Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale - Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

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Sierra Nevada Celebration AleSierra Nevada Celebration Ale

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9,031 Ratings

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Ratings: 9,031
Reviews: 3,286
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 11.78%
Wants: 276
Gots: 1,003 | 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: 9,031 | Reviews: 3,286 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of wangbruins
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Really nice amber red with a thick tan head that is staying put, pretty good lacing throughout, and a slight fogginess

S- Orange and cherries at first with a very sweet scent as I dug closer

T- Earthy and sweet with some citrus and some cherries

M- Rich, creamy, and smooth with just a slight bite at the end

D- This beer is great! Excellent flavor and texture and it only costs two bucks in the Phish lot. It's worth getting a bunch and stretching them out until next Christmas.

Photo of BDJake
3.75/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- clear bronze with chunky eggshell headleaving good retention and lace

S- earthy hops, spicy and malty

T- plenty of hops, spice, with a good malt backbone that gives a little bit of balance- it wasn't very good cold, but as it warmed up the different notes really came out

M- medium body, decent carbonation

D- not too harsh, but didn't scream out "gimme more"

Photo of tegelaar
3.98/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle I bought about 2 weeks ago.

Pours a little darker than most IPAs. Decent head and lots of lacing. Smell is a little weak as I don't notice a lot of hops in the nose. A more balanced smell. The taste is very bitter from the hops and I get a lemony goodness. Tastes really good! Light and refreshing but at the same time gives that malty, earthy backbone underneath it all. Mouthfeel has lots of carbonation and tickles the tongue. Drinkability is great due to the refreshing qualities of the beer. Very enjoyable seasonal beer and one I will definitely look for again during the holiday season.

Photo of peterittenhouse
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

SA Celebration Ale rules.

A-Pours amber hue.Thin white head,

S- Has a strange metalliic smell . Also smell citrus... I won't get hung up on the metal

T- I love this stuff.Year after year, this NEVER dissapoints. Every year I stash a bottle of this in my fridge for the following Xmas season.

M-Smooth. GREAT mouthfeel. Sits nicely on back of tongue.

D-I can easily knock back a few of these at the end of the night. SA makes the holidays special !!

Photo of kbeals
3.95/5  rDev -5%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- 12 oz. bottle poured into a pint glass reveals a slightly hazy, deep copper colred brew. Two fingers of sticky, off-white, nearly tan, head float atop it. Very sticky head results in fantastic lacing and excellent head retention. This is what an IPA should look like.

S- A very one sided smell with a lot of earthy hops. Sort of reminds me of iced tea. A bit of a sweet, toffee-like backbone appears as the the beer warms up a bit along with maybe a hint of alcohol which was surprising.

T- Again, reminds me of iced tea, pretty earthy. A very bitter and dry finish. Some sweetness to it, but not much. The boozy smell doesn't show up in the taste.

M- A very crisp mouthfeel, light-medium body with plenty of carbonation.

D- Good, I guess. I easily drank the entire beer and could definitely drink another one. This is a very solid IPA and a good example of the style. The tea-like qualities were very pleasing and a change from the normal citrusy IPA's I've been having.

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

This is a good IPA, but I don't see it as brilliant or worthy of the very high marks that others are giving it. It is a clear amber color with an okay off white head, thin retention, some lacing. The beer is moderately carbonated. The nose is leafy hop, some floral hop, some sweetish malts, but it isn't pungent or overly characterful. I disagree with the bros. on that one, the nose is good, but not exceptional. It is an AIPA for sure, but it doesn't stand out.

The taste is by the book. It has a nice balance between slight leafy bitterness, floral hop, some grapefruit acerbic citrus notes in the hop, and nice malty backbone, some drying hop elements, some nice graininess in there too. This is a very traditional interpretation of an AIPA, but it doesn't have the exceptional orangey hop burst, or the ripe oily and estery hop presence dripping from the vine, it doesn't make a grand statement. It is traditional, good, solid, but I wouldn't rate this as exceptional, just very good for the style. In some ways the beer is just too clean, too conformist, too by the book. It seems that other brewers of AIPA styles are a bit more inventive and more aggressive in their interpretation and have passed SN by somewhere along the line.

Photo of boogyman
4.22/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

A- Poured into my tulip glass a beautiful copper with a good 2 finger head that sticks around. Lacing is fairly sticky. Overall a good looking beer.

S- Starts off with plenty of citrus. Orange peel, grapefruit, lemon, the standard stuff for an IPA but none the less enjoyable. Definitely can smell the hops to come in this one.

