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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.

3,290 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 3,290
Hads: 9,400
rAvg: 4.15
pDev: 9.64%
Wants: 321
Gots: 1,318 | 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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale Alström Bros
Reviews: 3,290 | Hads: 9,400
Photo of edchicma
4.35/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hopheads paradise brew. Excellent cloudy copper appearance, with a chunky head that laces nicely. Oustanding smell, citrusy with strong hop presence. Taste is pure hops straight forward and delicious. Aftertaste remains nicely in its bitterness. A slight puckery mouthfeel reminds you of the hop presence. Very drinkable for a high abv and hyper hops. (351 characters)

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

I sure was glad to see a new beer at the Utah State Liquor Store, especially one as delicious as this. 2003 edition. Amber/copper body with a sticky, light tan head. Very good retention. Smells of some maltiness, but mostly hops, hops, and hops. Very resiny and sprucy. Very appetizing as well. Taste reveals more malt than the smell. Not too sweet, but good body to balance the crazy hops. Very resiny, piney, spicy, and medicinal. As the beer warmed, I swear I was tasting some hints of nutmeg as well. A crescendo of Xmas tree bitterness lingers into the finish. Very good, but not my favorite high-octane IPA. Big and oily mouthfeel, and pretty drinkable for its strength and bitterness. (691 characters)

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

I was super surprised to see this on tap last week. In October no less!
Celebration is a good amber color, maybe a little darker than the regular Sierra pale ale. Frothy, white head stays around for a bit.
Smell is good, hoppiness for sure, some citrus, malt.
Hoppy through and through, strongly bittered, but not over the top. I get a hint of sweet as it goes down, nice to round out the taste and mouthfeel. You are not left with a bitter aftertaste.
This is a really good one, especially on tap. Since it has the high ABV, I usually have maybe two pints, move on to something else and call it a nite. (607 characters)

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

Had this on tap at Anam Cara. Tasted very similar to last year's offering (of which me and my wife consumed probably 5 cases). Just looking now for a local package store that has the cases in stock for under $30. A wonderful hoppiness with enough malt body to support it. Nice russet/orange color and aromatics. (311 characters)

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

2003 Edition. Always look forward to this one. A winter classic!
Poured an orange/amber color with a rich thick white head that left good sticky lace.
Dynamite aroma. BIG hops, fresh, citrusy and spicy. Some sweet malt in the background.
The taste is fresh hops upfront with an almost pine/spruce oiliness. Some sweet malt and caramel in the middle, finishing with that spicy, pungent grapefruit aftertaste that I love Sierra for. It's been better balanced in previous years. A hopheads delight

Nice mouthfeel and carbonation. Rich, full and a creamy lemon tanginess. Excellent drinkability.
Year after year, a great offering from Sierra. A little less balanced than previous years but if you like your hops to punch first and ask questions later, then this is a beer for you. Highly recommended! (803 characters)

Photo of RootedFool
4.77/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2003 edition.

Pours solid amber with a bright white head that receded quickly leaving lace like falling swaths of snow.

Smell is complex. Hops intermingling with spices my novice tongue could not quite identify; lemony, bready, behind the strong hops and alcohol that is warming to the tongue.

Mouthfeel is creamy, hearty, and perfectly carries the intricate taste and smell.

I'm looking forward to drinking more of this while it lasts. It's only October, so I have awhile to go. I think this is the first review of the 2003 edition, and it's also my first ever beer review! (586 characters)

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

12oz. bottle. 2002 Vintage.

An excellent hoppy beer with enough crispness for me to wish it was snowing in southern California right now.

This ale pours a deep burnt amber color. A good white head and okay lacing. The scents are a fight for dominence. At first the hops attack the nose and are quite controlling. Some sweet lemon grass are present with a dry quality on the nose. There is a secondary caramel malt and sweetness that slowly follow this up. There is no real balance. It is just one smell after the other.

The flavors start with a dry burnt hoppy flavor. Some bitter citrus and a medium rind flavor. A bready and sweet malt follow the hops but are no match. The hops are dominant. There is a dry sweet vermouth finish. The alcohol is very present but it does not disrupt the flavors.

This is a very smooth drinker. It has some oily qualities but they do not hinder the enjoyment of this IPA. Very crisp and dry on the palate. Very nicely done. (970 characters)

Photo of soilguy
4.32/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2002 vintage - Nice big hoppy aroma is a most noticeable feature. The color is a golden amber - very small head when poured. Has a nice malty sweetness that is immediately offset by a citrusy hop bite. This follows into a pungent aftertaste. The mouthfeel is nice and full. I can hardly wait for the 2003 version! (313 characters)

Photo of beerguy101
4.2/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Rating is for 2002 version .Medium gold color, large foamy head. Hoppy spicy aroma. Malty and very aggressively hopped. Malts are slightly sweet and balance the big bold hops well. Think this year's version is better than the 2000 edition. Mouthfeel is full and round. Finish is clean and smooth. Aftertaste is bitter, Bid bodied IPA. Really nice. Well age well I think. 2000 vintage- Medium brown color, small head. Medium malts, aggressively hopped ale. Full flavor, full mouthfeel, nearly chewy. Good hop to malt balance. Finish is crisp. Aftertaste is bitter. (563 characters)

