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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.

7,820 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 7,820
Reviews: 3,154
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 11.54%
Wants: 200
Gots: 462 | 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:
Fresh Hop Ale; no spices.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 11-02-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 7,820 | Reviews: 3,154 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Chincino
4/5  rDev -3.8%

This beer poured a reddish/orange color with an beige color head.

Right away you could smell the pine and citrus-the aroma was strong, but not overpowering.

This beer was Medium body, smooth.

This was my first time having this Sierra nevada beer-would recommend it.

Chincino, Feb 04, 2011
Photo of Messiahbolical
4.53/5  rDev +8.9%

A - Pours a dark, red-tinted copper color with an off-white creamy, fluffy head that sticks around. Lots of lacing on the glass. Looks great in the glass.

S - Lots of hops... pine, floral, citrus... this beer smells like it will be balanced. The smell isn't THAT strong though. Wish it was a bit stronger. Still good though.

T - Mmm... delicious. Right away up front you get that citrus hops kick, backed with a noteworthy honey malt sweetness. Then fades out to a nice, strong pine bitterness that sticks to your tongue but not for too long. One of the most balanced, if not the MOST balanced, IPA I've ever had. It has every taste you look for in a good IPA.

M - Medium bodied but silky smooth on the tongue with a creamy feeling carbonation that rolls on through your mouth to the back of your throat and finishes really clean and feels refreshing going down.

D - It's an IPA, a strong style of beer, so of course it's not going to be the most drinkable beer in the world. This one is pretty damn drinkable though. Doesn't fill you up too much and has a relatively average-to-low ABV% for the style. I can see putting a few of these down in one night. And the bitterness doesn't seem to get old, since it fades away at just the right time.

Messiahbolical, Feb 03, 2011
Photo of thenewflesh
4.45/5  rDev +7%

A: Pours with an admirable head that will stick around for the entire beer if you pour it right. This reddish amber elixir looks almost as great as it tastes

S: Floral, sweet aromas that take the reins of your senses and get you ready for the ride.

T: Definitely something to write home about. A bready, full-bodied IPA that really hits the spot on a cold night. So fresh and tangy that it tastes like biting into a magical beer vegetable.

M: Full, crisp, sudsy deliciousness.

D: I can put back 6 of these in a few hours, which scares me considering the alcohol content. They're just so damn delicious that it's hard to stop... My favorite seasonal beer, can't wait for next winter to come around.

thenewflesh, Feb 03, 2011
Photo of honestdave
4.35/5  rDev +4.6%

Poured from a 12oz bottle into an ale glass.

A: Copper colored with an awesome full creamy head that stays for at least a full five minutes.

S: Fresh citrus hoppiness. Some piney scent as well.

T: Much like the smell...full hoppy bitterness up front and finishes with a light malty ending. Delicious!

M: Creamy head with the first several sips. Medium bodied - what I would expect from a 6.8% ABV brew.

D: I can easily drink several of these at a time. The alcohol is hidden behind the full fresh hop flavor that characterizes this beer.

Summary: My favorite seasonal beer by far. This beer is readily available in my area and also a reasonably priced 12-pack. So happy that I have been able to have this in the fridge all winter. Just another fantastic beer from the masters at SN.

honestdave, Feb 02, 2011
Photo of DAllspaw
4.45/5  rDev +7%

This has been a staple the last two winters, just haven't bothered to register my notes and drank the last one weeks ago.

It has the expected bitter and creaminess that you expect from a pale ale, but for whatever reason is more pronounced in this beer than others I've tried. For my taste, I wouldn't classify as IPA, it lacks the agressive bitterness and finish, but is nonethless a solid pale ale.

DAllspaw, Feb 01, 2011
Photo of JackieTH
4.15/5  rDev -0.2%

Appearance: Deep copper/amber with two fingers of off-white foam when poured freely.

Smell: Light hop, mild citrus but more prominent grassy, resinous notes. Definte lightly sweet malty presence here.

Taste: A lightly sweet caramelly malt appears right out of the gates followed by a pleasing level of citric, resinous and grassy hop bitterness. Balance is tipped just a bit toward the hop, for a slightly bitter, but very clean and dry finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, slightly creamy, slightly dry, with good amount of carbonation.

Drinkability: Excellent session beer. They know their IPAs.

