1. Rating beers by attributes (look, smell, taste, feel, overall) is back! Read the latest update ...
  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.

7,822 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 7,822
Reviews: 3,154
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 11.54%
Wants: 199
Gots: 463 | 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
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: 7,822 | Reviews: 3,154 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BadBadger
3.68/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Sierra Nevada's Clebration Ale pours a nice amber color. The nice and thick foamy head is descent sized and lasts for awhile. The smell is floral, hoppy. The taste has a bitter character to it, as one would expect and hope for in an IPA, but this seemed to ovewhelm any other intended flavors. A nice basic IPA, but nothing really to celebrate.

BadBadger, Dec 02, 2006
Photo of Viggo
3.68/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear copper, fluffy white head, collapses rather quick, big bubbles, nice lacing. Smell is piney, citrus, caramel, spices, very nice, reminds me of the holidays, neat cinnamon-hop aroma. Taste is strange, almost medicinal, toffee, pine, citrus, heavy spices, bitterness is out of whack, not sure whether I like this. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, some residual sweetness, medium carbonation, a little aggressive. Neat flavours but I don't think they hold up to the bitterness.

Viggo, Dec 02, 2006
Photo of OSUbrewman
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A very hoppy offering from Sierra Nevada just in time for the holiday season! A dark copper with a sizable head (2 fingers), the flowery hops were extremely pleasant in the nose. Also detectable was pumpkin and cinnamon. Nice hops balance in the taste, with some hints of honey and ginger. A fine and quite drinkable AIPA for a seasonal offering. I will come back to this brew several more times before the end of the season.

OSUbrewman, Dec 02, 2006
Photo of Mebuzzard
4.6/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A very nice amber/burgundy pour. Some haze and cloud. Foamed head to about 2 fingers.
Aroma bursted out of the head with some orange peel, cinnamon and pumpkin spices. Over taken by hops and citrus zing.
Tastes fantastic. Good balance between the chocolate hints, spice, alcohol and hops. the citrus and piney hops are very well maintained and not overpowering, but it is an IPA. Very nice drinking. Easy finish. Crisp. I should get some more!

Mebuzzard, Dec 02, 2006
Photo of dbalsock
3.28/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Light to medium amber with substantial head, off white in color. It looked pretty especially the foamy top.

Smell: Grapefruit, perfume, pine and a light malt background make up the aroma.

Tastte: Very intense grapefruit leads to an aftertaste of grapenuts. It's not as floral as I expected, but retains the piney notes from the aroma. It's not nearly as balanced as I like and doesn't stand out from the other CA IPAs.

Mouthfeel: Incredibly bitter in an unsatisfying way, but it does cover up the alcohol.

Drinkability: I find this to be slowgoing, and I don't think I'll make it through the whole six pack, before I find someone to give it to.

dbalsock, Dec 01, 2006
Photo of gmcfarre
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2006 edition 12 oz bottle poured into Imperial Pint Glass
Bottle @ 48 degrees upon pouring

Why am I Celebrating? Its the first real powder day of the season in Crested Butte!

A - Clear yet bubbly copper color with a solid 3/4 inch off-white head. Lacing is clean and moderate in its coating effect.

S - Clean hop scent that melds nicely with the sweet barley. Bitter hop scent takes the lead here, but it doesn't contain that overpowering floral scent of more aggressive IPAs. Smell is rather faint and I am not detecting much in the way of spice or fruit.

T - Begins with a pleasant almost biscuity sweetness that merges into a nice, slightly bitter hop aftertaste. Again, spice seems low, creating a very enjoyable and clean beer that isolates its main ingredients.

M - Bitterness is mild and this brew defines the term clean throughout the palate. Carbonation is mild as well. Overall, the beer is thick, smooth and filling on the tongue.

D - Due to its cleaner balance between hop and malt, the Celebration is a nice change of pace in the IPA canon. Not my favorite winter beer, but it will do nicely on a cold day.

gmcfarre, Nov 30, 2006
Photo of MVassar
4.13/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Gorgeous honey-gold color, with a substantial creamy head.

