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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.

7,822 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
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Ratings: 7,822 | Reviews: 3,154 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of phisig137
3.73/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

2006 bottle pours a brilliant copper orange color, and a two finger head. Decent retention slowly falls, leaving behind tons of lace.

Aroma is well balanced between malt and hops. Slightly sweet, and a bit of citrus aroma from the hops, this is an enjoyable nose.

Flavor is mild, yet full. Malty, caramel sweetness up front, followed by a nice punch of hop flavors and bitterness. Again, slightly citric hop character, seeming using all the usual suspects of the "C" hops in a typical American IPA. No alcohol present. Mouthfeel is full, and slick. Drinkability is excellent.

One of the better beers from Sierra Nevada IMO. Not nearly as interesting as Bigfoot, but still one that I look forward to each year. Good overall, but not the greatest IPA out there....

phisig137, Nov 01, 2006
Photo of gbarron
4.2/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2006 version from a 12 oz bottle.

A - hazy, glowing orange. Head is frothy, slightly off-white. Thick, heavy lacing; retention is excellent.

S - orange, citrus, lots of flowery notes. Some spice - cinnamon, allspice, although I'm pretty sure this is not a spice beer. Light, sweet bready malt. Beautiful smell.

T - well balanced, extra-large IPA flavors. Tart, dry citrus, pine, mixed with a strong, slightly sweet malt backbone of caramel, toffee, bread.

M - creamy, mixture of dry hop tartness and creamy malt.

D - one of the great seasonal brews of all-time. Wish they made it year round. Tasty, well balanced IPA.

gbarron, Nov 01, 2006
Photo of thagens
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Very good. I love a good IPA and this one was no exception. Absolutely delicious. I like Sierra Nevada's Pale Ale but to me this is much better. I wish it was available all year round.

Appearance: Copper colored with about a half inch head.

Aroma: Citrusy hops, lots of hops.

Taste: Bitter/hoppy, citrus, a little malt.

I highly recommend it and will definetely be buying more before the end of the season.

thagens, Oct 31, 2006
Photo of Grundle20
3.25/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2006 October Release

Pours copper in color in to a pint glass. There is a beefy 2 finger head with decent retention and lacing.

There's a nice hoppy aroma but there is also substantial underlying chemical notes, almost like dish detergent. If it wasn't for the hops this beer would smell disgusting.

Taste and Mouthfeel:
It's pretty bitter and dry with the chemical notes carrying over from the scent. For an American IPA I'm thinking this is seriously lacking in the fruit/floral department. The chemical bitterness is also leaving me with a less than desireable after taste. I don't remember this being this dissapointing last year, not even close.

It's drinkable enough but there are far better offerings in the American IPA category. I really hate beers with bad aftertastes especially when it comes to drinkability.

Bottom Line:
Give it a shot because it only comes out once a year, but it's just not very good this year in my opinion.

Grundle20, Oct 31, 2006
Photo of AChamberlain
4.22/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into clear pint glass from 12 oz bottle bought from the Park Slope Food Coop.

A: Amber, nearly transparent. Half inch off white head.

S: Hopp and spice aromas.

T: What a suprise hops and spices. A very tasty IPA.

M: Warming. Medium bodied. Just the right carbonation.

D: Pretty drinkable. Great for a cool October night such as this.

AChamberlain, Oct 31, 2006
Photo of acrawf6
4.22/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5


Pours out a deep rich red amber with a bubbly slightly tan head. nice lacing.

Smell. Nice combination of caramel and citrus hops. A good amount of hops, but not a crazy amount. There is a small sweet fruitiness, candy strawberries is most dominant.

Taste. Hops are citrusy with a touch of grapefruit. It's a pretty sharp bitterness, but not overbearing. Beer is balanced quite nicely with the malts, sweet caramel. Finishes sweet, but hoppy. Quite nice.

