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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.

7,826 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 7,826
Reviews: 3,154
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 11.54%
Wants: 199
Gots: 464 | 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
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Ratings: 7,826 | Reviews: 3,154 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of pheggeseth
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: clear amber, few carbonation bubbles, billowy head with good retention and lacing

S: hop resin, hint of malt mixed with citrus

T: smooth front with some malt/hops in the middle that taper nicely to the end

M: slightly acidic and mouth coating, more like a good pale ale

D: pretty light, but the bitter aftertaste stays a little too long to be totally drinkable

pheggeseth, Dec 24, 2007
Photo of deepsouth
3.45/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

i'm drinking this one today out of a new sam adams glass.

sierra nevada was one of the first micros that i drank with any regularity after coming out of beer hell.

i poured this one rather aggressively into the sam adams glass. the result was a highly carbonated amberish yellowish beer with a light tan head that was about an inch thick. it disappated rather quickly and i was left with much lacing.

the smell is spicy and fruity. it smells like a christmas beer.

the taste is very fruity. grapefruit comes most to mind. some hops are their as well. the tast is pretty bitter, but somewhat balanced.

the mouthfeel is thin and carbonated. it feels very nice.

this one is just average to me. i hate to say it, but probably my least favorite christmas beer to date. it's ok.

deepsouth, Dec 24, 2007
Photo of marcpal
4.65/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass. This was an outstanding beer, what a great year for this SN.

A: Yellow gold and dark with a shiny nice foam head. Moderate lacing.

S: Floral hops. Not too subtle but ridiculously appetizing. True IPA aroma.

T: Contains both ends here- the grapefruit citrus hops with the spicy hops are in great combination. Really a treat to drink this one.

M: Bit of the oily hops with medium carbonation.

D: Not so much a seasonal only, really should be brewed all year around. The hops are great in this one and has nearly ideal balance of a terrific IPA.

Definite must try, pick some extra up before this season is out.

marcpal, Dec 24, 2007
Photo of Gambrinus1184
4.45/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from a stubby 12-ounce bottle into a Duvel glass.

A: Poured a rich copper with reddish highlights and a three-finger head of thick, creamy foam. Great carbonation and solid looking character.

S: Smells of citrus and pine hops. The sweetness is light, but notes there is some nice balance to the brew also.

T: Outstanding. Great pine and grapefruit hop bite, smooth, creamy malt backbone. Really enjoyable IPA.

M: Mouthfeel is medium-bodied but not overbearing. The hops tingle and slightly sweet burn in the finish is great.

D: The ABV is up near 7%, so be aware off that, because it's really hard to stop once you've started. Great session brew to have at a cozy Christmas party.

Unusual to have an IPA as a winter seasonal, and that might turn away some purists, but I wish this were available year-round. Sierra Nevada's standard pale ale is not a great substitute for it, and the Anniversary Ale was a limited brew, so enjoy this one while it lasts.

Gambrinus1184, Dec 24, 2007
Photo of Sweasty
4.35/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - Golden copper with a creamy off white head. Good head retention that ultimately leaves sticky lacing the whole way down the glass.

Smell - Herbal citrusy/grapfruity hops, with bit of piney edge. A bit of sweet caramel struggles to make an appearance.

Taste - Follows the nose. C-hops and lots of em. Citrus/grapefruit hops. Followed by a solid bready malt backbone. A long lingering bitter finish.

Mouthfeel - Smooth and Creamy

Overall this my favorite holiday seasonal. Its a well balanced and tasty IPA. A must drink every year for me.

Sweasty, Dec 24, 2007
Photo of Fernans
4.43/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Let's face it Sierra Nevada is the standard bearer of the Pale Ale. It doesn't surprise one bit that this one is fantastic extension of that great brew. First off, the smell is floral but not over the top. This is the first signal that this will be a hop heads brew. Taste, didn't disappoint, truly enjoyable. Rich in hoppy flavor but with balance. As far as drinkability.... I enjoy it typically after dinner or with friends. This is an outstanding beer. Get one while you can.