T- Definitely bitter hops right off the bat and it is great. Got a lot of the nose and citric flavors. Also I can get some decent maltyness coming through which balances everything out nicely.

M- The hops leave a nice bite that lingers on the palate for a while until you refuel it with the next sip. I have had IPAs that went down a bit smoother but this one isn't bad it still goes down good but with just a little more carbonation and bite.

D- Definitely a beer I would have many of. Its a beer I wouldn't mind bringing to a party to share or to just have for myself. As a regular IPA goes, this is definitely a winner in my book.

Photo of kjyost
4.28/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2009 Edition. Poured into a beer mug, which left a ~1cm pillowy head on top of an amber-red beer. The head left substantial lacing through the session. Their was substantial hops of the nose with strong floral overtones, which disappeared as I drank the beer, which I account to my palate being overrun by the hops in the beer lowering my olfactory gland's ability to perceive the subtleties.

The beer comes across the palate with a well balanced amount of hops and malt with the bitterness crashing on the tongue as you swallow and lingering upon it... There were also notes of pine which I perceived further along into the drink. The beer was well carbonated and coated the mouth with its tasty goodness. I am saddened this was my only bottle.

Photo of Squam256
4.18/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from bottle into a stem-less wine glass.

Appearance: light copper-colored with thick head and lacing.

Smell: Malty, very light citrus

Taste: Much like the smell, I'm not detecting a strong hop presence although it is there. Malty/bready best describes this one.

Mouthfeel: Very smooth, not much of an aftertaste

Drinkability: Much more drinkable than Tropedo as far as SN's IPA's go. A very sessionable beer in my opinion, I could drink a few of these without issue.

Overall: not as good as last year's Celebration, but always a nice, 'milder' alternative IPA, especially for people who aren't that big on hops (though I am)

Photo of twaddlac
4.6/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A- Burnt orange, caramel color with light brown, yeasty head. Graded bubbles with many nucleation points. Sticky head that never gets too big but it doesn't disappear quickly.

S- Very hoppy, a pinch of citrus and undertones of toasted malts. Very smooth smelling, not very astringent.

T- Mild hops with a very nice malty taste, balanced very nicely. Toasted malts are very strong in the after taste, with a touch of caramel.

M- Sticky and a bit dry and mildly carbonated; the right combination to enrich the flavors of this beer.

D- This is one of those beers that everyone should try. I could quickly put away at least a 6 in one sitting because the taste is just that good! If anyone says: "I don't like the beer you drink!" give them this beer (obviously you will have to wait until it's in season).

Photo of zoso1967
4.22/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Color is nice and golden copper with fine head retention a good lacing. Smell is mostly cascade hops with some sweetness in the background. Taste hits with a lot of bitterness and a strong citrus/piney hop flavors. This is held up with some very nice caramel toffee notes in the malt background. The more I sip, the more I get the malt sweetness, especially in the finish. Medium body and very drinkable. Yet another great beer from Sierra Nevada.

Photo of chickenflea
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

So I like Sierra Nevada. A high quality brewery with a number of good offerings. But I always approach seasonals with a degree of skepticism. They tend to be seasonal because you wouldn't want to drink this beer all year round. Not with this tasty brew.
Very aromatic with citrusy and some bread notes. Some maltiness comes through too.
A very beautiful beer with a tremendous white head and medium amber color. Initially sweet but the hops kick in right away with a beautiful medium bitterness that lingers for a long time. Very smooth in your mouth. Creamy for an ale this hoppy. Very drinkable. After trying a bottle that my brother gave me, I bought a 12-pack. I look forward to one almost every day now. It doesn't grow old. Excellent

Photo of PhillyStyle
4.43/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap, in a 12oz pint glass at Mellow Mushroom, Atlanta (Brookhaven location):

A: The beer appeared a very nice orange-ish/copper color with a very nice 2 finger, big, white head and was retained fairly well.

S: The beer gave off a big malty, bready aroma with some hints of citrus and floral, possibly the hops trying to assert themselves, but being overpowered. Excellent aroma.

T: The taste of the beer is very good, rich, and complex, I would have thought that it would have been classified as a DIPA, but nonetheless, very full-flavored hop, with a nice malt backbone a nice bitter aftertaste.

M/D: The beer has a medium to full feeling to it, almost chewy, well carbonated, rich, smooth and extremely easy to drink. I drank the first one before I knew it. Certainly one of the best beers that I have had.

Photo of sitarist
4.2/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5


A- Pours a nice orange, copper color. Two finger head, last a couple minutes. Nice lacing.

S- Grapefruit juice? Hints of bread

T- Grapefruit, a little malt, bread, more citrus, pine? No hint of the alcohol.