Citrus, pine, subtle Christmas spices in the nose.

Crisp and more than slightly bitter. One reviewer mentioned orange peel, which seems exactly right. A long, bitter citrus finish, with just a hint of sweetness. A touch of heat from the alcohol. Very refreshing.

Ample carbonation, creamy texture.

Nothing wimpy about this beer, but it's not heavy, either. Very drinkable.

MVassar, Nov 29, 2006
Photo of boblog
4.2/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Apperance: Amber. Big head that leaves a good amount of lacing.

Smell: Citrus, hops, carmal, alcohol, and spices. It has a truely wonderfull and complex scent thats very inviting.

Taste: Nice malt, wonderfull citric like hops. Hints of spices and nice warm alcohol.

Mouthfeel: Pretty much perfect carbonation and body.

My review was pretty unhelpfull and incomplete but I drank three of these in the course of two and half hours and pretty much forgot to write much down. This beer is great and it will kick your ass if you have more than one or two. A christmas must!

boblog, Nov 28, 2006
Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.28/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

2006 release on-tap at Pitcher’s Pub in Cumberland, RI, served in a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a golden brown color, with a thin off-white head that fades quickly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: It has a very hoppy aroma, as expected, along with caramelized malt and hint of citrus. Overall, however, the smell is kind of faint.

T: Good hops burst up front, which is quickly followed by a very sweet citrus flavor and then goes back to the hops bitterness that stays in the after-taste.

M: Smooth and very crisp, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Very tasty, goes down very easily isn’t filling, this is definitely a beer to stick for an evening.

TheManiacalOne, Nov 27, 2006
Photo of BradBLR
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured a copper amber color and had a medium thick white head. The head lasted about three quarters of the beer and had a good amount of lacing. The smell was a mild hoppy aroma accompanied by a light citrus smell.

The taste was a refreshing hoppy flavor with a slight hint of sweetish malt. Hints of grapfruit, and maybe a slight hint of spices. The mouthfeel was good with the CO2 being a little too much, and possibly a little thin.

Overall a really good beer from Sierra Nevada and something I look forward to every winter. Try it if you get a chance.

BradBLR, Nov 27, 2006
Photo of scarletfire79
4.13/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

i don't really know what i expected from this beer. but i was definitly pleased. a great winter offering, considering most breweries pump out over spiced liquid pumpkin pie and call it a winter offering, this one is awesome. wish they made this all year round as it's definitly up heir on my ipa list. not as good as smuttynose finest kind in my opinion, but definitly good. easily drinkable and very welcome in my fridge this winter.

scarletfire79, Nov 27, 2006
Photo of akorsak
4/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The ale is a amber, almost auburn orange color with a sizeable head that retains nicely, lacing the glass.

S: The aroma is spicy and hoppy. The spices that come to mind are curacao orange and nutmeg and are augmented by grapefruit hop scent.

T: The hops are dominant here, making the ale very hot. They are resiny with grapefruit and citrus as the primary flavors and they are very bold. The hops are supported by a spectrum of holiday spices, including nutmeg, cinnamon, and orange peel. None of the flavors are so intense that they overwhelm the hops. Finally the malts are biscuity, providing a nice base for all of the activity.

M: The spices and hop body are paired well together, giving the ale a flavor that is both warming and bitter.

D: The ale is very drinkable. I enjoy the subtlety of the spices and the boldness of the hops.

akorsak, Nov 27, 2006
Photo of carlosd74
4.88/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I had this on-tap at the Grey Lodge. Thanks to Scoats for the email alerting me to its tapping.

I do not have much to add to what has already been said about the 2006/2007 offering because most of what was said in the last few weeks (in reviews below) accurately describes the A-S-T-M & D. I wanted to add that this year's is better than last years because the hops did not hit me as overly "bitter".

I am not sure what makes this a holiday ale besides the timing of its release as it does not contain the spices found in the likes of a christmas /plum pudding.