Fernans, Dec 23, 2007
Photo of CDBeerDisappear
4.4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Slightly aggressive pour yielded a one and half inch head of rather coarse bubble foam with decent retention. Looks wonderful with clear red amber color. Head has good retention. Aroma is citrus hops as is the taste. Not a lot of malt to balance the hops but I like it. I like a brew that has smack you in the face hop presence. Feels great in the mouth. Good carbonation plus hoppy bitterness equals a nice clean mouthfeel. Hey hon, bring me the rest of that six pack would ya?

CDBeerDisappear, Dec 23, 2007
Photo of jkrich
3.93/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle with the ideal Christmas scene on the label along with the year, 2007.

This ale poured a clear, reddish amber with a slightly off-white head. The pour also left a lot of lace on my conic pint glass.

Like most domestic ales, the smell of pine was prominent, piney like a Christmas tree.

A fair amount of pleasant, hoppy bitterness flows over the tongue. The malt comes briefly in the middle of the taste and the bitterness lingers again on the back of the tongue; perhaps it lingers a little too long. The malt becomes slightly more noticeable as the ale warms.

Let this beer warm up after pouring and it becomes more drinkable and balanced. At 6.8% ABV, it is a good beer to sip. This is not one I would drink regularly, but it is a good once a year holiday ale.

jkrich, Dec 22, 2007
Photo of roblowther
3.6/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bought a sixer of this in honor of the season. Its light gold copper and smells of cherries and pine, with a hint of spice. The taste is much more subdued than I expected, more balanced than the usual hop-heavy signature of most CA brewers in general and SN in particular. Not much head retention. The mouthfeel is soft if a bit thin. The drinkability is good, although hops-dominant beers are always an uhill climb for me. A good way to end the year but the name made me expect a winter warmer rather than an ipa. Something about trying to survive the heat of a long southern boat journey doesn't put me in the Christmas spirit!

roblowther, Dec 22, 2007
Photo of Tang07
4.75/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5


SN had been slippin' the last few years on this brew. They changed it up this year. Historically, this beer has some berry and nutmeg/spice flavors, but it seems that they dropped that and went to a pure hoppy IPA.

It looks great when poured into a glass. Nice dark copper color with a nice heavy head.

The smell is of hop and citrus. The spice that this brew had in the past seems to be either gone or greatly diminished.

It tastes as good as it looks and smells. Heavy on the hops, start to finish. Wonderful winter beer. It was actually cold for a few days and I had to go outside and have a seat and a fine brew

I brought some to my neighbor's house and they were blown away. Then I told them that it was available at the local grocery store now that they've expanded their beer selection they were beside themselves.

the mouthfeel is great and it is very drinkable. These can sneak up on people as they do not taste like they have a ABV of almost 7%. That speaks of how well balanced it is. Heavy on the hop heavy on the alcohol.

Tang07, Dec 22, 2007
Photo of cichief
4.47/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A great American IPA.

A- Pours a deep gold with a nice snow-white head.

S- Flowery and spicy, very inviting.

T- Somewhat citrusy and spicy, a hint of grapefruit. a very good, well balanced beer.

M- Smooth, well carbonated, thin to medium in body.

