1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale - Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Sierra Nevada Celebration AleSierra Nevada Celebration Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

7,887 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 7,887
Reviews: 3,156
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 11.54%
Wants: 217
Gots: 482 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American IPA |  6.80% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
Fresh Hop Ale; no spices.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 11-02-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 7,887 | Reviews: 3,156 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of muletrane
4.08/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2011 Vintage

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Bruery tulip.

A: Slightly hazy amber/copper colour. 2 fingers of off white fluffy head. Dissapates slowly

S: Biscuity malt and piney hop notes. Hints of citrus as well

T: Very similar to the nose. Biscuity malts up front and all hops on the back end. Nice lingering piney hop bitterness.

M: Moderate body/carbonation. Crisp and clean. Very pleasant.

This a solid IPA that I'll revisit year after year until I croak. I always look forward to this release and this year did not dissapoint.

muletrane, Nov 02, 2011
Photo of draheim
4.35/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle (2011) poured into a tulip. Rich amber color w/ a thick eggshell head that holds up well & leaves behind nice sticky lacing. A gorgeous beer to behold.

Aroma is piney American hops and pale/caramel malts.

Taste is hoppy, biscuity, caramelly, fruity - perfectly balanced and well-rounded. No single element dominates. Supremely drinkable.

Nice smooth full-bodied mouthfeel, crisp semi-dry finish.

This is quite simply a timeless winter classic.

draheim, Nov 02, 2011
Photo of tcampbel1
4.05/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2011 bottle on 11/1/2011. First time I've noticed "Fresh Hop Ale" on the label (might just be me).

A- Golden pumpkin orange with thin head but excellent lacing.

S- Fresh citrus and pine. Really fresh hop aroma.

T- Hop bite with sweet malty overtones. Like biting into granny smith apple. Sweet up front bitter in the back.

M- Medium bodied. Sticky hop resin coats the mouth.

O- Outstanding beer. Complex without trying to stand out from the crowd.

tcampbel1, Nov 02, 2011
Photo of suspect
4/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Samuel Adams Perfect Pint glass. Bottle date 259 11 (9/16/2011).

A: Pours a clear orange-honey color. Mildly aggressive pour leads to a 1 finger fluffy white head that fades slowly and leaves plenty of sticky, thick lacing throughout the glass.

S: Relatively subtle citrus hop, slight pine resin and a touch of malt balance.

T: Wonderful balance of pine and citrus hop with a beautiful caramel malt back end. Really nice flavor combination. Probably one of the most understated, solid IPAs I've had.

M: Perfectly carbonated, medium body. Hop oil coats the mouth and leaves it coated for some time. Sticky IPA aftertaste leaves me wanting more.

O: I had to really fight drinking the whole thing before I finished my glass. I'm already reaching for another.

suspect, Nov 02, 2011
Photo of MrOH
4.7/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Clear amber with two fingers of off-white head that has some pretty decent retention. Nice lace.

Just a great bouqet of american hop aromas, citrus and resin predominately, spice, floral and earthy hop aromas underneath. Touch of malt way in the background, but this is all about the hops.

Spicy, pine, and citrus hop flavors fill the mouth. A bit of caramel comes through, but the hops pick up again and carry it to a lingering bitter finish.

Medium bodied and quite drinkable with medium carbonation.

There's a reason this beer is looked forward every year by hop heads. Sure, there are hoppier beers on the market at any given time throughout the year, but few are done with such a deft hand, and I don't know of any that can beat the price.

MrOH, Nov 01, 2011
Photo of Rutager
4.4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance. Pours a clear deep amber with a half a finger of off-white head that leaves some pretty lacing behind.

Smell. Big citrus fruits, pine and some grainy caramel.

Taste. Huge citrus rinds, grapefruits, floral hops and pine sap. Some caramel malts and cedar. Just a little sweet and a little bit tangy. Nice.

Mouthfeel. Medium body with medium carbonation.

Overall. Really nice ipa here. As an IPA lover I look forward to it's release ...and it never lets me down.

Rutager, Oct 31, 2011
Photo of wrycon
4.22/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A beautiful orangish, golden hue. Smells like a truckload of floral hops underpinned by a solid maltiness. Tastes fantastic - malt backbone buoyed skyward by, well, a truckload of floral hops. The flavor hits early and lingers, taking you to the end in a blissful state. The bitterness slowly coats the tongue, but the sweetness sticks around to balance the flavor, leaving you wanting another sip / gulp.