M- Medium body, bitter up front, sweet in the middle, bitter down the hatch.

D- Very drinkable, I never thought Id enjoy a beer this bitter but I cant stop drinking these. The bitterness is bold but somehow balanced out with a slight hint of malty sweetness.

I wish this one was available all year. This will be a gateway to more bitter beers for me.


The 2010 batch seems more earthy than last years batch...pine and citrus with grassy notes, something a bit metallic...still a great beer for the money, I will be consuming a lot of these over the next month or two!

Photo of elgiacomo
4.03/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottled Sept 28, 2010.

Pours amber/orange/copper with a very nice haze and dark bits of sediment and a huge foamy and rocky off white head that leaves rings of clumpy lacing down the glass. Beautiful.

Aroma is pine, citrus, grass, floral hops, some caramel and bready malt, moderate to good strength.

Excellent flavor of resinous fresh hops, citrus, pine and grass, good caramel malt backbone in the middle with a moderate sweetness to offer balance to the good bitterness on the finish. Lingering sweet/bitter finish.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, creamy, medium carbonation, very easy drinking.

What an excellent IPA, great, great stuff. Hope to be able to try a fresher batch sometime this season as our East Coast distributors took their sweet time getting round one on the shelves this year.


Original Review Nov 27, 2009

2009 bottle. Pours dark amber/copper/red with a nice pillowy & rocky off-white head. Leaves a good amount of sticky lacing.

Aroma is floral hops.

Flavor is very hoppy, more pine/floral/grassy than citrus. Some caramel malts. Bitter finish.

Mouthfeel is medium-full with moderate carbonation. Very drinkable and enjoyable!

Appearance 4, Smell 3, Taste 3.5, Mouthfeel 3, Drinkability 3.5, Score 3.45

Photo of cudmud
4.03/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: This beer has a nice rocky head of two fingers thickness. The head produces nice lacing. The brew is clear and has a nice copper color.

Smell: This beer has awesome hop aromas, and I detect a slight hint of cranberry and oranges in the nose.

Taste: Nice, complex hop flavors.

Mouthfeel: There is a nice level of carbonation in this beer. The liquid component of the beer morphs into thousands of bubbles when it hits the tongue; it's very relaxing and delightful.

Drinkability: Very tasty and thirst quenching.

Photo of righlander
5/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Ok, first thing... it's 30 degrees outside right now. Frickin cold!! So I meant to buy a 6 of this before Christmas but, I ended up not getting it until now. And I'm sooo glad I bought a whole 6 pack!
Pours a nice slightly hazy amber from a 12oz bottle to a standard pint glass. Big foamy sticky head. Super clingy lacing going on here. Very pretty beer.
Smells piney...very piney! But also sweet malt chilling in the background. Maybe detecting some alcohol fuming around in there too. Smells like a bad ass beer. Very big smelling beer going on here. It smells absolutely wonderful! Very complex. It's hard to pick up on everything that is going on here. But none the less, it smells amazing. Maybe some oak or something in there too.
The taste is amazing! Beautifully hopped. A strong hop punch right off the bat...Yes it is really hoppy BUT, in no way over done. The hops just slam your tongue with wonderful punch. and at the end you get the sweetness of the malt followed buy more hop punch. It's really hard to explain everything that is going on in this beer but It's simply wonderful.
Mouth feel is perfect for this beer. The hops balance out the sweetness perfectly. This is a big beer. The drinkability is great! It tastes so good you have to control yourself! I drink them slow and enjoy every last drop!

Simply perfect.

Photo of billab914
3.95/5  rDev -5%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Russian River tulip glass. Pours amber in color with a thick two finger off-white head. Excellent head retention and lacing. This is pretty much a perfect looking beer.

Aroma had some floral and light citrus hops with some sweetness from the malt. Taste is both hoppy and malty. it has some citrus and pine from the hops but also some bready and biscuit tones from the malt. It's pretty well balanced between the malt sweetness and the hop bitterness, which makes it very drinkable.

Always a pleasure drinking one of these, this is one of my many regular purchases, and will continue to be.

Photo of CharlatanSin
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a bomber of this for a very cheap price.

This is one of the most beautiful beers I've seen. It pours a hazy golden amber with an absolutely ridiculous, giant, off-white shaving cream head. That head doesn't go anywhere while you're drinking it. It leaves probably the most lacing I've ever seen. Absolutely world class in terms of appearance.

The smell is all hops, a nice combination of pine and grapefruit. The taste is an unadulterated hop bomb. Pine dominates. It's like a Christmas tree turned into a beer. The bitterness lingers forever. There's a bit of a malt counterbalance, but you have to go fishing for it. I think I can taste a hint of cinnamon, but I might just be reaching for it because of the label.

