranks #286 on my current 1000 beer master list

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

-2004 release

Well, I was hoping this Celebration would be celebrating Kerry's victory, but no such luck. Hopefully this "sinful site" will still be here four years from now...

Appearance: Deep, clear amber with a tall, dense, slightly tan head. Great retention. Bright, fine carbonation. Decent lace and collar.

Smell: Hops. Citrus, pine, spice, pepper, floral. There may be some malt trying to break through, but it's going to have to try a bit harder.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, slightly creamy, medium carbonation--nothing special. The malt does make a guest appearance in the flavor, but the hops are the star, no question. Big, booming and oily. White pepper and citrus rind linger long into the finish.

Drinkability: Fine, but nothing special at this point, anyway. It's a straightforward west coast IPA that's perfectly adaquate, but also perfectly average, which makes the feverish praise a bit baffling.

Maybe cellaring will make this one a star, but right now it's a fourth-round draft pick.

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Photo of taez555
4.85/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer poured a slightly yellowish tan/white head with a beautiful ruby brown/tan body.

The nose was a sharp crisp citrus spike with an almost woody touch. Rich malt and a slight floral note make the nose extremely inviting.

The taste was full bodied with a rich caramel malt taste. Huge citrus, pine needle and black pepper hop taste. An over the top bitterness that somehow isn’t distracting at all. The malt perfectly matches the bitterness. The bitterness itself lingers but is not a palette killer by any means.

So simple, yet so amazing. Not a desert beer like the Bigfoot or a session beer like the standard pale ale, this one sort of falls in between. Simply amazing. Every year I think to myself I should buy a few cases of this to just have around all year round.

One a side note, I review the ’04, but shortly after tasted an ’03 I’d been saving since the past year. The year old celebration was just as good, but slightly more subdued and a little more balance, sort of like a fine wine. A different experience with aging, no better no worse, just different. I highly recommend both ways.

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Photo of Gasp100
4.13/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2004: Bought a case of this today while in PA> This will of course be a yearly ritual from now on (along with Bigfoot, Old Ho, Hop Wallop, etc...). Pours a deep auburn color with a frothy tan head and thick lacing down the sides of the glass. The smell was grapefruit, pine and caramel. The taste is heavy on the pine cones with some sharp lemon/lime rinds with just a hint of sweet maltiness bringing up the rear. The carbonation was sparkling and the mouthfeel with bright and clean with a VERY dry finish. Man, this is hoppy (moreso than last year?). Overall, the drinkability factor is pretty high even with the dry finish and warming alchohol kick. I know that this ages really nicely so I look forward to a month or two of aging. Top notch Hops for the cold winter months.

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

Pours out a light brown/orange and sits a deep cherrywood in the glass with a large off-white head. Nice lacings all over the glass. When finished, the glass has become white with head stuck all over.

Smells nice and toasty with a good dosing of hops. Light citric aroma of grapefruit and orange zest. Malts are deep within and work well underneath. Hint of pine in the back of the nose.

Flavor is off with a rush of pine cones and heavy doses of grapfruit and lime. It's all hops, all the time. Malty sweetness is there, but hard to pull out. Toasted malts come out the most. Finish is bitter and loaded with hop cones. Lingering flavor of grapefruit rinds, leaving their oils all over the back of your mouth and throat.

Crisp and clean in the mouth with sparkling carbonation. Medium body and full of life.

One hell of an IPA. Worthy of drinking morning noon and night. A toast to Christmas!...err...Halloween!

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

Yahoo, Another year where Sierra Nevada has done it right. I just had a bottle of this years Celebration Ale. Hopheads will love this one. Aroma was pure hoppiness. Not overpowering like some Double IPA's but much better than your average IPA. I also liked the fact that even though you could tell it had some cascade hops in it they used other hops to give it a better flavor than just cascade only. Color was a nice light amber color. Head was good and full. I'm looking forward to the draft version now also.

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Photo of longarm
3.11/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2004 edition:
Appearance is clear amber with fluffy pillows of foam. Generally a fine looking beer. The aroma is held captive by piney hops, but there are subtle elements of biscuit malt. A slight dose of alcoholic odors rests underneath everything else. The smell of alcohol gets stronger as the beer warms. Flavor has strong hop bitterness with a harsh finish and aftertaste. Strong piney flavors remind me of my least favorite hops, but maybe they just overhopped in general. I like the toasted malt that's in there, but it could use a lot more to achieve a sense of malt-hop balance. Some spices are in there, but the bitterness of the hops blasts them off the palate, and I can't tell what spices are actually there. The mouthfeel is decent. I like hops, but overall this beer was just out-of-balance. Maybe the harshness mellows with age.