Like it? Of course. This is a fantastic beer.

wrycon, Oct 31, 2011
Photo of clint1019
3.78/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Light amber in color with a cream colored head with some awesome lacing all the way down the glass.

S - Sweet toffee-like aroma & a piney hop flavor.

T - Very fresh piney hop flavor & a sweet malt flavor.

M - light bodied and light carbonation.

O - A very nice beer. Has a nice piney hop profile throughout.

clint1019, Oct 30, 2011
Photo of nandemo1
3.25/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a golden amber with a finger of white head that fades quickly, leaving a good amount of lacing. Lots of bubbles from down below.

Smells of fresh piney hops with a little malt in the background, a very mild nose though. Taste is woodsy/piney with a lot of hop bitterness. I was hoping to find some maltiness in there, but it never happened, seemed very one dimensional.

Mouthfeel is crisp.

A little disappointed given how many people love this beer and claim they get grapefruit hops and spice, etc.

nandemo1, Oct 30, 2011
Photo of mattyb
4.22/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Golden/reddish appearance, white head.

S - Balance of pine and citrus with a little malt.

T - Aside from the pine and citrus picked up a nice crisp green pear.

M - Smooth, perfect carbonation, and the hops leave a nice coating aftertaste.

O - A delicious beer that can always be counted on. A classic.

mattyb, Oct 30, 2011
Photo of 2xHops
4.03/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

There's over 2,500 reviews? Okay, it's not like I'm going to really add anything new.

A: Great billowing head that stayed alive for a long while. Color's great.

S: It smells as good as an IPA can get, let's leave it at that.

T: It's a classic celebration ale flavor. It's a healthy IPA. What else can I say? It has plenty of hops and it sure tastes fresh as it should be.

The mouthfeel's great, and typical of an IPA. There's a lingering aftertaste that comes from the hops.

Overall, I'll drink this again whenever i'm in the mood.

2xHops, Oct 29, 2011
Photo of Keithstone44
4.4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

bottle from last year's batch poured into a pint glass.

A: Light amber color with a nice 2-finger head that dissipates rather quickly.

S: smells more malty than when fresh. Now that the hops have faded a little, some fruity esters are starting to emerge

T: Some malt-sweetness and fruit in the beginning, followed by a noticeable bite from the hops. Not as pronounced as when fresh, the pine flavors have melded into more of a caramely taste.

M: Still very solid. Medium-bodied with the right amount of carbonation, this beer has dangerous drinkability.

O: Even a year old, Celebration remains one of my all-time favorite IPA's.

Keithstone44, Oct 22, 2011
Photo of vandemonian
4.05/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This bottle Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale was around 9 months old, so a lot of the hops would have faded. I wanted to try it and this was all that was available. It's still a quality beer, but the flavours are more subtle than intended. I'll try to try a fresh bottle at Christmas and update this!

A: Orange colour and a 2 cm head that lasts. 5

S: Piney hops over a nice malty base. Some faded fruit notes. 4

T: Malty and slightly sweet with some notes of fruit (pear? weird). Quite nice. 4

M: Foamy. 4

O: 4

EDIT: I had a fresh bottle and the hoppy flavour and bitterness were much stronger. Still, far from my favourite IPA. Bitter grass flavour.

vandemonian, Sep 27, 2011
Photo of steve8robin
4.08/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I have a 2005 and 2006 bottle to try. I've heard a lot about this brew. 12oz bottle, 2005...

A: A nice deep red / brown with a small 1/4 inch off white head that fades very quickly to a small lace atop the brew. Bubbles looked medium. Decent.

S: Smells of a super sweet malt quickly blended with a nice citrus hop. A mild caramel in the middle with some, almost, cranberry scents. Very good.

T: A watery mild roastiness upfront quickly followed by a mild earthy / bitter citrus hop in the middle and a nice bready malt on the backend. Great balance to this brew. Good.

M: Light body with a light carbonation. A dry malty finish. Good.

O: All in all, this is a good beer that I feel like could be duplicated as a homebrew. It almost has a homebrew-type taste to it. Definitely try if you like a well balanced beer. If you're looking for this to be an IPA, you may be disappointed.

steve8robin, Aug 27, 2011
Photo of OBeerMeGreatOne
4.35/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a Winter 2010 bottle into a pint. I've had them as old as 2 1/2 years (and though that one showed a tad too much age) and I must say that this is one of the few hop forward beers that maintains well with age.

Looks like it maintained the ability to create an amazing head with sick lacing. Other then that, nice orange/amber hue.

Caramel, citrus, pale malts and pine show up, a hint of earthy mint in the finish.