The mouthfeel is thick and creamy, perhaps a little too much so for the style. It's super sticky, which is unsurprising if the lacing is anything to go on.

Overall, Sierra Nevada does it again. I often take them for granted, since they are so ubiquitous, but they truly are one of the best, most consistent breweries out there, especially for a hophead like me.

Photo of zimm421
4.15/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a nice dark burnt orange to amber color, and is slightly cloudy. Has a nice thick, white, foamy head that leaves good lacing on the glass

S - Smell isn't overpowering, and there doesn't seem to be a lot going on, but there are hints of hops with a little bit of pine scent involved

T - A great tasting beer with hops dominating the flavor, just like the nose. Not very similar to the other holiday brews I had this season, but definitely a great one.

M - Full bodied and smooth, with a good amount of carbonation

D - Fairly easy to drink, but too many too fast will catch up to you and make it under appreciated.

Overall, one of my favorite holiday beers I had this year, and something I will probably get for years to come.

Photo of sicilian
3/5  rDev -27.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

If you're a real Hop Head you will love this beer as it should be labeled as an Double IPA style. I really enjoy the regular SN Pale Ale and other PA's and even most IPA's are OK with me. I do enjoy the floral sharp hop flavors generally speaking.

This one has very strong flavors typical of a holiday brew, but they are totally overwhelmed by the bitter hop flavor and smell with little to no spice or malt flavors. This made it not so enjoyable to me as I wasn't expecting. About half way through my palate was numb enough to enjoy the remainder without wincing.

Photo of rtratzlaff
4.7/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

For the life of me I can't figure out why it has taken me now to review this beer. Perhaps I love it so much that I never want to review it but rather just sit back and enjoy it. Either way, a nice afternoon with 30 degree weather and much of the nation gripped in bitter cold weather warrants it.
A 12 oz bottle poured into a Sierra Nevada logotype pint glass...
Appearance is a nice copper to amber body with a white head that sits well and sticks to the glass like a dusting of snow. The aroma is pungent grapefruit along with a caramel breadiness that pairs well with the bitterness of it. The flavor matches the aroma with a bitterness sticking to the tongue. With warmth, the bitterness subsides a bit as more residual sugars are allowed to display the caramel malt used in this brew. The mouthfeel is fuller without being heavy. For drinkability this one is no session IPA, but a sipper.

Photo of decasere
4.58/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bought this as part of a four way split with some friends, we usually get some every year.

Marked 2009 vintage on the bottle

Pours a dark coppery orange with a huge head and leaves lacing all the way down the Pint Glass.

The Aroma is piney with grapefruit, alcohol and a caramelly sweetness.

The flavor is a bit deceptive, grapefruity and piney with a maltiness i wasn't expecting, you can also taste the alcohol the aftertaste is that of fresh whole flower hops like biting into a hop flower.

All in a a fully enjoyable experience.

Photo of sbw138
4.43/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bought a bottle from The Foodery and poured into a pint glass. Poured a nice brown/orange color, with a solid bright white head that was decently thick, left a good tracing on the glass.

Great smell. A nice blend of hops and malt really hit you. Also, you can notice a litte bit of the winter seasonal spices that are brewed in. Really, a pleasant smell.

Nice balanced taste and mouthfeel. Hops aren't overpowering, but you can definitely notice them.

Great drinkability. Tastes like a combination of an American IPA, and a winter warmer. Another great job by Sierra Nevada.

Photo of humuluslupulus8
3.8/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer was a translucent dark orange color with an average amount of carbonation bubbles. The off-white head was thick and went away after a while, leaving a little bit of lacing.

S: I loved the smell of this beer! The main aromas were floral and piney hops. There wasn't much else to the smell, but I loved the amounts and types of hops used.

T: The beer tasted very similar to Sierra Nevada Pale Ale at first: a very good balance of malt and hops. However, this was quickly followed by a bitter aftertaste. The bitterness was strong enough to be noticed, but not so strong that it overpowered my palate.

M: The mouthfeel was a little thicker than expected, but it worked well for this beer. There was nothing notable about the carbonation.

D: Overall, this was a well crafted beer. The beer was easy to drink like Sierra Nevada's pale ale, but it had a little extra character because of the bitter aftertaste. Since the bitterness was not too strong, I think this would be a good beer for introducing someone to the aromas and flavors of hops in beer. Also, this beer would be good with or without food. I'm glad I bought a six-pack of Celebration Ale and not just a single. :)

Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 9,031 ratings.