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

This is was a 2004 bottle of Celebration. Poured a perfect Copper color with a thin white head that seemed to linger forever.

Smelled of very strong floral and earthy hops with a hint of citrusy sweetness.

First taste is immediatly a very crisp strong hop prescence. After a few more swallows a nice spicy maltiness becomes more pronounced with some nice Citrus, cinamon, and ginger flavors peaking through. Still slightly dominated by the high degree of hops, but very good.

Mouthfeel is very good, a slight tingling of the taste buds coming of the spices. Plus very warming a crisp.

Great Drinkability. I'm going to be enjoying this one all through the hoilidays.

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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 dgallina
2.83/5  rDev -31.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

2004 vintage on-draft. Pours a very attractive clear golden copper color with a good, persistent head and substantial lacing. Enticing hop flower aromas. Strong hop oil flavors which finish with extremely potent and almost metallic hop bitterness. This vintage was far too hoppy for my taste. While the hop flower smell and flavors are interesting, they are ultimately overwhelmed by the hop bitterness and overpowering after-tastes. I found it very difficult to finish my pint.

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

Let me describe what sits in front of me...

1 pint glass filled with a 2003 Celebration
1 pint glass filled with a 2004 Celebration

I am conducting my own mini vertical tasting.

The appearance is absolutely gorgeuos with a sticky head and ruby read body. The aroma is typical Sierra Nevada on both years, but the 2004 has a lot bigger "Kick in the face" hop trait. The 04 had a very strong grapefuit as the 03 had a milder citrus smell. Now for the taste. The 04 seems extremely fresh and chock-full-of-hoppiness delight. The 03 has a much drier and weaker hop presence. I must add that the 2003's head is much more sticky and the lacing is out of this world compared to the 2004. The mouthfeel is great on both years although the 03 is much more enjoyable. This is truly a fine specimin for an IPA and I look forward to it each year. I had to, of course, buy a case of the 04. I will be cellaring a six pack for future years. I agree with others that this beer is much better after taking a nap for a year or so in a dark basement! The 2004 was just a little too fresh; if that is even possible or a bad thing.

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Photo of GClarkage
4.59/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Consumed in October 2004 at the Toronado on tap. Was the first time I have ever had a Celebration before. I've seen so many people rave about; so I figure why not have it from the tap for the first time. Poured with a decent head and left little lace while drinking through the pint. Smells of flowers, fruits and hops come out in the nose. Tastes of the exact smells. More hops that I expected. I was thinking there would be a heavier alcohol taste aproaching a weak style barleywine. A nice carbonated and crisp beer. Very drinkable. It still wasn't as good as I thought it would be though. Maybe because I thought it was a different style. Still a good-very good beer worth picking up.

Update 2003 version-

Tastes pretty much the same except maybe a slight bit less hops. Still an excellent beer. I have had several samples of the 2004 and now that I know what to expect, I think I will change my original rating. This is a very class beer.

Update 2005 version-

Finding myself now drooling over this beer. Purchased a case of the 2005 from Costco for about $24. This years seems very hoppy with a big pine or woodsy flavor to the hops. Almost feel like raising drinkability to a 5. Already looking to buy another case to get me by until 2006.

Update 2006 version-

This version is as good as it always is. Seems even more like a traditional IPA this year. Plenty of hops and a nice caramel malt base. Very well balanced.

Update 2007 version-

Again, a winner. Maybe one of the best yet. Of the three bottles I've had, they seem more sweet, but maybe not quite a hopped up. Compare this years version to Lost Coast Indica. Very good as usual.

Update 2008 version-

Seems to bit a bit more malty this year. Still very good, but I've enjoyed all the past years a bit more. Still won't stop me from buying a case each year...and from drinking the rest of this years stash. Still an above average IPA.

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Photo of allengarvin
4.02/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle of 2004, just available here.

Appearance: Reddish-mahogany, clear, with a slight head.

Aroma: Citrus, flowery aroma.

Flavor: Hops hops and more hops. Floral and, er, maybe grapefruit-like fruitiness is how the hops taste to me this year. If you concentrate on looking beyond the hops, there's some sweet malt back there, but it's not real prominent. Bitterness lingers for a long time after the finish.

I've been a fan of this beer for a long time. In my beer-label books, the earliest Celebration Ale label I have is from 1993. But I think it tastes best when it ages for at least a year, preferably two. The aroma disappears, but the malt really blossoms forward, making a wondeful balance.

Unfortunately, I forgot to buy any last year, and I have no more cellared C.A. left. Fresh, it's just too bitter to be interesting. I bought 2 six packs, and after this review, I'll be putting all the rest up.