The taste still has a strong citrus bite up front, more pale and les caramel malt, mint, pine and slight mineral finish. More balanced than a fresh one. Slightly resiny in the mouth.

Great fresh, great nine months old, great after a year. If you haven't had one... Pbbbttt.

OBeerMeGreatOne, Aug 22, 2011
Photo of Lauthaha
4.58/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a beer taster.

Appearance: Beer is a mostly-clear deep golden hue with active carbonation visible through the glass. Head is super frothy and rich-looking, and dimples down beautifully over the course of several minutes. Great retention.

Smell: Bright, crisp citrus zest on top of some piney hops. Some caramel-type malt in the background. Tantalizing.

Taste/Mouthfeel: The malt lays down a nice thick base right off the bat. Carbonation creates a cool lava flow on the tongue, and hops begin to strike like lightning bolts on a placid lake. Very bitter, piney; some spicy notes thrown in for good measure. Finish is crisp and dry, and leaves you wanting more. A little on the bitter side for me (I'd like to see a little more citrus or malt sweetness), but an amazing brew, indisputably.

Overall: Wow. Definitely worth the $2.00 price tag! Sierra Nevada has impressed me again.

Lauthaha, Aug 15, 2011
Photo of jondeelee
4.22/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The 2010 version of Sierra Nevada's Celebration Ale is a "Fresh Hop Ale," featuring "the first hops of the growing season." To the nose, this translates to slow, rolling waves of hops, bringing grapefruit, pine, and citrus notes. a lovely yeasty bread dough aroma lingers in the background, complete with brown sugars and apricot fruit esters.

On the tongue, the beer is immediately hoppy bitter, bringing in full force the grapefruit and pine notes from the nose. Perhaps because of the freshness of the hops--first off the plant--there is an extra hint of spiciness and wildness to the brew: a lemon-peppery citrus zest that infuses the bitterness. Behind these, and moderately difficult to locate, given the hops, lies a layer of malts, complete with brown sugars, apricots, and pecans. The hops dominate the mouthful, however, and continue into the aftertaste, which is almost exclusively hops, and divebombs the tastebuds for quite a while. Mouthfeel is medium, and carbonation is medium-high.

Overall, this is good beer, though its relation to the Holiday season should be noted as going little beyond the festive label: there are no Christmas spices in here, no fancy gingerbread or shortbread ingredients. Instead, there's just malts and hops, hops, hops. IPA lovers should take note of this one.

jondeelee, Jul 31, 2011
Photo of Remedynj
4.97/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is my favorite seasonal brew and something that I look forward to every year, and 2011 did not disappoint. I try to save some each time I get it, but this is a difficult beer to keep around.

This is one of the few beers that I would give an A+ to, one of my all time favorites

Remedynj, Jul 19, 2011
Photo of SWMeyer4141
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Haven't had a Celebration Ale in a while, and found a 2008 single, had to try it.

Poured into Pint glass

Appearance-Slightly hazy amber color with suprisingly a 1-2 finger off white head after all these years.

Smell-Lots of caramel malts, pretty sweet smelling. Light citrus and some hops.

Taste-Got alot of unique flavors in this. Besides the heavy caramel malts and citrusy hops I got some cocoa nibs, pear, green apple. The hops have faded over the years but still a very tasty beer.

Mouthfeel-Creamy, Smooth, easy to drink. Medium bodied and moderate carbonation. Very easy to drink.

Overall-I've never been the type to drink a 2.5 year old IPA, but this was really good. Can't wait to drink fresh ones soon.

SWMeyer4141, Jul 17, 2011
Photo of chugalug06
3.98/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Very aggressive pour. Nice soapy off-white head. Brew is cloudy amber color with lots of browns and some orange. Great lacing remains left behind.

S - Very light fruity scent. Other than the light scent, there's not too much going one. Much of the aggressive scents have mellowed since December.

T - Very mellow. Much better with a little age on it than it is fresh. A very nice and mellow brew. Perfect for a post summer run *celebration*

M - Not much bitterness; aged very well. Medium bodied and light carbonation. Very well done, drinks amazingly. Slightly bitter which spreads well.