D- A great beer to pair with spicy food, or just to enjoy alone.

cichief, Dec 22, 2007
Photo of clayrock81
3.53/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I am not a huge IPA fan, hence if you are your marks would probably be higher.
Still, this was a very enjoyable beer and I am going to store my other 2007 away for a year.
Would not recommend downing these as your tongue nor your brain might be able to handle it. Still, a nice quality drink to sip as winter continues.
I poured this into a pint glass and was amazed at the copper, auburnish body. I was expecting a more tan body for some reason.
Left two finger head that slowly descended into my mug, and there were some positive lacings left and the bubbles kept rising.
I didn't detect too much variety upon smell, I don't think they put in a lot of fancy or even "extra" ingredients like most winter beers do, this was just straight hops and malt with some citrus.
Unlike regular IPAs, this was only medium bodies, and the hops did not overpower the drink and overkill my pallete. Went down slightly smooth, for a change, and actually improved upon further drinking rather than dry my mouth out a litte.
I detected some citrusy in the beer, and I highly doubt it is in there but something like oak or wood or something to complement the backbite from the malt upon swallowing.
I will be buying the 2008, I just hope its popularity with the general public doesn't increase (at the local beer store here they had a huge display of this in front and it was about empty) so the price stays the same.

clayrock81, Dec 21, 2007
Photo of seanyfo
3.63/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2006 Vintage poured into imperial pint glass.

A dark coppery muddy brown, 3 finger rocky white head with aggressive pour.Lacing is good

S Lots of floral notes, grapefruit, melon, vanilla. Some biscuityness on close inspection, perhaps syrup also?

T Lots of floralness. bitter bite is very apparent even after a year. No sweetness really.

M still a lively carbonation, clean and crisp

D Um for an american IPA, this was ok, i still cant get use to the harsh hoppy bitter bite. This wasnt as harsh as most. I can see why IPA lovers would enjoy this, a lot of nice complex flavours but this style isnt for me.

seanyfo, Dec 21, 2007
Photo of ByTor2112
3.95/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured the color of an amber ale. I vigorously swirled the last ounce in the bottle and dumped it into my Mad River pint glass. A one finger head holds steady for a while and good sticky lacing clings as the head resides.
Aroma-fresh hops, mostly piney with a hint of some citrus.
Mouthfeel-good carbonation delivers an initial bitterness. I get a quick taste of some caramel and malt then the hops re-ignite for a rather bitter finish-nice! I have not had SNCA in a few years and this is a great winter hop fix. A froth on the palate really gets this ale going and sweetens it up. The citrusy hops, somewhat orangey come out to play and get prickly on the tongue. Quaffable even.
Cheers to this solid seasonal offering.

ByTor2112, Dec 21, 2007
Photo of Reanimator
3.95/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Poured hazy golden-yellow-orange, weak pour got me about a half an inch of khaki colored head. Little head retention overall, with some spotty lacing.

S: All hops and citrus, period.

T: Hops and citrus dominate: orange rind and grapefruit. Almost balanced by a warming alcohol taste and malt. No strange or artificial, gimmicky flavors in this seasonal, just pure hops and malt! I agree with some other reviewers that the beer mellows out as it warms, becoming more balanced.

M: Slightly syrupy, medium body. Perfectly carbonated, smooth yet lively on the tongue.

D: Not what I was expecting at all, and for the better! I enjoyed every sip of this brew, I say sip since it would seem difficult to drink quickly due to the strong hop and citrus character. The higher alcohol content also keeps me from downing too many of these, as I am a lightweight, but I certainly look forward to future years of Celebration Ale to come.

Reanimator, Dec 21, 2007
Photo of KodyBrannon
3.73/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass, This beer poured a light brown color with a lot of carbonation. It had a thick white foamy head. The overall scent was very hoppy and fruity, with a hint of pine, A definate change compared to other december seasonals. Had a very strong citrus and bitter taste. Very light mouthfeel, almost like water, just with some carbonation. Overall this was a decent beer to me, but not my favorite. I would pick somthing else besides this beer if given the oppertunity.

KodyBrannon, Dec 19, 2007
Photo of marcobrau
4/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

A very interesting hop aroma fills my nostrils as I pour this beer into the glass, with it's foam rising too quickly and almost filling the glass. I let the foam settle and top off the pint, creating an almost inch-thick rocky head on top of this amber-red ale. Getting back to the aroma: powdered sugar notes are covered up with what smells a bit like Cluster hops, although the brewery says this is hopped with Cascade and Centennial. Perhaps it's just the suggestion, but eventually the hops are smelling a bit more like themselves.