I feel this should be offered year round because it is hands down my favorite IPA period! It is an exaple of perfection in a glass/keg and more brewers should aim for such high standards. It is hoppy yet never astringent like what you get in EVERY damn DIPA. The alcohol is very well hidden (so beware). It goes down so easy it is sickening.

I do not review many beers. I do not heap praise on many things but this beer is so balanced and really puts the "Craft" in Craft brews. Oh, to those who rated this ale below a 3.5 - You should get your head examined and go back to your Yuengling Lagers.


carlosd74, Nov 26, 2006
Photo of ewurm
3.25/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A gold/red/orange color graces my tall glass. Not much aroma to note, at least not as much spice as I was expecting. I taste a little spicyness, with a hint of citrus, and I mean a slight hint. Feel is good, definitely not too harsh. I recommend one or two for the festive spirit, but that will suffice.

ewurm, Nov 26, 2006
Photo of JohnnyM2002
3.55/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Sampled from a 12 oz bottle, poured into a wine glass at 45 degrees. This was my Thanksgiving/putting up the Christmas tree (first one as a married man!) beer.

A - Pours a orange/gold color with a small head. Color certainly seemed festive.

S - Dry hops with come citrus in the background. Really not much else to speak of...

T - A dry, hoppy finish to a spiced/hop taste. I was expecting a lot more, based on the countless Celebration posts in the past few weeks...I mean, it's a good IPA, but I was expecting more spice or something to make it a holiday beer.

M - More of a wine-mouthfeel, which makes it much more enjoyable. Medium body with a fair amount of carbonation. Nice, crisp finish.

D - Like I said, it's a very good IPA, but nothing in it made it stand out to me as a holiday selection. I'm going to grab another bottle and try it on-tap, just in case...

JohnnyM2002, Nov 26, 2006
Photo of JoEBoBpr
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Edit of original review in 2006.

2009 version.

Poured into the Sam Adams pint glass.

A - Pours a beautiful, oil like, dark honey color, with some beautiful orange hues. a nice chunky off-white head that is about 1 inch tall and recedes slowly leaving some nice lace.

S - Piney and grapefruit citrus hints. Expected from an IPA, but the freshness is exquisite. Nice biscuit malt smell as well.

T - Grapefruit citrus hints are exceptional, with the biscuit malt finishing off with a nice bready taste. The piney hints are there at the beginning hidden behind a nice and light alcoholic ester. Very warming IPA and perfect for cold winter months. Cant wait to have more over the holidays. This beer goes very well with pepper jack cheese and spicy food in general. To date one of those things i look forward every year.

M & D - complex and medium bodied with a nice oily character. I love this beer every time.

JoEBoBpr, Nov 26, 2006
Photo of terrabyte
4.43/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

If you look closely, you can see a very faint cloud of sediment. Otherwise it pours a mostly clear, beautiful orange-red copper color. Large yellow-white head.

Aroma is medium strength pine and grapefruit hops.

Flavor starts out with a smooth and mellow caramel malt. The aftertaste takes over with a powerful grapefruit bitterness.

Mouthful is very smooth and mellow. Perfectly carbonated.

Extremely drinkable. If you enjoy beer with strong bitter hops, you'll enjoy this beer. I enjoy some hop bitterness, but have had plenty that were too strong for my enjoyment. This beer, however, was a perfect amount. I may have to have a side by side comparison with the regular Sierra Nevada Pale Ale to see the difference.

terrabyte, Nov 26, 2006
Photo of Dukeofearl
3.53/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2006 vintage, purchased at BevMo in Redlands Ca in a 6 pack for $7.99 (I think).

I have seen this beer around the block for many years, but always was under the impression that it was a spiced up holiday ale a la the Belgian "Noel's", which I don't care much for. So I always passed it by. But I was feeling spontaneous the other day, and picked up a sixer. Only to discover that this is one chock-hop-filled IPA, reminiscent (but bolder than) the Sierra Nevada IPA, which I first found this past summer. OK, enough of my back story.

Typical orange/golden of an IPA, with almost no head- a vigorous pour did very little. This runs against other reviews I've seen, so who knows?