O - Awesome brew, super glad I chose to sit on a few until the summer months. Highly recommended to buy some in the winter for summer drinking. Nice work SN, you've impressed.

chugalug06, Jul 06, 2011
Photo of albertjr21
4.18/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On this balmy summer night of 6-22-11 I'm giving this 2010 bottle a go and thinking how much I wish the current weather were just a tad closer to that wintery wonderland depicted on the bottle label...Into a pint glass this appears a clear copper amber color under a well sustained head. Aroma is that of toasted sweet bread, deep floral hops and perhaps a touch of cinnamon. Mouthfeel is a very hop forward one with no shame in slamming the palate with earthy pine and herbal hops riding very nicely on a robust malt base. The finish leaves a favorably bitter imprint on the palate and is quite refreshing (much enjoyed on this humid day) despite its very wintery warming character. Cheers to an American IPA with balls...

albertjr21, Jun 23, 2011
Photo of Rifugium
3.93/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

First had: bottle from Pinocchio's beer garden, Media, PA

This review is for the 2010 batch, served in a bottle.

Poured into a pint glass, a clear amber, with reddish highlights around the edges, and a finger of merry white head. Floral and citrus notes in the aroma, hoppy, with a malty sweetness in the background. Much like the previous batch, a good balance of sweet malts and bitter but smooth hops, floral and slightly herbal, with a tad of spice. Medium mouthfeel and sessionably drinkable.

Rifugium, Jun 18, 2011
Photo of rowingbrewer
4.28/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours an amber color with a large pillowy white head that coats the sides of the glass and lasts for a long time. The smell is floral and citrusy. the flavor is very hop forward with citrus and some pine, and a light malt backbone to back it up. the bitterness while there, is not as present as i would like. the mouthfeel is light and well carbonated. and overall i give this one an A

rowingbrewer, Jun 15, 2011
Photo of dogfishandi
4.45/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

2010 vintage- bottled SEPT. 2010

reviewed on: 11-10-2010 (2 month old bottle)

been waiting and searching for this in the last few weeks and finally while out on a grocery run on a lazy tuesday, i spotted some. had to pick up a 12 pack.

cold from the store poured into a standard pint glass. pours a lovely copper orange color with a big creamy, slightly off white head. held some great retention with some very nice thick lace.

minty citrus hop aromas accompanied by a toasty, bready, grainy malt. very nice aroma, just falls a touch shy from what i expected as far as banging hops.

delicious taste. big, sharp citrus hops. a little minty, piney, and a touch herbal. definatly hop forward, but a lovely malt profile tries to balance. bready, toasted grains, and some light caramel. just some light alcohol as it warms.

creamy, inviting mouthfeel, hop resins and much lingering bitterness attack the palate. prickly carbonation. medium bodied.

drinkability is like crack. prolly my second favorite winter beer, right behind anchor x-mas. this is usually my go to hoppy beer during the cold months every year. much more 12 packs to come! and for 17$ a 12, you really cant go wrong with this.

reviewed on: 6-3-2011 (8 month old bottle)

at about fridge temp poured into a big wine glass. huge billowy, fluffly off white head, slightly cloudy deep amber color. looks about the same.

hops have faded just a touch in the aroma, a nice piney, sprucy like quality going on. a bit metallic at first. some mint leaves.

oh that great taste! im really glad i put a few of these bottles away. the taste hasnt changed much at all, still some nice hops, good bitterness. again sprucy, piney hops, citrus balanced perfectly by a well rounded bready caramel malt.

smooth bodied, mouthfeel is the same, maybe just a touch less resins.

dogfishandi, Jun 04, 2011
Photo of angrybabboon
4.35/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Review adapted from notes taken 12/4/10
Slightly updated 12/1/12

Note: 2010 batch, 2012 batch (attempting to take an average of sorts)

Appearance: Pours a beautiful copper/amber color - a little hazy, with an amazing head that lasts forever, leaves some nice lacing

Smell: Wild, untamed hops - lots of citrus, orange, pine - orange and grapefruit zest - on the leafy/herbal side - some interesting malts underneath, caramel, lightly toasted, with some pale highlights

Taste: Solid - rough, harsh hops (harsh in a good way, of course) - tons of citrus flavors with a hint of piney resin - grapefruit flesh and rind - leafy, raw hops, slightly earthy - a great amount of bitterness - malts provide a great backbone - toasted biscuits, light caramel sweetness - kind of dry, with a mild salt flavor that I taste in all SN pale ales

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, mostly smooth with some bitter, leafy harshness

Overall: An undeniable classic that I intend to enjoy every winter

While Celebration is not my favorite IPA, it is extremely tasty and it has a certain charm that I appreciate more every year. It is about the same on tap, perhaps a little smoother.
(Update): This really becomes more charming every year. It's leafy, raw, and a little harsh, yet somehow I find it as heartwarming as a Christmas tree.

angrybabboon, May 30, 2011
Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 7,887 ratings.