Mouthfeel. Body is full and has a good amount of carbonation to accompany. A bit chewey.

Overall a great ipa. Not one i could sit with a six pack, because it just seems to rich in flavor. I want to say i liked last years more, but cant be sure about that. Very nice.

acrawf6, Oct 31, 2006
Photo of Rudgers73
3.93/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a shorty 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

A- Amber/bronze color. There wasn't much head right away so I started to pour it harder and then it overflowed with thick creamy head. Good looking beer.

S- This smells a lot like a strong ale. Very citrusy and hoppy.

T- Very strong kick of hops right on through. A spicy berry taste comes through afterwards. Piney aftertaste.

M- Crisp, clean, bitter, dry.

D- This is a nice beer for a cold night. Drink up.

Rudgers73, Oct 29, 2006
Photo of johnbonham1980
2.6/5  rDev -37.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

*2006 edition*

I'd heard all kinds of good stuff about this beer, but was frankly disappointed with it. I suppose it's just that I've found my taste in extremely hoppy beers has waned and I've started to enjoy the more malty end of the taste spectrum, but still, I've had much better beers within this style in my time.

Poured with a 1/2 finger head into a wide mouth pint glass. Decent lacing, decent head retention considering the amount initially.

I really liked the color of this beer, a pleasant, festive orange-reddish with crystal clarity. Carbonation was lively.

Aroma is all piney, perfumey hops with some citrus. Underdeveloped sweet bread dough malt background... as it warmed, a nice grapefruit character came out which did improve the overall taste.

Mouthfeel was impressive. I really enjoyed this aspect of the beer, as it was a nice creamy, smooth mouthful.

Overall I felt this beer was a bit imbalanced and way too hop-focused. For what they're going for I think Sierra Nevada did a good job but it's just not for me.

johnbonham1980, Oct 29, 2006
Photo of loving44
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

- 2006 Celebration -

A: Pours clear, dark amber with a creamy smooth foam head that settles rather quickly to a fem CM. Thick clumps or carbonation rise from the bottom of my pint glass.

S: Hops up front: pine, citrus (grapefruit?), followed by sweet doughy malt... some ghram cracker. Slightly herbal.

T: Herbal, piney hops first trailed quickly by rich caramel malt and finishing dry and very well balanced. Leaves hop and alcohol pin pricks on the tongue. A solid well-balanced profile from beginning to end.

M: slightly syrupy at times, still remains light and refreshing. full to medium bodied and very drinkable. This is a great Holiday session beer.

loving44, Oct 29, 2006
Photo of demcorhip
4.18/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Ending my night of drinking and reviewing in a fitting way, time for a Celebration!

Interesting clear reddish amber hued ale. Nice two finger off white head formed on the pour and wants to stick around. Finely and well carbonated. Somewhat thickly laced.

Clean grapefruit hop aroma on top of toasty biscuity malts with a hint of caramel.

Very nice. For some reason i was expecting more hops (perhaps the hoppy pale ale or the barleywine?) but was pleasantly surprised by their take with this ale. Yes it is hoppy, but this is a wonderfully balanced IPA and not a shock and awe hop bomb. The hops hit you with grapefruit and a touch of pine, and almost but not quite reach a resinous level. This is a fairly dry IPA, malts impart mostly flavours of biscuit and some toast, with only the slightest touch of sweet caramel. The hops predominate again in the finish, perhaps with more of a pine quality than is present in the opening.

This is a dry, medium bodied ale. The dry nature is probably what allows the hops to dominate even without getting too resinous. Nicely balanced IPA, and the dryness allows the hops to take centre stage. If it was sweeter (like other examples in this style) I would want more hops, but this is almost perfectly balanced.