Medium-bodied aroma dominated by sharp astringent hops. Flavor is all about the hops- sharp, oily,harsh on the back of the throat hops. A good IPA, similar to the regular IPA but with an "enhanced" hop presence. Good, but I prefer the fruitier hops.

A decent offering from Sierra Nevada, obviously popular, so maybe I'm missing something. I think it's good but not as excellent as some of my associates.

Dukeofearl, Nov 25, 2006
Photo of adammills
3.73/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a rich amber, color is very nice, it is topped with a two fingered frothy head. Smell is hoppy with a bit of malt and spicy. Tastewise it is a well hopped beer and there is enough malt to keep it balanced. The alcohol is really jumping out at me. The spice flavors dont seem to hit until the aftertaste. The hops are rather citrusy. Nice beer, not one to just sit cack and pour down however.

adammills, Nov 25, 2006
Photo of BenZ
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

2006 edition

I swear this was a pine-bomb last year. Anyways, it still smells piney, but with some additional hop aroma. It is a nice looking beer, and is a very nice tasting IPA. While it may have lost what made it really stand out for me, this year it is a very drinkable IPA and it is very good in it's own right.

The 2008 version of celebration is by far my favorite. Gone is the pineyness of the previous versions. In its place are the floral/tropical fruit notes I love. The 5 on drinkability may be helped by the fact that I paid like 90 cents per bottle! Quite possibly the best SN beer I've tried.

BenZ, Nov 24, 2006
Photo of Celt44
4.2/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle at room temperature. Appearance is a very clear medium amber. Frothy brownish head remains, along with lacing, throughout.
Aroma of floral hops is strong - grapefruit, apricot. Malty presence also.
Taste is overwhelmingly hoppy - not as pronounced or bitter as most IPAs. Very good.
Smooth with a nice carbonation bite .
Overall an excellent, and different American IPA. Should be a regular this holiday season.

Celt44, Nov 23, 2006
Photo of zeff80
4.28/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours out an orange/amber color with a one-finger head. The head has great retention and left some nice lacing.

S - Smelled of hops and malt.

T - Malty and hoppy. There was also a pine-like taste and it became spicier as it warmed.

M - It was very crisp and light to medium-bodied.

D - It was very good. It lived up to all the hype.

zeff80, Nov 23, 2006
Photo of GimpyCane
3.53/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

appearence: poured orange reddish hue w/ a 2 inch rocky off white head. Head last throughout the entire drink and left a decent amount of lacing.

smell: light malt and hop aroma. Hint of bread, grapefruit and maple syrup.
taste and mouthfeel: clean, crisp and sweet bitter start that ends dry and long lasting bitter sweet.

drinkability: easy to drink, soft fizzy carbonation and at 6.8 % ABV a six goes down nice.

Overall, IMO Celebration is not living up to the hype, however it is still a good brew.

GimpyCane, Nov 23, 2006
Photo of tcfishler
3.78/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear light reddish amber with a thick and frothy offwhite head.

Easygoing malt and hops on the balanced nose.

Mouthfeel is soft with relatively low carbonation. Flavors begin subtly sweet but then veer towards citrus-y hops, but still with a slightly sweet edge. There's a bit of smokiness lurking in the background as well. Finish is medium in length and not too bitter relative to other IPA's I've had.

Enjoyable and drinkable winter brew that's a good alternative to the heavier wintertime sippers...also a good value.

tcfishler, Nov 20, 2006
Photo of Cresant
4.08/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured this 12 oz. brown bottle dated 2006 into an IPA glass. The body was clear and golden. One finger of head quickly turned to white wisps of lace.

Smell was citrus hops. Fresh and pungent. Piney with hints of b.o. Nice.

Taste was pleasantly parching bitterness. Easily quaffable. I enjoyed the 2006 more than the 2005, I'm guessing the freshness improved the taste for me.

Mouthfeel was zesty and slightly oily. A very solid IPA.

Cresant, Nov 19, 2006
Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 7,822 ratings.