JackieTH, Jan 31, 2011
Photo of NWer
4.28/5  rDev +2.9%

I've enjoyed several of these this Winter and decided to finally review it.
Poured a very nice hazy copper into a brandy snifter.
Nice malt forward followed by a well balanced hop finish. Thoroughly enjoyable alternative to aggressive hop forward ales.
Had two before I knew it and could easily go for another.

NWer, Jan 29, 2011
Photo of dalimsta
2.55/5  rDev -38.7%

I had high hopes for this beer based on all the positive reviews, but I was unfortunately incredibly underwhelmed by it. Nice dark amber color, small head that dissipated quickly, generally a decent representation of the style... but the taste left a lot to be desired. Overpowering bitterness, with little else--some nice breadiness and spice hid under there, but it was hard to detect.

I'm really hoping this was just a bad batch since I respect Sierra Nevada's other brews, but every bottle in the six-pack I got was disappointing.

dalimsta, Jan 28, 2011
Photo of greenmonstah
4/5  rDev -3.8%

12 oz bottle into DFH snifter

A - Pours a hazy copper with a finger of off-white head. Nice sticky lacing

S - Mild citrus hops an a sweet and grainy malt background.

T - Mild citrus hop and bitterness. Grainy in the middle and finish. Probably a lot better fresher, when the citrus hops can kick a bit more.

M - Medium body and nice carbonation. Right on for an IPA.

D - Easy to drink. Fun to drink. A good IPA that is probably a lot better the fresher you get it, as usual. I prefer Torpedo, but it is close.

greenmonstah, Jan 28, 2011
Photo of CuriousMonk
3.4/5  rDev -18.3%

Poured from 12 oz bottle into a dimpled mug. Pours a very clear red amber with a small white head leaving a good amount of lacing on the glass. Aroma is caramel malt, strong of spicy hops, light pine and citrus hops. Initial taste is malty caramel, followed by spicy and citrus hops. Finish is bready with a light bitterness. Medium body. Medium carbonation. Pretty hoppy for a winter style IMO.

CuriousMonk, Jan 27, 2011
Photo of clearlydiluted
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%

a - pours a deep clear amber-brown with a finger of head

s - piney, citrusy, hints of caramel malt accent the hops wherein they meld together to provide a nice sweet candi hop aroma

t - slightly sweet with a piney/citrus middle before drying out with a nice tight astringent bitter aftertaste that clears the palette.

m - medium body with enough carbonation to bring out the hops

d - deceptively drinkable @ 6.8% while only seeming to 5% I will say that as it ages the chinook herb notes are more present compared to the cascade + centennial citrus notes turning it into a completely different beer. fresh however it is dangerously balanced.

clearlydiluted, Jan 27, 2011
Photo of vapodge
4.13/5  rDev -0.7%

Poured from 12 oz bottle into Sam Adams glass.

A - Cloudy amber with a nice head. Bubbles rising constantly and lacing all down the glass.

S - Hops. Not very citrusy to my nose.

T - Grassy hops that don't seem to be as vibrant and prominent as they were in other bottles of this I had a couple months ago.

M - Dry and not all that thick.

D - Nice solid IPA that I'll get again and again. The ABV is low enough to allow me to drink a few which is always a huge plus.

Loved this when it first hit the shelves this season. Now at the end of January, though not the same, it's still pretty darn good.

vapodge, Jan 26, 2011
Photo of nukem5
4/5  rDev -3.8%

A: Good color of dark amber with a great rocky top of 2 fingers.

S: Great hops all around the glass.These guys do IPAs everyday so all of them are good well crafted beers.

T: Exceptional hoppy flavors of fresh hops just poured into the brew, tasyes like a harvest time at my house.

M: Medium and well carbed

D: Very drinkable and like I said always a treat to taste SN at thier best!

nukem5, Jan 26, 2011
Photo of dali27
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%

Poured from 12 oz bottle into pint glass.

A: Pours a nice, deep bronze color. Creamy head that stays with it as the beer disapears. Heavy, thick lacing down side of glass.

S: Clear to me that it is bitter citrus/grapefruit and hops. It's very appealing and leads to excited first taste.

T: Rich full flavor that is very strong with hops. Taste grapefruit/lemon, and can also taste piney flavor. Bitter, almost puckering aftertaste.

M: Feels pretty solid. Rich. Wow, bitterness really hits the sides of my tongue.

D: Very easy to drink one or two of these. Much more than that, I don't know, really because of the bitter (not bad) aftertaste that it leaves.