Having a beer like this around would make any dysfunctional family gathering worth celebrating (mental note to self: must get more for upcoming christmas season!). Would make great session fare, and is also a great example of the american IPA, and would serve as a great intro to the style for someone ready to see just what hops are all about. Ill be drinking (and reviewing) this one again. Already have a vertical tasting in mind, with my lonely single 12 oz bottles from 2004 and 2005. Can't wait!

demcorhip, Oct 29, 2006
Photo of Doomcifer
3.5/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Fresh 2006 Edition, just shipped in.

Poured a clear, reddish-golden with a nice half-inch, slightly off-white frothy head that lingers for a bit. Moderate lacing left behind.

Aroma is of sweet malts, citrus hoppiness, and candied fruits.

Taste is of sweet malts and very citrusy hoppiness, grapefruit, floral, hop spiciness, grassy, and ends dry/astringent. The dry hoppiness latches onto the tongue for a good time without letting the grip go.

Mouthfeel is of medium consistency and well carbonated.

Pretty drinkable for such a pungent brew. I could easily enjoy a good amount of these in a single session. Then again, I'm a hophead.

Pretty balanced beer from Sierra Nevada. I'm enjoying these but they don't live up to the hype that they have received.

Doomcifer, Oct 29, 2006
Photo of Phocion
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Fresh 2006 release (10/28/06). Rich reddish-amber with a thick creamy white head. Excellent retention and beautiful lacing on the glass.

The first aroma I noticed through the still-strong head was, surprisingly, the sweet breaded/toffee malts. A second whiff revealed the rich bouquet of hops, citrus and floral. Excellent balance, at least in the nose.

The first swallow is where the hops take charge. Excellent floral taste with a citrus background, but not overpowering enough to where it takes away from the malts. Sweet and bready toasted malts combine to make this an excellently balanced and tasty IPA.

Thick and creamy full-bodied and well-carbonated mouthfeel with just enough alcohol to give it that warming feeling you'd expect in a winter/Christmas ale. Very smooth and addictive, though a bit of a dry finish.

Phocion, Oct 29, 2006
Photo of fisherman34
4.3/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2006 edition. Aromas of pink grapefruit, manderin orange, and a touch of pine. Black peppery hop flavors is the first thing I notice, followed by more citrus flavors. There’s sort of a mellow malty break mid sip, before the fairly assertive woodly bitterness takes hold. There’s also a kind of sublte spicy quality that seems to wash over the palate as well. This is some quality stuff. Thanks to by "beer mule" Reid for bringing this tasty treat back from Minneapolis for me.

fisherman34, Oct 28, 2006
Photo of devildog1633310
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A hint of pine carmal hoppiness rushes over your scenes at the first whiff over the bottle. The pour is light with very little head. The calm brown color makes up for the lack of head. It has a classic winter brew taste with a heavier alcohol content which hits the pallet quickly. I found after the second or third sip the carbination was a bit high.

In closing I honestly believe that 06' has something missing from the 04' & 05' brews. I must be honest and say I don't know what's missing.

devildog1633310, Oct 28, 2006
Photo of jackorain
4.15/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This was a beer club selection by John. He thought he was buying this years but it is 2005. Not so bad though as now I can do a direct comparison when I the '06.

A-Copper to amber color, slight chill haze that cleared somewhat as it warmed up. 1/2 inch head that faded to a thin coat, with 1/4 inch ring, as I wrote this down. Nice lacing from the ring that stayed on glass until I was done.

S-biscuity malt and green hops, not extreme complex but good and strong.

T-Bitter green hop hits right up front, particularly when cold. There is a nice firm malt backbone that balances out the heavy handed hops really well. Strong bitter green lingering finish that was actually quite nice. As this beer warmed up the initial hop smack subsided just enough to further release the malt. This is a good beer.

M-very nice carbonation level, medium body with some creaminess and residual stickiness.

D-Very good, I could drink several

I can't wait to compare to the '06

jackorain, Oct 27, 2006
Photo of MaltyGoodness
4/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle - 2006 Edition

Pours a clear amber color with a small white head that thins. Mild lacing on the glass.