Photo of Gueuzedude
5/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Ok, I freely admit it I am extremely biased when it comes to this beer. I used to buy cases of this stuff every year. I finally broke down and started to buy a keg of it instead. The first time I had this it absolutely blew me away. The hops where so intense so fresh the just screamed to break free from the confines of the bottle. This beer is definitely best when fresh, because it is all about the hop flavor and aroma. The hops lend a wonderful spicy citrusy greatness to this beer. And wonderfully the brewers saw fit to outfit this paragon with a solid malt backbone that just carries and delivers the hop celebration to every corner of your mouth. Just a plain awesome beer. (682 characters)

Photo of ellman
4.47/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2001 Cellared

Appearance: Amber in color witha slight hazyness, nise full head that did not fade.

Smell: mmm. hops some spices. hops did i say hops. cellared it and still mmm hops

Taste: full body mmm hops.

Drinkability: Could drink alot if i had it. but in short supply (282 characters)

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

2009 - Pour - Light amber almost golden in appearance. Nice clean, clear pour with a big fluffy white head. Looking pretty damn good.

Aroma - Fresh pine along with lots of citrus such as lemons and oranges. Not so much the pineapple or grapefruit like some other West Coast IPAs. Very nice floral hop profile with just a touch of heat from the alcohol percentage involved.

Taste - Tongue and nose tinglingly hoppy. Plenty of piney goodness for which this beer has become known. The bitterness is right there from the start followed by a decent amount of malty sweetness to even things out. Very crisp and dry in the finish.

Overall - Very solid IPA. This is a pretty classic hops forward California IPA that has been around much longer than most other American IPAs. Big hoppy flavor with an ABV that warms the stomach nicely.

Would I buy more of it? - Yes, yes I would. I'll be buying some every year for the rest of my life probably.

Note: This year, 2009, marks the first time Sierra Nevada has released its Celebration Ale in their signature 24 oz. bottles. Perfect for sharing with a good friend on a cold night and also great for storing away for next winter to do a little side by side comparison with a fresh bottle.

Vintage: This bottle rolled of the line on Friday, October 2nd, 2009.

2008 - Pour - Dark amber and slightly hazy. There might be some suspended yeast making this a bit murky. Time has definitely taken the clarity away from the '08. The off-white head however is very thick and quite impressive.

Aroma - Burnt sugar/caramel is the big dominating smell. This is some malty stuff with a very slight hint of citrus. The hops have all but gone away. Reminds me of a Barleywine almost.

Taste - As far as flavor goes, this may smell like a Barleywine but the taste is more like a Scottish Ale. Big malty sweetness with only a tiny bit of bitterness in the finish. It has an apple cider thing going on and all the fresh, piney hop flavors have long been diminished.

Overall - After a year this has become a whole new monster. Malty sweetness has replaced bitter hoppiness and morphed this into something akin to a Scottish Ale or a Barleywine. The hops may be long gone but this is still a very drinkable beer. The past year has really smoothed things out. Definitely a delicious beer but I prefer the fresh stuff.

Would I buy more of it? - Absolutely, although this vintage is no longer available as the 2009 bottles have now hit the shelves. I may have to put away several of the 09s for 3 or 4 years down the road.

Note: Celebration Ale is the second highest selling beer for Sierra Nevada, falling behind only the almighty Pale Ale in volume sold. I can't seem to lock down a date in which Sierra Nevada first released their Celebration Ale but it was sometime back in the early 80s. Anyone know the answer?

Vintage: This bottle rolled off the line on Friday, October 17th, 2008.

2002-Crisp and intensely hoppy. A nice clean light amber color with floral scents and almost a bitter lemon feel. It leaves the tongue beat up with hops, but you need to go in expecting that. I really like this stuff and am glad it changes both every year it is made as well as every year it ages.

1996-Very malty in taste, that hoppiness that is so present in the unaged stuff is gone. It is a darker amber color with many complex flavors. Sample as many years as you can, its a great beer to put aside and let age. (3,440 characters)

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

One of my all time favorite beers. A beer that screams with hop flavor, like someone squeezed a grapefruit in the bottle. The chinook, centennial and cascade hops stand up proud for sure. This beer also has a very stiff malt backbone that makes the beer very enjoyable overall...and quite drinkable...just don't drink it first in a flight cause it will ruin you. (362 characters)

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

Appearance: Amber, light tan head.

Aroma: Hoppy Aroma, more piney than citrusy, but citrus is present as well.

Taste: Very balanced. The hops follow the malt sweetness and the two merge on the tongue.