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

Presentation - 12oz twist-off bottle of their seasonal brew. 2004.

Look - Dark amber, I was actually expectign somethign darker, buf this is a very pretty looking beer no less. Big white/tan head and plenty of lace.

Smell - a variety of spices accompany a strong hop aroma. Not citrusy like amy local hoppy brews, but just a nice slightly sweet sharp and moderately bitter scent.

Taste/Mouthfeel - Yummy. It's kinda thick and fills the back of my throat. It has a lot of hops but they are nicely balanced with a malty flavor and a spicy taste. No specific spices stick out, but it's a sort of nutmeg/cinnamony blend. It is quite enjoyable and warming. Bit toasty tasting too. Almost pumpkin'ey, though i'm sure i'm just associating with the spices.

Drinkable, oh yes. It's tasty. It's balanced, and as a winter beer it's totally repeatable.

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

Well haven't written a review in a bit but this brew is surely worth it. 2004 Release. Pours a deep copper color with a fluffy offwhite head that just sticks around nicely. Aromas are super hoppy, giving off some citrus, a little pine, and just a hint of malt. Initial flavors start of very hoppy with a piney resinous like flavor. The mood of this beer quickly changes over with a nice creamy malt backing that portrays a bit of biscuit and just a hint of caramel. This brew progresses back to the hops thereafter, giving off a slight crisp bitterness followed by some juicy citrusy flavors that just linger on the tongue sip after sip after sip. The body of this beer is magnificent while the carbonation plays on the tongue in just the right way. This IPA is truly magnificent, and a true testament to what Sierra Nevada can do.

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Photo of orbitalr0x
4.65/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2004 Celebration:
Pours from the stubby bottle a wonderful reddish orange color with a nice fluffy head. Beautiful. The nose on this one is upfront with citrusy grapefruity hops along with some caramel and roasted nuts. It's fun to smell.

The first taste is a blast of fresh hops...citrus and light floral tones intertwine and float atop a caramel nutty malt background. The hops run the show here and you don't hear me complaining. My case was bottled just a month ago and it shows. An extremely tasty, enjoyable treat.

Mouthfeel is lush and creamy with good carbonation. Smooth and satisfying. Drinkability is through the freakin roof. This is my fave brew of the holiday season and it pratically begs to be sessioned. I will be cellaring some to see what some age does as well. Don't miss out on Celebration this year...go...buy...now.

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Photo of far333
3.95/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2004: Ruddy orange, with a thick and foamy, frothy off-white head that rises up to an inch high, and sinks slowly down, but leaves a thin layer of uneven bubbles. Lace rides up the insides of the glass. Aroma is cinnamon and floral hops, with a hint of citrus. Smooth mouthfeel, perhaps a little soft, leading to a tangy hops bitter, an interesting mix of citrus and pine. Not bitter, not overwhelming, but very even and balanced. An orange peel bitter lingers.

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

2004 bottling. Nice dark amber color with a bit of red. Created a good sized head that wouldn't go away and let me pour the last little bit into the glass, and left very nice sticky lacing.

Smell was good, similar to the pale ale but stronger in the hop department with a bit of alcohol.

Taste seems very similar to something I've had... hmmm... Rogue's Dead Guy Ale perhaps? Nice and malty with a hoppy bite and virtually no trace of alcohol until it hits your throat, nice aftertaste as well.

Mouth was very nice, smooth, and rich with a nice amount of active carbonation.

This stuff was great and I could drink it all the time, definately more drinkable than the Pale Ale but it definately catches up a lot faster.

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

year: 2004. Redish, yellow-brown color. Small head. Smell of floral hops reminds me of a light IPA. light roasted malt flavor in the beggining. Hops is the doninant flavor, with a crisp carbonation bite on the finish. No alcohol flavor is detectibe, good for a 6.8%. Little hop after taste. A very good choice for an celebration.

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

Winter 2004 brew. Appears a dark red amber color. Creamy head on top laces the glass, nice. Smells of biting hops, and citrusy fruits, lemons, limes, grapefruit. The taste of this beer is very challanging. I like a good challenge. The hops are so present the beer stings your tongue and bites you in the back of the mouth. Intense. You have to swallow the beer fast and evade the taste bud hop attack to even pick up on the maltyness. But that's ok, I don't think this beer was intended to be well balanced in that respect, it's just a hop extravaganza. Very bitter finish as well. The mouthfeel is crazy, an asrtringent biting sting for sure, but not in a bad way, if that makes sense... I know, it doesn't make sense, but who cares, this stuff is kick you in the ass good.

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Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 3,402 ratings.