Aroma of caramel malt dominated by piney and somewhat grassy hops.

Light caramel malt flavor beneath a generous dose of piney hops - although it never completely overpowers the malt. A nice bitter bite hits about midway, but eases back as it finishes a bit dry with a slight lingering hop flavor. Seems a tad more balanced than last year's version.

Medium body, ample carbonation.

Another cheerful year of Celebration Ale. Very drinkable as always, and although I believe I scored them the same - this years version seems just a bit better than last.

MaltyGoodness, Oct 27, 2006
Photo of mpyle
4.35/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Beautiful copper color, brilliant clarity, and a significant, creamy, long lasting white head. Gorgeous appearance!

Aroma shows a combination of malt and hops (more hops), with the hops showing hints of grass/pine.

Strong hoppiness throughout, with hop bitterness and bite at the end quite prevelant. Flavor provile very clean, with malt notes muted and hops accentuated. Flavor perfectly in line with the style.

Mouthfeel is moderate and pleasant. Malt backbone evident here, and moderately heavy carbonation also helps to accentuate the hoppiness.

If you like hops, this beer is extremely drinkable. A very well crafted beer both in the recipe and the execution. A near flawless example of an American IPA.

mpyle, Oct 22, 2006
Photo of Naerhu
4.3/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Vintage: 2004
Consumed: Oct 2006

A - Healthy tight off-white head, slightly opaque dark amber body. Nice lacing.
S - Sweet malty aroma with a good dose of hops.
T - Huge hoppy bitterness followed by a small amount gooey maltyness. Brown sugar, pine, and a touch of spice.
M - Medium body, nice carbonation, nice!
D - A great, intense beer that has held up well for the two years.
Vintage: 2005
Consumed: Nov 2006

A - Opaque amber/orange body with a tiny yellowish head.
S - Pine and mildly sweet malty aroma.
T - Fresh piney hops followed by a mellow sweet maltyness.
M - Medium body, alcohol brilliantly integrated, lovely fine carbonation.
D - A great, highly drinkable, yet robust beer. I love it!

Naerhu, Oct 21, 2006
Photo of sacrelicio
4.68/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I love when this IPA comes out each year. The appearance is great, deep amber with red and orange highlights. Nice head, off white. Good lacing.

Smell is fruity and piney, with cherry, lime, orange, a little malt and honey. Getting some belgian golden ale smell, like Duvel.

Taste is killer. Bitter, juicy hops, with herbs and vegetable notes. malty, bitter bitter bitter. Cherry, also. Interesting.

Mouthfeel is good, creamy and smooth, with ample carbonation.

Drinkability? Hell, I once got a keg of this with some friends, and it was so drinkable I fell over three times.

sacrelicio, Oct 18, 2006
Photo of jlmjl
4.18/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The label says merry christmas. My celebration with these beers started years ago, I have to say my brother Rich truned me on to these. The beer is a 2005

A - Greeat looking beer , big head in the beer I just poured, it appears to be sticking around

S - Primarily smells hopy

T - Big ... As I have not had these in some time, not sure what to expect. I taste the booze more than I had anticipated ... I guess at the 6.8% , it should not be a suprise. Its taste a bit more dry that I would have guessed. Yet, it has a creamy taste/finish

M - Id say a medium body. Hardly any carbonation

D - All night

jlmjl, Oct 10, 2006
Photo of jamie2dope
3.98/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