Notes: In my opinion this beer gains nothing from aging. It's perfectly balanced now. I've tried one aged 6 years or so lately, and while it was still good, it had lost most of its hoppy characteristics. Find something to celebrate about this year, and buy a case or two! (481 characters)

Photo of bierman2000
3.8/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A strong IPA that is almost like a Winter Ale, very smooth yet hoppy in the final taste. Copper colored with the smell of floral and hops that are strong in the nose.. a nice winter ale that is warming and actually grows smoother as the beer gets warmer. (254 characters)

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

Presentation: 12ox. brown bottle with no "bottled on" or "best buy" date; $6/6 pack from Signature Wine and Spirits in Santa Monica; label's bucolic Christmas imagery makes me wish I weren't Jewish; 2002 batch.

Appearance: Pours a deep, clear copper; beautiful 1"-1.5" off-white/pale-orange head; said head hangs around for the ride; heavy, intricate, sheet lacing. Pretty beer.

Aroma: Large dollop of cirtus hops may smack your nose, but honey-sweet malt undertones not to be denied.

Taste: Vibrant grapefruit-like hops compliment a delicious caramel malt backbone; floral notes abound; subtle traces of orange lurk in the background. Suitably carbonated with a nice, full mouthfeel.

Notes: Beautiful, well-balanced IPA. Mustard says drink. (753 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 jcalabre
3.36/5  rDev -19%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Originally samploed on 9 November 2002. I am writing this review from mynotes. This pours a clear harvest gold in color. The flavor has lots of hops on the palate. In my humble opinion, this is not an outstanding beer, but it is far better than average (252 characters)

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

2002 Bottle: Yep, liked it, like their Pale ale, this was nice and soft, with a perfumy flowery, piney hop nose, i could sniff this for a while. Very well balanced flavour, the start is sweetish malty with a bit of raisins or something, with a failry sharp, bitter, grapefruity hop finish, very tasty, and thankfully not over the top, very yummy. (346 characters)

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

Nice looking deep amber ale reminds me of a glass of apple cider. Millions of tiny particles floating giving it a cloudy like appearance. Thick creamy head with an almost blanket like lacing. Aroma is predominantly cascade hops, a trademark of this fine California brewer. Very smooth on the palate, a medium to full bodied ale which finishes with a little crispness. This is a great winter time ale and one worthy of celebrating. (430 characters)

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

2002 edition bottled 11/02, sampled 06/03. pours a clear dark mahogony with a long lasting, tight, creamy head. roasty malts and citrusy hops on the nose. spicy, oily, roasted malty flavor followed by a lemony hoppiness. full, smooth, creamy body with a good level of carbonation. the hops have mellowed somewhat and aren't as "green" as upon initial relaese. i taste a more pronounced chocolate character as well. has mellowed nicely in 8 months while still retaining the characteristic hoppy snap. and all around great beer to look forward to at xmas, and one that seems to stand the test of time well. (604 characters)

Photo of TPoling
4.63/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This was my last coveted bottle of 2002 Celebration unless I get lucky and find some tucked away before late October when the 2003 comes in.

I still remember my first Celebration Ale several years ago. I thought I had found a close to perfect beer, and still go into ectasy when pouring the first one of the new batch each fall.

This ale pours an incredible bright reddish amber and has a creamy head that carries drapes of lace down the glass. Hoppiness is very pronounced in the nose and flavor, but does not take over the complexity of the malt.

2002 was not the best of the years, but was still one of the greats. (626 characters)

Photo of DESTRO
4.62/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

celebration ale, you wonderous creation. pours ruby red and lovely with big aromas of citrus/piney hops that make you drool. the flavor, full and robust, some nice malt is there, but the whole story is about the hop. from the first sip, a mouthwatering twang hit the back of your jaws and from then on its a wonderful pine/grapefruit hop experiance. clean and crisp is the mouthfeel, lightly filling but in a comforting way. finishes with a tangy mouth puckering zip and the 6.9 % alcohol makes this brew so very deceiving. and thats just fine by me. (550 characters)

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

I'm re-rating some of the winter beers I rated when I first got on board and have since tried several more times..

-"Hop-a-long" winter beer....very hoppy with flowery and citrus tones...creamy finish...not a lot of malt balance but hops seem to settle as you drink deeper..Very solid beer particularly if you like a "hoppy" winter style. (343 characters)

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

I've had many of these fine beers from the 2002 batch. What a wonderful and warming beer. You don't need to be celebrating something to drink this beer, you should just be celebrating it's existence. I sure celebrated finding this beer (3 actually, shared with Marty and EmoBeerGuy) discarded in a dorm hallway next to a trash-can. I don't know who discarded it, but we were more than happy to give them a home. I finally drank mine, probably the last one I'll find until next year, today on a cool late summer day. It was just as good as I remembered all the others this year being. The wonderful deep amber and thick head with lace that does not quit is only a modest hint of greater things to come. The wonderful hop aroma is likely the most pleasant I've experienced. If you like very hoppy beers that are nearly perfectly balanced with malt and some fruit, you will love this beer. The medium body and near perfect carbonation make this beer a pure joy to drink. The 6.8abv doesn't hurt either, considering there is no hint at all of the strength of this beer. All in all this is just a great beer. (1,103 characters)

Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 3,290 ratings.