I'm almost halfway through the pint and still impressed with the carbonation. Nice bits of sticky lace like cotton candy stuck to the sides of my Sierra Nevada pint glass. I'm also surprised at the body; it seems a bit thin and makes the beer rather perilously drinkable at nearly 7 percent alcohol. Visually the beer is quite appealing, at least at first, but upon closer inspection I can notice some little white dots (proteins?) in suspension; floating in the beer. Maybe it's yeast, I dunno. It's okay I guess, because the beer tastes good. The caramel malt and hops balance is quite good with a lingering bitterness in the finish. This long, bitter and dry finish is perhaps the most enjoyable quality of this beer, that and I suppose it's dangerous drinkability.

marcobrau, Dec 19, 2007
Photo of Damian
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Drank from a 12 fl. oz. bottle purchased at Crazy Bruce's, West Hartford, CT

Poured a slightly hazed, orangey-amber with a khaki, bubbly, one-finger head. Drippy patches of lacing left streaks all down the glass.

The aroma was relatively mild initially but came out as the beer warmed. Sweet, spicy and hoppy overall with strong indications of orange zest.

The taste was similar to the nose but a bit more aggressive. Malty and sweet notes came through up front before the spicy, zesty hops kicked in. Citrusy hops prevailed with some ripe fruits appearing mid-palate. A touch of alcohol became noticeable as well. The toasty malts showed up once again before the grapefruit-like finish gripped my palate. For a West Coast IPA, this beer was surprisingly well balanced.

Mouthfeel was medium-bodied, creamy and frothy with a slightly greater than average amount of carbonation. Drinkability was terrific.

At 6.8% ABV, this beer was amazingly sessionable.

I was skeptical as to how or why an IPA would be brewed as a winter seasonal until I tried this one. Toasty and warming, it is a great beer to drink on a cold winter night.

Damian, Dec 19, 2007
Photo of scottblaze
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

An amitious pour resulted in a frothy tan head w/excellent retention and and lacing, rich amber. Citrus(grapefruit),floral and pine seem to dominate the nose, the Cascade IMO seems to lead the flavor with grapefruit, bitter and maybe a little pineapple with just the right amount of malty base to keep things in check. Mouthfeel and drinkabilty are both plenty nice. Love the alcohol warmness.

Never had this before, bought a sixer ..Celebration Ale?...expecting something lightly hopped, sweet, creamy, malty and spicy, not an IPA, it caught me by surprise....pleasanty. Thumbs up and Cheers!

scottblaze, Dec 19, 2007
Photo of beveritt
3.9/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

---2007 Fresh Tasting---
Presentation: Poured from a 12 oz brown bottle (with pop top now) into a standard pint glass. the label depicts a small, snow covered cabin with a huge wreath on the front door. 6.8% ABV.

Appearance: Pours with 2 inches of light tan foam that slowly settles into a still substantial foamy head, leaving behind much lacing. The beer itself is a light red/gold with a small amount of activity.

Smell: Strong floral and grapefruit aromas, definitely dry-hopped.

Taste: Spicy hops upfront, followed by a mild malt body. Finishes with long, lingering, medium bitterness. Plenty of bite. Slight metallic twang.

Mouthfeel: Good body and average carbonation level.