So i was a little bored today, so I decided to venture to the small liquor store down the street from me in Sunderland that I had never been to before. I walked in not expecting much, but to my sheer delight, there was a sierra nevada 2005 celebration ale sixer from last year sitting in the cooler. Needless to say I was siked. Anyway, pours a really nice looking dark orange/bordering on red coloration, with a relatively thick white heading that lasted right up until the end. Smell was my only gripe with this beer. Seemed to smell like wet dogs hair, although it did get better as it warmed up a little bit...oxidation? Im not sure. Taste on the other hand was really super...the hops in this beer really attack your taste buds to the point where you can taste them well after finishing a glass. Mouthfeel was pretty heavy, but not overpowering. This is an awesome sipping beer...it really warms you up. The alcohol is also really well hidden, so ide recommend being careful with this one. This is a really awesome beer, complex yet simple at the same time...my favorite offering from the sierra nevada guys. This paired well with some sharp blue stilton cheese, though i can see it going well with just about anything. Cheers

jamie2dope, Oct 06, 2006
Photo of dblinkhorn
4.63/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2004 Vintage. Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance - Pours with a two finger white, rocky head. It retains well and eventually settles at a thin layer of lace atop the brew. The beer's color is a nice honey/orange amber, and it is very clear (until I poured the sediment bottom in). The bottom inch or so of the beer in the bottle was very sediment-rich.

Smell - Fruitiness immediately on the nose: cherry, fig, plum. It smells like an old ale (not entirely suprising considing it's been aged 2 years). Very slight bitterness is also present on the nose from the hops. Malts are difficult to pick up from the smell, but it's there. A slight warming alcohol aroma is present.

Taste - Crisp bitterness from the hops paired again with some cherry, fig, and plum fruitiness. A rich bready malt character is in the background. The finish comes through with a medium sugary/buttery sweetness and eventually a sharp and dry hops bitterness. This hops bitterness follows through into the aftertaste, along with a fairly strong earthiness. A warming alcohol sense is felt through the entire taste. I wonder what the ABV is now after 2 years of aging.

Mouthfeel - Medium-bodied and quite smooth. The carbonation seems definitely to have decreased with age, but it is still of an average level.

Drinkability - Very good. Not quite as refreshing as a brand-new Celebration Ale, but still good.

With two years of age, this beer definitely takes on an old ale style. The medium-dark fruit flavors really come out, and the hops bitterness tones down a bit. This is my first aged-beyond-a-year taste of Celebration ale, but from what I've heard and read here on BA, two years is about the perfect time to age this particular brew. I have to say that it has definitely gotten better with age.

dblinkhorn, Oct 01, 2006
Photo of teg8612
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Deep amber hued brew. Decent head that drops into sticky lace.

S- Herbal and tons of hops. Some citrus notes with a hint of spicyness.

T&M- Not full bodied but a big medium. Carbonation is perfect which creates a creamy smooth drinkability. Malt is ignored as hops burst onto the palate right away. Bitter and oily. Malt creaps into the picture just barely and is almost nutty, bread-like and somewhat caramelly. This becomes more pronounced as it warms. Hops are the star of this show with a strong but not over the top performance. Herbal and citrus qualities as well as some flowery moments. Alcohol is barely detectable. Bitternes only builds slightly so you can have more than one, just watch out because that alcohol will sneak up quick.

D- A near perfect IPA. Hoppy without killing your tastebuds and complex enough to keep me coming back for more. I wish this wasn't a seasonal.

teg8612, Sep 28, 2006
Photo of k75
3.55/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4


It is past it's prime.

Aroma is amazing , but the body and especially the flavor is gone, gone.

1-2 year old remains my pick.


trying to reach the minimun here... I love the fresh article, it is just chock full of all good things pale ale...enjoy it younger.

k75, Sep 07, 2006
Photo of egajdzis
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

(2002 - 7/13/03)Poured golden amber with a large head that left nice lacing. Hoppy aroma, and an initial hoppy taste followed by a fresh bitterness.
(2001 - 9/17/03) Darker amber color, strong fruity hop aroma. Milder hop taste, then there is a slight fruity taste, followed by a slight tingle on the tongue. Still good after almost two years.
(1996 - 8/1/04) Has become way to old. Sweet and oxidized, no more hops here. I'll take a 1 - 2 yr old please.

egajdzis, Aug 26, 2006
Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 7,822 ratings.