I was very excited to try this beer, with all of the good things that people say about it. I was lucky enough to pick up a couple today before they are gone for the year, and very glad that I did. Definitely something that I will be looking forward to next year.

Time to sit back and enjoy another one now.

dali27, Jan 26, 2011
Photo of Dave128
3.95/5  rDev -5%

12 oz bottle poured into a basic mug (Hey its all I had at the time). Last of my only 6 pack of celebration 2010.

A - Head is not too impressive. With a vigorous pour I didn't get more than 2 fingers which subsided pretty quickly. Lacing is average. The initial head sticks to the glass but only a few small patches actually make it through the enjoyment process. Tons of little particulates swirling around

S - I love the smell of this beer. "Fresh Hop Ale" is the perfect way to describe it, as is listed on the label. Smells like fresh hops. Very piny and wintry smell. Fresh and basic.

T - I'm not sure what to say about the taste of Celebration. Well.. It's straight up hops and like a piny resin. A tiny bit citrusy, but mostly bitterness and more bitterness. Not exactly up my alley, but I'm not gonna fault a beer for bitterness when my palate is still pretty immature and I'm growing to appreciate it more and more.

M - A little bit harsh on the carbonation IMO. It has the effect of bubbling up in bitter froth in the mouth that I didn't really like.

D - Again.. I wanna say this beer is unbalanced because the bitterness just seems a little too much, but there's something about it that makes me want to go back for more after every sip I take.

Dave128, Jan 25, 2011
Photo of birderbeerer
4.13/5  rDev -0.7%

Golden, mostly amber with a three finger head. And then the lace coats the glass. Coats. Amazing.

Aroma is herbal, floral, and piney. Somewhat subdued hops but definitely present along with some good malt sweetness, mainly caramel and butter.

Taste is an even balance of hops and malt. Tart, tangy hops, mostly pine. Malt is toast, toffee, and caramel.

Carbonation is sharp and crisp. Leaves a slight sticky residue with a sweet malt aftertaste.

Nice combination of a malty pale ale and the fresh, whole cone hops. Sticky but balanced by sweetness.

birderbeerer, Jan 24, 2011
Photo of JednoPivoProsim
4.6/5  rDev +10.6%

2010 Celebration. Poured from 12 fl oz bottle into Ommegang 10 year anniversary tulip. "Celebration Ale is a special ale for the holidays." Oops, I guess I'm a little behind. Do MLK and Presidents' Day count?

Appearance: Nice thick head, looks like you could balance a stack of coins on top. Cloudy amber color, definitely some sediment and "quiet" carbonation activity.

Smell: Hello! A citrusy hop surprise. I feel like this one's got a lot more aroma than some of my other recent IPA tastings. Could it be that seasonals are generally fresher by nature or is this due to the advertised "fresh hops?"

Taste: Full of flavor. This IPA is more on the citrusy, as opposed to the piney, side. I like it a lot - it's got a spicy kick on the tongue!

Mouthfeel: It's pretty smooth and coats the entire mouth...

Interlude: Yikes, I guess I liked this so much, I ran out before I finished the review, a first! Time to crack into #2 (holding the bottle up to the light, there is a ton of sediment swimming around)...

Mouthfeel (cont): Mouth feels good.

Drinkability: I could move through a few of these pretty easily. And SN always seems to be priced right for the job.

Overall: I like this better than Torpedo, but now I'm anxious to try these back to back. No doubt in my mind why Celebration gets the praise it does - and deserves!

JednoPivoProsim, Jan 22, 2011
Photo of TheMadJack
4.28/5  rDev +2.9%

Poured from 24 oz. Bottle into Pint Glass.

A: Pours the color of honey, with hints of orange and yellow and the occasional red highlight. Lumpy and foamy, slightly yellowish head with resolute lacing.

S: The nose wafts over immediately after opening and elicits an immediate smile. Strawberry, cantaloupe, grapefruit, honey, and a flowery undertone like roses or gardenias. No distinct "malt" aromas readily apparent.

T: Ah, there they are. Malt character is like a good crusty bread, forming a steadfast balance to the bitter, which is quite pronounced and dominates the latter phases of a sip. Strawberry and grapefruit accents.

M: Firm, medium-bodied and just a bit lingering without being sticky or unpleasant in the finish. Bitterness excites the palate on two levels, a standard overall bitter flavor with a sharp, astringent sensation that follows short on the heels of a swallow.