Drinkabilty: A good beer, but not what I typically think of for a winter ale. I picked up a case of this to see how it ages, i have heard mixed reviews on aging Celebration. With the kind of low alcohol and its style of dry-hopped spiciness, I imagine it will be best fresh. We'll see.

beveritt, Dec 19, 2007
Photo of beeritron
3.95/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Celebration Ale pours out of the bottle a deep copper color with a foamy tan head that lasts throughout. It lingers on the sides of the glass, creating lacing with every swallow. The smell is a little weak compared to the taste. You sense a nice hop aroma with a little maltiness. The taste, however, is great. It's got a great big hop character balanced by a mild sweetness reminiscent of dark molasses. On the back of the tongue I found that, along with the ruby red grapefruit flavor found in hoppy beers, I tasted maraschino cherries. Overall this is a gem of a Christmas ale. Many times, holiday ales are so sweet and spiced that if you have more than one you start to feel sick. The nice balance of sweet and bitter in Celebration Ale lends itself to being a very drinkable beer without fear of a stomach ache.

beeritron, Dec 18, 2007
Photo of cookin420
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into a pub glass.
Big ol' pale, bone colored head. Beer is a pale, not so amber, yellowish tint with moderate haze. The head remains as a mound in the center, but gone quickly for the most part.
The smell is that of an IPA with tones of winter warmer spice but the hop is very dominant. Magnificent.
MMM! The three C's, chinook cascade and centennial. I'd know em anywhere because I've used them in my own IPA's for the same reason sierra has; The combo rocks! This is close to perfect. Citric and floral in the hop and plum in the much less evident malt presence. A perfectly balanced American IPA with a winter twist from one of the usual suspects.
This brew does incredible things as it mellows in the glass. The hop nose and malt become more up front as the hop bitter and citrus fade a bit.
Mouthfeel here is very pleasant. Smooth but sill feels "pale" and refreshing. I could drink these all day in January or July. Carbonation stays at the right level for the entire beer despite a pretty aggressive pour.
A very drinkable beer, this could get you into trouble at your in-laws Christmas celebration if your not keeping track of how many you toss back, so be aware, this is not s 4.8 % IPA. Not a 9% either but being so easy to quaff, you should only drink more than six around certain company.
Again, This is really great stuff but no surprise from pro's like sierra nevada. If you haven't had this yet, buy it now and save yourself a trip to the store by buying a few sixers right off the bat. Your gonna want more anyway.

cookin420, Dec 18, 2007
Photo of dirtsocks
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

it poured a nice amber color with about a finger of head. The smell of hops was strong and the taste was equal with it. It had a nice mouthfeel with some carbonation, i could definitely drink this beer year round too bad its seasonal. Another job well done Sierra Nevada!

dirtsocks, Dec 18, 2007
Photo of OKCNittany
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: 1" white head with decent retention, leaving a nice lacing. Clear amber body.

S: Citrus, pine, and floral hops. If they made perfume like this, women wearing it would need to get a restraining order to keep me off them.

T: Fresh and juicy hops. Fruity, citric, sweet, but bitter too. There's a nice malt presence as well. It's somewhat off in the distance, but just enough balance is maintained.

M: Medium bodied with good carbonation. Somewhat smooth with a lip smacking, hop finish.

D: Hoppier than and not as well balanced as their Anniversary Ale and their IPA (and as far as I'm concerned, that's not a complaint), but like all S.N. brews, it's very drinkable.

OKCNittany, Dec 18, 2007
Photo of Lothore
3.4/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A- Pours a reddish amber hue with a huge off white head that just does not quit. Some carbonation is present.

S- Smell is very mild, some piney hops a bit of sweet malt but very hard to detect.

T- Taste is very malt forward with a hop bitterness at the end that grabs onto your tastebuds and doesn't let go. Last year I remember this being extremely piney and unbearable but maybe I just got a bad batch. All in all I think it is a bit too sweet and the way the bitterness lasts on the tongue is somewhat annoying.

M- Very carbonated and fairly viscous.

D- I don't dig this one. Had it for the first time last year and absolutely hated it. This year i've warmed to it but it just doesn't seem drinkable to me. The first sip is fine and I don't mind hop bitterness, in fact, I love hop biterness, however the bitter stickiness that lasts for minutes after every sip doesn't appeal to me.

Lothore, Dec 18, 2007
Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 7,826 ratings.