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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.

7,887 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
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Ratings: 7,887 | Reviews: 3,156 | Display Reviews Only:
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
Photo of dfourh
3.58/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I've got a 2005 (kept in the fridge all year) open next to a 2006 and the difference is pretty substantial. I loved the 2005, and it is still beautiful. It starts out clean and bright with a silky mouthfeel and then comes a wave of light sweetness & autumn leafy hop complexity, and then comes the hard concentrated hop finish that lasts and lasts. The 2006 has a burst of pleasant hops at the start leading into a long lingering hop finish, but it is far thinner on the palate--there is a whole mid-range fullness/richness missing, and the overall hop impact, despite the nice long finish, doesn't have the same lush glory without the core complexity to play off of. The 2006 doesn't seem anything more than some typically pleasant IPA.

dfourh, Nov 19, 2006
Photo of FenwaySquid
4.85/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Presentation: 12 oz short brown bottle, no bottling date but the year "2006" was part of the label design so we'll leave it at that, poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a beautiful clear copper color. The head formed a perfect 2 fingers and faded very slowly into a thin layer that never dissipated any further.

Aroma: Very hoppy.

Taste: Like the aroma, very hoppy. There's some sweet maltiness in the background, but it's barely noticeable. Besides that this one is all hops through and through, from beginning to end. The finish is very hoppy and bitter, leaving one with the desire for more.

Mouthfeel: Despite the strong tastes and relatively high ABV, it's very smooth. The carbonation is well balanced as well.

Overall: As IPA's go, it's tough to imagine it can get any better than this. I used to wonder why it was that everyone would rush out and buy case upon case of this stuff when it was released. Now I understand.

FenwaySquid, Nov 19, 2006
Photo of jeffjfindley
3.9/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had to dock this one a bit, because honestly it isn't much of a departure from their flagship Pale Ale. It is a lot prettier, great amber color & great head retention. The smell is that of a typical west coast pale with a little more spice.

The taste is good, but not entirely remarkable. I get a trace of holiday spice at the tail end. The hop profile is virtually identical to their pale, but the malt texture is a hair toasier.

Mouthfeel is good, with a puckery finish. Very drinkable. If you like their pale, it stands to reason you'll like this. Nothing to get too worked up over though.

jeffjfindley, Nov 18, 2006
Photo of KevPet84
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This is a brew I look forward to see on-tap or bottle every year.
The look is nothing out of the ordinary for an IPA except the color is darker than most. The smell reminds me of going christmas tree hunting after Thanksgiving. Pine, holiday spices, and the hops are in the sent. I am also wondering if there is a little tea-tree oil in there. Great beer for holiday meals, maybe not a honey ham but it could do it. Laces hold up but the head does disapper quickly.

KevPet84, Nov 17, 2006
Photo of goochpunch
4.83/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a garnet amber color with mild carbonation, a frothed off-white head, and distinct lacing patterns. Smells of a balanced mixture of toasted malt, caramel, toffee, bright citrus, pine resin, and slight butter notes. Oily hops hit first on the tongue and remain as an underlying flavor throughout the tasting, on to the aftertaste. In the middle there comes the sweet malt body, full of toasty, candy-like tones. Finishes bitter and slightly dry. Mouthfeel is certainly more than middle of the road and it has a slight, prickly carbonation which amplifies the hops on the tongue. Highly drinkable, although the alcohol is pretty big on this one.

goochpunch, Nov 17, 2006
Photo of bjohnson
4.47/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Bukowski's Boston.

A: Pours a very nice almost clear amber color with a frothy one and a half finger white head. Nice retention and excellent lacing left.
S: Good dose of citrus hops, mostly grapefruit, but there are also some piney notes thrown in too. A bit of grassyness also.
T/M: Love the taste of this beer. Solid. Big fruity citrus hop presence impacts the taste buds immediately with an explosion. Good backbone of sweet malt, with some caramel and nutty notes being the most noticeable. Smooth across the palate with a good level of spicy bitterness. Bitter finish with a slightly citric aftertaste. Great on tap!
D: One of the best offerings during this great season. Solid IPA. Highly drinkable--could almost be a session beer if the abv was slightly lower. Hell, if you're by the fire place with good company it could be a session beer!

bjohnson, Nov 17, 2006
Photo of Imstillthegman
3.98/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2006 release 12oz bottle.

Pours a crystal clear copper with an off-white head about an inch high. Creamy foam leaves nice lacing.

Piney hops, caramel, bready yeast, and a light citrus scent make up the aroma for this years version.

The flavor is hoppy, with pine resin and grapefruit being the main players. Sweeter caramel undertones also come through more as it warms. Some have said that the 2006 release is a disappointment...but not me.

Thinner medium body with active carbonation. Hop oils give it a slick feel on the tongue. Dry, slightly bitter aftertaste. This is one tasty brew. It didn't take long for me to work through a six pack, which could be a bad thing ;-) . I will be grabbing more of this one before it's all gone.

Imstillthegman, Nov 17, 2006
Photo of
3.7/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle

Clear, dark gold in color. Medium off-white head.

Quite hoppy, mostly pine. Backbone of caramel, yeast and bread. A bit of mint. Some earthy characteristics.

Taste provided a nice hop flavor of grapefruit, which lingered well into the aftertaste. Bready/biscuity in the middle, with a bit of sweet caramel. ABV was very well hidden.

Seemed fairly light and easy to drink. Carbonation was medium to high. A dry finish, which was mostly smooth, but a little bit grainy.

Very good and highly drinkable. It can sneak up on you, because the ABV is so well integrated. Not sure why this is a seasonal winter warmer, since it is such a traditional IPA.

, Nov 17, 2006
Photo of eberkman
4.2/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours an attractive golden copper into a pint glass. A big, billowy 1-inch tan head forms (and sticks around for a good long while, ultimately diminishing to about 1/4 inch by the end). Leaves some pleasing lacing on the glass.

The beer presents an aroma of piney hops. The taste is also dominated by hops with piney and some citric notes. Some malty sweetness on the intake, which becomes much more apparent when you hold it in your mouth a bit. The sweet notes also burst through as the beer warms in the glass. Contains a bitter, hoppy but not overpowering finish.

Very drinkable -- this went down pretty quickly and smoothly. I wanted another one, but unfortunately bought singles during my last trip to TJ's.

A very nice IPA -- one I could imagine drinking all year around. For a winter seasonal, it would sure go nicely with chicken right off the grill on a nice day.

eberkman, Nov 17, 2006
Photo of Budlum
3.75/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The pour produces one inch of foamy, off-white head that leaves a quarter inch layer for most of a glass. The body is a glowing amber with loads of reds and oranges. Very nice clarity.

The nose is very hoppy but adds a sweet malt presence for balance. The hop aroma is very fresh with alot of pine aromas befitting the season. A faint, sugary, sweet malt smell balances the hops slightly. Very balanced in presentation and not overpowering.

Hops hit the palate like a freight train from the very beginning. The hop flavor has a lot of grassy, deep citrus tastes. Allowing this to warm slightly provides for a few sweet flavors at the midpoint of a sip. The finish is strong and hop-laden with bitter, pine flavors. A little more balance would be nice.

Mouthfeel is very lightly carbonated, quite viscous for the style but a little on the oily side.

Drinkability is very good. Naturally, hop presence is very pronounced but it is certainly welcome.

Budlum, Nov 16, 2006
Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 7,887 ratings.