D: Bitter, balanced, and clean finishing. Enjoyable alone and I'd wager pairs well with food. Selling 24 oz. bottles was a good move by Sierra Nevada.

TheMadJack, Jan 21, 2011
Photo of KSac4115
3.65/5  rDev -12.3%

Pours an unfiltered copper color with a 1/2 inch slightly off-white foam head.

Smell is floral and hoppy. Smell isn't too apparent, but is light and sweet.

Taste is sweet. Slightly hoppy. Pretty good blend of flavors. Pretty good bitterness. Aftertaste is somewhat pleasant but the flavors tend to fade quickly leaving a mild bitter feeling on the taste buds.

Mouthfeel is very nice. Smooth in the mouth with just the right amount of carbonation. The bitterness is very apparent.

Drinkability is very good. Could definitely have quite a few of these. The higher alcohol percentage is not very obvious.

Overall a pretty good and drinkable beer.

KSac4115, Jan 21, 2011
Photo of Brownshoe
4.28/5  rDev +2.9%

I always look forward to the winter because that's when I can pick up the Celebration Ale. A friend of mine and I agreed that it might be the best beer you can get just about anywhere in the U.S. You can find in convenient stores, supermarkets, north, south, east, west and its quality.

I love the heavy hops. The head is beautiful and it sticks around. Even the after beer burps aren't that bad.

Brownshoe, Jan 21, 2011
Photo of llllDrGONZOllll
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%

12 oz bottle poured into a stemmed tulip glass.

Celebration has thick rock head that reminds me of hand churned French vanilla ice cream. Off white and rocky, it really looks as if it may need a spoon. The retention does hold well and each gulp of this amber-gold IPA leaves cakes of dense lacing. The body is hazy from the amount of hops and is lightly populated with a fine dusting of yeast.

Aromas of grapefruit and floral soap merge with pale malt. Spashes of caramel and toffee are present, more so than the glint of booze. Hop aromas come no finer than the Cascade and Centennial. Both hops are "celebrated" perfectly. I look forward to this release every year, and have never been let down.

The taste is rather bitter at the start. The tip of the tongue is greeted with an unbalanced explosion of citric hop flavor. Orange, grapefruit with soapy floral delights. The finish while still bitter does come with a taste of caramel and toffee. The toasted grains are dry and non cloying. The carbonation may seem a bit high, but perfect to keep aftertastes from lingering. The aftertaste last only long enough to remind you to have another quaff.... Its cold out man, pour the last one!

llllDrGONZOllll, Jan 20, 2011
Photo of Meerkey
3.68/5  rDev -11.5%

A: Thick, frothy white head, faintly cloudy, bubbly bright copper with lots of lacing.

S: Toast, yeast, flowery, piney hops.

T: Piney hops, grain, grapefruit, sweet malt

M: Tart, tingly. Nice.

D: Clean and lingering taste. Good, but not overwhelming.

Meerkey, Jan 19, 2011
Photo of Burt
4.65/5  rDev +11.8%

Served in a pint glass.

A. Amber, copper with off white head with good retention that left tight lacing all the way down.

S. Nice citrus hops with some malt.

T. Hops up front with a caramel middle then nice bitter finish.

M. Little carbonation with a smooth finish

D. This is a great beer that I always look forward to every year. I can have more than one at a sitting.

Burt, Jan 18, 2011
Photo of Shaw
4.35/5  rDev +4.6%

A lovely amber in color with a short off-white head.

Nice aroma of malt and hops.

A nicely bitter taste, with plenty of hops flavors and a bit of biscuit malt sweetness. But this beer is much hoppier and bitter than it is malty.

Smooth, almost creamy body.

Another classic from Sierra Nevada.

Shaw, Jan 18, 2011
Photo of HopHead84
4.03/5  rDev -3.1%


On tap at Stone.

A: Ruby tinged brown with an enormous beige sea foam head. Excellent retention. Great lacing.

S:  Prominent pine resin with light grapefruit notes and a firm caramel malt backbone. This is well balanced, with the hops and malt providing equally pleasing aromatics.

T: Moderately bitter and quite resinous, with notes of grapefruit rind. Malt is caramel in character and provides a little sweetness, though it doesn't do much to curb the dry pine and grapefruit. The finish is astringent with evident alcohol flavor.

M: Medium body with upper moderate carbonation and a sticky and astringent mouthfeel.

Overall: A classic. Very much like a lighter version of an American Barleywine.

HopHead84, Jan 18, 2011
Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 7,820 ratings.